TheESP – Ep. #235 – Show Me a Real Acupuncturist


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This week Brian is back(!) as András has gone missing(?) We chat again about the wonderful online events out there: you should definitely check out the Edinburgh Skeptics on the Fringe productions. We then talk about the Wow! signal that was recorded this week in 1977 and also find that Francis seems to have done something good for once.

In this week’s news:
– Two outbreaks in Mamming, Bavaria
– Danish abattoir closed over COVID-19 cluster
– Disinformation not only consumed by young or uneducated
– Countries with mandatory BCG vaccination might actually be better off in the fight against COVID– 19
– 10 Coronavirus scams to be weary of
– WHO calls for caution about Russian vaccine roll-out
– No need to celebrate: 0.01 degrees less global warming by 2030 due to the pandemic
– NHS hiring a spiritual healer
– No positive outcomes at all from having free-schools in Sweden
– UK government may intervene to curb dangerous ‘cancer cure’ propaganda

The prize for being Really Wrong goes to NICE in the UK (the National Institute for Health Care Excellence) for recommending acupuncture, despite any evidence or science.

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:54 GREETINGS

0:06:33 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
the Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal received on August 15, 1977, by Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope in the United States.

0:12:40 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Francis surprises everyone by appointing women, and Benedict is feeling poorly (but “that’s to be expected”)

0:19:00 NEWS

1:07:12 REALLY WRONG
NICE recommendations on acupuncture

1:14:43 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“A scientific theory
Isn’t just a hunch or guess
It’s more like a question
That’s been put through a lot of tests
And when a theory emerges
Consistent with the facts
The proof is with science
The truth is with science”
/ They Might Be Giants, From the song “Science Is Real”. Opening track of their kids album ‘Here comes science”.

1:16:45 OUTRO

1:18:00 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #234 – Lysenkoism, science and BS

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This week we first chat about some of the great current skeptical online events, like NECSS and Skeptics in the Pub. We also enjoy the good news that the worlds largest fusion reactor is now being assembled in the South of France.

In this week in history we learn about “Lysenkoism” which Stalin decided should replace all other science. In current affairs Pope Francis has issues with Chinese infiltrators and French women who demands to be bishops.

In this week’s news:
– What’s the truth about face masks and covid-19?
– What lies behind conspiracy theories
– Misleading claims on pre-existing conditions and Covid-19 deaths go viral
– Hungarian company selling bogus ‘pro-insulin c-peptide’ product banned from advertising
– COVID conspiracy theories skyrocket in Romania and number of cases increase
– Use of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) by French cancer patients
– Update – Retraction Watch gets a response from editor-in-chief of journal that published worst paper of 2020
– Chronic back pain and spinal manipulation – is it a good treatment?
– Stonehenge’s long-lived mystery solved
The prize for being Really Wrong goes to all the German demonstrators that marched in Berlin last weekend, spreading crazy ideas and endangering the public and themselves.

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:54 GREETINGS

0:09:46 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Lysenkoism. On 7 August 1948, Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences announced that from that point on Lysenkoism would be taught as “the only correct theory”.

0:13:19 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Two scary adversaries for Frankie: Chinese government and women asking for influence

0:22:08 NEWS

1:10:28 REALLY WRONG
Anti-covid demonstrators in Berlin

1:16:34 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“Humans can be literally poisoned by false ideas and false teachings. Many people have a just horror at the thought of putting poison into tea or coffee, but seem unable to realize that, when they teach false ideas and false doctrines, they are poisoning the time-binding capacity of their fellow men and women.”
/ Alfred Korzybski, July 3, 1879 – March 1, 1950 was a Polish engineer, mathematician, and philosopher, most famous for creating the theory of General Semantics /

1:18:04 OUTRO

1:19:19 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #233 – Homeomathematics

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This week starts with the wonderful news that Annika is now a full time ESP member and co-host. We couldn’t be happier!

We start with a minor correction to a story from last week and then chat a bit about the latest astronomy news before we celebrate this week in history: Happy birthday to the great skeptic and parapsychology researcher Susan Blackmore! (Also see our episode #088 when we had her as a guest)

Giving the Pope more or less a pass this week, we then dive into the news:
– Covid-19 update
– Austrian Science Busters
– (Not so) scientific paper on covid and 5G is withdrawn
– Another misleading “letter from a doctor” regarding covid-19 is making the rounds
– How to engage conspiracy theorists
– Climate change CO2 sensitivity
– Heatwave in Siberia melts ice in the Arctic Ocean
– German homeopathy study criticized
– Orbán keeps winning the fight against Hungarian free press
– UK to fight obesity by banning junk food ads
The prize for being Really Wrong goes to the scientific journal “Journal of Public Health: From Theory to Practice”. They totally failed the peer review process on a study that claims there is “mathematical proof” that homeopathy is effective against covid-19.

