Episodes

Robert Wright & Robert George  

Why Robby refuses to support Trump ... Is history shaped more by social forces or human agency? ... Robby gives an insider’s view on why Appalachia is Trump country ... The declining influence of religion ... How a lack of humility poisons politics ... Contempt in current political rhetoric ... Robby: Politicians need to get out of the identity politics game ...

Robert Wright & Ann Althouse  

A defense of Gary Johnson's, "What's Aleppo?" ... Ann: Political-speak is evolving ... Does Trump deserve more credit than he gets? ... Does Hillary lie more than other politicians? ... Bob on Hillary's biggest mistake and Trump's hair ... The media's anti-Trump bias ... The possibility of party realignment (on both sides) ...

Robert Wright & Mark Oppenheimer  

What Mark learned writing the New York Times “Beliefs” column ... Wittgenstein on religion ... What does the “spiritual” in “spiritual but not religious” mean? ... Crossfit and other secular communities that seem religious ... The puzzle of Jewish identity ... Being religious but not spiritual ...

Robert Wright & Michael Lynch  

Michael’s book, The Internet of Us, and “neuromedia” ... How Google short circuits our critical faculties ... Dangers of the “hive mind” ... The echo chamber effect and how to combat it ... How tech has—and has not—changed the way we learn ... Privacy in the age of big data ...

Robert Wright & Ken Wharton  

The future is real, and we could travel there ... Reasons to think the future may influence the present ... Can retro-causality explain quantum entanglement? ... Why our intuitions about time are wrong ... Is there a place for free will in a deterministic universe? ... The many worlds theory, quantum computers, and events without causes ...

Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus  

Why Mickey supports Trump "in his heart" but not necessarily in his head. ... Does Mickey still trust Trump on immigration? ... Bob: Trump's lack of self-control makes him unfit to be President ... Does the Steve Bannon appointment mean Trump embraces the alt-right? ... Bob and Mickey agree: Trump has a real chance of winning ... Bob fears the media bias against Trump is counterproductively overt ...

Robert Wright & Sam Tanenhaus  

How Trump crushed the "true conservatives" ... A brief history of conservative populism ... A few kind words for Trump supporters ... Trump and the alt-right's revival of the old right ... Could Trump wind up being good for democracy? ... Is Trump's incompetence a blessing in disguise? ...

Robert Wright & Katherine Ozment  

Why Katherine wrote Grace Without God ... Getting the benefits of religion without the religion ... How do you find grace without God? ... Moral education without religion ... Non-religious spiritual experiences ... Dealing with death ...

Robert Wright & Daniel Ogilvie  

Why Dan decided to teach a course about soul beliefs ... Almost all Americans believe in an undying soul ... When did religion become infused with morality? ... Greek philosophers on the soul ... How to challenge beliefs in a smart way ... Is religion a convenient way to deny death? ...

Robert Wright & Douglas Osto  

Doug's book Altered States: Buddhism and Psychedelic Spirituality in America ... Psychedelics as gateway drugs to Buddhism ... Common ground between Buddhism and psychedelic spirituality ... What is Psychedelic Buddhism? ... When are psychedelics unhealthy? ... Compare and contrast between Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism ...

Robert Wright & Jim Lobe  

Why the neocons are so anti-Trump ... Trump versus the foreign policy establishment ... Is Trump's foreign policy Jacksonian ... Are neocons flocking to Hillary? ... Why it's hard to know where Hillary stands on foreign policy ... Are Americans isolationists at heart? ... How neocons paved the way for Trump ...

Robert Wright & Vadim Putzu  

Why mysticism is not for everybody ... Language and the god-like powers it harbors ... How Kabbalah interprets biblical stories ... What is the Kabbalah that Madonna practices? ... Zohar, the Kabbalist commentary on the Torah ... The role of language in Jewish contemplative practices ...

Robert Wright & Liane Young  

The loving Us and the hateful Them ... Understanding a rival is easier when you're paid for it ... Why we misunderstand the motivations of others ... Why we're confused about our own minds ... Study: We tend to think immoral behavior is voluntary ... The psychology of victim blaming ...

Robert Wright & Liane Young  

The loving Us and the hateful Them ... Understanding a rival is easier when you're paid for it ... Why we misunderstand the motivations of others ... Why we're confused about our own minds ... Study: We tend to think immoral behavior is voluntary ... The psychology of victim blaming ...

Robert Wright & Susan Schneider  

The most intelligent life in outer space may be artificial ... Should we be worried about AI? ... Shopping for a scientific path to eternal life ... “Protomentality,” matter’s (hypothesized) latent sentience ... Would your self survive uploading to a computer? ... What if we never understand consciousness? ...

Robert Wright & Jack Tsonis  

Introducing the Saunatarian movement ... Varieties of sauna ... Jack's conversion and the start of thermovangelism ... Spiritual aspects of sauna ... (Limited) data on health benefits ... Where do I sign up? ...

Robert Wright & Cristina Bicchieri  

What is a social norm? ... Why do norms like genital mutilation exist?  ... Ways to change norms (and ways to fail) ... Change we have seen: smoking, gay marriage, bullying ... Fear disrupts norms and helps people like Trump ... The internet as a tool against "pluralistic ignorance" ... Why the political establishment is in trouble ...

Robert Wright & Kenneth Folk  

The bell-curve of awakening ... Being enlightened feels "meta-okay" ... The benefits of experiencing life impersonally ... Does enlightenment have to have a moral dimension? ... Awakening as growing up ... The lenses and filters through which we see life ...

Robert Wright & Steven Nadler  

What made Spinoza a heretic? ... Why Spinoza matters today ... Perspectives on the purpose, if any, of nature ... Religion: a source of morality, meaning, and fear ... Spinoza's mysticism—or lack thereof ... Parallels between Spinozan and Buddhist thought ...

Robert Wright & Jack Tsonis  

Karl Jaspers and the “Axial Age” theory of history ... The “world religions" paradigm ... Jack: The Axial Age theory has racist vibes ... Does it make sense to talk about “progress” in history? ... Jack avoids vapid moral relativism ... Does the Axial Age theory find unity where none exists? ...

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