At the Fringe of Reason

Entertainment comes in many forms during the Fringe and for those of us who value cerebral stimulation as much as funny-bone tickling, I cannot recommend the Edinburgh Skeptics enough.With a range of guest speakers in two locations over the course of August, there is sure to be at least one talk, with free admission as standard, which will tantalise all your favourite neurons.

With speakers from all around the UK, the Edinburgh Skeptics continue their mission to constantly question, debunk and explain. Last year, topics included the secrets of the Mayan calendar, explaining why we're not all currently dead; this year, topics range from fracking and astrology to the philosophy of time travel. The BBC's Simon Singh and John Sweeney join a team of returning lecturers determined to encourage their audience to rationally analyse the assumed knowledge of the world around them - even if this knowledge is provided by other scientists.

One word of warning, however: The lecture titles tend towards the sensational. The talk entitled Sex On The Brain, for example, was more focused on gender's effect on neuroscience than anything more sordid. If this is what is needed to bring in the crowds, however, it seems to be working; the question and answer sessions which round off each talk are invariably full of very interested people saying very interesting things.

For some reason, at some point, the intellectual has become unfashionable and it is against just this sentiment that the Edinburgh Skeptics are fighting. If you have a spare hour and a thirst for knowledge, I highly recommend you step into something a little more educational than your average stand-up. These lectures aren't compulsory, so since everyone has chosen to be here and none of us are trying to pass an exam at the end of the Fringe, all the enthusiasm and intrigue you may expect is liberally spiced with humour. The result is exactly what we all wanted in higher education- lecturers who are completely enamoured by their subject and, rightly, utterly unashamed of it.

Reviews by Jenni Ajderian

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The Blurb

Science on the Fringe!? Yes! Science, controversy, myth busting, debunking and debate. Different speakers and topics nightly. Check for line-up and @edskeptics or #edskeptics for news. Early arrival strongly advised to ensure a seat.