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:56 GREETINGS

0:11:15 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Susan Blackmore, was born on 29 July 1951 and is a British writer, lecturer, skeptic, broadcaster, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. Her fields of research include memetics, parapsychology, consciousness, and she is best known for her book The Meme Machine.

0:14:08 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Not much to add this week, except be kind to your grandpa and grandma…

0:15:14 NEWS

1:08:51 REALLY WRONG
“Journal of Public Health: From Theory to Practice” publishes study that promotes Homeopathy against covid-19

1:16:22 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.”
/ Karl Popper, Austrian-born British philosopher, academic and social commentator, 28 July 1902 – 17 September 1994 /

1:19:19 OUTRO

1:20:32 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #232 – Assisted Death

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This week we welcome Annika back and first chat a bit about comets and astronomy and about some of the excellent online skeptical events there now is to follow, like the UK Skeptics in the Pub Online, the new Cologne events and Susan Gerbic’s About Time project.

In this week in history we hear about Carl Jung, who was born on 26 July in 1875. Just like Freud he got a lot of things terribly wrong, but his ideas still inspired a lot better psychology later on and they continue to be part of the present-day culture. Then we poke the pope and find that even though Francis appears to want to fight the sex abuse scandals, last week’s new guidelines confirm that the Church continues to get most of their priorities completely backwards.

Lots of corona in the news this week:
– The COVID19 infodemic re Western Europe
– Corona conspiracy myths in Germany
– Andrew Wakefield and other anti-vaxxers mobilising against a future corona vaccine and unfortunately it is working
– Hungarian guy gets convicted for coronavirus misinformation
– Austria’s relaxed rules on masks has bad effect on infection rates
– Google bans ads for conspiracy theories
– the PSA investigates the UK Society of Homeopaths for non-compliance
– Russia wages war on homeopathy
– Good Thinking Society helps the BBC in producing excellent documentary about fake cancers ‘cures’
– BMJ presents study on medical science communication in the age of disinformation
– Is the Russian Dyatlov mystery finally solved?

The prize for being Really Right (perhaps controversially) goes to a Swedish doctor who turned himself in for assisted death.

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:57 GREETINGS

0:13:42 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Carl Jung, born on 26 July 1875 continues to be an extremely influential figure in the history of psychology despite that he got most of it wrong.

0:20:08 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – New guidelines against sex abuse misses the point

0:28:58 NEWS

1:11:48 REALLY RIGHT
SWEDEN: Retired professor and MD turns himself in for assisted death

1:22:09 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“The impression that science is over has occurred many times in various branches of human knowledge, often because of an explosion of discoveries made by a genius or a small group of men in such a short time that average minds could hardly follow and had the unconscious desire to take breath, to get used to the unexpected things that came to be revealed. Dazzled by these new truths, they could not see beyond. Sometimes an entire century did not suffice to produce this accommodation.”
/ Charles Fabry, French physicist, 11 June 1867 – 11 December 1945. /

1:23:50 OUTRO

1:25:06 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #231 – How to Argue with a Racist, with Adam Rutherford

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This week we are joined by the brilliant British geneticist, broadcaster, science journalist and author, Dr Adam Rutherford.
He’s written several books of international acclaim like “Creation: The Origin of Life and the Future of Life”, “A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived”, “The Book of Humans: The Story of How We Became Us” and “Humanimal: How Homo Sapiens Became Nature’s Most Paradoxical Creature”.
Avid podcast listeners might know him from the BBC Radio 4 shows ‘Inside Science’ and ‘The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry’, but he also frequently appears on TV both as presenter and as an expert in genetics. Adam frequently appears as a speaker at Skeptics in the Pub events and on the same day this interview goes out he will be giving a talk on Skeptics in the Pub Online that bears the same title as his latest book, How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science and Reality.

