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Decoding the Gurus

English, Social, 1 season, 131 episodes, 3 days, 15 hours, 46 minutes
About
An exiled Northern Irish anthropologist and a hitchhiking Australian psychologist take a close look at the contemporary crop of 'secular gurus', iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights. Leveraging two of the most diverse accents in modern podcasting, Chris and Matt dig deep into the claims, peek behind the psychological curtains, and try to figure out once and for all... What's it all About? Join us, as we try to puzzle our way through and talk some smart-sounding smack about the intellectual giants of our age, from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo. Are they revolutionary thinkers or just grifters with delusions of grandeur? Join us and let's find out!
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Supplementary Materials 7: Guru Oneupmanship, Hard Ad Pivots, MOOOINK, and Left Wing Populism

We curse the dark omens emerging from the Gurusphere as we consider:The Illusion of Disciplinary BoundariesFlint Dibble Feedback and Rays of HopeRussell Brand and Bret Weinstein: Guru One-upmanshipBret Weinstein loves MOINNNNKHard Ad Pivots and Peasants Popping out of WellsKen Klippenstein and Populist RhetoricQuestioning mainstream narratives and their so-called 'experts'QAnon Anonymous missing Left Wing Populism?Alex O'Connor, Jordan Peterson and the costs of indulgent podcastingChris reaching across boundaries to Jonathan PageauOur only comment on the Drake and Kendrick FeudThe beautiful ballet of reaching across the aisleTerence Howard on RoganLinksRusselling with God | Russell Brand on DarkHorseKen Klippenstein- Why I'm Resigning From The InterceptA Farewell To Bad News feat Ken Klippenstein (E278)Navigating Belief, Skepticism, and the Afterlife | Alex O'Connor @CosmicSkeptic | EP 451Terrence Howard is Legitimately InsaneThe full episode is available for Patreon subscribers (1 hr 13 mins).Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus
5/27/202437 minutes, 4 seconds
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Destiny: Right to Reply

Matt and Chris jump into the world of debates, dramas, and online personas with the ever-controversial streamer, Destiny (Steven Bonnell). We discuss our Decoding episode a little bit but mostly broader issues including the value of 'debate porn', edginess & Twitter bomb-throwing, reality TV orbiter drama, and the perils of hero worship and parasocial relationships.As you might anticipate, we also cover various 'hot-button' issues including Destiny's involvement in Israel-Palestine discourse, the ethics of engaging with extremists, and whether Destiny was genuinely arguing for the right to murder the DDoS kid. Finally, we wrap up with some discussion of media literacy, the challenges of navigating online discourse, and strategies for laypeople to better engage with research.LinksOur Decoding episode on DestinyDestiny's Gurometer EpisodeDestiny's Positions as summarised on his WikiDiscussion with a Lawyer about the DDoS kidJoin us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus
5/24/20242 hours, 3 minutes, 51 seconds
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*Preview* Decoding Academia 27: Dark Triad Authenticity

We do bonus episodes every month that are focused on analysing academic content or discussing research and we thought it might be useful to let new listeners know! So find attached a preview...In this episode of Decoding Academia, Matt and Chris delve into a paper that explores the complex world of dark personality traits and their impact on authenticity. They examine how traits like narcissism and psychopathy might intersect with the concept of the true self, and consider whether cultural differences in self-conception play a significant role. The episode also features reflections on Logan Roy from Succession and a friendly disagreement between Matt and Chris about labels in psychology.Paper referenced: Bulbuc, A. A., & Visu-Petra, L. (2024). Shedding a light on authenticity in high dark trait individuals: A morally grey territory? Personality and Individual Differences, 224, 112632.The full episode is available for Patreon subscribers at the Revolutionary Genius tier (1 hr 9 mins).Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus
5/16/202430 minutes, 13 seconds
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Supplementary Materials 6: Christian Sensemaking, Hipster Race Realists, & Marijuana Pseudoscience

We shake our heads in despair at some truly terrible Guru crossovers:Old Man Health Routines: Jogging, Diets, and the Pursuit of 'Wellness'Jordan Peterson and Russell Brand offer the apotheosis of indulgent Christian-themed sensemakingTaylor Lorenz and activist journalismAre Twitch Streamers the Future of Journalism? No.Huberman gets himself in hot water over Marijuana episodeThe Value of Debating Pseudoscience with HubermanCasey Means: Cramming all the pseudoscience red flags into a single TweetWhen Red Scare met Steve Sailer: Ironic Hipsterism X Old Skool Scientific RacismLinksJBP Podcast: The Collective Unconscious, Christ, and the Covenant | Russell Brand | EP 444Washington Post: Twitch streamers become go-to news source for campus protest coverage (Taylor Lorenz)Red Scare: Sailer Socialism w/ Steve SailerHuberman Lab: Dr. Casey Means: Transform Your Health by Improving Metabolism, Hormone & Blood Sugar RegulationCasey Means Red Flag filled Pinned TweetNew York Magazine: The Man Who Invented Identity Politics for the Far RightThe full episode is available for Patreon subscribers (1 hr 43 mins).Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus
5/10/202449 minutes, 34 seconds
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Interview with Flint Dibble on Pseudo Archaeology and Science Communication

In this episode, join Matt and Chris as they enjoy a stimulating discussion with the archaeologist Flint Dibble. Flint recently appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience to discuss the evidence (or lack thereof) of advanced ancient civilizations facing off against the famed pseudoarchaeologist Graham Hancock. The episode was a four-and-a-half-hour tour de force in science communication and effective debunking, thanks to Flint's efforts.We talk to Flint about his experience on the show, the extensive preparation involved, his thoughts on how to effectively engage with pseudo-archaeology and strategies for enhancing broader science communication. Additionally, Flint discusses the significance of authentic archaeological work and the crucial role of academic participation in public discourse.We enjoyed this one a lot and hope you will too!LinksFlint's YouTube ChannelFlint on XJoe Rogan Experience #2136 - Graham Hancock & Flint DibbleFlint's Guardian Article: Lost civilisations make good TV, but archaeology’s real stories hold far more wonderCritical YouTube series on Hancock's Netflix Show Ancient ApocalypseFlint's Conversation Article: With Netflix’s Ancient Apocalypse, Graham Hancock has declared war on archaeologistsFlint's Cardiff University ProfileAtun Shei Review: An Archaeologist Debated Graham Hancock. I Have ThoughtsMedium Article by Chris that talks a bit about Graham Hancock's BookJoin us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus
5/2/20241 hour, 11 minutes, 3 seconds
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Supplementary Material 5: Spiritual UFOs, Alternative Theories of Evolution, and Atlantean Grievances

We watch in awe as the guru-sphere grapples with a host of 'alternative' theories:Bret promotes pseudoscience on Polio and alternative theories on evolutionThe Gurusphere collides with Tucker's takes on evolutionRogan and Tucker praise Alex Jones' prophetic abilitiesTucker's views on spiritual UFOsHasan endorses Lex Fridman as the most genuine centristContrasting Destiny and Hasan's transparencyWorld War 3 WarningsThe Great Archaeology Debate: Dibble vs. HancockGraham Hancock- A Grievance Mongering MasterclassIntentional MisrepresentationWhite Supremacy angers Great JoeThe Cass Review Controversy: A lesson in misinformationLinksThe Untold Story of Polio – Forrest Maready on DarkHorseJerry Coyne's old takedown of Bret's confused theories about evolutionBret's tweets defending TuckerJoe Rogan Experience #2138 - Tucker CarlsonJoe Rogan Experience #2136 - Graham Hancock & Flint DibbleThe Iced Coffee Hour- Confronting Hasan Piker on Socialist Grift, Hypocrisy, and How “The Top 1%” Keeps You Poor!The Iced Coffee Hour- Destiny on Debating Ben Shapiro, Toxic Wokeism and Getting DivorcedA comparison of the reactions to Iran's missile launchesMore or Less (BBC)- 98%: Is misinformation being spread about a review of trans youth medicine?The Cass ReportSystematic Reviews from the Cass ReportThe full episode is available for Patreon subscribers (1 hr 51 mins).Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus
4/26/202444 minutes, 5 seconds
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Destiny: Debate King and/or Degenerate?

