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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
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 

 

Sunday
Jan242016

RS 151 - Maria Konnikova on "Why everyone falls for con artists"

Release date: January 24, 2016

Maria Konnikova

You've probably heard about victims of con artists -- like the people who hand over their life savings to sketchy gurus or psychics, or the people who wire thousands of dollars to a "Nigerian prince" who just needs some help getting his far bigger fortune to you. And you've probably thought to yourself, "What a sucker. I'd never fall for something like that." But are you sure? 

In this episode of Rationally Speaking, Julia interviews Maria Konnikova, science journalist and author of "The Confidence Game: Why we fall for it... Every time," who explains why con artists are so effective that even the best of us are vulnerable. Along the way, they explore questions like: Why do people refuse to believe they've been conned? Are con artists getting more sophisticated over time? And how do con artists view themselves -- do they rationalize their actions, or are they impassive sociopaths?

Maria's Pick: "The Big Con" by David Maurer

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts 

 

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