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For biologist David Carrier, the study of human evolution is both a question of science and of philosophy. For centuries, thinkers have debated whether humans are innately good or if their good behavior can be chalked up to good governance. Carrier’s research suggests the latter is true. Evolution, he says, has armed us with tools of extreme violence. It’s also provided us the capacity for profound empathy and cooperation. Carrier joins us Wednesday to discuss his work and its implications.

© Cory Richards/National Geographic

  Science writer David Quammen says if there’s any hope to preserve wild landscape while reconciling the needs of humans and nature - that hope lies in Yellowstone. Quammen wrote the May issue of National Geographic, which is dedicated to the world’s first National Park and its greater ecosystem. The story of Yellowstone is a microcosm of the battle for the American West, and Monday, Quammen joins Doug to talk about what wilderness means, how to keep it alive and healthy, and who owns the land.

Nature Needs Half

Apr 22, 2016

For centuries, humans have used technology to alter the planet, with dramatic consequences for the environment. Some think technology can also be used to manage our way out of these problems. It’s an approach that places humans at the center of everything. But conservationist Harvey Locke builds his work around a different idea: we do not control the world; we are part of it. Locke advocates a "wiser" relationship with nature. He joins Doug to talk about his goal to conserve half the world’s land and water. (Rebroadcast)

Friday on RadioWest, a biography of cancer. In his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee explores the disease that will kill millions of humans around the world this year. Part of his book is history, but it’s also about human culture and imagination. Mukherjee is coming to Utah next week, so we’re rebroadcasting our conversation with him about what he calls the most elemental and magisterial disease of our species.  His book is called The Emperor of All Maladies.(Rebroadcast)

Carl Safina


Animals have deeply fascinated the writer Carl Safina since he was a little kid, and he’s always wondered what animals do and why they do it. More than anything, Safina wants to know what it’s like inside other animals’ minds and in their day to day lives. To try to find out, he traveled to Yellowstone to observe wolf packs, visited elephants in Africa, tracked orcas in Vancouver, and just hung out with his dog at home. Safina joins us Thursday to offer his insight into what animals think and feel. [Rebroadcast]

Psychologist Frederic Luskin says we live in a culture where holding onto grudges is normal. And he gets it. It was his own struggle with a painful relationship that led him to pioneering studies on forgiveness. What he learned is that there are not just emotional, but also physical benefits to the process of forgiveness like lowering blood pressure and reducing strain on the heart. Luskin is in Utah Monday, and so we're rebroadcasting our conversation with him about forgiveness and its power to heal. (Rebroadcast)

Noakes Foundation


Professor Tim Noakes is one of the most widely respected authorities on exercise and fitness, and he’s built his career by challenging conventional beliefs, including his own. The idea of carb-loading before endurance races: he came up with that. These days he promotes a high-fat low-carb diet, even for athletes. And he’s not a big fan of sports drinks. Noakes joins us Thursday to talk about eating better, drinking less, and running against the grain to achieve better athletic performance.

A Health Blog via CC/Flickr,

Ask yourself this question: Am I conscious now? The answer is probably yes, but what does that really mean? What exactly is consciousness? Where does it come from? Are we always conscious, even when we don’t stop and recognize it? The quandary of consciousness has long puzzled scientists, psychiatrists, philosophers, and others, and numerous ways of explaining it have been proposed. The writer Susan Blackmore joins us to explore some those theories as we probe the nature of consciousness. (Rebroadcast)

Mateoutah via CC/Flickr,

  Nearly every winter, Utah’s dense metropolitan area suffers from choking air pollution. You may want to blame others like industry or those neighbors who just moved into the state, but it’s a headache we all share, and it will take all of us to help change it. Wednesday, we’re asking how you get people to make personal, sometimes inconvenient changes for the greater good, and we’d like to hear from you. What would it take for you to adjust your own behavior to improve Utah’s air quality?

Mark Robinson via CC/Flickr,

The history of the domestic pig is a tale of both love and loathing. We cherish pigs for the delicious meat they supply. But, as an animals that eats and roots in filth, swine are often met with contempt. In a new book of porcine history, the writer Mark Essig follows the humble pig’s journey from Neolithic villages to modern industrial farms. Essig joins us Tuesday to explore the pig’s vast importance, the tragedy of its modern treatment, and its complicated relationship with humanity.  (Rebroadcast)