<< Following year  Previous year >>

A brief introduction into skeptical and secular history, the problems with history portrayed in the popular culture and how to spot it

Liz Lutgendorff

When?
Tuesday, August 7 2012 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Liz Lutgendorff

What's the talk about?

History is used often as an argument for authority or policy but how accurate are many of the examples mentioned in the news?  Diving back into skepticism's past, Liz will tell us about the tools used by skeptics and secular activists from the 19th and 20th centuries, the campaigns they fought and also how we can continue that legacy today.  

Her 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.

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.

 

Citizen Science for Skeptics

Alice Sheppard

When?
Tuesday, July 3 2012 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Alice Sheppard

What's the talk about?

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.

Alice is one of the founders of both Cardiff and Hackney Skeptics In The Pub. She has just moved to London to start an MSc in Astronomy. By night she writes about science and astronomy at aliceingalaxyland.blogspot.com

In the meantime, why not classify a few galaxies for yourself at www.galaxyzoo.org

Steve Haigh

When?
Tuesday, June 5 2012 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Steve Haigh

What's the talk about?

Some medicines are excellent, some are worse than useless. How do we sort the wheat from the chaff?
 
Steve Haigh is a Medicines Information Pharmacist whose day job is to help to keep the chaff out of Nottinghamshire NHS hospitals.
 
The talk goes through the history of medicines, the design of clinical trials to work out what works best, and the fascinating problem of the placebo effect.
 
And what discussion of Bad Medicine and the placebo effect wouldn’t touch on the King of Nonsense, homeopathy?

Crispian Jago

When?
Tuesday, May 15 2012 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Crispian Jago

What's the talk about?

Crispian Jago is one of the founding members of the Hampshire Skeptic Society, and co-founder & co-organiser of Winchester Skeptics in the Pub.

He was recently longlisted for the 2011 Orwell Prize for his satirical skeptic blog Science, Reason and Critical Thinking, where he "hurls ad hominem attacks at passing woo mongers and takes random pot shot at supernatural, paranormal and pseudoscientific bullshit."

How to Point and Laugh at Irrational Nonsense will review many of the topics covered in the Science, Reason and Critical Thinking blog over the past couple of years and ponder whether or not ridicule is an appropriate method for sceptical activism.

In his day job, Crispian is a freelance IT consultant specialising in the design and management of software test strategies in order to ensure the successful deployment of complex IT systems.

Dr Chris French

When?
Tuesday, April 3 2012 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Dr Chris French

What's the talk about?

One of the greatest strengths of the human species from an evolutionary
perspective is our ability to perceive meaningful patterns and cause and
effect relationships in our surroundings. Our cognitive systems have
evolved to allow us to make relatively quick decisions that are right most
of the time as opposed to slower, more reflective, decisions that are
right slightly more often. In terms of the evolutionary cost-benefit
analysis, our cognitive systems are optimised for biological survival not
for apprehending “Truth”.  One consequence of our evolutionary history is
that we are prone to a number of cognitive biases that may well underlie
our predisposition towards supernatural and paranormal beliefs. Because we
are poor at recognising randomness and often see meaning and significance
where there is none, it is not surprising that such beliefs are so
prevalent and persistent.

or is there room for kindness in the struggle for existence?

Mary Langridge

When?
Monday, March 12 2012 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Mary Langridge

What's the talk about?

Explaining social behaviours such as cooperation and altruism is one of the greatest challenges facing the biological and social sciences. Darwin's theory of natural selection provides an excellent framework within which to examine theories across the disciplines. This talk will lead you through the basic theories in this area and how people make decisions, explaining how benefits to our relatives, our reputation and our self-concept lead us to perform bizarrely altruistic acts; from giving money to charity, to donating blood or laying down our life for others - acts which appear to be detrimental to our own reproductive success. Homo Economicus is dead.

Mary Langridge is an Associate Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam university, co-found of Psychology in the Pub Sheffield and a PhD student at the University of Nottingham. Her research aims to unify theories across economics, biology and psychology in order to understand cooperation, costly punishment and how our moral and religious values influence our moral decisions.

When?
Wednesday, February 15 2012 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Anyone

What's the talk about?

How would like an excuse to go on a Wednesday night and have a drink and a gossip with like minded people. Then look no further that SITP Nottingham Social evening.  A chance to sit back have a beer or two and talk about the lastest happenings in the skeptical world.

Mark Lynas

When?
Thursday, January 12 2012 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Mark Lynas

What's the talk about?

Building on recent scientific discoveries, Mark Lynas explains that there are nine 'planetary' boundaries that humanity must not cross if Earth is to continue to support life and our civilisation. Climate change is one, but others - like ocean acidification, nitrogen use and biodiversity loss - are less well known, though equally crucial.

But this is no depressing lamentation of eco-doom. Instead Lynas presents a radical manifesto that calls for the increased use of controversial but environmentally friendly-technologies, such as genetic engineering and nuclear power, as part of a global effort to protect and nurture the biosphere. Ripping up years of 'green' orthodoxy, he reveals how the prescriptions of the current environmental movement are likely to hinder as much as help our vitally-needed effort to use science and technology to play God and save the planet.

Mark Lynas is the author of The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans, published by Fourth Estate in July 2011. He has previous written two major books on climate change – High Tide: News from a warming world (2004) and Six Degrees: Our future on a hotter planet (2007).

