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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.

You'd be a fool not to!

Alex Clegg

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

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Alex Clegg

What's the talk about?

Sense about Science has been championing the understanding and use of evidence for over 15 years. It is now launching the next phase of its successful 'Ask for Evidence' campaign, encouraging members of the public to seek out evidence for claims they come across. 

Alex Clegg, campaigns and communications coordinator, takes us on the campaign's journey so far - a journey that has kick-started conversations between members of the public, businesses, public services and the media about evidence on issues ranging from supplements and speed limits to IVF and alcohol. He will also set the new campaign plans.  
 
Alex is now recruiting 20 Ask for Evidence ambassadors to run a series of talks and activities across the UK. They will build on the work of the ten original ambassadors, who have already reached over 50,000 people and helped generate over a thousand evidence 'asks'. Come along to hear more about the campaign and how you can get involved.
 

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.

 

A Confused Person’s Guide to Therapy, Counselling and Self-Help

Ariane Sherine

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

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Ariane Sherine

What's the talk about?

Comedy writer and journalist Ariane Sherine created and organised the Atheist Bus Campaign, persuading Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Association (Humanists UK) to support her – and buses with variations on the slogan “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” ran in 13 countries across the globe.

As a result, Ariane received an Inbox full of hate mail from Christians and other religious fanatics, which eventually led to a major nervous breakdown and suicidal ideation. She ended her journalistic career, and didn’t write again for over three years.

In this talk, she will tell the full story of how therapy and medication saved her life, prompting her to write her new book, Talk Yourself Better: A Confused Person’s Guide to Therapy, Counselling and Self-Help.

Ariane will also be signing copies of Talk Yourself Better after the talk. 

What people have said about Talk Yourself Better:

“Brilliant – makes the baffling comprehensible.” JEREMY VINE

"What an excellent, long-overdue idea! A super-accessible guide, through the bewildering marketplace of modern therapy, to ease our noble search for help." DERREN BROWN

“How do we cope with this brutal world? In this witty, revealing book Ariane Sherine runs through the ways. An excellent, funny and thought-provoking read for all who seek answers.” ARTHUR SMITH

“What makes Ariane Sherine’s Talk Yourself Better stand out from the crowd is its accessibility and humour; to be able to discuss difficult things with a lightness of touch and a comedy that does not trivialise is a rare skill indeed. This, combined with the honest – and often deeply moving – stories of clients and practitioners alike, makes this the ideal introduction to for anyone considering therapy for the first time.” BRIAN BILSTON

Ariane Sherine is the comedy writer and journalist who created the Atheist Bus Campaign, as well as the bestselling celebrity book The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas. She has written for BBC1’s My Family, Channel 4’s Countdown and BBC2’s Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, as well as for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday, New Statesman, New Humanist and The Spectator. She lives in London with her seven-year-old daughter, Lily.

 

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.

https://monarchbar.com/ 

 

What's the Truth Behind Age Verification?

Myles Jackman

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

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Myles Jackman

What's the talk about?

Obscenity Lawyer Myles Jackman asks what the truth behind age verification is by exposing the arguments, history and impacts of balancing child protection against adult free speech and privacy rights.

 
The Digital Economy Act 2017, which comes into force this March, will compel adult pornography websites in the UK to verify that their users are over the age of 18. This measure was predicated on the assumption that it would prevent under 18’s being “harmed” by pornography; yet has potentially disastrous unintended consequences for adult privacy and the free speech ecosystem.
 
Myles Jackman is the only lawyer in the UK who specialises in obscenity law and sexual freedoms. He is an award-winning lawyer and a leading expert in advising clients accused of sexual offences. He also provides a unique advisory service for clients in the arts and media; the adult industry; and offers pro bono advice for campaigns, organisations and activists particularly in the BDSM, LGBTQ, Sex-Work and Adult Industry communities. He was the defence solicitor in the landmark Michael Peacock and Simon Walsh obscenity trials. In the latter trial he was the first acting solicitor allowed to live tweet from a British trial. The same year, he was awarded the Junior Lawyer of the Year Excellence Award by the Law Society of England and Wales.  
 

