Category Archives: Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre

I can very happily view posh cosmetics—and other forms of quackery—as a special, self-administered, voluntary tax on people who don’t understand science properly. […] But it’s not entirely morally neutral. Firstly, the manufacturers of these products sell shortcuts to smokers and the obese; they sell the idea that a healthy body can be attained by using expensive potions, rather than simple old-fashioned exercise and eating your greens. This is a recurring theme throughout the world of bad science.

More than that, these adverts sell a dubious world view. They sell the idea that science is not about the delicate relationship between evidence and theory. They suggest, instead, with all the might of their international advertising budgets, their Microcellular Complexes, their Neutrillium XY, their Tenseur Peptidique Végétal and the rest, that science is about impenetrable nonsense involving equations, molecules, science diagrams, sweeping didactic statements from authority figures in white coats, and that this science-sounding stuff might just as well be made up, concocted, confabulated out of thin air, in order to make money. They sell the idea that science is incomprehensible, with all their might, and they sell this idea mainly to attractive young women, who are disappointingly underrepresented in the sciences.

Ben Goldacre, Bad Science, London, 2008, pp. 26-27