News headlines from Europe about skeptical activism, mythbusting, science related policy decisions, consumer protection, frauds, health scams, alternative medicine, bad scientific practices, pseudoscience etc.

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TheESP podcast on Wikipedia

Thanks to Adam Kumiszcza, TheESP now has it’s own Wikipedia page! The European Skeptics Podcast (TheESP) is a weekly podcast hosted by three skeptics representig several European skeptic organisations in Europe: András G Pintér from Hungary, Jelena Levin from Latvia and Pontus Böckman from Sweden. The main goal of the podcast is to support European level actions within the skeptical movement.

TheESP podcast

Comité Para, the world’s first skeptical organisation, takes a new breath

The Comité Para convened its annual general assembly in Brussels last June. For a long time, the French-speaking Belgian association strived to get younger members and wanted to renew its board. And, finally, the general assembly has elected four new critical thinkers at its head. Jérémy Royaux has been elected president, Dorian Neerdael vice-president, Thomas Guiot secretary- treasurer and Emmanuel Marseille has become the assistant secretary.

They plan to give the Comité Para a new fresh start and they give themselves one year to revive the Comité. –See you soon

Comite-Para

NHS consultation on unjustified prescribing

This July the National Health Service in England published a report with the title ‘Items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: A Consultation on guidance for CCGs’. The report lists a range of treatments currently prescribed within the NHS without sufficient justification. To the delight of skeptics these include homeopathy and herbal remedies, which the report considered to be of no proven efficacy. Until October 21st people will have the opportunity to give their views on these proposals using an online form.

Logical Fallacy Cartoons

As skeptics we are constantly on the lookout for Logical Fallacies both within our own reasoning and in wider society. Here you can find a series of cartoons illustrating different fallacies ready for distribution on your social networks. Laugh, learn & share.

 

New MEP ‘mad as a box of snakes’

Rupert Matthews – described by one Conservative MP as ‘mad as a box of snakes’ – has been automatically made a Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands this week after the sitting MEP won a seat at for the UK Parliament in the June general election. Mr Matthews is ‘an expert on the paranormal’. As well as his work with the International Metaphysical University, he the author of a range of parapsychology books including titles such as Paranormal Surrey and A History of Alien Activity from Sightings to Abductions to Global Threat. He also has a theory that the Lisbon Treaty gives the European Commission the power to invade Britain. He believes that ‘They could go to the German government and say please send us a Panzer division, and if the German government said yes, then the European Commission could send that Panzer division to London and there is nothing the British government could do about it’.

James Randi to attend CICAP-Fest

James Randi will be back to Italy and will attend CICAP-Fest in Cesena from September 29 to October 01.

Randi will also be a special guest at the magic workshop held at CICAP-Fest, giving people the opportunity to learn from him how to create and investigate “paranormal” effects.

James Randi is a retired stage magician and a scientific skeptic, co-founder of Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). He has extensively challenged paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.

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The universe in one minute

This series of short, informative videos go into a wide range of topics such as “What’s the Milky Way like?”, “How did the continents form?” or “What use is cloning?” among many others. Each video is complimented by free teaching material and distributed under a creative commons licence making them available to all.

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Blasphemy laws repealed in Denmark

On June 2, the Danish parliament (“Folketinget”) repealed the 334 year old blasphemy law.

The debates about repeal where among other things shadowed by the Muhammad cartoons controversy in 2005, and also came to the rescue for one individual who in December 2015 published a video on-line showing the burning of a copy of the Quran. These charges were now dropped due to the change in legislation.

Promotion of alternative medicine by charities

The UK’s National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) ‘has urged the Charity Commission to improve its registration processes as part of its response to the consultation on charities providing complementary and alternative medicines’. The Charity Commission’s consultation closed earlier this month ‘with the regulator receiving more than 300 responses. It plans to set out a revised approach to registration in the autumn. This could result in the removal of hundreds of charities and was prompted by the Good Thinking Society, which is a charity set up to promote scientific thinking’.