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:33 INTRO

0:01:02 GREETINGS

0:05:36 INTERVIEW WITH DR ADAM RUTHERFORD

1:00:52 FAREWELL

1:04:24 OUTRO

1:05:39 OUT-TAKES


TheESP – Ep. #230 – Tinfoil hats against nonsense

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This week Europe has lost a star in the sky and we hear about how Louis Pasteur managed to create a rabies vaccine back in 1885 (NB: he wasn’t even a medical doctor). Pope Francis seizes even more control about the Vatican’s finances and appoints an “extraordinary commissioner” to raid the entity looking after St Peter’s Basilica. Apparently, someone has been cooking the books.
In the news this week:
– After a new outbreak the German authorities suggest people stay at home for vacation
– Was SARS-CoV-2 really present in Barcelona in March 2019?
– WHO stops Hydroxychloroquine tests
– WHO launches new podcast – Health in Europe
– High risk for polio outbreak in Ukraine
– Russian disinformation operations revealed
– Swedish actor from “Fargo” creates documentary TV-series promoting bogus runestone in Minnesota
– What’s happening with Facebook?
– 5G towers burning in Limassol
– Climate change denier loses bet – has to pay up
– Hungarian National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition bans most homeopathic products from claiming specific therapeutic effects
– Our friend Holm Hümmler airs a documentary about conspiracy theories

To end the episode secondary school students in Germany get today’s Really Right Award for not backing down from their “tinfoil hat” project

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:53 GREETINGS

0:05:26 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Louis Pasteur, successfully demonstrated a working Rabies vaccine on 6 July 1885.

0:13:49 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – Frankie steps up the fight against financial corruption

0:13:28 NEWS

0:56:54 REALLY RIGHT
GERMANY: Secondary School students in Germany don’t back down from their “tinfoil hat” project

1:00:48 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“I am utterly convinced that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will eventually unite not to destroy but to edify, and that the future will belong to those who have done the most for the sake of suffering humanity.”
/ Louis Pasteur, French biologist, microbiologist and chemist. /

1:01:47 OUTRO

1:03:11 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #227 – Thank you, Jelena!

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This week we first learn about how the 1854 cholera outbreak led to advances in the knowledge about diseases and outbreaks thanks to the clever and rigorous work by the physician John Snow, now regarded as one of the founders of modern epidemiology. Pope Francis is getting closer to his vision of “a poor church for the poor”, perhaps just a little bit faster than he bargained for as the pandemic is hitting the Catholic finances. Then Andras delves into how we can begin to measure the success of covid-19 related restrictions.
In the news this week:
– Swedish Snake Oil advertisement is struck down
– Archaeologist sentenced for faking Basque finds
– Climate more sensitive to CO2 emissions than thought?
– Who killed the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme?
– Szekesfehervar budget cuts – nonessential vaccines are first to go
– The Aspen Institute’s ‘Good10 – The Pandemic Issue’ discussing many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic
– The return of the Mayan calendar – some myths refuse to die
– University of Vienna found a way to inoculate medical students about SCAM
The prize for being Really Wrong goes to doctors in Northern Ireland that continue to obstruct abortions even after the recent legalization!

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:26 INTRO

0:00:49 GREETINGS

0:06:36 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
John Snow, the father of modern epidemiology, died on 16 June 1858. He is famous for tracking down the source of the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak in London.

0:13:49 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – “The poor Church for the poor”

0:16:25 COVID-19 UPDATE

0:24:27 NEWS

1:00:58 REALLY WRONG
NORTHERN IRELAND: Doctors sabotaging legal abortions

1:04:28 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“Critical thinking is the only weapon and the only defense that the human being has against the dangers of life. Because if I do not think critically, I will be subject to all influences, to all suggestions, to all errors and to all the lies that are spread, and with which I have been indoctrinated since childhood.”
/ Erich Seligmann Fromm, social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. /

Thank you Jelena, we miss you already!

1:10:05 OUTRO

1:11:21 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #213 – Double feature – Lithuanian Skeptics plus Parlia.com

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This week we have no less than two separate interviews, both of which we’ve been looking forward to for some time.

First, we talk to Šarūnas Bačiliūnas, the founder of the rather new “Lithuanian Skeptic Youth” Organisation. Started from scratch in 2018 they organize events, workshops international exchanges and educate both the public and even teachers on critical thinking. Impressively they have already had the Lithuanian health minister as speaker on one of their skeptics in the pub and on top of that they are also doing charity work and are setting up a play about Polish-Lithuanian 17th century atheist Kazimieras Leščinskas (aka Kazimierz Łyszczyński), perhaps the first enlightenment man in Europe.

