Lionel Milgrom – Quality Homeopathic Debate

December 16th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, hate mail, homeopathy | 131 Comments »

Bit of a ramble, so feel free to bypass this post, but this is quite odd to me. When a chap receives a communique from one of the Directors of the Society of Homeopaths, that august representative body, it only seems fair to give it some thought and some space. This charming email from Lionel Milgrom Read the rest of this entry »

Pretending that evidence is difficult and complicated

February 19th, 2011 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, politics | 42 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 19 February 2011

For the past two weeks we’ve followed the government’s misuse of evidence on NHS reforms, remembering that they’re perfectly permitted to reform things with no evidence at all, like everyone else does, they just shouldn’t pretend to have evidence. On Thursday health minister Simon Burns appeared before a BMA meeting in London. Read the rest of this entry »

Obvious quacks: the tip of a scary medical iceberg

February 26th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, alternative medicine, bad science, big pharma, evidence, regulating research | 119 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 27 February, 2010

After the Science and Technology committee report this week, and the jaw dropping stupidity of “we bring you both sides” in the media coverage afterwards, you are bored of homeopathy. So am I, but it gives a very simple window into the wider disasters in all of medicine. Read the rest of this entry »

Parliamentary Sci Tech Committee on Homeopathy

February 22nd, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, homeopathy | 81 Comments »

Here’s the report, press release below. It looks like pretty sensible stuff to me, homeopaths can’t expect special treatment among all forms of medicine, if the evidence actively shows it doesn’t work, then that’s that. I have to say what really frightens me about all this is the MHRA: if regulation is so political that they can fall into holes over sugar pills, it tells a frightening story about their wider activities. Read the rest of this entry »

All bow before the mighty power of the nocebo effect

November 28th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in homeopathy, placebo | 71 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, Saturday 28 November 2009, The Guardian

This week the parliamentary science and technology select committee looked into the evidence behind the MHRA’s decision to allow homeopathy sugar pill labels to make medical claims without evidence of efficacy, and the funding of homeopathy on the NHS. There were some comedy highlights, as you might expect from any serious enquiry into an industry where sugar pills have healing powers conferred upon them by being shaken with one drop of the ingredient which has been diluted, so extremely, that it equates to one molecule of the substance in a sphere of water whose diameter is roughly the distance from the earth to the sun.

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Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee on homeopathy today

November 25th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in homeopathy | 66 Comments »

I gave evidence at the Parliamentary SciTech committtee today for their enquiry into whether the government had used scientific evidence properly in making their decisions about MHRA licenses for homeopathic pills, and homeopathy treatment on the NHS. This was a mini-enquiry as a result of interest expressed by the public, which is excellently democratic, you can see the whole thing online here, and some of it is quite good fun.

Personal highlights, from memory, include:

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Protecting the powerful is a feature, not a bug

September 21st, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, legal chill, libel, politics | 45 Comments »

Here’s a quick piece about libel that I bashed out on request for CiF, covers ground you’ll have read before but it’s always good to keep libel alive in peoples’ minds. Read the rest of this entry »

Evidence Check: parliament being… good

August 4th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 31 Comments »

Select committees are pretty much the only place in parliament where MPs do what you’d naively hope they do all the time: sit down, hear a lot of evidence on an important issue, and then have a good hard think about it. In February the Department for Innovations, Universities, Science and Skills asked you what they should be looking at. Now they’ve identified a few key areas, and have formally requested government to report back on what evidence they have to underpin their activities in each one. Subjects include regulations for synthetic biology, the teaching of ‘pseudoscience’ at universities (which I suggested last time!), screening, the licensing of homeopathic products by the MHRA, the use of offender data, and more. They’re asking you for more, and you should give them your suggestion, instructions and email below.

Evidence based policy is really important, and it’s definitely worth getting involved in this kind of thing, especially since it looks like a few of the subjects they’re already looking at are drawn from the suggestions sent in by you and archived in the comments here: Read the rest of this entry »

Over there! An 8 mile high distraction made of posh chocolate!

August 1st, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, organic, systematic reviews | 78 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 1 August 2009

This week the Food Standards Agency published 2 review papers showing that organic food is no better than normal food, in terms of composition, or health benefits. The Soil Association’s response has been swift, receiving prominent and blanket right of reply: this is testament to the lobbying power of this £2bn industry, and the cultural values of people who work in the media. I don’t care about organic food. I am interested in bad arguments. Theirs has three components.

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Magnificent torrent of canards in parliament from David Tredinnick MP

February 20th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in africa, bad science, homeopathy | 50 Comments »

David Tredinnick is conservative MP for Bosworth (he was suspended without pay during the cash for questions scandal) and very keen on alternative therapies. Here is a fabulous speech from him in parliament yesterday. As you can see, he talks up the use of homeopathy as a treatment for HIV, malaria, and a whole host of other problems, including TB, urinary infections, diarrhoea, skin eruptions, diabetes, epilepsy, eye infections, intestinal parasites, cancer, Read the rest of this entry »