I intend to post the talk itself (or a version of it) later, but to hold you over, here are the things I referred to that you may like to look up:
- Cynthia Crossen's 1994 book Tainted Truth: the Manipulation of Fact in America
- The Time Magazine July 1995 Cyberporn cover story
- "This need [for evidence] has been reified in the UK and elsewhere, as routines of 'evidence-based policy'-making have been hardwired into the business of Government. Intuitively, basing policies that affect people's lives and the economy on rigorous academic research sounds rational and desirable. However, such approaches are fundamentally flawed by virtue of the fact that Government, in its broadest sense, seeks to capture and control the knowledge producing processes to the point where this type of 'research' might best be described as 'policy-based evidence'." - Rebecca Boden and Debbie Epstein, July 2006
Thanks for listening!
Update: I rather casually (based on a hazy memory of something someone said to me once) said that there isn't an evidence base but centuries of experience behind the use of aspirin as a painkiller. Chris Clements points out that this is not correct: the NIH has a 2000 meta-analysis of 72 randomized trials.