Author Archives: Pontus Böckman

TheESP – Ep. #164 – Annika @ SkepKon, ESC, HPV, climate change & Jehova’s witnesses in schools

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This week we welcome Annika Merkelbach from Germany back to the show to talk about the upcoming skeptical convention SkepKon, GSoW and her series of interviews on Skeptical Inquirer’s website.
We also talk about the European Skeptics Congress to be held in Ghent the end of August, plus lots of news items and topics to mention include:
The Cancer Act 1939 of the UK, the latest wrongdoings of the Vatican, an Italian politician who’s been opposing mandatory vaccination being hospitalised with chicken pox, the death of HPV vaccine campaigner Laura Brennan and how her campaign must have saved a lot of lives, plagiarism made illegal in Montenegro after a long and interesting battle with the problem, an email by a listener bringing hope in the fight against bogus claims asking for support on Indiegogo, students in Oxford petitioning for climate change to be made a core part of the national curriculum in the UK, Holm Gero Hümmler’s new book on conspiracy theories and Jehova’s witnesses being under attack by authorities in both Sweden and the US for child indoctrination and sexual abuse.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Interview; 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

00:00:51 Greetings

Programme out for Eruopean Skeptics Congress in Ghent 29 Aug – 1 Sept

00:05:30 Interview with Annika Merkelbach

We catch up with Annika Merkelbach regarding the upcoming SkepKon conference (take part in our raffel to win a ticket!) and her work with Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia and writing for the Skeptical Inquirer.

00:20:20 This Week in Skepticism

The UK Cancer Act of 1939

00:27:24 Pontus Pokes the Pope

The Vatican is still no place for women; Cardinal who covered up abuse not allowed to resign; A US Catholic diocese sued on consumer protection grounds

00:33:18 Skeptical News

ITALY: Politician Who Fought Against Mandatory Chickenpox Vaccine Contracts Chickenpox

IRELAND: HPV vaccine campaigner’s legacy will be to save thousands of live

MONTENEGRO: Plagiarism made illegal in the country along with other forms of misconduct

INTERNATIONAL: E-mail from the listener (re episode 158) Indiegogo does (at least nominally) have policies in place that can be used to appeal questionable projects

UK: Climate change petition: Oxford students campaign for better teaching on subject

GERMANY: Holm Gero Hümmler’s new book on conspiracy myths

01:00:34 Really Wrong

Jehova’s Witnesses child indoctrination in schools (+ plus US child molestation)

01:07:27 Quote and Goodbye
“An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t.”
/ Anatole France, French poet, journalist, and successful novelist /

01:09:29 Outro

01:10:44 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #162 – Canali on Mars, Pell in jail and the Daily Mail gets it right

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No shortage of interesting topics after two interview episodes in a row!

In this episode: ‘Canali’ on Mars (or rather not), we catch up on the Pope and especially Cardinal Pell, a huge study that disproves the link between vaccines and autism, Amazon and Facebook take a stand against anti-vaccers, successful Swedish fights against colloidal silver and anthroposophy, the Hungarian government stabs science in the back, Elsevier gets further pushback on their outrageous pricing models and Hungarian pharmacies will inform all customers that homeopathic preparations have not effect.
Plus, by mistake or divine intervention, The Daily Mail publishes a scientifically correct article!
Leonardo da Vinci sends us off by reminding us that even 500 years ago, some people realised how necessary it is to conduct experiments.

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

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

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:50 Greetings

00:02:09 This Week in Skepticism

Astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, born 14 March 1835, believed he had discovered ‘canali‘ on Mars, which started long-lived speculations about life on Mars.

00:09:33 Pontus Pokes the Pope

Lots of developments to catch up with, mostly about sex. Also Francis makes clear that he is NOT a feminist… (shocker!)

00:18:07 Skeptical News

DENMARK: Major study shows no link between measles vaccine and autism

ICELAND: Measles epidemic reaches Iceland

INTERNATIONAL: Amazon takes down ‘Vaxxed’ from their store… but not in Europe

INTERNATIONAL: Facebook to take steps against antivaxx content

SWEDEN: Colloidal silver banned from major distributor ‘Life’ after scandal

UK / GERMANY: Millions spent on useless alternative cancer “treatment”

SWEDEN: Anthroposophical hospital “Vidarkliniken” will close down

HUNGARY: It’s a deal – the Hungarian Academy of Sciences loses control over funding research

INTERNATIONAL: University of California boycotts publishing giant Elsevier

HUNGARY: Pharmacies to inform patients about the lack of efficacy of homeopathic products upon selling them

00:48:17 Really Right

The Daily Mail (!) for bashing statin deniers

00:50:43 Quote and Goodbye
“Experiment is the interpreter of nature. Experiments never deceive. It is our judgment which sometimes deceives itself because it expects results which experiment refuses. We must consult experiment, varying the circumstances, until we have deduced general rules, for experiment alone can furnish reliable rules.”
/Leonardo da Vinci, famous Italian guy/

00:52:55 Outro

00:54:10 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #161 – Pixie Turner: No need to Diet

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On this Episode:

We catch up with Pixie Turner who has just released “The No Need to Diet Book”. She tells us all about the book, how most people has an unhealthy view on food and how we can become a little more relaxed about this. The book explains the reasons why diets and over exercising don’t work; the problems with eating for aesthetic goals; the science behind orthorexia, food anxieties and emotional eating, and other unhealthy habits formed by misinformation.

