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Paul Ewans

When?
Tuesday, April 25 2017 at 7:00PM

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Where?

2 Norfolk Street
Cambridge
CB1 2LF

Who?
Paul Ewans

What's the talk about?

The overwhelming majority of schools in Uganda are religious foundations offering an exclusively Christian or Moslem education to their pupils. By contrast, the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust (UHST) raises money in the UK to support a small number of inclusive charitable schools founded by Ugandan Humanists. These schools provide a liberal secular education to orphans and other needy children, and do not discriminate on grounds of religious, social or ethnic background. They are now giving more than 1000 children from deprived rural areas both a good education and opportunities in life that go beyond subsistence farming on the family plot. 

Paul Ewans, a UHST trustee, will describe the progress the schools have made to date and outline what remains to be done to make the schools self-sufficient and secure their future.

Julian Huppert

When?
Tuesday, March 28 2017 at 7:00PM

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Where?

9a Bridge Street
Cambridge
CB2 1UB

Who?
Julian Huppert

What's the talk about?

2016 was a year of political upheaval, not least in the UK and America. A common concern on both sides of the pond was the apparent relegation of fact and rational discourse in favour of an appeal to emotion, shrill voices and the embrace of dubious and erroneous facts. Julian Huppert, LibDem MP for Cambridge 2010-2015 joins us to share his views. Was it really like this or not? Was it worse than ever? What’s the future prospect for rational debate in parliament and civil society?


This will be Julian’s second visit to Skeptics in the Pub. It’s sure to be a stimulating evening of discussion and debate.

Andrew Copson (British Humanist Association)

When?
Thursday, March 23 2017 at 7:00PM

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Where?

2 Norfolk Street
Cambridge
CB1 2LF

Who?
Andrew Copson (British Humanist Association)

What's the talk about?

Humanism comes in for a lot of criticism from a number of different angles. Some see it is an immoral approach to life, some as nihilistic. By examining a few of the most common objections to Humanism we learn more about them, to what extent they are fair, and how to counter them. We also learn more about Humanism.

Andrew Copson will talk about objections to Humanism and discuss the importance of being self critical, as well as some useful tips on how to counter any of the objections should you ever come up against them.

Andrew became Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association in January 2010 after five years coordinating the BHA’s education and public affairs work. His writing on humanist and secularist issues has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Times and New Statesman as well as in various journals and he has represented the BHA and Humanism extensively on television news on BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, as well as on television programmes such as Newsnight, The Daily Politics, Sunday Morning Live and The Big Questions. He has also appeared on radio on programmes from Today, You and Yours, Sunday, The World Tonight, The World at One, The Last Word and Beyond Belief on the BBC, to local and national commercial radio stations.

Brian Eggo

When?
Tuesday, February 28 2017 at 7:00PM

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Where?

2 Norfolk Street
Cambridge
CB1 2LF

Who?
Brian Eggo

What's the talk about?

Every December a string of ‘psychics’ across the world use their clairvoyant powers to make predictions for the coming year, with varying degrees of success. In this talk Brian Eggo from Glasgow Skeptics will take a look at things a little closer to home. What type of predictions have Scottish psychics made in the past? What did they think was in store for us in recent years? Will they be willing to go on the record? He will also make a bold attempt to recreate the recreation of ‘The Hurkos Experiment’ – prepare to be underwhelmed!


Brian is the main organiser and primary mouthpiece of Glasgow Skeptics. As such, he has an unhealthy interest in the equally amusing and frustrating realms of woo & pseudoscience. This has caused him to spend way too much of his own money on the type of things he encourages other people not to spend their money on. He occasionally dabbles in skeptical activism when prompted, and has been known to make some awful puns on podcasts. His day job is in Training & Development, which explains a lot. Find out more on the Glasgow Skeptics website or by following him on twitter @brianeggo A video of Brian can be viewed here on the Facebook page.

Viren Swami

When?
Tuesday, January 31 2017 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Viren Swami

What's the talk about?

Can science explain how we form relationships? This talk looks at how factors such as geography, appearance, personality, and similarity affect who we fall for and why.

When it comes to relationships, there’s no shortage of advice from self-help ‘experts’, pick-up artists, and glossy magazines. But modern-day myths of attraction often have no basis in fact or – worse – are rooted in little more than misogyny. In this talk, Prof Viren Swami, one of the world’s leading experts in the psychology of romantic attraction, debunks these myths and draws on cutting-edge research to provide a ground-breaking and evidence-based account of relationship formation. He'll present a very simple idea: that there are no ‘laws of attraction’, no foolproof methods or strategies for getting someone to date you. But this isn’t to say that there’s nothing to be gained from studying attraction. Based on science rather than self-help clichés, Prof Swami looks at how factors such as geography, appearance, personality, and similarity affect who we fall for and why.

Viren Swami is Professor of Social Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, where his research is focused on body image and human appearance and, separately, the psychology of conspiracy theories. He is the author of over two hundred academic papers and three books, including Attraction Explained and The Psychology of Physical Attraction.

