TheESP – Ep. #187 – Antibiotic Resistance Worse Than Climate Change?

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This week we celebrate the birthday of the ‘Ask for Evidence’ campaign, the Pope gets stuck in an elevator and we debunk three myths about the Amazon forest fires.
Counterfeit Medicine is a growing threat to society, even more European countries lose their status a s ‘measles free’ and there are still repercussions in Sweden of the Macchiarini scandal in 2015.
Yoga may be good for preventing cardiovascular problem (but there are many questions still), what used to be the highest peak in Sweden has melted and is now number two and some say antibiotic resistance could be worse than climate change.
We finish off by awarding the BBC a Really Wrong award for thinking scientists believe Nessie could be a big eel.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:51 Greetings

Next week we promise we will have more interviews from ESC 2019. The Swedish Skeptics (VoF) want everyone to come and meet them at the Gothenburg Book Fair, don’t be shy! If you want to volunteer please get in touch.

00:06:44 This Week in Skepticism

Ask for evidence campaign was launched 14 September 2011

00:08:58 Pontus Pokes the Pope – Stuck in an elevator, appointing new cardinals.

00:13:20 Skeptical News

THE AMAZON: Three myths about the Amazon forest fires

SWEDEN: Counterfeit medicine an increasing threat to society

EUROPE: Measles update: Albania, Czech Republic and Greece and UK

SWEDEN: Macchiarini update: Government suggests new rules to ensure ethical research

INTERNATIONAL: Who says it’s all negative? The addition of yoga to aerobic exercise programs reduces global cardiovascular risk (maybe)

SWEDEN: Highest mountain in Sweden has lost 15 meters since the 70s

UK: ‘Antibiotic resistance could kill us before climate change,’ says UK health chief

00:32:26 Really Wrong: To the BBC for stupid Loch Ness article

00:35:21 Quote and Goodbye

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
/ Aristotle, 384–322 BC, Greek philosopher /

00:36:39 Outro

00:37:54 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #186 – European Skeptics Congress 2019 – part 1

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This week it was Congress time! András and Pontus (unfortunately, no Jelena) spent a wonderful weekend in Ghent, Belgium, at at the European Skeptics Congress 2019, where they had a blast!
At the ESC 2019 there were talks by prominent skeptics and plenty of opportunities to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
The result for the podcast is several interviews recorded on-site, with more to come later on. If you were there and met with us, we thank you for doing so! If not, there will be more opportunities in the future.
Until then, here are this week’s interviews, with even more to come on later episodes.
Enjoy!

Interviews in this episode: Edzard Ernst, Christine Mohr, Ovidiu Covaciu

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Interviews; Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:50 Greetings

00:13:55 Interview: Prof. Edzard Ernst, emeritus Professor at the University of Exeter

Title of ESC presentation: The battle against SCAM. Are we winning?

Abstract: What do governments and health organisations like WHO do against quackery?
Given the common use of quackery in virtually all countries, one would expect that governments and international organisations like the WHO would have developed effective strategies to limit its prevalence and minimise the harm quackery unquestionably does. Sadly, very few such initiatives seem to exist. Those organisations that actively fight quackery tend not to be run by governments but rely on private, altruistic initiatives. The WHO even has been responsible for several actions that arguably are not fighting but promoting quackery. This lecture will review several recent examples. It is concluded that governments and the WHO have, in the past, turned a blind eye to quackery. In the interest of public health, this situation has to change.

His new book: https://edzardernst.com/2019/08/my-new-book-alternative-medicine-a-critical-assessment-of-150-modalities/

00:22:49 Interview: Christine Mohr, professor in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland .

