Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers

Archive for the ‘GUSSF Events!’ Category

So who’s up for some skeptical activism at the Woodford Folk Festival?

In GUSSF Events!, Helping our community., Human Rights on December 13, 2011 at 8:07 PM

 A call to action for all Queensland Skeptics:

Sourced from the Skeptimite blog


As you have probably heard, Meryl Dorey of AVN infamy is booked to speak at the Woodford Folk Festival on Dec 29 and 30.  If you are not aware of the situation check out the @drunkenmadman blog and wiki for the facts and links.

What to do?

Step one:
Email, tweet and phone everyone involved to let them know your concerns. The wiki has links with contact details.

Comment on blogs and web articles. The Mamamia article by Peter Bowditch is a great place to start, with more info and comments.

Also spread the word to your twitter followers, facebook friends and so on.

Step two:
Get to Woodford. We need skeptics on site to record (if legally possible) Meryls talk, take notes and per haps hand out fliers.  I hope that someone very capable will be able to ask Meryl some tough questions in the Q&A.

I am thinking perhaps handing out fliers while wearing t-shirts that say “Vaccines Save Lives” or similar might be the way to go. Skeptics can then answer questions from the public in a calm and rational manner.

At this stage, I hope to be there for both days. I am happy to car pool from Brisbane northside, although I only have a two seater.

All feedback, comments and suggestions welcome.

Please get in touch @skeptimite or phil.kent at bigpond.com

 

http://skeptimite.blogspot.com/2011/12/call-to-action-meryl-dorey-at-woodford.html

http://www.mamamia.com.au/news/woodford-folk-festival-allows-dangerous-anti-vax-woman-to-speak/

http://www.mycolleaguesareidiots.com/archive/2011/12/10/A-letter-to-the-organisers-of-Woodford-Folk-Festival.aspx

http://wiki.mycolleaguesareidiots.com/DoreyAtWoodford.ashx#sponsors

 

 

 

 

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September features the hugest month of great events yet for Reason Australia

In Embiggen Books, GUSSF Events!, Helping our community., Homeopathy Awareness Week, Modern Day Witchcraft, Responses to the media, Science on August 31, 2011 at 6:59 PM

In the lead up to our much anticipated official launch, Reason Australia are compiling a one-stop calendar of events nationwide that may be of interest to our members, supporters and friends.

If you are hosting or are aware of an event that is not yet featured on the Reason Australia events page, please contact our media and community relations manager via the following email address:

If you are holding or know of an event that is not yet featured on the Reason Australia events page, please contact our media and community relations manager via the following email address:

jayson.cooke@reasonaustralia.org

Please feel free to provide feedback via the above contact as well.

Jayson D Cooke

A BETTER LIFE FOR AFRICANS

In Discrimination, Equality, GUSSF Events!, Helping our community., Human Rights, Leo Igwe, Modern Day Witchcraft on August 13, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Can science aid the battle against superstition?

Can rational thinking stop children being burnt as witches?

 Speaker: Leo Igwe

 Leo Igwe is the founder of the Nigerian Humanist Movement, the Nigerian Skeptics Society and former director of the Centre for Inquiry/Nigeria. He works for the International Humanist and Ethical Union as its director in West and Southern Africa. He also represents the IHEU at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in Banjul, Gambia. He has written numerous articles on human rights, humanism, scepticism and free thought in Africa.

Leo has been arrested and beaten by the Nigerian police and local gangs as a result of his campaigns against superstition, injustices and fanaticism. Recently he spent much of his time rescuing alleged witch children in the south of the country. He will talk about the consequences of challenging such beliefs. He will also discuss the role that scientific and critical thinking can play in improving the life of the average African and the future of the continent.

On 23 August Leo will visit the Gold Coast during a speaking tour sponsored by Australian Skeptics Inc. The Gold Coast event will be held at Gold Coast Little Theatre, 21a Scarborough Street, Southport starting at 7.30 pm.

After the presentation, supper will be served in the GCLT green room. This will be a great opportunity to ask Leo questions and share ideas with other members of the audience.

For catering purposes, bookings are essential.

Contact –

Lilian Derrick: phone 5593 2776 or email: lderrick@bigpond.net.au

Frank Culell: phone 5562 1869 or email: fmculell@bigpond.com

at

Gold Coast Little Theatre, 21a Scarborough St, Southport

Tuesday 23 August 2011 at 7.30 pm.

 

Everyone welcome. Donation of $5 includes supper after the presentation.

Bookings essential

Promotional Flyer

Gold Coast Campus sign-up day Thursday August 4

In GUSSF Events! on July 21, 2011 at 10:49 PM

Hola everyone!

This is just a quick announcement that we will once more have a stall at Cultural Club Sign-up Day for Semester 2, 2011.

If you’re unable to join us on the day I have provided my contact details below and I’m sure we’ll work something out.

As for who we are, well the Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers formed back in 2007 on the Gold Coast campus with aims of promoting critical thinking and scientific skepticism, as well as investigating and drawing attention to pseudo-science and otherwise unproven or disproved claims being touted as fact.

Since then our members have been interviewed on various radio and news programs, podcasts and in local, national and international media, all of which is a great experience while still studying.

With consumer advocacy and journalistic research in mind, we have encountered/exposed/challenged climate change deniers, historical revisionists (holocaust deniers), young earth creationists & intelligent design advocates (Evolution deniers), ‘faith healers’, U.F.O proponents, white supremacists and a shocking variety of fraudulent and/or misleading health related products and practitioners.

Our aims are:

To educate and share skills in critical thinking and scientific skepticism.

To investigate and explain paranormal and/or pseudo-scientific claims objectively.

To further the acceptance and application of evidence based reasoning, and critical thinking in all areas of human endeavor.

In fulfillment of these aims we pursue various goals:

• Advance the public understanding and appreciation of the scientific method.

• Explore pseudoscience topics, paranormal beliefs and the supernatural from a scientific/rationalistic perspective.

• Engage in journalistic research to investigate claims and where possible, draw public attention to the results from a naturalistic, scientific perspective.

• Be constantly vigilant of the ethical consequences of skepticism and aware that people hold their beliefs and opinions sacred. We aim to educate, not coerce, understand rather than ridicule and we are open to anyone and everyone, the more the merrier!

Since forming our group, members have been fortunate enough to attend talks by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Dr Michael Shermer, Professor Ian Frazer, Dr Jay Browning, Professor Richard Dawkins, Professor K. Barry Sharpless, Professor Bill Phillips, Professor Alister McGrath, Professor Harry Messell, Richard Saunders, Peter Booth, Margaret Kitson, Dr Norman Doidge, Professor Matt Trau and many more. Like any organisation our continued success is entirely dependent on our members. There fore we are always open to new members and I’d be very happy to welcome the critical thinkers of the future aboard!

Jayson D Cooke
Founder and acting President of the GU Skeptics and Freethinkers
www.jaysondcooke.com
jayson.d.cooke(Skype)
jayson_d_cooke(Twitter)
jayson.d.cooke@gmail.com

Cultural Club Sign-Up day at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus!

In GUSSF Events!, Helping our community. on March 4, 2011 at 1:30 PM

As Tuesday the 8th of March 2011 is Cultural Club Sign-Up day on Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus, I’d like to invite you all to join the

Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers.

For a meager $1 members are able to gain and share invaluable critical thinking skills, have the ability to publish our heavily trafficked blog, and have fun and gain valuable networking opportunities.

Our members have been interviewed on various radio and news programs, podcasts and in local, national and international media, all of which is a great experience while still studying.

With consumer advocacy and journalistic research in mind, our members have encountered/exposed/challenged climate change deniers, historical revisionists (holocaust deniers), young earth creationists & intelligent design advocates (Evolution deniers), ‘faith healers’, U.F.O proponents, white supremacists and a shocking variety of fraudulent and/or misleading health related products and practitioners.

We are currently looking for members to join our committee for the year to come and it would be great to see some new faces so please feel free to come and say hello on Club Sign-up day!

Our aims are:

To educate and share skills in critical thinking and scientific skepticism.

To investigate and explain paranormal and/or pseudo-scientific claims objectively.

To further the acceptance and application of evidence based reasoning, and critical thinking in all areas of human endeavor.

In fulfillment of these aims we pursue various goals:

• Advance the public understanding and appreciation of the scientific method.

• Explore pseudoscience topics, paranormal beliefs and the supernatural from a scientific/rationalistic perspective.

• Engage in journalistic research to investigate claims and where possible, draw public attention to the results from a natural, scientific perspective.

• Be constantly vigilant of the ethical consequences of skepticism and aware that people hold their beliefs and opinions sacred. We aim to educate, not coerce, understand rather than ridicule and we are open to anyone and everyone, the more the merrier!

We will be holding regular meetings, workshops on critical thinking, skeptics in the pub events and much more as well as continuing to host and promote as many great events as we can. Since forming our group, members have been fortunate enough to attend talks by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Dr Michael Shermer, Professor Ian Frazer, Dr Jay Browning, Professor Richard Dawkins, Professor K. Barry Sharpless, Professor Bill Phillips, Professor Alister McGrath, Professor Harry Messell, Richard Saunders, Peter Booth, Margaret Kitson, Dr Norman Doidge, Professor Matt Trau and many more, but we have plenty left still to come so join today to make sure you don’t miss out!

Jayson D Cooke
Founder and acting President of the GU Skeptics and Freethinkers
0432 039 122
jayson.d.cooke@gmail.com
http://www.gussf.wordpress.org

10:23 Queensland Event this coming Saturday 05/02/11

In 10:23, GUSSF Events!, Helping our community., Homepathy, Responses to the media, Science on January 31, 2011 at 11:36 AM

This coming Saturday 05/02/11 at 10:23am we will be staging our mass ‘overdose’ of Homeopathic products as part of the International 10:23 Challenge 2011.

The goal of this international campaign is to raise awareness of the fact that Homeopathic preparations contain no active ingredients and have been repeatedly shown by the best available evidence to be no more effective than placebos. We aim to discuss this with passers-by in a friendly and approachable way with the goal of aiding consumers to make an informed choice..

We will be meeting up at 9.30am at the two large metal spheres between the Treasury Casino and the Brisbane Library across George Street from the Queen Street Mall. We’re meeting early in order to set up our homeopathic preparations as well as to hand out amongst participants the information sheets and flyers for interested passers-by, and prepare for the arrival of the media. The event will climax with the mass ‘overdose’ at 10:23am were volunteers will consume ridiculous amounts of pre-vetted homeopathic products in front of onlookers, the gathered media, and our own cameras for video to be promptly uploaded online.

I will have limited copies of the official 10:23 leaflet as well as printed copies of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) official position statement on Homeopathy, and a Guardian article by Edzard Ernst.

If everyone else would like to print out and bring along copies of the above to hand out then that would be very much appreciated!

For any media representatives I have prepared a small press kit of information including both the previously mentioned articles as well as Edzard Ernst’s Systematic Review of the Cochrane Database.

Volunteer’s are required to BYO Homeopathic products for the ‘overdose and remember safety first!

Please only use homeopathic products manufactured by a reputable pharmaceutical company and please don’t participate if you have any underlying health concerns.

There are a few cautions when it comes to the pills:
Lactose intolerance/diabetes – some participants may suffer ill effects of the pills, due to underlying illnesses. The amount of sugar in the tablets is quite low, about a teaspoonful, if that, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Clean homeopathy; be cautious, some homeopaths provide pills which are tainted or spiked with other ingredients. Minimise risk by using 30c ‘potency’ tablets. Investigate the pills ahead of time. If you can’t be 100% sure they’re safe, DON’T RISK IT.

Also could we need volunteers to provide:
a. Filming equipment that can be easily uploaded online
b. Someone willing and able to film and upload later that day.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at jayson.d.cooke@gmail.com

And I hope to see you all this coming Saturday.

