Cork Skeptics

Promoting Reason, Science & Critical Thinking in Cork City & Beyond


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References from Saturday’s meeting

The meeting on Saturday was particularly good with over 40 attendees. Our speaker, who had been with the Jehovah’s Witnesses from birth and spent over 50 years in the organisation, spoke about the origins of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, their core beliefs, the consequences of being disfellowshipped and how he came to doubt the organisations core tenets. It was a fascinating talk with loads of questions afterwards. Many thanks to everyone who attended.

Our speaker (who prefers not to be named) referred to a number of books in his talk which we provide links to below:

The Demon Haunted World (Carl Sagan)

Demon-Haunted World.jpg

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Demon-haunted-World-Science-Candle/dp/1439505284/

Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters (Donald Prothero)

Evolution (book cover)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Evolution-What-Fossils-Say-Matters/dp/0231139624/

God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question — Why We Suffer. (Bart Ehrman)

Cover of 'God's Problem' by Bart Ehrman http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gods-Problem-Answer-Important-Question–Why/dp/0061173924/

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Christopher Hitchens)

God is not great
http://www.amazon.co.uk/God-Not-Great-Religion-Everything/dp/1843545748/

In addition, the speaker mentioned the Silent Lambs website that is helping to document child welfare issues within the JW church:
http://www.silentlambs.org

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There’s a Dragon in my Garage! A talk by Dr. Niall Smith

I have a dragon in my garage. It’s an amazing fire-breathing, flying, immortal dragon. Amazing—except, of course, I’m the only one who can see it and no experiment that any of my friends devise are capable of detecting the dragon …

In this talk, Dr. Niall Smith will look at the importance of experiments in supporting claims that have been made, and continue to be made, in a wide range of areas, from UFO abductions to the claimed hyper-expansion phase of the early universe. How much should we “believe” claims that appear to defy the laws of the universe as we currently understand them? Are there actually times when the experiments we perform result in outputs that are so bizarre that we’d be right to be skeptical – and yet the experiments are reproducible and apparently true? Niall will demonstrate one such experiment—simple to perform, yet still a mystery after over 150 years of study…

About the speaker: Dr. Niall Smith received his PhD from UCD in the area of astrophysics in 1990. Since then he has maintained an active research group (currently at Blackrock Castle Observatory) that develops new techniques to support research into surveys for extrasolar planets and surveys of quasars (the most powerful continuously-emitting objects in the universe).

Niall is also a founder member of BCO and a passionate believer in the importance of quality science education. He is presently the Head of Research at CIT and chair of the Institute’s Research & Development Committee. Niall has 22 publications in international journals, a book chapter on astrophysical photometry, is a member of the National Committee for Astronomy and Space Science and also the International Astronomical Union.

The talk will begin at 8pm on Friday April 15th, in Blackrock Castle Observatory. Everyone is welcome and the talk is free to attend. Please see our Skeptics In The Castle page for directions to the Castle.