Skeptical Talks

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Previous Talk : AIDS Denialism………yep that’s a thing

In the early days of the AIDS epidemic many bizarre and dangerous ideas were advanced regarding the origin of the disease and its cause. Since the discovery of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) these conspiracy theories, which once filled the void left by the lack of information, have all but vanished. Over the past three decades HIV has been the subject of intense scientific research which has resulted in effective treatments, rapid HIV tests, and promising cures.

 

Yet unbelievably there are a small number of people who are sceptical of the “official story”. Although these people are small in numbers they are extremely well funded and can pose a very real threat to public health. Many have chosen to spend their money on spreading their harmful theories, defend people who have irresponsibly infected their partners, and funded the documentary House of Numbers.

 

The documentary encourages people to come off their medication, tells them that HIV tests don’t work, and that anti-viral drugs such as AZT are the real cause of AIDS. To do this the makers of the documentary make liberal use of out-of-context quotations from scientists interviewed for the film, deceitful editing techniques, and flat out lies. I have dedicated a large amount of time to exposing some of the more insidious claims in the documentary. In response there have been multiple Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violation claims filed against me in an attempt to silence my criticism. They also published my personal information as well as my employ contact details and promoted people to contact them.

 

In my talk I discuss some examples of the dangerous assertions in the documentary and explain how they have led to the death and suffering of hundreds of thousands of people. I will also talk about the failure of the DMCA and how it can be exploited by the proponents of pseudoscience.

 

Video of mini talk     Video of full talk

Review

Myles' talk "AIDS Denialism... Yep that's a thing" is entertaining and engaging at the same time. Myles takes you down the surprising world of AIDS denialism and the strange encounters he has had with the people who inhabit the rabbit hole of this unlikely conspiracy theory. This talk has something for everyone from learning the basics of researching and combatting conspiracies to dealing with the backlash of speaking out in this modern age. Highly recommended.

Ross Balch (Brisbane Skeptics)

Previous Talk : Will GMOs Kill Us All?

For decades now, we have been told by organisations like Greenpeace, GM-Freeze, and Friends of the Earth that genetical modified (GM) food is dangerous and has been shown to be harmful to humans.They have done a great job at convincing the population of their dangers by quoting scientific literature that claims GM-food has been shown, among other things, to cause cancer, leukaemia, and stomach inflammation; but is there really any truth to this? What do the papers these organisations are promoting really say, and do they have any flaws? Or, in actual fact, are GMOs going to kill us all?

 

In my talk I am going to critique several highly referenced anti-GM papers, looking past their veneer of good science, and discovering what they really say about GMOs and the people who promote them.

 

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Review

In his latest talk ‘GMOs Will Kill Us All‘, Myles turns his attention towards the muddied waters of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). More specifically, it looks at how anti-GMO groups will cherry pick and parade studies which appear to support their worldview, and takes a deeper dive into those studies to find out how valid they really are.

 

Delivering the talk for the first time to the Glasgow Skeptics audience at their SkeptiCaley event, Myles had the imposing task of trying to maintain the attention of an audience who had already been through four hours’ worth of lectures. Thankfully his approach to delivering his content hit the sweet spot of the skeptical audience: Clearly framing up the aims and parameters of the talk, taking a light-hearted approach to explaining the fundamentals of a well designed study (spoiler alert: This talk contains hipster mice), then casting a critical eye over some very carefully selected studies.

Several splashes of sensationally scary stories were subsequently picked apart in a rigorous yet amusing style, followed by some sobering tales of the promise of Golden Rice and the destruction of GMO crops. The talk was well received by an appreciative audience – which was made clearly obvious by the enthusiastic Q&A which followed.

Make sure to catch this talk if you possibly can. You won’t be disappointed … unless you’re anti-GMO!

-Brian Eggo (Glasgow Skeptics)

 

Book Talk

If you'd like to book one of my talk for your Skeptics in the Pub, university group, humanist group or other, contact me at  powerm1985@gmail.com. All I ask is that you put me up for the night (depending on how far away you are from Middlesbrough) and you cover the cost of my travel.

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