Title of ESC presentation: When using magicians to study how paranormal beliefs come about

Abstract: Humans belief, in many things. Popular are supernatural beliefs, hotly debated by believers and skeptics alike. Psychologists reported on various variables that correlate with such beliefs (e.g., appreciation of chance, more open to experiences). Yet, these latter studies are correlational unable to convey whether existing beliefs predict the appreciation of chance  (e.g., becoming more associative), or whether being more associative predicts the formation or reinforcement of paranormal beliefs. Over the last years, we performed several series in which we investigated the causality of belief change / reinforcement. In these studies, a magician performed a central event (e.g., a medium talking to a dead person, pseudo-scientific mind reading). Therefore, we could compare psychological variables we assessed before and after the event (tackling causality). Also, we could assess which pre-existing variables (e.g., paranormal beliefs, associative processing) predicted paranormal interpretations. Performing all studies in the classroom, we observed an overall high willingness to accept what the persons had just seen. In one study, around 65% considered that they had witnessed a genuine psychic event. Higher paranormal beliefs and affective reactions predicted a higher endorsement of a psychic explanation. Seeing how easily people are convinced by what they see, we are now starting to “debunking” participants in order to test which pre-performance information we have to provide to render participants more critical as to what is presented to their eyes. We assume that once the magician spells the beans, the belief in what one sees should be gone.

Link: https://applicationspub.unil.ch/interpub/noauth/php/Un/UnPers.php?PerNum=1116121

00:34:51 Interview: Ovidiu Covaciu, Activist against anti-vaxxers, Romania

Title of ESC presentation: The antivaccination activists, misinformation and the damage done

Abstract: Europe is facing a resurgence of preventable disease as anti-vaccine movements from across the continent are growing This talk will focus on the tactics the AV movement uses to gain influence, followers and political power. It will also discuss how to approach, counteract and fight against the AV movement, how to recruit experts by your side, turn the tide and save lives.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vaccinuri/

00:55:15 Farewell

00:59:39 Outro

01:00:54 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #185 – Rain dance for the Amazon

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This week it is true that the Amazon (Amazonas? Amazonia?) is burning and glaciers are dying, but misinformation is still everywhere. Especially, meditation and rain dances will not help.
Instead we should learn from John Locke, born this week in 1632, and who taught us the benefits of empiricism.
Even though the Cardinal Pell story seems to be all over for him, the Vatican still faces a giant dilemma on how to handle it.
There’s a 1 million Euro award for you if you can prove that a German city doesn’t exist, Nobel laureates are sometimes cranks, but you can learn key concepts for making informed choices if you read Nature Magazine.
Edinburgh hesitates in kicking out non-elected religious school board members, Valigia Blu gets Italian Skeptic award from CICAP, the UK loses status as “Measles free” and study from Australia suggest that political views are perhaps not so much of a factor in vaccination resistance.
Finally, we conclude that no matter what they think in Turku University in Finland, climate change is definitely man-made and whoever says differently are Really Wrong.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:50 Greetings

The fires in the Amazon make people desperate to help, but perhaps they should find something more useful than meditation and performing rain dances. That and a funeral for the Okjökull glacier in Iceland get us on a long discussion about climate change, flight emissions and future transportation.

00:15:24 This Week in Skepticism

John Locke, English philosopher and physician and one of the first British “Empiricists” was born on 29 August 1632.

00:18:31 Pontus Pokes the Pope – The Pell case is not over for Francis.

00:24:31 Skeptical News

GERMANY: Bielefeld in Germany offers €1 million to anyone who can prove its non-existence

FRANCE: Anti-vaxx disinformation – the ‘Nobel decease’ is still a problem

INTERNATIONAL: Key concepts for making informed choices

SCOTLAND: Edinburgh delays decision to remove church voting rights in school boards

ITALY: CICAP awards Valigia Blu for their efforts to bring rationality into journalism

UK: Measles in the UK: ‘Elimination status’ is lost

INTERNATIONAL: Do our political views influence vaccination rates?

00:50:25 Really Wrong: FINLAND: Is climate change not man-made?

00:55:34 Quote and Goodbye

“False and doubtful positions, relied upon as unquestionable maxims, keep those who build on them in the dark from truth.”
/ John Locke, 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704, British philosopher /

00:58:44 Outro

00:59:59 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #184 – Not well for Pell

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This week we start by noting that the measles numbers in Serbia from last week must be nonsense (it’s much worse) and again urge you to support Retraction Watch. We then report on Cardinal Pell’s failed appeal in Australia and the pope’s totally misguided efforts to help the people of Syria.
Brexit spells disaster for science in the UK, a British ‘Grief Vampire’ is touring in Sweden, but on a positive note, the Homeopathy Information Network provides help on fighting homeopathy in all of EU.
A Lithuanian man wants you to sleep with bees (don’t try this at home), Spanish Skeptics (ARP-SAPC) team up with the authorities to educate teachers on how to spot pseudoscience, and the Swedish government wants to implement a national digital register to keep track of vaccination rates.
Finally, we hand out a Really Wrong award to a private hospital in Finland for charging lots of money for an unproven cancer treatment.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:50 Greetings

The numbers on measles for Serbia must be much worse than reported. Also, please support Retraction Watch if you can.

