“Manufacturing Doubt”: Sir Cliff Richard weighs in on the Cochrane review.

April 26th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, manufacturing doubt, nutritionists, references, statistics | 36 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday April 26 2008

And so our ongoing project to learn about evidence through nonsense enters its sixth improbable year. This week, the assembled celebrity community and vitamin pill industry will walk us through the pitfalls of reading through a systematic review and meta-analysis from the Cochrane Collaboration, an international not for profit organisation set up 15 years ago to create transparent, systematic, unbiased reviews of the medical literature on everything from drugs, through surgery, to community interventions. Read the rest of this entry »

My unfashionable views on regulating nonsense

April 19th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, psychic nonsense, regulating nonsense | 47 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday April 19 2008

Paranormal phenomena are on the rise this spring, as any viewer of Street Psychic, Most Haunted Live, The Psychic Detective, Psychic Investigators, Mystic Challenge, and Psychic School would know. In Durham, Easington district council has paid for psychic Suzanne Hadwin to exorcise a poltergeist from the home of one of its tenants, who complained of objects moving, doors slamming, and a dressing gown floating down the stairs.

The family report that the spirit has now gone, and the house has a “lovely atmosphere”: an excellent psychic service at a competitive price (only £60).

Zombie CatBut there is a darker side. In February a psychic was called to investigate a reported zombie in underground tunnels at an Eastbourne sewage plant. “It’s not funny going to work and worrying that a zombie might be around the corner,” said one plant worker. It’s even less funny for a consumer to be cynically exploited by a psychic, because everybody knows that although psychics have their merits, they are entirely useless in this situation: to kill a zombie, you must destroy its brain. Read the rest of this entry »

How policy works

April 12th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in badscience, laws, nutritionists | 32 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Saturday 12th April, 2008

If you put aside the fact that most of the people who campaign against food additives should be taken out and shot for crimes against the enlightenment, even a stopped clock shows the right time twice a day, and the evidence overall genuinely shows that some food additives probably aren’t too Read the rest of this entry »

The least surrogate outcome

April 5th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, drurrrgs, evidence based policy, politics, statistics | 12 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday April 5 2008

There’s this vague idea – which has been going around for the past few centuries – that statistics is quite difficult. But in reality the maths is often the least of your problems: the tricky bit comes way before the number crunching, when you are deciding what to measure, how to measure it, and what those measurements mean.
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BBC Newsnight mine the Brain Gym comedy mountain

April 3rd, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, brain gym | 41 Comments »

Newsnight do Brain Gym, and Paxman interviews the man who invented it.

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