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Michael Marshall

When?
Thursday, November 13 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

North St
Horsham
West Sussex
RH12 1RG

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 Scientist.

Here's his latest piece for the Guardian

Professor Anil Seth

When?
Thursday, October 9 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

North St
Horsham
West Sussex
RH12 1RG

Who?
Professor Anil Seth

What's the talk about?

 Consciousness is at once the most familiar and the most mysterious feature of our existence. It fades every night when we fall into a dreamless sleep, and returns again when we wake up or dream. Without consciousness there would be no world and no self; there would be nothing at all. 

Over the last decade or two, a new science of consciousness has begun to reveal its biological basis. This new science will not only help us better understand our place in nature, but will also provide important new opportunities for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders. For these reasons, understanding the biology of consciousness is widely recognized as a key scientific challenge for the 21st century. 

In this talk Professor Anil Seth will give a whistle-stop tour of the frontiers of consciousness science, focusing on eight ‘key’ questions driving current research, both in his lab and in the wider world.

Anil Seth is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience and Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at Sussex University

www.anilseth.com 

www.anilkseth.wordpress.com 

www.sussex.ac.uk/sackler

£3 donation per seat to cover costs

 

Jonathan M.S. Pearce

When?
Thursday, September 11 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

North St
Horsham
West Sussex
RH12 1RG

Who?
Jonathan M.S. 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.

Free-WillThe Nativity: A Critical Examination is his fourth book, and follows Free Will? An investigation into whether we have free will, or whether I was always going to write this booka 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. 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 is a founder author for the Skeptic Ink Network (SIN), an online community of skeptic writers, bloggers, academics, thinkers and activists, which can also be found on their Facebook page.

No need to book in advance - We'll be asking for a £3 donation per seat to cover our costs.

A chat about Horsham skeptics, and anything else you like

YOU

When?
Thursday, April 10 2014 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Who?
YOU

What's the talk about?

 We're having a little break from the formal talks for a couple of months but in the meantime we'll have a few socials. There's plenty to talk about that we barely get to touch upon at the regular evenings, so let's get together and have conversations.

Whether you have suggestions for how Horsham Skeptics works or if there is a particular subject you would like to share with the group, you will have an opportunity during these informal meetings. Perhaps you have an idea about some kind of local activism?

It'll be a mixture of group consideration of questions and unstructured chit-chat, so there's something for everyone. 

We will be at the Bedford on Station Road for a change of scene, unless a better option comes up (suggestions welcome!)

4 Speakers, 4 subjects, 4 one night only

Chris Snowdon, Elizabeth Donnelly, Anita Marsden, Simon Clare

When?
Thursday, March 13 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

North St
Horsham
West Sussex
RH12 1RG

Who?
Chris Snowdon, Elizabeth Donnelly, Anita Marsden, Simon Clare

What's the talk about?

 In a change to the usual format, we'll be presenting four speakers, each talking for about 15 minutes followed by a short Q&A. 

More details are to follow but here's a brief intro...

Elizabeth Donnelly is a Humanist Celebrant and will be talking about what her work involves. Elizabeth is great to listen to on the subject and we're thrilled to host her.

Anita Marsden is a clinical psychologist, music festival organiser and the first female Streetwars champion. Anita will be talking about the subject of positive psychology

Chris Snowdon is an author who will be giving us a special talk on the "free men on the land" movement, where people effectively opt out of society and the law. Chris suggests that the movement is somewhat deluded. 

Simon Clare is your regular host and will be performing a one-off talk about Horsham's very own charismatic evangelical church and demonstrating some of the miracles that supposedly happen there.

£3 on the door to cover venue hore and speaker expenses - no need to book in advance. 100 very comfortable seats will be waiting for you.

DON'T FORGET you can pre-order interval drinks at the bar - I would encourage you to do this! (The bar stays open late especially for us so if we can deal with interval drinks nice and quickly, the staff get to go home!)

Cosmological vertigo, anyone?

Dr Kathy Romer

When?
Thursday, February 13 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

North St
Horsham
West Sussex
RH12 1RG

Who?
Dr Kathy Romer

What's the talk about?

 Einstein called his postulation of the so-called Cosmological Constant his "biggest blunder''. So it might seem remarkable that billions of dollars are being spent on international astronomy projects designed to prove him wrong! These projects are attempting to measure a non zero Cosmological Constant to help explain why the Universe has started to accelerate in its expansion (after more than 10 billion years of slowing down). Dr Kathy Romer is involved in several of these projects. She will discuss the latest evidence for an accelerated expansion, emphasising the practical and human sides of the endeavour. She will also discuss whether these experiments might ultimately prove Einstein to be right about the Cosmological Constant (i.e. it doesn't actually exist), but show instead that he was wrong about something else: the universality of General Relativity.

