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why people reject science and what we can do about it

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

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

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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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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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.

 

When?
Wednesday, August 7 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?
Kathryn Ford

What's the talk about?

TALK: The notion that one can judge a person’s character on the basis of their facial appearance is an idea that dates back to the ancient Greeks and for a short period, the practice of physiognomy was considered scientific. 


Despite the fact that this ancient practice has long been discredited, the idea that one can “read” a person’s character simply by looking at their face still persists within folk psychology. In fact, this belief and our natural tendency to judge people on the basis of facial appearance has a surprisingly pervasive effect on all of our lives.

In this talk Kathryn Ford will look at the modern face of physiognomy trying to answer questions such as; why do we judge people as soon as we see them? How accurate are these judgements? And does facial appearance effect how people are treated within the criminal justice system?

WARNING: This talk will involve some discussion of rape.

SPEAKER: Kathryn Ford received a BSc in Neuroscience and Psychology from Keele University in 2011 and an MSc in Evolutionary Psychology from Brunel University in 2012.

PRICE: £3 per head, includes entry into drinks raffle. Two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Tannice Pendegrass

When?
Wednesday, July 3 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

Who?
Tannice Pendegrass

What's the talk about?

TALK: Tannice firstly aims to take you through different definitions of autism, cultural representations and the results of her survey, asking over 700 people about their perceptions of what causes and ‘cures’ autism (spoiler: we don’t know and, currently, nothing).
 
The second part of the talk focuses on ‘the bad’ and ‘the ugly’. Tannice will briefly cover the MMR scandal, but this is not the main focus of her ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’ section: the subject that Tannice reserves the most ire for is the toxic and sometimes downright dangerous ‘treatments’ many children must endure. Asking the question ‘what’s the harm?’ has never been more important.
 
The third part of the talk is for ‘the good’, focusing on ABA or Applied Behavioural Analysis; the gold standard for aiding those on the spectrum. From Kim Peek (the inspiration for rain man) to Jenny McCarthy (an anti-vaccination campaigner), this talk will give you a broad overview of Autism, Autism interventions and why cultural representations of Autism are usually wrong. You’ll also find out why a horse died when he was being treated in a chamber normally reserved for divers suffering from the bends.
 
Find out more on her website: www.tannice.co.uk
Follow Tannnice on Twitter @Tannice_
 
NOTE: Owing to work commitments, the speaker will be conducting this talk over Skype. 
 
SPEAKER: Tannice is a writer, editor and proofreader who moonlights as a public speaker on the subject of Autism. She also hosts Guildford Skeptics in the Pub, a monthly event promoting critical thinking, science and reasoned debate in Surrey.
 
Having worked in fields as diverse as teaching, marketing, mental health, online games and finance, she has an excellent working knowledge of a broad spectrum of industries. An avid reader and writer, Tannice also enjoys proofreading and editing fiction and is especially interested in psychology, philosophy and science.
 
PRICE: £3 per head includes drinks raffle ticket. Two lucky attendees will get a FREE pint on the night.

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Wednesday, June 5 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?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

SPEAKER: Iszi lawrence is a stand-up comedian, skeptic and atheist. She is the resident compere of the Lil Fat Comedy Club Witney, has had sell out shows at the Camden, Brighton, Bath, Oxfringe and Edinburgh fringe. She also featured in Perrier Award winning The Passion Of The Hodgson and has appeared on BBC Radio 1, BBC 7 and local radio inc. Resonance FM.

 

She hails from a mixed background of both christianity and Islam.

 

Iszi is also co-host of the Sundays Supplement podcast and comperes Oxford Skeptics in the Pub. She has been an invited speaker to Atheist Think Week and has spoken at several Skeptic societies and conferences around the UK and Europe.

 

TALK: "The experiences of an awkward atheist" - how superstition, belief and reason are intermingled in comedy and everyday life.