Archive for category Merseyside

Question of The Week: What New Skeptical Events Can You Come Up With?

You’re never short of skeptical events these days. We have skeptics’ cruises through the Bermuda Triangle, Dragoncon’s Skeptrack, not to mention the infamous Amazing Meeting, which was held in London for the first time last year. On a more local level, here in Merseyside we have social and speaker events for both the Merseyside Skeptics and the Greater Manchester Skeptics, as well as other events and meetings of interest to skeptics, such as the scibar talks, cafe scientifique, philosophy in pubs and the Liverpool Humanists. We also have the recently started Ladies Who Do Skepticism meetups, the brainchild of Manchester Skeptics’ Janis Bennion. We simply can’t move for Skeptical events.

However, there’s always room for more, and that’s where you come in. We’re interested in your ideas for skeptical events. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a brand new idea, it can be something you’ve just heard of and thought was a good idea. Either way, we want to hear your ideas.

So the Question of The Week is this: What new skeptical events can you come up with?

Maybe you’ve been nurturing the idea of starting up a Skeptics In The Sauna, or have an idea for the perfect skeptical holiday. It doesn’t have to be an event. Feel free to branch out. It’s common for skepticism to advertise itself in the form of podcasts – maybe you have an idea for a new skeptical outlet? Whatever it is, let us know. Then we can steal it and get all the credit…

Please leave your ideas in the comments field below.

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Dogs, Doom and Dictators

Last weekend, the Bluecoat gallery in Liverpool hosted a day of events under the title Views From The Grassy Knoll. It was a mixture of talks, screenings and performances covering everything from conspiracy theories and art, to science and politics. It also included an overview of what Skepticism is by Gavin Schofield from the Greater Manchester Skeptics, which I sadly missed but which I heard was a very good talk.

The headline lecture was 2012 by Dr Bill Aitchison, a performance artist and researcher. I was lucky enough to be able to make this one, albeit fifteen minutes late, and found it a very interesting and entertaining, if strange, experience. Read the rest of this entry »

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Liverpool Skeptics In The Pub: One Year Anniversary Bonanza

One Year Anniversary Bonanza at The Vines

It’s hard to believe, but come the end of this Month, the Merseyside Skeptics Society will have been going for just over a year. In that space of time we have gone from not existing at all, to hosting regular social events in Liverpool City Centre (at Doctor Duncan’s pub, for those interested), hosting regular Skeptics In The Pub nights with speakers such as Ariane Sherine, Chris French and Simon Singh, and to masterminding the 10:23 campaign, which went from strength to strength, spreading from Liverpool to other cities across England, Wales and Scotland, and then to numerous countries across the world! Amid all this we’ve also somehow managed to produce two popular podcasts, Skeptics With a K and InKredulous, and get name-checked in everything from the Pod Delusion and The Skeptic Zone to The Independent and The Guardian. Not to mention you could hear Mike and Marsh’s dulcet tones gracing the airwaves on more than one occasion, arguing with UFO enthusiasts, psychics and homeopaths to name but a few. You can also hear Marsh on the podcast Righteous Indignation.

It’s been overwhelming. So overwhelming that we almost forgot it had been a year since we started. When we did notice, we realised we should do something to celebrate this personal milestone, and so we organised a special Liverpool Skeptics In The Pub: One Year Anniversary Bonanza! Read the rest of this entry »

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The Helping Hand Of God In The Unibond League

I’m about to do something a lot of you will likely frown on. I’m aware of this, and I do apologise. I don’t know what I was thinking. Perhaps all of those sugar pills last weekend scrambled my brain. Perhaps aliens visited me at night and implanted this wild, crazy and completely inappropriate idea into my mind (hey, at least they stayed up THAT end this time). Perhaps I’m just spoiling for a rumble. In any case, there’s no getting away from it, this is happening:

I’m going to talk about football.

I know, I know, IknowIknowIknow. You guys, our lovely readers, are scientists, science fans, and generally science types. As am I. But when I’m not talking Cold Reading with psychics, organising mass non-suicide or generally being a good-for-nothing skeptic, there are few things I love more than settling down to a good match. The poetry of movement, the grit of teamwork, the drama, the excitement, the cliches.

Oh, and the batshit lunacy.

I’ve spoken elsewhere about the superstition rife in football (it was my handy hook to hang the story of Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie’s horse placenta treatment on, you may recall. If you can’t recall, please head over and have a read. Horse placentas. Lol. Etc.), but this time I’m bringing things back home. We are, after all, the Merseyside Skeptics Society, and no amount of International campaign-running (yes, I’m going to milk 10:23 for all of the kudos I can get, what of it?) will change that. Which is why when I was sent this article by a listener to our podcast, I just had to take a look at it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Skeptics in the Pub: December 17th – Trystan Swale

Trystan Swale

Ghosts and the People Who Hunt Them

Trystan Swale

When: Thu, Dec 17, 2009 8:00 – 11:00 PM
Where: Crown Hotel, 43 Lime Street, Liverpool.

Summary

Who are the people that spend their weekends sat in haunted buildings hoping to capture evidence of an after life or a snapshot of a ghost? From academics to housewives, Trystan Swale blows the whistle on the profiles, methods, means, deception, poor research and bad science of the people who continue to shape popular culture and perception of ghosts.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Biblical Healing: Coming To A Town Near You

Flyer for the Revival Fellowship. Click for super-big.

Flyer for the Revival Fellowship. Click for big.

Last weekend I was handed a flyer on the street for something called the Revival Fellowship. Well, that’s not strictly true – it was actually a friend of my girlfriend’s who was given the flyer, with the specific reason that she knew it would annoy the hell out of me, and she was right. Because the Revival Fellowship is a ‘prayer heals’ kind of organisation, going so far as to make some extraordinarily outrageous claims. The flyer – which is a pretty well-made affair, I might add (you can view it right there on the right) – claims to be ‘Totally Different from anything you’ve heard before’. Bold claims. Turn the flyer over, and you’ll see the happy faces of various healees (it’s not a word, I know, but I like it). Beside the face of the first healee, the flyer proclaims:

“After prayer, Russell was healed from a severe food allergy and Autism. He now leads a completely normal life”

This struck my girlfriend as odd, and it definitely strikes me as odd. First of all, I like how the statement goes with the big claims first – namely that he was healed from a severe food allergy? Wow, that’s an amazing claim! Oh yeah, and he was healed from the hitherto-untreatable autism too, but that’s by the by… And that’s not the only extraordinary claim. Read the rest of this entry »

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