Political woo

October 30th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, numerical context, politics, screening | 93 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, Saturday 31 October 2009, The Guardian.

Every now and then it’s fun to dip into the world of politics and find out what our lords and masters are saying about science. First we find Brooks Newmark, Conservative MP for Braintree, introducing a bill to reduce the age for cervical cancer screening to 20. The Sun has been running a campaign to lower the screening age, on the back of Jade Goody’s death at 28 from cervical cancer, and gathered 108,000 signatures on a petition. The Metro newspaper have commissioned a poll showing that 82% of 16 to 24-year olds in England agree with lowering the screening age.

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This is what the Spectator sent when they cancelled their Aids denialism extravaganza

October 28th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in africa, bad science | 48 Comments »

I’m at a conference (on communicating evidence to patients with… GERD GIGERENZER!!!) in Frankfurt and late for lunch, but I thought it might amuse you to see the language the Spectator are using.

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Aids denialism at the Spectator

October 24th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in africa, aids, bad science | 113 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, Saturday 24 October 2009, The Guardian.

A lot of strange stuff can fly in under the claim that you are “simply starting a debate”. You may remember the Aids denialist documentary House Of Numbers from 3 weeks ago. Since then, it has received many glowing outings. The London Raindance film festival explained that they were proud to show it, and a senior programmer appeared on Youtube saying they had gone through the film at 15 second intervals, finding no inaccuracies at all.

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Behold the jot of evidence

October 17th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, legal chill, libel | 65 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, Saturday 17 October 2009, The Guardian

For those with the finances to try to silence their critics, this has been a week of spectacular own goals. Trafigura has loudly advertised the report on the dumping of toxic waste in Africa by taking out a super-injunction through Carter-Ruck. And on Wednesday Simon Singh, the science writer being sued by the British Chiropractic Association, won his right to an appeal. Read the rest of this entry »

Jabs “as bad as the cancer”

October 10th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, express, vaccines | 51 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, Saturday 10 October 2009, The Guardian

imageLast month I had a debate at the Royal Institution with Lord Drayson, the Science Minister, in which he argued that I was too harsh on British science coverage, which is the best in the world. During this event our chairman (bizarrely and excellently Simon Mayo) pulled out a health front page from the Express, and asked what we thought about it. I said the article might well be accurate, but it’s also quite likely to be a work of fantasy, and as a serious matter of public health I would urge people to be extremely sceptical about health information on the front page of the Express. Lord Drayson thought this was cynical and unfair. He warmly encouraged us to trust this newspaper. Read the rest of this entry »

And now, nerd news

October 3rd, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, hiding data, regulating research, systematic reviews, trial registers, vaccines | 34 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, Saturday 3 October 2009, The Guardian.

There are some very obvious problems that never seem to go away. Right now I can see 1,592 articles on Google News about one poor girl who died unexpectedly after receiving the cervical vaccine, and only 363 explaining that the post mortem found a massive and previously undiagnosed tumour in her chest. Meanwhile the Daily Mail this week continue their oncological ontology project with the magnificent headline: “Daily dose of housework could cut risk of breast cancer”.

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