Today's Show


The Real "Realism" of Daniel Pipes

Guest: Daniel Pipes

Here is a conversation recorded about ten days ago with Daniel Pipes, to our mind the best expert, by far, on the seething and long-running anti-western turmoil in the Arab middle-east. But first some words of background. Many American foreign affairs scholars classify themselves as of the school of "realism."…


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Previous Shows

Is God There?

Guest: an atheist and a religionist

Atheism has probably been debated as long as religion has been available . And, inevitably, such debate  is a not uncommon feature on talk shows. On Extension 720 we have had a number of such discussions and the one that is remembered as the  most calm, illuminating and mutually respectful occurred in…


The Encyclopedia of Life…..

Guest: Three biological scientists at the Field Museum, as far as we know, still being put together. Ultimately it will list every one of the 465,000 species of beetles. How many ant-eaters, marmosets or orchids are there or have there been? The project started (it is not yet completed and may never be) back in 2007 when…


Are We Running Out of Public Intellectuals?

Guest: Richard Posner, Ron Grossman

A public intellectual, according to one of our guests, Richard Posner, uses general ideas drawn from history, philosophy and the sciences to analyze public problems and issues of general concern. George Orwell is an example of a great public intellectual says Judge  Posner who goes on to argue that they…


The Mysteries and Science of Language

Guest: John Marchand and Andrew Schiller

Two linguistic science specialists join us in this conversation from 1996 as we ask and they answer such basic questions as: How did language originate? Do non-human animals ever achieve real language? What are the major families of language? Why and how do languages change and new ones emerge? If…


Being a Black Father

Guest: Leonard Pitts

Leonard Pitts, columnist who won the Pulitzer Prize a few years ago, joined us in 2006 to discuss his then just-published book titled "Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood."  He deals here with problems which have persisted: how to prepare a black child for contacts with police;…


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Aging:

Guest: Drs. David Brauner, John Hauser and Jay Olshansky

Well, maybe not everything but, in this spirited conversation with two physicians and one psychologist--all specialists on aging-- we get around to almost everything including: longevity and its extension, modes of decline, methods of cognitive maintenance and, more broadly, the joys as well as the burdens of aging. My three fine guests…


The Great Eastland Disaster

Guest: Jay Bonansinga

Over eight hundred people died in the middle of the Chicago River on an early morning  at dockside one sunny day in July of 1915. Matching the tragedy of the Titanic it is now lost in memory except for the tales still told in Chicago. Here is a striking account…


Fascism Then and Now

Guest: Stanley Payne and Peter Frische

Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Horthy, Antonescu all led fascist states in 20th century Europe. And, of course , the two first listed led their nations against us in World War II. How did fascism arise? What were its central ideas and intentions? Was war essential to the fascist program? How and…


Was There an Historical Moses?

Guest: James Kugel

The Old Testament (that is the Hebrew Bible or Tanach) combines myth, allegory and, particularly in the later books, historical events. Modern biblical scholarship has worked for over a hundred years to decode the text so as to reveal the "true story" of the group that became the Jews. James…