Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Ted Talk Review Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science

Ted Talk Review Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science

Who: Dr. Ben Goldacre

Title: Battling Bad Science

Watch it: TedGLobal 2011 (https://www.ted.com/talks/ben_goldacre_battling_bad_science)

Details: 

Length: 14:19

38 Subtitle Languages

Related Books:
Ben Goldacre Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks
Ben Goldacre Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients
Ben Goldacre I Think You'll Find it's a Bit More Complicated Than That

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Ted Talk Review: Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science

A medical doctor, author, and epidemiologist (a scientist who analyzes data to understand and control health problems) Ben Goldacre has a well-developed understanding of the interactions among research, medicine, and science. As an epidemiologist, he is an expert in dissecting scientific studies specifically related to the medical field. Goldacre's talk is as much a criticism of the pharmaceutical industry as it is a guide to battling bad science. With deft expertise, Dr. Goldacre exposes dishonest and deceptive practices of the medical industry to begin to pick apart the confusing world of scientific evidence.

Modern internet culture is saturated with lists and categories of all kinds. Articles titled "Top 10 Foods that prevent Cancer" are commonplace in an endless sea of information. Depending on where you look, these lists can contradict themselves. Apparently, coffee both causes and prevents cancer depending on who you ask. So what can we do as citizens to get to the truth behind scientific studies? How can we dig through the biased and politically motivated presentations of scientific evidence of today's world?  Good science is meant to be looked at with a critical eye. Scientific studies are meant to be peer-reviewed in academic journals. When science starts to get manipulated by under qualified individuals, scientific claims start to become dodgy. There are numerous motivations for manipulating data. They do it to sell a product, for political reasons, and worst of all to sell new drugs and medications. Dr. Goldacre wants citizens to get their hands dirty and start digging through scientific studies.

If everyone has the tools to dissect scientific studies for themselves, people will be held more accountable for publishing misleading material and making unsubstantiated claims about science. What it takes is for all of us to take the time to starting reading studies and understanding how to detect flaws and data manipulation.  What was most shocking was the levels of data manipulation that is prevalent in studies that test the effectiveness of new drugs. As a practicing medical doctor, Ben Goldacre sees firsthand how data is withheld from studies to improve the outlook of drugs. It is a society-wide problem that our doctors cannot get honest information. Physicians use scientific studies to decide whether or not they want to prescribe a medication to their patients. If you are going to take anything from this talk, in life, you cannot make a decision without all the data. This piece of advice is becoming more and more relevant in our daily lives.

Check out Dr. Ben Goldacre's Ted Talk: Battling Bad Science!

Thanks for reading! Go Science! For more information check out Ben Goldacre's books.

Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks
Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients
I Think You'll Find it's a Bit More Complicated Than That

Resources:
https://www.ted.com/talks/ben_goldacre_battling_bad_science
https://www.ted.com/speakers/ben_goldacre

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