TheESP – Ep.#251 – 1st of the Next 250


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This week we reflect a on the new vaccines that are coming. Annika sings(!) to celebrate the quiz performance of Pontus, Brian and Claire last week and then she tells us about a memorial for fallen aliens, announced ten years ago this week. Pontus Pokes the Pope for a whole lot of serious things and for liking a sexy butt on his Instagram account. Then we get into the news:

  • Patriarch Irinej and his Darwin-Award worthy story
  • New book out about teaching biology in schools with health education and skepticism
  • The Debunking Handbook 2020 – German translation now available
  • French debate about making covid-vaccination mandatory
  • Darwin’s notebooks reported stolen from Cambridge University Library
  • German Green Party no longer backs homeopathy
  • World Wild Web – A new critical thinking game
  • Spanish Government to decide what is harmful fake news
  • Portuguese court rules based on misunderstanding science of covid tests
  • Surprisingly, acupuncture is useless for people recovering from breast surgery
  • No, Danish study doesn’t show masks are useless

Also, the stupid (and very expensive) “Qi-tech” devices get this week’s Really Wrong award.

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

0:00:52 GREETINGS

0:13:22 THIS WEEK IN SKEPTICISM

  • On 2 December 2010 the Ukrainian newspaper “Бердичiв дiловий” (“Business Berdichev”) announced that group of UFOlogists decided to build a memorial to fallen aliens

0:17:15 PONTUS POKES THE POPE

0:28:39 NEWS

1:02:23 REALLY WRONG

1:07:53 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often long endure; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, as every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness; and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened.”
/ Charles Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882), English naturalist, geologist and biologist /

1:09:50 OUTRO

1:11:04 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #248 – Skepti-baby Alert!


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This week we first chat a bit about Trump, having covid in your family and an opportunity to talk to Swedish MPs. We also mention the Vienna terror attacks and the Hay Winter Festival. Annika has an exciting announcement regarding increasing the number of skeptics in the world.

In history news we acknowledge the anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass and then Pontus Pokes the Pope for disciplining a Cardinal so old that he does not know what happened.

After a Covid-update we then get into the actual news:

  • Chiropractors don’t like informed consent
  • Does article 61 of Magna Charta allow citizens to disobey COVID-19 regulations?
  • Grandmothers sue government over climate challenge failure
  • How COVID-19 is reshaping the way people trust politicians
  • MedWatch wins federal Consumer Protection Award
  • Update on the last five years of RCTs about homeopathy

Enjoy!

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

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:52 GREETINGS

0:25:09 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

0:33:24 PONTUS POKES THE POPE

0:37:56 COVID UPDATE & NEWS

1:05:01 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
/ Isaac Asimov (2 January 1920 – 6 April 1992), American writer and professor of biochemistry /

1:06:51 OUTRO
1:08:05 OUT-TAKES

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. #241 – One Million Unanswered Prayers


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Pontus’ coming book

This week we first chat about András lending his voice acting skills to a sketch in the Skeptic Zone, Pontus teases the coming release of his sci-fi novel the Dooma and then we talk about the upcoming Italian CICAPFest. This year the conference takes place online for the three weeks(!) between 25 September and 18 October. There will be over 150 meetings and 185 speakers, and it will all be for free!
After that we get into the news:

  • No, dozens of countries didn’t order COVID-19 tests in 2018
  • Life on Venus?
  • Warmest summer ever for Northern hemisphere
  • The world’s troubling hotspots of vaccine hesitancy
  • NHS issued 2,000 homeopathic prescriptions in 2019 despite ban
  • A healthy diet more important than weight?
  • Ig Nobel Prizes 2020

The prize for being Really Wrong goes to Richard Gamble for “the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer” near Birmingham, England.

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

0:00:26 INTRO

0:00:53 GREETINGS

0:11:12 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

0:15:29 PONTUS POKES THE POPE

0:21:52 COVID-19 Update

0:33:23 NEWS

1:03:14 REALLY WRONG

1:07:36 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them.”

/ Werner Karl Heisenberg (5 December 1901 – 1 February 1976). German physicist, Nobel laureate, and one of the founders of the field of quantum mechanics /

1:08:37 OUTRO

1:09:52 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. #235 – Show Me a Real Acupuncturist


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This week Brian is back(!) as András has gone missing(?) We chat again about the wonderful online events out there: you should definitely check out the Edinburgh Skeptics on the Fringe productions. We then talk about the Wow! signal that was recorded this week in 1977 and also find that Francis seems to have done something good for once.

In this week’s news:
– Two outbreaks in Mamming, Bavaria
– Danish abattoir closed over COVID-19 cluster
– Disinformation not only consumed by young or uneducated
– Countries with mandatory BCG vaccination might actually be better off in the fight against COVID– 19
– 10 Coronavirus scams to be weary of
– WHO calls for caution about Russian vaccine roll-out
– No need to celebrate: 0.01 degrees less global warming by 2030 due to the pandemic
– NHS hiring a spiritual healer
– No positive outcomes at all from having free-schools in Sweden
– UK government may intervene to curb dangerous ‘cancer cure’ propaganda

The prize for being Really Wrong goes to NICE in the UK (the National Institute for Health Care Excellence) for recommending acupuncture, despite any evidence or science.

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

0:00:54 GREETINGS

0:06:33 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
the Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal received on August 15, 1977, by Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope in the United States.

0:12:40 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Francis surprises everyone by appointing women, and Benedict is feeling poorly (but “that’s to be expected”)

0:19:00 NEWS

1:07:12 REALLY WRONG
NICE recommendations on acupuncture

1:14:43 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“A scientific theory
Isn’t just a hunch or guess
It’s more like a question
That’s been put through a lot of tests
And when a theory emerges
Consistent with the facts
The proof is with science
The truth is with science”
/ They Might Be Giants, From the song “Science Is Real”. Opening track of their kids album ‘Here comes science”.

1:16:45 OUTRO

1:18:00 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #234 – Lysenkoism, science and BS

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This week we first chat about some of the great current skeptical online events, like NECSS and Skeptics in the Pub. We also enjoy the good news that the worlds largest fusion reactor is now being assembled in the South of France.

In this week in history we learn about “Lysenkoism” which Stalin decided should replace all other science. In current affairs Pope Francis has issues with Chinese infiltrators and French women who demands to be bishops.

In this week’s news:
– What’s the truth about face masks and covid-19?
– What lies behind conspiracy theories
– Misleading claims on pre-existing conditions and Covid-19 deaths go viral
– Hungarian company selling bogus ‘pro-insulin c-peptide’ product banned from advertising
– COVID conspiracy theories skyrocket in Romania and number of cases increase
– Use of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) by French cancer patients
– Update – Retraction Watch gets a response from editor-in-chief of journal that published worst paper of 2020
– Chronic back pain and spinal manipulation – is it a good treatment?
– Stonehenge’s long-lived mystery solved
The prize for being Really Wrong goes to all the German demonstrators that marched in Berlin last weekend, spreading crazy ideas and endangering the public and themselves.

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

0:00:54 GREETINGS

0:09:46 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Lysenkoism. On 7 August 1948, Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences announced that from that point on Lysenkoism would be taught as “the only correct theory”.

