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
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.
I feel that I have a genuine reason for reviewing this book because I am a nurse working in clinical audit and know only too well how easy it is to manipulate statistics to mean exactly what you want. I have thus recommended this to more than one doctor about to embark on audit as a useful insight into the subject.
Frankly, I learned loads from this volume, which actually frightens me because I thought that I had a passing grasp of the power of stats. As a result, I now treat the information that comes up on my pivot tables and graphs with a new respect and query it much more closely.
My favourite part of the book has to be about Goldacre's handling of Gillian McKeith, the food guru (or whatever she is). His handling of her lack of bioscientific knowledge was excellent and made me smile. What I particularly liked was his correct explanations of the science behind the facts. There is something very elegant and beautiful about true science and he brought this out to perfection. He is clearly a great enthusiast and, at the end of the book, he recommends people to adopt a greater spirit of enquiry into the subject. Go for it!
Initially, I, like many, had thought that Mr. Goldacre would just debunk alternative therapies but I was in for a surprise. His comments on mainstream scientific research were illuminating and I must say that I had not realised that responsible minds could skew things this much - through both good intention and mendacity.Read more ›
In the hands of a polemecist such as Micheal Moore, these frauds perpetrated against the public would be described at a pitch of white hot rage (lkely with almost EVERY WORD IN CAPS). However Dr Goldacre describes the frankly horrifying details of these scares in patient and methodical detail, and is all the more compelling for it.
This book is compulsory reading. It should be forcefully inserted onto every reading list prepared by anyone, for anything.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This guy is hilarious. i feel like a lot of gullible people (i.e. the ones who blinding share nonsense stories on social media) should give this a read. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Hailey Bloom
A good read and also a good insite into the fads of nutrition and also what goes on behind closed doors would recommend the book and also other Ben Goldacre books.Published 10 days ago by Gavin Lee Lewis
As a beleaguered medical professional , one of the many who transform into heretics with advancing age and experience I would suggest that any new aspiring member of my profession... Read morePublished 25 days ago by RH
Dr Goldacre arguments centres around the falling standards of scientific reporting in the world, which in turn popularises science as rather arbitrary and whimsical instead of an... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sir Animesh
Great read. Makes you think about the the real and false science out there. From a pharmaceutical consultant. Ben Goldacre is such a good writer.Published 2 months ago by YogiBear
I thought it was a very good read in general and it opened my eyes wide open to the quackery of a lot of alternative medicines. Read morePublished 3 months ago by paul