The nominations for 2018 are:
- Quobba Fins
- Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australian Government
- Sarah Stevenson – “Sarah’s Day” podcast
- The ABC
- Mike Palmer, Know Your Rights Group
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison
- Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park Board and Parks Australia
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.
Nominee: The ABC
Nominated by: Richard Saunders
For axing The Checkout, one of the few programs on any medium to actively alert consumers to the dangers and silliness of shonky goods and services, including many unproven or disproven alt med products.
Nominee: Mike Palmer, Know Your Rights Group
Nominated by: Daniel Doellinger
Mike Palmer from Know Your Rights for his promotion of conspiracies, anti-vaccination, and pseudoscience.
Nominee: Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Nominated by: Various
For believing in deogenic climate change with his call to action: “It’s great to see it raining here in Albury today. I pray for that rain everywhere else around the country. And I do pray for that rain. I’d encourage others who believe in the power of prayer to pray for that rain and to pray for our farmers.” – Menzies Research Centre, Albury, September 7, 2018
Nominee: Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park Board and Parks Australia
Nominated by: Marc Hendricks
Uluru (Ayers Rock) was probably first climbed by the first humans to arrive in central Australia about 30,000 years ago. This first group of humans left their mark on Uluru and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) in the form of petroglyphs that remain a mystery to both the current custodians and anthropologists. Based on the inclusion of the dingo in their creation myths the current custodians the Anangu people arrived at the Rock only about 4000 years ago. They also climbed it as demonstrated by their myth of the Hare Wallaby Men who dragged the “Ndaltawalta Pole” (a large flake of arkose on the northwest corner of the Rock) across the summit leaving the deep grooves that we now know are due to differential erosion. In the 1970s the traditional owners had no problem with tourists climbing the rock. Paddy Uluru who was recognised as the Principal Owner of the Rock is reported to have stated that the physical act of climbing was of no cultural significance. In an interview with the ABC in 1975 his brother Toby Naninga stated that aside from the men’s initiation cave and the “Ndaltawalta Pole” tourists could go anywhere else. In a move to support the handover in 1983 the Central Land Council and the Pitjantjatjara Council indicated for tourists that access to Uluru after the handover would be “business as usual”. The looming ban on climbing Uluru simply does not make any sense and will end a cultural tradition that likely stretches back 30,000 years. It’s sad that myth and superstition are being used to prevent people from enjoying the natural world.