The nominations for 2018 are:
- Quobba Fins
- Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australian Government
- Sarah Stevenson – “Sarah’s Day” podcast
Nominee: Quobba Fins
Nominated by: Ian Knight
The manufacturer of the Quobba Thruster surfboard fin claims that “low pressure in front of the fin draws the surfboard strongly forward, increasing speed”. Any object will only influence upstream velocity to a certain extent, and the region around this stagnation zone will have a relative positive pressure. Even if a negative pressure could exist it would be countering the overall function of a planing hull which is to generate higher pressures to keep it lifted out of the water. As one of the Skeptics’ engineering consultants says: “If there was low pressure in front of the fins, it would be sucking the body of the board down, into the water.” Or, as another consultant put it: “If the laws of fluid mechanics have changed that much, ships and aeroplanes will be able to ply the planet without the need for fuel.”
Nominee: Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australian Government
Nominated by: Mal Vickers
On March 6 the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), with assistance from the Australian Government, enshrined hundreds of alternative medicine pseudoscience claims in legislation. The Therapeutic Goods Act now includes a list of “Permissible Indications”, medical advertising claims that complementary medicine manufacturers can include on products to encourage purchase. Claims include: “Disinhibit Water”, “Balance Aggravated Vanta”, “Upraise/Lift Sunken Middle Qi” and (my personal favourite) “Moisten Dryness in the Triple Burner”. These advertising claims, now supported by legislation, are worse than misleading – they have no basis in reality. Products with these claims can sit alongside evidence-based products on Australian pharmacy shelves. The TGA and the Australian Government have set a place for themselves in history, alongside other legislators who, for example, have promoted creationism and banned Wi-Fi.
See the legislation and list here.
Nominee: Sarah Stevenson – “Sarah’s Day” podcast
Nominated by: Various
Sarah Stevenson is nominated for her claims of curing pre-cancerous cells or cervical dysplasia from simple healthy eating and lifestyle changes. She has a large social and online following who actively absorb the content she distributes. Stevenson has recently published claims that she naturally cured her pre-cancerous cells for cervical dysplasia, and claims that this was done without medicine and by a natural approach alone, an approach that she attributes to only her actions under the advice of her naturopath (who she refers to as ‘’Dr’), a plethora of supplements, and a dose of prayer. Medical professionals suggest that in any instance of pre-cancerous cervical cells, that there is a 30% chance of regression without any medical reason and not by a change in diet and lifestyle. There is every chance Sarah fell within this 30% but she is promoting that the reason the cells regressed was due to her actions alone. She has since posted a YouTube video and Instagram post detailing these claims. Despite disclaimers on the video, the messages she is promoting will have a lasting effect on her impressionable followers, some of whom have expressed their own medical concerns with similar or more serve illnesses, opting that they will now choose to take the ‘natural’ route on the back of Sarah’s experience.