Welcome!

Skeptics in the Pub (SitP) exists to provide an opportunity for people who are interested in science, skepticism, rationalism, critical thinking to socialise and discuss matters of interest. Each month we invite someone to come and speak to us, and if there's someone you'd like to hear, let us know!

Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Brum_Skeptics

See also:

Birmingham Skeptics Own Web Page

SitP Birmingham page on Facebook

Birmingham Skeptics Podcast

Birmingham Skeptical DVD Store

 Other sites of note for the questioning Midlander

 Cafe Scientifique

Calendar of events at the WMAM site

Birmingham Salon

Lichfield Humanists

Birmingham Humanists

 

 

 

Dr Fiona MacCallum

When?
Wednesday, February 10 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48 John Bright Street
Birmingham
B1 1BN

Who?
Dr Fiona MacCallum

What's the talk about?

 What does the modern family look like? Technology has led to the creation of families that were not previously possible; a woman can become pregnant with, and give birth to, a child who is not genetically related to her. Parents don’t have to be in a female-male couple but can be with a same-sex partner or going it alone. Many assumptions are made about the best situation for children but what is actually known about the psychological effects of being raised in a “non-traditional” family? I’ll discuss research which investigates different family types and asks questions such as does it matter if a child has two mums or two dads? What do parents tell their children about how they were conceived? And when it comes to family relationships, is “blood” really thicker than water? 


Fiona MacCallum is a developmental psychologist with a particular interest in parent-child relationships and their influence on children’s social and emotional wellbeing. She began to research the psychology of new family forms in 1996, and has specialised in the study of non-genetic families. Fiona is an Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Warwick.

This is a free event, although donations to help fund Birmingham Skeptics in the Pub events are appreciated.  Seats are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are unable to stand for the duration of the talk let us know beforehand and we will reserve one for you.

Laurie Ramsell

When?
Wednesday, February 24 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48 John Bright Street
Birmingham
B1 1BN

Who?
Laurie Ramsell

What's the talk about?

 What defines us as being human? 

Do we attribute our humanity to a ‘rational soul’?

 

Do we quantify it through our biology?  

 What happens when we can alter our biology, manufacture a soul? If these standard benchmarks are altered then what do we have left, what makes us 'human' anymore? These are the question I have investigated in a new artistic project with Birmingham Open Media, funded by Arts Council England   

 Since the dawn of the 21st century we have had to answer such questions in entirely new contexts; artificial intelligence, cloning, In Vitro Fertilisation, stem cells, and synthetic life. These new arenas of science have opened up the discussion surrounding what it truly means to be human, in an age when we can make them artificially. 

 Over a six month research and development residency, I will be investigating the concept of humanness through the lens of transhumanism; the evolution of humans through technology. The residency will conclude with a final artwork, formed in part from your contribution on the subject. I will be presenting my project, ideas, and research in a half hour talk, after which I would like to open the discussion to the audience, to further understand your hopes, and fears, for the future or such technologies. A worksheet will also be made available to record thoughts and comments towards the project. 

Please join us for an evening of discussion at the Victoria pub, Birmingham, with the Birmingham Skeptics - led by artist Laurie Ramsell, artist in residence and fellow at Birmingham Open Media, investigating near future technologies in his new project 'Novo Sapiens'.

 

This is a free event and there is no charge for attending and participating.

 

 

Jonathan Courtney

When?
Wednesday, March 9 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48 John Bright Street
Birmingham
B1 1BN

Who?
Jonathan Courtney

What's the talk about?

As citizens of a wealthy country, we have immense power to improve the lives of others less fortunate than us. But too often, we fail to consider how much of an impact our charitable donations actually have, and as a result, the charities we donate to often make little to no difference in the real world, and sometimes even make things worse. However, by donating to the most cost-effective charities, we can make a huge difference to people’s lives at a negligible cost to ourselves. How much good can you do?

Jonathan Courtney has a Masters in Philosophy from Oxford and is Assistant Executive Director and Director of Outreach for Giving What We Can, a charity evaluator that advocates giving to the most cost-effective charities.

This is a free event, although donations to help fund Birmingham Skeptics in the Pub events are appreciated.  Seats are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are unable to stand for the duration of the talk let us know beforehand and we will reserve one for you.

Dr Kat Arney

When?
Wednesday, April 13 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48 John Bright Street
Birmingham
B1 1BN

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 published her first book, Herding Hemingway's Cats, about how our genes work. You can order it here:http://bit.ly/HerdingHemingwaysCats

This is a free event, although donations to help fund Birmingham Skeptics in the Pub events are appreciated.  Seats are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are unable to stand for the duration of the talk let us know beforehand and we will reserve one for you.

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