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Related Readings
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Rationally Speaking is the official podcast of New York City Skeptics. Join hosts Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef as they explore the borderlands between reason and nonsense, likely and unlikely, science and pseudoscience.

Current Episodes


Saturday
Aug092014

RS114 - Massimo and Julia Go Freestyle

Release date: August 10, 2014

In this special episode of Rationally Speaking, Julia and Massimo go rogue: no guest, no pre-set topics, just conversation about things on their mind. Among other things, the duo discuss the questions of how to change your mind (Julia describes her "surprise journalling" method) and, importantly: How do you know if you're a jerk?

References:
"A theory of jerks"

"On Bullshit
"If we're so rich, why aren't we happy?"
"Anathem" 

Saturday
Jul262014

RS113 - The Turing Test

Release date: July 27, 2014

Did you know that an artificial intelligence named "Eugene Goostman" recently passed the Turing Test, our gold standard criterion for whether an AI is conscious? At least, that's what many media outlets breathlessly reported. In this episode of Rationally Speaking, Julia and Massimo take a critical look at Eugene, and at the Turing test in general as a standard for consciousness. In the process they debate what it would mean for an AI to be conscious, and how we could ever tell.

Massimo's pick: "Soccer and Philosophy: Beautiful Thoughts on the Beautiful Game "

Julia's pick: "Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work"

Saturday
Jul122014

RS112 - Race: Just a Social Construct?

Release date: July 13, 2014

In this episode, Julia and Massimo talk about the problems with "race" as a genetically-based concept. Starting with the controversial recent book "A Troublesome Inheritance," by NY Times science writer Nicholas Wade, they critique the statistical analyses that group people into racial categories, and Wade's (and others') attempts to attribute differences between rich and poor countries to innate racial differences.

Massimo's pick: "What’s the evidence on using rational argument to change people’s minds?" by Tom Stafford

Julia's pick: "Reasons and Persons"