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The Dark Side of Romance

Dr Diana Fleischman

When?
Thursday, February 14 2019 at 7:15PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Dr Diana Fleischman

What's the talk about?

Often people are attracted to one another for reasons of moral virtue. Romantic signals usually indicate generosity and selflessness. But what happens when attraction goes bad? In this talk I’ll be discussing how men and women engage in risky behaviour in order to attract mates and the attractiveness of psychopathy and deception. 

Dr Diana Fleischman grew up in in the Southern United States in a religious and conservative area where evolution was not taught in school. At 12 Diana earned the moniker “monkey girl” for fervently endorsing evolution to teachers and peers. Attending both Catholic church and synagogue further formed the foundation of a sceptical perspective on religion. During a formative year at the LSE shortly after the September 11th attacks, Diana read Dawkins and other evolutionists extensively, kindling an obsession with atheism and evolutionary psychology.

As an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Portsmouth, Diana teaches and researches many different topics including disgust, human sexuality and biological bases of behaviour. Involvement with effective altruism, a movement that aims to use evidence to accomplish the most good in terms of human and nonhuman wellbeing, prompted Diana to more deeply consider human morality its evolution and shortcomings, the topic of this Darwin Day talk. Diana is a sentientist, someone who prioritizes the capacity to suffer as the basis for moral consideration; Find her on Twitter @Sentientist.

£3 on the door

Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives

Johno Pearce and Alan Duval

When?
Thursday, January 10 2019 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Johno Pearce and Alan Duval

What's the talk about?

Johno Pearce brings the philoposhy of morality to the table, and this is sometimes supported and sometimes challenged by psychology, as shown by Alan Duval. Together, the two tackle the minefield of morality and in an evocitiver manner. From trolleys to monkeys, and God to inquiring murders, does morality exist in the fabric of the universe, or is it all just in our minds?

Johno Pearce is a philosopher, author, blogger, public speaker and teacher from Hampshire in the UK. He specialises in philosophy of religion, but likes to turn his hand to science, psychology, politics and anything involved in investigating reality. He is the author of several popular books including ‘The Nativity: A Critical Examination’, ‘Free Will? An investigation into whether we have free will, or whether I was always going to write this book’, and ‘The Little Book of Unholy Questions’. As an interlude from writing about philosophy and theology, he has also written a book of advice for dads of twins; Twins: A Survival Guide for Dads. He is a founder member of the Tippling Philosophers, a friendly group of disparate believers and non-believers based in Hampshire, and is also a founder author for the Skeptic Ink Network (SIN), an online community of skeptic writers, bloggers, academics, thinkers and activists.

Alan Duval was born in New Zealand to English parents. His early career was in systems and database administration, though with a nearly 20-year side line in DJing (mostly pop and retro). He maintains a broad taste in music, from acid jazz to death metal.  In his mid-30s, having recently been divorced Alan moved to London (from Wiltshire), and took on a degree in psychology at Birkbeck College, University of London. The decision to take psychology was due, in no small part, to his son’s autism. Having secured a first class honours, and a distinction for his dissertation on moral psychology, Alan went on to do a Masters in psychological research methods, in which he will, again, be focusing on moral psychology. In the meantime Alan works for two ethically oriented start-ups; CoGo (Connecting Good), the London launch of the Conscious Consumers app that has been running in New Zealand for a while, and his own , recently funded start-up, Social Consumer (a value comparison site for the household energy market). As of November 15, Alan is also a Countdown Octochamp.

Dr Michael Brooks

When?
Thursday, December 13 2018 at 7:15PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Dr Michael Brooks

What's the talk about?

Michael Brooks resurrects the extraordinary story of Jerome Cardano. This 16th century Renaissance Italian was a gambler who invented the theory of probability, an astrologer to popes and emperors who taught the public how to map the heavens, a doctor consulted by kings, archbishops and senators, a mathematician who discovered the secrets of imaginary numbers – and a victim of the Inquisition whose punishment was to disappear from history.

In this talk, Brooks will tell the forgotten story of Cardano’s life, and trace the astrologer’s legacy all the way to the frontiers of modern physics, uncovering some extraordinary insights along the way.

