The plausibility effect

July 12th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity, psychology of woo, roger coghill, secret data | 31 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday July 12, 2008

You will remember, two weeks ago now, we saw the Sunday Express claiming on its front page that an impressive government adviser called Dr Roger Coghill had performed a research study demonstrating that the Bridgend suicide cases all lived closer to a mobile phone mast than average. When I contacted Coghill it turned out he wasn’t really a government adviser, he had previously claimed that Aids was caused by power cables, he said the Express had made a mistake in calling him a doctor, he had lost the data, and he couldn’t even explain what he meant by “average”.

You will be very pleased to hear that Dr Coghill has now found the data. Read the rest of this entry »

Roger Coghill and the Aids test

June 28th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, competing interests, electrosensitivity, express, herbal remedies, magnets, PhDs, doctors, and qualifications, roger coghill, statistics | 72 Comments »

imageBen Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday June 28, 2008

It’s the big stories I enjoy the most. “Suicides linked to phone masts” roared the Sunday Express front-page headline this week. “The spate of deaths among young people in Britain’s suicide capital could be linked to radio waves from dozens of mobile phone transmitter masts near the victims’ homes.”
Read the rest of this entry »

BBC Editorial Complaints Unit debags the Panorama WiFi scare

November 30th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, electrosensitivity | 16 Comments »

You will remember Panorama’s WiFi program very clearly. Even the children in the school where they tried to film it spotted the problems with their methodology, and they were promptly booted out by a science teacher. I for one found those two little details truly mood enhancing, and you can read the full story here – because here is where you read it first (all the various entries related to the show are listed here). Read the rest of this entry »

Buy your Powerwatch goodies today!

October 12th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in electrosensitivity, powerwatch - alasdair philips | 18 Comments »

I thought I’d briefly share this email which just arrived. As you can see the Powerwatch/EMFields product range is expanding, and as they say, electromagnetic hypersensitivity has been officially recognised as a disability by the government. If you’re frightened about electromagnetic radiation you can pay £28 to subscribe to the Powerwatch website. You can read badscience.net for free.

Read the rest of this entry »

Essex electrosensitivity study results…

July 25th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity | 162 Comments »

… and they’re negative. Subjects were unable to distinguish whether the signal was present or absent. It is truly fantastic that for almost the first time ever the discussion around electrosensitivity is actually addressing the evidence, rather than anecdote. Cue a barrage of abuse from the electrosensitive lobby.

I’ll be updating as responses from lobbyi$ts and news coverage comes in, do please post links and text below and I will link to them. Read the rest of this entry »

Updated with lobby feedback – A thought experiment for the electrosensitivity lobby

July 24th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity, powerwatch - alasdair philips | 29 Comments »

The electrosensitivity lobby are famously selective about the evidence they quote. They simply ignore the large body of data finding that electrosensitivity symptoms are not worsened by e-m waves, and they selectively quote only data which supports their hypothesis, in a pattern which can be seen throughout the internet.

I fear this may mislead their readers, and so here is a modest proposal. Read the rest of this entry »

Cherry Picking and the Professional Association of Teachers

June 20th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity | 56 Comments »

It’s a small thing, but if Wi-Fi and reality editing interest you, then here is a quick letter I just pinged off. Before you accuse me of being a little too interested, I can write veeeery quickly, and this kind of phenomenon really does fascinate me. Read the rest of this entry »

BMJ Column – Why don’t journalists mention the data?

June 15th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity | 28 Comments »

BMJ 2007;334:1249 (16 June)
doi:10.1136/bmj.39245.510718.59
Observations
Media watch
Why don’t journalists mention the data?

Have stories about “electrosensitivity” simply been lifted from those promoting this new diagnosis?

Sometimes, as a doctor who also writes in the newspapers, a dark thought comes across me: wouldn’t it be so refreshing -secretly, wouldn’t it feel so free – to leave the medical thing behind, and just make stuff up, say what I want, spin any story that pleases me, or any story that sells, and gaily ignore the evidence?

Read the rest of this entry »

Dr George Carlo responds to Andrew Goldacre

June 8th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity, hate mail, letters, references, stifling criticism | 34 Comments »

This post is only if you’re not bored of the rather trying electrosensitivity lobby. Here is a letter which has popped up all over the interweb, I assume it is genuinely from Dr Carlo, who is hawked about as a rather eminent figure, and not a fake created in an effort to smear him.
Read the rest of this entry »

And science said atom bombs were safe too…

June 7th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, electrosensitivity, independent, powerwatch - alasdair philips | 51 Comments »

I’m in a dash, but I thought you deserved these two brave rebuttals of the peripheral criticisms that the ubiquitous electromagnetic radiation scaremongers have received. Read the rest of this entry »