Episodes

  • Ep 266 - Christopher Leon Price: Learning Life Lessons From Games

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    Back in episode 257, you heard Christopher Leon Price's #knowledgebomb on The Art of Losing. In this episode, we interview Christopher to understand how he came to appreciate the power of this lesson through a mixture of video gaming, appreciating Mixed Martial Arts, teaching children chess and having to try and teach Hunter Maats how to do audio. This last one, in particular, has proven to be particularly challenging. Fortunately, Christopher is a very patient and supportive teacher. There are lessons to be learned from every aspect of life. So far, because of my own biases, we've focused heavily on books and science. But games (from chess to Mixed Martial Arts to Megaman II) can teach you how to learn, unlearn and relearn. In fact, they may be better at doing that than an analogy about the FAA featured in certain books. :) [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNTkOlB6_aI&[/embed]  

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  • Ep 265 - Jenni Aguilar: Evolution is Smarter Than You

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    Ever since we had Jon Aguilar on the show back in Episode 251, Jon has been telling me I had to have his very brilliant wife on. And so, while driving back from a friend's wedding, I stopped by Casa Aguilar in Santa Barbara and started a conversation with Jenni Aguilar. Hours later, I understood why Jon felt so strongly that that I should talk to Jenni. Coming from an entirely different angle, she had reached many of the same conclusions as I had. For me, the arrival at evolutionary thinking and a desire to mix the mental arts had come from a desire to make sense of the cultures of the world. For Jenni, the emotional driver was something much more primal: her child was hurting. After a series of traumatic brain injuries, Jenni scrambled around the available science looking for anything that might help her son. In the tradition of Lorenzo's Oil, that tremendously strong emotional experience drove her to overcome intimidation, impenetrable medical jargon and assumptions about what was medically possible. The result is that today you would never know there was anything wrong with her son. In the end, what Jenni has done, what Katie and I did with The Straight-A Conspiracy and what many of the authors who have contributed to Mixed Mental Arts is to take pieces of fractured science and made kintsugi. They have filled in the cracks with gold. In the end though, the efforts of a handful of humans are nothing compared to what the evolutionary efforts of many Mixed Mental Artists can do testing these ideas against each other and against reality. Why? Because evolutionary processes are way smarter than individual humans. Once you accept that, then you approach evolutions' solutions with an appropriate humility, try to understand what evolution has done and figure out how to work with it. A prime example of that is aligning your body in a way that supports childbirth. For more on that, you can read Jenni's superb article Pervert Kings and Childbirth at MixedMentalArts.Co

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  • Ep 264 - Brett Veinotte: Why Does School Suck for So Many Kids?

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    They must put something in the water in New Hampshire because Brett Veinotte and Katie O'Brien reached very similar conclusions through tutoring: as an experience school sucks for A LOT of kids. And so, Brett decided to do something about it and create better resources for parents and kids looking for an alternative. Out of that was born The School Sucks Project. For more on the work of Brett and his team, check out their website. In this episode, Brett and Hunter compare notes on The School Sucks Project and The Straight-A Conspiracy. There's no doubt that school sucks for many, many kids. The question is why and what should we do about it? That's exactly what this episode is focused on exploring! This is the beginning of a beautiful bromance. [mbm_book_grid id="6425"] P.S. Brett has already released this episode on his podcast feed.

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  • Ep 262 - It's Big Mike's Birthday!!! What should we get him for a gift?

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    When ordinary men have birthdays, they receive gifts. However, Big Mike knows it is better to give than to receive and so, on his birthday, Big Mike has gifted to the people of the Callenphate his wisdom. You're welcome, humanity. Just remember that your fearless leader is Bryan and not his far more physically imposing and wise father.

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  • Ep 262 - The Gospel According to Joe Henrich - Why Do Humans Seem So Smart Compared to Other Animals?

