News headlines from Europe about skeptical activism, mythbusting, science related policy decisions, consumer protection, frauds, health scams, alternative medicine, bad scientific practices, pseudoscience etc.
My take on the cause and priorities of contemporaty skepticism. We need to make clear why we exist, our commitment to science and critical thinking, and how we set our priorities. I am looking forward to the discussion around my article.
Many amazing people put a lot of effort into rational skepticism. Overall, however, the movement remains rather ineffective. In a new blog post, we try to understand why that is the case.
There are, we argue, several big problems in the skeptic movement, and we need to address them if we want the movement to become more effective and more efficient. It is not going to be easy, but it is far from impossible.
Sense About Science has published a report with the title Transparency of evidence; a spot check of government policy proposals July 2016 to July 2017. The report ‘scores 94 government policies produced by 12 departments, to assess how transparent they were about the evidence behind the policy. It is designed to show where departments are on transparency, and shows how they can improve further’. The research was conducted in partnership with the Institute for Government and funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the Alliance for Useful Evidence.
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.
The March for Science is a few months away. Please take a couple of minutes to fill out the following questionnaire about your organization’s involvement in this year’s MfS.
I am hoping that this year, we can add a pan-European aspect to our national Marches.
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.
Many scientists, science communicators, or skeptic activists know, how uncomfortable and disinforming it is to have your message misquoted, edited, or twisted to fit the narrative. How serious are the consequences?
A new documentary Science Friction plans to explore the consequences of misinterpretation, but they need your help. The creators and producers Skeptoid Media, Inc. are raising funds for their endeavor.
If you are still looking for a holiday gift for yourself or others, donate in your name or in the name of your loved ones! All donors will be thanked in the end credits.