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Here's what's wrong w/ this type of research (by type I mean when the experts in discipline take something "hot" in another discipline and run with it by involving it into their disciple; e.g., Economists doing autism research = crap science):


1) One huge and fundamental thing that's wrong w/ ALL of neuroscience is that only some of the experts actually keep in mind that anything lighting up while subject does X is mostly correlation, NOT causation. How many juries, judges, lawyers, etc. are going to understand the difference between correlation and causation?
1a) In support of the above, how many are going to keep in mind the scientific method w/ regard to neuroscience's brain imaging?
2) just cause something lights up doesn't mean that's it's actually the part responsible for whatever action we assign to it. Part of the problem w/ neuroscience and cognitive science is that each field admits to the "black box" and observational paradox quandary of the brain --we don't know what parts of it do, we don't know how the parts interact, and we don't know how the neuronal pathways and neurons THEMSELVES are able to change in order acclimate to input (there's still a huge debate between connectionists v. input driven folks). So given this admitted ambiguity/naivety in these sciences, HOW CAN WE USE THIS AS A TOOL TO ASSESS INDIVIDUAL CULPABILITY?!
2a) Neuroscience and cognitive science are quickly evolving fields (hell, they're only really, what, 20 years old?). This is horribly inaccurate and wrong b/c of the quickly evolving nature of the scientific field when the permanent findings of the law are generally irreversible --what if b/c of the quickly developing nature of the field we sentence someone to the chair only to find 5 years later our neuroscience theory was wrong. For science, that'll be a great day b/c some small step had been made toward the truth, however for the law it would be a horrible recognition of a failure in evidence.
3) So then put on top of this something as large and fuzzy of an analysis as the Law and we're back in the age of phrenology.

Overall, this is idiotic and a waste of money. Maybe in 20 years when we understand more about the brain, areas like the law can come in. Right now this is just iintelligentsia's latest bragging item to get more $ and out-do one's colleagues. How can we bring the law into this gray area (no pun intended) when we're still debating fundamental things like is the brain the mind? When we've only in the last two years overturned 200 years of biomedical knowledge by showing that the brain CAN regenerate, etc. This is just pathetic.

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