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  1. #11
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    In the week that I heard about the possibility of randomised testing of social policies being discussed by scientists I wondered how important evidence would be to anyone who has expressed strong political ideas or perhaps identified strongly with particular political ideologies which in turn suggest particular policies such as public spending or tax rises or cuts?

    The piece on the radio which I listened to indicated, perhaps not surprisingly, that politicians in the UK were not a fan of randomised testing of social policies as they suspected that evidence could be gathered which would disagree with their party political platforms or partisan positions.

    I think the more information, the better, for making decisions. Of course partisan politics would eschew such things because they largely work on persuasion and selling their ideals>an emotional decision-making process.


    Fact or no fact, however, will not really sway me personally, because I mostly go by my intuition and life experience perspective to guide me in knowing what's right or wrong. Still, for realms outside my experience, like knowing whether some public program really helps certain people in need, I think of course more facts are better.
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  2. #12
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    Socially, I doubt convincing evidence could be garnered.

  3. #13
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Politically, I'm quite liberal in my views. Rather socialistic in a way. These views just feel right to me. They go with my personal value system. I forming my views, it seems to be about my values much more than external evidence about how well it would actually work in practice.
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  4. #14
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    I'd hope that evidence is important to me, though I suffer from bias and internal lawyer-logic like everyone else.

    Evidence is important to the extent that a view that is consistent with the evidence is important, and such a view is important to the extent that it's actually a beneficial guide. .. ... which it usually is.

    We shouldn't exactly slam the brakes on our own worldview every time we come across some single piece of evidence that might indicate that we should turn ourselves around, though, as we'd be absolutely aimless. We also have to own up to the fact that changing our worldview, even for the better, and/or even with resounding evidence, can be pretty damn difficult.

  5. #15
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    I think of it more from the vantage point of physical processes and their sustainability. To some extent economics is just a human valuation game that only matters because we're used to it being a certain way. What we really have no wiggle room with are the movements of molecules that either make an economy viable or not.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    I'd hope that evidence is important to me, though I suffer from bias and internal lawyer-logic like everyone else.

    Evidence is important to the extent that a view that is consistent with the evidence is important, and such a view is important to the extent that it's actually a beneficial guide. .. ... which it usually is.

    We shouldn't exactly slam the brakes on our own worldview every time we come across some single piece of evidence that might indicate that we should turn ourselves around, though, as we'd be absolutely aimless. We also have to own up to the fact that changing our worldview, even for the better, and/or even with resounding evidence, can be pretty damn difficult.
    See in the UK at the moment the conservatives have been able to sell convincingly to a lot of people that the scandals involving social services failures and deaths of children or other social problems evidence that spending on social services is a squanderous use of public tax revenue.

    The under resourcing of social services, like pretty much all public services including the police, in the UK has been an on going thing since the eighties but its not what the evidence, in the form of failures, has been used to argue.

  7. #17
    Senior Member the state i am in's Avatar
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    admittedly, i am making up a position from scratch right now, so i may disagree with it in a few minutes, but "evidence" saves us from very little.

    to me, being able to TEST explanations is important, which is more about discerning the relevant criteria for evidence. so evidence without criteria is just material fetishization. (eg statistics and infographics used in politics).

    the second part involves context. without being able to integrate different types of information into a coherent explanation and being able to do so in a neutral manner (which has to do with testing which contexts are relevant), it doesn't really result in anything good. facts are as easy to co-opt as abstract symbols when you include the ability to selectively choose which ones are relevant or established.

    finally, we're all operating from positions of belief that are engrained to varying degrees. the timing of changes or revisions is difficult to envision. i think the most important things are to pay attention, recognize your blindspots, be part of at least a few healthy groups, and try to assume that other people aren't just being stupid when they don't make sense to you.

    politics is ultimately about negotiating how groups relate to each other, not individuals.

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