Upcoming Shows
Past Shows

The Storm Is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything – Mike Rothschild

September 30, 2021 @ 19:00 (next week, check your local time)

The Storm Is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything - Mike Rothschild
Mike Rothschild, a journalist specializing in conspiracy theories, has been collecting stories about the deadly QAnon movement for years, and through interviews with QAnon converts, apostates, and victims, as well as psychologists, sociologists, and academics, he is uniquely equipped to explain the movement and its followers. In The Storm Is Upon Us, he takes readers […]

The Art of More: How Mathematics Created Civilisation – Michael Brooks

October 14, 2021 @ 19:00 (next month, check your local time)

The Art of More: How Mathematics Created Civilisation - Michael Brooks
We have a problem with mathematics. Half of the UK’s adults live with nothing more than the mathematical skills they learned at primary school, and many people experience a tangible fear when facing anything to do with numbers. The root of the problem lies in the fact that no one is ever taught what maths […]

The woos and woes of Wikipedia – An opportunity for skeptical activism or a conspiratory club? – Annika Harrison

October 28, 2021 @ 19:00 (next month, check your local time)

The woos and woes of Wikipedia – An opportunity for skeptical activism or a conspiratory club? - Annika Harrison
Wikipedia is known as an international encyclopaedia. But is it also a worldwide network with secret members, seeking to influence humankind? Or is it a web forum, where one can publish their opinion? How does Wikipedia work? And how can you make a difference?Even among skeptics Wikipedia is still looked at with scrutiny. Is it […]

The Century of Deception: The Birth of the Hoax in Eighteenth-Century England – Ian Keable

September 16, 2021 @ 19:00 (4 days ago, check your local time)

The 1700s was a period when the people of England seemed to be especially gullible. They believed a woman could give birth to rabbits; a man could climb inside a two pint bottle and sing inside it; and where a blond-haired European could write a book claiming that he was born in Taiwan. These hoaxes […]

When innocent becomes guilty: The psychology of false confessions – Dr Faye Skelton

September 2, 2021 @ 19:00 (3 weeks ago, check your local time)

It is difficult to imagine admitting to something that you didn’t do, especially something so serious as committing murder. There are however numerous documented cases of innocent people confessing to crimes they didn’t commit, and suffering severe consequences. Aside from those who voluntarily confess, others are vulnerable to persuasive interviewing tactics, and some even come […]

Bad News: Why the media fall for falsehoods – Michael Marshall

August 19, 2021 @ 19:00 (last month, check your local time)

Due to unforeseen circumstances Mike Rothschild is unable to join us for this event, so we will be bringing him back at a later date. Instead we have our very own Michael Marshall who will be talking to us about Bad PR! “You can’t believe everything you read in the papers.” Everyone knows this, but […]

Where alien worlds are born: exoplanets and their formation environments – Dr Cass Hall

August 5, 2021 @ 19:00 (last month, check your local time)

We have now discovered thousands of exoplanets around stars that are not our Sun, and we have now realised that our own solar system may be far from the norm. These alien worlds are often hot, massive, and perplexing to astrophysicists – just how do these objects form, and what processes make them different to […]

Too Hot to Handle: The Science and Technology of Antimatter – Dr Sameed Muhammed

July 22, 2021 @ 19:00 (July 2021, check your local time)

Despite being as old as matter itself, antimatter remains a mystical subject for many and is a hot topic in science fiction. In this talk, we will separate fact from fiction and look at the science and technology of antimatter. Where does it come from? How is it made? How different is it from normal […]

Resisting the Knowledge Dementors: The Truth about “Post-Truth” – Professor Stephan Lewandowsky

July 8, 2021 @ 19:00 (July 2021, check your local time)

We are said to live in a “post-truth” era in which “fake news” has replaced real information, denial has compromised science, and the ontology of knowledge and truth has taken on a relativist element. I argue that to defend evidence-based reasoning and knowledge against those attacks, we must understand the strategies by which the post-truth […]

Inkredulous Podcast: Live! – Andy Wilson and guests

July 1, 2021 @ 19:00 (July 2021, check your local time)