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    This morning's lesson is taken from The Gospel According to Joe Henrich. Read by the very wonderful Martin Lewis, this reading captures the heart of why The Secret of Our Success is actually The Secret to YOUR Success. Understanding that social intelligence is humanity's superpower is understanding how you can not only survive the #Jobocalypse but thrive in it. Learn from everyone all the time. The more cultural apps you download the more you'll succeed. If you're interested in more on this, you might enjoy the series Cate Fogarty and I wrote on I.Q. at MixedMentalArts.co. Part 1: The Hijacking of the I.Q. Test Part 2: Humanity's Superpower Part 3: How much does skin color tell us about a person's genetics? Part 4: What's race got to do with intelligence? Nothing. Part 5: Welcome to the I.Q. Revolution. [mbm_book_grid id="1386"]

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  • Ep 261 – Environment Shapes Behavior: Talking Jacques Fresco With Andrew Hunt

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    Andrew Hunt and I first got to know each other a decade ago doing stand up in Los Angeles. During the intervening decade, we both learned how to learn and how environment shapes behavior but in entirely different ways. Regular listeners to Mixed Mental Arts know my story all too well. Andrew’s though is more interesting. Andrew grew up in Los Angeles and was diagnosed with numerous learning disorders. Like a lot of kids I’ve worked with, rather than empowering him, school left him feeling disempowered and alienated from learning. Then, he got involved with Jacques Fresco of the Venus Project who among other things changed Andrew’s life by teaching him how to learn. The day after we recorded this episode, Jacques Fresco passed. Now, it’s on us to stand on his shoulders and see further. [mbm_book_grid id="8450"]

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  • Ep 260 - Chris Ryan: Uncle Chris Took Me in His Van and I Liked It

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    At this point, Chris Ryan probably doesn't need any introduction but why not give him one anyway. He's the author of Sex at Dawn and one day he'll be able to call himself the author of Civilized to Death. In the meantime, he hosts the superb podcast Tangentially Speaking which Mixed Mental Arts' own Isaiah Gooley probably loves more than Mixed Mental Arts. That's how good it is. This summer Chris will be traveling the US in his van. He took me inside it. It was amazing! [mbm_book_grid id='6901']

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  • Ep 259 - Walid Darab: They will recite the Quran but it will not go beyond their throats.

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    Walid Darab is the host of the Greed for Ilm podcast. Bored and in traffic, he looked around for podcasts for Muslim-Americans and found they were either all SUPER religious or in foreign languages. So, he decided to start one for everyday Muslim-Americans who were curious about a lot of things. And thus was the Greed for Ilm podcast born. What is ilm? Ilm is the Arabic word for knowledge. And Walid is greedy for ilm. So, it's only natural that he should have found his way to Mixed Mental Arts, formerly known as The Bryan Callen Show. Out of this, Walid has had Bryan, Katie and me (Hunter) on Greed for Ilm. It's about damn time we repaid the favor. That's just basic Afghan hospitality. In this episode, Walid and I discuss the process of moving beyond the immature arrogance of adolescence when wisdom does not go beyond your throat and the journey towards getting it into your heart. This is the process of blind copying through the emotion of awe by which culture is transmitted and by which young people like @evidence_reason get duped by genius myths created by Fundamentalists like Sam Harris who project a cool, arrogant certainty. It's a genuine pleasure to have Walid on the show and I can't recommend that everyone do Walid's assignment. Go talk to a Muslim and get them to tell you about life in the Islamic world and see if that fits the statistics people like Sam Harris have told you. Who has a more realistic model of life in the Islamic world? Mohamed Ghilan, Walid Darab and Hunter Maats or Sam Harris? The people will decide but for them to decide they must hear both sides.    

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  • Ep 258 - Meet Your Fellow Mixed Mental Artists: Isaiah Gooley

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    Isaiah Gooley is an analyst, musician, and writer. He's been all over the place, and is still trying to learn as much as he can along the way. Check out his music at greatghouls.com, greatghouls.bandcamp.com,or soundcloud.com/isaiah-gooley. He'll be sharing some of his favorite chengyu (or Chinese rules of thumb) to help up your mental game!

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  • Ep 257 - Knowledge Bomb: The Art of Losing

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    Christopher Leon Price (aka Big Papa Werewolf) teaches kids The Art of Losing through chess. He learned it in large part from Megaman 2. In addition, he heads up Team Werewolf (the audio team at Mixed Mental Arts) and takes the messes Hunter hands him and mixes them as best he can. Fortunately, Hunter is a master at The Art of Losing and is perfectly happy to learn from his mistakes one screw up at a time. Slowly but surely, Big Papa Werewolf is teaching Toto how to record better audio. You can find Christopher Leon Price on Twitter at @clpfilm.

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  • Ep 256 - What is Science?

