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Is there an alternative to alternative medicine?

Dr. Richard Rawlins MB BS MBA FRCS

When?
Tuesday, June 18 2013 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Barbican Theatre,
Castle Street,
Plymouth
PL1 2NJ

Who?
Dr. Richard Rawlins MB BS MBA FRCS

What's the talk about?

Since time immemorial we humans have been concerned about our health and well-being. For early civilisations it seemed obvious that the gods, spirits and stars were the cause of illness and disease. The Age of Enlightenment ushered in more critical analysis and we now expect medicine and healthcare to be evidence-based. Yet a third of the UK population indulges in alternatives to evidence-based medicine and at least £500 million is spent every year on implausible treatments. There is no satisfactory way of differentiating between a sincere practitioner of complementary or alternative medicine, a dissembling quack, and an out and out fraudster.

Just why do so many patients spend so much time and trouble on alternatives to science based care? Why do many doctors refer their patients for metaphysical medicine? Why are politicians content to allow taxpayers funds to be spent on treatments that have no evidence of effectiveness? Is there an alternative?

In this presentation Richard Rawlins reviews how conventional, orthodox, mainstream medicine has evolved from esoteric, hermetic, and arcane origins - has passed through a stage of thaumaturgic medicine - and now provides the best possible care in the light of current knowledge and understanding. There are many problems with orthodox medicine, but the scientific method and the attention of sceptics, in pubs and elsewhere, keeps healthcare professionals on the straight and narrow of intellectual and professional integrity. Richard brings the insights and perspectives of a magician to this challenging consideration of contemporary caring professions.

 

Richard qualified as a doctor in 1968, was a lecturer in Anatomy at King's College London, a ship's surgeon on cruise ships around the world, and on warships as a Surgeon Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve. After further training in London he was appointed Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Bedford Hospital. He has represented his colleagues throughout his career; spending three years as Chairman of the UK Consultants Conference. In 2006 he retired to Kingswear on the River Dart where he bases his private practice. He is an expert medical witness to the Courts and to the General Medical Council. He has been active in developing BMA policy towards alternative medicine and in particular pressing for the NHS to cease purchasing homoeopathic remedies unless and until NICE reports on their cost effectiveness.

As a member of The Magic Circle, and Riviera Circle of Magicians Mentalist of the Year 2010, Richard has particular experience of illusion, deceit and deception. Magicians are honest - they say they are going to fool you, and then they do! Richard expects healthcare professionals to be honest and admit what they are up to, and his forthcoming book Placedo - the Way of the Placebo - will reveal all.

Neil Denny

When?
Tuesday, May 21 2013 at 6:30PM

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Where?

Barbican Theatre,
Castle Street,
Plymouth
PL1 2NJ

Who?
Neil Denny

What's the talk about?

Neil Denny is the producer and presenter of the Little Atoms Radio
Show and podcast.

Neil was the recipient of a Travelling Fellowship
from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, and in May 2012 he embarked
upon a month long, 6614 mile road trip across America. The aim of the
trip was to produce a series of podcasts which present a wide-ranging
overview of science and skepticism from an American perspective.


Driving from San Francisco to Boston and calling in at Phoenix, Santa
Fe, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York along the way, Neil recorded
39 interviews with scientists and science writers including Ann
Druyan, Leonard Susskind, Kip Thorne, Priya Natarajan, Paul Davies,
George Church, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Mary Roach, Edward Stone and Sara
Seager. He recorded interviews at some major sites of scientific
interest, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The Los Alamos
National Laboratory, and The American Museum of Natural History. He
also spent a less scientific day visiting Kentucky’s Creation Museum.
 

The podcasts from Neil’s trip can be found at the following website:
feeds.feedburner.com/littleatomsroadtrip. Find out more about
Little Atoms here: www.littleatoms.com and follow Neil on Twitter
@littleatoms.
 

n/a

When?
Tuesday, April 30 2013 at 6:30PM

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Where?

Old George St, Plymouth, PL1 2TG

Who?
n/a

What's the talk about?

