19 February 2020
Science of Spirituality
The Wright Show
Emotions and the Brain
The Meaning of Future Life
The Weirdness of Physics
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Jun 29, 2018 — Robert Wright & Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan’s new book,
How to Change Your Mind
Dissolving the ego via meditation and via psychedelics
Brain, self, and personal narrative
The underground subculture of psychedelic guides
Michael feels the love and sees the unity (you had to be there)
Do psychedelics validate scientific materialism or undermine it?
Scientific vs. religious descriptions of psychedelic experience
Why is the brain capable of psychedelic experiences?
The future of psychedelics in research and society
Jun 27, 2018 — Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Alissa Wilkinson
, Paul Schrader’s new film that takes Christianity seriously
Schrader’s European art-house influences
The film contrasts two versions of American Protestantism
Ethan Hawke’s restrained lead performance
Spoiler alert! Analyzing the film’s shocking twists
The intentionally ambiguous ending
Reaction to the film from the Christian press
Jun 26, 2018 — Daniel Kaufman & Massimo Pigliucci
Dan and Massimo on ontology: What exists and what doesn’t?
What, if anything, do Saturn’s rings have in common with virtue?
Materialism as a product of scientism
The immaterial features of human life and society
The most important philosopher you’ve never heard of
What does Daniel Dennett mean by “self,” anyway?
Massimo: A single ontology isn’t enough to describe reality
Jun 25, 2018 — Robert Wright & Stuart Hameroff
The Hameroff-Penrose theory of quantum consciousness
Why we’ll never construct a true artificial intelligence
The implications of quantum consciousness for free will
Do microtubules in the brain explain consciousness?
How quantum physics could help us understand anesthesia
Why Stuart doesn’t dismiss paranormal research
Could quantum entanglement explain paranormal phenomena?
Jun 22, 2018 — Robert Wright & David Pearce
Why David is pessimistic about the Singularity
Becoming happier by shifting our “hedonic set points”
Could we phase out suffering by tackling its genetic roots?
Can chemicals deliver enduring happiness?
Why David has never tasted meat
Is transhumanism a secular religion?
Jun 20, 2018 — William Black & Jemar Tisby
Jemar’s path from educator to historian
How racial history shapes the landscape of the Deep South
The “quiet exodus” of black Christians from white evangelical churches
Not a “skin problem,” but a “sin problem”
Jemar: Kindness isn’t just being polite to avoid offense
Bill explains the historic racial divide within the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Jun 15, 2018 — Robert Wright & Jim Holt
Jim’s new book of essays,
When Einstein Walked with Gödel
The Platonists who believe mathematics is transcendent
Against viewing math as transcendent
The implications of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem
What’s so special about light? Einstein can explain
Tachyons, the hypothetical particles that travel faster than light
How Jim became a “rigorous dilettante” (with cameos by B.F. Skinner and Bette Midler)
Jun 13, 2018 — Stephen Asma & Rami Gabriel
Where do culture, emotion, and cognition intersect?
Is altruism a fluke of humans’ inherently selfish nature?
How Western individualism clouds our view of human nature
Stephen: The strongest cultural adaptations are shared unconsciously
An evolutionary explanation of Trump’s cult of personality
Complicating the narrative on immigrant cultural values and success
Reactions to Stephen’s new book,
Why We Need Religion
Jun 12, 2018 — Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Connie Wang
Why Connie has grown sick of the cultural appropriation debate
Nicki Minaj and the flattening of Asian cultures
How social media escalated the cultural appropriation wars
Why are these fights so often over fashion and food?
Appropriation, mockery, and Halloween
The Met Gala and Catholic-inspired fashion
Who gets to decide that a particular outfit is “okay”?
Jun 11, 2018 — Robert Wright & Adam Frank
Adam’s new book,
Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth
Adam: Climate change is a civilizational inevitability
How many planets are in our galaxy? Guess again. It’s more than that.
How pessimists about the existence of extraterrestrial life became optimists
Why haven’t we heard from any aliens?
Does fighting climate change require spiritual change?
Why the Gaia hypothesis isn’t new-age hooey
The theoretical archaeology of exo-civilizations
Jun 7, 2018 — William Dailey & Ross Douthat
Ross’s new book,
To Change the Church
The strengths and weaknesses of Ross’s intellectual approach to faith
Father Bill speaks from Ireland about the country’s recent abortion referendum
Ross challenges liberal Catholics to explain their logic of doctrinal change
How marriage, divorce, and communion came back into Catholic conversation
What will people who read Ross’s book in a hundred years think of it?
Jun 4, 2018 — Robert Wright & Brian Greene
Why a particle isn’t what you think it is
Reasons to doubt the many worlds interpretation
The theory Einstein developed that he didn’t believe
Would going back in time violate the laws of physics?
Black holes and the natural selection of universes
What are the strings in string theory made of?
Audience Q and A