TheESP – Ep. #229 – Reality vs politics, lies and fairy tales

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This week we can’t help but mention the Polish presidential elections and Susan Gerbic’s latest interview with Pontus. We commemorate Ignaz Semmelweis on his birthday before moving on to deliberating over the future of the papacy.
In the news:
– Was the Tönnies incident with COVID19 due to a church service
– Didier Raoult doubles down on hydroxychloroquine
– Hungary’s new curriculum and history textbooks full of folk legends and misleading claims
– Measles update
– The latest and most sophisticated fake of the Loch Ness Monster
– Large wildfires in Siberia as reminder of climate change
– ARP-SAPC’s Sergio Lopez Borgonoz research grant now open for applications

This week’s Really Wrong Price goes to a Swedish elementary school for investing in bogus “protective equipment” against Wi-Fi.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; 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

“About time Presents – in conversation with…” – Pontus Böckman edition:
https://youtu.be/UhoY7YcR_7E

Susan’s other recent interviews:

0:09:37 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
1st July 1818 – Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis, “Saviour of Mothers”

0:17:45 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
The Next Pope: Two new books explore life after Francis

0:30:38 NEWS

  1. GERMANY: Was the Tönnies incident because of a church service?
  2. FRANCE: Didier Raoult’s Hydroxychloroquine claims get even more bizarre
  3. HUNGARY: New history textbook full of legends, errors and misleading information
  4. EUROPE: Measles update
  5. SCOTLAND: Latest evidence of the Loch Ness monster turns out to be fake too
  6. RUSSIA: Large wildfires after of 38° Celsius heatwave in Siberia
  7. SPAIN: ARP-SAPC’s Sergio Lopez Borgonoz paranormal investigation research grant open for applications

1:03:59 REALLY WRONG
Swedish elementary school invest in “protection” against wi-fi

1:07:38 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“To spread healthy ideas among even the lowest classes of people, to remove men from the influence of prejudice and passion, to make reason the arbiter and supreme guide of public opinion; that is the essential goal of the sciences; that is how science will contribute to the advancement of civilization, and that is what deserves protection of governments who want to insure the stability of their power.”
/George Cuvier, French naturalist, widely considered the founder of comparative anatomy and paleontology, 1810/

1:08:50 OUTRO

1:10:04 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #228 – Let Science Take the Lead

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This week Pontus and András bring you the latest from all over Europe mixed with some history and a little bit of Poking the Pope(s).
This week marks the 646th anniversary of the onset of the Aachen Dancing Plague. After exploring that phenomenon, we move on to how Pope Francis regards women and weather Palpatine is up to no good on his visit to his homeland Germany.
Then, in the news:
– COVID-19 superspreading centre in Gütersloch, Germany now in lockdown
– Swedish coronavirus quack bites the dust
– The Guardian’s article on revised climate models deemed misleading by experts
– Spanish authorities finally publish COVID-19 statistics
– ARP-SAPC’s Skeptical Magnifier Award announced
– Novartis stops Hydroxychloroquine study for lack of participants
– New survey in University of Oxford’s Digital News Reports shows how much people care about climate change
– Political consensus in Norway to remove VAT exemption status for SCAM practitioners
– European Commission identifies Russia and China as origins of disinformation campaigns
– Almost half of Italians would not get a COVID-19 vaccine

The Swedish Food Safety Agency gets this week’s Really Right price for stepping up against illegal food supplement ads.

