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Bad Science

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  34,014 ratings  ·  1,720 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 370 pages
Published April 6th 2009 by Fourth Estate (first published December 7th 2008)
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Michael Jones This version actually has a chapter which starts with: "This chapter did not appear in the original British edition of this book..." [because of a…moreThis version actually has a chapter which starts with: "This chapter did not appear in the original British edition of this book..." [because of a lawsuit at the time] - so presumably it is an American edition. The Copyright notice lists all three years 2008, 2009, 2010.(less)
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Trevor
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, you are about to tuck into a lentil burger with chia seed extract for that omega three boast you know your body has been crying out for since your last detox, especially since you aren’t completely sure if the cannabis oil you’ve been baking into your gluten free cookies has given you indigestion or if it is the start of the stomach cancer you thought you might have had and was the reason why you started eating the damn things in the first place. The guy on the Internet who sold you the oil ...more
Petra-X
10-star book

Edit - I have edited the review as the book is now available in the US. Truly a worthwhile read, one up for us against big Pharma!

Until recently this book was not available in the US as books that attack big Pharma, alternative medicine gurus (especially the tv variety) and sacred cows like the MMR-Autism myth get sued just to stop publication even if there is no hope of winning the suit.

This is an important book and illuminates the part the media plays in the dissemination of
...more
David
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Gendou
This is a marvelous book about people getting science--mostly medical and nutritional science--really really wrong. I was struck by an amazing coincidence from the very first page. Just two weeks before I read this book, a friend described to me the foot bath that he had undergone, exactly as described in the book Bad Science. He is scientifically oriented, so he was just flabbergasted when the procedure left a brown sludge in the foot bath, but the treatment removed all the pain in his knees ...more
Becky
This book is both fascinating and frustrating, and illustrates that the only way to get the real info on anything is to be a scientist. Data scientist, research scientist, medical scientist, science scientist, mad scientist...

But the good news is that one doesn't need to be a PROFESSIONAL scientist in order to get to the truth of an issue, but one just has to have the kind of critical thinking that a good scientist applies. After all 87.3% of people know that 77% of statistics can be made to
...more
GTF
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading 'Bad Science' I don't think I will believe another health fad ever again.

Ben Goldacre's impressive aptitude for scientific analysis and research reveals how science is more complex than we realize, which unfortunately doesn't always satisfy our want for quick fixes to our health problems. Although more complex in nature, Goldacre stresses that people are not incapable of understanding scientific facts or findings, it is often just a matter of people receiving false information
...more
Tania Kliphuis
I wish that I could give this book 4 stars. I tell you what, I give the idea for this book 4 stars. Unfortunately though, the execution wasn't so fantastic. That said, I do think that anyone interested in the way that the media are able to influence public opinion about serious matters, and in the recent explosion of health-related reality TV should give it a read. It is an interesting book if you can get over the shoddy editing and Goldacres' pomp and ceremony.

Goldacre insists that this should
...more
Paul E. Morph
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book has some important lessons to impart and, as loathe as I am to tell anybody what they should or shouldn't read, this is one of the few books I wish could be made compulsory reading.

Goldacre writes with passion about subjects that are clearly important to him and yet still manages to write conversationally and with good humour. Parts of this book made me laugh out loud and parts of this book, sometimes less than a page later, made me both angry and desperately sad. One chapter (on the
...more
Lena
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben Goldacre is a man with a mission. A UK doctor who writes a column for the Guardian, he'd like it very much if people would stop making their health decisions on the basis of crap science.

Unfortunately, there is an awful lot of crap science out there. So Goldacre does his best to educate people about how to tell the difference between the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Along the way, he entertainingly uses the usual suspects of homeopathy and foot detox baths to illustrate his points. But he
...more
Paul Bryant
Beads that sparkle like a prism, snake oil for your rheumatism,
Calico and gingham for the girls.
Cast your eye on Dr. Borer’s patent-pending hair restorer,
guaranteed to grow hair on a billiard ball


Hands up who doesn't recognise which gender-bending musical those portentous words emanate from ?

Okay, it was Calamity Jane. You knew that, I know. Can't just be me whose mind is stuffed with the lyrical junk of six decades.

Onward to the review.

Ben Goodacre is the sworn foe of all modern-day medical
...more
Jim
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew there was a lot of bad science & horrible media coverage out there, but I had no idea just how bad. This isn't a book just about that, though. While Goldacre does give some very good examples, he spends a lot of time teaching the reader how to spot bad science specifically in the field of medicine. I knew a lot of it, but the only statistics class I took was quite a while ago. The refresher was needed.

