Rationally Speaking Podcast


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.

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Recent Reviews
  • junior chomsky
    Mind Changer
    Host Julia has a way of presenting ideas and evidence without ever making the guests that she interviews feel stupid or insuted. Her approach is great! There have been tons of time I have changed my view on topics. Never yelling or anger or anything even close to that. Just sound thinking and fun, interesting exchanges that keep me challenged. One of my favorite podcasts!
  • Strongbow73
    Anything but rational
    Just a social justice sermon masquerading as rational thought provoking information.
  • hayduke_lives
    Irrational thinking, intellectual dishonesty
    Doesn’t even try to conceal her pro-industry, pro-big-tech bias. Just another scam artist trying to justify her own meritless privilege thru “rationality.” BOO.
  • Okay Curt
    I don’t know.
    But I know enough to say this seems like a decent podcast. Not entirely correct, but true enough to learn some things and spark debate and refuting ideas. I am a skeptic. This is not a label I’ve assigned myself, but something that is innate to my being and has been for as long as I can remember; since I was a small child. The first episode alluded to trying to persuade someone their belief in an afterlife is wrong by using rational thinking. However, rational thinking does not preclude or dismiss the possibility of an afterlife. An atheistic view of no afterlife takes just as much a leap of faith as does the judeo-christian view. What is or isn’t after death is outside the realm of rational thought. You may think using rational thought to convince your grandmother or a young person there is no afterlife is a good thing, but you could still be very much wrong. I do hope these hosts don’t continue to sound so full of themselves as they continue to talk ignorantly, but those two things do go hand in hand.
  • conman12
    Psychology and Philosophy
    Julia is a thoughtful and inquisitive host and always has interesting conversations; however, her conversation with Jon Haidt was one of those “listen to it over and over again” episodes because of the fantastic blend of philosophy and psychology. Wow. You got me plunging deeper into utilitarianism and moral psychology more than ever before. Thank you!
  • burnbizzle
    Not that Rational
    I found the interviews often miss important aspects and dimensions. A significant recent example is the interview with Matthew Yglesias, which was especially disappointing. There was no hard questions for Yglesias on the downsides of a breading contest with China, in order to get the US to a billion people, to beat them in a future conflict. No discussion on what life is like in a 3x crowded country... what is going to a National park like when they are already way overcrowded? What is any place you like to visit, hiking trail, beach, fishing spot like with 3x more people around you... is that your prescription for improvement? What’s rational about this? Also, what’s rational about GDP growth that isn’t GDP per person but is only a multiplier due to more people.? We have more than 10 times the population as Australia, New Zealand pm Canada, and Norway... are we 10 times happier? Of course not. The interview asked no tough questions, no test of the rationality, just softball agreement with a highly irrational policy. Really poor job on that one, and reflective of many of your interviews. Come on, get rational!
  • thicks51
    The podcast is at its best when the host is exploring or disagreeing. When she agrees she either misses obvious areas of exploration and/or interrupts constantly with her own observations or anecdotes. When it is good it is very very good.
  • Oopsawally
    it sounds like you are conflating consent with morality, or, that consent is your morality had no slave wanted to be freed, would slavery be immoral?
  • pkiehne
    Interesting conversations
    Glad to see new episodes being released
  • Maajic
    Not Rational
    Listening to Matt Yglesias advocate tripling the population of the United States for no particularly good reason, and saying that the only environmental issue is global warming, and technology will take care of that, was extremely disappointing. If only the host had questioned these irrational beliefs, but no, she just went along with everything he said. If the human race doesn’t address the many problems associated with overpopulation, the situation for other species will continue to worsen, and ignoring it isn’t the answer. This podcast is about speaking, but not rationally.
  • ZeeSolt
    I only listened to the “conversation” about colorblindness. This is truly one of the most unscientific (and embarrassingly uninformed) podcasts I’ve had the misfortune of listening to. “Colorblindness” is widely denounced/debunked because it seeks to erase the mountains of evidence (and uniform experiences of POC) regarding structural, institutional, and interpersonal racism that plagues our nation. It essentially says “because I don’t try and individually persecute POC on the basis of race, all the evidence is wrong”. Which is logically fallacious, and again-roundly debunked. If you have any will towards intelligent, evidence based and informed discussion—this is the wrong podcast for you. It’s nothing more than an exercise in willfully ignorant, anti-fact, anti-science, anti-logic propaganda. Lol. Calling it “rational” is rich.
