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Our first birthday!

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Monday, September 10 2012 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

Stand-up comedian Iszi Lawrence be discussing "the experiences of an awkward atheist" - how superstition, belief and reason are intermingled in comedy and everyday life. 


Iszi lawrence is the resident compere of the Lil Fat Comedy Club Witney, has had sell out shows at the Camden, Brighton, Oxfringe and Edinburgh fringe. Her debut four star show 'Matter of Tact' was Time Out Recommended and London Lite Comedy Pick. 

She also featured in Perrier Award winning The Passion Of The Hodgson and has appeared on BBC Radio 1, BBC 7 as well as local radio inc. Resonance FM.

Iszi is also co-host of the Sunday Supplement Podcast and comperes Oxford Skeptics in the Pub. She has been an invited speaker to Atheist Think Week and has spoken at several Skeptic societies around the UK.

Tannice Pendegrass

When?
Monday, August 13 2012 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Tannice Pendegrass

What's the talk about?

 Autism is a fascinating subject, steeped in rumour, mystery, misconceptions and myths. Tannice firstly aims to take you through different definitions of autism, cultural representations and the results of her survey, asking over 700 people about their perceptions of what causes and treats autism (spoiler: we don't know and, currently, nothing).

The second part of the talk focuses on 'the bad' and 'the ugly'. The part most skeptics will probably be most interested in. Tannice will briefly cover the MMR scandal, but this is not the main focus of her 'bad' or 'ugly' section: the subject that Tannice reserves the most ire for is the toxic and sometimes downright dangerous treatments many children must endure. Asking the question 'what's the harm?' has never been more important.

The third part of the talk is for 'the good' - it focuses on ABA or Applied Behavioural Analysis; the gold standard in Autism treatment. Through a whirlwind journey (to fit in the format of a SitP talk) Tannice will explain what ABA is, how it's used and the evidence behind it. From Kim Peek (the inspiration for rain man) to Jenny McCarthy (an anti-vaccination campaigner), this talk will give you a broad overview of Autism, Autism treatments and why cultural representations of Autism are usually wrong. You’ll also find out why a horse died when he was being treated in a chamber normally reserved for divers suffering from the bends.

(We ask for £2 from audience members to cover speaker's expenses)

Professor Chris French

When?
Monday, July 9 2012 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Professor Chris French

What's the talk about?

Prof. Chris French,  Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London, is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.

He has published hundreds of articles and contributed to several chapters on varied psychology topics. His principle research area is the psychology involved in belief in the paranormal and he has recently published the book Why Statues Weep: The Best of The Skeptic, co-edited by Wendy Grossman. He is a former editor of The Skeptic magazine.

Ever since records began, in every known society, a substantial proportion of the population has reported unusual experiences many of which we would today label as "paranormal". Opinion polls show that the majority of the general public accepts that paranormal phenomena do occur. Either the paranormal is real, in which case this should be accepted by the wider scientific community which currently rejects such claims, or else belief in and experience of ostensibly paranormal phenomena can be fully explained in terms of psychological factors. Anomalistic psychology attempts to provide non-paranormal explanations for anomalous experiences in terms of known psychological factors. This approach will be illustrated with examples relating to a range of ostensibly paranormal phenomena.

Chris French on Twitter

Crispian Jago

When?
Monday, June 11 2012 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Crispian Jago

What's the talk about?

Crispian Jago was recently longlisted for the 2011 Orwell Prize for his satirical skeptic blog Science, Reason and Critical Thinking, where he "hurls ad hominem attacks at passing woo mongers and takes random pot shot at supernatural, paranormal and pseudoscientific bullshit."

He is one of the founding members of the Hampshire Skeptic Society, and co-founder & co-organiser of Winchester Skeptics in the Pub.

How to Point and Laugh at Irrational Nonsense will review many of the topics covered in the Science, Reason and Critical Thinking blog over the past couple of years and ponder whether or not ridicule is an appropriate method for sceptical activism.

In his day job, Crispian is a freelance IT consultant specialising in the design and management of software test strategies in order to ensure the successful deployment of complex IT systems.

Watch him drink his own homeopathic wee or Follow him on Twitter

Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy

When?
Monday, May 14 2012 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Lynne Murphy

What's the talk about?

 Lynne Murphy (Senior Lecturer 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.

The Evidence and the "Sceptics"

Dr Andy Russell

When?
Monday, April 2 2012 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Dr Andy Russell

What's the talk about?

 From natural cycles to global conspiracies, many arguments are used to challenge the scientific consensus on climate change. But how well do these arguments stand up and do the people using these arguments merit the label of skeptics?


In this talk we'll have a quick look at the evidence for climate change and then examine some of the most common arguments against the consensus and assess the level of "scepticism" at work.

Andrew is a Lecturer in climate science at Brunel University. His work focuses on European extreme events and Antarctic climate change. He often comments on weather and climate issues in the media.

You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter at @dr_andy_russell

Deborah Hyde

When?
Monday, March 5 2012 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Deborah Hyde

What's the talk about?

The werewolf is an enduring motif. Though there are many good werewolves in folkore, the prevalent type is the ravaging, insatiable beast. The werewolf so often stands for the heart of darkness of the human soul. This talk will explore how the motif was used during one of Europe's darkest eras - the Great Witch Hunt of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries."

Deborah was our inaugural speaker at Horsham Skeptics in the pub and we're delighted to have the opportunity to host the first outing of her new talk. Those who came along to her last talk in Horsham will remember what a good quality speaker she is - both during the talk itself and durig the Q & A session.

