Tag Archives: Bedford Skeptics in The Pub

Bedford Skeptics Are in The Pub…or are they?

20 Feb

 

The truth is out there

The truth is out there

Well I have finally come up against a subject that foxes me. Baffled. Gobsmacked. William Shatnered! Philosophy. Over my head by some miles. Last night’s meeting of Skeptics in the Pub featured a very bouncy Clio Bellenis who spoke to a fairly large crowd of people who were either very clever or unlike me were keeping their confused state under wraps. 

Imagine it having "Bedford" at the top!

Imagine it having “Bedford” at the top!

I got slightly animated when a picture of Data from Star Trek came on and I thought I was on safe ground but then matters moved to whether he had a soul or a sentient conscience. He’s a robot. Then we got onto beam technology and I think we were supposed to be talking about whether your soul beams down or whether having beamed down to the planet Zarg are you the same person or just a load of atoms. I was thinking of the seaside. BUT THEN…Riker got mentioned and an episode where he gets split into two identical Riker’s by the beam, that was a good one and he started off a bit bad and then joined the resistance on Deep Space Nine. Then Clio started talking about philosophy again and I was back on the beach.

Now I’ve heard this bit before but apparently when Jason and his Nauts were sailing on the Argo battling giants, winged goblins and those skeletons at the end well they had to keep repairing the ship as they went on. To the point where when they got home all of the ship had been replaced. Now someone was following them picking the old bits up and had managed to build a slighty dodgy but still recognisable Argo patched up with polyfilla. And the philosophical question was “Which ship was the Argo”. Now I don’t remember this from the famous 1963 film but I reckon Clio might want to update this and use the Sugarbabies pop group instead as they changed singers to the point where the final three Sugarbabies weren’t the original.

And to be honest at this point you're not the slightest bit interested in what they are singing....

And to be honest at this point you’re not the slightest bit interested in what they are singing….

And then the original three Sugarbabies got back together again and there was a battle in space or something like that. See what I mean.

And then whales can recognise themselves in mirrors begging the question as to how they discovered this. And in science to prove this wasn’t fluke or a very clever whale they would have had to do say 20? Maybe more…

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I asked about Schrodinger’s Cat (I changed the subject matter from philosophy to Quantum wot not and she was too polite to tell me but I knew already) which debates whether a cat in a box is dead or alive and my tip is if you hear it meow that’s a good sign. A rotten stench is a bad sign. And Schrodinger never played the piano with Snoopy in Peanuts that was his son Schroeder!

Schrodingers Oiano

Schrodingers Oiano

Philosophy, physics, psychology…it’s all a bit much on a Thursday evening when you’ve spent all day wading through lists of hazardous chemicals while simultaneously waiting for news as to whether your cars passed its MOT test but despite being both impressed and confused by the subject matter, with emphasis on the latter I enjoyed the evening with the Skeptics and at least I know now when it comes to philosophy to give it a wide berth. I asked Debs if she understood it having told her that I didn’t , she pondered a minute or so and said rather philosophically “Nope me neither”.

Skeptics in the Pub meets monthly at the North End Social Club which is Bedford’s premier” Phoenix Nights” style venue and rather good! And as it’s a club not a pub that explains the title. I think! Therefore I am!

http://bedford.skepticsinthepub.org/

 

 

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Family Entertainment in Bedford

26 Aug

 

Hiya! …..Been sorta quiet hasn’t it! This is Bedford Bypass back after three weeks sitting watching the sea coming in, going out, sun coming up and going down. Back in Bedford now and its like Groundhog Year…sod all has changed…mobius strip..looped life, its all the same….we are stuck in Bloody Chicken Town…

 

Psychic Sally and the spirits of the DEAD! Good Family entertainment!

Psychic Sally and the spirits of the DEAD! Good Family entertainment!

Lets go for a night out…top quality family entertainment….oh look! ….It’s Psychic Sally coming to visit the lonely and bereft of Bedford for the umpteenth year on the trot…put you in touch with the dead… live on on stage at the Corn Exchange…for the umpteenth year running…but I’ve said that already… in front of our very eyes…is there a John in the audience?…the dead live on…and we in Bedford are so lucky that Sally…sorry Psychic Sally deigns to bring her skills in this interphase between two worlds right into the heart of town…a message for Margaret …maybe Marjorie..Mary…Maria…maybe..maybe…he says he’s happy in heaven…oooh….Janet, she she wants you to know that she wasn’t your real mother and she always despised you…

The blurb from the Corn Exchange says its for entertainment only…fun fun fun but don’t mention her recent night in Middlesborough when the picture of a supposedly dead woman turned out to be a very much alive woman sat in the audience.  Spinning heads and projectile puking…demons from the other side…that’s your problem matey…Claims Direct might not be able to help if you go home with something horrid sat on you shoulder cackling and feeding off your very soul…but…Sally doesn’t do this sort of demon stuff….just random messages from nice dead people wanting to speak to nice live people…Martin you bastard…why did you leave it all to her…Martin…is that you…Martin!.

