TheESP – Ep. #246 – RIP, James “the Amazing” Randi


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This week we remember James “the Amazing” Randi, a great skeptic and generous person who like no one else influenced the skeptic movement. His legacy lives on.

We also reflect a bit on daylight saving before we go further back in time than usual in this week in history and look into the importance of Emperor Constantine and the Battle of the Milvian Bridge for early Christianity. Then Pontus looks into if Pope Francis really has changed his and the Church’s position on gay rights, before we get into the news:

  • COVID-19 update
  • No evidence contact tracing helps tackle COVID
  • WHO and Wikipedia team up to combat pandemic misinformation
  • United Nations turns 75
  • Iris Hundertmark and her pharmacy – update
  • ARP-SAPC news
  • Patents on homeopathic products
  • IPSOS – Trust in news sources by country

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:29 INTRO

0:00:54 GREETINGS

0:17:15 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

0:22:50 PONTUS POKES THE POPE

0:28:31 NEWS

1:01:14 REALLY WRONG

1:05:41 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“Science helps us before all things in this, that it somewhat lightens the feeling of wonder with which Nature fills us; then, however, as life becomes more and more complex, it creates new facilities for the avoidance of what would do us harm and the promotion of what will do us good.”
/ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832), German writer and statesman /

1:06:54 OUTRO
1:08:09 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. #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. #221 – Thou shalt not bleach the beach

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The three of us are back to bring you the latest from Europe. We’re saddened by the (not so surprising) news that QED 2020 is now postponed to 2021, but whenever it is, we are looking forward to it. In the meantime check out Christian Lehmann’s series of guest posts on Edzard Ernst’s blog about the hydroxychloroquine controversy.
Jelena tells us the story of an alleged alien abduction in Poland more than 40 years ago, now commemorated with a stone memorial.
Pontus delves into the question of whethe Pope Pius XII was indeed “Hitler’s Pope” and then a selection of news from Europe:
– A scientist in the UK allegedly dies in a COVID-19 trial
– Follow-up on David Icke’s YouTube channel – now suspended
– Countries faced with challenges in immunization programs while in lockdown
– Spanish beach sprayed with bleach to prevent coronavirus infections
– A patent from the Pasteur Institute that does NOT prove the alleged artificial origin of SARS-CoV-2
– The Heinz Oberhummer Award goes to German science populariser Mai Thai Nguyen-Kim
– German High Court rules that doctors can not selectively get rid of bad ratings
– Logical fallacies in easy-to-share format on ARP-SAPC’s website
This week’s Really Right Prize is given to the NHS UK for an excellent information page about homeopathy.

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:51 GREETINGS

0:04:50 This Week in Skepticism
An alleged alien abduction in Poland on May 10, 1978 is now commemorated with a stone memorial.

0:13:22 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Francis says the right thing for once, but 80 years ago Pius XII may indeed have been “Hitler’s Pope”

0:23:11 NEWS

  1. UK: Fake news about a scientist allegedly dying in a COVID-19 vaccine trial
  2. UK: Followup from last week: David Icke’s Youtube-channel has been shut down
  3. EU: Countries faced with challenges in immunization programs while they’re in a lockdown
  4. SPAIN: Spanish beach sprayed with bleach – to prevent coronavirus infections
  5. FRANCE: A patent from the Pasteur Institute does NOT prove that SARS-CoV-2 is artificial
  6. AUSTRIA: And the Heinz Oberhummer Award goes to… Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim
  7. GERMANY: High Court ruling: Doctors have to accept also bad ratings on portals (followup from ep 202)
  8. SPAIN: Logical fallacies compilation just got an upgrade

0:55:50 REALLY RIGHT
The NHS for an excellent information page about homeopathy

0:59:59 GSoW promo

http://guerrillaskepticismonwikipedia.blogspot.com

1:01:38 QUOTE AND FAREWELL

“The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land, to add something to the extent and the solidity of our possessions.”
/Thomas Henry Huxley, English biologist, anthropologist & comparative anatomist/

1:03:56 OUTRO

1:05:10 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #203 – How Much to Bribe a Pope?

