Tag Archives: PontusPokesThePope

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

TheESP – Ep. #212 – Corona Corona Corona

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This week it cannot be helped that a lot of the episode is about different aspects on the Coronavirus and Covid-19. But we also want to remind everyone about our SkepKon raffle where we have one ticket to hand out to the conference in Berlin 21 – 23 May! Just send us an email to participate.

After the greetings we hear about holocaust denier David Irving, who was declared bankrupt This Week in History in 2002, after he sued a writer for libel and lost the subsequent trial. Pontus Pokes the Pope and tells about the new “papal task force” that will try to get all local and national Catholic organizations to handle sex abuse scandals better.

In the news, nonsense Coronavirus information is peddled by Hungarian authorities, a TV channel in Norway says that you will be protected if you donate to them while in other places, homeopaths think empty sugar pills are better. We discuss how the outbreak is a breeding ground for conspiracy theories and hear that in the UK, the PSA reaccredits the Society of Homeopaths but under strict conditions. Further on the subject, a German court says homeopathy may be totally ineffective, but that is not their concern.

We finish with another Corona related item and hand out a Really Wrong award to Durek Verrett, the self-proclaimed shaman and the boyfriend of the Norwegian Princess Märtha Louise. He recently published a homemade “cure” for the covid-19 disease. Spoiler: the vodka is optional!

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

0:00:50 GREETINGS

Coronavirus update, plus a reminder that the SkepKon 2020 raffle is still on. Email us to win a ticket! And we got a shout-out on TRC, the Reality Check podcast.

0:07:55 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
David Irving, famous holocaust denier, was declared bankrupt on 4 March 2002, after losing a libel suit against a writer who published a book about his “research”..

0:13:49 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – Nobody Expects the Papal Task Force!

0:18:41 NEWS

0:45:53 REALLY WRONG
NORWAY: Norwegian Shaman and Boyfriend to the Princess, Durek Verrett, Publishes a “Cure” for Covid-19

0:51:53 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“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 Catholic theologian /

0:54:22 OUTRO

0:55:37 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #211 – Dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden

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This week we talk about the John Maddox Prize, the BBC’s new show series about Greta Thunberg and about Darren Brown, born on this day in 1971. Pontus Pokes the Pope and finally we get Francis’ take on celibacy in the Amazon (or do we?), and of course the highlights from the latest sex abuse scandals.
In the news we hear the latest regarding the CoViD-19 Coronavirus, more details about dangerous measles complications and check how much of the climate change debate that are driven by twitter-bots. The latest mass shooting in Germany shows that conspiracy theories are not something to take lightly, the Hungarian government sponsors creationist nonsense, Jeff Bezos finally announces some philanthropic activity and Scandinavian tele company Telenor launches HiperSchool in Hungary, a tool to teach young people how to handle Internet misinformation.
We end by handing a Really Right Award to the DA! art competition, arranged by Giordano Bruno Foundation and Natalie Grams.
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

0:00:51 GREETINGS

Nominations for the John Maddox Prize open soon, Greta Thunberg gets her ‘own’ TV show on the BBC.

0:11:18 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Derren Brown was borne on 27 February 1971.

0:15:44 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – No Hanky-panky in the Jungle Please, We’re Catholic
Frankie did in the end not dare to let go of the celibacy rules in the Amazon. Also, Jean Varnier, founder of Catholic charity l’Arche abused at least six different women and de-frocked Cardinal McCarrick sent almost $1 million to a cult known for sex abuse (and no one knows where he is now).

0:31:14 NEWS

1:02:10 REALLY RIGHT
GERMANY: DA! art Prize Focusing on Pseudoscience with this Year’s Patron – Natalie Grams

1:08:06 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“If nature leads us to mathematical forms of great simplicity and beauty—by forms I am referring to coherent systems of hypothesis, axioms, etc.—to forms that no one has previously encountered, we cannot help thinking that they are “true,” that they reveal a genuine feature of nature…”
/ Werner Karl Heisenberg, German physicist, Nobel laureate, and one of the founders of the field of quantum mechanics /

1:09:50 OUTRO

1:11:05 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #209 – Heart-o-puncture™

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This week before we get into the meat of the show, we talk Corona, Greta Thunberg and look forward to Adam Rutherford’s new book, “How to Argue with a Racist”. We also have two good news for our German friends: Natalie Grams have launched her podcast “Grams’ Sprechstunde” and we have a ticket raffle for SkepKon 2020 in Berlin. Tune in to find out how you can win a free ticket!
In this week in history we celebrate Charles Darwin who was born on 12 February 1809. Pontus Pokes the Pope for hypocritically telling others how to reduce poverty when he personally has misplaced tens of millions of Euro from the Peters’ Pence charity. Also Cardinal Barbarin get off scot-free for covering up a child molester.
In the news we report that the BBC launches “My World”, a show to teach young audiences to spot fake news, that the WHO fights the “Infodemic” of fake Coronavirus rumours and that they get help from Factcheck.org and Fullfact.org.
Climate change reaches new heights with the warmest January on record for Europe and Ryan Air hypocritically wants us to believe that their flights are carbon friendly (we don’t buy it).
We end by given a Really Wrong Award to the Swedish legal system which allows acupuncturists to ram needles into the hearts of cancer patients. That’s right, heart-o-puncture™ is apparently legal.
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

0:00:50 GREETINGS

We talk about Corona, Greta Thunberg and Adam Rutherford’s new book, “How to Argue with a Racist”. Good news for our German friends: Natalie Grams have launched her podcast “Grams’ Sprechstunde” and we have a ticket raffle for SkepKon 2020 in Berlin! You can win!.

0:18:43 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Charles Robert Darwin was borne on 12 February 1809.

0:24:15 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – Holier than Thou – Should Francis Lecture Others on the Poverty Gap?
Francis takes on the issue of poverty with total lack of self-awareness and in other news, France’s top Catholic cleric, Cardinal Barbarin, gets cleared of abuse cover-up although he definitely knew what was going on.

0:29:22 NEWS

0:51:17 REALLY WRONG
SWEDEN: Acupuncturist Freed of Manslaughter Charges

1:04:52 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“I think that the appetite for mystery, the enthusiasm for that which we do not understand, is healthy and to be fostered. It is the same appetite which drives the best of true science, and it is an appetite which true science is best qualified to satisfy.”
/ Richard Dawkins, British evolutionary biologist, author, from “Science Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder”, John Brockman, Edge.org, 1.2.97 /

1:05:48 OUTRO

1:07:03 OUT-TAKES