Tag Archives: ComCept

TheESP – Ep. #219 – Wining about COVID-19 (cheers!)


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This week Deborah Hyde joins us to bring you news and interesting topics to cover with us. We start by mentioning how VoF (Sweden), the GWUP (Germany), ComCept (Portugal) and ARP-SAPC (Spain) make efforts to provide their readers with accurate and reliable information in the times of COVID-19.
Then Deborah gives us a brief overview of the history of quarantines, before we turn into discussing Cardinal Pell’s Right-Wing conspiracy coockoo and the Pope being useless.
A separate segment of COVID-19 update is followed by the news that include a UK holistic doctor recommending homeopathy against the novel coronavirus, a somewhat questionable study that claims to show the prevalence of TCM in different countries in the fight against the pandemic, how the Spanish Science Network Programme 2020 goes completely online, Danish researchers finding no benefit from treating asthma patients with homeopathy and reflexology alongside conventional treatments, how Facebook aims to warn users about coronavirus hoaxes, Swedish doctors and scientists selling stuff after preliminary results and naming it ‘Anoroc’, John Ioannidis comparing 100 best selling books on nutritional health with no surprising results, Natalie Grams going back to practiting medicine and doing less of educational work in the future, the Spanish prize offered for theatrical works criticising pseudotherapies and CICAP Live being launched on YouTube bringing Italian audiences a whole lot of science and critical thinking.
Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier gets this week’s Really Wrong prize for claiming that SARS-CoV-2 was manufactured from HIV and thus feeding conspiracy theories.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; A Brief History of Quarantines; Pontus Pokes the Pope; COVID-19 Update; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:52 GREETINGS

  • Pontus’ online talk in Swedish:

  • Downloadable German translation of ‘The Conspiracy Handbook‘ by Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook
  • ComCept’s compilation of online material on Covid-19 for Portugese speakers
  • ComCept’s online talk wih Diana Barbosa and João Monteiro:

  • A compilation of accurate and reliable info on Covid-19 for Spanish readers

0:17:23 A Brief History of Quarantines – by Deborah Hyde

0:34:58 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Pell Goes Right-Wing Conspiracy Coocoo

0:43:09 COVID-19 Update

0:56:19 NEWS

  1. UK: Holistic doctor recommends homeopathy against COVID-19
  2. INTERNATIONAL: Questionable study shows prevalence of TCM in different countries in the times of COVID-19
  3. SPAIN: Spanish Science Network Programme 2020 goes online
  4. DENMARK: Danish researchers prove (yet again) that homeopathy and reflexology are useless. This time for asthma
  5. HUNGARY: Chaos around response to Covid-19 and online petition for more comprehensive testing
  6. INTERNATIONAL: Facebook warns users about coronavirus hoaxes
  7. SWEDEN: Doctors and Scientists found to sell ‘Anoroc’ over the internet
  8. INTERNATIONAL: John Ioannidis publishes a comparative study of bestselling nutritional health books – with no surprising results
  9. GERMANY: Natalie Grams goes back to practicing medicine
  10. SPAIN: Prize offered for theatrical works dealing with pseudotherapies
  11. ITALY: CICAP launches ‘CICAP Live’, a series of live online events where TV meets Skeptics in the Pub

1:26:27 REALLY WRONG
The Nobel Disease strikes again: Luc Montagnier claims SARS-cov-2 is manufactured from HIV

1:33:06 QUOTE AND FAREWELL

“Experiment is the interpreter of nature. Experiments never deceive. It is our judgment which sometimes deceives itself because it expects results which experiment refuses. We must consult experiment, varying the circumstances, until we have deduced general rules, for experiment alone can furnish reliable rules.”
/Leonardo da Vinci, Italian sculptor, painter and polymath/

1:35:02 OUTRO

1:36:17 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep #217 – Online skepticism vs politics and miracles

