FBI snake oil... The FBI has admitted that over 95% of the testimony it has given on hair analysis is flawed and is without a scientific basis. There have been a number of such admissions over the years, mainly involving techniques that include a high degree of subjectivity: lie detectors, bite analysis, phrenology, psychological profiling, blood spatter analysis, and much more.
I think the proclivity for this sort of thing is baked into our criminal justice system. The law enforcement folks have a very large incentive to get a conviction. They (quite naturally) often develop a belief about the guilt of a suspect. But to get a conviction, they have to provide convincing evidence – and something like hair analysis, with its veneer of scientific underpinnings, sounds good to a jury...
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