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
201 Episodes
In this episode I’m delving into the weaponization of space. The space race was originally a military flexing competition between the US and the Soviet Union. Since that time space has been consistently used for surveillance, similar to early airborne operations, but weaponization of space has been off limits through treaties.  Now the space race seems to be evolving. China, Russia and the US have all tested weapons that can blow up satellites.  I will be interviewing an expert who can tell us about what is going on and whether the space race is heating up again. Clayton Swope is the deputy director of the Aerospace Security Project and a senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Before joining CSIS, Swope led national security and cybersecurity public policy for Amazon’s Project Kuiper, an initiative to increase global broadband access through a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit. While at Amazon, he also worked on cloud policy issues. Prior to his time at Amazon, Swope served as a senior adviser on national security, space, foreign affairs, and technology policy issues for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He also worked for more than 14 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, serving largely in the Directorate of Science and Technology. He holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. Please support the podcast at Provide your feedback on Facebook @TheRationalView
This episode is a recording of a live social media broadcast on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and where the Scott brothers revisit their previous disagreements over manifestation and magical thinking. Will they come to an agreement or will it come to fisticuffs? Manifestation is the idea that by aligning our thoughts and expectations with our goals we can better achieve success. Many people take this idea to a magical extreme whereby the proper series of mental gymnastics will change one's circumstances independent of other actions. Kevin Scott is the founder of the Effortless Alpha brotherhood "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 has sparked the Masculine Expansion, creating space for men to lead themselves and become a role model in their communities with power, honour, discipline and respect. Please help to support the podcast at Give me your feedback on Facebook @TheRationalView
In this episode I’ve decided to wade into another highly polarized topic, the morality of abortion. This has become a hot political topic with the Republicans stacking the supreme court to overturn Roe v Wade. In many people’s opinion this is a large step on the way to Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale where women’s rights to self determination are overridden by making them subservient to the greater rights of their unborn progeny. The debate over this topic is a question of ethics. Is this a job for The Rational View? Can we claim a rational basis for morality or does it need to be subjective, or derived from objective laws handed down from a value code invented by a greater power. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView
In this episode I will be talking to an author and screenwriter who has taken up the potentially poisoned chalice of popularizing nuclear energy for the world. Let’s see what he is planning to share with the world. The son of a career naval officer, Mike Conley has lived in Japan, Hawaii, and all over the US and has backpacked through Thailand and Cambodia. Out for Blood is his first solo effort as a novelist. His screenplay Wicked Wonderland is based on the novel and has been optioned for feature production. As a lifelong science nerd, Mike became interested in nuclear power in 2010, and quickly saw that the field was in dire need of writers who could explain the technology to the average reader. So he joined the Thorium Energy Alliance, met dozens of scientists and engineers, and made them an offer: “You explain it to me and I’ll explain it to the world.” The first published book from this years-long effort will be Earth is a Nuclear Planet, and its short companion book The LNT Report. The third book in the series, Roadmap to Nowhere, will be released in the fall of 2024. Power to the Planet will be the fourth book, to be released in 2025. The books are written for the non-technical reader as a basic but comprehensive (and entertaining) education in nuclear power, renewables, and energy-related issues. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView
In this episode I will be talking more about how to debate Creationists. I have taken this topic on in the past, in my original episode on how to debate Creationists, and I have also interviewed well known evolutionary scientist Dr. Niles Eldredge who was one of the founders of the Punctuated Equilibrium theory of evolution alongside Stephen J. Gould.  Today I will be interviewing someone who I saw debating Kent Hovind a leading Young Earth Creationist.  The debate was not what one comes to expect from these affairs and was more like a courtroom interrogation than the usual grandstanding and Gish Galloping that one might expect from a Creationist debate. Let’s see if we can all learn something. Mr. Anderson is a practicing Canadian lawyer who focuses on litigation.  Having spent years in and out of the courtroom cross-examining witnesses and analyzing arguments, he has recently turned his talents on proponents of pseudoscience and dogmatic thinking on the internet. He is most well known for his attacks on creationists such as Kent Hovind, and has recently started a YouTube channel where he breaks down the techniques he uses to force evasive and pugnacious individuals to come to grips with facts and arguments that they would prefer to ignore.  His style, for those of you who have never seen his videos, is very reminiscent of a cross examination, so his debates look very different from what you are likely used to seeing online, and he joins us here today. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twix @AlScottRational Insta @The_Rational_View
