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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


Saturday
Oct032015

RS144 - Bryan Caplan on "Does parenting matter?"

Release date: Octiober 4, 2015

Bryan CaplanParents in the United States are spending more time and energy than ever to ensure that their children turn out happy, healthy, and successful. But what does the evidence suggest about the impact of their efforts? Economist Bryan Caplan (and the author of "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids") argues that, despite our intuition that parenting choices affect children's life outcomes, there's strong evidence to the contrary. Bryan and Julia discuss his case, and explore what that means for how people should parent and how many kids they should have.

 

Bryan's picks: "The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey" and "Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction" 

 

 

Full Transcripts 


Saturday
Sep192015

RS143 - Scott Aaronson on "The theorem that proves rationalists can't disagree"

Release date: September 20, 2015

Scott AaronsonCan rational people disagree? This episode of Rationally Speaking features guest Scott Aaronson. Scott is a professor of computer science at MIT and has written about "Aumann's Agreement Theorem," which is related to Bayesian probability theory and seems to imply that two people cannot rationally disagree after they've shared their opinions and information with each other. Julia and Scott discuss how to reconcile Aumann's theorem with real-world disagreements, and explore the disconcerting question: Why should you favor your own beliefs, just because they're yours?

 

Scott's pick: Any book by Rebecca Goldstein, starting with "The Mind Body Problem."

 Full Transcripts 


Saturday
Sep052015

RS142 - Paul Bloom on "The case against empathy"

Release date: September 6, 2015

Paul Bloom"I'm writing a book on empathy," psychologist Paul Bloom tells people. They respond warmly, until he follows up with, "I'm against it." On this episode of Rationally Speaking, Julia and Paul discuss what empathy is, why Paul is concerned that it's a terrible guide to moral decision making, and what the alternatives are.

Paul Bloom is a Canadian American professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University. His research explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world.

Paul's pick: Fredrik deBoer's blog, "Tapped Out," and "Hannibal."

 

 

Full Transcripts 


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