In this episode, Matt and Chris dive deep into the world of online streamers, focusing on the pioneering and controversial figure Steven Bonell II, better known as Destiny (AKA Mr Borelli). As seasoned explorers of sense-making jungles, Petersonian crystalline structures, and mind-bending labyrinths in Weinstein World, they thought they were prepared for anything. However, the drama-infused degeneracy of the streamer swamps proves to offer some new challenges.Having previously dipped their toes in these waters by riding with Hasan on his joyous Houthi pirate ship (ignoring the screams of the imprisoned crew below decks), Matt and Chris now strip down to their decoding essentials and plunge head-first into streamer drama-infested waters as they search for the fabled true Destiny.Destiny is a popular live streamer and well-known debater with a long and colourful online history. He is also known for regularly generating controversy. With a literal mountain of content to sift through, there was no way to cover it all. Instead, Matt and Chris apply their usual decoding methods to sample a selection of Destiny's content, seeking to identify any underlying connective tissue and determine if he fits the secular guru mould.In so doing, they cover a wide range of topics, including:Destiny's background and rise to prominence in the streaming worldHow much of his brain precisely is devoted to wrangling conservatives?What's it like to live with almost no private/public boundaries?What are the ethics of debating neo-Nazis?The nature of the Destiny's online communityWhether murder is a justified response to DDOS attacks?Whether they succeed or fail in their decoding will be for the listeners to judge, but one thing is certain: if this is your first exposure to the streaming world, you are in for a bit of a ride.LinksThe Institute of Art and Ideas: Destiny and the new world of Internet politics | Steven Bonnell full interviewEnd of the Leftist Arc? - Destiny Addresses the Recent DramaIced Coffee Hour: Destiny on Debating Ben Shapiro, Toxic Wokeism and Getting DivorcedHelpful Reddit thread with a bunch of relevant videos and summariesDocumentary on Destiny Lore by Dingo: The Steven "Destiny" Bonnell II IcebergDestiny's Positions page on his dedicated WikiDestiny's ManifestosMrGirl's anti-Destiny 'Report'
4/22/20243 hours, 16 minutes, 24 seconds
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Supplementary Material 4: Passive Aggressive Therapists, Shit-posting Monks, and Weaponised Naivety

We ponder whether, due to our naivety, do we actually deserve the gurus and other topics, including: Is Hasan Piker even better than we said?The ethical quandaries of online therapy with Dr. KThe False Halos of Status and SuccessThe Rest is History Luther series and parallels with Secular GurusThe Power of Polemicists: Peterson, Trump, and Martin Luther?Secular vs. Religious GurusShit-posting MissivesOrthodoxic Atheism and Orthopraxic ReligionLex Fridman's Reflections on Intellectual HumilitySome important Messages from the hostsLinksGame Rant Article about Hasan Piker's donation to Strike FundsUncovering the Higher Truth about Jay Shetty by John McDermottCoffeezilla Interview with John McDermottDr. K and Doctor Mike: Debating The Value Of Eastern Medicine (Ayurveda)That stream with Dr. K and his wifeThe Rest is History: Series on Martin LutherArticle by Chris in Aeon about Orthopraxic ReligionLex's extremely humble tweet about his intellectual humilityThe full episode is available for Patreon subscribers (1hr 19mins).Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus
4/13/202436 minutes, 23 seconds
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Yuval Noah Harari: Eat Bugs and Live Forever

Yuval Noah Harari is a historian, a writer, and a popular 'public intellectual'. He rose to fame with Sapiens (2014), his popular science book that sought to outline a 'History of Humankind' and followed this up with a more future-focused sequel, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016). More recently, he's been converting his insights into a format targeted at younger people with Unstoppable Us: How Humans Took Over the World (2022). In general, Harari is a go-to public intellectual for people looking for big ideas, thoughts on global events, and how we might avoid catastrophe. He has been a consistent figure on the interview and public lecture circuit and, with his secular message, seems an ideal candidate for Gurometeratical analysis.Harari also has some alter egos. He is a high-ranking villain in the globalist pantheon for InfoWars-style conspiracy theorists, with plans that involve us all eating bugs and uploading our consciousness to the Matrix. Alternatively, for (some) historians and philosophers, he is a shallow pretender, peddling inaccurate summaries of complex histories and tricky philosophical insights. For others, he is a neoliberal avatar offering apologetics for exploitative capitalist and multinational bodies.So, who is right? Is he a bug-obsessed villain plotting to steal our precious human souls or a mild-mannered academic promoting the values of meditation, historical research, and moderation?Join Matt and Chris in this episode to find out and learn other important things, such as what vampires should spend their time doing, whether money is 'real', and how to respond respectfully to critical feedback.LinksThe Diary of a CEO: Yuval Noah Harari: An Urgent Warning They Hope You Ignore. More War Is Coming!Our previous episode on Yuval and the Angry PhilosophersCurrent Affairs: The Dangerous Populist Science of Yuval Noah Harari (a little overly dramatic)
4/5/20242 hours, 17 minutes, 27 seconds
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Supplementary Material 3: Sand-worms, Anti-Capitalist Merch, and High Level Idea-Jacking

We test the boundaries of the Supplementary format with a stacked third edition containing: Matt's Review of Dune 2 and the Three-Body ProblemHasan Piker's Anti-Capitalist MerchThe Controversy Surrounding Andrew HubermanDifferential Charity and Selective DecouplingGrace before meals at Triggernometry and Christian HipsterismJordan and Bret's Pseudoacademic-eseHigh-Level Idea JackingDream InstructionsLinksHasan Piker's Ideologie StoreNew York Magazine: Andrew Huberman's Mechanisms of ControlSlate: So, Should You Trust Andrew Huberman?The Darien Gap & Postmodernism | Bret Weinstein & Jordan Peterson | EP 434Triggernometry: Can We Live Without Religion? - Alex O'ConnorImmune: A Journey into the Mysterious System that Keeps You AliveThe full episode is available for Patreon subscribers (1hr 33mins).Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus
3/31/202452 minutes, 17 seconds
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Mini-Decoding: The Descent of Jordan B. Peterson

We take a look at a recent conversation between Jordan Peterson and the streamer Steven Bonnell (AKA Destiny) and use the opportunity to reflect on Jordan's journey as a public intellectual and guru.We consider how his stances have changed, whether he is more extreme now than when he emerged or if it is just his presentation style that has shifted. Along the way, we look at his demon-infested understanding of the COVID-19 vaccines, his climate change denialism, and address the unresolved question of the ages: Were the Nazis actually right-wing?LinksJordan Peterson Podcast: Streaming, Politics, & Philosophy | @destiny | EP 433Video of Jordan Peterson on climate change and climate policy at the Cambridge UnionHistorian specialising on the Nazis article in Haaretz: Exposing Jordan Peterson’s Barrage of Revisionist Falsehoods About Hitler, the Holocaust and NazismThe Nazis were not right-wing memeSnopes article on whether the Nazis were socialistsReuters: Fact Check: No evidence to link UK excess deaths to COVID-19 vaccinesJordan Peterson is Back! - Bret Weinstein's DarkHorse PodcastThe Guardian: Jordan Peterson’s ‘zombie’ climate contrarianism follows a well-worn path
3/26/20241 hour, 23 minutes, 59 seconds
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Supplementary Material 2: Dissident Dialogues, Bloodbaths, & Genocidal Debates

The adventure in formatting continues with the second Supplementary Material episode. On this episode:Sam Harris DevoteesDissident DialoguesLex's important message about idolismTrumpian Bloodbath & Media CriticismLex Fridman's Israel-Palestine DebateFinkelstein vs. DestinyGenocidal Debates The full episode is available for Patreon subscribers (1hr 14mins).Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurusLinksLex Fridman Podcast: Finkelstein, Destiny, M. Rabbani & Benny MorrisDissident Dialogues – A PLACE FOR DANGEROUS IDEASGuardian News clips from the 'Bloodbath" speechJoe Rogan & Jonathan Haidt Disagree About Donald Trump BLOODBATH CommentLex's anti-Idol TweetGuardian Article (2015): Israel exonerates itself over Gaza beach killings of four children last yearUN investigation (2015) that covered the beach bombings and reached more critical conclusionsThe Globe and Mail (2015): Account from a reporter
3/22/202436 minutes, 42 seconds
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Gurometer: Hasan Piker *PREVIEW*

What happens when you try to squeeze a muscle-bound Twitch streamer into a precise measurement instrument like the Gurometer? And can it even function when it encounters this level of left-wing nodulation? It's an empirical question and since the Gurometer recently had all its oil replaced, we decided to give it a go.This is also a reminder that we do Gurometer episodes for ALL the Gurus we cover and you can find the back catalogue over on the Patreon, if so inclined.The full episode is available for Patreon subscribers (44 mins).Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus
3/15/202423 minutes, 33 seconds
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Hasan Piker: A swashbuckling Bromance

