Bournemouth Skeptics in the Pub invite a guest speaker every month to come and discuss something interesting with us. The talks can be about science, reason and critical thinking, conspiracy, the paranormal, cults and so on. Listen, have a drink and ask some questions of our speaker.

We meet on the second Wednesday of each month at The Brunswick Pub, 199 Malmesbury Park Rd, Charminster, BH8 8PX (5 minutes by car or 15 minutes on foot from Bournemouth Station).

How to Think More Effectively

Phil James

When?
Wednesday, October 11 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Phil James

What's the talk about?

Why do we believe that air travel is more dangerous than car travel, despite statistics proving the opposite is true? 

Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? 

And why do we forget to eat when focused on an interesting project? 

In his best-selling book, ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’, Nobel Prize winning behavioural economist Daniel Kahneman explored the intuitive biases and irrationality in our decision making, and explained that we use two thinking systems which he calls ‘System 1’ and ‘System 2’. System 1 operates on the illusory principle: ‘what you see is all there is’ - it’s fast and automatic but conclusions come to you without any awareness of how you were arrived at them. System 2 takes effortful concentration, and we are aware of the mental processes it is using, but it is lazy and easily overridden by the quick convenience of System 1.

Kahneman also details a series of heuristics ("rules of thumb") we use in our thinking that can bias the accuracy of our decision making, and considers how understanding these mental shortcuts can help us recognise the situations in which mistakes are likely so we can try harder to avoid significant mistakes when the stakes are high. 

Phil James will present an entertaining exposition of Kahneman’s key psychological observations, with a special focus on how we can use our new-found knowledge of the cognitive biases, fallacies and illusions revealed in the book to improve the effectiveness of our thinking in our everyday lives.

Does a photo of eyes make you more honest?

Can smiling as you read this make you more confident this talk will be worth attending? 

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Phil James MSc MBPsS FRSA is a Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society and a retired PhD researcher at Bournemouth University.

Anil Seth

When?
Wednesday, December 13 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Anil Seth

What's the talk about?

Consciousness is, for each of us, the presence of a world. Without consciousness there is no world, no self: there is nothing at all. But we do not know much about the material and biological basis of this most central feature of our lives. How do rich multisensory experiences, the senses of self and body, and volition, agency, and ‘will’ emerge from the joint activity of billions of neurons locked inside a bony skull?

Once the province just of philosophy and theology, the neuroscience of consciousness has emerged as a one of the great scientific challenges for this century.

In this seminar Anil will sketch the state-of-the-art in the new science of consciousness. He will distinguish between conscious level (how conscious we are), conscious content (what we are conscious of), and conscious self (the ‘I’ behind the eyes), describing in each case how new experiments are shedding light on the underlying neural mechanisms, in normal life and in neurological and psychiatric conditions.

Throughout, he will emphasize phenomenology; the way things seem – as the target for any satisfying explanation of how the brain, in conjunction with the body and the environment, gives rise to and shapes conscious experience.

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Anil Seth is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience and Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at Sussex University.

Stories from the Frontline of the Future

Mark Stevenson

When?
Wednesday, February 14 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Mark Stevenson

What's the talk about?

Our systems are failing. Old models – for education, healthcare, government, food production and energy supply – are creaking under the weight of modern challenges. As the world’s population heads towards 10 billion, it is clear we need new approaches. 

Futurologist Mark Stevenson sets out to find them, uncovering an enthralling picture of what can be done to address the world’s most pressing dilemmas, a journey that offers a much needed dose of down-to-earth optimism. It is a window on (and a roadmap to) a different and better future.

Mark will be fitting as much as possible into his talk - this is a 100 mile-an-hour tour into the future, but fear not, there will be a time for questions and answers in the second half and for unpacking some of his ideas more fully!

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Mark Stevenson is a writer, entrepreneur, broadcaster, reluctant futurologist and founder of The League of Pragmatic Optimists. He has written for Radio 4, the Times, Sunday Times, Wall Street Journal, Telegraph, Guardian and New Statesman, and is the author of the critically acclaimed An Optimist’s Tour of the Future.

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