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Letter: Show Me the Evidence

To the Editor:

It’s likely that many of us have encountered, whether at home or at school, the question, “How do you know that to be true?” or, “What evidence do you have to support your view?” For myself, I can remember countless times stating an opinion for which I had little supporting evidence and was thankful for not having to provide such evidence.

It seems a hard lesson to learn. We often hear our political leaders state their views baldly while sharing little, if any, evidence supporting them. More bothersome is the frequency with which they get away with it.

So, it was not surprising that in a recent News Hour interview, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., forcefully expressed his views about Obamacare yet provided no supporting evidence. An example: “We predicted that insurance — health insurance premiums would go up, jobs would be lost, and the president’s principal promise that, if you had your health insurance and you liked it, you would be able to keep it, none of that would happen. ... Regretfully, from the point of view of those who advocated this, the critics were entirely correct. ... One thing you can be sure of is, the choices will not be good, the premiums will be higher.” While McConnell did not offer any concrete evidence that supported his statements, neither did the interviewer, Gwen Ifill, press him with the question, “How do you know that’s true?”

There are two sides to this coin. On the one hand, we, as citizens, have a responsibility to hold our political leaders accountable to be clear about their positions and to provide evidence to support them. On the other hand, we need to be willing to confront them with the question, “What evidence do you have to support your view?”

Bob Scobie