<< Following year

Hayley Stevens

When?
Tuesday, October 8 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 Westgate Street
Bath,
BA1 1EL
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Who?
Hayley Stevens

What's the talk about?

Described as 'one of the sharpest and best skeptical commentators out there', Hayley Stevens has addressed international audiences about researching the paranormal as a non-believer. She is one of Britain's most vocal skeptical paranormal researchers and has been actively investigating ghosts and monsters since her teens when she used to believe that such things existed.

During her talk Hayley will explain everything a person could need to know about ghost hunting, from making ghosts forget their name to the important role Play-Doh has in modern paranormal investigation. Find her blog at www.hayleyisaghost.co.uk

Anthroposophy and Spiritual Science

Andy Lewis

When?
Tuesday, May 14 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 Westgate Street
Bath,
BA1 1EL
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Who?
Andy Lewis

What's the talk about?

With Michael Gove and the coalition approving new Steiner Schools to open under the Free School Programme, it is timely to look closely at the origins and beliefs of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the occult movement of Anthroposophy. Steiner was a mystic who believed he had direct clairvoyant access to cosmic knowledge. As such he developed an esoteric belief system based on karma, reincarnation, astrology, homeopathy and gnomes. His visions gave insights into architecture, art, dance, agriculture, medicine, education, science and diet. His racial hierarchy of spiritual developmental resonated in Germany in the early 20th Century turning a personal belief into a worldwide movement. Today we find hundreds of anthroposphically inspired organisations in the UK alone: everything from Steiner Schools, Biodynamic farms to banks, pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies, charities and cheese makers.

Andy Lewis has been trying to lift the veil on the inner secrets of the movement and will discuss how this secretive movement has direct impact on public life.

Chris Jenord

When?
Tuesday, April 9 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 Westgate Street
Bath,
BA1 1EL
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Who?
Chris Jenord

What's the talk about?

The Ancestor’s Trail is an annual walking event inspired by Richard Dawkins' book 'the Ancestor's Tale'. It drapes the Tree of Life over the Quantock Hills in Somerset so that its various branches line up with the hills' many footpaths. This year it is currently planned for the 24th-26th August.

Chris Jenord is the organiser of this event, and will be talking to us about what inspired him to start this trail and what he hopes people can get out of the event, as well as inviting you to join him on this year's trail.

Here is a short summary of this year's event:

The 3 day event will sandwich the Trail between two days of science speakers and musical celebrations. On the Trail day, certain branches of the tree will be populated by groups of walkers who, with a little pre-planned choreography, will walk evolution in reverse - following the theme of Dawkins' book. As they symbolically walk back in time, the walkers progressively re-unite with their increasingly distant ancestors. Eventually the ever increasing band of pilgrims arrive together at a rocky beach on the Severn Estuary representing our shared origins ~3.8 billion years ago. Last year 130 people took part and along the way were treated to words of wisdom, poetry and music.

The event is supported by the British Humanist Association and last year we welcomed Richard Dawkins as our keynote speaker and raised money for the RSPB and World Land Trust. This year most proceeds will go towards the Wallace 100 project whose ambition is to commission a statue of Alfred Russel Wallace to sit near to Darwin's at the Natural History Museum in London. Speakers/acts already booked include Professor Mark Thomas, Dr George Beccaloni, a Wallace inspired theatre group, the wonderful Jonny Berliner and his brilliant science songs (with a song about Wallace), a body painter called Victoria Gugenheim and even a marching band.

Take a look at http://ancestorstrail.net/ for more details and to see how to get involved.

Alan Henness

When?
Tuesday, March 12 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 Westgate Street
Bath,
BA1 1EL
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Who?
Alan Henness

What's the talk about?

It's been a short two years since the Advertising Standards Authority started to regulate marketing claims made on the Internet. In that time, the Nightingale Collaboration has given the ASA possibly their most serious challenge yet: curbing the misleading claims made on CAM websites. Many practitioners have realised their responsibilities and taken down long lists of 'what homeopathy can help with...', etc.
 
But much more needs to be done and we can't rely on the ASA to do everything, so we've been using other regulators as well, particularly the medicines regulator, the MHRA.
 
Find out more about who we are, what we've been up to and what our future plans are.
 

 

A Scientific Odyssey across America

Neil Denny

When?
Tuesday, January 8 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 Westgate Street
Bath,
BA1 1EL
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Who?
Neil Denny

What's the talk about?

Neil Denny is the producer and presenter of the Little Atoms Radio Show and podcast. Neil was the recipient of a Travelling Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, and in May 2012 he embarked upon a month long, 6614 mile road trip across America. The aim of the trip was to produce a series of podcasts which present a wide-ranging overview of science and skepticism from an American perspective. Driving from San Francisco to Boston and calling in at Phoenix, Santa Fe, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York along the way, Neil recorded 39 interviews with scientists and science writers including Ann Druyan, Leonard Susskind, Kip Thorne, Priya Natarajan, Paul Davies, George Church, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Mary Roach, Edward Stone and Sara Seager. He recorded interviews at some major sites of scientific interest, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The Los Alamos National Laboratory, and The American Museum of Natural History. He also spent a less scientific day visiting Kentucky’s Creation Museum. The podcasts from Neil’s trip can be found at the following website: http://feeds.feedburner.com/littleatomsroadtrip. Find out more about Little Atoms here: www.littleatoms.com, and follow Neil on Twitter @littleatoms.

Jonny Scaramanga

When?
Tuesday, September 11 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 Westgate Street
Bath,
BA1 1EL
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Who?
Jonny Scaramanga

What's the talk about?

Jonny Scaramanga was raised as a Christian fundamentalist and attended a strict evangelical school in Bath in the 1990s. He appeared on BBC2's As Seen on TV and Video Nation multiple times in this time to discuss his faith. He has since discovered that everything he thought was true was wrong. He writes about his experiences at the popular leavingfundamentalism.wordpress.com blog.

In his talk, Jonny will give an insight to what life is like in an Accelerated Christian Education school. There are sixty of these fundamentalist institutions in the UK, which teach Young Earth Creationism as fact. The Bible is taught as an infallible authority, and alternative viewpoints are not discussed or even considered.

Ronald Green

When?
Tuesday, July 10 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 Westgate Street
Bath,
BA1 1EL
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Who?
Ronald Green

What's the talk about?

Why should nothing matter? If anything matters, why should nothing matter? And yet it does, for there isn’t anything, it seems, that nothing does not touch, or anything that does not touch nothing. History, philosophy, religion, science, art, literature, music – all look towards nothing at some point, stimulating questions that would otherwise not be asked.

Who, for example, could have believed that nothing held back progress for 600 years in the Middle Ages, all because of mistaken translation, or that nothing is a way to tackle (and answer) the perennial question "what is art?"? Ronald Green uses nothing in 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.

What is this nothing, that we can’t actually see, touch or feel? Is it absolute? Is it relative to everything else? If we are able to think about it, write and read about it, is it something, and if so wouldn’t it then not be nothing?

This is precisely the mystery of nothing – that the more we think about it, the more there is to it.

Disarmingly invisible, the point of nothing – to paraphrase Bertrand Russell on philosophy – is to start with something so simple as to seem not worth examining, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.

Ronald Green is the author of "Nothing Matters – a book about nothing" (iff-Books). Philosopher, linguist, university lecturer and ESL teacher, with 13 ESL books published, Ronald has lectured and given workshops in Europe, North and South America and the Middle East on linguistics, ESL and the use of the Internet in education. His  short stories have been published in Nuvein magazine, Tryst, Aesthetica, the Sink and Unholy Biscuit. He has completed a philosophical novel and co-authored a psychological thriller with strong philosophical underpinnings. For the past five years he has been thinking seriously about nothing, culminating in his recently-published book.

Dean Burnett

When?
Tuesday, May 1 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 Westgate Street
Bath,
BA1 1EL
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Who?
Dean Burnett

What's the talk about?

