Books: Bad Science

Bad Science

You might have come across Ben Goldacre before – via his column in the Guardian, or via his Twitter-based angry ramblings. So you’ll know that this guy suffers no fools.

Doctor, journalist, science cheerleader – Ben Goldacre is perfectly positioned to expose malpractice in the world of science and medicine. And how well he does it.

Bad Science is, at its heart, a light-hearted non-fiction read. It made me laugh a lot (Brain Gym? Really?) but, I have to be honest, it made me a bit depressed. Although it made me feel smug and self-righteous (yes, detox and homeopathy are bunk! And here’s why…), it also made me despair – particularly the new chapter (unpublishable in the first edition, as Goldacre was going through a court case at the time) about Matthius Rath and AIDS in South Africa. You might think Big Pharma is evil. It is, but you ain’t seen nothing yet…

Goldacre doesn’t just make sweeping claims – he supports his views with example after example of evidence. With a comprehensive reference list and suggested further reading at the end of the book, Goldacre has nothing to hide. But it’s hard to feel empowered when he admits that the quacks have won, and things will always be this way – Bad Science is entrenched.

A thoroughly recommended read: very accessible, enlightening, funny, and realistic.


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