Clutching at Random Straws
Did aliens help prehistoric Britons found the ancient Woolworth's civilization? Matt the 'Stand-up Mathematician' will look at how seemingly incredible results can actually be meaningless random patterns.
Find out more about Matt at http://www.standupmat...
Karen Douglas received her PhD in social psychology from the Australian National University and has worked in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. She is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Kent. Karen's research examines the psychological factors underlying people's beliefs in conspiracy theories. She is also interested in language and communication, persuasion and attitude change, and justice beliefs. Karen's research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the British Academy. She has published her work widely in social psychological journals and books.
10 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1DH, UK
Martin Robbins is a science writer and freelance journalist covering science, skepticism and politics at The Guardian, The Lay Scientist and beyond!
In this talk Martin will give us a more global view of homeopathy, crackpots abroad and Bad Science in the developing world. He will cover Homeopaths in Haiti and Africa, AIDS denialism, how alt med props up the Cuban healthcare system, anti-vaccination movements in Africa and Asia, dodgy bomb-detectors, and a plethora of other stories about quacks amok in the third world.
Jan Swammerdam, mystical materialist.
Jan Swammerdam (1637-1680) was a renowned microscopist, anatomist and experimenter who lived in the Dutch Republic, and is now largely forgotten. But he helped contribute to one of the most important breakthroughs in the history of science - understanding where life comes from. Not only did he show that "all animals come from an egg laid by a female of the same species", he was also part of a small group that made the amazing discovery that women have eggs. But Swammerdam was not a modern day life scientist transposed back to the time of Rembrandt and Vermeer. He was a product of his time, profoundly mystical and deeply religious - he even gave up science for a couple of years, in order to join a bizarre sect that believed that Adam and Eve were hermaphrodites. By looking at his life, work and opinions, we can see that the road to the full development of scientific, rational thinking was not straightforward, and involved people who simultaneously believed in completely contradictory things.
Matthew Cobb is an acclaimed science-communicator, scientist and writer who spent most of his adult life living in Paris, where he worked as a scientist and spent a great deal of time active in far-left politics. His day-job is studying the sense of smell in fruitfly maggots, and being in charge of Manchester University's Zoology degree. He also studies the history of science, and recently published a book ("Generation" in the US, "The Egg & Sperm Race" in the UK and Commonwealth). He also writes regularly on science and historical issues for the LA Times and the Times Literary Supplement.
Skeptical Activism and the Quacklash
Simon is an active campaigner against nonsense. Using the ASA, Trading Standards, other regulatory bodies and even gaining help from MPs, his campaigns have helped shut down dodgy allergy test services, prevented traditional chinese medicine salesmen from claiming to cure cancer and exposed psychic scams.
His largest involvement in a campaign, coined the "Quacklash" by Jack of Kent involved almost 600 separate letters being sent to trading standards to report claims to treat childhood diseases with a back rub. 60 of the letters gained 500 signatories. Further complaints were issued with the General Chiropractic Council.
Simon will be explaining the techniques he's used to fight woo, what works and what doesn't and tell stories about some of the crazy nonsense he's encountered along the way.
The natural cycles of climate change "skeptics"
Dr Andrew Russell discusses the current scientific knowledge on climate change, alongside arguments used by climate change "sceptics".
Dr Andrew Russell is a weather and climate scientist at the University of Manchester. Alongside media appearances (such as 'The One Show' and NERC's 'Planet Earth Podcast'), Dr Russell chairs the committee of the North-West Local Centre of the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS), and is an Associate Editor of the journal 'Atmospheric Science Letters'.
Find out more about Andrew Russell: http://www.andrewruss...
Our very first speaker will be Trystan Swale on the 13th of April at TV21 in the Norther Quarter, Manchester who will be talking about Ghosts and the people who hunt them. This will be followed by the first ever live recording of the Righteous Indignation podcast!
--GHOSTS AND THE PEOPLE WHO HUNT THEM--
Who are the people that spend their weekends sat in haunted buildings hoping to capture evidence of an after life or a snapshot of a ghost? From academics to housewives, Trystan Swale blows the whistle on the profiles, methods, means, deception, poor research and bad science of the people who continue to shape popular culture and perception of ghosts.
Between 2004 and 2009 Trystan served with a range of paranormal investigation teams in the south of England, investigating a range of unusual phenomena from poltergeists to UFOs and winged humanoids. When not busy helping compile and present Righteous Indignation Podcast, he is a teacher by profession.
Righteous Indignation is the weekly UK based podcast that aims to critically exam ine extraordinary claims and the people who surround them. These include ideas related to conspiracy, the paranor mal, the occult and attempts to redefine the boundaries of science and current understanding. The show is presented by Hayley Stevens, Michael Marshall, Trystan Swale and Gavin Schofield, for more information visit http://www.ripodcast....