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.

Useful Tool or Robot Overlords?

Dr Allan Tucker

When?
Wednesday, February 17 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Dr Allan Tucker

What's the talk about?

Artificial Intelligence has been a staple of popular culture for generations from promises of a Leisure Age when robots would do all of our work while we lived in luxury to scare stories where robots turn against their masters.

Dr Tucker looks at some of the key figures in AI in the last century through to the state-of-the-art learning machines that are all around us today and asks whether we will ever really have intelligent machines that are comparable to humans.

Dr Allan Tucker is senior lecturer in computer science at Brunel University. His research focuses on designing algorithms that can learn models from data to predict the future and assist experts in making decisions. His biomedical work includes long term projects with Moorfields Eye Hospital exploring models of eye disease and he collaborates with Leiden University Medical Centre on models of gene regulation.

Rob Bailey

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

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Rob Bailey

What's the talk about?

Rob Bailey is a Chartered Psychologist, a member of the Magic Circle and a veteran of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where, for 4 years he performed a one-man show as a ‘mind reader’. During that time, he felt increasing unease that although the show was meant to parody psychic powers and encourage critical thinking, he has risked replacing the audience’s beliefs in the paranormal with unwarranted beliefs in impossible psychological powers.

His new show is a response to that: Rob has stripped his routines back to include only genuine psychological principles. He will perform a few routines, followed by explanations (e.g. quirks of bias, memory and perception).

Exclusively for the Skeptics in the Pub audience, he will also discuss his thoughts about the pitfalls of attempting to promote critical thinking by using illusions.
 

How Do Our Genes Work?

Dr Kat Arney

When?
Wednesday, April 20 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Dr Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

The language of genes has become common in the media. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. We're told that genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.

There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the 'recipes' that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with all the control switches ensuring they're turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. With the help of cats with thumbs, fish with hips and wobbly worms, Kat will unpack some of the mysteries in our DNA and explain the latest thinking about how our genes work.

Dr Kat Arney is a science communicator and award-winning blogger for Cancer Research UK, as well as a freelance science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more. She has just published her first book, Herding Hemingway's Cats, about how our genes work.

Dr Fiona Gabbert

When?
Wednesday, May 18 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Dr Fiona Gabbert

What's the talk about?

Eyewitness evidence is often crucial in a criminal investigation; it can help provide leads at the beginning of a case, and plays a role in legal decision making at the end of a case. How reliable is eyewitness memory?! What kinds of things make it more (or less) reliable? What are the implications if an eyewitness makes a mistake? What can researchers do to help avoid mistakes being made?

Fiona Gabbert is a Professor of Applied Psychology, and Director of the Forensic Psychology Unit at Goldsmiths University of London. Her interests focus on the strengths and weaknesses of human memory. She has an international reputation for her research in the fields of suggestibility of memory and evidence-based investigative interviewing, where she seeks to develop innovative ways to improve the usability, credibility, and reliability of evidence from eyewitnesses.

Ash Pryce

When?
Wednesday, June 15 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Ash Pryce

What's the talk about?

"Roll up! Roll up! Roll up! Gather ye round the traveling caravan, as Snake Oil Salesman Ash Pryce demonstrates the miraculous curative abilities of psychic surgery, taught to your humble trickster by a wise man in the Philippines. See with wonder the telekinetic forces at work as you learn how to move objects with your mind, psychically predict the outcome of the historic Zener Cards and read the minds of your peers.
"
 

Whereas the sister show How to Talk to the Dead looked specifically at spirit communication in the past, How to be a Psychic Conman will look at the more incredible, magical side of psychic claims that persist today. The types of demonstrations that blur the line between the honest deception of magic, and the dishonesty of those hoping to make a quick buck out of your deep rooted beliefs.

The show is an interactive, skeptical, how to guide to a whole host of psychic scammery.

Warning to those on the front row… there will be blood!

www.ashpryce.co.uk

Who can predict the future, and how?

Michael Story

When?
Wednesday, July 20 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Michael Story

What's the talk about?

Since 2011, a team of 200 civilians has been predicting the future more accurately than US intelligence agencies. Formed five years ago under the auspices of IARPA (the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, informally known as 'DARPA for spies'), the Good Judgement Project's 'Superforecaster' teams have been forecasting the specifics of North Korean missile programmes, the movement of Russian troops and the longevity of Robert Mugabe, achieving a 50% lower error rate than the previous state of the art.

This talk will cover who makes these forecasts, how they are doing it, and some techniques shown to make nearly anyone more accurate when predicting the future.
 
Michael Story is a policy researcher and Superforecaster with the Good Judgement Project.

www.michaelwstory.com/