The Pseudoscientist of the year award 2012 awarded by the Austrian Society for Critical Thinking goes to Harald Walach, a professor at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt an der Oder, for his “unique effort to bring in science free theories in the academic world. ”
The award was presented on Friday night at an awards ceremony for the “amazing pseudo-scientific nonsense of the Year” at the Natural History Museum in Vienna. The first award “Golden board in front of the head for Lifetime Achievement” award (something may be lost in translation here) went to author and “Alien researchers” Erich von Däniken.
Däniken was awarded his lifetime achievement for his decades long perseverance in resisting scientific facts. Erich von Däniken has given generations of readers “joy” with his “non-fiction” insights into the mysterious story of extraterrestrial visitors to earth. “A lifetime spent directing his attention spaceward and still managing to keep both eyes tightly shut, is an accomplishment,” explained Horak who presented the award to the author,
Walach is professor at the Europa-Universitaet Viadrina where he investigates alternative medicine as well as much more exotic subjects. During recent months, Walach made headlines because he had published research allegedly showing that, with the use of a “Kozyrev mirror“, one can open channels of time and space and make telepathy a reality.
In the laudatio, it was pointed out that Walach’s claim to fame is his attempt to render bullshit more respectable by pressing it through the channels of his university. The end result, the speaker stressed, is not that bullshit becomes non-bullshit, but that the university stinks.
Most of Walach’s research is in the area of the more implausible end of the alternative medicine spectrum, e.g. homeopathy and spiritual healing. He also is the editor in chief of a journal specialised in alternative medicine which virtually never publishes anegative result and where he frequently promotes his bizarrely irrational concepts.
Crucially, Walach is a member of the scientific advisory board of CAM-media-watch a blog run by Claus Fritzsche and sponsored by the homeopathic manufacturer Heel who also happens to be the donor for Walach’s university chair. Fritzsche and Walach have many things in common, not just the sponsor or the obsession with irrationality but also the fact that they frequently and unfairlyattack me and my work.
We would like to over our congratulations to both of the winners and if anyone has a better translation than “golden board in front of head” we would like to hear from you.