Please also check out our event page at http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Interview with Pixie Turner; Closing remarks; Outro; Out-takes

Show notes:

00:00:06: Intro

00:00:33: Greetings

00:01:44: Interview with Pixie Turner

00:39:53: Closing remarks

00:42:54: Outro

00:44:09: Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #157 – Oliver Lodge, 10 years of Merseyside Skepticism and more Macchiarini

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The band is back together for a new week of skeptical reports.
On this week: Oliver Lodge did not manage to prove psychics right, Pope Francis still believes in in celibacy (although his priests do not seem to), Natalie Grams is awarded Die Goldenen Blogger Prize, PSIRAM starts a skeptical blog series, Merseyside Skeptics celebrates 10 years in July and Spanish researchers (nobody expects the Spanish researchers!) tries to convince us about homeopathy.
Meanwhile, nobody has noticed(!) that the Macchiarini investigation has gone missing.
Enjoy!

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

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

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:51 Greetings

Susan Gerbic and Mark Edward are coming to the UK in April. Stewart Adams, inventor of a working(!) hangover cure, Ibuprofen, dies a 95.

00:05:55 This Week in Skepticism

On 10 February 1947, Oliver Lodge‘s last letter was opened, failing to prove that psychics are real. https://www.encyclopedia.com/people/science-and-technology/physics-biographies/sir-oliver-joseph-lodge

00:16:58 Pontus Pokes the Pope

Pope agrees with pope: Celebacy is “more important than life“. Sex abuse investigator of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Hermann Geissler, is (surprise, surprise) a sex offender himself and has to leave his position. Obviously he didn’t get the memo.

00:25:04 Skeptical News

GERMANY: Natalie Grams wins Die Goldenen Blogger Prize

GERMANY: The PSIRAM blog just launched a series of skeptical articles (Guide for Skeptics)

UK: Merseyside Skeptics celebrating 10 years (and what a fruitful 10 years it has been)

SPAIN: Spanish researchers publish seemingly convincing study on Homeopathy

00:38:10 Really Wrong:

SWEDEN: The Macchiarini investigation has gone missing

00:43:07 Radio spots

00:44:51 Quote
“We must trust to nothing but facts: These are presented to us by Nature, and cannot deceive. We ought, in every instance, to submit our reasoning to the test of experiment, and never to search for truth but by the natural road of experiment and observation.”
/ Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, French chemist.

00:47:09 Outro

00:48:24 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #156 – Edzard Ernst, Click to Pray, deaths by pseudotherapies and vaccination news

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This week we bring you lots news and topics from across Europe including Annika Merkelbach’s interview on Skeptical Inquirer’s website with Natalie Grams, whose book has just been published in English, Edzard Ernst‘s birthday, a praying application issued by the Vatican called “Click to Pray“, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee to deal with reported non-reportings of clinical trials, a great achievement by Ben Goldacre and the AllTrials campaign (one of the great projects of Sense about Science), how 1 on 20 adults in Britain do not believe the Holocaust actually happened, a Spanish report estimating deaths by pseudotherapies, BARF – special food for your pets as part of the raw food movement, a dangerous book just published with the title ‘Healing Cancer: A Homeopathic Approach’, the Ministry of Health in Ukraine finally taking action to tackle the measles epidemic in the country and the Swedish government deciding to finally include Chicken pox vaccinations in the national program.

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

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

00:00:26 Intro

00:00:51 Greetings

00:03:51 This Week in Skepticism

Edzard Ernst, born 30 January 1948.

00:10:25 Pontus Pokes the Pope

God comes on-line: Francis launches “Click to Pray“.
Plus what to look out for before the Bishops meeting in February.

00:16:23 Skeptical News

UK: House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on board with AllTrials done by universities to be reported

UK: Holocaust remembrence day: New poll finds one in 20 adults in Britain do not believe it happened

SPAIN: Estimation of how many deaths could be traced back to pseudotherapies

DENMARK / GERMANY: BARF for your pets!