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:25 INTRO

0:00:52 GREETINGS

0:03:11 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
24th June 1374 – “Medieval Dancing Plague” in Aachen, Germany

0:11:58 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Francis says “we” must respect women’s bodies – and then defines what “we” should use them for…

0:21:42 NEWS

  1. GERMANY: Meat processing plant outbreak in North Rhine Westphalia
  2. SWEDEN: Another corona quack bites the dust
  3. INTERNATIONAL: The Guardian’s article on revised climate models potentially misleading
  4. SPAIN: Authorities finally publish COVID-19 death statistics
  5. SPAIN: ‘Skeptical Magnifier’ Award announced
  6. SWITZERLAND: Novartis halts study for lack of participants
  7. INTERNATIONAL: Just how much do people care about climate change?
  8. NORWAY: Consensus to remove VAT exemption status for SCAM
  9. INTERNATIONAL: European Commission identifies Russia and China as responsible for disinformation
  10. ITALY: Almost half of Italians would not take a COVID19 vaccine

1:03:51 REALLY RIGHT
Swedish Food Safety Agency invites the public to report illegal ads for supplements against COVID19

1:08:45 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
„Science is constantly proved all the time. You see, If we took something like any fiction, any holy book, and any other fiction and destroyed it, in a thousand years’ time, that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book and every fact and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they’d all be back because all the same tests would be the same result.“
/Ricky Gervais, British comedian, actor and producer/

Thank you Jelena, we miss you already!

1:09:54 OUTRO

1:11:08 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #226 – Credo, ergo sum


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A bit less COVID-19-heavy episode this week with the news that May 2020 saw the highest concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere ever recorded and it was also the hottest May ever.
6 years ago, creationism as science in schools was banned in the UK and hallelujah, the Vatican is launching their new channel ‘VatiVision’ and a documentary series ‘The Great Popes’.
In the news this week:
– Nicotine replacement therapy is the new craze among possible COVID-19 treatments lacking evidence of efficacy
– The bad science story of Hydroxychloroquine that shook the world
– Millions seem to believe the Treaty of Trianon expires after 100 years
– People fall for the story of dozens of give-away TVs by Curry’s
– The German Medical Student Association issues a declaration against homeopathy
– Let’s see behind the curtain regarding the ‘Swedish Model’ once again
– Massimo Polidoro launches his Patreon page – with a twist.
This week’s Really Right price goes to Dutch anaesthesiologist Gerald Woerlee for publishing a free book ‘Anesthesia and the Soul’ that helps us understand out-of-body-experiences (OBE).

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; COVID-19 Update; 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

Welcome to the start of a hot summer!

0:10:45 This Week in Skepticism

As of June 9, 2014 teaching creationism as science was banned in public schools in the UK

0:21:07 PONTUS POKES THE POPE

Francis is a bigot, plus “watch out Netflix – here comes VatiVision!”

0:30:10 NEWS

  1. EU/FRANCE: News about possible nicotine therapy lead to surge of tobacco products 
  2. INTERNATIONAL: Bad science on all sides of Hydroxychloroquine
  3. HUNGARY: Millions believe the Treaty of Trianon expires after 100 years
  4. UK: No, nobody is handing out free TVs
  5. GERMANY: Medical students issue declaration against homeopathy
  6. SWEDEN: The “Swedish model” may very well have problems – but the reporting of it is even worse
  7. ITALY: Massimo Polidoro starts his Patreon page – with a twist

1:05:55 REALLY RIGHT
Dutch anaesthesiologist Gerald Woerlee, author of the free book “Anesthesia and the Soul”

1:09:21 QUOTE AND FAREWELL

“I’m comfortable with the unknown — that’s the point of science. There are places out there, billions of places out there, that we know nothing about. And the fact that we know nothing about them excites me, and I want to go out and find out about them. And that’s what science is. So I think if you’re not comfortable with the unknown, then it’s difficult to be a scientist… I don’t need an answer. I don’t need answers to everything. I want to have answers to find.”
/Professor Brian Cox, British physicist, presenter, author and musician/

1:10:39 OUTRO

1:11:54 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #210 – Cranky Uncle vs Climate Change with John Cook

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On this episode we interview Australian cognitive scientist and founder of the Skeptical Science website John Cook about his upcoming book ‘Cranky Uncle vs Climate Change’ that showcases typical climate science denial situations in a cartoon format. We also talk about other projects John has been busy with, including the Cranky Uncle app, The Debunking Handbook and a lot more.
Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:33 INTRO

