4.6.15: Challenging The Experts, Creationism In Europe, & The World Beyond Your Head

Apr 6, 2015

Credit Nic McPhee via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4zGJzN

Vocal anti-vaxxers like Jenny McCarthy have got some in the science community saying if you don’t have an advanced degree, you have no right to question the experts.  But are they right?

On today’s show, a science journalist makes a bold argument: that free speech trumps good science. Then, we’ll tackle a controversial question for pet owners: whether or not to keep domestic cats indoors in the name of saving birds.

Plus, we’ll find out why more and more Europeans are ditching Darwin’s theory of evolution and embracing creationism.

Listen to the full show or click read more for individual segments.

Challenging the Experts

  • John Horgan writes the Crosscheck blog for Scientific American, and makes the argument  that everybody has the right to challenge scientific experts.

Cats vs. Birds

  • How many birds are killed by domestic cats each year? The American Bird Conservancy has created an online scientific survey, called Project Predator Watch, to determine the number…and they estimate it to be in the hundreds of millions. Cat advocates, on the other hand, insist that figure is grossly exaggerated. As Michael May reports from Austin, Texas, the debate isn't just among scientists, and it's getting heated on the ground.
  • You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.

Creationism in Europe

  • Stefaan Blancke is a post-doctoral fellow in the department of Philosophy and Moral Science at Ghent university and one of the authors of the new book Creationism In Europe, which traces the rise of creationism across the pond.

The World Beyond Your Head

  • In his new book, The World Beyond Your Head, Matthew Crawford ponders distraction in the 21st century, and ways to reclaim our focus. In addition to being an author, Crawford is a senior fellow at the University Of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, and a master motorcycle mechanic.

The Lonesome Luthier

  • Ben Todd restores guitars for The Trading Musician in Seattle's Roosevelt neighborhood. And he's become deeply embedded in the local music scene. But it took four years living in the New Mexico wilderness and the shooting at Cafe Racer next door for him to recognize how much he valued the community around him. Joshua McNichols from the podcast Day Job: How Musicians Pay the Rent, brings us his story.
  • You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.