Ben Goldacre

Bad Science

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Nataliya Trushina
Nataliya Trushinahas quoted4 years ago
There’s no money in it, but you knew that when you started on this path. You will do it because you know that knowledge is beautiful, and because if only a hundred people share your passion, that is enough.
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The true cost of something,’ as the Economist says, ‘is what you give up to get it.’
On a larger scale, many p
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b9467627432has quotedlast year
But it’s not entirely morally neutral. Firstly, the manufacturers of these products sell shortcuts to smokers and the obese; they sell the idea that a healthy body can be attained by using expensive potions, rather than simple old-fashioned exercise and eating your greens. This is a recurring theme throughout the world of bad science.
More t
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I can very happily view posh cosmetics—and other forms of quackery—as a special, self-administered, voluntary tax on people who don’t understand science properly. I
b9467627432
b9467627432has quotedlast year
In what we call the developed Western world, we seek redemption and purification from the more extreme forms of our material indulgence: we fill our faces with drugs, drink, bad food and other indulgences, we know it’s wrong, and we crave ritualistic protection from the consequences, a public ‘transitional ritual’ commemorating our return to healthier behavioural norms.
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b0845785978has quotedlast year
pyroligneous acid’, or wood vinegar. This is a brown powder which is highly ‘hygroscopic’, a word which simply means that it attracts and absorbs water, like those little silica bags that come in electronic equipment packaging
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
‘The true cost of something,’ as the Economist says, ‘is what you give up to get it.’
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
It did not take some children who were given MMR and some children who weren’t, and then compare the rates of autism between the two groups (this would have been a ‘cohort study’)
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
This is an excellent example of a phenomenon described in one of my favourite psychology papers: ‘Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self Assessments’, by Justin Kruger and David Dunning.
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
But if anyone in a position of power is reading this, here is the information I would like from a newspaper, to help me make decisions about my health, when reporting on a risk: I want to know who you’re talking about (e.g. men in their fifties); I want to know what the baseline risk is (e.g. four men out of a hundred will have a heart attack over ten years); and I want to know what the increase in risk is, as a natural frequency (two extra men out of that hundred will have a heart attack over ten years).
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
Our attention is always drawn to the exceptional and the interesting, and if you have something to sell, it makes sense to guide people’s attention to the features you most want them to notice.
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
. We overvalue confirmatory information for any given hypothesis.
4. We seek out confirmatory information for any given hypothesis.
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
. We see patterns where there is only random noise.
2. We see causal relationships where there are none
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
The equation for the beer-goggle effect, whereby ladies become more attractive after some ale, was produced by Dr Nathan Efron, Professor of Clinical Optometry at the University of Manchester, and sponsored by the optical products manufacturer Bausch & Lomb;
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
Torture the data and it will confess to anything,’ as they say at Guantanamo Bay.
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
People who drop out of trials are statistically much more likely to have done badly, and much more likely to have had side-effects. They will only make your drug look bad
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
Once your drug comes out, you have around ten years ‘on patent’, as the only person who is allowed to make
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
the true genius in advertising is to sell you the solution and the problem.
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and live your whole life in every way as well as you can: exercise regularly as part of your daily routine, avoid obesity, don’t drink too much, don’t smoke, and don’t get distracted from the real, basic, simple causes of ill health
Smira Rao
Smira Raohas quotedlast year
stimulant medication tends to come in red, orange or yellow tablets, while antidepressants and tranquillisers are generally blue, green or purple.
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