In this episode I’m continuing my investigation into Universal Basic Income as the natural solution to the AI and robotics revolution. One day we should be able to work because we want to improve the world and our situations, and not do it because we are under risk of death. The problem is that the intermediate period between having all of our needs taken care of by our robotic assistants, and having to compete with them for wages to put food on the table is not at all a clear path. My guest today chaired a committee that investigated UBI as an option for the BC government.  Their conclusion was that augmenting current social programs would be a better approach. It’s time for The Rational View. David Green is a professor in the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC. His areas of research interest include income inequality, immigration, the impact of technical change on the labour market, and labour market policies. He is a former editor of the Canadian Journal of Economics and an International Research Associate with the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London. He has served on the editorial boards for the American Economic Review and the Journal of Political Economy. His work has been published in leading journals, including Econometrica, the American Economic Review, and the Review of Economic Studies. He was also a member of the BC Expert Panel on Basic Income and has served as the President of the Canadian Economics Association. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twix @AlScottRational Insta @The_Rational_View
In this episode I’m going to be exploring the science behind learning with an author who has been exploring this topic for almost 20 years. How do we learn, and reason, how can we be more rational, and what can we do to make learning easier? Scott H. Young is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Ultralearning, a podcast host, computer programmer, and an avid reader. Since 2006, he has published weekly essays to help people learn and think better. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Pocket, and Business Insider, on the BBC, and at TEDx among other outlets. He doesn’t promise to have all the answers, just a place to start. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook conversation @TheRationalView Twix @AlScottRational
In this repeat episode I chat with Dr. Ben Heard about environmental advocacy and communicating science-based viewpoints in a polarised debate. Dr. Heard provides his assessment on the rationality of the anti-nuclear lobby. Dr. Ben Heard is recognised as a leading voice for the use of nuclear technologies to address our most pressing global challenges. It certainly didn’t start that way. Back in the day he was a member of environmental NGOs and shared their basic objection to nuclear technologies. After completing a Masters in Sustainability he started working in major projects in climate change. But there was just no solution on offer to match the scale of the problems at hand. So instead of continuing his objection to nuclear technology he shut his damn mouth about it for a couple of years and did some learning. That was the start of pathway of writing, presenting, advocating and ever more learning about how we can reinvent the future using all our knowledge and ingenuity.  Ben was awarded his doctorate from the University of Adelaide in 2018, where he examined clean energy supply with a focus on nuclear technologies. He has presented his research findings at conferences around Australia and the world. He founded Bright New World in 2016 to provide a new organisation for people who want pragmatic, compassionate, and science-based environmentalism, in particular that values the role of nuclear technologies.  Ben lives in Adelaide, South Australia where he works in the private sector on energy and asset performance projects. He features as one of the global voices in the documentary Juice: How Electricity Explains the World. Support the podcast at Chat with the experts at TheRationalView Facebook group Follow me on Instagram @the_rational_view Follow me on Twitter @AlScottRational 
In this re-released episode I interview religious studies scholar Dr. Janet Tulloch to discuss the Big Bang, and other origin stories. Let's go explore where science and religion collide. I hope you find it an interesting journey! Janet Tulloch is an adjunct research professor in the College of Humanities at Carleton University in Ottawa. She is a cultural historian with a PhD in Religious Studies. She is also a member of the Ottawa centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. She was the recipient of two awards from RASC-Ottawa one for her writing about ancient religions and their connection to the night sky and one for her interpretation of the night sky through visual art. Support the podcast at What did you think of this episode? Let me know on Facebook @TheRationalView TwiX @AlScottRational
