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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
Nov122017

RS 197 - Doug Hubbard on “Why people think some things can’t be quantified (and why they’re wrong)”

Release date: November 12th, 2017

Doug Hubbard

In this episode Julia talks with Doug Hubbard, author of "How to Measure Anything," about why people so often believe things are impossible to quantify like "innovation" or "quality of life." For example, because people often have a deep misunderstanding of the meaning of probability. Or because they're reluctant to violate "sacred taboos" by putting a number on something like the value of human life. Or because it feels vulgar to "reduce" important things to a number. Doug explains how he responds to these objections and others.

Doug's Pick: "Innumeracy" by John Allen Paulos

Doug's 2nd Pick: "Decision Traps" by J. Edward Russo and Paul J.H. Shoemaker

Doug's Book: "How to Meassure Anything"

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

 

Full Transcripts 

Sunday
Oct292017

RS 196 - Eric Schwitzgebel on "Weird ideas and opaque minds"

Release date: October 29th, 2017

Eric Schwitzgebel

Philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel returns to the show to explore several related questions: His taxonomy of the three different styles of thinker -- "Truth," "Dare," and "Wonder" -- and whether one of them is better than the others. His case for why it's bad to interpret people "charitably." And his seemingly paradoxical claim that we are frequently wrong about our own conscious experience.

Eric's Pick: "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America" by James Allen

Eric's Blog: The Splintered Mind

Eric's Book: "Describing Inner Experience? Proponent Meets Skeptic" by Russell Hurlburt and Eric Schwitzgebel

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

 

Full Transcripts 

Sunday
Oct152017

RS 195 - Zach Weinersmith on "Emerging technologies that'll improve and/or ruin everything"

Release date: October 15th, 2017

Zach Weinersmith

This episode features Zach Weinersmith, creator of the philosophical webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, and the co-author (with his wife Kelly Weinersmith) of the new book Soonish: 10 Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything. Julia and Zach talk about which new technology is the most likely to happen, which would be most transformative, and which would pose the most risk to the world. Also, has our society become too risk-averse? And what are the main bottlenecks to technological development?

Zach's 1st Pick: "Schrödinger's Killer App: Race to Build the World's First Quantum Computer" by Jonathan P. Dowling

Zach's 2nd Pick: "West with the Night: A Memoir" by Beryl Markham

Zach's Book: "Soonish: 10 Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything"

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

 Full Transcripts