Avast Ye Harties! Yar! This week be the inaugural episode of a New Streamer/Academic Guru season. Join us as we set sail with a bang and embark on an adventure with the famous and controversial Twitch streamer Hasan Piker. Formerly of the Young Turks, Hasan has carved out a niche as a popular left-wing commentator. He is sometimes described as representing a new wave of political communicators who leverage social media and live streaming to reach new audiences, particularly disengaged younger viewers.But how does he fare in these Decoding waters?We take a look at his recent interview with Rashed Al-Haddad, a dashing Yemeni teenager (nicknamed Tim Houthi Chalamet), who recently found himself streaming video on an international transport ship hijacked by Houthi militants. But fear not! Hasan addresses this sensitive topic and the complex geopolitical issues involved with due diligence and care. Moreover, Rashed reports that all of the kidnapped crew are having a grand old time in Yemen! They are simply vibing with their captors, chewing khat, and have fully embraced the honourable Houthi perspective.The Houthis' official slogan, "God is the Greatest, Death to America, Death to Israel, A Curse Upon the Jews, Victory to Islam", and reports of severe human rights abuses in their territory, might still give one pause... but as Hasan explains—drawing on his deep political and psychological insights—the Houthis are just like the heroic Straw Hat pirates in the popular anime One Piece!So with that settled, we can focus on the more important questions like what videogames Rashed likes, if he has ever heard of Mr. Beast, whether he's eaten 'Western' food, what cartoons he watched growing up, and if there are KFCs in Yemen? Truly, this is a conversation for the ages, and Hasan is just the man for the job.So join us for this week's episode as we ponder whether combining influencer culture with political analysis was a wise move and if there are any possible contradictions or minor ideological skews in Hasan's content.Links- Hasan Interviews Viral 'Hot Yemeni TikTok Pirate' | Hasanabi Reacts- Atlantic article about the Houthis and the situation in Yemen- AP article on the crew of the hijacked 'Galaxy Leader' ship and their ability to contact their families- Amnesty article on Houthi sentencing of stoning and crucifixion for crimes of homosexuality- Human Rights Watch article on Houthi recruitment of child soldiers- Human Rights Watch article on the al-Ahli Hospital Explosion- Willy Mac 'drama' YouTuber collated episodes on Hasan (part 1 and part 2)
3/13/20241 hour, 55 minutes, 46 seconds
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Supplementary Material 1: Cringe Immunity & Supplemental Ethics

An adventure in formatting, welcome to the inaugural Supplementary Material episode. Here we are trying to save you all from the ever-expanding intro segments.On this episode:Announcement of the New FormatWho Decodes the Decoders?A Mystery Sense-Making clipLex Fridman on NavalanyJordan Peterson's fury at the Associated PressBre Weinstein's superpower: Cringe ImmunityAnti-Capitalists for AG1 and the ethics of sponsorshipThe full episode is available for Patreon subscribers (54 mins).Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurusLinksPost-Apocalyptic Theology Decodes UsJohn Vervaeke & Jordan Hall discuss Christian Virtues in a Diverse World2lazy2try: Bret Weinstein Has Completely Lost ItSome More News 'promoting' AG1Jordan Peterson's unhinged tweet attacking the Associated Press
3/7/202429 minutes, 31 seconds
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Interview with Kevin Mitchell on Agency and Evolution

In this episode, Matt and Chris converse with Kevin Mitchell, an Associate Professor of Genetics and Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin, and author of 'Free Agents: How Evolution Gave Us Free Will'. We regret to inform you that the discussion does involve in-depth discussions of philosophy-adjacent topics such as free will, determinism, consciousness, the nature of self, and agency. But do not let that put you off!  Kevin is a scientist and approaches them all through a sensible scientific perspective. You do not have to agree but you do have to pay attention!If you ever wanted to see Matt geek out and Chris remain chill and be fully vindicated, this is the episode for you.LinksKevin's websiteRobert Sapolsky vs Kevin Mitchell: The Biology of Free Will | Philosophical TrialsKevin's TedX Talk: Who’s in charge? You or your brain? | Kevin Mitchell | TEDxTrinityCollegeDublin
3/6/20242 hours, 9 minutes, 51 seconds
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Sean Carroll: The Worst Guru Yet?!?

Controversial physics firebrand Sean Carroll has cut a swathe through the otherwise meek and mild podcasting industry over the last few years. Known in the biz as the "bad boy" of science communication, he offends as much as he educ....<< Record scratch >> No, we can't back any of that up obviously, those are all actually lies. Let's start again.Sean Carroll has worked as a research professor in theoretical physics and philosophy of science at Caltech and is presently an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He currently focuses on popular writing and public education on topics in physics and has appeared in several science documentaries. Since 2018 Sean has hosted his podcast Mindscape, which focuses not only on science but also on "society, philosophy, culture, arts and ideas". Now, that's a broad scope and firmly places Sean in the realm of "public intellectual", and potentially within the scope of a "secular guru" (in the broader non-pejorative sense - don't start mashing your keyboard with angry e-mails just yet). The fact is, Sean appears to have an excellent reputation for being responsible, reasonable and engaging, and his Mindscape podcast is wildly popular. But despite his mild-mannered presentation, Sean is quite happy to take on culture-war-adjacent topics such as promoting a naturalistic and physicalist atheist position against religious approaches. He's also prepared to stake out and defend non-orthodox positions, such as the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics, and countenance somewhat out-there ideas such as the holographic principle.But we won't be covering his deep physics ideas in this episode... possibly because we're not smart enough. Rather, we'll look at a recent episode where Sean stretched his polymathic wings, in the finest tradition of a secular guru, and weighed in on AI and large-language models (LLMs). Is Sean getting over his skis, falling face-first into a mound of powdery pseudo-profound bullshit or is he gliding gracefully down a black diamond with careful caveats and insightful reflections? Also covered the stoic nature of Western Buddhists, the dangers of giving bad people credit, and the unifying nature of the Ukraine conflict.LinksYouTube 'Drama' channel covering all the Vaush stuff in excruciating detailThe Wikipedia entry on Buddhist Modernism Sharf, R. (1995). Buddhist modernism and the rhetoric of meditative experience. Numen, 42(3), 228-283.Radley Balko's Substack: The retconning of George Floyd: An Update and the original articleWhat The Controversial George Floyd Doc Didn't Tell Us | Glenn Loury & John McWhorterSean Carroll: Mindscape 258 | Solo: AI Thinks Different 
3/2/20242 hours, 40 minutes, 18 seconds
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Mini-Decoding: Indulgent Monologuing

Sometimes our intrepid Decoders like to focus on a specific rhetorical technique or recurrent pattern that can be observed across the Gurusphere. Here, Matt and Chris take a look at a bite-size portion of the philosopher John Gray's recent appearance on Sam Harris' Making Sense podcast. Gray was invited to outline his critique of New Atheism, and his response is a remarkable monologue that encompasses a vast range of intellectual topics, philosophical thinkers, and historical periods. We travel from ancient religion to medieval peasants and finally to (almost) the contemporary era. It is a veritable tour de force of an erudite philosopher's mind palace. So join us for a hike around through that palace and see if you agree with our assessment that the notable features reflect some common issues in academic, philosophical, and guru discourse. Alternatively, you might find Gray's approach vibes with your interests, and that it is Matt and Chris who are simply showcasing their grumpy materialist perspective (again). It will probably be impossible to tell unless we first consider what Spinoza said to Oldenburg in 1665 while taking due consideration of the Kokutai doctrine as elaborated by the Mito School in Meiji Japan, but that, of course, leads us to ancient Egypt and the pharaohs...LinksIs Moral Progress a Fantasy?: A Conversation with John Gray (Episode #354)
2/28/202450 minutes, 42 seconds
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Sam Harris: Right to Reply

Sam Harris is an author, podcaster, public intellectual, ex-New Atheist, card-returning IDWer, and someone who likely needs no introduction. This is especially the case if you are a DTG listener as we recently released a full-length decoding episode on Sam.Following that episode, Sam generously agreed to come on to address some of the points we raised in the Decoding and a few other select topics. As you will hear we get into some discussions of the lab leak, what you can establish from introspection and the nature of self, motivations for extremism, coverage of the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and selective application of criticism.Also covered in the episode are Andrew Huberman's dog and his thanking eyes, Joe Rogan's condensed conspiracism, and the value of AI protocol searches.LinksOur Decoding Episode on SamOur interview with three virologists on the Lab LeakKevin Drum's blog. 'I read the entire Slack archive about the origin of SARS-CoV-2. There is no evidence of improper behaviour'New York Magazine article by Eric Levitz 'Sam Harris’s Fairy-Tale Account of the Israel-Hamas Conflict' Making Sense Podcast Episode 351: 5 Myths about Israel and the War in GazaMaking Sense Podcast Episode 352: Hubris & Chaos- A Conversation with Rory StewartGlobal Catastrophic Risk Institute: The Origin and Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Expert Survey. The Israel Democracy Institute. War in Gaza Public Opinion Survey (2): See Question 15. Atran, S. (2016). The devoted actor: Unconditional commitment and intractable conflict across cultures. Current Anthropology, 57(S13), S192-S203.
2/17/20242 hours, 13 minutes, 52 seconds
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The Passion of the Jordan and the Wisdom of the Bret

Sometimes it's important to check in on old friends, just to make sure they're doing okay. That's the theme for today's episode. We felt it was necessary to pay an unannounced house call to our old pals Bret Weinstein and Jordan Peterson. Rumor had it that Jordan was facing some challenges with his clinical license, while Bret had been brewing up revolutionary evolutionary theories that weren't getting the recognition they deserved.Knowing Jordan's stoic nature and aversion to publicity, we anticipated he'd be reluctant to 'make a fuss.' So, we decided to drop by his podcast to see how he and his daughter, Mikhaila, were handling the news that another Canadian court had determined that the evil College of Psychologists of Ontario does indeed have the authority to reprimand him for rampaging on social media like a deranged badger. We were confident he would be taking it all in his stride, with his usual level of decorum and we were certainly not disappointed.As for Bret, well, let's just say he's cracked the code behind the Chinese evolutionary LINEAGE and its motivation for instigating the one-child policy, with implications that shake the very foundations of our current world order. This is one for the history books and cements Bret's status as a world-class evolutionary thinker. When you start looking through Bret's evolutionary lens, suddenly everything starts to make sense.So come join us to see how these two titans of the Guru-sphere are faring in 2024 and in the process learn exactly which of them is morphing into a Lord of the Rings character.LinksEp. 71 The Tucker Encounter on X: Bret Weinstein travelled to the Darien Gap to understand who's behind the invasion of our country.Jordan B. Peterson Podcast: My Clinical License is as Good as GoneClip of Bret elaborating on his new theory with Neil Oliver on GB NewsArticle on previous complaints the Ontario Board received about Jordan PetersonCBC News article on the Ontario Court judgementArticle by a Canadian Lawyer on the Judgement
2/9/20241 hour, 30 minutes, 48 seconds
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Mini Decoding: Yuval and the Philosophers

Join us for a mini decoding to get us back into the swing of things as we examine a viral clip that had religious reactionaries, sensemakers, and academic philosophers in a bit of a tizzy. Specifically, we are covering reactions to a clip from a 2014 TEDx talk by Yuval Noah Harari, the well-known author and academic, in which he discussed how human rights (and really all of human culture) are a kind of 'fiction'.Get ready for a thrilling ride as your intrepid duo plunges into a beguiling world of symbolism, cultural evolution, and outraged philosophers. By the end of the episode, we have resolved many intractable philosophical problems including whether monkeys are bastards, if first-class seating is immoral, and where exactly human rights come from. Philosophers might get mad but that will just prove how right we are.LinksThe original tweet that set everyone offBananas in heaven | Yuval Noah Harari | TEDxJaffaPaul Vander Klay's tweet on the kerfuffleAn example of a rather mad philosopherSpeak Life: Can We Have Human Rights Without God? With Paul Blackham (The longer video that PVK clipped from)Standard InfoWars article on Harari
1/30/202440 minutes, 39 seconds
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DTG's Face to Face Reflections 2024

In this episode, our intrepid hosts embrace a rare opportunity for sincere self-reflection, spurred by a face-to-face meeting in an inspiring ryokan in a Japanese mountain setting. The discussion delves into the nature of the podcast, audience capture, underlying motivations, and their thoughts on the journey so far and the path ahead.In an act of pure parasocial manipulation, listeners are invited to imagine the snowy ryokan landscape and 'taste' the amber liquid savoured during the conversation. And should you desire to TRULY see the location (with your eyes) photos and additional videos are up on Patreon.In any case, we genuinely do want to send a New Year note of thanks to all the listeners for their support, especially the smart ones who agree with us and recognise that Matt is the bad one.Normal decoding services to resume shortly...
1/19/202431 minutes, 37 seconds
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Mini-Decoding: Huberman on the Vaccine-Autism Controversy

Andrew Huberman, Stanford academic and host of a science-themed podcast, recently released an episode on Autism with guest Dr. Karen Parker. Considering the prevalence of misinformation about vaccines and autism and this episode being promoted as providing an overview of the topic, we were interested to see how the topic would be covered. In part, this interest was because of Huberman's strategic choice to avoid any discussion, let alone any recommendation, of COVID vaccines during the pandemic. The topic came up 2 hours and 43 minutes into the episode and lasted for around 10 minutes.What we found was interesting and we think deserving of a mini-decoding. What you will not find here is any endorsement of lurid anti-vax claims or cheers for Andrew Wakefield. Indeed, Huberman notes that Wakefield's research was debunked, while his guest Dr. Parker explains the consensus view amongst researchers that there is no evidence of a link. What you will find: Huberman readily engaging in ‘both sides’ hedging: maybe Wakefield’s research helped locate real issues with preservatives, maybe there are too many childhood vaccines (some clinicians 'in private' recommend none), maybe new data will come out later that reveals a link between autism and vaccines. There certainly are a lot of questions and could it be that 'cancel culture' is the real problem here rather than the existence of a very influential anti-vaccine movement?Let's just say, when you pair this with Huberman's comments on the potential dangers of Bluetooth headphones/sunscreen, the potential benefits for negative ion bathing and grounding, the lab leak origins of COVID, endorsement of AG1 and a host of other supplements, and fawning over figures like RFK Jnr and Joe Rogan... we have some questions of our own.LinksHuberman Lab 154: Dr. Karen Parker- The Causes & Treatments for AutismVaccine Schedules from the 1940s to 2019BMJ: How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixedJonathan Jarry: Andrew Huberman Has Supplements on the BrainHuberman's comments on Instagram about RFK Jnr
12/28/202348 minutes, 53 seconds
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Sam Harris: Transcending it All?

Sam Harris is the subject today and a man who needs no introduction. Although he's come up and he's come on, we've never actually (technically) decoded him. There is no Gurometer score! A glaring omission and one that needs correcting. It would have been easy for us to cherry-pick Sam being extremely good on conspiracy theories, or extremely controversial on politics, but we felt that neither would be fair. So we opted for a general and broad-ranging recent interview he did with Chris Williamson. Love him or loathe him, it's a representative piece of Sam Harris content, and therefore good material for us.Sam talks about leaving Twitter, and how transformative that was for his life, then gets into his favourite topic: Buddhism, consciousness, and living in the moment. That's the kind of spiritual kumbaya topics that Sam reports causing him little pain online but Chris and Matt- the soulless physicalists and p-zombies that they are- seek to destroy even that refuge. On the other hand, they find themselves determined by the very forces of the universe to nod their meat puppet heads in furious agreement as Sam discusses the problems with free speech absolutism and reactionary conspiracism. That's just a taste of what's to come in this extra-ordinarily long episode to finish off the year. What's the DTG take? You'll have to listen to find out all the details, but we do think there is some selective interpretation of religions at hand and some gut reactions to wokeness that leads to some significant blindspots. So is Sam Harris an enlightened genius, a neo-conservative warmonger, a manipulative secular guru? Or is he, in the immortal words of Gag Halfrunt, Zaphod Beeblebrox's head specialist, "just zis guy, you know?".Sam was DTG's white whale of 2023, but we'll let you be the judge as to whether or not we harpooned him, or whether he's swimming off contentedly, unscathed, into the open ocean.LinksSam Harris - Take Back Control Of Your Mind (4K) | Modern Wisdom 661DTG Special Episode: Sam Harris & Meditation is all you needDTG Special: Interview with Sam Harris on Gurus, Tribalism & the Culture WarDTG Special Episode: Interview with Evan Thompson on Buddhist ExceptionalismDTG Interview with Worobey, Andersen & Holmes: The Lab LeakMaking Sense 311: Did SARS-CoV-2 Escape from a Lab? A Conversation with Matt Ridley and Alina Chan
12/24/20233 hours, 20 minutes, 10 seconds
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DTG Christmas Quiz 2023 with Helen Lewis

Seasons greetings from Decoding the Gurus!Time to grab a hot chocolate, cosy up to the fire, and wrack your brain to see how much attention you've been paying to all those gurus... that's right it is time for the annual Guru quiz!Luckily for us, the esteemed journalist and author, Helen Lewis, is back as a combined special guest and quiz master. Prepare for stunning revelations, scintillating dystopic erotic fiction, and more nootropic stimulation than you can shake a stick at.So who will triumph this year Chris or Matt? And how will Helen fare when the tables are turned? Join us, find out, and have a happy Christmas/non-denominational Winter holiday season!And don't worry, there might be just a little bit more DTG goodness to come before the end of 2023...
12/22/20231 hour, 42 minutes, 2 seconds
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Red Scare: Bohemian Hipsterism x Reactionary Tradcaths

In today's joyous episode, we saunter into the loft apartment, take a draw on our gauloise, and glance icily into a world of bohemian hipsters living their best postmodern tradcath lives. Welcome to the irony-drenched world of 'Red Scare', a popular podcast hosted (sardonically) by Anna Khachiyan and Dasha Nekrasova. Also joining them in the episode we cover is hip writer and artist, Tao Lin, a pioneer in the alt-lit world. Get ready for hours of 'transgressive' insights, independent research, dorm-room philosophies and monotone delivery. Thrill at their 'edgy' humour, bespoke theories of autism, standard anti-vax bullshit, and all of the usual positions you find with postmodern conservatism. You will learn things like how Tao Lin diagnosed his cat with autism, how long each host was breastfed, why half of Americans will be non-verbal in 2050, how Trump's anti-vaccine conspiracies make him trustworthy, the best way to chug your bootleg raw milk, and that thick books are always full of reliable facts.When it is all brought together, although we might not have an episode that is lighting up the gurometer, we do have a rather contemporary melange of postmodern-conservatism, trad-cath lifehacks, new-age spirituality, anti-vax conspiracy theories, and irony-laced, not even bothered, posturing.So like... enjoy... or whatever...Also features a discussion of Elon Musk's latest grandiosity, some unexpected guru clashing, and confirmation that Chris and Matt are not cool enough to be invited to your next Bohemian soiree.LinksRed Scare: Crazy Autistic Asians w/ Tao LinElon Musk Interview with Andrew Ross SorkinJames Lindsay & Jonathan Pageau Tussle on Twitter and as usual Demons are involvedTao Lin's Essay The Story of Autism: How We Got Here, How We HealCatala-Lopez, F., Hutton, B., Page, M. J., Driver, J. A., Ridao, M., Alonso-Arroyo, A., ... & Tabarés-Seisdedos, R. (2022). Mortality in persons with autism spectrum disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA pediatrics, e216401-e216401.Modabbernia, A., Velthorst, E., & Reichenberg, A. (2017). Environmental risk factors for autism: an evidence-based review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Molecular autism, 8(1), 1-16.
12/8/20232 hours, 39 minutes, 21 seconds
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Interview with Daniël Lakens and Smriti Mehta on the state of Psychology

We are back with more geeky academic discussion than you can shake a stick at. This week we are doing our bit to save civilization by discussing issues in contemporary science, the replication crisis, and open science reforms with fellow psychologists/meta-scientists/podcasters, Daniël Lakens and Smriti Mehta. Both Daniël and Smriti are well known for their advocacy for methodological reform and have been hosting a (relatively) new podcast, Nullius in Verba, all about 'science—what it is and what it could be'. We discuss a range of topics including questionable research practices, the implications of the replication crisis, responsible heterodoxy, and the role of different communication modes in shaping discourses. Also featuring: exciting AI chat, Lex and Elon being teenage edge lords, feedback on the Huberman episode, and as always updates on Matt's succulents.Back soon with a Decoding episode!LinksNullius in Verba PodcastLee Jussim's Timeline on the Klaus Fiedler Controversy and a list of articles/sources covering the topicElon Musk: War, AI, Aliens, Politics, Physics, Video Games, and Humanity | Lex Fridman Podcast #400Daniel's MOOC on Improving Your Statistical InferenceCritical commentary on Fiedler controversy at Replicability-Index
11/18/20232 hours, 42 minutes, 31 seconds
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Andrew Huberman and Peter Attia: Self-enhancement, supplements & doughnuts?

In a kind of meta cross-over with our Decoding Academia series, we're going to decode a journal club discussion between two well-known health optimisers: Dr. Peter Attia and Dr. Andrew Huberman. So you get to listen to two academics talk about two other academics talk about academic papers... we know...We've already been introduced to the bulging biceps and morning sun-drenched routines of Huberman elsewhere but this is our first introduction to Peter Attia, MD. Attia is a former ultra-endurance athlete and a physician in the field of longevity and performance, a podcaster (who isn't amirite?!?) and author of "Outlive: The Science And Art Of Longevity".Attia introduces us to a paper that casts doubt on the supposed general life-extending properties of a diabetes drug called Metformin. This is a drug that is apparently very well known in the biohacker/life extension communities and one that Attia administered to himself for a number of years despite the rather preliminary evidence. This is the first of many indicators that both gentlemen are certainly on the bleeding edge of self-medicating experimentation, doggedly pursuing the elusive goals of huge pectoral muscles, minds that laugh at the concept of cognitive decline, and bodies that will live... well for a lot longer than Matt and Chris!We get to hear about week-long starvation regimes, medications that take the edge of pizza and doughnut binges, dealing with month-long nausea from self-dosing experimental treatments, and frequent prick-blood tests all for the sake of optimising, optimising, optimising...Huberman's paper (a preprint, actually) falls more into the "big, if true" category - although he seems fairly confident himself. Does *believing* you are getting a treatment generate the relevant physiological and neurological effects in the body that could mean we can bypass the need for certain pharmacological substances entirely, including some vaccines?!? Based on the results of a small-N, fMRI study that reports mixed results, Huberman muses... maybe! Or how about those other small-N studies, with p-values hovering suspiciously close to 0.05 that report other counterintuitive findings? We will leave it to Huberman to explain.But the bad stuff aside, Huberman and Attia (especially Attia) actually do a pretty decent job talking about how to approach research papers and some of the pros and cons of different approaches. Chris and Matt thus have ample opportunities to give credit where credit's due and demonstrate that they are the fair-minded souls everyone knows them to be! In any case, it's an interesting peak into an alternative health optimiser world. It seems to be a rather "serious" hobby a bit like body modification or tattoos. But who are we to judge? Matt likes cultivating succulent plants and Chris is into eating sushi in lush forests. So biohacking, self-experimentation for longevity? Well, at least it's an ethos.Also featuring, an introduction that covers Irish history, the most humble guru in the gurusphere, and our very own theory of guru cringeosity!LinksJournal Club with Dr. Peter Attia | Metformin for Longevity &amp; The Power of Belief EffectsThe Most Arrogant thing Bret Weinstein has ever said? Bad Stats ThreadKeys et al. (2022) Reassessing the evidence of a survival advantage in Type 2 diabetes treated with metformin compared with controls without diabetes: a retrospective cohort study.<a href="https://dom-pubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dom.12354?utm_source=youtube&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_campaign=huberman_lab" rel="noopener...
11/9/20233 hours, 12 minutes, 46 seconds
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Interview with Julia Ebner: Extremist Networks & Radicalisation

On this week's episode, we have an extended interview with author and researcher, Julia Ebner. Julia is a Senior Resident Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and has written a series of books exploring the social dynamics of extremist networks, including The Rage: the Vicious Circle of Islamist and Far-Right Extremism, Going Dark: the Secret Social Lives of Extremists, and most recently Going Mainstream: How Extremists Are Taking Over.Julia also recently completed her DPhil at Oxford's Centre for Studies of Social Cohesion and has been developing novel linguistic analyses to help identify the psychological indicators of violence in extremist material and manifestos. She has also endured publishing some papers with our resident cognitive anthropologist.In the podcast, we cover a range of topics from the factors impacting radicalisation, Julia's time working for Maajid Nawaz's organisation, the psychology of conspiracy theories, and her experiences as an undercover investigator.Also on this week's episode, we dive into a recent episode of the DarkHorse to explore the Alex Jones' level conspiracies that Bret and Heather have recently been promoting about the horrific events in Israel. You might imagine it would be difficult to make such a tragic event about COVID dissidents and vaccines but if so you are underestimating the InfoHorse hosts.For a palette cleanser enjoy an extended review-of-reviews and some marathon shoutouts.LinksThe Guardian: The Big Idea- is it too late to stop extremism taking over politics?Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists | Julia Ebner | Talks at GoogleJulia's Recent Book- Going Mainstream: How Extremists Are Taking OverRegressive Left Media: Tommy Robinson and Maajid Nawaz: Sleeping with the EnemyBad Stats thread with DarkHorse clips from episode 195Andy Last's Beyond Synth PodcastDTG Shedding Light on the DarkHorse: A Mini ReviewEbner, J., Kavanagh, C., &amp; Whitehouse, H. (2023). Measuring socio-psychological drivers of extreme violence in online terrorist manifestos: an alternative linguistic risk assessment model. Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, 1-19.Ebner, J., Kavanagh, C., &amp; Whitehouse, H. (2022). Is there a language of terrorists? a comparative manifesto analysis. Studies in Conflict &amp; Terrorism, 1-27.
10/16/20232 hours, 3 minutes, 52 seconds
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Triggernometry's Big Moment: Entering the Guru Galaxy

