Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cooking the evidence

A new report from Parliament's Science and Technology Committee has punched a few holes in the Government's tendency towards selective use of 'evidence' in policy-making:

Ministers should not disguise policies based on their beliefs as being based on scientific evidence, the science and technology committee has said. The committee's report, Scientific Advice, Risk and Evidence Based Policy Making, raises serious questions over the validity of the evidence behind several flagship programmes including Asbos, ID cards, Sure Start, and the decision to ban junk food in schools...

"Of course, not all policies need to be evidence-based and the committee recognises that political judgement is often exercised – but ministers should not disguise conviction-based policies as evidence-based," Mr Willis (Committee Chair) said.

..More worrying were accusations of "policy-based evidence making", which the committee's report claims could be seen as amounting to "scientific malpractice".

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