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ECSO President Claire Kraulik-Klingenberg joins us for this week’s episode to bring you news and topics from all over the continent.
Skeptics in the Pub Online is now a thing, popping up everywhere, while power grabbing by authoritarian governments seems to be the new, concerning trend.
We talk about whether Alfred Nobel read his own premature obituary, prompting him to start the awards named after him.
Then poor Pope Francis’ struggles are discussed while more Covid-19 magic is coming from Turin.
In the news, religious bullshit spread by the government in Israel, President Lukashenko of Belarus claiming a vodka a day keeps the virus away, Prince Charles not using homeopathy as a cure against COVID-19, Sense About Science calling upon the government for more transparency in their actions against the pandemic, extra caution needed in times of increased online activities, plus the Portugese skeptics’ Flying Unicorn Award categories explained. Also, conspiracy theories linking 5G to COVID-19 on the rise, while the German skeptics launch a page explaining COVID-related myths.
The alt-right website Samhällsnytt gets this week’s Really Wrong prize for claiming the Swedish health authorities are implementing “death forms”.

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

0:00:51 GREETINGS

0:14:02 THIS WEEK IN SKEPTICISM
On 12 April 1888, a French newspaper allegedly published an obituary for Albert Nobel, inventor of dynamite, calling him “”a merchant of death.”, prompting Mr Nobel to launch his esteemed award.

0:21:20 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
The War on Pope Francis, plus more Covid-19 Magic 

0:27:40 NEWS

  1. INTERNATIONAL: COVID-19 update
  2. ISRAEL: Religious bullshit spread by the government 
  3. BELARUS: President Lukashenko Claims Ice Hockey and Vodka Keeps covid-19 Away
  4. UK: Prince Charles’ office refutes AYUSH minister Naik’s Ayurveda curing Covid-19 claims
  5. UK: Sense About Science calls upon the government for transparency and an evidence-based approach
  6. INTERNATIONAL: The rise of opportunistic actions online
  7. PORTUGAL: The Flying Unicorn Award
  8. UK: Conspiracy Theories Linking 5G with Covid-19
  9. GERMANY: The GWUP website now features a list of COVID-19 myths

1:05:52 REALLY WRONG
Alt-right web site claims Swedish health authorities are implementing “death forms”

1:15:05 QUOTE AND FAREWELL

“I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.”
/Thomas Paine, English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary./

1:17:58 OUTRO

1:19:13 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #193 – Global Vaccination Summit w Ovidiu Covaciu

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This week we have a very interesting catch up with Ovidiu Covaciu who attended the International Global Vaccination Summit organised by the European Commission and the WHO. But before that we celebrate that Jelena singlehandedly (well, not really) made sure that the new Center for Population Health in her home city of Seattle was dedicated to Dr. Hans Rosling, the Swedish professor and science communicator. We also talk about how Pope John Paul II this week in 1996 admitted that evolution probably has some merits to it after all. That doesn’t necessarily mean he liked it much.
After the interview we poke the pope with some more Amazon news and the hilarious innovations of the Vatican to make use of modern technology. Yes, it’s the eRosary™, that nifty device we’ve all been waiting for! It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and send those Hail Marys to the heavens above at the flick of the wrist (literally).
In the news we find another win for the Good Thinking Society against Peter Popoff, we anticipate the yearly ComceptCon skeptical event in Portugal and go through how the Swedish Skeptics was invited by the government to give their opinion on the coming CAM-regulations. Then we go to Spain where the Spanish Skeptics at ARP-SAPC join others to fight the dangerous idea of Bio-Neuro Emotion.
We finish off with handing out a Really Wrong award to the Polish ‘Law and Justice’ party that has passed a law that says sex education for kids is a form of paedophilia. Really, they said that.
Oh, and there’s a surprise coming for our most faithful patrons – you can join them if you want to!
Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; Interview; 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

0:00:51 Greetings

The University of Washington in Seattle, basically on Jelena’s backyard, has dedicated their new building for the Center of Population Health to Dr. Hans Rosling, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

0:04:29 This Week in Skepticism

Pope John Paul II famously admitted that evolution makes sense on 22 October 1996. Better late than never!

0:08:26 Interview with Ovidiu Covaciu

Ovidiu Covaciu, the great Romanian vaccination champion, made sure he was invited to the Global Vaccination Summit in Brussels, organised by the European Commission and the WHO. We get a first hand report on what he told them that they should do!

