The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Medicine Jar

Read a brilliant book the other day. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. It’s about all the stuff I rant about on this blog; homoeopathy, alternative medicine and the placebo effect, the media misrepresenting scientific facts in the name of ‘balance’, the medicalisation of social problems, superstition being taught in schools, all that stuff. It’s one of those books that you read going ‘Yes! That’s exactly what I already thought, but put slightly more clearly!’ If you haven’t rushed out, bought it and read it, you have to do so now. It won’t change your life but you’ll get an intellectual blood transfusion. I should also add that much of it is hilarious; Ben has a poetic gift when it comes to extreme sarcasm.

The rule should now be that no-one should be allowed to enter an argument going, ‘Hey, there might be something in alternative medicine after all, you don’t know, science doesn’t have all the answers, does it?’ if they have not already read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. Because the person who has already read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre will win. And the same applies for people who think ‘nutritional science’ is a science or that the MMR business was about the government and multinational drug companies and the medical establishment attempting to cover-up a problem, rather than what it actually was, which was evidence of the strong and compelling link between people being scared because they don’t have enough information and people buying newspapers.

It reminded me of The God Delusion by Dicky Dawkins, another hilarious book by someone who uncannily agreed with what I already knew to be true. And one which people feel bizarrely qualified to criticise on the grounds that the author is didactic, humourless or arrogant. They couldn’t be more wrong.

2 comments:

  1. My name is Ian Edmond, and I endorse this blog post.

    Goldacre is a hero for our time. You don't even have to buy the book to read one of the best chapters - www.badscience.net/2009/04/mattias-rath-steal-this-chapter/

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  2. Both books are indeed utterly brilliant. You will alsp enjoy following Ben G. on Twitter, if it's your thang.

    It is the early recourse of the ignorant to brand those better-informed than them of "arrogance", as if having the facts on one's side was somehow cheating.

    It's particularly hilarious to hear religious apologists sagely note that the "hypocritical" Dawkins "is doing exactly what he accuses us of"; this of course being the whole point.

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