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Dr Alice Howarth

When?
Thursday, November 23 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Dr Alice Howarth

What's the talk about?

 One in two of us will suffer with cancer in our lifetime and almost all of us have some experience of the disease. But do we really know what cancer is and how we can work towards a cure? Is a cure even possible? And how can we arm ourselves with the right information to help us prevent and treat cancer?

Alice is a researcher who has worked in the Institute of Translational Medicine at the University of Liverpool with both non-profit and for-profit organisations. In this talk she will discuss what cancer is, how it works and just how we are working towards understanding and curing the disease. She will talk about the complexities of research and some of the big success stories that relate directly to some of the many types of cancer. Only when we understand the difficulties we face can we discern between bogus cancer treatment claims and genuine scientific advancement in this field.

James Williams

When?
Thursday, October 26 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
James Williams

What's the talk about?

 There are many myths about the brain, but in our schools one of the most persistent is learning styles – the idea that there are a number of styles of learning, such as visual, aural or kinaesthetic – and that certain children respond better if teaching is directed towards their preferred learning style. Another, ‘brain gym’ is the idea that rubbing key parts of your body could wake your brain up or drinking water gives you energy.

 

 

Edumyths and brain myths abound – but why do people believe them? Why have we rejected Father Christmas, but cling on to the idea that we only use 10% of our brains? In this talk the origins of some of the more popular neuromyths are divulged and  we will explore brain belief systems, why we believe nonsense and how, sometimes, even direct evidence isn’t enough to convince people they are wrong.

 

James Williams is a lecturer in education at the University of Sussex. He is regularly called upon as an education expert to provide commentary and interviews on a range of media from the BBC to ITV and local radio. He is a regular essayist for the Local Argus newspaper.

 

His research interests currently revolve around teachers and their knowledge and understanding of the nature of science' and the scientific method. He also researches the teaching of evolution and the issues surrounding creationism in schools.

Jamie Bartlett

When?
Thursday, September 28 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Jamie Bartlett

What's the talk about?

Jamie Bartlett will talk about his new book Radicals, which is an exploration of the individuals, groups and movements rejecting the way we live now, and are attempting to find alternatives.

He will take us inside the strange and exciting worlds of the innovators, disruptors, idealists and extremists who think society is broken, and believe they know how. From dawn raids into open mines to the darkest recesses of the internet, Radicals introduces us to some of the most interesting and important movements today: the US Transhumanist Party, far-right groups seeking to close the borders, militant environmentalists striving to save the planet's natural reserves by any means possible, libertarian movements founding new countries, autonomous cooperatives in self-sustaining micro-societies, and psychedelic pioneers attempting to heal society with the help of powerful hallucinogens.

 He will discuss the prospects for these new political movements, why they are growing now, and whether there is anything the mainstream can learn from them. 

Jamie Bartlett is the Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos, where he specialises in online social movements and the impact of technology on society. He is also author of the best selling book The Dark Net and a regular commentator on national and international media outlets

Anthony Warner

When?
Thursday, August 24 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Anthony Warner

What's the talk about?

 Anthony Warner somehow managed to complete a Biochemistry Degree at Manchester University before deeply disappointing his parents by deciding that the heat of the professional kitchen was the career for him. After ten years in restaurants, hotels and events-catering he became a development chef in the food manufacturing industry and has spent the last 11 years working on some of the UK’s best-known brands and products.

 

 In 2016, driven by frustration at the clearly unscientific messages being spewed out by a new breed of healthy eating celebrities, he started the Angry Chef blog, intended to appeal to a few similarly frustrated food industry professionals. Despite frequent attempts to alienate his readers, the blog has grown in popularity, forcing a middle-aged man to reluctantly engage with social media. Terrified at the prospect of being described as a ‘food-blogger’, Anthony has tried in vain to keep Angry Chef anonymous, but has sadly failed to do so as newspapers and magazines continue to approach him in the hope he might say something controversial about Jamie Oliver.

He now writes regularly for New Scientist, The Pool and the Sunday Times, and his first book, The Angry Chef - Bad Science and the Truth about Healthy Eating was published by Oneworld in July. He has appeared on Inside Science, The Food Programme and was once asked if he would be happy  to eat his own dog on The Moral Maze.

