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Tricks of the Mind event CFI, March 30th.

Illusion Eye Trick
Tricks of the Mind

Come and hear some of the world’s leading experts explain how our minds can distort and deceive, including how they often play a role in generating a wide range of paranormal experiences. Discussion will include magic, time distortion, hypnotism and past-life regression.

Presented by Centre for Inquiry UK and Conway Hall. Organized and introduced by Stephen Law.

Book signings and shop.

Saturday, 30th March 2013.

Venue: Conway Hall (main hall), 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, WC1R 4RL London (nearest tube Holborn).

10.30am registration (speakers at 11-1, 2-4pm). Ends 4pm.

Tickets £10 on door (£5 student concession) (and from BHA website shortly)

Daniela Rudloff: Mental ‘Short-Cuts’ - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Can we trust our eyes? Why does a footballer’s performance usually drop right after they’ve been sold to a high-paying football club? What exactly is “anchoring”, and why are we doing it on dry land?

Daniela Rudloff will answer these and other questions by giving an introduction to some of the mental shortcuts and biases in our everyday thinking. In her talk she shows how these shortcuts are often useful and sometimes counterproductive, always pervasive and surprisingly difficult to avoid.

Daniela has always had a keen interest in critical thinking, cognitive psychology and the scientific method. After completing her PhD in Cognitive Psychology she now teaches at Leicester University, with a particular focus on research methods and statistics. Daniela has previously presented at Skeptics in the Pubs events and at the Skeptics on the Fringe.

Claudia Hammond: Time Warped 

We are obsessed with time, but why does it play so many tricks on us? Why does time slow down when you're afraid and speed up as you get older? Drawing on the latest research from the fields of psychology, neuroscience and biology, and using original research on the way memory shapes our understanding of time, the awarding-winning writer and broadcaster Claudia Hammond delves into the mysteries of time perception and how the mind creates a sense of time.

Claudia is an award-winning broadcaster, writer and psychology lecturer. She is the presenter of All in the Mind & Mind Changers on BBC Radio 4 and the Health Check on BBC World Service Radio every week and BBC World News TV every month. Claudia is a columnist for and the author of "Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception" and "Emotional Rollercoaster - a journey through the science of feelings" which won the Aoen Transmission Prize in February 2013. 

Martin S Taylor: More Lives Than One?

Martin S Taylor became interested in hypnosis when he was studying for a PhD at Imperial College, and soon became well known on the student circuit with his science based lecture-demonstration. At first he believed in the traditional view that hypnosis is a special induced state of mind, but discussions with friends and his experience with his own hypnotic subjects led him to subscribe to the 'social-compliance' view, namely that hypnosis is best explained by normal, well-understood psychological principles.

He now makes a living as a lecturer and consultant on hypnosis, talking and demonstrating at schools, universities, and anywhere else they'll pay him. It was at one of Martin's lectures that Derren Brown was inspired to take up his career, and Martin has worked with Derren on a number of recent television shows. Recently he has been working as a hypnosis consultant for Paramount Pictures, producing promotional videos for horror films.

In today’s talk, Martin will be examining the notion that hypnosis can be used to get people to remember past lives, a phenomenon taken by many as evidence of reincarnation.

Robert Teszka: Mind and Magic

Robert Teszka is a cognitive psychologist, magician, science promoter, and massive geek. He uses the techniques of misdirection to study the psychology of attention and awareness at Goldsmiths University, and has travelled internationally to give lectures on the surprising insights of cognitive psychology.

Mind and Magic is a talk about how our own minds deceive us as readily as any magician, and how magician's tricks can help us understand our minds a bit better. Expect a curated collection of demonstrations, experiments, and original research - and perhaps a magic trick or two - as Rob attempts to convince you that sometimes, you just can't trust your own mind.

Image credit maltesen flickr. Creative commons.


Rick Warden said…
>Come and hear some of the world’s leading experts explain how our minds can distort and deceive...

- That's very interesting, I just wrote a post touching on this very subject at my blog. It's entitled,

"How Logic Helps to Reveal Spiritual Blindness"

One of the main points relates to how you did not address "the central argument" of The God Delusion (as defined by Dawkins)in your entire 1.5 hour video-taped assessment of the book.

