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Battle for Politics: Evidence based policy


10 Evidence Based policy

In this ‘in conversation’ debate at the Institute of Ideas’ Battle for Politics Pre-election summit Tony Gilland, Science and Society Director, Institute of Ideas, asks panel speakers if politicians are evading responsibility by hiding behind science? Too often the phrase ‘the science shows…’ is used to close down any possibility of debate and facts are used to trump morality and politics. Is this indicative of a new respect for science, or rather a lack of political principle? Panel speakers include: Dr Evan Harris, science spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, Jeremy Webb, Editor-in-chief New Scientist, Nick Dusic, Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering and Robin Walsh Editorial assistant for a medical publishing company.

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Related topics: Debates, Democracy-Brexit, Science Progress

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MayBee said:

Science is used so much now to “prove” a certain position, and I agree with visa2020, this is usually a conservative position and one that is supposedly an immoveable truth – the science says so and therefore it’s true. That is turning science on its head isn’t it? Science is about seeking understanding often about the unknown to us yet and always open to challenges and changes. We are uncomfortable with the unknown now however and want certainty. I also agree very much with Brendan O’Neill who points out the disdain for the public in all of this, why does science now trump everything else, it shouldn’t.

visa2020 said:

I think this debate does expose the fact that politicians on some issues do hide behind ‘the science’ because of the lack of moral or political contestation and social vision. A good example of this is environmentalism but reproduction is more fully discussed here, but ‘the science’ used is often quite selective. I suggest that evidence which invites the more conservative conclusions is more likely to be picked up today. Political or moral positions seem to lack the ability to stand in their own terms and need further ‘back up’. Scientists, we should remember, are not always right.