  • Bones T
    Role model
    I appreciate the sincerity, rigor, and openness of your inquiries.
  • p.tiddy
    While many of the topics covered are not natively interesting to me, following Julia’s enquiries has made many of them more so, promoted related thoughts, and inspired me to spend more time digging deeply into things that I don’t completely understand.
  • Hot25Dog
    No stars (1 star given because it won’t send with none)
    Consensual cannibalism is ok? Human dignity isn’t a bona fide concept? Really? I have huge respect for Michael Sandel & would love to hear what he has to say but the questioning was ridiculous (in my view) so I stopped listening.
  • hdidiwkshdhkfkdjsjej
    I love this podcast
    Great podcast; stimulating long-form conversations with interesting guests, a host that isn’t afraid to ask tough questions, plus Julia Galef is hot 🧠🥵
  • spacebag
    She’s back!
    Love the podcast and hope you continue.
  • jdarkow
    This podcast is a masterful example of illuminating the BS in topics. I listen to learn how to think more clearly.
  • TheUltimateparadox
    Hope all is well
    Would love to see an eventual return of this podcast
  • michaelbakes
    What a wonderful podcast!
    Please come back to us, Julia. You are missed!
  • any nickname will do 8545733
    Great podcast! Where is Julia Galef now?
    This is such a balanced, informative, interesting podcast. It seems to have been abandoned and there is no recent info on Julia Galef, almost a year now. Her YouTube videos while older are also well worth the time. Hopefully she will return on this or another medium soon.
  • Selylidne
    Careful thinking and upbeat personalities
    In 100% of episodes, I'm impressed and delighted by Julia's fair-minded, perceptive, skeptical, informed questions. And notably, this is true even on subjects that I disagree with her about! Furthermore, the rapport between Julia and her guests is upbeat and friendly, making it so easy and pleasant to follow along with complex conversations.
  • What experiment-
    Stanford prison experiment
    The critics were equally undocumented as the study. That can change significantly when the paper gives evidence rather than hearsay. It was an hour of he said verses a hypothetical they say, without appropriate citations.
  • vladtheengineer
    Most recommended. I love this show.
    I subscribe mostly to podcasts that discuss complex ideas and I repeatedly find that Julia Galef’s Rationally Speaking is my most frequently recommended podcast. No matter your background knowledge or inclinations, there is brilliant stuff going on here. I learn valuable new things and stretch out my worldview every time.
  • libby_ob
    I want to like it but I can’t
    Good content, poor delivery. It’s hard to listen to a podcast when I find it so hard to listen to the host...they’re just sort of annoying and they interrupt all the time! Ugh! Wish it was just the guests
  • my_wit_wont_fit
    This is gold!
    The Stanford Prison Experiment episode blew my mind
  • brossichi
    Great Interviewer
    Julia is hands down the most thoughtful and incisive interviewer I’ve ever heard. Essential listening.
  • Cssbid
    Julia is a pleasure to listen to, she prepares for interviews and asks smart meaningful questions!
  • 2xthink
    Best interviews
    JG is the best interviewer, period. Humble and generous, incisive and brilliant. Guided by a strong ethical and epistemic compass. Essential listening.
  • ersmed
    It keeps Improving with Age,
    This show has gotten better every year. I do miss 2 hosts (maybe they can find a 2nd in the future?) as it allowed for more broad discussion, but Julia does an outstanding job of applying reason to all topics and does not let guests get away with claims they cannot back up with something approaching fact or at least best current knowlege or concensus thoughts. I'm 70 shows in and hope that by the time I'm all caught up I myself can think so rationally!
  • all who wander are not lost
    Intelligent discussions about subjects we should all pay more attention to.
  • Mikey the P
    Epistemologically Sound; Radically Charitable
    Julia is just really good at this. Check out the Tania Lombrozo episode! I could listen to it on repeat and keep getting insights each time.
  • Tman Washington DC
    Love it!
    I learn more from this show than almost any other. Thanks Julia, keep up the good work.
  • Emerson White
    This podcast has had a profound and overwhelmingly positive impact on the way I approach thinking
    Julia Galef owns my very favorite brain. From the first run of episodes with Massimo very much in charge into the new era with Julia steering the ship solo she continues to display an almost preternatural ability to ask teh questions I was thinking. Her laid back personable tone and meticulous dedication to preparing for each episode makes each episode feel like the most inviting coffee house discussion immaginable. I regret that my life is too full of other academic persuits to focus on these matters as much as I would like to, but I am deeply grateful to have Julia here, keeping track of so much interesting work, and reporting back on it.
  • Godshatter
    Teaches you how to think
    Julia Galef interviews top academics and thinkers for about an hour in each episode. She takes a deep dive into a particular topic that the interviewee is an expert on, such as Newcomb's problem, Preference Falsification, Pascal's Wager, Industrial Revolution, Buddhism, and so on. The topics usually revolve around psychology, philosophy, and economics. She takes great care to get very clear on what the interviewee is saying and pushes back on their views by offering counterarguments and counterexamples. She also articulates her own intuitions and views on the show before asking the academics their more nuanced opinions. Quite apart from all the interesting things you will learn on the show, you will also how to think things through. Highly recommended.
  • Sam98502
    Why I’m not giving 5 stars?
    Because listening all episodes from the beginning and if I find myself drinking coffee together in a Starbucks, I’d probably embarrass myself to act like I have never listened one episode. She can outsmart not only me (who learned English when he was 13 for the first time) but people like ordinary and smarter than ordinary and smarter than an educated person in statistics (herself) She is a living shameless. Smart enough to be able to part of go to work and be an ordinary girl type of choice, instead she is interested in philosophy not money. How rational is that? She must be crazy to read all that @&$)it. YOLO baby! And she never answered any question about anything because it is not even wrong and spending that amount of worthless time to anyone with a certain type of filter, well stuff start to get complicated and nobody is a fun of meaningless drama times. Give yourself a free gift and start listening this show. The reason why I won’t talk is to listen her. Because sometimes just listening is enough.
  • Tim Duignan
    Great guests and brilliant questions.
    The guests are all very ineresting and the discussions and questions are brilliant.
  • Jgordon310
    Julia is Amazing at This
    Keep the thought provoking content coming please. The world is counting on you
  • rhymeswithsnake
    Thoughtful discussion par excellence.
  • Jonny C
    Very academic.
    The title of the show implies this is a skeptic's podcast - and perhaps it was originally conceived as such - however it's closer to an interview show focusing on research and academia. The host exercizes clear-thinking as she discusses topics with her guests and I enjoy the model of questioning and logic.
  • Norman Goldie
    This podcast covers a wide range of science, skepticism, philosophy. The topics and guests are great, the pace is upbeat and entertaining, the chemsistry between the interviewers and the guests is delightful. If you want to be entertained while learning new ideas this is a great podcast.
  • Byrd Nick
    Important and delightful
    The content is really valuable. Julia masterfully maximizes each conversation. And the guests are top notch. This is easily one of the most important resources out there. It's even helped me with my dissertation. Thanks Julia et al!
  • DCNYer
    Gregory Clark's disturbing eugenic theory
    I enjoyed learning more about philosophy in earlier episodes, but was disturbed when I heard Gergory Clark's disturbing statement in Episode 184 that "that the majority of people's social status is actually genetically determined." I'm disapppointed the host did not challenge him or recognized that he has such beliefs.
  • nopolecat
    I enjoy Julia's curiosity and persistence in seeking meaning. Also, her sense of humor... This podcast has helped me in daily life and interacting with others, especially other people who dont share my world view.
  • Permlessgirl
    Science meets philosophy
    Very intellectual and interesting especially to me who loves science and philosophy.
  • just a regular fan
    download and listen
    Your first stop if you want to strengthen the rational part of your brain. Great conversations spanning topics in philosophy, the social sciences, and the natural sciences.
  • Chrishoiff
    Great show
    Fascinating discussions of the highest quality
  • Lahoohra
    Engaging, informative, refreshing
    Thank you Rational Security for doing this podcast despite no sponsors etc. I am so thankful to have found y'all to add to my media diet!
  • Volo Ignacius
    Openminded and Curious
    Julia and the guests have wonderful discussions that explore surprising insights, clever solutions, and academia. Very evidence focused. Topics seem to focus on economics, sociology, philosophy, and philosophy of science.
  • AndrewKosmos
    Good Job
  • mamalujobenn
    Great addition to our podcast library.
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