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Author Topic:   Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
PaulK
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Posts: 13313
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 1 of 5 (505487)
04-12-2009 11:12 AM


This is a book that deserves to be widely read, because it presents important issues in a way that is easily understood - but does not neglect significant details.

To read it as a simple skewering of alternative medicine (chiefly "nutitionists" and the supplement industry), Big Pharma, and newspapers - although it is that - is to underrate it.

More importantly it is about the importance of evidence - and how to understand it. It is about bad thinking - and deceptive presentations, used by those who would convince us. These topics are of general relevance - and of obvious importance to the issue of evolution versus creationism.

The chosen examples are biased towards medicine and the British experience - because the author is a medical doctor, writing a weekly column for a British newspaper. (The column is also published on the internet - Bad Science). But this fact does little to diminish the value of the book to foreign readers. The underlying points affect us all.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Straggler, posted 04-12-2009 11:35 AM PaulK has not yet responded
 Message 3 by Granny Magda, posted 04-13-2009 10:31 AM PaulK has not yet responded

    
Straggler
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Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 2 of 5 (505488)
04-12-2009 11:35 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by PaulK
04-12-2009 11:12 AM


Yep
This is a book that deserves to be widely read, because it presents important issues in a way that is easily understood - but does not neglect significant details.

I am a big fan of Ben Goldacre and his weekly column in the Guardian newspaper.

There is also a related website dedicated to debunking false scientific claims made in the mainstream media.

http://www.badscience.net

To read it as a simple skewering of alternative medicine (chiefly "nutitionists" and the supplement industry), Big Pharma, and newspapers - although it is that - is to underrate it.

In my opinion the book "Trick or Treatment" by Simon Singh is a more comprehensive analysis of alternative therapies and their flaws.

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/simon_singh_-_trick_or_treatment

Goldacre's "Bad Science" is a better and more generalised exposition of the nature of evidence and the tricks and/or self deceptions invoked by the media and advertising industries to give credence to their claims and stories.

Another related (though frankly less readable) account of such practices as unwittingly applied by us all in everyday life is the book "Irrationality" by Stuart Sutherland.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/feb/24/featuresreviews.guardianreview27

More importantly it is about the importance of evidence - and how to understand it. It is about bad thinking - and deceptive presentations, used by those who would convince us. These topics are of general relevance - and of obvious importance to the issue of evolution versus creationism.

Absolutely.

The chosen examples are biased towards medicine and the British experience - because the author is a medical doctor, writing a weekly column for a British newspaper.

It is true that many of the examples analysed in detail are derived from high profile stories in the British media over the last few years.

But this fact does little to diminish the value of the book to foreign readers. The underlying points affect us all.

I am glad that you thought so and am delighted that you enjoyed the book.

I have been reading a lot on the nature of evidence recently and I too highy recommend this book to anyone with an interest in such matters.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by PaulK, posted 04-12-2009 11:12 AM PaulK has not yet responded

  
Granny Magda
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Posts: 2352
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 3 of 5 (505548)
04-13-2009 10:31 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by PaulK
04-12-2009 11:12 AM


Bad Science - The Missing Chapter Restored!
Whilst I haven't read the book, I'm a long time admirer of Goldacre's Guardian column and his excellent website. He writes very well and on a subject that is of real importance.

Unfortunately, one chapter was missing from the original hardback edition of Bad Science, namely the chapter on Matthius Rath, a kooky nutritionist who claims that vitamins can cure AIDS, a claim of such staggering irresponsibility that it boggles the mind. Rath dropped his suit last year and the chapter, entitled The Doctor Will Sue You Now, has been restored in the new paperback edition. Just to make sure that hardback readers don't miss out though, (and no doubt to annoy Rath) Goldacre has put the entire chapter up on his site. It can be read in full here;

http://www.badscience.net/2009/04/matthias-rath-steal-this-chapter/

There are also links to a PDF and a Word file. The whole chapter is under a creative commons licence, so feel free to distribute it however you like.

Mutate and Survive


"The Bible is like a person, and if you torture it long enough, you can get it to say almost anything you'd like it to say." -- Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by PaulK, posted 04-12-2009 11:12 AM PaulK has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Straggler, posted 04-13-2009 4:11 PM Granny Magda has not yet responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 4 of 5 (505576)
04-13-2009 4:11 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Granny Magda
04-13-2009 10:31 AM


Re: Bad Science - The Missing Chapter Restored!
I got one of the first papreback prints of this book for Christmas and the missing chapter is absent from that too. :(

Anyway, as you say, the missing chapter is freely available to all anyway.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Granny Magda, posted 04-13-2009 10:31 AM Granny Magda has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 13313
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 5 of 5 (586588)
10-14-2010 2:21 AM


U.S. and Canada
I thought I'd revive this thread just to let people know that Bad Science has now been published in the U.S. and Canada.
    
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