What is Skepticism?

Skepticism is critical thinking: the questioning of claims, of popular issues, of odd-seeming phenomena - of anything that takes place in the world among people. It is not cynicism, automatic debunking or sneering. It's a careful method of inquiry, asking: "How do you know this?" and "How does this work?"

Issues we might examine are alternative medicine, the paranormal and other odd-seeming phenomena, and how beliefs are founded - and sometimes exploited; and, in such cases, how we can examine such things and what we can do.

There's some debate about whether skepticism is a common interest or an actual movement. In any case, Skeptics in the Pub is becoming a worldwide institution, with events taking place in America, Canada and Australia as well as the UK. For Wales, it kicked off with Cardiff and Swansea in autumn 2010.

A good site to examine is UK Skeptics.

If you've ever read or heard something that sounded a little odd, and thought, "I'd like to check that out," skepticism is for you!

Who comes to Skeptics in the Pub events?

Everyone is welcome, though if you're under 17 you'll need to come with an adult.

People come in ones, in twos, in groups - nobody will laugh if you come by yourself. It's a friendly, informal gathering where you can eat and drink if you like, and where you can socialise, and pelt the speaker with questions after their talk.

You don't need to know anything about skepticism, and you won't be picked on if you don't agree with the speaker. Skepticism is all about asking questions, not about telling anyone what to think.

The venue

The venue for Cardiff is the upstairs room at the Bar 33 on Windsor Place, just off Queen Street near the Cardiff Queen Street station, and a ten to fifteen minute walk from Cardiff Central.

You can come in advance of our starting time (normally 7:30p.m.) and if you've travelled it's often a good idea to eat and drink there. Bear in mind they stop serving food at 9pm, so don't leave it too late to order! You can eat and drink while listening to the talk.

It's worth coming earlier than 7:30 if you want to be sure of a chair. The event starts with an introduction, then the speaker's talk, followed by a break and then a question and answer session. The evening typically lasts until between 10 and 11pm.