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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.

Ed Hawkins

When?
Wednesday, October 21 2015 at 8:00PM

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Where?

3 Amersham Hill,

High Wycombe,

Bucks,

HP13 6NQ

Who?
Ed Hawkins

What's the talk about?

The latest 'make-or-break' UN conference on climate change is just weeks away and global temperatures are reaching record levels. But, how can we be sure that humans are largely responsible for changing Earth's climate? And, what does it mean for all of us? This talk will examine the evidence and sort the facts from the hype.

Ed Hawkins is a climate scientist in the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading and was an author on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. His research focuses on understanding climate variability and change with topics ranging from Arctic sea ice to crop yields. Find him on twitter: @ed_hawkins

Martin Poulter

When?
Wednesday, September 23 2015 at 8:00PM

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Where?

3 Amersham Hill,

High Wycombe,

Bucks,

HP13 6NQ

Who?
Martin Poulter

What's the talk about?

 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.

Alom Shaha

When?
Wednesday, July 29 2015 at 8:00PM

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Where?

3 Amersham Hill,

High Wycombe,

Bucks,

HP13 6NQ

Who?
Alom Shaha

What's the talk about?

Alom Shaha has spent most of his professional life sharing his passion for science and education with the public and currently splits his time between teaching Physics and producing and presenting educational videos. In this talk, Alom discusses the challenges and rewards of being a science teacher, what he thinks science education is for, and how parents can contribute positively to their children's science education.

 

Alom is a Physics teacher at a comprehensive school in London. When he's not teaching, He works as a film-maker, writer and science communicator, trustee at the British Humanist Association, and is the author of The Young Atheist’s Handbook

When?
Wednesday, July 15 2015 at 5:30PM

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Where?

Who?

What's the talk about?

A great chance to meet new people and get to know each other while enjoying the British Summer!

Plan A - Weather is glorious!

Meet at the Rye, on the banking just below the Dyke between the Lido and the Boat Hire Hut (ring me on 07795 314303 if you can't find us!) from 7.30pm.

Bring enough that you want to eat and drink, and maybe a little extra to share (if you are feeling generous!), also bring a blanket, frisbees, kites, games, balls etc.

When it gets too cold or dark we will wander up to the Bootlegger to finish the evening off.

Plan B - Weather is not so glorious.

We will meet in the Bootlegger at 8pm as usual, and bring your food with you! (you will be able to consume your food in the pub, they are nice like that, but drink will need to be purchased from the bar!) 

Evolution and Aliens...

Stevyn Colgan

When?
Wednesday, June 17 2015 at 8:00PM

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Where?

3 Amersham Hill,

High Wycombe,

Bucks,

HP13 6NQ

Who?
Stevyn Colgan

What's the talk about?

 Given the bewildering variety of life on Earth – all stemming from one self-replicating molecule – can we really predict what life on other worlds is like? Maybe not. But we can imagine what it isn’t like.

Stevyn Colgan has been involved with aliens for three decades. He’s held Jabba the Hutt’s face, helped sculpt creatures for Bruce Willis to shoot at and had a script accepted for Doctor Who in the 1980s. In this entertaining talk you’ll hear about feuding gangs of scientists, film directors with less imagination than children, and the perils of concrete poo.

You’ll also come to realise that if we really are intelligently designed, the designer needs their head examined.

 

Stevyn Colgan is an author, artist, songwriter, speaker and oddly-spelled Cornishman. He is one of the ‘Elves’ that research and writethe popular BBC TV series QI and co-writes its sister show, The Museum of Curiosity, for BBC Radio 4.

He has given hundreds of talks across the UK and USA and is a regular at festivals and events such as Skeptics in the Pub, QEDCon, Cornbury, Hay, Cheltenham, Latitude and the Edinburgh Fringe. He is a contributor to the bestselling QI books and annuals and is the author of Joined-Up Thinking, Constable Colgan’s Connectoscope, Henhwedhlow: The Clotted Cream of Cornish Folk Tales, The Third Condiment, Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road? and co-wrote Saving Bletchley Park with Dr Sue Black.