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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
Dec132015

RS 149 - Susan Gelman on "How essentialism shapes our thinking"

Release date: December 13, 2015

Susan GelmanIn this episode, psychologist Susan Gelman describes her work on the psychological trait of essentialism: the innate human urge to categorize reality and to assume that those categories reflect meaningful, invisible differences. Julia and Susan discuss why the discovery of essentialism in children was such a surprise to scientists, how the language we use affects the way we view reality, and whether essentialism is to blame for bad philosophy.

Susan's Pick: "The Bad Seed" by William March

Susan's Book: "Essential Child"

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

 

Full Transcripts 

 

Sunday
Nov292015

RS 148 - David Kyle Johnson on "The Myths that Stole Christmas"

Release date: November 29, 2015

David Kyle JohnsonWe're all familiar with Santa Claus -- but how much do you *really* know about that jolly old elf? In this episode, Julia interviews philosophy professor David Kyle Johnson, the author of "The Myths that Stole Christmas." Kyle explains the little-known, and somewhat sinister, origin story of Santa Claus -- and then Kyle and Julia debate whether it's ethical to lie to your children about the reality of Santa Claus (and possible alternatives to explore). 

Kyle's Pick: The Battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum

Kyle's Course on "The Great Courses": Exploring Metaphysics

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

 

Full Transcripts 

 

Sunday
Nov152015

RS147 - Andrew Gelman on "Why do Americans vote the way they do?"

Release date: November 15, 2015

Andrew GelmanAndrew GelmanThere are two contradictory stories about politics and class: On the one hand, that the Republicans are the party of the fat cat businessmen and the Democrats are the party of the people. And on the other hand, that the Republicans are the party of the salt-of-the-earth Joe Sixpacks, while the Democrats are latte-sipping elites. In this episode, professor of statistics and political science Andrew Gelman shines some clarifying light on the intersection between politics and class in America, explaining what the numbers really show. He and Julia also cover the question, "Is it rational to vote?"

 

Gelman's "other picks":

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts