A Superhero of Skepticism Needs Your Help. She’s Getting Sued. | The Body of Evidence

A Superhero of Skepticism Needs Your Help. She’s Getting Sued.

Head shot of Britt Hermes

 

Publicly fighting pseudoscience requires perseverance and, at times, what some may call bravery and others foolishness. The consequences of opposing institutionalized quackery can be more than just hate mail: I know of a few outspoken skeptics who got into hot water with their professional orders for voicing concerns on public platforms. And sometimes, the quacks simply sue you.

This is what's happening to Britt Marie Hermes. If you're not familiar with her story, Britt attended Bastyr University, where she was taught naturopathy. After graduation, she ended up working for a naturopath and unknowingly helped her commit a federal crime by administering cancer treatments that were not approved for such use. Naturopaths, you see, think their prescientific knowledge of traditional herbs, homeopathy, and energy-based rituals is reliable enough to treat all sorts of diseases.

Britt did a 180, realizing that naturopathy was not medicine, and left the field behind with a large tuition debt from Bastyr. She moved to Germany to learn actual science (she's currently a Ph.D. student in Evolutionary Genomics at the University of Kiel) and started a blog called Naturopathic Diaries, in which she denounces naturopathy as pseudoscience.

A naturopath by the name of Colleen Huber is now suing her for defamation. You see, Britt had the temerity of calling out Huber's activities as "a naturopathic clinical trial and charity hoax".

You can read Britt's own account of why she is being sued here.

I had the chance to briefly chat with Britt a few months ago, and you can watch this short interview here.

I would also recommend you listen to her story on The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, as it is shocking, disheartening, and simply infuriating.

The reason why Chris and I are posting this is that the Australian Skeptics are organizing a legal defence fund for Britt.

If you care about the people who defend truth and science, the people who stick their necks out to push back against the tidal wave of quackery and health fraud, the people who feel compelled to warn complete strangers about the bad decisions they could be making about their lives, we would urge you to donate to this legal defence fund, whatever you can afford.

The link to contribute and join the fight is here.

Alternative health practitioners have one weapon to fight back against the truth, and it's not data, it's not reasoned discussion, it's not science: they fight back with the eviscerating axe of a lawsuit.

Skeptics need to come together in these times of need to support one another.

Again, if you want to help Britt out, the link to donate is here. I'm about to click on it myself.