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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
Mar062016

RS 154 - Tom Griffiths on "Why your brain might be rational after all"

Release date: March 6th, 2016

Tom Griffiths

You've probably heard about cognitive biases -- the systematic errors human brains make when we try to reason or make decisions. But what if our biases are actually a sign of rationality? This episode features Tom Griffiths, professor of cognitive science at University of California, Berkeley and the director of the Computational Cognitive Science lab. Tom makes the case for why our built-in reasoning strategies might be optimal after all.

Tom's Pick: "Matter and Consciousness" by Paul Churchland

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

 

Full Transcripts 

 

Sunday
Feb212016

RS 153 - Dr. Vinay Prasad on "Why so much of what we 'know' about medicine is wrong"

Release date: February 21, 2016

Vinay Prasad MD, MPH

We like to think of doctors as experts, whose recommendations are backed up by solid evidence. So why does it keep happening that a widely used medical intervention -- like estrogen replacement therapy, or heart stents -- turns out to be useless, or even harmful? This episode features Dr. Vinay Prasad, author of "Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives," who talks with Julia about why medical research is so often fatally flawed, and what we can do about it.

Vinay's Pick: "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" by Thomas Piketty

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts 

 

Sunday
Feb072016

RS 152 - Dan Fincke on “The pros and cons of civil disagreement”

Release date: February 7, 2016

Dan Fincke

Julia invites philosopher and blogger Dan Fincke onto the show, inspired by a productive disagreement they had on Facebook. Their topic in this episode: civility in public discourse. Do atheists and skeptics have a responsibility to be civil when expressing disagreement, and does that responsibility vary depending on who their target is? Is there a legitimate role for offensive satire? And might there be downsides to civility?

Dan and Julia also revisit the subject of their original disagreement: the recent NECSS decision to rescind Richard Dawkins' speaking invitation, on account of a video he tweeted which compared feminists to Islamists. Dan and Julia attempt to put the Dawkins case study in the broader context of the civility debate, asking questions like: What makes something offensive, and can someone be *unjustifiably* offended?

Dan's Pick: "Foundations of Ethics: An Anthology" edited by Russ Shafer‐Landau and Terence Cuneo
Dan and Julia's Facebook Conversation That Inspired the Episode

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts