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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


Sunday
Feb142010

RS02 - Love, a Skeptical Inquiry

Release date: February 14, 2010


Will science ever really be able to explain love? Science has already found correlations between particular hormones and certain forms or stages of love. However, no matter how many correlations we find between brain activity and love, correlation does not imply causation. And what does it mean to explain love scientifically -- would that change our attitude towards it?  We realize that raising this subject risks fueling the widespread and irritating misconception that “skeptic” = “cynical killjoy,” which is the last thing we want to do. As good skeptics though, what do we do when faced with a mysterious and unexplained phenomenon? We look for explanations!

Comment on the episode teaser.

Julia's pick: The book What is this thing called science

Massimos pick: Making college 'relevant'

Friday
Dec182009

RS01 - Why Be Rational?

Release date: February 1, 2010


Why is "speaking rationally" a worthwhile goal, anyway? It’s not self-evident, at least not to many people. Human beings certainly don’t seem made for it. Aristotle may have famously dubbed us "the rational animal," but cognitive science tells a different story, with plenty of evidence that our brains blithely flout logic all the time and are excellent at rationalizing our irrational decisions after the fact. Indeed, it is reasonable to ask why fight our irrational natures to begin with? After all, some argue that irrationality can make us happier, at least in certain situations. Then again, perhaps there is a problem with the whole idea of arguing for irrationality...

Comment on the episode teaser.

Julia's pick: Wikipedia's List of Paradoxes

Massimos pick: The Fallacy Files

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