Joseph Simcox

When?
Wednesday, November 1 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Joseph Simcox

What's the talk about?

Joseph Simcox is a World Food Plant Ecologist and Ethnobotanist. As a Botanical Explorer he travels the globe to identify the world’s food plant resources focusing on under-utilized crops and wild species. The basis of his work is to promote the use and cultivation of plants for food and useful components. The harmonious balance between modern man’s infrastructures and nature is necessary if man is to continue to prosper on the planet. His goal is to ensure food security and nutrition for all while developing food systems that mimic nature. Joseph asserts that the identification of wild food plants and their appropriate habitats is the first step to creating sustainable ecosystems.

The improvement of these suitable plants should be one of the world’s foremost civic agendas. Science is often viewed as the sole source of inspiration in our present day psyche, but Joseph argues that much of the greatest inspiration will come when we re-examine the life ways of peoples past. “When we “know” as a society rather than as “experts” what nature offers us all will have the keys to live better, healthier and more rewarding lives. Many of the causes of poverty in today’s world are overlooked because few categorize non-economic indicators of impoverishment. Losing traditional ways is often looked upon as advancement by the people who are trying to “advance” but in the process they ironically become even more poor. We are like those people, but we lost our ways a long-long time ago, it's time to rediscover what we lost!”

Joseph is an international speaker presenting at diverse conferences and symposiums around the world and introducing new perspectives on food resources, food production and the environment. He collaborates with independent growers, industry, universities, governments and non-government organizations in this worldwide effort. He has visited more than 100 countries to date for his field experience.

Dr Julia Shaw

When?
Wednesday, December 6 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Julia Shaw

What's the talk about?

Is memory just an illusion? Can it be hacked? Dr Julia Shaw will take you on a trip through the various ways in which your brain deceives you into believing that you can reliably form memories - particularly memories of your life experiences. In a turbulent overview of the rich world of the science of our personal past, she will discuss the neurological, perceptual, and social aspects of memory illusions. By the end of it, she’ll have you questioning all your memories, and wondering whether you actually are who you think you are.

Julia Shaw is a memory scientist at London South Bank University who loves to dispel misconceptions and challenge notions of reality. In her research she convinces people that they committed crimes that never actually happened. When she’s not hacking into people’s memories, she is ineffectively Tweeting, or pouring her heart into her science communication, including hawking her popular science book “The Memory Illusion”.

NB: Not our usual first Wednesday of the month slot

Dr Vanessa Charland

When?
Wednesday, January 17 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Vanessa Charland

What's the talk about?

NB: Not our usual first Wednesday of the month slot

 

Near death experiences (NDEs) are increasingly being reported as a clearly identifiable physiological and psychological reality of clinical significance. However, the definition and causes of the phenomenon as well as the identification of NDE experiencers is still a matter of debate. Recent work has shown that NDEs memories cannot be considered as imagined event memories. On the contrary, their physiological origins could lead them to be really perceived although not lived in the reality. Moreover, scientific evidence suggests that all psychological features of the NDE have a neuronal basis; yet the empirical investigation of the NDE phenomenon remains unexplored. We here propose the scientific study of NDE using integration of data derived from both psychological and neurophysiological approaches. We believe that by bridging data from psychology and neurology of NDE this project will open up a new perspective in the science of NDE by providing a rigorous definition and explanation of the phenomenon.

Dr Niall McCrae

When?
Wednesday, February 7 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Niall McCrae

What's the talk about?

According to the popular press, we are amidst an epidemic of mental health problems in young people. The internet, and particularly social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp, are often blamed for the rising incidence of depression in teenagers. But there is scant evidence for this. Niall McCrae, with colleagues Sheryl Gettings and Edward Purssell at King’s College London, conducted a systematic review of studies measuring social media use and depression in adolescence. A small statistically significant correlation was found, but this could be due to a minority of psychologically vulnerable young people turning to cyberspace for support. Undoubtedly there is problematic and excessive use of the internet, but the review findings do not suggest that social networking sites and instant messaging cause depression. Niall detects hints of moral panic arising from rapid technological advance and its perceived impact on society. Social media are the medium, but not the message.

 

Dr Niall McCrae is a lecturer in mental health at King’s College London. As well as almost a hundred papers in academic journals, Niall has written two books: The Moon and Madness, on the legendary notion of lunar influence on human behaviour, and Echoes from the Corridors, a history of nursing in the asylums.

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky

When?
Wednesday, March 7 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Professor Stephan Lewandowsky

What's the talk about?