Michael Brooks, who holds a PhD in quantum physics, is an author, journalist and broadcaster. He is a consultant at New Scientist, a magazine with over three quarters of a million readers worldwide,and writes a weekly column for the New Statesman. He is the author of At The Edge of Uncertainty, The Secret Anarchy of Science and the bestselling non-fiction title 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense. His writing has also appeared in the Guardian, the Independent, the Observer, the Times Higher Education, the Philadelphia Inquirer and many other newspapers and magazines. He has lectured at various places, including New York University, The American Museum of Natural History and Cambridge University.

 

 

General arrival - 19:00-19:20

Presentation - 19:30

Drinks break - 20:30

Q&A session 20:45 until around 21:30

(Approximate timings only)

Professor Marika Taylor

When?
Thursday, November 8 2018 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Professor Marika Taylor

What's the talk about?

A quantum computer makes use of the quantum states of subatomic particles to store and process information. Quantum computing has the potential to solve problems faster than standard computers can do, and thus many researchers are working on developing large scale quantum computers. Remarkably, black holes can help us understand how a quantum computer might work: black holes are believed to be the most efficient quantum computers than can exist in nature. In this talk we will explain what black holes might teach us about quantum computing and conversely what quantum theory implies about the fundamental properties of black holes.

Biography: Marika Taylor studied for her PhD with Stephen Hawking in Cambridge. Following research at Cambridge and Harvard, she spent ten years working at the University of Amsterdam. She is currently the Head of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Southampton.

Doors 7pm £3

Please note date and time change

Jamie Bartlett

When?
Thursday, September 6 2018 at 6:45PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Jamie Bartlett

What's the talk about?

The internet was meant to set us free.

Tech has radically changed the way we live our lives. But have we unwittingly handed too much away to shadowy powers behind a wall of code, all manipulated by a handful of Silicon Valley utopians, ad men, and venture capitalists? And, in light of recent data breach scandals around companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, what does that mean for democracy, our delicately balanced system of government that was created long before big data, total information and artificial intelligence? In this urgent polemic, Jamie Bartlett argues that through our unquestioning embrace of big tech, the building blocks of democracy are slowly being removed. The middle class is being eroded, sovereign authority and civil society is weakened, and we citizens are losing our critical faculties, maybe even our free will.

 

Doors 6:45
£3
 

When?
Saturday, July 14 2018 at 7:00PM

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Where?

35 Francis Ave
Portsmouth
Southsea
PO4 0HL

Who?

What's the talk about?

Join us for a mid-year drink and a think. No speaker this month

Jenny Walker

When?
Thursday, June 14 2018 at 7:15PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Jenny Walker

What's the talk about?

We've invited computer scientist and president of Robogals Southampton, Jenny Walker, to discuss a range of questions from about how computers and humans relate to each other.

In this event, we'll all get the opportunity to explore, with creativity, history, and scientific insight, our personal answers to the question: "Should we let computers make decisions for us?"

Jenny will discuss the pros and cons of using machines and algorithms to make important decisions. In a world of increasingly big data, it seems that machine learning and efficient data crunching algorithms will be the way of the future, but how much can we trust computer algorithms with decisions in our day to day lives and on a larger scale?

General arrival - 19:00-19:20
Presentation - 19:30
Drinks break - 20:30
Q&A session 20:45 until around 21:30
(Approximate timings only)

A human-systems perspective

Jamal Kinsella

When?
Thursday, May 10 2018 at 7:15PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Jamal Kinsella

What's the talk about?

Who do you blame when things go wrong? A human-systems perspective

We live in a world where every decision carries with it many risks, and multiple chaotic systems interacting means that at any moment things we expect can fail to occur, and this can have severe consequences. These consequences can range from very personal, or organisational, or societal, or even global. But when things go wrong, whether it's a world catastrophe or an individual's tragedy, who do we blame? To answer this question, cognitive scientist Jamal Kinsella will talk about the psychology behind blame: why we do it, its consequences on our mental wellbeing, and our behaviour towards the people and world around us.

Drawing from his research in human factors engineering will explore a human-systems perspective, where human behaviours are seen as parts of a greater network of systems that influence the world, can inform a more humanistic, psychologically stable, and scientifically accurate assessment of incidents that happen, both personally and globally. Jamal hopes that those present (especially himself!) will all gain new insight into ways of managing our human biases and judgements and apply thoughtful approaches to incident analysis to our own lives

PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGE TO 19TH APRIL

Tony Curran

When?
Thursday, April 19 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Tony Curran

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGED TO 19TH APRIL -  NO SKEPTICS ON 12TH APRIL

In this interactive SitP session human impact on the environment will be explored along three themes: 

1. What are we doing to the planet that is not sustainable?
2. What impacts will we see? How will they affect earth, humans and other species?
3. What solutions can we come up with?