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    One of the more interesting things to come out of the last few months in my own personal Mixed Mental Arts experience has been hearing more from all of you how these ideas resonate with all of you. In particular, I appreciated a conversation with Matty (@Matt_Maurer on Twitter) about how he appreciated that history could be seen as one long progression. Humanity has always been trying to solve very much the same problems. It is just that over time we have been able to see further because we have had more and more shoulders to stand on. Why are we so much smarter than the people of the past? Well, coming of age in the culture of science, I was led to draw a sharp line between the scientific project and religions. Science was real. It was tangible. It was based on evidence. It was TRUTH. And anyone who disagreed, questioned or thought anything else was an idiot and a fool. However, as I've mentioned elsewhere, in reading the science that simple narrative has become increasingly problematic for me. The people of the past weren't so biologically different. Their brains recognized patterns. Did they not recognize patterns in human behavior that have stood the test of time? Yes. They did. And it wasn't until I was confronted by having to spend time among Christian Fundamentalists that I had to really think hard about what, if anything, made science special. Someone else who has had to think hard about these questions is today's guest sensei in the dojo Mohamed Ghilan. Mohamed was born in Saudi Arabia like yours truly. Unlike yours truly, he has a PhD in Neuroscience, is getting an MD and is a Muslim. As a scientist and a Muslim, he knows full well that the evolution of better and better beliefs and mental tools was going on well before science showed up on the scene. Today, someone like Mohamed is often portrayed in the media as a bit of a unicorn. He's a Muslim AND a scientist. Whaaaaaat?!? Is that even possible?!? But in the first four or so centuries of Islam the majority of "scientists" were Muslim. Richard Dawkins captured the two parts of this story in his now infamous tweet "All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though." Dawkins' own tweet creates problems in his narrative that religion is the problem. If Muslims did great things in the Middle Ages, then why is the problem Islam? If Newton was religious AND a scientist AND an alchemist, then why is the problem Christianity or even magical thinking? And what is science anyway? As I've discussed in previous podcasts, some Christians objected to Newton's Theory of Gravity because the idea that the planets moved all by themselves conflicted with their belief that God actively moved the planets. Then, they moved on. Gravity was something they could confirm with their own eyes and to keep Christianity relevant and practical they had to evolve their understanding of God. Did they stop believing in God? Nope. They just adopted a more mature of God. "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." - 1 Corinthians 13:11 Were the people who didn't understand Newton's Universal Theory of Gravitation idiots? Nope. In large part, they just didn't have the glassmaking technology to make the kind of telescopes necessary to observe the planets. And The Scientific Method itself evolved over time but some consider the founder of The Scientific Method to have been a Muslim named Ibn al-Haytham due to his emphasis on experimental data and reproducibility of results. Why then are we repeatedly told the story that science and religion are somehow incompatible? By some analyses, a Muslim FOUNDED Science. If we want to popularize science, then isn't it in science's interest to tear down this popular story that science and religion are at odds. Of course, some of the beliefs of science and religion don't overlap, notably on the age of the Earth and the origins of life. But, it turns out that science has found its way back to many of the beliefs that religious people figured out long ago. In my article Was Jesus Christ a Better Neuroscientist than Sam Harris?, I explored my own journey towards the painful realization that in the realm of human affairs science had 2000 years later merely reinvented the wheel. In response, I got a comment from someone named Arslan Atajanov asked "Since when science became a belief system?" Ten years ago, I would have asked the same question as Arslan. Now, I know better. Science has always been a belief system. It is a response to how our minds work. Humans form beliefs. We have always formed beliefs. And apparently by the time of Ibn Haytham there was already awareness that testing one's beliefs against the evidence was a good thing to do. In practice, people do this all the time. Look at Game of Thrones. People had theories about Jon Snow being dead or not. Then, they watched the next season. Oh! He wasn't