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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Phrenology

     Junk science is not new. Much of today's junk science may have been yesterday's accepted truths. Consider the case of phrenology. In its heyday it was considered a solid science, the identification of basic brain functions as determined by cranial features. The shape and features of the head and face determined aspects of behavior. In the 1840s there were international conferences of phrenologists as well as professional associations. Today we know this to be quackery. [In the early1920s, police chief August Vollmer, to illustrate to his officers the phoniness of phrenology, invited a noted phrenologist to demonstrate his "science" at the Berkeley, California Police Department. The phrenologist, as he ran his hands over the bald head of a detective posing as a jail inmate, portrayed his subject as a born criminal destined to spend most of his sorry life behind bars.]

Michael Baden, M.D. and Marion Roach, Dead Reckoning, 2001

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