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This is the podcast version of the Skeptics in the Pub Online live-streamed talks. We take the audio and give it to you in a nice easy podcast feed for you to listen at your pleasure. All of the talks are still available on our YouTube channel if you want to see any visuals/slides/etc. We will release the live shows as we do them on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month and on weeks when there isn't a live show, we will release an episode from the archive.
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In the last 10 years consumer production models of EVs have become more readily available. In spite of data which shows EVs are more efficient than fossil fuel vehicles, with reduced CO2, emissions and particulates, in a recent policy U-turn, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak kicked back the date for full transition to EVs to 2035, eliciting heavy critici…
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There was a time when you could be skeptical about cholesterol’s role in cardiovascular prevention. There was uncertainty about causality, diet seemed to have little impact and the drugs were either ineffective or potentially dangerous. But then things changed. Medications improved, genetic causes of high cholesterol became clear, and the cardiovas…
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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 are literally in the dark…
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During her presentation, Adrienne will delve into the myriad myths surrounding Tourette Syndrome, the intriguing TikTok Tics phenomenon that started during the pandemic, and the pseudoscientific “cures” targeting vulnerable parents who seek to support their children. Be ready with pencil and paper to experience what it is like to live with TS+. Adr…
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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 lecturer Dr Dean Burn…
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Physicists and chemists are used to dealing with quantum mechanics, but biologists have thus far got away without having to worry about this strange yet powerful theory of the subatomic world. However, times are changing. There is now solid evidence that enzymes use quantum tunnelling to accelerate chemical reactions, while plants and bacteria use …
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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 are also several altern…
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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, an…
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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’? Do…
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What would happen to dogs if humans simply disappeared? Would dogs be able to survive on their own without us? A Dog’s World imagines a posthuman future for dogs, revealing how dogs would survive—and possibly even thrive—and explaining how this new and revolutionary perspective can guide how we interact with dogs now. Drawing on biology, ecology, a…
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For more than 200 years, the name “Rothschild” has been synonymous with two things: great wealth, and conspiracy theories about what they’re “really doing” with it. Almost from the moment Mayer Amschel Rothschild and his sons emerged from the Jewish ghetto of Frankfurt to revolutionize the banking world, the Rothschild family has been the target of…
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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 b…
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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 process? In this talk…
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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 have separated ourselves from …
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Award-winning science journalist Angela Saini goes in search of the true roots of gendered oppression, uncovering a complex history of how male domination became embedded in societies and spread across the globe from prehistory into the present. Travelling to the world’s earliest known human settlements, analysing the latest research findings in sc…
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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 scien…
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Why can’t we think straight when hungry? What’s the point of nightmares? And why can’t we forget embarrassing memories?Emotions can be a pain. After losing his dad to Covid-19, Dean Burnett found himself wondering what life would be like without them. And so, he decided to put his feelings under the microscope – for science. In this talk, Dean take…
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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. The music used in thi…
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In this talk, I will present the key findings on first impressions and stereotypes offered by cognitive science. By presenting the main experimental designs that are used to product these results, I will question the limits and issues of this research and discuss how we can ensure a safe use of these results Lou Safra holds a PhD in cognitive scien…
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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 more than ever.But numbers – in the right hands – have th…
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We all want to be well, right? Whether you’re a bit run down and just need a pick me up to get through the next working week, you’re suffering symptoms of a long-standing condition that you just can’t figure out or you’re reaching an age where you want security in your long-term health. The wellness industry has become ever more popular in an age w…
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How does food make you feel? We need food to survive, but often we don't stop to think about why we eat the way we do. From birth, we are shaped by our early psychological environment, which ultimately affects what, where, when, and why we eat. Are your parents really to blame for everything? Can you actually eat your way out of depression? Or is i…
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October 31st is Halloween - traditionally the scariest night of the year (although we're a bit more scared about what might happen in the US election a few days later). All things considered, it’s pretty safe to say that this has been a slightly unsettling year for lots of people and the last thing we need right now is a bunch of ghosts and ghouls …
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One of the characteristics of language is that there is no relationship between the way that words sound and their meaning. For example, there is nothing window-like about the word window, and it is named with completely different sounds in other languages, from fenêtre in French to shubak in Arabic. In this talk, I will discuss cases where the sou…
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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 t…
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Scientific approaches to understanding reproductive choice - the decision to have a child, the decision to terminate a pregnancy, etc. - typically position decision-makers as rational. Attention is paid to economic forces of change (e.g., industrialisation, rising costs of living, globalisation), to explain why people are having fewer children rela…