dead. They changed their beliefs and moved on. But now imagine that what you believed about Jon Snow being dead or alive became tribal. Now, the French believed that Jon Snow was alive. The Americans believed Jon Snow was dead. Real Americans believed Jon Snow was dead. Then Season 6 Episode 1 airs. New evidence surfaces. Yep. It looks like Jon Snow is alive. The French gloat. They insult the Americans' intelligence. How could they have been SO STUPID to have thought that Jon Snow was ever alive? Now, the Americans get defensive and come up with a series of rationalizations to defend their beliefs. It becomes a point of pride and identity. And so, the conflict builds for 150 years after the show originally aired. Pretty soon neither side is looking at the evidence. It has simple become an article of faith for both sides. How do you end this conflict? Well, you point out that before Season 6 aired no one could have known whether Jon Snow was dead or alive and that we all happily kept track with the story for the first five seasons. You could also point out that in this sectarian feud both sides have been losers. We're all better off moving on. Of course, some people have built their whole brand around this idea of incompatibility. That's their shtick. They're not likely to back down anytime soon. I understand that some people are annoyed with hearing about Sam Harris but the Mixed Mental Arts audience is perhaps unusually diverse. We have Christians in the dojo who are trying to figure out how to reconcile their faith with science like Jason Scott Sanders and Kim Ares. And we have numerous Muslims who rather than listening to Bryan and me talk about Islam wanted actual Muslims on the show. You couldn't ask for a better ambassador than Mohamed Ghilan. In this conversation with Mohamed, we clarified what science is. It's a formalization of what humans already do. If you ask me, science has become overformalized. That's why I'm so excited about Mixed Mental Arts. Science has become so bogged down in internal tribal disputes. (A problem Sam Harris has also complained about when he talks about the balkanization of science.) The question is what do you do about that? Well, scientists aren't likely to overcome their tribalism internally. Famous scientists often end up standing in the way of the progress of science as a whole. And if you're someone like Sam who is still imprisoned by his intuitions of authority, then you are stuck there. You complain to Joe Rogan about the fact that people like me have a Twitter account and then complain that scientists don't work together to form better beliefs. Complain. Complain. Complain. What's the solution, Sam? The solution is harnessing the wisdom of the crowds to sift through the evidence and evolve better beliefs. You abandon all intuitions of human authority and make the evidence the authority with the knowledge that you need to take into account all the evidence. And this is where the beliefs of The New Atheists about the Islamic world FAIL as scientific hypotheses. They fit a very selective cherrypicking of the data. They make sense to someone with limited experience of the Middle East. They don't make sense to someone like Mohamed (or even me with my much more limited experience). Well, in this interview, Mohamed focused on corruption and that's a HUGE factor. However, there are others. Muslims don't read. When they do, they don't read widely. The central belief system is not well organized and there is no coherent messaging so people can believe lots of things and CLAIM they're being Muslims. And, on top of all that, there's a focus on past historical greatness that doesn't fit present realities. All those things describe not just Islam. They describe America. Fixing all that takes a lot of work. It's a game of inches. Do you know what doesn't help? Constantly being told that your culture is the problem. It just creates defensiveness. There are problems with Islamic and American culture. And no...I'm not saying they're equivalent. But, in no situation, does indiscriminately criticizing people's culture help establish a bridge. You have to find things of value and then build strength where strength exists and then use that trust to together and reciprocally examine problematic areas. How do I know? Because I just did the opposite of that with The New Atheists. This was the response I got. In the end, The New Atheists have alienated religious people from science and I have alienated the New Atheists from me. But thanks to Sam saying Candyman we can now strip The New Atheists of their credibility to being responsive to evidence. I presented them with the evidence to read and they showed little to no interest in it. They merely defended their beliefs in a blindly emotional (and perfectly understandable) way. We're all down in the muck of being human together and all the belief systems' various claims will

