TheESP – Ep. #224 – An AntivaxxiNational crisis


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This week Pontus and Andras try their best to keep your spirit up while talking about the saddening advent of conspiracy theories and an ever growing antivaccination sentiment.
We talk about the great and controversial scientist, the father of glaciology, Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, try to make sense of the Pope’s latest actions as part of the Vatican’s financial reform, bring you a bit of the latest analyses of the COVID-19 situation and lots of news:
– A church congregation in Frankfurt becomes a virus hotspot
– Sweden’s approach looks very different when under the microscope
– Are we loosing against the antivaccination movement?
– Homeopathy International sneakily advises people to take homeopathic products
– Italian MP calls for the arrest of Bill Gates
– Nearlf half of tweets about COVID-19 likely come from bots
– “5GBioShield” hits the market
– WHO report says 80 million children not vaccinated because of COVID-19
– Hungarian snake oil salesman under scrutiny by Competition Authority

The Romanian Ministry of Health gets this week’s Really Wrong Price for failing to provide the necessary vaccination information and immunize the public against measles.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; COVID-19 Update; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:50 GREETINGS

0:06:41 This Week in Skepticism
Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (May 28, 1807) – Swiss-American biologist and geologist, founder of glaciology – and creatinist

0:15:05 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Francis is back on St Peter’s Square, plus he’s starting to consolidate the fortunes of the Church

0:20:06 COVID-19 Update

0:40:41 NEWS

  1. INTERNATIONAL/UK: Homeopathy International – giving advice on what product to take against Coronavirus
  2. ITALY: MP calling for the arrest of Bill Gates and spreading conspiracy theories
  3. INTERNATIONAL: Nearly half of accounts tweeting about Covid-19 are likely bots
  4. UK: 5G bioshield hitting the market
  5. INTERNATIONAL: WHO – at least 80 million children not vaccinated because of COVID-19
  6. HUNGARY: Competition authority scrutinising snake oil salesman

0:59:52 REALLY WRONG
Romanian Ministry of Health failing regarding vaccination information

1:02:39 The Skeptic Zone Ad

1:03:17 Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia Ad

1:04:58 QUOTE AND FAREWELL

“The facts will eventually test all our theories, and they form, after all, the only impartial jury to which we can appeal.”
/Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz/

1:05:57 OUTRO

TheESP – Ep. #186 – European Skeptics Congress 2019, part 1

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This week it was Congress time! András and Pontus (unfortunately, no Jelena) spent a wonderful weekend in Ghent, Belgium, at the European Skeptics Congress 2019, where they had a blast!
At the ESC 2019 there were talks by prominent skeptics and plenty of opportunities to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
The result for the podcast is several interviews recorded on-site, with more to come later on. If you were there and met with us, we thank you for doing so! If not, there will be more opportunities in the future.
Until then, here are this week’s interviews, with even more to come on later episodes.
Enjoy!

Interviews in this episode: Edzard Ernst, Christine Mohr, Ovidiu Covaciu

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

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

00:00:27 Intro

00:00:50 Greetings

00:13:55 Interview: Prof. Edzard Ernst, emeritus Professor at the University of Exeter

Title of ESC presentation: The battle against SCAM. Are we winning?

Abstract: What do governments and health organisations like WHO do against quackery?
Given the common use of quackery in virtually all countries, one would expect that governments and international organisations like the WHO would have developed effective strategies to limit its prevalence and minimise the harm quackery unquestionably does. Sadly, very few such initiatives seem to exist. Those organisations that actively fight quackery tend not to be run by governments but rely on private, altruistic initiatives. The WHO even has been responsible for several actions that arguably are not fighting but promoting quackery. This lecture will review several recent examples. It is concluded that governments and the WHO have, in the past, turned a blind eye to quackery. In the interest of public health, this situation has to change.

His new book: https://edzardernst.com/2019/08/my-new-book-alternative-medicine-a-critical-assessment-of-150-modalities/

00:22:49 Interview: Christine Mohr, professor in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland .

Title of ESC presentation: When using magicians to study how paranormal beliefs come about

Abstract: Humans belief, in many things. Popular are supernatural beliefs, hotly debated by believers and skeptics alike. Psychologists reported on various variables that correlate with such beliefs (e.g., appreciation of chance, more open to experiences). Yet, these latter studies are correlational unable to convey whether existing beliefs predict the appreciation of chance  (e.g., becoming more associative), or whether being more associative predicts the formation or reinforcement of paranormal beliefs. Over the last years, we performed several series in which we investigated the causality of belief change / reinforcement. In these studies, a magician performed a central event (e.g., a medium talking to a dead person, pseudo-scientific mind reading). Therefore, we could compare psychological variables we assessed before and after the event (tackling causality). Also, we could assess which pre-existing variables (e.g., paranormal beliefs, associative processing) predicted paranormal interpretations. Performing all studies in the classroom, we observed an overall high willingness to accept what the persons had just seen. In one study, around 65% considered that they had witnessed a genuine psychic event. Higher paranormal beliefs and affective reactions predicted a higher endorsement of a psychic explanation. Seeing how easily people are convinced by what they see, we are now starting to “debunking” participants in order to test which pre-performance information we have to provide to render participants more critical as to what is presented to their eyes. We assume that once the magician spells the beans, the belief in what one sees should be gone.

Link: https://applicationspub.unil.ch/interpub/noauth/php/Un/UnPers.php?PerNum=1116121

00:34:51 Interview: Ovidiu Covaciu, Activist against anti-vaxxers, Romania

Title of ESC presentation: The antivaccination activists, misinformation and the damage done

Abstract: Europe is facing a resurgence of preventable disease as anti-vaccine movements from across the continent are growing This talk will focus on the tactics the AV movement uses to gain influence, followers and political power. It will also discuss how to approach, counteract and fight against the AV movement, how to recruit experts by your side, turn the tide and save lives.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vaccinuri/

00:55:15 Farewell

00:59:39 Outro

01:00:54 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #150 – Antivax Italian politicians, Russian homeopathy and baby acupuncture

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

Show Notes:
00:00:27 Intro

00:00:55 Greetings

00:06:16 This Week in Skepticism

1972 – Apollo program: Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt begin the third and final extra-vehicular activity (EVA) or “Moonwalk” of Apollo 17. To date they are the last humans to set foot on the Moon (or any other planetary body outside Earth).

00:09:45  Pontus Pokes the Pope

Cardinal George Pell in court for charges of sexual misconduct towards children.

00:15:58 Skeptical News from around Europe

  1. Italy: Italy’s anti-vax health minister fires 30 experts from Higher Health Council
  2. Russia: Homeopathy in disguise
  3. Sweden: Macchiarini charged in court after all
    • https://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/overaklagaren-fattar-beslut-om-paolo-macchiarini/
  4. UK: Charity Commission publishes new guidelines for CAM charities
  5. Spain: The Skeptical Circle of Spain announces winners of the Pepe Cervera and the José Carlos Pérez Cobo prize.
  6. Sweden: Baby Acupuncture against Colic
  7. Belgium: Belgian authorities investigate case of autistic woman’s euthanasia

00:43:20 Really Right

  • Ovidiu Covaciu, educating people about vaccinations in a Facebook group.

00:46:38 Quote

“We don’t need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respectful.”
/Taylor Swift, American singer and songwriter/

00:48:01 Outro

00:49:16 Out-takes

Episode #114 – Ovidiu Covaciu and vaccination in Romania

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On this Episode:

This week we had Ovidiu Covaciu back on the show to talk about his assessment of the situation in Romania regarding vaccinations and the spread of vaccine preventable diseases as well as things we can do to educate people into vaccinating. He also talks about his massive hit of a Facebook group where they spread correct information on vaccinations.

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

Segments:
Intro; Interview; Farewell; Outro

Show notes:

00:00:00
INTRO

00:00:27
Greetings
Andras is officially a candidate for the Parliament of Hungary in his district
The official website of the Office of Elections

00:06:57
Interview with Ovidiu Covaciu

Link to the Facebook group (Vaccines and Vaccinations – clarifications and support for parents.)

00:56:50
Farewell

01:00:54
Outro