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Do we need a new constitution?

Graham Smith

When?
Tuesday, October 15 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 West Street
Chichester
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185
Email: info@chichesterinn.co.uk
Website: www.chichesterinn.co.uk

Who?
Graham Smith

What's the talk about?

Brexit has highlighted huge flaws in the British constitution, not least the impotence and irrelevance of our Head of State.

As parliament struggles to assert itself, government appears to be in chaos and the public are more divided than ever over how we should be governed, it's time for a radical re-think of our constitution.

Yet in a normal world the changes we need shouldn't be seen as radical. Make our parliamentary system genuinely democratic from top to bottom and re-balance the power between government, parliament and the people. And in the middle of a revitalised constitution a new head of state, elected by the people for the people.

Graham Smith has been CEO of Republic since 2005. He originally joined the group in 1990 before moving to Australia where he was involved in community and charity work. On his return he stood for election to local government and has graduated from Open University with a degree in International Studies.

Graham first got involved with Republic as a volunteer in 2003. Since then he has transformed the campaign group, building a strong supporter base and raising the campaign’s media profile. He has also played a leading role in establishing and nurturing the Alliance of European Republican Movements.

An introduction to Cryogenics and Superconductivity

Dr Jess Spurrell

When?
Tuesday, September 17 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 West Street
Chichester
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185
Email: info@chichesterinn.co.uk
Website: www.chichesterinn.co.uk

Who?
Dr Jess Spurrell

What's the talk about?

When Dr Jess Spurrell says she works in cryogenics, the first thing people ask is, "Do you freeze dead people? Or aliens?"

At very low temperatures, all sorts of unusual things can happen. Electrical resistance can disappear, frogs and surfers can levitate, liquid can climb out of its container, biological processes can be slowed almost to a halt.

Dr Jess Spurrell is School-University Partnership Officer at the University of Southampton. She has a PhD in Cryogenic Engineering and Superconductivity. 

Jess is an ambassador for women in engineering and has given numerous talks and demonstrations. 

£5 entrance on the door. 

... and other myths about food and health

Pixie Turner

When?
Tuesday, August 20 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 West Street
Chichester
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185
Email: info@chichesterinn.co.uk
Website: www.chichesterinn.co.uk

Who?
Pixie Turner

What's the talk about?

Despite a wealth of information at our fingertips, there are still so many things we get wrong about our health. With a new diet book out every other day, it’s no wonder people are confused. What should we be eating? When? How often? Just how important is food when it comes to our overall health?

Pixie will unpack why diet and nutrition misinformation is so problematic. Expect some myth busting, diet rants, and lots of fully-referenced evidence-based science.

Pixie Turner studied biochemistry and is a nutritionist, food blogger, science communicator and author. She is the brains behind the 'Pixie Nutrition' social media accounts, which aim to infiltrate the wellness movement and debunk nutrition misinformation online. 
 
£5 entrance on the door.  Everyone welcome. This is a not-for-profit event.

A Beginner's Guide to Therapy

Ariane Sherine

When?
Tuesday, July 16 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 West Street
Chichester
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185
Email: info@chichesterinn.co.uk
Website: www.chichesterinn.co.uk

Who?
Ariane Sherine

What's the talk about?

 Ariane created the Atheist Bus Campaign: 

“There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”

As a result, she received a deluge of hate mail from Christians, which led to a nervous breakdown and a three year break from writing.

In this talk, she will tell the full story of how therapy and medication saved her life, prompting her to write her new book, Talk Yourself Better: A Confused Person’s Guide to Therapy, Counselling and Self-Help.

Ariane Sherine is the comedy writer and journalist who created the Atheist Bus Campaign. She has written extensively for TV, national newspapers and magazines, and is the author of the bestselling celebrity book The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas.

Entry £5 on the door.

Summary of talk

Ariane is most famous for her atheist bus campaign: 

There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

She began by giving us an insight into her struggle to cope with psychological problems from the age of 11.

Each diagnosis lead to a different form of therapy, including family counselling, psychodynamic therapy, psychoanalyis, cognitive behavioural therapy and so on into adulthood.

Ariane became a successful comedy script writer. After reading The God Delusion and seeing religious bus adverts, she managed to raise funds for the atheist bus campaign, which spread across the world.

Little did she realise that the hate mail she would receive (mainly from UK and USA Christians) would push her into depression and more therapy. She could not work for over 3 years.

Eventually, with a mixture of drugs and therapy, she began work again, writing her latest book Talk Yourself Better, based on numerous interviews with therapists, their clients (including some famous names like Stephen Fry) and her extensive personal experiences.

After the break, Ariane answered numerous questions from a moved and fascinated audience.

