Tag Archives: Italy

TheESP – Ep. #188 – European Skeptics Congress 2019, part 2

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This week the team is all together at last! András us tells a bit about his adventures at the incredibly exiting CICAP Fest in Padua, more on this to follow next week.
In the main part of the episode we release the next set of interviews recorded at the European Skeptics Congress 2019! This time you will hear from participants and activists as well as get a sneak peek behind curtain from some of the organizers and volunteers.
Oh, and we have a new logo, thanks to Matt Kemp (@kemp_matt)! Thank you so much!
Enjoy!

Interviews in this episode: Jozef van Giel, Dieter Byttebier, Élisabeth Feytit, Paul de Belder

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

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

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:51 Greetings

00:07:01 Interview: Jozef van Giel, podcaster

Jozef runs the Dutch speaking podcast Kritisch Denken (‘Critical Thinking’) and was also responsible for sound, video and recording at the ESC 2019.

00:19:56 Interview: Dieter Byttebier, debater

Dieter is the founder of the English speaking Meetup group ‘People with a Realistic World View’.

00:29:46 Interview: Élisabeth Feytit, film director, author and editor, as well as podcaster

Élisabeth is working on the film ‘Neo Guru’ (formerly know as ‘Memoirs of a Former Mystic’) about a former New Age ‘guru’ that abandoned her career to instead promote rational and critical thinking. Élisabeth also runs the French speaking podcast ‘Méta de Choc’.

00:38:58 Interview: Paul de Belder, Belgian activist and member of the skeptic organisation SKEPP

Paul de Belder was the main responsible (of course with the help of many others) of pulling everything together at the ESC 2019.

00:44:52 Farewell

00:48:44 Outro

00:49:59 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. #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. #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. #165 – April fools, Rigvir Scandal and Unicorn Awards

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This week we talk about some great April Fools’ pranks, we look at the Vatican’s new child abuse law, mumps outbreak in Madrid, climate change models being validated in new observations. We get a first report on why the fake cancer cure Rigvir is being banned (look out for more Rigvir news in the future), we look at how Catholic priests are burning books in Poland, how there’s a battle between Russian homeopaths and skeptics and whether the recent Swedish CAM inquiry is good news or not. The French academies of Medicine and Pharmacy have suddenly discovered that homeopathy is not a thing, Portuguese Skeptics COMCEPT has presented this year’s Unicorn Awards and the new Italian government again demonstrates that they are anti-science.

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

00:00:51 Greetings

More dodgy research on homeopathy for Dengue Fever; Elections in Ukraine; Does health matter in the European Parliament elections?; COMCEPT Manifesto; Debating Anthroposophs in Sweden; Reminder of the SkepKon raffle – Send an email to us and you can win a ticket!

  • https://edzardernst.com/2019/03/more-dodgy-research-on-homeopathy-for-dengue-fever/
  • https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47767440
  • https://epha.org/does-health-matter-in-the-european-parliament-elections/
  • http://comcept.org/2019/03/26/manifesto-saude/

00:15:36 This Week in Skepticism

April Fools’ 2019: Internet Pranks

00:22:07 Pontus Pokes the Pope

New Vatican law against abuse – not going far enough

00:26:09 Skeptical News

SPAIN: Mumps outbreak in Madrid: Dozens of cases reported at Pontifical University of Comillas

UKRAINE: Rate of measles in Ukraine is rising again: 35K cases reported year-to-date

SWEDEN: Climate change: Average temps in the north rising faster than global temps

LATVIA / WORLD: Fake cancer drug Rigvir banned

POLAND: PONTUS: Catholic Priests in Poland Burn Harry Potter Books to Eradicate Evil

RUSSIA: Russian homeopaths strike again (twice) in virology journal — and a skeptic strikes right back

SWEDEN: Government Inquiry about CAM

FRANCE: The French Academies of Medicine and Pharmacy have just ousted homeopathy

PORTUGAL: Prémio Unicórnio Voador 2018 (Unicorn Awards)

