UNIVERSITIES are failing to train social scientists to make decisions based on evidence, according to an expert from the Capital.
John MacInnes, professor of sociology at Edinburgh University, said the trend could mean society ends up with decision-makers unable to consider evidence properly.
He said his warning was based on indications that only “marginal” amounts of statistics training was being offered in social science degrees. He said the roots of the problem can be traced to the rapid expansion of social sciences in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
He added: “We have got lots of people in public life and in the private sector who are making decisions about risk and uncertainty, statistical decision, without even elementary training in statistical concepts.
“In my view, that approach reduces science to just an exchange of opinion.”