We’re trying something new here at Skeptic North, and we want YOU, the readers to help us out!
2010 has been an interesting year of science and skepticism in Canada, and we thought that it would be fun to have a little bit of an award ceremony, but without the ceremony. Or the actual award. Okay, we’re just going to say some funny things and hopefully have a little chuckle while discussing some pretty serious issues.
We’ve come up with a few nominations for those Canadians who best worked to promote critical thinking, and scientific skepticism in 2010. And following the Australian example of the Bent Spoon Award, we’re also going to be giving an ‘award’ to the Canadian who least promoted critical thinking, and/or committed the most egregious offenses against science and reason.
We’ve got the nominations, but you do the voting! So lets get to it!
For the Canadian(s) who best promoted critical thinking and scientific skepticism in 2010, the nominees are (in alphabetical order):
- Rob Breakenridge: Radio host of The Rob Breakenridge Show on Calgary’s AM 770, CHQR, for excellent skeptical coverage on a regular basis, and for regularly presenting science issues in the light of science, not simply of populism.
- Dan Gardner: Author, lecturer and journalist for the Ottawa Citizen, for furthering our understanding of law, policy, and the psychology of fear and risk assessment.
- Jonathan Kay: Contributor to the National Post for excellent dissection and discussion of conspiracy theory thinking.
- Dr. Lorne Trottier: For hosting the Lorne Trottier Symposium, which this year brought in Skeptical luminaries such as James Randi, Michael Shermer, and Ben Goldacre; and for co-authoring a study effectively debunking a flawed EMF health study.
And for the Canadian(s) who least contributed to science, critical thinking, and held back any hope of of a helpful dialogue, the nominees are (in alphabetical order):
- Dr. Magda Havas: Trent University professor who has been all over the media as the one (and pretty much only) expert in a relevant field who claims that electromagnetic fields (EMF) are dangerous, will cause cancer, sterility, and a whole slew of non-specific effects. Her name has been bandied about over and over and over again, and she is one of the last real experts in the world clinging on to what appears to be a dead end of research. She has also been a shill for Big Box.
- Rodney Palmer: Collingwood leader of the Simcoe County Safe School Committee, the organization that has been spearheading the push to remove WiFi from public schools and libraries, regardless of countless tens of thousands of studies that demonstrate safety. He also sells slightly warmish wooden boxes that he claims can cure asthma and treat cancer.
- The Whole Life Expo: For harassing skeptics who were welcomed to attend, and for tightly limiting what level of skeptical and scientific scrutiny were permitted, even on threat of physical violence. When three Skeptic North members attended in 2009, they were met with civility, humor, and had a generally good time of it. When fifteen skeptics decided to go as a group in 2010, they were threatened, harassed, and singled out as “Skeptics in Black”. What was once an expo of openness and inclusion, turned into an event which did not allow anyone to record anything on threat of physical violence and confiscation, and treated visiting skeptics like enemies of the state.
- Bryce Wylde: Vaughan homeopathic “doctor” (but has no medical degree), is on TV regularly pushing homeopathy on a health show, and flippantly brushed aside a serious challenge to his claims that homeopathy has plenty of research.
Things to note / Disclaimer
Voting will commence immediately. Polling will be closed on Dec 31 12:00 am PST. Winners will be announced early in the new year.
Winners will be notified by email, twitter, Facebook, and public announcement (i.e. this blog), and pretty much any way we can get a hold of them. We may even have a press release. Because we’re grown ups, and press releases are the kind of things that grown ups do.
There were many people and organizations to choose from this year, and we truly would like to nominate them all.
The awards themselves are entirely virtual. They carry no physical or financial benefits whatsoever, and cannot be exchanged for other skeptical awards. Skeptic North is entirely owned and operated by volunteers, and no money exists within this organization, and no author receives payment for their work here.
Our making of these awards do not indicate that we are in any way responsible for any actions made possible by it.
In the event that an individual or organization cannot fulfill their obligations as award winners, it won’t make any difference because these awards carry no weight or responsibility whatsoever. It’s simply our, and the readers’ way of saying “Thank You” or “Thanks for nothing”.
Now, get voting!
- Dr. Lorne Trottier (38%, 34 Votes)
- Rob Breakenridge (25%, 22 Votes)
- Dan Gardner (24%, 21 Votes)
- Jonathan Kay (13%, 12 Votes)Loading ...
- Dr. Magda Havas (43%, 42 Votes)
- Rodney Palmer (22%, 22 Votes)
- Bryce Wylde (20%, 20 Votes)
- The Toronto Whole Life Expo (15%, 14 Votes)Loading ...