Jayson D Cooke

Consumers in Queensland to stage homeopathic ‘overdose’.

In 10:23, GUSSF Events!, Helping our community., Homeopathy Awareness Week, Homepathy on January 17, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Consumer rights activists across Australia have today announced their intention to take a mass homeopathic ‘overdose’ next month, as part of a major global protest against the alternative remedies.

Protesters in Brisbane will swallow entire bottles of homeopathic pills on February 5th 2011, in a bid to raise public awareness of the fact that homeopathic ‘remedies’ are ineffective – putting pressure on pharmacists and health-care providers to ensure that products sold as medical treatments actually work.

Jayson Cooke, Queensland spokesman for the group, said: “It’s a terrible irony that Queenslanders seeking remedies are unwillingly purchasing products that are diluted to the point there is no active ingredient. The last thing Queensland residents need right now is to be wasting money on ineffective treatments. Most people aren’t aware that homeopathic pills are not ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’ – even homeopaths agree the pills actually contain nothing but sugar and water. We’re taking part in this protest to show that these so-called remedies are useless, and have no place in health-care today.”

Homeopaths and pharmacists should not be selling these sugar pills to people who are ill – these useless treatments are waste of time and money.”

The demonstration is being organized by local consumer advocacy groups as part of the 10:23 Campaign – a global protest against the homeopathic remedies originating in the United Kingdom. Similar events will be taking place in dozens of countries around the world, with protests announced in Germany, Hungary, Australia and Canada.

Michael Marshall, co-ordinator of the international campaign, said: “We intend to show that there is a growing feeling around the world that enough time and money has been wasted on homeopathic remedies.

In the two hundred years these treatments have existed, there has never been anything to suggest they work – and because they’re nothing but sugar and water, they couldn’t possibly do the things homeopaths claim they can do.

Tens of billions of dollers are spent every year around the world on these ineffective remedies, and when told what they really are, and how they’re made, most people are shocked these useless treatments are still able to be sold to an unsuspecting public”.

The 10:23 Campaign launched a year ago in the UK, with almost 400 protesters taking part in ‘overdose’ events across the country following an admission by Britain’s leading pharmacy that the pills are only sold because consumers will buy them, not because they are effective. The campaign is named after ‘Avogadro’s Number’ – a scientific constant which can be used to show homeopathic potions contain no active ingredients.

Though some would argue dispensing sugar pills may seem harmless, the endorsement of homeopathic potions by pharmacists and health-care providers has grave consequences. As well as undermining public trust in medicine and medical advice, patients with serious conditions can avoid seeking medical attention in the belief that homeopathy can treat their condition. An investigation by the BBC in January 2011 revealed that homeopaths were willing to give travelers ineffective homeopathic ‘preparations’ to use in place of real anti-malarial drugs, as well as ineffective homeopathic alternatives to vaccinations.

The 10:23 Campaign is organising protests in more than twenty three cities across ten counties on February 5th, 2011.

Local contact: Jayson Cooke / jayson.d.cooke@gmail.com / 0432 039 122
International contact: Michael Marshall / contact@1023.org.uk / +44 7841 134 309

What you can do to inform Gold Coast parents, & protect children from ‘Body Brilliant Chiropractic’?

In GUSSF Events!, Helping our community., Responses to the media, Science, Uncategorized on December 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM

At the end of my last post I asked what else we can do about the proliferation of dangerous, erroneous, and pseudoscientific claims that Body Brilliant Chiropractic are successfully pushing in Childcare Centre’s and media aimed directly at Gold Coast parents.

