If you were at our most recent talk, you should be aware that multiple people have tested positive for Covid-19 since the event. If you have had any symptoms such as a fever or headache then please get tested and isolate.
Return of in-person talks
We are pleased to announce the return of in-person talks! Our first one will be on June 9, at the King’s Arms, and will feature Polyp talking about Thomas Paine.
The Skeptic relaunch
The Skeptic is the UK's longest-running publication offering skeptical analysis of pseudoscience, conspiracy theory and claims of the paranormal. It was founded in 1987 by Wendy Grossman, and has relaunched today with Michael Marshall as editor, and produced by the Merseyside Skeptics Society. It will feature regular articles each week from voices across the UK skeptical community, and beyond, with a focus on critical thinking and reason with compassion.
Camp Quest running online in 2020
Camp Quest UK is a freethinking summer camp for kids. They've been running camp since 2008 but this year they've been forced to cancel their physical camp due to Covid-19. They decided to hold two of our camp activities online so that campers, old and new, could still meet and get a little bit of camp experience.
Sessions are free and open to young people aged 10 to 17.
Black Lives Matter
The goal of any Skeptics group should be to fight against beliefs that are both false and damaging, a category that clearly includes all forms of racism.
We are therefore taking the following actions to help do our part:
- The next Skeptics in the Pub Online talk will be about the resurgence of race science. This is a talk we had planned before the recent protests.
- The talk on 2 July will turn the lens on the Skeptics movement itself, examining issues of diversity within our community.
- During the 4 June talk, we did not ask for donations towards Skeptics in the Pub Online’s running costs or wider goals, and instead collected for a Black Lives Matter charity. Between the audience (including GMSS members), Skeptics in the Pub Online itself, and local groups (including GMSS), we raised around £2700.
And here is a story about a nice local statue from @hollyzonehistory.
Last month, we shared an update on how QED 2020 plans were being affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and promised that we would make an official decision on how to proceed by the end of April. We regret to announce that we have taken the decision to postpone QED 2020.
Coronavirus and event cancellations
Given the current coronavirus pandemic, we have decided not to go ahead with physical meet-ups for the time being. The March talk which was due to take place on Wednesday will be moved to another date once we know it's sensible to do so, and the May talk probably now cannot happen even if the restrictions are lifted by then. The talks for June and December will stay booked in for now but obviously we don't know when we will be able to resume pub talks.
We have now got a Discord server to chat in — if you're a regular then drop one of us a message and we'll get an invite to you. We're also looking at running online events while the restrictions are in place, so please watch this space for details about that, as well as information on future real-life events.
In the meantime, take care of yourselves, and don't be a stranger.
Some extra links and resources from this year's Soapbox talks.
Trialling new membership list
While anyone is always welcome at our Skeptics in the Pub events, if you come regularly you might want to become a member of the Greater Manchester Skeptics Society. Members get to vote on things and count towards quorum in our meetings.
Manifesto against Pseudoscientific Therapies
The APETP in Spain who campaign against pseudoscientific therapies have launched a manifesto and are looking for qualified scientists and health professionals to sign it, as well as other people to pitch in checking their credentials and sharing the manifesto to people who can sign it.