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Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Mathematical arguments in criminal trials

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Book Review: Burden Of Proof: A Review Of Math On Trial, Paul H. Edelman Jan 2013

Book Review: Burden Of Proof: A Review Of Math On Trial, Paul H. Edelman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In Math on Trial, Leila Schneps and Coralie ColĀ­ mez write about the abuse of mathematical arguĀ­ ments in criminal trials and how these flawed arguments "have sent innocent people to prison" (p. ix). Indeed, people "saw their lives ripped apart by simple mathematical errors." The purpose of focusing on these errors, despite mathematics' "relatively rare use in trials" (p. x), is "that many of the common mathematical fallacies that pervade the public sphere are perfectly represented by these trials. Thus they serve as ideal illustrations of these errors and of the drastic consequences that faulty reasoning has on real ...