Join host Andy Wilson for another live-streamed episode of the skeptical-themed panel show InKredulous. InKredulous, a production of the Merseyside Skeptics Society, is the long-running comedy podcast where skeptics from across the world are put through their critical-thinking paces and challenged to entertain as well as inform. InKredulous has been a firm fan favourite at […]

Cancer Cures – Are We Nearly There Yet? – Dr Alice Howarth

June 24, 2021 @ 19:00 (June 2021, check your local time)

One in two of us will suffer with cancer in our lifetime and almost all of us have some experience of the disease. But do we really know what cancer is and how we can work towards a cure? Is a cure even possible? And how can we arm ourselves with the right information to […]

Why patients want bad medicines – Dr Mícheál De Barra

June 17, 2021 @ 19:00 (June 2021, check your local time)

For most of human history, an average patient meeting an average doctor was probably harmed rather than helped. This talk will explore how medical treatments can persist for decades – even centuries – despite having little or no beneficial effects. One focus will be on how features of biology and psychology make figuring out what […]

How the Evolutionary Psychologist Got His Hypothesis (And Other Just So Stories): Sense and Nonsense in Evolutionary Psychology – Dr Lindsey Osterman

June 10, 2021 @ 19:00 (June 2021, check your local time)

While evolution acceptance is generally high among the skeptically-minded, evolutionary psychology is far less widely accepted. Lindsey explores some of the good scientific work in this area, as well as common misconceptions about—and misuses of—the evolutionary framework as applied to human psychology. Dr. Lindsey Osterman is an associate professor of psychology at Roanoke College in […]

Life lessons from laughing babies and murderous philosophers – Dr Caspar Addyman

June 3, 2021 @ 19:00 (June 2021, check your local time)

What is the meaning of life? I once wrote to every philosopher in the UK to ask them. Their answers were meagre and dispiriting. One even included a death threat. Since then I’ve moved on to study why babies have such a great time being babies. Anyone who has met a baby knows how much […]

The Truth About The Satanic Panic… and how it could happen again – Professor Chris French

May 27, 2021 @ 19:00 (May 2021, check your local time)

Back in the 1980s, alarm spread throughout the world with respect to claims that Satanic abuse was not only real, it was widespread. Fuelled largely by pressure groups and the media, many people came to believe that there was an international network of powerful individuals who regularly engaged in rituals involving Satan worship, human and […]

When It is Darkest: Why People Die by Suicide and What We Can Do To Prevent It – Prof Rory O’Connor

May 20, 2021 @ 19:00 (May 2021, check your local time)

Based on his new book, Professor Rory O’Connor will try to dispel myths around suicide and to describe the complex set of factors that can lead to it, drawing from the Integrated Motivational-Volitional Model of Suicide. The talk will also include an overview of what we can do to support those who are vulnerable. Rory […]

Project STELLA: From Higgs to Healthcare in Challenging Environments – Prof Manjit Dosanjh

May 13, 2021 @ 19:00 (May 2021, check your local time)

If you have cancer and you live in a low or middle-income country, you’re unlikely to have access to the radiotherapy treatments that patients in higher-income countries take for granted. A global collaboration including engineers and physicists from the Large Hadron Collider with International Cancer Expert Corps (ICEC), the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council […]

The End of Policing: an introduction to the concepts of police defunding and police abolition – Alex Vitale

May 6, 2021 @ 19:00 (May 2021, check your local time)

an introduction to the concepts of police defunding and police abolition, with Alex S. Vitale, professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and author of The End of Policing.This summer’s protests over the police killings of George Floyd and other African American citizens have refocused the nation’s attention on the problem of abusive policing and its […]

How to become an online conspiracy agony aunt: reporting on the disinformation front-line – Marianna Spring

April 29, 2021 @ 19:00 (April 2021, check your local time)

The BBC’s first-ever specialist disinformation and social media reporter, Marianna Spring, has spent the past year down the online conspiracy rabbit hole, investigating the real-world impact of disinformation being shared on social media. Families have been torn apart, lives lost and violence inspired. What’s it like speaking to the victims and leaders of these online […]

Communicating statistics to the media: highs and lows during the pandemic (so far) – Professor David Spiegelhalter

April 22, 2021 @ 19:00 (April 2021, check your local time)

