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Skeptics of the Round Table

Skeptics of the Round Table is starting up again but, of course, on-line!

Please join us via Zoom on the second Wednesday of every month from 7pm to 9pm. This link will be the same every month. The first one is next week, Wednesday 10th of June.

Here are the Zoom meeting details:-

Topic: Skeptics of the Round Table
Time: This is a recurring meeting for every 2nd Wednesday at 7:00 Pm UK Time
You can click on this link, or paste it into a browser:-
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87184874021?pwd=N1dmbmdLV3RINzlJY0s1UFVnb29sdz09
Meeting ID: 871 8487 4021
Password: sitp

We hope you are also joining us at Twitch.tv/sitp for the weekly skeptics talks. This week we had Professor Karen Masters joining us for a talk on Cosmology, which was excellent. In the light of current recent tragic events, we also chose to make this meeting a fundraiser for the UK Black Lives Matter and were absolutely thrilled to raise over £2,500. What a kind and generous lot you are!!
Hoping as many of you as possible for the new, online Round Table format!!

Skeptics in the Pub Online

Skeptics in the Pub Online is working well, and is  now firmly  Online.

We are collaborating with other SitP organizations in the UK and some beyond (it’s now a long list!) and the livestreaming of talks is now well underway.

We’re very proud of what we’ve been able to achieve. It’s taken a few weeks of selecting the technology, collaboration across the groups, lots of working out what works well and what works less well, much discussion and much testing and re-testing to get to where we are now.

You can catch these online talks every Thursday at 7:00pm on Twitch. And some, depending on copyright and permissions,  will be available afterwards on YouTube.

We’ll keep the schedule up to date – they’re in the sidebar.

But here too, for reference is what is happening next.

4th June: Karen Masters – 30 Second Universe

11th June: Talking Nerdy, with Cara Santa Maria

18th June: Angela Saini – The Return of Race Science  (This last one, will not be available afterwards as a recording on Youtube – so if you are interested, don’t miss it live on the 18th!)

Stay well, keep safe and remain in contact.

Skeptics in the Pub Online – next planned events

Skeptics in the Pub Online is now, well, err, Online!

And other SitP organizations in the UK including Merseyside, Glasgow, Portsmouth and Bristol, are contributing. We’ll be hoping to livestream talks until the current situation changes. Every Thursday at 7:00pm is the plan.

The Twitch site here is where you can find it. You don’t need a Twitch account to watch – unless you want to contribute questions or participate in the on-line discussion.

The first event, on the 9th April, with Jim Al-Khalili, attracted over 600 viewers!

Although we plan to run these talks every week, please be aware that the programme is subject to changes ouside our direct control.

So, here are our next 2 planned events:

Kit Chapman – how to name your elements – Thursday 23rd April

Sian Williams – the age of antibiotic resistance – Thursday 30th April

Enjoy!

Distancing? Skeptics in the pub — On Line!

With COVID-19 distancing here and in place for the forseeable future, there won’t be any meetings at any venue for a while yet.

So, welcome to Skeptics In the Pub – Online!

Along with other SitP organizations in the UK we’ll be hoping to livestream talks until the current situation changes.

To watch, you can go to the Twitch site here.
It will be live every Thursday at 7:00 pm, the first being Thursday, 9th April.

You don’t need a Twitch account to simply watch it, unless you wish to contribute to questions at the Q&A.

The next online event will be Jim Al-Khalili: The World According to Physics on Thursday 9th April at – with help from our friends at other SITP groups including Portsmouth, Manchester, Merseyside and Glasgow.

**UPDATE ** cancelled due to resourcing issues ** – The following event, Thursday 16th April, will be Sophie Scott – Getting Brain Sex Wrong

Coronavirus – an update

Talks from March Suspended

It is with regret (and sadly, no surprise) that we have postponed the March Winchester Skeptics in the Pub talk, and suspended following talks pending the coronavirus situation.

We hope to reschedule talks for future dates. We are also investigating the possibility of delivering some of them live on line.

Updates will be available on this website, via Twitter, on our Facebook page and via our regular newsletter (typically sent out twice a month). If you’re not on our mailing list, and if you wish to, you can subscribe on the right hand side of this page (or at the bottom if you’re on a mobile phone).

** Updated 24th March

** Postponed ** 26th March – James Williams – Alfred Russel Wallace

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.

Brief Bio

James is a senior lecturer in science education at the University of Sussex. His PhD looked at the development and inclusion of the Nature of Science in the UK National Curriculum for science from 1988 – 2010. He is an elected member (FGS) of The Geological Society of London, a member of the Association for Science Education (ASE), where he chairs the Publications Specialist Group. He is also a member of the Society of Authors and a member of the Editorial Board – School Science Review. He has appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates

He has written extensively for The Conversation, for Tes (formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement) and for local newspapers. He has research expertise in Creationism and Evolution in Education, History and Philosophy of Science, Initial Teacher Education, Science Education, Teaching ‘the nature of science’ & ‘the scientific method’, as well as Teaching and Learning.

27th Feb – Prof Jim Smith – Chernobyl: Science, Myths and the Media

Nuclear power is seen by some as providing a secure source of energy with low greenhouse gas emissions. By others it is seen as dangerous, polluting and expensive. Based on his extensive experience of working on the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident, Jim will discuss his research on wildlife populations in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and the controversies surrounding the environmental impacts of ionising radiation.

Brief Bio

Jim Smith is Professor of Environmental Science at Portsmouth University and an expert in modelling radioactive pollution in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. He has co-ordinated four multi-national projects on the environmental consequences of the Chernobyl accident and regularly works in the Chernobyl 30-km Exclusion Zone. He is lead author of a major book on the accident: Chernobyl: Catastrophe and Consequences and authored a key opinion piece in Nature in the wake of the Fukushima accident. He is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Expert Group on the Chernobyl Cooling Pond, and has taken part in an IAEA Expert Mission to Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Jim is currently working on the potential re-use of radioactively “contaminated” lands in Ukraine.

You can hear him on More or Less on this edition of the World Service program.

30th Jan – Dr Garfield Benjamin – Mythinformation: AI, media and trust

Fake news seems to be everywhere. Whether it’s as clickbait or politicians accusing genuine news of being fake. This talk will explore the impact and spread of fake news and the manipulation by algorithms of what we see, hear and share.

How does misinformation affect society? Are humans or bots worse at spreading misinformation?

We will look at some of the myths surrounding the current state of AI and media. Deepfakes – increasingly convincing faked videos – offer one example of how AI is being used to challenge conventional media. When everything we see online could potentially be faked, how do we re-establish trust in our platforms, news and politics? How do these problems relate to broader ethics and regulation of technology? What is the role of traditional press in a digital age? Are deepfakes something we must just live with, or should we be able to hold platforms/politicians to account?

We will explore these questions and look at new ways of rebuilding trust, ensuring our data is not misused, and creating a more positive and responsible online society.

Garfield Benjamin is a postdoctoral researcher at Solent University, where they are working on the intersection of technology and society. This includes a focus on privacy, AI, utopia and posthumanism through interdisciplinary research on social media, computer games, art, literature, philosophy and culture. Garfield previously worked for the Birmingham Centre for Cyber Security and Privacy, after gaining a PhD from the University of Wolverhampton in Digital Technology Theory and Practice, now published as the monograph ‘The Cyborg Subject‘.

12th December – Michael Marshall: Circular Reasoning: The Rise of Flat Earth Belief

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, The Times and New Statesman.

28th November – Dr Keith Khan-Harris – Denialism. What’s the Alternative?

Dr Keith Khan-HarrisOne 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.

Bio

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 as @KeithKahnHarris.