Monthly Archives: October 2010

Winchester Skeptics in the Pub – Frank Swain: “A Critique of Skepticism”

Recorded on 28th October at Winchester Skeptics in the Pub, Frank Swain gets skeptical about skepticism, introduced by Crispian Jago. Thanks to James Thomas for recording this.

This was a version of a talk originally given to Westminster Skeptics in the Pub – you can hear the original here.

The blurb:

“Is the skeptic movement trapped in an echo chamber? Science writer Frank Swain asks if the behaviour of skeptics has created an exclusive club that increasingly communicates only to its own troops, and invites suggestions on how better to reach out to the public”

Episode 57 – 29th October 2010


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Industrial Relations (1:42) by Drew Rae
Animal Testing (7:02) by Dean Burnett
Data Retention (17:09) by James Firth
Catholic School Selection (22:25) by Salim Fadhley (ft James Gray)
Journalism Shortcuts (30:28) by Marsh
Kat Akingbade at QED (36:53) by Jon Treadway

Follow-up links:

Conway Memorial Lecture 2010 – Prof Jonathan Glover

Recorded on the 28th October 2010, Professor Jonathan Glover gives the annual Conway Memorial Lecture, at Conway Hall in London. The lecture was titled ‘Ethics and the Dark Side of Science’ and you can hear it in full on this page. Just press play on the player below to begin!

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In this year’s Conway Memorial address, Professor Jonathan Glover will explore the ethics of scientific research and aim to understand if it is necessary to decide what the responsibilities of individual scientists are, or ought to be with regard to the moral consequences of their work. Given that we live in a world in which nation states and other groups develop weapons with appalling possibilities, should scientists never take part, or can the defensive development of such weapons sometimes be the lesser evil? The uses of science for dark purposes: for torture, and for atrocities, either in war or as acts of terrorism can be seen in many cases throughout history, notably with regard to atomic and biological weapons. After medicine and medical research was used in atrocities by the Nazis, the medical world drew up codes of ethics governing research, and developed a whole culture of ethical discussion and debate. Should something similar be developed for the community of research scientists and technologists? If so what should it be like?

Jonathan Glover is the Director of the Centre for Medical Law & Ethics at King’s College London and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford. He has written several books, including Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century and Causing Death and Saving Lives. He chaired a European Commission Working Party on Assisted Reproduction and gave the inaugural Uehiro Lecture series in 2004, published as Choosing Children: Genes, Disability, and Design. For more information on Professor Glover and his research interests please visit personal website.

Episode 56 – 22nd October 2010


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Science is Vital Wins (1:31) by Jenny Rohn
JREF’s UK Plans (4:58) by James O’Malley (ft DJ Grothe and James Randi)
The Nightingale Collaboration (14:52) by Sean Ellis (ft Alan Henness)
Geek Calendar Launch (21:07) by James O’Malley (ft Mike Harris and Gia Milinovich)
Conscientious Objection & the EU (28:07) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Tessa Kendall)
Faking Faith (34:28) by Salim Fadhley (ft Andrew Penman)

Follow-up links:

TAM London – Couple of interviews

Like many people in the ‘skeptic’ community, we spend the weekend at TAM London – mostly mercilessly shilling for the podcast. We handed out something like 700 flyers, and sold around 150 badges, which was nice. As I spent most of the time talking up the podcast people though, we weren’t there for the interviews (the utterly fantastic Little Atoms, will be providing those).

I didn’t though, manage to bump into a couple of important people whilst there. First of all, founder of the JREF who run TAM, the Amazing James Randi himself:

And then current JREF President DJ Grothe, who we last interviewed just after he started as President back in January. I spoke to him about the new JREF UK plans…

Both will be in the show on Friday, but I’m sharing them now as I can’t wait!

Episode 55 – 15th October 2010


[Direct MP3 Link]

Science is Vital Rally (1:36) recorded by James O’Malley
Sally Bercow vs Migration Watch (10:56) recorded by James O’Malley
The Census Campaign (13:15) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Andrew Copson)
The Browne Review (22:04) by Drew Rae
Chris Atkins Interview (27:39) by Jon Treadway

Follow up links:

Science is Vital Rally – Our Live Coverage

Updated at 19:54 – after the rally has finished!

So the rally is now over and we’ve got lots of coverage for you. First up, here’s the full two hours of speeches that were given at the rally – voices include Dr Evan Harris, Imran Khan, Simon Singh, Dr Petra Boynton, and Colin Blakemore:

We also did lots of live updates throughout the day…

Setting up:

A troublemaker?

Speaking to an astronomer:

More scientists:

Walking & Talking:

Some Oxford students:

Dr Michael Brooks sticks it to David Tredinnick:

The head of the Prospect Trade Union:

The “Science Supremes” singing “Hey Osbourne!”

Imran Khan, head of CaSE:

Dr Evan Harris’s tribute to Pink Floyd’s ‘Another brick in the wall’ (no, really):

Ben Goldacre:

The Aftermath:

And do listen to yesterday’s episode of The Pod Delusion for more of This Sort Of Thing.

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