Deborah is the Managing Editor of The Skeptic Magazine and also blogs as Jourdemayne

"Everyone's favourite skeptical witch, Jourdemayne, with superbly written thoughts on superstition, religion and the human condition" - Crispian Jago

 You can also follow her on Twitter

Bad Statistics & Fact-checking the Left's New Theory of Everything

Chris Snowdon

When?
Monday, February 13 2012 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Chris Snowdon

What's the talk about?

Christopher Snowdon, author of "The Spirit Level Delusion"  will be challenging the theory asserted in the best-selling book "The Spirit Level" that 'more equal societies almost always do better'. (Here's the wikipedia entry for "The Spirit Level" )

By fact-checking the book's statistics and reviewing the scientific literature, he will argue that there is no correlation between income inequality and a country's health, happiness and well-being. The hypothesis in "The Spirit Level" is, he says, based on selective evidence and flawed reasoning. Whatever your political affiliation, you will come away from this talk a little more sceptical towards the various statistics you read or hear about from day to day.

Born in North Yorkshire in 1976, Christopher Snowdon is the author of "The Spirit Level Delusion" (2010), Velvet Glove, Iron Fist (2009), and most recently "The Art of Suppression". He has written about The Spirit Level debate in Spiked, The Guardian and the Wall Street Journal, and debated with its authors at the Royal Society of Arts in July 2010.

You can find more information about Chris Snowdon and his books here: http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com/

Entry £2

How the demand for "traditional medicine" is devastating species

Ben Hardwidge

When?
Monday, January 9 2012 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Ben Hardwidge

What's the talk about?

 According to some nutritionists and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, sharks don’t get cancer. It’s a myth that’s not only brought false hope to sufferers of one of the world’s horrific diseases, who are told that consuming shark cartilage can cure cancer, but it’s also had a devastating impact on the world’s shark populations. In fact, it’s estimated that 70 million sharks will be slaughtered for their fins this year alone.

After millions of years serving as the oceans’ main apex predator, many shark species are now on the brink of extinction following just a few decades of indiscriminate finning, where sharks often have their fins cut off while they’re still alive, and are then dumped back into the sea. People often ask ‘where the harm?’ when it comes to using alternative medicine, and this talk will explain the very real and costly price of relying on unregulated bogus medicine to treat cancer.

 

In this talk, Brighton Skeptics' conservation enthusiast Ben Hardwidge will explore the theories behind using medicines derived from sharks and rays, and explain the devastating impact that this is having on our marine ecosystem. As well as this, he will also introduce the ideas behind a new scepticism campaign in development, which aims to raise awareness about medicines based on shark cartilage, while appealing to major retailers to stop stocking them.

Thinking critically about transgender issues

Juliet Jacques, Guardian writer, longlisted for the George Orwell blogging prize in 2011

When?
Monday, December 12 2011 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Juliet Jacques, Guardian writer, longlisted for the George Orwell blogging prize in 2011

What's the talk about?

The emergence of gender variant people, practices and identities following the publication of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Transvestites (1909) and the inter-war invention of sex reassignment technologies posed considerable challenges to conservative, socialist, feminist and gay/lesbian politics: if ‘male’ and ‘female’ were no longer true, then what was? 

Consequently, transgender people became an object of fascination, and plenty was written about them – by the mainstream media, feminists and the medical establishment whose management of transsexualism has proved especially controversial – with transgender people themselves frequently excluded from the conversation, with their identities erased or discounted, or having their experiences framed by people or outlets with no lived experience of being transgender.

Juliet Jacques, author of the Guardian’s Transgender Journey series which documents the gender reassignment process from a first-person perspective, critically examines some of the ideas and myths that grew around transgender people, and the gulf between mainstream political and media discussions of transgender issues and the autonomous transgender theory and identities that developed in response.

Read Juliet's blog here: http://julietjacques.blogspot.com/ and her Guardian column here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/jul/27/transgender-journey-public-spaces

(£2 each for speaker expenses please!)

Citizen Science for Skeptics

Alice Sheppard

When?
Monday, November 14 2011 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Alice Sheppard

What's the talk about?

Astronomy has been the subject of wonder and speculation for as long as historical records exist. As with all science, people got some things right - and, even with the best methods available, other things wrong.

Since 2007, Alice Sheppard has run the Galaxy Zoo Forum, the discussion area for an online astronomy project with 300,000 members worldwide. Galaxy Zoo has so far produced 21 papers, whose authors and acknowledged contributors include several ordinary citizens. Some of its findings were a direct result of questions or collections of objects created by the users, who became "Citizen scientists".

Alice takes us through some of the best and worst of astronomical history, and what ancient and modern mistakes are made today. We will hear the questions people have come to Galaxy Zoo with, the ways in which biases were found and dealt with by the scientists and participants, the beautiful and inspiring projects created by untrained people and the scientific thinking they learnt for themselves to apply.

We also take a look at citizen science in general, how Galaxy Zoo taught large numbers of people to understand and use science, and explore what this might mean for skepticism.

Alice is one of Cardiff Skeptics's two founders (the one who does the Internet stuff while Dean does the more important bit). Having worked as a secretary, a teacher (thrown out for caring more about science than exams), and an office supervisor for a charity for disabled people, and an occasional astronomy writer, she's now just moved to London to start an MSc in Astronomy. Her blog is at aliceingalaxyland.blogspot.com

 

In the meantime, why not classify a few galaxies for yourself at www.galaxyzoo.org

Martin Poulter

Martin Poulter

When?
Monday, October 10 2011 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

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.

(With Horsham's proximity to the UK (and former world) Scientology headquarters over in East Grinstead, this talk will be of particular interest.)

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.

Martin's website is at http://infobomb.org/