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Michael Gove and "evidence"

(13 Posts)
Mamie Tue 14-May-13 07:38:26

You really couldn't make it up could you?

whenim64 Tue 14-May-13 07:55:59

Well done, retired teacher Janet Downs for continually querying Gove's sources of evidence.

Mamie Tue 14-May-13 08:35:07

Have just read another article on just how ludicrous the original "research" was.
The article included the following:
"The plural of anecdote is not data".
I really like that.

JessM Tue 14-May-13 08:46:08

Janet Downs my nomination for grandmother of the week!
I was listening to a programme about scientists working alongside politicians and vice versa (a two way learning thing). The scientists were horrified that most politicians seemed to have less than a tenuous grasp on the concept of "evidence". Not surprising given the vast majority studied things like law and other non science subjects. But frightening that they base policy on rubbish like this.

absent Tue 14-May-13 08:56:22

JessM Plenty of people who studied non-science subjects are perfectly capable of understanding the concept of evidence. I would suggest that it is a very basic concept for historians, for example, and features in matters related to the law. That politicians avoid considering or even deny evidence in favour of the party line or to promulgate their own ideas, e.g. Michael Gove, is indeed no surprise. I would guess that this approach would still apply even among politicians with a scientific background if they wanted a successful career in politics.

JessM Tue 14-May-13 09:13:04

I agree to a certain extent absent however "evidence" to a historian or a lawyer is a very different to the meaning of the word when used by a scientist or social scientist. They are concerned with the question "Did something in the past happen, or not?"
When I say evidence I mean that a study has been carefully designed to test out an idea or hypothesis and that robust statistics have been gathered and analysed that indicate the confidence one should have in the results. To understand the nuances and pitfalls of this approach probably does require an introductory degree course in experimental design, probability and statistics. Not beyond the intellectual reach of most politicians of course.
A light hearted questionnaire put together by a marketing department is not in this category.
But yes I agree that politicians (of all parties) don't give the proverbial about evidence because they are primarily interested in votes, and those like Gove that have strong opinions have no interest in checking if they are based on anything other than what they personally believe.

Ariadne Tue 14-May-13 09:15:09

Gove, like UKIP people, knows which buttons to press to stir up his supporters. Whether what he says is of any use, or is based on firm knowledge, is disputable.

LullyDully Tue 14-May-13 09:38:09

not my favourite politician. if teenagers think Camilla was one of Henry V111s wives sounds like a leg pull to me.

Lilygran Tue 14-May-13 09:58:31

The comments on this report suggest that since all the surveys quoted were multiple choice, the participant responses were probably not wholly reliable! I've been very impressed by the history my DGS do in school and the extent to which they get taken to places and encouraged to do a bit of research of their own. Why do the Education ministers always think they know better? Someone said, the Health ministers don't introduce guidelines for neurosurgeons. Why not?

Maniac Tue 14-May-13 12:20:59

I've little time for Michael Gove having received 2 letters from him on the
subject of Grandparents denied contact in which he showed little appreciation of the real situation.

nanaej Tue 14-May-13 13:16:00

He is making a big bid for the leadership of the Con Party ..his stance on the referendum being his latest step.
Based on this persistent woman's evidence we will need a lot of help if he ever becomes PM. Well done Janet Downs!

Gove's department's continued insistence that phonics is the major route to learning to read will come home to roost soon! I have seen numbers of children recently who are so phonic bound they have no other ways to decode words..and as so many words are not phonetically logical they come unstuck a lot! Many teachers have reduced the other reading skills they teach because they are under so much pressure to meet the phonic targets the government have set.

Tegan Tue 14-May-13 13:50:02

Well, if Robin Cook's face 'was against him' in terms of party leadership possibilities, I don't think David Cameron [aka Iggle Piggle] has a lot to fear from Michael Gove.

nanaej Tue 14-May-13 13:52:32

Tegan grin