00:10:27 Pontus Pokes the Pope – Not well for Pell and Rosaries for Syria.

00:18:34 Skeptical News

UK: Danger to science of no-deal Brexit

SWEDEN / UK: UK TV-medium touring Sweden

GERMANY / EUROPE: INH taking action in support of Spanish initiative to give homeopathy the same legal status and requirements as other medicinal products

LITHUANIA: Sleeping on beehives

SPAIN: EduSalud conference for teachers on pseudoscience and health

00:38:52 Really Wrong: Experimental cancer clinic in Finland charges huge amounts

00:44:10 Quote and Goodbye

“Science knows it doesn’t know everything; otherwise, it’d stop. But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.”

/ Dara Ó Briain, Irish comedian and television presenter /

00:46:01 Outro

00:47:16 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #183 – Free Energy, ‘Flygskam’ and hard numbers on Measles

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This week we hear about free energy devices, about Pope Francis’ friend who stands accused of sex-abuse, and that Metro in Sweden is closing down taking with it their ‘Viral Examiner’ that has corrected and explained internet myths for almost five years.
We hear about the first publicly known (but certainly not only) victim of Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘vagina steaming’, how to sign up for Shaman Summer School and of ‘Flygskam’, the Swedish flight shaming that now goes international.
We also do another deep dive into the disastrous measles epidemic, including publishing a unique spread sheet we have created to give an overview of the European situation as of the first six months of 2019.
Finally, we hand out a Really Right award to the Lancet for their efforts to fight gender bias in science.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Right; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:52 Greetings

Pontus was interviewed by Richard Saunders on The Skeptic Zone this week, check it out: http://skepticzone.libsyn.com/the-skeptic-zone-564-11august2019

00:05:42 This Week in Skepticism

On 17 August 2006, the company Steorn published their claims on its ‘Orbo’ free energy device. They got financing to the tune of 23 million Euro, but strangely the device never materialized…

00:11:18 Pontus Pokes the Pope – Close friend of Francis to stand trial for sexual abuse.

00:16:25 Skeptical News

SWEDEN: Metro folds, and the ‘Viral Examiner’ dies with it

INTERNATIONAL: Woman burns herself during vagina steaming

FRANCE: Are you ready for Shaman Summer School?

EUROPE: ‘Flygskam’, the Swedish flight shaming, is the latest fad

MEASLES UPDATE EUROPE: Still bad and getting worse – we have compiled the numbers, you can download them in Excel or PDF-format.

00:33:19 Really Right: To the Lancet Group for committing to gender equity and diversity

00:37:25 Quote and Goodbye

“You should never be ashamed to admit you have been wrong. It only proves you are wiser today than yesterday.”
/ Jonathan Swift, Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for Whigs then for Tories), and poet, famous for works like Gulliver’s Travels /

00:38:41 Outro

00:39:56 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #182 – Anthroposophical Ups and Downs

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This week we reflect on the current heatwave and on climate change, we give a shout-out to James Randi who turned 91 this week(!) and Pontus pokes the pope for letting his Archbishops lash out against vulnerable minorities.
In the news it’s confirmed (again) that vaccinations have nothing to do with autism, we hear how Anthroposophy nuts has managed to weasel their way into the University of Basel and how pseudoscience for children is fought by good people in Spain.
Retraction Watch is turning nine years and you should support them and again in Spain there are good forces working against pseudoscience by cleverly promoting policies regarding homeopathy. Finally, we deliver a Really Right award to the Swedish government who as of 1 September has rendered the Anthroposophy-nonsense history in Sweden.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Right; Radio Spots; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

00:00:37 Intro

00:01:00 Greetings

There are heatwaves everywhere and guess what? We are to blame. Edzard Ernst has a new boo out and you can bring your copy to Ghent in a couple of weeks to get it signed!

