1. “Be Very Afraid: The Bad Science Manifesto” by Ben Goldacre.
Be very afraid
Thursday April 3, 2003
“It was the MMR story that finally made me crack. My friends had always seemed perfectly rational: now, suddenly, they were swallowing media hysteria, hook, line and sinker. All sensible scientific evidence was twisted to promote fear and panic. I tried to reason with them, but they turned upon me: I was another scientist trying to kill their baby.
Many of these people were hardline extremists, humanities graduates, who treated my reasoned arguments about evidence as if I was some religious zealot, a purveyor of scientism, a fool to be pitied. The time had clearly come to mount a massive counter-attack.
Science, you see, is the optimum belief system: because we have the error bar, the greatest invention of mankind, a pictorial representation of the glorious undogmatic uncertainty in our results, which science is happy to confront and work with. Show me a politician’s speech, or a religious text, or a news article, with an error bar next to it?
And so I give you my taxonomy of bad science, the things that make me the maddest. First, of course, we shall take on duff reporting: ill-informed, credulous journalists, taking their favourite loonies far too seriously, or misrepresenting good science, for the sake of a headline. They are the first against the wall.
Next we’ll move on the quacks: the creationists, the new-age healers, the fad diets. They’re sad and they’re lonely. I know that. But still they must learn. Advertisers, with their wily ways, and their preposterous diagrams of molecules in little white coats: I’ll pull the trigger.
And the same goes for the quantum spin on government science. I’m watching you all.
And finally, let us not forget the strays, the good scientists who have passed to the dark side. Was it those shares in that drug company, or the lust for fame and glory? Bad scientists, your days are numbered.
If you are a purveyor of bad science, be afraid. If you are on the side, of light and good, be vigilant: and for the love of Karl Popper, email me every last instance you find of this evil. Only by working joyously together can we free this beautiful, complex world from such a vile scourge.” –Ben Goldacre
Read the original post on the website of Bad Science
– For me, it was the RNS60 story “that finally made me crack.” — aka: “nanowater” or “nanoagua” — a large number of advertorials promoted this “special” water on the Colombian news media (newspapers, radio, and television).
RNS60: Oxygen Nanobubbles
– About one year later another story related to a vaccine –“arguments” surprisingly similar to the MMR story — make me very mad. It was the human papillomavirus vaccine story of hundreds of severe adverse events all located in a small town located in the Caribean region of Colombia (Carmen de Bolivar).
Carta abierta a los medios de comunicación Colombianos: vacuna del papiloma
Poor quality of scientific journalism about the human papillomavirus vaccine: open letter to Colombian news media | BMJ
– Quoting Ben Goldacre again: “And finally, let us not forget the strays, the good scientists who have passed to the dark side. Was it those shares in that drug company, or the lust for fame and glory? Bad scientists, your days are numbered.”
— There is a very interesting case about this matter on the RNS60 story —
Dear Dr. Llinas, Why the silence?
– “The time had clearly come to mount a massive counter-attack.” —Agreed.
– Be very afraid indeed…
Conflict of Interests (COI)
My conflicts of interests are non-financial.
“I also take it very seriously when evidence does not support statements about an active pharmacological principle, especially when there are serious concerns about the safety and effectiveness of a molecule. The source of the misleading information (e.g., pharmaceutical company, peer-review medical journal, governmental, academic institution, etc) doesn’t matter.”
I endorse the principles of open data and transparency in research: I openly support campaigns such as AllTrials.net and The BMJ Open Data Campaign.
I have also commented about financial and non-financial conflict of interests (PubMed Commons):
I endorse the principles of Retraction Watch:
Libel laws are not welcome in science.
Academic bullying as a method to silence scientific debate (directed to me or anyone) is not tolerated. Furthermore, you will only get more debate
(1.000x) (10.000x) (500.000x)(∞).
– Be very, very afraid: this is a personal matter.
– A few days ago a good friend proposed me to write a manifesto. I think I shall pass, I rather endorse the Bad Science manifesto.