Michael Marshall

When?
Monday, May 12 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Church Place
Ealing
W5 4HN

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.

@MrMMarsh

http://www.merseysideskeptics.org.uk/

 We ask for a voluntary £3 donation on the night to cover expenses

Challenging misleading claims by healthcare practioners

Alan Henness

When?
Monday, April 14 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Church Place
Ealing
W5 4HN

Who?
Alan Henness

What's the talk about?

Over the last three years, the Nightingale Collaboration has given the Advertising Standards Authority possibly their most difficult challenge: curbing the misleading claims made on complementary and alternative therapy websites. But as a result, many practitioners have realised their responsibilities and taken down long lists of 'what homeopathy can help with...', 'how craniosacral therapy can cure your baby's colic', etc, etc. Some, however, continue to defy the regulator.

The Nightingale Collaboration have been using other regulators as well:  the medicines regulator, the MHRA, to ensure manufacturers, sellers and advertisers of homeopathic and herbal medicines comply with the rules, regulations and laws they are supposed to, and Trading Standard to make complaints about claims for cancer treatments.

Alan Henness, one of the directors of the Nightingale Collaboration, will talk about what they've been up to, their future plans and how you can get involved.

 No need to book. We ask for a £3 voluntary donation on the night to cover costs.

 

 

Andy Lewis

When?
Monday, March 10 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Church Place
Ealing
W5 4HN

Who?
Andy Lewis

What's the talk about?

With Michael Gove and the coalition approving new Steiner Schools to open under the Free School Programme, it is timely to look closely at the origins and beliefs of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the occult movement of Anthroposophy. Steiner was a mystic who believed he had direct clairvoyant access to cosmic knowledge. As such he developed an esoteric belief system based on karma, reincarnation, astrology, homeopathy and gnomes. His visions gave insights into architecture, art, dance, agriculture, medicine, education, science and diet. His racial hierarchy of spiritual developmental resonated in Germany in the early 20th Century turning a personal belief into a worldwide movement. Today we find hundreds of anthroposphically inspired organisations in the UK alone: everything from Steiner Schools, Biodynamic farms to banks, pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies, charities and cheese makers.

Michael Gove has stated that Free Schools will not be allowed to teach pseudoscience. But can we trust some of the cult-like organisations running these schools to teach good science is and to refrain from letting their own alternative reality influence classrooms? Maharishi and Steiner schools both have occult and pseudoscientific beliefs at their core and so we should ask “What are they teaching children?"

Andy Lewis is the inventor of the quackometer, which explores the pseudo-medical claims of alternative medicine web sites and their impact on society and won the prize for Best Blog in the 2013 Ockham awards from The Skeptic magazine.

 

Eventbrite - Educational Impostors: The Rise of Pseudoscience in UK Free Schools - Andy Lewis

Simon Singh

When?
Monday, February 10 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Church Place
Ealing
W5 4HN

Who?
Simon Singh

What's the talk about?

We're delighted to have lured Simon Singh way out west.

Simon Singh, author of Fermat's Last Theorem and Big Bang, talks about his latest book, which explores mathematical themes hidden in The Simpsons.

Everyone knows that The Simpsons is the most successful show in television history, but very few people realise that its team of mathematically gifted writers have used the show to explore everything from calculus to geometry, from pi to game theory, and from infinitesimals to infinity. Singh will also discuss how writers of Futurama have similarly made it their missions to smuggle deep mathematical ideas into the series.

Can't promise doughnuts but the pub does great food.

Eventbrite - The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets - Simon Singh

Professor Sophie Scott

When?
Monday, January 13 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Church Place
Ealing
W5 4HN

Who?
Professor Sophie Scott

What's the talk about?

Professor Sophie Scott is the Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London researching the neuroscience of voices, speech and laughter.  Oh, and she's an occasional standup too!

In this talk Sophie will look at some of the problems with the Brain Sex theory of brain organisation, and also address some of the conceptual issues people run into when they try to develop brain based theories of sexuality.

You can listen Sophie talking to Jim Al-Khalili on R4's The Life Scientific about her research here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03bdpl5 

 @sophiescott

Stevyn Colgan

When?
Monday, November 4 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Who?
Stevyn Colgan

What's the talk about?

Stevyn Colgan is a former member of the Met Police Problem Solving Unit, which developed creative and innovative approaches to issues that did not respond to traditional policing methods. He is an expert on problem-oriented policing and has lectured extensively on the subject throughout the UK and US. 

Stevyn is also an author, artist, songwriter, and oddly-spelled Cornishman. He is one of the QI Elves and co-writes its sister show, The Museum of Curiosity for BBC Radio 4.

His latest book Constable Colgan's Connectoscope (Unbound, 2013) is published in paperback on 5th October 2013.

 

Twitter: @stevyncolgan

Web: www.stevyncolgan.com

 

 'Superb talk at QEDCon by Stevyn Colgan. Intelligent and humane' - Prof Richard Dawkins

Alan Duval

When?
Monday, October 14 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Church Place
Ealing
W5 4HN

Who?
Alan Duval

What's the talk about?