00:11:19 This Week in Skepticism

On 7 August 1928 James Randi, ‘Grandfather of Skepticism’, was born. Happy birthday and many happy returns!

00:15:14 Pontus Pokes the Pope – In Poland, ‘Rainbow plague’ is the new threat replacing communism.

00:27:08 Skeptical News

INTERNATIONAL: A new study reinforces the conclusion that autism is primarily genetic

SWITZERLAND: A chair of anthroposophical medicine at the University of Basel

SPAIN: Position Statement From The Spanish Association Of Paediatrics Medicines Committee Concerning The Use Of Alternative Medicine And Pseudo-Science In Children

INTERNATIONAL: Retraction Watch turning nine years

SPAIN / EUROPE: Spain wants EU law changed that classifies homeopathy as medicine, and you should help!

00:45:33 Really Right: The end of Anthroposophical ‘medicine’ in Sweden!

00:51:33 Radio Spots

00:53:45 Closing remarks, Quote and Goodbye

Seven games to teach kids Fact-checking

Quote:
“Once your faith, sir, persuades you to believe what your intelligence declares to be absurd, beware lest you likewise sacrifice your reason in the conduct of your life. In days gone by, there were people who said to us: ‘You believe in incomprehensible, contradictory and impossible things because we have commanded you to; now then, commit unjust acts because we likewise order you to do so.’ Nothing could be more convincing. Certainly anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.”
/ François-Marie Arouet, AKA Voltaire, French writer and philosopher/

00:59:21 Outro

01:00:36 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #181 – Medical Misinformation

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This week and from now on, you can now listen to us on Spotify too!
If you do, this episode will tell you about how Lamarck, born today 275 years ago, got it wrong about evolution but also was somewhat on the right track, more than 60 years before Darwin.
Pope Francis is starting to sound more and more like this week’s quote supplier, George Orwell, and in EU the fight may be forming against the bad rules about CRISPR.
Facebook and Twitter want to fight bogus medical cures, but it seems that some quacks are already using that fact to their advantage. In Italy, new numbers tell us that they do not seem to be able to get to grips with their low vaccination rates.
Finally, there’s a tragic story in progress concerning the current miss Europe who is promoting made-up treatments for her cancer. She is claiming that it works, which of course is bound to mislead lots of others to make the same mistake.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:48 Greetings

We are now on Spotify for those who prefers listening there! This weekend see that start of Skeptics on the Fringe, don’t miss that if you’re anywhere near Edinburgh for the next month or so.

00:08:12 This Week in Skepticism

On 1 August in 1744, Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, chevalier de Lamarck, or ‘Lamarck’,  was born. He was a French naturalist with not entirely correct ideas about the evolution of species and although he was wrong about how it works, he still set the stage for Darwin, who was born about sixty years later.

00:13:07 Pontus Pokes the Pope – Francis is learning Newspeak a la Orwell.

In the days of Trump not even the Pope hesitates to redefine the meaning of words …

00:17:33 Skeptical News

SWEDEN: University leaders urges government to fight EU ban on CRSPR

INTERNATIONAL: Facebook wants to limit the reach of bogus medical ‘cures’ by treating them like spam

INTERNATIONAL: Is Facebook really about to shut down large anti-vaxx group?

ITALY: Italy fails to meet vaccination targets

00:35:53 Really Wrong

Miss Europe claims she is curing her cancer with cannabis oil

00:42:47 Quote and Goodbye
“We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right.”
/ George Orwell, 25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950, English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic. /

00:44:20 Outro

00:45:35 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #180 – Sander van der Linden on Bad News and prebunking

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This week András interviewed Sander Van Der Linden, who is a social psychologist and has done extensive research into how we should approach the fight against #fakenews and the spreading of #misinformation about #climatechange, #vaccinations and all sorts of popular social issues by applying prebunking instead of debunking. He and his team at Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab have developed a tool that can be used to inoculate people against psychological manipulations and it goes by the name ‘Bad News’.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Interview; Farewell; Outro

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:50 Greetings

00:02:13 Interview with Sander van Der Linden

00:50:53 Farewell

00:51:55 Outro

TheESP – Ep. #179 – Religious Liberty?

