Saturday 25th April, 2015
1:00pm to 1:50pm
While cults undoubtedly do exist, are we prone to perceive organised malignant activity... even where it's not there? What lessons can we learn about normal human behaviour from misconceived historic campaigns like witch-hunts and their recent counterparts, ‘Satanic Panics.’
Given our cognitive failings, how do people make sure they have a firm grip on evidence-based reality? What are the systematic errors people make while they’re scared and under pressure? And why do we need scapegoats?
Panel chair: Deborah Hyde
editor of The Skeptic magazine
Deborah is the editor of The Skeptic magazine and a full-time film-industry production manager, so she is no stranger to how people can be fooled. She writes about belief in the malign macabre at www.jourdemayne.com. Deborah will be chairing the ‘Scapegoats, Cults and Moral Panics’ panel.
Senior Lecturer in Journalism at City University London; expert on Satanic abuse, false memories and moral panics
Rosie Waterhouse is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at City University London, whose extensive twenty-four year investigation saw her researching the links between Satanic abuse, false memories and moral panics. She was previously part of the Sunday Times investigations team and investigations editor at the Independent, as well as having worked with ‘Newsnight’, ‘Dispatches’, ‘Private Eye’ and ‘The New Statesman’.
Professor Christopher French is head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit of Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and appears frequently on radio and television casting a skeptical eye over paranormal claims. Chris will be appearing on the ‘Scapegoats, Cults and Moral Panics’ panel.
PhD in History and is co-organiser of the Greater Manchester Skeptics Society
Victoria Stiles holds a PhD in History and is co-organiser of the Greater Manchester Skeptics Society. Her research examines stereotype formation and the manipulation of evidence in Nazi Germany and she also delivers talks to other Skeptics in the Pub groups on English witch trials and on Holocaust denial. Victoria will be appearing on the ‘Scapegoats, Cults and Moral Panics’ panel.
PhD in pathological belief systems; expert on Scientology
Martin Poulter holds a PhD in pathological belief systems and has lectured on Scientology around to more than thirty audiences around the country. He was threatened with legal action by the Church of Scientology for quoting their “religious trade secrets.” Martin will be appearing on the ‘Scapegoats, Cults and Moral Panics’ panel.
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