00:59:59 Really Wrong

Italian Government to stop issuing vaccination certificates

01:03:19 Quote and Goodbye
“The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.”
/ Oscar wilde, Irish poet and playwright /

01:04:32 Outro

01:05:47 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. #163 – Hitler’s Pope, vaccine hesitancy, clinical trial reporting and blasphemy laws

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In this episode: ‘This week we bring you topics and news about SkepKon in Germany and the 38th Anniversary of the premier of Quark, Italy’s most famous science show hosted by Piero Angela.
Plus we talk about abuse in Poland by catholic priests and Pius XII being referred to as Hitler’s pope, how the supplement market is full of bogus claims, the Swedish National Library publishing the cost of accessing scientific studies, how the rise of both vaccine hesitancy and populism might be connected, an update on the state of the measles epidemic in Europe, the UK government promising a national strategy to tackle the lack of clinical trial reporting.
Plus, blasphemy laws accross Europe discussed after Femen protesters’ case hits the news in Spain.

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

00:00:50 Greetings

00:08:26 This Week in Skepticism

Italian science program Quark, hosted by CICAP founder Piero Angela, premiered March 18, 1981.

00:13:53 Pontus Pokes the Pope

Abuse in Poland and Hitler’s Pope

00:20:38 Skeptical News

INTERNATIONAL: Most of the supplement market is bogus

SWEDEN: Swedish National Library publishes the cost of accessing scientific studies

INTERNATIONAL: Populist politics and vaccine hesitancy in Western Europe: an analysis of national-level data

INTERNATIONAL: Measles update:

UK: Government promises national strategy to boost clinical trial reporting

00:42:16 Really Wrong

Blasphemy in Spain: Appeal court overturns acquittal of Femen protesters

00:49:11 Quote and Goodbye
“The search to know has always been characterized by the need to doubt, the need to be critical, including the need to be self-critical.”
/Gerhard Casper, German-born professor, former president of Stanford University/

00:50:12 Outro

00:51:27 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #150 – Antivax Italian politicians, Russian homeopathy and baby acupuncture

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

Show Notes:
00:00:27 Intro

00:00:55 Greetings

00:06:16 This Week in Skepticism

1972 – Apollo program: Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt begin the third and final extra-vehicular activity (EVA) or “Moonwalk” of Apollo 17. To date they are the last humans to set foot on the Moon (or any other planetary body outside Earth).

00:09:45  Pontus Pokes the Pope

Cardinal George Pell in court for charges of sexual misconduct towards children.

00:15:58 Skeptical News from around Europe

  1. Italy: Italy’s anti-vax health minister fires 30 experts from Higher Health Council
  2. Russia: Homeopathy in disguise
  3. Sweden: Macchiarini charged in court after all
    • https://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/overaklagaren-fattar-beslut-om-paolo-macchiarini/
  4. UK: Charity Commission publishes new guidelines for CAM charities
  5. Spain: The Skeptical Circle of Spain announces winners of the Pepe Cervera and the José Carlos Pérez Cobo prize.
  6. Sweden: Baby Acupuncture against Colic
  7. Belgium: Belgian authorities investigate case of autistic woman’s euthanasia

00:43:20 Really Right

  • Ovidiu Covaciu, educating people about vaccinations in a Facebook group.

00:46:38 Quote

“We don’t need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respectful.”
/Taylor Swift, American singer and songwriter/

00:48:01 Outro

00:49:16 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #140 – Massimo Polidoro and CICAP Fest 2018

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On this Episode:

This week we welcome Massimo Polidoro back to our show. This time he tells us about how the latest edition of CICAPFest went (it was a great success in Padova, Italy). We also asked him about his upcoming books and more.
We also announced our participation in QED where we will record our first ever live show on the Podcast Track in Manchester. Stay tuned!

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

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Interview; Farewell; Outro; GSoW radio ad

Show notes:

00:00:07: Intro

00:00:59: Greetings

00:04:34: Interview with Massimo Polidoro

00:36:37: Farewell

00:39:47: Outro

00:41:02: Out-takes