2004 Award recipients

Category #1: Scientist who said or did the silliest thing related to the supernatural:
We vote for Dr. Rogerio Lobo, professor/chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University. He co-signed a paper titled, "Does Prayer Influence the Success of in Vitro Fertilization-Embryo Transfer" published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine (JRM). It was written by Dr. Kwang Cha, once head of Columbia's fertility center, and a lawyer, Daniel Wirth, who had no medical credentials. The paper, incredibly, concluded that women in South Korea who had received in vitro fertilization were twice as likely to conceive if they had been prayed for by Christians who were thousands of miles away. Dr. Lobo's endorsement was largely responsible for the paper's acceptance for publication, then he revealed that actually he'd only "reviewed and edited" the material, having been asked to sign it well after the research had already been done and evaluated. Wirth, who has a 20-year legal record of fraud, has now been sentenced to five years in Federal prison for financial improprieties unrelated to the Columbia study. Columbia has quietly withdrawn the name of Dr. Lobo as the lead scientist of the project; he will make no comments to the media. The JRM still supports the study, and still carries the paper in their records.

Category #2: Funding organization that supported the most useless study
We honor the United States Air Force Research Laboratory, who paid $25,000 to Dr. Eric W. Davis (PhD, FBIS) at a Las Vegas company called Warp Drive Metrics to study the "conveyance of persons by psychic means" and "transport through extra space dimensions or parallel universes." For their/our money, the USAF received a 78-page report, "Teleportation Physics Study," a mass of mathematical calculations and diagrams with much dissertation on "wormholes" and "parallel universes." An annual expenditure of some $7 million on this project was recommended by the report, since Warp Drive Metrics concluded that: "We are still very far away from being able to entangle and teleport human beings and bulk inanimate objects." Really? Who knew?

Category #3: Media outlet that reported as factual the most outrageous claim
The prize goes to the film "What the #$*! Do We Know?," a fantasy docudrama cult hit supposedly about the "nature of reality." More than a dozen scientists, theologians and mystics appear. However, the product placement reveals that among the physicists, neurologists and academics who expound the film's thesis is "new age" icon J.Z. Knight, who claims to be channeling a 35,000-year-old god/warrior from Atlantis named Ramtha. The films' producers, writers, directors, and some of the stars are members of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment in Washington State. Several of the scientists are affiliated with Knight's school, and the film was largely financed by one of Knight's students. It's a blatant effort by religious, mystical, and New Age gurus such as Deepak Chopra to disguise their views as real science. Thrown in are the fantasies of Masura Emoto, who claims to have proven that thoughts can change the structure of water; his "experiments" consist of taping written words to glasses of water. The "Maharishi Effect" — an equally vacuous notion, is also offered. A rampant example of abuse by charlatans and cults, it is still filling theatres all over the world.

Full details (Here)

Category #4: The "psychic" performer who fooled the greatest number of people
This craved category is won for 2004 by that persistently wrong psychic, prophet, seer, and visionary, Sylvia Browne. In July of 2004, Sylvia said that Osama Bin Laden was dead, but we've since seen a video released three months after that mentioning Bush and Kerry, proving when it was made. Wrong. (Remember that she'd also predicted that Saddam Hussein would be found dead before the end of 2003. Wrong.) In October of 2003 she said that Yellowstone Park would erupt between January and March of 2004. Wrong. We could go on and on, but suffice it to say that Ms. Browne easily wins this