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Michael Marshall

When?
Wednesday, February 4 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

It’s easy to think of pseudoscience existing in a glass case at a museum – something to be examined and critiqued from a safe distance, but not something to touch and to play with. Using examples taken from his own personal experiences in skepticism, Michael Marshall will show what happens when you begin to crack the surface of the pseudosciences that surround us – revealing the surprising, sometimes shocking, and often comic, adventures that lie beneath.

Michael Marshall is the Vice-President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and Project Director of the Good Thinking Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast. His work with the MSS has seen him organising international homeopathy protests and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

NB : This event will be ticketed.

Robin Ince

When?
Wednesday, January 7 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Robin Ince

What's the talk about?

TO PURCHASE TICKETS - Please follow the link below. 
http://www.wegottickets.com/sct/dHaKxhw5VD

Join us for an evening with Robin Ince as he mulls over being excited about being self-conscious in the universe for a finite amount of time, strange nights in the Monkey Cage with Brian Cox and reads from his favourite scientists, along with some shouting and confusion.

Robin is a presenter, comedian and writer – he currently presents the Infinite Monkey Cage on Radio 4 with Brian Cox. He is also the creator of numerous shows (Bad Book Club, Happiness Through Science and the upcoming (Robin Ince is) In and Out of his Mind) and science events (The School for Gifted Children, Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, Uncaged Monkeys and Robin and Brian’s Christmas Compendium of Reason).

You can find out more about Robin at www.robinince.com.

NB : This event will be ticketed.

Robert Llewellyn

When?
Wednesday, December 3 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Robert Llewellyn

What's the talk about?

TO PURCHASE TICKETS - Please follow the link below.
http://www.wegottickets.com/sct/JRzkDfYdq5

Nothing but glorified golf carts that take forever to charge and then run out of power on the way to the shops. They cost a fortune to buy and another fortune to replace the battery when its range drops to half after six months. You don’t want to believe all that nonsense about them being environmentally-friendly. They are actually worse than petrol-powered cars because the batteries are made from dirty lithium and use electricity made from dirtier coal. There isn’t even enough lithium in the world to make all the new batteries we’d need anyway. Electric cars are just rubbish. Aren’t they? – Robert says no. This evening he’ll tell us why he thinks we need to put away our prejudices and think seriously about electric vehicles as the future of transport.

Robert Llewellyn is an actor, writer, comedian, TV presenter and self-described wishy-washy liberal best known for playing the android Kryten in the long-running BBC sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf. He presented Scrapheap Challenge for 10 years and these days he can be seen on TV presenting the shows Car-Pool on Dave and How Do They Do It? on Channel 5. He is probably the UK’s most prominent advocate of electric vehicles (EV) and presents a YouTube-based show called Fully Charged which documents current developments in the electric vehicle industry. He not only writes for numerous technology websites and magazines but also is the author of 15 books, the latest a science fiction trilogy set 200 years in the future where things are better, not worse than today.

(NB : Not our usual day!)

Stephen Law

When?
Friday, November 21 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Stephen Law

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE : This event happens on FRIDAY 21st of November, breaking our normal '1st Wednesday of the Month' rule.

We take a close look at how Theists respond to the evidential problem of evil - the problem, for them, of explaining why an all-powerful, all-good God would inflict so much suffering on sentient beings. Many explanations have been offered, many highly ingenious. We’ll explore a novel way of looking at these explanations, and at the way in which they contribute to the overall rational architecture of traditional Theism. To what extent are there parallels with the thinking of, e.g., conspiracy theories, Young Earth Creationism, and other ‘Intellectual Black Holes’?

Stephen Law is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Heythrop College, University of London, editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal THINK, and author of popular philosophy books including The Philosophy Gym and Believing Bullshit.

Alasdair Hopwood

When?
Wednesday, November 5 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Alasdair Hopwood

What's the talk about?

