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Science vs Religion in the Classroom

Alom Shaha

When?
Wednesday, September 5 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

9 - 13 George Street
Oxford
OX1 2AU

We use the upstairs function room.

To find it, go up the spiral staircase - then look for the door immediately opposite you. Go through, up another flight of stairs and you will find us. There is a bar up here and it will be open, so no need to spill your pint on the spiral stairs. If you want to eat in the function room then you have to order your food downstairs and then carry it up yourself.

Step-free access is available.

Who?
Alom Shaha

What's the talk about?

How can children brought up in religious families reconcile the different 'truths' they are told about the world? And to what extent should we discuss these issues in schools: what exactly should science teachers say when asked about the 'truth' of science by religious students? In this talk, Alom Shaha will describe his personal experiences growing up in a Bangladeshi Muslim community in London, what role his science education played in his journey towards atheism and how, as a Physics teacher, he responds to the apparent conflict between science and religion in the classroom.

Why Science Matters

Mark Henderson

When?
Wednesday, July 25 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

9 - 13 George Street
Oxford
OX1 2AU

We use the upstairs function room.

To find it, go up the spiral staircase - then look for the door immediately opposite you. Go through, up another flight of stairs and you will find us. There is a bar up here and it will be open, so no need to spill your pint on the spiral stairs. If you want to eat in the function room then you have to order your food downstairs and then carry it up yourself.

Step-free access is available.

Who?
Mark Henderson

What's the talk about?

There are 650 MPs in the House of Commons. 158 have a background in business, 90 have been political advisers or organisers, and 86 are lawyers. Only one of them is a scientist. Is it any wonder that politics so often lets science down, and fails to exploit its skeptical methods to design policies that are fit for purpose?

In the Geek Manifesto, published by Bantam Press in May 2012, Mark Henderson explores this disconnect between science and politics, and charts the emergence of a new force that is promising to mend it. From the Simon Singh libel case to the sacking of David Nutt and the Science is Vital campaign, people who care about science are starting to stand up to be counted. The geeks are coming -- and our country needs us.

Why dogs are different

John Bradshaw

When?
Wednesday, September 7 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

9 - 13 George Street
Oxford
OX1 2AU

We use the upstairs function room.

To find it, go up the spiral staircase - then look for the door immediately opposite you. Go through, up another flight of stairs and you will find us. There is a bar up here and it will be open, so no need to spill your pint on the spiral stairs. If you want to eat in the function room then you have to order your food downstairs and then carry it up yourself.

Step-free access is available.

Who?
John Bradshaw

What's the talk about?

The domestic dog's ancestor is the grey wolf - their DNA is almost indistinguishable - and for a century or more dogs have been portrayed as barely civilised wolves, engaged in a lifelong struggle for "dominance" over their owners.  Yet over the past fifteen years or so, science has revealed just how hollow this myth really is.  First, wolves do not, in the wild, struggle to assert "dominance" over their own kind.  Natural wolf packs are harmonious family units in which every member participates voluntarily; the despotic structure that was once thought to be the norm is an artifact, caused by confining unrelated wolves together in zoos.  Secondly, the one subspecies of wolf whose social life has been studied in detail is only very distantly related to modern domestic dogs.  Thirdly, dogs left to their own devices do not structure their social lives as wolves do - they adopt the basic canid breeding pattern of loose-knit packs and non-cooperative breeding.  Fourthly, most pet dogs exhibit stronger attachments to humans than to other dogs.  Thus domestication has had such a profound effect on the dog's behaviour that analogies with wolves, while academically interesting, can be an impediment to our understanding of our "best friend's" wants and needs.


John Bradshaw is a biologist who founded and directs the world-renowned Anthrozoology Institute, based at the University of Bristol. He has been studying the behaviour of domestic dogs and cats (and their owners) for over 25 years, and is the author of many scientific articles, research papers and reviews, which have not only shed new light on our animal companions' abilities and needs, but have also changed the way that pets are understood and cared for all over the world.  His most recent book, In Defence of Dogs/Dog Sense (Allen Lane/Basic Books, 2011), has been a best-seller on both sides of the Atlantic.

