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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.

Current Episodes


Sunday
Jan202019

RS 225 - Neerav Kingsland on "The case for charter schools"

Release date: January 20th, 2019

Neerav Kingsland

This episode features Neerav Kingsland, who helped rebuild New Orleans' public school system after Hurricane Katrina, converting it into the country's first nearly-100% charter school system. Neerav and Julia discuss: why Neerav believes the evidence shows charter schools work better than regular public schools, his responses to the main arguments against charters, and what we know about how parents choose schools for their children.

Links 

Neerav's Blog: relinquishment

Jay Green's blog

"The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money" by Bryan Caplan

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

Full Transcripts 

Sunday
Jan062019

RS 224 - Rick Nevin on "The long-term effects of lead on crime"

Release date: January 6th, 2019

Rick Nevin (Photo: The Washington Post)

This episode features Rick Nevin, an economist who is known for his research suggesting that lead is one of the main causes of crime. Rick and Julia discuss: how do we know the correlation between lead and crime is a sign of a causal relationship? Has the lead-crime theory made any successful predictions? And is it possible that getting rid of lead could reduce the crime rate down to zero?

Links 

Rick Nevin's website

"Lucifer Curves: The Legacy of Lead Poisoning" by Rick Nevin

"The Rising Curve" by Ulric Neisser

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

Full Transcripts 

Sunday
Dec162018

RS 223 - Chris Fraser on "The Mohists, ancient China's philosopher warriors"

Release date: December 16th, 2018

Chris Fraser (Photo: Chan Kang 詹康)

Not enough people know about the Mohists, a strikingly modern group of Chinese philosophers active in 479–221 BCE. This episode features Chris Fraser, expert on Mohism and professor of philosophy at the University of Hong Kong. Chris and Julia discuss how the Mohists put their philosophy into practice and got Chinese leaders to hold off on starting wars; how their philosophy was similar to and different from modern consequentialism; why their movement died out, and what modern groups like Effective Altruists can learn from their story.

Links 

"Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane" by Franklin Perkins

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

Full Transcripts