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.
Donors often dislike the idea of simply giving poor people cash, but it's usually the best way to help. Michael Faye (president of GiveDirectly) makes the philosophical and empirical case for cash transfers.
Humanity could thrive for millions of years -- unless our future is cut short by an existential catastrophe. Oxford philosopher Toby Ord discusses the possible risks we face, including climate change, pandemics, and artificial intelligence.
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?
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?
Journalist Kelsey Piper (Future Perfect / Vox) discusses lessons learned from covering COVID: What has she been wrong about, and why? How much can we trust the CDC's advice? What does the evidence look like for different drugs like Fluvoxamine and...
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.
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.
How much do Uber and Lyft drivers really earn? Are they getting a raw deal by being classified as independent contractors? I explore the contentious debate over these questions with three guests: Louis Hyman, Veena Dubal, and Harry Campbell.
Law professor William Baude explains how widely-hated laws like qualified immunity came to be and why they're so hard to change. Also, Baude makes the case that judges should base their rulings on the original meaning of the Constitution.