Are you ...

  • skeptical about what you read in the paper?
  • skeptical about UFOs and conspiracy theories?
  • skeptical about psychics and mediums?
  • skeptical about superstitions and ghosts?
  • skeptical about religions?
  • skeptical about the Loch Ness monster and Big Foot?
  • skeptical about homeopathy and alternative medicine?
  • skeptical about the claims of "anti-vaccinationers"?


Well, you are not alone!

Skeptics ...

  • are open-minded, rational people who apply logic and reason to what they hear and read
  • believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
  • like to de-bunk the pseudo-scientific rubbish portrayed in the media
  • love science and the wonders of the natural world
  • want to understand how life and the universe *really* works
  • are not cynical about everything
  • are prepared to accept there are mysteries and things we don't yet understand
  • are prepared to change their minds if the evidence supports it
  • seek to educate and protect the general public against pseudo-science, quacks and harmful scams


 
Milton Keynes "Skeptics in the Pub" is a social gathering of like-minded people that is both fun and educational, with occasional guest speakers. We welcome absolutely everyone, regardless of age, sex or belief. There is no membership, no joining or annual fees, and no commitment. (However, we may make a small charge when we have a guest speaker to cover the costs of the venue and the speaker’s expenses.)

 

So come along. Did we mention we meet in a Pub ?

Previous year >>

Paul Vella

When?
Wednesday, September 10 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
Paul Vella

What's the talk about?

In 1967, two men filmed what looked like a large, bipedal ape in Northern California.

Almost 50 years later people are still debating this film, but it has never been debunked.

As a kid this film sparked a fascination for Paul and sparked a lifetime of research, and encounters with weirdos, weekend warriors, academics, pseudo science, believers, conspiracy theories, movie stars and even a little science - but no Bigfoot.

When?
Wednesday, July 9 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
Josh Barker

What's the talk about?

Josh Barker works in the Space Communications Team at the National Space Centre.

In this talk he explores the fascinating subject of the Apollo Moon Landing Conspiracy.

Even now, over 40 years after the event people still remain unconvinced that 12 American men landed safely on the surface of the Moon and returned to Earth.

Josh will look at the common arguments presented by both sides, analysing the evidence both for and against, and discuss the merit, as a critical thinking exercise, in discussing this conspiracy.

Simon Clare

When?
Wednesday, June 11 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
Simon Clare

What's the talk about?

The Alpha Course runs in 162 countries and has been attended, according to their website, by 20 Million people. Over a 9 week period, students are guided through Christian theology ostensibly to “Explore the meaning of Life”.

Simon Clare, an unabashed atheist, signed up to his local course in Brighton, wondering if his faithlessness would be challenged. Spoiler: He wasn’t converted but he was surprised at what he learnt about faith.

The new Archbishop Of Canterbury, Justin Welby, found his faith at the home of the Alpha Course and his election suggests that the Alpha model of spreading the word is now at the heart of Christianity's struggle for survival. As well as giving an overview of the course from biblical history to singing in tongues, Simon will discuss what atheists can learn from the Alpha Course.

Simon Clare runs Horsham Skeptics in the Pub and is a founder member of the South East Skeptics Society.

Alistair Coleman

When?
Wednesday, May 14 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
Alistair Coleman

What's the talk about?

As tensions between the west and Kim Jong Un increase, Journalist and North Korea Watcher Alistair Coleman will be talking about the secretive kingdom and asking how much do we really know about North Korea?

Alistair has worked at BBC Monitoring for 24 years, part of the World Service which watches and analyses the world's open source media. Starting his career as a technician, he specialises in studying media behaviour in North Korea for significant changes in tone that could betray changes in policy.

Alistair is a multiple award-winning blogger who enjoys questioning extremism, idiocy and dubious claims; including political blow-hards, religion, stage psychics, homeopaths and quackery.

Please note earlier start time!

Simon Singh

When?
Wednesday, April 9 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
Simon Singh

What's the talk about?

Simon Singh, author of Fermat's Last Theorem and Big Bang, talks about his latest book, which explores mathematical themes hidden in The Simpsons.

Everyone knows that The Simpsons is the most successful show in television history, but very few people realise that its team of mathematically gifted writers have used the show to explore everything from calculus to geometry, from pi to game theory, and from infinitesimals to infinity.

