Bad Science by Ben Goldacre is a very good, interesting, informative and accessible book. I read it a few years ago so I can’t remember everything about, though I would definitely recommend it.
I thought I would write a post about it as Goldacre talks a lot about how the medical profession is often not understood very well by the general public and is often misrepresented by the media. The pharmaceutical industry is also discussed. It is interesting to read a description of how the pharmaceutical industry works from someone who has had to deal with it in their professional life.
While you have no doubt as to what Ben Goldacre’s opinion is of some people such as Gillian McKeith and notions such as homeopathic medicine, he always presents a wealth of evidence to support his vitriol. His indignation at self-appointed scientist, nutritionists, drug companies, deluded researchers and journalists is clear. However it never comes across as ranting which could get boring if it did. There is a dry sense of humour which runs through the book.
I remember the chapter dealing with the concept of the placebo being the most interesting part of the book. Others may find other parts more interesting but this is my opinion.
Some parts of the book are funny other parts are interesting, some are frustrating and somewhat upsetting due to what is being discussed. An example of a part of the book which is upsetting is when Goldacre talks about Matthias Rath and ‘AIDS dissidents.’ When reading about ‘AIDS dissidents’ I wondered how people like that can sleep at night.
Goldacre can be a little critical of people who studied humanities at university, seeming at times to unfairly suggest that everyone who studies humanities mistrusts and doesn’t understand science. This can be a little difficult at times. I studied a humanities subject at university. While I don’t understand everything about science I definitely do not mistrust science, I find science very interesting even if I don’t always understand it.
I would definitely recommend this book.