The Swedish Skeptics, VoF, have announced their awards for 2017:
Science Educator of the year: the winner is Emma Frans, a doctor of epidemiology who is tirelessly tweeting, blogging and publishing articles one of Sweden’s largest newspaper about how separate false information from correct, and about common health myths. The prize is accompanied by a cash award of 25000 SEK (about 2500 Euros).
Misleader of the year: Life, a Nordic e-commerce company and chain of boutiques. Life is the largest provider of so called alternative and complementary products in the Nordic countries, with a yearly turnover of about 200 million Euros. Their products include everything from multivitamins to colloidal silver to fluoride free toothpaste, sold with dubious and misleading health claims.
Dan Larhammar, Professor of molecular cell biology at Uppsala University and board member of the Swedish Skeptics, has been appointed head of the the Swedish Royal Academy of Science.
Dan Larhammar has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy since 2007 and has was President of VoF, or the Swedish Skeptics Society, between 1998-2004. He is still on the VoF board and very active in the skeptical movement.
Swedish professor Hans Rosling has died on 7 February 2017, a year after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was 68 years old.
Professor Rosling made a name for himself internationally as an outspoken promotor of a factual approach to looking at the state of the world. Celebrated by the Swedish and international public for his dedication to demonstrate how the public world view is often inaccurate, Prof. Rosling was highly regarded by the skeptical movement, among other things giving a superb talk at the European Skeptics Congress 2013 in Stockholm, as well as several TED talks.
Prof. Hans Rosling received the award “Enlightener of the Year” 2006 by the Swedish Skeptics Association (VoF).
Over the last couple of years he continued to work relentlessly to show the true facts about the immigration crises in Europe among other things, and during the Ebola epidemic 2015 he personally flew down to Liberia and spent several months there helping out as a volonteer, while constantly keeping the public at large informed of the extent of the disaster. Often controversial in his approach, he resented the focus on him as a person while insisting that the facts are what is important.
The Swedish Skeptics Association (aka Vetenskap och Folkbildning, or VoF) has awarded science editor Maria Gunther and medical journalist Amina Manzoor of the science editorial at DN (Dagens Nyheter) with the prize Enlightener of the Year 2016 (DN is the largest morning paper in Sweden). The Swedish Skeptics Association hereby wants to emphasize the importance of leading media understanding the value of maintaining a permanent and accurate reporting of current scientific research.
Says Dan Katz, Press Officer at VoF: “It is imperative that the established media helps the public to navigate the arbitrary flow of information which bombards us all on-line. In this turmoil the science editorial of DN are shining like beacon of facts in the dark.”
The award for Obscurantist of the Year 2016 goes to former head of Karolinska Institutet (KI), Anders Hamsten, together with others in the management of KI who helped to cover up the fraudulent research performed by surgeon Paolo Macchiarini.
Says Peter Olausson, acting president of VoF: “It is particularly severe that the management totally disregarded the investigation that pointed out what had happened. It is a mockery of the patients concerned and of all serious science researchers who cannot, and will not, compromise ethics and good science.”
A psychologist employed by the Swedish Public Health Service has privately offered and sold healing treatments to patients who she was treating in the public clinic. The treatments have been following the teachings of “Access Consciousness”, a sect-like movement founded in the eighties by a former Scientology member called Gary Douglas.
The situation was revealed on 7 December by an investigative journalist in the TV program “SVT Dold” (SVT Hidden) at SVT, the Swedish public service broadcasting company.
The Swedish Skeptics Association (aka VoF) published a highly critical debate article on 8 December (http://www.svt.se/opinion/vof-om-sekter), explaining how important it is that the Swedish Health services take every step to not expose patients to quackery, and that they have to ensure that dangerous sects and other scams are kept out of public health care.