Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Intelligence and Scientism

Today's NYT Op-Ed piece by David Brooks ("The C.I.A.: Method and Madness") is worth a read. In more than one area of human inquiry, bureaucracies have built false auras of scientistic prestige from whatever ramshackle techniques happen to have been available, in local intellectual toolsheds whose inventory may owe as much to unexamined custom as to any rational design. This may even happen, sometimes, at universities.
Fed. R. Evid. 702: If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.