Posts Tagged Ariane Sherine

A Word From Our Man In Ottawa…

Humanist Dave with beard and taped photo

Humanist Dave with beard and taped photo

Last month, MSS member Chris jetted off to a bright future and a new life in Canada. I think. I mean the brighter future bit, not the Canada bit – I know he’s in Canada. Or at least he said he is, I’ve no real hard evidence. Hmm. Anyway, in his first overseas missive, Chris introduces us to the Canada Humanist scene and their own Atheist Bus Campaign…

Greetings from Canada! Coincidentally, just as Ariane Sherine prepared to make her way to my old stomping-ground in Liverpool I attended my first meeting of the Humanist Association of Ottawa (HAO) at which the topic was the Atheist Bus Campaign. I thought it worth mentioning not only because of the fact that it was relevant to a Merseyside meeting, but also because it raises some issues that haven’t been so important in the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

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There’s Probably No Santa, So Stop Worrying and Forget About The Beard

Next week we have the lovely Ariane Sherine coming up to Liverpool Skeptics In The Pub, when she will be talking about how she created the Atheist Bus Campaign, and about her new book The Atheist’s Guide To Christmas. The book is a great read, featuring essays by 42 famous atheists from different walks of life. Contributors include Richard Dawkins, Charlie Brooker, Simon Singh, Josie Long and many, many more. I thoroughly recommend it.

Anyway, in tribute to the book and Ariane’s upcoming talk (which will be fab, so please come along!), I thought I’d stick my oar in and have a bit of a blog about atheism myself. As far back as I can remember, I’ve never believed in a God. Lately, I’ve heard and read a lot of stories by people of their conversions to athiesm, or from atheism to theism, or of their struggle to ‘come out’ as an atheist, particularly in religious households; but I have no such story to tell. No-one in my family is religious or cares much either way about whether a God exists or not, and the friends I grew up with seem to have been in the same boat, so far as I know. It’s simply never been an issue for me, to the extent that I’ve never even really thought of myself as an atheist. It would be like giving myself a label based around the fact I have arms, or have never owned a chicken. Read the rest of this entry »

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Standing-Room Only With Chris French

A Great NightOn Thursday 17th September, the Crown Hotel in Liverpool was the setting for our first Liverpool Skeptics in The Pub guest lecture. Guardian writer, TV personality and psychology professor, Chris French, came up to talk about his main area of research, ‘Anomalistic Psychology’. And what a night it was, too!

The event exceeded all our expectations, with at least 75 people turning up (to a room meant for 60!) to hear Chris’s entertaining lecture on a wide range of topics –  from alien abductions to ghosts, to Led Zeppelin and psychics – all under the rational umbrella of  ‘Anomalistic Psychology’. The room was filled to capacity – with many of you standing, though no-one seemed to mind! Everyone seemed to enjoy the night immensely, not least of all us here at the Merseyside Skeptics Society, who were overjoyed to have such a successful and fun night for our first guest lecture.

The talk lasted an hour, featuring among other things, a look at so-called satanic messages in rock music, why people see faces in random patterns, and how everyday psychological and physical quirks can account for many reports of UFOs and psychic ability. It was entertaining and insightful in equal measure. As well as being head of the ‘Anomalistic Psychology’ department at Goldsmith University, Chris is also editor of The Skeptic magazine, and his knowledge and sceptical eye seemingly left no stone unturned. Afterwards, he was kind enough to hold a riveting question and answer session with the audience, and the night ended with many of the audience taking advantage of the opportunity to chat and share a drink with him.

Everyone had a great night, and the large turnout just went to show how big Skepticism is becoming on Merseyside. We truly are part of something great , and it’s people like you who come to events like this, that keep it going. So, thanks to everyone who came, and thanks also to everyone involved in the organisation of this event who helped to make it possible. You know who you are! Thanks also to The Crown for letting us have their upstairs room for the night, and of course, thanks to Chris French himself for agreeing to come up to Merseyside and give the talk in the first place.

The Man Himself!Last but not least, don’t forget that this isn’t a one-off! We have plans for several guest lectures in the coming months, information on which will be released nearer the time. Our next event, however, is fully confirmed: on October 15th, in conjunction with The Liverpool Humanist Group, we have journalist and comedy writer (don’t call her a ‘comedienne’!), Ariane Sherine, coming up from London to talk to us about how she created the now-global Atheist Bus Campaign. More details can be found on this site. If the last event is anything to go by, this is bound to be huge, so whatever you do, don’t miss it!

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