In this episode I’m looking into a particular issue of government waste. Specifically I’d like to dig into the funding of religious schools in Ontario. Is this a good investment for society, or a ruinous subsidy to a single religious minority? This is a polarizing issue in Ontario that has been too hot to handle for politicians.  The last time a political party in Ontario sought to propose a change to the system (John Tory’s conservative party proposed in the 2007 election to fund all religious schools) their party was hung out to dry by the voters.  Proponents of the special status for Catholic schools note that funding of their particular religion is enshrined in Canada’s constitution. Section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867, protects the Catholic school system. Opponents note that Ontario is the only province that funds just one type of religious school.  Let’s get the facts. My guest today has published articles calling for the Abolition of publicly funded Catholic school system in Ontario. David Moscrop is a columnist and the author of Too Dumb for Democracy? Why We Make Bad Political Decisions and How We Can Make Better Ones. He is a political commentator for television, radio, and print media. He is also the host of Open To Debate, a current affairs podcast, and Left Looking In with CUPE Local 416. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of British Columbia. Support the podcast at Give me your feedback on Facebook @TheRationalView
In this episode I continue my investigation into the pros and cons of Universal Basic Income as a potential solution to the ongoing increases in automation from robotics and Artificial Intelligence and subsequent job losses. In one of my earlier podcasts ‘Income Inequality: We’ve botched it” I showed how the benefits of significant automation and productivity increases afforded by robotics have been funneled into the hands of the top 1% of society, leaving the rest of us in a declining standard of living with most families having to go to dual incomes with less free time just to make ends meet. In the last episode I interviewed Karl Widerquist to discuss the likely economic impacts of the ongoing AI revolution, and the feasibility of introducing UBI. In the past I’ve also interviewed Mr. Floyd Marinescu, CEO and founder of UBI Works on the feasibility of this concept.  Today I’m interviewing a recognized authority on UBI and I’ll be challenging him on some of the more controversial aspects. Scott Santens has been researching and advocating for the concept of unconditional universal basic income (or UBI) since 2013. He is the Founder and President of the Income To Support All Foundation (ITSA Foundation) and also serves on the board of directors of the Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity and as the editor of Basic Income Today — a daily UBI news hub. Scott was acknowledged by former U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang as one of those who helped shape his thinking. He has recently published a book entitled 'Let there be money', about UBI and how to pay for it. Support the podcast at Send me your opinions on this episode on Facebook @TheRationalView
In this episode I am discussing the economic impacts of the AI revolution, and whether or not it is time for UBI. AI will take over jobs and increase productivity per remaining worker to compensate. We are bound for a situation where owners will be able to squeeze more profits from a declining workforce, while the working class continues on the path to extinction and increasing hardship. Corporate profits need to keep increasing to pay shareholders, and corporations have been able to use the threat of offshoring jobs, while having to compete with more unscrupulous companies to hold wages down. I am a proponent of some sort of UBI but I recognize that the path from here to there is not obvious. I fear that if we don’t find a peaceful means to distribute the increasingly concentrated wealth created by robotics, and AI, that the uprising is coming. People are getting restless. Despite being significantly more productive than our parents generation, we have less real wealth. Less purchasing power. Less free time. Less leisure. AI and robotics were supposed to free us from the grind. Make life easier. Instead we have to compete with robots in a dwindling job market to make ends meet. It doesn’t have to be this way. Is there an equitable and peaceful path to more widely share the benefits of automation or are we rushing headlong into upheaval? Dr. Karl Widerquist has a Ph.D. in economics from the City University of New York. For several years Widerquist pursued both music and economics. He played in several indie bands in New York in the 1990s. He was a Hoover Fellow at the Université Catholique de Louvain. Widerquist received a second doctorate in Political Theory at the University of Oxford and then worked as a Fellow at the Murphy Institute at Tulane University and as a Visiting Professor at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. He is a Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University-Qatar specializing in distributive justice. Widerquist has been the co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) since 2008. Support the podcast at Support the discussion on Facebook @TheRationalView Twix @AlScottRational
