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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK
I had to have someone traveling to London bring it back for me, and very worth it!! If you want a painless (and funny) intro into understanding science news, this is the place to get it.

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...
Published on October 15, 2008 by P. Haggerty

versus
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine book - lousy ebook
A good and interesting read. And funny too ... But the ebook has no illustrations (the text refers for instanse to several nonexistant graphs). And the links between notes and content function badly. When we pay nearly as much as for the psychical book, these things should be working!
Published on February 9, 2010


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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK, October 15, 2008
This review is from: Bad Science (Paperback)
I had to have someone traveling to London bring it back for me, and very worth it!! If you want a painless (and funny) intro into understanding science news, this is the place to get it.

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.

Find a way to get it!
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant account of bad medicine, December 16, 2008
By 
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bad Science (Paperback)
Ben Goldacre is a doctor who writes a weekly column in the Guardian exposing bad medicine. He writes, "The hole in our culture is gaping: evidence-based medicine, the ultimate applied science, contains some of the cleverest ideas from the past two centuries, it has saved millions of lives, but there has never once been a single exhibit on the subject in London's Science Museum."

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.

Dr Goldacre notes that anti-arrhythmia drugs when given to all heart attack patients, not just to those with arrhythmic heartbeats, increased their risk of dying. He reminds us that Benjamin Spock's well-meant but wrong advice - that babies should sleep on their tummies - led to tens of thousands of cot deaths. What counts is the effect, not the intent.

He recounts the media's disgraceful nine-year campaign against the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine. The campaign caused an epidemic of mumps in Britain, with 5,000 cases in January 2005, and 2008 saw the highest number of measles cases since 1995. Nearly half of all homoeopaths irresponsibly advised against taking the vaccine, as did almost a fifth of chiropractors. Only a few homeopaths and just a quarter of the chiropractors acted professionally and recommended it.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quackery unmasked, March 10, 2009
This review is from: Bad Science (Paperback)
Maybe you are unfamiliar with Ben, maybe because he is a Brit, maybe because you don't read the Guardian newspaper (for shame), or maybe because you skip Ben's piece because he plays rough? Well for years I've been turning to his column first. Now there is a great book.

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: [...]

Paul Gibbons
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New and improved Kindle version!, March 27, 2010
By 
Matt (Berkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bad Science (Kindle Edition)
Update December 2010: The previous Kindle version made frequent references to graphs, tables, diagrams and images that were not present (limiting its value), however there has just been an update that includes all this missing information. This updated review reflects that change.

This excellent book written by the intelligent and entertaining doctor and health communicator Ben Goldacre is a must read for anyone who has an opinion about any health issue you've seen, heard or read about in the media. Although written in the context of the UK, its lessons and advice apply to anyone anywhere.

Covering everything from complementary and alternative medicine (including chiropractic and homeopathy) to vaccinations to self-proclaimed "TV professors" to the pros & cons of the pharmaceutical industry, the author shows the reader both sides of the story, shows the evidence, and explains the problems. But these are not just his proclamations on the issues: he points to scientific papers, additional resources, metastudies, and sites like the brilliant Cochrane Collaboration. While some of it is about correcting the egregious falsehoods proclaimed by journalists and snake oil peddlers, it is mostly about arming the reader with the tools to determine for yourself whether a topic or a position is as described or worth further investigation. Critical thinking, logic and scepticism... skills that everyone needs, but most are lacking.

Everyone should read this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a rant - but the message is one we must all take on board, January 4, 2009
By 
Cybamuse (Fuzzy Europe) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bad Science (Paperback)
Bit of a rant by the author... But if you can step back from his ranting about the inadequecies of the British media in reporting medical news, what he he says is a very sobering analysis of media reporting of science in general. His comments about the media desire to 'dumb things down' particularly struck a chord with me - as Goldacre mentions, business news is not 'dumbed down' economic news is not 'dumbed down' art news is not 'dumbed down' so why does science have to be 'dumbed down?'

I do recommend the book because if nothing else, Goldacre knocks you out of contemplacy and acceptance and makes you want to double check what the media is saying before you believe it, and as he rightly says, we all need to be doing that. Goldacre focused on British media reporting of medical untruths, but his message is equally applicable to the many other areas of science reporting in the press today, especially the science of global warming and the potential it has to inflict uncalculable and unnecessary hardship on the world - just as poor reporting by the British media has inflicted draconian medicine on the accepting British public with their desire for a story over the truth.

Everyone with half a brain and an ounce of curiosity should read this book. More people like Goldacre are needed out there to question and follow up on science and stop accepting the non-scientific journalists selling us dud information in the name of making money for publishers. The world will be richer for knowing the truth. Read Goldacre and start hte journey to finding out the truth in science.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book - now with a new chapter, June 20, 2009
I've written a review of this book as a whole previously, and there are plenty of reviews on the Amazon.co.uk product pages. Instead, I'll focus on the additional chapter "The Doctor Will Sue You Now".

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.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Richard Dawkins of Medical Science, October 27, 2010
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This review is from: Bad Science (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book knowing I would probably agree with it. Turns out I was right.

Detox baths, ear candling, Brain Gym, homeopathy, the MMR scare, nutritionists, moisturisers, vitamin supplements, pharmaceutical companies - they are all myths that are deftly and humorously deconstructed by physician and professional skeptic Ben Goldacre. Most importantly, he presents facts - quotes peer-reviewed papers, looks behind the news reports, reasons on the evidence. The chapter on how big pharma distort the data from clinical studies is worth the price of admission alone. It's easy to read, but it probably helps if you have a background of some sort in the sciences.

However.

Despite any protestations to the contrary, don't ever think Ben Goldacre cares overly much about the people whose myths he gleefully deconstructs. Referring to things that are untrue as a 'vast empire of nonsense', 'hocus pocus' (Brain Gym), 'gobbledegook' (homeopathic remedies) tells me the author doesn't have an entirely objective view. Neither does casting doubt on the intelligence of members of a profession: apparently, nutritionists 'lack the intellectual horsepower to be fairly derided as liars', and journalists that sensationalise news reports are are `intellectually offended by how hard they find science' and therefore 'resentful' of not being part of the progress of science. There is a fair dollop of intellectual snobbery throughout the book.

Skepticism is fine, even healthy to a point. It's foolish to swallow everything you hear. But hard-nosed skeptics usually have more faith than they care to admit - and Ben Goldacre has an almost evangelical faith in evidence-based medicine.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book. And it certainly confirmed some suspicions. I just worry about how Ben Goldacre's unrelenting skepticism has coloured his interpretations of the facts. In the end, books like these really only polarise people into opposing groups. I wish the author was more interested in dignifying the uninformed than bashing people with logic.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily One of the Best, Most Important Books of 2008, October 5, 2008
By 
Tim O'Brien "Tim" (Evanston, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bad Science (Paperback)
Please, I beg the powers that be to print this book in the US market, it is awful that a book this important has to be imported over the Atlantic Ocean. Although, it isn't surprising, Science is Under Attack in the United States! In times as challenging as these, with a VP candidate who believes that the Earth is no older than the Genesis writ 6000 years, Goldacre provides a desperately needed voice of reason. I enjoyed this book, and I recommend it to others. Ben shines a light on incompetence and criminal ignorance in a way that is both inspiring and entertaining.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bad Science by Ben Goldacre, March 22, 2009
By 
This review is from: Bad Science (Paperback)
This book should be a "must read" for everyone. The author explains good science in a way that is easliy understood by the lay person, and then proceeds to give marvellous examples of the opposite with clarity and humour. He also takes the media to task for poor science reporting and sensationalism - the die or survive stories that pass for news. You will know more after reading this book, and you will be better equipped to cope with false claims of magical thinking - with a laugh along the way.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, important, AND entertaining, January 25, 2009
By 
D. Vaughan (Oshkosh, WI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Bad Science (Paperback)
I stumbled on this book while researching critical thinking for a University course I teach to science and business students in Healthcare career tracks. Everyone in American higher ed is distressed and alarmed by the lack of CT skills of our students and our society in general. In my lifetime, there's been a decided streak of anti-intellectualism that has made our nation incredibly vulnerable to propaganda, advertising, and quackery in medicine, religion, and politics. It's terrifying (though I have hope that the tide may be turning; our self-inflicted problems are of a size and depth that simplistic thinking and wilfull ignorance cannot prolong the fantasy that "it'll all turn out OK"). This book will become a required text for my class and should be read by EVERYONE. Practitioners and patients alike will find it to-the-point, well-illustrated, and even fun to read (dry British humor that I read aloud to my 14-year-old, who now wants to read it as soon as I'm done!). Yet there's no dumbing down at all. This doctor's brain is a treasure and I'm grateful he wrote this book. It will elevate the discussion of the healthcare crisis like no other book I've read.
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Bad Science
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (Paperback - 2008)
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