European Skeptics Congress 2019


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The never-ending struggle against quackery

  • Academieraadzaal, Ghent University Voldersstraat 9 9000 Gent (map)

Quackery has always been one the top interests of skeptics. It exists in so many forms, most of it is obvious nonsense, it causes real harm, but so many people “believe” in it. Even countless medical doctors make money promoting quackery. Will it ever go away? The venerable Dutch society against quackery (Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij) has been at the forefront of this battle, ever since it was founded in 1880. But quackery is like the Hydra (of Herakles’ second labor): if you cut off one head, it sprouts two new ones.

Chair: Catherine de Jong - anesthesiologist, and addiction specialist. Secretary of ‘Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij’ (Dutch Society Against Quackery) and boardmember of ECSO.

Co-chair: Wietse Wiels - neurologist in training at the Brussels University Hospital (UZ Brussel). Working member and journal editor of SKEPP. 


  • 14.00 – 14.45 “The antivaccination activists, misinformation and the damage done”
    Ovidiu Covaciu, Administrator ‘Vaccinuri si Vaccinare’ group, producer at Skeptici in Romania, Boekarest

  • 14.45 – 15.30 “Vitamin B12 clinics: An example of a hype that results in clinics with quackery”
    Lukas Stalpers, professor, department of radiotherapy, University of Amsterdam

  • 15.00 – 15.30 Tea break

  • 15.30 – 16.15  “Lyme disease: An example of a real disease that is misused by quacks”
    Dirk Vogelaers, professor, department of general internal medicine, Ghent University Hospital, Belgium

  • 16.15 – 17.30 “The battle against SCAM. Are we winning?”
    Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor of Complementary Medicine at the Peninsula School of Medicine, University of Exeter, UK