Sense About Science awards go to research on coral bleaching and naturopathy

Sense About Science (previously) is a UK group that advocates for evidence-based policy; as part of that mission they give out the annual Maddox Prizes for people who brave political and social retaliation to infuse difficult public policy debates with factual evidence.

There were two Maddox winners this year.

The first is Professor Terry Hughes, whose work on the intensification of coral bleaching was the subject of a smear campaign orchestrated by Australian politicians, tourist industry lobbyists, and public figures, all of whom insist (despite the evidence) that pollution, industrialization, and climate change will not have a devastating effect on the Great Barrier Reef.

The second is Britt Hermes who trained as a naturopath and then, after investigating the science behind naturopathy, began to aggressively expose the lack of evidence behind naturopathy's many claims, attracting person attacks and even an ongoing libel suit brought by an American naturopath (here's her defense fund).

Britt Hermes: "I was a naturopath, until I looked at the evidence and decided to speak up about the dangerous therapies used in naturopathy, especially those to treat cancer. Walking away cost me my friends. I am harassed and being sued for defamation. I am honoured to be recognised by the scientific community for changing my mind."

Professor Terry Hughes: "It is a privilege to receive this prize and to express my gratitude – not just for me, but more importantly for future generations, who have the most to lose if we fail to act on anthropogenic climate change."

Maddox Prize 2018
[Sense About Science]