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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


Sunday
Mar182018

RS 204 - Simine Vazire on “Reforming psychology and self-awareness”

Release date: March 18th, 2018

Simine Vazire

Simine Vazire is a professor of psychology, the author of the blog, "Sometimes I'm Wrong," and a major advocate for improving the field of psychology. She and Julia discuss several potential objections to Simine's goal, how to handle criticism, and Simine's psychology research on the question: How self-aware are people about the way they behave?

Simine's Pick: "My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir" by Clarence Thomas (paired with: any biography of Clarence Thomas)

Simine's Blog: "Sometimes I'm Wrong"

Simine's Podcast: "The Black Goat"

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

 

Full Transcripts 

Sunday
Mar042018

RS 203 - Stephen Webb on “Where is Everybody? Solutions to the Fermi Paradox.”

Release date: March 4th, 2018

Stephen Webb

In 1950, the great physicist Enrico Fermi posed a question that people have been puzzling over ever since: Where is everybody? The universe has been around for billions of years, so why haven't we seen any signs of alien civilizations? This episode features physicist Stephen Webb, who describes some of the potential solutions to the puzzle. Stephen and Julia also discuss questions such as: What evidence have we gotten so far that helps us answer the Fermi problem? How do we estimate how rare/difficult it is for human-level intelligence to evolve? And why does it matter what the answer to Fermi's question is?

Stephen's Website

Stephen's Pick: "The Cosmic Zoo: Complex Life on Many Worlds"

Eternity in Six Hours by Stuart Armstrong and Anders Sandberg

Dissolving the Fermi Paradox by Anders Sandberg

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

 

Full Transcripts 

Sunday
Feb182018

RS 202 - Bryan Caplan on "The Case Against Education"

Release date: February 18th, 2018

Bryan Caplan

In this episode, economist Bryan Caplan argues that the main reason getting a college degree is valuable is because of signaling (i.e., it proves that you have traits that employers value, like conscientiousness and conformity), and not because college teaches you useful knowledge or skills. Julia proposes several potential challenges to Bryan's argument, and they discuss why it matters how much of education's value is signaling.

Bryan's Website

Bryan's Book: "The Case Against Education"

Bryan's Pick: Eric Hanushek's body of work

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

 

Full Transcripts 

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