TheESP – Ep. #177 – Monarchy is stupid!

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This week Jelena discloses the location of her new place to live – and it’s far away! Then we hear about how Pasteur would not have been even close to pass today’s ethical guidelines when he tested his rabies vaccine, that the Catholic Church will discuss marriage for priests but rather walk out of the game than play football against pro-choice opponents.
A huge meta-analysis covering 60 million people clearly shows the benefits of HPV vaccinations, the Good Thinking Society needs our help in challenging the PSA over homeopathy accreditation and France will stop funding homeopathy which directly hits the finances of Boiron.
A much-publicized study is very premature in claiming that there is a link between microbiomes and autism, Iceland recognizes the need to allow for gender neutral names and absurdly under the legal system in Sweden, your man gets a milder sentence for beating you, if it turns out you have “provoked him” by being unfaithful.
Finally, apropos Prince Charles’ latest endorsement of homeopathy, Pontus goes on a rant against monarchy and hands him a Really Wrong award.

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

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

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:50 Greetings

Big news everyone: Jelena goes all American! (But nothing changes for the show…)

00:04:16 This Week in Skepticism

On 6 July In 1885: Louis Pasteur saves boy from rabies with his new vaccine, but also cut quite a few corners in ways that would never be allowed today (if even then).

00:10:50 Pontus Pokes the Pope – Married priests? Maybe, but only if far away!

Priests to be married? Not anytime soon and not anywhere near Rome, but a big synod will discuss it in Rome in October. Plus, the female Vatican soccer team walks out on a game rather than face pro-choice protests.

00:14:48 Skeptical News

INTERNATIONAL: Huge meta-analysis confirms how well HPV Vaccination programs work

UK: Good Thinking files Judicial Review over PSA reaccreditation of Society of Homeopaths

FRANCE: Boiron shares down 22% after HAS’s recommendation to stop funding homeopathy

INTERNATIONAL: Backlash for study of microbiome’s importance in autism

ICELAND: Gender neutral given names and family names allowed

SWEDEN: Supreme court ruling still in effect: If you have been unfaithful, your man gets a milder sentence when he beats you

00:29:54 Radio Spot

00:31:47 Really Wrong

Prince Charles has been announced a patron of the Faculty of Homeopathy which illustrates why monarchy is a stupid system.

00:35:44 Quote and Goodbye
“Science makes people reach selflessly for truth and objectivity; it teaches people to accept reality, with wonder and admiration, not to mention the deep awe and joy that the natural order of things brings to the true scientist.”
/ Lise Meitner, 7 November 1879 – 27 October 1968. Austrian-Swedish physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics /

00:36:41 Outro

00:37:56 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #176 – Fighting Pseudo-therapies

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This week we clarify the difference between a ‘skeptic’ and a ‘denier’ when it comes to climate change and plug the Rationalist International Conference (Cambridge, 27-28 July) before Jelena debunks the myth that an American businessman once got tricked into buying Tower Bridge in London.
In a special interview we talk to Fernando Cervera, one of the founders behind the European manifesto against pseudo-therapies.
Pontus pokes the pope for the way the Catholic Church keep screwing (pun intended) their congregations.
Then we get a new segment, ‘Annika Reports!’, where Annika Merkelbach interviews speaker and archaeologist Mirko Gutjahr at Cologne Skeptics in the Pub.
In the news this week, we have the results from the world’s biggest study of vaccine attitudes, UK holidaymakers are warned to get vaccinated before visiting Europe and a Spanish doctor is suspended for promoting the old myth that vaccines cause autism.
Finally, we hand out over a million Really Wrong awards(!) to everyone that have signed Boiron’s desperate petition to keep public funding in France for useless homeopathy.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Interview with Fernando Cervera; Pontus Pokes the Pope; Annika Reports!; News; Really Wrong; Quote; Outro; Out-takes

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

00:00:55 Intro

00:01:19 Greetings

We clarify the difference between a Skeptic and a climate change denier and highlight that the Rationalist International Conference takes place in Cambridge 27 – 28 July.

00:07:38 This Week in Skepticism

On 30 June In 1894, Tower Bridge across the River Thames in London was officially opened by the Prince of Wales and it is now very much an icon of the city. However, the story about how Robert P McCulloch was conned into buying London Bridge thinking he actually paid for Tower Bridge in 1968 is just an urban myth.

00:12:24 Manifesto against Pseudo-therapies – Interview with Fernando Cervera

00:21:39 Pontus Pokes the Pope – Neither compassion nor compensation

It’s all about the money: Rather than compensating their victims, Catholic US dioceses transfer their assets to other entities and declare bankruptcy.

