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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
Feb052017

RS 177 - Dylan Matthews on "The science and ethics of kidney donation"

Release date: February 5th, 2017

Dylan Matthews

If you're a healthy adult, should you donate one of your kidneys to a stranger? This episode features journalist Dylan Matthews, who donated his kidney last year. He and Julia discuss the clever design of "donor chains," how we should evaluate the science about whether kidney donation is safe, and whether we have an ethical obligation to donate.

Dylan's Pick #1: Reasons and Persons by Derek Parfit

Dylan's Pick #2: "Waitlist Zero" Website

Dylan's Pick #3: "Kidney donation is a reasonable choice for effective altruists and more should consider it" by Tom Ash

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

 

Full Transcripts 

Monday
Jan232017

RS 176 - Jason Brennan on "Against democracy"

Release date: January 22nd, 2017

Jason Brennan

Churchill famously called democracy "the worst system of government, except for all the others that have been tried." Could we do better? On this episode of Rationally Speaking, Julia chats with professor Jason Brennan, author of the book "Against Democracy," about his case for why democracy is flawed -- philosophically, morally, and empirically.

Jason's Book: "Against Democracy"

Jason's Pick: "Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative versus Participatory Democracy" by Diana C. Mutz

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

 

Full Transcripts 

Sunday
Jan082017

RS 175 - Chris Blattman on "Do sweatshops reduce poverty?"

Release date: January 8th, 2017

Chris Blattman

This episode explores the economics and ethics of low-paying factories (which some might call "sweatshops") in Ethiopia. Do they make their workers better off, relative to those people's outside options? Professor Chris Blattman has run some well-designed randomized controlled trials exploring this question, and he discusses what surprised him and how he's updated his views from his research. Julia and Chris also discuss an innovative program to reduce crime in Liberia using cognitive behavioral therapy.

Chris's Paper: "Occupational Choice in Early Industrializing Societies: Experimental Evidence on the Income and Health Effects of Industrial and Entrepreneurial Work"

Chris's Blog Post: "Books development economists and aid workers seldom read but should?"

Chris's Pick #1: "The Anti-Politics Machine" by James Ferguson

Chris's Pick #2: "Seeing like a State" by James Scott

Chris's Pick #3: "The Art of Not Being Governed" by James Scott

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts 

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