Battling Bad Science

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At TEDxSiliconValley, Battling Bad Science, Doctor and epidemiologist Ben Goldacre shows us, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical industry.

Ben Goldacre

"It was the MMR story that finally made me crack," begins the Bad Science manifesto, referring to the sensationalized -- and now-refuted -- link between vaccines and autism. With that sentence Ben Goldacre fired the starting shot of a now-eight-year crusade waged from the pages of The Guardian, Twitter and a bestselling book also called Bad Science. Each week since, Goldacre, a medical doctor, has slung well-placed scrutiny at the massive foreheads of publicly traded charlatans and/or their press agents. Given the business of legerdemain continues to boom, he may be dissecting tall tales for a while. Helped along by this inexhaustible supply of material, Goldacre also travels the speaking circuit lately, promoting skepticism and nerdish curiosity with fire, wit, fast delivery and a lovable kind of exasperation. (He might even convince you that real science, sober reporting and reason are going to win in the end.) As he writes, "If you're a journalist who misrepresents science for the sake of a headline, a politician more interested in spin than evidence, or an advertiser who loves pictures of molecules in little white coats, then beware: your days are numbered."

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