Yet another weird SF fan


I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Saturday, March 01, 2014

“The Science Is Settled” vs. Texas

Texas recently passed a law that allows defendants to challenge verdicts when the science isn't settled:

In the past, Van Ee’s findings might not have been enough to delay Avila’s execution, or potentially reverse his verdict. But that same month, Texas passed a bill called SB 344, better known as the “junk science” statute. The first of its kind in the nation, it permits a defendant to bring a writ of habeas corpus on the basis of new or changed scientific evidence. In practical terms, this means that courts must grant relief in cases where new scientific evidence has come to light, or where scientific evidence used to convict has been shown to be false, misleading, or inaccurately applied. The statute keeps the court from denying relief even if the defendant had previously confessed or accepted a plea. It also, crucially for Avila, does not require anyone to recant his or her original testimony.

In other words, this is a law based on opposing claims that “the science is settled” and done in such a way that liberals are applauding.

There is the minor problem that judges and juries aren't experts on when science is unreliable. On the other hand, that was true of the judges and juries that convicted the defendants in the first place.

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