I’ve already finished the 474-page book I got for Christmas. Those that know me well will tell you how extraordinary that is – the last book I read so quickly was probably Harry Potter, around the time when I was the same age as him. So what is the book, and what’s so great I could hardly put it down?
It’s “I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that“, by Ben Goldacre, a collection of short pieces exposing some of the worst abuses – and abusers – of science. It’s unabashedly nerdy, witty, funny, aggressive, provocative and very, very insightful. It attacks journalists, quacks, the pharmaceutical industry, government ministers, the media and others, with an overriding manifesto to encourage – implore – you to call out those that mis-use science and statistics. It talks about drug scandals, poorly-informed political policies, misinterpretation of surveys, health fads, over-egging of scientific breakthroughs and more, willing you to examine the evidence or, if you’re not presented with it, demand it so that you can check it and call foul on the perpetrators.
If you read the Guardian, watch TV or have an interest in doing science right, you might of have heard of Goldacre. If you haven’t, check out his blog, read the book, and join the anti-bullshit brigade. I’m in.