4 thoughts on “The Bluff of Evidence-Based Policy”

  1. Posted 28/08/2013 at 09:23 | Permalink

    There is often a good deal to be said for ‘doing nothing’. With this thought in mind, I wonder if our hard-pressed legislators should be encouraged to take longer holidays. Don’t raise the pay of MPs — just allow them (much) more time off.

  2. Posted 03/09/2013 at 17:05 | Permalink

    I have been convinced of this premise for years. Obviously I haven’t yet read the book and sadly most likely won’t (maybe this is an example of people jumping on evidence that suits their biases) as I’m fairly tied up with things.

    My point is simple – reductionism, whether its a critique of brain / mind dualism; analyses of religious belief; policy making in the UK or approaches to educational theory cannot by its very definition present a full and rounded appriasal of the topic under discussion. Consequently one can never truly understand the depths and nuances of the issue at hand. It is my opinion that the problem this poses is so great that analyses based on this philosophy lead to conclusions that are frankly unreliable and are perhaps a better commentary on the prejudices of the researcher than on the topic of research.

    The difficult reality we need to grasp is this: human perceptive abilities are terribly finite. We simply do not have the ability to observe and identify all the possible variables that affect a construct let alone analyse them. Moreover any analysis we do perform will tend towards irrelevence because our ability to model highly non-linear, multivariate functions is greatly limited – we have to arbitrarily hold so many variables constant so we can control around a small predicable region that our system is effectively an ad hoc contrivance.

    Consider a pendulum with a single pivot. Clean and easily predictable. Introduce a second member and suddenly the system is effectively chaotic and non-deterministic. How much more so is this the case for systems of human beings, each with their own vagaries and wants? Religious belief is another case in point. It is often derided and dismissed as outdated at best, harmful at worst but is this true or is this another conclusion drawn from a reductionistic analysis which is horribly simplistic and a poor caricature of reality?

    I fear reductionism has become a means of entrenching opinion, stifling debate and maintaining a mass delusion of power & control that we as individuals and as a society like to think we have over our lives, which in fact we only very poorly possess.

  3. Posted 07/09/2013 at 02:17 | Permalink

    This looks like the same thing that the progressives in the United States have been doing for the last 100 years. Even though it is mostly about pseudo-scientific studies and how government uses it to justify legislation, or so it appears, I have seen this happening first hand here in the US and want to read this book to understand these processes and use them to support my position that the real purpose is not to improve people’s lives, but to simply control them to the benefit of and deteriment of the people.

  4. Posted 22/09/2013 at 15:07 | Permalink

    This applies to the “evidence based” climate change theorists.

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