A Question to Social Scientists: Are There Hierarchies of Evidences in Social Sciences? [Belayneh Abate]

In theory, the truth set you free although the truth may lock you in jail as it does in the betrayed and  land locked current Ethiopia. For absolute truth, there is God and for relative truths, there are evidences. However, not all evidences are created equal. Some evidences can be touched,  seen, heard, smelt and tasted like orange and lemon fruits. Other evidences  are untraceable like  delusions and hallucinations. These untraceable evidences are costing us millions of lives in political, economical, religious and cultural rhetoric and ethnic conflicts because we lack understanding of the spectrum of evidences. Therefore, I would like to  request historians, philosophers, sociologists, lawyers, anthropologists, archeologists and other social scientist to provide us with the hierarchies of evidences in social sciences.

Lack of understanding of the spectrum of evidences  has contributed to the flourishing of fabricated histories that led to the fragmentation of our country. Our harmony and peace has been disrupted because of manufactured histories from the raw materials of  colonizers’ treaties, western spies’ reports,  missionaries’ teachings, travelers’ memos and remote grandparents’ tales. We encounter politicians, cadres, “historians” and “theologians” citing these fabricated  histories and propagating  their own version of stories, tales, and explanations.  Because of these baseless propagandas, people have been massacred on the streets, thrown alive into cliffs, burnt with fire  in their houses and chopped off their necks by their neighbors.

Before we started spreading  these propagandas,  the Ethiopian people had been living in peace and harmony despite the occasional conflicts between their greed regional rulers. The Ethiopian people peace and harmony started to wobble after their children attended modern schools and get baptized  by the western pastors and politicians to preach western religions, communism and capitalism.

The sage Socrates used to say “know thyself!” mimicking the motto inscribed at the Temple of Delphi.[1] Similarly, according to his disciples, the late Abune Tewoflos used to say “do not go abroad with empty skulls and absorb the lees of their beers”. Socrates and Abune Tewoflos were right because when people try to know others  before they know themselves, they fall deep in a canyon of moral crisis and lack of self-stems.  Moral crisis and lack of self-stems  pushes towards  developing fabricated stories as mechanisms of defenses.

Fabricated histories have ruined our glorious history and sold the sovereignty of our country. Phony tales threatened the integrity of the church and the morality of the people even the Greek historian Herodotus and Prophet Mohammed highly preached about. These fabricated histories and phony tales have been produced and propagated by immoral- educated people. The flooding of  immoral- educated people in our country remind me the history of epidemics of immorality in Europe. Europe was covered with Epidemics of immorality when educated people inundated the continent in the  17th and 18th centuries. Observing this epidemics of immorality,  Rousseau [1] wrote in his famous essay: “Since learned men had appeared, honest men were nowhere to be found”.  The legendary writer continued “a learned man is a depraved animal; education does not make a man good, it only makes him clever-usually for mischief.”

Ethiopia has been suffering from epidemics of immorality since pseudo intellectuals started to walk on its streets. This epidemics of immorality is more devastating than epidemics of Ebola.  Epidemics of immorality has paralyzed the academia, the palace, the court, the mass media, the church, the mosque, the synagogue, the Idir, the Equb, the shimiglina, and other social frame works of the society,  especially for the last a quarter century. Therefore,  it is imperative that we  mitigate  epidemics of immorality and fabricated histories that escalates the demise of human lives. One mitigating means of  fabricated  stories is teaching the youth about the validity and hierarchy of evidences  in social sciences as we teach  the validity and hierarchies of evidences in health sciences.  The hirarchies of  evidences in health sciences include -taken from reference 2. [sorry for the scientific jargons].

Level I. Evidence from a systematic review or meta-analysis of all relevant RCTs (randomized controlled trial) or evidence-based clinical practice guidelines based on systematic reviews of RCTs or three or more RCTs of good quality that have similar results.

Level II. Evidence obtained from at least one well-designed RCT (e.g. large multi-site RCT).

Level III. Evidence obtained from well-designed controlled trials without randomization (i.e. quasi-experimental).

Level IV. Evidence from well-designed case-control or cohort studies.

Level V. Evidence from systematic reviews of descriptive and qualitative studies (meta-synthesis).

  1. Evidence from a single descriptive or qualitative study.

VII. Evidence from the opinion of authorities and/or reports of expert committees.

To learn about hierarchies of evidences in social sciences, I contacted several historians, archeologists, anthropologists and other social scientists. Unfortunately, none of them provided satisfactory answers. Hence, I pose this question to  historians, philosophers, sociologists, lawyers, anthropologists, archeologists and other social scientists: Are there hierarchies  of evidences in Social Sciences? If there are hierarchies of evidences, please vaccinate us with evidence weighing vaccines so that we can develop immunity against fabricated histories and abstain from getting into endless crises that could escalate our demises. Thank you.


  1. Philosophy and philosophers: Greek Philosophy, https://www.the-philosophy.com/socrates-know-yourself(last accessed December, 2017)
  2. From Rousseau to Kant: Page 197, Will Durant, the story of philosophy, 1953 edition
  3. Ackley, B. J., Swan, B. A., Ladwig, G., & Tucker, S. (2008). Evidence-based nursing care guidelines: Medical-surgical interventions. (p. 7). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier

The writer can be reached at abatebelai@yahoo.com





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