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Major Bloodnok's Avatar Jump to comment 65 by Major Bloodnok

B*gger. There I was, armed with a link to Ben Goldacre's articles on the matter, and the last comment before I could have triumphantly brandished them... links to Bad Science.

Ho, hum.

Regarding Richard's comment earlier - the lack of scepticism in journalism is endemic. There was a short article on the BBC's North-West news recently about sofas being recalled because some people (including a baby) had suffered rashes and "burns" after sitting on them. All quite plausible, actually - there's a fire-retardant chemical used that's normally well inside the sofa, but could have "escaped" to the surface. At no point in the article did anyone suggest testing for the presence of the chemical on the surface of the sofa (or even suggest that this had been done), yet much prominence was given to a mother's claim that her baby's skin problems were caused by lying on the sofa. She "blamed" the sofa, and this was deemed good enough. She may well have been completely correct - but it never hurts to test the claim. After all, if she was wrong, then getting rid of the sofa wasn't going to help.

And it's everywhere - you'll always get the report telling you what the "victim" (subject/whatever) thinks the problem (cause/solution) is, but never a follow-up that attempts to determine whether that unfounded opinion actually has a basis in reality.

Claim a causal relationship and you'll get reported, test that relationship and you'll be ignored.

Fri, 30 May 2008 01:38:00 UTC | #176816