You may know that Britt Hermes, Ockham Awards laureate, who is an international skeptical campaigner about naturopathy, is currently being sued for defamation.
Britt used to be a naturopath herself, but she now spends a lot of time and effort exposing naturopathic practices, including on her blog “Naturopathic Diaries”.
She’s been taken to court in Germany by US-based naturopath ‘Dr’ Colleen Huber, who is claiming that Britt has defamed her on her blog. Huber is a critic of chemotherapy and radiation therapy in cancer treatment. Instead, she uses ‘natural’ therapies that include intravenous infusions of vitamin C and baking soda.
The international skeptical community is concerned that the case against Britt may have the effect of silencing a major campaigner against unproven and disproven ‘medical’ practices, through the imposition of considerable legal costs.
For this reason, the Australian Skeptics have set up a fund-raising campaign to help cover Britt’s legal costs.
It appears the legal threats of American–Italian fringe scientist Ruggero Santilli to Dutch skeptic Pepijn van Erp are not as empty as first thought. At a Florida court, Santilli has now officially sued both Van Erp, the company that hosts his website, and Frank Israel, president of the Dutch skeptics foundation Stichting Skepsis. He claims to have been ‘defamed’, and demands damages in excess of 15,000 dollar.
Van Erp is quite confident it will not lead to a conviction:
It’s an undeniable fact that Santilli is seen as a fringe scientist by mainstream scientists. And I think it’s a fair and justifiable question to ask about anyone who sells telescopes which simply cannot work as described, whether he does this out of a completely wrong understanding of science (“a mad professor”) or perhaps, more cynical, just to make money fully aware that what he states cannot be true (“a cunning scam artist”).
Once again, American-Italian fringe scientist Ruggero Santilli, notorious for his rejection of the theories of Einstein, the Big Bang, redshift and his antisemitic conspiracy theories about everyone who disagrees with him, has sent empty threats to Dutch skeptical activist Pepijn van Erp, board member of Stichting Skepsis. Recently, Santillo claimed to have detected Invisible Terrestrial Entitites with his ‘antimatter-light‘ telescope (an idea that became quite popular on UFO/paranormal websites), but, to his chagrin, Van Erp challenged his findings.
According to Santilli, his attorney wrote a letter (which, curiously, contains the same kind of grammar and spelling errors Santilli himself regularly makes) to Van Erp telling him to rectify three kinds of statements that supposedly harm his reputation:
Van Erp calls Santilli a “fringe scientist”, “a mad professor” and “a cunning scam artist”;
Van Erp states that “the whole concept of antimatter is bullshit”;
and Van Erp ‘defined’ Magnegas Corporation a “pyramid scheme”.
However, Van Erp corrects him that he said ‘antimatter-light’, not ‘antimatter’, explains that under Dutch law, his accusations against Santilli are not defamatory or libelous and thus not illegal, repeating what these claims are based on, and then goes on to defend his criticism of Magnegas. If this comes to a lawsuit, Santilli will have no leg to stand on.