The Rational View podcast with Dr. Al Scott

The Rational View podcast with Dr. Al Scott

Physicist Dr. Al Scott addresses politically and socially divisive issues with insightful evidence-based analysis of the facts. Learn to apply the tools of science to discover the most rational path to an optimistic vision of the future. https://www.therationalview.ca

Episodes

June 25, 2022 40 min

On my episode today I will be exploring a fun topic—science fiction, with a friend an colleague who is also an up and coming science fiction author. We will discuss themes of communicating science and our shared love of science fiction.

Eric Choi is a writer, editor, and aerospace engineer in Toronto. He has twice won the Prix Aurora Award – Canada’s national prize for excellence in science fiction and fantasy – for his short story...

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In this episode I am continuing my investigation into the so-called hard problem of consciousness. I’ve spoken to several people who believe that consciousness arose in single celled organisms and is somehow integrated at higher levels through electrical synchronization or intercellular molecular transport into a unified experience. Hindus and Buddhists believe that there is a Universal consciousness of which we all partake. This i...

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In this episode I continue my exploration into the nature of consciousness and awareness.  I’ve learned a lot in my exploration to date. I’ve learned about Hindu and Buddhist ideas on awareness, and I’ve delved into the underlying quantum mechanical nature of reality. I’ve discussed ideas of quantum computing and biological links to the mysteries of quantum mechanics. My guest today is an expert on the cellular basis of memory and ...

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In this episode I continue my exploration of consciousness, exploring a field of enquiry that has focused almost exclusively on consciousness and awareness for hundreds of years.  Although it is not science, Buddhism has a uniquely close relation with physics and physicists being oft quoted. 'The Tao of Physics' comes to mind, as well as ‘The Dancing Wu Li Masters’ as examples.  I hope you enjoy this foray into the Buddhist...

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Quantum Mechanics is a strange theory. Richard Feynman said “I think it is safe to say nobody understands quantum mechanics”. So why is it so popular if nobody understands it? How is this the basis for all of our physical knowledge of particles and their interactions?

A recent innovative experiment fires neutrons through a double slit and proves that each neutron goes through both slits at the same time.

Prof. Holger Hofmann, studi...

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In this episode I am lucky to be able to talk to an expert in the lifeblood of modern civilization, our electrical grid. The grid is the pulse that sustains civilization. It provides us with the energy to run our labour-saving appliances, it provides us with lights, it empowers our computers, it heats our homes, it refrigerates our food. Without it we would be tossed back to 19th century living conditions.  It powers all of modern ...

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In this episode I am looking forward to exploring more about alternate interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.  In previous episodes exploring consciousness, I’ve encountered several people who believe that Quantum Mechanics is at the root of consciousness.  My current thinking is that it replaces one mystery with another one without really providing an explanation for consciousness.  We are still stuck with the options of consciousn...

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In this, my 100th episode, I continue to explore consciousness, but I’m stepping out of my comfort zone a little and seeing what I can learn from the religious viewpoint on consciousness. The idea of an eternal soul is central to many religions, and the Hindus especially believe in reincarnation. I want to learn what they think the soul entails, and what are the parallels between religious thought, philosophy, and the findings of n...

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This episode continues my series on consciousness—are we just biological robots? Following on from my exciting interview last week with quantum biophysicist Dr. Luca Turin, I dig further into competing quantum theories of consciousness.  The famous Sir Roger Penrose and his partner Stuart Hameroff have proposed the Orchestrated OR theory.  This theory posits a modification of the incomplete theory of quantum mechanics that underlie...

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This episode continues my series on consciousness—are we biological robots?  Today I’m getting into some real science talking to a biophysicist who brings the esoteric world of quantum mechanics to bear on the topic. His groundbreaking work in the lab provides us with some real measurements that provide tantalizing hints at the previously unknown quantum processes tied to consciousness.

Dr. Luca Turin was born in 1953 in Beirut, Le...

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This episode continues my series on the Rational art of war on social media.  Following on from my great interview a few weeks back with Dr Lee McIntyre, author of Talking to Science Deniers, he suggested I interview his colleague Dr. Andrew Norman who is actively working to inoculate the world against anti-science thinking.

Dr. Andy Norman is the award-winning author of Mental Immunity: Infection Ideas, Mind-Parasites, and the Sea...

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In this episode I continue my investigation into consciousness interviewing an advocate for artificial intelligence. He advocates for a form of physicalistic idealism that is both highly speculative and incredible, by his own words.  He supports the equations of physics as a complete description of reality, and posits that minds arise in quantum superpositions of neurons.  A quantum superposition is a non-intuitive situation that a...

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In this episode I begin my investigation into the topic of consciousness with an interview.  The field of consciousness research is broad and interdisciplinary, with active researchers in philosophy, psychology, physics, neuro-biology, computer science, and even theology.  My first interview is a psychologist who wrote a book claiming that bacteria are sentient.

Dr. Arthur Reber is an American cognitive psychologist, Fellow of the ...

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This episode delves into the topic of consciousness and why it is seen as a problem by some philosophers. We briefly touched on this in our series on AI, but it also touches the topic of science and religion.  This is an issue that is dealt with in science fiction. Star Trek, especially TNG has several episodes that bear directly on this issue of what it means to be sentient with the character ‘Data’ striving to be more human, and ...

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March 19, 2022 34 min

This podcast covers a very topical concern as Russia is now embarked on the conquest of the Ukraine, and there is much concern globally about the risk of nuclear power plants coming under fire. Should we be afraid of nuclear reactors in a war zone? (First Published March 19, 2022)

I review the risks of nuclear war for a new generation, and I contrast it with the risks of nuclear reactors in a war zone.  The conclusions may surpris...

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In this episode I talk to a philosopher and best selling author who may be the world’s expert on bridging the gap to talk to science deniers.  This is the second podcast in series on how to change minds and influence people using the Rational Art of War to spread The Rational View.

Lee McIntyre is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University. Formerly Executive Director of the Institut...

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The next couple podcasts are meant to be a battle manual for the everyday person who wants to join the fight for what they believe in, but doesn’t have the resources of Google or Facebook to identify thousands of folks who might be swayed to your viewpoint.

We know that on any sufficiently polarized political issue there is likely to be funded propaganda attempting to influence public opinion. Audit applications that track inactiv...

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February 26, 2022 24 min

This episode wraps up my podcast series on Evolution and Creationism.  I summarize the insightful interviews I've had with many great guests including Dr. Niles Eldredge, the co-creator of Punctuated Equilibrium. Topics range from theology to biology and everything in between.

For my upcoming podcasts I’m looking at a couple directions to explore with you. I want to discuss communicating science, and I also want to expand on s...

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This episode was meant to continue my series on Evolution and Creationism but it went another surprising direction.  I hope you enjoy exploring the questions raised as my guest strides fearlessly into controversial moral territory.

Genetic libertarian Razib Khan writes extensively on evidence surrounding human migrations and genetics. He has written for The New York Times, India Today and Quillette, and runs two weblogs, Gene Expr...

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In this episode I interview a psychologist who teaches critical thinking, using Creationism as an example for her students. She also analyzes behaviour from an evolutionary perspective.

Prof. Lynne Honey received a BA in Psychology from Algoma University, and then a PhD at McMaster University, specializing in learning and behaviour from a physiological and evolutionary perspective. She tended bar, drove a taxi, and cleaned apartme...

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