Do they have to have died in Bedford for Sally to bring them forth?…do the dead of Bedford eagerly wait for Sally to make her annual visit on the off chance that there earthbound kin are able to get tickets, or believe in fairies….What happens if you died in Coventry but your corpse is below ground in Bedford…or went up the chimney…No pushing in now you spirit people…oy! you…you with the medals…piss off …Sally’s in Watford next month. Sally is a busy person, she seems to be everywhere!

Sally herself looks radiant as you can see…in some recent photo’s she’s sort of lardy and aged but for Bedford she’s slim and radiant…looking years younger…you sceptics might think its reliance on old publicity pics but I believe…I believe….I believe that following death from heart based trauma..lung cancer…road traffic accident…maybe simple decay or just hypothermia from being unable to afford decent heating…I believe that Sally can summon you forth…to say “Hiya” before quickly moving onto Arthur, Alice, Janet who all wait patiently in spectral line for their fleeting moment of fame….

No Demons allowed at Bedford Corn Exchange! It says so...

No Demons allowed at Bedford Corn Exchange! It says so…

Some people think that it’s a masterful con trick…Psychic Sally touring the UK constantly, no end of people wanting proof that that final challenged breath..vague pulse..juddering heartbeat…is just a temporary blip…keen to pass on their £££££ to Sally…Some websites would have us believe that  Sally is raking it in…X amounts of venues per annum… X amounts of arses on seats X whatever it costs, £20 plus to get in..very negative….but there’s much more to it than that…I believe….I want to believe….

 

Saturday Night of the Demon

3 Aug

The third Annual General Meeting of 2014 took place last night (Saturday) where we all gathered, nay…huddled more like ..around the telly to savor a classic British horror film “Night of The Demon” which was provided by one of our long term “good egg” readers Mr McG.

It's in the trees...it's coming!

It’s in the trees…it’s coming!

Now when I say classic British horror this is one of the standout offerings which is sadly mostly forgotten except by devotees, I don’t think it’s been shown on telly for over 20 years and my taped copy complete with adverts never survived the last house move. It’s black and white, made in 1957 and notwithstanding some hard to realise special effects notably the demon forming from the night sky it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Like the later equally watchable colour “The Devil Rides Out” it features an evil black warlock based on Alistair Crowley* who’s got himself in a bit too deep and to keep his opponents quiet summons a demonic monstrous rubber thingy from the dark realms. Although matters don’t work out quite as the baddy expected. But I didn’t tell you that!

All top notch for a Saturday night in and our next shared scary film may well be another Brit classic “The Haunting”

Seriously horrific!

Seriously horrific!

Skeptics and Anti- Corruption!

11 Jun

I’ve only caught the last ten minutes of the last Skeptics in the Pub meeting but there’s an interesting talk happening in Bedford on 20th at The White Horse (opp the garage) Newnham Ave, 7.00pm, get a comfy seat and a pint (other options are available), pay a very modest few quid towards room hire and have a good listen to anti corruption expert Laurence Cockcroft talking on the following subject:

book
Anti-Corruption: Very Topical In Light Of Lobbying Scandal. Quite apt as another round of freeloaders have been caught in the trough. Of course they deny in vehemently!
In light of the latest lobbying scandal, Laurence Cockcroft will talk about how it is vital that corruption is stamped out. ‘The case for combating corruption relentlessly,’ Cockcroft says, ‘is that it is a force which drives poverty, inequality, dysfunctional democracy and global insecurity. Unless checked, its major legacy will be an unjust and unstable world, tipping the outcome of uncertainties about the future in an ever more dangerous direction.’

Laurence is a founding member of Transparency International which works in over 100 countries fighting corruption.
We have mentioned it before but here’s the run down on Bedford Skeptics in the Pub. Launched in October 2012, it’s best summed up as ordinary people interested in science, economics, current affairs and good conversation in hospitable surroundings. Where better than a pub? Each month the group host a speaker who talks for approx 40 minutes before debating with the audience. Past subjects have included climate change, wacky belief systems, the future of UK universities, statistics in the media and science v religion in the classroom.
The meeting I came in on a few weeks back (sorry I was working till 8.30pm and wanted a lift home but my chauffer filled me on what I’d missed) was on the practicalities of reaching Mars with a speaker that had the same enthusiasm as Tigger and so in this case you got a hot topic and light humour for good effect!
Bedford Skeptics in the Pub is part of a growing network of similar groups, up till last October the nearest local was Cambridge and anything they can do, we can do better!
http://bedford.skepticsinthepub.org/
http://www.laurencecockcroft.co.uk/home/

Ghost Haunted!

7 Jun
See, you just couldn't make stuff like this up!

See, you just couldn’t make stuff like this up!

