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The Life and Death of Margery Jourdemayne

Deborah Hyde

When?
Tuesday, May 17 2022 at 7:30PM

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Where?

96 Snowsfields, London SE1 3SS

Who?
Deborah Hyde

What's the talk about?

 In 1441, Margery Jourdemayne was burned alive at Smithfield. She was a commoner cunning-woman - or witch - yet her social group contained the highest in the land.

Join us as we put aside our expectations to uncover the politics, religion, social classes, law and context of Margery's fifteenth century life and death.

Deborah Hyde is former editor of The Skeptic and is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. She writes and lectures about belief in the malign supernatural, with special regard to the folklore, psychology and sociology behind belief.

http://deborahhyde.com/

Tickets can be booked in advance here: 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/heresy-sorcery-royalty-and-a-witch-tickets-321742158457

 

The tips you need to make it to a century.

Ariane Sherine

When?
Tuesday, April 19 2022 at 7:30PM

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Where?

96 Snowsfields, London SE1 3SS

Who?
Ariane Sherine

What's the talk about?

Due to the pandemic we will no longer be letting people in without a pre-booked ticket.

Please feel free to either use the standard entry or donation tickets if you would like to donate more than the £2 standard donation. 

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/how-to-live-to-100-tickets-292013148187 

 

Fancy finding out how to live a long and healthy life? You’re in luck: comedy writer and Atheist Bus Campaign creator Ariane Sherine will be visiting to discuss the scientific evidence behind 100 different factors that affect life expectancy.

Could drinking green tea really prolong your life? How about gardening? Is regular sex more about pleasure than health? Why does standing up a lot make a difference to longevity? And is it worth cutting out red meat or even turning vegan in order to blow out 100 candles on your birthday cake?

 

Ariane will be signing copies of her book HOW TO LIVE TO 100 after the talk.

The Science of Weird Sh*t

Prof Chris French

When?
Tuesday, March 15 2022 at 7:30PM

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Where?

96 Snowsfields, London SE1 3SS

Who?
Prof Chris French

What's the talk about?

Due to the pandemic we will no longer be letting people in without a pre-booked ticket.

Please feel free to either use the standard entry or donation tickets if you would like to donate more than the £2 standard donation. 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-science-of-weird-sht-tickets-292008594567 

Following his retirement in October 2020, Emeritus Professor Chris French reflects on the work of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, founded in the year 2000. 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. Such widespread experience of and belief in the paranormal can only mean one of two things. 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. This presentation will provide an introduction to the sub-discipline of anomalistic psychology, which may be defined as the study of extraordinary phenomena of behaviour and experience, in an attempt to provide non-paranormal explanations in terms of known psychological and physical factors. This approach will be illustrated with examples relating to a range of ostensibly paranormal phenomena.

 
Chris French is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is also Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and a Patron of the British Humanist Association. He is a member of the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of the British False Memory Society. He has published over 150 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics within psychology. His main area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He writes for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine. His most recent books are Anomalistic Psychology, co-authored with Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, and David Luke (2012, Palgrave Macmillan), and Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience, co-authored with Anna Stone (2014, Palgrave Macmillan). His next book, to be published by MIT Press, will be The Science of Weird Sh*t.

Robin Ince

When?
Monday, February 3 2020 at 7:30PM

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Where?

243 OLD STREET
LONDON
EC1V 9EY

Who?
Robin Ince

What's the talk about?

Robin Ince uses the life of the stand-up as a way of exploring some of the biggest questions we all face. Where does anxiety come from? How do we overcome imposter syndrome? What is the key to creativity? How can we deal with grief?

What better way to understand ourselves than through the eyes of comedians – those who professionally examine our quirks on stage daily? In this touching and witty book, I’m a Joke and So Are You: A Comedian’s Take on What Makes Us Human, award-winning presenter and comic Robin Ince uses the life of the stand-up as a way of exploring some of the biggest questions we all face. Where does anxiety come from? How do we overcome imposter syndrome? What is the key to creativity? How can we deal with grief?

Informed by personal insights from Robin as well as interviews with some of the world’s top comedians, neuroscientists and psychologists, this is a hilarious and often moving primer to the mind. But it is also a powerful call to embrace the full breadth of our inner experience – no matter how strange we worry it may be!

Robin Ince is co-presenter of the award-winning BBC Radio 4 show, The Infinite Monkey Cage. He has won the Time Out Outstanding Achievement in Comedy, was nominated for a British Comedy Award for Best Live show and has won three Chortle Awards. He has toured his stand up across the world from Oslo to LA to Sydney, both solo and with his radio double act partner, Professor Brian Cox. He is the radio critic for the Big Issue and appears regularly on both television and radio. He has two top-ten iTunes podcast series to his name.

