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Galileo's Revenge: Junk Science In The Courtroom Paperback – March 24, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0465026241 ISBN-10: 0465026249 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (March 24, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465026249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465026241
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,289,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Forbes magazine columnist Huber uncovers another cost of science illiteracy in the U.S.: the unwarranted authority of "junk science" as legal testimony in our litigious society. This anecdotal history of science in the service of liability lawyers--the "expert witness" industry--is both a stylish legal brief for sensible reforms and a side tour of the medical follies of the century. Huber condemns the "verbal dilapidation of science" by rogue scientists posing as misunderstood Galileos and the "let-it-all-in" atmosphere of the courts. Legal scholars and attorneys might well take note of Huber's observations, while all readers can take pleasure in his tempered yet passionate appeal to restore the rule of science fact in our courts.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Huber, educated as an engineer and considered one of the country's leading experts on liability law, shows how lawyers exploit science illiteracy by using professional "expert" witnesses to press unsubstantiated claims. He defines "junk science" as the mirror of real science and uses as examples astronomy and astrology, chemistry and alchemy, and pharmacology and homeopathy. It is often difficult to distinguish between junk science and liability science, a speculative theory that expects lawyers, judges, and juries to search for causes that may be explained by established scientific principles. Huber documents this phenomenon by citing several claims and concludes that the best test of certainty is the science of publication, replication, verification, consensus, and peer review. For public and university libraries with collections in popular science. Also appropriate for law libraries.
- Bruce Slutsky, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, N.Y.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By B. Mandell on August 21, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be an excellent read, I am not a lawyer but I am familiar with statistics and causality. This books makes an excellent argument whose conclusion you could guess: some of the most costly court judgments in American history did not have scientifically valid evidence to support them. Trial lawyers litigate scientifically questionable cases in order to take a shot at potentially huge awards and they will argue anything in the hope that that the average jury will buy into it. Given a society in which every wrong and every grievance is assumed to be a result of someone's victimization, large companies are an obvious target. Thus many birth defects, accidents and many other human tragedies can be capitalized on by litigants for great financial advantage by laying the problem at the door of a "deep pocket", even when the causal connection is completely unfounded or absurd.
Huber steps through several fascinating cases (including Audi's "uncontrolled acceleration" problem and Benedectin, the morning sickness drug), showing both the junk science employed and the deceptive tactics of the attorneys. Huber effectively makes several important points: that bad science can crowd out good science because of bad precedents and court procedures that don't serve the interests of truth. He recommends reforms that would give greater primacy to scientifically valid evidence and which would more easily exclude patently false scientific claims.
It makes enormous sense to anyone who wants to see justice served and in seeing that the public is not denied products and medicines because of the enrichment of clever tort lawyers, not to mention the enormous cost to our society of this type of unfounded legal extortion.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Julian P Killingley on July 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
Peter Huber is the principal critic of the rise of tort and consequent dilution of contract. His views on judicial nannying were well set out in his book "Liability". He now sets his sights on perverted or suspect science which he sees as a convenient tool to effect an extension of tort and product liability.
The book is an easy - not to say breezy - read. Despite the severe health warning I give them, my students all love this book. Huber's thesis is a simple one - bad science in the court room has helped to make bad law in the precedent book. He claims that there are too many cowboy scientists acting as hired guns and peddling their crank theories, half truths and cynical reservations to anyone who will buy their views.
The telling of the tale is quickfire, lay reader stuff rather than law review scholarship. This earned Huber a painstakingly scholarly refutation by Kenneth Cheesebro in his review article "Galileo's Retort". However, Huber's v! iews draw recent support in commentary by Zakaria Erzinclioglu in the journal Nature (4/30/1998)where a recently retired forensic scientist also claimed there were too many cowboy practitioners whose services can be brought at a price.
It's entertaining and thought provoking - but needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
A must read for any person involved with the product realization process. The only way to protect you and your company against junk science when you are hauled into court with your product or service is to understand that junk science exists and to be prepared to provide real and concrete data to support the validity of your design, not simply close your eyes to their opinions and say "There is nothing wrong".
Several of the companies mentioned in the book were severally damaged by what this books talks about. A number of excellent products have been taken of the market never to come back and more will never see the light of day because of those who have no other desire that to either make money or push their unsubstantiated agendas have been allowed to take advantage of our tort court systems in the USA.
Yes, some not so good products also have been taken off the market but for the wrong reasons. This too keeps other excellent products locked away in the closet.
In our increasingly technological world lack of understanding in science and technology along of this issues by both sides of the junk science debate will only result in more witch-hunts and more tilting at windmills.
To be successful in life one cannot simply allow them selves to be a victim, we must understand the world around us. No matter how good it really is, everything has a cost, everything has a dark side, but even with these costs and risks that do exist we must address the real issues and not simply make someone pay for the downside of life just because they can.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a person who has been a non-corporate scientist for 25 years, I strongly endorse this text. It walks the reader through the many hideously-flawed legal "arguments" that have set the stage for travesties of justice, based on scientific misinformation and distortion through the years. Most of the American public (and the lawyers who toady to it) wants to believe what it believes on the basis of intuition and supposition rather than objective evidence, and Huber shows why this is an altogether-invalid approach. The reviewer who gave this book a one-star rating is a plaintiff's attorney-- I would "make book" on that.
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