0:28:29 Pontus Pokes the Pope – more on the Amazon, plus Praying via Bluetooth

The Vatican makes hilarious efforts to stay relevant in the age of ‘the Internets and all that’. Meet the eRosary, your hotline to God!

0:33:35 News

UK: Ofcom fines Ben TV £25,000 for Peter Popoff infomercials

PORTUGAL: ComceptCon 2019

SWEDEN: As Requested by the Government, the Swedish Skeptics (aka VoF) Has Given Their Opinion on Suggested CAM Regulation Changes

SPAIN: ARP-SAPC (Spanish Skeptics) joins the request that the College of Physicians of Murcia stop the activity entitled “A course of miracles”

00:49:09 Really Wrong: To the Polish ‘Law and Justice’ party for passing a law that criminalizes sex education for kids and says it is a form of paedophilia 

00:52:16 Quote and Farewell

“The one real goal of education is to leave a person asking questions.”

/ Max Beerbohm, 24 August 1872 – 20 May 1956. English essayist, parodist and caricaturist /

00:53:59 Outro

00:55:14 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #169 – SkepKon Raffle, MSSX, Hitler’s diaries and Papal Heresy

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In this week’s episode we announce the winner of our SkepKon raffle! We also invite you to take GapMinder’s test to see how well you know the state of the world before we catch up with Alice and Laurie from the Merseyside Skeptics who tell us all about their upcoming 10 year celebration: MSSX on 6 July. You should go!
This week 36 years ago, Stern Magazine had to admit that the Hitler diaries they had spent 19 million marks on were fake.
Pope Francis is being accused of heresy by Catholic priests and Pontus is trying to see the papal future.
In the news we report that GWUP’s skeptical Heinz Oberhummer award goes to “No Such Thing as a Fish”, that Sweden has NOT banned mandatory vaccinations and that you can already now start nominating candidates for the Flying Unicorn Awards in Portugal.
We also learn from a study by Glasgow University just how bad it is to take diet and health advice for Twitter (just don’t!).

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

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

00:00:36 Intro

00:01:00 Greetings

Check how much you know about how the world really is by taking the GapMinder test! Can you beat Pontus and András who were both 11 / 13?
Plus we announce the raffle winner of the ticket to SkepKon 19 in Augsburg 30 May-1 June!

00:09:24 Interview

Alice Howarth and Laurie Philips joins us to tell all about the MSSX celebrations in Liverpool on 6 (and 7) July! You should defenitely go!

00:19:44 This Week in Skepticism

On 6 May 1983, Stern Magazine admitted that they had spent 19 million marks on fake Hitler diaries.

00:28:08 Pontus Pokes the Pope

Francis thinks that gossiping hairdressers is something he should be bothered with, while at the same time a band of priests charge him with heresy! Plus, Pontus sees the future.

00:34:36 Skeptical News

AUSTRIA: “No Such Thing As A Fish” gets Heinz Oberhummer Award 2019

SWEDEN: Old rumors resurface, but Sweden has not banned mandatory vaccination

PORTUGAL: Nominations for the Flying Unicorn Awards 2019 now open

00:46:06 Really Wrong

Social media influencers give bad diet and fitness advice eight times out of nine

00:51:42 Quote and Goodbye
“In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence.”
/ David Hume, 7 March 1711 to 25 August 1776. Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist /

00:52:35 Outro

00:53:50 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

TheESP – Ep. #147 – Frankie eats lasagna, heroes of science comm & Spanish government fighting CAM

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This week our three hosts discuss a great number of things including how a delusional German physician got away with killing people, and how Pope Francis thinks right to tackle poverty.
Loads of good news this week:
The John Maddox Prize goes to Britt Hermes and Terry Hughes this year, ARP-SAPC reaches 20 years of activity, the Spanish government moves against pseudo-therapies in health care, the BBC upholds the Good Thinking Society’s complaint about a homeopathy-related phone-in and ComCept awards journalist Vera Novais for advocating science as opposed to nonsense. Also, on the less positive side, we report on child marriages no longer being recognised in Sweden, no matter what the culture of the country of origin is, authors of a paper based on a national survey into CAM use in the UK suggest NHS funding for bogus therapies and christian parents threatening legal action for something that wasn’t what it looked like.
And the Norwegian Labour Party gets this week’s Really Right prize for suggesting the revoking of VAT excemption for alternative medicinal practices.

