Monday, September 20, 2010
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
In Bad Science, Ben Goldacre deals with the way that the media and other authority figures use scientific facts, research and statistics in incorrect ways. Sometimes on purpose. This includes loads of subjects, including one that hit close to home, nutrition. I was one of the people who bought into the whole nutritionist thing, hoping to find easy weight-loss solutions. I considered myself knowledgeable, but I hadn't actually looked into the science behind some of the claims. This is a good many years in my past and since then I have myself learned to apply a lot more common sense to my life, but the science part of it was still a real treat. If you've read the book, I particularly enjoyed the chapter on anti-oxidants - what a fascinating eye-opener!
There was a lot that was disturbing in Bad Science. It really is disturbing to see how people will lie to achieve their own ends, even if their lies hurt thousands of people. I was shocked by many of the examples given by Goldacre... it's sad that this is the world we live in. It's sad that these sources that we all depend on and believe are the ones that are multiplying the lies. Where can you get trustworthy information from then?
It amazed me to see that even the most obvious nut jobs have huge followings. What does that say about our society? Do we question nothing? Do we really believe so blindly? Is that how desperately we need to belong to a movement, a group, an ideology?
I love ben Goldacre for trusting me with the bare facts. I'm not too stupid to understand the science behind the stories. Why is the science dumbed down for us?
I am recommending this to everyone. It's a book that I hope everyone will read as it has information we should all have. They don't teach this stuff in school but it's crucial to our everyday choices. Plus Goldacre's style is great and you'll get a few laughs out of the experience too!