The battle for common sense – the main propagandists of pseudoscience in 2023

The popularity of astrology, esotericism and alternative medicine in the world is amazing, and Russia is no exception. It has gotten to the point that when applying for a job at some companies, applicants are asked for their zodiac sign. Well, recently, while walking around the center of St. Petersburg, I looked into the nearest coffee shop, which in fact turned out to be magical – instead of the usual cappuccino, you can buy “magic cappuccino”, and in addition to the coffee, you can get candles and a leaf, into which you can enter your wishes. This place, of course, smells of incense, and esoteric symbols and the zodiac circle adorn the walls and counter. An unusual establishment, isn't it? And there seems to be nothing bad about it, you never know who likes what. But this state of affairs illustrates the growing popularity of pseudoscience in the country – more and more people are becoming interested in magic and astrology, turning to fortune tellers and psychics for help and paying huge amounts of money for it. Fortunately, scientists have something to say about this – on February 17 in St. Petersburg they were admitted to the Liar Academy of Pseudoscience (abbreviated VRAL), membership in which is awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the development and dissemination of pseudoscience in the Russian-speaking space.

The battle for common sense - the main propagandists of pseudoscience in 2023. Meet the main stars of Russian pseudoscience. Photo.

Meet the main stars of Russian pseudoscience

Pseudoscience (pseudoscience)is a catch-all term covering everything from UFOs to Celtic myths and legends, psychic readings, star signs, astrology and much more.

Stars of Russian Pseudoscience

Our regular readers are probably aware of annual anti-award called «honorary academician VRAL», which is held within the framework of the forum «Scientists against myths». The winners are chosen by members of the jury and the audience, and the main prize (and symbol of the award) is a figurine of a sad reptilian.

Let us remind you that in 2021 the main nomination «LIED» another one was added – under the modest name “APCHHI” (Academy of Preventive ChacroSurgery). In 2023, the prize was awarded in two categories: “VRAL NARAENE” (natural science category) and “APCHKHI” (medical). The popular vote for the title of the country's main pseudoscientists started on December 14, and in the medical “APCHI” – on December 21. The final results (more than 6,000 votes) determined the finalists.

Stars of Russian pseudoscience. A sad reptilian is waiting for its owner. Photo.

A sad reptilian is waiting for its owner

You can read more about the country's main comic award here! Don't miss it!

Let us remember that the prize winners are outstanding pseudoscientists and popularizers of pseudoscience. Thus, the proud owners of the sad reptilian figurine were Dr. Natalya Zubareva (2019), homeopath Oleg Epshtein (2018), Deputy General Director of REN-TV Igor Prokopenko (2017), the main activist of the Russian anti-GMO movement Irina Ermakova (2016), Andrey Kurpatov ( 2021) and Alexander Redko (2021) became an Honorary Academician of the APCHHI. By the way, the main prize in the APCHHI nomination is a golden coffee enema.

In each of the nominations, the top three were determined, which did not change until the close of voting on January 12. In natural sciences, the three leaders were very close, each of them received more than 20% of the votes, which provided a good lead from 4th place. And among doctors, herbalist Evgenia Belyaevskaya emerged as a clear leader, gaining more than 40% of the votes, write the organizers of the award.

Let us also recall that the “Honorary Academician VRAL” award was created with the support of the scientific and educational portal (editor-in-chief Alexander Sokolov) and the «Evolution» foundation. The jury of the award includes such outstanding luminaries of Russian science as molecular biologist Konstantin Leskov, bioinformatician Alexander Panchin, toxicologist Alexey Vodovozov, Doctor of Psychology Vladimir Spiridonov, Doctor of Philology Svetlana Burlak and others. The full list of the expert jury can be found here.

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So, based on the results of the popular vote, the finalists in the natural science category «LIED NARAINE» became:

  • Sergey Vertyanov with 27.1% of votes
  • Yuri Loza with 21.9% of votes
  • Anatoly Klyosov with 20.7% of votes

Sergey Vertyanov – author of the textbook “General Biology” for grades 10-11 “with biology taught in Orthodox basis.” It’s hard to believe, but the author of the textbook is seriously trying to combine modern biology with a literal interpretation of the Creation of the World in 6 days and the origin of man. As they say, Charles Darwin nervously smokes on the sidelines.

