The politicians and policy makers talk a lot about evidence based practice. But it is clear that decisions are mostly made on the basis of belief, not evidence.
There are some obvious examples: virtually all serious climate scientists agree that dangerous global warming is being caused by human action – and that this will ultimately be very costly, both in human and economic terms. If people really took notice of the evidence, climate change would be the highest priority in every decision across the world – why isn’t it? In the US there are large numbers of people who believe that guns will protect them – when the evidence is that the more guns there are in a society the more deaths there are from guns. And people believe that punishing people will change their behaviour even though our prisons are bursting at the seams with recidivists. Many people believed that the world would end on 21st December – and it didn’t happen.
The evidence says that equality is better for everyone and that authentic wellbeing lies in the our relationships and our self-respect. What do I hope for in 2013? That people will start taking more notice of the evidence and making decisions on the basis of what we know rather on the hope or premise of what we don’t.