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Beyond the Potemkin illusion

Robin Tudge

When?
Thursday, May 19 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Robin Tudge

What's the talk about?

Robin Tudge is a writer in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he has lived and worked in Chicago, Moscow, Hanoi, Beijing and Pyongyang.

As an author he has written the No Nonsense Guide to Global Surveillance,  the best-selling Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories, and contributed to the pioneering Bradt Guide to North Korea. He has visited North Korea several times since 2001 and has led tours there in 2013 and 2015 for the leading tour company, Koryo Tours.

This talk will be an illustrated presentation on travelling to that impoverished, surprising country, and how much one can see beyond the Potemkin illusion.

The NHS and Beyond

Michael Marshall

When?
Thursday, April 21 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

Homeopathy is one of the most widely debunked form of alternative medicine – yet homeopathic remedies adorn the shelves of respected pharmacies and are funded by taxpayers on the NHS. How big of a problem is this?

Using information and personal experiences gathered during his last 6 years of campaigning against homeopathy, Michael Marshall will highlight how much money is spent on homeopathic remedies, how this gives undeserved credibility to homeopathy, how such remedies can lead to genuine harm and what you can do to help.
 
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 and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

...a live comedy show about obscure people from History

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Thursday, March 17 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

Skeptic, comedian and voice of the Skeptics Guide To The Universe, Iszi Lawrence is out to delight and inform with her new show The Z List Dead List.

The Z List Dead List is a live comedy show about obscure people from History. As a skeptic, Iszi has found a few people from the past that will peak your interest. Expect woo, violence, sex and death. And a competition.

The show is also a podcast with guest interviews from Jon Ronson, Griff Rhys Jones, Natalie Haynes, Neil Denny, Richard Herring etc. You can find it here:  www.zlistdeadlist.com

Jonathan M.S. Pearce

When?
Thursday, February 18 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Jonathan M.S. Pearce

What's the talk about?

Do we have free will, or are our ‘choices’ determined by our environment and past experience?

Author and educator, Jonathan M.S.Pearce offers an entertaining introduction to the debate, and explains how new developments in brain science have influenced philosophers.

We will also consider the impact of free will and determinism on Christianity’s concept of a judgmental God, and the implications for our justice system if we don’t have free will.

An entertaining introduction to the age-old philosophical debate on whether we have free will or whether we live predetermined lives.

Jonathan is a teacher and author from South Hampshire, who has dedicated many years of his life to all manner of things philosophical and theological. He is currently studying for a Masters in Philosophy, and is a founder member of the Tippling Philosophers, a friendly group of disparate believers and non-believers based in Hampshire.

The Nativity: A Critical Examination is his fourth book, and follows Free Will? An investigation into whether we have free will, or whether I was always going to write this book, a popular philosophy, science and theology book that examines the free will vs. determinism debate. He has also written The Little Book of Unholy Questions, which looks to show the incoherence of the idea of an all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful God. As an interlude from writing about philosophy and theology, he has branched out by writing a book of advice for dads of twins; Twins: A Survival Guide for Dads.

He is a founder author for the Skeptic Ink Network (SIN), an online community of skeptic writers, bloggers, academics, thinkers and activists, which can also be found on their Facebook page.

Can consumers trust what they're seeing, reading, hearing and clicking on?

Richard Burdett

When?
Thursday, January 21 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Richard Burdett

What's the talk about?

Richard Burdett looks at advertising from both the consumer's and the advertiser's perspective. Can consumers trust what they're seeing, reading, hearing and clicking on? And, in an increasingly fragmented and fractured media environment, can advertisers trust the data on which they're making multi-million pound investment decisions?

Richard began his career at Saatchi & Saatchi, spending eleven years working with clients such as BA, BP, Cadbury Schweppes and Sainsbury's. He then moved to the fledgling world of multi-channel television, initially as Head of Ad Sales for The Discovery Channel and subsequently as Head of Marketing for UK TV. While Head of 4Creative, Channel 4's in-house ad agency, he worked on shows such as Lost, Desperate Housewives, Shameless and Jamie's School Dinners as well as the launches of More4 and Film4.

He is currently MD of Horse & Country TV, a channel that has brought over fifty new advertisers on to TV and was one of five nominees for Best Factual Channel in the recent Broadcast awards.

 

How to solve Climate Change and Unemployment at the same time

Suzanne Jeffery

When?
Thursday, November 19 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Suzanne Jeffery

What's the talk about?

Suzanne Jeffery, from the Campaign Against Climate Change, will explain their ambitious plan to create the National Climate Service (NCS) and thereby create well over 1 million jobs (possibly nearer 2 million) and cut our CO2 emissions by 86% in 20 years.

This is no airy-fairy notion - it has been put together by some very credible people from a number of universities and trades unions.

So, employ 1 million people and solve the Climate Change crisis and unemployment in one go - what could be wrong with that?

Well, nothing at all, provided you've got £66 Billion to fund it. I doubt if Suzanne will be handing a tin round on the night!

If anything matters, why should nothing matter?

Ronald Green

When?
Thursday, October 15 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Ronald Green

What's the talk about?

Why should nothing matter? If anything matters, why should nothing matter? And yet it does, for there isn’t anything, it seems, that nothing does not touch, or anything that does not touch nothing. History, philosophy, religion, science, art, literature, music – all look towards nothing at some point, stimulating questions that would otherwise not be asked.

Who, for example, could have believed that nothing held back progress for 600 years in the Middle Ages, all because of mistaken translation, or that nothing is a way to tackle (and answer) the perennial question "what is art?"? Ronald Green uses nothing in a genuine attempt to look at the world in a different way, to give new angles to old problems and so to stimulate new thoughts.

What is this nothing, that we can’t actually see, touch or feel? Is it absolute? Is it relative to everything else? If we are able to think about it, write and read about it, is it something, and if so wouldn’t it then not be nothing?

This is precisely the mystery of nothing – that the more we think about it, the more there is to it.

Disarmingly invisible, the point of nothing – to paraphrase Bertrand Russell on philosophy – is to start with something so simple as to seem not worth examining, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.

Ronald Green is the author of "Nothing Matters – a book about nothing" (iff-Books). Philosopher, linguist, university lecturer and ESL teacher, with 13 ESL books published, Ronald has lectured and given workshops in Europe, North and South America and the Middle East on linguistics, ESL and the use of the Internet in education. His short stories have been published in Nuvein magazine, Tryst, Aesthetica, the Sink and Unholy Biscuit. He has completed a philosophical novel and co-authored a psychological thriller with strong philosophical underpinnings. For the past five years he has been thinking seriously about nothing, culminating in his recently-published book.

...or Does It Just Feel That Way Without Bacon?

Dr. Stephen Makin

When?
Thursday, September 17 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Dr. Stephen Makin

What's the talk about?

Stephen is a medical doctor, clinical researcher into stroke, Skeptical Speaker on critical appraisal and evidence based medicine and a lifelong vegetarian who feels that ethically he really should be a vegan. He’ll examine the evidence based pros and cons of forsaking the bacon butties and going meat and dairy free.

When?
Monday, July 20 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?

What's the talk about?

Despite the (automatically generated) headings above, there will be no meeting this month.

We normally don't have a Bedford Humanists meeting in August (as it is the holiday season), but we do this year, so we're giving Skeptics a rest instead. The change was sensible due to speaker availability at the varous events.

Of course, you are all invited to come to the BH meeting earlier in the month on Tuesday 4th August, when the Samaritans will be telling us about their valuable work (clearly not a topic to be skeptical about). Please feel free to join us - the same venue and the format is about the same.

Was: Islam and the Left

Anne Marie Waters

When?
Thursday, July 16 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Anne Marie Waters

What's the talk about?

Sadly, due to security issues raised by Ann Marie Waters, we have been notified by North End Social Club that they will be unable to open the club on the evening of the meeting due to the concerns of their staff.

Please accept our apologies for the cancellation of the meeting.

 

Ash Pryce

When?
Thursday, June 18 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Ash Pryce

What's the talk about?

Hydesville. New York. 1848. The young Fox sisters begin communicating with the spirit of a murdered beggar and spiritualism is born.

This interactive look at a history of talking to the dead will feature an array of magical treats including levitating tables, ectoplasm manifestation and spirit communication.

Part magic show, part comedy, part rational inquiry this fun show has regularly packed venues at Edinburgh Fringes.

Ash Pryce promises Ouija Boards, Spirit Slates, Spirit Communication, Stopped Pulses, Spewing ectoplasm ... and more.

Ash Pryce is a performer and director based in Scotland.  He has written and staged several skeptically themed shows looking at myths & legends, ghosts, psychics and mediumship as well as producing full plays ranging from Faustus to more contemporary original shows in Edinburgh.  He is the founder of Edinburgh Skeptics, the newly started History in the Pub Edinburgh, and runs what is believed to be the worlds first skeptical ghost tour every Fringe.  He lives just outside of Edinburgh with his three Degus, one of which holds a grudge against him.

"Ash Pryce is a naturally funny guy and won't allow his audience to be bored" "Very entertaining" - edfringereview

Please note. This is a skeptically themed show and not intended as an actual demonstration of mediumship or psychic abilities.

Exposing some popular myths about the arms trade

Kat Hobbs

When?
Thursday, May 21 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Roff Avenue
Bedford MK41 7TW

Who?
Kat Hobbs

What's the talk about?

“UK-made weapons have been used in Israel's attacks on Gaza, and to repress democracy movements across the Middle East. We armed both Russia and Ukraine – and supplied all sides in Libya's civil war. The wars we've waged, such as those in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, have caused devastation and fuelled further conflict.


Arms sales don't enhance security: they fuel conflict, support repression and make the world a more dangerous place for all of us. We all pay the price. We're subsidising arms companies by hundreds of millions of pounds a year to export misery and destruction around the world and, at home, the government is spending billions on military technology we do not need, while vital public services are being cut.


The government justifies its support for the arms trade by arguing it needs to protect high skilled manufacturing jobs. But despite all these resources, the number of jobs in the arms industry is on a long-term decline, and today the industry is, in its own words, 'flatlining at best'.
Join us to expose some popular myths about the arms trade, and find out more about CAAT’s Arms To Renewables campaign and how you can take action to help shift government priorities.”


Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is a UK-based organisation working to end the international arms trade. CAAT was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, the Alternative Nobel Prize, in 2012 for innovative and effective campaigning against the global arms trade. Kat Hobbs is the Local Outreach Coordinator for Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), and has been involved with the anti-arms trade movement for seven years.