Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Splitting Hairs

This morning a story that was related by Lee Strobel in his book The Case for Faith, caught my interest.  The author tells the story of a molecular biologist, Michael Denton, giving an example of facts misleading to incorrect conclusions.

The story is about a murder.  The man accused was Ronald Williamson.  The case against him:

  •           a witness who saw Williamson talking to the victim earlier in the evening of the murder
  •           an admission by Williamson that he had a dream of killing the victim
  •           four of Williamson's hairs were found on the victim's body.
The jury found Williamson guilty, but he wasn't.  After spending twelve years in prison, nine on death row, an analysis of DNA proved that Williamson was innocent.

What about the hair?  Hair evidence isn't conclusive.  It's "scientifically unreliable."  

Note this:  at the writing of this book, hair evidence has been used against eighteen death row inmates who were eventually declared innocent.

Not only is this a grievous example of miscarriage of justice, it also is an example of how science can be wrong.  It can be unreliable.  It can be unreasonable.  It is not to be taken as absolute Truth.

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