Biology

Battling Bad Science: Ben Goldacre on TED.com

Posted by: Ben Lillie

Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they’re right? 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. (Recorded at TEDGlobal 2011, July 2011, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Duration: 14:20.)

Watch Ben Goldacre’s talk on TED.com, where you can download it, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 1,000+ TEDTalks.

Comments (10)

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  • commented on Sep 3 2012

    Great speaker, very entertaining. Most enjoyable and informative. Very pleased with Joe Vaish’s faith in holistic medicine schools and his faith in those with “a bit of discernment”. Unfortunately my “bit of discernment” had not made me aware of the amount of time and energy our doctors must expend on trying to establish the veracity of big-pharma’s claims (which should be regulated by the governments that I pay for).

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  • Anthony Martini commented on Sep 30 2011

    watched it. Very interesting, and unfortunately very true in my opinion….the system for reporting results of clinical trials is very flawed and slanted way towards overemphasiziing the (small) benefits, if any at all, of new expensive drugs. Right on……good find

  • Joe Vaish commented on Sep 29 2011

    Embarrassingly bad talk. Whatever valid points he had were outweighed by his subtle ad hominem attacks. I don’t know who Gillian Keefe, is but a quick glance at her website shows she has a masters and studied 5 years in acupuncture and holistic medicine schools. Not just a certificate. Fast talker with little to say that isn’t obvious to anybody with a bit of discernment.

    • Haitse Auke commented on Oct 5 2011

      its quite comfortable to talk about garble as everyone will agree with you. given that acupuncture is and always will be unscientific, its garble. Science and analysis is just a bit too hard for most.

      I have maintained throughout my life that even SCAMS is not enough to describe alty thought. I prefer now to call it munchasens by economy.

      Bens talk was fair and I have yet to see an alty presentation that is scientific. Why, because then it would be science and not need the continuing campaign of believers.

      NCCAM’s verifies these points clearly on their website. You should read what your own philosophical mother organisation says.

    • aqua tom commented on Feb 20 2012

      I agree. If you like this sort of comedic approach that bashes people & so on, the presentation probably works for you. But I didn’t bother watching more than about a third.