0:13:19 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Two scary adversaries for Frankie: Chinese government and women asking for influence

0:22:08 NEWS

1:10:28 REALLY WRONG
Anti-covid demonstrators in Berlin

1:16:34 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“Humans can be literally poisoned by false ideas and false teachings. Many people have a just horror at the thought of putting poison into tea or coffee, but seem unable to realize that, when they teach false ideas and false doctrines, they are poisoning the time-binding capacity of their fellow men and women.”
/ Alfred Korzybski, July 3, 1879 – March 1, 1950 was a Polish engineer, mathematician, and philosopher, most famous for creating the theory of General Semantics /

1:18:04 OUTRO

1:19:19 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #230 – Tinfoil hats against nonsense

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This week Europe has lost a star in the sky and we hear about how Louis Pasteur managed to create a rabies vaccine back in 1885 (NB: he wasn’t even a medical doctor). Pope Francis seizes even more control about the Vatican’s finances and appoints an “extraordinary commissioner” to raid the entity looking after St Peter’s Basilica. Apparently, someone has been cooking the books.
In the news this week:
– After a new outbreak the German authorities suggest people stay at home for vacation
– Was SARS-CoV-2 really present in Barcelona in March 2019?
– WHO stops Hydroxychloroquine tests
– WHO launches new podcast – Health in Europe
– High risk for polio outbreak in Ukraine
– Russian disinformation operations revealed
– Swedish actor from “Fargo” creates documentary TV-series promoting bogus runestone in Minnesota
– What’s happening with Facebook?
– 5G towers burning in Limassol
– Climate change denier loses bet – has to pay up
– Hungarian National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition bans most homeopathic products from claiming specific therapeutic effects
– Our friend Holm Hümmler airs a documentary about conspiracy theories

To end the episode secondary school students in Germany get today’s Really Right Award for not backing down from their “tinfoil hat” project

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; 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

0:00:53 GREETINGS

0:05:26 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Louis Pasteur, successfully demonstrated a working Rabies vaccine on 6 July 1885.

0:13:49 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – Frankie steps up the fight against financial corruption

0:13:28 NEWS

0:56:54 REALLY RIGHT
GERMANY: Secondary School students in Germany don’t back down from their “tinfoil hat” project

1:00:48 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“I am utterly convinced that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will eventually unite not to destroy but to edify, and that the future will belong to those who have done the most for the sake of suffering humanity.”
/ Louis Pasteur, French biologist, microbiologist and chemist. /

1:01:47 OUTRO

1:03:11 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #227 – Thank you, Jelena!

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This week we first learn about how the 1854 cholera outbreak led to advances in the knowledge about diseases and outbreaks thanks to the clever and rigorous work by the physician John Snow, now regarded as one of the founders of modern epidemiology. Pope Francis is getting closer to his vision of “a poor church for the poor”, perhaps just a little bit faster than he bargained for as the pandemic is hitting the Catholic finances. Then Andras delves into how we can begin to measure the success of covid-19 related restrictions.
In the news this week:
– Swedish Snake Oil advertisement is struck down
– Archaeologist sentenced for faking Basque finds
– Climate more sensitive to CO2 emissions than thought?
– Who killed the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme?
– Szekesfehervar budget cuts – nonessential vaccines are first to go
– The Aspen Institute’s ‘Good10 – The Pandemic Issue’ discussing many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic
– The return of the Mayan calendar – some myths refuse to die
– University of Vienna found a way to inoculate medical students about SCAM
The prize for being Really Wrong goes to doctors in Northern Ireland that continue to obstruct abortions even after the recent legalization!

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

0:00:26 INTRO

0:00:49 GREETINGS

0:06:36 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
John Snow, the father of modern epidemiology, died on 16 June 1858. He is famous for tracking down the source of the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak in London.

0:13:49 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – “The poor Church for the poor”

0:16:25 COVID-19 UPDATE

0:24:27 NEWS

1:00:58 REALLY WRONG
NORTHERN IRELAND: Doctors sabotaging legal abortions

1:04:28 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“Critical thinking is the only weapon and the only defense that the human being has against the dangers of life. Because if I do not think critically, I will be subject to all influences, to all suggestions, to all errors and to all the lies that are spread, and with which I have been indoctrinated since childhood.”
/ Erich Seligmann Fromm, social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. /

Thank you Jelena, we miss you already!

1:10:05 OUTRO

1:11:21 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