This chapter did not appear in the original edition of Bad Science because for fifteen months leading up to publication, the vitamin-pill entrepreneur Matthias Rath was suing Ben Goldacre for libel. In September 2008 Rath dropped his case, which had cost in excess of £500,000 to defend [pdf].
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Bad Science Paperback – 2 Apr 2009
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'From an expert with a mail-order PhD to debunking the myths of homeopathy, Ben Goldacre talking the reader through some notable cases and shows how to you don't need a science degree to spot "bad science" yourself.' Independent (Book of the Year)
'His book aims to teach us better, in the hope that one day we write less nonsense.' Daily Telegraph (Book of the Year)
'For sheer savagery, the illusion-destroying, joyous attack on the self-regarding, know-nothing orthodoxies of the modern middle classes, "Bad Science" can not be beaten. You'll laugh your head off, then throw all those expensive health foods in the bin.'
Trevor Philips, Observer (Book of the Year)
'Unmissable! Laying about himself in a froth of entirely justified indignation, Goldacre slams the mountebanks and bullshitters who misuse science. Few escape: drug companies, self-styled nutritionists, deluded researchers and journalists all get thoroughly duffed up. It is enormously enjoyable.' The Times (Book of the Year)
'Thousands of books are enjoyable; many are enlightening; only a very few will ever rate as necessary to social health. This is one of them.' Independent
'It is an important book and if you were to pick up just one non-fiction book this year you'd do well to make it this one'
Benjamin Beasley-Murray, Daily Mail
'Goldacre's prose always reads well' TES
'Duck the health quacks with a brilliant new book that debunks medical nonsense.' Metro
'The book's light-hearted tone is a help to the reader nervous of science and statistics!This is a fundamentally good book.'
Druin Burch, TLS
'The most important book you'll read this year, and quite possibly the funniest.' Charlie Brooker
'One of the essential reads of the year so far.' New Scientist
'There aren't many out and out good eggs in British journalism but Ben Goldacre is one of them! Fight back. You could start by reading this book.'
'[A] hugely entertaining book!This isn't just an essential primer for anyone who has ever felt uneasy about news coverish of faddish scientific "breakthroughs", health scares and "studies have shown" stories -- it should be on the National Curriculum.'
'A fine lesson in how to skewer the enemies of reason and the peddlers of cant and half-truths.'
'"Bad Science" introduces the basic scientific principles to help everyone to become an effective bullshit detector.'
Sir Iain Chalmers, Founder of the Cochrane Library
'This book reawakened my love of science.' BBC Focus (Peer Review)
'Read this book.' Sunday Business Post
'It is an important book and if you were to pick up just one non-fiction book this year, you'd do well to make it this one.' Daily Mail
`It is an important book and if you were to pick up just one non-fiction book this year you'd do well to make it this one.'
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is an excellent introduction for the newcomer to his writings. It not only presents the arguments against all sorts of bunkum in a well-ordered manner, it also explains in detail how the scientific method works, and what to look for when presented with so-called "evidence".
To the reviewers that say he is arrogant, I'm sorry, I just can't see it. He lays out the arguments, then refutes the ones that have little or no value. I suspect the perception of arrogance comes from people having their views challenged, but then that is what science is all about.
I actually think everybody should read this, whatever they think about alternative medicine. Best case is that you will gain a lot of extra knowledge on how to think and act critically. Worst case is that you will feel the urge to write a ranty review here on Amazon, which I can't see hurting Mr. Goldacre in the slightest.
Another one in the same vein worth reading is: Trick or Treatment?: Alternative Medicine on Trial. There's a lot of overlap between the two, but both are well-researched and well-written.
Come on Amazon! Kindle is a neat bit of technology, but the quality of Kindle editions needs at least to match that of the published book if you're going to charge bookshop prices, or you'll lose your customers.
Goldacre also lays bare the facts about such 'complementary' therapies such as Homeopathy and Nutritionism, which when stripped of the accolades given them in the media, are revealed to be little more than eccentric ideas which somehow have gained unquestioning credence in the popular mind, and even, perversely, created a deep-rooted suspicion of maninstream medicine which is now taken at face value.
I thoroughly recommend this book, especially for journalists, but it is also essential reading for scientists, doctors and anyone who finds their mouth flapping when trying to put their friends / family straight on why spending 100 quid on dipping their feet in water and watching it go brown is a spectacular waste of money.
Final thoughts - if this book demonstrates how bad science reporting is, what else is being reported badly that we should know about? Finance? Politics? Help!! Also, why is there no organisation with teeth that can bring people to account for irresponsible reporting? A free press is central to our world of course, but not a wild press, trampling all over everyone and everything without so much as a backward glance.
While it's well researched, true, educational and a good presentation of the science and lack of it behind various claims, the aggressive tone grates against the reader and the attempt to make me feel anger just turns into frustration at the book.
Goldacre's writing can Ben come across as egotistic in places, and he certainly doesn't write in a way that's likely to endear him to those who disagree with his views. It seems that he is preaching to the choir. A more relaxed style, even in alternating chapters, might have made the book easier to read, but as it is the continued stress of reading builds up to the point where I just couldn't wait for the final few chapters to finish so I could relax.
I do feel I've learnt a little from this book, particularly from the early sections on clinical trials, but I'm not convinced its the best way to communicate science.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written book, never knew how bad the homeopathy industry was until I read thisPublished 5 days ago by Gabriela De Sousa
This is a tremendously important book in exposing and debunking much of the pseudo-science that bedevils much public discourse in this country. Read morePublished 10 days ago by John Hopper
I had already read Bad Pharma and so this,although it had come first covered a lot of the same ground so did not find it as riveting a read. Still informative and well recommended.Published 17 days ago by markymark
must read to shake every tiny lingering bit of your naivete about today's snake oil peddlersPublished 27 days ago by Marton Hajdu