Apr 7: Chris Mooney on The Republican Brain
Apr 7th, 2012 by Sam

On the Samantha Clemens Show, Saturday morning from 10 to 11am, Samantha welcomes Chris Mooney to talk about his new book “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny the Science — and Reality”


From Amazon:

Best selling author Chris Mooney uses cutting-edge research to explain the psychology behind why today’s Republicans reject reality—it’s just part of who they are.

From climate change to evolution, the rejection of mainstream science among Republicans is growing, as is the denial of expert consensus on the economy, American history, foreign policy and much more. Why won’t Republicans accept things that most experts agree on? Why are they constantly fighting against the facts?

Science writer Chris Mooney explores brain scans, polls, and psychology experiments to explain why conservatives today believe more wrong things; appear more likely than Democrats to oppose new ideas and less likely to change their beliefs in the face of new facts; and sometimes respond to compelling evidence by doubling down on their current beliefs.

  • Goes beyond the standard claims about ignorance or corporate malfeasance to discover the real, scientific reasons why Republicans reject the widely accepted findings of mainstream science, economics, and history—as well as many undeniable policy facts (e.g., there were no “death panels” in the health care bill).
  • Explains that the political parties reflect personality traits and psychological needs—with Republicans more wedded to certainty, Democrats to novelty—and this is the root of our divide over reality.
  • Written by the author of The Republican War on Science, which was the first and still the most influential book to look at conservative rejection of scientific evidence. But the rejection of science is just the beginning…

Certain to spark discussion and debate, The Republican Brain also promises to add to the lengthy list of persuasive scientific findings that Republicans reject and deny.

Mar 19: Got safe, powerful, and plentiful energy??
Mar 19th, 2011 by Sam



Ok.  Nuclear not looking so good these days. Petroleum? Er, that’s why we need the military. Coal? Domestic but yucky. Natural gas? Cleaner but is still carbon and oh that fracking. (And can’t regulate it – no siree). Wind? Bad for birds, and when it’s not windy, well… Solar? Still a expensive but may be too late – China is kicking our butts.

So, what to do, what to do?! Well, there is another option according to some people who think a lot about these things… It’s clean. It’s plentiful. It’s safe. But, if you’re at all normal, you’ve never heard of it. (kidding).

One tiny detail… No one knows how make it commercially viable yet, but other countries are full speed ahead while the US is just dabbling. Countries like China, Korea, a European consortium, and India.

Some say this IS the energy of the future. It’s just a matter of whether we make it or buy it. Probably from the Chinese. Like everything else.

Listen to find out what it is.

Play the wedge game:

Nov 20: Rebecca Jordan-Young – Are Sex Differences Hardwired?
Nov 18th, 2010 by Sam


Men are Mars and women are Venus, right? That’s what we ‘know.’ That’s what the research says. Men don’t ask directions. Women can’t do math as well. Men don’t talk about their feelings. All women want to do it talk.

It’s all in fun, until parents and teachers and Larry Summers make decisions that affect lives based on … the science.

Except, is that what the science actually says? How rigorous has the research been? Has the peer review system really worked?

Rebecca Jordan-Young, a Barnard College professor of women’s studies, joins us to discuss her book “Brain Storm,” where she sets out to debunk the proliferating “brain-organization” studies that attempt to explain in purely biological terms (since XX and XY seem not to be enough) why males and females differ in one way or another. Or, in some cases, fail to differ.

The book.


LA Times: Book review: ‘Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences’ by Rebecca M. Jordan-Young

“Issues of gender understandably provoke a lot of red-faced uproar in all sorts of warring quarters. Neuroscientist Simon LeVay’s 1991 report in Science locating male homosexuality in an area of the hypothalamus and Lawrence H. Summers’ suggestion, while he was still president of Harvard, that the unequal number of tenured male and female scientists indicates “a difference in aptitude” are signal examples.”

Powell’s Books: Brainstorm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences by Rebecca M. Jordan-young – Powell

“Jordan-Young interviewed virtually every major researcher in the field and reviewed hundreds of published scientific papers. Her conclusion: ‘Brain organization theory is little more than an elaboration of long-standing folk tales about antagonistic male and female essences and how they connect to antagonistic male and female natures.’ She explains, in exquisite detail, the flaws in the underlying science, from experimental designs that make no statistical sense to ‘conceptually sloppy’ definitions of male and female sexuality, contradictory results, and the social construction of normality. Her conclusion that the patterns we see are far more complicated than previously believed and due to a wider range of variables will shake up the research community and alter public perception. “

Jul 31: Libs and Cons; Immigration and Morality
Jul 31st, 2010 by Sam


Newsflash!!! Libs and cons view immigration differently!!! We libs are certain that for us, it is a moral issue. Not only is it immoral to let people die of thirst in the desert, it is immoral to not provide healthcare, separate families, withhold a better living standard to people who just out of bad luck were born into a poorer country.

