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Court analyst: Courts should not allow the use of DNA tests in crimina

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Court analyst: Courts should not allow the use of DNA tests in crimina  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2019, 08:24
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Court analyst: Courts should not allow the use of DNA tests in criminal cases. There exists considerable controversy among scientific experts about how reliable these tests are. Unless there is widespread agreement in the scientific community about how reliable a certain test is, it is unreasonable for the courts to allow evidence based on that test.

The court analyst’s reasoning is flawed because it fails to take into account that
(A) courts have the authority to admit or exclude any evidence irrespective of what experts have to say about its reliability
(B) the standard against which evidence in a criminal case is measured should not be absolute certainty
(C) experts may agree that the tests are highly reliable while disagreeing about exactly how reliable they are
(D) data should not be admitted as evidence in a court of law without scientific witnesses having agreed about how reliable they are
(E) there are also controversies about reliability of evidence in noncriminal cases

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Re: Court analyst: Courts should not allow the use of DNA tests in crimina  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Mar 2019, 22:06
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patto wrote:
Court analyst: Courts should not allow the use of DNA tests in criminal cases. There exists considerable controversy among scientific experts about how reliable these tests are. Unless there is widespread agreement in the scientific community about how reliable a certain test is, it is unreasonable for the courts to allow evidence based on that test.

The court analyst’s reasoning is flawed because it fails to take into account that
(A) courts have the authority to admit or exclude any evidence irrespective of what experts have to say about its reliability
(B) the standard against which evidence in a criminal case is measured should not be absolute certainty
(C) experts may agree that the tests are highly reliable while disagreeing about exactly how reliable they are
(D) data should not be admitted as evidence in a court of law without scientific witnesses having agreed about how reliable they are
(E) there are also controversies about reliability of evidence in noncriminal cases


There exists considerable controversy among scientific experts about how reliable these tests are. (the exact measurement of reliability is debatable)
Unless there is widespread agreement in the scientific community about how reliable a certain test is, it is unreasonable for the courts to allow evidence based on that test.

Hence, courts should not allow the use of DNA tests in criminal cases.

The argument fails to take into account:

(A) courts have the authority to admit or exclude any evidence irrespective of what experts have to say about its reliability

The courts HAVE the authority to admit or exclude evidence - the argument, in fact, does imply that since it asks the court to not admit DNA evidence. So it does not fail to consider that the courts have the authority to admit or exclude any evidence for whatever reasons.
The argument is just asking the court to exclude DNA evidence based on "controversy among experts".

(B) the standard against which evidence in a criminal case is measured should not be absolute certainty

The argument does not talk about the absolute certainty of DNA results. The point in question is degree of agreement on "how reliable the DNA tests are".

(C) experts may agree that the tests are highly reliable while disagreeing about exactly how reliable they are

Correct. Say the experts agree that the tests are more than 95% reliable. But some say they are 96% reliable but other say they are 98% reliable and there is considerable controversy on this. So the experts may agree that the tests are highly reliable but the exact measurement of reliability may be in question. The argument fails to consider that the experts may agree on the tests being highly reliable. This is a flaw in the argument.

(D) data should not be admitted as evidence in a court of law without scientific witnesses having agreed about how reliable they are

This is what the argument is trying to say too. Hence it does not fail to consider this.

(E) there are also controversies about reliability of evidence in noncriminal cases

Non criminal cases are out of scope.

Answer (C)
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Re: Court analyst: Courts should not allow the use of DNA tests in crimina  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2019, 14:08
I am not able to eliminate option D.

I am confused between C & D.

data should not be admitted as evidence in a court of law without scientific witnesses having agreed about how reliable they are:
We have been asked for a flaw in the reasoning.
and option D says we can do tests but will decide on reliability later.

Please clarify.
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Re: Court analyst: Courts should not allow the use of DNA tests in crimina   [#permalink] 14 Aug 2019, 14:08
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Court analyst: Courts should not allow the use of DNA tests in crimina

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