(Here's a little article about some of Dr Romer's work http://www.sussex.ac.uk/staff/newsandevents/?id=15511)

Kathy got her PhD in Edinburgh in 1995. She then spent 9 years in the USA as a postdoc and junior faculty member. She returned to the UK in 2004 and has been at the University of Sussex, as part of the Sussex Astronomy Centre, ever since. She works in the field of Observational Cosmology, with a particular specialism in the area of X-ray clusters of galaxies. She makes regular use of many of the premier telescopes around the world, and in Space, and has recently taken on leadership of the X-ray efforts related to the international Dark Energy Survey project. In addition to her research, she teaches Astronomy and Physics at the undergraduate and postgraduate level and has many local, national, and international, administrative roles.

Seats £3  - just turn up on the night as there will be good seats for everyone! Get there in good time to pre-order your interval drink at the downstairs bar. The Studio is upstairs but there is a lift available for anyone that wants to use it.

Robin Ince

When?
Thursday, January 9 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

North St
Horsham
West Sussex
RH12 1RG

Who?
Robin Ince

What's the talk about?

 To mark our move to the Studio at Horsham's Capitol Theatre, we are pretty chuffed to present Robin Ince.

Robin will be talking about his mind, the minds of others and their various shortcomings. He'll also be discussing the worst of the online complaints and abuse that he has received about science and explaining how he has come to accept his inner idiot.

Robin Ince is a tirelessy touring comedian whose act often delves into science and philosophy and all that. He is the host of Radio 4's "Infinite Monkey Cage" and its stage show, and is responsible for the much-loved "9 Lessons and Carols for Godless People".

Seats are £3 each and to reserve one, please email horsham.skeptics@gmail.com and tell me your name and how many you'd like. If you find that you can't make it after all, please let me know as soon as possible so I can reallocate your seats. I'll be collecting the admission fee on the night.

 

The Psychology of Suggestion

Martin S Taylor

When?
Monday, December 9 2013 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Martin S Taylor

What's the talk about?

 Martin Taylor is a hypnotist, works as a hypnotist, has been a stage hypnotist for over fifteen years. Yet he doesn’t use hypnosis.

So What’s Going On?

Recently psychologists have dramatically revised their ideas about how hypnosis works, and the modern theory is that of social compliance. Broadly, this means that there is no altered state when you are hypnotised – no trance, no sleep, and nothing mysterious at all. Hypnosis simply works because the subjects believe it will.

On stage, it works through the hypnotist’s skill in combining three factors:

Suggestion: when we are told to feel something, there is a strong subconscious force which makes us really feel it.

Social pressure: people want to behave the way their friends are behaving; if their friends appear to be under a hypnotist’s power, they will want to act the same way.

Simple obedience: people will generally do as they are told, especially by someone in authority.

So how is this relevant to Martin’s show?

Other stage hypnotists still present hypnosis the old-fashioned way as if they were inducing a mysterious state of mind – some even believe it works like this! Martin is totally up-front about what he is doing. His scientific approach means he can tell people there is no sleep, no trance, no zombie-state. That’s why he’s called the hypnotist who opens your eyes – people are ‘hypnotised’ literally with their eyes open! Yet the show still has all the laughs, the wonder, the excitement of any hypnotist show you’ll see anywhere else.

http://www.hypnotism.co.uk/

Simon Singh

When?
Monday, November 18 2013 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Simon Singh

What's the talk about?

In this talk 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.

Dr. Simon Singh MBE is a British author who has specialised in writing about mathematical and scientific topics in an accessible manner. He shot to fame in the Skeptics community after he wrote an article for the Guardian which was critical of the practice of chiropractic and resulted in Simon being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association. On 1 April 2010, he won his court appeal for the right to rely on the defence of fair comment.

Copies of Simon's book will be available on the night, and he will be there to sign copies.

A talk about nothing

Ronald Green

When?
Monday, October 14 2013 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Ronald Green

What's the talk about?

