Talks

Here are some of my most popular prepared talks. If you’re interested in hosting one of my talks or sets at your event, please get in touch. As well as these main talks, I perform comedy/science sets of any length on many topics. Some examples of smaller science-comedy sets are listed at the bottom of this page, but get in touch if you require a specific theme.

Talks

The Science of Lucid Dreaming

Brilliant talk by @Harrison_Peter about lucid dreaming @Brum_Skeptics best talk I’ve heard here. – @simonstanford

This talk by @Harrison_Peter is quite honestly one of the most fascinating I’ve seen in a long time. – @Tannice_

New contender for best talk of the festival thanks to @Harrison_Peter ‘s talk on the science of lucid dreaming – @Crispian_Jago

If you run an #sitp, book @harrison_peter. His talk is delightful. Longtime skeptic said was his favourite talk ever. – @penguingalaxy

Consensus is that was the best talk this year. – @jimbobthomas

Thanks for the talk, it was really entertaining and one of the best we’ve had at Win SitP! – @awashtell

An oneironaut, or lucid dreamer, is someone who can deliberately remain consciously awake during a dream and is completely aware of the situation. With the release of Christopher Nolan’s latest film, Inception, lucid dreaming has once again been thrown into the public eye. The topic is surrounded by myths, misunderstandings, and controversy. Most communities focusing on lucid dreaming consist of individuals interested in unlocking their psychic potential, or meeting their spirit guides. For this reason, many people associate lucid dreaming with the supernatural. What many people (skeptics included) do not realise is that the existence of lucid dreaming has been well established by scientists all over the world and is actively studied in many universities and scientific establishments. This is a fascinating scientific topic, unfortunately often lumped together with irrational supernatural beliefs.

Peter Harrison is an evo-devo PhD, magic/mentalism consultant, and lucid dreamer. But unlike so many of his fellow oneironaughts, he’s an active skeptic and interested in the science behind the phenomenon. This talk covers the reality of lucid dreaming, the scientific evidence and experiments in this interesting field, and the abundant myths and misunderstandings.

Magic, Dragons, and Dinosaur Saddles

Watching @Harrison_Peter on ‘Magic, dragons, and dinosaur saddles’ – delightfully good sci-comedy! – @Protohedgehog

Oh @sitp groups you have to get @Harrison_Peter and his new talk. It’s soaring!  – @endless_psych

It’s easy to make fun of many creationist claims, but what are their strongest arguments?

Creationism often takes a lot of flak for the kind of wild claims made by hoards of ALL-CAPS creationists on blogs and YouTube comments. But of all the claims and arguments made by creationists, which are the most impressive? Do they pose a threat to creationism-denying scientific fields? Forget the usual tired canards. Peter has spent a year collaborating with top creationist organisations and groups to collate and bring to you their most powerful arguments yet…

The failure of magic as a tool to promote skepticism

A growing number of magicians and mentalists are appearing in the skeptic community, and an obvious connection is emerging between the art and the skeptic movement. However, audiences are not always joining the magicians in their jump to skepticism. Magicians are in a unique position that should allow powerful promotion of skepticism to the general public, but the message does not seem to be getting across on a large scale. Many have tried and failed. What is the problem? What is the history behind it? As a tool to promote skepticism, is it possible that magic is doomed to fail from the very beginning? Is there a practical solution?

In an experiment lasting two years, Peter has compiled post-performance data from his clients and audiences, including corporate business people, celebrities, and the general public, who have witnessed a mixture of shows including traditional magic performances and Peter’s unique skepticism-themed routines. The data highlights the current problem, and some surprising results.

Peter Harrison is a skeptic and professional creator of magic, with his material appearing on television specials.

Some examples of shorter comedy/science sets

What’s in a name?

You are the Dylan Moran of nomenclature. – @Schrokit

Surely it isn’t possible to link taxonomy, Darth Vadar, a rigid penis, and Boris Becker? Challenge accepted. Taxonomy doesn’t have to be boring. Learn and laugh while discovering celebrity bugs and dinosaurs named after rude parts.

Reptile Facts

Some kids in the audience for @harrison_peter’s stuff previously, absolutely beaming at videos of nearly-dead snake heads..! V excited. – @WinSciFest

Books about reptile facts are surprisingly boring. “Chameleons are good at camouflage”. But biologists discover truly fascinating facts about reptiles all the time! It’s time to rewrite the books. Are geckos the masters of camouflage? Can monitor lizards count? Do reptiles make great astronauts? Is it efficient to rebuild your organs? Come and learn why chameleons are crap at camouflage!

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The thoughts of a carbon-based biped from Scotland.

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