The seriousness of the charge

Playing the legal lottery has become noticed as a problen. There has been some tort reform. There are attempts to reign in asbestos legislation. There have been laws made regarding medical malpractice. But the appeal of big money means that any and every avenue will be attempted. Gregory Conko and Henry I. Miller think that Slippery Teflon Charges Won’t Stick. Maybe rationality and intelligence will start to emerge. Maybe not. Recent history isn’t encouraging.

Lamentably, whether litigation is involved or not, activists commonly misrepresent environmental or public health risks. Undeterred by the facts, many self-styled public health advocacy organizations like the Environmental Working Group, Greenpeace, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and the Union of Concerned Scientists know that to have an impact, their charges need not be true but merely plausible. The media — whose motto is “if it bleeds, it leads” — does the rest: ”

Distortion and manipulation of science by self-styled consumer groups in pursuit of political agendas and by voracious plaintiffs’ attorneys looking for the next big score erodes our society’s capacity to innovate and prosper. It jeopardizes safe and beneficial products and harms manufacturers and their employees. In the absence of persuasive evidence vetted by experts, consumers should reject the attacks on Teflon, as well as on other essential products like vaccines, pesticides, medical drugs, and many others. The charges just won’t stick.

The fact that ‘science’ gets set up as its own thing separate from humanity is one reason to doubt. Science is a set of values and a set of practices that will enhance and support those values. The values depend upon an intellectual integrity in perceptions and measurement of the world and its phenomena. These values have been shown to lead to consistency of outcome and that has, in turn, lead to constructive ideas, that, in turn, have helped individuals and society become more vital.

The fact that science is separated and segregated from human endevour implies that a proper assessment of accuracy and precision in measure and a proper context for perception are not considered as a given in processes such as the legal system. This is why there is a legal lottery. Legal outcomes are a gamble and you cannot tell in advance which way they will go. It doesn’t take a high rate of wins to encourage gambling.

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