I recently ran a pair of episodes investigating claims of the health effects of deuterium, a stable heavy isotope of hydrogen. The first interview was with a Naturopath, and the second was with a real medical doctor publishing peer reviewed papers on the topic. And my focus in this effort is on drilling through the BS to get to what the evidence says.  This takes sustained skepticism, and it doesn’t always make friends. Many people are turned off by the methods of science. It reminds me of why I never liked the TV series X-files. The scientist was always being appropriately skeptical of phenomena that have, at best, only breathless anecdotal support. But she was constantly being shamed by the male character for not ‘believing’ that the truth is out there.  But believing extraordinary claims without sufficient evidence makes you gullible. You have the choice of being a friendly fool in believing that astrology or alternative medicine, homeopathy, or other superstitions should be given equal standing with experimentally tested scientific knowledge. So in this episode I want to give you some tools to identify bafflegab, gobbledygook, and pseudo-science, while reviewing some of the reactions I received.  Support the podcast at Give me your feedback on Facebook @TheRationalView Twittter @AlScottRational
In this episode I’m digging deeper into the purported health effects of deuterium, a stable isotope of hydrogen. Deuterium has twice the mass of hydrogen, and it exists naturally in water.  A hydrogen atom in H2O is replaced by deuterium in about 150 out of 1 million atoms. This trace compound interacts chemically as hydrogen, but because of its weight it has different dynamics. Why is this an issue? Excess deuterium has been found to impact cell division.. When it gets incorporated into proteins in the body it can mess with their functionality. Yet at such low concentrations it seems like it wouldn’t be a significant issue. Let’s get to the bottom of this. Dr. Laszlo Boros is a retired Professor of Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine, the Co-Director of the Stable Isotope Research Laboratory at the Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovations and Investigator at the Clinical and Translational Research Institute at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He is the inventor of the Human Deutenome Project in order to map the distribution of deuterium in the human body with structural and functional interpretations as it relates to disease and health. Born and educated in Hungary, his medical background includes a focus on pancreatic cancer and stable isotope technologies to study diabetes and cancer cell growth in vitro. He researches the influence of metabolic processes and disorders on aggressive cancers and vitamin transport. He is an internationally recognized expert of metabolic water biochemistry as well as deuterium mediated kinetic isotopic effects in health and disease. His most recent studies target 'deupletion' and 'deuposition' related mechanisms as the result of intra-cellular hydrophobic lipid membrane nanoconfinements via the Quantum Destabilization of Protons in metabolic water. Support The Rational View at This was an interesting discussion. What did you think? Let me know @TheRationalView on Facebook.
This episode is based on feedback from a listener who suggested I investigate the science of Deutenomics. The impact of heavy water on health.  Apparently it’s a thing. Is it snake oil or is it real? Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen that is twice as heavy. It has a neutron plus a proton.  Chemically it should be identical, but the reaction dynamics can be different due to the mass. I’ve found an expert on the subject to chat with. This is a job for The Rational View Petra Davelaar is a naturopathic doctor who specializes in Deutenomics. Deutenomics is a new area in science that explores how hydrogen moves through water and other intermediates inside our body. Essentially, humans are electric Beings of water fueled by light. Deutenomics seeks to uncover the biochemical and quantum physics of these processes. She completed her naturopathic medical training at Bastyr University and is certified in functional medicine and nutrition. She is an invited reviewer for several scientific periodicals, including Scientific Reports, a Nature group research journal, as well as Medical Oncology, a Springer journal. Let me hear your opinion on Facebook @TheRationalView Twix @AlScottRational Insta @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #deutenomics #heavywater #health #cancer #mitochondria
In this episode I am welcoming a returning guest, Zion Lights, to the podcast to discuss the growing influence of degrowth. This philosophy encompasses a wide range of thinking from return to nature Luddites to  mild anti-capitalist zeitgeist. Zion Lights is a Science Communicator who is known for her environmental advocacy work. She is founder of the evidence-based climate activism group Emergency Reactor and author of The Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting. Zion has become a world-leading speaker on clean energy, specifically nuclear energy, and also lectures on effective science communication, tackling misinformation, and climate action. Zion is also a keen astronomer who has given a TED talk on the importance of stargazing. She is the former Editor of The Hourglass, Extinction Rebellion's print newspaper, and was also a spokesperson for the group for two years.