0:00:57 GREETINGS

0:05:34 INTERVIEW – JOHN COOK of SKEPTICAL SCIENCE

0:56:01 FAREWELL

0:58:21 OUTRO

0:59:36 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: https://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. #182 – Anthroposophical Ups and Downs

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This week we reflect on the current heatwave and on climate change, we give a shout-out to James Randi who turned 91 this week(!) and Pontus pokes the pope for letting his Archbishops lash out against vulnerable minorities.
In the news it’s confirmed (again) that vaccinations have nothing to do with autism, we hear how Anthroposophy nuts has managed to weasel their way into the University of Basel and how pseudoscience for children is fought by good people in Spain.
Retraction Watch is turning nine years and you should support them and again in Spain there are good forces working against pseudoscience by cleverly promoting policies regarding homeopathy. Finally, we deliver a Really Right award to the Swedish government who as of 1 September has rendered the Anthroposophy-nonsense history in Sweden.

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

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

00:00:37 Intro

00:01:00 Greetings

There are heatwaves everywhere and guess what? We are to blame. Edzard Ernst has a new boo out and you can bring your copy to Ghent in a couple of weeks to get it signed!

00:11:19 This Week in Skepticism

On 7 August 1928 James Randi, ‘Grandfather of Skepticism’, was born. Happy birthday and many happy returns!

00:15:14 Pontus Pokes the Pope – In Poland, ‘Rainbow plague’ is the new threat replacing communism.

00:27:08 Skeptical News

INTERNATIONAL: A new study reinforces the conclusion that autism is primarily genetic

SWITZERLAND: A chair of anthroposophical medicine at the University of Basel

SPAIN: Position Statement From The Spanish Association Of Paediatrics Medicines Committee Concerning The Use Of Alternative Medicine And Pseudo-Science In Children

INTERNATIONAL: Retraction Watch turning nine years

SPAIN / EUROPE: Spain wants EU law changed that classifies homeopathy as medicine, and you should help!

00:45:33 Really Right: The end of Anthroposophical ‘medicine’ in Sweden!

00:51:33 Radio Spots

00:53:45 Closing remarks, Quote and Goodbye

Seven games to teach kids Fact-checking

Quote:
“Once your faith, sir, persuades you to believe what your intelligence declares to be absurd, beware lest you likewise sacrifice your reason in the conduct of your life. In days gone by, there were people who said to us: ‘You believe in incomprehensible, contradictory and impossible things because we have commanded you to; now then, commit unjust acts because we likewise order you to do so.’ Nothing could be more convincing. Certainly anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.”
/ François-Marie Arouet, AKA Voltaire, French writer and philosopher/

00:59:21 Outro

01:00:36 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #180 – Sander van der Linden on Bad News and prebunking

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This week András interviewed Sander Van Der Linden, who is a social psychologist and has done extensive research into how we should approach the fight against #fakenews and the spreading of #misinformation about #climatechange, #vaccinations and all sorts of popular social issues by applying prebunking instead of debunking. He and his team at Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab have developed a tool that can be used to inoculate people against psychological manipulations and it goes by the name ‘Bad News’.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Interview; Farewell; Outro

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

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:50 Greetings

00:02:13 Interview with Sander van Der Linden

00:50:53 Farewell

00:51:55 Outro

TheESP – Ep. #170 – Absence of Evidence is Evidence of Nonsense

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In this week’s episode we talk about ‘kwakzalverij’, the Pope’s new Olympic ambitions (and female football team) and other papal adventures. There are steep fines coming for German vaccination dodgers and a study finds that absence of evidence is evidence on non-sense.
MedWatch gets the Carl Sagan award, there is another example of vegan parents that jeopardize the lives of their children and French authorities are stepping up the fight against homeopathy (Boiron is not happy).
We also look into whether the code of the Voynich manuscript really has been broken and how another populist right wing party tries to score points by questioning climate change.
We end with awarding a Really Right to a football player for not wanting to take advantage of how hard it really is to understand the odds of gambling.

