Is Expert Testimony in Court Cases Really Expert?

Dostoevsky’s Brother’s Karamazov cleverly spoofs the careless inexpertness of what often passes for expert legal testimony.

Three medical experts are called to testify whether Dmitri Karamazov was sane or insane when committing the alleged murder of his father. Naturally, the experts all disagree, with each completely convinced of the incontrovertible truth of his own opinion. Expert 1 finds Dmitri insane because he looked to the left as he entered the courtroom. Expert 2 also finds Dmitri insane, but instead because he looked to the right. Expert 3 correctly finds Dmitri sane, but for the wrong reason that he stared straight ahead. And all three are absolutely sure Dimitri did commit the murder-which in fact he did not. Three blind mice.

Dostoevsky was recognized by Freud as the master of psychological thinking, but his love of psychology did not stop him from poking huge holes in its reliability. “One can draw from psychology whatever conclusions one likes. It all depends on whose hands it is in. I am speaking of excessive psychology, of a certain abuse of it.”

He then demonstrates vividly just how the this abuse of psychology plays out in courtroom situations. The prosecutor on the case presents a brilliant, completely —> Read More Here


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