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.

Why would a former drugs cop want to legalise all drugs?

Neil Woods

When?
Wednesday, September 21 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Neil Woods

What's the talk about?

Ever wanted to know what it’s really like being an undercover drugs detective? Our culture seems to be obsessed with police, drugs, and the underworld - with films and television programmes like The Wire, Trainspotting, Breaking Bad, is the reality any different from fiction?

Neil Woods was a police officer for 23 years, 14 of which were spent undercover. When your day job is spent buying heroin and chasing the most hardened gangsters, can you ever truly switch off from such a life?

With a career spent on the streets, dealing with those who suffer with addiction, what drives a former drugs cop to change his stance and join an organisation comprised of police, MI5, military, and civilians, all of whom campaign to fully reform our drug laws; Neil Woods is Chairman of LEAP UK – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

His memoir, Good Cop, Bad War, is released mid-August 2016 - it has also been serialised in the Mail on Sunday. Neil is a regular media contributor, featuring on Vice, BBC, Channel 5, he has become a powerful voice in the pursuit of evidence-based drug policy.

Professor Chris Rhodes

When?
Wednesday, October 19 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Professor Chris Rhodes

What's the talk about?

Across the world, 30 billion barrels of crude oil are produced each year, not only for fuel but to make products ranging from plastics to pharmaceuticals. Nearly all our food production also depends on oil.

However, global existing production of crude oil is in decline by 5% per year, meaning that a compensating equivalent of a new Saudi Arabia must be brought on-stream every 3—4 years. Most of this “new oil” is expected to come from more challenging, unconventional sources, which include fracking shale, deepwater drilling, heavy oil, and tar sands. Within 10 years, it may not be possible to sustain the global supply of oil at present levels. Hence, if we continue as we are, Western civilisation will collapse. Our salvation requires a re-adaptation of how we live, from the global to the local; to a world of small communities far less dependent on transportation. Technology will not save us, unless we cut our energy use and particularly our demand for oil.

Professor Chris Rhodes is Director of Fresh-lands Environmental Actions and is based in Reading. He has written numerous scientific articles and recently published his first novel, University Shambles, a black comedy on the disintegration of the British university system.
 

Kevin Precious

When?
Wednesday, November 16 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Kevin Precious

What's the talk about?

Kevin Precious is a former RE teacher turned stand-up comedian and promoter.  Besides having played many of the top clubs in the land, he also promotes shows in arts centres and theatres under the Barnstormers Comedy banner. He has previously toured the country with a stand-up show entitled 'Not Appropriate', dedicated to the business of teaching.

In between the various comedic activites, he attends his local humanist group - he's an agnostic, folks - where he loves a good old debate about the big questions in life.  Expect jokes and stories then, about his time as an RE teacher, being a humanist, the God-Shaped Hole, and the philosophy of religion... and you can ask him a few questions of your own afterwards, if you wish.

What happened when we tried to correct the record on 58 misreported clinical trials

Henry Drysdale

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

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Henry Drysdale

What's the talk about?

For 6 weeks in late 2015, the COMPare team monitored every clinical trial published in the top 5 medical journals for “outcome switching”: when trialists report something different from what they originally said they would report. Of 67 trials assessed, 58 (87%) were found to contain discrepancies between prespecified intention and reported outcomes.

Outcome switching is already known to be extremely common, even in top medical journals. But COMPare went one step further: they wrote a letter to the journal for all 58 trials found to contain discrepancies; to correct the record on the individual trials, and to test the “self-correcting” properties of science.

The responses to these letters from journal editors and trial authors were unprecedented, and shed light on the reasons why this problem persists. The aim of COMPare was to fix outcome switching, through correction letters and open discussion. They never expected the levels of misunderstanding and bias at the heart of the issue.

Based at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, COMPare is made up of three senior researchers, 5 graduate-entry medical students, and a programmer. The project was born when one medical student came to the department in search of a project. The idea of monitoring the outcomes in clinical trials was made possible by 4 more medical students, who were recruited to make the vast amount of analysis possible. All assessments are reviewed by senior colleagues, and decisions made at weekly team meetings. There is no specific funding for COMPare: all the students work for free, driven by the desire and opportunity to fix a broken system.

Visit the COMPare website (COMPare-trials.org) for more details about their team, methods, results and blog.