"description">As many of you know our John Sweeney talk on Scientology had to be postponed, while we tried to arrange an alternative for the evening it was not feasible in the short time available.
To that end a more informal social gathering will be taking place instead.
We're a friendly and eclectic bunch so don't hesitate to come along and feel free to bring friends and family!
If it's a warm enough evening we will usually be found in the garden at the rear of the pub, but I will arrange a sign that we will display near the group for those of you who are new!
The pub is just behind the Theatre Royal on Royal Parade in Plymouth City Centre, has reasonable choice and quality of both food and drink. Both public transport links and parking are available very close by!
Full details for the venue, including the menu, offers and how to get there can be found on their website www.thebankplymouth.co.uk/

The amazing case of the Highgate vampire.

Trystan Swale

When?
Tuesday, April 16 2013 at 6:30PM

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Where?

Barbican Theatre,
Castle Street,
Plymouth
PL1 2NJ

Who?
Trystan Swale

What's the talk about?

On the night of 13 March 1970 scores of expectant thrill-seekers descended upon London's Highgate Cemetery. Fuelled by sensational television coverage, they had come to watch a local man destroy the 'King Wampyr' haunting the gothic necropolis.

Some forty three years on, having unintentionally walked into the fallout still lingering from that night, Trystan Swale revisits the history, influences, revisionist drama and staggering aftermath from a most curious piece of British folklore.
 

Trystan Swale is an amateur folklorist and host of Forteanradio.com. In 2009 he founded the Righteous Indignation skeptical podcast and has since spoken at a range of events including QED (2011), Seriously Strange (2011) and Seriously Unidentified (2012) conferences. His blog is at leavesthatwither.co.uk.

Plymouth Skeptics and Plymouth Humanists Special Event

Sanal Edamaruku - Chaired by Dr Susan Blackmore!

When?
Wednesday, March 27 2013 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Devonport Guildhall,
Ker Street,
Plymouth,
Devon,
PL1 4EL

Who?
Sanal Edamaruku - Chaired by Dr Susan Blackmore!

What's the talk about?

UPDATE: Just confirmed Dr Susan Blackmore will be chairing this special event for us. Please don't forget to sign up to the guestlist! Details are at the bottom of the page!

We're very excited to have teamed up with Plymouth Humanists to hold a very special event. Details are still being confirmed but mark the date in your diary's now!

Sanal will be talking about his experiences as a rationalist in India where he has been threatened with arrest reguarding his work debunking a weeing statue of Christ. He has done many investigations and often comentates for television and the press in India surrounding rationalist, or not so rationalist as the case may be, matters.

'Sanal Edamaruku has been active in the Rationalist Association from the age of 15. Before becoming the President of Indian Rationalist Association(IRA)in 2005,
In February 2011 Edamaruku was elected as a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is an Honorary Associate of Rationalist Association of UK (formerly Rationalist Press Association.)
Sanal Edamaruku is also an Honorary Associate of New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists. - Wikipedia'

Places are limited for this event, but we are planning to fit as many people in as possible and might be able to increase capacity with demand. 
The event is free with a voluntary donation on the night. 
Attendees should email Plymouth.Humanists@gmail.com, join the facebook event or use the contact form on this website.
If you need additional seats please provide names.

Blake Hutchings

When?
Monday, March 18 2013 at 6:30PM

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Where?

Barbican Theatre,
Castle Street,
Plymouth
PL1 2NJ

Who?
Blake Hutchings

What's the talk about?

What makes a good skeptically-themed comedy song? While it's clear that Blake Hutchings doesn't know the answer to this question, he has a damn good go at trying to figure it out in this talk. Structured around the story of his effort to write the perfect skeptical song - his tribute to JREF president DJ Grothe - he also gives a sort of 'Skepticism 101' along the way, delving into the world of logical fallacies, reasoning errors, and taking great care NOT to call Sally Morgan a fraudulent litigious witch (which he doesn't say, and has never said). Punctuated with songs including "Yahweh's Last Stand" and "Rudolph the Gullible Reindeer" this somewhat unusual SitP talk promises to be an interesting and different night at your local skeptic group.

Andy Phippen

When?
Tuesday, October 16 2012 at 6:30PM

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Where?

Barbican Theatre,
Castle Street,
Plymouth
PL1 2NJ

Who?
Andy Phippen

What's the talk about?

