Politicians must stop using pseudoscience to sell their policies

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IF YOU have a tricky bit of policy you need to sell, try reaching for some scientific words – whether or not research actually backs up your claims.

This tactic has been a favourite of the UK government in recent years. At the start of the covid-19 pandemic, it resisted calls for social distancing measures, as had already been implemented in some other countries. The reason given was that policies such as lockdowns would be unworkable because people would experience “behavioural fatigue”, a sciencey-sounding concept supposedly based on research in psychology, but which scientists advising the government later disowned. “If you …


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