Understanding Science and Scientific Methods: An Overview for Lawyers
Fall Semester AY 2005-06
Mondays, 10:00 - 11:50AM
Keith T. Poole
Professor of Political Science
University of California, San Diego
WebSite: Voteview Home Page
Through an examination of scientific findings in recent cases involving product liability,
such as breast implants and asbestos, and regulatory affairs, we will examine the
uses and misuses of science and statistics in legal decision making and in law making.
The student will learn the differences between legal and scientific reasoning and
how to understand scientific findings and relate them to the practice of law.
The following texts will be used in this course:Kenneth R. Foster and Peter W. Huber. 1999. Judging Science: Scientific Knowledge and the Federal Courts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Stephen H. Gehlbach. 2002. Interpreting the Medical Literature. New York: McGraw-Hill.
RequirementsOne paper is required. The length should be no more than 20 double-spaced pages. The
topic must be related to the issues raised by the course readings, discussion, and
lectures. The paper must be properly footnoted and references provided. The paper is due by the end of the semester, 16 December 2005.
- Overview -- The Collision of Science and the Law
- Foster and Huber, Judging Science, Chapter 1.
- Gehlbach, Interpreting the Medical Literature, Chapters 1 and 2.
- The Science of Dioxin
Summary of 29 August 2005 Class
Summary of 29 August 2005 Class (PDF)
- The Use of Agent Orange in Vietnam
- The Health Politics of Agent Orange and Dioxin
- The Sample Population: Are Vietnam Veterans Really that Different From Everyone Else?
- Foster and Huber, Judging Science, Chapter 3.
- Gehlbach, Interpreting the Medical Literature, Chapter 3.
- Cohany, Sharon R. 1990. "Employment and Unemployment Among Vietnam-era Veterans."
Monthly Labor Review, (April 1990):22-29.
- Barnett, Arnold, Timothy Stanley, and Michael Shore. 1992. "America's Vietnam Casualties:
Victims of a Class War?" Operations Research, 40(September-October 1992):856-866.
Summary of 12 September 2005 Class (PDF)
- Scott, Wilbur J. 1990. "PTSD in DSM-III: A Case in the Politics of Diagnosis and Disease."
Social Problems, 37 (August 1990):294-310.
- Burkett, B. G., and Glenna Whitley. 1998. Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation was Robbed of its Heroes and its History. Dallas, TX: Verity Press, Inc. Chapters 3, 7, 10, and 12.
- Cohort Studies of Dioxin
- Gehlbach, Interpreting the Medical Literature, Chapter 4.
- Steenland, Kyle, Laurie Piacitelli, James Deddens, Marilyn Fingerhut, and Lih Ing
Chang. 1999. "Cancer, Heart Disease, and Diabetes in Workers Exposed to 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin."
Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 91 (5 May 1999):779-786.
Summary of 19 September 2005 Class (PDF)
- Bodner, K. M., J. J. Collins, L. J. Bloemen, and M. L. Carson. 2003. "Cancer Risk
for Chemical Workers Exposed to 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin." Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 60:672-675.
- The "Ranch Hand" Cohort Study
Summary of the Known Health Effects of Dioxin on Vietnam Veterans
- Agent Orange in the Courtroom: U. S. Veterans vs. Dow Chemical, 1984 "Settlement"?
- Bendectin and Morning Sickness: Can Any Product be Absolutely Safe?
- The Science of Bendectin: How Certain Can Epidemological Studies Be?
- What is Scientific Knowledge?
Definitions of Science and the Scientific Method (PDF)
Summary of 10 October 2005 Class (PDF)
- Foster and Huber, Judging Science, Chapter 4.
Examples of Axiomatic Systems (PDF)
- Does Scientific Knowledge have a Special Status?
Summary of 17 October 2005 Class (PDF)
- Foster and Huber, Judging Science, Chapter 5.
- Can there be Certainty in Science?
- Foster and Huber, Judging Science, Chapter 6.
- What is Scientific Consensus and who is Qualified to State What it is?
Summary of 24 October 2005 Class (PDF)
- Foster and Huber, Judging Science, Chapter 7.
Summary of 31 October 2005 Class (PDF)
- The Placebo Effect
Summary of 7 November 2005 Class (PDF)
- The Health Politics of Bendectin
Frye, Rule 702, and Rehnquist (PDF)
- Foster and Huber, Judging Science, Chapters 8, 9, and Appendices A, B, and C.
Daubert and Science Questions (PDF)
Summary of 14 November 2005 Class (PDF)
- Breast Implants: What Happens if there is no Scientific Evidence Regarding the Safety of a Device or Product?
Summary of 21 November 2005 Class (PDF)
- Angell, Marcia. 1997. Science on Trial: The Clash of Medical Evidence and the Law in the Breast Implant
Case. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
- Asbestos: How Dangerous is Dangerous?
- Mossman, B. T., J. Bignon, M. Corn, A. Seaton, and J. B. L. Gee. 1990. "Asbestos:
Scientific Developments and Implications for Public Policy." Science, 247 (19 January 1990):294-301.
- Hammond, E. C., Irving J. Selikoff, and Herbert Seidman. 1979. "Asbestos Exposure,
CIgarette Smoking and Death Rates." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 330:473-490.
- Enterline, Philip E. 1976. "Pitfalls in Epidemiological Research: An Examination of
the Asbestos Literature." Journal of Occupational Medicine, 18 (March 1976):150-156.