DiscoverThe Rational View podcast with Dr. Al Scott
The Rational View podcast with Dr. Al Scott

The Rational View podcast with Dr. Al Scott

Author: Al Scott

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An evidence based rational viewpoint and discussion on science and society, focusing on important current issues. I hope to provide a clear voice for the quiet moderate majority on highly polarized issues such as climate change, social inequity, and the growth of anti-science sentiment. #therationalview #science #tok #evidencebased #climatechange
153 Episodes
In this episode I’m continuing my investigations into the science of nutrition and health. Today I’m looking at the effect that diet has on longevity. We know that eating poorly can kill you in any number of ways, but is there a fountain of youth out there? Can we extend lifespan merely by choosing the right foods?  My guest today will have something to say on this topic.   Dr. Valter Longo has thirty years of experience in the field of longevity and healthy eating. He is the Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California – Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, Los Angeles, and the Director of the Longevity and Cancer Program at the The Italian Foundation for Cancer Research Institute of Molecular Oncology in Milan, Italy. He is the author of the best seller “The Longevity Diet” and the 2 Italian books “Alla tavola della longevità” (“At the Table of Longevity”), and “La longevità inizia da bambini” (“Longevity Begins in Childhood”). Professor Longo is also the scientific director of the Create Cures Foundation and the Valter Longo Foundation. In 2018, TIME Magazine named Professor Longo as one of the 50 most influential people in health care for his research on fasting-mimicking diets as a way to improve health and prevent diseases. Please help me to spread the Rational View at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #fasting #health #longevity #ProLon
In this episode I am returning to a core topic to The Rational View, the communication of science. My guest has experience communicating science to the public during environmental crises, and has shared his experience and advice for other scientists in a newly published book. What are the mistakes that scientists make in outreach, and how can we do a better job without endangering our careers? Christopher Reddy is a leader in the study of marine pollution and the development of environmentally friendly industrial chemicals. A senior scientist in the Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry at Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution and faculty member of the MIT/WHOI joint program in oceanography, Reddy has led numerous field operations along coastlines, in the open ocean, and at the bottom of the sea to conduct transformative research that crosses disciplines and guides policy decisions worldwide. As an author, Dr. Reddy has recently published ‘Science Communication in a Crisis’ Support the podcast at Discuss the ideas on Facebook @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #science #communication #crisis #outreach #evidence #politics
I have been recently exploring the impacts of what I call the AI revolution we are currently experiencing surrounding the release of ChatGPT and its rapidly expanding progeny.  Today I want to explore the economic impacts of ChatGPT gobbling up white collar jobs the same way that robotics has devastated blue collar jobs and salaries. I originally discussed this issue in one of my first podcasts on "Income Inequality: We botched it", where I point out that blue collar workers are no longer able to afford the same lifestyle of previous generations due to robotics taking over their jobs and the proceeds being gobbled up by business owners.  We are on track for another crash unless we smarten up and fix the system.  To explore the impacts of this revolution I have a distinguished economist who has recently published in Nature, a paper called Robots, Labor Markets and Universal Basic Income. Antonio Cabrales has a Ph.D. in Economics from University of California, San Diego, and is a professor at Universidad Carlos III. He has been a professor at University College London, and at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He is Executive Vice President of the European Economic Association, fellow of the Econometric Society, former President of the Spanish Economic Association and recipient of the King Rei Jaume I prize in Economics 2021. He has worked in a wide range of topics: game theory, the economics of networks, mechanism design, economics of education, experimental and behavioral economics. He is associate editor of the Journal of Economic Theory and has edited and published in several economic journals and Physical Review Letters. Join the Facebook conversation @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #AI #artificialintelligence #UBI #universalbasicincome #jobs #economics