INTERNATIONAL: Healing Cancer: A Homeopathic Approach

UKRAINE: Finally, actual action plans by the Ministry of Health to tackle disaster

00:47:47 Really Right:

SWEDEN: Chickenpox vaccinations to (finally) be included in national program

00:52:03 Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia

00:53:34 Quote
“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.”
/ Immanuel Kant,German philosopher

00:54:34 Outro

00:55:49 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #155 – Bacon, probiotics, the danger of acupuncture and the rise of anti-fluoridation

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This week we’re back to bring you news and info about a wide range of topics including Francis Bacon and his importance in the development of #science, how the ‘good pope’ John Paul II was a misogynist, why we admire the works of Sense about Science so much and how they came up with yet another campaign that deserves much attention (the ‘Evidence Hunter Activity Pack’), how facilitated communication is a thing in Sweden despite all the evidence that suggests it does not work at all, why we should be cautious with consuming #probiotics (thanks to Prof. Edzard Ernst for the heads up), plus Skepkon 2019, the German annual conference for skeptics organised by gwup | die skeptiker is coming up, while a Swedish acupuncturist is on trial for almost killing two patients and the county of Killarney in Ireland calls to remove #fluoride from drinking water, despite the lack of any indications that it could be harmful (while its benefits are many).

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

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

00:00:00 Intro

00:00:27 Greetings

00:04:33 This Week in Skepticism

Francis Bacon: English philosopher and Statesman, born on 22 January 1561.

00:09:54 Pontus Pokes the Pope

John Paul II once refused to shake Irish President’s hand because she was not a man, and Cardinal Arborelius threatens to leave Swedish Missionary Council because of abortions.

00:16:28 Skeptical News

UK: New educational material developed by Sense About Science: Evidence Hunter Activity Pack

SWEDEN: Facilitated communication

INTERNATIONAL: Probiotics are not risk free

GERMANY: Tickets released for SkepKon 2019

SWEDEN: Acupuncturist on trial for almost killing two customers

00:38:28 Really Wrong: IRELAND: Killarney Council wants to ban water flouridation

00:41:07 Farewell

00:43:04 Quote
“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”
/Francis Bacon

00:43:54 Outro

00:45:09 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #154 – Parli.co with Turi Munthe

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On this Episode:

This time with a very interesting interview with Turi Munthe (@turi), founder of Parli.co. Parli is a new web resource aiming to (yes it’s ambitious!) document all opinions in the world.
Give it a listen! It’s not as crazy as it may sound and it has potential to become a great asset for skeptics.

Please also check out our event page at http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Interview with Julia Offe; Closing remarks; Wikipedia spot; Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Show notes:

00:00:07: Intro

00:00:33: Greetings

00:02:14: Interview with Turi Munthe

00:36:31: Farewell

00:39:37: Outro

00:40:52: Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #152 – Year End 2018

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A bit of a different episode this week, released on the last day of the year to remind our listeners (and ourselves) of the most important things that happened in 2018. Lots of interesting stuff and also what to look forward to in 2019.
We wish you all a really Happy New Year, and we’ll be seeing you!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Checking in with András; Woo in 2018; Skeptical initiatives 2018; Skeptical Awards 2018; QED; The ESP highlights of 2018; Outro; Out-takes

Show Notes:
00:00:00 Intro

00:00:28 Greetings

00:04:44 Checking in with András

00:11:06 Woo in 2018

00:13:53 Skeptical Initiatives in 2018

  1. Natalie Grams: Her book now available in English
  2. Massimo Polidoro: Strane Storie
  3. ProVaxx Challenge:  Czech Skeptics
  4. Factfulness: Hans Rosling’s Posthumous Book

00:15:56 Skeptical Awards in 2018

00:21:26 QED – Question, Explore Discover 2018

00:24:28 The ESP Highlights of 2018

00:36:15 Outro

00:37:30 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #151 – Newton’s birthday, the Pope’s promise, CICAP’s new chapter & Xmas in Sweden

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

Show Notes:
00:00:00 Intro

00:00:28 Greetings

00:06:36 This Week in Skepticism

  • Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642), brilliant figure of science and a keen alchemist.

00:12:29 Pontus Pokes the Pope

Pope: Church Will ‘Never Again’ Cover Up Clergy Sex Abuse.

00:19:13 Skeptical News from around Europe

  1. Italy: A new chapter of CICAP
  2. Ukraine: Measles epidemic is still here
  3. Spain: Spanish chiropractors fear for their jobs
  4. Sweden: Christmas is NOT renamed ‘Winter Celebration’

00:28:38 Skeptical Christmas Songs

00:29:17 Quote

“We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. To this purpose the philosophers say that Nature does nothing in vain, and more is in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity, and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.”
1st rule (of 4) of scientific reasoning
/Isaac Newton, The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687), 3rd edition (1726)/

00:32:09 Outro

00:33:23 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep #149 – Julia Offe

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On this Episode:

This week Pontus and Jelena talks to German Science Communicator and Skeptic Julia Offe. Julia Offe has a PhD in molecular biology and is active within GWUP, the German Skeptics. We talk about the recently announced “Das Goldenes Bretts”-awards and other GWUP activities, as well as the Science Slam events that Julia is promoting in many different places with huge turnouts.

Please also check out our event page at http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Interview with Julia Offe; Closing remarks; Wikipedia spot; Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Show notes:

00:00:07: Intro

00:00:34: Greetings

00:03:11: Interview with Julia Offe

00:38:09: Closing remarks

00:45:41: Radio Spot

00:47:16: Farewell

00:47:48: Outro

00:49:03: Out-takes