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Sunday 2 October 2022

The Science Is More Broken Than You Thought

Image: Unsplash

Science is a powerful tool for solving crimes and discovering facts about this world. Unless of course the science is neglected. 

Over the last two years Queenslanders were told to trust the government's science, trust our scientific institutions, and not question their integrity or dillegence. You were made out to be the bad guy if you did. 

Then we read that some of these institutions were even less trustworthy and reliable than we thought:

"Queensland DNA testing inquiry public hearings begin, forensic scientist 'quite scared' about extent of lab failures

A forensic scientist has described Queensland's commission of inquiry into forensic DNA testing as the "most important event" the state's criminal justice system has ever seen.

The inquiry has started its first day of public hearings after a damning interim report was released last week by retired judge Walter Sofronoff found the state-run forensic crime laboratory had issued "untrue" or "misleading" statements to courts about crime scene samples with very small amounts of DNA.

It has raised major concerns about potential miscarriages of justice if police investigations were weakened or abandoned by a lack of DNA evidence, when it might in fact have been available with further testing.

Two senior staff members at the laboratory were last week stood down pending the outcome of the inquiry while the Together Union raised concerns about staff shortages and budget pressures.

Queensland police have established Task Force Helix to investigate potentially thousands of cases between early 2018 and June 2022 where DNA samples had not met the laboratory's threshold for further testing."

Of course, the government would not get anything else scientifically so wrong would it?

What's even more important is the admission by some scientists that they were ignored when they raised concerns

"On day one of public hearings on Monday, Ms Rika said she voiced concerns about changing the threshold at which samples received further testing in 2018, but was ignored in a "toxic" working environment.

Today Ms Rika was questioned by Matthew Hickey – the lawyer representing two managers at the laboratory.

Mr Hickey asked if her perceptions of how she was treated by the managers Catherine Allen and Justin Howes were potentially incorrect.

Ms Rika responded she had been "ignored" and "excluded".

The whole point of science is that peers are supposed to review their colleagues, and improve the processes under which they research. To ignore concerns like this, is an admission that science was never the goal, ticking process boxes was. 

It is now on the public record that a governmental scientific institution has been run at a substandard level that stopped it from doing proper scientific testing. If you just blindly trust such institutions, because they have an authority by virtue of their holding the reins of power currently, you are really acting foolishly. 

A society cannot reject God and remain scientifically astute. Science is the honest inquiry of nature. The rejection of God leads a society into a thicket of lies and a thicket of foolishness. Expect such revelations to become the norm going forward. 

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