Teesside Skeptics

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"To educate oneself so as to adopt an attitude of scepticism towards one's causal theories and one of intellectual modesty is, without doubt, one of the most important moral duties" - Karl Popper

 


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Marlon Solomon’s

When?
Thursday, November 7 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Marlon Solomon’s

What's the talk about?

Tickets via EventBrite https://tinyurl.com/yxfyz7q2

CONSPIRACY THEORY: A LIZARD’S TALE
 
Marlon's a Jew. This didn't bother him until he found out some people he knew didn't believe the Holocaust happened.

The first one-person show to be performed in the Houses of Parliament, Marlon Solomon’s Conspiracy Theory: A Lizard’s Tale, probes the growth of conspiracy theory; examining its links to rising antisemitism, racism and extremism. It's a comic tale which is no laughing matter.

 Winner of Best Spoken Word at Greater Manchester’s Fringe Festival, the show has already received high-profile accolades and generated political discussion in the Guardian, the New Statesman and Prospect Magazine.

"Funny, moving, at some points deeply disturbing." - David Baddiel

"Shrewd, funny and important." Jonathan Freedland (The Guardian)

 “A Lizard’s Tale is a devastating show. Informative, absorbing and very funny." – David Schneider

Edinburgh Fringe 2019 Reviews:

Broadway Baby Review: https://tinyurl.com/y3q3u9xu

The Wee Review: https://tinyurl.com/y66xrwp5

Conspiracy Theory: A Lizard’s Tale is a one man, multi-media piece of storytelling; incorporating elements of stand-up comedy, song and interactive video. Marlon examines how fake news gives fresh currency to ancient slander and how this all relates to current issues within mainstream politics. From 9/11 to shape-shifting lizards and Holocaust denial, this is a darkly comic tale of one man's journey through the conspiracy underworld.

WATCH the trailer here: https://tinyurl.com/yxoplxhe

Dr Andrew Dean

When?
Thursday, December 5 2019 at 7:30PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

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

Who?
Dr Andrew Dean

What's the talk about?

Tickets via EventBrite https://tinyurl.com/y2yephmk

A Psychological Examination of Magical Beings and Imaginary Friends

The notion of other-worldly creatures, spirits, and magical realms appears to span the past several thousand years. Yet, for all of the attention from Hollywood and other forms of popular culture, elucidating a psychological understanding of the phantasmagorical has proved to be almost as elusive as the subject matter itself.

In this talk we will look at the challenges of examining the otherworldly, but more importantly, the cognitive and social benefits and detriments from ‘excessive’ imagination, or auditory-visual hallucinations. Where pertinent, themes from the psychedelic literature will be drawn on to highlight the disruptive impact of rapidly adopting or rejecting hallucinations.

Dr Andrew Dean is a natural and social scientist, specialising in biophysics, linguistics and psychology. At present he is examining the impact of psychedelics on mental states arising from otherworldly hallucinations and visions.  This is increasingly orientated towards those claiming to see and hear God, demons, and magical fairytale creatures.

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Dr Mike Sutton

When?
Thursday, December 6 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Dr Mike Sutton

What's the talk about?

In this talk Mike will be revealing details of his latest peer-reviewed journal papers on the topic of Charles Darwin's apparent influences.

There has been a reaction to Mike's new evidence from Darwin scholars and others.  Evidence suggests that other naturalists closely associated with Darwin did read and then cite Patrick Matthew's book (1831) containing his prior-published conception of the theory of macroevolution by natural selection.  Darwin supporters disagree that Darwin was influenced by Matthew.

Patrick Matthew's book was written years before Darwin and Wallace published their theories, each claiming it as their own independent conception.  Mike intends to present evidence to show that Matthew's book provided the fundamental ideas for both but was not cited by either.

Mike Sutton is the originator of the Market Reduction Approach to Theft and has published many encyclopaedia essays, peer-reviewed papers, articles, book chapters, national and international policy-oriented government reports and policing guides on this subject and on stolen goods markets in general.  Mike has an international reputation and is widely acknowledged as the world's leading expert in this field.

He is currently researching, writing and publishing in several other subjects including measurement of fear of crime; the role of policing in crime reduction; hate crimes and prejudice reduction; hi-tech crimes; explanations for the current crime drop; and myths and fallacies about crime.

For a paper he published on his work researching smartcard hackers, Mike was co-recipient in 1999 of the British Journal of Criminology Prize awarded for the best article published in 1998/99 that contributed to knowledge and understanding of criminology and criminal justice issues.

