How vaccine scares respect local cultural boundaries.

April 24th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in africa, bad science, book, MMR | 17 Comments »

I was on Newsnight this evening, discussing the measles outbreak in Swansea, and how we can get people vaccinated with MMR when they’ve previously refused. In my view: prevention is better than cure, it’s hard to reverse a scare story once the toothpaste is out of the tube, and we must innoculate ourselves against future vaccine scares, because they will come. That’s why services like Behind The Headlines are important. Here’s the video:

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01s5bn7/Newsnight_24_04_2013/

At the end, Jeremy Paxman seemed (endearingly) amazed to hear that vaccine scares respect local cultural boundaries. Here’s what I was discussing, in an extract from my first book Bad Science (this bit’s from pages 292-4 of the red paperback):

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My new book is out today. Here is the introduction. Hooray!

October 23rd, 2014 by Ben Goldacre in book, ITYFIABMCTT, onanism | 14 Comments »

whooo wil buuuuy my loverly neeeew boooook whooo wil buuuuy my loverly boooook My new book is out today: a collection of columns, journalism and essays, but also some of my more colourful government reports, academic papers, and more.

It looks lovely.

Here is the introduction.

Hooray!

……  Amazon …………………..

…………………. Audible ………

……….  Waterstones  ……….

….. Kindle   ……………………..

……….   Local  ………………….

…….. Harper Collins  ………..

Introduction

This is a collection of my most fun fights: but the fighting is just an excuse. There’s nothing complicated about science, and people can understand anything, if they’re sufficiently motivated. Coincidentally, people like fights. That’s why I’ve spent the last ten years lashing science to mockery: it’s the cleanest way I know to help people see the joy of statistics, and the fascinating ways that evidence Read the rest of this entry »

The media’s MMR hoax

August 30th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, badscience, MMR | 57 Comments »

image

This is an extract from my new book “Bad Science“, in the Guardian today. It’s out on Monday: my recommendation is that you buy it, and give it to someone who disagrees with you.

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Saturday August 30 2008

Dr Andrew Wakefield is in front of the General Medical Council on charges of serious professional misconduct, his paper on 12 children with autism and bowel problems is described as “debunked” – although it never supported the conclusions ascribed to it – and journalists have convinced themselves that his £435,643 fee from legal aid proves that his research was flawed.

I will now defend the heretic Dr Andrew Wakefield.

Read the rest of this entry »

Er, “help”. Legal Chill from LBC 97.3 and “Global Radio” over Jeni Barnett’s MMR scaremongering

February 5th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in Global Radio, jeni barnett, legal chill, MMR, stifling criticism | 228 Comments »

[Update: recent developments are now available here, including an EDM in parliament and discussion in mainstream media]

[Update: links to transcripts and audio hosted elsewhere at bottom of post]

One more thing, since Stephen Fry excellently tweeted this post to his 8 billion followers (weirdly he wakes me up every morning) I’ve had to activate supercache to prevent the site from dying. This means your comments will be stored for later but can only appear intermittently, sorry about that, nice to have you, and do look around for the site for more educational moronbaiting entertainment.

LBC have instructed their lawyers to contact me.

Two days ago I posted about a 7th Jan 2009 broadcast in which their presenter Jeni Barnett exemplified some of the most irresponsible, ill-informed, and ignorant anti-vaccination campaigning that I have ever heard on the public airwaves. This is important because it can cost lives, and you can read about the media’s MMR hoax here.

To illustrate my grave concerns, I posted the relevant segment about MMR from her show, 44 minutes, which a reader kindly excerpted for me from the rest of the three hour programme. It is my view that Jeni Barnett torpedoes her reputation in that audio excerpt so effectively that little explanation is needed.

LBC’s lawyers say that the clip I posted is a clear infringement of their copyright, that I must take it down immediately, that I must inform them when I have done so, and that they “reserve their rights”.

To me this raises several problems:

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It’s not my fault I fall into repetitive self parody. You started it.

December 6th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in express, independent, mail, media, mirror, MMR, telegraph | 152 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Saturday December 6 2008

Writing this column only really scares me because I wonder whether everything else in the media is as shamelessly, venally, manipulatively, one-sidedly, selectively reported on as the things I know about. I’m not going to go on about MMR again. But this week the reality editing was truly without comparison. Read the rest of this entry »

MMR: the scare stories are back

July 18th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 23 Comments »

Here’s my piece from the British Medical Journal, or at least the last version I saw of it.

Medicine and the media
Ben Goldacre
doctor and writer, London,
Guardian and BMJ columnist
ben@badscience.net
DOI 10.1136/bmj.39280.447419.59
www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmj.39280.447419.59

A UK newspaper has once again linked autism with MMR and sparked a spate of media scaremongering. But the original story was wrong on every count, writes Ben Goldacre

It was Read the rest of this entry »

The year in bad science

December 30th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 41 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday December 30, 2006
The Guardian

The funny thing is, now that I’m in a symbiotic relationship with the bullshit industry, I’d be stuffed if they all went straight. Although in 2006 there was no sign of it happening just yet. It was a particularly good year for anyone wanting to make money shovelling dodgy science into the innocent minds of young schoolchildren. The ludicrously pseudoscientific Read the rest of this entry »

Newton’s Apple Thinktank Launch

October 16th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, gm, MMR | 44 Comments »

Today I'm participating in the launch of Newton's Apple, Britain's first science think tank, and about time too. It's the brainchild of Dr Ian Gibson MP and the whole thing kicks off with an essay collection being launched today, featuring Sir Crispin Tickell, Colin Pillinger, Sir Richard Sykes, er, me (I am not a knight) and lots of fabulous other people looking at education, space, politics, and lots more. My contribution is below, and I think all the essays might be on the website. There's also a press party launch thing today at which I will eat free food.

www.newtons-apple.org.uk/

Now, for my own part, I am almost pathologically not a joiner, because I always worry about what collective hive opinions I might be signing up to, but this strikes me as being a thoroughly wholesome 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 »

The MMR sceptic who just doesn’t understand science

November 2nd, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, mail, media, MMR, references, scare stories, statistics | 136 Comments »

Comment: Research is all about error. Either learn how to interpret data yourself, or trust those who can do it for you

Ben Goldacre
Wednesday November 2, 2005
The Guardian

Whatever you have been told, science is not about certainty. And this creates problems for those health professionals who are charged with interpreting and relating Read the rest of this entry »