The price is right

April 28th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 41 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday April 28, 2007
The Guardian

In the west we breathlessly report on new breakthroughs in science, but it’s easy to forget that ideas are bought, rented and sold, as surely as deckchairs. Read the rest of this entry »

No seriously, I felt the p-values, in my soul…

April 21st, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, statistics | 35 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday April 21, 2007
The Guardian

So this week in the papers a man was allergic to his own hair, bee colonies were collapsing because of mobile phones, and more. Speaking as the veteran of a great many squabbles, on MMR, phone masts, drugs, and more, I can tell you: facts are not entirely welcome. When all the evidence goes against someone’s beliefs, they will tell you, quite plainly, that they just know it to be true. They sense it. They intuit it. Nobody will ever listen to an explanation of why intuitions can be flawed – presumably because their intuitions have told them not to.

But we have an innate human ability to make something out of nothing. Read the rest of this entry »

MiniBlog Links

April 20th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, MiniBlog | 7 Comments »

The MiniBlog on your right is a rolling ticker of stuff I’m reading at the moment, with a quick one line comment: it’s a mix of entertaining academic papers, absurd news stories, geek stuff, and other peoples’ blogs. Read the rest of this entry »

Craig Sams of Green and Blacks gets angry

April 17th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, chocolate, craig sams, gillian mckeith, hate mail, nutritionists, onanism | 104 Comments »

Craig Sams is the founder of Green and Blacks. He made his money from chocolates, ice cream, and biscuits, and he is very angry with me for questioning the science behind Dr Gillian McKeith PhD and their corporate world.

This gem is from Natural Products magazine, the in-house trade publication of the nutritionism industry. I’ve included the original advertising from the page it appeared on, so you didn’t miss out on the context. That’s correct, by the way, your eyes do not deceive you: a whole page of the leading trade publication from this billion pound industry is devoted to me. Read the rest of this entry »

Blame the drug companies… and yourself…

April 14th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, references, regulating research | 19 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday April 14, 2007
The Guardian

[oh, I love the subs, but there was a slightly bonkers headline in the paper today on this column, as sometimes happens… this is why I don’t mock people for what’s written by someone else in their headlines…]

So here’s an interesting question. Lots of us wander around quite happily with a “dolphins good, drug companies bad” morality in our heads; and this is entirely reasonable, they are quite bad. But how easy is it to show that drug companies kludge their results, and to explain what they’ve done to a lay audience?

On an individual level, it is sometimes quite hard to show that one trial has been deliberately rigged to give the right answer Read the rest of this entry »

MiniBlog…. and is this design working for you?

April 11th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 24 Comments »

Let me introduce you to the MiniBlog on your right: quick links to interesting stuff, science vids, academic articles (apologies on behalf of the closed journals if you don’t have a login), cartoons, badscience-related news stories too lame to actually write about, and stuff. You can subscribe to it as an rss feed here, and look back at the archive (I’ve been doing it on and off for a while) here. Read the rest of this entry »

Losing the lottery

April 6th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, statistics | 34 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday April 7, 2007
The Guardian

It is possible to be very unlucky indeed. A nurse called Lucia de Berk has been in prison for 5 years in Holland, convicted of 7 counts of murder and 3 of attempted murder. An unusually large number of people died when she was on shift, and that, essentially, along with some very weak circumstantial evidence, is the substance of the case against her. Read the rest of this entry »

Doctors behind the headlines

April 6th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, media, references | 10 Comments »

Another BMJ column, forgot to post this when it came out recently, it’s a bit doctory mind…

Ben Goldacre
BMJ 2007;334:613 (24 March)
Observations – Media watch

With real evidence, we are all better placed to communicate the truth behind the news

Few things can make a doctor’s heart sink more in clinic than a patient brandishing a newspaper clipping. Alongside the best efforts to empower patients, misleading information conveyed with hyperbole is paradoxically disempowering; and it’s fair to say that the media don’t have an absolutely brilliant track record in faithfully reporting medical news. Read the rest of this entry »