Wi-Fi Wants To Kill Your Children… But Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch sells the cure!

May 26th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, electrosensitivity, powerwatch - alasdair philips, scare stories, very basic science | 162 Comments »

Hello visitors from boingboing/slashdot. I’m a doctor and I write in the Guardian and the BMJ about quackery, health scares, and pseudoscience in the media.

Ben Goldacre
Saturday May 26, 2007
The Guardian

Won’t somebody, please, think of the children? Three weeks ago I received my favourite email of all time, from a science teacher. “I’ve just had to ask a BBC Panorama film crew not to film in my school or in my class because of the bad science they were trying to carry out,” it began, describing in perfect detail the Panorama which aired this week.

Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Kenyon from BBC Panorama Responds on Wi-Fi Scare

May 25th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, electrosensitivity, powerwatch - alasdair philips, scare stories | 31 Comments »

I’ve just been sent this by the BBC publicity office, it is a response from Paul Kenyon, the presenter of the show, and very nice chap too.

He is talking about the posts here and here. Read the rest of this entry »

Laugh? I nearly died.

March 10th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, drurrrgs, scare stories | 62 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday March 10, 2007
The Guardian

Obviously nobody is more worried than I about the hippie crack epidemic: nitrous oxide – better known as laughing gas – has hit the news, after the death of a man with a plastic bag over his head, and a cannister of the drug connected to himself.

Now, I will never speak ill of the dead, and I feel very sorry for this poor man, but equally we must all take responsibility for our actions. Plastic carrier bags are a vital feature of Read the rest of this entry »

Science told: hands off gay sheep – updated

January 29th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, scare stories, times, very basic science | 51 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday January 13, 2007
The Guardian

“Science told: hands off gay sheep.” It’s hard to think of a headline more joyous than this classic from the Sunday Times. Apparently a scientist called Professor Charles Roselli is conducting cruel and gruesome experiments on sheep in the name of eradicating homosexuality. Unfortunately this “news” story, co-written by Isabelle Oakeshott – the Deputy Political Editor no less – is little more than dystopian science fiction fantasy, conjured up to drive a pressure group’s agenda.

We’ll open with their big hitter. “The animals’ skulls are cut open and electronic sensors are attached to their brains.” It sounds gruesome. But this was simply – and rather bizarrely – not true. Read the rest of this entry »

World Wide Weirdness Shootout – updated

January 27th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in africa, alternative medicine, bad science, matthias rath, MMR, nutritionists, religion, scare stories | 59 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday January 27, 2007
The Guardian

I’m not a complicated man – as my girlfriend could happily tell you – but I do get a bit worried about these stories I’ve been emailed, where African people say something stupid about the science of Aids and we all laugh at them. To be fair, the facts don’t make it easy for me to be this sanctimonious. The Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, has just this week disclosed that he can personally cure HIV, Aids and asthma, using charisma, magic and charms. “The cure is a day’s treatment” he says: “asthma, five minutes”. HIV and Aids cases can be treated on Thursdays, and within three days 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 »

From Hampstead to Cape Town

August 26th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in africa, bad science, dangers, death, matthias rath, nutritionists, scare stories | 44 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday August 26th, 2006
The Guardian

What happens if you transplant western ideas like nutritionism, and anti-vaccination panics, into a developing world context? Unfortunately that’s not a thought experiment. Between 600 and 800 people die every day in South Africa from HIV/AIDS, and their government was roundly criticised at last weeks International AIDS conference in Toronto.

Everyone knows that the South African government is headed by a longstanding denialist of the link between HIV and AIDS, Thabo Mbeki, who held back anti-retroviral treatment for many years; but less well known is the fact that his health minster, Tshabalala-Msimang, is also a staunch advocate for weekend glossy magazine-style nutritionism, an ardent critic of medical drugs, and a close associate of a controversial vitamin salesman.

South Africa’s stand at the conference was described by delegates as the “salad stall”, and consisted of some garlic, some beetroot, the African potato, and other vegetable action. Some boxes of Read the rest of this entry »

Japanese War Tubas

August 10th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, scare stories | 29 Comments »

Japanese War Tubas

One of the reasons why people are so scared of science these days is that technology has become more inexplicable, and somehow more “black box”. Fifty years ago, with a bit of practise and a good grounding in school science, you could fix your car and understand how your radio works. You wouldn’t stand a chance these days, but it was not ever thus: Japanese War Tubas, only a few decades ago, were the very pinnacle of Read the rest of this entry »

Academics are as guilty as the media when it comes to publication bias

June 10th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, references, regulating research, scare stories, statistics | 31 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday June 10, 2006
The Guardian

When I am finally assassinated by an axe-wielding electrosensitive homeopathic anti-vaccine campaigner – and that day surely cannot be far off now – I should like to be remembered, primarily, for my childishness and immaturity. Occasionally, however, I like to write about serious issues. And I don’t just mean the increase in mumps cases from 94 people in 1996 to 43,322 in 2005. No.

One thing we cover regularly in Bad Science is the way that Read the rest of this entry »

MMR Is Back

June 2nd, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, mail, MMR, scare stories, telegraph, times | 67 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
3rd June 2006
The Guardian

[Mmmm uh-oh I’ve just found out the Guardian newsdesk have cut this by 200 words while I was having an afternoon snooze. I can’t bear to look. Anyway, here’s what I wrote…]

MMR is back. “US scientists back autism link to MMR” squealed the Telegraph. “Scientists fear MMR link to autism” roared the Mail. “US study supports claims of MMR link to autism” croaked The Times, a day later.

Strap me to the rocket and print my home address in the paper, I’m going after them again. So what was this frightening new data? Well it’s hard to tell, since it hasn’t been properly published anywhere yet, so you can’t actually read it and Read the rest of this entry »