The most important lesson of the contemporary world: evidence

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver made an interesting feature story about rehab centers in the United States. The story it tells is good, and if you were to watch it only for the story it tells you, it would be worth your time. But there are two other stories in this video, and one of them is exceptionally important.

One story speaks directly to my life, and only has value if you want to have a better understanding of the ways my father, Dan Hogan, has abused me since 2010. (It might also give you insight into how he has abused my sister her entire life.)

The second story is critical to understanding an issue that affects every problem in the contemporary world: climate change, racism, education, relationships—I cannot yet think of a single problem that is not damaged, at least a little, by this pandemic: our species has evolved multiple, powerful, accurate but imperfect, sophisticated methods of decision-making that are all mutually exclusive with evidence-based decision-making.

To have a better understanding of Dan Hogan’s abuse, you must know that when my sister was pregnant, Dan Hogan tried to coerce her, his adult daughter, into being locked into a facility and placing her unborn child up for adoption. You must also know that he has tried to coerce me, multiple times, to give up my rights, powers, privileges, immunities, and liberties. Unsurprisingly, Dan Hogan tried to coerce me into a rehab center like the ones described in this video.

To understand why the contemporary world is full of unnecessary pain, remember that humans are incapable of evidence-based decision-making. Scientists in the United States have extensively studied the effects of criminal sentences, for example, but no court in the United States ever uses evidence-based sentencing (scientific research) when sentencing a convicted defendant. One of the horrifying results of not applying evidence-based sentencing is that the sentences we give to defendants strongly contribute to recidivism—the defendants usually commit more crimes.


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