Going back to basic psychology to look at the real point of division between believers and non-believers, how it might not be where you think, or even exactly who you think.

 Alan has been many things, from Systems Admin to Database Admin to DJ, whilst living in his native New Zealand.  He now lives in London, studying psychology at Birkbeck whilst also researching and writing for his first book.

 

In case you are wondering why this is on the 2nd Monday of the month instead of the 1st, it's so we don't clash with London Skeptics on the 7th.

 

Lynne Murphy

When?
Monday, September 2 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Church Place
Ealing
W5 4HN

Who?
Lynne Murphy

What's the talk about?

 Lynne Murphy (Reader in Linguistics at Sussex University) takes you on a grammatical tour of transatlantic prejudices and challenges what you think you know about Americanisms--and their effect on the Mother Tongue. 

Lynne moved to the south coast of England in January 2000, having lived in the US most of her life and in South Africa for 4 years in the 1990s. While in the UK she has been teaching and researching in the fields of semantics, pragmatics and psycholinguistics.

As her alter-ego Lynneguist, she also writes the Separated by a Common Language blog. You can follow lynneguist on Twitter.

Faraz Alam

When?
Monday, August 5 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Church Place
Ealing
W5 4HN

Who?
Faraz Alam

What's the talk about?

Faraz Alam (PhD in Infectious Diseases from Imperial College London) wants to tell you why he spent the last four years of his life making bacteria glow in the dark, who gave him the money to do that and why mad science like this is important.

Also you may hear stories about how he accidentally made a vagina glow in the dark, how blogging about flatulence changed the way he did his research and why sometimes the best thing to happen to you in science is to get things wrong.

He also writes a blog at http://defectivebrain.fieldofscience.com/. 

 Feel free to follow him on Twitter: @defectivebrayne 

Richard Firth-Godbehere

When?
Monday, July 1 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Church Place
Ealing
W5 4HN

Who?
Richard Firth-Godbehere

What's the talk about?

'I Know in my Heart There is no God'.  Many people claim to have personal relationship with God that allows them to know, 'in their hearts', that God is real. In this talk, Richard will use psychology and the history of emotions to show that most people's understanding of what emotions are is wrong, and that the very idea of God being felt 'in the heart' is an overhang from history. Instead, these feelings are part of our tendency to project an 'essence' onto external objects and our deep, innate need to belong.

Richard Firth-Godbehere is self-described 'Historical Emotionographer'  (he writes about emotions in history using a combination of psychology, anthropology, linguistics, sociology and various strands of history) and proponent of digital humanities, who has contributed to The Skeptic magazine, The Pod Delusion and elsewhere in print, online and in public. Sometime blogger (when he finds the time) and once host of 'The Skeptical Experience', he is currently at the University of Cambridge researching into 'Aversion, Abomination and Disgust in Early Modern Medicine'.

Kathryn Ford

When?
Monday, June 10 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Church Place
Ealing
W5 4HN

Who?
Kathryn Ford

What's the talk about?

 The notion that one can judge a person’s character on the basis of their facial appearance is an idea that dates back to the ancient Greeks and for a short period, the practice of physiognomy was considered scientific. Despite the fact that this ancient practice has long been discredited, the idea that one can “read” a person’s character simply by looking at their face still persists within folk psychology. In fact, this belief and our natural tendency to judge people on the basis of facial appearance has a surprisingly pervasive effect on all of our lives.

In this talk Kathryn Ford will look at the modern face of physiognomy trying to answer questions such as; why do we judge people as soon as we see them? How accurate are these judgements? And does facial appearance effect how people are treated within the criminal justice system?

Warning: This talk will involve some discussion of rape.

Kathryn Ford received a BSc in Neuroscience and Psychology from Keele University in 2011 and an MSc in Evolutionary Psychology from Brunel University in 2012.

Oliver Meech

When?
Monday, May 6 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Church Place
Ealing
W5 4HN

Who?
Oliver Meech

What's the talk about?

Facebook event

Magic boffin Oliver Meech meddles with forces we barely understand, in a comedy magic show for the QI generation. Expect amazing tricks inspired by astounding science. It's the Natural Selection!

'funny, endearing, impressive showmanship'  ThreeWeeks

'real gasps of awe'  Broadway Baby

'could rival superstar Derren Brown'  Theatre Wales

Sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and Manchester Comedy Festival (2011).

After melding magic with Neuropsychology and Time in previous hit shows, Oliver turns his attention to the rest of the universe.

Oliver Meech studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, Creativity at top London ad agencies and Trickery at The Magic Circle. He fuses all three to produce magic that’s ‘fascinating and different from other magicians’ (Girl Who Just Wants To Be Entertained blog). When not performing at Fringe festivals around the country, he’s a regular on London’s cabaret and comedy circuit (Magic Night @ Madame Jojo's, Winner-Cheese & Crackers Cabaret Competition 2011).

SHOWREEL:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA_npEm3HfY

FACEBOOK:  Oliver Meech – Magician with comedy

WEBSITE:  www.magicmeech.com

TWITTER:  @magicmeech