What is Skeptics in the Pub?

Skeptics in the Pub (SitP) is a monthly event where people can meet and discuss science, skepticism, rationalism and critical thinking. At each event a speaker is invited to present a topic of interest, which is followed by a discussion in a relaxed and friendly pub atmosphere. There are now about 30 towns and cities throughout the UK & Ireland hosting Skeptics in the Pub events.

For more information about the idea behind Skeptics in the Pub please look at this BBC Report and this Wikipedia entry.

If you would like more information about Tunbridge Wells Skeptics in the Pub or would like to volunteer in any way please send a message using the form at the bottom of the page or send a tweet to @TWSkeptics. We also have a Tunbridge Wells Skeptics Facebook group.

Tickets

Entry to the talks is £3 payable on the door. At the moment there is no ticketing system so entry will be on a first come basis, however there will most likely be plenty of space!

 

Will Storr

When?
Thursday, May 1 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Will Storr

What's the talk about?

For years, journalist Will Storr has been writing about people with strange beliefs: demon hunters, UFO spotters, homeopaths and a couple who swore they've met the Yeti in some woods outside Ipswich. One afternoon, he was sitting at a Creationist lecture in the far north of Australia when he asked himself a question that he couldn't even begin to answer. Why don't facts work? The people that he had met, in his ten years of reporting, were often not stupid. Many were demonstrably intelligent. So why didn't superior information fail to replace the inferior. Why did logic fail?

The answer was to lead him on a journey which is recounted in his new book: The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science (Picador, 2013). Along with a spectacular cast of characters - including climate skeptic Lord Christopher Monckton and controversial historian David Irving - and some of the planet's most celebrated experts in brains and thinking, Storr finds his answer in what he calls 'The Hero Maker' : the collection of neural illusions by which we understand the world to be a narrative struggle which are at the centre of. We populate this narrative with heroes and with villains, and we flatter ourselves that we are the most important character in it. We are not agents of reason, but storytellers.

Will Storr is an award winning journalist and a novelist. For more information, please see: www.willstorr.com

Beth Miller

When?
Thursday, June 5 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Beth Miller

What's the talk about?

Naturally sceptical in a ‘of course there aren’t UFOs you daftie, that’s just a plane’ kind of way, Beth Miller was taken aback when she became pregnant and started believing just about any old nonsense. Booze, peanuts, tuna, acupuncture, baby seats that take the baby’s head off… From medics to the woman selling cheese, everyone loves to tell you what you should be doing. And it gets even worse when the baby arrives. Booze, feed on demand, sleep routines, colic, hind-milk, formula, cranial massage. Who do you trust? What can you believe? And how do you hang onto your sceptical persona when you’ve had no sleep, and if doing so might endanger this tiny precious bundle?

Beth Miller is deputy editor of Viva Lewes magazine, has a PhD in Psychology, a novel coming out in July, and a degree in being told malarkey about babies.

Robin Ince

When?
Thursday, July 3 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Robin Ince

What's the talk about?

Robin Ince is a funny and talented guy and one of our most valued high profile proponents of the skeptical movement. Some of you may have been fortunate enough to catch him here at Trinity in January, but now we are very pleased to have him all to ourselves for one night at Tunbridge Wells Skeptics in the Pub!

Stand-up comedian, actor and writer, Robin is best known for presenting the BBC radio show The Infinite Monkey Cage with physicist Brian Cox. And he's done so much other stuff that it's a bit daunting to list it all here. Find out about some of the current things Robin is doing at http://robinince.com

We don't know exactly what Robin will be talking about on the night (and he probably doesn't either) but it is bound to be an entertaining evening of comedy and science with one of the leading skeptical voices in the UK entertainment industry.

Anticipating demand, this will be a ticketed event. Tickets will go on sale in June. We'll let you know details closer to the date.

David Colquhoun

When?
Thursday, August 7 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
David Colquhoun

What's the talk about?

One of the UK’s most outspoken and well-qualified opponents of alternative medicine and bad science, pharmacologist David Colquhoun runs the DC’s Improbable Science blog, which is devoted to criticism of scientific fraud and quackery. It has a particular focus on alternative medicine, including homeopathy, Traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine and other practices, which he calls ‘pure gobbledygook’.

In addition to his outspoken disapproval of alternative medicine in academia, Colquhoun frequently speaks against misrepresentation of alternative medicine as science in the media, and against governmental support of it. His blog discusses also wider problems in science, medicine and Higher Education. It was listed among the 100 best blogs in 2009. It was blog of the week in the New Statesman (30 May 2010). And in 2012 it was co-winner of the first UK Science Blog Prize, awarded by the Good Thinking Society.

Colquhoun was a member of the Conduct and Competence Committee of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), a regulatory body for alternative medicine in the UK. Colquhoun has stated he was surprised at being accepted for the position. However, he was dismissed in August 2010.

Colquhoun, FRS is a British pharmacologist at University College London (UCL). He has contributed to the general theory of receptor and synaptic mechanisms of single ion channel function. He previously held the A.J. Clark chair of Pharmacology at UCL, and was the Hon. Director of the Wellcome Laboratory for Molecular Pharmacology. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1985 and an honorary fellow of UCL in 2004. Colquhoun runs the website DC’s Improbable Science, which is critical of pseudoscience, particularly alternative medicine, and managerialism.

Useful Tool or Robot Overlords?

Dr Allan Tucker

When?
Thursday, December 4 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Dr Allan Tucker

What's the talk about?

Artificial Intelligence has been a staple of popular culture for generations from promises of a Leisure Age when robots would do all of our work while we lived in luxury to scare stories where robots turn against their masters.

Dr Tucker looks at some of the key figures in AI in the last century through to the state-of-the-art learning machines that are all around us today and asks whether we will ever really have intelligent machines that are comparable to humans.

Dr Allan Tucker is senior lecturer in computer science at Brunel University. His research focuses on designing algorithms that can learn models from data to predict the future and assist experts in making decisions. His biomedical work includes long term projects with Moorfields Eye Hospital exploring models of eye disease and he collaborates with Leiden University Medical Centre on models of gene regulation.