Next Meeting

For May 25th we have Becky Alexis-Martin on the American Survivalist Movement and the amazing woo therein. #WinSitP

Next Social Event

See you on the 10th of May at The Bishop on the Bridge in Winchester for some good food and great conversation. #WinSotRT

SitP Photos

Skeptics in the ???

Skeptics in the what ?
Well, Skeptics in the anywhere they damn well please really.
Had quite a bit of feedback about other skeptics meetings that would be more accessible to people who can’t get to the pub because of the family, work, conflicting commitments etc… or who, for one reason or another, don’t like pubs.
There appears to be a dearth of skeptics’ social events for people who don’t attend SitP.
As Winter is almost upon us and outdoor social events are very soon to be resticted to those involving hats, coats and possibly snow shoes I thought it might be the right time to start thinking about different events.

Thus far we’ve had suggestions including :

  • Skeptics in the Park (unashamedly plagiarised this one)
  • Skeptics in the Coffee Shop
  • Skeptics on the Train (commuting is boring)
  • Skeptics on the Bus (ditto)
  • Skeptics in Conference (Skype)
  • Skeptics Book Club
  • Now obviously it would be rather difficult and practically impossible to have a speaker at some of these suggested gatherings but I’m not sure that’s really necessary anyway. A social gathering of like-minded people is really what it’s all about.
    For example three or four people with the common interest of skepticism who happen to be on the same train could have a British Rail sandwich and chat [O’Malley] about interesting things [/O’Malley].

    What do you think ?
    Add your comments below.

    26 comments to Skeptics in the ???

    • Gammidgy

      How about a good, old-fashioned town hall debate?

      A few months ago I enjoyed just such an event (vicar vs humanist, God vs evolution) organised by a local church. Good entertainment plus some decent wine and cheese for a fiver – I wish they happened more often.

    • Cherry Black

      With winter approaching, may I suggest SitPwaF:
      Skeptics in the Pub with a Fireplace.

    • A talk at the town hall or something similar, museum, church, arts centre etc… sounds like a good one to me too.

    • Clio

      This assumes that there are people who are interested, but don’t come because it’s in a pub…is that true?
      We could find out by widely publicising a meeting elsewhere and see if it pulls in a wider curious crowd – and then find out if they’d prefer somewhere else…Discovery centre maybe?

    • Pamela

      Clio I come to the pub, but do it without the rest of my family because my kids are too young and my husband has to stay back and look after them. Personally I would welcome something I could bring my family to and would probably be more comfortable inviting other mums to something during in the day in a kid friendly place, I expect there may well be other people who feel the same. I agree that trying it out is a good idea.

    • Pamela

      Perhaps a casual meeting that moves around would be good? We could keep the Winchester SitP as it is central, and therefore fair for everyone but have something else, maybe a coffee or park thing that takes place in different places in Hampshire. Personally I understand the fairness of Winchester but it isnt all that much closer to me than the SitP in Brighton just because of where I happen to live, and Im sure Im not the only one.

      We could even have get togethers in people’s homes. As a few people know I was thinking about starting a regular games thing at my place but dropped the idea as people were too far away, and it just seemed a lot of hassle but we could do that in different places. Sharing the hosting thing and having Pizza and games nights. I know that also wouldnt be for everyone but it would be fun anyway.

      Oh, and I suggested a science based quiz night a while back.

      Is it just me with the mentality of a 12 year old or does anyone else out there love playing games?

    • Gammidgy

      In Winchester you have one of the best science discovery centres for miles, and the people at INTECH seem keen to host all sorts of pro-science events. Holding an event there might be a good way to introduce a few science fans, particularly young ones, to skepticism.

    • Clio

      I imagine that kids from 12 up might be interested in the kind of talks we have – loving the idea of INTECH.
      They would definitely be complementary to our usual SitP though, as many of us couldn’t make day-time meetings because of work commitments. For me SitP is ‘a night out’, which gives it an extra pull.
      Interestingly though, my science-geeky son wasn’t interested in coming to the pub with me – so how do we also make it more attractive to 20-somethings?

    • Love the IDEA of INTECH and in theory it would be a good idea; however I don’t support INTECH in any way since most of the time half of their exhibits are broken which wasnt an issue when it was free and based on the Kings School site, but it isnt cheap entry and it is consistently dissapointing.
      Sorry to moan (again)

    • Michael

      INTECH is a good idea, although it is probably as far for me to travel to as SitP is (and that’s the major reason I haven’t made more than two SitPs). One advantage – it has a good-sized carpark and parking is free 🙂

      If we could wangle one of their planetarium shows, too, maybe as a preliminary to the talk, that would be an extra draw (for me, at least).

