Skeptics in the Pub is about getting people to come together and to have a relaxed and enjoyable evening while listening to talks given in a friendly manner on a wide range of topics, the idea being that we all prefer to be in a pub than a lecture theatre.

So what is it with the skepticism? It doesn't mean we disbelieve everything, just our viewpoints are based on evidence and hence the desire for talks in pubs to gain a greater understanding of the world. We also like to believe, whatever you believe, that you would feel welcome at such talks with your own views and to relax and listen to others.

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 Upcoming events

Professor Jennifer A Clack ScD FRS

When?
Tuesday, January 27 2015 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Professor Jennifer A Clack ScD FRS

What's the talk about?

Professor Clack will speak about the exciting new fossil discoveries from Scotland that fill a gap in the fossil record following a mass extinction at the end of the Devonian. This gap is called Romer's Gap after a famous palaeontologist, Alfred Romer, who noticed that many fossils were absent from the Early Carboniferous, the period immediately after the Devonian mass extinction. The gap covers a period of about 15-20 million years.


Tetrapods during the Devonian were fish like and lived in water. After Romer's Gap Tetrapods become land based. What happened during this crucial period of vertebrate evolution has been based on very few fossils until the new specimens were discovered.

Dr. Richard Piech

When?
Tuesday, February 24 2015 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Dr. Richard Piech

What's the talk about?

If you consider yourself a rational agent, you have had to endure some challenges in recent times. Human irrationality has been talked about on many stages: Nobel prize winning economists showed how powerfully irrational biases influence our views, how irrational rules of thumb drive our decisions, how mundane details affect choices about issues as grave as surgery. The recent financial crisis has been attributed to irrational, out-of-control behaviours. What’s more, some authorities now argue that irrationality isn’t only all around us, but that we should indeed be irrational. It is supposed to be a virtue, not a vice.

 

Dr. Richard Piech, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, will examine such claims from the perspectives of decision science and psychology and will present evidence showing that the ‘irrationality-craze’ reflects a narrow and often wrong understanding of rationality. He will conclude that rationality is the powerful virtue we should identify with and strive for.

Alan Henness

When?
Tuesday, March 31 2015 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Alan Henness

What's the talk about?

Over the last four years, the Nightingale Collaboration has given the Advertising Standards Authority possibly their most difficult challenge: curbing the misleading claims made on complementary and alternative therapy websites. But as a result, many practitioners have realised their responsibilities and taken down long lists of 'what homeopathy can help with...', 'how craniosacral therapy can cure your baby's colic', etc, etc. Some, however, continue to defy the regulator.

The Nightingale Collaboration has been using other regulators as well, eg the medicines regulator, the MHRA, to ensure manufacturers, sellers and advertisers of homeopathic and herbal medicines comply with the rules, regulations and laws they are supposed to, and Trading Standards to make complaints about claims for cancer treatments.

 Alan Henness, one of the directors of the Nightingale Collaboration, will talk about what they've been up to and their future plans.

Science Denialism on Climate Change, GM Foods and Nuclear Power

Mark Lynas

When?
Tuesday, April 28 2015 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Mark Lynas

What's the talk about?

 Mark Lynas is the author of several books on the environment, including High Tide, Six Degrees, and The God Species. His most recent publication, in July 2013, was the Kindle Single ebook Nuclear 2.0: Why a green future needs nuclear power. He is a frequent speaker around the world on climate change, biotechnology and nuclear power, and was climate change advisor to the President of the Maldives between 2009 and 2011. In October 2013 he was appointed a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University’s Office of International Programs at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He is also a member of the advisory board of the science advocacy group Sense About Science, and is vice-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies, which produces an annual top 10 list of the technologies with most potential to change the way we all live.

Myles Power

When?
Tuesday, August 25 2015 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Myles Power

What's the talk about?

In the early days of the AIDS epidemic many bizarre and dangerous ideas were advanced regarding the origin of the disease and its cause. Since the discovery of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) these conspiracy theories, which once filled the void left by the lack of information, have all but vanished. Over the past three decades HIV has been the subject of intense scientific research which has resulted in effective treatments, rapid HIV tests, and promising cures. Yet unbelievably there are a small number of people who are sceptical of the “official story”. Although these people are small in numbers they are extremely well funded and can pose a very real threat to public health. Many have chosen to spend their money on spreading their harmful theories, defend people who have irresponsibly infected their partners, and funded the documentary House of Numbers.

The documentary encourages people to come off their medication, tells them that HIV tests don’t work, and that anti-viral drugs such as AZT are the real cause of AIDS. To do this the makers of the documentary make liberal use of out-of-context quotations from scientists interviewed for the film, deceitful editing techniques, and flat out lies. I have dedicated a large amount of time to exposing some of the more insidious claims in the documentary. In response there have been multiple Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violation claims filed against me in an attempt to silence my criticism. They also published my personal information as well as my employ contact details and promoted people to contact them.

In his talk Myles discusses some examples of the dangerous assertions in the documentary and explain how they have led to the death and suffering of hundreds of thousands of people. He will also talk about the failure of the DMCA and how it can be exploited by the proponents of pseudoscience.

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Tuesday, November 24 2015 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

 Skeptic, comedian and voice of the Skeptics Guide To The Universe, Iszi Lawrence is out to delight and inform with her new show The Z List Dead List. The Z List Dead List is a live comedy show about obscure people from History. As a skeptic, Iszi has found a few people from the past that will peak your interest. Expect woo, violence, sex and death. And a competition. The show is also a podcast with guest interviews from Jon Ronson, Griff Rhys Jones, Natalie Haynes, Neil Denny, Richard Herring etc. You can find it on iTunes here: itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-z-list-dead-list/id915778702?mt=2 or go to the website www.zlistdeadlist.com