Episode Archive for June 2012

Stuart Firestein - How Ignorance Drives Science

June 25, 2012

The idea that science moves forward by carefully peeling back layers of the onion of truth, one by one, in a deliberate fashion, is so prevalent that it borders on cliche. But the truth is that running scientific experiments often feels more akin to dipping a cup into a bottomless well of information: each new study simply raises more questions than it answers. Although scientific knowledge is vast, ignorance, or what’s left to learn, dwarfs what we think we know. Exploring this boundless frontier, neurobiologist Stuart Firestein explains how ignorance, rather than facts, drives science.

Stuart Firestein

Chris Hayes - Twilight of the Elites

June 18, 2012

Our guest this week is Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayes and editor at large of The Nation.

Hayes has come out with a much anticipated new book that makes a surprising argument. It’s called Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, and in it, he attributes the stunning loss of trust in American institutions to, well, the system by which we chose who runs them.

That system is a meritocracy—and it’s supposed to be a fair one in which people get ahead or fall behind based on their own inherent abilities.…

Cara Santa Maria - Talk Nerdy to Us

June 11, 2012

Our guest this week is Cara Santa Maria, the senior science correspondent for the Huffington Post and the personage behind its “Talk Nerdy to Me” video series. Recent topics range from cannibalism, to the non-power of positive thinking, to the strange sex lives of animals, to the, well, bizarreness of creationism.

Cara has appeared previously on shows ranging from Larry King Live to Geraldo at Large, and has co-hosted an episode of Star Talk Radio with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. She was also recently seen hosting several episodes of The Young Turks’ popular web spinoff series The Point.…

Will Gervais - This is Your Brain on Religion

June 04, 2012

In late April, a study came out in Science that really got the secular blogosphere hopping.

It was a paper showing that something we’ve long suspected may be true—less critical thinking is associated with more religiosity. In fact, having a cognitive style where you’re less analytic, and more intuitive, promotes faith.

And vice versa.

It turns out this paper is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we’re learning about the religious mind. So to get deeper into the topic, we invited on Will Gervais, lead author of the current paper…