Singh will also discuss how writers of Futurama have similarly made it their missions to smuggle deep mathematical ideas into the series.

Simon Bennett

When?
Wednesday, March 12 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
Simon Bennett

What's the talk about?

Simon Bennett will be a familiar face to all regular MK Skeptics attendees as the group's treasurer and regular host.

In his day job he works for the staggeringly ambitious London Crossrail project,  having led communications with those affected since the scheme was first promoted back in 2002.

In this extended and updated version of the short talk he gave at our Open Mic Night back in 2012, Simon will explain how a £14.8bn public project makes its way through the many different phases of its lifecycle, from identification of a problem, through the political and policy processes, into construction and finally to operation.

 

Richard Wilson

When?
Wednesday, February 12 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
Richard Wilson

What's the talk about?

 How Bogus Sceptics Crashed the World

In a sceptical age, even those disseminating wholly bogus ideas - from corporate pseudo-science to paranoid conspiracy theories – have sought to appropriate the language of rational inquiry, with increasingly disastrous results. But what are the hallmarks of bogus scepticism, and how can we distinguish it from the genuine article?

In Don’t Get Fooled Again Richard Wilson highlights the problems that can arise when peddlers of myth and quackery succeed in portraying themselves as sceptics.

Biography

Richard Wilson is a writer and activist with a focus on scepticism, corruption, human rights and freedom of expression. He studied philosophy at University College London, and has written for the New Humanist, New Statesman, Prospect Magazine and Comment is Free. His first book, Titanic Express, recounts his search for the truth about the death of his sister Charlotte, who was killed in Burundi in 2000.

In 2009 Richard became the first person to break a super-injunction on Twitter, helping to defeat an attempt by the oil company Trafigura to suppress media coverage of the proceedings of Parliament. Since finishing Don’t Get Fooled Again he has had two small children, run two half-marathons, and spent way too much time on social media.

When?
Tuesday, November 12 2013 at 8:00PM

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Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
Daniel Roberts

What's the talk about?

After being baptised shortly after his 13th birthday, Daniel began a spiritual journey to discover the real Jesus and learn the power of Faith in a world of sin, science and skepticism. His experience was not of a restrictive Christianity but of a liberal and charismatic Church, of magical miracles and a future destined for heaven.

Armed with all the right questions and debates, Daniel's mission was to explain the love of Christ to everyone and win over hundreds of hearts and minds to the Church. However in his early twenties, he turned away from his beliefs and became a non-believer.

His is a story of Tongues, prayer, church, plenty of bible camps and one dangerous course in the Philosophy of Science.

Stevyn Colgan

When?
Tuesday, October 8 2013 at 8:00PM

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Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
Stevyn Colgan

What's the talk about?

Skepticism and critical thinking isn’t just about UFOs, bad pharma and Creationism.

After leaving school Stevyn gained places at both art and catering colleges, but turned them down and instead accepted a drunken £50 bet with his homicide detective father that he could survive six months as a police officer. He consequently joined the Metropolitan Police Service in London and ended up staying for 30 years.

During his service he found himself frequently challenging the traditional or ‘accepted’ ways of doing things; critical thinking and his own natural skepticism made him to explore different way of doing things, often in innovative and unusual ways. These included using wizards to tackle street gambling, lollipops to stop anti‐social behavior and dog shows to prevent homicides. Ultimately, he was asked by Scotland Yard and the Home Office to be part of an experimental unit to explore some of these new ideas, many of which have now found their way into everyday policing across the UK.

The Skeptical Bobby is all about grass‐roots skepticism and why we should be critical thinkers in every aspect of our lives.

‘Superb talk at QEDCon by Stevyn Colgan. Intelligent and humane.’ – Professor Richard Dawkins

‘Stevyn Colgan was fantastic! Beautiful and inspiring talk’ ‐ The British Humanist Association

 

 

Stevyn Colgan is an author, artist, songwriter, speaker and oddlyspelled Cornishman. He is one of the ‘Elves’ that research and write the popular BBC TV series QI and cowrites its sister show, The Museum of Curiosity, for BBC Radio 4.

