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Sense About Science

Max Goldman

When?
Wednesday, December 3 2014 at 7:00PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Max Goldman

What's the talk about?

 UPDATE: This talk will now be given by Max Goldman, development officer for Sense About Science.

 

This isn’t just a simple talk; it’s a call to arms.

 

Every day, we hear claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, and treat disease. Some are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not. These claims can't be regulated; every time one is debunked another pops up – like a game of whack-a-mole. So how can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for the claims they make? If they want us to vote for them, believe them, or buy their products, then we should ask them for evidence, as consumers, patients, voters and citizens.

 

The Ask for Evidence campaign has seen people ask a retail chain for the evidence behind its MRSA resistant pyjamas; ask a juice bar for the evidence behind wheatgrass detox claims; ask the health department about rules for Viagra prescriptions; ask for the studies behind treatments for Crohn's disease, and hundreds more. As a result, claims are being withdrawn and bodies held to account.

 

This is geeks, working with the public, to park their tanks on the lawn of those who seek to influence us. And it's starting to work. Come and hear what the campaign is going to do next and how you can get involved.

 

The Ask for Evidence campaign can be found here. http://www.senseaboutscience.org/pages/a4e.html

 

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle,

two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Expansionist Policies in Education

David Pollock

When?
Wednesday, November 12 2014 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 George Street, Stoke-on-Trent, Hartshill, Staffordshire, ST5 1JT.

Who?
David Pollock

What's the talk about?

VENUE CHANGE Due to double booking this meeting will now take place at the Greyhound in Hartshill

Apologies for any inconvenience

PLEASE NOTE this is the second Wednesday of the month

The talk commences with an historical account of the Church of England's involvement with education. The Church like to proclaim that it pioneered schooling in the 19th century in the face of government indifference, but in fact the truth is quite the opposite. In the present day the Church is rapidly expanding its network of schools with the explicit aim of protecting its own future in the face of modern secularism and indifference toward church teachings. The aim: If people will not come willingly to church, then the church will going after them, through their children's schools.

 

David Pollock is a trustee of the British Humanist Association and sometime president of the European Humanist Federation.

 

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle,

two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Adrian Bailey

When?
Wednesday, October 8 2014 at 7:00PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Adrian Bailey

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE this is the SECOND Wednesday of the month

 

Tolerance is a virtue but how tolerant should we be of things we object to, of things that are objectively wrong? Is tolerance the recipe for a calm, happy life, or are we risking becoming victims of others' beliefs and actions? I'll look at a range of issues from alternative medicine to faith schools to abortion to freedom of the press and ask how (in)active can we afford to be?

 

Adrian Bailey is Chairman of Birmingham Humanists.

 

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle,

two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

why people reject science and what we can do about it

When?
Wednesday, August 13 2014 at 7:00PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Dr Christopher Hassall

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE the change of date.
"The rejection of well-established scientific principles is commonplace, particularly in the fields of alternative medicine and climate denialism.  I will discuss a recent case of climate change denial within a university environment and use this to outline how climate denialism came to be, and how ingrained some climate sceptics are within institutions.  I will then briefly consider two other forms of science denial - HIV/AIDS denialism and creationism - to provide some general conclusions about why people reject science and what we can do about it."

 

Dr Christopher Hassall is an evolutionary ecologist working on human impacts on ecological systems  and large-scale evolutionary patterns at the University of Leeds.

 

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle,

two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Ongoing adventures in the world of pseudoscience

When?
Wednesday, July 2 2014 at 7:00PM

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Where?

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

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

 It’s easy to think of pseudoscience existing in a glass case at a museum – something to be examined and critiqued from a safe distance, but not something to touch and to play with. Using examples taken from his own personal experiences in skepticism, Michael Marshall will show what happens when you begin to crack the surface of the pseudosciences that surround us – revealing the surprising, sometimes-shocking and often-comic adventures that lie beneath.

 

Michael Marshall is the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and Project Director of the Good Thinking Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast. His work with the MSS has seen him organising international homeopathy protests and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

 

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle,

two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Guy Otten

When?
Wednesday, May 7 2014 at 7:00PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Guy Otten

What's the talk about?

Even Tony Blair (May the blessings of Allah be upon him) now argues that the prime emergency faced by the West is not the Russia/Ukraine confrontation or Syria, but Radical Islam (Independent 24th April). He argues that Europe and the USA are ‘curiously reluctant to acknowledge’ Islamic Extremism.

Following on his talk on the mythological origins of Islam last year, Guy now asks whether an ethical shortfall in Islam contributes to challenges faced by the world posed by Islamic Extremism and Terrorism.”

A trained humanist celebrant, Guy Otten also gives talks to humanist groups, the Intervarsity Club, Skeptics in the Pub and other groups. He has been happy to engage in dialogue with religious groups including Muslim students and the Manchester Bible Debate group.

Guy is the current Chair of Greater Manchester Humanists and a member of the Board of Trustees of the British Humanist Association.

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle,

two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Exploring the limits of human perception

Paul Hopwood

When?
Wednesday, April 9 2014 at 7:00PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Paul Hopwood

What's the talk about?

Please note change of date to the second Wednesday

After the success of his SiTP talk, the award-winning ‘You know less than you think’, Paul Hopwood is back for the sequel!

 

Based around his Cognitive Psychology studies, the first talk focused on the different stages of information processing in the human brain. By looking at research into the brain’s ability to acquire, store, retrieve and use information; the talk highlighted that humans have a tendency to severely overestimate their ability to perform these tasks.

 

This second talk moves away from how good we believe our cognitive toolkit is: and instead looks at how well we think we use it. Through looking at various examples of human perception; the audience will be engaged to think about such matters as ‘Is Common Sense that common and does it make that much sense?’, ‘Does looking backwards help us to look forwards?’, ‘How much attention should we pay to randomness?’ and ‘Are you an idiot or a genius?’

 

Paul Hopwood is an active member of the Skeptic Community, who has received widespread praise for the enthusiastic and enlightening nature of his public talks. His first SiTP talk was awarded ‘The Worfolk Lecture 2012’ by The Chris Worfolk Foundation; having being adjudged by the Foundation’s committee to be the best talk for improving the public understanding of science that year.

 

He is a regular guest on ‘The Skeptic Canary Show’ each Wednesday night at 7pm; and is a very keen amateur chess player. He is also, to his knowledge, the only person to ever successfully solve a Rubik’s Cube during a SiTP Q+A.

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle,

two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

The Enlightenment and The Rights of Man

John Issitt

When?
Wednesday, March 5 2014 at 7:00PM

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Where?

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

Who?
John Issitt

What's the talk about?

 ‘Reason given the status of omnipotence becomes a monster’ said Mahatma Gandhi with the spectre of the second world war and the Holocaust in mind. 

Directly and indirectly my story negotiates the limits and fortunes of Reason. It follows the best and most reasonable efforts of a group who act to a large extent in the name of, or at least with, the standard of Enlightenment Reason. It, in its own small way follows the kindling light of a certain political perspective – most notably in the form of Paine’s Rights of Man - and its snuffing out by more immediate, more powerful drivers which were themselves reasons albeit of a different order. 

There are important lessons to be learnt by observing the fortunes of Reason and the initial 5-year period of the French Revolution is particularly fascinating and rich. My tale in the Agents of Reason accounts the actions of a man – Jeremiah Joyce (1763-1816) who was one of a small group of radicals in 1790s London who pursued the Enlightenment aspirations of fair play and the extension of the franchise, on a claim of reason. It is not a tale of the famous and their doings, it is a tale of a working class man caught up in the action trying to do his best. It is a tale based as far as possible on the minimal historical record – minimal because it was quite simply too dangerous to keep evidence that could be used in court.

John Issitt  is a writer and Provost of Langwith College University of York UK. He lectures in philosophy of learning. He has taught for the Open University for 23 years and is a National Teaching Fellow.

His writing is concerned with the eighteenth century and his latest book is focused on the ideas and legacies of Tom Paine and Edmund Burke. It attempts to present complex ideas and historical events in a way that is human, accessible and interesting.

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

Challenging the Mystery Mongers

Paolo Viscardi

When?
Thursday, February 13 2014 at 7:00PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Paolo Viscardi

What's the talk about?

 From mummified aliens in deserts and monsters washed up on beaches to mermaids and holy fish, there is an interest in the unusual that can whip up a storm of speculation and spectacle. But cutting through hype, assumptions and misinformation is essential when you're trying to uncover the truth. Join Paolo Viscardi in exploring some weird objects from the past and present - using scientific methods and museum collections to get beneath the surface of aliens, monsters, mermaids and the hype they have inspired.

 

Paolo Viscardi is a Natural History Curator at the Horniman Museum in Southeast London. He is a fellow of the Linnaean Society and a representative of the Natural Sciences Collections Association. In his spare time Paolo blogs about identifying bones at Zygoma and helps run an online biology Q&A site called 'Ask A Biologist'. He organises and hosts monthly science communication events called PubSci and regularly lectures to a variety of audiences on topics ranging from Darwin to mermaids.

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

My Journey To Enlightenment

William Watling

When?
Wednesday, November 13 2013 at 7:30PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
William Watling

What's the talk about?

Please note this event takes place on the SECOND Wednesday of this month

The Omega Course, is partly Will's testimony of how he came to doubt his faith; part critical analysis of 20 pillars of faith that he needed to dismiss, through logic, evidence and argument, that eventually led him to lose his faith in Christianity, become an atheist, join the BHA and start Cheltenham SITP. The talk is interactive with opportunity for heart searching questions & discussion.

THE SPEAKER: William Watling is a former evangelical Christian and teacher of The Alpha Course, a public outreach programme that tries to bring Christ to an increasingly secular and religiously indifferent public.

 

£3 per head includes a ticket in our drinks raffle,

two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Guy Otten

When?
Wednesday, October 9 2013 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Guy Otten

What's the talk about?

Please note this event takes place on the SECOND Wednesday of this month

It is not commonly understood that the Origins of Islam are (like those of Christianity) largely unconfirmed by reliable evidence, but it is clear that there has been a lengthy development of the Islamic traditional story from origins embedded within a sectarian background in the margins of the Byzantine empire. The talk summarises the scholarly and scientific evidence from learned authors in the fields of history, linguistics, archaeology, textual analysis, numismatics etc and offers indications of how Islam really came about. More about this can also be found in the blog at www.mythofislam.info.

THE SPEAKER: Since retiring from the legal profession, as a tribunal judge; Guy trained as humanist celebrant, giving talks to humanist groups, the Intervarsity Club, Skeptics in Pubs, the Booth Centre and Probus clubs. He has been happy to engage in dialogue with religious groups including Muslim students and the Manchester Bible Debate group.

Guy is the current Chair of Greater Manchester Humanists and a member of the Board of Trustees of the British Humanist Association.

 

£3 per head includes a ticket in our drinks raffle,

two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Matthew Simpson

When?
Wednesday, September 4 2013 at 7:30PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Matthew Simpson

What's the talk about?

TALK: If God is “the invention of an animal that knows it’s going to die”, how do Humanists cope with the inevitable? Matthew Simpson explores the wisdom (and wit) of atheists about mortality, and suggests ways we can help others get more out of Life-Before-Death.

 

In a fairly light-hearted presentation, which starts with a quiz including questions topical to Stoke and Staffordshire, he will suggest that beliefs about life after death are what differentiates religious people from atheists; that religions claim to resolve, but actually worsen, fear of death; and that Humanism is the ideal way to overcome that fear.
 

SPEAKER: Matthew is a Sheffield-based Humanist Celebrant and professional sex therapist. He started working life as a commis chef (the only honest job he ever did) then teacher and Director of Education, before retraining as a psychotherapist.

 

£3 per head includes a ticket in our drinks raffle,

two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.