Archive for category Skeptics in the Pub

Homeopathy in the UK: The NHS and Beyond – Michael Marshall

marshWhen:  Thursday, October 15th, 2015, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool


As Alok Jha has unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute due to work commitments, our Vice President Michael Marshall will step in to deliver a talk.


Homeopathy is one of the most widely debunked form of alternative medicine – yet homeopathic remedies adorn the shelves of respected pharmacies and are funded by taxpayers on the NHS. How big of a problem is this? Using information and personal experiences gathered during his last 6 years of campaigning against homeopathy, Michael Marshall will highlight how much money is spent on homeopathic remedies, how this gives undeserved credibility to homeopathy, how such remedies can lead to genuine harm and what you can do to help.

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 and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

Our speaker events have wheelchair access, via a portable ramp which can be installed on-demand. If possible, please let us know you’re coming through so we can make sure the ramp is ready.



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The Cult of Dave – David Alnwick

When:  Thursday, October 29th, 2015, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

Mind Reader. Cult Leader. Dave.

David Alnwick takes his critically acclaimed magic show on tour, gathering new followers in order to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming the leader of his own cult. Employing practical, real world examples of ‘social manipulation’, Dave will entertain, excite and inspire. Come and worship at the feet of your new lord and commander.

– “F***ing Ninja Ginger Wizard” -ThreeWeeks
– “Impossible tricks, indestructible wit; he is charming, fluid and insanely quick!” – #SRCZ

After the performance Dave will give a 30 minute talk on the ideas and techniques employed within the show including some mention on the wider psychology in play, followed by a question and answer session.

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Big Screen Science – David Kirby

10986568_835174326568684_203113836282780538_nWhen:  Thursday, August 20th, 2015, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

Many skeptics look suspiciously at science in the movies and may ask themselves: Why don’t these filmmakers ever talk to real scientists? You may be surprised to learn that filmmakers do, in fact, speak with scientists on a regular basis. Hollywood filmmakers routinely ask science consultants to examine scripts, participate in pre-production meetings, and serve as advisors on the set. There are even a number of recent initiatives by high profile scientific organizations, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, designed to facilitate scientists’ involvement in entertainment productions. In this talk Dr. Kirby will elaborate on the role science consultants play in negotiating information transfer between the scientific community and the entertainment community as well as showing how filmmakers must negotiate scientific accuracy within the constraints of film production.

Dr. David A. Kirby is Senior Lecturer in Science Communication Studies Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at University of Manchester.

Our speaker events have wheelchair access, via a portable ramp which can be installed on-demand. If possible, please let us know you’re coming through or on 07534 418 218 so we can make sure the ramp is ready.

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Evidence matters. And it matters that we ask for it – by Chris Peters

11112798_816780435074740_7526680901167965497_oWhen:  Thursday, June 18th, 2015, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

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.

Dr Chris Peters is the Scientific Liaison at Sense About Science, a charity aiming to put science and evidence in the hands of the public.

Our speaker events have wheelchair access, via a portable ramp which can be installed on-demand. If possible, please let us know you’re coming through or on 07534 418 218 so we can make sure the ramp is ready.

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Lies, damned lies and statistics: How we get science coverage wrong – David Robert Grimes

11067494_791078434311607_2551976172180330955_nWhen:  Thursday, September 17th, 2015, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

Science and medicine have transformed our lives immeasurably, and never in history have they been more central to our lives and well-being. Yet despite this, there is often a glaring disconnect between the findings of actual science and media reporting of such topics, and consequently there is often a needless chasm between public perception and the evidence on many contentious topics. This can lead to needlessly adversarial and counter-productive discourse of everything from vaccination to climate-change. In this talk, physicist and science journalist Dr. David Robert Grimes discusses the frequent problems in reporting science from misunderstandings to bad statistics to false balance, and discusses the factors that influence this and how such problems can be remedied.

Dr. David Robert Grimes (@drg1985) is a physicist and writes regular opinion and analysis pieces on scientific issues for the Irish Times and the Guardian science. He keeps a blog on these topics

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Inside AA: Can A Non-Existent God Really Cure Alcoholism? – by Jon Stewart

11019010_778557812230336_553471540070168100_nWhen:  Thursday, November 19th, 2015, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

Alcoholics Anonymous has become a widely accepted and media approved treatment for problem drinkers. Yet while AA’s social worth is rarely challenged its efficacy rate, estimated to be as little as 5%, appears comparable to that of spontaneous remission.

  • Can a non-existent “Higher Power” really offer meaningful solutions to the debilitating and frequently fatal condition of alcoholism?
  • If so, what happens to all those alcoholic atheists and skeptics?
  • How did AA become the go-to treatment modality for one of the great social health scourges of our age?
  • It’s the twenty first century, is this really the best we can do?

Jon Stewart was co-founder, guitarist and co-songwriter for platinum-selling Britpop band Sleeper, with whom he enjoyed three UK Top 10 albums and eight UK Top 40 singles. Jon subsequently played on albums by K D Lang and Mel C, and contributed to feature film and documentary soundtracks including Trainspotting and Telstar: The True Story of Joe Meek.

Jon currently lectures in cultural history at BIMM Institute, Brighton, on programmes validated and awarded by University of Sussex. He is also a PhD researcher at University of Southampton. Author of a long-running column in Guitarist magazine, Jon has published a wide range of research in peer reviewed journals and collections of academic essays. An active and sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 14 years, Jon quit the fellowship in early 2014. His blog “Leaving AA, Staying Sober” is at

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