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Ep 247 - SPECIAL: The Theories of Everything Part 3  

After hearing the Theories of Everything Part 1 and Part 2, everyone got suuuuuuper jealous that Hunter was getting Spiros all to himself. In the spirit of Mixed Mental Arts, Hunter decided to share Spiros with Dave Colan, Cate Fogarty, Andrew Hunter and Christopher Leon Price.

Continuing off from the last conversation, Spiros unpacks how he thinks of truth in thinking about physical reality. Then, Dave Colan (after struggling to remember Sam Harris' name) brings up Sam's recent comments about Hunter on the Joe Rogan Experience. Sam's comments prove to be an excellent teaching opportunity because they reveal the sort of theories we form about other people based on limited and emotionally provocative evidence. The whole point that I (Hunter) was trying to clumsily make on Joe Rogan was that because of the Dunbar Number most humans are an abstraction. We have to stereotype. The question is what we stereotype around. Spending time at Oaks Christian, it was clear that the stereotype people had of scientists was formed around people like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins was formed around people who insulted beliefs they did not understand. In fact, I came to realize that Jesus Christ was a better neuroscientist than Sam Harris which you can read about here. Now, Sam has proved my point. He has formed an opinion about me based on very limited evidence and his feeeeeeeeeelings about me. It's an amazing demonstration of #DescartesError and the #DunbarNumber. Is the model that Sam Harris laid out of Hunter Maats a good model of me? Well, I'll leave that for you to judge. But take a look at what he has said here. For regular listeners to Mixed Mental Arts, you'll see that while Sam's impression of me is perfectly understandable that it's a great example of what Spiros talks about with "truncate and renormalize." Sam has a truncated data set around who I am and that he has then renormalized around that very limited data. Can he justify his impression? Of course! He can point to that very limited amount of information and justify his impression. And yet, there's other data. There's over 200 episodes of Bryan and me interviewing hundreds of different scientists and then synthesizing those ideas together into a coherent worldview. Sam Harris has said I'm wrong about the "relevant biology." That's a huge problem. Whether I'm wrong or he is doesn't much matter. What matters is that the "relevant biology" has become so overcomplicated and atomized that either me (a Harvard biochemistry grad who has interviewed hundreds of scientists) or him (a neuroscience PhD) don't understand the "relevant biology." If we can't figure it out, then it's no wonder science can't win the public over. Science needs to figure out and present a coherent worldview in order to effectively win people over. The #MarchForScience is a nice show of support...but which science are these people in favor of? Is it rationalism or intuitionism? Is it the multi-level selection of David Sloan Wilson, Jon Haidt and Joe Henrich or the gene-centric model of Dawkins and Harris? And, more basically, what is science anyway? Because it's clear that Spiros, Jon Haidt and me are operating on a very different understanding of what science is than Sam Harris is. Sam Harris has painted a picture of religious people with statistics that is actually a terrible model of who they actually are. I'm an apatheist. I don't really care about God. I don't go to Church or Mosque. I care about practically improving people's lives using whatever tools are available. And that's why I'd moved on from Sam Harris and was focused on making Smart Go Pop but then Brentwood Boy got so emotional about the whole thing that he couldn't help saying Candyman five times. As Cate Fogarty points out in this article, I was just doing exactly what Joe Rogan did with Carlos Mencia. I was calling out someone who was hurting the community. Why does Joe defend Sam? Because Joe has feeeeeeeeeelings about Sam that cause him to value defending his friend over examining the evidence impartially. Sam Harris is Joe Rogan's sacred cow. And that's okay. That's the way humans work. All of us. You, me, New Atheists and old school Arabs. And if we want to have a better world, then we all have to stop pretending like we have it all figured out and start reflecting on the problems in our own culture and do the difficult work of self-reflection and calling out the Fundamentalists who have wrapped themselves in the flag of our cherished causes. As I've covered in earlier episodes, the challenge for people is to spot who is and who is not a Fundamentalist and to see who preaches our values but doesn't actually practice them. Joe Rogan's defense of Sam Harris will reveal before this community just how hard this is. Thank you, Sam Harris! You're the best. You beautifully proved my point and have created the social drama that will drive attention to the science. Don't believe me. Decide for yourself. That's what science is about. It's not about authority or Harvard or PhDs. It's about forming better Theories of Everything by breaking your old theories to make room for better and better ones. People do that all the time with TV shows. Look at Game of Thrones. People had theories about whether Jon Snow was dead. Then, they were confronted with the evidence of the next season. Many theories died and people moved on. You can't break your old theories unless you're exposed to the evidence and you can't be exposed to the evidence if the people who are the public faces of science don't tell you about it. That's why Mixed Mental Arts has branded an alternative to The Four Horsemen. We call it The Holy Trinity of Cultural Evolution. They present newer and much more powerful Theories of Everything. WE DO NOT WANT YOU TO BELIEVE US. That's not what science is about. It's not about human authority. It's about the evidence. So, examine it and draw your own conclusions and then let's hash them out and see if we can all evolve better Theories of Everything together. The internet is our intellectual thunderdome. Sam Harris just dragged his public persona into the arena when he said I was wrong about the "relevant biology." May the best ideas win. Two ideas enter. One idea leaves. Idea dying time is here. In other news, Spiros is now going to be taking any and all questions and answering them for you through Mixed Mental Arts. Send questions to @quantum_spiros! Also send him requests for more 80's cartoon theme songs in Greek. Love to all humanity - Toto
95 Natasha Leggero,Harris Wittels,Matt Besser  