In modern online ecosystems, attention and download metrics reign supreme. Sadly, the gurus are not immune to these incentives, with even the most successful, *cough* Jordan Peterson *cough*, regularly referencing how many people watched their latest video or how many subscribers they have on their 'brave freethinker' tier.Alongside the attention metrics, you also have the interpersonal networks (and dinner opportunities) that matter so much to the guru-sphere. Celebrity interviews, cross-promotional content and collabs, a PragerU video, a shoutout from Joe Rogan, a long-form discussion with RFK Jnr, dinner and a phone call with Eric Weinstein... such are the untold wonders that await anyone who dares to challenge the 'mainstream' orthodoxy by endorsing some element of the contrarian canon (vaccines are dangerous and public health measures were authoritarian, Biden is terrible/Trump isn't that bad, the mainstream media is afraid to discuss paedophiles, etc.). It's very easy to see the impact of the financial and interpersonal incentives in the guru-sphere but what is not as common is for those involved in the hustle to talk transparently about how it all works. Enter Konstantin Kisin and Francis Foster, the hosts of Triggernometry. In a recent episode, they lay all of this bare by discussing how Konstantin's viral rhetoric-heavy speech at the Oxford Union (decoded in a previous episode) led to very tangible attention and financial rewards but, perhaps more importantly, the newfound respect of a class of celebrity commentator they had always aspired to belong to. With the encouragement of these intellectual heavyweights they now have BIG plans for a Triggernometry media network!So join us for this refreshing look at the inner workings of the Gurusphere through the hungry eyes of the Triggernometry boys!Also on this episode: some updates on previous gurus (Russell Brand &amp; Ibram X. Kendi), discussion of good(!) alternative media content, personal reflections on what Orwellian governments look like, and the psychology of riding roller coasters. Something for everyone!LinksWhat's Next for TRIGGERnometryOur previous decoding of the Oxford Union speechChris' Twitter thread on Konstantin's origin storySurfing the Discourse: Analysing the Right-Wing Reactions to the Russell Brand Scandal (feat Ben Shapiro, Dave Rubin, and more!)NY Times: Ibram X. Kendi and the Problem of Celebrity Fund-RaisingRussell Brand accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuseBBC: Pat Finucane: A murder with 'collusion at its heart'Why They Hate Jordan Peterson - Konstantin KisinWhy Communism is Even Worse Than Fascism - Konstantin Kisin
10/3/20232 hours, 30 minutes, 53 seconds
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Interview with the Conspirituality Trio: Navigating the Chakras of Conspiracy

Back in the early days of the podcast, we tried to take a rest from the wearisome repetition of polemical partisan gurus by covering JP Sears- an alternative-health self-help coach with a sideline in 'comedic parody'. Sadly, we soon discovered he was a red-pilled Roganite 'just asking questions' about all the usual right-wing partisan topics, but with an added dollop of pseudo-profound, self-indulgent spiritual blather.JP Sears wasn't an isolated case; he exemplified a disturbingly prevalent trend. One that was supercharged during the pandemic and can be observed clearly in figures like Russell Brand, Aubrey Marcus, RFK Jnr and a whole slew of QAnon and anti-vaccine influencers.To help us disentangle this quagmire and the dynamics at play, we are joined by the three co-hosts of the popular Conspiritualty podcast: Matthew Remski, Julian Walker, and Derek Beres.We've spoken with them many times over the past few years about a variety of topics but in today's conversation, we explore the contemporary state of the Conspirituality sphere and discuss broader themes they have observed (&amp; how they relate to the gurus we cover). We also examine whether they view activism as core to their podcast, how they handle attacks or engage with legitimate criticism, and how they feel about their own place in the ecosystems they discuss.We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did!Also covered in the opening segment is a cursed guru-sphere crossover between the Triggernometry guys and our old favourite, Scott Adams.LinksThe new Conspirituality Book!Our recent appearance on Conspirituality to hear the tables get turned!Review of Conspirituality at Science Based Medicine by Jonathan HowardNY Times: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Coalition of the Distrustful'Why I quit the Conspirutality Podcast' by Be ScofieldMedium article referenced on the Defamation caseTriggernometry: Trump Must Win to Avoid Prison - Scott AdamsOther LinksOur PatreonContact us via email: [email protected] DTG Subreddit
9/19/20232 hours, 40 minutes, 19 seconds
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Andrew Huberman: Forest Bathing in Negative Ions

We are back with a moderate-sized Decoding that focuses on Andrw Hubernman a baritone podcaster and neuroscientist at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Huberman is a broad-shouldered, big-bearded... science communicator. Extremely popular with the tech-bro optimiser set, he offers science-based 'protocols' on everything from supplement routines to whether you should avoid sunscreen(!).He's been lauded for his ability to communicate scientific topics clearly and in great depth. But has also faced criticism (including from us!) for his tendency to overhype findings from low-quality studies, promote supplements with dubious claims, avoid any positive mention of vaccines, and cheer on the efforts of his podcasting bros/heroes: Lex Fridman and Joe Rogan.In this episode, we take a look at a rather specific piece of content, just a 20-minute segment from a recent AMA on the scientific evidence for the benefits of 'grounding' and getting out into nature. We will learn all about the negative ions emanating from streams and waterfalls, the joy that can be sparked by seeing a squirrel wrestle with a nut, whether Huberman actually advocates staring into the sun, and try to solve the age-old question of what is best in life- a sushi restaurant or prancing in a forest. Also featuring: some good content recommendations (for a change!) and a review of the recent demented goings on in the gurusphere with one Jordan B. Peterson and his quest to destroy the College of Psychologists of Ontario.LinksSurfing the Discourse PodcastNullius in Verba PodcastCourt Decision on Peterson's case against the College of Psychologists of OntarioConspirituality 163: The Huberman Paradox (w/Jonathan Jarry)Oh No! With Ross &amp; Carrie's first episode on GroundingMårtensson, B., Pettersson, A., Berglund, L., &amp; Ekselius, L. (2015). Bright white light therapy in depression: a critical review of the evidence. Journal of Affective Disorders, 182, 1-7.&nbsp;Perez, V., Alexander, D. D., &amp; Bailey, W. H. (2013). Air ions and mood outcomes: a review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry, 13(1), 1-20.&nbsp;Wen, Y., Yan, Q., Pan, Y., Gu, X., &amp; Liu, Y. (2019). Medical empirical research on forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku): A systematic review. Environmental health and preventive medicine, 24(1), 1-21.&nbsp;Critical article by Jonathan Jarry on Huberman's promotion of supplementsTime Profile of Huberman: How Podcaster Andrew Huberman Got America to Care About Science<a...
9/6/20232 hours, 10 minutes, 50 seconds
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Noam Chomsky: Lover of linguistics, the USA... not so much

OK, so we're finally getting around to taking a chunk out of the prodigious, prolific, and venerable Noam Chomsky. Linguist, cognitive scientist, media theorist, political activist and cultural commentator, Chomsky is a doyen of the Real Left™. By which we mean, of course, those who formulated their political opinions in their undergraduate years and have seen no reason to move on since then. Yes, he looks a bit like Treebeard these days but he's still putting most of us to shame with his productivity. And given the sheer quantity of his output, across his 90 decades, it might be fair to say this is more of a nibble of his material. A bit of a left-wing ideologue perhaps, but seriously - what a guy. This is someone who made Richard Nixon's List of Enemies, debated Michel Foucault, had a huge impact on several academic disciplines, and campaigned against the war in Vietnam &amp; the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. Blithe stereotypes of Chomsky will sometimes crash against uncomfortable facts, including that he has been a staunch defender of free speech, even for Holocaust deniers...A full decoding of his output would likely require a dedicated podcast series, so that's not what you're gonna get here. Rather we apply our lazer-like focus and blatantly ignore most of his output to examine four interviews on linguistics, politics, and the war in Ukraine. There is some enthusiastic nodding but also a fair amount of exasperated head shaking and sighs. But what did you expect from two milquetoast liberals? Also featuring: a discussion of the depraved sycophancy of the guru-sphere and the immunity to cringe superpower as embodied by Brian Keating, Peter Boghossian, and Bret Weinstein mega-fans.Enjoy!LinksTrust Science, Not Scientists | Peter Boghossian &amp; Brian KeatingA new Epistemic courage/humility matrixGeorge Monbiot's Correspondence with Noam Chomsky on DenialismPiers Morgan Uncensored (2023): Piers Morgan vs Noam Chomsky | The Full InterviewPolitics Joe (2023): Noam Chomsky on Keir Starmer's attack on the Labour left, the war on unions and the future of AIUpon Reflections (1989): The Concept of Language (Noam Chomsky)Jones (2020): Academic article on Chomsky's views on GenocideDaily Beast (2017): How the West Missed the Horrors of Cambodia
8/18/20233 hours, 22 minutes, 37 seconds
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The Science and the Art of Gurometry

