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Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
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Bad Science (edition 2009)

by Ben Goldacre

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2,151833,027 (4.17)110
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: How We Surrendered to Conspiracy Theories, Quack Medicine, Bogus Science and Fake History 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: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life 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 110 mentions

English (81)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  English (83)
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
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.

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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/

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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 |
A great book that is about how science and scientific language is manipulated to be used by pseudo-scientific and bad products services and people to spread misinformation. This is a book about scientific thinking and it should be a set text in every school.
Ben Goldacre is very clear and readable. If you have ever thought "that doesn't sound right... but i cant't work out why" this is the book for you. It will give you the tools to be able to listen to an explaination of a scientific theory or process and analyse it, break it down and work out if you are listening to complete bullshit or the real deal. ( )
  SashaM | Apr 20, 2016 |
This is a tremendously important book in exposing and debunking much of the pseudo-science that bedevils much public discourse in this country. He focuses on a whole range of issues, including homeopathy, faddish nutritionists and health scares such as the MRSA and anti-MMR hoaxes. These cases have a number of factors in common, including the media's misunderstanding of basic research techniques and their misinterpretation of evidence and statistics, and the desire for medical stories to fit common templates such as "killer disease", "miracle cure" or "brave maverick doctor defies medical establishment", which leads to over or under-reporting of research depending on its findings and origin. These faults are, of course, not unique to the media, but the media's role as the bridge between science and the great majority of the public puts them in a unique position to influence public perceptions (as in other issues). The book is not perfect, there is a fair amount of repetition (though he covers very important points that are worth hammering home) and I found the author's tone occasionally a little patronising. However, its central messages are crucial to a healthy public debate about the opportunities and limitations of scientific research, not only within the medical sphere. ( )
  john257hopper | Jan 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 81 (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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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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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.
(piopas)
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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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