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Ben Goldacre

Bad Science

Our health is a very important matter to us, so we naturally tend to take notice when we hear of possible breakthroughs in medicine, or new dangers to our well being. But how much weight should be give to such reports. If you read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre then you will learn to be very wary about believing what you hear.

The media is the number one problem. Eager to come up with a story, they will be very selective in what they choose to report. Goldacre sees the link between MMR and autism as essentially a media hoax, for which there was never any substantial evidence. He also investigates more closely some of the 'experts' produced by the media, and finds that often their academic qualifications are not what they seem. Conventional medicine might seem to blind you with science, and to be influenced too much by big pharma, but this book shows that alternative medicine is also fond of 'sciencey' language (usually without any substance behind it) and is also often surprisingly profitable.

There's a worry, though, that if you try hard enough then it's possible to debunk anything. Goldacre seems to dismiss a 35% increase in cocaine use in schools much too easily. Mostly, though, the book does it's job very well, teaching you how to spot the media's misinformation in a readable and entertaining way.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 288 pages  
ISBN: 0007240198
Salesrank: 2515302
Weight:1.01 lbs
Published: 2008 Fourth Estate
Marketplace:New from $24.39:Used from $0.98
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 382 pages  
ISBN: 000728487X
Salesrank: 1498
Weight:0.62 lbs
Published: 2009 Harper Perennial
Amazon price £6.29
Marketplace:New from £3.64:Used from £0.01
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Product Description

Have you ever wondered how one day the media can assert that alcohol is bad for us and the next unashamedly run a story touting the benefits of daily alcohol consumption? Or how a drug that is pulled off the market for causing heart attacks ever got approved in the first place? How can average readers, who aren't medical doctors or Ph.D.s in biochemistry, tell what they should be paying attention to and what's, well, just more bullshit?

Ben Goldacre has made a point of exposing quack doctors and nutritionists, bogus credentialing programs, and biased scientific studies. He has also taken the media to task for its willingness to throw facts and proof out the window. But he's not here just to tell you what's wrong. Goldacre is here to teach you how to evaluate placebo effects, double-blind studies, and sample sizes, so that you can recognize bad science when you see it. You're about to feel a whole lot better.