bad science

Posted on September 13, 2009

just finished reading BAD SCIENCE by Ben Goldacre. fantastic book. it's basically about how the media distort science (especially medicine/health issues) and usually end up giving loads of publicity to a handful of people who make bold claims, but dont usually have the research to back it up. (this also applies to almost anything, including internet piracy statistics, see his website below for a really good article on that!)

one particular favourite target is gillian mckeith. or to give her her full medical title... gillian mckeith. blimey, i thought she was alright, but after reading about her, she sounds like a complete fraud (as do a lot of alternative/homeopathy therapist type people)... they use sciencey sounding words to confuse people and peddle their pills that dont really do much (he picks holes in the medical trials run by these people/companies, and believe me, there are some pretty massive holes! but you dont read about this shit in the media, they seem to just blurt out what they have been told to say and/or taken a small statistic and blown it completely out of proportion. it is also a good lesson on how stastics can be used for evil by selectively picking certain stats out that they want, and then hiding the source data from being picked apart by other scientists/medical professionals.

it's really well written, nice and easy to understand and isnt particularly heavy going, so you dont need to be a genius to read it.

but once you do read it, youll never look at a newspaper front cover reporting some new health scare/miracle cure the same way. and you'll probably think homeopathy peddlers (and gillian mckeith) are the devil.

seriously. get this book. especially if you work in any sort of science type subject. i got it because of working in the medical trials business (not that i really have anything to do with the actual running of the trials... i just support a part of the back end software that is used to manage some of the trials run by pharma companies. it's a little scary what some people consider to be a "fair" trial.


(the home taping is NOT killing music article is here )

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  1. Sounds really good – think I’ll have to have a read of that.

    NHS Choices does a great thing on their website called ‘Behind the Headlines’ which attempts to state the truth against some of the ridiculous claims that are published in various newspapers/magazines.

    We all knew Gillian McKeith was the devil anyway… if only for the insane amount of pumpkin seeds she made me eat on a health kick three years ago ; )

  2. What does the book say about nose teapots? 😉

  3. Chris has this book and he recommends it to his students.

    I, on the other hand, have 2 Gillian McKeith books. Don’t hate me.

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