Welcome to the Worthing Chapter of SitP! We are like the Radio 4 or BBC4 of going out for an evening...

If you've ever wondered where all the interesting people are, you've just found us!

Anyone can be a skeptic - we have atheists, agnostics, christians and a muslim in our membership list. If you are on our email database, you should get notifications of our events. The Skeptics motto is, Respect People, Challenge Ideas.

Our usual venue is the Vintner's function room (at the rear - it used to be a Methodist church) but, when we have a big event we hire St Paul's Arts Centre (which was also a church). We meet at 8pm on the second or third Thursday in the month and sometimes we have extra meetings in between the regular ones. Apart from interesting talks and debates, we do comedy and musical events and show movies, all with a skeptical slant. 

We charge a £5 door admission fee (unless otherwise stated) depending on the guest, but you can join our membership card scheme for £25/year. The money goes towards our speaker's expenses, room hire and publicity printing costs. We are a non-profit organisation.

We also have a Facebook group (Worthing Skeptics) where you can post and comment https://www.facebook.com/groups/1460923914189682/

You don't have to be a member - just come along, we would love to see you!

Exceptional at face recognition - exceptional at crime fighting?

Dr Josh Davis

When?
Thursday, February 15 2018 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
Dr Josh Davis

What's the talk about?

The ability to recognise faces ranges from those with prosopagnosia, who cannot even recognise family members, to super-recognisers, who seemingly never forget a face.

First coming to attention following the London Riots of 2011, some super-recogniser police officers identify multiple suspects from CCTV images. A few identify 100s per annum, outperforming computerised face recognition systems. Most identified suspects were previously familiar to the officer, although sometimes, a case has been built up against an unknown suspect by snapping his or her image across multiple crime scenes.

This presentation will discuss some of these cases as well as research conducted on police super-recognisers, and on over 5 million members of the public who have been attracted by worldwide media adverts for an online.

Could you be a super-recogniser? Examples of super-recogniser test stimuli will be demonstrated to give the audience a participatory idea of just how good super-recognisers really are.

Dr Josh P Davis is a Reader in Applied Psychology at the University of Greenwich. He regularly appears in the international media, and has advised UK and international police forces on forensic facial identification procedures, consulted with business, and has presented his research worldwide (inc. Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Russia, USA).

When?
Thursday, March 15 2018 at 8:00PM

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Where?

Who?
Ann Pemberton

What's the talk about?

Jon Morter

When?
Thursday, May 17 2018 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
Jon Morter

What's the talk about?

 Jonathan "Jon" Morter is a British rock DJ (since 1994) and social media campaigner whose hometown is South Woodham Ferrers, Essex. He is known as a social media pioneer, for launching, with his ex-wife Tracy, various internet campaigns during the Christmas season, in order to stop The X Factor winners from becoming Christmas number ones on the UK Singles Chart. The Morters have supported alternative singles by Rick Astley (2008), Rage Against the Machine (2009), Nirvana (2011), and The Justice Collective (2012).

Jon Morter runs the social media company Big Other, and has launched the Condescending Corporate Brand Page, a page that harshly ridicules corporate social media techniques.

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Pharmaceutical Shenanigans

Henry Drysdale + one

When?
Thursday, February 16 2017 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
Henry Drysdale + one

What's the talk about?

A team of academics, medical students and programmers, including Dr Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science and Bad Pharma, are located at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford where they are lifting the lid off Clinical Trials.

Out of 67 trials they have examined, only 9 were deemed perfect while the others failed to report 354 outcomes and secretly added 357 that they did not set out to investigate.

Come and hear what they are doing about this scandal...

Admission £5 Membership cards accepted.

Author of Herding Hemingway's Cats

Kat Arney

When?
Thursday, November 17 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

"Herding Hemingway's Cats - how do our genes work?"

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 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 (Bloomsbury Sigma), about how our genes work. Admission £5 Membership cards accepted.

Zed List Dead List

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Thursday, October 13 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

Skeptic, comedian and voice of the Skeptics Guide To The Universe, Iszi Lawrence is out to delight and inform with her new show The Z List Dead List. 

The Z List Dead List is a live comedy show about obscure people from History. As a skeptic, Iszi has found a few people from the past that will peak your interest. Expect woo, violence, sex and death. And a competition. Admission £5 Membership cards accepted.