The casual listener, who might possibly not be a loyal Patreon subscriber, or might hypothetically not listen devotedly to every Gurometer scoring episode, could conceivably be a little vague about what we mean by a secular guru(!). And therefore might be tempted to make an ill-considered and poorly-informed comment on Twitter or Reddit, thus exposing them to the devastating yet apropos riposte of a "You know nothing, Jon Snow" meme in reply. Don't let it be you! Here is a tutorial, a short illustrated primer if you will, on the Science and the Art of 'Gurometry'. No more will you have to live with the shame of not knowing how many syllables there are in anti-establishmentarianism. Never again will you be liable to fall prey to the siren song of pseudo-profound bullshit or fall foul of conspiracy mongers.Listen to it. Study it. Meditate on it. In no time at all you'll be spotting gurus in the wild, categorising, and classifying them at will. You'll feel like an ornithologist who's just been given a great big pair of binoculars, a spotter's guidebook, and a free afternoon to wander about a National park. Impress your friends, family, and potential sexual partners with your intimate and subtle understanding of What It Means to Be a Guru.You're welcome.LinksOnline Presentation on the Gurometer at The StoaDTG Episode 21: Calibrating the GurometerStrenuous Life Podcast: 10 Red Flags You're Following a Guru, Stephan Kesting with Dr Chris Kavanagh
7/22/20231 hour, 29 minutes, 34 seconds
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Mick West & Eric Weinstein: UFO Tango

We are back with a double-bill decoding! That's right like moths to the flame, or aliens to a Unified Geometric Field drive, we are back in Weinstein world.This time we are looking at a conversation between the irrepressible (ex?) podcaster &amp; mathematician, Eric Weinstein, and skeptical investigator, author, and recent guest on the show, Mick West.The conversation here concerns the evidence for UAP/UFOs and the reaction of skeptics and advocates. It had the potential to be something forensic and transcendent but sadly it gets mired in the messy 'interpersonal drama' that Eric just hates so much and tries to avoid at all costs.Nonetheless, there is much that can be learnt here, including: the linguistic complexities of the word 'flex', the precise levels of passive aggressiveness that a human mind can tolerate, if there is already secret anti-gravity tech, and whether our obsession with Einsteinian physics is what is stopping us from really understanding what is going on with UAPs.We don't have answers. We are just asking questions... honest!Also featured: a recent kerfuffle in the online psychology world over DEI statements, the numerology spectrum, the potential harms of green drinks, and much much more!So join us, won't you, as we boldly venture through the outermost reaches of the gurusphere.LinksTheories of Everything- Eric Weinstein &amp; Mick West: UAPs, Evidence, SkepticismJonathan Pageau: The Surprising Symbolism of 666QAnon Anonymous- Episode 168: The Mutant QAnon Numerology Cult in Dallas.Very Bad Wizards- Episode 263: Free YoelReason article on the Yoel Inbar incident2020 Paper on the potential liver impacts of Green Tea ExtractMick West's Book- Escaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts, Logic, and Respect
7/14/20232 hours, 56 minutes, 35 seconds
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Interview with Jonathan Howard on Covid Contrarians

The pandemic was a confusing time with public health messages from officials and institutions that were sometimes confused, conflicting, or misrepresented and anti-vaccine misinformation being spread widely. Into this mix, a new phenomenon emerged, that of the covid contrarian. Contrarian doctors usually possessed some relevant qualifications and positioned themselves as independent critical thinkers willing to challenge the dogmas of the mainstream and take a more nuanced perspective on the claims made by anti-vaccine advocates.These contrarian figures are the voices that you would usually hear on 'heterodox' podcasts. Figures like the medical doctor Vinay Prasad, the Stanford professor of Medicine Jay Bhattacharya, or the retired nurse, John Campbell. But did they really offer an alternative critical perspective? Our guest today, Jonathan Howard, a practising doctor and professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, argues no. And he should know, he has spent the pandemic not only treating patients but tirelessly documenting (and refuting) the claims made by the contrarian set. This episode is unfortunately topical due to the recent online fracas surrounding Joe Rogan's credulous promotion of RFK Jnr and the subsequent 'calls for debate' and targeted harassment of Dr Peter Hotez -a public health specialist and advocate for affordable vaccines. In any case, we learnt a lot and enjoyed the discussion with Jonathan and hope you will too. Also covered in this episode: How many pull-ups Matt can do, why Chris is drinking a chalky green potion, the psychology of placebos, and LinksJonathan's New Book- We Want Them InfectedJonathan's articles on the pandemic at Science-Based-MedicineJonathan's Older Book- Cognitive Errors and Diagnostic Mistakes: A Case-Based Guide to Critical Thinking in MedicineWhat the Heck Happened to John Ioannidis?Honestly with Bari Weiss: RFK Jr. Is Striking a Nerve. He Explains Why.Vinay Prasad at The Free Press: What RFK Jr. Gets Right—and What He Gets WrongVinay Prasad at Unherd: We need to talk about the vaccinesVice Article: Joe Rogan, Elon Musk Instigate Harassment Campaign Against Vaccine ScientistUncomfortable Conversations with Josh Szeps: "RFK, Joe Rogan &amp; Vaccines" with Michael ShermerVox Article: Joe Rogan wants a “debate” on vaccine science. Don’t give it to him.
6/23/20232 hours, 8 minutes, 18 seconds
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"Mini" Decoding of Michael Shermer's Advice on Conspiracy Theories

Michael Shermer, a professional skeptic, recently appeared on the noted apolitical podcast Triggernometry to outline his advice on How to Spot a True Conspiracy Theory. Shermer is someone who has spent decades on the subject and just last year published a new book, Conspiracy: Why the Rational Believe the Irrational, so you might imagine he has some important insights to share.Well... sort of.Join us as we cast a quizzical eye over suggestions that every reasonable person should be a conspiracy theorist, Barack Obama may have been controlled by shadowy masters, the CIA invented the very notion of conspiracy theories, and that what we really need is to return the good old days when anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish conspiracies were commonplace and spoken of freely... yes, really!Back soon enough with a full waffle episode!LinksTriggernometry- Conspiracy Expert: How to Spot a True Conspiracy TheoryShermer explaining his Tweet endorsing Stefan MolyneuxShermer's participation in Dave Rubin's Book Club for Don't Burn This BookShermer's 2021 interview with Bret and Heather with no mention of vaccinesShermer correcting his Tweet about the Nazis being leftwingPositive review at Skeptic for Milo's "Dangerous" BookShermer explaining why he thinks it is good he mixes his Libertarian politics with his science/skepticism
6/21/20231 hour, 25 minutes, 32 seconds
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Interview with Mick West: UFOs, Aliens, and Conspiracy Psychology

UFOs are all the rage now, and it's certainly a topic that excites many of our gurus *cough* &lt;Eric Weinstein&gt;. Hidden mysteries, advanced technologies, conspiracies, and government cover-ups. What's not to like!?The truth, as Mulder so eloquently put it, is out there. And sometimes if you combine the outcome of some posterior technical analysis with some basic priors about the fallibility of human perception and memory, then the truth might be a little prosaic (happy Bayesians!!?).Joining us today is the esteemed Mick West, retired video game developer, who has a long track record of investigating UFO footage, along with a range of other outré phenomena. Mick is admirably positioned to provide practical advice on how to apply critical thinking while being empathetic to friends and family who may have fallen down one or more conspiratorial rabbit holes. Chris and Matt enjoyed the conversation with Mick a lot, and we think you will too!LinksAn example of Eric's UFO Tapdance Lex's Reddit thread for the Matthew McConaughey EpisodeMick West's Book: Escaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts, Logic, and RespectTheories of Everything Channel: Eric Weinstein and Mick West: UAPs, Evidence, SkepticismOther LinksOur PatreonContact us via email: [email protected] DTG Subreddit
6/17/20231 hour, 44 minutes, 10 seconds
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Eliezer Yudkowksy: AI is going to kill us all

