Ben Goldacre is known for calling attention to bad science. First, in a daily column in The Guardian, and later in his best-selling book, Bad Science. His latest book, I Think You’ll Find It’s A Bit More Complicated Than That, is a compilation of some of his previous writings. The tome, published in 2014 by Fourth Estate, addresses a variety of science-related topics and the bad reporting or poor understanding surrounding them.
The book includes sections devoted to broad topics such as how science works, statistics, big data and epidemiology as well as specialized topics, including AIDS, drugs, quacks and electrosensitivity. Of relevance to the focus of this newsletter, Goldacre addresses the MMR vaccine scare and HPV vaccine safety concerns in the context of bad journalism. Reading these stories, with which we are so familiar, in the context of Goldacre’s larger collection provides an opportunity to think about the bigger picture surrounding science: How it is reported and how those reports are interpreted — or misinterpreted.
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