Science can explain everything.
As I sit here typing, neurologists can explain how the light from the screen is processed by my retina, which is directly connected to my brain. Some scanner out there (fMRI?) could probably map out my visual cortex as I’m looking at this screen. Another branch of science could probably explain how my brain is sending signals to my fingers so that I can hunt & peck this article. Scientists have no problem mapping out the function of things and figuring out their structure. Easy stuff.
The tough question is, why should these structures give rise to any sort of feelings? Sure, science can explain everything–except how I feel. I’m sure some coffee scientist out there can drill down into how the delicious smell of coffee first hits my nose, which then sends a signal to my brain, which then causes me to rush to the Keurig machine and retrieve that precious liquid that gets me through the rest of day. But, no scientist can tell me how that coffee is going to taste.
No, we’re not going to dive into “the hard problem of consciousness” today (or ever?), as I’m running out of words (web promoter people tell me to keep it under 1,000 words. Sorry), and you’re running out of interest. Suffice to say that, even though there are plenty of limitations on science, certain criminal cases are begging for a bit of attention from the white coats. You need science to prove certain allegations. You need science to defend certain allegations. We’re going to talk about just such a case today.
Demetrius Nugent was convicted of trafficking in oxycodone based upon lots of pills found in a car he was driving. Nugent v. State, 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 89333 (Fla. 2d DCA 2019).
Here’s what happened: the Lee County Sheriff’s office was conducting a drug investigation, and they had their eye on a red Mustang that kept making odd trips in and out of a neighborhood. They followed the Mustang to a convenience store, where they then observed a Nissan pull up next to it. Then, someone hopped out of the Nissan and into the Mustang. The Nissan person exited the Mustang with something in his hand, but the cops didn’t know what it was. The Nissan leaves the convenience store and naturally, the police follow.
Now, remember what I said upfront: the police are conducting a drug investigation.
And, how do you find drugs?
Well, you’ve got to come up with a reason to stop that Nissan. Continue Reading