Category Archives: Q Skeptics

Qskeptics for 28 October 2013 Dr Pam Swepson – Fire Ants

Dear Folks,

Qskeptics have been across political intrigues before when unknown heavies appeared at our meeting on the use of fluoride in drinking water.

Skeptics DO actually care what the unpalatable truth reveals but we prefer the truth anyway or as close as we can get.

Fire Ants unlike the Cane Toad saga were introduced accidentally or by negligence but there was a time when they could have been eliminated; that opportunity may be past accidentally or by negligence.

Pam will detail the saga for us.

Chatham House Rules apply but media are welcome.

Dr Pam Swepson  now runs her own consultancy

All Welcome

Bob Bruce

Monday 28 October, 2013

The Redbrick Hotel

Cnr Annerley and Stephens Rd South Brisbane

6pm dinner 7:30pm meeting


Q Skeptics – Is conformity blind, is evil banal?

Classic studies in social psychology have been used to advance arguments that normal decent people will behave barbarically (a) when ordered to do so by their superiors, and (b) when placed in groups and given power over others. This evidence has been particularly influential in embedding the ‘banality of evil’ thesis within the public consciousness — appearing to indicate that ordinary people commit atrocities without awareness, care or choice.  This seminar argues against this view on the basis of a reappraisal of relevant historical and psychological evidence. This indicates that those who perpetrate evil on behalf of tyrannical regimes act thoughtfully, creatively, and with conviction. Drawing from this evidence and the BBC Prison Study (Reicher & Haslam, 2006), the case is made for an interactionist approach which explains the emergence of tyranny and evil in terms of three dynamics that (a) initially draw particular people to extreme and oppressive groups, (b) transform them through membership in those groups, and (c) allow them to gain influence over others and hence normalize oppression. These dynamics can make evil appear banal, but are far from banal themselves. They also suggest that when people act in evil ways they typically do so willingly — not because they know they are doing wrong, but rather because they believe that what they are doing is right, even noble.

Prof Alex Haslam

Is conformity blind, is evil banal?

          Rethinking the wisdom received from Milgram and Zimbardo.

Monday Sept 30 2013

The Redbrick Hotel

Cnr Annerley and Stephens Rd South Brisbane

6pm dinner 7:30pm meeting

Q Skepics August 26, 2013

Ageing at Work

Dr Hannes Zacher, Director Centre for Organisational Psychology – School of Psychology

Dr Hannes Zacher

The modern workplace is changing faster than I can type this sentence; so what happens when things change to fast? Not by multiples, orders of magnitude or quantum shifts but by whole world paradigms; what happens when lifetimes of knowledge become irrelevant?

 Does the ageing worker move with the times or succumb to the lure of retirement? Many olds fear retirement simply because of its association with cognitive decline and boredom.

 Organisational Psychology applies to humans in groups (and dogs, cats and goldfish as well). The dynamics of ageing in the workplace can be frightening and lead to maladaptive behaviours on all sides, not the least of which is ageism. Are older workers undervalued?

The Redbrick Hotel

Cnr Annerley and Stephens Rd Sth Brisbane

Monday 26 August 2013

6pm dinner 7:30pm meeting


Signed: An older worker

Bob Bruce

Q Skeptics – The Placebo Effect: Fact or Fiction

The Placebo Effect; Fact or Fiction

Dr Martyn GreenImage

Dr Green is a Family Physician, with special interests in psychotherapy and pain management. A patient of Dr Green made us aware of his interest in the placebo effect; so here he is! He uses hypnotherapy and psycho linguistic programming in his practice – so there will be plenty to talk about.

We do know the placebo effect is real and that it is sensitive to the ‘dose’ effect. Twice as much placebo is better than just one dose! So what is going on? Does it matter if the patient ‘knows’ they have been given placebo rather than prescribed pharmaceuticals? Can the self reports of patients be relied on when it comes to efficacy? Does it work if you are waiting for a liver transplant?!

The Redbrick Hotel

Cnr Annerley and Stephens Rd South Brisbane

Monday 24th June 2013

6pm dinner 7:30pm meeting

You can review Dr Green’s book The Maze Within at:

Q Skeptics Monday 27th May

Bee in your bonnet








Q Skeptics Themselves

Bone up on your latest bee in the bonnet; and we will entertain ourselves.

Members (voluntarily) will make a 5 minute presentation (including discussion) on a topic of their choice.  Points will be awarded for:

  1. Skeptical relevance
  2. Presentation
  3. Persuasiveness
  4. Discussion

Secret Prizes

The Redbrick Hotel

Cnr Annerley and Stephens Rd South Brisbane

Monday 27th May 2013

6pm dinner 7:30pm meeting

All Welcome

By Bob Bruce

Qskeptics on Eating Disorders

Desi Achilleos

From the Eating Disorders Association Resource Centre (Qld)

Eating issues exist on a continuum from trivial to lethal. They can start out simply as missed meals but then progress to restrictive diets and all the way to complex multifaceted illnesses.  Eating disorders can be compulsive, obsessive or even competitive and a lot more. They can be related to self-image or self-indulgence and family dynamics but like smoking most people with an eating issue want to give it up – but they can’t.

Not all eating issues are addictions and there is genetics to consider as well; and where something is uncontrollable there are scams, fads and ever-so-earnest entrepreneurial do-gooders who make a living out of other people’s misery – the diet industry.

A new book claims polyunsaturated fats are the problem and here we were thinking they were good for you? The role of taste may be underestimated in “foodology” particularly with children; do our taste buds get hijacked? What tastes better than a lamb chop to a hungry lad? Delectable desserts? Confectionery? Hi cal drinks!

Eating disorders are not just about food?

The Redbrick Hotel

Cnr Annerley and Stephens Rd South Brisbane

Monday March 25 2013

6pm dinner 7:30pm meeting

Eating Disorders Association Resource Centre 12 Chatsworth Rd., Greenslopes. Qld. 4120 3394 3661

Bob Bruce, Q Skeptics

Qskeptics for February 25 2013 – Sustainability A/Prof William Grey


Dear Folks,

You might wonder what Skeptical content there is left in Sustainability and I think it goes along the lines of “we haven’t got a snowball’s chance in Hell of turning this around” and already agencies various are gearing their efforts and funding, not toward climate abatement but adaptation.

Finally the deniers are seeding more doubts about our involvement in GW by introducing the movement of the solar system about the galactic centre – could be the Nemesis star sucking off all the negative entropy we have come to enjoy.

While Chine burns half the coal used in the world – that’s a shed load of coal! – The pollution levels there are off the scale; so much so that travellers claim to be able to ‘taste’ the air. Hopefully they will wake up to themselves.

That’s how it is now and we are not impressing people enough that CO2 has a persistence of a 100 years or more in the atmosphere.

We pump it into the atmosphere by the gigatonne every year and it stays there for 100 years – you do the sum!

Many thanks to William Grey for this talk which he first gave last October.


Bob Bruce

Redbrick Hotel

Cnr Annerley and Stephens Rd

South Brisbane

Monday February 25th 2013

6pm dinner 7:30pm meeting