Thursday, November 24, 2011

BEYOND THE VEIL


CFI UK and The Ethical Society present:
BEYOND THE VEIL – A CLOSER LOOK AT SPIRITS, MEDIUMS AND GHOSTS
Arranged by Stephen Law (Provost CFI UK)

Saturday 14th January 2012
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London

Bookshop by Newham Bookshop

TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE.

General: £10 general public. Members and students: £8 BHA, AHS and SPES members and students with valid ID. Free to members of the Centre for Inquiry UK.

***Special offer*** Tickets to this event and the Blasphemy! event on the 28th January £16 general, £12 members and students):Members and student ticket offer and General public ticket offer.

10.30am REGISTRATION


11.00 CHRIS FRENCH

Spirits on the brain: Insights from psychology and neuroscience


Chris French is a Professor of Psychology and Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and former editor of the Skeptic.

Belief in spirits can be found in all human societies and a substantial proportion of the population claim to have had direct contact with a spiritual realm beyond ordinary experience. This talk presents an overview of scientific research into sleep paralysis, near-death/out-of-body experiences and reincarnation claims in support of the claim that such topics can be understood without recourse to paranormal explanations.

12.00 HAYLEY STEVENS

'Is there anybody there?'


A ghost hunter that doesn't hunt for ghosts, Hayley Stevens has been researching paranormal reports since 2005. She is the co-host of the Righteous Indignation Podcast, blogs at 'Hayley is a Ghost', occasionally writes for numerous publications, and has spoken internationally about ghosts and critical thinking.

As someone who used to actively hunt for proof that ghosts existed, Hayley has first hand experience with the weird and scary lengths that ghost hunters will go to, to contact the dead and prove they exist in spirit form. 'Is there anybody there?' will give insight into the modern world of ghost hunting where a scientific approach is more likely to be an updated version of seance parlour antics - from the evolution of table tipping, to the revolution of the Ghost busting Smart phone apps.

1.00-1.30 LUNCH BREAK

1.30 PAUL ZENON

Mediums at Large


Paul has been a professional trickster for almost thirty years during that period has appeared countless times as performer, presenter and pundit on numerous TV shows across many genres. As someone who spent a brief period (in his admittedly misguided youth) as a fortune-teller and 'psychic', and as a lifelong student of cons, scams and swindles, he is well qualified to talk about the current crop of mediums and the media bias towards their promotion. He would like to take the precaution of prefacing his entire talk with the word 'allegedly'.

A mild rant about TV mediums and the similarity to their predecessors of a century ago.

2.00 RICHARD WISEMAN

Parnormality


Richard Wiseman is the Professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He has been active in the skeptical movement for many a year, does Twitter stuff, has recently written 'Paranormality: Why we see what isn't there', and likes dogs.

Do ghosts really exist? What actually happens at seances? How do you go about testing mediums? Why do these sorts of paragraphs often involve a long list of questions? All of this and more will be revealed in an exciting talk that will dig deep into the psychology of belief. Free packet of peanuts for the best question.

3.00 IAN ROWLAND

You Are The Magic


Ian Rowland is a writer and entertainer with an interest in various aspects of how the mind works or sometimes doesn't. He taught FBI agents how to be persuasive, and taught Derren Brown how to read fortunes. In America, in front of 10 million TV viewers, he proved that he could talk to dead people - or at least fake it well enough to convince complete strangers. He knows an awful lot about cold reading (look it up), but tries not to drone on about it at parties. He is good at drinking tea and waiting for interesting invitations to come his way. Ian will perform a few miracles, just because he can and it's fun, while explaining the truth about psychic powers, miraculous gifts and the afterlife. He will also demonstrate that you are just a little bit more magical and miraculous than you may realise.

4.00 END

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please accept my sincere apologies for posting this in the wrong place but I am visually impaired and consequently had to get sighted help. However I would like to respond to the 'nuclear' question that you planned to pose to William Lane Craig.

I fear that such a question would be a case of scare-mongering and I do hope that wasn't your intention. It is a useful thought experiment I have found to see if there are secular equivalents to religious assertions. So the phrase “we are all sinners” is pretty well synonymous with “hey, nobody’s perfect!” and consequently both are cop-outs, excuses not to take responsibility for one’s actions. However it also cuts the other way. It is no fairer for you to ask Bill the ‘nuclear’ question than it is to ask a social liberal “if you absolutely knew that by torturing someone for information you could avoid a terrorist atrocity, would you do so?” The response could only possibly be “how can you ever possibly be certain that torture would avoid an atrocity”. I realise that 'evidence' for God's existence is subjective but I remain to be convinced that Bill absolutely knows with 100% certainty that God exists (and I have seen 5 of his debates). If I found that he does then I would find this deeply troubling – with the proviso that I also find 100% certain atheism just as troubling albeit in different ways. I don’t of course know how Bill would respond but if I were him I would say that he can never absolutely know God’s existence since this negates the whole idea of faith and belief. Consequently if God were to manifest himself with 100% certainty Bill would have very strong reasons to believe that this is not the Christian God whom he worships (and might in fact be the Devil), and would therefore be justified in refusing to push the button. Of course whether this would be Bill’s response does depend on whether he believes with 100% certainty that God exists.

Now you may respond at this point that Bill might well push the button with only a 98 or 99 percent certainty that God wishes him to do so. That is true, yet can you equally conceive of a non-religious person in the US sentencing a man to death with only 98 or 99 percent certainty that the accused is guilty? It seems to me that the scenario is at the very least possible, especially as neither atheist nor theist can claim moral superiority over one another, and consequently such corner cutting would reflect not on Bill’s faith but on his broader personality.

On a separate matter I enjoyed your 4thought slot yesterday.

Stephen Law said...

Hi anonymous. I am pretty sure it is Craig's view. It's in Reasonable Faith, which I don't have to hand to quote you. Also see this:

http://bit.ly/nxskBY