This was an uplifting talk of relevance to all who come into contact with psychological health problems.

Visit Ariane's daily blog on Twitter: @ArianeSherine

The Rise of Flat Earth Belief

Michael Marshall

When?
Tuesday, June 18 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 West Street
Chichester
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185
Email: info@chichesterinn.co.uk
Website: www.chichesterinn.co.uk

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

In 2013, when Michael Marshall first interviewed the Vice President of the Flat Earth society for his show Be Reasonable, people could scarcely believe that anyone could genuinely think the Earth was flat. Five years later, Flat Earth belief has gone mainstream, spawning thousands of hours of YouTube videos, gaining widespread international media coverage, and attracting countless followers. How did we get here?

Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He has organised homeopathy protests, gone undercover to expose psychics and quack medics, and co-founded the popular QED conference. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast and has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

This talk is part of the Chichester Festival and will be a ticketed event. 

Tickets available here: 

https://chichesterboxoffice.ticketsolve.com/shows/873599562?fbclid=IwAR1LesnQTwMTjKozckz3TPZg6Xq5Viu4JLE0P2XlckOo8W5gMpVx6FtWl7k

£6 on the door, if there is any space left.

 

 

Misconceptions about Astronomy

Alice Sheppard

When?
Tuesday, May 21 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 West Street
Chichester
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185
Email: info@chichesterinn.co.uk
Website: www.chichesterinn.co.uk

Who?
Alice Sheppard

What's the talk about?

Alice Sheppard takes us on a whiplash tour of just a few of the misconceptions of astronomy she's encountered as an ambassador of the subject: 

• it’s a waste of money 
• it matters what we call Pluto 
• it can predict the future 
• it's a subject to which men are better suited.

Alice Sheppard is Community Manager at UCL Extreme Citizen Science, which investigates and supports public involvement in science. Alice does not consider herself academic but rather an example of what members of the public can achieve scientifically outside the academic environment. She is also the Citizen Science Officer at the Society for Popular Astronomy. Alice led the Galaxy Zoo forum from 2007-2013, with daily discussions of astronomy.

Entry £5 on the door.

The psychology of vaccine acceptance, hesitancy and refusal

Richard Clarke

When?
Tuesday, April 16 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 West Street
Chichester
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185
Email: info@chichesterinn.co.uk
Website: www.chichesterinn.co.uk

Who?
Richard Clarke

What's the talk about?

The reasons why an individual may refuse a vaccine that is backed by extremely strong safety and efficacy evidence are wide ranging and complex. In this talk, Richard Clarke will introduce you to the concept of Vaccine Hesitancy and explain how risk perception, uncertainty, social influence and, above all, trust plays a role in vaccine delay, selection and refusal.

Spoiler: Strangely enough just saying, “Vaccinate your damn kids!” might not be the most effective health communication strategy out there. Who’d have thought it?

Richard Clarke is a health psychologist and final year PhD candidate with The Vaccine Confidence Project (www.vaccineconfidence.org) based at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Richard's area of expertise focuses on the social science related to vaccine delivery.

All are welcome — we look forward to an engaging and informative evening. Entry is £3.

Summary of talk

Richard Clarke gave us an insight into the work of a final year PhD health psychology researcher at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

He outlined the various stages of vaccine creation and delivery. Richard's work is concerned with the factors that influence public confidence in a vaccine. 

 

Richard's talk was divided into three sections: Risk, Information and Trust. He used various graphs and diagrams to describe the historical and current uptake of vaccines. He interspersed these with personal stories, including some emotive photos of a young girl who suffered horribly and died from meningitis.

 

Importantly, he touched on the same concerns all true Skeptics have: spurious beliefs based on a lack of evidence, poor evidence, conspiracy theories, fake news, fear and other human weaknesses.

 

Richard's conclusions are that trust is the most important factor in public acceptance of the vaccination programme (he quipped that he could have been talking about any public healthcare intervention such as the wearing of seat belts). If people don't have trust in the healthcare system, they will put it elsewhere, including alternative medicine or conspiracy theories. Part of the solution is to empower local communities by supporting groups that appreciate the science.

 

After the break, Richard answered a few questions.

How can we change public distrust of experts (when scientists are wrongly equated with economists)? This is a big problem but we can start by supporting local community groups who are aware of the latest science.

What is the minimum percentage vaccination rate to avoid the spread of infectious diseases like measles. Measles is one of the most infectious diseases and is a killer. This is why there is so much emphasis on the MMR vaccine. We need around 95% of the population to be vaccinated in order to contain an infectious outbreak.