The show is also a podcast with guest interviews from Jon Ronson, Griff Rhys Jones, Natalie Haynes, Neil Denny, Richard Herring etc. You can find it on iTunes here: itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-z-list-dead-list/id915778702?mt=2 or go to the website www.zlistdeadlist.com

Butterfly wingbeats

Richard Robinson, Director of Brighton Science Festival

When?
Thursday, September 15 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
Richard Robinson, Director of Brighton Science Festival

What's the talk about?

Fuzzy Haha and Fuzzy Peculiar
This is a project which will reach full speed this time next year, in which we join together at the Brighton Science Festival to gaze in awe at the way chaos creates order and order turns to chaos.

Here are some examples:

Planets were created from trillions of pieces of stuff that had no purpose whatsoever. Randomly bumping and colliding in space for billion of years, they ended up in perfect spheres. Nothing is more perfect than a sphere; nothing more chaotic than the process that produced it. Weird.

Closer to home, ants have no idea what's going on more than an inch away, yet they live in a thriving community, with a lifestyle and architecture which is identical to that of all other nests on the planet. Inexplicable?

Closer again, each neuron in your brain has the job of receiving a signal and sending it on; nothing more or less. Yet such simple processes can combine to produce the extraordinary urge to go and hear Richard Robinson talk about all this.

There's more: evolution, society, deja vu, quantum physics, Jackson Pollock, Krazy Kat, sums, monkeys, volcanoes, Manchester, velcro, deja vu and, of course, your own personal list.

Admission £4 Membership cards accepted.
 

Worthing Skeptics is collaborating with Brighton Science Festival now and we hope to commence Worthing Junior Skeptics in the Autumn term.

The Zoo: past, present and future

James Cretney MBA PhD

When?
Thursday, August 11 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
James Cretney MBA PhD

What's the talk about?

Man is no longer considered to have Biblical 'dominion' over the animals. In fact, we recognise that we ARE animals and our attitude towards our fellow inhabitants of planet Earth has altered to one of husbandry and conservation. The remit of zoos has changed since their inception, from Victorian peepshows of animals regarded as disposable, to the conservation of endangered species. Marwell Zoo has been at the forefront of these developments.

James is the Chief Executive of Marwell Wildlife, a charitable organisation committed to the conservation of the earth’s biodiversity and natural resources.  In addition to running Marwell Zoo, a much loved regional attraction, Marwell also undertakes a portfolio of overseas work, primarily in Africa, in furtherance of its scientific and conservation objectives.  After leaving school James was commissioned into the British Army.  Since leaving the services he spent seven years in equine welfare, before arriving at Marwell.

Admission £4 Membership cards accepted.

 

Can a non-existent god cure alcoholism?

Jon Stewart

When?
Thursday, July 14 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
Jon Stewart

What's the talk about?

Alcoholics Anonymous is a commonly accepted and media endorsed "spiritual" programme of recovery for alcoholism.  Yet while AA’s social worth is rarely challenged, its efficacy rate, possibly as low as 5%-10%, appears comparable to that of spontaneous remission.

We're all affected by alcoholism and addiction in some way.  Can a non-existent Higher Power really offer meaningful solutions to this debilitating, potentially fatal, condition?  If so, how can we help all those atheist and sceptic problem drinkers?

AA’s famous 12 Step programme evolved from the tenets of a now forgotten evangelical Christian mass movement for sobriety.  First published in 1939, it remains entirely unchanged since then.  How did AA become the go-to treatment modality for one of the great social health scourges of our age?  Is spiritually-based health-care even ethical?  It's the twenty first century, is this really the best we can do? 

More than just a discussion of AA and alcoholism, this talk draws on the work of philosopher Dan Dennett and evolutionary psychologist Andy Thomson (Trustee of the Richard Dawkins Foundation) to present a wide ranging and humorous case study of how the internet threatens previously sacred texts and closed systems of knowledge.

Jon Stewart was co-founder, guitarist and co-songwriter for platinum-selling Britpop band Sleeper. He currently lectures in popular culture at a local HE Institution, and is a PhD researcher at University of Southampton.

A grateful sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for almost 15 years, Jon now campaigns for more up-to-date evidence-based secular treatment options via his blog “Leaving AA & Staying Sober: New Perspectives on Recovery” http://jonsleeper.wordpress.com/
 

£4 on the door, membership cards accepted.

Referendum Debate

Roger Arthur/Antony Hook

When?
Thursday, June 9 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
Roger Arthur/Antony Hook

What's the talk about?

Roger Arthur – Author of the book “The Case for Brexit” .