Emily St.Denny

When?
Tuesday, November 29 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Emily St.Denny

What's the talk about?

Emily St.Denny is a PhD student at Nottingham Trent University and a research assistant on the ESRC funded Scottish Center on Constitutional Change. Her doctoral research focuses on why contemporary French prostitution policy has changed the way it has in the last fifty years. She is fascinated by how moral and ‘common sense’ claims often come to be used to inform societies on the ‘only’ way or the ‘right’ way to politically address intricate human experiences, especially in the realm of sexuality and the body.

This talk is about how the ideas that citizens and politicians have about prostitution influences government policy. Contemporary prostitution policy in France, England, Wales and Sweden are used as a lens through which to investigate the strategies, challenges and incongruities behind policy making on a social issue that people feel strongly about. More broadly, the processes through which governments collect, evaluate and interpret ‘evidence’ on complex social phenomena to inform policy making are unpicked to reveal how disconnected ‘evidence-based policy’ can sometimes be from science. 

Sarah Beck

When?
Tuesday, October 25 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Sarah Beck

What's the talk about?

Sarah Beck is Reader in Cognitive Development at the University of Birmingham. She researches children's thinking about possibility and time, and questions whether adults' thinking in these areas is as sophisticated as we might like to think. She teaches an undergraduate course that compares the cognitive abilities of human children with non-human animals.

Young children are excellent imaginers, coming up with all kinds of creative and weird worlds. But what is the imagination really for? Adults use their imaginations to solve problems, but children sometimes struggle with this. In this talk, Sarah Beck will explore how children start to use their imaginations for creative problem solving, using examples of children’s thinking about ‘how things might have been different’ and comparing children’s tool-making to that of clever non-human animals.

Dr Kat Arney

When?
Tuesday, September 27 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Dr Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

Dr Kat Arney is a science communicator and award-winning blogger for Cancer Research UK, as well as a freelance science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more.

The language of genes has become common in the media. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. We're told that genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.

There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the 'recipes' that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with all the control switches ensuring they're turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library.

With the help of cats with thumbs, fish with hips and wobbly worms, Kat will unpack some of the mysteries in our DNA and explain the latest thinking about how our genes work.

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Tuesday, August 30 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

Skeptic, comedian and voice of the Skeptics Guide To The Universe, Iszi Lawrence is back with another edition of The Z List Dead List but a fresh new cast of Z List people from History with a skeptical and scientific pedigree. 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

Robin Taylor

When?
Tuesday, July 26 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Robin Taylor

What's the talk about?

Ash Pryce has cancelled, due to ill health. His replacement will be the Robin Taylor, who was orginally scheduled for the event in March 2016.

Robin Taylor will talk about witchcraft and the active imagination. He is Vice-President of the Pagan Federation, and practices Wicca with occasional excursions into Heathenry and Druidry.

There are still those who practice witchcraft in the modern world, either as solitary individuals or in groups known as covens. Wicca, a tradition founded last century in which I practice in a group context, has aspects of witchcraft, ritual magic, and initiatory mystery religion.

Wiccan groups maintain cohesion by orthopraxy rather than orthodoxy: everyone takes part in the same ritual and engages with the mythology of that ritual, but none can prescribe an interpretation to another, and there is no actual requirement to believe anything, which fits in very well with a sceptical viewpoint in a largely post-religious world. Witches see active yet fluid ritual engagement with mythology as a way of cultivating and merging reason, imagination and action. 

Common themes in the practice of witchcraft are being careful what you wish for and looking at the consequence of intentions and actions, and deftly steering the web of the world with a light touch while being responsive to its structure. This overlaps with the habits of mind required to move to a more sustainable society.

This justification would not have worked in the past, when there was wide belief in the direct efficacy of magic both for good and ill, and in the actual existence of supernatural entities. The talk will cover what is known of witchcraft from the period of the Greek magical papyri and before, the survival of the magical tradition in the middle ages under Christianity and Islam, the persecution of witches in the time of Matthew Hopkins and the English Civil War, and the more open adoption of the title of witch in the last century.

Please contact us if you would like to do a short presentation.

Various (it could be you!!)

When?
Tuesday, June 28 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Various (it could be you!!)

What's the talk about?

June's event will be an open mic night. We would love for you to share details of your area of interest with us for up to 20 minutes. Presentation style is up to the speaker, including interactive styles. All topics for your presentation are welcome.

Please contact us via the 'Contact Us' page, and we will get back to you shortly.

Robin Tudge

When?
Tuesday, May 31 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

20a Portugal Place
CB5 8AF

Who?
Robin Tudge

What's the talk about?

Robin Tudge is a writer based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who has lived and worked in Chicago, Moscow, Hanoi, Beijing and Pyongyang. He has visited North Korea several times since 2001 and led tours there in 2013 and 2015 for the leading tour company, Koryo Tours. 

Robin will present an illustrated talk on travelling to that impoverished, surprising country, to show what can really be seen beyond the Potemkin illusion.