Posts Tagged Skeptics in the Pub
Dr Benedict Michael is a NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow (DRF). He trained in Medicine in Liverpool, and has helped set up the NHS Northwest Neurological Infectious Diseases Research Network and Brain Infections UK and is a main author for the ABN/BIA National Encephalitis Guideline. Here, he shares his take on our recent guest speaker Mark Henderson’s ‘Geek Manifesto’:
I recently attended an interesting talk hosted by the Merseyside Skeptics Society and given by Mark Henderson, author of the “Geek Manifesto”, and one main thing struck me: Why are so many of the greatest proponents of evidence-based approaches not scientists?! As a physician, NIHR PhD Fellow, author of over 20 peer-reviewed scientific publications and active author in the Cochrane Collaboration, arguably the most widely respected evidence-based institution, I can claim at least some interest in this!
Although I commend Mark’s efforts, the non-scientific authors and proponents, if I can call them that (and by which I mean authors not regularly engaged in peer-reviewed scientific research publications and nothing pejorative), are not always in line with the scientific community.
In fact, many scientists and doctors oppose a fully evidence-based approach to guiding policy and practice, and some have gone so far as to raise the alarm against a cryptofacist evidence-based hegemony in which they find their practice constrained.
Now before you grab the pitch forks and tie me to a stake, let me explain. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s (Not) the End of the World As We Know It
by John Walliss
When: Thursday, October 20th, 2011 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Head of Steam, 7 Lime Street, Liverpool
On 21st May 2011 the end of the world should have begun. This prophecy, from evangelical Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping, however, did not come to pass. Christians all over the world were not raptured, the Tribulation period did not begin, and Camping, who has subsequently suffered a stroke, and his followers are having to come to terms with the apparent failure, or at least delay, of the prophesied events to occur.
Camping however, is not unique in religious history. Numerous other prophets and religious leaders have made claims that the world will end on a specific date with events subsequently proving them wrong.
John will examine the phenomenon of prophetic failure, drawing on the wealth of literature that we have developed in the social sciences over the last 60 or so years. In doing so he will hope to answer such questions as what happens when prophecy fails and does prophecy ever really fail?
John Walliss is the senior lecturer in the sociology of religion and Director of the Centre for Millennialism Studies within the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Liverpool Hope University..
The Science of Pornography and Anti-Porn Campaigners: A Skeptical Look At The Debate
by Stuart Ritchie
When: Thursday, September 15th, 2011 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Head of Steam, 7 Lime Street, Liverpool
Is pornography turning us all into sex offenders? What effect does it have on societal attitudes towards women? Is porn taking over the internet? If certain recent books – such as ‘Pornland’ by Professor Gail Dines – are to be believed, pornography is having all these effects and more, and is a hugely detrimental force in our society.
But what does the best scientific evidence say? Stuart Ritchie, a PhD Psychology student at The University of Edinburgh, takes a skeptical look at the arguments for and against pornography.
NOTE: This is a replacement talk for “How to be a Psychic Con-man” by Ash Pryce, which has been postponed until further notice.
Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History
by David Aaronovitch
When: Thu, Jul 15, 2010 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines (aka the Big House), 81 Lime Street, Liverpool
Our age is obsessed by the idea of conspiracy. We see it everywhere – from Pearl Harbour to 9/11, from the assassination of Kennedy to the death of Diana.
In his book Voodoo Histories, writer David Aaronovitch entertainingly demolishes the absurd and sinister conspiracy theories of the last 100 years. Aaronovitch reveals why people are so ready to believe in them and the dangers of this credulity.
Meticulous in its research, forensic in its reasoning, hilarious in its debunking, Voodoo Histories will arm anyone who has found themselves at the wrong end of a conversation about moon landings or the twin towers.
David will examine the need, when iconic figures such as Kennedy, Monroe or Princess Diana are killed, to construct an overarching explanation that mitigates the pain and anxiety of their loss – showing what happens when, as in the case of Diana, conspiracy theories actually make it as far as a court of law.
You’re never short of skeptical events these days. We have skeptics’ cruises through the Bermuda Triangle, Dragoncon’s Skeptrack, not to mention the infamous Amazing Meeting, which was held in London for the first time last year. On a more local level, here in Merseyside we have social and speaker events for both the Merseyside Skeptics and the Greater Manchester Skeptics, as well as other events and meetings of interest to skeptics, such as the scibar talks, cafe scientifique, philosophy in pubs and the Liverpool Humanists. We also have the recently started Ladies Who Do Skepticism meetups, the brainchild of Manchester Skeptics’ Janis Bennion. We simply can’t move for Skeptical events.
However, there’s always room for more, and that’s where you come in. We’re interested in your ideas for skeptical events. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a brand new idea, it can be something you’ve just heard of and thought was a good idea. Either way, we want to hear your ideas.
So the Question of The Week is this: What new skeptical events can you come up with?
Maybe you’ve been nurturing the idea of starting up a Skeptics In The Sauna, or have an idea for the perfect skeptical holiday. It doesn’t have to be an event. Feel free to branch out. It’s common for skepticism to advertise itself in the form of podcasts – maybe you have an idea for a new skeptical outlet? Whatever it is, let us know. Then we can steal it and get all the credit…
Please leave your ideas in the comments field below.
Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History – Cancelled
Apologies for the last minute notice, but after an unforeseen emergency eye surgery, our guest speaker David Aaronovitch has had to pull out of the event on Thursday. This is of course a huge shame, but we’ll be keeping the room for the date, so instead we’re hosting a social event in the Vines at 8pm. Please feel free to come along and chat to us about skepticism, conspiracy theory and other skeptical topics.