The current pandemic is notable for the vast traffic in official and unofficial information and claims. David will offer some personal insights into the challenges of trying to bring some illumination to the statistics about the pandemic, illustrated with some examples of things that have gone fairly well, and communication disasters. Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter […]

How to make an apple pie from scratch – Dr Harry Cliff

April 15, 2021 @ 19:00 (April 2021, check your local time)

In the 1980 smash-hit science documentary series Cosmos, Carl Sagan quipped that “if you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe”. Particle physicist Harry Cliff is mad that Sagan never followed up on the idea and so has spent the last two years attempting to write the ultimate […]

How to Hunt Russian Spies from the Comfort of Your Own Home – Eliot Higgins

April 8, 2021 @ 19:00 (April 2021, check your local time)

Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins explains how Bellingcat investigators uncovered the real identities of the Skripal suspects, linked their team to another European assassination attempt, uncovered Russia’s secret Novichok programme, exposed the FSB team that poisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and uncovered a Russian domestic nerve agent assassination programme targeting multiple individuals, all from the […]

InKredulous Live – Andy Wilson and Guests

April 1, 2021 @ 19:00 (April 2021, check your local time)

Join host Andy Wilson for another live-streamed episode of the skeptical-themed panel show InKredulous. InKredulous, a production of the Merseyside Skeptics Society, is the long-running comedy podcast where skeptics from across the world are put through their critical-thinking paces and challenged to entertain as well as inform. InKredulous has been a firm fan favourite at […]

Ban this sick filth! Behind the scenes at the British Board of Film Classification – Jim Cliff

March 25, 2021 @ 19:00 (March 2021, check your local time)

For over a hundred years, a small, secretive group of people in Soho have decided what you can see in UK cinemas and, more recently, on video and DVD. Who are they, how do they make their decisions, and why was Monty Python’s Life of Brian banned in Torquay until 2008? Jim Cliff explains the […]

The Vampire of Croglin Grange – Deborah Hyde

March 18, 2021 @ 19:00 (March 2021, check your local time)

In 1875, a flame-eyed creature picked at the lead in a window pane to let himself in to a remote farmhouse in Cumberland. Thus started a campaign of menace against a young woman: a campaign which only stopped when her brothers tracked the creature down to its resting place in a local crypt. The Beast […]

The End of Denialism? – Dr Keith Kahn-Harris

March 11, 2021 @ 19:00 (March 2021, check your local time)

Covid denialism is currently a global threat, but denialism has been around for years: Holocaust denial, global warming denial, anti-vaxxers, 911 conspiracism, creationism and more. Recently though Covid denialism and denial of Trumps election loss have become mainstream Debunking denialist claims is essential – yet also rarely effective. In this talk, Dr Keith Kahn-Harris will […]

Mommy Dearest: The Myth of the Maternal Instinct – Professor Maryanne Fisher

March 4, 2021 @ 19:00 (March 2021, check your local time)

Evolutionary perspectives of mothering create a dilemma. One side suggests that women invest so heavily in their children that there may be an ‘instinct’ that drives their maternal behavior. The other side supports viewing women as strategists who constantly must maximize opportunities to find quality mates and have healthy children, even at the cost of […]

First Light: Switching on Stars at the Dawn of Time – Dr Emma Chapman

February 25, 2021 @ 19:00 (February 2021, check your local time)

Astronomers have successfully observed a great deal of the Universe’s history, from recording the afterglow of the Big Bang to imaging thousands of galaxies, and even to visualising an actual black hole. There’s a lot for astronomers to be smug about. But when it comes to understanding how the Universe began and grew up we […]

The science of mental health; how it goes wrong, how it’s treated, and the many misunderstandings in between – Dr Dean Burnett

February 18, 2021 @ 19:00 (February 2021, check your local time)

Mental health awareness is a very big concern in 2021, particularly with the impact of the pandemic and lockdown. But while being aware that mental health can and does go wrong is important, very little attention is paid to how and why this happens. In his new book, Psycho Logical, neuroscientist, author, and former Psychiatry […]

Born to dance? The evolutionary origins of music making – Dr Jacques Launay

February 11, 2021 @ 19:00 (February 2021, check your local time)

What’s the point in making music? Is there a point? Although music surrounds us for a large proportion of our time it doesn’t seem to serve an obvious purpose, and this talk will explore that problem. Darwin suggested music could be involved in sexual selection, used to flaunt genetic fitness to potential partners, but there […]

