Saturday, 7 September 2013

An evidence-free world

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In the 1990s there was a movement for 'evidence-based medicine' which was actually a movement for evidence-free medicine - since the assertion was that the only admissible 'evidence' for effectiveness of any treatment was restricted to large randomized controlled trials.

But large RCTs are funded only by large corporations and bureaucracies, and therefore medicine was reconfigured as a coalition of the Big Pharmaceutical Companies and the Health Service Administration who both conducted and 'officialy' interpreted RCTs.

So evidence-based medicine was in fact evidence-free medicine - since nothing could count as evidence against the official pronouncements of the bureaucrats.

No amount of personal experience, nothing that happened in the world, not even a pile of dead bodies, could count as evidence against 'the guidelines'.

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But this phenomenon is general in the modern world.

Evidence does not merely count for little, it counts for nothing at all.

If the ruling media and bureaucrats want something to happen, then they need no evidence for it (beyond somebody's assertion that it is good, or a made-up anecdote or two about the suffering it may prevent); but if they don't want something to be true, then no amount of evidence is ever enough to change their minds.

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In an evidence-free world, there is a complete, utter and absolute disconnection between what people believe and do - and what happens as a consequence.

Indeed, it is exactly consequence-iality which is denied - since the basis of being liberated from evidence is that we can never be sure about consequences therefore everything (and I mean everything) about what we do, depends on where we bestow the benefit of the doubt.   

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The evidence-free rulers always give themselves the benefit of the doubt.

If they want to do something, their opponents have to prove that no good can possibly come of it; if they don't want to do something, opponents have to prove that unless they did this precise things the result must necessarily be instant catastrophe.

If they want to assert a fact, opponents have to prove that it cannot be true under any possible combination of circumstances; if they don't want to acknowledge a fact, their opponents have to prove that there is no other possible explanation that could be devised.  

In sum, there is always doubt about causality, and doubt about lack of causality, therefore the conclusion depends upon the side where that doubt is bestowed as being most significant.

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When doubt is defined such as to be universal, and everything depends on which side gets the benefit of that doubt - then there is not room for evidence to play any role in decisions: we have an evidence-free world.

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The lesson for opponents to Leftism is to forget about evidence in relation to public discourse - because in an evidence-free world the only admissible evidence is evidence against you; and the benefit of the doubt is bestowed on your enemies.

In an evidence-free world where plausibility and common sense count for nothing whatsoever, enemies of the Left are called upon to prove their innocence, prove that they are stating the only conceivable truth and nothing but the state: and prove these beyond any possible, imaginable shadow of doubt.

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