Imagine a world that considers knowledge to be “elitist”. Imagine a world in which it is not medical knowledge but a free-for-all opinion market on Twitter that determines whether a newly emergent strain of avian flu is really contagious to humans. This dystopian future is still just that – a possible future. However, there are signs that public discourse is evolving in this direction: Terms such as “post-truth” and “fake news”, largely unknown until 2016, have exploded into media and public discourse. I explore the implications of the growing abundance of misinformation in the public sphere, how it influences people and how to counter it. I argue that for counter-measures to be effective, they must be informed by the larger political, technological, and societal context. The post-truth world arguably emerged as a result of societal mega-trends, such as a decline in social capital, growing economic inequality, increased polarization, declining trust in science, and an increasingly fractionated media landscape. Considered against the background of those over-arching trends, misinformation in the post-truth era can no longer be considered solely an isolated failure of individual cognition that can be corrected with appropriate communication tools. Rather, it should also consider the influence of alternative epistemologies that defy conventional standards of evidence. I suggest that responses to the post-truth era must therefore include technological solutions that incorporate psychological principles, an interdisciplinary approach that we describe as “technocognition.” Technocognition uses findings from cognitive science to inform the design of information architectures that encourage the dissemination of high-quality information and that discourage the spread of misinformation.

Geoff Whelan

When?
Wednesday, April 4 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Geoff Whelan

What's the talk about?

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. However, some religious groups are becoming increasingly vocal and have sought to use this right to resist legal and social change they believe conflicts with their scriptural teachings. Litigation is inevitable. There are a huge number of areas where the courts have had to decide on religious claims, not on the big questions, such as does God exist, but on more down to earth matters such as the wearing of religious symbols at work or at school, corporal punishment, open air funeral pyres, the destruction of sacred cows (literally), civil partnerships, drug use and even, in one case, wedding cake.

In his talk, Geoff will talk about a number of notable cases where religious practices have come into conflict with the law.

Geoff Whelan is a barrister practicing at Kenworthys Chambers, Manchester. He specialises in criminal law and has prosecuted and defended a number of high profile cases. He’s the chair of the Greater Manchester Skeptics Society and one of the organisers of QED. He also writes a legal column for “The Skeptic”. He’s made a number of appearances on BBC TV and radio but has never been paid a penny.

 

 

Jennifer Rees

When?
Wednesday, May 2 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Jennifer Rees

What's the talk about?

What differentiates a Serial Killer from Mass or Spree Killers? During this talk, you will discover how Serial Killers are classified, using case studies to illustrate, whilst debunking common serial killer myths along the way.

We will also explore how common homicidal fantasies are. Have you ever fantasised about killing someone? Jennifer will explore the research into the phenomenon.

Difference between male and female serial killers? What is the psychology underpinning the relationships of Killer Couples, exploring issues such as folie à deux (madness of two) and Hybristophilia – why do serial killers gain admirers, fan mail, and even spouses in light of their atrocious crimes?

This talk will be evidence-based throughout, citing the current research from the field in an accessible way.

Jennifer Rees is a Forensic Science Lecturer at West Herts College and the Programme Manager of the Extended Degree in Science Programme for the University of Hertfordshire’s Consortium. Previously, she has trained Policing recruits teaching on the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP) programme, on topics such as interviewing, as well as dealing with suspects, witnesses and victims.

In 2016, she was one of 50 Healthcare Professionals selected to write a Whitepaper recommendation for the NHS, and was appointed the Vice Chair of the Mental Wealth Initiative, a sub-committee of the Youth Health Parliament. Their proposals were presented in Parliament in December 2016, aimed to improve provision for 'mid-level' mental health problems.

Dr Adam Rutherford

When?
Wednesday, June 6 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Adam Rutherford

What's the talk about?

Sex, death, murder, disease, warfare, invasion, migration and famine. Of all the historical texts available to us, none is richer than the one we carry inside every cell. In the last few years, we have made extraordinary progress in our ability to read and understand DNA in the living, and to wheedle it out of people who may well have been dead for tens of thousands of years. Only now, are we re-painting the picture of the human story, using a unique combination of archaeology, history, art and our genomes. DNA is the saga of how we came to be who we are today.

Jamie Bartlett

When?
Wednesday, July 4 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Jamie Bartlett

What's the talk about?

Jamie Bartlett will talk about his latest book Radicals, which is an exploration of the individuals, groups and movements rejecting the way we live now and attempting to find alternatives. From dawn raids into open mines to the darkest recesses of the internet, Radicals introduces us to some of the most secretive and influential movements today: the US Transhumanist Party, far-right groups seeking to close the borders, militant environmentalists striving to save the planet's natural reserves by any means possible, libertarian movements founding new countries, autonomous cooperatives in self-sustaining micro-societies, and psychedelic pioneers attempting to heal society with the help of powerful hallucinogens. He will discuss the prospects for these new political movements and consider which provide the most plausible models for our future.

Jamie Bartlett is the Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos, where he specialises in online social movements and the impact of technology on society He is also author of the best selling book The Dark Net and a regular commentator on national and international media outlets.

David V Barrett

When?
Wednesday, August 1 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
David V Barrett

What's the talk about?

The End of the World is announced almost monthly. We remember the dire warnings at the Millennium, and the Mayan calendar of 2012, while the Second Coming of Jesus has been a regular event for centuries. The Maitreya was meant to appear in the East End of London, and our Space Brothers were coming to save the elect in their flying saucers...

