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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/

The role of anomalies in science.

Michael Brooks

When?
Tuesday, July 20 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

131a High Street
Oxford
OX1 4DH

Who?
Michael Brooks

What's the talk about?

Why should we pay attention to unexpected scientific results? Michael Brooks, a New Scientist consultant and author of 13 Things That Don't Make Sense, explores the role of anomalies in science.

Prof. Chris French

When?
Tuesday, June 8 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

131a High Street
Oxford
OX1 4DH

Who?
Prof. Chris French

What's the talk about?

Ever since records began, in every known society, a substantial proportion of the population has reported unusual experiences many of which we would today label as "paranormal". Opinion polls show that the majority of the general public accepts that paranormal phenomena do occur. Such widespread experience of and belief in the paranormal can only mean one of two things. Either the paranormal is real, in which case this should be accepted by the wider scientific community which currently rejects such claims. Or else belief in and experience of ostensibly paranormal phenomena can be fully explained in terms of psychological factors. This presentation will provide an introduction to the sub-discipline of anomalistic psychology, which may be defined as the study of extraordinary phenomena of behaviour and experience, in an attempt to provide non-paranormal explanations in terms of known psychological and physical factors. This approach will be illustrated with examples relating to a range of ostensibly paranormal phenomena.

Chris French is a Professor of Psychology and Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths. He has published over 100 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics within psychology. His main current area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims. He is the editor of The Skeptic and writes a regular column for the Guardian's online science pages.

Cultural & Physiological aspects of the religious and superstitious experience

Deborah Hyde

When?
Tuesday, May 4 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

131a High Street
Oxford
OX1 4DH

Who?
Deborah Hyde

What's the talk about?

  • When do the dead chew in their graves?
  • Why do vampires strike in autumn?
  • Why do ghosts live in electric clocks?

We are delighted to be hosting Deborah Hyde who has been writing about the folklore of the macabre for eighteen years. Her book, ‘Unnatural Predators’ will be published this year. She blogs on belief in the supernatural as ‘Jourdemayne’, but often suffers from mission creep. Her daytime, grown-up job is a makeup effects coordinator in the film industry – more vampires and zombies, then.

 

Allen Green (Jack of Kent)

When?
Tuesday, April 13 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

131a High Street
Oxford
OX1 4DH

Who?
Allen Green (Jack of Kent)

What's the talk about?

Allen Green is the writer of the Jack of Kent and Bad Law blogs.  He is also convenor of Westminster Skeptics.  He read Modern History at Oxford University in the early 1990s.

In Association with Oxford Think Week

Dr Evan Harris MP

When?
Sunday, February 28 2010 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?
Dr Evan Harris MP

What's the talk about?

Evan will be covering MMR and HPV vaccination, Bishops in the Lords, homeopathy, blasphemy, religious discrimination and anything else not suitable for discussion in polite company.

This event is part of the new Oxford 'Think Week'.

Think Week, a series of high profile (free!) events organised jointly by the Oxford Atheist Society, Oxford Secular Society, Oxford Humanists, Oxford Sea of Faith and Oxford Skeptics in the Pub. The aim of the week will be to expose the type of discussion and debate that the various non-theistic societies in Oxford offer to a wider audience and hence raise the profile of the issues involved. We won't be covering base questions like "Does God exist?" but instead be providing events in a similar vein to those our various societies provide during the rest of the year. The events will be intended to make people think about things they probably haven't thought about before. 

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