Society talks in London

Oct
21
Mon
Behind Closed Doors: Sex Education Transformed
Oct 21 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Behind Closed Doors: Sex Education Transformed @ Conway Hall

One thing we know for certain is that sex is personal: perhaps the most intimate thing of all. But sex is also shaped by a complicated web of cultural, social and political forces outside of ourselves.

Fear-mongering, moral panic and outdated attitudes prevail, but if #MeToo has taught us anything, it’s how dangerous it is to keep conversations about sex hidden from view. In her book Behind Closed Doors Natalie Fiennes invests in a radical, inclusive and honest sex education, taking us beyond learning about the ‘birds and the bees’, to identifying inequality that stands in the way of sexual freedom.

From contraceptives to virginity, consent to pornography, transphobia to sexual abuse, the book shows how our desires are influenced by powerful political processes that can be transformed.

Natalie is a journalist and filmmaker. She is currently working in documentary film making and has taught sex education and consent classes in schools, universities, and youth centres around the UK. She writes for the Guardian and the Independent.

Behind Closed Doors will be available on the night to be purchased and signed.

Nov
5
Tue
William Beveridge and Social Biology at LSE
Nov 5 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
William Beveridge and Social Biology at LSE @ Wolfson Lecture Theatre, New Academic Building LSE

Chris Renwick (University of York) will speak on the history of sociology in Britain and why William Beveridge was interested in the role of biology within social science in the 1920s and 30s.

Dr Renwick’s first book, British Sociology’s Lost Biological Roots: A History of Futures Past(2012), recovered the forgotten history of British sociologists’ engagement with biology during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is currently exploring how biologists and social scientists were brought together by a shared interest in topics such as intelligence, fertility, nutrition, and poverty, as well as funding bodies such as the Rockefeller Foundation, in a set of debates about the nature of society and social structure.

Chris Renwick is a historian of Britain since the early nineteenth century. His main area of expertise is the relationship between biology, social science, and politics, in particular how the interaction of the three has shaped the way we think about, study, and govern society. His work on these subjects has received international and interdisciplinary recognition. While his first book was shortlisted for the British Sociological Association’s Philip Abrams Memorial Prize in 2013, his most recent book, Bread for All: The Origins of the Welfare State, has been long listed for the Orwell Book Prize and short listed for the Longman-History Today Book Prize in 2018.

Professor Mike Savage is Martin White Professor at the Department of Sociology and Director of International Inequalities Institute, LSE.

Nov
6
Wed
The Truth About Fat – Why obesity, weight gain and health are more complex than everyone thinks (w/ Anthony Warner)
Nov 6 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

We are getting fat and sick in increasing numbers and it’s placing a devastating burden on our healthcare systems. Scientists in every field are desperate to explain this epidemic and stave off a modern health disaster. But what’s to blame? Carbs, fat or sugar? Gut microbes or genes? Laziness or poverty? In this talk, Anthony Warner will scrutinise the explanations of experts in every field, laying out the best evidence available. But most of all, he will rail against quack theories preying on the desperate and consider whether we are blaming our own bodies for other people’s ignorance and cruelty. What remains is the unvarnished truth about one of the great preoccupations of our age.

Talks are held on the first Wednesday of the month starting at 7:30 pm unless otherwise noted. We meet in the Star and Garter pub, 60 Old Woolwich Road, London SE10 9NY. The Star and Garter pub is close to many transport links and is approximately 7 minutes walk from Maze Hill Overground Station, or 10 minutes walk from the Cutty Sark DLR Station. Although the pub does not serve food, there are plenty of excellent restaurants in Greenwich, including several very nearby on Trafalgar Road. Attendance is free (unless otherwise stated) although a small donation to help cover expenses is appreciated. There is no need to book in advance (again, unless otherwise stated).

For further information, visit http://greenwich.skepticsinthepub.org/ or contact Prof Chris French (email: [email protected]).

NB: You are strongly recommended to register (at no cost) with the “Psychology of the Paranormal” email list (run by Professor Chris French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London) to ensure that you are informed of any future changes to the programme as well as news of related events. You can also follow @chriscfrench on Twitter for announcements (including news of last-minute cancellations, changes of speaker, etc.).

Visit: http://www.gold.ac.uk/apru/email-network/

 

Nov
18
Mon
The Apology of Socrates – a reading and discussion 1
Nov 18 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

The Apology of Socrates

Plato’s account of the apology or defence offered by Socrates in his trial when charged with impiety and the corruption of youth in Athens is one of the great moments in philosophic literature in the west. It demonstrates the seriousness with which Socrates took his quest for wisdom – a search which even the threat of death could not prevent. The priority that the Platonic tradition gives to the care of the soul over and above all other human endeavours is encapsulated in Socrates exhortation, “O best of men, since you are an Athenian, of a city the greatest and the most celebrated for wisdom and strength, are you not ashamed of being attentive to the means of acquiring riches, glory and honour, in great abundance, but to bestow no care nor any consideration upon wisdom and truth, nor how your soul may subsist in the most excellent condition?” And perhaps we who live in a civilization which we consider to be marked by intelligence and strength should attend to that plea with greater thought than Socrates’ earlier judges. We will read and discuss the Apology over two sessions (starting the second session – 2nd December – with a short summary of the first half, for those who are absent from the first session).