 

Anthony does not have a food philosophy. He is a pretty decent cook, but is not an expert in anything. He is merely curious and determined to get to the truth. He loves food, loves science and is ambivalent about Marmite. He lives in the Nottinghamshire countryside with his wife, daughter and a slightly unbalanced Springer Spaniel. 

Dr. Joseph Uscinski

When?
Thursday, July 27 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Dr. Joseph Uscinski

What's the talk about?

Why do Americans believe conspiracy theories? Who does the scapegoating, and who is the goat? What role did conspiracy theories play in the election of Donald Trump? Are conspiracy theorists prone to violence, and are we currently in danger from conspiracy theories?

Dr. Uscinski will answer these questions and more by drawing on rich data collected from the internet, newspapers, and surveys. The surprising answers suggest that conspiracy theories are not the product of mental illness, government distrust, or even social exclusion. Nor are conspiracy theories heuristics used to make sense of complicated events or simplify a dizzying world.   

Instead, conspiracy theories are rational reactions to power. They are tools used by the politically weak to balance against potential threat. Whether conspiracy theorists know it or not, their theories must conform to the current distribution of power to resonate. In short, conspiracy theories are for losers.

Brian Dunning

When?
Monday, July 17 2017 at 9:00PM

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Where?

44-47 Gardner St, Brighton and Hove, Brighton BN1 1UN

Who?
Brian Dunning

What's the talk about?

 Are you a fan of Skepticism and want to support the movement? Do you struggle to explain Skepticism to a friend? Are you new to Skepticism and want to get to grips with the basic principles? Are you a fan of Skeptoid and Brian Dunning? Then this movie might be for you!

Principles of Curiosity is a short film from Skeptoid Media. It presents a general introduction to the foundations of scientific skepticism and critical thinking, focusing on a simple process we call the three C's.

The 40 minute movie will be followed by a live Q&A session with Brian Dunning and the director Ryan C. Johnson.

Follow the link to book your ticket and come join us at Dukes at Komedia to see this new movie for Skeptoid and get your chance to speak with the creators of the movie. 
Tickets cost £11. 
https://www.ourscreen.com/screening/44018

Colin Stuart

When?
Thursday, June 22 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Colin Stuart

What's the talk about?

Tim Peake's recent visit to the International Space Station has placed a fresh spotlight on the latest developments in space exploration. But space travel is still a pretty new area of human endeavour and our ideas about what and who might be out there have constantly shifted over the years. One place this is particularly apparent is in the famous Christmas Lectures held by the Royal Institution each year.

Last year Colin was lucky enough to rummage around in their archives and write a book about 13 of the lectures devoted to space and time. The first was delivered way back in 1881. The last was the 2015 lectures featuring a message from Tim from orbit. And how our ideas have changed. In this talk Colin will be sharing some of the stories from the lectures, along with some of his favourite anecdotes about digging through the archives including finding Carl Sagan's immigration form and Dewar's radioactive notebooks.

Strap in for more than 100 years of astronomical discovery.

 

Richard Clarke

When?
Thursday, April 27 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Richard Clarke

What's the talk about?

 Richard is a health psychologist and avid skeptic currently conducting a PhD in the area of information seeking and vaccine hesitancy at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine. This talk however isn’t about that fun, interesting and perpetually terrifying topic, this talk instead is about how an idea that takes less than a minute to explain caused him to change his career path, pledge to donate 10% of his life time income to charity and start placing his trust in the evidence and expertise that can best inform both of these aspects. 

 

Effective Altruism is the idea behind a growing movement of science and evidence minded individuals with a passion to doing as much good as they possible can. Effective Altruism involves using the head and the heart, logic and empathy, reason and compassion to systematically fight towards making the world a better place for all that live in it. As skeptics we apply critical thinking to a wide range of topics in our everyday lives however our charity and altruistic behaviours often gets a free pass. In this talk we will explore why this is the case and how a few small choices in your life can have life changing positive impact on someone else’s.  

Dr David Lawrence

When?
Thursday, March 30 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Dr David Lawrence

What's the talk about?

 Since the 1980s there have been a number of huge developments in the fight against HIV/AIDS. As antiretroviral therapy has become more effective and less harmful to patients we can now expect those in the UK who are diagnosed with HIV to have a near normal life expectancy. A large number of the gains made in this field have been a credit to the lobbying and activism of the LGBT community around the world who pushed for increased global access to treatment. 

