Bad Science

Ben Goldacre

How do we know if a treatment works, or if something causes cancer? Can the claims of homeopaths ever be as true – or as interesting as the improbable research into the placebo effect? Who created the MMR hoax? Do journalists understand science? Why do we seek scientific explanations for social, personal and political problems? Are alternative therapists and the pharmaceutical companies really so different, or do they just use the same old tricks to sell different types of pill? We are obsessed with our health. And yet – from the media’s ‘world-expert microbiologist’ with a mail-order PhD in his garden shed laboratory, via multiple health scares and miracle cures, to the million pound trial that Durham Council now denies ever existed – we are constantly bombarded with inaccurate, contradictory and sometimes even misleading information. Until now. Ben Goldacre masterfully dismantles the dodgy science behind some of the great drug trials, court cases and missed opportunities of our time, but he also goes further: out of the bullshit, he shows us the fascinating story of how we know what we know, and gives us the tools to uncover bad science for ourselves.

Reviews of Bad Science

    • ‘The most important book you’ll read this year, and quite possibly the funniest.’Charlie Brooker
    • ‘Bad Science inroduces the basic scientific principles to help everyone to become an effective bullshit detector.’Sir Iain Chalmers, Founder of the Cochrane Library’
    • “There are two compelling reasons to read this book. The first is to revel in its systematic dismantling of the nonsense put forth by nutritionists, homeopaths, cosmetic companies and the pharmaceutical industry in their attempts to persuade us to buy their products or buy into their philosophy. The second is for the fascinating discussion of why we are so easily duped, and what inclines us to see patterns in randomness or cause where there are none. Throw in the book’s sheer entertainment value and you have one the essential reads of the year so far” New Scientist
    • “A hugely entertaining book…While every chapter is entertaining, a few are genuinely eye-opening…This isn’t just an essential primer for anyone who has ever felt uneasy about news coverage of faddish scientific ‘breakthroughs’, health scares and ‘studies have shown’ stories – it should be on the National Curriculum.” Time Out
    • Books of the Year, The Scotsman, Alexander McCall’s choice