Welcome to Gravesend Skeptics in the Pub - the pub skeptics who meet in a tea-room on the third Wednesday of every month.

Doors open at 7:00 p.m. when drinks and cakes will be available.  Talks start at 7:45 p.m.

Everyone is welcome. Usually there's no need to book but check individual events as occasionally booking is necessary.  Talks are generally suitable for an audience aged 16 and over.

The cost is a donation of £2 per head towards the speaker's expenses.

Dr Lynne Kelly

When?
Thursday, March 2 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Dr Lynne Kelly

What's the talk about?

Without writing, indigenous elders memorised a vast amount of factual information on which survival depended both physically and culturally: knowledge of thousands of animals and plants, astronomical charts, vast navigation networks, genealogies, geography and geology … the list goes on and on. How did they remember so much? And why does this explain the purpose of ancient monuments including Stonehenge, Easter Island and the Nasca Lines? Can we use these memory methods in contemporary life?

This lecture will focus on the transmission of scientific and practical knowledge among small-scale oral cultures across the world, drawing on Australian Aboriginal, Native American, African and Pacific cultures. Dr Kelly will explain the exact mechanisms used and why this explains the purpose of many enigmatic monuments around the world. We have a great deal to learn from the extraordinary mnemonic skills of indigenous cultures.

Dr Kelly lives and works in Australia but is in the UK for a book launch.  Michael Marshall (Good Thinking Society, Gravesend speaker July 2015) heard her when he was in Australia and knowing that she was coming to London kindly asked if she would visit No.84.  This event is in addition to the usual third Wednesday in the month Skeptics, details of which are still at the pending stage.

Professor Chris French

When?
Wednesday, March 15 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Professor Chris French

What's the talk about?

In the context of the current huge increase in historical sexual abuse allegations, it is instructive to consider the Satanic panic that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s.  Many of the beliefs that fuelled that wave of hysteria are not supported by any convincing empirical evidence.  The evidence put forward to support the claim that Satanic abuse was real and widespread came from two equally dubious sources: children interrogated using inappropriate highly suggestive questioning and memories ostensibly “recovered” from adults during therapy.  There is no physical forensic evidence to support the existence of Satanic ritual abuse.  The truth is that victims of sexual abuse are far more likely to remember being abused than to repress such memories.

Professor Chris French is Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London.  He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, as well as being a Patron of the British Humanist Association. He is a member of the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of the British False Memory Society.  He has published over 150 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics within psychology. His main 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, as well as writing for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine which, for more than a decade, he also edited. His most recent books are Why Statues Weep: The Best of The Skeptic, co-edited with Wendy Grossman (2010, Philosophy Press), Anomalistic Psychology, co-authored with Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, and David Luke (2012, Palgrave Macmillan), and Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience, co-authored with Anna Stone (2014, Palgrave Macmillan). Follow him on Twitter: @chriscfrench

Chris was also our first speaker at Gravesend Skeptics, giving his talk on 'Weird Science'.  Not only did he help to get the group started but he has supported both Skeptics and the SAM group for the youngsters ever since.

Jamie Bartlett

When?
Wednesday, April 19 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Jamie Bartlett

What's the talk about?

The dark net is an underworld that stretches from popular social media sites to the most secretive corners of the encrypted web. It is a world that frequently appears in newspaper headlines but one that is little understood, and rarely explored.

For his book The Dark Net Jamie Bartlett spent two years immersed in some of the internet's most shocking and secretive sub-cultures: spending time in secretive 'trolling' forums, interviewing illegal pornographers, buying drugs from the notorious 'Silk Road', following bitcoin enthusiasts, attending live internet sex shows, and hanging out with neo-Nazis.

In his talk, Jamie will suggest they are not as they seem. They are shocking and disturbing, but often extremely innovative. He will discuss the truth of how these internet subcultures work, who is part of them, and what we can learn from them. He will also discuss the problems of meeting and writing about some of the internet's most hated people.

Jamie is Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos. His primary research interests are: new political movements and social media research and analysis, internet cultures and security and privacy online. The Dark Net was shortlisted for The Political Award and longlisted for The Orwell Prize. His next book Radicals (Random House) about new radical social and political movements will be released in Spring 2017.