South Place Ethical Society
A day exploring the science of the weird, and weird and flaky science
Ben Goldacre, Richard Wiseman, Chris French and Stephen Law
25 Red Lion Square
£10 (£5 for students)
To book tickets, send a cheque payable to 'Center for Inquiry London' to: Executive Director Suresh Lalvani, Center for Inquiry London, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL Alternatively payment can be made by PAYPAL. Use the “Support CFI London” link at www.cfilondon.org and follow the instructions.
11am-12am RICHARD WISEMAN
Investigating the impossible: A skeptical approach
For over 20 years, psychologist Richard Wiseman has delved deep into the mysterious world of the paranormal, carrying out high profile, and often controversial, investigations into the impossible. In this talk, Wiseman describes some of his more colourful adventures, presenting a scientific look at a range of seemingly paranormal phenomenon, including fire-walking, ghostly encounters, and ESP.
12am-1pm CHRIS FRENCH
Eight Years of Weird Science at Goldsmiths
The Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit (APRU) was set up by Professor Chris French in 2000 in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths (for full details, visit www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/apru). Anomalistic psychology may be defined as the study of extraordinary phenomena of behaviour and experience, including (but not restricted to) those that are often labeled "paranormal". Over the last eight years, members of the APRU have investigated a wide range of weird and wonderful topics, including alien contact experiences, sleep paralysis, haunted houses, dowsing, and telepathy. This overview will present the results of such investigations - and also reveal why Uri Geller cannot stand Richard Wiseman!
2pm-3pm STEPHEN LAW
Is creationism scientific?
Polls consistently indicate about 100 million Americans believe the entire universe is six thousand years old and that all species were created as described by Genesis. Even more amazingly, many of these people also believe that this theory is consistent with the scientific evidence. Indeed, there are multi-million dollar research centres in the U.S. run by PhD-qualified staff, that aim to defend young-Earth creationism. How have so many people become so deluded about what is, and isn’t, good science? What are the basic confusions? Stephen Law illustrates with his own pet theory – that dogs are spies from the planet Venus.
3pm-4pm BEN GOLDACRE
Listen up flakes: science is seriously so much more interesting than anything you can make up with your woolly new age claptrap.
About Ben Goldacre. Ben Goldacre is a writer, broadcaster and medical doctor from the UK who is best known for his 'Bad Science' column in The Guardian newspaper, examining the claims of scaremongering journalists, quack health products, pseudoscientific cosmetics adverts, and evil multinational pharmaceutical corporations, as well as wider themes such as the medicalisation of everyday life and the psychology of irrational beliefs.