Tag Archives: Annika Merkelbach

TheESP – Ep. #176 – Fighting Pseudo-therapies

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This week we clarify the difference between a ‘skeptic’ and a ‘denier’ when it comes to climate change and plug the Rationalist International Conference (Cambridge, 27-28 July) before Jelena debunks the myth that an American businessman once got tricked into buying Tower Bridge in London.
In a special interview we talk to Fernando Cervera, one of the founders behind the European manifesto against pseudo-therapies.
Pontus pokes the pope for the way the Catholic Church keep screwing (pun intended) their congregations.
Then we get a new segment, ‘Annika Reports!’, where Annika Merkelbach interviews speaker and archaeologist Mirko Gutjahr at Cologne Skeptics in the Pub.
In the news this week, we have the results from the world’s biggest study of vaccine attitudes, UK holidaymakers are warned to get vaccinated before visiting Europe and a Spanish doctor is suspended for promoting the old myth that vaccines cause autism.
Finally, we hand out over a million Really Wrong awards(!) to everyone that have signed Boiron’s desperate petition to keep public funding in France for useless homeopathy.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Interview with Fernando Cervera; Pontus Pokes the Pope; Annika Reports!; News; Really Wrong; Quote; Outro; Out-takes

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

00:00:55 Intro

00:01:19 Greetings

We clarify the difference between a Skeptic and a climate change denier and highlight that the Rationalist International Conference takes place in Cambridge 27 – 28 July.

00:07:38 This Week in Skepticism

On 30 June In 1894, Tower Bridge across the River Thames in London was officially opened by the Prince of Wales and it is now very much an icon of the city. However, the story about how Robert P McCulloch was conned into buying London Bridge thinking he actually paid for Tower Bridge in 1968 is just an urban myth.

00:12:24 Manifesto against Pseudo-therapies – Interview with Fernando Cervera

00:21:39 Pontus Pokes the Pope – Neither compassion nor compensation

It’s all about the money: Rather than compensating their victims, Catholic US dioceses transfer their assets to other entities and declare bankruptcy.

00:25:46 Annika Reports! – Interview from SiTP in Cologne with Mirko Gutjahr

00:32:46 Skeptical News

INTERNATIONAL: Biggest global study on vaccine attitudes

UK: UK health authority tells holidaymakers to get vaccinated to go to Europe

SPAIN: Spanish doctor suspended for claiming vaccines cause autism

00:41:34 Really Wrong

Over a million Really Wrong awards(!) to everyone that have signed Boiron’s desperate petition to keep public funding in France for useless homeopathy.

00:44:56 Quote and Goodbye
“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
/ Galileo Galilei, 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642. Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer and polymath. Also notably, not a fan of the Pope /

00:46:39 Outro

00:47:54 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #175 – The Brilliant Mind of Gwyneth Paltrow

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This week we remember Willem (‘Wim’) Betz, the iconic Belgian physician, researcher and skeptic, co-founder of SKEPP (Belgian Skeptic Organisation) and CSICOP fellow, who sadly passed away on 8 June.
Pontus reports his experiences at the big political event in Stockholm last week (Järvaveckan) and then Jelena talks about the life and times of William Crookes, who was a brilliant scientist, but also a believer in paranormal phenomena.
When Pontus pokes the Pope, we find that Pride month is not for the Vatican, who felt the need to issue a 31-page document to say that trans people ‘annihilate the concept of nature’. We then enjoy the three remaining SkepKon interviews by Annika Merkelbach.
In the news this week, the German minister of health takes a stand against ‘gay conversion therapy’; we urge scientists, researchers and medical practitioners to sign the manifesto against pseudotherapies and a Swedish on-line casino gets its license revoked for taking unfair advantage of their customers. Zotaro teams up with Retraction Watch to alert people about retracted studies, homeopathy seems about to be losing funding in France, and Snopes debunks the claim that Facebook’s Shake-and-Report function leads to people being banned on Facebook. Anti-abortion sentiments are spreading to Europe from the US and the Italian parents who treated their boy with homeopathy get convicted in court.
To rap it all up, we strongly disagree with the ‘Brilliant Minds’ Foundation that apparently believes that Gwyneth Paltrow has one…

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

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

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:50 Greetings

We report on the sad passing of Willem ‘Wim’ Betz, the long time Belgian champion of skepticism, activist and fellow of CSICOP and much more. Pontus tell us of Järvavecken, the huge political event in Stockholm which he attended last week with the Swedish Skeptics, along with 53,000 members of the public.

