Skeptics in the Pub, Oxford

Thinking and drinking. That is the unlikely goal of our meeting. Each month we invite a speaker to give a talk and invite critical debate. We encourage sceptical thought and we enjoy challenging discussions. We also welcome humour and we intend to have a good time.

The meetings are open to all, no matter what your prior beliefs. We ask that you come along with a willingness to be challenged in your beliefs and we provide an opportuity for you to challenge others - and to enjoy a drink or two.

Unless stated otherwise, our talks take place on the first Wednesday of every month at St Aldates Tavern and kick off at 7.30PM - please arrive in plenty of time if you want a seat, as we tend to get busy, and let us know in advance if you have difficulty standing so that we can reserve a place for you.

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Our next topic is...

Professor Alison Woollard

When?
Wednesday, March 1 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Professor Alison Woollard

What's the talk about?

The search for the elixir of youth has been a fantasy through the ages, but is it possible to live much longer, or desirable? Most babies born in 1900 did not live past 50, but life expectancy at birth now exceeds 83 years in parts of the world. Will this almost-doubling of human lifespan happen again in the next 100 years? Why do organisms age? and why do different creatures have such different life expectancies, from a few hours to hundreds of years? Come with me on the quest for eternal youth, as I introduce you to my favourite creature, the tiny nematode C. elegans, and reveal how this humble worm is letting us into the secrets of a long and healthy life.

Alison leads a research team working on the developmental genetics of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Her current work concerns molecular mechanisms of cell fate determination during C. elegans development, trying to unpick the complex mechanisms by which cells become different from one another as an organism develops from egg to adult. She also has a strong interest in the biology of ageing and in neurodegenerative disease.

Alison is also strongly committed to Public Engagement, believing that science should be more strongly embedded in society as an important cultural ambition, as well as a crucial driver of economic competitiveness and improved healthcare. She presented the 2013 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures series “Life Fantastic”, broadcast on BBC4 during the Christmas period, and since then has taken part in a diverse range of Public Engagement activities, from the Green Man Festival in the mountains of Wales to regular appearances on the science comedy circuit.

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https://www.facebook.com/events/381244702236832/

Michael Story

When?
Wednesday, April 5 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Michael Story

What's the talk about?

Since 2011, a team of 200 civilians has been predicting the future more accurately than US intelligence agencies. Formed five years ago under the auspices of IARPA (the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, informally known as 'DARPA for spies'), the Good Judgement Project's 'Superforecaster' teams have been forecasting the specifics of North Korean missile programmes, the movement of Russian troops and the longevity of Robert Mugabe, achieving a 50% lower error rate than the previous state of the art. This talk will cover who makes these forecasts, how they are doing it, and some techniques shown to make nearly anyone more accurate when predicting the future.

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https://www.facebook.com/events/240359146405270/

Lewis Dean

When?
Wednesday, May 3 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Lewis Dean

What's the talk about?

A charity in America is campaigning to get chimpanzees recognised as ‘persons’, giving them basic human rights. But with rights come responsibilities. Could a chimp ever be guilty of a human crime? Join primatologist Lewis Dean to examine what we know about the mental abilities of our closest evolutionary cousins.

Lewis Dean is a science communicator and primatologist. His research has focussed on the evolution of culture in humans and other animals. He has worked with a variety of primates, including chimps, capuchins, lemurs and human children.

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https://www.facebook.com/events/841633872641617/

Kevin Precious

When?
Wednesday, November 1 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Kevin Precious

What's the talk about?

In between the various comedic activites, Kevin Precious attends his local humanist group - he's an agnostic, folks - where he loves a good old debate about the big questions in life.

Expect jokes and stories then, about his time as an RE teacher, being a humanist, the God-Shaped Hole, and the philosophy of religion... and you can ask him a few questions of your own afterwards, if you wish.

Kevin Precious is a former RE teacher turned stand-up comedian and promoter. Besides having played many of the top clubs in the land, he also promotes shows in arts centres and theatres under the Barnstormers Comedy banner. He has previously toured the country with a stand-up show entitled 'Not Appropriate', dedicated to the business of teaching.

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https://www.facebook.com/events/635587716640721/