Dangerous Products: In The Home & In Our Stomachs – David Frank and Virginia Ng

February 4, 2021 @ 19:00 (February 2021, check your local time)

The societal and scientific consensus says only irrational people fear things like WiFi, artificial sweeteners, and fluoridated water, but there have been legitimately dangerous products sold as safe in the past. ​Flammable, toxic, radioactive and generally bad for you, we’ll look at products throughout history that killed, injured and poisoned, and the marketing campaigns that […]

Resisting Incarceration: Prisons, Activism and Abolition – Professor Phil Scraton

January 28, 2021 @ 19:00 (January 2021, check your local time)

Since Michael Howard’s pronouncement that ‘Prison Works’ the prison population in the UK has doubled with the current Government planning to build several more multi-occupancy ‘Titan’ prisons to incarcerate thousands more men and women. This reflects an ill-founded commitment to what became a cross-party mantra. In what sense does ‘prison work’? Does the claim stand […]

Pseudo-Archaeology: Fake news and new fakes – Mirko Gutjahr

January 21, 2021 @ 19:00 (January 2021, check your local time)

Light bulbs in antiquity? UFO landing sites in Peru? Giant pyramids in the Balkans? Authors like Erich von Däniken or TV shows like “Ancient Aliens” accuse archaeologists of hiding important discoveries and masking the truth. According to them the monumental buildings of the past were created not by our ancestors but by aliens or extradimensional […]

Too dangerous to publish? Navigating the high-stakes nature of AI research – Rosie Campbell

January 14, 2021 @ 19:00 (January 2021, check your local time)

As AI becomes increasingly advanced, it promises many benefits but also comes with risks. How can we mitigate these risks while preserving scientific inquiry and openness? Who is responsible for anticipating the impacts of AI research, and how can they do so effectively? What changes, if any, need to be made to the peer review […]

The Human Cosmos – Dr Jo Marchant

December 10, 2020 @ 19:00 (December 2020, check your local time)

For most of human history, we have led not just an earthly existence but a cosmic one. Celestial cycles drove every aspect of our daily lives. Our innate relationship with the stars shaped who we are – our religious beliefs, power structures, scientific advances and even our biology. But over the last few centuries we […]

A Crisis of Faith: How Religion Ruined America’s Pandemic Response – Noah Lugeons

December 3, 2020 @ 19:00 (December 2020, check your local time)

POSTPONED Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Noah Lugeons will not be able to give a talk this evening. In place of his talk, past speaker Angela Saini has very kindly give us permission to rebroadcast her talk from July, which proved to be one of our most popular events The details for Noah’s talk were […]

Planetary Protection: Guardians of the Galaxy or lame science-party poopers? – Dr Jennifer Wadsworth

November 26, 2020 @ 19:00 (November 2020, check your local time)

What is planetary protection? Is it even important? Because it sounds like it’s either an incredibly exciting space battle strategy from Independence Day or an exceedingly dull health and safety class that future generations will be subjected to. In reality it’s kind of both (except that thankfully it’s not from Independence Day). I’m a space […]

Pixie Turner/Ockham Awards Double Bill

November 19, 2020 @ 19:00 (November 2020, check your local time)

This is a special show as not only do we have Pixie Turner talking for us, we will also be hosting The Ockham Awards on behalf of The Skeptic. The Ockham Awards Michael Marshall will be hosting the Ockham Awards ceremony, find out who will win the coveted Award for Skeptical Activism and The Rusty […]

Inkredulous Podcast: Live!

November 14, 2020 @ 19:00 (November 2020, check your local time)

As part of QED 2018… again!, join host Andy Wilson for another live-streamed episode of the skeptical-themed panel show InKredulous. InKredulous, a production of the Merseyside Skeptics Society, is the long-running comedy podcast where skeptics from across the world are put through their critical-thinking paces and challenged to entertain as well as inform.

Dr Steve Barrett – Unidentified Flying Objects: Are there any images that require an extraterrestrial explanation.

November 12, 2020 @ 19:00 (November 2020, check your local time)

As a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Physics, my research interests span all aspects of imaging, image processing and image analysis. This includes medical imaging (biophysics), scanning probe microscopy of atoms, molecules and surfaces (nanophysics), microscopy of earth materials (geophysics) and astrophotography.

