Talks & Lectures

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Special Events

The Ancestors Trail

Fri 29 Aug 2014, 19.00

The BHA, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and the Central London Humanist Group presents

The Ancestors Trail Evening Lectures

To mark the start of our weekend’s entertainment we are hosting a series of evening lectures that you are welcome to attend, irrespective of whether you can join us for rest of the weekend's events.

Speakers:

7pm - Andrew Copson - Chief Executive British Humanist Association

Andrew became Chief Executive in January 2010 having coordinated BHA’s education and public affairs work for five years. Andrew writes about secularist issues for journals and newspapers and has appeared widely on television and radio representing the BHA. 

8pm - Professor Armand Leroi – Professor of Evolutionary Development Biology at Imperial college, author and broadcaster.

Armand Leroi is not your average Professor of Evolutionary Developmental Biology. As a scientist, his expertise lies in tiny worms and why they grow to precisely the same size. But outside the lab he has written about human mutants, presented several TV shows and done (serious) research into the evolution of pop music. In 2004, Leroi adapted his book into a television series called Human Mutants for Channel 4. This became the first of a number of successful documentaries he has presented, covering fascinating subjects such as “What Darwin didn’t know” and “Aristotle’s Lagoon”, about the groundbreaking studies of the ancient Greek philosopher/naturalist.

9pm - Dr Yan Wong – Evolutionary Biologist, co-author of 'the Ancestor's Tale' and broadcaster for TV’s ‘Bang Goes the Theory’.

Dr Yan Wong’s work on modelling the evolutionary effects of self-recognition systems in plants led to him being a research contributor to the Ancestor’s Tale book. Yan is well-informed over an extensive set of scientific disciplines, including maths, chemistry and ecology. In 2009 Yan joined the presenting team of BBC1's prime-time series "Bang Goes the Theory" and demonstrated a wide and eclectic range of scientific ideas to members of the public.  He delights in the challenges of live science demonstrations and often incorporates live science demonstrations into his talks.

Our knowledge of our evolutionary history is advancing all the time and Yan will be updating us on the Ancestor’s Tale and also demonstrating how to use OneZoom, a piece of software that he has developed to highlight the diversity of life on Earth. 

BHA Members, children and students:           £12:00

Non BHA Members:                                         £17:00

The annual Ancestor’s Trail evolutionary pilgrimage takes place in Epping Forest and the Lea valley over this weekend.  Based on Richard Dawkin’s book, The Ancestor’s Tale, details of the free walks, youth hostel accommodation, talks and celebrations can be found on the Ancestors Trail website.

The centrepiece to the week-end is the walk and combined with entertainment in the evening and lectures the following morning, a stay at Cheshunt YHA over Saturday evening is the best way to fully relax and enjoy everything. Friday night accommodation is bookable separately at Cheshunt YHA should you want to join in early or need somewhere convenient to stay in the area. The YHA is next to Cheshunt railway station on the Liverpool Street line.


Image of Susanna Halonen: Unlock Your Passion to Live a More Fulfilling Life

Talks & Lectures

Susanna Halonen: Unlock Your Passion to Live a More Fulfilling Life

Mon 15 Sep 2014, 19:00

NOW Live events presents

Susanna Halonen: Unlock Your Passion to Live a More Fulfilling Life

A self-development workshop with Susanna Halonen

Think you need to find and follow your one and only passion to be happy? Coach, trainer and speaker Susanna Halonen offers an alternative to this approach by helping you to unlock your inner passion and express it in everything you do.

At this event, discover the five key components which bring out your passion and help you live a more fulfilling life. During the session you can start creating your own unique action plan to learn to find love in what you do and live a more passionate, successful life.

Susanna runs Happyologist (happyologist.co.uk), contributes to several psychology titles, and has spoken about passion at TEDx.

Tickets: £15


Image of Thinking on Sundays - 'Nothing to be frightened of'

Talks & Lectures

Thinking on Sundays - 'Nothing to be frightened of'

Sun 21 Sept 2014, 11.00

Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

'Nothing to be frightened of' 

Chris Bratcher

My talk is a sampling of novelist Julian Barnes' touching and very personal memoir of his experiences of death in the family, and the demise of the famous and obscure in literature and life, plus his own fears and ruminations on his own, entitled 'Nothing to be Frightened of', published in 2008 (available in paperback).    

I will give a brief introduction to the book and some snippets from it, with comments to set the ball rolling.  For example, the book begins with what he claims to be his standard response to questions about what he believes: “I don’t believe in God, but I miss Him”; a statement (actually about the cultural and artistic legacy of others’ belief) which Barnes’ philosopher brother considers “soppy”.  Do you agree?

It would nice if attendees were familiar with the book, so that they could give their own take on it and recount bits they liked or otherwise.

