Teesside Skeptics
"Skeptical means “having reservations”. Someone who is skeptical will not easily be convinced, will be hard to persuade" Stack Exchange

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Vicky Forster

When?
Thursday, January 8 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

29-41 Bedford Street,
Middlehaven,
Middlesbrough
TS1 2LL

http://www.oconnellspub.co.uk/

Who?
Vicky Forster

What's the talk about?

Millions of pounds is poured into cancer research and drug development every year and although cure rates for many forms of cancer have improved dramatically in the last fifty years, some remain exceptionally hard to treat.  An increasing number of passionate cancer conspiracy theorists claiming that ‘the cure’ has already been found and is being suppressed and that unproven alternative therapies are better than conventional therapies, are threatening the health of cancer patients and the reputation of cancer charities, doctors and researchers.

This talk will aim to address misunderstandings about the basic biology of cancer, look for any evidence behind the most popular touted ‘alternative cancer therapies’ and hopes to stimulate discussion as to why there are a growing number of people who believe in these largely-unfounded conspiracies.

Dr. Vicky Forster is a cancer research scientist at Newcastle University, and a survivor of childhood cancer. She is also a passionate blogger for a large cancer charity and tweets a lot about her own work whilst demanding evidence for alternative cancer treatments and therapies.

As always this a free event at O'Connell's Pub (any kind donations accepted) and any members of the public are welcome.  We hope the starting time of 7.30pm will allow a relaxed journey for those coming from a distance.  Bring a friend!

Professor Steve Hall

When?
Thursday, February 5 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

29-41 Bedford Street,
Middlehaven,
Middlesbrough
TS1 2LL

http://www.oconnellspub.co.uk/

Who?
Professor Steve Hall

What's the talk about?

System Normal: The ‘crime decline’, the mutation of criminal activity and the pseudo-pacification process
 
Steve Hall
Professor of Criminology
Co-Director, Teesside Centre for Realist Criminology
 
The current statistical ‘crime decline’ across the Western world is a hot topic that seems to bring glad tidings to us all. Crime rates are falling across the USA and Europe, even in the post-Soviet states that during the 1990s were on the verge of becoming violent gangster economies. Commentators from across the political spectrum are indulging in a self-congratulatory rhetoric that ranges across the spectrum from the measured to the hyperbolic. While cautious but still quietly optimistic criminologists get busy examining the reasons behind the crime decline in great detail, highly remunerated and heavily promoted liberal ideologues such as Steven Pinker proclaim the crime decline to be another chapter in modernity’s grand narrative of constant progress. At last the Promised Land – Kant’s era of ‘perpetual peace’ delivered to us by the Enlightenment and liberal democracy – is in sight. The ‘better angels of our nature’ are winning the great Manichean struggle of good over evil.
 
Professor Steve Hall's presentation to Teesside Skeptics, in keeping with the first principle of the modern skeptics’ tradition, which of course places Hume’s caution against Kant’s optimism, explains why we should take all this self-congratulatory cooing with a pinch of salt. He hopes to explain to everyone why these glad tidings are naïve and premature by revealing the statistical ‘crime decline’ as an illusion created by two factors that tend to be swept under the carpet by politicians, the media and some of the less rigorous academic arguments.


Professor Hall will examine what is behind the perception that crime is diminishing.  He will put forward several key points about modern society that lends itself to an inevitable sytemic transfer of criminal effort from its traditional place to other, arguably more profitable areas.


He will show that there are other reasons behind this mutation of criminality rather than  the ‘civilizing process’ put forward by Norbert Elias, Steven Pinker and others.  He will show that it is a pseudo-pacification process.  This is a complex cultural and psychosocial generator and converter of human libidinal energy.   It constantly stirs up human energy and attempts to harness it via non-violent sociosymbolic competition to economic growth.  This process is reproduced by the participation of human actors whose everyday practices bypass and relocate values to comply with its systemic logic.  His presentation will explain basically but precisely how the pseudo-pacification process works and why it is important that we know about it.


This presentation will start at our now regular start time of 7.30pm.  Parking is plentiful around O'Connell's Bar in Bedford Street and the bus and train stations are close by.  There will be a Q and A session afterwards followed by general discussion and some highly entertaining live Irish music in the bar.  All the public are welcome, entrance is free but donations kindly accepted to cover speaker expenses.

Will Moy

When?
Thursday, March 5 2015 at 7:00PM

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Where?

29-41 Bedford Street,
Middlehaven,
Middlesbrough
TS1 2LL

http://www.oconnellspub.co.uk/

Who?
Will Moy

What's the talk about?

October 2011: A dodgy news report leads to questions in Parliament, a Government U-turn and ill-informed changes to the law on knife crime.

