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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.

Current Episodes


Friday
Mar232012

RS58 - Intuition

Release date: April 8, 2012


Massimo's thinking capWhen your intuition tells you something, should you listen? That depends! Relying on intuition can be anything from a highly effective strategy used by experts, to an excuse not to require evidence for your beliefs. In this episode, Massimo and Julia talk about what people mean by "intuition," where our intuitions come from, and when intuition can beat careful reasoning.

Julia's pick: "Information is Beautiful - Snake Oil?"
Massimo's pick: "Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us"

References:

http://measureofdoubt.com/2011/11/14/what-do-philosophers-think-about-intuition/

Tuesday
Mar202012

RS57 - Peer Review

Release date: March 25, 2012


If you value scientific evidence you're probably familiar with the idea that having "peer-reviewed" studies is crucial to the legitimacy of any new claim. But what does "peer-reviewed" entail, anyway? In this episode, Massimo and Julia open up the black box of peer review, explaining how the process originated, how it works, and what's wrong with it. They also try brainstorming ways it could be fixed, and ask: how is the Internet changing the way we do research?

Julia's pick: The game "Zendo"
Massimo's pick: "Download The Universe"

References:

www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/01/06/humanities-scholars-consider-role-peer-review

Friday
Mar162012

RS56 - Howard Schneider on Science News Literacy

Release date: March 11, 2012


Massimo and Julia discuss science communication with Howard Schneider, dean of the school of journalism at SUNY Stonybrook and former editor of Newsday. A guest at previous skeptic events, including the first annual Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, Schneider has argued in the past that skeptics lay too much blame at the feet of the media for public misunderstandings and misconceptions about science (video here). Julia and Massimo question him on this point, and ask him for his thoughts on what *can* be done to improve scientific literacy. As the founder of the Center for News Literacy and the Center for Communicating Science, Schneider has plenty of thoughts to share -- including making scientists take improv classes. Should science communication involve more storytelling? And is there any way to take advantage of new, online media formats to remedy some of the weak points in the science communication process?

Howard's pick: "CPJ.org: Press Freedom Online - Committee to Protect Journalists"