Skeptics in the Pub in Bedford

Fistly, just scroll down the page to see a list of our forthcoming events.

Now into our 8th year, the group is well established with a solid programme of events, as you can see from the listings below. If you are planning to join us, our meetings are usually very well attended and you would be recommended to arrive early.

We usually meet on the third Thursday of the month. Arrive 19.00 for a 19.30 start.

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Pete Comley

When?
Thursday, February 20 2020 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Pete Comley

What's the talk about?

We all know what inflation is – or do we?

Pete Comley is one of the few inflation experts in the UK who not only knows his CPIs from his RPIs, but why the subtle differences in the way they are calculated affect all our lives.

He will also make you think about what inflation really is. What exactly causes it – or sometimes more precisely who does?  Why does it exist? Who benefits from it and how?

He will also look into the historical patterns of inflation and show why the world  may soon be heading into a century of near zero levels of inflation.

Pete Comley is the author of both Inflation Matters and Inflation Tax books. He was a regular commentator on inflation on the radio. His first book, Monkey with a Pin, was published in 2012. It exposed how most private investors’ returns are much worse in real life than the theoretical returns promoted by the finance industry. It went viral and was downloaded by over 10,000 people. His second book, Inflation Tax: The Plan To Deal With The Debts was published in 2013.

You might describe Pete as an author with an inquiring mind. He is not one to blindly accept the orthodoxy and conventional wisdom. Instead, he forms his opinions by painstakingly re-evaluating the facts – and by joining the dots sometimes coming to different conclusions.

He has a degree in psychology and has worked for most of his career in market research. He’s well known within the industry as a conference speaker and also an innovator. He was the first person to run commercial online surveys in the UK in the mid-1990s. He founded the first UK online market research agency in 1998. The company is now called Join the Dots and has its head office in Manchester.

... and what to do about it

Robin Launder

When?
Thursday, March 19 2020 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Robin Launder

What's the talk about?


Robin will deliver ‘the’ Extinction Rebellion (XR) talk, a talk that many XR speakers have delivered up and down the country, and indeed in many countries across the globe – such has been the phenomenal growth of XR. It will give you a picture of the ecological and  climate emergency that we are facing, and (more importantly!) what we can do about it. So, certainly, there will be elements of the talk that are gloomy, to say the least, but there will also be a hopeful element All is not lost if we act now and we act decisively.

Robin’s view is that the messages contained within the XR talk are completely consistent with humanist (and by extension, Skeptical) thinking. To find out whether you agree, come along and have a listen.

Robin Launder is a school speaker for Humanists UK, a trainer of humanist UK school speakers, and also a ‘faith tutor’ at Eton College, that is, he runs humanist sessions for students who do not want to attend Sunday chapel. In addition, he is also an activist and speaker for Extinction Rebellion (XR), the  ecological and climate activist group.

Giving with Reason

Dr Richard Clarke

When?
Thursday, April 16 2020 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Dr Richard Clarke

What's the talk about?

Effective Altruism is the idea behind a growing movement of philosophy, science and evidence minded individuals with a passion to doing as much good as they possible can. Effective Altruism involves using a combination of the head (reason, logic and evidence) and the heart (empathy/compassion) to systematically fight towards making the world a better place for all that live in it. As skeptics we apply critical thinking to a wide range of topics in our everyday lives however our charity and altruistic behaviours often gets a free pass. In this talk we will explore why this is the case and how a few small choices in your life can have life changing positive impact on someone else’s.

Richard is a health psychologist and skeptic currently conducting research in the area of information seeking and vaccine hesitancy with the Vaccine Confidence Project based at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine and due to the reasoning behind Effective Altruism in 2014 he decided to pledge 10% of his income over the course of his life time to charities that are likely to have the most impact in the world.

For those who would like to read up a little on the subject, the book "The Life You Can Save" by Peter Singer,  often peoples entry point into Effective Altruism, has now been made free to download here  (also in audible form).
 

Sean Slater

When?
Thursday, May 21 2020 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Sean Slater

What's the talk about?

5th generation mobile networks are coming in for increasing criticism by otherwise reputable sources and commentators. Its been demonised as mind-control, as using ‘untested, weapons-grade, ultra-high frequency technology’ and to cause severe harm to the population just by existing. Is it a back-door for governments to manage their population through technology? Are we simply leaving ourselves open to overseas countries to infiltrate our national infrastructure? Are there real dangers to this new technology? Sean Slater will try and address these fears head on and create some clarity around what 5G is and what it is not.

