Bad Science

Just reading this on my kindle. Have got as far as the chapter on homeopathy.

Now, I always knew homeopathy was bunk, but now I know why homeopathy is bunk and why some studies seem to indicate it has an effect.

Great book so far.

Who wrote this book? You might at least give us that.

FWIW, Martin Gardner wrote a wonderful book on Bad Science some 60 years ago, entitled In the Name of Science. Not enough people realized what the title meant, so later editions were entitled Fads and Fallacies In the Name of Science

I’m guessing he’s talking about Ben Goldacre’s book.

Don’t know the book but it sounds like an update of Carl Sagan’s classic “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Demon-Haunted_World

Thanks for the heads up.

That looks like it. I haven’t heard of this book, or of Ben Oldacre, who apparently has quite a following in the UK because of his column in The Guardian, but AFAIK is unknown in the States. Looks like a good book.

I brought up Gardner because his book has a chapter devoted to homeopathy, as well.

Here’s Ben Goldacre’s website.

As well as debunking bad science he’s also quite switched on to nerd/geek culture… bit like Boing Boing.

See also his Bad Science website. I like the recent articles on politicians quoting “evidence”.

Yes. Sorry I assumed this book would be well known already to dopers!

I read this book on my kindle recently as well. I too was stunned about homeopathy. I mean, I always knew it was a bit “woo.” But I had no idea how “woo” it was. Literally sugar water diluted to the nth degree?? And they admit this? Holy cats…

Yeah, I just read this book on the recommendation of a friend from the UK, and thought it was fantastic. Very eye-opening. I mean, I already considered myself a skeptic, but after reading this book I realize that I was not nearly skeptical enough, you know? It’s one of those books that I really feel everyone should read.

I’ll have to check it out. On the subject of homeopathy, a few months ago I had a bad earache for some reason I forget. It went on for a couple hours, and none of the home remedies I found online (warm olive oil, etc.) were working, so my fiance went to the drug store and bought some earache drops for me. My earache was gone within minutes, and only later did we notice that the drops are homeopathic. I’m flummoxed.

In the US, some remedies are labeled as “homeopathic” even though they aren’t diluted substances, probably to evade FDA restrictions. So it’s possible some kind of ingredient was in there - though I can’t think what it might be - to have an effect.

No thread on homeopathy is complete without a link to this sketch.

Great book; and I found it fascinating that so much of the blatant nonsense he wrote about - like homeopathy - is still around.

Finished it now.

I found his descriptions of the way trial results can be misconstrued fascinating. I will never read a science story in the popular press in quite the same way again.

I highly recommend this book to all and sundry.

Homeopathic remedies for earache usually are truly homeopathically prepared, but they also contain inactive ingredients like glycerin, or sodium benzoate, or something else that might have an effect on your earache.

Goldacre’s writing is excellent, very accessible and he always leaves one with food for thought. Alas, not even the main newspaper he writes for (the gruaniad) is immune to having bullshit science articles in it.

<snicker>“Woah, that’s strong stuff”. </snicker>

You missssspelled “Grauniad”.

Probably a typo.

:smiley:

I’ve posted this before but it’s too good not to share again. Dr. Charlene Werner explains the science behind homeopathy. Link.