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Abstract

In several respects, American evidence law has an anti-scientific bias. A number of the admissibility and legal sufficiency rules in American evidence law reflect this bias. The assumption underlying the bias is that the typical citizen–-the potential juror–-is incapable of critically evaluating technical evidence. The results of national educational tests demonstrate that scientific illiteracy is widespread in the United States. However, the current controversy over drug testing presents forensic scientists with a unique opportunity to educate the average citizen about some of the rudiments of scientific proof. In the course of the debate, the scientific community can help familiarize the American public with such concepts as the limited nature of scientific findings, experimentation as the means of scientific validation, and the importance of proper test protocol. Perhaps more than any other scientific controversy, the debate over drug testing is of intense personal interest to the average citizen. This article pleads with the participants in the drug testing debate to capitalize on that interest and conduct their debate at a high level to aid the citizenry to develop a broader understanding of scientific evidence.