Archive for category Skeptics in the Pub

Steve Barrett – How do we know we really went to the moon?

When:  Thursday, July 18th 2019, 7.30 – 11.00 PM

Where: The Casa Bar, 29 Hope Street

There’s no shortage of people who will tell you that the Apollo moon landings of the late 1960s and early 1970s were faked by NASA. But what exactly is the ‘evidence’ that supports this conspiracy, and does it stand up to scientific scrutiny?

Steve Barrett is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Physics at the University of Liverpool. With long-standing interests in astronomy and photography, it is no surprise to find that many of the twenty or so outreach talks that he gives have an astronomical flavour.

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Tom Chivers – The AI does not hate you

When:  Thursday, June 20th 2019, 7.30 – 11.00 PM

Where: Frederiks, Hope Street

A DEEP-DIVE INTO THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL WORLD OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

‘The AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made of atoms which it can use for something else’

 

This is a book about AI and AI risk. But it’s also more importantly about a community of people who are trying to think rationally about intelligence, and the places that these thoughts are taking them, and what insight they can and can’t give us about the future of the human race over the next few years. It explains why these people are worried, why they might be right, and why they might be wrong. It is a book about the cutting edge of our thinking on intelligence and rationality right now by the people who stay up all night worrying abou

t it.

Along the way, we discover why we probably don’t need to worry about a future AI resurrecting a perfect copy of our minds and torturing us for not inventing it sooner, but we perhaps should be concerned about paperclips destroying life as we know it; how Mickey Mouse can teach us an important lesson about how to program AI; and how a more rational approach to life could be what saves us all.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Chivers was BuzzFeed UK’s science writer between 2015 and 2018. Before joining BuzzFeed, he spent seven years at the Telegraph, where he once interviewed Terry Pratchett and was told he was ‘far too nice to be a journalist’. He has struggled on despite this handicap, winning a British Health Journalism award and an American Psychological Society media award, being shortlisted for an Association of British Science Writers award and being highly commended in the Royal Statistical Society’s annual journalism prizes. He tweets @TomChivers.

‘Beautifully written, and with wonderful humour, this is a thrilling adventure story of our own future’

 Lewis Dartnell author of The Knowledge and Origins

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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: https://mssx.co.uk/tickets

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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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