Chris Peters and Sarah Foxen

Wednesday, February 24 2016 at 8:00PM

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

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 As a result, claims are being withdrawn and bodies held to account.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.