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Rationally Speaking is the official podcast of New York City Skeptics. Join Julia Galef and guests as they explore the borderlands between reason and nonsense, likely and unlikely, science and pseudoscience. Rationally Speaking was co-created with Massimo Pigliucci, is produced by Benny Pollak and recorded in the heart of Greenwich Village.

Current Episodes


Sunday
Feb072016

RS 152 - Dan Fincke on “The pros and cons of civil disagreement”

Release date: February 7, 2016

Dan Fincke

Julia invites philosopher and blogger Dan Fincke onto the show, inspired by a productive disagreement they had on Facebook. Their topic in this episode: civility in public discourse. Do atheists and skeptics have a responsibility to be civil when expressing disagreement, and does that responsibility vary depending on who their target is? Is there a legitimate role for offensive satire? And might there be downsides to civility?

Dan and Julia also revisit the subject of their original disagreement: the recent NECSS decision to rescind Richard Dawkins' speaking invitation, on account of a video he tweeted which compared feminists to Islamists. Dan and Julia attempt to put the Dawkins case study in the broader context of the civility debate, asking questions like: What makes something offensive, and can someone be *unjustifiably* offended?

Dan's Pick: "Foundations of Ethics: An Anthology" edited by Russ Shafer‐Landau and Terence Cuneo
Dan and Julia's Facebook Conversation That Inspired the Episode

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts 

 

Sunday
Jan242016

RS 151 - Maria Konnikova on "Why everyone falls for con artists"

Release date: January 24, 2016

Maria Konnikova

You've probably heard about victims of con artists -- like the people who hand over their life savings to sketchy gurus or psychics, or the people who wire thousands of dollars to a "Nigerian prince" who just needs some help getting his far bigger fortune to you. And you've probably thought to yourself, "What a sucker. I'd never fall for something like that." But are you sure? 

In this episode of Rationally Speaking, Julia interviews Maria Konnikova, science journalist and author of "The Confidence Game: Why we fall for it... Every time," who explains why con artists are so effective that even the best of us are vulnerable. Along the way, they explore questions like: Why do people refuse to believe they've been conned? Are con artists getting more sophisticated over time? And how do con artists view themselves -- do they rationalize their actions, or are they impassive sociopaths?

Maria's Pick: "The Big Con" by David Maurer

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts 

 

Sunday
Jan102016

RS 150 - Elizabeth Loftus on "The malleability of human memory"

Release date: January 10, 2016

Elizabeth Loftus

Do you remember when you were a kid, and you had that great day at Disneyland where you got to meet Bugs Bunny? No? Think harder. It was a sunny day... 

In this episode of Rationally Speaking, Julia interviews psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, whose pioneering work on human memory revealed that our memories can be contaminated by the questions people ask us, or by misinformation we encounter after the fact -- even to the point of making us remember entire events that never could have happened. (Like meeting Bugs Bunny, a Warner Bros character, at Disneyland.)

Elizabeth's Pick: "Missing: The Execution of Charles Horman" by Thomas Hauser

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

 

 

Full Transcripts