Please visit our brand new website at mkskeptics.org.uk

Milton Keynes Skeptics in the Pub are a not-for-profit group from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire (UK), promoting science, reason and critical thinking. Find us on Twitter, Facebook and at MK Social in Milton Keynes every second Wednesday of a month.

An amble through vaccination and those who dangerously preach against it

Michael Head

When?
Wednesday, August 12 2015 at 8:00PM

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

Where?

Who?
Michael Head

What's the talk about?

 Smallpox is eradicated, polio has nearly gone the same way and in most countries diphtheria is rare. That’s due to vaccination. Yet headlines are often fixated on measles outbreaks on both sides of the Pond, or the ‘dangers’ of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. There are too many who are just not fussed about vaccines or worse, actively preach and campaign against them, with more than the occasional dollop of an absence of morality.

Plus there’s the desperate search for an ebola vaccine that, at best, will come two years too late, the imperfections of the tuberculosis vaccine, the waning immunity over time of the pertussis (whooping cough) immunisation, that HIV vaccine that just won’t come, and the annual guesswork that is the composition of the influenza vaccine. It’s a complicated business, alright.

This presentation will walk you through some facts and figures, highlight the new vaccines in the pipeline and provide an insight into the public health danger posed by those who try and tell you MMR gives your child autism (it doesn’t, by the way).

--

Michael Head is a research associate in infectious diseases at University College London and a visiting academic in the Faculty of Medicine at University of Southampton. He has been working in infectious disease research since 2004, has published widely in peer-reviewed journals including Lancet and Nature journals, and for some reason spends far too much of his spare time reading about ‘bad science’ on the web.

@michaelghead

Previous year >>

Vicky Stiles

When?
Wednesday, June 10 2015 at 8:00PM

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

Where?

499 Lower Twelfth Street, Milton Keynes, MK9 3PY

Who?
Vicky Stiles

What's the talk about?

Sorry, this talk is cancelled!

 

The Third Reich was a large, complex, modern state with a thriving mass media, diverse population, and fruitful trade and cultural links with the rest of the world. The ideology behind National Socialism drew upon well-established strands of nationalist and racialist thinking as well as centuries-old anti-Semitism, and the Nazi Party and its government used cutting-edge technology and techniques to give these ideas the broadest possible audience and appeal.

 
All too often, this baffling web of networks, policies and overlapping interest groups, which changed constantly over the twelve years the Third Reich lasted, gets reduced to the ideas and actions of just one man. From the top of the ivory tower, to the very bottom of the bottom half of the internet, this talk will explore what Adolf Hitler means to all of us, and how our obsession with him is sucking the meaning out one of our most potent historical symbols: the Holocaust.
 
DOORS: 19:30
START: 20:00
 
Tickets can be bought in advance from our website and a donation amount of £5 is suggested (£3 minimum contribution).

Richard Burdett

When?
Wednesday, May 13 2015 at 7:30PM

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

Where?

499 Lower Twelfth Street, Milton Keynes, MK9 3PY

Who?
Richard Burdett

What's the talk about?

 Please visit the official event page for further information and to buy tickets.

Michael Marshall

When?
Tuesday, November 11 2014 at 8:00PM

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

Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

It’s easy to think of pseudoscience existing in a glass case at a museum – something to be examined and critiqued from a safe distance, but not something to touch and to play with. Using examples taken from his own personal experiences in skepticism, Michael Marshall will show what happens when you begin to crack the surface of the pseudosciences that surround us – revealing the surprising, sometimes-shocking and often-comic adventures that lie beneath.

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

Dr Kim Wade

When?
Wednesday, October 8 2014 at 8:00PM

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

Where?

1 Savoy Crescent
Milton Keynes
MK9 3PU

Who?
Dr Kim Wade

What's the talk about?

Our guest speaker for October is Dr Kim Wade, Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Warwick. She is a cognitive psychologist specialising in autobiographical memory and memory distortions, best known for her research demonstrating the power of doctored images to produce false memories.

Suggestive techniques can lead people to remember wholly false childhood experiences such as being lost in a shopping mall or being hospitalized overnight. Although most false memory research has relied on some form of verbal suggestion, such as leading questions or bogus feedback, to influence what people recall, photographs—both genuine and doctored—can create havoc in memory too.

In this talk, Kim will discuss the extent to which images can influence our memory for significant, recent experiences, and show that people might even confess to, or testify about, events that never happened if they are confronted with fabricated evidence.

She will also discuss new research on people with highly superior autobiographical memories. These individuals recall their past, accurately, in extraordinary detail. But are they immune to memory distortions?

Paul Vella

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.