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

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

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:49 Greetings

A correction about the Heinz Oberhummer award and special greeting from Pilip Schunke, the winner of the SkepKon raffle! Plus our Patreon page now have different levels of support, check it out!

00:08:01 This Week in Skepticism

On 15 May 2009, the Dutch organization Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij (VTDK) won a court case regardning to use of the word Kwacksalver (‘quack’) when describing certain so called ‘health providers’.

00:14:35 Pontus Pokes the Pope

Francis goes for the Olympics, praises Mother Teresa and makes reporting abuse mandatory – but gets it wrong.

00:21:00 Skeptical News

GERMANY: A new bill aiming to threat parents refusing vaccination for their kids with fines

SWITZERLAND: Youtube health advice – The Absence of Evidence is Evidence of Non-Sense

GERMANY: The Carl Sagan Award (1000 EUR prize) goes to MedWatch – Award ceremony at SkepKon

SWEDEN: Another child suffer from parents insisting on vegan food

FRANCE: French authorities likely to stop reimbursements for homeopathic remedies soon

UK: Voynich manuscript deciphered?

GERMANY: AfD aims for political gains by denying climate change

00:57:21 Really Right

Football player Kim Källström, for not promoting gambling

01:02:53 Radio Spot

01:04:33 Quote and Goodbye
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
/Maria Skłodowska-Curie, 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934, Polish-born scientist and two-times Nobel laureate/

01:06:11 Outro

01:07:26 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #167 – Notre-Dame, Measles quadruples and Hungary wants to control Facebook

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This week we discuss the Notre-Dame fire before we celebrate this week’s icon, the Hungarian astronomer and skeptic Iván Almár. The Measles epidemic is getting even worse with the WHO showing a 300% global increase so far this year, Metabiota has launched a new website for tracking epidemics, Anthroposophs claim to be for vaccinations (they’re really not) and the Hungarian government wants to control Facebook.
Also, the “Finns party” switches to a new conspiracy theory when the old one is not attractive enough, the MMR vaccine does NOT cause diabetes and Brussels thinks 5G testing is using people as Guinea pigs. We learn (again) that stop eating sugar does not cure cancer and we give a shout-out to the Portuguese skeptics, ComCept, that are now on Patreon.
We close the show by saluting one of the champions of keeping the Internet a little bit saner: Snopes.com

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; News; Really Right; Quote; Outro; Out-takes

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

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:51 Greetings

We discuss the fire at Notre-Dame and ask you to support Rectraction Watch and also talk about the latest Skeptical Club in Budapest who debated how science fiction can shape society.

00:21:35 This Week in Skepticism

Iván Almár, born 21st April 1932. He is an Hungarian astronomer and prominent figure of SETI and the Hungarian skeptic movement.

00:26:32 Skeptical News

FRANCE: Good news: Measles cases go down in France

INTERNATIONAL: Bad news: The number of measles cases globally quadruple in 2019

INTERNATIONAL: Metabiota launches new epidemic tracker website

INTERNATIONAL: Are Anthroposophy enthusiasts for or against vaccinations?

HUNGARY: Facebook vs Hungarian government – who will win?

FINLAND: Right wing party switches to new conspiracy theory after old one loses attraction

UK: Diabetes claimed on Facebook post to be a side effect of MMR. It is not.

EU: Brussels puts 5G testing on hold in case it’s harmful

UK: Stopping all sugar intake won’t cure cancer

PORTUGAL: ComCept goes onto Patreon

01:01:04 Really Right

Snopes.com are Really Right for relentlessly debunking stupidity – most recently about Notre-Dame.

01:04:45 Quote and Goodbye
“Science, my lad, has been built upon many errors; but they are errors which it was good to fall into, for they led to the truth.”
/ Jules Verne, French writer pioneering science-fiction – Quote from Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864) /

01:07:28 Outro

01:08:43 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: https://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