Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bad Science

I came across BadScience.net while doing some work on my current piece about unintended consequences of Daubert, and it is an entertaining and insightful read.  It's written by a young British physician, Ben Goldacre (biography from The Scientist) who writes a weekly column for The Guardian; a sample (quoted in the Scientist piece):

Ok, hands up. I hate nutritionists and phony diet marketers. I hate them because they confuse evidence and theory. I hate them because they make sweeping assertions that something will work in the real world on the basis of tenuous laboratory data. And they either do not understand that, or they do and they are being dishonest. In either case, I hate them.

This piece about homeopathy and picking and choosing studies -- using individual studies that came out one way rather than the meta-analysis that comes out the other, for example -- is particularly interesting and rather relevant to a lot of what one hears in various mass tort litigation from various purported experts, but it's just one example. 

For anyone trying to understand the way science really works (and to find gaps in a theory), the site might be a good place to start.  And in any event, it's very entertaining, especially the comments.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2006/01/homeopathy_labe.html

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