00:06:14 This Week in Skepticism

Sir William Crookes; 17 June 1832 – 4 April 1919. Great british chemist and physicist who attended the Royal College of Chemistry but also was a believer in spiritualism

00:11:48 Pontus Pokes the Pope

First a smaller correction form last week’s report about Cardinal Pell and then a clarification from teh Vatican (as if we ever needed one) about their feeling about trans people and anybody else who don’t fell comfortable with the gender they got assign at birth. Oh, and it’s fine to intervene against children’s rights, even againts the will of their parents.

00:16:08 Final SkepKon interviews, by Annika Merkelbach

We get the remaining SkepKon interviews from our marvelous reporter on the ground, Annika Merkelbach. This week:
Gerald Sorko (Active around @sitpkoeln)
Dr. Stephanie Dreyfürst (@SDreyfrst)
Dr. Nikil Mukerji (@nikilmukerji)

00:29:50 Skeptical News

GERMANY: Minister of Health wants to ban gay conversion therapy

INTERNATIONAL: Spanish manifesto against Pseudotherapies goes international

SWEDEN: License withdrawn for large on-line casino

INTERNATIONAL: RetractionWatch teams up with Zotero and provides retraction alerts

FRANCE: Homeopathy in trouble

INTERNATIONAL: Does Facebook Have ‘Shake-to-Report’ Feature That Lands Users in ‘Facebook Jail’?

NORWAY: Abortion rights under pressure

ITALY: Parents of boy who died because of homeopathy convicted of manslaughter

00:50:48 Really Wrong

‘Brilliant minds’: Barack Obama, Greta Thunberg – and Gwyneth f-cking Paltrow(!)

00:54:21 Quote and Goodbye
“A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth”
/ Albert Einstein 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955, German-born theoretical physicist /

00:57:06 Outro

00:58:21 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #174 – Eating beaver

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This week András sticks his neck out, announcing that he will give a talk at the upcoming CICAP Fest in Padua in September – in Italian!
We then learn about Margherita Hack who was a formidable Italian astronomer, skeptic and co-founder CICAP, we hear more interviews from SkepKon, curtesy of special correspondent Annika Merkelbach and hear how Cardinal Pell is trying to get out of his legal problem while Francis are creating new ones. Meanwhile the Vatican has spent a fortune to stop legal protection of child abuse victims in the US.
Britt Hermes has won her court case (yay!), Sweden has a big public debate regarding the future of religious free-schools and there is a promising Hungarian initiative to get critical thinking into the education system.
Several UK papers foolishly repeat nonsense from social media about a young woman’s death in the Netherlands, we push for the Fight-the-Fake campaign and celebrate that a fellow skeptic has been elected into the Danish parliament (‘Folketinget’).
Finally, the Polish minister of Agriculture promotes eating beaver, which sounds so much better than it is…

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Interviews from SkepKon; 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

András is going to give a talk at CICAP Fest in Padua in September – in Italian!

00:05:13 This Week in Skepticism

Born on 12 June 1922: Margherita Hack, Italian astrophysicist and activist who was one of the most important in her field in Italy. She was also a co-founder of CICAP.

00:10:14 SkepKon interviews, by Annika Merkelbach

Two more interviews from SkepKon by our special on-site reporter, Annika Merkelbach. This week Dr. Anna Beniermann (@annabeniermann, mailto:Anna.beniermann@hu-berlin.de)
Dr. Holm Gero Hümmler (@hummler, quantenquark.com)

00:15:34 Pontus Pokes the Pope

Pell’s appeal is going worryingly well, the abuse cases are too many to handle for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the Catholic Church has spent a fortune to stop legal protection of child abuse victims. And the Lord’s prayer has aparently been wrong for 2000 years.

