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Terence Waites

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

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Terence Waites

What's the talk about?

If like many, you found mathematics at school difficult, too abstract, boring and irrelevant then the idea of pouring over datasets to ensure their validity, veracity and accuracy can seem like a pastime for nerds that it is best not to be involved with.

So if we have no time or inclination for personal scrutiny of the numbers being flashed on the screen or reported on in newspapers then how can we decide how much credence should be given to them?  How are these numbers arrived at?  Why were previous numbers on the same subject wrong?  Who discovered they were wrong and how?  Were the reports of the original numbers being wrong given the same headlines, distribution and attention as the original skewed numbers?

This will be an expansion of the 10-minute presentation given last year by Terry Waites at the Open Mic night and will give a little insight into where giving trust to sources and believing the data used as support is not always straight-forward.

Back to the usual format of 45 minute talk followed by Q&A for this meeting.

Terry Waites is co-ordinator for and joint founder of Teesside Skeptics-in-the-Pub and helps run Teesside Humanists.  He has a background in the military and with Telecommunications Engineering with a BSc in Computational Mathematics and MSc in The Design of Information Systems.  Still spending much time ridding his mind of long-believed myths and misinformation.

When?
Friday, February 15 2019 at 6:00PM

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Where?

9 Silver St
Stockton-on-Tees,
Durham
England
TS18 1SL

Who?

What's the talk about?

 Our next Social Evening takes place in Stockton as we try to make the socials more convenient for members who don't live in Middlesbrough.

Hope & Union is a micropub by the river in Stockton Centre area and serves alsorts of wonderful beverages for those who like alcohol and those who don't.

The railway station is a short walk over the Victoria Bridge and there are a number of buses up and down Stockton high street.

Subjects to be covered at the social are whatever you would like to talk about!

Ian Glendinning - Leads Discussion

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

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Ian Glendinning - Leads Discussion

What's the talk about?

All debate on any topic is seemingly contentious (and public!) There is a sense that all positions are polarised (and popularised!) - and becoming ever more so? People for or against specific positions; many arguing from highly principled “social justice warrior” perspectives.

Even – maybe especially for this audience – when simply putting the objective scientific record straight in the face of interested / subjective / rights & freedoms / irrational / ill-informed / superstitious / religious / conspiracy positions.

What makes for a good argument? How do you know if your discourse has even got to first-base? We will air some topics that may seem alien – post-modern, politically correct - to an objective, scientific audience of skeptics? 

Ian Glendinning has been an engineer all of his 40 year working life, with classic geeky, physical science, atheist-but-cultural-Christian background. Most of that career was in aerospace, energy, process, oil & gas and construction, focussing latterly on related information systems and technologies.

With that increasing focus on information, For almost 2 decades Ian has been researching epistemology . That is “what, why and how do we know” (anything) about the physical world. That full time hobby has inevitably led through many areas of metaphysics and philosophy concerning existence generally (ie ontololgy).

Ian’s main interest is memetics – the processes by which knowledge and ideas (and anything else for that matter) evolve and spread. Exchange of information in human dialogue is a very significant part of that.

 

 

An Expert-Led Discussion

Myles Power

When?
Thursday, January 3 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

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

Who?
Myles Power

What's the talk about?

Myles Power recently passed the 100,000 subscription mark on Youtube where his excellent skeptical videos cover a huge number of different subjects and he is a veteran of social media, involved since the very start.

In recent years he has also suffered the dark side of social media with anonymous trolls, malicious campaigns and attempts to stop his work on behalf of skeptics everywhere being broadcast.

Myles will lead a discussion on the ideas behind social media. its development, changes, crises and where it appears to be heading in the future.

The discussion will include technology, data protection, the influence of advertising, politics, freedom of expression and much else.  However the conversation can range anywhere within reason and I know some in the group have some strong opinions on this subject.  Everyone will get a chance to speak.

We also hope to be able to garner some ideas for our own SitP organisation and its development.

Happy New Year all.

 

When?
Friday, December 14 2018 at 6:30PM

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Where?

61 Wilson St,
Middlesbrough
TS1 1SF

Who?

What's the talk about?

 Our final social of 2018 will carry on where November's social left off with some ideas for our meetings in 2019. 

Although we start early (to ensure we can grab some space) you can arrive at any time you like throughout the evening.

No fancy dress, Christmas hats or presents.   Just bring yourself and your ideas.

Let's have a fun start to the festivities.

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.