Skeptics' prize goes to education group

The Tertiary Education Commission has been given the Bent Spoon Award by the New Zealand Skeptics for what they call the most publicly gullible action of the year.

Since 1992 the Skeptics have made an annual Bent Spoon Award, in "honour" of spoonbender psychic Uri Geller.

The commission won because it "was suffering dilutions of grandeur when it identified homeopathic training as a nationally important strategic priority for New Zealand", said the society.

Homeopathy involves a process of dilution to increase the potency of medicines.

Skeptics chairwoman Vicki Hyde said the award was being made because Bay of Plenty Homeopathy College had received money from the commission's strategic priorities fund to run its Diploma of Homeopathy (Animal Health).

The Bent Spoon will be "formally confirmed telepathically" by Skeptics attending their annual conference at Rotorua next week.

Previous winners include Justice Minister Phil Goff, Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, Wellington Hospital, Holmes, TV2, TV3, the NZQA, Country Calendar and the Consumers' Institute.

The Skeptics also announced their first Bravo Awards for "critical thinking in a public arena". These go to:

* Chris Barton of the Herald, for "Mannatech's sugar-coated moneymaker".

* Rose Hipkins for her comments on Intelligent Design on Campbell Live.

* Tim Watkins of the Listener for his "Star Power" editorial about anti-vaccination campaigners.

* Jeremy Wells for his "amusingly scathing look at the psychic and medium business" on Eating Media Lunch.

- NZPA

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