The Prosecutor’s Phallusy

October 28th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, statistics | 82 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday October 28, 2006
The Guardian

There once was a time when your biggest worry, as a paediatrician, was being lynched by a herd of illiterate tabloid readers; but if you’re Professor Sir Roy Meadow you get scapegoated by the innumerate too. First he was struck off by the GMC for giving flawed evidence as an expert witness in the Sally Clark trial. Then he won an appeal. And now, this week, he’s half lost it again.

But what if the flaws in his evidence weren’t his fault alone? In the Sally Clark case, where two children in the same family had died, Meadow quoted “one in 73 million” as Read the rest of this entry »

Fish On The Radio

October 25th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, equazen, fish oil, onanism | 63 Comments »

Don’t plan your day around it or anything but there is a v v v big fish thing on Radio 4′s You And Yours tomorrow, 30 minutes, focussing on the shenanigans about the trial, no wait, initiative, no, study, we’re measuring, well, we’re, yes, hang on yes we’re measuring results, no, hang on… in Durham.

It should be pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Listen here:

www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours/items/01/2006_43_thu.shtml

All men will have big willies

October 21st, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, cash-for-"stories", evolutionary psychology, references | 57 Comments »

This article was cut to a deflating wiffle in the paper, 650 down to 400 words, here is the last version I touched.

Ben Goldacre
Saturday October 21, 2006
The Guardian

“All men will have big willies”, said the headline of the Sun. This was the story of Dr Oliver Curry, “evolution theorist” from the Darwin@LSE research centre. “By the year 3000, the average human will be 6½ft tall, have coffee-coloured skin and live for 120 years, new research predicts. And the good news does not end there. Blokes will be chuffed to learn their willies will get bigger – and women’s boobs will become more pert.”

Where did this story come from? And does it stand up? Well, what has been represented as important Read the rest of this entry »

Eloi vs Morlock vs Dr Oliver Curry of LSE

October 17th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, cash-for-"stories" | 57 Comments »

This from the wires. I could pick out a quote, but it just zings along from beginning to end in one big galloping rampage of joy. Can’t wait to see if the newspapers pick it up, it feels excellently 1950s and is doubtless much more exciting and important science news than this kind of dreary old nonsense. The Darwin@LSE department, apart from the name (to which the years will not be kind) is quite a sound outfit producing mostly great work. Ho hum. I mean, maybe it’s not that bad. Go, Dr Oliver Curry of LSE!

Embargoed to 0001 Tuesday October 17
HUMANS `MIGHT SPLIT INTO TWO SPECIES’
By John von Radowitz, PA Science Correspondent
Social division might split humans into two sub-species 100,000 years from now
- just as HG Wells predicted.
The descendants of the genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy,
attractive, intelligent, and creative.
They would be a far cry from the “underclass” humans who will have evolved
into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures.
The forecast was made by evolution expert Dr Oliver Curry, who spent two
months investigating Read the rest of this entry »

Newton’s Apple Thinktank Launch

October 16th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, gm, MMR | 44 Comments »

Today I'm participating in the launch of Newton's Apple, Britain's first science think tank, and about time too. It's the brainchild of Dr Ian Gibson MP and the whole thing kicks off with an essay collection being launched today, featuring Sir Crispin Tickell, Colin Pillinger, Sir Richard Sykes, er, me (I am not a knight) and lots of fabulous other people looking at education, space, politics, and lots more. My contribution is below, and I think all the essays might be on the website. There's also a press party launch thing today at which I will eat free food.

www.newtons-apple.org.uk/

Now, for my own part, I am almost pathologically not a joiner, because I always worry about what collective hive opinions I might be signing up to, but this strikes me as being a thoroughly wholesome Read the rest of this entry »

Not The Nine O’Clock News

October 14th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, MMR, references, scare stories | 35 Comments »

This article was massively cut in the paper at the last minute, below is the last version I touched…

Ben Goldacre
Saturday October 14, 2006
The Guardian

Think back into the mists of MMR: in 2002, Professor John O’Leary’s group in Dublin reported finding measles virus in the intestine of children with autism and bowel problems. The anti-MMR movement were almost delerious with Read the rest of this entry »

Democracy of a sort in action kind of

October 12th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 31 Comments »

very briefly, for the jury: can i be bothered to write about fish oil again this week, or is it boring now? Read the rest of this entry »

“Pill solves complex social problem”

October 12th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, equazen, fish oil | 88 Comments »

Hhahahahhahahhahahaaa they can’t help themselves, they love it. Two features Read the rest of this entry »

I’m sure there’s some data in here somewhere…

October 7th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, bad science, equazen, fish oil, nutritionists, references, statistics | 67 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday October 7, 2006
The Guardian

It is often unfairly assumed that I am a tenacious obsessive who refuses to let go. So at Durham council – as reported all over the newspapers and television – they’ve done loads of research on omega-3 fish oils making kids clever. It’s all very well saying that, but I need to see the data, to be sure there are no flaws.

Science has a certain authority, which makes it attractive to journalists and salesmen alike, but the authority comes from the transparency: it’s not about taking things on faith, or newspaper articles, it’s about openly publishing your data and your methods, so everyone can check your working. That’s why papers are published. That’s why Read the rest of this entry »

How To Read A Paper – For Journalists

October 5th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 52 Comments »

I know a fair few of you are journalists, and I thought I would mention something that I’m in the process of planning to see if you had any thoughts.

Along with a couple of friends I am setting up a short course for journalists on how to interpret scienific research data, especially health data, focusing on clinical trials, claims for efficacy, and claims of harm. This will open covering simple issues like “what is a trial”, “what is a placebo”, “what does statistical significance mean”, and so on, but it will go on to cover much more interesting and important areas, like how to spot the classic flaws in research data, the different ways of expressing Read the rest of this entry »