Matthias Rath – steal this chapter

April 9th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in africa, alternative medicine, bad science, BANT, book, death, matthias rath, nutritionists | 129 Comments »

imageThis is the “missing chapter” about vitamin pill salesman Matthias Rath. Sadly I was unable to write about him at the time that book was initially published, as he was suing my ass in the High Court. The chapter is now available in the new paperback edition, and I’ve posted it here for free so that nobody loses out.

Although the publishers make a slightly melodramatic fuss about this in the promo material, it is a very serious story about the dangers of pseudoscience, as I hope you’ll see, and it was also a pretty unpleasant episode, not just for me, but also for the many other people he’s tried to sue, including Medecins Sans Frontieres and more. If you’re ever looking for a warning sign that you’re on the wrong side of an argument, suing Medecins Sans Frontieres is probably a pretty good clue.

Anyway, here it is, please steal it, print it, repost it, whatever, it’s free under a Creative Commons license, details at the end. If you prefer it is available as a PDF here, or as a word document here. Happy Easter!

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Matthias Rath drops his million pound legal case against me and the Guardian.

September 12th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in africa, matthias rath | 119 Comments »

It’s just been publicly announced that the vitamin pill magnate Matthias Rath has pulled out of his gruelling legal case against me and the Guardian. He bought full page adverts denouncing Aids drugs while promoting his vitamin pills in South Africa, a country where hundreds of thousands die every year from Aids under an HIV denialist president and the population is ripe for miracle cures. I said his actions were highly worrying, in no uncertain terms. I believe I was right to do so.

This libel case has drawn on for over a year, with the writ hanging both in my toilet, and over my head. Although fighting it has been fascinating, and in many respects a great pleasure, it has also taken a phenomenal amount of my time, entirely unpaid, to deal with it. For the duration of the case I have also been silenced on the serious issues that Rath’s activities raise, the chapter on his work was pulled from my book, and I have been unable to comment on his further movements around the world.

This will now change, Read the rest of this entry »

Matthias Rath In London

March 26th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in africa, bad science, matthias rath, nutritionists | 45 Comments »

Here’s a thing: video of Matthias Rath speaking at a rally in London on Saturday March 24 2007 to rapturous applause.

For those who don’t remember, Matthias Rath is the German vitamin entrepreneur who sells his proprietary vitamin pills to people dying of AIDS in South Africa Read the rest of this entry »

Last chance for libel reform: mass lobby of MPs next Tuesday

March 19th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, legal chill, libel | 4 Comments »

This is your last chance to convince your MP that libel reform is a good idea before parliament dissolves. Politicians can feel like a dispiritingly disengaged shower of till-dippers, but here is one issue that you can care about, and it’s worth one final stab at making them see sense. Our libel laws stifle critical discussion of ideas and practices in science and medicine, and when you see cases like Matthias Rath, Simon Singh, and in particular Dr Peter Wilmshurst, a cardiologist, sued for raising concerns about a trial of a surgical device in which he was the primary investigator, it seems to me that these laws present a significant risk to public health, by restricting the public’s access to information. Please come if you can, details below. Read the rest of this entry »

The year in nonsense

December 19th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in annual roundup, bad science, big pharma | 27 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 19 December 2009

It’s been a vintage year for dodgy science in government. We saw reports on cocaine that were disappeared, dodgy evidence to justify DNA retention, and some government advisors who estimated the cost of piracy at 10% of GDP, to media applause, and then failed to tell everyone they’d got the figure wrong by 1000%.

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Diarrhoea and Aids for Christmas

December 16th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in africa, bad science, religion | 47 Comments »

image Last year I ran into Ariane Sherine. She had found that no charity would publicly take money from a book written by atheists at Christmas, since Christians give so much money for good work, and they didn’t want to annoy them. Luckily the Terence Higgins Trust stepped up to this bizarre challenge, which is excellent, because Aids is important, and THT do good stuff (especially on education), and they hold the line on evidence and common sense, as witnessed by their immediate response of “yes please” when offered cash. So, support THT, buy it now. There are chapters by Simon le Bon, Charlie Brooker, Richard Dawkins, David Baddiel, AC Grayling, and many many more. My chapter is below, it is about the power of ideas alone to do good and harm, and it is filled with mawkish Christmas cheer. In other news, Manto Tshabala-Msimang – South Africa’s health minister, who presided over that horrific period of institutionalised Aids denialism – has died today. You will have your own thoughts.

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Libel Reform

December 11th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, legal chill, libel | 23 Comments »

Yesterday morning I helped to launch the libel reform campaign in parliament with Index on Censorship, English PEN and Sense About Science. To be fair, the best line came the day before at the celeb launch from Alexei Sayle, who explained that he was once sued for libel by someone, and it cost over £100,000 to defend: “it would have been cheaper”, he explained, “if I’d just stabbed the f*cker.”

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Protecting the powerful is a feature, not a bug

September 21st, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, legal chill, libel, politics | 45 Comments »

Here’s a quick piece about libel that I bashed out on request for CiF, covers ground you’ll have read before but it’s always good to keep libel alive in peoples’ minds. Read the rest of this entry »

New cheap paperback edition of Bad Science is out now

April 9th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 31 Comments »

Just so that your visual search strategy is correctly callibrated for bookshops and friends’ living rooms, here is the cover of the new and cheaper edition of Bad Science. It features both an index and a new chapter, which I will post for free on the web in a minute. More below.

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If you’re wondering why there is a new paperback, Read the rest of this entry »

The Year in Bad Science

December 27th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, roundup | 24 Comments »

It’s only when you line these jokers up side by side that you realise what a vast and unwinnable fight we face. Read the rest of this entry »