How to Make the World Add Up – Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers – Tim Harford

November 5, 2020 @ 19:00 (November 2020, check your local time)

When was the last time you read a grand statement, accompanied by a large number, and wondered whether it could really be true? Statistics are vital in helping us tell stories – we see them in the papers, on social media, and we hear them used in everyday conversation – and yet we doubt them […]

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

October 31, 2020 @ 19:00 (October 2020, check your local time)

Charity! For this event we are going to be raising money for the Centre for Effective Altruism, so please, please give generously and show how amazing our community is. Please spare what you can at https://www.gofundme.com/f/i-aint-afraid-of-no-ghosts As skeptics, we value reason and evidence. We also want to do good in the world. But with so […]

The bloody work of naturopaths – Britt Hermes

October 29, 2020 @ 19:00 (October 2020, check your local time)

Naturopathy is scary! For three years, I practiced as a licensed “naturopathic doctor” in the United States. The overwhelming majority of naturopathic care relies extensively on dubious alternative therapies, rather than established protocols based on medical and scientific research. In this Halloween-themed talk, I share the experiences that led to my interest in natural medicine, […]

Ethical realism in a universe without free will – Aaron Rabinowitz

October 22, 2020 @ 19:00 (October 2020, check your local time)

Skepticism and ethics are both essential features of a life of flourishing, but what should skeptics and critical thinkers know about ethics, and how should those beliefs motivate us to action? Philisopher Aaron Rabinowitz will put forward the case that skeptics should believe that ethics is real and free will is not, and will argue […]

How the sex trafficking panic leads to Qanon conspiracy theorists – Brooke Magnanti

October 15, 2020 @ 19:00 (October 2020, check your local time)

As the US Presidential election draws near, the world has become fascinated with the seemingly new phenomena of Qanon and other wide-ranging conspiracy theories taking over social media and mainstream politics. However, the genesis of these groups is years old and comes from a surprising place: the global anti-sex trafficking movement. Brooke Magnanti discusses what […]

Confessions of a Former Fox News Christian – Seth Andrews

October 8, 2020 @ 19:00 (October 2020, check your local time)

Seth Andrews is best known as host of the popular website, podcast, and online community, The Thinking Atheist. He is a broadcaster, storyteller, author, activist, and public speaker. However, rewind a few years and you’d meet a very different Seth Andrews. As a former evangelical Christian he was once a captive of right-wing media, and Fox News […]

Take the Redpill: Understanding the Allure of Conspiratorial Thinking among Proud Boys – Samantha Kutner

October 1, 2020 @ 19:00 (October 2020, check your local time)

Recent global events have led many to ask how far right groups like the Proud Boys are linked to Qanon, Lockdown Protests, Save The Children, and other disinformation vectors. In “Take the Redpill” her latest publication with @GJIA_Online, Samantha Kutner answers a different question: How does the Proud Boys redpill entry into recruitment make them […]

Suffragettes Vs Velociraptors – How two of the coolest things in history have been misunderstood – Iszi Lawrence

September 24, 2020 @ 19:00 (September 2020, check your local time)

The intriguing title of the talk pretty much speaks for itself, and absolves us of not knowing any more. However, if you’ve ever wondered which of them would win in a fight, then you’ll finally get an answer! Iszi Lawrence is the author of The Unstoppable Letty Pegg (Bloomsbury), presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Making […]

Who really runs the internet? – James Ball

September 17, 2020 @ 19:00 (September 2020, check your local time)

If you believe the rumours, Mark Zuckerberg is about to take over the world, thanks to Facebook’s billions of users and the power of his algorithm. But Facebook is ultimately just one company and just one service – what about the actual internet: the servers, the routers, and the thousands of miles of fibre-optic cables […]

How to Build a Healthy Brain – Kimberley Wilson

September 10, 2020 @ 19:00 (September 2020, check your local time)

Most of us know the basics of how to take care of our physical health, but what about the brain? Brain health is curiously neglected from public health campaigns, especially considering that dementia is now the leading cause of death in the UK and depression is rapidly becoming the leading cause of global disease burden. […]