Archive for category Skeptics in the Pub

Michael Marshall – Circular Reasoning: The Rise of Flat Earth Belief

When:  Thursday, May 16th 2019, 7.30 – 11.00 PM

Where: The Casa Bar, 29 Hope Street

Michael Marshall wearing a pale blue shirt. Marsh is tall, slim, white, cis, male and has brown hair.
In 2013, when Michael Marshall first interviewed the Vice President of the Flat Earth society for his show Be Reasonable, people could scarcely believe that anyone could genuinely think the Earth was flat. Five years later, Flat Earth belief has gone mainstream, spawning thousands of hours of YouTube videos, gaining widespread international media coverage, and attracting countless followers. How did we get here?

In this talk, Marshall will talk through his experiences of the Flat Earth movement, take a look at the leaders and some of their reasoning, and report back from the weekend he spent at the UK’s first ever Flat Earth convention.

Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast.

His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests, going undercover to expose psychics and quack medics, and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

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MSSX – Celebrate 10 years of the Merseyside Skeptics Society

When:  Saturday, July 6th 2019, 9.00am – 11.00 PM

Where: The Liner Hotel, Lord Nelson Street, Liverpool

Happy Birthday to Us!
MSSX is a celebration of ten years of the Merseyside Skeptics Society, taking place at the Liner Hotel in Liverpool on July 6th 2019.

As with all our events, we aim to be inclusive, welcoming attendees from all backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders.

Tickets just £29 – get yours here:

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Phil Scraton – Bearing Witness to the ‘Pain of Others’ Fractured Lives, Dissenting Voices, Recovering Truth

When:  Thursday, April 11th 2019, 7.30 – 11.00 PM

Where: The Casa Bar, 29 Hope Street

Phil Scraton
Emeritus Professor
School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast

June 2016. In scenes reminiscent of The Truman Show a newly-elected US President embarked on world-wide daily pronouncements uninhibited

by limitations of 140 characters. Prior to the UK Brexit referendum Nigel Farage presented a ‘breaking-point’ campaign poster depicting a line of desperate refugees, hauntingly close to earlier Nazi-propaganda. Bodies of men, women and children were washed up on north Mediterranean beaches. ‘Post-truth’ was introduced into Oxford Dictionaries as ‘word of the year’, describing a politics in which ‘objective facts’ are ‘less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. Yet crude ideology as the driver of societal reaction and political intervention is not new. For decades, critical social research has exposed and questioned the foundations of ‘official discourse’ and mainstream ‘knowledge’. It foregrounds alternative accounts in rights discourse, derived and reproduced in people’s daily endurance of inequality and oppression; evident in the realities of disempowered communities fractured by class, ‘race’, sectarianism, gender, sexuality and age. Drawing on his published in-depth research Phil Scraton explores the profound challenges involved in bearing witness to the ‘pain of others’, foregrounding their social, political and economic rights in the processes of investigation and inquiry. A ‘rights deficit’ has been brought into sharp relief by the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire. Recounting personal testimonies ‘from below’, revealing institutionalised deceit and pursuing ‘truth recovery’, this lecture argues that dissenting voices are the foundation of hope, resistance and transformation.

Phil Scraton PhD, DLaws (Hon), DPhil (Hon) is Professor Emeritus, School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast. His research priorities are: controversial deaths and the state; rights of the bereaved and survivors following disasters; the politics of incarceration; childhood, rights and justice. Widely published, his books include: ‘Childhood’ in ‘Crisis’?; Power, Conflict and Criminalisation; The Violence of Incarceration; The Incarceration of Women; Women’s Imprisonment and the Case for Abolition. Director of The Hillsborough Project 1989-95 he was principal author of Hillsborough and After: The Liverpool Experience and No Last Rights: The Promotion of Myth and the Denial of Justice in the Aftermath of the Hillsborough Disaster. He was lead author of Hillsborough Independent Panel’s ground-breaking 2013 Report, Hillsborough. Adviser and the new edition of Hillsborough: The Truth was published in 2016. Awarded Freedom of the City of Liverpool, he was factual consultant on, and contributor to, the 2017 BAFTA winning documentary Hillsborough. Having declined an OBE in 2017 he was castaway on BBC’s Desert Island Discs. He has recently returned from the University of Sydney, where he led a month-long intenational symposium on deaths in controversial circumstances. Currently, he leads the first in-depth research project on families’ experiences of inquests in Ireland and holds a Leverhulme research award to critically examine the ‘learning’ from the investigations and inquiries into Hillsborough.