No previous experience of formal philosophy is required.

Entrance in free, but donations between £3-5 will be welcomed.

A PDF download of the extract we will be reading is available on our website together with further details of this and other Prometheus Trust’s activities: www.prometheustrust.co.uk (the PDF is on the “London Monday Evenings” page.)

Dec
2
Mon
The Apology of Socrates – 2
Dec 2 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

The Apology of Socrates – 2

Plato’s account of the apology or defence offered by Socrates in his trial when charged with impiety and the corruption of youth in Athens is one of the great moments in philosophic literature in the west. It demonstrates the seriousness with which Socrates took his quest for wisdom – a search which even the threat of death could not prevent. The priority that the Platonic tradition gives to the care of the soul over and above all other human endeavours is encapsulated in Socrates exhortation, “O best of men, since you are an Athenian, of a city the greatest and the most celebrated for wisdom and strength, are you not ashamed of being attentive to the means of acquiring riches, glory and honour, in great abundance, but to bestow no care nor any consideration upon wisdom and truth, nor how your soul may subsist in the most excellent condition?” And perhaps we who live in a civilization which we consider to be marked by intelligence and strength should attend to that plea with greater thought than Socrates’ earlier judges. We will read and discuss the Apology over two sessions (this is the second session and we will start with a short summary of the first one, for those who are absent from the first session).

No previous experience of formal philosophy is required.

Entrance in free, but donations between £3-5 will be welcomed.

A PDF download of the extract we will be reading is available on our website together with further details of this and other Prometheus Trust’s activities: www.prometheustrust.co.uk (the PDF is on the “London Monday Evenings” page

Dec
4
Wed
The psychology of conspiracy theories (w/ Dr. Dan Jolley @DrDanielJolley)
Dec 4 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Conspiracy theories are associated with almost every significant social and political event, including the theory that the U.S. government orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, that the U.K Government murdered Diana, Princess of Wales, or that the pharmaceutical industry deliberately concealed the fact that the MMR vaccine causes Autism. Belief in these types of conspiracy theories is blooming in the 21st century; millions of people subscribe to them.

A basic understanding of logic, rationality, and probability tell us, however, that most of these conspiracy claims are probably false. So why then do so many people believe them? What makes them so attractive and compelling to people? And, anyway, what’s the problem, aren’t they just harmless fun?

In this talk, Dr Daniel Jolley will take you through the psychology of conspiracy theories. You will learn why people subscribe to conspiracy theories and discuss some of the misconceptions (including whether all conspiracy believers are paranoid!).  He will also uncover some of the potentially damaging consequences of conspiracy theories; maybe they are not just harmless after all, before discussing ongoing research into tools to combat the negative harm of conspiracism!

Dr Daniel Jolley is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Staffordshire University.  He is a Chartered Psychologist of the British Psychological Society, where he is a member of the Executive Committee of the Social Psychology Section.  Jolley’s main area of research is the psychology of conspiracy theories.  He is particularly interested in using experimental methods to examine the social consequences of exposure to conspiracy theories and has co-authored articles in outlets such as PLoSONE, the British Journal of Psychology and Political Psychology.  He blogs at conspiracypsychology.com and tweets @DrDanielJolley.

 

Talks are held on the first Wednesday of the month starting at 7:30 pm unless otherwise noted. We meet in the Star and Garter pub, 60 Old Woolwich Road, London SE10 9NY. The Star and Garter pub is close to many transport links and is approximately 7 minutes walk from Maze Hill Overground Station, or 10 minutes walk from the Cutty Sark DLR Station. Although the pub does not serve food, there are plenty of excellent restaurants in Greenwich, including several very nearby on Trafalgar Road. Attendance is free (unless otherwise stated) although a small donation to help cover expenses is appreciated. There is no need to book in advance (again, unless otherwise stated).

For further information, visit http://greenwich.skepticsinthepub.org/ or contact Prof Chris French (email: [email protected]).

NB: You are strongly recommended to register (at no cost) with the “Psychology of the Paranormal” email list (run by Professor Chris French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London) to ensure that you are informed of any future changes to the programme as well as news of related events. You can also follow @chriscfrench on Twitter for announcements (including news of last-minute cancellations, changes of speaker, etc.).

Visit: http://www.gold.ac.uk/apru/email-network/