Artist Alasdair Hopwood will take us on a powerpoint journey around his recent events and exhibition series, The False Memory Archive. He'll also be discussing some of his ideas and ambitions for his Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship that recently started in August 2014.

www.falsememoryarchive.com

Artist Alasdair Hopwood has worked publicly as the life solutions organisation "The WITH Collective" (withyou.co.uk), as the fictional art fund "AND", and recently as "The False Memory Archive", completing projects with a number of major galleries and museums including Tate Britain, The ICA, The Hayward and the V&A. He has been artist in residence at the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths since 2011 and in 2013 he was selected to become a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow - the first artist to receive such an accolade. As well as his work as an artist, Hopwood has curated a number of projects and has also written extensively for "Art Review" magazine. Throughout his 'Nathan Barley' years, he was arts editor for the notorious and anarchic style magazine "Sleazenation".

NB : Not our usual 'First Wednesday of the Month' slot!

Hayley Stevens

When?
Friday, September 26 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Hayley Stevens

What's the talk about?

NB : Not our usual 'First Wednesday of the Month' slot!

'A Skeptic’s Guide to Ghost Hunting' will offer some unique insight into modern paranormal research. Hayley Stevens will introduce you to the bizarre world of modern ghost-hunting, explain how to spot sham ghost-hunting claims, and how all is not what is seems when it comes to things that go bump in the night...

Described as ' ... the Scully end of the Mulder-Scully X-Files spectrum' by The Times, Hayley Stevens is one of the UK's most vocal skeptical paranormal researchers and has been investigating ghost cases for over a decade, ever since she was a teenager. Her writing can be found in Skeptical Inquirer, The Skeptic, Paranormal Magazine and more and she regularly speaks across Europe about investigating the paranormal as a non-believer.

Meirion Jones

When?
Wednesday, September 3 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Meirion Jones

What's the talk about?

He’s jailed for 10 years now but how did a British conman sell bogus bomb detectors to Iraq for $85 million? A lack of skepticism cost the lives of an estimated 2,000 people in Baghdad. Meirion Jones tells, with the help of video clips and secret recordings, how Jim McCormick and his chums worked the scam around the world and how whistleblowers and a Newsnight team exposed the scandal. This is about multi-million-dollar bribes in Baghdad, and UK PLC turning a blind eye to boost exports, but this is also about the lethal consequences of not basing policy on evidence. Meirion will demonstrate two real bogus bomb detectors as sold by the hoaxers for up to $40,000 each and show you how to make one that works every bit as well for less than a pound. 

Meirion Jones is a BBC producer who is in the unusual position of winning the 2013 Scoop of the Year award for a programme which was never broadcast - his exposure of Jimmy Savile as a paedophile. He also won the Daniel Pearl International Award for Investigative Journalism in 2010 for his reports on toxic waste dumping by Trafigura in Africa. He has exposed everything from the fixing of the 2000 US election, to how Britain helped Israel get the atom bomb, from corrupt politicians to the affair of Mark Stone and the undercover cops, as well as homeopaths and healers.

Tannice Pendegrass

When?
Wednesday, August 6 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Tannice Pendegrass

What's the talk about?

After going through definitions of Autism and what it means for the person on the ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder), Tannice will reveal the results of her own survey into what people know and think about autism, its effects, causes and treatments.

As a former Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) tutor with the UK Young Autism Project for children on the autistic spectrum, Tannice keeps a close eye on new developments in treatments. However, she's not impressed with some of the purported miracle cures that include the usual suspects of homeopathy and acupuncture. But we already know about the scant evidence for those treatments. It's the terrible stress and toxic treatments that many children must endure that come under Tannice's scutiny as she takes you through the pros and cons of 'quack' treatments and the evidence for learning-based treatments like ABA.

Chris French

When?
Wednesday, July 2 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Chris French

What's the talk about?

NB: Please note that the talk by Alasdair Hopwood that was originally scheduled for this evening has had to be postponed due to circumstances beyond our control.

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It can be argued that human beings tend to be intuitive dualists, finding it easy to believe that “mind-stuff” simply cannot be reduced to matter. Such intuitions underlie the belief that mind (or, as some would call it, “soul”) can become separated from the physical body. Indeed, most people go further and believe that consciousness can in some way survive physical death. Comforting though such beliefs may be, they also open the door to the possibility that other spiritual beings, both human and non-human, may at times take control of another person’s physical body. Belief in possession and exorcism is widespread in many societies, both ancient and modern. Neuropathological and sociocognitive factors that underlie such beliefs will be presented in this talk.
 
Professor Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a member of the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of the British False Memory Society. He has published over 120 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims, as well as writing for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine. His most recent book, co-authored with Anna Stone, is Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience.

 

Carla Mackinnon & Dan Denis

When?
Wednesday, June 4 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Carla Mackinnon & Dan Denis

What's the talk about?

Sleep Paralysis is a condition of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep in which a person becomes conscious of their surroundings during the night, but is unable to move. These experiences are often accompanied by a range of bizarre and often terrifying hallucinations. Throughout history, many ostensibly paranormal experiences may be explained as episodes of sleep paralysis. These include incubus and succubus myths, 'evidence' used to prosecute witches, ghost sightings and, more recently, claims of alien abduction.

In this talk Dan Denis will discuss the scientific and cultural context of sleep paralysis while Carla MacKinnon will share her own experiences with sleep paralysis and the research she conducted as part of the Sleep Paralysis Project, a cross-platform initiative exploring the phenomenon. Carla will screen Devil In The Room, a short experimental documentary about sleep paralysis and discuss some of the extraordinary stories and characters she has come into contact with over the course of the project. She will also look at how gaining a scientific understanding of the phenomenon has transformed her own experience of it.

Carla MacKinnon is a filmmaker and interdisciplinary producer with a background in technologyand education. Carla recently graduated from an Animation MA at the Royal College of Art. In 2009 she founded Rich Pickings, live events bringing filmmakers together with practitioners in science and the humanities, aimed at broadening perspectives. A particularly brutal spat of sleep paralysis in 2012 prompted her to initiate the Sleep Paralysis Project, a cross-platform initiative exploring the phenomenon www.thesleepparalysisproject.org.

Dan is a PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield and former student in the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, where he carried out research into the causes of and risk factors involved in sleep paralysis. He is also the resident researcher for the Sleep Paralysis Project, a multi-disciplinary investigation into sleep paralysis

(NB: Not our usual day!)

Gustav Kuhn

When?
Friday, May 2 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Gustav Kuhn

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE : This event happens on FRIDAY 2nd of May, breaking our normal '1st Wednesday of the Month' rule.

Magic is one of the oldest art forms, and for centuries magicians have created illusions of the impossible. Some have used these illusions as demonstrations of supernatural powers. However, advances in Psychology and Neuroscience offer new insights into why our minds are so easily deceived. I am a Magician and Psychologist with an interest in researching some of the mechanisms involved in magic. Instead of relying on supernatural powers, magicians have developed powerful psychological principle to distort our perception and thoughts. In this talk we will explore some of the principles used by magicians to distort your perception. For example, we will look at how magicians use misdirection to manipulate your attention and thereby prevent you from noticing things even though they might be right in front of your eyes. Alternatively, magicians may manipulate your expectations about the world and thus bias the way you perceive objects and can even make you see things that aren’t necessarily there. At first sight, our proneness to being fooled by conjuring trick could be interpreted as a weakness of the human mind. However, contrary to this popular belief, I will demonstrate that these “errors” reveal the complexity of visual perception and highlight the ingenuity of the human mind.

Dr. Gustav Kuhn worked as a professional magician and it was his interest in deception and illusions that sparked a curiosity about the human mind. Gustav is a senior lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, and one of the leading researchers in the science of magic.

Megan Whewell

When?
Wednesday, April 2 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Megan Whewell

What's the talk about?

Did Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin really land on the Moon in 1969? Yes!

There have been many conspiracy theories proposed over the years since 1969 that insist Neil and Buzz didn't land on the Moon's surface. Buzz’s famous response to a conspiracy theorist was to punch them, but Megan Whewell will take you through some of the more popular theories and explain how you can respond using less violence and more science.

Megan Whewell works at the National Space Centre in Leicester, and as part of her job she presents public talks during school holidays. Over one holiday those talks asked the question "Did the moon landings really happen?". She considers these talks a wholehearted success because she got, on average, one ‘conversion’ a day from conspiracy theorist to believing in the Apollo programme.