“Não se deixe enganar” – in english “Do not be fooled” – is the first book published by COMCEPT, the Portuguese Skeptics Community. Written as a practical guide on how to survive in the modern world, the book covers such diverse topics as alternative therapies, anti-vax movements, psychics, ideomotor effect, ancient astronauts, conspiracy theories, science in the media, or the concept of post truth, among others.
The authors – Diana Barbosa, João Monteiro, Leonor Abrantes and Marco Filipe – not only criticize pseudoscience, but also analyze what is wrong in the scientific process, pointing solutions to correct it. In the end, to relax, they leave the suggestion of how to play the “Bingo of Pseudoscience”. The reader may find that this is a book which looks to serious subjects with a little of humor.
The book has had a good reception in the Media, and the authors have been interviewed by more than a dozen newspapers, magazines and radio programs.
On 19 November 2016, the Portuguese Skeptical Community (COMCEPT) hold their 5th annual conference – ComceptCon – in the city of Porto. This year, the recently formalised association focuses on the theme “Explain the Brain!” (Esmiuçar o Cérebro!), and is supported by the Associação Viver a Ciência and facilitated by Pólo das Indústrias Criativas da UPTEC. About 100 guests are expected to join the convention, which is free to attend.
The speakers, coming from several different disciplines and Portuguese national institutes, are:
Ana Matos Pires: medical psychiatrist and professor from the University of the Algarve, on exploring the line between ‘normal’ and mental illnesses.
Diana Prata: biologist and researcher at the University of Lisbon, about the current state of knowledge of the human brain.
Júlio Borlido dos Santos: biologist and science communicator from the University of Porto, on neuro-enhancement (cognitive improvement).
Maria Ribeiro: neuroscientist and researcher at the University of Coimbra, about how are senses, especially our vision, can deceive us.
Miguel Remondes: molecular biologist and researcher at the University of Lisbon, on the reliability of our memory.
A group of Portuguese skeptics has established a new national association to coordinate their activism and build a community of critical thinkers across the country. COMCEPT, or the Comunidade Céptica Portuguesa (Portuguese Skeptical Community) has existed informally as a group of friends with a love for science education ever since 2012, but now the tedious process of registering legally has finally been completed.