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Graham Bryant

When?
Thursday, March 19 2020 at 7:15PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Graham Bryant

What's the talk about?

Many people witnessed the well documented developments and technological build up that put man on the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Over the intervening years there have been a growing scepticism whether mankind actually did land on the Moon. This is known as the Moon Landing Conspiracy. Much is written about this. Graham Bryant will take a cold look at the claims of the conspiracists and ascertain whether there is any scientific validity in their claims that we did not land on the Moon.

 

Graham has been involved in astronomy as an amateur for 50 years. He is chairman of the Hampshire Astronomical Group. Graham is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a member of the BAA and a founder member of the BAA’s Commission for Dark Skies. A Council members of the Federation of Astronomical Societies and recently awarded an Honory Fellowship by the University of Portsmouth.

 

£3 on the door

Doors 7pm

Talk 7.30pm

Image: Pixabay

A Confused Person’s Guide to Therapy, Counselling and Self-Help.

Ariane Sherine

When?
Thursday, January 9 2020 at 7:15PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Ariane Sherine

What's the talk about?

Comedy writer and journalist Ariane Sherine created and organised the Atheist Bus Campaign, persuading Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Association to support her – and buses with variations on the slogan “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” ran in 13 countries across the globe.

 

As a result, Ariane received an Inbox full of hate mail from Christians, which eventually led to a major nervous breakdown and suicidal ideation. She ended her journalistic career, and didn’t write again for over three years. 

 

In this talk, she will tell the full story of how therapy and medication saved her life, prompting her to write her new book, Talk Yourself Better: A Confused Person’s Guide to Therapy, Counselling and Self-Help.

 

Ariane will also be signing copies of Talk Yourself Better after the talk.

 

 

What people have said about Talk Yourself Better:

 

“Brilliant – makes the baffling comprehensible.” JEREMY VINE

 

"What an excellent, long-overdue idea! A super-accessible guide, through the bewildering marketplace of modern therapy, to ease our noble search for help." DERREN BROWN

 

“How do we cope with this brutal world? In this witty, revealing book Ariane Sherine runs through the ways. An excellent, funny and thought-provoking read for all who seek answers.” ARTHUR SMITH

 

“What makes Ariane Sherine’s Talk Yourself Better stand out from the crowd is its accessibility and humour; to be able to discuss difficult things with a lightness of touch and a comedy that does not trivialise is a rare skill indeed. This, combined with the honest – and often deeply moving – stories of clients and practitioners alike, makes this the ideal introduction to for anyone considering therapy for the first time.” BRIAN BILSTON

 

ARIANE SHERINE

 

Ariane Sherine is the comedy writer and journalist who created the Atheist Bus Campaign, as well as the bestselling celebrity book The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas. She has written for BBC1’s My Family, Channel 4’s Countdown and BBC2’s Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, as well as for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Observer, The Daily Mash, New Statesman and New Humanist. She lives in London with her eight-year-old daughter Lily.

£3 on the door

Not our usual Thursday

Dr Richard Rawlings

When?
Monday, December 16 2019 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Dr Richard Rawlings

What's the talk about?

Patients in the UK spend more than £1.68 billion per year on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM, or ‘camistry’). The NHS funds nearly ten per cent of this. Americans spend more than $34 billion a year on camistry; Canadians - $6.4 billion on ‘natural health products’; the French - €279 million on homeopathic remedies alone.

Is this wise? Are resources being wasted? Could available funds be better spent on improving conventional care or providing counselling? Are patients being misled? Are funders being defrauded?

In this talk, Richard Rawlins combines his insights as a magician with experience a doctor to expose how alternative medicine works – and how patients can avoid being quacked and defrauded. He reflects on the views of HRH Prince Charles that ‘There is much more that can be done to foster and enhance those age-old qualities of kindness and compassion’ - but takes issue with the development of ‘integrated (or integrative) healthcare’ which undermines attempts to foster evidence-based medicine. Richard endorses Dr David Gorski’s view that ‘mixing apple pie with cow pie does not make cow better, it makes apple pie worse.’

£3 on the door

Doors 7pm

Talk 7:30pm

Image: Pixabay

Keith Kahn-Harris

When?
Thursday, November 14 2019 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Keith Kahn-Harris

What's the talk about?

 Denialism What’s the Alternative? Who? Keith Kahn-Harris

What's the talk about?

One of the most challenging and frustrating questions for scientists is how to combat denialism: Holocaust denial, global warming denial, anti-vaxxers, 911 conspiracism, creationism and more. Debunking denialist claims is essential - yet also rarely effective. We are now living in a world where even the most apparently basic truths are routinely contested. In this talk, Keith Kahn-Harris, author of Denial: The Unspeakable Truth, argues that to really understand denialism, we have to face up to what he calls 'the deniers alternative'. Denialism emerges when this alternative is so 'unspeakable' that denialism becomes a preferable option. In thinking about how to combat denialism, we also have to consider whether a world without it might not be a truth-filled utopia, but something even worse. --------------------

Dr Keith Kahn-Harris is a sociologist and writer. Denial: The Unspeakable Truth is his fifth book. His badly-designed website can be found at kahn-harris.org and he tweets irregularly at @KeithKahnHarris

image Pixabay License Free for commercial use No attribution required

£3 on the door

Doors 7pm

Talk 7.30pm

New Show

Ash Pryce

When?
Wednesday, October 2 2019 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Ash Pryce

What's the talk about?