 

High Tide was long listed for the Samuel Johnson Award for Non-Fiction, and short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. Six Degrees was long-listed for the Orwell Prize in 2008, and won the prestigious Royal Society Prize for Science Books in the same year. Six Degrees became a TV hit for National Geographic, whose Six Degrees Could Change the World – voiced by Alec Baldwin – has been watched by tens of millions around the globe on the National Geographic Channel. The book has now been translated into 22 languages around the world.

In November 2009 he was appointed advisor on climate change to the President of the Maldives, His Excellency Mohammed Nasheed, and is involved in the Maldives’ effort to be the first carbon neutral country on Earth by 2020. He is a frequent speaker around the world on climate change science and policy, focusing in particular on how carbon neutral targets can break the international logjam on climate mitigation, and how emissions reduction should be seen as an opportunity not a sacrifice. He is also a Visiting Research Associate at Oxford University’s School of Geography and the Environment.

 

Peter Dunkley

When?
Tuesday, December 6 2011 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Peter Dunkley

What's the talk about?

There can be few aspects of Christmas that would escape the wrath of a committed skeptic. Are we celebrating the birth of Christ or the convenient, political, alignment with pre-Christian festivals? Does the 'season of goodwill', by definition, suggest ill-will for the rest of the year? Not to mention the orgy of consumerism, the waste, the pressure to have a perfect Christmas that leads to debt, family arguments and even divorce (not suicide, though, the figures suggest that increased seasonal suicide rates are an urban myth).
In this talk Peter Dunkley explores how Christmas has escalated over the years into the most important trading time of the year for many businesses (including his pub and restaurant..), but arguing that the current position is completely irrational and is as bad for the economy as it is for the poor schmucks that are paying for it and for for the environment that gets one hell of a kicking every year.

The discovery and loss of a cure for scurvy

Andrew Holding

When?
Monday, November 14 2011 at 8:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Andrew Holding

What's the talk about?

Of all the slang names for the British, none is more iconic than 'Limey'. While the the term provokes majestic images of the Golden Age of Sail, scurvy cost countless sailors and seamen their lives. It was once not unheard of for nine out of every ten members of a ship's crew to have succumbed to scurvy by the time it returned to port. The results of James Lind's work on the HMS Salisbury in 1747, which led to a cure, without doubt saved innumerable lives. Yet in Cherry-Garrard's account of Robert Falcon Scott's 1911 expedition to the South Pole, he writes: "There was little scurvy in Nelson’s days; but the reason is not clear, since, according to modern research, lime-juice only helps to prevent it." So why did Lind's results get forgotten?

Dr Andrew N Holding is a post-doctoral research fellow working at the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. He founded 'Skeptics in the Pub' in Cambridge, which he continues to organise in his spare time. In addition he runs, ThinkOutreach which organises several science engagement activities including radio shows, lectures and will soon bring BrightClub in Cambridge.

Finally he has been a repeat guest on the The Naked Scientists Q&A radio show as Dr Andy answering the public's questions on science and has spoken at several outreach events both around Cambridge and worldwide. Has has also written for The Guardian's comment is free section and BlueSci magazine.

Samantha Stein

When?
Tuesday, October 11 2011 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Samantha Stein

What's the talk about?

Samantha Stein is the founder and Director of Camp Quest UK, which
runs secular summer camp programmes for children aged 9-16. Camp Quest
has been long established in the US since 1996, and after volunteering
at the Michigan camp in 2007, she decided to set up a similar camp
over here. The first camp premièred in 2009, to much media fanfare,
despite the fact that a couple of miles down the road from the tiny
secular summer camp, there was a Christian jamboree with thousands of
children taking part.

Samantha will be talking about the educational philosophy which makes
the camps unique. She is currently writing a book about the story of
how Camp Quest UK came to be.

 

Her website is: Her website is: http://www.samanthastein.co.uk/

Mark Stevenson

When?
Tuesday, September 6 2011 at 7:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Mark Stevenson

What's the talk about?

Mark Stevenson’s early career saw him mixing two jobs; one as an expert in prime number cryptography, the other fronting a pop band, enjoying brief notoriety in Japan, France and much to his surprise, Chile. The videos still embarrass him.

After a brief stint trying to do what his parents would call 'a proper job' he quit - having decided that communication and learning were what really interested him. He now combines two other careers - one as a successful writer/ comedian (writing for TV, radio and print) and another as a director of the cultural learning agency Flow Associates and the science communication agency ReAgency, roles which see him regularly called upon to help organisations of all sizes think about their futures. A new mobile project, engendering conversations and stimulating learning and direct action within an audience of 300 million users, The Age of Smart, is coming in mid 2011. Mark is a fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

When unexpectedly confronted with his own mortality, Mark Stevenson - a writer, deep-thinker, and stand-up comedian - began to ponder what the future holds for our species. Stevenson set out simply, asking, “What’s next?” and then traveled the globe in pursuit of the answers. His voyage of discovery took him to Oxford to meet Transhumanists (they intend to live forever), to Boston where he confronted a robot with mood swings, to an underwater cabinet meeting in the Indian Ocean, and Australia to question the Outback’s smartest farmer. He clambered around space planes in the Mojave desert, got to grips with the potential of nanotechnology, delved deep into the possibilities of biotech, saw an energy renaissance on a printer, a revolution in communications, had his genome profiled, glimpsed the next stage of human evolution … and tried to make sense of what’s in store.

A meticulous researcher, Stevenson sifts the genuine concerns about new technologies from fear-mongering - offering up a balanced take on everything from nanotech ‘grey goo’ to worries about population and resource crises, pandemics, climate change and new forms of terrorism. “I’m not saying the future will be better,” he says “but I do know there’s everything to play for.” http://anoptimiststourofthefuture.com/