Conversations about philosophy, science, religion and spirituality

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Completing the Darwinian Revolution (Robert Wright & David Sloan Wilson)

David's new book, This View of Life ... In what sense, if any, could evolution be conscious? ... The need to complete the Darwinian revolution ... An evolutionary psychology discussion makes Bob tape his mouth shut ... How successful groups avert the tragedy of the commons ... Convergent cultural evolution ... David: Evolution shows that neither laissez faire nor centralized planning works ... A preview of the coming Bob vs. David showdown over group selection ...


 22 May 2019  1h11m

Don't Be Yourself (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Leah Finnegan)

How Leah realized that she should not "be herself" ... The mental health benefits of getting a dog ... Leah: We must bring back Kierkegaardian irony ... Leah on the scourge of "urgent earnestness" ... Is it ethical to not read the news? ... Leah's reflections on being "a year Twitter sober" ... Lessons from the great "horseface" controversy of 2018 ...


 15 May 2019  38m

Realism, Anti-Realism and "Rabbity Moments" (Daniel Kaufman & Crispin Sartwell)

Realism vs. anti-realism ... Is reality the sum of human senses? ... Why Crispin is allergic to idealism ... “Rabbity moments” and Quine’s radical translation scenario ... What does it mean to say someone lives “in another world”? ... Davidson’s closet analogy for conceptual schemes ... What makes a given statement true? ...


 07 May 2019  1h27m

The Social Leap (Robert Wright & William von Hippel)

Bill's new book, The Social Leap ... Why happiness is fleeting ... Junk food and happy marriages ... How to escape the anxiety of status competition ... Psychological downsides of being a hunter-gatherer ... Why America is more politically tribalized than Australia ... The benefits of self-deception ...


 04 May 2019  1h3m

Cancelling the Apocalypse (Robert Wright & Luke Kemp)

Are we on the road to civilizational collapse? ... Why we need global governance, not global government ... The double-edged sword of civilizational complexity ... The apocalyptic scenario Bob fears most ... Luke: Not every problem has a technical solution ... Bob: Slower technological change would be a blessing ...


 01 May 2019  1h2m

The Psychology of Tribalism (Robert Wright & Paul Bloom)

How the new media landscape exacerbates tribalism ... Can science and reason help combat tribalism? ... Why tribal behavior comes naturally to humans ... Want to succeed on social media? Try ridicule and moral condemnation! ... Why virtual reality may not help you understand the plight of others ... Trump's masterful exploitation of empathy ... If a magic therapy "cured" Harvey Weinstein, would punishment still be necessary? ... Why social science is, and will stay, liberal ...


 27 April 2019  1h26m

The Goodness Paradox (Robert Wright & Richard Wrangham)

Richard's new book, The Goodness Paradox ... Why Jane Goodall's view of chimpanzees took a turn for the darker ... Proactive violence (a human specialty) vs. reactive violence ... Richard's "execution hypothesis" for how early humans dealt with violent males ... Bob offers an alternative explanation for the domestication of our species ... How our cousins the bonobos became nicer than our cousins the chimps ... Richard's explanation for the evolution of moral sense .....


 24 April 2019  1h1m

Alfred North Whitehead, Process Philosophy, and Process Theology (Robert Wright & John Thatamanil)

Alfred North Whitehead and his "process philosophy" ... "Process theology," which features a changing, non-omnipotent God ... A God of persuasion, not coercion ... Whitehead's conception of divinity ... Whitehead’s God and Christian theology ... Waiting, or not waiting, for God ... Beauty and the divine ... How Whitehead’s God solves the problem of evil ...


 19 April 2019  1h14m

Sex, Love, and Polyamory (Robert Wright & Geoffrey Miller)

What is polyamory? ... The evolutionary origins of romantic jealousy ... How polyamorous couples manage jealousy, insecurity, and time ... Bob extols the benefits of long-term monogamy ... Geoffrey’s advice for young men who can’t find romantic partners ... Do smaller polyamorous communities get a little, well, incestuous? ... Why are fewer young men having sex regularly? ... Geoffrey: The ethics of polyamory set it apart from casual dating ...


 17 April 2019  1h9m

Gnosticism and Mononucleosis (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & B. D. McClay)

B. D.'s essay on mononucleosis and gnosticism ... What the ancient gnostics believed about body and spirit ... Fingernail clippings and other problems with bodily resurrection ... Pros and cons of living in a body ... Did George H.W. Bush get to walk out of his wheelchair at the gates of Heaven? ... B. D. explains the Children's Crusade of 1212 ... The Children's Crusade's contemporary resonances ... Queer Eye, the reality show that makes you feel good about humanity ...


 13 April 2019  1h21m