In this episode I’m continuing my series on human enhancement. I’ve previously interviewed Guilia Dominijanni on her experiments on how people adapt successfully to adding a third robotic arm. Technology continues to advance in robotics, computing, and brain-machine interfaces opening a huge pandora’s box on the potential for future enhancements. To explore this I’m going to chat with a distinguished author who has explored the issue in depth. Joel Garreau is an explorer of culture, values, and change. He has published several books, including The Nine Nations of North America. Edge City: Life on the New Frontier, and Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies—and What It Means to Be Human. A long-time reporter and editor at The Washington Post, Joel is now Professor of Culture, Values and Emerging Technologies Emeritus at Arizona State University. Joel has served as a Future Tense Fellow at New America in Washington, D.C., and a fellow at Cambridge University, Oxford, the University of California at Berkeley and George Mason University and a Science Journalism Laureate at Purdue. He was a long-time member of Global Business Network, the pioneering scenario-planning organization, and is the troll of a small forest in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge.
In this episode I want to return to the theme of critical thinking. How can we teach people to immunize their minds? In the past I’ve interviewed two of the co-founders of the Mental Immunity Project, Andy Norman and Lee McIntyre to get their feedback on how to fight the pandemic of misinformation and disinformation that we are fed on social media. The Mental Immunity Project is an effort to vaccinate the minds of the public against viral misinformation. Today I’m interviewing the third co-founder of the project to learn about her work in fighting for a Rational View. Melanie Trecek-King is the creator of Thinking Is Power, an online critical thinking resource. She is an Associate Professor of Biology at Massasoit Community College, where she teaches a general-education science course designed to teach critical thinking, information literacy, and science literacy.  As a speaker and consultant, she promotes her "teach skills, not facts" approach to fellow science educators, and assists organizations in achieving their goals through better thinking. The enthusiastic support of my listeners is what keeps me pumping out new and interesting content. Please consider becoming a patron at Add your inputs on Facebook @TheRationalView #TheRationalView #podcast #criticalthinking #mentalimmunity #bias #disinformation
2023 was a big year for the perception and advancement of nuclear power not only in Canada, but globally. In this episode I am interviewing friend of The Rational View and fellow podcaster Dr. Chris Keefer to reminisce about the work his group, Canadians for Nuclear Energy has accomplished in the past year. Chris Keefer is an emergency physician, medical simulation educator, nuclear energy advocate and podcaster. He is the President of Canadians for Nuclear Energy and the Director of Doctors for Nuclear Energy and the host of the Decouple Podcast. Support the podcast at Give me your feedback on Facebook @TheRationalView Twix @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #nuclearenergy #candu #greenenergy #atomicenergy   
This episode is a Rational View review of 2023, and an outlook for 2024. Happy New Year! 2023 was a big year for yours truly in that I uprooted my family and moved to a new city, and I apologize for the interruptions that this entailed. I’ve finally gotten settled in my new home and it’s time to take stock and make new plans. If you are interested learning about The Rational View and are in need of a quick overview of last year's podcasts to decide where to start in then you've come to the right place. If you are a long-time listener, then I hope you enjoy reminiscing with me about the past year and are looking forward to a new year filled with more learning and evidence-based exploration of important issues. #TheRationalView #podcast #2023 #overview