Roger  is a Chartered Engineer, who has held senior positions in large international companies, leading large projects and teams, involving substantial cost and risk.

Having been Deputy Leader of a District Council, he stood as a Parliamentary Candidate, coming second in the May 2015 General Election – albeit by a sizable margin.

Antony Hook is a Liberal Democrat campaigner for Britain to Stay in Europe. He lives in Kent and works as a barrister specialising in prosecuting serious crime.

He is a passionate defender of civil liberties and has stood for both the Westminster Parliament and the European Parliament.

Please visit our Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1460923914189682/ look at the sidebar, indicate your intention to attend and and do the pre-poll. We charge £2 for democratic events to just cover costs. Your membership card will be accepted.

Current Understanding of the Universe

Bob Turner

When?
Thursday, May 12 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
Bob Turner

What's the talk about?

This is a hot topic with the recent discoveries of the Higgs Boson and Gravity Waves making worldwide headlines.
Bob Turner is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society  and the British Astronomical Association. Since retirement he has been a cruise ship lecturer on Astronomy, Astro Physics and Pre History Archaeology.

He says, "I will look at what we currently know about the life of the universe in the last 13.8 billion years. How it started, how it progressed and how we understand the universe in the light of recent discoveries. I explain how these discoveries were made and look at what's in the future for us and the universe."

This event will be videoed and added to our dropbox thanks to our friend Dave Benson Philips.

£4 on the door, membership cards accepted.

A Debate

John Richards and Andrew Sibley

When?
Thursday, April 14 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
John Richards and Andrew Sibley

What's the talk about?

This is the first in what, hopefully, will become a series of debates at Worthing Skeptics. 

On this occasion, Andrew Sibley will propose the motion and John Richards (Yes, moi) will oppose it, with the Chair being occupied by Gareth Walsh, our Secretary/Treasurer. 

Andrew Sibley studied Intelligent Design when he did an MPhil in Theology and he also has an MSc in Environmental Decision Making. He writes for Creation Ministries International.

John Richards is a retired Science teacher MA(Ed) BSc(Hons). He writes and speaks on non-belief using a nom de plume.

The format of the event has been agreed as follows: A coin will be tossed to decide who goes first and, following introductions, each speaker will have 25 minutes to make their case followed by a 5 minute rebuttal/winding up. We will then take a twenty minute comfort break and return for questions from the audience. 

£4 on the door, membership cards accepted.
 

Sense About Science

Stefanie Knappe

When?
Thursday, March 17 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
Stefanie Knappe

What's the talk about?

As you may be aware, Ask for Evidence was launched by Sense About Science in 2011 to encourage people to hold companies, politicians, commentators and journalists accountable for the claims they make by asking for evidence. The campaign is supported by hundreds of public figures - including Simon Singh, Dara O'Briain and Derren Brown - and organisations such NHS Behind the Headlines and the Royal Statistical Society.

So far, Ask for Evidence has seen people challenge a huge variety of claims, including misleading advice from Vision Express, the sale of 'MRSA-resistant' pyjamas by M&S, the use of blue light in railway stations to reduce suicide risk, and many others.

Steffanie Knappe is a PhD researcher at King's College London, where she investigates how muscle stem cells regenerate muscle. She is passionate about science communication and advocates critical thinking and inquiry. Since October 2015, she has been working with Sense About Science as an Ask For Evidence Ambassador.
Admission £4 Membership cards accepted.

Advocating Atheism

Aron Ra, Director of Texas branch of American Atheists

When?
Tuesday, March 8 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
Aron Ra, Director of Texas branch of American Atheists

What's the talk about?

Wow! What a coup!

Aron Ra has agreed to speak to us so I'm calling an extraordinary meeting, an additional one in March. 

They've had to battle in Texas to stop Creationism being taught as Science.  

Just browse his website for links to his youtube appearances etc.


http://www.aronra.com
 

Admission £4 Membership cards accepted.

Is Free Will an Illusion?

Jonathan MS Pearce

When?
Thursday, February 11 2016 at 8:00PM

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Where?

10- 12 Warwick Street
BN11 3DL

Who?
Jonathan MS Pearce

What's the talk about?

We all seem to think that we have free will but the idea that we don't is gaining ground in some quarters. Jonathan is The Tippling Philosopher, a teacher and author of several books. His blog has recently been acquired by the biggest religious/atheist blog network in the world - Patheos.com/tippling

Admission £4 Membership cards accepted.

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