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Do you care about the science behind government policy? watch

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    It seems like some of the most widely-supported policies are the ones that are directly contrary to all evidence. Michael Gove's education reforms received support from Tory voters, yet the most recent research suggests we should be doing the opposite. The Psychoactive Substances Act, and maintaining our current drug laws, receive support despite a recent international commission of medical experts finding, categorically, that our drug laws DO NOT reduce drug use and in fact exacerbate the problem.

    So if a party were to come out and say "we're going to base all of our policy on real scientific evidence, and give experts real input rather than have it be created by politicians" what would your opinion be? Would you care? Would you be more likely to vote for them? Why/why not?
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    I'd definitely care. It would be great to have a government that actually listens to scientific evidence when drafting up policies and new legislation. The issue is how you introduce and enforce a system like that without having political pressure and conflicts of interest creeping into it anyway.

    Maybe that way we wouldn't have a government that opposed EU restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides for no scientifically valid reasons and cited a flawed study to do so, and which refuses to even listen to the idea of liberalising drugs policy because drugs are bad and won't somebody please think of the children™?
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    The government does carry out (and commission from the private sector) a lot of scientific, economic, statistical, social research analysis which puts together a good picture on what evidence suggests is the best way to deliver government policy.

    Ministers are not bound to follow this advice, because they have an elected mandate whereas their advisers don't, however well trained they are.

    Also a lot of the time the political parties have worked up their policies without access to much credible advice, they might have seen a few one-sided papers from politically biased think tanks, and then put those policies in their manifesto. They then have to deliver that manifesto in terms of policies otherwise they get accused of reneging on manifesto commitments.
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    (Original post by JordanL_)
    It seems like some of the most widely-supported policies are the ones that are directly contrary to all evidence. Michael Gove's education reforms received support from Tory voters, yet the most recent research suggests we should be doing the opposite. The Psychoactive Substances Act, and maintaining our current drug laws, receive support despite a recent international commission of medical experts finding, categorically, that our drug laws DO NOT reduce drug use and in fact exacerbate the problem.

    So if a party were to come out and say "we're going to base all of our policy on real scientific evidence, and give experts real input rather than have it be created by politicians" what would your opinion be? Would you care? Would you be more likely to vote for them? Why/why not?
    Jesus if a party actually did this, they'd have my vote for life. I already exclude any party from getting my vote if their policy says anything along the lines of being sceptical about man made climate change.

    I am sick and tired of parties ignoring evidence and doing whatever they damn well please no matter how much of a pathetic failure the policy turns out to be.
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    TSR Support Team
    (Original post by JordanL_)
    It seems like some of the most widely-supported policies are the ones that are directly contrary to all evidence. Michael Gove's education reforms received support from Tory voters, yet the most recent research suggests we should be doing the opposite. The Psychoactive Substances Act, and maintaining our current drug laws, receive support despite a recent international commission of medical experts finding, categorically, that our drug laws DO NOT reduce drug use and in fact exacerbate the problem.

    So if a party were to come out and say "we're going to base all of our policy on real scientific evidence, and give experts real input rather than have it be created by politicians" what would your opinion be? Would you care? Would you be more likely to vote for them? Why/why not?
    Politicians love science... as long as it supports the policies they've already decided on.

    Yes, I definitely would support more science-based politics but unfortunately, evidence-based-policy doesn't win votes and you've given two excellent examples for this. As David Nutt correctly informed the government, the government's policy on drugs has no scientific basis whatsoever. But selling yourself as being "hard on drugs" wins votes... so that's what they've done.

    In terms of how to solve this issue - obviously education is important, we need a scientifically literate public. But I do feel like this might just be an unavoidable consequence of democracy. If everybody has the unalienable right to vote on matters, regardless of whether they're informed or not, politicians who say what the public want to hear are going to win.
 
 
 
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