Welcome, 

To Stoke Skeptics in the Pub, the first (and hopefully not last) Skeptics in the Pub group to be set up in Staffordshire. 

Established in October 2011 we put on a minimum of 8 pub talks per year, if not more. . 

If you'd like to get involved or simply stay up-to-date on what we're up to, why not sign up to our mailing-list through our contact form. - It's literally the best way to stay informed about what we're up to.

Failing that, why not follow us on twitter or join us on our facebook group, we're eager to hear from you. ;D

-- Stoke Sitp Team 

 

and other Forensic Faux Pas

Emma McClure

When?
Wednesday, August 10 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Who?
Emma McClure

What's the talk about?

     PLEASE NOTE This will be the SECOND Wednesday of the month.

We've all seen it: A renegade detective pores over the scene of a grisly murder. They find an overlooked clue; a hair, a footprint, a shell casing. Detailed forensic analysis matches the clue to the bad guy, and the bad guy goes to jail. This is how modern day forensics are portrayed in shows such as 'CSI' and 'Silent Witness'; forensic evidence is seen as conclusive when it comes to catching suspects and deciding if someone is guilty in a criminal trial. But, at a time when shows like Serial and Making a Murderer have brough miscarriages of justice to international prominence, Emma McClure will explain how the traces left behind at a crime scene can sometimes lie.

 

The science in areas such as DNA collection has progressed enormously in recent decades allowing for breakthroughs in many old and cold cases. However, we have also seen many high profile exonerations of those previously convicted of the most serious of crimes on seemingly 'conclusive' forensic evidence. This has lead to increasing scrutiny of the way it is analysed, interpreted and presented in the courtroom.

 

In this talk, prison lawyer Emma McClure examines the issues with forensic techniques, highlighting the amusing, confusing and sometimes tragic consequences of failing to take a skeptical approach to evidence in the field of forensic science.

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

An unofficial history of the Soviet Space Programme

Michael Lachmann

When?
Wednesday, September 14 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Who?
Michael Lachmann

What's the talk about?

      PLEASE NOTE This will be the THIRD Wednesday of the month.

 When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon in 1969 - the Americans entered history as the winners of the Space Race. This isn't their story.

Micky Lachmann is going to talk about their competitors the Soviets, and how they managed to beat the Americans to almost every milestone in Space.

It's a story we don't know very well - the Soviets operated under a shroud of almost total secrecy. But some of the early cosmonauts are still alive and have incredible and often terrifying stories to tell. So this is also an account of going to Russia and trying to find these amazing - and mostly bad tempered - men and women.

Micky studied Natural Sciences and then dropped out of a PhD in tropical fish behaviour to work in science journalism. Over 15 years at the BBC he has worked on - among other things - Walking with Beasts and many episodes of Horizon -  and he is partly responsible for bringing Brian Cox to our screens, for which he is very sorry.

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Professor Chris French

When?
Wednesday, October 5 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Who?
Professor Chris French

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE, not only is this a FRIDAY, it is also

the FIRST Friday of the month!

 It's our 5th anniversary this October, and to celebrate, we are pleased to welcome back our very first speaker, Professor Chris French!

Opinion polls repeatedly show relatively high levels of belief in ghosts even in modern Western societies. Furthermore, a sizeable minority of the population claim to have personally encountered a ghost. This talk will consider a number of factors that may lead people to claim that they have experienced a ghost even though they may not in fact have done so. Topics covered will include hoaxes, sincere misinterpretation of natural phenomena, hallucinatory experiences and pareidolia (seeing things that are not there), inattentional blindness (not seeing things that are there), the fallibility of eyewitness testimony, the possible role of complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound, photographic evidence, electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), and the role of the media.

Chris French is a British psychologist specialising in the psychology of paranormal beliefs and experiences, cognition and emotion. He is the head of the University of London's Anomalistic psychology research unit and appears regularly in the media as an expert on testing paranormal claims.

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Have we learned much in 300 Years?

Brian Sharpless

When?
Tuesday, November 15 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Brian Sharpless

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE, this talk takes place on a TUESDAY!

ALSO, it is the first of TWO talks taking place in November.

 

 We like to think that humans have become more rational and civilized over time. We also tend to view the excesses of the past as not only alien (and somewhat ridiculous), but unlikely or even impossible to happen in our own, more sensible age.  However, this latter assumption has been proven wrong time and again, as history and strange decisions tend to repeat themselves. 

 

This pattern can clearly be seen in the history of Witchcraft/Satanic panics.  After discussing one case from over 300 years ago (during the Enlightenment), we will explore a more recent case from the 1990s.  As will be demonstrated, the similarities far outweigh the differences, and much can be learned so that future panics will be less likely to occur.

 

 Brian A. Sharpless is an associate professor of psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Washington DC.  He is author (along with Karl Doghramji) of Sleep Paralysis: Historical Psychological, and Medical Perspectives and editor of the forthcoming book Unusual and Rare Psychological Disorders:  A Handbook for Clinical Practice and Research (both published through Oxford University Press).

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

 

Kat Arney

When?
Wednesday, November 30 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

 More than two metres of DNA is packed inside every one of your cells, encoding 20,000 or so genes, tangled into a mass of molecular spaghetti. Hidden within these strands are the instructions that tell cells when and where to turn genes on or off. But while the language of genes has become common parlance in the media, a clear understanding of what they do and how they work has not.

 

We know our genes make our eyes blue, our hair curly or our bellies bulge, and they control our risks of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism, and Alzheimer’s. Advances in genetic medicine hold huge promise, and as researchers discover more about molecular genetic switches and what happens when they don’t work properly, a four-dimensional picture of DNA is being built.

 

Rather than static strings of code, this dynamic biological library will give us new insight on DNA, the text of the cookbook of life, and help inform our medical and ethical practices for future generations. Figuring out how it all works is a major challenge for researchers around the world. And what they’re discovering is that far from genes being a fixed, deterministic blueprint, things are much more random and wobbly than anyone expected.

 

Science writer and broadcaster Dr Kat Arney draws on her expertise in the world of genetics and the stories in her new book, Herding Hemingway’s Cats, to take a look inside our genes.

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.