Introduction to the Logical Approach to Evidence Evaluation

Forensic scientists, individually and as a group, want to be completely logical, open and transparent in their approach to the evaluation of evidence. Such an assertion is unquestionable. Further, I am sure that most document examiners believe this is exactly what they are achieving when they apply the procedures outlined in various traditional textbooks or the SWGDOC/ ASTM standards; for example, the SWGDOC Standard for Examination of Handwritten Items. Given the very understandable desire to be logical, I find it strange that so many people have a negative attitude towards anything and everything “Bayesian” in nature. After all, a logical approach to evidence evaluation that conforms to the overall Bayesian philosophy or approach is, quite literally, the embodiment of logic (more specifically, probabilistic logic).

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