Whilst zipping down the Tissington trail last Saturday (8th August 2009), I was listening to a BBC Radio 4 podcast of the previous days ‘The Now Show’, a current affairs comedy program, fronted by Hugh Punt and Steve Dennis. The show is always excellent, and often features a guest rant. This week, it was the turn of Dr. Ben Goldacre, writer and proprietor of the Bad Science blog. Ben is a fervent champion for the accurate reporting of science, health and statistical matters in the media, and in his five minute slot, he points up the absurdity of the printed media’s obsessions with swine flu, vaccines and cancer scares. I was so impressed with the piece, that I’ve found an audio clip of it on YouTube, which I’ve embedded below. Please take time out to listen to this – it’s funny, skilfull, angry and deadly accurate.
I make no secret that Ben Goldacre is a hero of mine, and that I consider his work to be vitally important. We are bombarded with opinion daily that’s masquerading as news, and the standards of what we generally consider to be proof are shockingly low. I recommend the reading of his book, ‘Bad Science’, in which he dissects the lamentable state of the health industry with wit, charm and a very sharp razor.