Trystan Swale

When?
Wednesday, August 10 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

9 - 13 George Street
Oxford
OX1 2AU

We use the upstairs function room.

To find it, go up the spiral staircase - then look for the door immediately opposite you. Go through, up another flight of stairs and you will find us. There is a bar up here and it will be open, so no need to spill your pint on the spiral stairs. If you want to eat in the function room then you have to order your food downstairs and then carry it up yourself.

Step-free access is available.

Who?
Trystan Swale

What's the talk about?

Confirmation of new time and date to follow.

 

Almost twenty years after two English pranksters admitted to beginning the modern crop circle phenomenon, popular belief in a paranormal explanation remains puzzlingly high. Drawing from the time he continues to spend studying the subject, Trystan offers an insight into the bad science, poor reasoning and denialism of those who still choose to believe.

Co-host and founder of the popular Righteous Indignation podcast, Trystan Swale spent six years actively investigating Fortean phenomena with various groups in the south west of England. Emerging with little more than a headache and plenty of regrets he has since entertained, amused and enraged a wide range of audiences with his forthright views on the paranormal.
 

How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole

Stephen Law

When?
Wednesday, July 13 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

9 - 13 George Street
Oxford
OX1 2AU

We use the upstairs function room.

To find it, go up the spiral staircase - then look for the door immediately opposite you. Go through, up another flight of stairs and you will find us. There is a bar up here and it will be open, so no need to spill your pint on the spiral stairs. If you want to eat in the function room then you have to order your food downstairs and then carry it up yourself.

Step-free access is available.

Who?
Stephen Law

What's the talk about?

Stephen Law is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London. He has written several well-known introductions to philosophy, including the prize-winning The Philosophy Gym, and edits the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal THINK: Philosophy For Everyone. Stephen is Provost (or Head) of the new Centre For Inquiry in the U.K. [see www.cfiuk.org] - and puts on regular events, including an upcoming event on Conspiracy Theories in September (with Chris French and David Aaronovitch). He was also commissioned by Oxford University Press to write their Very Short Introduction to Humanism, published this year.

His latest book is Believing Bullshit: How Not To Get Sucked Into An Intellectual Black Hole.

 Wacky belief systems abound. Members of the Heavens Gate suicide cult believed they were taking a ride to heaven on board a UFO. Muslim suicide bombers expect to be greeted after death by 72 virgins. And many fundamentalist Christians insist the entire universe is just 6,000 years old. Of course its not only cults and religions that promote bizarre beliefs significant numbers of people believe that aliens built the pyramids. How do such preposterous views succeed in entrenching themselves in the minds of sane, intelligent, educated people and turn them into the willing slaves of claptrap? Believing Bullshit is a witty and insightful critique that will help immunize readers against the wiles of cultists, religious and political zealots, conspiracy theorists, and various other nutcases by clearly setting out the tricks of the trade by which such insidious belief systems are created and sustained.Stephen Law is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London. He has written several well-known introductions to philosophy, including the prize-winning The Philosophy Gym, and edits the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal THINK: Philosophy For Everyone.
 
 

Quackery and managerialism endanger a noble enterprise

Professor David Colquhoun FRS

When?
Wednesday, March 2 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

9 - 13 George Street
Oxford
OX1 2AU

We use the upstairs function room.

To find it, go up the spiral staircase - then look for the door immediately opposite you. Go through, up another flight of stairs and you will find us. There is a bar up here and it will be open, so no need to spill your pint on the spiral stairs. If you want to eat in the function room then you have to order your food downstairs and then carry it up yourself.

Step-free access is available.

Who?
Professor David Colquhoun FRS

What's the talk about?

