Welcome to Lewes Skeptics in the Pub

What is Skeptics in the Pub?

Skeptics in the Pub (SitP) is a monthly event where people can meet and discuss science, skepticism, rationalism and critical thinking. At each event a speaker is invited to present a topic of interest, which is followed by a discussion in a relaxed and friendly pub atmosphere. There are now about 50 towns and cities throughout the UK & Ireland hosting Skeptics in the Pub events.

For more information about the idea behind Skeptics in the Pub please look at this BBC Report and this Wikipedia entry.

If you would like more information about Lewes Skeptics in the Pub or would like to volunteer in any way please send a message using the form at the bottom of the page or send a tweet to @LewesSkeptics. We also have a Lewes Skeptics Facebook group.

Tickets

Entry to the talks will cost £3 payable on the door (if unsold seats available) or by advance ticket. Tickets for each event will become available soon after the preceding event and can be purchased from behind the bar at the Elephant & Castle, Lewes. Tickets can also be obtained online at http://lewesskeptics.eventbrite.com but with an additional admin fee of 73p per ticket. 

Please note: Events at the Elephant & Castle take place in an upstairs room and unfortunately there is no wheelchair access.

Norman Baker

When?
Wednesday, January 7 2015 at 8:00PM

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Where?

White Hill
Lewes,
East Sussex
BN7 2DJ

Who?
Norman Baker

What's the talk about?

In the talk this evening, Norman Baker will outline his position on drugs and government regulation.

Norman Baker has been MP for Lewes since 1997. Born in Aberdeen, Norman moved to Hornchurch in Essex in 1968 and was educated at the Royal Liberty School, Gidea Park, before taking a degree in German (and being elected three times to run one of the college bars) at Royal Holloway College, University of London. He was elected to Lewes District and Beddingham Parish Council in 1987 and, two years later, to East Sussex County Council. 

In 1991 he led the Liberal Democrats to victory at Lewes District Council, becoming that council’s first ever Lib Dem leader. He was elected to Parliament on his second attempt in 1997, becoming the seat’s first non-Conservative MP since 1874 and overturning a Tory majority of more than 12,000. In 2001 he was named “Inquisitor of the Year” in the Zurich/Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards and in February 2002, Channel 4 named him “Opposition MP of the Year”. Following the 2010 General Election, he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport as part of the Coalition Government.  He served in this position until his promotion, in October 2013, to Minister of State for Crime Prevention at the Home Office. He resigned from this post in November 2014.

While in Government, Norman Baker repeatedly called for changes to drug policy, claiming that patients should have access to cannabis for cancer pain relief and multiple sclerosis and that, in some cases, legal highs might be better off regulated rather than prohibited. In August 2014 he wrote an open letter to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in which he said "I think it is time to reconsider the medicinal properties of cannabis, given what I've learned in my role as a minister. I've seen more and more evidence that cannabis can provide genuine medical benefits to treat a number of conditions. There is a growing body of research that shows the medical properties of chemical components of cannabis. I am uncomfortable that there are credible people I have met who tell me that cannabis is the only substance that helps relieve their condition, but not only are they stopped from accessing it officially but they have to break the law to help their health … Obviously we have to do this right; we need to ensure that the proper medical processes are applied. But I've always said that we should follow the evidence, even if that takes us into uncomfortable areas of policy-making."

Jon Stewart

When?
Wednesday, April 22 2015 at 8:00PM

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Where?

White Hill
Lewes,
East Sussex
BN7 2DJ

Who?
Jon Stewart

What's the talk about?

Alcoholics Anonymous has become a commonly accepted and media endorsed remedy for problem drinkers. Yet while AA’s social worth is rarely challenged its efficacy rate, estimated at around 5%, appears comparable merely to that of natural spontaneous remission. Can a non-existent Higher Power really offer meaningful solutions to the debilitating and potentially fatal condition of alcoholism? If so, what do we do to help all those atheist and skeptic alcoholics?

AA’s famous 12 step programme actually evolved from the foundational precepts of a long-forgotten 1930s Christian fundamentalist mass movement, and remain entirely unchanged since first codified eighty years ago. How did this out-dated methodology become a go-to treatment option for one the great social health scourges of our age? It's half-way through the second decade in the twenty first century, and this is the best we have to offer?

Jon Stewart co-founded and played guitar for platinum-selling Britpop band Sleeper with whom he enjoyed three UK Top 10 albums and eight UK Top 40 singles. Jon has been sober since 21 August 2000, and was an active and enthusiastic member of Alcoholics Anonymous for thirteen years. He now campaigns for more up-to-date and evidence-based secular treatment options via his blog “Leaving AA & Staying Sober” at http://jonsleeper.wordpress.com

Jon lectures in popular culture and philosophy at the BIMM Institute in Brighton, and is a PhD researcher at University of Southampton. Author of a long-running column in Guitarist magazine, he has published a wide range of peer reviewed academic research in journals and edited volumes: https://bimm.academia.edu/JonathanStewart

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