Bristol Skeptics in the Pub is a monthly meeting and talk hosted by the Bristol Skeptics Society for those interested in science, history, psychology, philosophy, investigative journalism, and how to examine extraordinary claims of all types.
 
Bristol Skeptics in the Pub meet every fourth Wednesday of the month at Smoke and Mirrors. Admission is free with a collection during the interval (suggested donation £3-5).
 
Previous speakers include Simon Singh, David Colquhon, David Nutt, Susan Blackmore, and many more.

When?
Wednesday, August 19 2015 at 8:30PM

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Where?

8 Denmark Street, Bristol, BS1 5DQ

Who?

What's the talk about?

 
What would you do if you could start your own religion? Who would you worship? Who would your followers be? Which celebrities would you enlist to spread your message?
 
Answer all these questions and more at the Bristol Skeptics Society’s Create Your Own Cult competition.
 
Each team will need to complete a variety of tasks including writing your commandments, designing your iconography, choosing a prophet, and deciding your rituals.
 
Points will be awarded on originality, creativity, and parody.
 
START: 20:30
Admission is £1
 
Create Your Own Cult is a team-based competition. Either come as a team or be randomly assigned to one on the night.
 

An Amble Through Vaccination and Those Who Dangerously Preach Against It

Michael Head

When?
Wednesday, August 26 2015 at 7:00PM

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Where?

8 Denmark Street, Bristol, BS1 5DQ

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).
 
DOORS: 19:00
START: 19:30
Admission is FREE and there will be a collection during the interval (suggested donation £3-5).

 
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.
 
 

When?
Wednesday, September 16 2015 at 8:30PM

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Where?

8 Denmark Street, Bristol, BS1 5DQ

Who?

What's the talk about?

It’s the return of our annual skeptical open mic night where anyone with a short, skeptically inclined talk can take to the stage. This is a great opportunity for both speakers and the audience to cover topics that either you wouldn’t normally get a skeptics in the pub, or that wouldn’t fill a full-length talk. Each speaker will give a short talk (between 15-20 minutes) followed by five minutes of Q&A.
 
Do you have (or are working on) a talk that you would like to bring to the event? Get in touch at contact@bristolskeptics.com. Anybody is welcome to come and take part in the open mic, the only prerequisite is that you approach the topic at hand in a skeptical way. PLEASE NOTE: Speakers must have registered before hand; the running order of the night will be decided in advance.
 
START: 20:30
Admission is FREE 
 
The list of speakers will be updated nearer the time.

How to Rebuild our World from Scratch

Dr Lewis Dartnell

When?
Wednesday, September 23 2015 at 7:00PM

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Where?

8 Denmark Street, Bristol, BS1 5DQ

Who?
Dr Lewis Dartnell

What's the talk about?

Maybe it was an asteroid impact, a nuclear war, or a viral pandemic. Whatever the cause, the world as we know it has ended and you and the other survivors must start again. What key knowledge would you need to not only survive in the immediate post-apocalyptic aftermath, but avert another Dark Ages and accelerate the rebooting of civilisation from scratch? Living in the modern world, we have become disconnected from the basic processes that support our lives, as well as the beautiful fundamentals of science that enable you to relearn things for yourself. The Knowledge is a grand thought experiment on the behind-the-scenes fundamentals of how our world works, and what drove the progression of civilisation over the centuries.

The Knowledge is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller, and was also awarded The Times 'New Thinking' Book of the Year.
 
DOORS: 19:00
START: 19:30
Admission is FREE and there will be a collection during the interval (suggested donation £3-5).

 
"A glorious compendium of the knowledge we have lost in the living; the origins of the material fabric of our actual lives. This is the most inspiring book I've read in a long time"
  -- The Independent
 
"An extraordinary achievement. With lucidity and brevity, Dartnell explains the rudiments of a civilisation. It is a great read even if civilisation does not collapse. If it does, it will be the sacred text of the new world -- and Dartnell that world's first great prophet."
  -- The Times
 
"The Knowledge is a fascinating look at the basic principles of the most important technologies undergirding modern society. It is a fun read full of optimism about human ingenuity"
  -- The Wall Street Journal
 
"The Knowledge is a stimulating read, a grand thought experiment on re-engineering every building block of civilisation"
  -- The New York Post
 
"A terrifically engrossing history of science and technology"
  -- The Guardian
 
"The ultimate do-it-yourself guide to 'rebooting' human civilisation"
  -- Nature
 
Dr Lewis Dartnell (www.lewisdartnell.com) is a UK Space Agency research fellow at the University of Leicester. He also holds an STFC Science in Society Fellowship, and alongside his astrobiology research writes regular science articles in newspapers and magazines, and has appeared in TV shows such as BBC Horizon, Wonders of the Universe, and documentaries on National Geographic, Discovery and History channels. ‘The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch’ (www.the-knowledge.org) is his third book.

The NHS and Beyond

Michael Marshall

When?
Wednesday, October 28 2015 at 7:00PM

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Where?

8 Denmark Street, Bristol, BS1 5DQ

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.
 
DOORS: 19:00
START: 19:30
Admission is FREE and there will be a collection during the interval (suggested donation £3-5).

 
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.