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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


Monday
Jan232012

RS53 - Parapsychology

Release date: January 29, 2012


 

In this episode, Massimo and Julia take on parapsychology, the study of phenomena such as extrasensory perception, precognition, and remote viewing. Its practitioners claim that there is more evidence for it than there is for other areas of scientific inquiry, such as string theory for which there is no empirical data at all. Yet string theory is taken seriously as a science whereas parapsychology is not. So, what is the scientific status of parapsychology? What does the best academic literature on the subject tell us? Finally, what can we learn from parapsychology about the practice of science in general?

Julia's un-pick: "My Little Pony"
Massimo's pick: "Be it Resolved"

References:
http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2011/12/alternative-take-on-esp.html
http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2011/12/academic-posturing-behind-scenes.html
http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/back_from_the_future
http://www.badscience.net/2008/03/beau-funnel
http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/back_from_the_future
http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~iase/publications/icots8/ICOTS8_PL2_UTTS.pdf

Monday
Jan092012

RS52 - Donald Prothero on the Holocaust-Deniers' Playbook

Release date: January 15, 2012


Guest Donald Prothero joins us to discuss the common tactics and thinking of science deniers and the implications of this assault on science for our future. The denial of scientific realities in issues like global warming, creationism, vaccine safety, and AIDS, is growing in our society. Not only is our acceptance of scientific "inconvenient truths" under attack, but even scientists themselves have been threatened.

Donald R. Prothero is Professor of Geology at Occidental College and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology. He is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of 25 books, over 200 scientific papers and a number of popular books including, most recenly, "Catastrophes!: Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, and Other Earth-Shattering Disasters" and "Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters". He is on the editorial board of Skeptic magazine and has been featured on several television documentaries, including episodes of Paleoworld (BBC), Prehistoric Monsters Revealed (History Channel), Entelodon and Hyaenodon (National Geographic Channel), and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts (BBC).

Don's pick: "http://skepticblog.org/author/prothero/"

References:
"The Debunking Handbook"

Tuesday
Dec272011

RS51 - Joseph Heath on Economics Without Illusions

Release date: January 1, 2012


Guest Joseph Heath, author of “Economics Without Illusions: Debunking the Myths of Modern Capitalism,” joins us as we turn our skeptical eyes toward the treacherous dual terrain of economics and politics. We discuss the ways in which, with his book, he attempts to raise our economic literacy and empower us with new ideas. In it, he draws on everyday examples to skewer the six favorite economic fallacies of the right, followed by impaling the six favorite fallacies of the left. Heath leaves no sacred cows untipped as he breaks down complex arguments and shows how the world really works.

Joseph Heath is the Director of the Centre for Ethics and Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. In addition to his academic publications, he is the author of other popular books, among them, "The Rebel Sell : Why the Culture Can't Be Jammed" and "Efficient Society: Why Canada is as Close to Utopia as It Gets" 

Joseph's pick: "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism"