The Ockham Awards 2020: recognising the best in skepticism, and the worst in pseudoscience


Michael Marshall
Michael Marshall is the project director of the Good Thinking Society and president of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He is the co-host of the Skeptics with a K podcast, interviews proponents of pseudoscience on the Be Reasonable podcast, has given skeptical talks all around the world, and has lectured at several universities on the role of PR in the media. He became editor of The Skeptic in August 2020.

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Since 2012, The Skeptic has had the pleasure of awarding the Ockham Awards our annual awards celebrating the very best work from within the skeptical community. The awards were founded because we wanted to draw attention to those people who work hard to get a great message out. The Ockhams recognise the effort and time that have gone into the community’s favourite campaigns, activism, blogs, podcasts, and outstanding contributors to the skeptical cause.

I am pleased to announce that nominations for the 2020 Ockham Awards are now open! 

The Ockham's Award logo

Past Ockham winners have have included current contributors to The Skeptic, Professor Edzard Ernst and Hayley Stevens, the European Skeptics Podcast and Say WHY To Drugs podcast, ex-naturopath Britt Hermes for her blog exposing quackery in her former career, the Edinburgh Skeptics for their annual Skeptics on the Fringe event, and Mark Tilbrook for spreading critical thinking about so-called psychics in the face of verbal and physical abuse from ‘Psychic’ Sally Morgan’s management team and family. 

In fact, prior to becoming editor of The Skeptic, I was honoured to receive the 2018 Ockham for Skeptical Activism and the 2016 Ockham for Best Skeptical Campaign for my work in stopping NHS homeopathy, as part of the Good Thinking Society. Needless to say, I won’t be eligible for nomination this year! 

The Rusty Razor award

While we recognise the best in skepticism, our awards are also an opportunity to highlight the danger posed by promoters of pseudoscience with our Rusty Razor award. The Rusty Razor is designed to spotlight individuals or organisations who have been prominent promoters of unscientific ideas within the last year.

Previous Rusty Razor winners have included Andrew Wakefield for his ongoing promotion of anti-vaxx misinformation, and Gwyneth Paltrow for her pseudoscience-peddling wellness empire, Goop

One of the most important elements of our awards are that the nominations come from you – the skeptical community. We’d like you to tell us who you think deserves to receive the Skeptic of the Year award, and who deserves to receive the Rusty Razor. 

Submit your nominations now!

Nominations are open now and will close on October 31st. Winners will be chosen by our editorial board from the nominations we receive, and they will be announced at Skeptics in the Pub Online on November 19th, at 7pm.

Featured image taken by Rob McDermott at QED 2018

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