General Discussion Thread

November 27th, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 113 Comments »

Here is a place to discuss alternative therapies in general, ask basic questions about science or stats, share wacky theories about MMR, anything. This is until I get the bigger discussion forums built.

If you like what I do, and you want me to do more, you can: buy my books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, give them to your friends, put them on your reading list, employ me to do a talk, or tweet this article to your friends. Thanks! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

113 Responses

  1. Ben Goldacre said,

    December 1, 2005 at 9:09 pm

    Darlings. The forums are open:

  2. Silv said,

    December 1, 2005 at 10:47 pm

    Darlings??? Ben we love you too x

  3. Michael Harman said,

    December 1, 2005 at 11:03 pm

    Elmer Phudd, in post no 68, refers to the Powerwatch site, which seems to search for possible ill effects of electricity transmission lines, microwaves, and so on.

    Voodoo Science, by Robert Park, a US professor of physics, has a chapter on the alleged carcinogenic effects of power lines (Currents of Fear – in which power lines are suspected of causing cancer). This outlines how the matter was treated in the US over some 20 years. There were increasingly large studies, which found steadily less and less evidence for the suggestion that power lines caused cancer (specifically, childhood leukaemia), and eventually the US Government terminated study funding. (In my view it had to be governmental funding – no other organization would have either the resources or the incentive for the big studies.)

    Ironically, the original study which found evidence for a link turned out to be flawed. The supposed link was spurious, an artifact of the statistical analysis.

    But the point which struck me was an estimate by the White House Science Office of the total cost of the affair (including things like loss of property value) – in excess of 25 billion dollars. (That’s 100 dollars a head for the US, or 4 dollars a head for the entire world population.) That’s just one example, though admittedly a big one, of the economic cost of dealing with popular concerns based on bad science.

  4. Tessa K said,

    December 2, 2005 at 11:55 am

    Darlings? Oh no – Dr Ben has gone all showbiz.

  5. Artiki said,

    December 2, 2005 at 11:19 pm

    Who’s going to volunteer to sort this forum into categories?

    Hey! I’m sure I saw some ad on the TV for a newspaper that featured ‘Dr Gillian’ – their words, not mine – promoting something or other (sorry, picking my toenails at the time). Can anybody confirm what it was? Just for curiousity sake, of course….

  6. JohnD said,

    January 7, 2006 at 6:18 pm

    Copy of email to “ask.emma@guardian”
    Copied to “”
    Titled “Treating hypercholesteriolaemia – Ask Emma, Weekend Guardian, 7/1/6, p43)
    I’m sure that you and Ben Goldacre often chat around the office water cooler about evidence, science and double blind controlled trials. Your latest column offers you the opportunity to scotch his over emphasis on these and to learn to trust his feelings.

    Your correspondent with hypercholesterolaemia has asked their GP for two months in which to achieve a lower cholesterol and avoid being prescribed a ‘statin. As an active, non-obese, non-smoker with a healthy diet, they don’t have many other options. Let’s see what alternative treatment can do! Please report back in two months time what vitamins C, D and garlic (haven’t heard of that one), sterols, policosanols, artichoke and guggul have done for your patient.

    It’s not exactly a DBCT, but at least plasma chlolesterol is an objective measurement.

    John Davies

  7. cystic acne said,

    March 2, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    You must have already heard this. But let me say it yet again – YOUR SITE ROCKS!!

  8. Alex said,

    March 9, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    Agreeing with cystic acne there. Remember, Dr Goldacre loves you!

  9. lucas said,

    November 22, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    *Good or bad science?*
    idiots. the lot who say this dosent work.
    salvestorels are one of the easyest thing to understand in the fight against cancer.
    i mean im 12 i know alot of stuff cancer,salvestrolsand science are what i know alot abot.
    i am nothave this bull **** off anyone who says this dont work.
    IDIOTS to who eva is against humanity being able to fight off dangrous diseases.
    we only get 20 percent of the salvestrols we use to get.
    i mean i bet most of you olderpeople didnt know that did you?

  10. lucas said,

    November 23, 2006 at 11:22 am

    oi bob O’H ur an idiot u know nothing about cancer so get a life u ****.
    leave it to people who know about it

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