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This week Brian is back again and we look forward to the new year. One thing to note about 2020 is the Ratio conference in Sofia in Bulgaria in June and that the super early bird tickets already are released. Chris French is going, so why don’t you? Then Jelena tells us a ghost story from this week in 1762 that took place in Cock Lane, believe it or not.
In Pontus Pokes the Pope we hear about shady monetary shenanigans involving two sitting popes and how the Catholic church is now struggling to live up to the recent changes regarding so-called Papal Secrecy.
In the news we talk about the resignation of the Italian education minister, how the NHS in the UK is trying out ‘prehab’ for cancer patients and we check back on the Samoan measles emergency.
Further news takes us to Russia who has appealed the sanctions imposed because of doping scandals, and we go to Spain where homeopaths are trying to sue the government and then we are happy to hear that the charlatan John of God has been sentenced to 19 years in jail, albeit for rape rather than quackery.
We close the show by handing out a Really Wrong Award to the archbishop of Krakow who believes that Greta Thunberg is the Antichrist since she will not let him subdue the Earth.
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

0:00:51 GREETINGS

Recorded just before New Year’s Eve, we hope that we are now heading for the new ‘roaring twenties’. There will be new opportunities to meet other skeptics in the coming year, including at the Ratio conference in Sofia on 13 June.

0:08:18 THIS WEEK IN SKEPTICISM
On the first week of 1762, events started in London that includes murder allegations, a ghost and a haunted house. Stay tuned for the Cock Lane Ghost mystery!

0:14:47 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Did Cardinal McCarrick Bribe Two Popes?

0:21:08 NEWS

  1. ITALY: The Real Italian ‘Economic Crisis’: Italy’s Education Minister Resigns Over Funding
  2. UK: NHS to Offer Cancer Patients ‘Prehab’ Fitness Plan ‘to Boost Recovery’
  3. SAMOA: Measles Emergency Declared Over – Let’s Hope They are Right
  4. RUSSIA: Russia Appeals ‘Unfounded’ Ban from Major Sporting Competitions
  5. Spain: Homeopaths Fight Back
  6. BRAZIL: ‘John of God’ Gets 19 Years for Rapes

0:54:01 REALLY WRONG
Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, Thinks That Greta Thunberg is the Antichrist

0:59:15 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“The only victories which leave no regret are those which are gained over ignorance.”
/ Napoléon Bonaparte, (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), French statesman and military leader /

1:02:11 OUTRO

1:03:26 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #174 – Eating beaver

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This week András sticks his neck out, announcing that he will give a talk at the upcoming CICAP Fest in Padua in September – in Italian!
We then learn about Margherita Hack who was a formidable Italian astronomer, skeptic and co-founder CICAP, we hear more interviews from SkepKon, curtesy of special correspondent Annika Merkelbach and hear how Cardinal Pell is trying to get out of his legal problem while Francis are creating new ones. Meanwhile the Vatican has spent a fortune to stop legal protection of child abuse victims in the US.
Britt Hermes has won her court case (yay!), Sweden has a big public debate regarding the future of religious free-schools and there is a promising Hungarian initiative to get critical thinking into the education system.
Several UK papers foolishly repeat nonsense from social media about a young woman’s death in the Netherlands, we push for the Fight-the-Fake campaign and celebrate that a fellow skeptic has been elected into the Danish parliament (‘Folketinget’).
Finally, the Polish minister of Agriculture promotes eating beaver, which sounds so much better than it is…

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Interviews from SkepKon; 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

András is going to give a talk at CICAP Fest in Padua in September – in Italian!

00:05:13 This Week in Skepticism

Born on 12 June 1922: Margherita Hack, Italian astrophysicist and activist who was one of the most important in her field in Italy. She was also a co-founder of CICAP.

00:10:14 SkepKon interviews, by Annika Merkelbach

Two more interviews from SkepKon by our special on-site reporter, Annika Merkelbach. This week Dr. Anna Beniermann (@annabeniermann, mailto:Anna.beniermann@hu-berlin.de)
Dr. Holm Gero Hümmler (@hummler, quantenquark.com)

00:15:34 Pontus Pokes the Pope

Pell’s appeal is going worryingly well, the abuse cases are too many to handle for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the Catholic Church has spent a fortune to stop legal protection of child abuse victims. And the Lord’s prayer has aparently been wrong for 2000 years.

00:20:56 Skeptical News

GERMANY: Britt Hermes wins court case initiated by cancer quack

SWEDEN: Big debate regarding religious free schools after the recent scandals

HUNGARY: Educational program to achieve a critical approach to media consumption

THE NETHERLANDS: No, a Dutch teenager did not get assisted euthanasia because of depression after being raped

INTERNATIONAL: Fight the Fake website / compain

DENMARK: Danish General Election: Skeptic Stinus Lindgreen elected MP

00:37:35 Really Wrong

Polish Minister of Agriculture wants to eat beaver (and not in the fun way)

00:43:14 Quote and Goodbye
“The general root of superstition: namely, that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss; and commit to memory the one, and forget and pass over the other.

/ Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, QC, an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist, and author /

00:44:18 Outro

00:45:33 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. #163 – Hitler’s Pope, vaccine hesitancy, clinical trial reporting and blasphemy laws

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In this episode: ‘This week we bring you topics and news about SkepKon in Germany and the 38th Anniversary of the premier of Quark, Italy’s most famous science show hosted by Piero Angela.
Plus we talk about abuse in Poland by catholic priests and Pius XII being referred to as Hitler’s pope, how the supplement market is full of bogus claims, the Swedish National Library publishing the cost of accessing scientific studies, how the rise of both vaccine hesitancy and populism might be connected, an update on the state of the measles epidemic in Europe, the UK government promising a national strategy to tackle the lack of clinical trial reporting.
Plus, blasphemy laws accross Europe discussed after Femen protesters’ case hits the news in Spain.

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

00:00:50 Greetings

00:08:26 This Week in Skepticism

Italian science program Quark, hosted by CICAP founder Piero Angela, premiered March 18, 1981.

00:13:53 Pontus Pokes the Pope

Abuse in Poland and Hitler’s Pope

00:20:38 Skeptical News

INTERNATIONAL: Most of the supplement market is bogus

SWEDEN: Swedish National Library publishes the cost of accessing scientific studies

INTERNATIONAL: Populist politics and vaccine hesitancy in Western Europe: an analysis of national-level data

INTERNATIONAL: Measles update:

UK: Government promises national strategy to boost clinical trial reporting

00:42:16 Really Wrong

Blasphemy in Spain: Appeal court overturns acquittal of Femen protesters

00:49:11 Quote and Goodbye
“The search to know has always been characterized by the need to doubt, the need to be critical, including the need to be self-critical.”
/Gerhard Casper, German-born professor, former president of Stanford University/

00:50:12 Outro

00:51:27 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #134 – Psychic Taxes, Homeopathy and One Hell of a Bus Ride

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

Show Notes:
00:00:26 Greetings

As Eggman (Brian Eggo) sits in for Andras we examine the latest news which includes Psychic Sally’s taxes, the end to NHS funded homeopathy in England, Russian attitudes to conspiracy theories, the latest measles situation and more.
Also the Pope gets poked about his upcoming Irish visit and Brian gets on bus 666 to Hel (sic).

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

Also check out the on-going Edinburgh Skeptics on the Fringe, ending 26 August!

00:05:27 This Week in Skepticism

Actress Sylvia Millecam died Aug. 19, 2001 after seeing psychic & alternative healers.

00:13:25 Skeptical News

UK: Psychic Sally hit with almost £3m tax bill

EUROPE: EU Court of Justice declares gene edited crops to be GMO

UK: NHS Bristol ends funding for homeopathy, ending all homeopathy commissioning in England

RUSSIA: Russian beliefs in conspiracies

EUROPE: Measles outbreak updates

UK: A UK parliamentary committee about risks to ‘shared values and the integrity of our democratic institutions’.

POLAND: Take bus 666 to Hel!

00:53:28 Pontus Pokes the Pope: Pope Francis goes to Ireland and still doesn’t care

00:56:30 Really Wrong: Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine

01:01:20 Radio Ad

01:02:32 Farewell and Quote

“There cannot be mental atrophy in any person who continues to observe, to remember what he observes, and to seek answers for his unceasing hows and whys about things.”

Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-born scientist, inventor and engineer.

01:08:02 Outro

01:09:17 Out-takes

Episode #111 – Radio CICAP, Sitp & governments tackling measles, holocaust and burkas

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

Show Notes:

00:00:26 Greetings

00:11:22 This Week in Skepticism

  • The first ever Skeptics in the Pub

00:19:38 Skeptical News

00:44:11 Really Wrong

Danish government to prohibit burka and hijab in public

00:49:47 Quote

“For me, I think the greatest achievement of science is to allow humanity to realize that our world is comprehensible. Through science, rational thinking, we can understand how the universe works.”

Jim Al-Khalili (British theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster)

00:50:56 Outro

00:52:11 Out-takes