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Related Readings
  • Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life
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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


Thursday
Aug262010

RS16 - Deferring to Experts

Release date: August 29, 2010


At a talk he gave at TAM 8, Massimo argued that non-experts in a field aren't qualified to reject an expert consensus, such as that on anthropogenic climate change.  Most recently, he has taken Jerry Coyne to task for making a philosophical argument without having the necessary expertise. This raises a number of questions: Are there fields that have no experts, or that have pretend experts?  If there is a lot of disagreement among experts on a topic, should we take any individual expert's opinion less seriously? How much consensus is required before a non-expert should say, "OK, looks like this question really is settled"?

Perhaps noted expert George Carlin had it right when he said: "I have as much authority as the pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it."

Comment on the episode teaser.

Julia's pick:  "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion"

Massimo's pick: "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . .: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes"

Sunday
Aug082010

RS15 - Q&A with Massimo and Julia

Release date: August 15, 2010


In the first of what we hope will be a regular feature of Rationally speaking, Massimo and Julia answer listeners' questions. These range from what are M & J's sacred cows, to how we should approach morally repugnant claims made by venerated philosophers, to whether we are deluding ourselves believing that our votes count.

Comment on the episode teaser.

Saturday
Jul242010

RS14 - Jennifer Michael Hecht on Science, Religion, Happiness, and Other Myths

Release date: August 1, 2010


Author, science historian, philosopher, and poet Jennifer Michael Hecht discusses her views on science, religion, and skepticism.  She talks about her book "The Happiness Myth", showing how the very concept of happiness has changed dramatically both in time and across cultures, to the point that it may make little sense to simply ask “are you happy”? Also she makes her skeptical comments on the findings of science, for instance concerning eating and exercise habits, and how the skeptic community's reliance on science borders on religion.

Jennifer teaches at the New School in New York City. She is the author of "Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson" and of "The Happiness Myth: The Historical Antidote to What Isn't Working Today", among other books.

Comment on the episode teaser.

Jennifers's pick: The websites "HiLoBrow" and Best American Poetry