From the book Nothing Matters by Ronald Green:

Is nothing everything? As strange as that question looks at first sight, it will definitely make sense after reading NOTHING MATTERS. Provocative and accessible, free of jargon, NOTHING MATTERS shows that there is more to nothing than meets the eye. History, the arts, philosophy, politics, religion, cosmology - all are touched by nothing. Who, for example, could have believed that nothing held back progress for 600 years, all because of mistaken translation, or that nothing is a way to tackle (and answer) the perennial question 'what is art'? NOTHING MATTERS is a genuine attempt to look at the world in a different way, to give new angles to old problems and so to stimulate new thoughts. Sure-footedly, with flair and enthusiasm, Ronald Green Takes the reader on a path through nothing to everything it touches, linking facts and information that lead to surprising conclusions.

Born in London, teacher, lecturer and writer, with postgraduate studies in linguistics and philosophy, Ronald is the ultimate researcher. His short stories have been published widely. He lives in Israel.

Nick Doody

When?
Monday, September 9 2013 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Nick Doody

What's the talk about?

As we've now been putting on at least one fascinating talk a month for two whole years, we thought we'd celebrate our 2nd birthday with a night of comedy. It's an absolute thrill to present our very special guest, Nick Doody - presenter of Radio 4's Skeptic Tank among loads of other stuff.

Limited guaranteed seating tickets are now on sale. More chairs and standing room will be available on the night if you just want to show up and take your chances

Tickets here: https://nickdoodyhorsham.eventbrite.co.uk/

Nick Doody is one of brightest talents on the comedy circuit. Sharp and topical – he’s not afraid to say what he thinks; his brand of political comedy and satire has won him fans all over the country…in fact all over Twitter as well, where he’s polled as one of the influential names in British comedy

Nick’s career as a stand-up got off to a pretty good start, whilst still a student, Nick supported Bill Hicks on his final tour of the UK…Bill himself had requested Nick. 

Since then Nick has become a familiar face on the comedy circuit.  As well as gigging regularly all over the UK, Nick has also performed in Ireland, Germany, Spain, France and Croatia.  Nick is also  in demand as a writer for both television and radio, writing for the likes of ‘THE SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALL’, the Sony Award winning ‘ARMANDO IANNUCCI’S CHARM OFFENSIVE’ and ‘THE NOW SHOW’ for Radio 4.  Cult animation series ‘EMPIRE SQUARE’, BBC4’s ‘LATE EDITION’, Channel 4’s ‘FAQ U’, ‘8 OUT OF 10 CATS’ and ‘FRIDAY NIGHT PROJECT’ and ITV2’s ‘LIP SERVICE’ and More4’s ‘LAST WORD’.  Most recent writing projects include BBC’s ‘NEVER SEEN STAR WARS’, ITV’s ‘ONE NIGHT ONLY’ and E4’s ‘RUDE TUBE’.  He also devised and wrote the hit Radio 4 series ‘BIGIPEDIA’.

 

“Some of the best political material I have heard in a while…comic genius”   - KATE COPSTICK, THE SCOTSMAN

“very impressive … unfailingly good punchlines … intelligent and funny … comes with the chortle seal of approval” - CHORTLE

Since 2006 Nick has been a regular at the Edinburgh Festival performing his solo shows. These have been met with critical acclaim and have led to him going on to perform sell-out shows at the Glasgow Comedy Festival and Soho Theatre in London’s West End.

Shale Gas: Good News for Sussex?

Jane Thomas and Benny Peiser

When?
Monday, August 12 2013 at 8:00PM

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Where?

78 Brighton Road
Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5BU

Who?
Jane Thomas and Benny Peiser

What's the talk about?

**THIS IS A TICKETED EVENT** 

Are Sussex's shale gas reserves manna from heaven or a poisoned chalice?

The development of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has enabled the potential exploitation of an enormous amount of natural gas that is currently stored in rocks deep beneath the Sussex countryside. Continuing exploratory works - and the resulting protests - have put Sussex at the heart of the fracking debate.

In an attempt to establish the facts, Horsham SitP will be hosting a debate between representatives of both sides of the argument.

 

Jane Thomas is Senior Campaigner for Friends of the Earth in England

Dr. Benny Peiser is Director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation and editor of CCNet

 

Both speakers will give a statement, followed by dialogue. After a break, the audience can ask both participants any questions they may have.

 

Due to the anticipated demand we are ticketing this event so that everyone who wants to come along will get a seat. Takings will be used for speaker expenses for this and future events. Ticket price is £2.50 (not the usual £2) due to charges from the ticketing website.

 

TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE

(If you can't buy tickets online, please email horsham.skeptics@gmail.com to reserve a seat)