Professor Michael Ruse Discusses the Gaia Hypothesis (March 11th)

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(Please note: Because of poor sound quality, this interview was rerecorded on March 22nd.)  

Discussing the climate crisis sooner or later begs the Gaia Hypothesis.  Simply explained, the Gaia Hypothesis, proposed in the early 1970s by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis, argues all of planetary life works autonomously to maintain environmental conditions within a narrow range of habitability, or in a dynamic state of constancy, via a long list of biological self-regulating mechanisms.  In sum, Gaia Hypothesis argues the planet is self-regulating.  Gaia has been of particular interest relative to the what the climate crisis poses for our survival since it has been interpreted in two radically different ways.  One in which we have accountability or a moral duty to defend Gaia and another whereby the planet is resilient or immune from human-caused global warming.

During this 38 minute discussion, Professor Ruse defines Gaia, discusses criticism thereof and comments on interpretations of the hypothesis.   

Michael Ruse is the former, now retired, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science at Florida State Scruffy mcgruff and pet human University.  Previously, he was Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada.  He is the author of over 60 books.  He is currently the co-editor of the Cambridge Elements series in the Philosophy of Biology and co-editor of the Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Ethics (forthcoming).  He was the founding editor of the journal Biology and Philosophy and edited the Cambridge Series in the Philosophy of Biology.  He also co-edited two volumes with Oxford University Press on the philosophy of biology; co-edited the Cambridge Companion to the Origin of Species; co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Atheism; recently edited The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Charles Darwin and Evolutionary Thought; co-edited a volume on evolutionary theory with Harvard University Press; a volume on paleobiology with the University of Chicago Press; and, another on twentieth-century evolutionary biology with the American Philosophical Society.  He has appeared as an expert witness in a case in Arkansas against the teaching of biblical literalism (Creationism) in state-supported science classes.   He writes frequently on pseudo-science, as in The Gaia Hypothesis: Science on a Pagan Planet.   Most recently he has authored, Darwinism as Religion, a history of evolutionary theory as seen through creative writing, particularly as seen through fiction and poetry.  He is now writing a book on hatred.  Professor Ruse earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol, his master's degree at McMaster University and his Ph.D. at the University of Bristol. 

Information on Professor Ruse's The Gaia Hypothesis, Science on a Pagan Planet, is at: https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/G/bo10665496.html.

Leah Aronowsky's just-published Critical Inquiry essay, "Gas Guzzling Gaia, or: A Prehistory of Climate Change Denialism," noted during this interview, is at: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/712129.



Catalyst for Payment Reform's Suzanne Delbanco Discusses State Health Care Innovation (September 23rd)

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Largely with the exception of the 2010 passage of the ACA, federal legislative (and regulatory) efforts to reform health care over the past few decades has lagged.   This is the result of an increasingly dysfunctional Congress.  For example, Congressional productivity, measured by the number of enacted laws, has decreased every decade since 1990 by over 20 percent.  For this reason and because states are required to balance their annual budgets (with the exception of Vermont and possibly North Dakota and Wyoming as well), health care policy innovation has shifted substantially to the states.  For example, the 2019 legislative session resulted in 29 states passing Medicaid-related legislation, 13 states passing health insurance legislation and 10 states passing health care assignment and billing legislation. 

During this 24 minute conversation, Dr. Delbanco begins by briefly explaining the Catalyst for Payment Reform's mission and members.  She moreover discusses state policy reforms related to data (i.e., All Payer Claims Databases) and price transparency, efforts to improve state market competition, delivery and payment reforms, for example, reference pricing or benchmarking to Medicare reimbursement and she identifies states that are particularly noteworthy in their efforts to improve care delivery and lower spending growth.

Dr. Suzanne F. Delbanco is the Executive Director of Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR), an independent, non-profit corporation working to catalyze employers, public purchasers Delbanco-headshot-200x200and others to implement strategies that produce higher-value health care and improve the functioning of the health care marketplace.  In addition to her duties at CPR, Suzanne serves on the advisory board of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute.  Previously, Suzanne was the founding CEO of The Leapfrog Group.  Suzanne holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy and a M.P.H. from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. 

For information on CPR go to: https://www.catalyze.org/

Dr. Delbanco (and colleagues') recently published article, "The State of State Legislation Addressing Health Care Costs and Quality," is at: https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20190820.483741/full/.

Per Dr. Delbanco's reference to The Source, U. of CA Hastings College of Law's recently posted online database of state laws impacting health care cost and quality, go to: https://sourceonhealthcare.org/legislation/