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Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

Bad Science (edition 2009)

by Ben Goldacre

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2,229852,890 (4.17)112
Title:Bad Science
Authors:Ben Goldacre
Info:Harper Perennial (2009), Paperback, 382 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:medicine, skepticism, journalism

Work details

Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks by Ben Goldacre

Recently added byDunaganagain, private library, mrsrobin, hchillcat, LargoLibraryFife, Ecolexity, Olias, djbw, Rosaz
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    nsblumenfeld: Although they write about astronomy rather than medicine, the authors share Goldacre's interest in process and methodology as well as results; they make how we know what we know in the field a primary concern and are interested in giving their readers the tools to avoid pseudoscience and bogus "sciencey" claims.… (more)
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    Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt (Rynooo)
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    The Duck that Won the Lottery by Julian Baggini (vguy)
    vguy: Goes into greater depth on a selected number of issues (eg Homeopathy, MMR vaccine). Helps one understand scientific method, specifically blind controlled randomised trials. For all that, an amusing and popular approach.
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    Flat Earth News: An Award-Winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media by Nick Davies (peter_vandenbrande)
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    nsblumenfeld: Why does bad science get so much exposure?
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English (83)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All (85)
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
A little too dense, but I liked the chapters on the detox patch (having been fooled once before! but at least it was just a cheap one I bought from Daiso, for fun) and especially Chapter 5, about the Placebo Effect. A lot of the cases mentioned on the Radiolab episode were here, plus a few more. ( )
  mrsrobin | Jun 24, 2017 |
Some needless attacks on humanities graduates, but aside from that excellent! ( )
  BenMH1 | Jan 15, 2017 |
Interesting examination of the data and statistics behind medical ideas such as homeopathy, alternative medicine, vitamins, and immunizations. It was better at the beginning but kind of bogged down for me when he went into more detail than I wanted about stuff like ways to manipulate studies, confirmation biases, and statistics. It got to the point - especially when he went into pharmaceutical studies - where I felt like I no longer knew who or what to believe. Good information, but I felt overwhelmed. ( )
  J.Green | Nov 22, 2016 |
Though focused in the UK, and mostly about health-related science, this is still relevant & interesting to all. And it's entertainingly written. I will write a detailed review soon, and I will also check out Goldacre's own website.


His website does look interesting & fun, just like the book. And for those of you who like animated gifs, here's a cute one: http://www.badscience.net/2013/10/


So, I've been reading a lot of science books over the years. Lately I've been reading a lot of neuro-science and psychology books about how easily we can mislead ourselves and others, books like [b:Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain|9827912|Incognito The Secret Lives of the Brain|David Eagleman|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348669116s/9827912.jpg|14423132] and [b:Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions|1713426|Predictably Irrational The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions|Dan Ariely|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1255573980s/1713426.jpg|3074803]. I've also read a couple of 'bad medicine' books by [a:Nortin M. Hadler|490348|Nortin M. Hadler|https://www.goodreads.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-d9f6a4a5badfda0f69e70cc94d962125.png] ([b:Rethinking Aging: Growing Old and Living Well in an Overtreated Society|12022065|Rethinking Aging Growing Old and Living Well in an Overtreated Society|Nortin M. Hadler|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348290973s/12022065.jpg|16987674] and [b:Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America|2410909|Worried Sick A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America|Nortin M. Hadler|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347633366s/2410909.jpg|2418086]). I found it perfectly apt to segue into [b:Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart|1081413|Super Crunchers Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart|Ian Ayres|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320449889s/1081413.jpg|2022993] and into this book. The thing is, we know enough to do randomized testing and case control studies. And computer power is now cheap enough, and the attitude towards the sharing of data clear enough, that there's no excuse for consumers of health care to blindly accept the word of the grizzled doc, or more especially of the 'alternative medicine' snake-oil salesmen.

Goldacre specifically addresses the non-existent MMR/autism link, chiropractic, homeopathy, and certain frauds that have preyed on the Brits w/ infomercial-style marketing. If you've ever bought a healing magnet or asked your doctor for the latest drug promoted in a magazine, or decided that 'mainstream medicine' is bad, you need to read this book.

Meanwhile, you can visit www.cochrane.org to see some crunching" of health care data. Type in a drug or condition of interest to you, and odds are that the Cochrane Collaboration has done an analysis and written a summary for you to read. Wonderful resource, and yet Goldacre's book is the first I've heard of it.

And here's an interesting (secondhand, from Kruger & Dunning) quote. "{P}eople who are incompetent suffer a dual burden: not only are they incompetent, but they may also be too incompetent to assay their own incompetence, because the skills which underlie and ability to make a correct judgement are the same as the skills required to recognize a correct judgement."

(Do note that this is not meant to be pejorative - incompetent simply means not trained, not knowledgeable - anyone can improve one's competence with effort.)" ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
While this book confirmed everything I already suspected about science and the media I found it a bit dry. I don't think it would appeal to non science geeks ( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
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Let me tell you how bad things have become.
The aim of this book is that you should be future-proofed against new variants of bullshit.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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La salute, il timore di perderla, la ricerca di ogni mezzo per conservarla sono ossessioni ricorrenti, coltivate dai canali pubblicitari attraverso un bombardamento quotidiano di consigli, ricette, soluzioni spesso imprecise, talvolta fuorvianti o dannose. Contro la disinformazione interessata, la fiducia ingenua, i rischi dell'ignoranza, questo libro propone un rimedio: la consapevolezza. Ben Goldacre non si limita a svelare menzogne e verità manipolate, ma racconta come sia facile cadere preda di questi inganni e, soprattutto, come sia possibile evitarlo. Di fronte ai pericoli della cattiva scienza, questo libro è il manifesto, divertente, spietato e appassionato, di una scienza buona.
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Everyone has their own 'bad science' moments, encompassing everything from the useless pie charts on the back of cereal boxes to the use of the word 'visibly' in cosmetics adverts. Full of spleen, Ben Goldacre takes the reader on a hilarious, invigorating and informative journey through the world of bad science.… (more)

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