We’ve managed to come up with some suggestions that are not at all time consuming and require no specific expertise! I encourage anyone who finds anything on the Body Brilliant Chiropractic website, that contradicts properly controlled studies and research from medical science (some of which is linked to in my post, but also check out http://www.healthinformation.com.au/ which links to the terrific
Cochrane Collaboration, and PubMed.) to lodge a complaint with the following bodies:

http://www.health.qld.gov.au/quality/consumer_complaints/complaints.asp

http://www.hqcc.qld.gov.au/home/default.aspx

http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/693900

http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au/

http://www.tga.gov.au/cm/cm.htm

http://www.chiropracticboard.gov.au/

http://www.caaq.com.au/


http://www.ahpra.gov.au/Notifications-and-Outcomes/Notification-Process.aspx

Also please contact the ‘media’, for instance,

ACA: http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/feedback.aspx
Today Tonight: http://au.todaytonight.yahoo.com/contactform/suggest-story
Prime Gold Coast News:
http://goldcoast.iprime.com.au/index.php/news?sem=google&KNC-Google&cmpid=37129
The Gold Coast Bulletin:
http://www.goldcoast.com.au/gold-coast-bulletin/contact-us.html
The Tweed Daily News: http://www.tweednews.com.au/contactus/
http://www.tweednews.com.au/contact/feedback/

And contact your local Member of Parliament!

This list is far from exhaustive and I’d be very happy to add to it!

It shouldn’t be up to us to do this, but it is so we may as well try to be as effective as possible in raising awareness amongst both the general public & those with the power to regulate.

Jayson D Cooke

Qskeptics: The Queensland Skeptics Association Inc

In Embiggen Books, GUSSF Events!, Helping our community., Responses to the media, Science on December 1, 2010 at 5:17 AM

Some of you may not know already that as well as running the Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers, I’ve also been working more closely with the Queensland branch of the Australian Skeptics, Qskeptics.

As such I’ve proposed some new projects that once approved, should be unique and exciting, bringing lots of exposure as well as real world impact statewide and beyond. I can’t say much more on these as yet, but you’ll all be the first to know when we get the go ahead.

In the meantime our Qskeptics website is now being regularly updated with news and events, as well as a huge array of search-able resources. I’m planning on adding every event in Queensland that we’re hosting, investigating, or feel our members and friends may be interested in.

Speaking of investigating, we hope to take a more active role in investigating apparent anomalous phenomena, paranormal and/or psuedoscientific claims from a responsible science based point of view.

I’m also in the early stages of getting an official Podcast of the Queensland Skeptics Association Inc and the
Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers organised but I’m taking my time to make sure we get it right.

You can also find us on Facebook and we have a Twitter account so follow us for further updates and please remember your input is greatly appreciated and we all want this to be as successful on as many fronts as possible!

Jayson D Cooke

The Mass Libel Reform Blog — Fight for Free Speech!

In Discrimination, Equality, GUSSF Events!, Helping our community., Human Rights, Responses to the media, Science, Superheroes, TAM Australia on November 21, 2010 at 9:06 PM

This is a message from Simon Singh:

This week is the first anniversary of the report Free Speech is Not for Sale, which highlighted the oppressive nature of English libel law. In short, the law is extremely hostile to writers, while being unreasonably friendly towards powerful corporations and individuals who want to silence critics.

The English libel law is particular dangerous for bloggers, who are generally not backed by publishers, and who can end up being sued in London regardless of where the blog was posted. The internet allows bloggers to reach a global audience, but it also allows the High Court in London to have a global reach.

You can read more about the peculiar and grossly unfair nature of English libel law at the website of the Libel Reform Campaign. You will see that the campaign is not calling for the removal of libel law, but for a libel law that is fair and which would allow writers a reasonable opportunity to express their opinion and then defend it.

The good news is that the British Government has made a commitment to draft a bill that will reform libel, but it is essential that bloggers and their readers send a strong signal to politicians so that they follow through on this promise. You can do this by joining me and over 50,000 others who have signed the libel reform petition at http://www.libelreform.org/sign

Remember, you can sign the petition whatever your nationality and wherever you live. Indeed, signatories from overseas remind British politicians that the English libel law is out of step with the rest of the free world.

If you have already signed the petition, then please encourage friends, family and colleagues to sign up. Moreover, if you have your own blog, you can join hundreds of other bloggers by posting this blog on your own site. There is a real chance that bloggers could help change the most censorious libel law in the democratic world.

We must speak out to defend free speech. Please sign the petition for libel reform at http://www.libelreform.org/sign