He has, among other things, been a chef, a potato picker, a milkman and a police officer. He has written briefing notes for two Prime Ministers and TV scripts for Gerry Anderson and Doctor Who. He’s helped build dinosaur skeletons for the Natural History Museum, movie monsters for Bruce Willis to shoot at, and was the official artist for the 2006 National Children’s Book Fair. He has been set on fire twice, been shot at once, and has given hundreds of talks across the UK and USA on a variety of subjects from problem solving to Cornish mythology to why he believes that he wasn’t even vaguely intelligently designed. He is a regular at festivals and events such as Skeptics in the Pub, Cornbury, Harrogate, Hay, Latitude and the Edinburgh Fringe.

He is the author of JoinedUp Thinking (Pan Macmillan 2008), Henhwedhlow: The Clotted Cream of Cornish Folk Tales (Kowethas 2010) and Constable Colgan’s Connectoscope® (Unbound 2013). He is currently writing a comedy crime novel and a book about art, recording an album of his own songs and developing an animated series based on Constable Colgan’s Connectoscope®.

He stops inordinately frequently for tea. 

John Sweeney

When?
Tuesday, September 10 2013 at 8:00PM

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Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
John Sweeney

What's the talk about?

Award-winning journalist John Sweeney investigated the Church of Scientology for more than half a decade. During that time he was intimidated, spied on and followed and the results were spectacular: Sweeney lost his temper with the Church's spokesman on camera and his infamous 'exploding tomato' clip was seen by millions around the world on BBC Panorama.

In his new book, The Church of Fear, Sweeney tells the full story of his experiences for the first time and paints a devastating picture of this strange organisation, from former Scientologists who tell heartbreaking stories of families torn apart and lives ruined, to its current followers who say it's the solution to many of mankind's problems.

In this talk, Sweeney, who has been branded a 'liar and perjurer' by the Church of Scientology, and 'genuinely evil' by scientologist bloggers, will discuss some of his experiences with the Church of Scientology, as one of the very few reporters who've been brave enough to take it on.

John Sweeney

When?
Tuesday, September 10 2013 at 8:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
John Sweeney

What's the talk about?

Award-winning journalist John Sweeney investigated the Church of Scientology for more than half a decade. During that time he was intimidated, spied on and followed and the results were spectacular: Sweeney lost his temper with the Church's spokesman on camera and his infamous 'exploding tomato' clip was seen by millions around the world on BBC Panorama.

In his new book, The Church of Fear, Sweeney tells the full story of his experiences for the first time and paints a devastating picture of this strange organisation, from former Scientologists who tell heartbreaking stories of families torn apart and lives ruined, to its current followers who say it's the solution to many of mankind's problems.

In this talk, Sweeney, who has been branded a 'liar and perjurer' by the Church of Scientology, and 'genuinely evil' by scientologist bloggers, will discuss some of his experiences with the Church of Scientology, as one of the very few reporters who've been brave enough to take it on.

How quackery and managerialism corrupt a noble enterprise

David Colquhoun

When?
Tuesday, July 16 2013 at 8:00PM

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Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
David Colquhoun

What's the talk about?

Professor Colquhoun works in the Department of Pharmacology at University College London. He has been an outspoken critic of pseudoscience and scientific fraud for many years, writing extensively on the topic, including articles in Nature and The Guardian. He is particularly critical of alternative medicine, and of the decision of a number of UK universities to offer degrees in complementary and alternative medicine, stating that they are "anti-science" and that "universities that run them should be ashamed of themselves." His interest in inference extends to methods that are used to assess and manage science, and critical assessment of research "metrics". In December 2009, Colquhoun won a Freedom of Information judgement, after a three-year campaign, requiring the University of Central Lancashire to release details of their BSc course in homeopathy.

Colquhoun created his personal website, Improbable Science, devoted to criticism of scientific fraud and quackery, in 2001. It has a particular focus on alternative medicine (AM), including such practices as homeopathy, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, and others, calling them "pure gobbledygook". In addition to his outspoken disapproval of AM in academia, Colquhoun frequently speaks out on his website against misrepresentation of AM as science in the media, and governmental support of AM.

The main event starts at 8pm. As usual there will be a voluntary collection towards expenses.