Welcome to the Queensland Skeptics Association Inc.

We meet on the last Monday of each month from February through November at The Junction Hotel, cnr Ipswich and Annerley Rd, Annerley. Plenty of parking. Dinner from 6 pm. Speaker at 7.30 pm upstairs in the Library Room at the Hotel. Members $3.00 entry - Visitors $5.00. No need to book. Membership is $10.00 pp per year.  


 Announcing our Annual Skepticon Conference to be held in 2020 on the Gold Coast       VIA WEBINAR  24th - 25th October. Mark your calendar.  Skepticon ‘early-bird’ tickets availablehttps://www.skepticon.org.au/
You won’t be able to view the presentations at this years Skepticon without purchasing a ticket. The October 24-25th event will be streamed live on a closed YouTube channel. You will be provided with details on how to access the live stream via email after you purchase your tickets. The prices reflect the fact that this year’s event will be all-online, so get your tickets now and avoid a last minute rush to sign up.
Early bird tickets are available at reduced prices until September 24, 2020:
•           Concession $30
•           General $50
Standard tickets on sale after September 24, 2020 are:
•           Concession $45
•           General $65
The organisers point out that, as ticket-holders will still be able to watch the Skepticon stream after the event, they will not be offering any refunds. The usual awards will be announced via satellite from a glitzy venue (probably Richard Saunders’ lounge room). See his take on the Bent Spoon nominations here.
 In the meantime, speakers so far announced include:

  • Dr Alice Howarth and Michael Marshall from the Skeptics with a K podcast
  • Science communicator and living national treasure Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
  • Jo Benhamu and Mandy Lee-Noble on skeptical activism in healthcare
  • Dr Erik Streed on quantum physics and biomolecules
  • Michael Foley, past President of the Australian Dental Association, on water fluoridation
  • Prof Tanya Smith, Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, on what teeth tell us about human development (which should go down well with Dr Foley)
  • Clinical psychologist Gary Bakker on the Most Powerful Man in the World
  • Geochronologist and geochemist Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau who will look at the legal, scientific, ethical and spiritual aspect of human remains.
  • Ross Balch, researcher into the diagnosis of microbiological diseases and self-confessed science nerd
  • Jonas Larsen, environmental scientist
  • Prof Jonti Horner, astronomer, on the search for alien worlds (and possibly some life to go with them).

Monday 30th March 2020   -   MEETING CANCELLED.  I am cancelling the March meeting of the Qld Skeptics for the following reasons:  It would appear that Covid-19 sufferers can transmit the disease before they show any symptoms. In the confined space of our meeting room, any cough would disseminate widely. Our venue being a popular meeting public space is at greater risk of having a sufferer accidentally infect the premises. Our members have a greater risk as many of us are in the older demographic with greater risk of complications.  Regards  Robert Backhouse, President.

Monday 24th February 2020  -  Alison Courtice is spokesperson for Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools a grassroots movement of parents who believe Queensland state schools need to be inclusive and welcoming places for all children, regardless of their religion, race or culture. We believe that the current provision of Religious Instruction (RI) in state schools, for which children are segregated according to their religion, does not foster the inclusiveness and respect for diversity needed in our multi-faith and multicultural society. In addition, we believe that requiring chaplains to profess a religious belief in order to provide a supporting role to state school students contradicts the Education Department’s own policy of respecting “the background and beliefs of all students and staff by not promoting, or being perceived as promoting, any particular set of beliefs in preference to another.

Monday 25th November 2019  Dr Peter Ellerton - Critical Thinking. One of the most critical concerns about critical thinking is how it can be taught. There are a number of people who claim that critical thinking skills are not transferable. These same people claim that because of this it is difficult to teach critical thinking. This view ignores a very large body of research and practice that shows critical thinking can be taught and that it has benefits in terms of cognitive gains that extend for years beyond training. In this talk, I will outline how critical thinking can be taught, why it is a transferable skill and how we can improve the educational experience for students in terms of teaching thinking.  

Peter Ellerton is a lecturer in Critical Thinking at the University of Queensland and is the founding Director of the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project. He is a former Head of Experimental Sciences at the Queensland Academy of Science, Mathematics and Technology. Peter is also an advisor to the International Baccalaureate Organisation on the development of the new Nature of Science subject and has advised on the structure of all the new science syllabus materials. Peter is currently working with the European Commission Joint research Centre on the public understanding of science.  Peter is a Queensland Curriclum And Assessment Authority syllabus writer and Chief Examiner for External Physics in Queensland

Monday 28th October 2019 Adj Assoc Prof. Geraldine Moses BPharm DClinPharm Adv.Prac.Pharm  will give a talk on Compounding Pharmacies.

