AN EVENING WITH DR BEN GOLDACRE
DR BEN GOLDACRE (2016)
“At school you were taught about chemicals in test tubes, equations to describe motion, and maybe something on photosynthesis … but in all likelihood you were taught nothing about death, risk, statistics, and the science of what will kill or cure you.”
Homeopathic hucksters. Nonsensical naturopaths. Anti-intellectual anti-vaxxers. Slippery statisticians. The ‘journalists’ daring to declare meats as critically carcinogenic. And let’s not forget – let’s not forget – fraudulent pharmaceutical firms. In a Venn diagram, the point of convergence for them and their likes is ‘bad science’: the very bullseye of bullsh*t. So when the public is kept in the dark about the detrimental duplicity of these declarations, how many scientists does it take to screw in the lightbulb that illuminates the facts? Just one: Dr Ben Goldacre, who came to shine a light in Australia in September, 2016.
A graduate of Oxford University, a licensed physician, and imminent researcher and academic, Dr Ben Goldacre describes ‘bad science’ simply as “…when people make claims which they assert are scientific, but when you look at the evidence, it doesn’t support the claims that they’ve made.” Helming this dissemination of factoids, Goldacre says, is sensationalistic mainstream media, crooked corporations, and some individualistic, less-than-reliable ‘researchers’.
Though he has enjoyed a well-endowed career as a physician, researcher and academic, this has not safeguarded any of these occupations from coming under Goldacre’s scrutiny. Blending comedy and criticism, Goldacre wrote the heralded ‘Bad Science’ weekly column for The Guardian between 2003 and 2011, during which he published his award-winning bestseller Bad Science in 2008, targeting peddlers of alternative medicine with no credible scientific backings. His follow-up book placed the same counterfeits of the corporate world into Goldacre’s crosshairs, with Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients (2012). His work has not only been acclaimed by critics, but by fellow researchers and academics for his approach to endowing the public with skills in rational thinking.
Think Inc. was proud to set September 2016 to help audiences upgrade their bullsh*t meters with Dr Ben Goldacre.