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 

 

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?
Friday, October 7 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.

Kevin Precious

When?
Wednesday, October 26 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Who?
Kevin Precious

What's the talk about?

 Kevin Precious is a former RE teacher turned stand-up comedian and promoter.  Besides having played many of the top clubs in the land, he also promotes shows in arts centres and theatres under the Barnstormers Comedy banner. He has previously toured the country with a stand-up show entitled 'Not Appropriate', dedicated to the business of teaching.

In between the various comedic activites, he attends his local humanist group - he's an agnostic, folks - where he loves a good old debate about the big questions in life.  Expect jokes and stories then, about his time as an RE teacher, being a humanist, the God-Shaped Hole, and the philosophy of religion... and you can ask him a few questions of your own afterwards, if you wish.

 

£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.

Dr Nick Hawes

When?
Wednesday, February 8 2017 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Who?
Dr Nick Hawes

What's the talk about?

 It’s inevitable, isn't it? One day robots will take over the world, either through some kind of violent rebellion, or through the back door -- by taking all our jobs. Aren't we throwing caution to the wind by ignoring this threat? Well, by explaining some of the basic principles behind artificial intelligence and robotics, I'm going to try to convince you that all those science fiction writers are wrong, and whilst robots will have a large part to play in our future, you don't need to worry about the effect they'll have on our existence.

 Nick Hawes is a Reader in Autonomous Intelligent Robotics in the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham. His research is in the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to create intelligent, autonomous robots that can work with or for humans. He is a passionate believer in public engagement with AI and robotics and was selected to give the Lord Kelvin Award Lecture at the 2013 British Science Festival.

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