Sean has worked in the mobile phone business for over 25 years and has seen 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G being rolled out by several different networks. He is also the vice-chair of Edinburgh Skeptics and as such has taken an interest in the pseudoscience surrounding his industry.

Twitter - @TheTrueScotsman

Alastair Lichten

When?
Thursday, June 18 2020 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Alastair Lichten

What's the talk about?

What could be wrong with the various churches running schools? Isn't it right that parents have real choice, and shouldn't their faith be part of that? Surely that is all fair, and they do better than ordinary schools, don't they? And they've worked really well in Northern Ireland.

From faith schools to coercive worship, and from confessional RE to faith based sex education, our school system is full of inappropriate religious influence, privilege and discrimination. But it doesn't need to be this way, our many fantastic community schools show how we can move towards a secular, inclusive education system.

The National Secular Society's head of education, Alastair Lichten, will talk about the Society's No More Faith Schools campaign, along with their other education focussed campaigns.

Alastair Lichten is the Society's head of education, joined the NSS in 2014 to work on a variety of their campaigns, before focusing on education. He currently coordinates the No More Faith Schools campaign.

How the Earth Shaped Human History

Prof. Lewis Dartnell

When?
Thursday, September 17 2020 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Prof. Lewis Dartnell

What's the talk about?

When we talk about human history, we focus on great leaders, revolutions, and technological advances. But how has the Earth itself determined our destiny? How has our planet made us?

As a species we are shaped by our environment. Geological forces drove our evolution in East Africa; mountainous terrain led to the development of democracy in Greece; and today voting behaviour in the United States follows the bed of an ancient sea. The human story is the story of these forces, from plate tectonics and climate change, to atmospheric circulation and ocean currents.

By taking us through millennia of human history, and billions of years into our planet's past, Professor Lewis Dartnell tells us the ultimate origin story. When we reach the point where history becomes science we see a vast web of connections that underwrites our modern world and helps us face the challenges of the future.

From the cultivation of the first crops to the founding of modern states, Origins reveals the Earth's awesome impact on the shape of human civilizations.

ORIGINS is the Sunday Times top history book of the year, a Waterstones 'Best of 2019' book, on iNews' 11 best popular science books for 2019, and a Mail on Sunday recommended science and nature book.

 Origins by Lewis Dartnell stands comparison with Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens... A thrilling piece of Big History' -- THE SUNDAY TIMES

 Dartnell's story is beautifully written and organized. His infectious curiosity and enthusiasm tug the reader from page to page, synthesizing geology, oceanography, meteorology, geography, palaeontology, archaeology and political history in a manner that recalls Jared Diamond's classic 1997 book Guns, Germs, and Steel.'  -- NATURE

"Dartnell's approach is encyclopedic, marked by both a broad sweep and a passion for details." -- WASHINGTON POST

 Dartnell has found the perfect blend of science and history. This is a book that will not only challenge our preconceptions about the past, but should make us think very carefully about humanity's future' -- MAIL ON SUNDAY


Prof. Lewis Dartnell  is an astrobiology researcher based at the University of Westminster, studying how microbial life, and signs of its existence, might persist on the surface of Mars. Alongside his research he writes regular science articles in newspapers and magazines, and has appeared in TV shows such as BBC Horizon, Wonders of the Universe, and documentaries on National Geographic, Discovery and History channels. Both ORIGINS and his previous book,  THE KNOWLEDGE: How To Rebuild Our World After An Apocalypse'  are Sunday Times bestsellers.

Fancy finding out how to live a long and healthy life?

Ariane Sherine

When?
Thursday, November 19 2020 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Ariane Sherine

What's the talk about?

After her very well received talk last year, Ariane Sherine returns with a new subject that is important to us all. 

Fancy finding out how to live a long and healthy life? Look no further. Comedy writer and Atheist Bus Campaign creator Ariane Sherine has teamed up with public health consultant David Conrad to analyse the scientific evidence behind 100 different factors that affect life expectancy.

Could drinking green tea really prolong your life? How about gardening? Is regular sex more about pleasure than health? Why does standing up a lot make a difference to longevity? And is it worth cutting out red meat or even turning vegan in order to blow out 100 candles on your birthday cake? 

This funny and potentially lifesaving talk will reveal the answers to all these questions and more.

Ariane will be signing copies of her new book HOW TO LIVE TO 100 after the talk.

Ariane Sherine is the comedy writer and journalist who created the Atheist Bus Campaign, as well as the bestselling celebrity anthology The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas. She has written for BBC1’s My Family, Channel 4’s Countdown and BBC2’s Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, as well as for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Observer, The Daily Mash, New Statesman and New Humanist. She lives in London with her eight-year-old daughter Lily.