"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."

Thus the young physician Ben Goldacre began one of the Bad Science columns he writes weekly in Britain's The Guardian newspaper, one week last year. It was a fairly characteristic start to the column, which Goldacre has been penning since April 2003. The MMR vaccine fiasco had pushed him into action, he wrote in his manifesto. "My friends had always seemed perfectly rational. Now, suddenly, they were swallowing media hysteria, hook, line, and sinker. ? Many of these people were hard-line extremists, humanities graduates, who treated my...

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