Skeptics in the Pub in Bedford

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

Now into our 5th 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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The Rise of Flat Earth Belief

Michael Marshall

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

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

In 2013, when Michael Marshall first interviewed the Vice President of the Flat Earth society for his show Be Reasonable, people could scarcely believe that anyone could genuinely think the Earth was flat. Five years later, Flat Earth belief has gone mainstream, spawning thousands of hours of YouTube videos, gaining widespread international media coverage, and attracting countless followers. How did we get here?

In this talk, Marshall will talk through his experiences of the Flat Earth movement, take a look at the leaders and some of their reasoning, and report back from the weekend he spent at the UK’s first ever Flat Earth convention.

Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast.

His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests, going undercover to expose psychics and quack medics, and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

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).
 

... or out to kill you!

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?

We nearly all now carry around in our pockets something which just 15 years ago would have seemed utterly miraculous. From this little slab of light, and for a few £ a month we can touch a glass sheet and interact with most of the world’s population. We can share opinions, memories, hopes, fears, dreams and experiences as they happen and from almost anywhere on the planet, we have access to the sum of the world’s information just about whenever and wherever we want. Social media would likely not exist as it does without the smartphone. It’s probable that the huge changes in the political landscapes over the past 5 years would not have happened without it.

But do you even know how it works? Is having a microwave transmitter right next to your brain or in your pocket a bad thing? Can your mobile actually be killing you? How did the industry grow so quickly and what is the future for radio communications. Is 5G, where the base station has the capability to beam its radiation directly at you as you move around, the ‘killer’ technology many are making it out to be?

Sean Slater is the Vice-Chair of Edinburgh Skeptics Society and has worked in the mobile phone industry for over 25 years; seeing it grow from an expensive businessman’s toy to the ubiquitous consumer necessity it is now.

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.