The Rational View podcast with Dr. Al Scott-logo

The Rational View podcast with Dr. Al Scott

Science Podcasts

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.




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.




Dr. Indranil Banik weighs in on dark matter vs. MOND

In this episode I’m digging into a recent announcement from the astronomy community. The Gaia satellite has been making high precision measurements of the position and velocity of billions of nearby stars. Researchers have used this data to test the theory of gravity, and more specifically Modified Newtonian Dynamics or MOND. This theory was developed to explain away the need for dark matter. Dark matter was originally postulated to account for the anomalous rotation curves of all galaxies. Basically, if you use their surface brightness as a proxy for their matter distribution you would expect the outer regions of the galaxy to be moving slower than they seem to be. MOND suggests that gravitational acceleration stops dropping off as fast when the acceleration drops below a particular threshold value. Researchers analyzed the rotation curves of 10s of thousands of widely separated binary stars in the Gaia dataset and they believe that the data support MOND over Newton, and their results seem to provide a high degree of confidence. The press coverage seems to suggest that this is a smoking gun that decisively overthrows Newtonian gravity and General Relativity all at once. If this is true it is huge news. Why are the authors not packing their bags to Sweden as we speak? With a little digging, I’ve found that other researchers looking at the same Gaia dataset have come to the opposite conclusion that the data supports General Relativity over MOND. What gives? To understand this discrepancy I’m interviewing a skeptical astronomer, Dr. Indranil Banik. Dr Indranil Banik did his undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge before moving to Saint Andrews for his PhD with Hongsheng Zhao, where they worked together on Milgromian dynamics (MOND). Dr Banik then went to Bonn for a Humboldt fellowship with Pavel Kroupa. He returned to Saint Andrews in 2021 and spent his first year back on a detailed 150 page invited review on all aspects of MOND. He has been working on the wide binary test since late 2017. He organised the fortieth anniversary celebration of MOND conference in Saint Andrews in summer 2023. Among other results presented here, conflicting results were presented on the wide binary test and there was intense controversy surrounding whether the results indicate a failure of Newtonian gravity at low accelerations. Support the podcast at Post your opinion on Facebook @TheRationalView Twix @AlScottRational Insta @The_Rational_View


What does science say about determinism and free will?

Thank you for inviting me into your head. In this episode I want to go deep and share some thoughts on brains and machines and free will. My thoughts on determinism and free resonate with the words of famous philosopher Bertrand Russell. My thinking on these topics is influenced by the evidence of physics, neuroscience, and AI. I hope you enjoy this exploration of some mind bending ideas. Support the podcast at Join me on Facebook @TheRationalView TwiX @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #freewill #determinism #quantum #physics #philosophy #artificialintelligence


Polarizing Fukushima wastewater

Have you heard the news? The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is dumping radioactive waste into the Pacific ocean! Is this a travesty or is it a manufactured controversy? The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan is planning to dump over 1 million tonnes of radioactive wastewater in the ocean. Environmental groups around the world are outraged. Protesters line the streets in Korea. Chinese governments are boycotting Japanese products. Headlines scream about radioactive fish. What’s going on? It’s time for a Rational View. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView TwiX @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #fukushima #nuclearwaste #polarization #fakenews #radiophobia #polarization


Are we facing insect armageddon?

In this episode I want to investigate claims in the news of an insect Armageddon. Specifically it has been reported that insect populations around the globe have plummeted by up to 75% in recent years. As anecdotal evidence of this old timers like myself use the car windshield as a gauge. Back in the day, any summer drive would end up with your windshield plastered with insect carcasses. These days they are often pristine. Are we witnessing the ecological collapse prophesied by climate scientists? Insects are important to ecosystems and their disappearance would have huge impacts in terms of pollinators, and food chains. Is this real, is it global, and what is causing it? Maybe this is a good thing if mosquito populations are dropping. In terms of a potential tipping point where the loss of insects causes whole ecosystems to collapse, the honest answer is we just don’t know when the point of no return is. Support the podcast at Come and chat on Facebook @TheRationalView TwiX @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #insects #armageddon #pesticide #ALAN #windmills #extinction


Origins of the anti-nuclear movement

In this episode I answer the question, 'Who is misinforming the public about nuclear energy and why?'. I touch on the influence of the oil industry on anti-nuclear disinformation, and I explore the origins of the anti-nuclear protest movement. Support the podcast at Give me your opinion on Facebook @TheRationalView Twitter 'X' @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #nuclearenergy #disinformation #antinuclear #bigoil #greenpeace #protest


Dr. Michael Shermer on science and skepticism

This episode is a re-release of my amazing interview with the definitive skeptic, Dr. Michael Shermer. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I should be back in the studio for next week's episode. Dr. Michael Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University. He has been a college professor since 1979. Dr. Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the host of the podcast The Michael Shermer Show, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101. For 18 years he was a monthly columnist for Scientific American. He is the author of several New York Times bestsellers, and has appeared on Oprah, Dateline, 20/20, and the Colbert Report. His two TED talks were voted in the top 100. He has been interviewed in countless documentaries and was the co-host of the Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown. Neil deGrasse Tyson has called him “a beacon of reason in an ocean of irrationality”. Support the podcast at Join me on Facebook @TheRationalView discussion group #TheRationalView #podcast #science #skepticism


What’s all the fuss about superconductors?

In this episode I want to follow up on last week’s podcast regarding the announcement of the discovery of a room temperature ambient pressure superconductor, how scientists addressed the claim, and compare it with the cold fusion announcement and ongoing scientific controversy from the 1980’s. Help me spread The Rational View at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView 'X' @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #superconductors #science #verification #falsification #coldfusion


Superconductors, UFOs, lab leaks, and climate change

In this episode I provide a round-up review of current events in science, and the popular controversies surrounding these issues. The recent announcement of room temperature superconductivity promises to be the biggest scientific breakthrough of the century if verified. We should know in days if it is true. The US congress heard testimony that UFOs are actually aliens visiting us from other worlds. There has been a recent surge of interest in the possibility that COVID-19 was caused by a lab leak in the Wuhan institute of virology. In addition to all of this, surface temperatures in the North Atlantic ocean are hotter than we've ever seen at this time of year. What should we take from all of this? This is a job for The Rational View Support the podcast at Find The Rational View on Youtube if you like videos. 'X' @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #UFOs #climatechange #lableak #superconductivity


Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on The Rational View

This episode is a special treat and a bit of a throwback to when I achieved one of my podcast goals. In honour of The Rational View blowing past 100,000 downloads this month, this is a re-release of my interview from almost two years ago with the famous Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium. I hope you can sit back and relax and enjoy it with me. Thank you for supporting the podcast! Famed astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson was named the Sexiest Astrophysicist alive in 2000 by People magazine. Selected as one of the 100 most influential persons in the world by Time magazine in 2007, Dr. Tyson was awarded the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication in 2017. Support the podcast at Register for my newsletter at Twitter @AlScottRational TikTok @TheRationalView #TheRationalView #podcast #NeildeGrasseTyson #science #communication #outreach #polarization


Dr. Jack Gilbert describes how the microbes in our gut keep us healthy

In this episode I have an interview with a leading scientist specializing in gut microbiota. These are the microbes that live in your intestine and help you digest your food. Our DNA does not have all the enzymes we need to break down food into the vitamins and minerals we need. We live in a symbiotic relationship with this microbial ecosystem. We provide the microbes a home and they provide us with nutrients. When the ecosystem gets out of whack we can get sick. Sometimes we take anti-biotics to cure an infection and that throws a huge wrench into this ecosystem. I’ve seen a lot of folks saying probiotics help to build a robust microbiome, and I’ve also heard a lot of folks saying that anything you eat gets killed in the stomach. I’d like to hear what the experts have to say. Professor Jack Gilbert joined UCSD in 2019 where he is a Professor in Pediatrics and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Associate Vice Chancellor for Marine Science, and Director of both the Microbiome and Metagenomics Center and the Microbiome Core Facility. He uses molecular analysis to test fundamental hypotheses in microbial ecology. He cofounded the Earth Microbiome Project and American Gut Project, has authored over 400 peer reviewed publications and book chapters on microbial ecology, co-authored the book “Dirt is Good,” and is the founding Editor in Chief of ASM mSystems journal. He founded BiomeSense Inc to produce automated microbiome sensors. Support the podcast at Add your two cents on Facebook @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #microbiome #gut #probiotics #health #nutrition


Dr. Lee McIntyre makes war on disinformation

In this episode I am digging into the topic of ‘fake news’ and the risk of weaponized disinformation campaigns on social media. To enlighten us on this topic I have a returning guest who provided us with a great perspective last year on how he reached out across the aisle by going to a pseudo-science conference and talking directly with science deniers. Returning guest Lee McIntyre is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University. Formerly Executive Director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. McIntyre is the bestselling author of POST-TRUTH (MIT Press, 2018) along with thirteen other works of fiction and nonfiction, including DARK AGES (2006), and THE SCIENTIFIC ATTITUDE (2019). McIntyre has had appearances on CNN, PBS, NPR and the BBC -- and has spoken at the United Nations, the Aspen Institute, and the Vatican. He starred in the docu-series INFODEMIC: Global Conversations on Science and Misinformation. In November, 2018, McIntyre went undercover at the Flat Earth International Conference in Denver, Colorado, as research for his newest book, HOW TO TALK TO A SCIENCE DENIER (2021). and he is just about to publish a new book ‘On Disinformation’. Support the podcast at Give me you opinions on Facebook @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational Instagram @The_Rational_View #TheRationalView #podcast #disinformation #socialmedia


Dr. Brooke Goldner shares nutritional advice for autoimmune disorders

In this episode I have an interview with a doctor who advocates nutritional treatments for autoimmune diseases. On her website she claims to have become Lupus-free by avoiding foods that cause inflammation. She provides testimonials of full recoveries from Rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis and many more. This is particularly interesting for me as I have family members with autoimmune diseases. This give me hope, but the biggest question on my mind is that if this works why isn’t this mainstream medicine? What is going on? I’ve heard it stated by Dr. Joel Furhman that the medical establishment doesn’t want nutritional cures, and one could get the impression that big pharma would be motivated to suppress, or at least not promote nutritional cures for autoimmune disorders. I’m skeptical, let’s get a Rational View. Dr. Brooke Goldner is a board certified medical doctor and the author of 3 best-selling books, Goodbye Lupus, Goodbye Autoimmune Disease, and Green Smoothie Recipes to Kick-Start Your Health & Healing. She has been featured in multiple documentaries such as Disease Reversal Hope and Eating You Alive, has been featured on TV news and the Home & Family Show, as well as many radio shows and podcasts, and is a highly sought after keynote speaker. She has been featured on the front cover of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine 3 times, including the cover of Fit Over Forty. She was featured in the Journal of Disease Reversal reversing lupus in herself, as well as publishing multiple case studies in reversing end stage lupus nephritis (kidney failure) with her hyper-nourishing nutrition protocol for autoimmune disease-reversal. She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with honors for genetic research in leukemia and neurobiology, was a graduate of the Temple University School of Medicine, was Chief Resident at UCLA-Harbor Residency, and is the sole autoimmune professor for the Plant-Based Nutrition Certification from Cornell University. She is a member of the Forbes Health Advisory Board, the founder of and creator of the Hyper-nourishing Protocol for Autoimmune Reversal. Support the podcast at Chat with me on Facebook @TheRationalView


Bob McDonald on the Energy Transition

This episode is a special treat, not only for listeners, but also for me. I will be talking to a popular Canadian media icon and long time host of CBC’s Quirk’s & Quarks show, science journalist Bob McDonald. We will be talking about his new book The Future is Now: Solving the Climate Crisis with Today’s Technologies. In the book, Bob brings an upbeat we can do it message to a world in need of hope. BOB McDONALD has been the host of CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks for over 30 years. He is a regular science commentator on CBC's News and a science correspondent for CBC TV’s The National. His previous book, Measuring the Earth with a Stick was shortlisted for the Canadian Science Writers Association Book Award. He has been honoured with the 2001 Michael Smith Award for Science Promotion from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; the 2002 Sandford Fleming Medal from The Royal Canadian Institute; and the 2005 McNeil Medal for the Public Awareness of Science from the Royal Society of Canada. In 2011, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. His recent book, THE FUTURE IS NOW: Solving the Climate Crisis with Today's Technologies is a national bestseller. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twiiter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #bobmcdonald #quirksandquarks #energytransition #cleanenergy #greenenergy #nuclearenergy #atomicenergy


Bolstering your cognitive immunity with Dr. Andy Norman

On this episode I have a returning guest, Dr. Andy Norman, who’s group CIRCE is taking on a new challenge to fight the world’s disinformation problem. As an ally of The Rational View, Andy’s group of dedicated experts is looking for ways to boost society’s mental immunity against parasitic memes and the ever growing threat of misinformation. Returning guest Andy Norman is the award-winning author of Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind-Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think. His work has appeared in Scientific American, Psychology Today, Psychiatric Times, Skeptic, Free Inquiry, and The Humanist. He has appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience, NPR, and The BBC’s Naked Scientist. His research illuminates the evolutionary origins of human reasoning, the norms that make dialogue fruitful, and the workings of the mind’s immune system. He champions the emerging science of mental immunity as the antidote to disinformation, propaganda, hate, and division. He is the founder of the Cognitive Immunology Research Collaborative (CIRCE), a global think-tank leading the effort to inoculate humanity against cognitive contagion. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView #TheRationalView #podcast #disinformation #alternativefacts #polarization #cognitiveimmunity


A summary of what I’ve learned on nutrition and health

This episode summarizes my investigations to date on nutrition and health. I will share what I have learned and what I remain skeptical about. In other podcast news I just had a major milestone for The Rational View! We broke 100,000 downloads! Thank you for continuing to listen and download, and helping us to get exposure. To support the podcast go to Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational


Beth McDaniel’s paint captures carbon

In this episode I am interviewing an entrepreneur who is trying to play a big part in slowing the acceleration of climate change. She is co-founder of an Xprize team trying to capture CO2 from the air. Long story short their technology claims to be able to remove massive amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and convert it into hydrogen, biochar, and other environmentally friendly solutions. Beth McDaniel, JD is co-founder and President of the award-winning paint and coatings company, Reactive Surfaces where she also serves as legal counsel. She is also a partner in McDaniel and Associates, a law firm specializing in patent and trade secret law. As a serial entrepreneur, she has guided this bleeding-edge innovation company, operating in the paint and coatings and specialty chemicals industries, for the past 15 years. She has served in leadership roles for numerous organizations, including serving as a Pathways to Peace Fellow, a premier social justice organization. Her work in the area of human rights and social justice brings a level of experience and intention to ensure that any climate solution has at its heart environmental justice and enhancement of human rights and personal livelihood. She brings the same dedication to her family, including her two children and grandchildren. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook conversation @TheRational View Twitter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #carboncapture #algae #paint


Dr. Joel Fuhrman says we can eat our way to better health

In this episode I am continuing my investigations into the evidence linking nutrition and health. What does the science say? My previous guest, Dr. Valter Longo discussed the data on intermittent fasting and cellular regeneration. I’ve also spoken with Dr. Traci Mann regarding the observation that fad diets don’t work. Today I’m going to be interviewing another dietary guru who believes that his diet can extend lifespan and reverse the course of diseases. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, seven-time New York Times best-selling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing. He specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr Fuhrman is the President of the Nutritional Research Foundation and on the faculty of Northern Arizona University, Health Sciences division. He coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe a nutrient-dense eating style, designed to prevent cancer, slow aging, and extend lifespan. For over 30 years, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and reverse heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses using smart nutrition. In his medical practice, and through his books and television specials, he continues to bring this life-saving message to hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Dr. Fuhrman also operates the Eat To Live Retreat in San Diego. At this residential facility, people from all over the world come to stay for 1-3 months weeks to recover from conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to autoimmune disease, food addiction and more. They also gain the skills and knowledge to make these changes permanent when they leave the retreat. Support the podcast at Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Twitter @AlScottRational #TheRationalView #podcast #nutritarian #diet #health #nutrition #disease #diabetes #food


Dr. Valter Longo Advocates Intermittent Fasting to Live Longer

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


Science Communication in a Crisis with Dr. Christopher Reddy

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


Dr. Antonio Cabrales on the AI revolution and UBI

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