Centre For Inquiry London
and South Place Ethical Society present
A day exploring the science of the weird, and weird and flaky science.
Saturday, 17th January 2009. 10.30am-4pm.
25 Red Lion Square
£10 (£5 for students, members of SPES, BHA, GLHA and subscribers to New Humanist - bring proof to the event)
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Investigating the impossible: A skeptical approach
For over 20 years, psychologist Richard Wiseman has delved deep into the mysterious world of the paranormal, carrying out high profile, and often controversial, investigations into the impossible. In this talk, Wiseman describes some of his more colourful adventures, presenting a scientific look at a range of seemingly paranormal phenomenon, including fire-walking, ghostly encounters, and ESP. Discover whether such phenomena really exist, what the future holds for parapsychology, and why we are all attracted by the lure of strange stuff. Free packet of peanuts for the best question.
About Richard Wiseman. Psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman started his working life as a professional magician and currently holds Britain’s only Professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He frequently appears on the media, and has written over 60 academic articles and several books, including The Luck Factor and Quirkology.
Eight Years of Weird Science at Goldsmiths
The Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit (APRU) was set up by Professor Chris French in 2000 in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths (for full details, visit http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/apru). Anomalistic psychology may be defined as the study of extraordinary phenomena of behaviour and experience, including (but not restricted to) those that are often labeled “paranormal”. Over the last eight years, members of the APRU have investigated a wide range of weird and wonderful topics, including alien contact experiences, sleep paralysis, haunted houses, dowsing, and telepathy. Many paranormal claims have been scientifically tested under properly controlled conditions along the way. This overview will present the results of such investigations - and also reveal why Uri Geller cannot stand Richard Wiseman!
About Chris French. Chris French is a Professor of Psychology and Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths. He has published over 100 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics within psychology. His main current area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims. He is the editor of The Skeptic magazine (UK version).
Is creationism scientific?
Polls consistently indicate about 100 million Americans believe the entire universe is six thousand years old and that all species were created as described by Genesis. Even more amazingly, many of these people also believe that this theory is consistent with the scientific evidence. Indeed, there are multi-million dollar research centres in the U.S. run by PhD-qualified staff, that aim to defend young-Earth creationism. How have so many people become so deluded about what is, and isn’t, good science? What are the basic confusions? Stephen Law illustrates with his own pet theory – that dogs are spies from the planet Venus.
About Stephen Law. Stephen Law is senior lecturer in philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London, editor of THINK: Philosophy for Everyone (Royal Institute of Philosophy), and Provost of CFI London. He is the author of many philosophy books, including The Philosophy Files (for children 12+) and The Philosophy Gym (which contains such dialogues as “The Strange Case of The Rational Dentist” and “What’s Wrong With Gay Sex?”)
Listen up flakes: science is seriously so much more interesting than anything you can make up with your woolly new age claptrap.
About Ben Goldacre. Ben Goldacre is a writer, broadcaster and medical doctor from the UK who is best known for his ‘Bad Science’ column in The Guardian newspaper, examining the claims of scaremongering journalists, quack health products, pseudoscientific cosmetics adverts, and evil multinational pharmaceutical corporations, as well as wider themes such as the medicalisation of everyday life and the psychology of irrational beliefs. He has a background in medicine and academia, trained in Oxford and London, works full time for the NHS, appears regularly on radio and TV, and has written for publications as diverse as Time Out, the British Medical Journal, New Statesman and The Lancet, as well as writing and presenting ‘The Rise Of The Lifestyle Nutritionists’ and ‘The Power of Placebo’ in 2008 on BBC Radio 4.