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Bad Science | [Ben Goldacre]

Bad Science

We are constantly bombarded with inaccurate, contradictory and sometimes misleading information - until now. Ben Goldacre masterfully dismantles the dubious science behind some of the great drug trials, court cases and missed opportunities of our time. He also shows us the fascinating story of how we know what we know, and gives us the tools to uncover bad science for ourselves.
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Publisher's Summary

We are constantly bombarded with inaccurate, contradictory and sometimes misleading information - until now.

Ben Goldacre masterfully dismantles the dubious science behind some of the great drug trials, court cases, and missed opportunities of our time. He also shows us the fascinating story of how we know what we know, and gives us the tools to uncover bad science for ourselves.

©2008 Ben Goldacre (P)2010 WF Howes Ltd

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  • Ian
    Launceston, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Do give this a try"

    Ben Goldacre is knowledgeable and articulate. OK, he does have hobby-horses, but he's honest about these. I completely agree with the general argument that the public need, desperately need, to understand science and scientists far better, so we can spot when the wool is being pulled over our eyes. Some of his examples are absolutely great, too. Definitely something for a science teacher to think about if they're prepared to go off-piste with the curriculum...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Wakefield, United Kingdom
    12/25/12
    Overall
    "Should be a mandatory school science book"

    What can I say : excellent, fascinating, eye-opening, well narrated.



    Ben Goldacre is a bit of a hero as far as I'm concerned, and this book would teach school children more about how to think scientifically and rationally than a tonne of physics and chemistry textbooks.



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gustav
    London, United Kingdom
    8/20/12
    Overall
    "Everyone should read this, for fun AND for facts!"

    This is one of the best books I've read on audible!

    the topic is important, well researched, written up perfectly. You will never look at science in the media or the market place the same ever again.

    The book is also funny. I mean laugh out loud funny! It is written with such dripping sarcasm, and that sarcasm is delivered by the narrator PERFECTLY.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Petri
    Solf, Finland
    8/11/12
    Overall
    "Enlightening and entertaining"

    The author explains how science works and evenhandedly and brilliantly exposes many who profit from scamming people through bad science, from alternative medicine quacks to big pharma advertisement excesses and from bad science reporting in the media to fake scientists. I wonder how much money and lives would be saved if everybody on this planet read Bad Science.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Newark, United Kingdom
    6/19/12
    Overall
    "A superb, witty, insightful and irreverant book."

    I loved this book. So many myths are debunked by the author that it is astounding! The science parts of the book, i.e. the scientific process and principles of population statistics, I found easy to understand. The narrator's tone is, I have to admit, a peculiar one and may take some getting used to. This aside, this is a must have book if you want to listen to a forensic and ferocious disembowelment of pseudo-science and its shady practitioners. I particularly loved the section on homoeopathy with the author ripping through the nonsense with gusto. Excellent. Buy this!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ian
    Hereford, United Kingdom
    11/15/11
    Overall
    "More journalism than science"

    Started and finished well but lost its way in the middle. The condescending nature of this book has been noted by other reviewers and, in my opinion, is down to the contempt the author has for some of his bad science 'targets'. Contempt clouds one's scientific judgement and means you don't consider both sides of the argument. I have the same issue with Richard Dawkins' God Delusion where his palpable contempt for creationists makes him lose focus and start to make basic scientific errors (a problem he doesn't have with, for example, The Selfish Gene). This book includes chapters on homeopathy and the placebo effect. If you want a scientific, rather than journalistic, treatment of these topics then try 13 Things That Don't Make Sense by Michael Brooks. Pharmaceutical companies come in for a bit of stick because they have a profit motive - just remember that if you don't have a public sector pension then it is the profits from big Pharma that are/will be paying for yours! I don't work for big Pharma but did work in the equally vilified (and poorly understood) oil industry! There is enough in this book worth listening to and I certainly don't regret buying it - it makes you think and, more importantly, it makes you question. The author makes a great point of following the scientific method - see if you can spot where he deviates from his own mantra.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Marc
    Elvanfoot, United Kingdom
    11/14/11
    Overall
    "Must read if you care about medical treatment"

    After reading this book, you will fully understand how science can establish what medical treatments work, how medical trials should be carried out (in detail) and what problems we have with current legislation and practices. Goldacre proves his quality as an author by making these issues and topics easy to follow without requiring any prior knowledge. In fact, in most parts, he communicates this with a great sense of humour, which makes it an easy read. This book is educational, thorough and although very detailed, never boring.
    If you have any opinions or interest in how decisions are made on the suitability of medical treatments, you must get this audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • George
    Harrogate, United Kingdom
    4/23/11
    Overall
    "Best (non-fiction?) book I ever read"

    I had to write a review for this book, it's just brilliant. Follow @bengoldacre on Twitter, or read his blog/Guardian articles at badscience.co.uk, and you'll see how realistic and cutting he can be, while warm and funny at the same time. He's a voice of sanity in a world of media (clich?d but quite frankly apt) 'gone mad' - especially around science, a.k.a., evidence. No, I didn't think that until I read the book, though I did have my suspicions from seeing various tabloid headlines!

    It hasn't just been made fascinating reading by the content about warped newspaper stories, the laughable doctrine of homeopathy, and the health scares that needn't have existed and have actually eroded the nation's health. It also teaches some bare-bones science lessons which somehow I never got my head round in school (probably because we were trying to reproduce effects that were already certain!) about conducting fair experiments, allowing for and expecting bias, and considering other factors.

    This has applied to so much of my life! I think differently and am much more willing to try new things - it's actually made more sense than the cognitive-behavioural therapy books I've read to combat my depression. And as a computer programmer, I've realised I'm constantly creating mini experiments all the time, finding out if my new addition to the code does what I hoped, what else could have made it go wrong, and so on.

    Can't recommend this book enough.

    Also recommend The Tiger That Wasn't for a similarly accessible and wildly successful attack on the stupid ways we're given statistics, and how they're more often than not interpreted by journalists entirely wrongly. You don't have to be a statistician to make sense of numbers, you just need a basic grip on the subject if you ever want to learn about the world!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • matt
    innerleithen, United Kingdom
    7/18/10
    Overall
    "Great book looking at distortions of science"

    Great book. I've been reading Dr. Ben Goldacre's Bad science bullitins for years. Here he puts it all together in an interesting, witty read. Learn how all sorts of vested interests and biases mean we never get a true look at science in the mainstream media.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Giles
    Wyton, Huntingdon, United Kingdom
    7/19/10
    Overall
    "Absolutely Eye Opening!"

    Whoa!

    This book makes you question science reporting in the media, in fact all reporting can have a more sceptical eye applied to it once you have read this. Obviously it concentrates on science in its various branches, how it is done correctly, and then real world/real life (and British) examples of how wrong it can really be (Dr. Gillian McKeith PhD please stand up!).

    Absolutely fascinating, especially the chapters on MMR and Autism, debunking MRSA and our favourite nutritionist... Dr Gillian. Written in the classic style of a Guardian journo; well explained whilst being witty and engaging at the same time.

    It's just that I can't watch or listen to science news anymore... breakthroughs... pah, rubbish!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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