But, is it POSSIBLE that conservatives have their own moral view? That it isn’t just naked self-interest?

We’re going to look at some cutting edge research on the science of morality; studies that have been done globally on the moral intuitions of people and how that effects their stances on immigration and a whole lot of other things.

These guys got together to talk all about it…

Jonathan Haidt has a theory, the Moral Foundations Theory, where he proposes that liberals and conservatives view the world differently:

Moral Foundations Theory was created to understand why morality varies so much across cultures yet still shows so many similarities and recurrent themes. In brief, the theory proposes that five innate and universally available psychological systems are the foundations of “intuitive ethics.” Each culture then constructs virtues, narratives, and institutions on top of these foundations, thereby creating the unique moralities we see around the world, and conflicting within nations too. The foundations are:

1) Harm/care, related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. This foundation underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/reciprocity, related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. This foundation generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulate the theory in 2010 based on new data, we are likely to include several forms of fairness, and to emphasize proportionality, which is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Ingroup/loyalty, related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. This foundation underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
4) Authority/respect, shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. This foundation underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
5) Purity/sanctity, shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. This foundation underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions)

Take the morality quiz to see where you fall…

Jul 10: Turning up the Heat: the climate, AZ & the feds, BP sends a bill
Jul 9th, 2010 by Sam

  • Hot enough for you? Changing your mind about climate change? If you believe that climate change is happening and we’re destroying the planet, is it immoral to run your air conditioner?
  • Arizona, immigration, the feds – Let’s be real – Arizonans are bearing the brunt of the lack of economic opportunity in Mexico. What are we willing to do to help them cope with immigration?
  • BP sends Anadarko a bill…
Mar 27: Richard Wrangham: What makes us Human?
Mar 25th, 2010 by Sam



We’ll celebrate healthcare for everybody and talk a little about the tea party-animals, which will fit right in with our guest…

What makes us human? Was it walking? Making and using tools? Planning for the hunt? Or, was it…..drum roll… cooking??

Yes, cooking – heating and cooking food – gave us a better diet, created social bonding, all sorts of things.

In Catching Fire, a reviewer writes:

“Wrangham says the adoption of cooking had profound impacts on human families and relationships, making hearth and home central to humanity and driving humans into paired mating and perhaps even traditional male-female household roles.
He writes that the advent of cooking permitted a new distribution of labor between men and women: Men entered into relationships to have someone to cook for them, freeing them up for socializing and other pursuits and bolstering their social standing. Women benefited from men’s protection, safeguarding their food from thieves. Homo sapiens remains the only species in which theft of food is uncommon even when it would be easy.”

He also wrote “Demonic Males.” Check this out:

“Whatever their virtues, men are more violent than women. Why do men kill, rape, and wage war, and what can we do about it? Drawing on the latest discoveries about human evolution and about our closest living relatives, the great apes, Demonic Males offers some startling new answers. Dramatic, vivid, and firmly grounded in meticulous research, this book will change the way you see the world. As the San Francisco Chronicle said, it “dares to dig for the roots of a contentious and complicated subject that makes up much of our daily news.””

Maybe HE can explain the tea party-animals….


Mar 20: replay – Jerry Coyne, “Why Evolution is True”
Mar 20th, 2010 by Sam

Replay of interview with Jerry Coyne about his great book “Why Evolution is True”

Human Culture Plays a Role in Natural Selection –
Mar 2nd, 2010 by Sam

Human Culture Plays a Role in Natural Selection –

Biologists are finding evidence that culture has been interacting with genes to shape human evolution.
Evidence That Little Touches Do Mean So Much
Feb 23rd, 2010 by Sam

People who touch are more successful than those who don’t?  Hmmm, where do New Englanders fall on that continuum?

Feb 13: Darwin Day and the bottom line: genes that get passed on win
Feb 11th, 2010 by Sam

It’s Darwin Day!!!! hmmm, doesn’t do it for you, does it? Some old funny-looking guy with a beard… monkeys… church/state….

A little dry, isn’t it?

Well, let’s sex it up folks!!!! Evolution IS sexy… I mean, it’s all about passing on the genes baby, and we KNOW how that’s done, don’t we?? (wink, wink)

Joining us:

  • Dr. Kerim M. Munir, MD, MPH, DSc; Director Center for Autism and Related Disorders; Children’s Hospital; has been studying the early life of Charles Darwin for many years, combining his vast knowledge of children’s developmental psychology with his personal connection to Darwin – family members of his have attended the boarding school where Darwin spent his formative years and the seeds of his education were sown.  Dr. Munir will share his unique insights into the man who changed everything.
  • Don Leka; musician and recovering lawyer, shares his essay “Stop Picking on Darwin”


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