I'd like to offer you an opportunity, Stephen, to point out where in the 1,5 hour video, or any other video there, where you assessed Dawkins' six-point central argument and the logic thereof. It seems that somehow you were blinded to its very existence. Here are the relevant links:

How Logic Helps to Reveal Spiritual Blindness

Remember When WL Craig Refuted The God Delusion?

Stephen Law said…
Yes, blinded by sin.
Rick Warden said…
Perhaps a love for sin is a key factor. That may be so.

In any event, are you willing to admit, Stephen, that throughout the course of a 1.5 hour presentation on the strengths and weaknesses of The God Delusion you did not once address Dawkins' "central argument" as defined by Dawkins himself?

"This chapter has contained the central argument of my book, and so, at the risk of sounding repetitive, I shall summarize it as a series of six numbered points."

Can you admit that? Or, can you provide a reference to a point in the recorded video when you did assess Dawkins' six point central argument?

Stephen Law said…
No Rick you can sod off.
Rick Warden said…
That does not seem to be a very moral answer.

If you've made a mistake that helps to mislead people and someone points it out, wouldn't the moral choice be to admit that you've made a mistake and let people know?
Rick Warden said…

1. If Law is familiar with "textbook" requirements for logical arguments, why did he tell me any "various forms" of his argument "out there" would be valid?

2. If law could supposedly present a logically valid version of his argument, "a textbook version" why didn't he provide it initially as support for his own argument?

3. If Law is familiar with "textbook" requirements for logical arguments, why does he turn Dawkins' own argument into a straw-man prose-style version?

The most obvious explanation to these questions is that Law is avoiding reliable logical evaluations in his own thought processes.

Law is apparently quite comfortable in a state of illusion.
Stephen Law said…
Hi Rick

I can and do respond to blog comments quite happily if at least one of two criteria are met:

(i) the comment is intellectually pretty clear, interesting and robust,


(ii) while perhaps naive, muddled and/or amateurish, the person making the comment is clearly a decent chap engaged in a largely open-minded and honest pursuit of the truth.

After previous interactions with you, Rick, I have come to the conclusion you fail to meet either of these criteria. Indeed, I think you are both a bit of a lightweight and not very pleasant. So I'll decline.

But hey, maybe I am wrong and you really are the intellectual powerhouse you think you are, able to land devastating logical blows on established academics. So why not try submitting your stuff to some peer-reviewed academic journals rather than wasting your talents on internet comments? Get yourself some kudos. If you really are able to land these devastating intellectual blows, you should have no trouble getting your stuff published. Imagine how that would enhance your reputation and thus your ability to fight the good apologetic fight.

I suggest Religious Studies. Go here:
Rick Warden said…
>I think you are both a bit of a lightweight and not very pleasant. So I'll decline...But hey, maybe I am wrong and you really are the intellectual powerhouse you think you are.

- Stephen, you failed to address Dawkins' six-point argument in The God Delusion in your review. Therefore, your review was misleading, too gratuitous.

It it isn't "pleasant" for you when people point out mistakes. that is quite understandable.

Personally, I find the comment "sod off" to be a bit unpleasant and unprofessional.

In terms of being "muddled," it seems that your rhetoric would better fit into that category. I strive to be a person who utilizes logic and logical principles in my reasoning.

I see very little interest in the use of demonstrable logical principles in your publications and in your discourse. On the contrary, you tend to avoid it.

The fact that I am willing to point out logical problems does mean mean that I consider myself to be an "intellectual powerhouse." These are objective faults that anyone with an open mind will attest to.

A commenter pointed out how apt Paul Simon's quote is regarding your attitude:

"Still, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."

Jesus offered some advice with regard to people who mislead others:

"Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

Anyone who is genuinely interested in philosophical truth will also be interested in logic. They will seek out teachers who embrace logic and do not avoid it. In the mean time, atheists in secular academia will often serve as valuable object lessons.
Stephen Law said…
Yes Rick do please follow Jesus' advice: "Leave them".

And I'll look forward to seeing your stuff in print. Or not.
Rick Warden said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stephen Law said…
Rick's previous post deleted as it was just an extended advert for his website.
Stephen Law said…

If you continue to post multiple links to your websites here I'll delete them, as it looks like a cheap ruse for generating traffic.

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