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Massimo Polidoro – Leonardo Da Vinci: Disciple of Experience

When:  Thursday, March 21st 2019, 7.30 – 11.00 PM

Where: The Casa Bar, 29 Hope Street

500 years after his death, we celebrate Leonardo as a master artist, inventor and universal genius. But what is often forgotten is that he was a man like us. A man of his times, who faced difficulties and frustrations and often had to deal with ignorance, superstition and closed mindedness. How did he cope? He described himself as a “disciple of experience”, anticipating of about a century the adoption of the scientific method by Galileo and Descartes. Massimo Polidoro will take us back in time to see how Leonardo thought and reasoned and will help us understand if his approach to life still holds something useful for us today.

Massimo Polidoro is a writer and an internationally recognized “mystery detective.” He began his career as James Randi’s apprentice and is the cofounder and head of the Italian skeptics group CICAP. He is a TV personality in Italy, a research fellow for CSI, he has published 50 books and is a longtime columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer. He has a series on his YouTube channel investigating strange stories.

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Brexit Night: What we know, and what we don’t know

When: Thursday, February 21st 2019, 7.30pm-11.00pm

Where: Frederiks, Hope Street, Liverpool

Since the referendum of June 2016, the UK government has had an almost exclusive focus on Brexit – yet, with the UK due to leave the EU on March 29th, major questions still need to be answered, and crucial details remain unclear.

In our special Brexit event, we’ll hear from a range of experts about what Brexit means for their area of expertise, what we know about what impact Brexit will have, and what we still don’t know.

Speaking this evening will be:The EU flag, blue with 12 gold stars in a circle in the centre

  • Professor Michael Dougan on Brexit and the Law
  • Dr Sarah Clement on Brexit and the Environment
  • Dr Ruxandra Trandafoiu on Brexit and EU nationals in the NW of England
  • Dr Raphael Levy on Brexit and Science, Funding and Collaboration
  • Nicola Throp on Brexit and Energy Security

Professor Michael Dougan is Professor of European Law at the University of Liverpool. He specialises in EU Law, particularly EU constitutional and institutional law, legal relations between the EU and its Member States, the law of the Single Market and free movement of persons / EU welfare law.

Dr Sarah Clement s a Lecturer in Environmental Management and Planning at the University of Liverpool. Her research focuses on the role of governance in managing human impacts on ecosystems, with an emphasis on how society can reform policy and governance to deal with large scale social and ecological changes, such as climate change, overconsumption, demographic shifts, or economic transformation.

Dr Ruxandra Trandafoiu s is a Reader in Communication at Edge Hill University. She recently completed the fieldwork stage of a research project looking at the impact of Brexit on EU nationals in the NW of England (project led by Dr Zana Vathi, Edge Hill University). Ruxandra worked as a journalist and art critic in Romania, before embarking on an academic career. She writes on migration, nationalism and EU politics.

Dr Raphael Levy is Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry at the University of Liverpool, focusing on the structure and applications of nanoparticles in biological imaging. He is Chair of the Institute of Integrative Biology Public Engagement and Communication Committee.

Nicola Throp has spent almost a decade in the energy sector, working as an energy analyst for an utilities consultancy before taking on her current role in energy procurement.

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Matt Lodder – ‘Not Just for Sailors!’ – A Sceptical Account of The History of Western Tattooing

When:  Thursday, January 17th 2019, 7.30 – 11.00 PM
The Casa Bar, 29 Hope Street

In this talk, Dr Matt Lodder will examine the history of a tenacious cliché — the idea that tattooing ‘now’ is a newly-emerged fashion trend suddenly finding favour amongst wider demographics than in the past, when it was confined to sailors, bikers, criminals and ne’r-do-wells. In a heavily-illustrated talk, tracing relentless examples of this claim in the British and American press from the present day backwards into the late 19th century, the talk will present a wider picture of this oft-maligned practice, and at the same time ask questions about cultural amnesia, the role of journalism in shaping our collective sense of history, and the problematic relationships between academic scholarship and popular understanding.

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