Posted by Stephen Law on November 21, 2016
Centre for Inquiry UK, The British Humanist Association and Conway Hall Ethical Society presents:
A sea of lies? The media, politicians, and ‘post-truth’ politics
Thursday 8th December @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Sea of Lies
£5 – £10
Whether the issue is immigration, Brexit, welfare, press-regulation, the NHS, or Trump vs. Clinton, concern is being expressed about the way in which both politicians and the media shape the political agenda by means of spin, deceit, and, in some cases, bare-faced lies. To what extent have we lost sight of the truth? How can we ensure the facts are centre-stage when it comes to policy- and democratic decision-making? The evening is hosted by CFI’s Stephen Law.
Please note that doors open at 18:30 for a 19:00 start. Ticket sales will end at 12:00 on 8 December.
Martin Robbins: Post-Truth Political Discourse (looking at examples across the political spectrum)
Martin Robbins is a Berkshire-based researcher and science writer. Martin writes about science, pseudoscience and evidence-based politics.
Marcus Chown: Democracy Cannot Function In a Sea of Lies
How can we stop our politicians and media lying on matters of fact/evidence? And why is this not at the top of the political agenda?
Marcus Chown is formerly a radio astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Marcus is an award-winning writer and broadcaster who makes regular appearances on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch. Books include What A Wonderful World, Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You, We Need to Talk About Kelvin, and Solar System for iPad.
Natalie Fenton: Unequal, Undemocratic, Unfair: Media, Power and Politics in the Digital Age
Natalie Fenton is Professor in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her most recent books include Digital, Political, Radical (2016). Natalie is on the Board of Directors of the campaign group Hacked Off and a founding member of the Media Reform Coalition.
Registration: Standard £ 10.00, £ 5.00 Members and Students (members of British Humanist Association, members of Conway Hall Ethical Society)
Posted by Sid Rodrigues on April 26, 2016
Thursday 2 June at 18:30–21:30
Come and experience a loved-up evening of geeky romance with bible historian Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou, comedian Robin Ince, and one other special ‘mystery’ guest as The Centre For Inquiry UK presents ‘Love Factually’.
A fun evening of learning all about love, hosted by CFI UK’s Stephen Law. Find out about God’s secret sex life, exactly what turtles get up to when the lights are out, and a whole lot more. There will be a licensed bar to provide lush libations, and opportunities to buy books by Law, Stavrakopoulou, and Ince, who will be more than happy to sign them for you.
Robin Ince is a well-known comedian and skeptic. He co-presents ‘The Infinite Monkey Cage’ on BBC Radio 4, and is author of ‘Robin Ince’s Bad Book Club’ and ‘Dead Funny’. Francesca Stavrakopoulou is Professor of the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion at Exeter’s Department of Theology and Religion. She presented the BBC TV series ‘The Bible’s Buried Secrets’ and contributed to Channel 4’s ‘The Bible: A History’. Stephen Law is philosopher, author of ‘Believing Bullshit’ and ‘The Philosophy Gym’, and head of CFI UK.
Doors open at 18:30 for a 19:00 start. Tickets cost £10 for the general public, and £5 for members of the BHA or Conway Hall Ethical Society and be purchased here: https://humanism.org.uk/lovefactually/
Please note that tickets must be booked online in advance of the event, and that sales end at 18:00 on 1 June, unless tickets have sold out before then.
Posted by Stephen Law on February 22, 2016
Centre for Inquiry UK, the British Humanist Association and Conway Hall Ethical Society present The Magic of Maths: find out about the uniquely beautiful patterns hidden in Pascal’s triangle; about our (often poor) intuitive understanding of probability and the risk of events governing our lives; and about the greatest unsolved puzzles in maths!
Join us at Conway Hall – the world’s oldest Ethical Society – for a fascinating day of magical maths, uncovering some of the incredible ways numbers and patterns are woven through nature and our everyday lives.
11:00–12:00 | Maths’ greatest unsolved puzzles, with Katie Steckles
While mathematicians are undoubtedly brilliant, and their work is used in all kinds of amazing scientific and technological discoveries, there are still questions they can’t answer. Every mathematical question is a puzzle to be solved, and while there’ll be plenty of puzzles for you to chew on, we’ll also discuss some of the questions that still leave mathematicians stumped – from simple-sounding number and shape problems to some truly mind-bending fundamental questions.