00:25:46 Annika Reports! – Interview from SiTP in Cologne with Mirko Gutjahr

00:32:46 Skeptical News

INTERNATIONAL: Biggest global study on vaccine attitudes

UK: UK health authority tells holidaymakers to get vaccinated to go to Europe

SPAIN: Spanish doctor suspended for claiming vaccines cause autism

00:41:34 Really Wrong

Over a million Really Wrong awards(!) to everyone that have signed Boiron’s desperate petition to keep public funding in France for useless homeopathy.

00:44:56 Quote and Goodbye
“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
/ Galileo Galilei, 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642. Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer and polymath. Also notably, not a fan of the Pope /

00:46:39 Outro

00:47:54 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: https://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. #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. #166 – A Black Hole, Two Popes and HPV vaccination works

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This week we celebrate the first picture of a black hole, Samuel Hahnemann’s birthday and the fact that we can poke two Popes in one week. HPV vaccination is shown to really work, a Spanish Bishop sells gay ‘cure’ courses, babies cannot live on sunshine and laughter and in Hungary you better follow the vaccination schedule for your child.
Also: Fines for Jehovah’s Witnesses, Edzard Ernst goes to a SCAM conference, Norwegian government anonymizes job applications and NHS in the UK takes further steps against homeopathy.
Finally, it turns out that Scotland has some strange rules that give the church a bypass on democracy.

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope(s); News; Really Wrong; ;Radio Spot; Quote; Outro; Out-takes

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

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:51 Greetings

First picture of a black hole! Pontus argues with climate change deniers after a panel debate during the Science Festival in Gothenburg; The Uncertainty Handbook needs translators

00:15:19 This Week in Skepticism

Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (German: [ˈhaːnəman]; 10 April 1755 – 2 July 1843) was a German physician, best known for creating the pseudoscientific system of alternative medicine called homeopathy.

00:24:01 Pontus Pokes the Pope(s)

Double whammy! Pope Benedict comes back for a rematch as Francis tells a student not to ask so many dumb questions

00:30:43 Skeptical News

SCOTLAND: HPV immunisation of 12 and 13-year-old girls has led to 89% decline in disease

SPAIN: Bishop in ‘gay cure’ controversy defended by church

SWEDEN: Baby almost dies from a diet of vegan food and sunshine

HUNGARY: Hungarian couple’s appeal rejected at the Constitutional Court regarding their vaccine exemption

SWEDEN: Follow up from 2 weeks ago: Jehovah’s witness who showed homophobic films gets 4000 Euro fine

FRANCE: Edzard Ernst on SCAM practice in France

NORWAY: Government wants to anonymize job applications

UK: Homeopathy prescribing set to be blacklisted under NHS England plans

00:57:19 Really Wrong

Unelected church representatives in local Scottish councils

01:03:19 Radio Spot

Laura Brennan, HPV vaccination champion

01:01:29 Quote and Goodbye
“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”
/Charles Darwin, 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882, English naturalist, geologist and biologist/

01:04:05 Outro

01:05:20 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

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 #064, feat. Florent Martin

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Florent Martin

This week we interviewed Florent Martin, who’s one of the founders of the French organisation Observatoire Zététique that investigates unusual claims in Grenoble and all over France.

Segments

Intro; Greetings & Feedback; Interview with Florent Martin; Farewell; Out-takes

Show notes:
00:00:00
INTRO music

00:00:36
Greetings & feedback

00:07:23
Interview with Florent Martin

00:52:22
Farewell

00:54:00
Outro

00:55:15
Out-takes

Episode #061

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This week we are talking about well known quack and discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield and his campaign promoting ‘Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe’, a pseudo-documentary that promotes the false idea of vaccines causing autism and then many other things.

If you’re interested in the events happening across Europe, please visit our calendar page.

Segments
Intro; Greetings & Feedback; This Week in Skepticism; Skeptical News; Analysis; Really Right; Quote

Show notes:
00:00:00
INTRO music

00:00:26
Greetings & feedback

00:10:05
This Week in Skepticism
Galileo Galilei, the father of mothern science.

00:20:39
Skeptical News

  1. Hungarian fitness guru and his crusade against sugar has turned even more absurd
  2. Sweden Democrat opposes local bicycle plan – because heavy breathing is not environmentally friendly
  3. Robert Young (author of ‘The pH Miracle’) charged over death of cancer patient.
  4. Russian Academy of Sciences denounces homeopathy
  5. Wikipedia editors decide The Daily Mail should not be used as a reference in articles

00:38:20
Analysis: How different countries across Europe set out to tackle the problem of fake news.

00:51:14
Really Wrong
Really Right: Prof Hans Rosling for educating the world with facts

01:00:07
Quote
“You look at science (or at least talk of it) as some sort of demoralising invention of man, something apart from real life, and which must be cautiously guarded and kept separate from everyday existence. But science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.” /Rosalind Franklin, English chemist and X-ray christallographer/

01:01:55
Outro

01:03:10
Out-takes