Knowledge and Democracy – Why evidence matters

How are policies made? Ideally by taking the best decision after
weighing the facts. The outcome should also reconcile the different
values that exist in our society. Reality looks different: the amount of information
to be considered is increasingly complex and overwhelming. And often our biases distort how we process
this information. As a result, science, politics and the people
are harder than ever to align just when we most need evidence-informed policies. How can we change that? One solution could be improving communication. If you’re a scientist, you could work on
better understanding politics and policymaking and the views of citizens to help them make
sense of your research and why it matters. But how do we make sure that evidence has
an impact? If you are a politician or a policymaker,
invest in listening more to scientists. Then encourage them to get involved and better
understand your work. Work together to create new knowledge and
solve societies’ problems. And what about the public? We don’t have a silver bullet here. But each and every one of us can contribute
by staying curious: if you are aware of how your opinion can be influenced and you seek
out alternative opinions, you are already making a difference to the relationship between
science and politics. In the long term, we all need to become more
aware about how we make the decisions we do and learn how to use knowledge critically. The goal should be a set of practical tools
to make sense of knowledge in policymaking, so science and evidence can be used to help
our democracy reach better decisions for all of us

Maurice Vega

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