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The Doppelganger Effect

Posted Friday, September 4, 2009, at 10:05 AM

Soon after writing about how common is the name David Lewis an e-mail arrived from one Dave Lewis, state Senator of the great State of Montana. He relayed his own "horror story" of being confused with another individual sharing our common moniker who was a "rounder" (Senator Dave's word).

One may have to be from out west to appreciate the use of the word rounder (or just old like me). Suffice it to say it is better to be confused with the president of Boeing (as I once was) than to be mistaken for a rounder in any state of the Union.

After replying to Dave with one of my admittedly milder horror stories of about being mistaken myself for some unknown nefarious individual, got to thinking about something called the Doppelganger Effect.

Doppelganger comes from a German word and is used to describe the supposed phenomena of two people who look exactly alike (or at least close enough so to cause reasonable confusion). The urban legend being that everybody has a double somewhere.

Simply put, the name thing aside, how many times have you been mistaken for someone else?

Personally, over the years there have been multiple times when I had trouble convincing some stranger I was not who they thought I was.

"But, you look just like him. Your mannerism, voice, even the way you speak, is just like his. Are you SURE you're not so-and-so, or his twin?"

Not that I know of. Certainly if I'd had a twin my mother would have told me.

The Doppelganger Effect is why I'd never do well on a jury.

I simply do not believe in DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid).

It's become almost an axiom in criminal justice that modern science demonstrates DNA evidence is the "Gold Standard." If the DNA fits you can't acquit -- or something like that.

Me, I simply don't believe it is impossible that two people can Not have matching DNA profiles. "They" say the odds are 100 million to 1. Who counted? And, by the way, aren't there 300 million people in this country alone?

Enter modern, modern science.

According to a recently published article

"The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.

"'You can just engineer a crime scene,'" said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. "'Any biology undergraduate could perform this.'"

So, thanks to modern, modern science I can now be convicted of murder based on evidence manufactured by a freshman at ISU!

It gets better. According to a report out of Israel someone has already found some modern, modern, modern science to refute false DNA

Who you going to believe, me or that guy some stranger is sure I am -- whom I'm not? Or maybe we should take the word of that ISU freshman?

The Doppelganger Effect has affected me too often; I'll take DE over DNA anytime. Just don't confuse me with any other David Lewis.

David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at kayanddavid@joink.com.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

If I recall correctly, two snowflakes that were identical have been found in recent years, also.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sat, Sep 5, 2009, at 11:52 AM

Then there are chimeras as well. Fraternal twins in utero and one absorbs the other so parts of the body have one set of DNA and the other part has the DNA of the absorbed twin. One person two different DNA's!!

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Mon, Sep 7, 2009, at 6:46 PM

Jeez, didn't your teachers ever tell you to cite your sources? :)

DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated, Scientists Show


Israeli scientists find way to combat forged DNA


-- Posted by ididntdoit on Thu, Sep 10, 2009, at 7:06 PM

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