Why did you decide to research vaccines? Initially I was planning to research a rare disorder that restricts the ability to recognise faces. Then I met a fellow student who was working on the ebola outbreak and realised I could help more people by conducting social psychological research into public health. I am an advocate of Effective Altruism, which seeks to maximise the effectiveness of charitable action.

Quite coincidentally, Chichester Humanists hosted a speaker from Southampton Effective Altruism group the following week.

 

Everyone found the talk interesting and informative. Richard will be repeating his talk at other Skeptics venues throughout the country.

 

If you have any questions about vaccines, Richard will be happy to answer them via Twitter @RichClarkePsy or email Richard.Clarke@lshtm.ac.uk   

... to a skeptical audience

Dr Mark Hardiman

When?
Tuesday, March 19 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 West Street
Chichester
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185
Email: info@chichesterinn.co.uk
Website: www.chichesterinn.co.uk

Who?
Dr Mark Hardiman

What's the talk about?

Scientists predict unprecedented climatic changes over the next hundred years and a British landscape which will be significantly altered. Despite this many people remain skeptical of the underlying science and even of scientists themselves. In this talk Dr Mark Hardiman attempts to both bust common climate change myths and misunderstandings and consider how scientists may improve the public communication of future climate change.

Dr Mark Hardiman is a Physical Geographer who researches past environmental and climatic change, including specialisms in wildfire and volcanic histories. Although Mark's research is focused on the past he is very much interested in the unprecedented climatic changes likely to occur in the near future, and in particular how the British landscape which will be altered.

Summary of event

Dr Hardimann gave us an entertaining but serious talk about the latest climate change evidence and how it can be used to counter the typical claims of climate change deniers (Donald Trump was mentioned several times).

 

The pub was packed. There was a wide age range of people in the audience. After the break, they asked some really good questions, including:

 

How can the government convince people to change their lifestyle?

Why do some scientists think that climate change is not happening?

How reliable are climate change models?

 

In case you missed it, Dr Hardimann will be repeating his talk at other local skeptics venues. We'll  announce these in due course.

 

Please email Mark for a copy of his excellent PowerPoint slideshow.

mark.hardiman@port.ac.uk

 

PS Some members of Eco Meetup Chichester attended. Also one of the organisers of the national movement Extinction Rebellion, who are flocking to London on Saturday.

https://rebellion.earth/

200,000 years of human communication

Toby Wilsher

When?
Friday, March 15 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 West Street
Chichester
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185
Email: info@chichesterinn.co.uk
Website: www.chichesterinn.co.uk

Who?
Toby Wilsher

What's the talk about?

A horse can detect changes in your breathing and heart rate from 9 metres away. Your dog knows when you’re depressed. The CEO of Honda awarded a multi-million dollar advertising contract because “I just liked the guy!” 
How we communicate has evolved over millennia, but everything goes to pot when faced with a reluctant audience armed only with PowerPoint. 

Toby Wilsher is a theatre director and a pioneer of arts-based training for business, working globally with a host of clients looking to improve their communication skills. 

All are welcome — we look forward to an engaging and informative evening. Entry is £3.

Summary of event

Toby spoke to a packed audience and began his talk with a clip of a public speaker who failed miserably, so much so that he had to leave the stage.

He outlined six important factors required for good communication.

Toby drew on many entertaining stories to illustrate his points. He also made use of several props, including face masks (he teaches mime), a balloon and a box of chocolates.

As expected, halfway through the event, parliament voted against Theresa May's Brexit package by a majority of 230. Toby announced this in an entertaining way.

From that point onward, the Q&As focused on how politicians communicate.

The last question was "Can we all become good communicators.". Toby told us that simply being human means we are already brilliant communicators. His business is to show how to release the potential for good communication that we all naturally possess.

A great start to our relaunch of Chichester Skeptics.

Thank you Toby.

Rights and Wrongs in England 2019

Belinda Schwehr

When?
Tuesday, February 19 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 West Street
Chichester
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185
Email: info@chichesterinn.co.uk
Website: www.chichesterinn.co.uk

Who?
Belinda Schwehr

What's the talk about?

We are living in a period of ever tighter budgets and political paralysis about what the nation NEEDS TO DO if social care is to survive as part of our welfare safety net.

Belinda will consider people's right to services, bust some common myths about the rules as to who gets what, and provide some useful information for relatives.

Belinda Schwehr has practised as a lawyer and trainer for 20 years, specialising in adults’ social care law. She has now launched CASCAIDr,  a charity providing free legal advice about people's rights to services.

