244 episodes

Rationally Speaking is the bi-weekly podcast of New York City Skeptics. Join hosts Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef 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 is produced by Benny Pollak and is recorded in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village.

Rationally Speaking New York City Skeptics

    • Natural Sciences

Rationally Speaking is the bi-weekly podcast of New York City Skeptics. Join hosts Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef 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 is produced by Benny Pollak and is recorded in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village.

    Rationally Speaking #244 - Stephanie Lepp and Buster Benson on "Seeing other perspectives, with compassion"

    Rationally Speaking #244 - Stephanie Lepp and Buster Benson on "Seeing other perspectives, with compassion"

    This episode features a pair of interviews. First, Stephanie Lepp discusses what she's learned from interviewing people who had a serious change of heart. Second, Buster Benson shares his tips for coming away from a disagreement feeling more alive.

    • 42 min
    Rationally Speaking #243 - Bryan Caplan on "The Case for Open Borders"

    Rationally Speaking #243 - Bryan Caplan on "The Case for Open Borders"

    Economist Bryan Caplan makes a compelling case for open borders in his new graphic nonfiction book, "Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration," illustrated by cartoonist Zach Weinersmith.

    • 49 min
    Rationally Speaking #242 - Keith Frankish on "Why consciousness is an illusion"

    Rationally Speaking #242 - Keith Frankish on "Why consciousness is an illusion"

    Philosopher of mind Keith Frankish is one of the leading proponents of "illusionism," the theory that argues that your subjective experience -- i.e., the "what it is like" to be you -- is a trick of the mind.

    • 43 min
    Rationally Speaking #241 - Thibault Le Texier on "Debunking the Stanford Prison Experiment"

    Rationally Speaking #241 - Thibault Le Texier on "Debunking the Stanford Prison Experiment"

    On this episode, Thibault Le Texier and Julia discuss his findings on the Stanford Prison Experiment, how the experimenters got away with such a significant misrepresentation for so long, and what this whole affair says about the field of psychology.

    • 54 min
    Rationally Speaking #240 - David Manheim on "Goodhart's Law and why metrics fail"

    Rationally Speaking #240 - David Manheim on "Goodhart's Law and why metrics fail"

    In this episode, decision theorist David Manheim explains the dynamics behind Goodhart's Law ("When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to become a good measure") and some potential solutions to it.

    • 59 min
    Rationally Speaking #239 - Saloni Dattani on "The debate over whether male and female brains are different"

    Rationally Speaking #239 - Saloni Dattani on "The debate over whether male and female brains are different"

    Several recent books have argued there's no difference between male and female brains. Saloni Dattani, a PhD in psychiatric genetics, discusses some of the problems with the argument, and what we really know so far about gender and the brain.

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

spacebecky ,

Great topics but...

I find the interviewing style quite annoying so despite enjoying the topics I’m going to have to unsubscribe.

claudemakalele ,

all hail julia

i listened to this show from the latest going backwards until about 5 episodes of Massimo turned me off. Julia pursues truth collectively, Massimo wanted to be the sole owner of truth.

MBelderson ,

Perhaps regressing to the 4-star mean

Since Massimo left, Julia has had the difficult job of presenting this show single-handed. It is not an easy task, especially with topics which are often quite challenging to communicate to a lay audience, but with every episode she gets better and better. Her delivery is more confident, the editing is tighter, and so on.

However, you can’t get it right all the time. Whilst the recent run of interviews (Winter 2018- Spring 2019) contain some real gems (for example, lead pollution, Mohists, erisology) there are occasional glitches. Weirdly, the 80,000 Hours interview with Rob Wiblin was one of those. It was odd because I expected effective altruism would be an easy subject for a rationalist podcast to cover. Instead, Wiblin came over as curiously blinkered and ill-informed about scientific fundamentals such as the sheer size of the galaxy (let alone the universe). The idea of ‘capturing more of the universe before it recedes from us’ is laughable. It shows no understanding of the difference between the human scale and the astronomical. I expected better than the unquestioning acceptance of SF tropes, but at least it made me realise what an odd little backwater his movement is; one that can only ever be marginally effective and which appears to exist as a conscience salve for rich technology-addicted urbanites. It might be that Wiblin speaks so fast that he trips over his own thoughts and creates confusion. I hope so, but I really could not be sure. He nneds to slow down and deliver his thoughts with more care.

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