As Goldacre so aptly shows, numbers can easily lie, especially when blasted on
...more
Jan-Maat
A readable romp through the misuse and abuse of health related science in the media. The analysis of homeopathy, mrs McKeith and the brain gym seemed like shooting fish in a barrel, but then I remember that people make a lot of money marketing that kind of nonsense.

Although it is all very entertaining a book is perhaps not the right tool to use against such a Hydra (unless the edition is so very big and heavy that it requires a Hercules to wield it in battle), this is perhaps an example of the
...more
Simon Wood
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
HOW TO IMMUNISE YOURSELF FROM DELUSION

It seems a bit gratuitous to write the 223rd review (relevant to uk amazon site) of Ben Goldacres book "Bad Science" but having decided that it would be more of a fault not to recognise the brilliance of his book I'll go ahead any way.

The Bad Science that particularly irks Goldacre and takes up the bulk of his book is that which relates to the medical sphere. It's not that he thinks purveyors of crystal healing, homeopathy or the wannabe scientific but far
...more
Nikki
"Just as the Big Bang theory is far more interesting than the creation story in Genesis, so the story that science can tell us about the natural world is far more interesting than any fable about magic pills concocted by an alternative therapist." Well, no. Stories are important. They tell us what people's preoccupations are, what people want and what they're scared of. Scientifically, Goldacre's right -- but science isn't the only thing to be concerned about. I'm sure he'd think this reaction ...more
Christopher
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook. The guy doing the audiobook has a ton of passion.

---------------------

Bad Science is an excellent book about how to approach news articles about scientific papers. He goes over what flaws to look out for in the studies themselves, as well as the common ways journalists completely screw up reporting about subjects they don't always understand. In particular, he focuses a lot on homeopathy and the MMR autism link (which doesn't actually exist), both of which he destroys.

The takeaways
...more
Kathryn
A humorous look at the (non)sense surrounding complementary and alternative medicine. A pithy, amusing read.
Matt
Mar 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favourites
This excellent book written by the intelligent and entertaining doctor and health communicator Ben Goldacre is a must read for anyone who has an opinion about any health issue you've seen, heard or read about in the media. Although written in the context of the UK, its lessons and advice apply to anyone anywhere.

Covering everything from CAM (including chiropractic and homeopathy) to vaccinations to self-proclaimed "TV professors" (like Gillian McKeith) to the pros & cons of the
...more
Nancy
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nancy by: Petra-X
Shelves: science, health
I've read about most of the topics covered in this book elsewhere, but Goldacre does a great job of teaching us to spot the failures of Big Pharma, alternative medicine and journalism. He does this in an entertaining way using ripped-from-the-headlines stories.

Last week I was in the mood to read some non-fiction so went to the shelves of one of my goodreads friends and made a list of her 5 star health and science books. Armed with that,I found several of those books at the library and have been
...more
seryal olcay
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me long to finish it but OMG what a wonderful book for those who are interested in real scientific evidence based facts to charlatans who believes in their imagination or stupid nutritionists, homeopathists. I had a lot inspriration from the book and enjoyed the reading very much.
I'd like to quote; 'The true cost of sth , as the Economist says, 'is what you give up to get it.
So much loss of money, health resources on to get rid of superstitious accusations, belief , bullshitters.
The
...more
Ken Robert
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No one is spared in this delightfully infuriating tour of the myriad ways we can be duped by bad advice on health and medicine.

The author, Dr. Ben Goldacre, skewers alternative medicine quack jobs, data dithering drug researchers, scare mongering journalists, pinheaded politicians, and simple minded celebrities who would all gleefully sell us horse manure if we were willing to buy it.

And he does it with a flair for making the confusing understandable as well as entertaining.

Read this book and
...more
Jafar
May 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of the book that I would make everyone read when I get to rule the world. There’s so much nonsense going around these days in the name of science and research that a lot of people would be quite shocked with this book. Examples are endless. Detox treatment? Just a big hoax. Homeopathy? Even a bigger hoax. All those fancy and expensive cosmetic products that supposedly do magic to your skin? Just a waste of money. Vitamin C prevents and treats cold? Not really. Antioxidants slow ...more
Dekks
Feb 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book that I think everyone should read, I don't consider myself to be a particular naive person, and I'm not a conspiracy nut whatsoever, but at the same time am under no illusions about Big Pharma. That said, it was a real eye opener to see just how biased and flawed some of the medical studies were and that very reputable medical journals regularly publish findings and studies that should be very suspect to the professional scientist.