James Randi, skeptic in chief must be worried. He’s put up a pot of $1million to anyone who can prove categorically that mumbo jumbo exists, life after death, psychic phenomena, UFOs, all that sort of thing!
Now I’ve been on his side for the last few decades but having watched some US version of Most Haunted last night James’s must be sweating. It might have been called Ghost Adventurers, something like that and these guys being typical Americans quite clearly aren’t content with just hanging round in a basement with an infa red camera screaming whilst some scouser throws a wobble!
No! these guys have got a gizmo that although it looks like a radio receiver and to be frank sounds like one can actually give the dead chance to speak to us. Last night they were in New Orleans and amidst background crackles and white noise, when asked how he / she pegged it, the ghost butted in as if they had a radio transmitter and said “Katrina” (presumably the hurricane and not that girl I went out with in 1988) at which point the earth bound investigator went into orbit with delight!

You can only get the odd word so that rules my tacking my dad down to ask him where his medals went!

I do so want to come back and scare people shitless!

I do so want to come back and scare people shitless!

Then there was an actual picture of a ghost little girl hiding behind a curtain, no ifs and buts, we could clearly see a little girl peeking out (she’s there below) books were flying off shelves or at least two did, lights coming on, doors slamming without human hand and…well, I’m convinced. To cap it off they had a device specially made to pick up psychic energy and it reached 23 in one area of the house! Quite what this meant I don’t know but just to prove the undead have a sense a humour they resolutely refused to go totally bonkers and recreate an incident from a few years back when, there being no camera crew about, loads of books floated about and ghosts were wailing and saying “get out…get out” without the radio. This time albeit for a few theatricals and hamming it up, the bastard nightly earth walkers just took the piss! Which is what I’m doing in case you haven’t noticed!

The girl behind the curtain! I saw her face...now I'm a believer!

The girl behind the curtain! I saw her face…now I’m a believer!

Meanwhile if you are not easily taken in or like to chew over stuff rather than just go with the majority view or what you have been told to believe without question then there’s some nefarious group of doubters formed in Bedford called Bedford Skeptics in The Pub, its basically a bunch of people from Bedford who are skeptics and meet in a pub…in Bedford. Actually it’s the White Horse on Newnham Ave.

Have a peek!

http://bedford.skepticsinthepub.org/

 

Just before two books came out and went straight down! Ghosts and gravity!

Just before two books came out and went straight down! Ghosts and gravity!

Bedford Skeptics in The Pub!

22 Apr

Here’s some good news for folk who don’t want to be led up the garden path or forced to accept a decision because an angry mob say you must. Bedford is one of the latest locations to get a local gathering of Skeptics in the Pub! All autonomous although good ideas for subjects are often shared particularly if there’s a key speaker visiting the UK for a set period.
If you are confused as to what a “Skeptic” is and why they should go to the pub, this is from the groups website (link below).
Skeptic or Sceptic? We prefer Skeptic, it looks more… well, skeptical.
Skepticism is generally any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts. It can also take the form of doubt regarding claims that are commonly taken for granted.
Skepticism is an approach to knowledge that requires all information to be well supported by evidence. It relies on reason and evidence rather than belief, tradition or convention.
It often includes::
• critical thinking – questioning assumptions, demanding factual support
• doubt – not in the sense of indecision, but challenging weak or ill-supported arguments
• debunking – attempting to expose or discredit claims believed to be false, exaggerated or pretentious

Random Picture: Maxine Peake and the Eccentronic Research Council, there is a subtle link!

Random Picture: Maxine Peake and the Eccentronic Research Council, there is a subtle link!

And it’s a brilliant bit of news. Now I’ve been a big devotee of the James Randi website, Randi is like the great grandfather of Penn and Teller in that he’s a magician with no amazing powers, no bullshit, just slight of hand and deception for entertainment. In amongst the site is a link to the UK Skeptics in the Pub listings and I’ve been toying with the idea of nipping over to Cambridge which till now was the nearest local meeting but hey! instead of fuel I can buy a beer or two and cycle home.
Starting last October the latest meeting tackled one of those issues that gets people to either go red, go ooooh, or change the subject, a bit like drugs policy, termination, assisted dying and host more. The subject was prostitution, not the raw side of it but the legal aspects and are we as a society heading the wrong way because few have the bottle to ask the right question. If someone is struggling with crippling debt and maybe mental health and / or possibly drug addiction problems. is victimising and stigmatising them further the solution. If someone has opted for that lifestyle rather than cooking chips in McFatBurger for a pittance till midnight on Saturday evening is that not their choice? Difficult questions but for me the option of switching off and watching Britains Got Cowell doesn’t appeal!imagesCABGV7R3
Oddly enough I’m reading a book about the history of hard drugs and its veered off into prohibition in the US and the rampant knock on effects it had on bootlegging, dangerous adulterated liquor, a huge increase in alcohol related deaths, Mafia involvement and related crime. My point is that banning a sought after commodity removes it from a state where you can monitor it and into the hands of the criminal underworld able to bribe most of New York’s police with cheap booze and dancing girls.

http://bedford.skepticsinthepub.org/

http://www.randi.org/site/