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This week we celebrate Britt Hermes’ lawsuit victory and that Annika got married (yay!) and urge everyone top make plans for ESC in Belgium – there’s still time to get your tickets!
We hear about celebrated scientist and skeptic David Colquhoun and we get into how the term ‘Religious Liberty’ is so misunderstood and misused by the church.
András gives us a special interview with Heather and Mark Pentler of the Edinburgh Skeptics who reveal all about the upcoming Skeptics in the Fringe in August.
In the news it is formally confirmed that France is stopping public funding for homeopathy and there are signs that Germany may go the same way. HPV vaccinations get included also for boys in the UK, same sex marriages and abortions get allowed in Northern Ireland (upon time). The WHO releases a report that shows that we have not improved global vaccination rates in the last 8 years, but we learn in other news at least that measles vaccinations will now become mandatory in Germany.
Finally, ‘psychic healer’ Jeanette Wilson gets a Really Wrong award for her current tour of the UK and for her stupid nonsense in general.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; Interview; News; Really Wrong; Quote; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:50 Greetings

The lawsuit against Britt Hermes is over since Colleen Huber has chosen not to appeal. A big shout out to our collaborator Annika who got married! And don’t forget to make plans for the European Skeptics Congress in Ghent, Belgium, on 29 August – 1 September.

00:08:42 This Week in Skepticism

On 19 July In 1936, David Colquhoun, British Pharmacologist and prominent skeptic was born.

00:16:02 Pontus Pokes the Pope – ‘Religion Liberty’?

You keep using that phrase – I do not think it means what you think it means…

00:21:04 Interview: Mark and Heather Pentler of the Edinburgh Skeptics

András caught up with our friends in Edinburgh how have prepared to fill the Skeptics in the Fringe calendar for 23 evenings straight in August! Be there if you can!

00:37:19 Skeptical News

FRANCE / GERMANY: French health minister confirms end of homeopathy funding – is Germany next?

UK: HPV vaccinations for boys

NORTHERN IRELAND: Same sex marriage and abortions allowed

WORLD: WHO global vaccination rates for 2018

GERMANY: Mandatory measles vaccinations from March next year

00:53:40 Really Wrong

‘Psychic healer’ Jeanette Wilson is touring the UK

00:58:57 Quote and Goodbye
“The great experimental principle, then, is doubt, that philosophic doubt which leaves to the mind its freedom and initiative, and from which the virtues most valuable to investigators in physiology and medicine are derived. ”
/ Claude Bernard, 12 July 1813 – 10 February 1878. French physiologist who helped establish the principles of experimentation in the life sciences. /

01:00:53 Outro

01:02:08 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #178 – Camp Quest with Andreas Kyriacou, plus IQ testing and killing science

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This week while Pontus is away, we talk to Andreas Kyriacou from Switzerland about Camp Quest Switzerland before moving on to other events, IQ testing and a lot more, including a German petition to hold CAM practices to the same standards as real medicine, how the Hungarian Academy of Science is being killed off by Viktor Orban’s government, legal action against a science writer in Ireland, the situation of SCAM in Switzerland and Facebook trying to tackle the ever-growing issue of deep fake videos.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Interview with Andreas Kyriacou about Camp Quest; This Week in Skepticism; News; Quote; Outro

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:48 Greetings

00:05:21 Interview with Andreas Kyriacou

About Camp Quest Switzerland

00:21:44 This Week in Skepticism

Alfred Binet, French psychologist, born 8 Jul 1857.

00:30:40 Skeptical News

GERMANY: A German petition to stop authorising ineffective medicines (what organisation from?)

HUNGARY: Hungarian Academy of Sciences stripped of its research network by government

IRELAND: Gemma O’Doherty launches legal action against science writer David Robert Grimes

SWITZERLAND: SCAM situation in Switzerland

INTERNATIONAL: Zuckerberg Says Company ‘Evaluating’ Deepfake Video Policy

00:52:02 Quote and Goodbye
“Love of learning is the most necessary passion … in it lies our happiness. It’s a sure remedy for what ails us, an unending source of pleasure.”
/Emilie du Chatelet French natural philosopher, mathematician, physicist/

00:53:47 Outro