As Hawai‘i’s people begin to awake to the reality of their country, the Hawaiian Kingdom, having been under an illegal and prolonged occupation by the United States since January 17, 1893, they have to contend with conflicting information on a daily basis. It is like walking down the hallway of a house in the dark. Every door that opens is someone telling “their” story with evidence “they” gathered that “they” say supports “their” conclusion. Which story is accurate and which story is not? There needs to be some sort of standard to discern fact from fiction whether it is about the Hawaiian Kingdom or COVID-19 that is in the Hawaiian Kingdom.
Stories are called anecdotes, and information that someone may use to tell the story could be anecdotal evidence. “Anecdotal Evidence is information you obtain from a subjective report, an observation, or some kind of example that may or may not be reliable. In addition, anecdotal evidence is not scientifically valid or representative of a larger group or of conditions in another location.” In academic research, anecdotal evidence is considered a fallacy. The anecdote is the story to be told and the evidence is selectively chosen by the storyteller to support the story. This is commonly referred to as “confirmation bias” or “cherry picking” because the storyteller would ignore evidence that would undermine the story being told.
Anecdotal evidence is on the opposite spectrum of science, which is “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” In political science, which is social science, it is “the systematic study of governance by the application of empirical and generally scientific methods of analysis. As traditionally defined and studied, political science examines the state and its organs and institutions.”
In both the hard sciences and the social sciences, there is a reliance on theory, which is an explanation of a set of known facts. A simple way to think of it is that the theory of football exists to explain the facts of a football game. Both sciences have a critical component called research and research relies on theories and evidence.
One of the ways to discern a person using anecdotal evidence from a person using scientific evidence is to first see their credentials, whether professional or academic, that would indicate that they have a particular expertise in the subject area. You should not prefer a golf coach to explain to you a football game. Second, does the person have published articles on the subject that has been peer-reviewed. This is very important because peer-review is a form of a vetting process that qualifies a person’s explanation and conclusions of a particular subject.
The way peer-review works is a journal’s editorial board will receive a manuscript that represents the author’s research and findings. If the manuscript satisfies the editorial board’s criteria of topic and form, the editorial board will seek out academics that are recognized as experts in certain fields that are covered in the manuscript. A peer-review journal can have up to 4 referees to review and provide comment on the manuscript. Peer-review is usually double blind where the referees do not know who the author is, and the author does not know who the referees are. All the author knows is that the referees are experts in certain fields that the editorial board reached out to.
After the reviews by the referees are submitted to the editorial board, the board will go over the comments made by the referees and determine whether the manuscript is suitable for publication. Some manuscripts would be rejected, while others would be conditionally accepted with adjustments as recommended by the referees. A manuscript based on anecdotal evidence would not be accepted for publication from the start.
In the case of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the vetting process was the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom. Larsen sought to hold the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom legally accountable for allowing the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws over him that caused him to have an unfair trial and be subsequently incarcerated. However, before the PCA could form an arbitration tribunal to resolve the dispute, it had to ensure that the institution had jurisdiction or authority to do so in the first place.
Article 47 of the 1907 Hague Convention (PCA) only allows access to the PCA if one of the parties is a “State” recognized under international law. The proceedings were instituted on November 8, 1999, and after the PCA verified the Hawaiian Kingdom to be a “State” an arbitration tribunal was formed on June 9, 2000. The Secretariat of the PCA, also known as the International Bureau, served as a vetting institution, and after its due diligence in reviewing the evidence through the legal theory of international law, it concluded that the Hawaiian Kingdom is an independent State.
This finding by an intergovernmental institution, falsifies the storytellers using anecdotal evidence. Since then, academics have published peer-review journal articles and publications that speak to the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State in continuity that has been under a prolonged belligerent occupation by the United States since January 17, 1893.
In this time of the pandemic, it is crucial to distinguish anecdotal evidence from scientific evidence. Dr. Anthony Fauci is an expert in this field, and he does have the credentials. More importantly, Dr. Fauci has publications on the topic of COVID-19 in peer-review journals. If Dr. Fauci lived in nineteenth century, the Hawaiian Kingdom Government’s Board of Health would have relied on his opinions and recommendations regarding COVID-19 if it arrived in the Hawaiian Islands.