£3 donation to cover speaker expenses and sundries. 

The bar is reserved from 5pm for SitP attendees to buy food and drinks well in advance of the talks

Why is Speaking Truth so Difficult?

Dr Keith Kahn-Harris

When?
Monday, January 6 2020 at 7:30PM

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Dr Keith Kahn-Harris

What's the talk about?

 The truth hurts. We cannot always acknowledge our desires – even to ourselves. So we deny them. And sometimes we go further: The term ‘denialism’ describes a cluster of ‘alternative’ forms of knowledge, including Holocaust denial, global warming denial, anti-vaxxers, 911 conspiracism, creationism and more. Denialism has been part of the political landscape for decades, but now some (like Donald Trump) are going further, transitioning to ‘post-denialism’ in which almost anything goes.

Why do we deny? How does denialism work and why is post-denialism replacing it? And how can they be combatted? In this talk, Keith Kahn-Harris, author of Denial: The Unspeakable Truth, argues that a solution will only be possible when we come to terms with the truth of our darker desires.

£3 donation to cover speaker expenses and sundries. 

The bar is reserved from 5pm for SitP attendees to buy food and drinks well in advance of the talks

Why the World Needs A Vagina Museum

Florence Schechter

When?
Monday, December 2 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Florence Schechter

What's the talk about?

There is a penis museum in Iceland, but no vagina equivalent anywhere in the world. Comedian Florence Schechter discusses why she chose to set up the world’s first bricks and mortar vagina museum (at Camden Market) and the strange reactions she’s received along the way.

The museum will have four permanent galleries: science, culture, society and history. The science section will cover topics from the anatomy to health, menstruation to menopause, contraception to consent, sexuality to gender identity. The culture collection will showcase the anatomy in the arts and their contribution to the discourse about our genitals, for example The Great Wall of Vagina or The Handmaid’s Tale. The society gallery will explore genitals’ place in society, e.g. religious rites surrounding menstruation, the practises of FGM, of which over 200 million people are living today suffering from, sexual violence and how these cases are dealt with in court. The history gallery will contain objects relating to the history of gynaecological medicine, contraception, menstrual products and sex work.

£3 donation to cover speaker expenses and sundries. 

The bar is reserved from 5pm for SitP attendees to buy food and drinks well in advance of the talks

 

 

Why flawed logic puts us all at Risk, and How Critical Thinking can save the World

David Robert Grimes

When?
Monday, November 4 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
David Robert Grimes

What's the talk about?


It may seem a big claim, but knowing how to think clearly and critically has literally helped save the world. In September 1983, at the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union’s early warning system showed five US missiles heading towards the country. Stanislaw Petrov knew his duty: he was to inform Moscow that nuclear war had begun, so that they could launch an immediate and devastating response. Instead, he made a call to say the system was faulty. He’d assessed the situation and reasoned that an error was more likely than such a limited attack.

We may not have to save the planet from nuclear annihilation, of course, but our ability to think critically has never been more important. In a world where fake news, mistrust of experts, prejudice and ignorance all too often hold sway, we can all too easily be misled over issues such as vaccinations, climate change or conspiracy theories. We live in an era where access to all the knowledge in the world is at our fingertips, yet that also means misinformation and falsehoods can spread further and faster than ever before.

David Robert Grimes shows how we can be lured into making critical mistakes or drawing false conclusions, and how to avoid such errors. Given the power of modern science and the way that movements can unite to protest a cause via social media, we are in dangerous times. But fortunately, we can learn from our mistakes, and by critical thinking and scientific method we can discover how to apply these techniques to everything from deciding what insurance to buy to averting global disaster.

The Irrational Ape will be available to buy on the day.

£3 donation to cover costs.

Arrive early to get a seat and order food and drinks.

Website: https://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/The-Irrational-Ape/David-Robert-Grimes/9781471178252

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simonschusterUK/

Twitter: ‏@drg1985 / @simonschusterUK

In a ‘Fake News’ World

Ben Radford

When?
Monday, October 7 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Ben Radford

What's the talk about?

We see and hear scientific claims all the time, but the public is often unsure what to believe.

Why do so many science and medical stories that make headlines one day get debunked the next week?

How do we tell what’s really real?

Distinguishing science from pseudoscience, real news from rumour, and truth from falsehood are vitally important: A healthy democracy depends on an informed citizenry and officials guided by evidence-based policies and practices. But too often science is viewed with derision and suspicion, or co-opted by those with social or political agendas.

Join writer and science literacy educator Benjamin Radford as he discusses the nature of scientific truth and evidence. Drawing on nearly two decades of experience in journalism—as both a producer and consumer—Radford examines not only the rise (and threat) of “fake news” but also how and why well-meaning journalists often get the story wrong.