Andy Phippen is Professor of Social Responsibility in IT at Plymouth university. He studies the effects of social networking and technology on the wider population and recently featured in a BBC documentary about how use of the internet is changing the sex lives of young people.

 Details of the talk will be available closer to the time!

Richard Byng

When?
Tuesday, September 18 2012 at 6:30PM

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Where?

Barbican Theatre,
Castle Street,
Plymouth
PL1 2NJ

Who?
Richard Byng

What's the talk about?

Richard will first provide, through discussion of anonmyised cases, an insight into the difficulties practitioners have in applying evidence to individual patients. He will go on to show how a range of quantative and qualitative research techniques may be needed to answer what may seem like a straightforward question: 'Does setting up mental health care appointments in the community, for prisoners with anxiety and depression, improve outcomes?'

He will be expecting discussion and challenges from the floor.

Richard Byng is a GP with experience of research, service development and policy. He has carried out research on consultations for depression, offenders' mental health and the Improving Access to Psycological Therapies programme.

He has developed a new general practice with integrated primary care mental health team, a practice based Time Bank and systems for shared mental health care at practice and PCT level.

His current posts are: Clinical Senior Lecturer in Primary Care, Peninsula Medical School; GP and GP with Special Interest, Plymouth Community Health Care.

Citizen Science for Skeptics

When?
Tuesday, August 21 2012 at 6:30PM

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Where?

Barbican Theatre,
Castle Street,
Plymouth
PL1 2NJ

Who?
Alice Sheppard

What's the talk about?

Astronomy has been the subject of wonder and speculation for as long as historical records exist. As with all science, people got some things right - and, even with the best methods available, other things wrong.

Since 2007, Alice Sheppard has run the Galaxy Zoo Forum, the discussion area for an online astronomy project with 300,000 members worldwide. Galaxy Zoo has so far produced 21 papers, whose authors and acknowledged contributors include several ordinary citizens. Some of its findings were a direct result of questions or collections of objects created by the users, who became "Citizen scientists".

Alice takes us through some of the best and worst of astronomical history, and what ancient and modern mistakes are made today. We will hear the questions people have come to Galaxy Zoo with, the ways in which biases were found and dealt with by the scientists and participants, the beautiful and inspiring projects created by untrained people and the scientific thinking they learnt for themselves to apply.

We also take a look at citizen science in general, how Galaxy Zoo taught large numbers of people to understand and use science, and explore what this might mean for skepticism.

Alice co-founded Cardiff and Hackney Skeptics in the Pub. She's also been an admin of various things, an English and thrown-off-the-course science teacher, an office supervisor for a charity for disabled people, and an occasional astronomy writer. She's currently in London doing an MSc in Astrophysics - all Galaxy Zoo's fault, obviously.

In the meantime, you can classify a few galaxies yourself. Just visit Galaxy Zoo to get involved!

n/a

When?
Tuesday, August 7 2012 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Old George St, Plymouth, PL1 2TG

Who?
n/a

What's the talk about?

Chance for us to get together in a more informal manner.

Come and join us for drinks and giggles!

Leigh Jackson

When?
Tuesday, July 17 2012 at 6:30PM

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Where?

Barbican Theatre,
Castle Street,
Plymouth
PL1 2NJ

Who?
Leigh Jackson

What's the talk about?

Leigh will be looking at the public perception of genetic science and how we can learn from mistakes such as the GM Food Outcry and antivax movement.
He will discuss how public misconception can be harmful and difficult to change when it come to any association with genetic modification and how often the known benefits vastly outweigh the potential risks.

Leigh Jackson did a PhD investigating adult human stem cells, converting bone marrow to brain cells to help with neurodegenerative disease such as Alzhimer's
He is currently working on research investigating the management of incidental findings (unexpected results from gene testing) and whether patients are or should be informed about them.
 

Time for a chat and some drinkipoos!

N/A

When?
Tuesday, July 3 2012 at 6:30PM

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Where?

Old George St, Plymouth, PL1 2TG

Who?
N/A

What's the talk about?


This social will mark exactly 1 year since our inagural event and what an amazing year it has been! It would be wonderful to see everyone who has helped to make this year so interesting and successful!

Come along and bring friends and family with, spend some time sitting in a relaxed atmosphere with some drinks, great company and good conversation!!