 
An emerging trend in this field is the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a single tablet which, when taken by HIV negative individuals, can greatly reduce the chance of catching HIV. Although not available on the NHS, increasing availability of PrEP online has prompted some concerns that this will lead to relaxed safe sex practices, increased rates of other sexually transmitted infections and, if taken incorrectly, PrEP may contribute to drug resistance. Although not much of a sceptic, Dr David Lawrence will talk us through the journey which has brought us to this point, explain the key research findings, and provide an update on the current debates surrounding this treatment.
 
David Lawrence is a junior doctor specialising in HIV and sexual health. He has worked at the Royal Sussex County Hospital since 2012 and has previously worked for a number of large charities which work to promote sexual and reproductive rights around the globe.

Jon Stewart

When?
Thursday, February 23 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Jon Stewart

What's the talk about?

 Alcoholics Anonymous is a commonly accepted and media endorsed "spiritual" programme of recovery for alcoholism.  Yet while AA’s social worth is rarely challenged, its efficacy rate, possibly as low as 5%-10%, appears comparable to that of spontaneous remission.

We're all affected by alcoholism and addiction in some way.  Can a non-existent Higher Power really offer meaningful solutions to this debilitating, potentially fatal, condition?  If so, how can we help all those atheist and sceptic problem drinkers?

AA’s famous 12 Step programme evolved from the tenets of a now forgotten evangelical Christian mass movement for sobriety.  First published in 1939, it remains entirely unchanged since then.  How did AA become the go-to treatment modality for one of the great social health scourges of our age?  Is spiritually-based health-care even ethical?  It's the twenty first century, is this really the best we can do? 

More than just a discussion of AA and alcoholism, this talk draws on the work of philosopher Dan Dennett and evolutionary psychologist Andy Thomson (Trustee of the Richard Dawkins Foundation) to present a wide ranging and humorous case study of how the internet threatens previously sacred texts and closed systems of knowledge.

Jon Stewart was co-founder, guitarist and co-songwriter for platinum-selling Britpop band Sleeper. He currently lectures in popular culture at a local HE Institution, and is a PhD researcher at University of Southampton.

A grateful sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for almost 15 years, Jon now campaigns for more up-to-date evidence-based secular treatment options via his blog “Leaving AA & Staying Sober: New Perspectives on Recovery” http://jonsleeper.wordpress.com/

Paul Zenon

When?
Thursday, January 26 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Paul Zenon

What's the talk about?

From long-running TV series to sold-out theatre shows and premium rate phone 'advice' lines, the business of 'Love and Light' and talking to the dead is very much alive and well. How are psychics able to convince the public that their other-worldly insight is genuine? Why do people insist on believing, despite the lack of evidence of an afterlife? 

 
Paul Zenon presents a potted history of what  of what Harry Houdini described as ’the filthiest profession in the world’, and takes a look at their methods, past and present. 
 
Paul is possibly best known as a magician; after several series on Childrens BBC in the 90s he became the pioneer of the UK's Street Magic genre, with a number of one-man C4 and ITV Specials. His career has spanned three decades and seen him performing for audiences in around forty countries while making hundreds of TV appearances as performer, presenter and pundit; the latter relating in particular to his inside knowledge with regard to matters generally considered by the media to be 'paranormal’. 
 
Consumer Protection Disclaimer: this talk is investigational and for the purpose of entertainment.

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords

When?
Thursday, December 1 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords

What's the talk about?

 It’s inevitable, isn't it? One day robots will take over the world, either through some kind of violent rebellion, or through the back door -- by taking all our jobs. Aren't we throwing caution to the wind by ignoring this threat? Well, by explaining some of the basic principles behind artificial intelligence and robotics, I'm going to try to convince you that all those science fiction writers are wrong, and whilst robots will have a large part to play in our future, you don't need to worry about the effect they'll have on our existence.

 Nick Hawes is a Reader in Autonomous Intelligent Robotics in the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham. His research is in the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to create intelligent, autonomous robots that can work with or for humans. He is a passionate believer in public engagement with AI and robotics and was selected to give the Lord Kelvin Award Lecture at the 2013 British Science Festival.