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  • Ep 255 - Knowledge Bomb: Negativity Bias

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    As you navigate the #Jobocalypse, one of the most important skills to learn is how to be innovative. Fortunately, in that regard, we are incredibly lucky to have Adam Hansen as a sensei in the dojo. He's literally an innovation expert at a company that is all about helping companies innovate called Ideas To Go. How cool is that?!? Even cooler, he's using his innovation expertise to help evolve the Mixed Mental Arts project forward. [mbm_book_grid id="6552"] You may remember Adam's voice from the podcast he, James Miller and Drew Sample recorded as part of the Columbus Meet Up episode. You can listen to that here. You can also read the #knowledgebomb in text form here. You can also find Adam Hansen in the MMA Facebook Group. We're going to be getting the world's experts in every field to break down their core insights for you for free! As Bryan Callen would say, "Hope you're ready to learn EVERYTHING!"  

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  • Ep 254 - Chengyu: Heaven is High and The Emperor is Far Away

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    Isaiah Gooley is an analyst, musician, and writer. He's been all over the place, and is still trying to learn as much as he can along the way. Check out his music at greatghouls.com, greatghouls.bandcamp.com,or soundcloud.com/isaiah-gooley. If you like comic books, check out PHD Unknown. You can read the original post at the Mixed Mental Arts site. There are lots of great people out there like Isaiah who have stepped forward to volunteer whatever they have to offer to help evolve Mixed Mental Arts and move these ideas. You can share make Kintsugi like Isaiah. You can help make videos like Andrew Hunt and Reid Nicewonder. You can make memes and graphics like Marko Strok and Omar Dunne. You can provide amazing tech advice like Eric Hunley and The Twilight Princess (Mandi Ainslie). You can donate money like all the awesome people who have given both to my Patreon (thanks for the caffeine, guys!) and to the Mixed Mental Arts Patreon. You can go around merrily dropping #knowledgebombs around the internet like Ryan Pedersen. Or like William Graham you can rally the troops to invite people like Russell Brand for #ideasex. You decide how #MixedMentalArts grows and evolves. Pretty cool, huh?

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  • Ep 253 - Why Doesn't Western Medicine Turn Us On?

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    One of the biggest questions I get when I tell people about atomistic and holistic biases is whether this affects Western medicine. Well, yes. It actually does. And secretly behind the scenes for quite some time now, I've been familiarizing myself with a series of medical innovations that quite simply haven't diffused. Why? Because they don't fit within Western medicine's cultural biases. WHAT?!? Are you saying you know more about medicine than doctors?!? Who in the heck are you? Exactly. Even saying things like this sets off people's intuitions of authority. Medical doctors are brilliant. They're great. I'd far rather have a surgeon do surgery on me than me do surgery on me. However, doctors are also human. And all humans blindly copy culture from the people they're in awe of without them even realizing it. And so, the Romans blindly copied atomism from the Ancient Greeks whom they were in awe of. And then everyone else in the West blindly got atomistic biases from the West because they were in awe of them. The result is that baked into the very structure of medicine is an atomistic structure. You can see it in the way medical care is delivered. Medicine divides up the body into lots of tiny subspecialties. If you have back pain, you go to a back doctor and that doctor looks at that localized region. The problem is that the body is all interconnected. Very often, the problem with your back often originates with a lack of dorsiflexion in your foot. Those forces are then transmitted all the way up your legs and express as a back problem even though the real issue is the foot. How many unnecessary back surgeries are performed around the world? We just don't know. But we're committed to helping doctors create awareness of their cultural biases so that we can make sure that medicine's cultural blindspots don't cause it to miss out on simpler and less harmful opportunities for care. If I'd met Tony Molina straight out of college, I would have thought he was straight up nuts. My reaction would have been "WHAT?!? Are you saying you know more about medicine than doctors?!? Who in the heck are you?" I would have gotten #Triggered and blindly defended my culture. And I would not have been behaving scientifically. Science isn't about intuitions about human authority. It is about the evidence. And so, when I met Tony Molina more recently, I still thought he was kind of nuts, but through The Straight-A Conspiracy and The Bryan Callen Show, I'd seen the ways in which ideas didn't diffuse. And so, I spotted something. Here was a man who had done everything his culture had told him to do. He'd pored over the data. He'd learned what it all added up to. And he had confronted people with that data...only to be repeatedly dismissed because he didn't have the right credentials. Humans--including doctors it turns out--don't respond to facts. They respond to stories. They have to get WHY things work. They have to get WHY doctors don't get these things. And they have to be told a story where none of this is anyone's fault. We all blindly copied a culture from our parents. Now, it's time to reflect and evolve a better culture. It's time to ask simply "Why Doesn't Western Medicine Turn Us On?"