Dr Geraldine Moses is a hospital pharmacist specialised in medicines information. She holds a Doctorate in Clinical Pharmacy and works part-time at the Mater Public Hospital in Brisbane, holds the position of Adjunct Associate Professor in the University of Queensland’s School of Pharmacy, and provides a national drug information and advisory service for the Australian Dental Association (ADA) called “Pharma-Advice”. She consults to organisations such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, NPS MedicineWise, and the New Zealand Dental Association. Geraldine has received many honours and awards including the Pharmaceutical Society’s Pharmacist of the Year in 2002 and the Dental Association’s Award of Merit in 2013. She was recognised in 2019 Australia Day awards as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her significant service to medicine and the community as a pharmacist, through her advisory and educational roles.

Monday 30th September 2019 - Guest Speaker Professor John Quiggin, VC Senior Research Fellow, School of Economics, University of Queensland. 

Zombie Economics - Why did economists get the Global Financial Crisis so wrong, and have they learned anything since? John Quiggin will describe the life cycle of the economic ideas that led to the crisis from birth to their death in the GFC and their resurrection in zombie form over the last decade. Copies of John's two books will be for sale: Zombie Economics for $35, and Economics in Two Lessons for $30.

Monday 26th August 2019  Guest Speaker Greg Cudmore - The Elephants in Our Classrooms

We will endeavour to myth-bust some common myths surrounding our education system. After retiring in 2014 after 45 years at the chalk face, I have been enjoying the freedom to indulge in my first love which is writing.  I have written two books: The Elephants in Our Classrooms and To Alpha From Omega. Both available as paperback or kindle books on amazon.com. I am a columnist in an Australia-wide educational magazine.  I also teach courses at U3A Brisbane and Redlands, including a popular Mythbusters course which exposes many prevalent myths in our society. In  many ways a skeptic is a mythbuster and I am hoping my presentation will strike a familiar chord with your group. Both books will be for sale on the night for $15.00 each. 

Monday 29th July 2019 Guest Speaker Andrew Perry - The Challenges of Tackling Australian and Global Carbon Emissions

At 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, Australia has the highest per capita emission footprint of The West. Despite this, Australia easily beat its first Kyoto target without having to take any action on fossil fuel efficiency or consumption mix. But even with reductions in some jurisdictions, there has been no discernible effect on the exponential rise of global emissions over the Kyoto Protocol years. This talk explains why, and examines the significant engineering and political challenges we face to make any impact on both local and global emissions.

Bio: Andrew Perry (CEng  MIChemE  RPEQ) is a chartered chemical engineer with extensive experience in both the upstream and downstream petroleum industries. He recently published the book ‘The Carbon Collision Course: Australia’s Emissions and Energy Policy Crisis’. This independent work explains the facts about energy consumption, industrial activity and emissions without bias. It provides a new perspective on the global emissions debate. The book will be available for sale on the night for $25.00 cash. 


Monday 24th June 2019  Guest Speaker Phil Ormerod - Consultant Well Engineer

 "How oil and gas wells are drilled / A working life spent drilling for oil & gas around the world …. or what the degree course doesn't teach you about the oil patch". 

Bio: Phil has worked in the drilling and completions domain both in field supervisory roles and office based engineering assignments including onshore and offshore projects in North Africa, West Africa, the Middle East and SE Asia. During his career he has been involved in the planning and execution of exploration drilling campaigns, development drilling projects, workovers and interventions including stimulation treatments and artificial lift installations and well testing operations.

Sunday 9th June 2019 Skepticamp is happening again this year at The Sideshow, 349 Montague Rd West End 10am - 5pm. Entry by donation. This is a free event where members of our community (you!) get to present whatever topic you are passionate about. More info coming up on how to register to speak. Register here to attend:  https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/skepticamp-2019-tickets-60661983626

Monday 27th May 2019 - Cane Toad Challenge by Professor Rob Capon

This presentation provides a brief account of the discovery, development and science behind an innovative cane toad tadpole trapping technology that uses a natural toad pheromone to lure toad tadpoles into a trap. It also provides an account of the Cane Toad Challenge, a community engagement and citizen science initiative dedicated to making this technology freely available to the public, as well as volunteer and community groups, businesses, and local, state and federal government agencies.

