http://photos1.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/1/d/6/b/event_48067531.jpegA brief introduction into skeptical and secular history
Liz is one of the Pod Delusion's ( http://poddelusion.co.uk/ ) foreign correspondents in that she originally comes from Ontario, Canada. She is also Deputy Editor of the Pod Delusion.
Liz's love of European history and castles brought her over to the UK in 2006 and the beer, skepticism and doing an MA has made her stay. If you've ever heard Liz talking about History, you'll be familiar with her enthusiasm and extensive knowledge, which she'll be treating us to with a lesson in skeptical history.
Her talk will be a brief introduction into skeptical and secular history, the problems with history portrayed in the popular culture and how to spot it. So giving a tool kit to people who might not be historians but can be skeptical about historical claims.
Liz has a BA (hons) in History from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario and a MA in history from Birkbeck College, University of London in London.
In the meantime, listen to 'The Pod Delusion': a weekly news magazine podcast about interesting things! Highly recommended. The Pod Delusion is a submission-based podcast. If you have something interesting to say, we're sure they'd love to hear from you.
http://photos1.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/c/2/c/5/event_48049861.jpegJeff will discuss the topics from his new book, "The Quantum Universe", co-authored by Brian Cox, in which they set out to explain the deepest questions in science. This book follows on from the hugely successful "Why Does E=mc^2?". If you're very good, he may even answer your questions about "Wonders of the Universe", the BBC series which Jeff served as series consultant on.
Jeff Forshaw is professor of theoretical physics at the University of Manchester, specialising in the physics of elementary particles. He was awarded the Institute of Physics Maxwell Medal in 1999 for outstanding contributions to theoretical physics.
19:30 doors for 8pm Sharp Start.
Sense About Science is a charitable trust that equips people to make sense of scientific and medical claims in public discussion – with a database of over 5,000 scientists, from Nobel prize winners to postdocs and PhD students, they work in partnership with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media, to change public discussions about science and evidence.
Since 2002 they have shared the tools of scientific thinking and scrutiny through award-winning public campaigns. Their activities and publications are used and shaped by community groups, civic bodies, patient organisations, information services, writers, publishers, educators, health services and many others.
Dr Tabitha Innocent, Communications Officer for Sense About Science, will be at GMSS Skeptics in the Pub to bring us all up to speed with current challenges. She’ll take us on a whistle-stop tour of Sense About Science and tell us about the launch of their fantastic ‘Ask for Evidence’ campaign. You can read all about this campaign on this link here, feel free to donate!
This event will be at Tv21, 10 Thomas St, Manchester. Doors are 7:30, it starts 8pm sharp.
http://photos2.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/c/c/c/5/event_48052421.jpegHow to create your own cult: The Scientology way
Scientology has been described in the States as “ruthless, litigious and lucrative” and in this country as “corrupt, sinister and dangerous”, yet it boasts global success and has made hundreds of millions of dollars. Thanks to the Internet, it now faces an unprecedented global opposition. The scary secrets of Scientology and its recruitment methods will be exposed in this talk. It will be useful for anyone wanting to set up their own lucrative cult.
Martin Poulter first encountered skepticism while a teenager. He has a Philosophy and Psychology degree from Oxford University and a PhD in Philosophy of Science from the University of Bristol. He has been a Scientology-watcher since 1995, when he was threatened with legal action over material he posted online. He is an ordained minister in the Church of the SubGenius, which offers eternal spiritual salvation or triple your money back.
http://photos4.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/c/f/3/1/event_48053041.jpegThe corruption of science.
Managerialism and quackery endanger a noble enterprise.
TBA Doors 7:30 Starts 8pm sharp.
David Colquhoun, PhD, FRS, is a noted British pharmacologist. He held the A.J. Clark Chair of Pharmacology at the University College of London (UCL) from 1985 to 2004, Honorary Director of the Wellcome Laboratory for Molecular Pharmacology, and is now is an Honorary Fellow (2004) and research assistant at UCL.
Since 2001, Dr Colquhoun has run DC’s Improbable Science, a wildly popular blog and website (with 2,209,000 hits) and Twitter account (with over 2600 followers). These sites are dedicated to critical assessment of various sorts of pseudoscience, such as “Alternative Medicine” and much managerialism and science fraud. Lately he has taken an interest in more general problems of inference in clinical trials, science policy, and science communication. He has been particularly critical of a number of United Kingdom universities that offer science degrees incorporating pseudoscientific courses such as homeopathy and acupuncture.