I think this episode is very pertinent and deserves to be re-released now that we are starting to experience what seems to be a revolution in artificial intelligence.  The job market is about to be shaken up considerably.  I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did! The global economy is in a shambles due to CoVid-19 and millions of workers are suffering with no safety net.  The last time the economy tanked like this in 2008 it was due to unregulated greed run amok in the mortgage financing industry. That time, Investment Bankers got a juicy handout to the tune of several trillion dollars approved within hours of the crash. Unemployed Canadian workers have received $2,000 per month since March. In the US today, however, desperate folks who have lost their jobs and health care have received a one-time cheque of $1,200.  This leaves many people calling for a re-assessment of Universal Basic Income. Can our modern economy afford to provide a minimum standard of living to the poor? Will it disincentivize labour? What are the pros and cons? On this episode I interview Mr. Floyd Marinescu to ask tough questions about Universal Basic Income. Mr. Marinescu is CEO and co-founder of C4Media which provides software development news and learning events serving 1.2M online on, and 8000 attendees annually via QCon conferences in SF, NY, London, Beijing, Shanghai, and Sao Paulo.  Floyd is an angel investor in over a dozen startups, and has built teams and businesses in the US, Canada, China, Brazil, Europe.  Floyd is also a CEO activist for universal basic income. He is the founder of CEOs for Basic Income and UBI Works.  Go to for more info. Follow me at Comment at Instagram at Twitter at #therationalview #newpodcast #universalbasicincome #basicincome #ubi #automation #covid #socialism #capitalism #economy #income #evidencebased
In this episode I demonstrate my research process by focusing on some controversy that came to light following my interview of Dr. Peter Butt, chairman of the group responsible for Canada's new tightened guidelines on healthy drinking. The International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research (ISFAR) has just published a stinging critique of the newly released Canadian guidance on Alcohol and Health. In the critique, Forum chair R. Curtis Ellison stated: “I am appalled by the conclusions of the authors of this paper.  They present a pseudo-scientific amalgamation of selected studies of low scientific validity that fit their preconceived notions and ignore many high-quality studies whose results may not support their own views”.  This was widely publicized in the National Post in an article by Chris Selley entitled “A scorching new critique of Canada’s alcohol guidelines’. I want to believe them, so I need to be careful about my confirmation bias. What’s the truth and how do we find out? Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #alcohol #health #science #controversy #J-curve #heart #cancer
This episode follows up with my thoughts on my last interview with mens' coach Kevin Scott, “Can we Manifest our Future? Similar to many life coaches these days, Kevin believes that if we can put our minds into the proper emotional state that the universe will bend to your wishes.  Here on The Rational View we understand that extreme claims require extreme evidence. After our discussion, it was clear that it would be very difficult to scientifically test the claims of manifestation gurus, because they explain away any failures as being the fault of the manifester in not having properly arranged their emotional state. The belief in manifestation seems harmless at first blush, but I want to dig into this magical thinking a bit and question the impacts on society.  This is a job for The Rational View. If you want to hear more of this content your support is appreciated at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #magicalthinking #manifestation #attraction #debunking #echinacea #science 
Today I’m going to tackle a topic you may have heard about in popular society these days, if you’ve ever listened to a motivational speaker or a life coach.  They call it manifestation. What is it? What does it mean? What does science have to say about it? To get to the bottom of this, I’m interviewing Kevin Scott, personal coach and leader of the Effortless Alpha mens’ program. I will provide a skeptical scientific viewpoint on the topic. When Kevin Bruce Scott speaks, his messages connect people to their hearts as well as the minds. He has lived many different lives – as an artist, businessman, salesman, even a farmer! - and that helps him relate to all kinds of people. Kevin strives to give his dedicated clients a feeling of potential possibility in their life, something one tends to forget they have hidden all along. He is a leader of leaders, a leader of men, and works hard to be an example for men of all walks of life. The motto for the Effortless Alpha brotherhood he created is “To inspire, and create space for, men to access their own potential through the bond of brotherhood where no man feels alone.” His life-transforming work with men in groups and one-on-one has sparked the Masculine Expansion, creating a space for men to lead themselves and their communities with power, honour, discipline, and respect. Follow me at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Support the podcast: Twitter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #manifesting #quantum #quantummechanics #observer #consciousness
It seems we are fated to live in interesting times. We stand balanced on the precipice of a new revolution in society.  Advanced artificial intelligence systems have crossed a threshold that many thought impossible.  What are the implications? The Future of Life institute just released an open letter signed by over 1,000 thought leaders including Elon Musk, and Steve Wosniak, calling on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4. Why are they asking for this now? Can the genie be put back into the bottle? In this episode I will review what is going on and why it is important. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #artificialintelligence #chatgpt #AGI #singularity
