Category Archives: Podcast Archive

Archive of past episodes of TheESP – European Skeptics Podcast

TheESP – Ep. #241 – One Million Unanswered Prayers


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Pontus’ coming book

This week we first chat about András lending his voice acting skills to a sketch in the Skeptic Zone, Pontus teases the coming release of his sci-fi novel the Dooma and then we talk about the upcoming Italian CICAPFest. This year the conference takes place online for the three weeks(!) between 25 September and 18 October. There will be over 150 meetings and 185 speakers, and it will all be for free!
After that we get into the news:

  • No, dozens of countries didn’t order COVID-19 tests in 2018
  • Life on Venus?
  • Warmest summer ever for Northern hemisphere
  • The world’s troubling hotspots of vaccine hesitancy
  • NHS issued 2,000 homeopathic prescriptions in 2019 despite ban
  • A healthy diet more important than weight?
  • Ig Nobel Prizes 2020

The prize for being Really Wrong goes to Richard Gamble for “the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer” near Birmingham, England.

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

0:00:53 GREETINGS

0:11:12 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

0:15:29 PONTUS POKES THE POPE

0:21:52 COVID-19 Update

0:33:23 NEWS

1:03:14 REALLY WRONG

1:07:36 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them.”

/ Werner Karl Heisenberg (5 December 1901 – 1 February 1976). German physicist, Nobel laureate, and one of the founders of the field of quantum mechanics /

1:08:37 OUTRO

1:09:52 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #240 – SARS-CoV2 Virology w. Gábor Kemenesi

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This week we interview Hungarian researcher and virologist Gábor Kemenesi. He is a research fellow at the Virological Research Group within the Szentágothai Research Centre of the University of Pécs in Hungary, specializing in zoonoses, or viral diseases that spread from animals to humans. He’s also a member of Hungary’s COVID-19 Task Force for the research of the virus and in the last few months. He has become the number one go-to expert in the field for the country’s media, working hard to educate the public, debunking myths and fighting misunderstandings along the way.

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:34 INTRO

0:00:59 GREETINGS

0:05:18 INTERVIEW WITH GÁBOR KEMENESI

0:52:46 FAREWELL

0:54:46 OUTRO

0:56:00 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #239 – “Gossip is Worse than Covid”

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This week we start off with having a quick chat with our old buddy Michael (“Marsh”) Marshall regarding the relaunch of the UK magazine called the Skeptic.
In this week’s history segment we talk about the LHC that powered up 12 years ago this week without the world vanishing into a black hole, and then Pope Francis gets poked for several things, including his claim that gossip is worse than covid.
Speaking of covid-19, the pandemic gets a separate segment about the latest developments, before we get into the news:

  • The 1st randomised clinical trial of a Chinese herbal medicine for COVID-19
  • Medical Chamber issues statement condemning COVID-19 denier members
  • University of Kiel distances itself from infamous COVID-19 denier professor Sucharit Bhakdi
  • 30% of people in Spain have doubts about covid-19 vaccine
  • So, are women leaders really doing better in tackling COVID-19?
  • Survey – Young adults tend to take food supplements as replacement for drugs
  • Danish advocacy group against heart disease ends program involving healer
  • Grapefruit seed product that has everything in it but grapefruit seed extract
  • Latest book of Edzard Ernst ‘Chiropractic: Not All That It’s Cracked Up to Be’ published
  • New study shows difference in nerve cells before birth for autistic people

The prize for being Really Wrong goes to the bigoted Bishops in Poland who wants to start Church sanctioned conversion therapy clinics, fully aware that they do not work.

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:34 INTRO

0:01:01 GREETINGS

0:09:19 INTERVIEW with MICHAEL MARSHALL
The Merseyside Skeptics has taken over management of the UK magazine, “The Skeptic”.

0:24:30 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
At CERN in Switzerland the Large Hadron Collider (LCH) was powered up on 10 September 2008.

0:29:54 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
“Gossip is worse than covid”!

0:37:24 COVID-19 Update

0:43:21 NEWS

1:11:48 REALLY WRONG
Bishops in Poland Calling for Conversion Therapy Clinics

1:15:32 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“Even the fact that competent experts must serve under politicians of mediocre intelligence and little foresight is a problem that we are stuck with, because the experts themselves cannot agree on any major world issue. A logocracy of quarreling experts might be no better than the rule of the mediocrities to which we are subject. The declining intellectual quality of political leadership is the result of the growing complexity of the world. Since no one, be he endowed with the highest wisdom, can grasp it in its entirety, it is those who are least bothered by this who strive for power.”

/ Stanisław Lem, 12 or 13 September 1921 – 27 March 2006 was a Polish writer known for his satirical, philosophical and science-fiction works /

1:17:21 OUTRO

1:18:37 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #238 – Brian Deer and The Doctor Who Fooled the World


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This week we interview none other than Brian Deer, the investigative journalist that spent years digging up how the discredited ex-doctor Andrew Wakefield misled the public about the safety of vaccines. We dig deep into how Wakefield through dishonesty and deceit became the poster boy of the anti-vaxx movement and how his misinformation made it as big as it is today.

Deer’s new book “The Doctor Who Fooled the World: Andrew Wakefield’s war on vaccines” is out this week! Make sure to check it out!

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:33 INTRO

0:01:01 GREETINGS

0:02:21 INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN DEER

1:01:47 FAREWELL

1:04:49 OUTRO

1:06:05 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #237 – Plandemic II – worst movie ever

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This week András returns to the mothership to hear us discuss the UFO sighting in Cussac in France. Francis gets a pass this week and then we dive into the news:

– Covid-19 update
– Children in Germany are falling behind their vaccination schedules
– Does flu claim more deaths the covid-19?
– People who react negatively to rules and recommendations use more SCAM (so-called alternative medicine)
– Does homeopathy “also” work for women (spoiler: it does not work, period)
– Why is there a priest in the Swedish Corona commission?
– Unprecedented levels of CO2 rise caused by humans
– European Commission’s educational page tackling conspiracy theories

The prize for being Really Wrong goes to the producers and distributers of the dangerous and misleading (and idiotically named!) film “Plandemic: inDOCTORnation”.

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

0:00:55 GREETINGS

0:12:50 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
The famous UFO Sighting at Cussac in France took place on 29 August 1967.

0:18:08 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
We give Francis a rest this week…

0:18:44 NEWS

0:53:07 REALLY WRONG
Plandemic full feature film released

1:00:26 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“What is a scientist after all? It is a curious man looking through a keyhole, the keyhole of nature, trying to know what’s going on.”

/ Jacques-Yves Cousteau, French naval officer, explorer of all things related to water, a pioneering conservationist, filmmaker, photographer, author and co-developer of the “Aqua-Lung” /

1:04:06 OUTRO

1:05:22 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #236 – Martin Moder of the Austrian Science Busters


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This week we interview molecular biologist, science communicator and overall cool guy Martin Moder, who is one of the Austrian Science Busters and who is also active in the Austrian Society for Critical Thinking. We found ourselves discussing everything from the dangers of farting Coronavirus to GMO, philosophy, designer babies, how to make booze out of toilet paper and the optimal way of cutting a birthday cake. There were unexpected turns at every corner of this interview…
Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:34 INTRO

0:01:00 GREETINGS

0:05:26 INTERVIEW WITH MARTIN MODER

0:51:59 FAREWELL

0:54:44 OUTRO

0:55:59 OUT-TAKES

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