Tag Archives: science

Joanna Blythman: Please Read the Data Appendices About Organic Food Before Conjuring ‘Cancerous Conspiracies’: Part 1

Dear Daily Mail Editors: congratulations on a very dramatic headline. A cancerous conspiracy to poison your faith in organic food: that is pure genius, building nicely on the recent reprimand to ‘the authorities’ for making us Scared to death? The REAL worry is today’s culture of fear. You will understand how many readers chuckled to read that the Daily Mail, of all newspapers, is accusing others of scare-mongering. Continue reading


Filed under Current events, nutrition

Science So What? So Everything. Freedom of Information request and blog comment

We have previously posted some criticisms of aspects of the Science So What? So Everything? campaign. Elliot from the campaign has now responded to our guest post on Science: So What and science communication. We are grateful to him for getting back to us. However, we do have a number of concerns about his comment. Continue reading


Filed under patrick holford

Supporting Ben Goldacre: Could Stephen Fry Be More of a Mensch?

The utterly charming Stephen Fry has not only sent out a Twitter to his many followers, asking them to support Ben Goldacre, but has left a comment on Ben’s blog:

The fatuity of the Jeni Barnett woman’s manner – her blend of self-righteousness and stupidity, her simply quite staggering inability to grasp, pursue or appreciate a sequence of logical steps – all these are signature characteristics of Britain these days. The lamentable truth is that most of the population wouldn’t really understand why we get so angry at this assault on reason, logic and sense. But we have to keep hammering away at these people and their superstitious inanities. We have to. Well done you and well done all you supporting. I’ve tweeted this site to my followers. I hope they all do their best to support you. Publish and be damned. We’ll fight them and fight them and fight them in the name of empricism, reason, double blind random testing and all that matter.
Stephen xxx

The Fry Effect is so significant that the Fabulous Positive Internet who have hosted Bad Science after Ben’s last set of difficulties have had to temporarily lock the site against new comments:

Im locking down this site. New comments won’t appear till the lockdown is rescinded, but they should be stored for later display.
On the up side, all you guys coming in from Stephen Fry’s Twitter shouldn’t take this site offline
Johnathon – Positive Internet on-call Engineer

Now, if Ben Goldacre were to appear on QI, it is possible that the Bad Science cup runneth over. Continue reading


Filed under Current events

9 Lessons and 8 Carols for Godless People: Quantity Is Not Always a Substitute for Quality

It’s like the rattle on a rattlesnake. If people have to tell you, “I’ve got a great sense of humour”, then they don’t. Ditto, “I’m firm but fair” really translates as, “I have unswervable confidence in my own opinions and inflict them on other people with no regard and in what seems to them as a completely arbitrary manner”. Robin Ince refers to 9 Lessons and 8 Carols for Godless People as his “folly”. It is always a bit worrying when people start off with an explanation that is intended to forestall and preclude any criticism of the quality of an event. Any such concerns were amply justified by the uneven quality of the acts.

Robin Ince was a good MC but it seemed as if his guest-list included everyone who had made the effort to turn up for an Open Mic Night Continue reading


Filed under Ben Goldacre

How to Make Science Entertaining: Neuroskeptic on Science Journalism

When I was very young (but old enough to have cooperative siblings) I used to write elaborate stories and adapt them for public performances. I was slightly hampered by the lack of props and improvised with whatever was to hand (my bricoleur years). Some of the props weaved a certain theatrical magic but others didn’t have quite the impact that I had intended.

One of the more notable failures was my recreation of the view from a hot-air balloon: my sisters’ constant requests for stories that involved fairies over-taxed my costume design and creation skills as well as resources and actual interest in fairies. Instead of fairies, I decided to include an element of high-rise excitement by offering a bit-part as Madeleine Sophie Armant Blanchard. Everyone got to share in the hot-air ballooning experience by queuing up for their turn to kneel on my grandfather’s somewhat wobbly saw horse to which I had tacked a basket weave of cardboard strips that I had stained with tea (both sides for the full illusion); Continue reading


Filed under patrick holford

The Elmhurst Epidemic: classic example of the cultural and scientific clash between CAM and medicine

Dr Scott Gottleib has reviewed Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial for Wall Street Journal. He also recounts an intriguing anecdote from his own experience. Continue reading


Filed under complementary and alternative medicine

Will Science Blogging Absolve the Mainstream Media of the Need to Provide Science Coverage?

Nick Davies’ corruscating Flat Earth News: An Award-winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media was warmly received by some readers and commended by some commentators who welcomed his pitiless assessment of the parlous state of journalism. Other readers have produced a measured disagreement along the lines of “Yes. But not us and you’ve overstated your case“. Still more indulged in faux outrage and managed to publish their over-wrought reviews in newspapers where they happy-slapped some of Davies’ arguments; or criticised Davis in radio interviews and blog pieces. Continue reading


Filed under blogging, Goldacre