12:15–13:15 | Pascal’s Patterns, with Professor Emma McCoy
Pascal’s triangle is named after the 17th century French mathematician Blaise Pascal. Professor McCoy will look at some of the beautiful patterns hidden in Pascal’s triangle and investigate why they appear. She will look at how Pascal’s triangle is related to diverse problems in mathematics, including examples from algebra, geometry and probability.
14:15–15:15 | The improbability principle returns: luck, lotteries, and Laura, with Professor David Hand
This talk takes a second look at the improbability principle, illustrating further popular misconceptions and failures of intuition regarding coincidences and unlikely events. It teases apart the contradiction between Borel’s law, which tells us that sufficiently improbable events are impossible, and the improbability principle, which tells us that highly improbable events happen all the time.
Katie Steckles is a mathematician based in Manchester, who gives talks and workshops on different areas of maths. She finished her PhD in 2011, and since then has talked about maths in schools, at science festivals, on BBC radio, at music festivals, as part of theatre shows and on the internet. She enjoys doing puzzles, solving the Rubik’s cube and baking things shaped like maths.
Emma McCoy is the Deputy Head of Department at Imperial College London. She is a member of the Statistics section with research interests in time series analysis and causal inference. She has worked at Imperial for over 20 years and has held various Departmental administrative roles, including that of Admissions Tutor. Professor McCoy is heavily involved in Outreach activities and regularly speaks at Higher Education careers fairs and school events.
David Hand is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Imperial College, London and Chief Scientific Advisor to Winton Capital Management. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, has served (twice) as President of the Royal Statistical Society, serves on the Board of the UK Statistics Authority, and chairs the Board of the UK’s Administrative Data Research Network. His recent book The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day was published in 2014. He was made OBE for services to research and innovation in 2013.
Registration is from 10:30, for an 11:00 start.
April 2nd, 2016 10:30 AM through 3:30 PM
General £ 10.00
Members and Students (members of British Humanist Association, members of Conway Hall Ethical Society) £ 5.00 BOOK HERE
Posted by Stephen Law on November 9, 2015
Science in the Media: Dodgy Science Reporting, Ghostbusting, and Doctor Who
Hear about the science of Doctor Who from a scientist who is also a consultant to Doctor Who’s scriptwriters, find out about the credibility (scientifically and otherwise) of ghosthunting TV programme from a former ghosthunter now turned ghostbuster, and discover just how much bullshit science reporting there really is in our national press.
12th December 2015
25 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4RL
Nearest tube: Holborn
11.00-12.00 Meet The Real Ghostbusters
Welcome to the weird world of modern ghost hunting. A world inspired by reality paranormal TV shows where only the brave dare tread… but what is it that goes bump in the night? And why are the ghost hunters actually scarier that the ghosts they claim to hunt down? Join us on this whirlwind tour of the ghost hunting subculture, the nonsense that comes with it, and how it all came to be in the first place.
Hayley Stevens is a skeptic paranormal researcher based in Wiltshire, England. Believer-turned-skeptic, with over a decade of ghost research under her belt, she is often sought for an expert opinion on weird stuff – from ghosts to monsters and fairies. Hayley has written for Skeptical inqurer, The Skeptic, Paranormal Magazine and more, and has spoken internationally about the paranormal. She blogs at hayleyisaghost.co.uk
12.15-1.15 Follow the formula: the fake science behind real headlines
All too often we see stories which seem to be based on science turn out to be nothing more than marketing and PR. By highlighting and dissecting examples from the recent press Michael Marshall will show who is behind these stories, who benefits from them, and who can be said to be at fault when even legitimate science gets distorted in newspaper print.
Michael Marshall is the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and Project Director of the Good Thinking Society. His Bad PR project exposes the often-unseen influence of public relations in the mainstream media.
2.15-3.15 The Science of Doctor Who
Travelling to alien worlds is one of the regular features of Doctor Who. But how could the TARDIS travel there and what would those alien worlds really be like? During this talk I’ll discuss what we currently know about the several thousand alien worlds we’ve discovered in the last 20 years and if any of the worlds the Doctor has travelled to look familiar.
Edward Gomez is an astronomer and education director for Las Cumbres Observatory, based at Cardiff University. He is interested in searching for asteroids which travel close to Earth, and in open access for science and education. He has been a life long fan of Doctor Who and gave science advice to the script writers for several episodes.