As concepts, science and advertising have rarely been compatible. Attempts by one to use the other have invariably ended in outcomes that range from hilarious, to ridiculous, to downright sinister. Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist, writer and comedian, and founder of Cardiff Skeptics in the Pub, has found that attempts by the world of advertising to exploit science have impacted on his life far more often than is reasonable to expect. So come hear him speak about how he got dragged into the weird worlds of advertising science and how it made him look ridiculous, the bizarre methods used by advertisers to exploit science, and ask just how much science advertisers find 'acceptable'.

the 2nd event opened to the audience

When?
Tuesday, March 6 2012 at 7:00PM

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Where?

38 Westgate Street
Bath,
BA1 1EL
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Who?
the 2nd event opened to the audience

What's the talk about?

After the success of our first 'open mic' event last year, we're opening the stage up to our audience AGAIN for our social event in March!

The ‘skeptical open mic night’; audience members can take the microphone for five to ten minutes to discuss a skeptical subject they feel passionate about, share their ideas, or to ask their questions to an open audience for feedback.

Think of it as one huge discussion about the things that matter to you with like minded people, in the relaxed atmosphere of a pub.

Entry is FREE!

Line up so far:

Will Parbury - statistical errors in research
Alex Brown - "I am the aged!" Anecdotes of conspiracy theories, miracle cures and fuzzy thinking from the front line of charity fundraising.

more announced soon (want to talk? Email bathskeptics@gmail.com and let us know!)

Andy Lewis

When?
Tuesday, February 7 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 Westgate Street
Bath,
BA1 1EL
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Who?
Andy Lewis

What's the talk about?

 You might argue that the wealth of the City of Bath has been derived from the claims of the healing effects of its waters. A City built on Quackery. In the 18th Century, Bath's prosperity grew as visitors flocked to take the waters. But it was not just the waters that were on offer and many other hucksters, charlatans and opportunists came here to offer their healing wares. 

Few of those therapies still exist - most are long forgotten. Why do some unorthodox healing practices thrive and others fade away? What makes a successful quackery? Should the good citiziens of Bath want to invent a new successful form of alternative medicine, how should they go about it?

Andy Lewis developed the Quackometer website that explores the pseudoscientific claims of alternative medicine websites and their impact on society. Despite his detractors' claims, he does not own a yatch in the South of France paid for by Big Pharma...

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Tuesday, January 10 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 Westgate Street
Bath,
BA1 1EL
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

Stand-up comedian Iszi Lawrence will be discussing "The Experiences of an Awkward Athiest - How superstition, belief and reason are intermingled in comedy and everyday life" Iszi Lawrence is the resident compere of the Lil Fat Comedy Club Whitney, 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 appeared in Perrier Award winning The Passion Of The Hodgson and has appered on BBC Radio 1, BBC7 as well as local radio inc Resonance FM. Iszi is also co-host of the Sundays Supplement podcast and comperes Oxford Skeptics in the Pub.  She has been an invited speaker to Athiest Think Week and has spoken at several Skeptic Societies around the UK.

Dr Joanna Bryson

When?
Tuesday, December 6 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 Westgate Street
Bath,
BA1 1EL
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Who?
Dr Joanna Bryson

What's the talk about?

Artificial intelligence is intelligence built as an artefact by humans. This building can happen either directly or as a part of a technological process, but that technology and the motivation behind it is still necessarily of human origin. 

Is it possible that artefacts might themselves be considered moral subjects?  Moral patients that deserve our protection, or even moral agents that deserve credit or responsibility for their own actions? And what, if anything, would a robot's consciousness contribute to this question? 

After twenty years of involvement in artificial intelligence, Joanna has come to the conclusion that the answers to these questions have less to do with technology and more to do with sceptical enquiry into the origins of our concepts of morality. 

Considering the contexts and in which robots might be brought into what we consider to be humanity and the consequences of these may or may not help the robots, but it may help us understand ourselves a great deal better.

Dr Joanna J. Bryson is an academic specialised in two areas: the advancement of systems artificial intelligence (AI), and the use of AI simulations to further the understanding of natural intelligence, including human culture.  She holds degrees in behavioural science, psychology and artificial intelligence from Chicago (BA), Edinburgh (MSc and MPhil), and MIT (PhD).  She joined The University of Bath in 2002, where she was made a Reader in Computer Science in 2010. 

Entry is free but donations are welcomed.