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Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
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Bad Science (edition 2009)

by Ben Goldacre

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,900743,610 (4.2)104
Member:adzebill
Title:Bad Science
Authors:Ben Goldacre
Info:Harper Perennial (2009), Paperback, 382 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:medicine, skepticism, journalism

Work details

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

  1. 80
    Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine by Simon Singh (edwbaker)
  2. 50
    The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan (gward101)
  3. 20
    Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society and Neurosexism Create Difference by Cordelia Fine (wandering_star)
  4. 20
    Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns and other Delusions by James Randi (MyriadBooks)
  5. 10
    Three Steps to the Universe: From the Sun to Black Holes to the Mystery of Dark Matter by David Garfinkle (nsblumenfeld)
    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)
  6. 21
    Freakonomics: a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt (Rynooo)
  7. 00
    Counterknowledge by Damian Thompson (bertilak)
  8. 00
    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.
  9. 00
    Flat Earth News: An Award-winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media by Nick Davies (peter_vandenbrande)
  10. 00
    Denying Science: Conspiracy Theories, Media Distortions, and the War Against Reality by John Grant (nsblumenfeld)
    nsblumenfeld: Why does bad science get so much exposure?
  11. 00
    Yes, We Have No Neutrons: An Eye-Opening Tour through the Twists and Turns of Bad Science by A. K. Dewdney (bertilak)
  12. 00
    How We Know What Isn't So by Thomas Gilovich (preater)
  13. 00
    De cholesteroloorlog waarom geneesmiddelen zo duur zijn by Dirk Van Duppen (peter_vandenbrande)
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» See also 104 mentions

English (72)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
Worth the price just to read his chapter destroying Gillian McKeith (or however you spell the stupid woman's name) ( )
  nwdavies | Aug 21, 2014 |
Should be required reading for high school students

Got this one for Christmas--my family knows me! Goldacre debunks the pseudoscience used by the cosmetics, drug, and complementary/alternative medicine industries, among others. Accessible, engaging writing--this book has some of the clearest explanations of sneaky statistical tricks I've ever read.

I wish this book could be taught in high school, especially to future science journalists...we'd have a lot fewer "Broccoli cures cancer!" stories floating around, that's for sure. Highly recommended, needless to say. ( )
  Pat_F. | Jul 25, 2014 |
Every day, it seems, arrives with a flurry of articles about the latest scientific studies. How accurate are these reports, and how sound are the studies themselves? Doctor and science writer Ben Goldacre uses this book to demonstrate how to pick apart the stories and discover the truth (or the places where the truth is missing). It's all delivered with plenty of asides and fiery enthusiasm, as well as some laugh-out-loud moments (e.g. demonstrating how useless a certain diploma is by obtaining one for his dead cat). Worth reading, and then rereading. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jun 24, 2014 |
This book should be required reading for everyone. It teaches essential skills for wading through the barrage of poorly researched media pieces and fiendish marketing ploys that aim to make you make poor and costly decisions about your health. It should be an eye opener for anyone. It is a bit UK-centric, but the lessons are universal.
( )
  StigE | Feb 22, 2014 |


Goldacre explains how scientific trials work, their flaws and strengths, how they can be assessed and how they can be misrepresented; the perils of statistics; the immense shortcomings of media science coverage. At every stage he clearly outlines the reasons why each problem is bad for us (well, the UK, but I'm extrapolating to everyone).

All this he does in language so straightforward that it's hard to think of anyone, no matter how "non-sciencey", having trouble following him. He does it with tongue sometimes in cheek, but also forcefully while remaining polite; no-one is demonised, though many are criticised. He goes out of his way to place the blame largely on the media machine, who amplify the relatively small transgressions of the individuals named in the book.

Bad Science does have a problem with repetition: though the examples are different, I felt at times Goldacre had told me the same thing in slightly different ways four or five times. Perhaps this is no bad thing for his audience, but there were a few times I felt like saying "Yes, Ben, I understand, what's next?" He also makes repeated references to things that come later in the book, especially the media MMR debacle which is covered in the final chapter.

Despite those little things, I recommend everyone who has ever been in an argument about about the safety of immunisation or the effectiveness of alternative medicines - on either side - read this book. You'll be richer for it. ( )
1 vote labcoatman | Feb 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
Ben Goldacre is exasperated. He’s not exactly angry — that would be much less fun to read — except in certain circumstances. He is irked, vexed, bugged, ticked off at the sometimes inadvertent (because of stupidity) but more often deliberate deceptions perpetrated in the name of science. And he wants you, the reader, to share his feelings.
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
To whom it may concern
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Let me tell you how bad things have become.
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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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Guardian columnist Dr Ben Goldacre takes us on a hilarious, invigorating and informative journey through the bad science we're fed by the worst of the hacks and the quacks! When Dr Ben Goldacre saw someone on daytime TV dipping her feet in an 'Aqua Detox' footbath, releasing her toxins into the water and turning it brown, he thought he'd try the same at home. 'Like some kind of Johnny Ball cum Witchfinder General', using his girlfriend's Barbie doll, he gently passed an electrical current through the warm salt water. It turned brown. In his words: 'before my very eyes, the world's first Detox Barbie was sat, with her feet in a pool of brown sludge, purged of a weekend's immorality.' Dr Ben Goldacre is the author of the 'Bad Science' column in the Guardian and his book is about all the 'bad science' we are constantly bombarded with in the media and in advertising. At a time when science is used to prove everything and nothing, everyone has their own 'bad science' moments -- from the useless pie-chart on the back of cereal packets to the use of the word 'visibly' in cosmetics ads.This book will help people to quantify their instincts -- that a lot of the so-called 'science' which appears in the media and in advertising is just wrong or misleading. Satirical and amusing -- and unafraid to expose the ridiculous -- it provides the reader with the facts they need to differentiate the good from the bad. Full of spleen, this is a hilarious, invigorating and informative journey through the world of 'bad science'.
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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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