Archive for category Skeptics in the Pub

The Knowledge – Lewis Dartnell

When: Thursday, February 19th, 2014, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

Maybe it was an asteroid impact, a nuclear war, or a viral pandemic. Whatever the cause, the world as we know it is over and humanity must start again. What would you need to know to not only survive in the immediate aftermath, but avert another Dark Ages and accelerate the rebooting of civilisation from scratch? The Knowledge is a grand thought experiment on the behind-the-scenes fundamentals of how our world works, and what drove the progression of civilisation over the centuries.

Dr Lewis Dartnell is a research fellow at the University of Leicester, working in the field of astrobiology and the search for life beyond Earth. He has written three the-knowledgebooks: Life in the Universe: A Beginner’s Guide, My Tourist Guide to the Solar System and The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch.

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Truth and Lies in Advertising – by Richard Burdett

When:  Thursday, December 18th, 2014, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

This talk looks at advertising from both the consumer’s and the advertiser’s perspective. Can consumers trust what they’re seeing, reading, hearing and clicking on? And, in an increasingly fragmented and fractured media environment, can advertisers trust the data on which they’re making multi-million pound investment decisions?

Richard Burdett began his career at Saatchi & Saatchi, spending eleven years working with clients such as BA, BP, Cadbury Schweppes and Sainsbury’s.

He then moved from advertising to the fledgling world of multi-channel television, initially as Head of Ad Sales for The Discovery Channel and subsequently as Head of Marketing for UKTV. Next stop was Vice Chairman of CIA (now MEC) one of the world’s largest media buying agencies. In 2003 he became Head of 4Creative, Channel 4’s in-house ad agency, working on shows such as Lost, Desperate Housewives, Shameless and Jamie’s School Dinners as well as the launches of More4 and Film4.

Richard is currently MD of Horse & Country TV, a thematic channel which does exactly what it says on the tin. The channel has brought over fifty new advertisers on to TV and was one of five nominees for Best Factual Channel in this year’s Broadcast awards, up against BBC3, BBC4, Discovery and History.

Follow Richard on Twitter @rgburdett

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Lifting The Lid: Ongoing adventures in the world of pseudoscience – by Michael Marshall

When: Thursday, November 20th, 2014, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

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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. In a talk that has been hugely popular at more than 25 events this year, 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 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.

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The Psychology of Possession and Exorcism – by Chris French

When: Thursday, July 17th, 2014, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

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It can be argued that human beings tend to be intuitive dualists, finding it easy to believe that “mind-stuff” simply cannot be reduced to matter. Such intuitions underlie the belief that mind (or, as some would call it, “soul”) can become separated from the physical body. Indeed, most people go further and believe that consciousness can in some way survive physical death. Comforting though such beliefs may be, they also open the door to the possibility that other spiritual beings, both human and non-human, may at times take control of another person’s physical body. Belief in possession and exorcism is widespread in many societies, both ancient and modern. Neuropathological and sociocognitive factors that underlie such beliefs will be presented in this talk.

Professor Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a member of the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of the British False Memory Society. He has published over 120 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims, as well as writing for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine. His most recent book, co-authored with Anna Stone, is Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience.

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Is Cleanliness a Bad Thing? – by Sheena Cruickshank

When: Thursday, September 18th, 2014, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

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This talk will highlight how the rise in sanitation and vaccination in developed countries has seen a correlative prevalence of autoimmune disease and allergy, leading to the counterintuitive possibility that we might be able to cure the current wave of allergies and autoimmune diseases with worms.

Dr Sheena Cruickshank lectures in Immunology in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester. Her work explores the relationship between cleanliness and allergies.

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An Atheist on the Alpha Course – by Simon Clare

When: Thursday, October 16th, 2014, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

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The Alpha Course runs in 162 countries and has been attended, according to their website, by 25 Million people. Over a 9 week period, students are guided through Christian theology ostensibly to “Explore the meaning of Life”.

Simon Clare, an unabashed atheist, signed up to his local course in Brighton, wondering if his faithlessness would be challenged. Spoiler: He wasn’t converted but he was surprised at what he learnt about faith.

The new Archbishop Of Canterbury, Justin Welby, found his faith at the home of the Alpha Course and his election suggests that the Alpha model of spreading the word is now at the heart of Christianity’s struggle for survival. As well as giving an overview of the course from biblical history to singing in tongues, Simon will discuss what atheists can learn from the Alpha Course.

Simon Clare runs Horsham Skeptics in the Pub and is a founder member of the South East Skeptics Society.

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