Chris Bratcher is a former Chair and Treasurer of Conway Hall Ethical Society, and practised Sunday session talks giver and lecturer on a wide range of topics born of his academic philosophical discipline of Ethics and the Philosophy of Mind, and from his studies in Literature and Fine Arts. 

Manu Bazzano

I will discuss this subject from a Zen perspective. Living-and-dying is one word in Zen (shoji), a river running towards the sea, a river that cannot go back to the source. Our suffering is often caused by wanting to stand by the riverbank. The task of the psychotherapist is often thankless: urging the client back to the river of life thus renewing the promise of death. Even more thankless is the task of the philosopher: remembering the initial commitment to remain attentive of the delicate labour of death. Memento mori – “remember that you will die” --not the shrill overtones of religion but as a tonic of remembrance urging us towards a fuller and more meaningful life. 

Manu Bazzano is an existential psychotherapist and an ordained Zen monk. He lectures in philosophy and psychology and facilitates seminars and workshops worldwide. He is the author and editor of several books including Zen Poems (2002); Haiku for Lovers (2004);  Buddha is Dead (2006); The Speed of Angels (2009); Spectre of the Stranger (2012);  After Mindfulness: New Perspectives on Psychology and Meditation (2014).

www.manubazzano.com

Chair – Prof. Evan Parker

Evan is a new trustee of Conway Hall Ethical Society.  He has worked in industry and in academe. He currently works on nano-technology and also on climate change. He has held leadership roles in several European programmes and has published widely. 

Doors 10.30, £3 in advance, £2 concs./Free to Ethical Society members.

Tea, Coffee & biscuits will be available.


Image of Stop the First World War

Talks & Lectures

Stop the First World War

Tue 30 Sept 2014, 19:00

Oppositions to the Great War

A series of talks and discussions every Tuesday evening at 7pm from September 30th to November 11th 2014.

Curated by Deborah Lavin, and presented by Conway Hall Ethical Society and the Socialist History Society.

Until the very day before the British government declared war on Germany, the Liberal foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey was claiming that despite the Ententes with Republican France and Tsarist Russia, Britain had no binding commitments to join them in the threatened war against Germany. And many, including a substantial number of  M.P.s in the ruling Liberal Party, believed Britain not only could, but would remain neutral; as it had done in the Russo-Turkish War of 1878-1879 and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871.

There is no doubt that when war was declared on August 4th 1914, there was a great wave of patriotic feeling, but the now conventional myth that the First World War was supported patriotically throughout by the overwhelming majority of all classes and political groupings in Britain and the British Empire, is merely that, a myth.

With the long prepared “Defence of the Realm Act” (DORA) passed within days of the declaration of war "No person shall by word of mouth or in writing spread reports likely to cause disaffection or alarm among any of His Majesty's forces or among the civilian population”  allowing for the imprisonment of anti-war dissidents, there was from the start serious opposition to the war

Week 1: Norman Angell - liberal, radical, socialist, pacifist or patriot?

Prof Martin Ceadel

Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1933, Norman Angell, journalist, peace pundit was a founding member of the “neutralist” Union for Democratic Control, Initially a Liberal from 1929-1931, he was Labour M.P. for Bradford 

The best-seller of 1910 that made Norman Angell’s name as a peace pundit, The Great Illusion, combined pacifist and pro-defence arguments in a fashion which later caused him much intellectual grief.  And the neutralist campaign in response to the First World War that identified him as a rising star of the British left was based on a mix of often contradictory ideas.  

Martin Ceadel is a Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of New College where he has taught since 1979. His research has concentrated on the politics of war prevention with special reference to Britain’s peace movement. The most recent of his five single-authored books is Living the Great Illusion: Sir Norman Angell, 1872-1967 (2009).

Entry £5/£3 (Ethical Society and Social History Society members)


Image of New Scientist Live - Exposing climate change

Special Events

New Scientist Live - Exposing climate change

Wed 1 Oct 2014, 18:30

New Scientist Magazine presents

New Scientist Live - Exposing climate change

with: 
Friederike Otto, Post Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Oxford

Alice Bows-Larkin, Reader, University of Manchester

One of the irritating things about climate change is that its effects are often unpredictable and invisible. These factors only increase controversy. But scientists are working to expose its impacts: to understand whether the extreme weather events we're seeing are linked to increased carbon in the atmosphere and to identify what we need to do to starve off the dangerous consequences of climate change.

Doors to Conway Hall will open at 6pm, the talk will commence at 6:30pm.

Tickets £14/£12

Tickets will only be available in advance through Eventbrite (subject to availability).


Image of Vampire, Werewolves and Witches

Talks & Lectures

Vampire, Werewolves and Witches

Sat 18th Oct 2014, 10:30

Centre for Inquiry UK and Conway Hall Ethical Society present

Vampire, Werewolves and Witches: the myth and the reality regarding some of the most horrific creatures imaginable

The modern vampire is suave debonair and sexy instead of pestilence ridden and undead. What does this drastic modern re-interpretation say about the culture of the twenty-first century audience?  The werewolf is a common horror motif but what happened when people were accused of “lycanthropy” in the sixteenth and seventeenth century and who was worse man or beast?  Why and how are people still accused, abused and murdered in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries as witches.

Presented by Steven Law

£10 (£5 students, Members of Conway Hall Ethical Society and the British Humanist Association). Free to friends of CFI UK


Image of New Scientist Live - Closing in on consciousness

Special Events

New Scientist Live - Closing in on consciousness

Wed 22 Oct 2014, 18:30

SOLD OUT

New Scientist Magazine presents

New Scientist Live - Closing in on consciousness

with: 
Anil Seth, Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience, University of Sussex

Manos Tsakiris, Professor of Psychology, Royal Holloway, London University

Every day you sense the world around you and react to it. You think about it, plan ahead and have no doubt where "you" end and everything else begins. Your consciousness is so familiar you take it for granted, yet it is deeply mysterious and has intrigued philospohers and scientists for centuries. Recent research has revealed much about the subtleties of this state and what we still need to uncover.

Doors to Conway Hall will open at 6pm, the talk will commence at 6:30pm.

Tickets £14/£12

Tickets will only be available in advance through Eventbrite (subject to availability).


Image of Stop the First World War

Talks & Lectures

Stop the First World War

Tue 4 Nov 2014, 19.00

Oppositions to the Great War

A series of talks and discussions every Tuesday evening at 7pm from September 30th to November 11th 2014.

Curated by Deborah Lavin, and presented by Conway Hall Ethical Society and the Socialist History Society.

1914 and the Schism in International Anarchism

Pietro Dipaola

The outbreak of the First World War caused an irreparable schism in the international anarchist community. Many of the protagonists in this harsh dispute lived in exile in London, including the chief adversarie: the Russian, (Prince) Petr Kropotkin, who supported the Entente, and the Italian Errico Malatesta who argued that the ‘only acceptable war was the fight of the oppressed against the oppressors’. 

Pietro Dipaola’s talk reconstructs this debate and focuses on some of the activities and the repression of the anarchists including the interment in Alexandra Palace of the German anarchist Rudolf Rocker and the imprisonment of his companion Milly Witcop.

Not our war

Tony Zurbrugge,  publisher at the Merlin Press and editor of the recent book “Not Our War” examines  the opposition to the rising militarism before the start of the First World War and will go on to look again at the different responses of socialists and anarchists to the actual outbreak of war specifically over the years 1914-16.

Entry £5/£3 (Ethical Society and Social History Society members)


Image of Stop the First World War

Talks & Lectures

Stop the First World War

Tue 11 Nov 2014, 19:00

Oppositions to the Great War

A series of talks and discussions every Tuesday evening at 7pm from September 30th to November 11th 2014.

Curated by Deborah Lavin, and presented by Conway Hall Ethical Society and the Socialist History Society.

From Slaughter to Mutiny

Ian Birchall

As the war continued more and more workers in uniform began to revolt against the authorities sending them to needless deaths. In 1917 half a million French soldiers were involved in mutinies. In 1918 mutinies by German soldiers and sailors helped to bring the war to an end. And in 1919 a French naval mutiny in the Black Sea obstructed intervention against the Russian Revolution.

Ian Birchall is a British Marxist historian and translator, former senior lecturer in French at Middlesex University.. His research interests include the Cominterm, the International Working Class, communism and Trotskyism, France an Syndicalism. He is on the editorial board of Revolutionary History, a member of the London Socialist Historians Group and has just completed a biography of Tony Cliff.

Entry £5/£3 (Ethical Society and Social History Society members)


Image of New Scientist Live - How the universe began

Special Events

New Scientist Live - How the universe began

Wed 19 Nov 2014, 18:30

New Scientist Magazine presents

New Scientist Live - How the universe began

with: 
Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, University of Cambridge

A second speaker to be confirmed

Fifty years ago, two scientists in the US discovered a microwave signal that seemed to emanate from everywhere in the universe. Today it's better known as the cosmic microwave background - the afterglow of the big bang. Earlier this year we found that this signal also bears the scars of gravitational waves, the squeezing and stretching of space time itself. All this has enabled us to build an increasingly detailed picture of the birth of the universe.

Doors to Conway Hall will open at 6pm, the talk will commence at 6:30pm.

Tickets £14/£12

Tickets will only be available in advance through Eventbrite (subject to availability).


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