These prophecies all have one thing in common. Alternative religions author Dr David V Barrett looks at prophecies of the end of the world and at how prophets cover their embarrassment when nothing happens... again.

Prof Karen Douglas

When?
Wednesday, September 5 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Prof Karen Douglas

What's the talk about?

Was 9/11 an inside job? Is climate change a hoax? Was Princess Diana murdered? Millions of people appear to think so, disbelieving official explanations for significant events in favour of alternative accounts that are often called ‘conspiracy theories’. In recent years, psychologists have begun to investigate what makes conspiracy theories appealing to so many people. In this talk, I will broadly overview what psychologists have found out so far, and will discuss some of my own findings on the causes and consequences of conspiracy theory belief.

Karen Douglas is a Professor in Social Psychology at the University of Kent. In addition to conducting work on the psychology of conspiracy theories, she is involved in projects examining sexism in language, the influence of sexist ideology on attitudes toward pregnant women, and the psychology of internet behaviour.

Dr Devin Terhune

When?
Wednesday, October 3 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Devin Terhune

What's the talk about?

Hypnosis is a valuable method for studying different facets of conscious awareness yet it continues to be one of the most misrepresented and misunderstood phenomena in psychology. Here I will dispel widespread myths and misconceptions about hypnosis and describe what psychologists, neuroscientists, and clinicians have learned about this fascinating phenomenon.

Devin Terhune is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London where he studies conscious awareness and its top-down regulation. His primary interests concern the neurocognitive basis of time perception and individual differences in hypnotic suggestibility.

Britt Hermes

When?
Wednesday, November 7 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Britt Hermes

What's the talk about?

Naturopaths have defined their brand of medicine using a set of “healing” principles that sound pleasant, but really describe an archaic and sometimes twisted understanding of medicine. Having been a former naturopathic “doctor,” I can say that the overwhelming majority of naturopathic care relies extensively on dubious alternative therapies, rather than established protocols based on medical and scientific research. When it comes to naturopathy, “nature” always trumps the oath to do no harm. Join former naturopathic doctor Britt Hermes for a deconstruction of naturopathy’s defining principles and what to do about the growing trend of natural medicine.

Britt Hermes is a writer, scientist, and a former naturopathic doctor. She practiced as a licensed naturopath in the United States for three years and then left the profession after realizing naturopathy is a pseudoscientific ideology. Since this time, Britt has been working to understand and communicate how she was tricked by alternative medicine, so others do not repeat her mistake. She now writes to expose issues with naturopathy, the current rising profession in alternative medicine. Her work focuses on the deceptions naturopathic practitioners employ to scam patients and contrive legitimacy in political arenas. Britt’s writings can be found at Forbes, Science 2.0, KevinMD, and Science-Based Medicine. She hopes her stories will protect patients from the false beliefs and bogus treatments sold by alternative medicine practitioners.

Jeremy Banx

When?
Wednesday, December 5 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Jeremy Banx

What's the talk about?

Jeremy Banx, an award winning cartoonist, will talk about his work – and some of his original cartoons will be available for purchase at very reasonable prices (just in time for Christmas!).

He has contributed to newspapers, magazines and comics including Private Eye, Wall Street Journal, Punch, New Statesman, Vice.uk, Oink!, Toxic, etc. For the past twenty-five years he has been the pocket cartoonist for the Financial Times. He is the cartoon editor for The Reaper at www.thereaper.rip

His books include ‘Cubes’, ‘The Many Deaths of Norman Spittal’, ‘Big Fat Sleepy Cat’, ‘The Dewsburys’ and ‘Frankenthing’. More than 150 short animated films were based on his character Norman Spittal.

For ten years he contributed designs for floats to the Nice Carnival.

He lives and works in Greenwich, London, with his wife Elaine and has four children.

The Derby winning thoroughbred racehorse, Dr Devious, was named after one of his characters.

Andy Lewis

When?
Wednesday, January 9 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Andy Lewis

What's the talk about?

The last decade has seen several 'new religious movements' create publicly funded Free Schools. Maharishi and Steiner Schools are perhaps the most prominent. It is timely to look closely at the origins and beliefs of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the occult movement of Anthroposophy. Steiner was a mystic who believed he had direct clairvoyant access to cosmic knowledge. As such he developed an esoteric belief system based on karma, reincarnation, astrology, homeopathy and gnomes. His visions gave insights into architecture, art, dance, agriculture, medicine, education, science and diet. His racial hierarchy of spiritual developmental resonated in Germany in the early 20th Century turning a personal belief into a worldwide movement. Today we find hundreds of anthroposophically inspired organisations in the UK alone: everything from Steiner Schools, Biodynamic farms to banks, pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies, charities and cheese makers.

Andy Lewis has been trying to lift the veil on the inner secrets of the movement and will discuss how this secretive movement has direct impact on public life.