Here are some links:

https://www.communitycare.co.uk/2018/06/08/councils-going-wrong-implementation-care-act/
 
https://twitter.com/belindaschwehr?lang=en
 
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6324559/Families-tell-children-autism-learning-disabilities-locked-away-years-end.html

Summary of event
Belinda Schwehr is passionate about fighting for our rights to receive adequate adult social care.
She discovered this area of law about 20 years ago and realised that social workers and other professionals were largely ignorant of their legal obligations to their clients. Belinda found her niche and has never looked back.
Working from 7am to 9pm, she advises members of the public on their rights and helps them access the social services they are entitled to.
She explained how the system is organised to minimise the amount spent on adult social care. Social workers are kept in the dark about the law surrounding social care provision and are controlled by managers who are under pressure to minimise expenditure.
So who is there to advise the public on their entitlements? To address this dilemma, Belinda has set up a national charity called CASCAIDr. This offers free advice to the public.
Belinda recently appeared on a File on 4 expose on housing people together who are suffering from autism, ostensibly to provide care in the community but also part of a cost-cutting exercise that reduces their autonomy.
She fights individual cases in the courts and publicises her successes online at www.cascaidr.org.uk, Facebook and Twitter.
Belinda is on a mission to make us aware of how adult social care is being run down to a point where it may end up being privatised, as in the USA. There appears to be a systemic effort to cover up the legal requirements of councils to provide the care we are all entitled to.
She explained the four criteria that guide adult social care provision:- it must be rational- it must be fair- it must be legal- it must respect human rights.
Belinda outlined some of the facts we shouls be aware of, including:- councils have a legal duty to provide adequate care and can afford it: the government underwrites council budgets: they cannot go bankrupt- everyone in need is entitled to money they can spend on care- there is no fixed limit to the care that a person is entitled to- people are entitled to formal care plans detailing the care they need- people can save £4 ph by using council social services instead of equivalent private ones.
More information can be found on the CASCAIDr website.Her excellent PowerPoint presentation and explanatory leaflet will be posted here soon.
Volunteers and donations are always needed to help this worthy charity grow. There are also employment opportunities.
Here is a link to her PowerPoint presentation:https://drive.google.com/open?id=1JXVKb2g6ue-V6iX7oKtEpIUgYYW36q6a

Dr Chris French

When?
Tuesday, November 1 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 West Street
Chichester
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185
Email: info@chichesterinn.co.uk
Website: www.chichesterinn.co.uk

Who?
Dr Chris French

What's the talk about?

 Have you ever been scared by a bump in the night? Unnerved by the prospect of monsters under the bed? Or perhaps a more terrifying and real experience of paranormal activity? Straight after Halloween we will be looking into claims of the paranormal with Dr Chris French, a psychologist from Goldsmith's College, University of London.

 

Our senses and perceptions are wired to view the world in a certain way; a way that has ensured our survival in the natural world. However we all experience occurences that do not square easily with the everyday. Are ghost sightings and the like proof of a hidden world or are they perhaps evidence of the fallibility of our own interpretations of our surroundings. In exploring this Dr Chris will examine such topics as hallucinations, pareidolia, misinterpretation and the unreliability of eye-witness testimony to establish how easily it is for our senses to be misled. After we hear how our minds can often lead us to erronous conclusions about our experiences we may find it harder to be spooked by tales of the unexplained. However in the month of Halloween this may not offer much comfort when the witching hour comes.

All welcome. Tickets will be on the door priced at £5.

 

Johno Pearce

When?
Tuesday, October 4 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

38 West Street
Chichester
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185
Email: info@chichesterinn.co.uk
Website: www.chichesterinn.co.uk

Who?
Johno Pearce

What's the talk about?

On Tuesday 4th October Chichester Skeptics in the Pub welcomes Jonathan Pearce to talk about the nature of Islam,

This century has seen the emergence of Islam as a religion closely connected to violence and terrorism. With regrettable regularity the latest religiously inspired terror attack fills the news broadcasts around the world whether they be the work of ISIS, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda or other such group. However these events are also vociferously condemned by peacful Islamic groups as being distinctly against the teachings fo the Qu'ran. Islam is a religion of peace and unity for many Muslim across the world.

To investigate whether is a part of Islam, and to what extent, Jonathan will examine in turn; the Qu;ran, the history of the prophet of Muhammad, and modern day interpretations given by Muslims. However regardless of his conclusion Jonathan will consider what role political expediency plays in accepting the narrative that fundamentalists are acting outside of the religion. It may be more desirable to accept a more moderate interpretation of Islam, even if it is less accurate.

Jonathan is a philosopher and author of several books of philosophy and theology. He is a founding member of both Tippling Philosophers and the Skeptic Ink Network.

All are welcome at the Chichester Inn. Doors open at 7:30pm and tickets will be available on the door priced at £5.