    • Michael

      Skeptics with Coffee also sounds good. I am pretty friendly with the staff at the Nero’s in Basingstoke; there’s an area at the back that they could cordon off if we promised to buy enough coffee…

      (Yes, I know Basingstoke is probably a lot further for some people than Winchester is. For me it’s on the doorstep, though :P)

    • William

      Journey of 1000 miles starts with the first step (Confucius, allegedly). So let 100 flowers blossom (Mao Zedong) and somebody, anybody, post an event that suits them and see who else turns up.

    • Maddie

      I have never made it to a SitP event despite putting the last few in my diary and don’t really have an excuse (I could protest work but it’s more likely to be laziness as I’d probably find a way to come if it was more convenient). I think, as idealistic as it it might be, that there just needs to be more meetings in more towns (as idealistic as it sounds) and then a more family-friendly big event in Hampshire every now and then. I’d gladly put in the effort to set up a Basingstoke group – I know a venue that would give us free reign and could generate a healthy crowd and even the occasional speaker through the day job (academic publishers), any takers?

    • OdihamJP

      I agree with previous posters who said the meetings should move around Hampshire. We’re a big county, and Winchester is too far for me to come for the evening. Basingstoke please!

    • Pamela

      WOW. I am amazed that the sentiment of spreading it around seems to be so popular. I dont feel like such a moaner now!

    • Pamela

      @Caroline, I do agree that, that is a big problem with Intech. To be fair though, we always go when they have an offer on like kids go free and then it doesnt work out too bad and the kids are young enough (4 and 6) that the stuff there that does work is enough to keep them happy.

    • Pamela

      Is there anyone near enough to Waterlooville or Portsmouth to make it worthwhile my trying to set up something locally to here?

      I have a local pub I could try, we have lots of coffee shops. In the city there are plenty of museums which may be possible and there is a discovery centre in Gosport which, although it is still half an hour away from me might be useful. And there is the university of course, I did hear one of the Pompey Unis researchers on an episode of Monstertalk a while back.

      It would be nice to know some local people anyway.
      Any takers?

    • Is there anyone near enough to Waterlooville or Portsmouth…

      I work in Waterlooville and live in Portsmouth. (And when I come to Winchester SitP I usually pick up my dad from Denmead.)

      There is already a move to start a SitP in Portsmouth. Giles Wendes has set up a Facebook group: (but not being on Facebook myself I can’t access it).

    • Pamela

      Cool! thanks for the heads up, I didnt know that 🙂


    • Michael

      Maddie: I am also in Basingstoke. Want to get together (maybe Dave, too) and talk about organising something? Or just be skeptical about whether we could ever organise something? 😛

    • Chris

      William and I have been to several talks at Intech over the past year or so. Some are designed to appeal to children, some are definitely geared to adults – and there’s access to the exhibits and the possibility for a chat in the coffee shop beforehand. I’m happy to advertise them on the Hampshire Skeptics website when more talks are advertised (see educational events on their website).

      I’m also happy to arrange the occasional meal over which we could either just chat – or explore a specific topic, especially between Christmas and Easter when restaurants are normally quiet. (My constitution struggles with meals after bedtime!)

      I love the informality of Skeptics, but expansion may necessitate increased formally, insurance etc. Personally I’d only advertise events that are covered by someone else’s insurance eg meals or public lectures.

      How do you suggest we advertise events?

    • Pamela

      Chris I would think Libraries, Colleges, Universities, and Podcasts would be a good places to advertise.

    • Pamela

      Oh, and the Pod Delusion website has a calendar that you can apply to be able to add info to.

    • Pamela

      Skeptics with a Sunday Roast? It would obviously just be a social, no-one can really talk round a mouthful of roasties but lots of places do a decent priced Sunday Roast.

    • Michael

      Dave and I were idly chatting in the kitchen at work and suggested “Skeptics Round the Bend” as a rather tongue-in-cheek name for a group get-together. Perhaps it could be used for the “in people’s homes” suggestion: “I’m just off to the Skeptics meeting round the bend”? 🙂

    • Pamela

      I “Like” 😉