Scientists failing to challenge pseudoscience

In reviewing Dr. Ben Goldacre’s new book “Bad Science,” which is based on a column Goldacre writes for the Guardian newspaper, Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick notes that

The very fact that it has been left to a junior hospital doctor to take the lead in challenging important areas of pseudoscience in modern society reflects the abdication of responsibility by the scientific establishment. This – rather than the role of the media, abject though that has been – is the real lesson of the imbroglio over the MMR vaccine, itself the subject of an excellent chapter in Bad Science.

Senior scientists must take up their responsibility to explain and defend science in public, and to set their own house in order by tackling fraud, exposing junk science and calling a halt to the abuse of university titles and academic qualifications…

3 Responses to Scientists failing to challenge pseudoscience

  1. George says:

    Didn’t Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick also highlight some junkscience that Dr Goldacre omitted from his book? For example the ridiculous secondhand smoke studies, which appear to be purely agenda and faith driven. I also note that this site toes the “for the greater good” line with respect to the same subject. Perhaps an objective review of SHS is long overdue. Can you park your own bias and act like scientists?

  2. Thanks for your comment. He did indeed, and with good statistical grounds. I’m not sure what you mean by “park your own bias” – if we were trying to avoid any information which cast doubt on the secondhand smoking data, we’d hardly provide a link to Dr. Fitzpatrick’s review; if you mean why we haven’t tackled this subject at STATS, it’s more a question of time and resources. If you go to the main site, you’ll see we’re rather overworked; but we’ll certainly consider this issue now that you’ve raised it.

  3. George says:

    Many Thanks for the response Trevor. I apologise if the tone my previous post was defensive or accusatory it was not meant to be, and yes I was referring to STATS tackling the subject objectively and neutrally.

    Keep up the good word your site is very informative.

    Best regards


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