Category Archives: Skepticism

Magic, Dragons, and Dinosaur Saddles (2012)

Footage from last year’s Fringe Festival. A talk on creationism for Skeptics on the Fringe.

Magic, Dragons, and Dinosaur Saddles (Oxford 7/3/13)

This Wednesday (3/7/2013) I’ll be speaking at Oxford Skeptics in the Pub about creationism. I spent a year working with the world’s top creationist organisations, collating the strongest arguments for creationism, so that I could discover and present the ultimate argument in favour of creationism. It was a serious investigation, but it might be unintentionally hilarious (like creationism).

The talk takes place at St Aldate’s Tavern and begins at 7:30 pm.

Facebook Page

A shiny new Facebook page for my science/comedy/magic shenanigans.

https://www.facebook.com/ILovePointlesslyLongURLs

Predicting earthquakes

Italian courts have sentenced several scientists and a government official to prison for six years over the L’Aquila earthquake. I don’t intend to dwell on the story, because it has already been covered very well by others. People are discussing what happened, whether these scientists should be jailed or not, and even what they’re actually being accused of. Are they being punished for failing to predict an earthquake, or not communicating the risks accurately? These are all important questions. But I want to ask a different question. If scientists fail to predict an event, or make a prediction that fails to come true, they can apparently be held accountable. Why is this not the case for charlatans and bullshit-merchants throughout the world selling bogus “cures” or predicting natural disasters? This blog entry is a trip down memory lane to 2009 for a story about superstition, censorship, psychics, and earthquakes.  Read the rest of this entry

Magic, dragons, and dinosaur saddles!

For the third year running, Edinburgh Skeptics will be organising Skeptics On The Fringe. If you somehow haven’t heard of the world’s longest skepticism festival, then allow me to explain. Taking place throughout the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, Skeptics On The Fringe consists of free lectures and performances from skeptics and scientists for a whole month!

This year will be my second appearance for Skeptics On The Fringe, and I’ll be debuting a never-before-seen talk about creationism. For almost a year I’ve been working with (that’s right, with) some of the world’s biggest creationist organisations in an attempt to collate the strongest arguments possible in support of creationism. We can laugh away so many absurdly hilarious creationist claims as we come across them on blogs and YouTube comments, but what about the big guns? Given one chance to prove their point, what evidence do the world’s most powerful creationist groups cite? I’ve been collating a list.

I’m talking on Thursday the 9th of August. The venue is the Banshee Labyrinth and the show starts at 8:30pm. It’s free, though I do encourage you to make a small donation if possible. The lovely folks at Edinburgh Skeptics volunteer their free time in order to run a month of daily events for us lucky buggers.

You can find out more about Skeptics On The Fringe here.

Hackney Skeptics in the Pub

I’ve been asked to speak about the science of lucid dreaming tomorrow (30/7/2012) at Hackney Skeptics in the Pub. It’s been a very popular talk that’s went down well at Skeptics on the Fringe, Winchester Science Festival, and other Skeptics in the Pub groups including Birmingham, Reading, Nottingham, Glasgow, Dundee, and Aberdeen. If you’re in the area, come along and say hi!

Update: Thanks to everyone who came along! I really enjoyed this one, especially the Q&A. Some really thought-provoking stuff! The audience were great, the venue is brilliant, and the organisers were awesome.

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I also got Ned Evett to sign his album, Treehouse. All in all a great night. Cheers!

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Winchester Science Festival

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At the end of the week, Winchester Science Festival is taking place from Friday through to Sunday. I can’t wait to see the talks and performances, and I’m fortunate enough to be taking the stage on Saturday morning at 9am to talk about the actual science behind our understanding of lucid dreaming. Do come along if you can pull yourself away from your own dreams that early! All three days are filled with fantastic speakers. It should be a great weekend.

You can find out more at the website: www.winchesterscifest.org

Or follow on Twitter: @WinSciFest

Update: The first Winchester Science Festival was amazing! Well done to James Thomas for organising the entire event! I saw some incredible talks and performances, I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to an awesome audience, and along with Simon Watt I got an extra set as Lewis Dartnell was unfortunately ill on the day of his talk (it’s all good, he’s fine now). I hope to come along for a second one next year!

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Sorry to tell you this now…

Click image to enlarge.

 

(Not a lot of) Fun at the psychic fair

Last weekend I went along to a psychic fair in Glasgow. It was fairly uneventful, and not overly interesting, but I did meet a few other skeptics there. There were plenty of supposed psychics, mediums and merchants selling tacky stones, crystals and trinkets. Just what you would expect. Perhaps a little less common, there was a woman apparently in touch with fairies, who sold all kind of fairy crap, and there was a woman who would sit you in front of a tacky little camera and screen which then displayed your aura. Basically, you would pay £90 an hour to have someone do some trippy Photoshopping on you. It was also amusing to see spine wizards at the fair. Yes, deadly serious chiropractors appearing alongside crystal healing and ladies who communicate with fairies. Wonderful. It was uneventful, as I said, and I arrived a bit late due to me being an idiot, so there’s not much more to add. The only reason I’m posting this at all is because I spoke to a few people who said they hadn’t actually been to a psychic fair before and wondered what type of things to expect. So without further ado, here are some quick phone pics and a video. (Note the spine wizard entertaining a fellow skeptic. Did anyone else find the very last frame oddly amusing? How mature.)

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British Chiropractic Association discontinues libel action against Simon Singh!

Congratulations Simon Singh! I’m technically not blogging at the moment, as I prepare the upcoming changes for the blog, but I had to post something about the great news. Today, the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) have issued the following statement regarding their case against Simon Singh.

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(Video) Open-mindedness

By QualiaSoup

Petition for Prime Minister: End NHS funding for the air guitar of medicine

At the start of the week, we received some great news in the UK. The House of Commons published its report on the evidence for homeopathy. The MPs urge that the government withdraws NHS funding for homeopathy. They also propose that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) shouldn’t allow homeopathic product labels to make medical claims, or claim there are active ingredients when there are not. Read the rest of this entry

Huge win against homeopathy in the UK!

Break open a bottle of bubbly, it’s time to celebrate! And remember to dilute the alcohol as much as possible if you want to really get drunk. We’ve been treated to some really exciting news for skeptics, rational thinkers, and the public in general! Today, the House of Commons published its report on an investigation into homeopathy. The MPs urge that the government withdraws NHS funding for homeopathy. This is absolutely fantastic, and it gets even better. Read the rest of this entry

CSETI announces first ever photo of extraterrestrial

First, let’s clear something up. SETI and CSETI are not the same thing. One does serious science, the other quite simply doesn’t. CSETI describe themselves as an “international nonprofit scientific research and education organization dedicated to the furtherance of our understanding of extraterrestrial intelligence.”

You’ve maybe heard of the founder of CSETI, Dr Steven Greer. He went to the interesting Maharishi University of Management, where they teach “consciousness-based education”. Sounds fun.

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A brief guide to homeopathy: trifold leaflet and A3 poster

Here’s a great little trifold leaflet and an A3 poster explaining the basics of homeopathy, supplied by @ElGrandeMelon. Feel free to print these and use them where and when you like!

Brief guide to Homeopathy – Trifold leaflet

Brief guide to Homeopathy – A3 poster

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