00:20:56 Skeptical News

GERMANY: Britt Hermes wins court case initiated by cancer quack

SWEDEN: Big debate regarding religious free schools after the recent scandals

HUNGARY: Educational program to achieve a critical approach to media consumption

THE NETHERLANDS: No, a Dutch teenager did not get assisted euthanasia because of depression after being raped

INTERNATIONAL: Fight the Fake website / compain

DENMARK: Danish General Election: Skeptic Stinus Lindgreen elected MP

00:37:35 Really Wrong

Polish Minister of Agriculture wants to eat beaver (and not in the fun way)

00:43:14 Quote and Goodbye
“The general root of superstition: namely, that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss; and commit to memory the one, and forget and pass over the other.

/ Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, QC, an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist, and author /

00:44:18 Outro

00:45:33 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #173 – The ‘Tender Pope’, Homeopathy and SkepKon interviews

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This week we catch up a bit regarding VoF (the Swedish skeptics) and talk about a new Manifesto against pseudoscientific treatments. We also get a bit nostalgic about a UK referendum about Europe – in 1975.
Then we get two interviews from SkepKon by our special correspondent on the ground, Annika Merkelbach. We check in with Francis who has been in Romania and also apparently is happy to cultivate his future legacy as the ‘tender’ pope.
Sense About Science calls for volunteers for their Evidence Week, Amazon, Facebook and Youtube take a stance against MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution) and other dangerous nonsense, and University of Vienna makes an effort to repair its past endorsement of homeopathy. More news about Natalie Grams and the totally bogus legal threat she is facing and also that her organisation, Homeopathy Information Network, has launched a repository of excellent information in English.
The fake cancer drug Rigvir has now been de-registered by the State Agency of Medicines (ZVA), but some forces are still pushing for continued distribution. In Belgium, a consumer protection organisation speaks up against homeopathy, and then we end by giving a Really Wrong award to Keele University for keeping a an anti-vaxxer and bad researcher on their payroll.

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

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

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:50 Greetings

Some catching up regarding VoF, aka the Swedish Skeptics who will have a tent at Järvaveckan in Stockholm 12-13 June. If you’re in the neighborhood you should come and say hi!
We also welcome the initiative to a new European manifesto against pseudoscientific ‘treatments’ and we urge everyone to sign it.

00:13:39 This Week in Skepticism

6 June 1975: UK embraces Europe in referendum, putting “the uncertainty behind us” regarding the Common Market. Ooh, if only!

00:15:55 SkepKon interviews, by Annika Merkelbach

Two interviews from SkepKon by our special on-site reporter, Annika Merkelbach. This week we here from Dr. Claudia Preis (@PCandlovingit) and Philip Schunke (@pschunke)

00:24:06 Pontus Pokes the Pope

Frankie has been on a PR-tour in Romania. He is also preparing his future legacy as the ‘tender’ Pope (sounds yummy!).

00:28:28 Skeptical News

UK: Evidence Week

INTERNATIONAL Amazon, Facebook and YouTube Take Action against Health Misinformation

AUSTRIA: Medical University of Vienna makes progress in teaching medical students about SCAM

GERMANY: Update on last week’s news about Natalie Grams

GERMANY: INH launched a renewed website

LATVIA: Rigvir is de-registered but the circus is not over yet

BELGIUM: Belgian consumer protection organisation speaks up against homeopathy

00:48:53 Really Wrong

To Keele University for allowing a UK Professor who is linking vaccinations to autism to raise money through their funding portal.

00:53:44 Quote and Goodbye
“Science … warns me to be careful how I adopt a view which jumps with my preconceptions, and to require stronger evidence for such belief than for one to which I was previously hostile. My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonise with my aspirations.”
/Thomas Henry Huxley, British biologist and a prominent defender of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection/

00:55:28 Outro

00:56:43 Out-takes

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. #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