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Bad Science Paperback – April 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Goldacre may be writing in Britain, but everything he says is relevant to the way science and medicine is reported in this country. What are drug companies hiding? What is behind the good for you/bad for you news on health? What about alternative medicine and vitamins? How can I judge evidence for myself? You can learn quite a bit from this slender volume.
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He attacks the idea that social and political problems can be solved by pills, even Patrick Holford's Optimal Nutrition pills, or those of the TV 'nutritionist' Gillian McKeith, with her PhD from a non-accredited correspondence course 'college' in the USA. Their advice is just 'a manifesto of right-wing individualism', blaming people's ill-health on their food choices, not on the social inequality that drives health inequality.
Dr Goldacre writes, "All too often this spurious privatisation of common sense is happening in areas where we could be taking control, doing it ourselves, feeling our own potency and our ability to make sensible decisions; instead we are fostering our dependence on expensive outside systems and people."
He praises the brilliant Cochrane reviews of medical literature. He notes that to say that giving placebos in trials of treatments is unethical is to assume that the treatment is better, which is to assume what is being tested. We don't know the result of the trial before we do it - that is why we do trials.
For example, trials have proven that the painkiller Vioxx caused 80,000-139,000 heart attacks, a third probably fatal, during its five years on the market. Trials have also discredited antioxidants, hormone replacement therapy and calcium supplements.Read more ›
Ben's Bad Science is a brilliant, well-argued polemic against charlatanism of all kind.
I was first drawn to him as he exposed my favorite pet peeve - homeopathy. Then he trained his sights on the food supplements industry and its 'anti-oxidant' and 'super-food' shenanigans.
But Bad Science doesn't just take aim at alternative quackery.
Ben takes aim at Big Pharma for its shady research practices, and shameful marketing practice. (Thank Jesus he doesn't live in the US with its prime-time onslaught of drug advertising - I don't think his blood pressure could take it.) He takes aim at Big Media - for misrepresenting and misusing science and for irresponsible reporting (MMR and MRSA).
Well done Ben. If in your lifetime you can, chipping away, restore some sanity to the public understanding of science - you will make us all better off.
Check out his site: [...]
Ben Goldacre was take to court in a libel lawsuit for pointing out the quack Matthias Rath's dishonesty. Well, he won the court case, and as a result, knows more about this man than most people alive. Goldacre posted this chapter, in its entirety, online and open source. It is a good sample of his writing style, and if you like the chapter you will like the book as a whole. I suggest you check it out, and then buy the book. Without this lawsuit and the publishing of this chapter, I doubt that I would have heard of, purchased, and thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a pretty solid book about scientific method, but if you know a lot about it anyway, it might seem a little pedantic. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Atomboy
Throughly enjoyed the book and felt I became even more aware and informed of what I suspected and knew.
I am a voracious reader but this book above all others I've read in the last year, has captured me. I'm off to read other works by Ben Goldacre, to tell my reading buddies about... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Lesley Murray