Search Episodes
Listen, Share, & Support
Listen to the latest episode
Subscribe via iTunes
Subscribe via RSS
Become a fan
Follow on Twitter

Support Us:

Please consider making a donation to help make this podcast possible. Any contribution, great or small, helps tremendously!

 
Subscribe to E-Mail Updates

Related Readings
  • Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life
    Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life
    by Massimo Pigliucci
  • Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk
    Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk
    by Massimo Pigliucci
  • Denying Evolution: Creationism, Scientism, and the Nature of Science
    Denying Evolution: Creationism, Scientism, and the Nature of Science
    by Massimo Pigliucci

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


Monday
Jun122017

RS 186 - Tania Lombrozo on “Why we evolved the urge to explain”

Release date: June 11th, 2017

Tania Lombrozo

Humans have an innate urge to reach for explanations of the world around us. For example, "What caused this tragedy?" or "Why are some people successful?" This episode features psychologist and philosopher Tania Lombrozo, discussing her research on what purpose explanation serves -- i.e., why it helps us more than our brains just running prediction algorithms. Tania and Julia also discuss whether simple explanations are more likely to be true, and why we're drawn to teleological explanations (e.g., "Why does the sun shine? So that plants can grow.")

Tania's Website: Tania Lombrozo

Blog #1 Tania Contributes to: "13.7 Cosmos and Culture"

Blog #2 Tania Contributes to: "Explananda"

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Tania's Pick: "Language and Thought" by Noam Chomsky

Tania's Other Pick: "The Language Instinct" by Steven Pinker

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

 

Full Transcripts 

Monday
May292017

RS 185 - Hans Noel on "The role of ideology in politics"

Release date: May 28th, 2017

Hans Noel

We're used to conflating political parties (Republican and Democrat) with political ideologies (conservative and liberal), but the two were very distinct only a few decades ago. In this episode of Rationally Speaking, Julia talks with political scientist Hans Noel about why the Democrats became the party of liberalism and the Republicans the party of conservatism, whether voters are hypocrites in the way they apply their ostensible ideology, and whether politicians are motivated by ideals or just self-interest.

Han's Book: "Political Ideologies and Political Parties in America" by Hans Noel

Hans' Pick: "Party Government" by E.E. Schattschneider

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

 

Full Transcripts 

Sunday
May142017

RS 184 - Gregory Clark on "What caused the industrial revolution?"

Release date: May 14th, 2017

Gregory Clark

Nothing changed the course of human history as much as the industrial revolution. Yet its cause is a mystery: Why did it occur in the late 1700s, and not sooner (or later)? Why did it occur in Britain, a relatively small and geographically isolated country, and not somewhere much bigger like China, or elsewhere in Northern Europe like the Netherlands? This episode features economic historian Gregory Clark, author of A Farewell to Alms and one of the leading scholars of the industrial revolution. Greg and Julia explore different theories, as well as the epistemological challenges of answering this kind of causal question about history.

Gregory's Pick: "Ache Life History" by Kim Hill and Magdalena Hurtado

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

 

Full Transcripts