Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor's New Clothes

I was reminded recently of this Hans Christian Andersen tale that brought back memories of hearing it as a child. The hero in the tale is the child for speaking out because those who could have said something found it difficult until it became impossible for them not to say something (but by then it was too late).

The tale could have application to forensics and expert evidence. The focus on distinguishing illusion from reality is an important one and tasks all of us in our field of endeavour to ensure amongst other things:

i) opinion given doesn't simply repeat what others have stated for fear of stepping out of line or the threat of the use psychological intimidation of belittle to one's character
ii) to stand up and challenge, even where an awful lot money has been spent on methods or systems that are systemtically flawed or producing inaccurate statements
iii) not to leave a problem to others to highlight the reality of it ('truth will out') because it feels safe to pretend ignorance or suggesting that it was someone else's problem so not bothering to test the veracity of the method/system in use

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