Evidence Based Policy is the Best Policy – Evidence Based Knowledge is called Science
Yesterday, we were at the March for Science at the Capitol in Lansing, MI. Science is fundamental to our civilization. The internet and the computer (desktop or mobile) you use to read this is a result of science. Scientific agriculture gives us the food we eat so we don’t have to forage for food. Scientific knowledge took medicine from witch-doctors and leeches to effective surgery and medicines. Science gave us cars, and vaccines, and antibiotics.
Once we decide on the outcomes we want, science and evidence based knowledge tells us the most effective way to achieve those outcomes. If we want to destroy, science leads us to the most effective methods of destruction, whether they are chemical weapons, nukes, or the mother of all bombs. If we want to create, science tells us the most effective ways to create. If we want to educate, scientific randomized trials tell us the most effective educational methods. If we want to help those in need, scientific evidence based methods tell us which charities are most effective.
When patients see me, they are asking me to provide them the best care in Sleep Medicine, in the Clinical Neurophysiology of Attention Disorders. I distil the evidence, and provide them evidence based recommendations. In my clinical research, I seek to advance evidence based knowledge. Once my patient and I agree on the outcome we want, I can provide them the best evidence based policy or recommendations to achieve that outcome.
Assault on Science by Government
Yet, we in the USA are witnessing an unprecedented assault on science by government. Government is refusing to accept scientific evidence, deleting data, muzzling its scientists, threatening to defund scientific institutions. Are we really going to stand for this?
I cannot believe we will stand for this. Therefore, we were there doing our bit at the March for Science. I hope that, although we can have honest differences in the outcomes we want, we can agree that evidence based facts must not be ignored. I trust we can agree that evidence based knowledge, or science, is essential to our civilization.