SIO34: Did Assad Use Chemical Weapons? – Debate with Nanar

When Nanar came on the show a few weeks ago to discuss the background of the Syrian Civil War, we all learned a lot and the response was great! After messaging back and forth about the Sarin attack of April 4th though, it became clear that we disagreed on who the likely culprit was. So, Nanar agreed to come on and have a bit of a debate about it. In my opinion, this was about the best possible kind of debate – where we both genuinely care about the truth of the matter more than scoring any sort of debate points. Along those lines, I’ll include all of my sources and the sources Nanar sent for your consideration below. I’m very curious to hear where people land on this question!

Thomas’s links: New York Times Breakdown, Guardian Piece First Reporter on Site – BEST SOURCE, How the Alt-Right Was Fed a Narrative by Russian Media, NYT on Assad Motives, Washington Post on US Gov Debunking Russia Story

Nanar has written his evidence into research paper form. Check it out here: Proof-why-its-not-chemical-attack-by-gov



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SIO33: Thinking Clearly on Syria

I support Trump’s Syria strike against the Shayrat airfield. That is the punchline of today’s episode but I encourage you to listen with an open mind as I go through the reaction to the Syria strike, what different pundits and columnists and congresspersons have said, and why I think ultimately it was a good idea. There’s a lot of muddy and motivated thinking going on in our public discourse; I’m doing my best to go where the facts lead. And as always, I’m very open to counter argument! Here are some selected sources:

How Many Bombs Obama Dropped on SyriaBreakdown of Senate Support for the StrikeCongress Syria Statements 2013 vs 2017Blatant Republican Hypocrisy on SyriaOpinion Piece Alleging Liberals ‘Cooing’ Over TrumpShadi Hamid Avoiding Fallacies on SyriaPossible Anti-Trump Backlash in Special Elections

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SIO32: What Happened In Syria?

I’m back from my Europe trip! And it couldn’t have come at a more news-heavy time. First I’ve got a couple quick stories to talk about – Chechnya and Susan Rice. After that I go to the main topic for this show, and unfortunately next show… which is Trump’s strike on Syria. This part one involves the backstory, what happened, how we know what we know, and some thoughts on the Putin Trump relationship. Part 2 will be available early for patrons, and it will focus on the reaction to the strike, prominent leaders’ opinions on it, and my overall take.

Chechnya Concentration Camps

Shift In Trump Policy on Assad

BBC Piece on What We Know

Much more to come in part 2!!

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SIO31: Why We Ignore Facts, with Sara Gorman

Joining me today is Sara Gorman! Sara is a public health expert and author based in New York. She is the co-founder of Critica, a community committed to making rational decisions about health and security. Critica’s mission is to develop and test new methods of advancing public acceptance of scientific evidence and promoting informed health decision-making.

Sara’s first book, Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Uswas published in September 2016. It looks into the psychology of healthcare decision making and how people draw conclusions about perception of risk. It includes tips for the general public about how to discriminate between valid and invalid science and for public health professionals and doctors on how to communicate with people who don’t believe the best current scientific research. The book and her work have also been cited in articles about how to change people’s minds about many other things, including politics.
We discuss her book, and the possible lessons we can learn about how to convince people of things they don’t necessarily want to believe!

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SIO30: America Last, with Zachary Kiser

Joining me today is Zach Kiser, a graduate researcher and Director of Policy and Communications for the National Science Policy Group (NSPG)! Zach is here to give us some perspective on just how awful Trump’s budget proposal is and how backbreaking it might potentially be to science research in the US. Though Trump touts an America First slogan, this kind of thing is really an embarrassment and puts America behind even by Republican standards.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

If you’re interested in more information or in how to help, contact Zach directly via email here!

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SIO29: The Syrian Civil War, with Nanar

Joining me today is Nanar, who was referred to me by listener and friend Chantelle. Nanar grew up in Syria and lived there until 2016, and as such has very personal insight to share with us on the civil war that has been taking place since 2011. Who are the bad guys and who are the good guys? Well, as with most things in life, that simple answer doesn’t really exist..

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SIO28: The Discussion With Dave Rubin That Never Was (and more bad news….)

Yeah, that excitement didn’t last too long. I was scheduled to speak to Dave Rubin at Mythinformation in Milwaukee in September, but despite everything having been agreed to and announced, Dave dropped out due to a previously overlooked scheduling conflict. In light of that, I share some thoughts on what happened, what I tried to do in response, and what the result was. I also looked back through Dave’s guest history at his alleged “liberals” he has interviewed to see whether I haven’t given him enough credit for hearing opposing views. The answer may, or may not, shock you.
After that it’s more bad news… I researched the senate races in 2018 and the results are… problematic. Find out just how problematic, and whether there is any hope to hold onto in terms of finally getting some accountability in the Trump presidency.

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SIO27: What Grounds Our Morals? With Aaron Rabi

Joining me for the second time is philosopher and now podcaster, Aaron Rabi! Aaron specializes in ethics, and I have questions. I’m fairly certain that our morality ultimately boils down to consequences, for reasons I explain, but not all philosophers see it that way. Aaron and I have a very interesting discussion on what exactly grounds our morals, given that there are problems to be found in every moral system. Does consequentialism ultimately win out, as I have previously opined? Find out!

Find Aaron’s podcast here!

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SIO26: The Trump Administration and Russia – An Incredible Amount of Smoke

With a heavy news week full of depositions, testimony, odd press conferences and more, today I take a look at some of the evidence of Russia-Trump collusion and what it all means. Ok, what it MIGHT mean…  while trying not to descend into full on conspiracy theorist mode. It’s not exactly easy.

After that, I go into the details of a case Gorsuch decided that perfectly illustrates why the originalist/literalist method of jurisprudence leaves this podcaster cold.

Some sources used:

Politico Trump Timeline

Nicholas Kristof on Trump-Russia

Paul Manafort AP Exclusive

Greenwald Russia Article

Gorsuch Truck Driver Case

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SIO25: Lawrence Krauss – The Greatest Story Ever Told

I’m so excited to have Lawrence Krauss on the show today! Professor Krauss is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist who blew all of our minds with his lecture and previous book, A Universe from Nothing. His new book, The Greatest Story Ever Told, takes us back through the history of how exactly we know what we do about our universe. I highly recommend it, and I hope you enjoy the interview even half as much as I did!

Check out the new book here!

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