Creak! Slam! Sit down for some Comedy Bang Bang: The Podcast! This week's episode has everything you love about the show; the music of Phish and pussy jokes! Natasha Leggero, Harris Wittels, and Harris' protege King Henry VI are our guests, along with Natasha and Harris' new characters Maude and Jack. Death-Ray fans know Jimmy Stewart to be dismissive, but we've unearthed some footage that proves that he's also winning. Be sure to vote in the Harris' Phone Corner Poll at our blog , and come visit us next Sunday in Austin for a LIVE Comedy Bang Bang: The Podcast!

306 Paul Rust, Harris Wittels, Michael Cassady, Don't Stop Or We'll Die  

Don't ever stop listening to this podcast or Paul Rust, Harris Wittels, and Michael Cassady from our favorite comedy-pop crossover act Don't Stop or We'll Die will die from being unable to make your sides hurt from laughter here on a bonus Kobe Beef Bang Bang! We'll enter Harris' Foam Corner for some hot new foam, learn all about Paul's love for chemicals, and hear the boys play tracks off their new full length album "Gorgeous." Plus, Harris breaks out his British character and Jay Leno stops by during a game of Riddle Me This! Bye!

128 Jon Heder,Harris Wittels,Seth Morris  

Boy, what a fun episode of Comedy Bang Bang we have today! Our old friend Harris Wittels is in the studio with a brand new edition of Harris' Foam Corner. Our new friend Jon Heder makes a great first impression with an impressive round of Harris' favorite game What Am I Thinking?! To top it off, our new acquaintance (I hesitate to call him a friend) Hank Williams, Jr. offers up some commentary straight from the zeitgeist and inspires a round of Alive or Dead as well as a ghastly rap battle. Making friends, cracking jokes, learning about each other, isn't that what Comedy Bang Bang is all about?

84 Harris Wittels,Reggie Watts,Eddie Pepitone  

Get your Aukerman on this week on Comedy Bang Bang! Due to uproarious positive feedback, Harris Wittels joins the show to give listeners the gift of Harris's Phone Corner! Fortunately for those who aren't the biggest HPC fans, Reggie Watts decides to stick around and treat us to some questions about his romantic, psychedelic, and musical past. Reggie provides live music for the entire episode, and Teamster Tommy Malone makes his first appearance to talk about his sexual problems and adoration for Phish. Harris's Phone Corner runs just long enough to allow time for What Am I Thinking? and the premiere of the Motorcycle Theme Song! Happy Holidays from all of us at Earwolf, and don't forget to check out the multitude of stocking stuffers available in the Earwolf Store.

When Opera Meets Autism  

Michelle Dunn and Larry Harris make an unlikely team.

Dunn is an autism researcher and Harris was an offensive lineman for the Houston Oilers – and is now an opera singer. They met at a church choir in New York.

Between sessions at the church they got to talking about Dunn’s work at the Montefiore-Einstein Center for Autism and Communication Disorders. She works with patients who are bright and high-functioning, but often struggle to speak and communicate in an effective tone and cadence.

“They speak in a very disfluent way or their voice sounds really unusual and people shut them down right away,” she said.

Michelle Dunn and Larry Harris developed a new technique to help people with autism communicate. (Meghan Cunnane )

When Larry Harris heard about Dunn’s struggle with her patients’ speech, he was intrigued, and offered to help – using his opera training and his athlete’s background. Together they created lesson plans for the patients that incorporated training vocal cords and breath, which forces a person to stop and organize their thoughts.

“My brain just kicks into this place where I want to help them,” Harris said. “It’s exciting.”

Dunn had been working for many years with a patient named Devon* who was prone to repeating himself or fixating on a topic while speaking. But she and Harris started to focus on the new technique, and after just five months, they noticed great improvement in Devon’s speech. The quickest improvement Dunn had ever seen.

“I’ve been learning to take calming breaths and breathe pause,” Devon said. “I come across to people more normally.”

It’s been two years now since Dunn and Harris started their new technique, which they’ve chronicled in a guide called The Music of Speech. Autism manifests in people very differently, so Dunn and Harris’s approach may not work for everyone on the autism spectrum. But they’ve worked successfully with ten patients so far.

Dunn and Harris found a new way to work with people on the autism spectrum. (Meghan Cunnane )

Dunn says their work is not just about training people to speak a certain way to fit in, it’s about helping them feel comfortable enough to live their lives in society at large. So instead of getting shut down in the first conversation, Devon and others with autism can have a second, third or fourth conversation where they can maybe let go.

