The Rational View podcast with Dr. Al Scott

The Rational View podcast with Dr. Al Scott

Professional astrophysicist Dr. Al Scott addresses politically and socially divisive issues with insightful evidence-based analysis of the facts. Dr. Scott shows listeners how to apply the tools of science to polarizing issues discovering the most rational path to an optimistic vision of the future. See my podcast page https://therationalview.podbean.com/#

Episodes

June 19, 2020 23 min

Welcome to my first episode! Let's start with the basics. Many folks think of science as a compendium of facts, but this is a misconception.  Science is a process of gaining knowledge about the universe we find ourselves experiencing. Scientists have been referred to as elites in ivory towers, and society has lost some of its trust in science as a path to knowledge. In future episodes I hope to explore this theme further, but f...

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In this podcast I review the facts on CoVid-19 and provide some needed perspective for people who might be worried about what their leaders are telling them to do. This is a very active field of scientific research, so information may become dated over a short period of time as new studies emerge. Many people are confused by the process of science, and its self-correcting nature. They believe that science provides proofs, and they ...

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June 19, 2020 16 min

It seems that all of social media has become a polarized battlefield where there is no possibility of reasoned debate. People who were once friends have now become weaponized meme-posting attack bots. Are we doomed to forever talk past each other, competing to get more 'likes' than 'laughs'? This episode is a plea for civil debate amongst a sea of troubles. A healthy democracy requires that we talk to each other abo...

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You've probably heard of the wage gap separating average wages of men and women. The family gap is the obverse of this problem where men, dedicated to their careers, are disconnected from their children, and families. They die younger, and have less of a support network in old age.  It will be hard work to close these gaps, but the solution to both is within our grasp. In our modern enlightened society we should examine traditi...

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Climate change has moved from scientific fact to a political opinion, and the world stands on the brink of crisis. What are your opinions on the reality of climate change? How do you choose which experts to believe? Can scientists be trusted? This episode explores some of the strawman arguments that help climate change deniers to caricature their opponents, and sway their followers to delay implementing the huge changes we need to ...

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I once thought that creationism was the craziest unscientific idea that we would have to deal with.  Now the fertile sheltered echo chambers provided by social media have produced worse things like anti-vax, flat-earthism, Apollo revisionists, and other crack-pot conspiracy theories that rational folk commonly encounter. This episode explores some of my history in countering creationist apologists and their favourite strawman argum...

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June 19, 2020 26 min

To stop climate change, scientists indicate we need to get to net zero carbon dioxide emissions in less than ten years. Despite their amazing strides, renewable energy sources are not the panacea that their supporters are claiming. Due to their low density, significant mining and waste is generated to build up any significant generating capacity. Because of their intermittent nature, they usually require backup generating capacity ...

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Since 1970, capitalism has marched society forward providing great increases in productivity through computers, robots, and the internet.  Over this period the median household income has not kept pace with the increase of productivity.  These increases have mainly gone to the top 1% of earners, creating an unstable situation that encourages civil unrest. Offshoring of labour markets has eliminated a lot of quality manufacturing jo...

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July 4, 2020 39 sec

Please follow my podcast on https://therationalview.podbean.com

If you want to chat and discuss, find my facebook page at https://facebook.com/AlScottRational

 

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July 11, 2020 25 min

Recently, the World Health Organization identified Vaccine Hesitancy as one of the top 10 health risks to humanity. This decline of respect for evidence-based medicine is one of the reasons that I felt compelled to start this podcast. In this podcast I review some of the misconceptions and falsehoods that spread on the internet and contribute to this meme. I present the rational argument in favour of vaccinations and I argue that a...

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In this episode I examine the claims of health effects relating to radio frequency electro-magnetic fields (EMF). We are surrounded by low energy EMF radiation. Radio and television broadcasts, radar systems, and microwave ovens have been emitting these fields for decades.  Now we have new sources of EMF that are becoming normalized such as wi-fi routers, cell phones, internet connected appliances, and many more. The intensity of t...

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July 25, 2020 40 min

Through the ages the grandeur of the night sky has been the inspiration of science, art, and poetry.  Looking up and seeing how our small planet is wrapped in the Milky Way galaxy, and understanding our place in a vast cosmos was a joy of my childhood. This sense of wonder is being replaced by crass, cheap sideshow lighting. Anthropogenic Light At Night (ALAN) seems to be an unavoidable fact of urban sprawl and modern development. ...

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Industrial farmers believe that organic food supporters are on a crusade to eliminate modern farming practices and exacerbate world hunger. Organic supporters believe GMOs are a tool of 'evil' industrial giant Monsanto to poison the world. Are synthetic fertilizers and pesticides damaging our health? Who is right and who is evil? This is a job for The Rational View!

 

Follow me at https://therationalview.podbean.com

 

S...

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Glyphosate is the active chemical in Monsanto's (now Bayer's) popular herbicide, Round-up. Glyphosate attacks a particular plant enzyme that is critical to plant growth, and this makes it a highly targeted chemical. Tests show it is less toxic than table salt. Online, and around the world, however, there is a vocal community who demonize Monsanto and believe that the government has colluded with industry to hide the true da...

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The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) is the coolest experiment ever performed.  LIGO can detect ripples in space time billions of light years away, caused by massive objects like black holes merging, as predicted by Einstein's theory of relativity, developed over 100 years ago. The Nobel prize in physics for 2017 was awarded based on this amazing technology. Gravitational wave observatories have opened...

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August 22, 2020 27 min

In this episode I discuss conspiracy theories and why otherwise rational people may be susceptible to their charms. In this case I'm referring to theories that suggest a well organized elite group of powerful people are implementing secret and far reaching plans that include collaboration between government agencies, scientists, and the media. Conspiratorial thinking requires one to demonize large groups of people so as to disc...

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This Cool Stuff episode discusses the science behind the Big Bang Theory and our evolving understanding of our place in the universe. I'm on vacation this week, and I thought this might be a treat. This episode was recorded live at the May 2015 meeting of the Ottawa Chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and was reproduced with permission. This overview talk was recognized with the Ottawa RASC award for best presen...

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September 5, 2020 44 min
A belief in aliens often seems to accompany conspiratorial thinking and tinfoil hats.  In this episode I discuss the possibility that aliens exist and are in fact visiting us surreptitiously and secretly for unknown purposes. You may be surprised to find that many scientists believe that intelligent alien life actually exists outside of our solar system. This is not so far-fetched when one considers that vastness of our galaxy and ...
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September 12, 2020 47 min

In this episode I interview Professor Steven Levitsky, co-author with Daniel Ziblatt of 2018 best-seller "How Democracies Die". Dr. Levitsky is the David Rockefeller Professor of Latin American Studies and Professor of Government and Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.

As more and more people are worrying about the ongoing erosion of long-standing political norms we ex...

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September 19, 2020 27 min

Homeopathy is one of the most successful medical businesses on the planet with a market size in the billions of dollars. In addition, there is no scientific evidence that it works better than a placebo: the scientific basis of Homeopathy is missing. What’s the deal?  

Placebos can help mitigate pain and anxiety without the dangerous side effects of pharmaceuticals. Are they a safe alternative to traditional medicine? How do they w...

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