2006 Enlightener & Obscurantist Awards


The Swedish Skeptic Society‘s annual awards for 2006 were announced yesterday. (See also the 2005 awards.)

Professor of international healthcare Hans Rosling receives the Enlightener of the Year award,

“… for his enlightening efforts to spread a fact-based picture of the state and development of the world, particularly as regards the link between popular health and global economy. Hans Rosling is co-founder of the non-profit foundation Gapminder, that has produced software to visualise and compare statistics from various countries, making it comprehensible and available to anyone.”

Enlightener Rosling receives a cash prize of SEK 20 000 ($2800, €2200).

The editorial staff of the Idag (“Today”) pages in the Swedish national newspaper Svenska Dagbladet receives the Obscurantist of the Year anti-award,

“… for the publication of a badly deceptive series of articles on so-called “energy medicine” in August of 2006. Day after day, erroneous claims were made about a number of non-scientific treatments. … The articles were written by freelance journalist, acupuncturist and shiatsu therapist Suzanne Schönström, who had apparently been given free rein by the editors.”

The theme of the Idag pages is “the human mind and the relationships of humans with each other, society and nature”.

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  1. #1 Scott Belyea
    January 15, 2007

    I came across a link to a video of a Rosling presentation recently at http://www.ted.com/tedtalks/tedtalksplayer.cfm?key=hans_rosling

    “Enlightener of the Year”? No argument from here. His talk is information-dense, clear, and entertaining … and it’s rare that you get all three!

  2. #2 Thinker
    January 16, 2007

    I can’t make up my mind which of these awards is most well-deserved – I agree fully with both of them!

    To their credit, the Idag page later did a relatively balanced series on the atheist / secular humanist movement.

  3. #3 Martin Rundkvist
    January 16, 2007

    One of the reasons we gave the anti-award to the Idag editors was that sometimes they present good science and sometimes they don’t. So there’s no way for the public to know if they’re trustworthy or not. Another reason is that the same paper also has fully respectable science coverage, so the Idag editors could ask the science editor whenever something seems iffy. Not doing so must be a conscious choice.

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