Harvey Brooks in a Flow-Chart

Harvey Brooks’s classic “The Resolution of Technically Intensive Public Policy Disputes” suggested a way we can separate experts’ technical judgments from their values:

“Differences among experts resulting from disagreements over the burden of proof might be “smoked out” by requiring each side in a controversy to specify in advance what type of experiment or evidence or analysis would convince them to alter their policy position on a controversial issue…force each side to understand more clearly the bases of its technical judgments and the extent to which those judgments depend…on prior desired policy outcomes, value premises, or [their] biases or implicit value preferences …By shifting the focus of the debate to the real issue, this approach could make the discussion more accessible to the general public. And even if the issue were highly polarized…and the parties were unwilling to stipulate what evidence would sway them, clarification of that fact would help illuminate the debate and isolate the more polarized positions from broader public support-possibly the first step toward an ultimate resolution of the issue “

We can all benefit from this approach. Here is my synthesis of the above in flow-chart form:


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