Is this just politics as usual, or can we change the way those in power use facts and information?

Will Moy runs Full Fact, the UK's only independent fact checking organisation and will be speaking about its work.

When?
Thursday, April 2 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

29-41 Bedford Street,
Middlehaven,
Middlesbrough
TS1 2LL

http://www.oconnellspub.co.uk/

Who?
Chris Peters

What's the talk about?

Details to be confirmed.

John Issit

When?
Thursday, May 7 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

29-41 Bedford Street,
Middlehaven,
Middlesbrough
TS1 2LL

http://www.oconnellspub.co.uk/

Who?
John Issit

What's the talk about?

TBC

John is a National Teaching Fellow and Provost of Langwith College. He has taught in schools, prisons, further education colleges and with the Open University for many years. He teaches extensively on the undergraduate programme at the University of York and supervises students at Masters level as well as teaching a programme for gifted and talented youth. He develops innovative approaches to learning in higher education particularly in collaborative writing and peer assessment.

 

 

Richard Burdett

When?
Thursday, June 4 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

29-41 Bedford Street,
Middlehaven,
Middlesbrough
TS1 2LL

http://www.oconnellspub.co.uk/

Who?
Richard Burdett

What's the talk about?

Richard Burdett is a veteran of the Marketing Industry and has a well-informed insight into the way marketing and advertising works.  Details to follow.

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Thursday, July 2 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

29-41 Bedford Street,
Middlehaven,
Middlesbrough
TS1 2LL

http://www.oconnellspub.co.uk/

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

Iszi is a fully established skeptical comedian with a great eye for the difficult grey areas between reality and fairyland.  So you think you make your own decisions in times of crisis?  You may have to think again!

Daisy Christodolou

When?
Thursday, August 6 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

29-41 Bedford Street,
Middlehaven,
Middlesbrough
TS1 2LL

http://www.oconnellspub.co.uk/

Who?
Daisy Christodolou

What's the talk about?

A talk about the science behind Education Policy in UK.  Or maybe the lack of it!?

Chris Hassall

When?
Thursday, September 3 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

29-41 Bedford Street,
Middlehaven,
Middlesbrough
TS1 2LL

http://www.oconnellspub.co.uk/

Who?
Chris Hassall

What's the talk about?

Climate change has been described as one of the biggest threats facing the world, but international action to mitigate the impacts of human activities on the climate is moving slowly (if at all). Why is there continued reluctance to act, and why do some people refuse to believe that climate change is even happening despite the high degree of confidence expressed by scientists?

Chris will outline briefly the science behind climate change and the tangled web of special interests that have sought to muddy the waters over a range of important scientific topics from tobacco smoke to the ozone layer. He will also discuss his role as a “skeptical activist” in investigating the extent of climate change denial at a Canadian University, and discuss the importance of skeptical involvement in education.

The talk will conclude with a discussion of the similarities across various different types of science denial, and some recent research that skeptics can use to guide their efforts to promote science in hostile communities.

Chris is a Lecturer in Animal Biology at the University of Leeds, with particular expertise in the biological impacts of environmental change. He graduated with a BSc in Zoology from the University of Liverpool and his PhD research, also conducted at Liverpool, investigated the impacts of climate change using dragonflies and damselflies as a model system. He then moved to Carleton University in Canada for three years as a Research Fellow before returning to the UK to take up a faculty position at the University of Leeds in 2012. He continues to work on large-scale patterns in ecology and evolution, with a focus on environmental change, predator-prey interactions, and freshwater science.

This event is open to all and entrance is free, however kind donations will be accepted in order to pay the speakers expenses.  There will be time after the event for Q & A and discussion and the Irish Traditional Musicians are available for entertaining listening afterwards.

Martin Poulter

When?
Thursday, October 1 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

29-41 Bedford Street,
Middlehaven,
Middlesbrough
TS1 2LL

http://www.oconnellspub.co.uk/

Who?
Martin Poulter

What's the talk about?

L Ron Hubbard instigated Scientology as a religion only a few decades ago and now it is a powerful multi-national cult that has many celebrities in its ranks.  How? 

Anna Semlyen

When?
Thursday, November 5 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

29-41 Bedford Street,
Middlehaven,
Middlesbrough
TS1 2LL

http://www.oconnellspub.co.uk/

Who?
Anna Semlyen

What's the talk about?

Many town councils are gradually changing speed limits in built-up areas from 30 mph to 20 mph.

Are these changes being brought about by emotional appeals from victims and their families or is

the trend as a result of hard evidence that not only are lives saved and injuries prevented but that civilisation on the move is grinding to a halt??

Anna Semlyen is a leading member of the 20's Plenty For Us Campaign and has some interesting information to tell us.