In Association with Oxfordshire Science Festival 2011

A huge industry has grown up that has the aim of selling to a gullible public, medicines that don't work. Their sales method are very much like those of the pharmaceutical industry at its worst, but at least some of the latter's products work.  Their products include homeopathy, reflexology and "detox".  Some universities offer "BSc (hons)" degrees in this sort of quackery, though many have stopped when what is actually taught on the degrees has been revealed with the help of the Freedom of Information act.  The fact that such degrees have been accredited and validated by the university shows the utter uselessness if these procedures as a guarantee of quality.  That sort of doublethink endangers science as a whole

Paula Kirby

When?
Wednesday, February 23 2011 at 8:00PM

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Where?

9 - 13 George Street
Oxford
OX1 2AU

We use the upstairs function room.

To find it, go up the spiral staircase - then look for the door immediately opposite you. Go through, up another flight of stairs and you will find us. There is a bar up here and it will be open, so no need to spill your pint on the spiral stairs. If you want to eat in the function room then you have to order your food downstairs and then carry it up yourself.

Step-free access is available.

Who?
Paula Kirby

What's the talk about?

Paula Kirby is a former Christian, writer, consultant, and project manager, specializing in freethinking and secular organizations. She has undertaken projects for Richard Dawkins, and is a regular blogger on the Washington Post’s “On Faith” feature, where she has gained a reputation for her strong views, insightful analysis and forthright style.

February 2011 will mark the second annual Think Week - a week of high profile free public events, running from the 21st to the 27th February. Think Week is organised jointly by local student and town societies. We are also grateful to our Sponsors for 2011: the British Humanist Association, the Richard Dawkins Foundation, and the Friends of Think Week.

Think Week exists to show a wider audience the kind of discussion and debate that these societies offer. We are proud to welcome Oxford residents, Oxford University and Oxford Brookes students to our events. We welcome different points of view and entirely avoid base questions like 'does God exist'.

Our speakers include prominent scientists, writers and politicians, and we have events on themes form poetry to Sharia law. For the second year running, the week will feature a public performance by the BHA choir.

Details at http://www.thinkweek.co.uk/

Matt Parker

When?
Tuesday, February 8 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

131a High Street
Oxford
OX1 4DH

Who?
Matt Parker

What's the talk about?

Did aliens help prehistoric Britons found the ancient Woolworth's civilization? Matt will look at how seemingly incredible results can actually be meaningless random patterns.

Matt Parker is a highly enthusiastic Mathematician whose life goal is to make people more excited about Maths. Using a range of presentations and hands-on activities, he communicates Maths in a very engaging and entertaining way. Matt talks about Mathematics for organisations including the Royal Institution and the BBC and he was the People's Choice Award in the 2009 national Famelab competition. His favourite number is currently 496.

Who can do what it takes?

Carl Heneghan

When?
Tuesday, December 14 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

56 Walton Street,
Jericho,
Oxford,
OX2 6AE
Tel: 01865 311 775

Who?
Carl Heneghan

What's the talk about?

Carl Heneghan Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, and trusttheevidence blogger will discuss why a number of high-profile drugs have been later withdrawn despite having once cleared regulatory hurdles.

In September , Avandia, the top-selling diabetes drug in the world in 2006, made by British company GSK was withdrawn from the market after regulators agreed with independent scientists that the medicine carried an unacceptably high risk of causing heart attacks. He will be discussing his recent work which raises serious concerns about the lack of evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of the blockbuster anti-flu drug Tamiflu.

Backed by the Cochrane Library, the BMJ this talk will hopefully coincide with a controversial publication: Ensuring safe and effective evidence for drugs -- who can do what it takes? Authored by Tom Jefferson, Peter Doshi, Matthew Thompson, and Carl J Heneghan.