This is another cool science episode. Today I'm interviewing successful science outreach personality, cosmologist, and podcaster Dr. Paul Sutter. Paul M. Sutter is a theoretical cosmologist at the Institute for Advanced Computational Science at Stony Brook University and a guest researcher at the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute in NYC. He is an award-winning science communicator, having authored two books, Your Place in the Universe and How to Die in Space, and hosting several TV shows, including How the Universe Works, Space Out, and The Edge of Knowledge. He also writes and hosts his own Ask a Spaceman podcast, which has been downloaded over 7 million times. Lastly, Paul is a globally-recognized leader in the intersection of art and science. His latest collaboration is a production with Syren Modern Dance that explores the nature of time, which he recently performed as a United States Cultural Ambassador at the World Expo in Dubai. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #cosmology #outreach #art #moderndance #askaspaceman 
In this episode I am returning to explore the truth about the Chernobyl disaster. I have the great fortune to interview one of the doctors who treated the exposed workers in Moscow following the explosion.  Let’s see what he thinks of the health risks of nuclear power. Robert Peter Gale was born in New York in 1945. He received his MD from the State University of New York at Buffalo and PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). After that Gale was on the faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine, and served as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, and later chaired the Scientific Advisory Board of the Center for Advanced Studies in Leukemia. He was President of the Armand Hammer Center for Advanced Studies in Nuclear Energy and Health. Gale is currently Visiting Professor of Haematology at Sun Yat-sen Cancer Centre, Guangzhou, China and Honorary Professor of Hematology at the Institute of Hematology at Peking Union Medical College. He is the Editor-in-Chief of LEUKEMIA, Associate Editor of CLINICAL TRANSPLANTATION, Executive Editor of BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION and a reviewer for many scientific journals in hematology, oncology, immunology, transplantation, radiation biology and internal medicine. Prof. Gale is also an expert on the medical response to nuclear and radiation accidents. From 2007-2019 he was executive director of clinical research and development at Celgene Corp and an honorary member of the Russian and Chinese Academies of Medical Science. He is the recipient of several distinguished awards and honorary degrees including the Presidential Award, and an Emmy award. Gale has published over 1,350 scientific articles and 25 books on medical topics, nuclear energy and weapons and politics of US-Russian relations and received an Emmy award. His latest book is “Radiation: What it is, What you need to Know”. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational Watch the video version on YouTube! #TheRationalView #podcast #chernobyl #nuclearenergy #radiation #health
In this episode I continue my exploration of the science of nutrition and food by exploring one of the most controversial money-making phenomena to exist. Diets. Body image is a central problem to a large fraction of the population, and people are willing to spend a lot of money trying to get thin and be more attractive.  In this episode I interview a leading expert on the science of dieting to cut through the flab and get to the firm core of this issue. Traci Mann is Professor of Psychology at the University of Minnesota. She received her PhD in 1995 from Stanford University, spent ten years on the faculty at UCLA, then moved to the University of Minnesota and started the Health and Eating Lab. She is interested in basic science questions about cognitive mechanisms of self-control, in applying social psychology research to promoting healthy behavior, and in busting commonly accepted myths about eating. Her research has been funded by NIH, NASA, and the USDA. Her book, Secrets from the Eating Lab, was the 2016 winner of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Book Prize. Support The Rational View at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational TikTok @TheRationalView #TheRationalView #podcast #dieting #health #food #bodyimage #willpower
In this episode I want to dig into the impacts of alcohol on health. Many of us have heard news stories saying that a glass of red wine every day can help you live longer. This was used to explain why people with a Mediterranean diet seem to live longer than people on a North American diet, for example. The Resveratrol in the red wine is an anti-oxidant that supposedly helps to prevent cell damage.  One can search the literature to find examples of studies that show people who drink a moderate amount of alcohol have longer lives. Until recently, Canadian health guidelines have suggested that one or two alcoholic beverages a day are not dangerous.  New advice now suggests one or two drinks a week should be the goal. My guest today has been directly involved with the evolving health guidelines associated with alcohol consumption. Dr. Peter Butt is a Certificant and Fellow with the College of Family Physicians of Canada, with Special Competency in Addiction Medicine. He is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and served as a consultant in Addiction Medicine in the Saskatchewan Health Authority. His research has included guideline development and knowledge translation. He chaired the original development of Canada’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines (2011), co-chaired the Canadian Guidelines on Alcohol Use Disorder Among Older Adults (2019) and co-chaired the 2023 Canadian Guidance on Alcohol and Health with the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational TikTok @TheRationalView before it is outlawed #TheRationalView #podcast #alcohol #health #risk
