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20 October 2017

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“Making friends with desire”

Ethan Nichtern, author of the new book The Dharma of The Princess Bride, offers a Buddhist take on the film’s themes of family, friendship, and romance. Play entire video

The Physics of Consciousness (or Vice Versa)

Physicist Paul Davies holds out hope for a quantum theory that could ‘incorporate consciousness in its description of the world’. Plus: Could information be the most fundamental stuff?

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Is Richard Dawkins bad for secularism?

Sociologist Joseph Baker, author of the book American Secularism, contends that the New Atheism movement was influential, but doesn’t represent America’s growing non-religious population.

Does world peace start with inner peace?

Robert Wright and biologist Tyler Volk, author of the new book Quarks to Culture, on what might save the world.

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Practice makes perfect

Jazz pianist Aaron Goldberg explains the cognitive feat of performing improvisational music. Plus: The meeting of musical minds.

Turning your autopilot off

Developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik and Robert Wright discuss how meditation can disrupt rigid patterns in adult cognition. Plus: Did Hume borrow from Buddhism?

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What Peter Singer overlooks

Philosopher Stephen Asma, author of the new book The Evolution of Imagination, says that advocates of “effective altruism” should consider how imagination aids moral development. Plus: What came before consciousness?

Are we doomed?

Futurist Phil Torres tries to convince Robert Wright that the side-effects of artificial intelligence may include our extinction. Plus: Can climate change help terrorists?

Scientology’s secret abuse scandal

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Journalist Tony Ortega explains how the organization has used its canonical texts to justify incidences of child sexual abuse. Plus: Scientology vs. the IRS.

Sophia

Do comedians have a moral responsibility?

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Daniel Kaufman and Daniel Tippens on what political scrutiny of stand-up comedy says about our collective morality.

Military monks

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Scholar of religion Michael Jerryson, author of Buddhist Fury, on responses to Muslim-Buddhist violence in southern Thailand. Plus: The Buddhist apocalypse.