The only problem with this book, and why I only
...more
Deirdre
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extension of his blog, this is a collection of basically rants about how science and statistics are abused by a variety of people. It also looks at faulty science behind some nutritionists and some of their dodgy "credentials". His emphasis is on making people question "facts" and double check the evidence.

However, people don't have the time for a lot of this, and when you're offered a glimmer of hope people tend to take it. The placebo effect is explored here and he does admit that it works
...more
Amanda
Oct 22, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am so incredibly disappointed by this book. I expected a comical look at some of the more popular science misconceptions sweeping the world (okay, the UK and US). Instead, I struggled paragraph by paragraph to not just light the book on fire. In terms of content: many of the points raised by the author are good, and I think that more people need to read and understand how the world around them works (esp. medicine). But the tone of the book... the author is a jackass (sorry, not sorry). He is ...more
Anna J. Shelby ☕
Looking for a book that shines a light on the ways media infuences public opinion in matters of homoepathy, fish oil, antioxidants and the likes? Here it is. Topped with some suggestions how to approach scientific studies, papers and flawed reviews of those. Minus two starts for the condescending tone and the overload on examples.
Hai Quan
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Instead of write a review for this book, in order to repeat myself once again I would like to invite the readers of this website to check out my review of HEAVEN IS FOR REAL by Todd Burpo.
In the said review I have written about the modern medicine, about quackery , and an brief , simple , low cost way to keep people healthy.
My approach to healthcare is in general on the same line with this book
Reading the said review also give you a bonus: A more healthy way to approach to your religion belief.
...more
Carly
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I spend a lot of time talking to people who disagree with me - I would go so far as to say that it's my favourite leisure activity.”
I'm an avid fan of More or Less , the popular statistics radio programme on BBC Radio, and I always enjoy Ben Goldacre's appearances on the show. At one point, I remember Tim Hartford introducing him as something like "the perennially angry Guardian columnist," to which Goldacre responded, "I am not perennially angry!" or similar. He got quite heated about it,
...more
S.Baqer Al-Meshqab
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
OK. This book was way out of my comfort zone. I would have given it a 5 star rating if I had anything to do with medicine, but for an average person who knew nothing of MMR & MRSA, four stars would suffice. Sorry Mr. Goldacre.

Bad Science is a book published to specifically to unveil the masks of those who pretend to be real scientist. As the author states; he wants his readers to know what bad science looks like to identify the real one. The book covers "sciency" myths in the fields of
...more
Ebrahim Ahmed
2.5/5.

The last chapter was half-read, due to the continues similar points the author wants to convey to the reader and found that reading is no longer needed.

Who should read this book?
-Medical doctors/students
-First chapters only: People who bare attraction to the Supplement/Diet/Drug industry
-Researchers, and anyone wants to differentiate between reliable research papers or semifake ones.

The audio narrator was with a great sense of humor.
Gordon
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book about very bad science. The author is a British physician, psychiatrist and journalist who writes both a blog (www.badscience.net) and a weekly column for The Guardian newspaper in the UK.

Goldacre's focus, not surprisingly, is the form of bad science that that thrives so riotously in the field of medicine and health -- including everything from homeopathy to food supplements to anti-vaccination nuttiness to Brain Gym. Common to all these forms of bad science is an
...more
Fay
Dec 28, 2012 rated it liked it
The passion of Ben Goldacre on his topic of "Bad Science" is undeniable. This is a doctor with a bee in his bonnet, a snarky tone and no qualms about telling it like it is and whom he might offend. Undoubtedly, I imagine, most readers will be offended - scientists, researchers, naturopaths and other alternative "quacks", journalists, statisticians, university deans, nutritionists, Big Pharma, the average you and me - we all will get a swipe in Bad Science.

What I liked about this book was the
...more
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Ben Goldacre is a British science writer and psychiatrist, born in 1974. He is the author of The Guardian newspaper's weekly Bad Science column and a book of the same title, published by Fourth Estate in September 2008.

Goldacre is the son of Michael Goldacre, professor of public health at the University of Oxford, the nephew of science journalist Robyn Williams, and the great-great-grandson of Sir
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“You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into.” 243 likes
“You are a placebo responder. Your body plays tricks on your mind. You cannot be trusted.” 51 likes
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