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

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

Show Notes:
00:00:27 Greetings

00:06:21 This Week in Skepticism

Josef M. Issels (November 21, 1907 – February 11, 1998) was a German physician known for promoting an alternative cancer therapy regimen, the Issels treatment. He claimed to cure cancer patients who had been declared incurable by conventional cancer treatments.

00:15:59 Pontus Pokes the Pope

Francis eats lasagna with the poor and then says the world will end.

00:26:23 Skeptical News

UK: John Maddox Prize announced for 2018

SPAIN: ARP-SAPC publishes number 50 of The Skeptical magazine for the promotion of reason and science, it was published the first in June 1998, more than 20 years ago.

SPAIN: Spain moves to ban pseudo-therapies from universities and health centers

UK: BBC upholds Good Thinking complaint against BBC Radio Leeds homeopathy phone-in

UK: National survey of CAM-use ends up suggesting NHS funding for alternative therapies?

SWEDEN: Child marriages no longer recognised in Sweden

PORTUGAL: ComCept Award for Science Journalism goes to Vera Novais

UK: Legal action from Christian parents to stop school’s LBTQ-parade

00:49:58 Really Right: Norwegian Labour party suggests revoking Alt Med VAT exemption

00:55:46 Quote

“Every time we let ourselves believe for unworthy reasons, we weaken our powers of self-control, of doubting, of judicially and fairly weighing evidence. We all suffer severely enough from the maintenance and support of false beliefs and the fatally wrong actions which they lead to, and the evil born when one such belief is entertained is great and wide.”
/William Kingdon Clifford/

00:57:46 QSoW Ad

00:59:17 Outro

01:00:32 Out-takes

Episode #120 – Homeopathy Awareness Week, anniversaries, awards and Fact-checking Day

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On this Episode:

It was Homeopathy (and Chiropractic) Awareness Week, but wee had a lot of other stuff like anniversaries and awards to talk about on this episode, including 2 years of Information Netzwerk Homeopathie with Natalie Grams, 6 years of both ComCept running skeptical activism in Portugal and Spanish Skeptics running the show Pensando Críticamente.
Also, ComCept just announced their Flying Unicorn Awards, whilst CICAP has announced that there would be a CICAPfest held this year in Padova. In France, physicians appeal to get rid of alternative medicine, and in Italy, Massimo Polidoro recently launched his new video series on YouTube!
Let’s go nuts and follow Virgin Galactic on their journey to space tourism, but don’t forget Mark Zuckerberg’s promises to keep fighting against false information and brainwashing with Facebook.

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

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Various updates; Updates from around Europe; Quote; Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Show notes:

00:00:00: Intro

00:00:27: Greetings

00:02:25: Updates from around Europe

00:40:55: Quote

​”I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical.” – Arthur C. Clarke

00:41:56: Outro

00:43:04: Out-takes

Episode #116 – Diana Barbosa and the latest in Portugal

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On this Episode:

Diana Barbosa is back to the show after two years to bring us up to date with skepticism related issues in Portugal. She talks about regulations regarding alternative medicine, the advance of the antivax movement, the upcoming Flying Unicorn Awards and a lot more.

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

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

Show notes:

00:00:08
INTRO

00:00:35
Greetings
Andras is officially a candidate for the Parliament of Hungary in his district
The official website of the Office of Elections

00:09:00
Interview with Diana Barbosa

00:51:09
Farewell

00:53:02
Outro

00:54:17
Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #115 – Books and app for skeptics, exorcism, vaccinations and INH gone international

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

Show Notes:

00:00:27 Greetings

00:16:56 This Week in Skepticism

00:21:01 Skeptical News

00:40:57 Really Wrong

00:44:04 Quote

“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 Christian philosopher/

00:45:17 Outro

00:46:32 Out-takes