Archive for category Skeptics in the Pub

Does Lobbying Distort Our Democracy? – Tamasin Cave

When:  Thursday, September 21st 2016, 7.30 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

Tamasin Cave

Tamasin Cave

Tamasin Cave will talk about the UK’s £2bn lobbying industry and the tactics they use to bend government to their will: how lobbyists build relationships with government; their manipulation of the media; the way that they use academics, scientists, think-tanks, front groups and others to spread their messages; and their attacks on opposition groups. She will talk about how the private healthcare industry has lobbied to open up the NHS to more private operators – and how schools are going the same way; how energy companies have hired a small army of lobbyists to persuade government and local communities to support fracking; how the ‘revolving door’ works to support the arms industry; and more.

Tamasin is a writer, campaigner and commentator. Her new book, A Quiet Word: Lobbying, Crony Capitalism and Broken Politics in Britain, co-authored by Andy Rowell, shines a light into one of the darkest and least-understood corners of our political culture: the UK’s £2 billion commercial lobbying industry. She is a director of Spinwatch, which investigates corporate PR and lobbying, as well as government spin. Since 2007, she has also led the campaign for transparency regulations for lobbyists.

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 contact@merseysideskeptics.org.uk so we can make sure the ramp is ready.

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Secrets & Lies: Psychology of Conspiracy Theories – Karen Douglas

When:  Thursday, May 18th 2016, 7.30 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

Professor Karen Douglas

Professor Karen Douglas

Was 9/11 an inside job? Is climate change a hoax? Was Princess Diana murdered? Millions of people appear to think so, disbelieving official explanations for significant events in favour of alternative accounts that are often called ‘conspiracy theories’. In recent years, psychologists have begun to investigate what makes conspiracy theories appealing to so many people. In this talk, Prof. Karen Douglas will broadly overview what psychologists have found out so far, and will discuss some of her own findings on the causes and consequences of belief in conspiracy theories.

Karen Douglas is a Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Kent. In addition to conducting work on the psychology of conspiracy theories, she is involved in projects examining sexism in language, the influence of sexist ideology on attitudes toward pregnant women, and the psychology of internet behaviour.

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 contact@merseysideskeptics.org.uk so we can make sure the ramp is ready.

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Ask an Archaeologist – Paul Duncan McGarrity

When:  Thursday, February 16th 2016, 7.30 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

15283939_1168632886556158_6362493368872952143_nAn archaeologist and comedian (same person, Paul Duncan McGarrity) sits in a room and answers your questions on any subject as honestly as possible. Could be rude, probably crude. Be prepared to talk candidly with the protection of context.

‘Like a very tall, funny, excited child’ (Scotsman).

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 contact@merseysideskeptics.org.uk so we can make sure the ramp is ready.

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Crucifixion’s a Doddle – Julian Doyle

When:  Thursday, March 16th 2016, 7.30 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

15337616_1168644423221671_3847331051881702007_nJulian Doyle is a writer, director, photographer, editor, movie special-effects creator. He is most famous for editing the Monty Python films and for shooting the effects for Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits and Brazil, which he also edited.

His occult movie, Chemical Wedding, has become a cult classic and his acclaimed play, Twilight of the Gods, about the tumultuous relationship between the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the composer Richard Wagner, was described by the magazine Philosophy Now as ‘Masterful’.

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 contact@merseysideskeptics.org.uk so we can make sure the ramp is ready.

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GHost Hosting 17, No Such Thing As Gravity

When:  Friday, January 27th 2016, 6pm
Where: The Williamson Tunnels, Liverpool

16003246_1208210502598396_4630370098395663644_nSkeptics! Chris French is coming to Liverpool to help deliver GHost Hosting 17, part of FACT’s “No Such Thing As Gravity” exhibition.

This is not an MSS event, but we expect many Skeptics to be interested in coming along. It is free to attend, but requires registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ghost-hosting-17-ghosts-in-body-and-mind-tickets-30217321823

If you fancy joining us, register yourself and we’ll meet up at the Williamson Tunnels shortly beforehand at 6pm.

Event details:

What makes a ghost? GHost is a visual arts and creative research project which explores the nature of ghosts both metaphorically and practically in its activities. Serving as a supporting platform (or host) GHost aims to enable invited guests to visually and conceptually manifest and interrogate the idea of the ghost. The project takes its title from a work by Marcel Duchamp: “A GUEST + A HOST = A GHOST” Marcel Duchamp (1953).

For GHost Hosting 17, No Such Thing As Gravity artist Sarah Sparkes continues this programme of research seminars with an interdisciplinary seminar and performance event exploring the concept of ‘a formula for ghost making’, focused around faith, belief, and religious practice. How do spirits and ghosts contribute to or affect different religions and beliefs? How are practices used to embody, evoke or communicate these notions?

Sparkes will be joined by Professor Chris French, professor of Psychology and founder of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit (APRU) at Goldsmiths, specialising in the psychology of paranormal beliefs and experiences, cognition and emotion; and by Christian Weaver, a specialist in ethnomusicology and musician, composer and practitioner of ritual drumming. Artist Birgitta Hosea will also present Medium, a site-specific performance in which the artist takes the role of a techno-medium.

You’ll also have a chance to explore the Williamson Tunnels, and discover the other end of the GHost Portal that you might have already seen in FACT.

A new commission for FACT and the Williamson Tunnels Heritage Centre, in association with National Museums Liverpool. The project has been supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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Misrepresenting Reality – Michael Dougan

When:  Thursday, January 19th 2016, 7.30 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

15078718_1147417875344326_4673999974074067383_nIn January, the MSS welcomes Professor Michael Dougan whose criticism of the referendum campaign’s “industrial dishonesty” went viral.

Misrepresenting reality without any supporting evidence – indeed usually directly in the face of the objective evidence. Peddling fantasies and making promises never to be delivered – often contradictory promises directed at different audiences. Attacking any opposition or dissent as biased and incompetent – or as part of some elitist / establishment conspiracy. Undermining the legal and political institutions upon which our democracy is based – all the while claiming to be their only true defenders. How did the Leave campaign get away with all this? And why are we still letting them get away with it?

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. Michael also contributes to wider public and political debates about European law: for example, providing advice to UK government departments, parliamentary committees and EU institutions. Michael is Joint Editor of Common Market Law Review – the world’s leading scientific journal for European legal research. He was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in 2006.

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