Bio: Rob Capon is a Professorial Research Fellow and Group Leader at the University of Queensland, Institute for Molecular Bioscience. An organic chemist, Rob leads a multidisciplinary research team that specializes in the study of chemicals found in Nature. The aim of this research is to detect, isolate and identify valuable chemicals, to understand how and why they are made, to better understand of their influence on living systems, to inspire solutions for important scientific and societal challenges. Key challenges include new pharmaceutics for infectious and neurodegenerative diseases, pain and cancer, new agrochemicals to treat livestock and crop infections and new natural solutions for pest control and environmental protection.

Monday 29th April 2019  -  Military Hits and Myths by Win Fowles

Military history is written by the winners but does not necessarily cover the loser’s hits and the winner’s misses, or either side’s myths.  Win Fowles will present unusual or little-known cases, some serious and some humorous.

Bio:  Colonel Win Fowles (Retired).  Born in Sydney and raised in Sydney, Brisbane and Mooloolaba, Win graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1966. He served in most Australian states as well as the UK, the US and South Vietnam.  His final full time military appointment before a civilian career was Director of Movement & Transport – Army.  Win is also a graduate of the Royal Military College of Science (UK), the US Army Logistic Management College (where he was later a faculty member) and the Australian Staff College. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

Monday 25th March 2019

Guest speaker Dr. Jane O'Sullivan of Sustainable Population Australia will debunk the Ageing Crisis, and explain why we should welcome an ageing society. 

Daily, we are bombarded with news items decrying the ageing of our population. Yet this should be a welcome development, as the culmination of modern progress to ensure that most people born lead long and healthy lives. Instead, it is treated as a calamity which must be redressed by aggressive increases in population growth, through either births or immigration. The claimed problems of ageing (including a shrinking workforce, a ballooning pension bill, and skyrocketing health and aged care needs) are poorly supported in evidence, and the cure is much worse than the disease. This talk will unpack some of the myths and truths about demographic ageing and discuss the benefits of declining populations containing more older people.

Dr. Jane O’Sullivan is a former senior researcher at the University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, where she led research programs on agricultural intensification of subsistence crops in the Pacific and South East Asia. She subsequently turned attention to the demographic pressures on food security, economic development and environmental sustainability. She has published ground-breaking work on the economic impacts of population growth, population aging and the use of population projections in relation to projecting climate change. She is an executive member of Sustainable Population Australia and has represented that organisation at United Nations climate change meetings.


Monday 25th February 2019 Our guest speakers are members Julie & Harald Berents who will give a talk on Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia (GSoW)

Julie and Harald are members of the GSoW team. They will describe the work the team does, the work they each do, why they do it and how they benefit as individuals. The Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia (GSoW) editing team aims to improve content on Wikipedia. We do this by writing or improving skepticism and science related articles, as well as the biographical articles of notable people involved in science, medicine and the skeptical movement. We add valid material and citations, and remove unsourced claims from paranormal and pseudo-scientific related articles. Wikipedia is the 4th most visited website in the English-speaking world behind Google, YouTube, and Facebook. As both Google and YouTube point their users to Wikipedia, valid, evidence-based information is absolutely critical. GSoW is an international team of 100+ volunteers working in many languages.

Sunday 10th Feb 2019 - Celebrating Darwin Day with the Gold Coast Skeptics.

Venue: Parkwood Tavern – cnr Olsen Ave & Wintergreen Dr, Parkwood (Kids eat free on a Sunday) https://www.parkwoodtavern.com.au/

3.30 - 5.00pm mingle

5.00 - 5.30pm Mr Jake Clark PhD Candidate, Centre for Astrophysics

Topic: exoplanets/astrobiology 101 https://theconversation.com/profiles/jake-clark-391989/articles

5.30 - 6pm Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau (PhD), SCU EMCR representative, Australian Academy of Science, School Director HDR Southern cross GeoScience, Head of Geoarchaeology and Archaeometry Research Group (GARG) Topic: New findings in human evolution

6.00 – 6.30pm Q&A

6.30 – 7.00pm Wrap up