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  • Ep 252 - The Emperor Tries to Keep His Clothes On as He Talks About Sexism

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    Bryan Callen cares about his people. Oh, sure. Heaven may be high and the Emperor may be far away. But this Emperor is always listening. And so, when Emperor Callen heard that the people of the #Callenphate felt we didn't have enough diversity at court, he decided to hold audience and to hear the concerns of his people. And so, with our continued commitment to open all the cans of worms and talk about all the elephants in the room, we had the first of many conversations about sexism. The fact that Bryan actually REQUESTED a conversation and then SHOWED UP to the conversation shows how seriously he takes the issue. He loves his people and wants them to be happy. And so, Cate Fogarty, Katie O'Brien and Claire Gerety-Mott showed up to the Forbidden City that is Bryan's house and had the first of many conversations to try and unravel our feeeeeeeeelings about sexism and to figure out what we can do to improve things. Part of it is simply having honest conversations about what we know and don't know and giving people a voice who might otherwise not have a voice. That's what the internet is for. Everyone gets to say their piece. We're excited to hear yours. Rest assured, MMA will keep evolving until humanity has talked out ALL its problems. Oh, and I get it. Everyone hates my plough story. Love to all humanity - Toto  

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  • Ep 251 - Navigating the #Jobocalypse with Jon Aguilar: What Kind of Smith Are You?

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    After Bryan and I did our episode on the #Jobocalypse, someone rightly commented on the Mixed Mental Arts subreddit that this was all great but what practically do I do? Well, this episode is a practical response to that. Mixed Mental Arts is not just about identifying problems but empowering you to solve them for yourselves. Part of that is going to be teaching you how to learn, unlearn and relearn. That's something the Mixed Mental Arts community will be doing taking everything that's in The Straight-A Conspiracy and everything else we've learned in the last 200 interviews, breaking those ideas down into easy, bite-sized chunks and giving them away. The other thing we're going to be doing is introducing you to people who have made the transition into the new economy to give you a playbook on how you can do that too. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jon Aguilar. Jon Aguilar works in what may be the oldest profession. No, he's not a prostitute. He works with dry stone. It literally doesn't get much older than that. Stone on top of stone with no mortar. And yet, Jon Aguilar is thriving in the new economy. That's because he's transformed this oldest of professions by bringing to it a spirit of exploration and Motivation 3.0. Jon reads voraciously. He's constantly rethinking his craft. And he's always learning, unlearning and relearning. In the end, surviving in the new economy doesn't mean you have to become a computer coder. Far from it. In fact, you may end up doing the job you were doing in the old economy BUT you approach it in a very different spirit. You think of yourself and approach your work as a craftsman. In this episode, Jon describes how in 2007 he really started to take his craft seriously as something to be mastered and refined and the books and ideas that were useful to him in evolving his own approach up to this point. Jon is also a fount of t-shirt ideas. I'm sure the Unicorn (@madonna_matt) and Unikitty (@nicoleleepage) will run with some of them. Personally, I'm going to put in a request for "Embrace The Suck" and "What Kind of Smith Are You?" Maybe an "Ideasmith" t-shirt. I defer to them. Pretty sure that something awesome will emerge from this great improv we're all in. You can find out more of the tools Jon is using to navigate the #Jobocalypse here including resources for people looking to become or looking to connect with apprentices. Jon's Stonesmith business = www.heritageearthandstone.com Jon's Facebook = "Heritage Earth & Stone" Jon's Instagram = "jonaguilar_designworks" The Consortium of Craftsmen, Innovators & Thinkers = www.throughstonegroup.com The Consortium's Instagram + Facebook + YouTube channel (will be online by May 1st) = "Throughstone Group" [mbm_book_grid id="1287"] And if you want to buy a sweet Jobocalypse t-shirt and support Mixed Mental Arts at the SAME TIME then go here.

