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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default How important is evidence to your political or cultural ideas?

    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.

  2. #2
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    If evidence can be had then I'd prefer it. I've already believed a few too many things that turned out to be false.

    I don't think it is prudent to have a strong anything without some kind of reason, not if it can be helped.

  3. #3
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I think it'd be helpful. My lazy nature makes me inclined to dislike inefficiency. And something about my nature that I haven't entirely identified yet makes me inclined to reject ideals that do not pass the 'rubber meets the road' test. If something doesn't work, what good is it? If something works measurably better than what we're doing now, why not change it?
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  4. #4
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    Evidence is of integral importance to me. I am admittedly on the most part unaware of evidence that exists for or against an idea or view that I hold however when it is forced in my face I will take notice of it. I have eliminated entire deeply held values from my life when the evidence paints it in a light different than what I expected it to be or the evidence suggests it cannot be or should not be.

    I'm British and being told that our government would shun evidence comes as no surprise. To some extent I suspect its pure laziness; not wanting to change their policies or programmes unnecessarily and on the other they do not want to appear to be turning their back on their voters. It's not like evidence would necessarily be against them either.

  5. #5
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Ideology over evidence is one of life's great tragedies. But then, I'm not one with a strong ideology to begin with. So I would say that. It's not always easy for me to appreciate, even when it's at it's best.

  6. #6
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    The greatest tragedy of our time has been the bamboozling of people into believing that trust in evidence is not a competing ideology, but rather the one true path. This idololization of evidence only leads to the rise of technocrats and a centralizing of power in them. They rule over their subjects with a level of power greater than kings or politicians. What common person, but a fool would ever question people with so many letters behind their name?

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  7. #7
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Idolizing evidence... lol.

    You seem to think "evidence" is a singular entity.. Evidence is just what it is. Multiple objects presented in varying situations. The only one personifying it is you.

  8. #8

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    To answer the question in your title. I would say that evidence is central to my political ideas...or at least I would like it to be.

    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?
    My intuition is that there is insufficient evidence to take strong political positions on many things. Based on this intuition, I am suspicious of people who take hard-line political positions--I suspect them of not valuing evidence. I can assuage these suspicions if I find, through other means, that they do value evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    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.
    The risk we take when looking for the truth is that our ideas and can be proven wrong. To me, this seems like a rather small risk--especially when considering that correcting our incorrect notions leads to better decision making in the long run.

    I think perhaps there is another fear that politicians have...that they will be beholden to "technocrats" who know more than they do about how evidence is processed through statistics to make inferences. I suppose this is a similar suspicion that people have of mechanics who work on their cars. This suspicion, I think, is legitimate. However, if all data, findings and reasons for findings are made available to the public, I think it will be difficult for the technocrats to do things that are intentionally biased.

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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    The greatest tragedy of our time has been the bamboozling of people into believing that trust in evidence is not a competing ideology, but rather the one true path. This idololization of evidence only leads to the rise of technocrats and a centralizing of power in them. They rule over their subjects with a level of power greater than kings or politicians. What common person, but a fool would ever question people with so many letters behind their name?

    All hail the white coats!
    So is your concern here the same as the one I mentioned above, or is there something more fundamental?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  10. #10
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    @Beorn

    Not our fault that so many love to make shit up.

    Why give carte blanche for lies? At least with evidence they have to lie and fudge the evidence too which makes it harder to get away with.

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