Fortunately, the majority of viewers gave their votes to Vertyanov, which indicates his significant contribution to the field that the award satirically criticizes (author's note). Unfortunately, the winner of the Honorary Prize VRL NARAENE Vertyanov did not appear at the ceremony for presenting the statuette.

Finalists VRAL NARAENE. VRAL is an honorary anti-award. And here they are - the 2023 award nominees. Photo.

LIED – an honorary anti-award. And here they are – the 2023 award nominees.

Read also: The era of obscurantism: why is pseudoscience thriving in Russia?.

Yuri Loza, who received 21% of the votes and took an honorable second place, is known for a number of speeches in which he voiced pseudoscientific and conspiracy ideas about a flat Earth. Thus, in one of the interviews, the singer, who was awarded the title of Corresponding Member LYING TO NARAENE, stated that “rivers cannot flow around a ball.” and in not a single planetarium did he see a model of a spherical Earth. Now you know why social network users offer to give Loza a globe.

Finalists VRAL NARAENE. Gagarin did not fly into space, says Honorary Corresponding Member of the VRAL NARAENE Prize. Photo.

Gagarin did not fly into space, says Honorary Corresponding Member of the Prize LIED TO NARAEN

Third place was taken by the chemist Anatoly Klesov, who became known as the author of “DNA genealogy” – a new science (according to the new Corresponding Member VRAL NARAENE) that studies population migrations and the genetic history of mankind. As part of his teaching, Klesov claims that the Slavs have an ancient and «Aryan» origin. Here, may the dear reader forgive us, comments are unnecessary.

Don’t miss: Honorary Academician VRAL-2021: the battle for the reptilian and the coffee enema

Finalists of the APCHHI

V in the medical nomination of the APCHHI, the finalists were:

  • Evgenia Belyaevskaya with 40.6% of votes
  • Ilya Magerya with 26.8% of votes
  • Pavel Evdokimenko with 16 % of votes​

Pavel Evdokimenko is one of the finalists in the medical category, known for his appearances as an expert on various television channels and author’s programs. He popularizes simple and cheap treatment methods, mixing useful recommendations with dubious and unproven methods, such as hirudotherapy (don't even ask us what it is), the use of activated carbon for «cleaning» organism and the abandonment of antibiotics in favor of herbal preparations.

Evdokimenko offers simple and cheap ways to treat a wide range of diseases. Thus, the man recommends increasing immunity with the help of herbal preparations, bee products and subcutaneous injections of aloe. Evdokimenko also dissuades from antibiotics, which “reduce immunity.” For his achievements, the man could have received a golden enema… But he did not come for the award, say the organizers of the award.

Finalists of the APCHHI. Finalists in the medical category of the Honorary Academician VRAL award. Photo.

Finalists in the medical category of the Honorary Academician VRAL award

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Ilya Magerya takes an honorable second place in the medical category of the award with 26% of the votes. This «kind» doctors have their own clinic where you can literally do everything – bear a healthy child, adjust weight, restore sexual dysfunction, raise a child, prolong youth, get rid of stress and the list goes on.

As stated on the clinic’s website, all doctors share the ideology of their boss and master his methodology. True, what exactly this methodology consists of is unclear.

APCHI finalists. Are you really a doctor? Photo.

Are you really a doctor?

You may be interested: How the habit of checking facts can make is your life better?

Well, the first place is taken by Evgenia Belyaevskaya. All thanks to her unique method of treating cancer, AIDS, HIV, anemia with the help of herbal “comprehensive protocols at discounted prices.” That's it, doctor! The proud owner of the golden enema figurine (which is still waiting for its rightful owner) recommends abandoning antibiotics and replacing them with (no, not a joke) miraculous Spanish moss.

APCHI finalists. Lonely statuettes are still waiting for their owners. Photo.

Lonely figurines are still waiting for their owners

And that's not all – Belyaevskaya, which deservedly received 40% of the audience votes, claims that diseases do not exist (however, why they are treated then is not clear), and calls such conditions as infertility and schizophrenia an adaptation in the process of human evolution (whatever that means).