Tag Archives: ESC2019

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 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. #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