In the field of criminological myths and fallacies, Mike is particularly interested in what he has recently named Supermyths. These are credulously believed by numerous scholars and used, with unintended irony, to support arguments of the importance of identifying myths and fallacies.

 

Various

When?
Friday, November 16 2018 at 6:00PM

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Where?

61 Wilson St,
Middlesbrough
TS1 1SF

Who?
Various

What's the talk about?

This is another social night at Isaacs Pub where will meet up and chat about subjects for next year.

If there is a subject we haven't covered, an interesting speaker we haven't invited or an idea for the format for next year then this is your chance to influence where we are going.

In addition we have been offered an alternative venue in Stockton-on-Tees for meetings in addition to or instead of O'Connells.

Fridays can be busy so have a good look around the place to find us.

 

A Panel Discussion

Various

When?
Thursday, November 1 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Various

What's the talk about?

Recent headlines have indicated that Universities (and associated Journals) appear to be struggling with keeping up standards of academia in many areas.  News of fraudulant data, cherry-picked results, unsupported conclusions and weak peer-review seem to be increasing as more Universities are founded and existing Universities continue to expand.

In addition, academic theory being used to make changes in society are often revealed to cite papers that have no real evidence base.  Post-modernist attitudes towards reality have gained sway in many faculties, espeically in the USA and political standpoints set up as a result are gaining strength on campuses.  

When expertise is ridiculed and dismissed and education is treated with suspicion are Universities still the last bastion of excellence in enquiry?  If not then where are the sources of information that can be relied upon?  If Universities are starting to move away from evidence-based reality then which organisations are left that will fill the gap, if any?  

Angelos Sofocleus and Andy Dean have been involved in some of these issues recently and will lead a discussion on where we are in Universities and what can be done about it.  Requests for the Universities themselves to come and speak about this have so far not produced a response but we are hoping to have at least one more person on the panel before the night.

Everybody will get a chance to have their say on the night so come along and join in.

Various

When?
Thursday, October 4 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Various

What's the talk about?

This is our irregular Open Mic night where members and guests get a chance to present a piece on a subject of their choice.  There will be 5 or 6 speakers taking 10 minutes each to make their case, followed by 5 minutes of intense questioning by the audience.

So far we have 5 volunteers:

Andy Dean

Will Mac

Paul Wilson

John Cossham

Ian Glendinning

 

Just drop me a text on 07712847328 and let me know your subject.


First come, first slot given.

 

Michael Marsh

When?
Thursday, September 6 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Michael Marsh

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 and The Times.

What Shall We Do With Wild Animals?

Graham Smith

When?
Thursday, August 2 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Graham Smith

What's the talk about?

This is event will be in a new format to us, a conversation led by an expert in his field but involving everyone at the meeting.

There is a recognition that bio-diversity is crucial to the health of the planet and to the wellbeing of humanity.  However re-wilding those parts of the World where it is possible is not straight-forward and many mistakes have been made.  Where top predators have been reintroduced around the World the clash with humans has been eventful.

It is also known that the spread of wild animal breeds can be problematical in areas where agriculture is dominant.  For instance badgers are doing very well in the UK currently but are suspected of being the carriers of TB that infects cattle on farms.

This will be a subject dear to the heart of many Skeptics and although Graham will help steer the discussion, this is mainly about members getting their chance to speak.

All are welcome and everyone will get a chance to put across their view.

Come and join us.

 

 

Alex Farrow & Kevin Precious

When?
Thursday, July 5 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Alex Farrow & Kevin Precious

What's the talk about?

We have two comedians this time:

Alex Farrow is a philosophy teacher and stand-up comedian who will be exploring what he learnt from teaching philosophy in a 6th form college to Muslim and Christian teenagers in East London.

What place do philosophy and skepticism have in the school classroom?
What is the "British values agenda" and are British values under attack?
What is the role of the teacher in creating, challenging and shaping the ethical and social opinions of young people?

Alex has been invited to perform stand-up comedy about philosophy everywhere from Mervyn Stutter's pick of the Edinburgh Fringe, the National Museum of Scotland, music festivals, comedy clubs around the UK and the Oxford University Teaching Awards. He was also Farmington Fellow at Harris Manchester College, Oxford in 2015 researching Philosophy in Schools.

On the same educational theme we have Kevin Precious:

This is the second visit by Kevin Precious reminiscing about his time in teaching and this time he has a more polished article ready to take to the Edingburgh Fringe Festival this year:

He has performed at the Brighton Fringe Festival and at various Skeptics organisations around the country.  It will be a pleasure to have him back.
 

 

Angelos Sofocleous

When?
Thursday, June 7 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Angelos Sofocleous

What's the talk about?

Skeptics value rationality and critical thinking over belief and faith. It is therefore crucial to know how to apply rationality and how to use it when making arguments and also when critically assessing the arguments of others. Knowing the basics of logic and argumentation allows someone to avoid committing their own logical fallacies.

Angelos Sofocleous will explain the foundations of logic and give an analysis of what is logic through the concepts of validity, soundness in deductive logic and inductive logic, indicating their differences and outline various applications of them in the real world.

Angelos studies Philosophy and Psychology at Durham University, where he is President of Durham Humanist Students Society. He is also President-Elect of Humanist Students, the nation-wide community of humanist societies and students, part of Humanists UK.

He is editor-in-chief of Secular Nation, Atheist Alliance of America's magazine, Philosophy and Religion editor at The Bubble UK, writer and editor at progressive news platform Conatus News, and sub-editor at Palatinate UK.

With Pint of Science

Adam Baker + Various

When?
Wednesday, May 16 2018 at 6:30PM

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Where?

4 Southfield Road
Middlesbrough
TS1 3BZ

Tel: 01642 242621

Who?
Adam Baker + Various

What's the talk about?

This month's social event will be held in conjunction with the Teesside University "Pint of Science" presentations about Illuminating The Future

We meet at 6.30pm and the presentations start at 7pm (drinks available)

Presentations and Q&A finishes at 9pm when we retire to the Dickens Inn bar for a chat.

If you wish to attend you will need a ticket (£4) and so please go to: 

https://pintofscience.co.uk/events/middlesbrough

 

A Miracle in your Pocket or Out To Kill You!?

Sean Slater

When?
Thursday, May 3 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Sean Slater

What's the talk about?

We nearly all now carry around in our pockets something which just 15 years ago would have seemed utterly miraculous. From this little slab of light, and for a few £ a month we can touch a glass sheet and interact with most of the world’s population. We can share opinions, memories, hopes, fears, dreams and experiences as they happen and from almost anywhere on the planet, we have access to the sum of the world’s information just about whenever and wherever we want. Social media would likely not exist as it does without the smartphone. It’s probable that the huge changes in the political landscapes over the past 5 years would not have happened without it.
 
But do you even know how it works? Is having a microwave transmitter right next to your brain or in your pocket a bad thing? Can your mobile actually be killing you?
 
Sean Slater is the Vice-Chair of Edinburgh Skeptics Society and has worked in the mobile phone industry for nearly 25 years; seeing it grow from an expensive businessman’s toy to the ubiquitous consumer necessity it is now.

When?
Friday, April 20 2018 at 7:00PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

61 Wilson St,
Middlesbrough
TS1 1SF

Who?

What's the talk about?

As part of the new Data Protection regulations coming in could all recipients please confirm that they have recieved this email and that they wish to continue receiving news of our upcoming events by affirming your email address to tpwaites@iee.org.    Thanks.

Social Night - This is the first of what we hope will be regular social nights for those critical thinkers who would like to meet like-minded people and have a chat.

This time we will be discussing Sam Hogarth's recent talk at O'Connells Pub about the need for continued Skeptical thinking in the modern age.

We will be having a particular focus on the way that courses are being introduced into our higher and further education establishments that seem to be based on pseudo-science, wishful thinking and quackery rather than on rational, evidence-backed subjects. 

As students are paying huge sums for their education it seems that courses are being commoditised and advertised to suit "customer choice".  We believe Universities and colleges are not supermarkets and any choice should be made between courses that have a firm foundation in reality.  But how can we find out what is happening?  If we find a course with no merit, what can we as outsiders do about it?  Let's find out.

No subject is taboo.  Any suggestions for the SitP will be listened to.  All welcome.

Sam Hogarth

When?
Thursday, April 5 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Sam Hogarth

What's the talk about?

Trump, Brexit, the decline of North East football (Boro Excluded (Ed)). There are a lot of reasons to feel disheartened and downtrodden right now.

In the words of Thomas Fuller, "It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth", and this is why we need pragmatic skepticism more than ever.  

In this talk we will be celebrating some of the victories we have won as an organisation but also taking a look at those battles we should be fighting.

Sam Hogarth is a software developer by day and a Joint Chief of Skepticism by night, part of the organisational team at Newcastle Skpetics in the Pub.

 

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