Literature: Bad Science

A 2009 book by Ben Goldacre that builds on several of his articles for the column of the same name in The Guardian. The book examines various topics and attempts to unravel the swathes of pseudo-science and unethical practices that surround them as well as investigating some real wonders of the scientific world. Not only a very educational book, giving its readers a solid basis in understanding the scientific method and how to scrutinise scientific claims and an understanding of the ethical issues related to them, but also very, very funny.

The topics covered are:
  • Detox products
  • Brain Gym (an exercise regimen used by many British schools)
  • Cosmetics
  • Homoeopathy
  • The Placebo effect
  • Nutritionists
  • "Dr" Gillian McKeith
  • The Durham Fish Oil trials
  • Professor Patrick Holford
  • The behaviour of mainstream medical companies
  • Science in the media
  • Cognitive bias
  • Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
  • "Dr" Chris Malyszewicz
  • The MMR scare.

There is also a chapter, entitled "The Doctor Will Sue You Now", that was not in the first edition because it dealt with an ongoing legal case. It has been included in subsequent editions, and can also be read online here for free.