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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
Jun122016

RS 161 - Tom Griffiths and Brian Christian on "Algorithms to Live By"

Release date: June 12th, 2016

Tom Griffiths and Brian Christian

Julia chats with the authors of "Algorithms to Live By", about how to apply key algorithms from computer science to our real life problems. For example, deciding which apartment to rent, planning your career, and prioritizing your projects.

In the process, they discuss the assumptions that underlie those algorithms (and what to do about the fact that those assumptions are inevitably violated by the messy real world), and why procrastination might actually be the right algorithm for the wrong problem.

Brian and Tom's Book: "Algorithms to Live By"

Brian's Pick: "Finite and Infinite Games" by James Carse

Tom's Pick: "Do The Right Thing" by Stuart Russell and Eric Wefald

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts 

 

Sunday
May292016

RS 160 - Live at NECSS -- Jacob Appel on "Tackling bioethical dilemmas"

Release date: May 29th, 2016

Jacob Appel and Julia Galef at NECSS

It's the annual live Rationally Speaking episode, taped at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism in NYC! This year features returning guest Jacob Appel, a bioethicist (and lawyer, and psychiatrist). Jacob and Julia discuss various bioethical dilemmas, such as: How do you handle parents who want to withhold medical treatment from their child for religious reasons? Is it unethical for American doctors to test new medications in the third-world? And what kinds of principles does a bioethicist use to justify their decisions, beyond "that's just my personal opinion"?

Photo by Larry Auerbach. More NECSS photos from Larry can be found here.

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 Full Transcripts 

 

Monday
May092016

RS 159 - Colin Allen on "Do fish feel pain?"

Release date: May 15th, 2016

Colin Allen

In this episode Julia talks with philosopher of cognitive science Colin Allen about whether fish can feel pain. In the process they explore a cluster of related questions: Are fish conscious, and how could we tell? What's the difference between pain and suffering? And are there evolutionarily adaptive reasons why animals would have the subjective experience of pain, as opposed to just instinctive reflexes to avoid potentially harmful stimuli?

Colin's Pick: "The Evolved Apprentice" by Kim Sterelny

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts