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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
Apr172016

RS 157 - Dr. Herculano-Houzel on "What made the human brain special?"

Release date: April 17th, 2016

Dr. Herculano-Houzel

For centuries, scientists have wondered what makes humans so much smarter than other species. Some proposed it was the size of our brain (though that didn't explain why whales weren't smarter than us); others thought it was the size of our brain relative to our body size (but there were problems with that explanation as well). In this episode, neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel lays out the mystery of the "Human advantage," and explains how a new technique she invented several years ago has shed light on some of these longstanding mysteries.

 

Suzana's Book: "The Human Advantage"
Suzana's Pick: "Catching Fire" by Richard Wrangham

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts 

 

Sunday
Apr032016

RS 156 - David McRaney on “Why it’s so hard to change someone’s mind”

Release date: April 3rd, 2016

David McRaney

You're probably already aware that it's hard to change someone's mind with logical arguments and evidence, especially about emotionally charged topics. But are there exceptions?

David McRaney, bestselling author of "You Are Not So Smart" (and host of the blog and podcast by the same name) describes his experiences with people who have done an about-face on some important topic, like 9/11 conspiracy theories. He and Julia discuss a technique for changing someone's mind with evidence, how individual mind-change mirrors scientific progress, and what happens when you confront Trump fans with facts that contradict their narrative.

 

David's Picks:
"Invisible Gorilla" by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons
"How We Know What Isn't So" by Thomas Gilovich

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts 

 

Sunday
Mar202016

RS 155 - Uri Simonsohn on "Detecting fraud in social science"

Release date: March 20th, 2016

Uri Simonsohn

He's been called a "Data vigilante." In this episode, Prof. Uri Simonsohn describes how he detects fraudulent work in psychology and economics -- what clues tip him off? How big of a problem is fraud relative to other issues like P-hacking? And what solutions are there?

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

 

Full Transcripts