Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You

Riskin_bookWelcome to the Spring Pledge Drive edition of How On Earth. I’m this quarter’s Executive Producer, Jim Pullen.

We, the How On Earth team, encourage you to take a different take on the world, to examine assumptions, ideas and evidence critically. The great philosopher of science Karl Popper, a champion of the essential role of refutation in science, wrote in The Poverty of Historicism,

For if we are uncritical, we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find confirmations, and we shall look away from and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories.

Consider our relationship with the rest of the natural world… Do we humans have a special vitality that sets us apart or can we be best understood as just another smart ape? It’s an essential question. In our feature interview, our guest scientist, bat biologist and Animal Planet host Dan Riskin, challenges us to reconsider–humorously, disgustingly, creepily, scarily–our perceptions of nature. Dan fields questions like, what’s wrong with ‘natural’ marketing? Are killer whales cuddly? Should we feel sympathy for bed bugs? Is a father’s love the same for humans as for water buffaloes? How we can acknowledge nature in its rich complexity and have a just and loving world beyond the grip of natural selection? All this and botfly on the brain.

Dan got me thinking–a good thing–and I think he’ll get you thinking too!

Your support during KGNU’s pledge drives is critical to keeping us on the air, so a huge thanks to our listener-members who pledged during the drive! If you haven’t yet joined the team, now(!) is the right time to fortify The Show That Makes You Smarter and community radio, KGNU! Pledge securely online at or call 303-449-4885. Pick up one of our great science book thank-you gifts, too.

Many thanks to Beth Bartel, Maeve Conran, and Joel Parker for hosting the pledge drive show! (Go here for the pledge show with the rich banter.)

Thanks again!

Jim and the How On Earth team

Listen to my interview with Dan Riskin: