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John Danaher

When?
Wednesday, April 5 2017 at 8:00PM

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Where?

The Old St John's Church
DesboroughRoad
High Wycombe
HP11 2PU

Who?
John Danaher

What's the talk about?

This is a bonus talk, as we will have two talks in April instead of the usual one! (Our social will now be on the 12th April at the Bootlegger)

This event is free, with costs being covered by voluntary donations, and there is a cash bar available!

Our speaker for this event is philosopher and lecturer in law - John Danaher.

John will discuss the strongest arguments for both sides of the abortion debate, as they currently exist, ethically and philosophically from a purely naturalistic perspective.

There will be a time for question and answers after the main talk, and a chance to discuss the issues surrounding this potentially controversial subject.

John is currently an academic and lecturer at the National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway. He teaches in the School of Law. He is also an affiliate scholar at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. As John writes on his blog Philosophical Disquisitions - his research deals primarily with the ethical, social and legal implications of emerging technologies, but dances around some other philosophical topics. In the past John has written papers about social robots, the risks of advanced AI, the meaning of life and the future of work, the ethics of human enhancement, the intersection between law and neuroscience, the utility of brain-based lie detection, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of religion.

 

Skeptics in the Pub is a place for inquisitive people of all ages to meet and converse in the High Wycombe area.

Skeptics are people who yearn to discover the truth behind extraordinary claims that people or groups may make, this can be in areas of alternative therapies, the paranormal, religion and faith, the afterlife and many other areas of life. We we often end up talking about superstition, science, religious fundamentalism, health, censorship and conspiracy theory

We make no claims to balance, and actively promote science, freedom of expression and secular humanism..

You are welcome to come along and just sit and listen to others, or if you are braver get stuck right in with conversation and views!

Our Website is at wycombe.skepticsinthepub.org where you will find links to join our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Iszi Lawrence (and friends)

When?
Wednesday, March 15 2017 at 8:00PM

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Where?

The Old St John's Church
DesboroughRoad
High Wycombe
HP11 2PU

Who?
Iszi Lawrence (and friends)

What's the talk about?

Will you be remembered after you're dead? 


Skeptical comedian Iszi Lawrence, and several friends (who as former speakers will be well known to many Wycombe Skeptics) battle to have their favourite little known character from history put on the Z List Dead List. Who wins? You (and the audience) decide! 

This is a totally free event, and a cash bar with lovely local beer and great selection of other drinks is available.

Iszi Lawrence is a podcaster, skeptic and comedian based in Reading. 

Iszi presents the podcast of the same name which has featured guests such as Jon Ronson, Griff Rhys Jones, Natalie Haynes, Neil Denny, Richard Herring etc. You can listen to it here: www.zlistdeadlist.com

This is going to be a lot of fun. the laughing, and the learning never ends (although technically we do only have the Arts Centre booked until 11pm...)

Ed Atkinson

When?
Wednesday, February 15 2017 at 8:00PM

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Where?

The Old St John's Church
DesboroughRoad
High Wycombe
HP11 2PU

Who?
Ed Atkinson

What's the talk about?

 Burning carbon must be driven from our cheap-energy economy on a global scale - and soon - to stop a looming disaster.  (Climatologist Ed Hawkins from Reading University spoke brilliantly on this at High Wycombe SitP in 2015.) But is there a workable way to drive out Carbon? If nations, corporations or individuals ‘do the right thing’ and burn less carbon won’t that just make coal, oil and gas cheaper for everyone else? Just how cheap does installing new solar need to be to make it cheaper than turning on the valves in the Saudi oil fields?  It is easy to lose hope that change is possible, especially in Trump-World. The USA is the key to change and a group originating in the US 'Citizens Climate Lobby’ (CCL) is doing well there (notably with Republicans). They advocate a policy of a Carbon Fee which is all used to make a Dividend to the populace, thus making for a policy that is effective and politically attractive (most people are made better off).  There really is hope.

In this talk a local representative from CCL, Ed Atkinson, will outline the policy options and their merits. He’ll include Cap & Trade, subsidising renewables and efficiency measures, divestment, Carbon Taxes and its variant the CCL policy of Carbon Fee and Dividend. 

Ed will be delighted to get awkward questions leading to discussion in the SitP group.

 

Skeptics in the Pub is a place for inquisitive people of all ages to meet and converse in the High Wycombe area.

Skeptics are people who yearn to discover the truth behind extraordinary claims that people or groups may make, this can be in areas of alternative therapies, the paranormal, religion and faith, the afterlife and many other areas of life. We we often end up talking about superstition, science, religious fundamentalism, health, censorship and conspiracy theory

We make no claims to balance, and actively promote science, freedom of expression and secular humanism..

You are welcome to come along and just sit and listen to others, or if you are braver get stuck right in with conversation and views!

Our Website is at wycombe.skepticsinthepub.org where you will find links to join our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

How Neurononsense joined Psychobabble to Keep Women in Their Place

Gina Rippon

When?
Wednesday, October 19 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

The Old St John's Church
DesboroughRoad
High Wycombe
HP11 2PU

Who?
Gina Rippon

What's the talk about?

There is a long history of debate about biological sex differences and their part in determining gender roles, with the ‘biology is destiny’ mantra being used to legitimise imbalances in these roles. The tradition is continuing, with new brain imaging techniques being hailed as sources of evidence of the ‘essential’ differences between men and women, and the concept of ‘hardwiring’ sneaking into popular parlance as a brain-based explanation for all kinds of gender gaps.

But the field is littered with many problems. Some are the product of ill-informed popular science writing ( neurotrash) based on the misunderstanding or misrepresentation of what brain imaging can tell us. Some, unfortunately involve poor science, with scientists using outdated and disproved stereotypes to design and interpret their research (neurosexism). These problems obscure or ignore the ‘neuronews’, the breakthroughs in our understanding of how plastic and permeable our brains are, and how the concept of ‘hard-wiring’ should be condemned to the dustbin of neurohistory.

This talk aims to offer ways of rooting out the neurotrash, stamping out the neurosexism and making way for neuronews.

Gina Rippon is Professor of Cognitive NeuroImaging in the Aston Brain Centre at Aston University. She has a background in psychology and physiology and uses brain imaging techniques such as Magnetoencephalography (MEG), functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) to investigate the relationship between patterns of brain activation and human sensory, cognitive and affective processes. Most recently her work has been in the field of developmental disorders such as autism. She has served as President of the British Psychophysiology Society (now the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience).

She also writes and speaks on the use of neuroimaging techniques In the study of sex/gender differences, recently featured in the BBC Horizon programme “Is your Brain Male or Female?”. She is additionally involved in activities around the public communication of science, particularly in challenging the misuse of neuroscience to support gender stereotypes, and in work to correct the under-representation of women in STEM subjects. She has recently been appointed as an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association.

Skeptics in the Pub is a place for inquisitive people of all ages to meet and converse in the High Wycombe area.

Skeptics are people who yearn to discover the truth behind extraordinary claims that people or groups may make, this can be in areas of alternative therapies, the paranormal, religion and faith, the afterlife and many other areas of life. We we often end up talking about superstition, science, religious fundamentalism, health, censorship and conspiracy theory

We make no claims to balance, and actively promote science, freedom of expression and secular humanism..

You are welcome to come along and just sit and listen to others, or if you are braver get stuck right in with conversation and views!

Dr Kat Arney

When?
Wednesday, August 24 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

The Old St John's Church
DesboroughRoad
High Wycombe
HP11 2PU

Who?
Dr Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

The language of genes has become common in the media. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. We're told that genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise. 

There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the 'recipes' that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with all the control switches ensuring they're turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. With the help of cats with thumbs, fish with hips and wobbly worms, Kat will unpack some of the mysteries in our DNA and explain the latest thinking about how our genes work.

 

Dr Kat Arney is a science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more. She has just published her first book, Herding Hemingway's Cats (Bloomsbury Sigma), about how our genes work. 

Johno Pearce

When?
Wednesday, July 27 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

The Old St John's Church
DesboroughRoad
High Wycombe
HP11 2PU

Who?
Johno Pearce

What's the talk about?

Do we have free will, or are our ‘choices’ determined by our environment and past experience?

 Author and educator, Jonathan M.S.Pearce offers an entertaining introduction to the debate, and explains how new developments in brain science have influenced philosophers.

 We will also consider the impact of free will and determinism on Christianity’s concept of a judgmental God, and the implications for our justice system if we don’t have free will.

 An entertaining introduction to the age-old philosophical debate on whether we have free will or whether we live predetermined lives.

 Jonathan is a teacher and author from South Hampshire, who has dedicated many years of his life to all manner of things philosophical and theological. He is currently studying for a Masters in Philosophy, and is a founder member of the Tippling Philosophers, a friendly group of disparate believers and non-believers based in Hampshire.

 With many titles now under his belt, including an anthology of humanist and atheist poetry (Filling the Void), he has just written his first fiction book, combining philosophy and horror (Survival of the Fittest: Metamorphosis). The Nativity: A Critical Examination, and 13 Reasons to Doubt and followed soon after Free Will? An investigation into whether we have free will, or whether I was always going to write this book, a popular philosophy, science and theology book that examines the free will vs. determinism debate. He has also written The Little Book of Unholy Questions, which looks to show the incoherence of the idea of an all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful God, ideas which were expanded in the ebook The Problem with “God”. As an interlude from writing about philosophy and theology, he has branched out by writing a book of advice for dads of twins; Twins: A Survival Guide for Dads.

 He blogs as A Tippling Philosopher on the Atheist Channel at Patheos – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling

 

London Black Atheists

When?
Wednesday, May 18 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

The Old St John's Church
DesboroughRoad
High Wycombe
HP11 2PU

Who?
London Black Atheists

What's the talk about?

London Black Atheists present - Religion, Superstition and the Imperative for an African Enlightenment 

Europe is increasingly turning it's back on religion, the churches are turning to Africa to repopulate & fill the pews and pulpits. Religion is a web of unfounded claims, unverifiable assertions and unfalsifiable hypothesis, simply put religion is a big lie which must either be believed or face an eternity in everlasting hell fire. In the past, Black and Minority Ethnic peoples have suffered the most from religion and thanks to cultural and religious imperialism, are still suffering to this day. It is time for an African Enlightment.

 

We will be joined by Clive Aruede, Founder-Organiser of LBA, Lola Tinubu co-founder and organiser at LBA, and Audrey Simmons, organiser.at LBA.

About London Black Atheists - Despite the name Black, is a group that welcomes all atheists. Their mission is to encourage ethnic peoples of all stripes and particularly of the African Diaspora to come out as atheists to other atheists.

For social and historical reasons Black people tend to be very religious. The default position in Black society is that religion is a good thing that should be followed without question. LBA disagree. At some times and in some places, religion in the past has provided social cohesion, schools, hospitals, charities and the like, but the overwhelming evidence is that nowadays religion is divisive, physically harmful, mentally destabilising and morally bankrupt. It is a brake on social and scientific progress. 

A lively and engaged group based in London, we are excited to have members of LBA come speak to us at Wycombe Skeptics.

Skeptics in the Pub is a place for inquisitive people of all ages to meet and converse in the High Wycombe area. 

Skeptics are people who yearn to discover the truth behind extraordinary claims that people or groups may make, this can be in areas of alternative therapies, the paranormal, religion and faith, the afterlife and many other areas of life. We we often end up talking about superstition, science, religious fundamentalism, health, censorship and conspiracy theory

We make no claims to balance, and actively promote science, freedom of expression and secular humanism..

You are welcome to come along and just sit and listen to others, or if you are braver get stuck right in with conversation and views!

Our Website is at wycombe.skepticsinthepub.org, join ourFacebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Bob Churchill

When?
Wednesday, April 20 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

The Old St John's Church
DesboroughRoad
High Wycombe
HP11 2PU

Who?
Bob Churchill

What's the talk about?

Around the world the non-religious are discriminated against by government-backed religious privilege, laws prohibiting advocacy or criticism, even the outright demonizing of atheism, humanism and secularism by authorities. In 13 countries you can even be put to death for "leaving" your presumed religion. 

Bob Churchill is the editor of the IHEU Freedom of Thought Report, an annual analysis of the violations of freedom against non-religious people globally. Bob will outline the basis for "freedom of thought and expression" and show how humanists are working globally for these freedoms, and other human rights.

Bob Churchill works in policy and communications at the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), having previously worked at both the British Humanist Association and the Uganda Humanist Association. He studied philosophy at the University of Warwick and Queen's University, Canada, and has long-standing interests in secularism, Humanism, ethics and epistemology. He has appeared as a spokesperson on the likes of BBC News, Channel 4 News and Al Jazeera and as a speaker at Skepticon, the Institute of Fundraising Technology, the Conway Hall Ethical Society, and the European Humanist Youth Days. 

Aron Ra on his experiences as "Veteran of the Culture War"

Aron Ra

When?
Wednesday, March 9 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

The Old St John's Church
DesboroughRoad
High Wycombe
HP11 2PU

Who?
Aron Ra

What's the talk about?

Most of us will come across the idea of creationism very rarely, but in parts of America where religion holds a lot more power things can be very different.

Aron Ra will be providing a window into what it's like to live somewhere where religion holds a lot more power than in the UK. Aron will be sharing his experiences from the states and speaking about creationism, religious culture and education. 

Aron Ra is a secular activist advocating reason in education. He serves as Texas State Director of American Atheists, and hosts the Ra-Men podcast with Dan Arel and Mark Nebo. 

Aron is also heading the Phylogeny Explorer Project, an effort to render the entire evolutionary tree of life as a navigable online encyclopedia. He is best known for his YouTube video series exposing the Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism.

Skeptics in the Pub is a place for inquisitive people of all ages to meet and converse in the High Wycombe area.

Skeptics are people who yearn to discover the truth behind extraordinary claims that people or groups may make, this can be in areas of alternative therapies, the paranormal, religion and faith, the afterlife or many other areas of life.

We make no claims to balance, and actively promote science, freedom of expression and secular humanism. This means we often end up talking about superstition, religious fundamentalism, censorship and conspiracy theory.

You are welcome to come along and just sit and listen to others, or if you are braver get stuck right in!

See our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/groups/187803204563655/and Twitter account https://twitter.com/WycombeSITP to get a fuller idea of what we are about!

 Chris Peters and Sarah Foxen

When?
Wednesday, February 24 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

The Old St John's Church
DesboroughRoad
High Wycombe
HP11 2PU

Who?
Chris Peters and Sarah Foxen

What's the talk about?

For our first talk of 2016 we have two exciting things happening

1. We have the splendid people from Sense About Science coming to speak to us, with a time for questions afterwards. If it is your first time to Skeptics this is an ideal introduction, and for regulars you will hear news of an exciting campaign we can all get involved in!

2. We are testing a new venue, feedback was that the Bootlegger (much as we adore the pub!) was getting a bit noisy for our talks, and we also want some room to grow, so as many people as possible can join our talks! So for a few months we will experiment with a new venue - all feedback welcome! you will be pleased to know that Rebellion Beer is available!

This months talk...

Every day, we hear claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, and treat disease. Some are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not.

These claims can't be regulated; every time one is debunked another pops up – like a game of whack-a-mole. So how can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for the claims they make? If they want us to vote for them, believe them, or buy their products, then we should ask them for evidence, as consumers, patients, voters and citizens. 

The Ask for Evidence campaign has seen people ask a retail chain for the evidence behind its MRSA resistant pyjamas; ask a juice bar for the evidence behind wheatgrass detox claims; ask the health department about rules for Viagra prescriptions; ask for the studies behind treatments for Crohn's disease, and hundreds more. As a result, claims are being withdrawn and bodies held to account.  

This is geeks, working with the public, to park their tanks on the lawn of those who seek to influence us. And it's starting to work. Come and hear what the campaign is going to do next and how you can get involved.

Chris is the Scientific Liaison at Sense About Science. Chris has a PhD in plant biology from the University of Sheffield where he also completed his undergraduate masters in biological sciences. Having had enough of freezing plants to death in liquid nitrogen Chris decided to step away from the lab bench and worked at the British Ecological Society and Carbon Brief before joining Sense About Science in 2012. Chris coordinates the Ask for Evidence campaign and enjoys making a fuss about things that are wrong. So long as it is a constructive fuss.

Sarah gets furious when she comes across phony science, especially when it’s presented with convoluted pseudo-scientific jargon. She’s a PhD student at the University of Exeter researching language variation in French-speaking Belgium.

Paul Thompson

When?
Wednesday, December 2 2015 at 8:00PM

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Where?

3 Amersham Hill,

High Wycombe,

Bucks,

HP13 6NQ

Who?
Paul Thompson

What's the talk about?

Santa Claus... Medieval Myth? Laplandic toy manufacturer? Coca Cola marketing figurehead? Benefactor to acquiescent children? Dickensian chimney bung? The materialistic face of Christmas? 

Just who is this fat man in the red suit? 

Paul Thompson investigates the Santa Myth. 

Paul is one third of the Scepticule podcast, one of the organisers of High Wycombe Skeptics, and is a professional mischief-maker.

Michael Marshall

When?
Wednesday, November 18 2015 at 8:00PM

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Where?

3 Amersham Hill,

High Wycombe,

Bucks,

HP13 6NQ

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 Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast. His work 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.