“It makes people care about me more, it makes people value what I have to say more,” Devon said.

*Devon’s name was changed to protect his privacy.

336 Harris Wittels, Chelsea Peretti, Adam Scott  

4 years ago, maybe the greatest recording in Earwolf history took place. Now, the Farts and Procreation crew aka Harris Wittels, Chelsea Peretti, and Adam Scott return for the fourth time to attempt to recreate the magic. Creak, slam, sit, and chill with the Farts & Pro crew as we hear some gems during Harris’ Foam Corner, an incredible charac from Chelsea, and the hard work (e-mails) that went into making this episode a reality.

Harris Wittels (Originally Aired January 23, 2013)  

Harris Wittels died earlier today. I just can't believe he's gone. I've received some requests to repost my interview with him which originally ran January 23, 2014.

The world is a better place for Harris having been in it. 

Remembering Harris Wittels  

Comedian and writer Harris Wittels passed away on February 19, 2015. This is Marc's conversation with Harris, originally posted on September 16, 2013.

Episode 424 - Harris Wittels  

Parks and Recreation writer Harris Wittels is allergic to cats, but he sucked it up and sat in Marc's garage at the Cat Ranch anyway. Harris tells Marc how he got his start in comedy, what made Sarah Silverman want him to work on her show, and why he got to a point where he could no longer deal with his most infamous creation - the Humblebrag.  This episode is sponsored by Comedy Central and by Stamps.com.

111 Harris Wittels,Auction Winner David Guy Levy,???  

Two Comedy Bang Bangs in one week? Why, this must be a Christmas miracle! I bet this is how all those homeless people felt when David Guy Levy, producer of the upcoming film Terri, generously gave to the LA Food Bank this past Christmas. However, as you'll learn from this episode, his donation was not completely selfless: He got to co-host Comedy Bang Bang! Along with mostly-enjoyed guest Harris Wittels and a special surprise guest he brought himself, David guides us through segments like Harris' Phone Corner and the What's Up Hot Dog Memorial Plugs. Be sure to see Terri this weekend! David supports us so let's support him!

52 Sarah Silverman,Harris Wittels,Ben Schwartz  

Sarah Silverman, Ben Schwartz, and Harris Wittels have worked together on numerous projects, which is perhaps why the three of them have so much fun and such great chemistry on this episode of Comedy Bang Bang: The Podcast. Whether they are revealing deep dark secrets about each other's sexual history, or starting a barbershop quartet, there are non-stop laughs. Don't miss stories out of Sarah's book "The Bedwetter", information about Ben Schwartz's upcoming television shows, and see what Harris has been saving up since the last time he shared the jokes from his phone.

301 - Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days  

The Gilmore Guys get together to gab all about Ep 301 - Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days. This episode of Gilmore Guys is dedicated to Harris Wittels. Harris Wittels, we love you. Rest in peace.

Harris Wittels Returns  

Harris Wittels (Parks and Rec! Comedy! Don't Stop or We'll Die!) returns to make it weirder!

Commentary Special (w/ Harris Wittels, Lance Bangs, Paul F. Tompkins)  

It's time for Adam Scott Aukerman to look back at the episode that started it all in a special season finale commentary episode of U Talkin' U2 To Me? Past guests Harris Wittels, Lance Bangs, and Paul F. Tompkins return to finally answer some burning...

The Joshua Tree (w/ Harris Wittels)  

Harris Wittels aka radio's bad boy of Analyze Phish joins Adam Scott Aukerman this week to delve into U2's critically acclaimed fifth studio album The Joshua Tree. They'll talk about Scott's experience going to see The Joshua Tree tour, how this was...

Ep 15 Steve Agee, Eric Andre, Jonah Ray, Rory Scovel, and Harris Wittels - Getting Doug With High  

Doug Benson is joined by Steve Agee, Eric Andre, Jonah Ray, Rory Scovel, and Harris Wittels for another episode of Getting Doug with High. Recorded live at Largo in Los Angeles.

265 LIVE from RIOT LA; Paul F. Tompkins, Lauren Lapkus, Harris Wittels  

Recorded LIVE from the Downtown Independent Theater as part of the RIOT LA festival, it’s a b-b-b-onus episode of Big Bang Theory Comedy! IT’S BEEN quite a while since high school student Traci Rearden has been on the show as she catches up with Scott about their time at prom. Harris Wittels also stops by with a fresh batch of Foam Corner and a mysterious vigilante hero hailing from Cumberbatch County, Florida simply known as JW Stillwater appears who fills us in on his life as a crime fighter. (Photos courtesy of Liezl Estipona )

52 - Harris Wittels  

Parks 'n Rec writer Harris Wittels who doesn't want to be known for creating Humblebrag, but did, is a longtime fan of Weird Adults with Little Esther and lays down some Phish jams in this extra chill episode.

52 - Harris Wittels  

Parks 'n Rec writer Harris Wittels who doesn't want to be known for creating Humblebrag, but did, is a longtime fan of Weird Adults with Little Esther and lays down some Phish jams in this extra chill episode.

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