• Why debate is good and evidence-based debate is better

    I love it when this happens. A week or so ago I had half a mind to post something about how the rancorous health care debate is nothing to fear. It’s good. It’s how it should be. We’re talking health, as in disease, illness, life, death, hope, and despair. We’re also talking about big money. Huge, in fact.

    If we’re not having a national, drag-out, knock-down fight over these things, something is wrong. We care a lot, an awful lot, about health and money. The only other things that might cause our blood pressure to rise about as quickly are politics, religion, and abortion. Actually, at least two of those are mixed right into the health policy debate, so you’ve got a — I hate to say it — perfect storm of contention.

    But my half mind a week ago couldn’t convince my other half mind to write what I just wrote. Then Kevin Drum, responding to Andrew Sullivan, wrote it in the context of rationing.

    Andrew [link] is right about is that these decisions are likely to provoke a lot of anger and endlessly heated debates. The problem is that he says this as if it’s a bad thing. It’s not. […]

    The fact that these debates are angry and heated is unsurprising, but it’s also healthy.

    I agree. My only plea is that we have more of these debates, angry if they must be, more fully informed by the evidence. That’s hard to do because evidence, and research, is tricky, both to do and to interpret. People get fooled. They fool others. It’s a shame. A fight without evidence is winnable, but the victor is in not necessarily “right.”

    Now I will go tell my half mind to shut up.

     

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