Welcome to Maidstone Skeptics in the Pub, monthlyish talks from experts on science, skepticism, critical thinking and myth busting. 

The talks are held at The Style and Winch, and are normally £3 to cover costs, with any extra going to The Good Thinking Society.

For more information about the idea behind Skeptics in the Pub please look at this BBC Report and this Wikipedia entry.
 

You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter (@ME1skeptics), Meetup, and Instagram 

Carol

When?
Tuesday, January 24 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Carol

What's the talk about?

 

Our world would be one of anarchy without the ‘Rule of Law’. Our interactions with others and with the state depend on the rules of contract law, consumer law, land law, employment law, financial law, the law of nuisance and negligence, family law, criminal law, and of course, public and constitutional law. These are just some of the main areas of law; there are many other branches of law. As responsible citizens we observe the law on a daily basis, but ironically most of the time this is subliminal; we are not fully aware that this is what we are doing; our relationship with the law is almost automatic. Given the pervasive nature of law, it is somewhat surprising that we are expected to know the law. It is almost as if we are assumed to have an inherent understanding of the rules we must abide by. How very strange! 
 
As a lecturer in law, it always surprises me how very little my students know about the subject I teach, and about the law in general. Even more interesting is the fact that many people have misconceptions about the law and erroneous notions of what it involves. A sociologist (aka sceptic!) would have various explanations for why this is. Whatever the reason, it is a fact that we are often unaware of the nature of the law that governs our lives. 
 
So how much do you know about the law? This session will identify some common legal misconceptions and will then focus on one particular area of law. You will be asked to decide on the truth and falsity of some legal propositions, so bring a pen! 
 
Carol is a non-practising barrister and Principal Lecturer in Law in a London University. She has been lecturing in law for 20 years and has taught many subjects, from Construction Law to Negligence and the Law of Evidence. 
 
The facebook event can be found here, and the meetup event here
 
£3 on the door with all proceeds going to charity

 

Jerry Barnett

When?
Monday, February 6 2017 at 7:30PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Jerry Barnett

What's the talk about?

The 90s was a particularly liberal era in terms of personal freedom. But soon after the turn of the new century, new morality groups began to pop up in the UK. Perhaps the first to notice this trend were strippers in East London, who found pickets outside their workplaces, and lobbyists trying to close the clubs down. These new moralists were not of the old, Christian, Tory kind: these groups were young, left-wing, and feminist. They were funded by social justice organisations and supported by the Guardian. Social conservatism, having faded on the right, was being reborn on the left.
 
Beginning with campaigns against strip clubs, pornography, “sexualised” music videos, and other forms of sexual expression, the pro-censorship movement grew, and broadened its scope. The old feminism and anti-racism messages of the left subtly turned into pro-censorship movements. Restrictions on “hate speech” morphed into suppression of speech that merely offended people. This new, quasi-fascist movement of the left took aim at fundamental liberal values of free speech, equality and reason.
 
Jerry Barnett is a technologist, entrepreneur and veteran activist. As an operator of adult entertainment sites for many years, he watched the rise of the porn panic, and saw much of the political left collapse into conservatism. Realising that the attacks on sexual expression were precursor to far broader attacks on free speech, he founded the Sex & Censorship campaign in 2013. His book Porn Panic!, was published by Zero Books in 2016 and can be found here
 
The facebook event can be found here, and the meetup event can be found here
 
£5 on the door to cover costs with any extra going to charity

 

Dr Kat Arney

When?
Monday, March 6 2017 at 7:30PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Dr Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

 

The language of genes has become common in the media. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. We're told that genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.
 
There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the 'recipes' that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with all the control switches ensuring they're turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. With the help of cats with thumbs, fish with hips and wobbly worms, Kat will unpack some of the mysteries in our DNA and explain the latest thinking about how our genes work.
 
Dr Kat Arney is a science communicator and award-winning blogger for Cancer Research UK, as well as a freelance science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more. She has just published her first book, Herding Hemingway's Cats, about how our genes work.
 
The facebook event can be found here, and the meetup event can be found here 
 
£5 on the door to cover costs with any extra going to charity

 

Jamie Bartlett

When?
Tuesday, May 2 2017 at 7:30PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Jamie Bartlett

What's the talk about?

 

The dark net is an underworld that stretches from popular social media sites to the most secretive corners of the encrypted web. It is a world that frequently appears in newspaper headlines but one that is little understood, and rarely explored.
 
For his book The Dark Net Jamie Bartlett spent two years immersed in some of the internet's most shocking and secretive sub-cultures: spending time in secretive 'trolling' forums, interviewing illegal pornographers, buying drugs from the notorious 'Silk Road', following bitcoin enthusiasts, attending live internet sex shows, and hanging out with neo-Nazis.
 
In his talk, Jamie will suggest they are not as they seem. They are shocking and disturbing, but often extremely innovative. He will discuss the truth of how these internet subcultures work, who is part of them, and what we can learn from them. He will also discuss the problems of meeting and writing about some of the internet's most hated people.
 
Jamie is Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos. His primary research interests are: new political movements and social media research and analysis, internet cultures and security and privacy online. The Dark Net was shortlisted for The Political Award and longlisted for The Orwell Prize. His next book Radicals (Random House) about new radical social and political movements will be released in Spring 2017. 
 
The facebook event can be found here, and the meetup page can be found here
 
£5 on the door to cover costs with any extra going to charity