In our second interview we catch up again with Turi Munthe, founder of Parlia, “the Encyclopedia of Opinion”. Formerly known as Parli (see episode #154), Parlia is a wiki-type of database and website which aims to cover all existing opinions and all arguments for and against those opinions. During the Brexit debate, Turi came to the realization that the actual number of pros and cons to a position is surprisingly few and it is quite possible to map all of them in a structured way. The website is fully in place and all that is needed now is to increase the number of contributors and moderators to form a large enough community to create and maintain the content.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Interview with Šarūnas Bačiliūnas; Interview with Turi Munthe; Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

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

0:00:34 INTRO

0:00:55 GREETINGS

0:02:45 INTERVIEW – LITHUANIAN SKEPTIC YOUTH with SARUNAS BASCILIUNAS 

0:28:18 INTERVIEW – PARLIA with TURI MUNTHE

0:52:22 FAREWELL

0:52:33 OUTRO

0:53:48 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #212 – Corona Corona Corona

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This week it cannot be helped that a lot of the episode is about different aspects on the Coronavirus and Covid-19. But we also want to remind everyone about our SkepKon raffle where we have one ticket to hand out to the conference in Berlin 21 – 23 May! Just send us an email to participate.

After the greetings we hear about holocaust denier David Irving, who was declared bankrupt This Week in History in 2002, after he sued a writer for libel and lost the subsequent trial. Pontus Pokes the Pope and tells about the new “papal task force” that will try to get all local and national Catholic organizations to handle sex abuse scandals better.

In the news, nonsense Coronavirus information is peddled by Hungarian authorities, a TV channel in Norway says that you will be protected if you donate to them while in other places, homeopaths think empty sugar pills are better. We discuss how the outbreak is a breeding ground for conspiracy theories and hear that in the UK, the PSA reaccredits the Society of Homeopaths but under strict conditions. Further on the subject, a German court says homeopathy may be totally ineffective, but that is not their concern.

We finish with another Corona related item and hand out a Really Wrong award to Durek Verrett, the self-proclaimed shaman and the boyfriend of the Norwegian Princess Märtha Louise. He recently published a homemade “cure” for the covid-19 disease. Spoiler: the vodka is optional!

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:50 GREETINGS

Coronavirus update, plus a reminder that the SkepKon 2020 raffle is still on. Email us to win a ticket! And we got a shout-out on TRC, the Reality Check podcast.

0:07:55 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
David Irving, famous holocaust denier, was declared bankrupt on 4 March 2002, after losing a libel suit against a writer who published a book about his “research”..

0:13:49 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – Nobody Expects the Papal Task Force!

0:18:41 NEWS

0:45:53 REALLY WRONG
NORWAY: Norwegian Shaman and Boyfriend to the Princess, Durek Verrett, Publishes a “Cure” for Covid-19

0:51:53 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive”
/ Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian /

0:54:22 OUTRO

0:55:37 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #211 – Dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden

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This week we talk about the John Maddox Prize, the BBC’s new show series about Greta Thunberg and about Darren Brown, born on this day in 1971. Pontus Pokes the Pope and finally we get Francis’ take on celibacy in the Amazon (or do we?), and of course the highlights from the latest sex abuse scandals.
In the news we hear the latest regarding the CoViD-19 Coronavirus, more details about dangerous measles complications and check how much of the climate change debate that are driven by twitter-bots. The latest mass shooting in Germany shows that conspiracy theories are not something to take lightly, the Hungarian government sponsors creationist nonsense, Jeff Bezos finally announces some philanthropic activity and Scandinavian tele company Telenor launches HiperSchool in Hungary, a tool to teach young people how to handle Internet misinformation.
We end by handing a Really Right Award to the DA! art competition, arranged by Giordano Bruno Foundation and Natalie Grams.
Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:51 GREETINGS

Nominations for the John Maddox Prize open soon, Greta Thunberg gets her ‘own’ TV show on the BBC.

0:11:18 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Derren Brown was borne on 27 February 1971.

0:15:44 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – No Hanky-panky in the Jungle Please, We’re Catholic
Frankie did in the end not dare to let go of the celibacy rules in the Amazon. Also, Jean Varnier, founder of Catholic charity l’Arche abused at least six different women and de-frocked Cardinal McCarrick sent almost $1 million to a cult known for sex abuse (and no one knows where he is now).

0:31:14 NEWS

1:02:10 REALLY RIGHT
GERMANY: DA! art Prize Focusing on Pseudoscience with this Year’s Patron – Natalie Grams

1:08:06 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“If nature leads us to mathematical forms of great simplicity and beauty—by forms I am referring to coherent systems of hypothesis, axioms, etc.—to forms that no one has previously encountered, we cannot help thinking that they are “true,” that they reveal a genuine feature of nature…”
/ Werner Karl Heisenberg, German physicist, Nobel laureate, and one of the founders of the field of quantum mechanics /

1:09:50 OUTRO

1:11:05 OUT-TAKES