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.

https://monarchbar.com/

How we misunderstand the ancient world

Dr Stacy Hackner

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

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Dr Stacy Hackner

What's the talk about?

We often see the past through the lens of media, who take great leaps with facts.

Do you imagine cavemen going out to club a bear while cavewomen stayed home with the kids? Did you learn in school that the Greeks invented civilization? Do you believe that aliens built the pyramids? When you see the image of apes evolving into man, do you stop to question the idea that it represents a progression to the ultimate goal of contemporary Western civilization? These are all myths about the ancient world perpetuated by the media, uninformed pseudoscientists, and sometimes outright racists. The way we teach history tends to focus a model of humanity that’s reinforcing 1950s white gender roles and reproducing capitalist patriarchy. I’ll discuss a few ways in which a common conception of the past doesn’t add up, why we’ve come to think of history in this biased way, and how we can continue to question and correct these misunderstandings.

 

Dr Stacy Hackner is a bioarchaeologist focusing on ancient activity patterns in Sudan and diseases in 19th-century Cyprus. She has excavated human remains in four countries and lectures at UCL and Glyndwr University. She has also worked in public engagement at UCL Museums and at science festival booths, where she has learned to battle conspiracy theorists.

 

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.

https://monarchbar.com/

 

Nigel Blackwood

When?
Monday, December 3 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Nigel Blackwood

What's the talk about?

Criminal behaviour is inherently fascinating. Endless hours of TV and countless novels are written about it. Forensic psychiatrists spend their lives exploring the links between mental illness and crime.

Are we any closer to understanding why individuals are seriously violent toward others?

What treatments are available for such individuals? How sympathetic are the courts to mental illness defences?

What happens in secure hospitals and prisons?

Which novels and films get closest to the truth?

Nigel Blackwood is a clinical academic in Forensic Psychiatry, working at King's College London and in HMP Wandsworth.

£3 to cover expenses.

As it's our festive meeting, there will be treats. If you've been good.

Richard Clarke

When?
Monday, November 5 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Richard Clarke

What's the talk about?

Recent data from the World Health Organisation has indicated record high cases of measles in 2018. Increasing from 5,273 in 2016, to 23,927 in 2017, to 41,000 people as of only August this year 

These cases have subsequently led to hundreds of hospitalisations and over 50 recorded deaths. While some of these cases were in those too young to be vaccinated, or those who had other health concerns that made vaccination inadvisable, the majority of the cases are thought to be in people who have actively made a choice to avoid immunisation.

The reasons why an individual may refuse a vaccine that is backed by extremely strong safety and efficacy evidence are wide ranging and complex. In this talk, Richard Clarke will introduce you to the concept of Vaccine Hesitancy and explain how risk perception, uncertainty, social influence and above all trust plays a role in vaccine delay, selection and refusal.

Richard Clarke is a health psychologist and 3rd year PhD candidate with The Vaccine Confidence Project based at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The academic field of vaccination is very wide, Richard's area of expertise focuses on the “fluffy” social science related to vaccine delivery. For all things vaccine science please visit The Vaccine Knowledge Project.

How The Internet Answers All Of My Silly Questions

James O'Malley

When?
Monday, October 1 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
James O'Malley

What's the talk about?

Have you ever wondered:

Which Fast Food Chain Is The Grossest?

Can Twitter Keep A Secret?

Was 2016 Really A Terrible Year For Celebrity Deaths?

No? Well, James O’Malley has, and he promises you the answers are pretty interesting. He’ll take us through some of his in-depth, data driven research into some of the most pressing questions. There’ll be spreadsheets! Graphs! Maybe we’ll look at some source code on the screen - but whatever happens, by the end we will know what a country’s maniac drivers can tell us about its government, and how to write some computer code that can read Donald Trump’s mind.

James O'Malley is a journalist and writer specialising in politics, technology and data. He is currently Interim Editor of Gizmodo UK and has previously written for the likes of TechRadar, Engineering & Technology Magazine, and The New Statesman. He was previously the creator and editor of The Pod Delusion podcast, which he produced with his partner Liz Lutgendorff.