In this episode I continue my investigation into the science of nutrition and food. Today I’m interviewing a physician who has been focusing on a critical evaluation of so-called alternative medicine or SCAM. I want to investigate with him the science behind various detox diets and claims made by nutrition specialists. I expect to receive a very skeptical viewpoint based on his many blog posts suggesting that claims of detoxing are a scam. Edzard Ernst studied psychology and medicine at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. In 1977, he qualified as a physician and completed his MD and PhD theses. He was Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) at Hannover Medical School and Head of the PMR Department at the University of Vienna (Austria). He established the world’s first Chair in complementary medicine at Exeter University in 1993. Since 2012, he is Emeritus Professor at the University of Exeter and now lives in Cambridge, UK as well as in Brittany, France. Professor Ernst is/was founder/Editor-in-Chief of three medical journals and has been a columnist for many publications. His work has been awarded 17 scientific awards and two Visiting Professorships. He served on the ‘Medicines Commission’ of the British ‘Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency’. During the last 25 years, Prof Ernst’s research focused on the critical evaluation of most aspects of so-called alternative medicine or SCAM. Become a patron at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #alternativemedicine #detox #diets #SCAM
In this episode I’d like to explore the impacts of the precautionary principle in public policy.  Many people think that the precautionary principle is the safest way forward. We shouldn’t use a tool until we’re sure that it won’t harm us. This just makes sense, doesn’t it? The application of the precautionary principle in European energy policy, for example, has lead to the shut down of Germany’s nuclear fleet, strong labelling laws for GMO products, and many other decisions of which I am not yet aware. Today I’ll be interviewing an economist who has a unique interdisciplinary perspective on the environment, health, and labor economics to get an expert opinion on this topic. I came across his insightful work as references in a Freakonomics podcast episode titled, “nuclear energy isn't perfect. Is it good enough?’. Matthew Neidell is an economics professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.  He is also a faculty member with the Earth Institute and the Columbia Population Research Center. Neidell received his PhD in economics from UCLA and has performed policy work for various organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Institute of Medicine, Rockefeller Foundation, and World Bank He specializes in environmental, health, and labor economics, applying the latest empirical methods to examine the relationship between the environment and a wide range of measures of well-being, including worker productivity and human capital, and how human behavior affects these relationships. Support more penetrating public policy perspectives at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #precautionaryprinciple #nuclearpower #publicpolicy #environment #energytransition #greenenergy #atomicenergy
In this episode I’m starting my series of interviews on the science of nutrition at the top with an interview with a leading authority on the politics of food and nutrition, Dr. Marion Nestle. In 2011 author Michael Pollan ranked her as the #2 most powerful foodie in America (after Michelle Obama), and American food journalist Mark Bittman ranked her #1 in his list of foodies to be thankful for.  Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University. She is also Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley. Previous faculty positions were at Brandeis University and the UCSF School of Medicine. She was senior nutrition policy advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services and editor of the 1988 Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health. Her research and writing examine scientific and socioeconomic influences on food choice and its consequences, emphasizing the role of food industry marketing. She is the author, co-author, or co-editor of fifteen books focusing on the politics and science of food. Her most recent book is a memoir, Slow Cooked: An Unexpected Life in Food Politics (2022). She has won numerous awards for her public outreach, and has been recognized as one of the most influential foodies in America. The University of California School of Public Health at Berkeley named her as Public Health Hero. My apologies for the sound quality in this one. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Find TheRationalView on YouTube! Twitter @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #nutrition #politics #health #food