 'The Psychic Conman Show' is a spiritual sequel to 'How to be a Psychic Conman'. It is a full, two act structured show developed especially for skeptic, humanist and critical thinking groups and audiences. In the first half of the show, Ash will talk about a history of the supernatural, he’ll look at mediumship and the role it played in helping create his own area of performance – mentalism. He’ll also look at some of the more bizarre psychic claims out there such as using smell and taste to interact psychicly!

New material looking at the areas of the supernatural world that neither 'How to be a Psychic Conman' or 'How to Talk to the Dead' had time to fit in! In the second half Ash will put these into practical use with his five star Edinburgh Fringe show 'Ash Pryce Mind Reader: Live' which takes the skills and claims of the first half, and applies them in a fun, mind-blowing demonstration of psychic entertainment.

Please note not our usual Thursday

£3 on the door

Doors 7pm

Cerys Bradley

When?
Thursday, September 12 2019 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Cerys Bradley

What's the talk about?

For decades, science has been fascinated by the LGBTQ community. What makes gay people gay? How does sexuality affect one's behaviour, appearance, or ability to raise children? These are the questions that science has asked and the answers have had an impact not only within the scientific world, but also on public policy and the rights of LGBTQ citizens. Given the highly politicised nature of the topic, it is perhaps not surprising to discover biases and prejudices hidden in the construction, conduction, and conclusions of these studies but are they still valuable contributions to science? 

 

Join scientist Cerys Bradley, a part time comedian and full time gay, as they look at the science conducted in answer of these questions. 

 

£3 on the door 

Doors 7pm 

Talk 7:30pm

Pixie Turner

When?
Thursday, July 11 2019 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Pixie Turner

What's the talk about?

Despite a wealth of information at our fingertips there are still so many things we get wrong about our health, and with a new diet book out every other day it’s no wonder people are confused. What should we be eating? When? How often? Just how important is food when it comes to our overall health?

Humans have always been a bit weird around food. We’re told eating certain foods are the key to living longer, some foods are ‘sinful’ or ‘bad’, that ‘you are what you eat’, and that we must seek to obtain health at all costs. All this means we follow crazy diets that make things worse rather than better, and have a population where most of us dislike our bodies.
Pixie Turner will unpack why diet and nutrition misinformation is so problematic, on social media, in mass media, and on a public health level, and why we could all benefit from taking a moment to assess our personal relationship with food. Expect some mythbusting, diet rants, and lots of fully-referenced evidence-based science.

Doors: 7pm
Talk 7:30pm
£3 on the door

David Warden

When?
Thursday, June 13 2019 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
David Warden

What's the talk about?

David Warden from Bournemouth Humanists will give a talk on 'The Science and Psychology of Happiness'

 

Happiness is a much-misunderstood concept. Many people think that it's self-indulgent or frivolous to pursue happiness and that we should pursue other goals instead, like meaning and purpose. David will argue that a meaningful life is, to a large extent, a happy life and therefore these goals should be seen as complementary rather than contradictory. Happiness is not only good for you. It's also good for everyone around you. David has studied the science and psychology of happiness for many years and he will suggest some techniques and practices you can adopt to enhance your experience of happiness and subjective wellbeing. Why would you not want to be happier?

 

£3 on the door

Doors 7pm 

Sean Slater

When?
Thursday, May 9 2019 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

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.

£3 on the door

Doors 7pm

Talk 7:30pm

Special guests on UK tour

Susan Gerbic & Mark Edward

When?
Wednesday, April 10 2019 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Susan Gerbic & Mark Edward

What's the talk about?

 Special guests on UK tour Susan Gerbic & Mark Edward.

Please note change to Wednesday session this month.

 

Talk details TBC

 

'Mark Edward is a professional mentalist specializing in magic of the mind. His amazing mind reading techniques make a statement about our limited powers of observation and our refusal to believe manipulation can easily happen to the best of us. He has performed as a psychic entertainer at the Hollywood hot spot Magic Castle as well as world-class venues, nightclubs and corporate events. His television appearances include A&E's Houdini the Great Escape, NBC's The other Side, two episodes of TLC's Exploring the Unknown, Emmy nominated, Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Talking to the Dead, and most recently he was the guest Medium on the season finale of Last Comic Standing. '

 

'Susan Gerbic is an American skeptical activist...co-founder of Monterey County Skeptics, founder of Skeptic Action...and leader of the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (GSoW) project, a recurring contributor to the Skepticality podcast, a regular contributor to Skeptical Inquirer, and a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

Gerbic has focused much of her skeptical activism on people claiming to be "clairvoyant mediums", such as Sylvia Brown and Tyler Henry, whom she calls "Grief Vampires"'

£3 on the door

Doors:7pm

Talks: 7.30pm

Part of British Science Week 2019

James Williams

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

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
James Williams

What's the talk about?

Part of British Science Week 2019

James Williams, Lecturer in Education, University of Sussex will talk about Alfred Wallace who famously sent Charles Darwin an outline of the theory of evolution by natural selection before Darwin had completed his major treatise on the subject. This prompted the publication of ‘Origin of Species’. Did Darwin really steal the idea from Wallace? Was Wallace even aware of Darwin’s work on species and how does history see the two men? In this talk, James will examine the facts surrounding Wallace’s work on evolution and some of the more interesting episodes in Wallace’s life that saw him oppose Darwin in an infamous case of spiritualist fraud that ended in the Old Bailey.

'Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was a man of many talents - an explorer, collector, naturalist, geographer, anthropologist and political commentator. Most famously, he had the revolutionary idea of evolution by natural selection entirely independently of Charles Darwin.' via NHM

£3 on the door

Doors & arrival - 7 - 7:15pm

Talk 7:30pm

 

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