The “skeptics in the pub” is a gathering which is growing in popularity in skeptical communities in the UK and USA.
I was thinking of starting a similar get-together for South African skeptics. I’d like to do our first Skeptics in the pub in a few weeks. There is a lekker pub in Randburg called “Tony’s”. It has a great atmosphere with pool tables, dart board and, most importantly, cheap drinks.
Every Monday they do a stand up comedy evening which starts at 20h30. I’d like to propose that we meet on Monday the 10th of November at 18h30. We can get to know each other and anyone who feels like it can stay for the comedy afterwards.
Tony’s is at the Malanshof Shopping centre, Cnr Hans Schoeman & Phillip le Roux, Malanshof, Randburg.
I’ll be keen to get involved once back in SA (next year). One possible area of recruitment is Mensa (I reckon there would be a lot of overlap here). They have SIGs (special interest groups) and perhaps combining this meeting with a sceptic SIG would be a good idea.
Approaching Mensa might be an option but my own experiences with SA’s Mensa chapter have been uniformly less than encouraging, comprising such things as free energy machines, the nutritional woo-woo of a prominent but self-styled SA “expert,” Feng Shui and several other fanciful subjects. While these things can readily be dismissed as “discussion of interesting topics,” it is simply alarming how many Mensans are at least equally prone to woo-woo as the average Jane and Joe. The essential problem, I think, is that Mensans are hard to disabuse of their ill-founded notions because they are on average more able and inventive when deploying quasi-defences of nonsense, and compounding such ability with more-than-occasional “Oh, I’m so very clever” puffery. Members tend to drown out criticism with sheer weight of intellect.
Sadly, the ISPE (formerly “SPE”), which accepts as members only the top 0.1% in terms of cognitive ability as opposed to Mensa’s 2%, is insufficiently represented in SA.
Hey Angela, you must be psychic and read my mind! We had discussed getting together previously here but nothing was done about it. Just this week I was thinking of continuing the conversation and seeing where it went. Well done. I am doing magic lessons on Mondays for the next couple of weeks, but will try to make a plan to come and meet everyone for a drink! Steve
Oh boy. Sounds like I have a little pain coming my way - please be gentle. Actually, I find it odd that you think that I have been dishing-out smack-downs, ??? I by no means have any sceptical authority from which to do so, so I would prefer being called on that than for you to be silently offended. I really think I need to look at the language of my posts more closely - I really don’t want to offend anyone - well, unless you’re an unreasonable believer.
(still attending, just bringing my suit of armour in case)
Not at all James! I’m sorry if my comment came across like that. What I meant is that your Sword of Skepticality is a +4 where mine is only base power. You are a level 14 Skeptic, I am a level 3. Basically - you are much better at this than I am and it will be an honor to learn from you
It’s great to hear that you are interested in joining us. We haven’t set a firm date for the next meeting yet (and the venue is up for discussion if it is inconvenient for anyine) but we thought that once a month would be a good start.
I’m a member of the local Mensa. While there’s certainly a woo component among them (even at least one young Earth creationist), there’s also a strong sceptical focus, particularly among the members who participate in the email forum. They do invite woo speakers from time to time, but this is largely for the entertainment value, and less for the intellectual value of the speaker’s content.
There’s currently no Sceptical SIG that I know of, but I’m fairly confident that quite a few Joburg Mensans would be interested in a Sceptics in the Pub event. When the plans firm up for the next one, I’ll gladly send an invitation to the Mensa email forum, and see what transpires.