Skeptics in the Pub in Bedford

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

Started over a year ago, the group is already 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, particularly if you are planning to eat first.

We usually meet on the third Thursday of the month at The White Horse. Arrive 19.00 for a 19.30 start, but see individual entries below for any variations on this.

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The Enlightenment and The Rights of Man

John Issitt

When?
Thursday, May 15 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Newnham Avenue Bedford, MK41 9PX

Who?
John Issitt

What's the talk about?

‘Reason given the status of omnipotence becomes a monster’ said Mahatma Gandhi with the spectre of the second world war and the Holocaust in mind. 

Directly and indirectly my story negotiates the limits and fortunes of Reason. It follows the best and most reasonable efforts of a group who act to a large extent in the name of, or at least with, the standard of Enlightenment Reason. It, in its own small way follows the kindling light of a certain political perspective – most notably in the form of Paine’s Rights of Man - and its snuffing out by more immediate, more powerful drivers which were themselves reasons albeit of a different order. 

There are important lessons to be learnt by observing the fortunes of Reason and the initial 5-year period of the French Revolution is particularly fascinating and rich. My tale in the Agents of Reason accounts the actions of a man – Jeremiah Joyce (1763-1816) who was one of a small group of radicals in 1790s London who pursued the Enlightenment aspirations of fair play and the extension of the franchise, on a claim of reason. It is not a tale of the famous and their doings, it is a tale of a working class man caught up in the action trying to do his best. It is a tale based as far as possible on the minimal historical record – minimal because it was quite simply too dangerous to keep evidence that could be used in court.

John Issitt  is a writer and Provost of Langwith College University of York UK. He lectures in philosophy of learning. He has taught for the Open University for 23 years and is a National Teaching Fellow.

His writing is concerned with the eighteenth century and his latest book is focused on the ideas and legacies of Tom Paine and Edmund Burke. It attempts to present complex ideas and historical events in a way that is human, accessible and interesting.

Are Academies a model for school improvement?

Alasdair Smith

When?
Thursday, June 26 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Newnham Avenue Bedford, MK41 9PX

Who?
Alasdair Smith

What's the talk about?

Michael Gove would argue that Academies and Free Schools are the way forwards in raising education standards in the UK. Others might disagree - come and hear why Alasdair Smith doesn't.

The Anti Academies Alliance is a campaign composed of unions, parents, pupils, teachers, councillors and MPs.

Alasdair Smith is their National Secretary. He is a parent, teacher and Senior Lecturer in Education. He is currently working with others to create a National Campaign for Education which seeks to expose the myths and flaws in the Coalition's education reform programme and to pose an alternative vision of a future education system based on the need for equality, high quality and a comprehensive, democratic and progressive approach to teaching and learning.

Martin Taylor

When?
Thursday, July 17 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Newnham Avenue Bedford, MK41 9PX

Who?
Martin Taylor

What's the talk about?

 Recently psychologists have dramatically revised their ideas about how hypnosis works, and the modern theory is that of social compliance. Broadly, this means that there is no altered state when you are hypnotised – no trance, no sleep, and nothing mysterious at all. Hypnosis simply works because the subjects believe it will. Martin Taylora stage hypnotist for over fifteen years and lectures on hypnotism without hypnosis and the psychology of suggestion.

What people think about fracking from three perspectives

Hazel Gibson

When?
Thursday, August 21 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Newnham Avenue Bedford, MK41 9PX

Who?
Hazel Gibson

What's the talk about?

A talk about what people think about fracking, from three perspectives - the scientist, the activist and the local person with fracking happening on their back door.

I'll be looking at what fracking is - as a method for extracting gas from shale, why some people don't like fracking and what the people who live where fracking is happening are actually worried about. 

I'm a PhD student at Plymouth, studying what people know about geology. I have previously worked at the Natural History Museum in London as the Identification Officer for Earth Sciences and as a Science Educator. I have worked as an actual geologist too; as an Engineering Geologist in Australia. I currently tweet, blog and generally harangue passers-by about how awesome geology is. Can occasionally be seen making dinosaur footprints...

Should prohibition of cannabis be ended?

Peter Reynolds

When?
Thursday, October 16 2014 at 7:00PM

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Where?

84 Newnham Avenue Bedford, MK41 9PX

Who?
Peter Reynolds

What's the talk about?

Peter Reynolds is the leader of CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform, a UK political party and the largest, membership-based drug policy reform group in Britain. CLEAR campaigns for an end to the prohibition of cannabis, most urgently for those who need it as medicine. Peter will explain the background to cannabis prohibition, the latest scientific and medical research and the reality of going head to head with the Daily Mail, the Home Office and those who still promote "Reefer Madness" propaganda.