There will be plenty of time for audience Q&A and book signing.

£3 suggested donation to cover expenses and sundries.

Benjamin Radford, M.Ed, is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine, and a Research Fellow with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, a non-profit educational organisation.

He is author of thousands of articles for Discovery News, LiveScience.com, and other media, as well as eleven books on media and science literacy including Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us.

and Other Myths About Food and Health

Pixie Turner

When?
Monday, September 2 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Pixie Turner

What's the talk about?

Despite a wealth of information at our fingertips there are still so many things we get wrong about our health, and with a new diet book out every other day it’s no wonder people are confused. What should we be eating? When? How often? Just how important is food when it comes to our overall health?

Humans have always been a bit weird around food. We’re told eating certain foods are the key to living longer, some foods are ‘sinful’ or ‘bad’, that ‘you are what you eat’, and that we must seek to obtain health at all costs. All this means we follow crazy diets that make things worse rather than better and have a population where most of us dislike our bodies.

Pixie Turner will unpack why diet and nutrition misinformation is so problematic, on social media, in mass media, and on a public health level, and why we could all benefit from taking a moment to assess our personal relationship with food. Expect some myth-busting, diet rants, and lots of fully-referenced evidence-based science.

Pixie Turner is a nutritionist (ANutr), food blogger, and science communicator. She graduated with a First Class degree in Biochemistry, and went on to complete a Masters in Nutrition with Distinction. She has been featured as a nutrition expert on BBC and Channel 5, and in publications such as Red magazine, Evening Standard, Grazia, the Telegraph and more.

Her second book, ‘The No Need to Diet Book’ was published in 2019 and will be available to buy at the talk.

Please get there early for a table and to order your food and drinks. The pub is reserved for SitP attendees from 5pm.

£3 donation to cover costs and speaker expenses. No booking or tickets required. Just turn up.

The Rise of Flat Earth Belief

Michael Marshall

When?
Monday, August 5 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

In 2013, when Michael Marshall first interviewed the Vice President of the Flat Earth society for his show Be Reasonable, people could scarcely believe that anyone could genuinely think the Earth was flat. Five years later, Flat Earth belief has gone mainstream, spawning thousands of hours of YouTube videos, gaining widespread international media coverage, and attracting countless followers. How did we get here?

In this talk, Marshall will talk through his experiences of the Flat Earth movement, take a look at the leaders and some of their reasoning, and report back from the weekend he spent at the UK’s first ever Flat Earth convention.

Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast.

His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests, going undercover to expose psychics and quack medics, and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

The event takes place at The Monarch which has a full menu. Please get there early for a table and to order your food and drinks.

£3 donation to cover costs and speaker expenses.

The psychology of achieving the impossible

Richard Wiseman

When?
Monday, July 1 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Richard Wiseman

What's the talk about?

Professor Richard Wiseman presents a pioneering study of the mindset that took humanity to the Moon.  

Combining personal interviews with cutting-edge psychology, Wiseman embarks on the ultimate voyage through inner space.

He identifies the key principles that make up the Apollo Mindset and describes practical techniques that you can use to incorporate these winning principles into your life.

Richard Wiseman is Britain's only professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology and is the author of the bestselling Quirkology and 59 Seconds. He is the psychologist most frequently quoted by the British media.

The event takes place at The Monarch which has a full menu. Please get there early for a table and to order your food and drinks.

£3 donation to cover costs and speaker expenses.

The Return of Race Science

Angela Saini

When?
Monday, June 3 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Angela Saini

What's the talk about?

Modern science is pivotal in our understanding of race – not because of the lines that thinkers through the centuries have chosen to trace around human groups, but because, once grouped, what they thought belonging to these groups signified.

Join award-winning science writer Angela Saini as she explores the concepts of race and human variation, both past and present. She dissects the political roots of race, why scientists can’t seem to look beyond it, and the dark and dangerous ways in which scientific racism persists to this day.

In conversation with Alom Shaha

Angela Saini is an award-winning science journalist and broadcaster. She regularly presents science programmes on the BBC, and her writing has appeared in New Scientist, the Guardian, The Sunday Times, and Wired.

Her latest book, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong, was published by Fourth Estate in 2017 to widespread critical acclaim, and was named the Physics World Book of the Year. Angela has a Masters in Engineering from the University of Oxford and was a Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her latest book is Superior: the Return of Race Science.

Books will be on sale at this event and will be cash or card. Signing by the author after the main event.

The event takes place at The Monarch which has a full menu. Please get there early for a table and to order your food and drinks - it's open from 5pm for SitP attendees.