26th September 2018 – Chris Bore: Cherry Picking – Scientific Fraud, Funerals and the Fake Nature of Fact

‘Cherry picking’ is the accusation of selecting data to suit a theory. Dr Chris Bore leads us from a classic school science experiment through accusations of scientific fraud, the inconstancy of physical constants, the challenges facing climate science,  and the progress of science through funerals – to question the myth of scientific method.

A twisted tale of alleged scientific fraud, error and inconstancy that questions the basis of the modern belief that science is the key to truth.

No scientific or mathematical background necessary, but prepare to be shocked at the depths of scientific skulduggery to which scientists can stoop without even thinking about it.

DOORS: 19:00
START: 19:30
Admission is FREE and there will be a collection during the interval (suggested donation £3-5).
Venue: Smoke and Mirrors

Dr Chris Bore is a consultant and trainer in DSP (Digital Signal Processing). Chris is a popular and entertaining speaker at informal science and technology events such as TEDx and Café Scientific, and is local organiser of his home town of Woking’s Café Scientific. Chris is fascinated by the questions that don’t get asked, and firmly believes that real experts know that they don’t know some things. He is deeply interested in learning how to explain complex and subtle things more clearly, and in testing by experiment what may seem obvious from theory.

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27th June 2018 – Ash Pryce: How to Be a Psychic Conman

Roll up! Roll up! Roll up! Gather ye round the traveling caravan, as Snake Oil Salesman Ash Pryce demonstrates the miraculous curative abilities of psychic surgery, taught to your humble trickster by a wise man in the Philippines (or a magicians tool book, whichever sounds more wondrous). See with amazement the telekinetic forces at work as you learn how to move objects with your mind, psychically manipulate your finest silverware and read the minds of your peers. Or maybe, it’s all just a trick?

The show will involve demonstrations and explanations of telekinesis tricks, metal bending, psychic surgery and remote viewing as well as look at government funded research into psychic phenomena, and the shoddy protocols that allowed “psychics” to beat the legendary Zener card experiments in the 1930s.

And if that wasn’t enough, interspersed throughout the show will be numerous on stage demonstrations of mentalism to add an extra layer of entertainment to the proceedings.

DOORS: 19:00
START: 19:30
Admission is FREE and there will be a collection during the interval (suggested donation £3-5).
Venue: Smoke and Mirrors

Stagetime Promotions Magician of the Year 2017, and Edinburgh Horror Festival Sell out performer 2016 and 2017, Ash Pryce brings his crowd pleasing mix of paranormal illusions, comedy and entertainment to the UK as part of a summer tour of 2018. Described as “ a naturally funny guy [who] won’t allow his audience to be bored” (edfringereview.com) and “A great showman” (NottinghamLive), Ash presents a mix of entertainment, scepticism and magical treats.

Find Ash on most social media as “Psychic Conman” and check out his website at www.psychicconman.co.uk

Warning to those on the front row… there will be blood!

23rd May 2018 – Cherry Lewis: The Dating Game – One Man’s Search for the Age of the Earth

How old is the Earth? At the end of the nineteenth century, geologists, biologists, physicists and astronomers were all looking for a clock that would provide an answer to this, the greatest Time question of all. The Dating Game tells the story of one man’s vision of developing a geological timescale that would finally lead to an accurate date for the Age of the Earth. Despite scientific opposition, financial hardship and personal tragedy, Arthur Holmes, the greatest geologist of the twentieth century, fought for fifty years to convince the establishment of an Earth of great antiquity: a fight which eventually transformed the moribund ‘art’ of geology into a dynamic science.

DOORS: 19:00
START: 19:30
Admission is FREE and there will be a collection during the interval (suggested donation £3-5).
Venue: Smoke and Mirrors

Cherry Lewis’ engaging talk brings Holmes back to life and skilfully weaves his adventures, loves and losses, around the early history and science of dating the Earth, and the discovery of radioactivity – the clock that tells geological time.

28th March 2018 – Jamie Bartlett: Radicals – What’s the Future of Politics?

Jamie will talk about his new book Radicals, which is an exploration of the individuals, groups and movements rejecting the way we live now, and are attempting to find alternatives.
Jamie will present the political ideas of the future and invite the audience to consider:

  • What will happen if AI takes all the jobs?
  • Can Europe handle 250 million climate change refugees?
  • Is society’s attitude to relationships completely wrong?
  • Will psychedelic movements change the world?
  • Is it possible to live together without countries?

He will take us inside the strange and exciting worlds of the innovators, disruptors, idealists and extremists who think society is broken, and believe they know how to move on in an improved direction.

DOORS: 19:00
START: 19:30
Admission is FREE and there will be a collection during the interval (suggested donation £3-5).
Venue: Smoke and Mirrors

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 Radicals (2017) about political outsiders and The Dark Net (2014) about internet subcultures. He is also a regular commentator on national and international media outlets and recently presented the two-part BBC documentary series ‘The Secrets of Silicon Valley’.

24th January 2018 – [CANCELLED] #Dave: Literally the Best Magician

CANCELLED

Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances we are having to cancel this event. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes.

After a sell-out run at Edinburgh Fringe and fresh off the back of hosting QED 2017, Skeptic regular Dave Alnwick tours his new show ‘Literally the Best Magician’.

Is Dave Literally the Best Magician? He certainly thinks so and intends to spend an hour proving it. Working through every genre of Magic, Dave hopes to ‘one up’ the classics of conjuring.

Ok, enough of this third person charade. I’m doing a Magic show. It’ll be really good, you should totally come. In the past I’ve focused on mentalism (y’know that Derren Brown mind reading business) but I thought I’d step away from that and have a go at old school stuff. It’s not easy making tricks with rope, tissues and post-it notes interesting but I’m pretty sure I’ve smashed it.

“He is the kind of performer who could probably make reading the dictionary into an entertaining show” – WorldMagicReview.com

I’ll even do a talk after the show about Magic. I’ll teach you a trick. We’ll do a Q&A. Maybe have a drink. It’ll be dope.

See you there.

DOORS: 19:00
START: 19:30
Admission is FREE and there will be a collection during the interval.
Venue: Smoke and Mirrors

25th October 2017 – Danny Chambers: With a Quack Quack Here and a Quack Quack There – Veterinary Pseudoscience

You may be surprised to hear that the anti-vaccination movement is not restricted to human medicine – animal owners are increasingly turning their back on conventional medicine and seeking out unproven alternatives, often at the detriment of their animal’s health. You might be even more surprised to learn about the myriad other forms of pseudoscience animals are subjected to, including the common practice of ‘horse psychics’.

Danny Chambers will discuss the use of pseudoscience in veterinary practice and the implications this has on human health and wellbeing, including the campaign he has led to prevent vets from prescribing homeopathy for animals.

DOORS: 19:00
START: 19:30
Admission is FREE and there will be a collection during the interval (suggested donation £3-5).
Venue: Smoke and Mirrors

Danny Chambers grew up on a farm in Devon, graduated from Liverpool Vet School and has since worked as a vet across the UK, as well as in New Zealand, Africa, India and Iraq. He works for Langord Vets, University of Bristol.

27th September 2017 – Ian Ridpath: UFOs – Fact or Fantasy?

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According to one estimate, around 100 UFOs are sighted worldwide every 24 hours – that’s one every 15 minutes. What’s causing all these reports? Are they, as believers claim, evidence that we are being visited by aliens from other planets? Or is there a more prosaic explanation? This hard-hitting talk by Ian Ridpath, astronomy writer and UFO sceptic, traces the growth of the flying saucer myth since the first sighting in 1947, and demonstrates some of the most common causes of UFO reports. The talk will discuss the implications of formerly top-secret government documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, and will end with Ian’s first-hand account of his own research into the Rendlesham Forest incident, a major event outside a US Air Force base at Woodbridge in Suffolk, still widely regarded as among the best UFO cases ever.

DOORS: 19:00
START: 19:30
Admission is FREE and there will be a collection during the interval (suggested donation £3-5).
Venue: Smoke and Mirrors

Ian Ridpath is a writer, editor, and long-time UFO skeptic. As an amateur astronomer, he is particularly interested in the way that celestial objects are misperceived as UFOs. He is probably best known for investigating and solving the Rendlesham Forest UFO case, sometimes termed Britain’s Roswell, which will form part of his talk.

Ian Ridpath’s UFO skeptic pages:
http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/ufoindex.htm