My column this month in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly takes on the challenging problem of communicating science from high school, even middle school in environmental matters. One would think that it would be easy. But some of these kinds of things are hard for courts, regulators, businesses, and the press:
- scientific induction requires hypothesis testing — at least some possible results have to disprove what you are trying to prove;
- mass and concentration are not the same thing;
- scale matters — almost all data are averages, so it is important to know over what scale one is averaging; and
- “not even one molecule” is a ridiculous standard because molecules are very, very small things and there are a very great deal of them.
These are merely examples. It is by no means a complete list of the issues that seem to come up, but it is a start.
To read Communicating Basic Science in Environmental Cases, 37 Pa. L. Weekly 316 (Apr. 8, 2014), click here.