In English

Who we are

SkeptiCafe, the first of its kind, is a project started in Latvia by a handful of like-minded people who are enthusiastic about critical thinking and the public understanding of science, as well as keen on seeing more scientific skepticism being practised over here — in public media and everyday life alike.

We’re taking after the internationally recognised Skeptics in the Pub movement and are hosting almost-monthly events at a bar in the gorgeous city of Rīga (capital of Latvia). Our event turnover ranges from 70-200 (!) people.

Our aim is to develop a network of local skeptics, to share opinions, ideas, do a bit of science education now and then, and be able to meet up so we can occasionally thump tables about pseudoscience and other annoying things — just like a proper SitP should unfold.

SkeptiCafe events are currently hosted in Latvian, however we do look forward to eventually inviting international speakers, such as our respectable neighbours, the Estonian skeptics, other neighbours we don’t yet know about, or even people from farther away. You can get in touch with us here!

Where we are

Latvia is a reasonably sized country located in the North-Eastern corner of Europe, sandwiched between Russia and the shores of the Baltic sea. We have beautiful nature, great bread, good beer and gorgeous women, or so we’re told.

Past events

2014

December 17

Memories, how do they work?

Klāvs Renerts, Research Fellow, Department of Neurology, University of Lübeck

Artūrs Ancāns, MD, RSU Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy Department

November 27

Ecology of rivers

Andris Urtāns, hydro biologist, founder of “Put a stone in river” initiative

August 20

Red planet calls

Mārtiņš Gills, PhD in computer sciences, editor of journal “Starry Sky”

Pauls Irbins, youth science center “Z(in)oo”, Blue Wonders and Zili Brīnumi creator, candidate for “MarsOne” mission

May 29

Panel discussion Vaccinations: Myths and the truth.

Dace Zavadska, children’s infectious diseases and vaccination specialist, assistant professor at the Riga Stradins University

Jurijs Perevoščikovs, director of the Infectious Disease Risk Analysis and Prevention Department

Juris Jerums, a parent

April 17

Why is weather so hard to predict?

Andris Vīksna, head of the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Forecast Centre

February 27

Importance of education

Jānis Vilciņš, Ministry of Education, responsible for the content of mathematics in high school and centralized examinations. Runs mathematics teacher training courses.

Gatis Narvaišs, teacher, macibuvideo.lv creator, Mission Possible ambassador

2013

September 18

Rhetoric in action: What are your arguments?

Lauma Vernere, SSE debate club manager, Debate Association Coordinator

Ieva Skrīvere, SSE debate club manager, Debate Association Coordinator

Edmunds Cepurītis, University of Latvia debate club chair, Mykolas Romeris University of Vilnius international tournament runner-up

Ņikita Pušņakovs, Cambridge IV ESL semi-finalist. Chief Judge at the SSE Riga practice tournament, tournament “Polemics” and Saint-Petersburg Open.

 

July 24

Does Latvia need science?

Egils Stalidzāns, Dr.sc.ing. LLU Associate Professor and Senior Researcher, LJZA Chairman of the Board

Jānis Liepiņš, doctoral degree candidate in biology, microbiology sub-sector, researcher at the Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology Institute, LJZA Board member.

Gatis Krūmiņš, Dr.hist.  Latvian Science Council member LJZA Advisory Board, ViA Rector

 

May 22

Do we have a free will?

Artis Svece, philosopher, publicist, lecturer in the Department of practical philosophy, University of Latvia, animal rights and critical thinking advocate

 

April 17

Logically about astrology

Ivars Austers, Professor of Social Psychology, Head of the Department of Psychology, University of Latvia

Guna Kārkliņa, a certified astrologer, Latvian Astrologers Association board member, editor in chief of journal “Practical Astrology”

February 20th

Panel lecture: Robots and AI
Speakers:

Janis Zuters, associate professor at Informatics faculty, University of Latvia
Guntis Arnicans,  professor in programming at  Informatics faculty, University of Latvia
Agris Nikitenko, lecturer at Riga Technical University Informatics and computer science faculty
Guntis Kulikovskis, PhD candidate at RTU Faculty of Transport and Mechanical Engineering

January30th

Freestyle SkeptiCafe — 1 year birthday with informal discussions, talks and drinks!

2012

December 17th

Dean and lead researcher at Biology faculty at University of Latvia, Dr.biol. Nils Rostoks:
GMOs — the saviour of starving people or doom for our civilisation?

November 28th

A calm look at abortion
Head of Latvia’s association for family planning and sexual health “Papardes zieds” Iveta Kelle with video stories about a time when abortions were banned in Latvia
and
lecturers from Riga Stradins University Vents Silis and Ivars Neiders on the various social and moral arguments in the abortion debate.

October 24th

Using medication mindfully
Bioethicist, MSc Bioethics Signe Mezinska and sociology PhD candidate Ieva Salmane-Kulikovska on mindfully using drugs and medication in everyday life.

September 26th

Magical thinking
Psychotherapist, skeptic blogger and theology researcher Arturs Utinans on the evolutionary roots of magical thinking
and
University of Latvia professor in social psychology Ivars Austers on the social and cognitive psychology behind magical thinking.

August 29th

Panel discussion: Science and the media in Latvia
Participants:

Maris Zanders, journalist
Vents Zvaigzne, managing editor of Latvian edition of “Science Illustrated”
Nellija Locmele, editor-in-chief of weekly magazine “Ir”
Dr. paed Ilgonis Vilks, researcher at the University of Latvia Astronomy institute, editor-in-chief of popular science magazine “Terra 2.0”
Dr. biol. Inese Cakstina, cell biotechnologist at Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital

July 25th

SkeptiCafe organiser, political scientist and co-author of “7 myths about democracy in Latvia” Martins Hirss:
Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Oxford alumni and winner of several international debating tournaments Martins Vaivars:
An introduction to logical fallacies: avoiding and recognising them

May 23rd

University of Latvia Physics department lead researcher, lecturer Vjaceslavs Kascejevs:
Quantum physics without mysticism

March 21st

Riga Stradiņš University lecturer Vents Silis:
Ethics of scientific discoveries

Co-founder of teaching video site macibuvideo.lv Martins Kalis:
How reliable is mathematical probability?

February 22nd

SkeptiCafe organiser Edgar Lapins:
Cold reading

Head of Latvian Transhumanist Association Arets Paeglis:
The fundamentals of rational methods

January 17th

SkeptiCafe organisers Signe Cane and Edgar Lapins:
Why doubting is beneficial

Astronomer, University of Latvia History of Science and Technology museum director Ilgonis Vilks:
Oh, those apocalypses!