At the Australian Skeptics National Convention dinner last night in Brisbane, the award for the Bent Spoon was announced.
For the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudo-scientific piffle, the Bent Spoon went to Meryl Dorey and the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN).
I was honored to present the award, and took the opportunity to highlight some of the reasons why the AVN and Meryl were worthy winners. Apart from the obvious fail of spreading misinformation about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, there were several foot-in-mouth occasions I wanted to point out.
1) Meryl is also an HIV/AIDS denier, claiming that since (in her opinion) no two images of HIV look the same, therefore it can’t exist. Apply this theory to clouds for example, which are also vastly different shapes (and can even change shapes whilst you gaze at them), therefore clouds also do not exist.
MERYLOGIC: These 2 pictures of clouds look different, therefore clouds do not exist.
2) Meryl responded to the complaint lodged with the HCCC against her and the AVN by stating in the cover letter that she wished her response to remain confidential since the author, Ken McLeod was a threat to the safety of her and her family. Then she published her response and the aforementioned cover letter on her website the following day.
3) Meryl on the subject of conspiracy theories said the following; “We are already seen as rapid idiotic fringe dwellers by so many in the mainstream, it does our argument no good at all to bring in conspiracy theories which though we may prescribe to them are unprovable”. She then posted a complex and convoluted conspiracy theory on her blog “No Compulsory Vaccination” about the derivation of the swine flu epidemic and the plans of the illuminati to implant mind control chips, distributed by chem-trails from planes with the aim of committing mass genocide by vaccination.
4) Meryl appeared on national television telling a reporter that “we didn’t die from (these diseases) thirty years ago and we’re not going to die from them now”, juxtaposted alongside footage of babies gasping for breath as the journalist detailed the story of the death of Dana McCaffery from the vaccine preventable disease, whooping cough.
An dishonourable mention to Pastor Danny Nalliah for blaming the Black Saturday Bushfires on the liberal abortion laws in Victoria. And for saying he had a vision in a dream that the fires were coming but neglected to inform anyone.
Congratulations to Meryl Dorey and the AVN for joining the ranks of Dr Kerryn Phelps, The pharmacists of Australia and Dr. Viera Scheibner. For more previous winners of the Bent Spoon go here.