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Bad Science Paperback – 2 April 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)
About the Author
Ben Goldacre is a doctor, writer, broadcaster and academic who specialises in unpicking dodgy scientific claims from drug companies, newspapers, government reports, PR people and quacks. Bad Science reached Number One in the non-fiction charts, sold over 400,000 copies in the UK alone, and has been translated into 25 languages. He is 38 and lives in London.
- Publisher : Harper Perennial (2 April 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 000728487X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0007284870
- Item Weight : 280 g
- Dimensions : 2.54 x 12.7 x 19.56 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from India
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In the deluge of misinformation that we find ourselves today,it is very important to be able to sift to get to the relevant facts.If you have questions about whether this book suits your needs,I recommend that you watch Ben Goldacre's videos on YouTube.
Must read for anyone who reads articles on findings from "medical studies" on mainstream media. Especially those who are confounded by seemingly conflicting findings every other week which makes laymen view the whole 'science' thing with suspicion.
Top reviews from other countries
The book was published in 2008 and the UK has moved a long way since then. The vote to leave Europe seemed to show the public's weariness with experts and scientists whereas the rigorous "following the science" approach to tackling the COVID 19 outbreak very much seems to point to experts being back in favour.
Some chapters are still very relevant (Homeopathy and Bad Stats as examples) but others have completely lost their relevance (Brain Gym and Dr Gillian McKeith). Unsurprisingly I found myself absorbed completely by some chapters and so bored I skimmed through others.
There are many valid points in the book but I became worn down by the author's relentlessly disenchanted view of the world. The purpose of the book is to challenge but the constantly negative style that develops in hard work to read.
About halfway through I started to tire of the author's ranting but stuck with it as there are still many valid points that he makes. To make the book more engaging it needed a lighter touch at some points.
I thought I would be entertained and informed by this book and generally I was but there were lots of times when I was bored and just wanted to skip to the next chapter.
The poor reviews are excellent evidence for just how controversial and challenging this book is.
N.B. There is a huge amount to take in and understand, so read it twice and you'll get even more out of it.
Bad Science looks at the scientific method for research (not as boring as it sounds) and gives concrete examples of when it has gone wrong. Obviously this doesn't win Goldacre any friends, but he is quick to point out that the examples given are not intended with malice, they are chosen from the many he could have picked.
He also takes apart Homeopathy (which I think is why there are so many negative reviews) by showing that the trials performed are flawed. He points out some of the absurdities of Homeopaths and guides a reader clearly to seeing that the ideas are nonsense. If you're a big fan of Homeopathy or other alternative therapies, you will probably hate what he has to say.
Most interesting is the discussion of Placebo medicine and also how a person's beliefs can influence the outcomes. It's made me far more aware that a lot of the time, the pills I take are probably doing nothing for me, but my belief in them stops the issue. That to me is no bad thing!
My copy has bookmarks stuck in it everywhere with things I want to follow up and find out more about.
A profoundly interesting book, that you may well find yourself pushing onto friends and family.
The depressing part comes from how certain (read most) media institutions distort the truth with devastating effect. Whether they do this for the sake of balance, sheer laziness or more often out of desperation to make something into a story, the impact is the same. Some scumbag makes a fortune while other people suffer. See pro-plague MMR people selling magic fairy dust while these terrible diseases, which were practically extinct, make a comeback. Grr, it makes my blood boil.
The author does a decent job of keeping the dry statistics and scientific method to a minimum and making them as interesting as possible. That said, the meaning comes through loud and clear. Engage your brain before believing anything you read, and if in doubt, do some digging before clicking share, and the world will be a better place.
Even some of the parts regarding Big Pharma that he also seems to have a problem with. Now coming clean, I spent almost my entire working career working for Big Pharma so a lot of what he accuses them of needs to be put in context. A lot of the activities he accuses them of, may have been an issue a while ago but it is so heavily regulated that I simply didn't recognise the Big Pharma he talked about against what I worked on. That's not to say that they are all saints, but even he mentions some of the naughty activities which may or may not have happened against lauding them (Quite unintentionally I think) for doing great stuff producing vaccines and indeed, Rifampicins which were a game changer for treating Tuberculosis. But that's just me with my bias. On the whole a good book, but I may have to wait a week or so before reading his "Bad Pharma" book as I think I need to be calm. I would recommend buying this book