Goldsmiths to host eclectic European Skeptics Congress
From 11-13 September, Goldsmiths, University of London will host the 16th annual European Skeptics Congress th a mass gathering of people from all walks of life who promote rational thinking and enquiry, and engage in debate on pseudoscience, religion, and the paranormal.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Several of our academics will speak at the event, in a line-up that includes topics as diverse as homeopathy, fairies, Satanic Panics and sleep paralysis.
The conference is held under the auspices of the European Council for Skeptical Organisations ( ECSO ), and is jointly organised by the Association for Skeptical Enquiry ( ASKE ) and the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit ( APRU ), based within Goldsmiths’ Department of Psychology.
Professor Adam Dinham from our Faiths and Civil Society Unit joins a panel discussion on Friday 11 September, debating scepticism, humanism and religion with Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association Andrew Copson, chair of Healthwatch James May, secularist, human rights activist and broadcaster Maryam Namazie and Rabbi Pete Tobias.
In the evening, proceedings move to the Goldsmiths Students Union where Department of Psychology lecturer Gustav Kuhn – both a visual cognition expert and magician – will talk about and demonstrate the Science of Magic at a special Skeptics in the Pub event. Separate tickets are available for £5, with both conference delegates and the public welcome.
On day two, Professor Chris French - former Editor-in-Chief of The Skeptic Magazine and a globally-respected researcher into the psychology of paranormal belief and ostensibly paranormal experiences – will be joined by past and present colleagues and associates, presenting accounts of their work at the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit.
Journalist Rosie Waterhouse will cover Satanic Panics and related topics; Alasdair Hopwood speaks on false memories; Carla MacKinnon and Dan Denis on sleep paralysis; Rob Teszka on the psychology of magic; Christopher Thresher-Andrews on the psychology of belief in conspiracies; and Barbara Rowlands discusses how the media covers complementary medicine.
Professor French will also take part in a panel discussion on testing people claiming to have paranormal powers, with Martin Mahner, Antonin Pavlicek and Caroline Watt.
Further key speakers at the event include academic physician, author and “scourge of alternative medicine" Edzard Ernst, whose recent lecture at Goldsmiths was a highlight of the APRU event season. Well-known science broadcaster, presenter and President of the British Humanist Association Professor Jim Al-Khalili, will give the weekend’s keynote speech. Leading British sceptics Richard Wiseman and Deborah Hyde will also speak at the Congress.
Pre-conference events, including a fun look at maths and a Skeptics in the Pub event reflecting on the emergence of scepticism in the UK, take place on Thursday 11 September and are separately ticketed at £5 each.
Professor French said, “We hope that this Congress will exemplify all that is best about scepticism. It is not about simply dismissing claims but evaluating them fairly on the basis of evidence and reason. We have a fabulous line-up of speakers that can get that message across in an entertaining and informative way.”
For more information and tickets visit euroscepticscon.org
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