In December 2009, Dr Colquhoun won a freedom-of-information judgment, requiring the University of Central Lancashire to release details of their undergraduate course in homeopathy.
"Addiction is one of today's favourite manias. Like allergies, everyone's got to have one, and many present the evidence for their 'addictive personality' by announcing their greater-than-average capacity for biscuits. But what is addiction? Compulsion, behaviour, illness, all three, or none of the above? Do AA and other 12 step recovery programmes really work? And will a skeptic *ever* admit to needing a higher power? Come and discuss it with me."
Tania Glyde is the author of Cleaning Up, a memoir about how she took on British drinking culture and survived.
Doors 19:30 talk starts at 20:00
David Aaronovitch takes an absorbing, probing look at the conspiracy theories that operate on the sidelines of history and the reasons they continue to play such a seditious role. In this talk aimed at providing ammunition for those who have found themselves at the wrong end of a conversation about moon landings or the twin towers-Aaronovitch explores a handful the major conspiracy theories. In doing so, he examines why people b...elieve them, and makes an argument for a true skepticism: one based on a thorough knowledge of history and a strong dose of common sense.
David Aaronovitch is a writer, broadcaster and commentator on culture, international affairs, politics and the media. A former television researcher, producer and programme editor, he has previously written for The Independent, The Guardian and The Observer, winning numerous accolades, including Columnist of the Year 2003 and the 2001 Orwell prize for journalism. He has appeared on Have I Got News For You, presented a number of radio and television series and programmes on current affairs and historical topics. His first book, and account of a journey by kayak on the rivers and canals of England, Paddling to Jerusalem, was published in 2000 and won the Madoc Prize for travel writing. In 2009 he published Voodoo Histories, a book on conspiracy theories, which will be the subject of his talk.
David Aaronovitch's official website is www.davidaaronovitch.com.
Doors open at 19:30.
Talk will start at 20:00 at the latest.
This event will be pay-on-the-door, and will cost £2.
Get there early to ensure you get in!
When the Universe came to the people:
Citizen Science for Skeptics
Astronomy has been the subject of wonder and speculation for as long as historical records exist. As with all science, people got some things right - and, even with the best methods available, other things wrong.
Since 2007, Alice Sheppard has run the Galaxy Zoo Forum, the discussion area for an online astronomy project with 300,000 members worldwide. Galaxy Zoo has so far produced 21 papers, whose authors and acknowledged contributors include several ordinary citizens. Some of its findings were a direct result of questions or collections of objects created by the users, who became "Citizen scientists".
Alice takes us through some of the best and worst of astronomical history, and what ancient and modern mistakes are made today. We will hear the questions people have come to Galaxy Zoo with, the ways in which biases were found and dealt with by the scientists and participants, the beautiful and inspiring projects created by untrained people and the scientific thinking they learnt for themselves to apply.
We also take a look at citizen science in general, how Galaxy Zoo taught large numbers of people to understand and use science, and explore what this might mean for skepticism.
How to be a Psychic Conman
Ash Pryce, founder and President of the Edinburgh Skeptics Society, presents a fully interactive demonstration of various tricks that psychics have used over the years.
From the Fox Sisters through to Uri Geller, psychics have been claiming to be able to do things beyond our understanding, but Ash Pryce knows better. Nearly all of the major claims of psychics and mediums can easily be re-created and tonight Ash will be reproducing such famous feats as Uri Geller's Telekinesis, Philipino Psychic Surgery, the Remote Viewing experiments of America's "Stargate" program (The 70s CIA shenanigans and not the inter dimensional, Go-aould busting kind)and much more- including an attempt to beat the odds of the Randi Million.
A fun and entertaining evening that also takes a look at the history of psychic trickery and how it has become such a popular phenomenon. Warning to those on the front row - there will be blood...
Big Screen Science: Scientists' Backstage Role in the Production of Hollywood Films
Many sceptics look suspiciously at science in the movies and may ask themselves: Why don't these filmmakers ever talk to real scientists? You may be surprised to learn that filmmakers do, in fact, speak with scientists on a regular basis. Hollywood filmmakers routinely ask science consultants to examine scripts, participate in pre-production meetings, and serve as advisors on the set. There are even a number of recent initiatives by high profile scientific organizations, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, designed to facilitate scientists' involvement in entertainment productions. In this talk Dr. Kirby will elaborate on the role science consultants play in negotiating information transfer between the scientific community and the entertainment community as well as showing how filmmakers must negotiate scientific accuracy within the constraints of film production.
Dr. David A. Kirby
Senior Lecturer in Science Communication Studies
Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine
University of Manchester