The audience will play a quiz throughout the session to learn about each aspect of sustainability.

About Tony:

"The shows and workshops I run stem from my PhD and post-doctoral research in environmental science. I am also a member of the Public Engagement with Research team at the University of Southampton."

Jim Al-Khalili 

When?
Thursday, March 8 2018 at 7:15PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Jim Al-Khalili 

What's the talk about?

We welcome back our Honorary President Professor Jim Al-Khalili with What's next?

Tickets @ £3 each will go on sale at our January and February talks, any remainders will then go on-line.

Predicting what the future will look like is not new. It is also a notoriously unreliable enterprise. Science fiction writers and Hollywood movies constantly paint imaginative pictures of future worlds, but what does today’s cutting-edge science tell us about the way we will actually be living in the decades to come? In this talk, based on his book What’s Next?, Jim Al-Khalili looks at the challenges facing humanity and what science can do to tackle the biggest of them. By considering the impact of such fields as nanotechnology, genetic engineering and artificial intelligence, he argues that the world not likely to be all shiny utopian marvels – nor is it going to be a dystopian hell. Along with the the known ‘knowns’ (technologies based on today’s scientific advances) and the known ‘unknowns’ (such as predictable advances in healthcare, transport or robotics) are there going to be any unknown ‘unknowns’ (utterly unexpected and fantastical breakthoughs that no one has yet dared imagine)? Probably, yes – whatever it holds, the future is bound to surprise us. But we need to prepare for it and examine the possible implications, ethical or otherwise, of these scientific advances.


General arrival - 19:00-19:20
Presentation - 19:30
Drinks break - 20:30
Q&A session 20:45 until around 21:30
(Approximate timings only)

Johno Pearce

When?
Thursday, February 8 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Johno Pearce

What's the talk about?

What does it mean to be human? What is personhood? These are questions that have interested philosophers for a long time. But it is also important for morality and politics. How does it affect abortion or animal rights? When did we start being human? And what does it mean for the future?
Jonathan MS Pearce looks at this from a philosophical angle and probably asks more questions than gives answers…

£3 on the door

General arrival - 19:00 - 19.20

Presentation - 19:30

Drinks break - 20.30

Q&A session 21.00 until around 21.30

(Approximate timings only)

Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, blogger, author and public speaker. He has a wide range of topics that interest him, most specifically ones that concern the existence of God. It’s something of an obsession…
As an author, Pearce writes about these subjects that fascinate him hugely. His books include “Free Will?”, “The Little Book of Unholy Questions”, “The Nativity: A Critical Examination”, “The Problem with ‘God’”; “13 Reasons to Doubt” and “Not Seeing God: Atheism in the 21st Century”. He has also reached out into the world of fiction with his apocalyptic and philosophical series “Survival of the Fittest”.
He talks on a number of topics and loves a good Q&A session to see what the audience comes up with…
Catch him on his Patheos blog at “A Tippling Philosopher” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/

 

Rebecca Fox

When?
Thursday, January 11 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Rebecca Fox

What's the talk about?

Most of us weren't born reasonable. We were born into a superstitious culture with only our ramshackle primate brains to try and figure out what’s going on. Reason, an appreciation for evidence and critical thinking skills are virtues that most of us had to fight for and that we have to work hard to keep up in difficult situations.


Rebecca is no exception, she grew up believing many strange things and has had to train herself to think critically. Instead of being embarrassed by our former beliefs Rebecca thinks it is important to have compassion for and interest in what we used to believe and why we believed it. Instead of feeling shame for having been wrong, we should be proud that we had the courage to overturn beliefs that proved to be wrong.


In this talk Rebecca will discuss who she was before, and after she ‘became reasonable’ and overturn the myth that there is such a thing as ‘perfectly reasonable’ we are all, after all, a work in progress.


Rebecca is passionate about skeptical education because she has found the tools of skepticism to be profoundly empowering. Learning to think clearly has made her safer, more confident and happier. Drawing on her experience as a skeptical educator and comic book artist she will present some ideas that will help you improve your critical thinking skills and the way you think about how you think.