AVN Renamed As Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network (Despite Skeptics’ Efforts)

Well, it’s official, according to the Australian Doctor Twitter news (I suggest not going to the AVN link they provide, but here’s a summary):

The Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) was ordered by Magistrate Hennessy of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal to change the name, and some skeptics tried registering business names in several permutations, in an effort to avoid them using the words “skeptic” or “sceptics” in the name. I’ve been following the actions of AVN off-and-on for quite some time (even attended three talks by AVN’s Meryl Dorey over the years while she’s visited Perth; done a number of summaries of her actions on my old Podblack blog and podcasted on it), so I guess the continuation of the group isn’t so surprising.

Since sk/ceptic has one meaning for scientific skepticism but not the general public (certainly something different for the media at large, quite often) -  it’s understandable by Magistrate Hennessy suggested it, and perhaps it was seen as a challenge to scientific skeptics out there.

Either way, the AVN clearly intended to continue their “business as usual”, no matter what name they’re under. Even though it took a long time for them to change it.

Regardless of the process, we are very happy to state that we now have a new name that describes what our organisation represents at least as well as our old name did.

The endless government complaints continue unabated, but at least we now know that our name will be above reproach into the foreseeable future.

The only comment I have about that is “I sincerely suspect being above reproach is impossible”.

About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • http://www.honestuniverse.com/ Mark Hanna

    Well bugger. Before I was introduced to scientific scepticism the word made me think of climate change deniers, who’d branded themselves as “climate skeptics”. I can only see this new name of theirs causing more of that type of confusion in the general public.

  • Andrew Wilson

    Tiss like the term ‘Hacker’, has been co-opted by the media to mean what once was a ‘Code Cracker’ or just ‘Cracker’.
    A ‘Hacker’ was some one whom hacked hardware to change or improve it’s function and a ‘Cracker’ broke into computer code, sites and phone systems (phone phreaking). A hacker was a proud positive hardware modifying person. A misinformed media had to then go and ruin that by abusing and misusing the term.

    Now, they are continuing the trend with ‘Skeptic’.

  • Edge

    Disgraceful organization. They should be renamed as Australian Anti-Vaccination Network, which they are. Whatever we (the public) can do to reduce their voice is a step forward.


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