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  • Ep 250 - Life of Bryan

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    If you follow #MixedMentalArts on Instagram, then you know that Bryan Callen has been reading about Jesus. Unfortunately for Bryan, his first attempts at Bryan's Book Club have succeeded in doing one thing and one thing only: putting Bryan to sleep. And then, Bryan tried pontificating about these ideas to young men and women in their 20s...and they were more interested in the Tequila. It turns out that missionary work is hard work. Fortunately, Bryan Callen has been reading about Jesus. Specifically, he's been reading Stephen M. Miller's Complete Guide to the Bible. It turns out that changing people's beliefs is tough stuff. Jesus made his own beliefs as crystal clear as he could and still people didn't get them. People like Saul didn't get Jesus' beliefs so much that they persecuted him. Then, Saul got them so much that he not only converted he changed his name to Paul and went around trying to help other people get "The Good News." 2000 years later a lot of people who think they get Jesus' message still don't get it. In short, teaching is hard. It requires patience and persistence. You have to teach the same old lessons in new ways and break them down to make them clearer and clearer. In fact, that's the exact same problem with moving scientific ideas. There are a lot of people who THINK they get science but have actually missed its core message. Humans tell stories. That's what we do. We tell stories about ourselves, about each other and about reality. The problem is that because we ALL have naive realism all our stories make perfect sense to us. The key is evolving stories that do a better and better job of fitting reality. That's what scientists like Spiros, David Sloan Wilson, Joe Henrich, Jon Haidt, Jennifer Jacquet and Carol Dweck do ALL day. The problem is that some scientists have become so obsessed with defining science in opposition to religion that they've literally forgot that science is a belief system and that its beliefs need to be promoted and made accessible to the general public. They cloister themselves in their Ivory Tower or their floating magnetic island named Laputa and then wonder why the public can't relate to them and seems disinterested in what they have to offer. In the end, science wants converts. And if it wants converts, then it's going to have to accept that it's a belief system just like all the others...and that it will win or lose in the Marketplace of Ideas based on its ability to provide accessible value to the people. It's time Smart Goes Pop and we made ideas lickable. It's time we became evangelists for the best ideas from all times and places. And this is where the real changing of the guard happens. For over 200 episodes, Hunter has bringing ideas to Bryan and now it's time for Bryan to take those ideas to the people. How can Bryan Callen become the Savior of the World that he has always dreamed of being? Well, he has to diffuse innovations. Fortunately, most of the books we've read basically have one core idea and then in true academic fashion endlessly belabor that idea with examples that are designed not to communicate to the general public but to appease other super obtuse academics. Take Thinking, Fast and Slow. What's the main idea? There's fast thinking and there's slow thinking. That's literally the title of the book. You may not be able to judge a book by its cover but you can certainly extract the core idea. And you can then slap that on a t-shirt which is exactly what Unikitty (@nicolepagelee) and the Unicorn (@madonna_matt) have done. You can buy that shirt here. And that is what scientific missionary work looks like. You wear a cool shirt with a core idea on it and people ask you questions. And then, you explain the idea and off they go. The crowd becomes a little wiser. And like the little idea bees that we all are we spread these ideas until the crowd is really freaking wise. And that brings us back to sleeping Brendan and all those 20 somethings. What do they want? They want success. They want to impress people. They want to do something super cool that saves the world. We have all the pieces to do that scattered across the 7.5 billion humans that make humanity. Now, the challenge is to make kintsugi. To take the broken pieces and fill in the cracks with gold. Doubtless as we go out, we will be misunderstood. That's the Life of Bryan.  

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  • Ep 249 - #KnowledgeBomb: The Growth Mindset In Three Minutes

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    Cate Fogarty is the Callenphate’s Chief Artillery Officer and has been making pretty amazing knowledge bombs for MixedMentalArts.co. If you want to help Cate in her work as The Callenphate’s Chief Artillery Officer, you can contact her on Twitter at @cateclysmic or find her in the Mixed Mental Arts Facebook group. You too can make #knowledgebombs! In this #knowledgebomb, she covers The Growth Mindset. You can read the original article at http://mixedmentalarts.co/growthmindset/ As always, all t-shirt sales and Patreon.com/mixedmentalarts donations go to fund intellectual terrorism. So many minds need to be blown and with people like Cate on the team…nobody’s pre-conceived notions are safe!

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  • Ep 248 - #KnowledgeBomb: Descartes' Error Three Minutes

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    Cate Fogarty is the Callenphate's Chief Artillery Officer and has been making pretty amazing knowledge bombs for MixedMentalArts.co. If you want to help Cate in her work as The Callenphate's Chief Artillery Officer, you can contact her on Twitter at @cateclysmic or find her in the Mixed Mental Arts Facebook group. You too can make #knowledgebombs! In this #knowledgebomb, she covers Descartes' Error. You can read the original article at mixedmentalarts.co/descarteserror As always, all t-shirt sales and Patreon.com/mixedmentalarts donations go to fund intellectual terrorism. So many minds need to be blown and with people like Cate on the team...nobody's pre-conceived notions are safe!

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  • Ep 247 - SPECIAL: The Theories of Everything Part 3

    · The Bryan Callen Show

    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

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