Why I sent a book to my MP

I’m reading the Geek Manifesto at the moment. It’s an important book, it presents a clear, concise case for the important role evidence based policy making should play in government, why evidence makes geeks happy, and why we should care about policy at all.

It also paints a depressing picture of the mix of backgrounds of the people that rule us, the lack of scientists, the lack of coders, and the general lack of understanding of the scientific method.

How you think is more important than what you think.

Evidence based policy seems simple to me. You try things out, measure results, and do more of the things that work well, less of the things that work less well. Be honest about your objectives, and honest about your assumptions. Be confident in your motives, and accept your ‘mistakes’ as sources of evidence.

It’s what I did in the lab when I studied chemistry, and it’s what I largely do in client work now when delivering web solutions. Learn from your results – both good and bad.

This leads to a direct link between what we do and why we do it.

Without a science background some of this may be inintuitive – but I think the book does a good job of covering the basics of scientific method, evidence first approaches, and the broader scientific / geek attitude to lifes problems.

There are so many important issues where irrationality, religion, knee jerk press and general dogma drive failing policies. A broader belief in an evidence based approach could help solve real problems.

Twitter brought to my attention a project to get a copy of the Geek Manifesto into the hands of every westminster MP. So I signed up and sent a copy off to Malcolm Bruce MP. I really do hope he reads it.

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