Rationally Speaking is the bi-weekly podcast of New York City Skeptics. Join host Julia Galef and guests as they explore the borderlands between reason and nonsense, likely from unlikely, and science from pseudoscience. Any topic is fair game as long as we can bring reason to bear upon it, with both a skeptical eye and a good dose of humor!
We agree with the Marquis de Condorcet, who said that in an open society we ought to devote ourselves to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them."Rationally Speaking was co-created with Massimo Pigliucci, is produced by Benny Pollak, and is recorded in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village.
Dangerous biological research - is it worth it? (Kevin Esvelt)
Kevin Esvelt, a scientist at MIT, argues that research intended to prevent pandemics is actually putting us in a lot more danger. Also discussed: Kevin's own research on engineering wild animal species. Are the risks worth the benefits?
Why we're polarized (Ezra Klein)
Ezra Klein explains how Republican and Democrats in the US became so different from each other, ideologically and demographically, and why that trend + our institutions = political gridlock.
The genetic lottery (Kathryn Paige Harden)
Kathryn Paige Harden, author of “The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality” explains what scientists have learned about how our genes affect our educational success. Why is this research so controversial? And is it worth doing anyway?
How to reason about COVID, and other hard things (Kelsey Piper)
Kelsey Piper (Vox) shares lessons from covering COVID: What has she been wrong about? How much can we trust the CDC? How good is the evidence for drugs like Fluvoxamine or Ivermectin? Should people try to evaluate evidence themselves - or defer to experts?
"Price gouging" in emergencies
Two economists -- Raymond Niles and Amihai Glazer -- defend “price gouging” in emergencies (when sellers raise prices on important goods, like masks and hand sanitizer during COVID). Julia raises potential counterarguments.
How to be a data detective (Tim Harford)
You shouldn't blindly accept every statistic you read -- but neither should you dismiss everything you disagree with. Tim Harford, author of The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics, talks about the heuristics he follows.