In this episode I’m hoping to start a new investigation into the science behind nutrition and food science. Many of us have heard the messages from our doctors that we need to cut back on our high sodium diets and we need to avoid fat and red meat to prevent heart disease. We’ve been told that sugar is bad for us. Processed foods are bad for us. Alcohol is bad for us. We need to eat more fruit and vegetables. We need to eat more fiber. Western society is now in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Are we getting good nutritional advice? What does the science say? Tell me what you want to hear about in my Facebook group @TheRationalView Support the podcast at Twitter @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #nutrition #science #evidencebased 
In this episode I return to the hard problem of consciousness with a distinguished neuroscientist, Dr. Anil Seth.  In the finest traditions of science, Dr. Seth is willing to test his ground-breaking theories of mind on himself by exploring the impacts of psychedelic drugs on the conscious experience.  Anil Seth is a neuroscientist, author, and public speaker who has pioneered research into the brain basis of consciousness for more than twenty years. His mission is to advance the science of consciousness, and to use its insights for the benefits of society, technology, and medicine. He is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, Co-Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Program on Brain, Mind and Consciousness, and Editor-in-Chief of the academic journal Neuroscience of Consciousness. His two TED talks have been viewed more than thirteen million times, he has appeared in several films, and he is lead scientist on the Dreamachine project. His new book Being You: A New Science of Consciousness was an instant Sunday Times Bestseller and a 2021 Book of the Year. Support the Rational View at Visit my website at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #consciousness #psychedelics #mind #dreammachine 
In this episode I talk about how nuclear energy is being framed in Germany, the environmental laggard currently mining lignite coal for heat. I review some of the blatant anti-nuclear rhetoric being broadcast internationally and expose the flaws in the arguments. On social media I have been heavily critical of Germany’s Energiewende. This is their national program to shut down their clean nuclear fleet and attempt to replace it with hundreds of billions of euros worth of variable wind and solar generating equipment. As a result of this ideologically driven strategy the country has been unable to keep the lights on without burning vast amounts of heavily polluting lignite coal, and bankrolling Putin's invasion of the Ukraine by buying up all available Russian natural gas. The death toll associated with anti-nuclear ideology is the true danger society should be talking about. Support The Rational View at Follow me at Join the Facebook discussion group @TheRationalView  Twitter @AlScottRational Insta @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #energiewende #cleanenergy #greenenergy #nuclearenergy #atomicenergy #renewableenergy #sustainable #energytransition
In this episode I am bringing you my 2022 Rational View year in review, followed by a cool Pecha Kucha presentation that I made last year to a group of football alumni, put on by my public school friend Andy Vasily host of the Run Your Life podcast. The presentation is called ‘Why we need a Rational View’, and it defines much of what I have learned about communicating science, and the need for a rational discussion in a polarized world. Pecha Kucha is, I believe, a Japanese term meaning chit-chat.  The format is unique as it includes a timed slide presentation that you need to present alongside with a strict 20 second clock on each slide. So if you like it, I urge you to watch The Rational View Youtube channel for this presentation.  Support The Rational View at Follow me at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #pechakucha #polarization #science #tribalism #live
Dr. Alexander Wong rejoins the Rational View to review the new and exciting advance in Artificial Intelligence, ChatGPT.  ChatGPT is a variant of GPT-3 (Generative Pretrained Transformer 3) that is specifically designed to be used in chat applications. It is a large language model that has been trained on a huge amount of text data in order to generate human-like responses to various types of inputs. Some key features of ChatGPT include its ability to generate responses in a conversational style, understand context, and continue a conversation based on previous exchanges. It is commonly used in chatbots, virtual assistants, and other applications where it is important to generate human-like responses in real time. Professor Wong is currently the Canada Research Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Medical Imaging, Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada, Director of the Vision and Image Processing Research Group, and a Professor in the Department of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Together we assess the impact of this amazing new AI release, and question what it means for the future. Support The Rational View at Visit my website at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #chatgpt #artificialintelligence #generalAI #gpt3
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