This is what [Tom Clarke channel 4](
http://www.channel4.com/news/scientists-raise-new-questions-over-tamiflu)
news had to say: During the swine flu pandemic last year courses of Tamiflu were handed
out to anyone with symptoms calling the government's National Pandemic Flu Service. In the first two weeks of the pandemic, 500,000 courses of the drug were prescribed nationwide. The government spent more than £500 million stockpiling antiviral drugs like Tamiflu in preparation for a pandemic.

An international group of public health specialists found, during a routine review of flu drugs, that there was insufficient evidence in the public domain to account for Tamiflu's effectiveness as a pandemic flu drug. They particularly criticised a key paper used to justify Tamiflu's use during pandemics to international regulatory authorities.

 

Carl Heneghan is a Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Primary Health Care, University of Oxford, Director of the Centre of Evidence-Based Medicine and a General Practitioner. He has had an association with the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine since 1995. He currently is a Walport Clinical Lecturer having previously held a NCCRD Research Development Fellowship. 

Ghost hunters across the country commit a multitude of sins while looking for ghosts in haunted buildings, but it’s all harmless fun, right?

Hayley Stevens

When?
Tuesday, November 9 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

131a High Street
Oxford
OX1 4DH

Who?
Hayley Stevens

What's the talk about?

Join Hayley Stevens, the founder of the British Anomalistic Research Society, as she takes you on a terrifying tour through the British field of paranormal research and unleashes several skeletons from several cupboards. From fraudulent hauntings and paranormal politics to sham ghosts, outright fraud and the dreaded paranormal curse…

Bio: Hayley Stevens is a thorn-in-the-side for pseudoscientific ghost hunters everywhere. She has been researching and investigating paranormal and supernatural phenomena since 2005. In the past she has been described as ‘controversial’, ‘level headed’, ‘****’, ‘outspoken’, ‘a pain the arse’, and ‘a voice of reason. Hayley also blogs as the Rather Friendly Skeptic and is a co-host for the Righteous Indignation podcast.

The indefatigable campaigner against nonsense comes to Oxford

Simon Perry

When?
Tuesday, September 7 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

131a High Street
Oxford
OX1 4DH

Who?
Simon Perry

What's the talk about?

Simon Perry is an active campaigner against nonsense. Using the ASA, Trading Standards, other regulatory bodies and even gaining help from MPs, his campaigns have helped shut down dodgy allergy test services, prevented traditional chinese medicine salesmen from claiming to cure cancer, and exposed psychic scams.

His largest involvement in a campaign, coined the "Quacklash" by Jack of Kent, involved almost 600 separate letters being sent to trading standards to report claims to treat childhood diseases with a back rub. 60 of the letters gained 500 signatories. Further complaints were issued with the General Chiropractic Council.

Simon will explain the techniques he's used to fight woo, what works and what doesn't and tell stories about some of the crazy nonsense he's encountered along the way.

Simon runs Leicester Skeptics in the Pub, blogs at http://adventuresinnonsense.blogspot.com/ and writes a skeptical column in the Leicester Mercury. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Simon_Perry.

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Tuesday, August 10 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

131a High Street
Oxford
OX1 4DH

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

Stand-up comedian Iszi Lawrence be discussing "the experiences of an awkward atheist" - how superstition, belief and reason are intermingled in comedy and everyday life. 

Iszi lawrence is the resident compere of the Lil Fat Comedy Club Witney, has had sell out shows at the Camden, Brighton, Oxfringe and Edinburgh fringe. Her debut four star show 'Matter of Tact' was Time Out Recommended and London Lite Comedy Pick. 

She also featured in Perrier Award winning The Passion Of The Hodgson and has appeared on BBC Radio 1, BBC 7 as well as local radio inc. Resonance FM.

Iszi is also co-host of the Sundays Supplement podcast and comperes Oxford Skeptics in the Pub. She has been an invited speaker to Atheist Think Week and has spoken at several Skeptic societies around the UK.

http://www.iszi.com/

http://www.sundayssupplement.com/