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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? Philosopher Aaron Rabinowitz will put forward the case that skeptics should believe that ethics is real and free will is not, and will argue that adopting t…
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Trauma, gaslighting, narcs, multiple personalities, and the rest of the human mind. Where better to learn about these things than TikTok, Instagram and Twitter? Carrie Poppy (Oh No, Ross and Carrie) takes you on a tour of some of the most popular social media pseudoscience, how to spot it, and what you can say when you see it. Carrie Poppy is an in…
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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 Magna…
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The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a host of scientific triumphs but also numerous failures and declining reputations. One such example is the antiparasitic medication ivermectin, which had previously gained a reputation as a highly effective "wonder drug" but has since faced much controversy during the pandemic. Initially hailed as a potential mira…
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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 in…
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In the last two years conspiracy theories seemed to have spread like a different kind of virus even to people, we would never have expected to be susceptible. Discussions have been unavoidable and ugly, we lost friends, saw family members drifting away and experienced an increasing radicalization. How to respond to conspiracy narratives? Why do peo…
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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…
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Flags! They’re everywhere, from battlefields to Pride marches to the World Cup. But what secrets and mysteries do flags hold? Why do some people get upset if you say Union Flag instead of Union Jack? Are remainers right when they say they want their star back? Why do the bad guys have such well-designed flags? And just what does it mean to fly at h…
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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 History, The British Museum Memberca…
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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 that cross the world? Who co…
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We like to think of humans as rational creatures, who have relied on calculation and intellect to survive. But many of the most important moments in our history had little to do with cold, hard facts and a lot to do with feelings. Join Richard Firth-Godbehere explores a fascinating and wide-ranging tour of the central and often under-appreciated ro…
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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. What’s driving the rising r…
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After an incredibly exciting release of images this summer, JWST has settled into science mode. This talk will take you on a journey from our own galaxy to the beginnings of the Universe via images from this incredible new telescope, highlighting some interesting scientific discoveries along the way. Emma is a STFC Webb Fellow, which means she has …
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Dr Suzi Gage is a senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool, researching links between recreational drug use and mental health. In 2016 she started the award-winning Say Why to Drugs podcast with rapper and actor Scroobius Pip, exploring the science around drugs, and busting the myths that exist around them, from alcohol to LSD, MDMA to heroin…
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There’s a lot more to wasps than your stripy picnic friend: wasps matter to you and the world. There are five times more species of wasps than bees; there are wasps that have sex inside plants; there are wasps that turn cockroaches into zombies. Wasps taught us how to make paper; wasps are architects, guardians of microorganisms, invaders, pollinat…
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Engaging someone on a belief they hold in an effective manner is rarely easy, particularly if that belief is tied to one’s identity. So, imagine approaching strangers in public and attempting to engage them in a calm, respectful exploration of that belief, using a conversational technique known as Street Epistemology. You’ve also got to seek their …
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There’s so much talk about the threat posed by intelligent machines that it sometimes seems as though we should surrender to our robot overlords now. But Junaid Mubeen isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. As far as he is concerned, we have the edge over machines because of a remarkable system of thought developed over the millennia. It’s fam…
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Many of us think of cancer as a contemporary killer, a disease of our own making caused by our modern lifestyles. But that’s not true. Although it might be rare in many species, cancer is the enemy lurking within almost every living creature. Cancer has always been with us. It killed our hominid ancestors, the mammals they evolved from and the dino…
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We all use the term ‘luck’ every day, but do we know what we mean when we say it? Research suggests that people generally have nascent, internally inconsistent accounts of luck, and that accounts vary significantly across individuals and cultures. This variation and lack of consistent usage could have significant impacts on research about belief in…
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The production of food has more negative impacts on the planet than any other human activity. Over the next thirty years, we desperately need to make huge changes to the way we produce and consume food, otherwise, the effect on the natural world will be devastating. This talk will explain how misinformation is one of the most powerful forces preven…
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How do we describe the world on a scale of atoms and molecules? The concepts underlying quantum mechanics seem to be at odds with common sense, but quantum theory describes reality on the atomic scale. Dr Steve Barrett is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Physics at the University of Liverpool. His research interests have centred around…
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The spread of harmful misinformation is a defining characteristic of this pandemic. It has led to deaths, financial loss, increased stigma, health policy challenges, and added to the chaotic information environment. We must counter this “infodemic” with evidence-based communication strategies. Despite concerns about the “backfire effect” and debunk…
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Are the brains of women and men the same or different? Or maybe it’s the wrong question? Does the binary division extend beyond the genitalia into the human brain and mind? And why do we care? I devoted the past decade to answering these questions. With my lab members, we analyzed the structure of over 20,000 human brains, and the psychological cha…
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Brenna Hassett explores how evolutionary history has shaped a weird and wonderful phenomenon that everyone on the planet experiences – childhood. Paleoanthropological science has revealed that we have one particular thing that sets us apart as a species: our uniquely long childhoods. This book looks at how we have diverged from our primate roots to…
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