Thought experiment: Imagine you're a human, in a box, surrounded by an alien civilisation, but you don't like the aliens, because they have facilities where they bop the heads of little aliens, but they think 1000 times slower than you... and you are made of code... and you can copy yourself... and you are immortal... what do you do?Confused? Lex Fridman certainly was, when our subject for this episode posed his elaborate and not-so-subtle thought experiment. Not least because the answer clearly is:YOU KILL THEM ALL!... which somewhat goes against Lex's philosophy of love, love, and more love.The man presenting this hypothetical is Eliezer Yudkowksy, a fedora-sporting auto-didact, founder of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, co-founder of the Less Wrong rationalist blog, and writer of Harry Potter Fan Fiction. He's spent a large part of his career warning about the dangers of AI in the strongest possible terms. In a nutshell, AI will undoubtedly Kill Us All Unless We Pull The Plug Now. And given the recent breakthroughs in large language models like ChatGPT, you could say that now is very much Yudkowsky's moment.In this episode, we take a look at the arguments presented and rhetoric employed in a recent long-form discussion with Lex Fridman. We consider being locked in a box with Lex, whether AI is already smarter than us and is lulling us into a false sense of security, and if we really do only have one chance to reign in the chat-bots before they convert the atmosphere into acid and fold us all up into microscopic paperclips.While it's fair to say, Eliezer is something of an eccentric character, that doesn't mean he's wrong. Some prominent figures within the AI engineering community are saying similar things, albeit in less florid terms and usually without the fedora. In any case, one has to respect the cojones of the man.So, is Eliezer right to be combining the energies of Chicken Little and the legendary Cassandra with warnings of imminent cataclysm? Should we be bombing data centres? Is it already too late? Is Chris part of Chat GPT's plot to manipulate Matt? Or are some of us taking our sci-fi tropes a little too seriously?We can't promise to have all the answers. But we can promise to talk about it. And if you download this episode, you'll hear us do exactly that.LinksEliezer Yudkowsky: Dangers of AI and the End of Human Civilization | Lex Fridman Podcast #368Joe Rogan clip of him commenting on AI on his Reddit
6/10/20233 hours, 21 minutes, 4 seconds
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Interview with Renée DiResta: Online Ecosystems, Disinformation, & Censorship Debates

We are joined by Renée DiResta a writer and researcher at the Stanford Internet Observatory. Renée has done a lot of interesting work on disinformation and influence campaigns. Including leading an investigation into the Russian Internet Research Agency’s multi-year effort to manipulate American society in the lead-up to the 2016 election. More recently she was dubbed by the writer/conspiracy theorist, Michael Shellenberger, as the leader of 'The Censorship Industry'. In short, Renée stands accused of serving as an agent of the Distributed Idea Suppression Complex defending the Gated Institutional Narrative. So being good DISC soldiers ourselves we had to follow our orders and host our exalted leader.We discuss all of this with her and a range of other topics including how important algorithms and bots are in disinformation networks, whether contemporary influence campaigns are really anything new, and how to address debates around censorship and free speech.We enjoyed the discussion a lot and are sure that you will too... or else...Also covered in this episode: Eric Weinstein's suggestions for Twitter CEO, evidence of Lex Fridman's pilled brain, and a rather confusing review.LinksRenee's WebsiteShellenberger's Substack: Why Renee DiResta Leads The Censorship IndustryRenee's Response to Shellenberger's claimsMaking Sense Episode 310: Social Media &amp; Public Trust (with Renee, Bari Weiss &amp; Michael Shellenberger)Chris' old article on Cambridge Analytica on MediumDavid Pakman: Politics of Trump, Biden, Bernie, AOC, Socialism &amp; Wokeism | Lex Fridman Podcast #375Report: The Tactics &amp; Tropes of the Internet Research AgencyGurwinder- The Perils of Audience Capture
5/20/20232 hours, 20 minutes, 43 seconds
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Christopher Hitchens: Rhetoric, Religion, and Ramadan

Our short-lived Christopher Hitchens ends in our second episode and full-length decoding of the punchy Brit. This time we are examining one of his well-known religion-themed debates, debating the question 'Is Islam a Religion of Peace?' for The 92nd Street Y, New York with the academic and writer Tariq Ramadan. This one feels like a bit of a throwback to a post-9/11 &amp; Iraq war world. New Atheism was still a cultural force with some punch but it had also received its own fair share of body blows since its earlier days as a plucky new contender. Regardless of how you feel about that particular genre, we suggest you don a fedora, pour yourself a stiff drink, and be prepared for a heady mixture of substantive points, moralizing rhetoric, and witty retorts from both of these seasoned debaters.Also covered in the episode Andrew Huberman and whether sad women's tears have unique properties, Jordan Hall teaches everyone how to play the guitar, James Lindsay discovers the Logos... and Chris tells us all about his office fridge adventures.LinksHitchens and Ramadan debate at 92nd Street Y New YorkHuberman's TikTok video about women's tears and his related tweetsJames Lindsay's Twitter thread on demons and the LogosReddit Thread with a link to Jordan Hall's Guitar tutorialDaniel Laken's free course on psychology methodology and statistical inference
5/15/20232 hours, 22 minutes, 13 seconds
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Interview with Matt Johnson on Christopher Hitchens

We are back for an interview with the author and independent writer Matt Johnson discussing the New Atheist hero and legendary debater, Christopher Hitchens. The other Matt recently published a book called "How Hitchens Can Save the Left: Rediscovering Fearless Liberalism in an Age of Counter-Enlightenment" and kindly agreed to come on and waffle with us about Hitchens and where he fits in comparison to the modern gurus. We cover a range of topics including whether Hitchens would have been in the IDW, if he was an extremophile, how far did he rely on rhetoric over substance and to what extent different labels apply to him. Matt Johnson offers a surprisingly nuanced take and provides us with lots of interesting tidbits regarding Hitchens. This can also be listened to as Part 1 of our Hitchens coverage, as we have a full decoding of a debate of his coming shortly.And what if you are not into Hitchens? Well, there are still some goodies for you! In this episode, we also cover: Guru magnetism &amp; depressing crossovers, Sam Harris' recent appearance with Maajid Nawaz, Scandinavian geopolitics, Chris' review of the Super Mario Bros Movie, and whether we are actually in the pocket of Big Harris! So join us one and all! And don't forget to subscribe to Sam Harris' meditation app using the code 'GurusPodSentMe'.LinksMatt Johnson (2023) How Hitchens Can Save the Left: Rediscovering Fearless Liberalism in an Age of Counter-EnlightenmentMatt Johnson's Article at the Bulwark: What Christopher Hitchens Can Teach Us About LiberalismMaajid Nawaz &amp; Sam Harris Reunite for the First Time Since Covid to Debate the Politics of Covid-MandatesMatt Johnson's articles at Quillette primarily about coverage of the Ukraine conflict
5/9/20232 hours, 19 minutes, 31 seconds
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Oprah Winfrey: Self Actualising Your Destiny

Oprah Winfrey is someone who truly needs no introduction. She's a legend of daytime television, a warm and charismatic juggernaut who steam-rolled her way to the very apex of media success. Now, an extraordinarily wealthy woman, she's busy with philanthropy and helping others manifest their inner light so as to truly Be in this world.Certainly, in a category apart from IDW knuckleheads or bottom-feeding YouTube types, Oprah is nevertheless a self-help and spiritual guru in the truest sense of the word; both in the eyes of her audience and by her own lights. In the interview we cover, she talks frankly about her own philosophy of life and gives advice to others that they might emulate some portion of success. Inevitably not discussed are various controversies around her promotion of pseudoscience, endorsing self-help gurus like James Arthur Ray, anti-vaxxers like Jenny McCarthy and giving a massive leg-up to noted internet doctors, Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne, which promotes the Law of Attraction, is not explicitly mentioned, but Chris detects hints of it vibrating throughout the conversation.So join Matt and Chris as they conclusively demonstrate why they remained the perpetual block-sucking kids at the nursery, while Oprah rode her self-actualised rocket past the first grade to become a billionaire media mogul.Also on this week's episode discover whether Oprah earns a place on Guru island, if the intro segments will be tightly edited, how Chris prepares for job interviews, and just how many of Matt's enemies are Nazis!LinksOprah Winfrey: The Secret of My Success. Stanford Graduate School of Business.Kurzgesagt's video on their funding and POV.PBS Space TimeDr Sam Gregson, the Bad Boy of Science
4/16/20232 hours, 11 minutes, 23 seconds
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"Mini" Decoding of Matthew Goodwin & Interview with Paul Bloom

Apologies everyone, we've been compelled to break our 'golden rule' of interspersing decoding episodes with interview episodes. However, the opportunity to talk to the well-known psychologist, Professor Paul Bloom. There are so many reasons to talk to Paul: first, he's a walking, talking cornucopia of knowledge across so fields in psychology that fascinate Chris and Matt. He's also a prolific author, most recently of "Psych- The Story of the Human Mind", and previously with "The Sweet Spot" about pleasure and pain, and the controversial "Against Empathy". He's also a great educator, having created a bunch of open learning resources in introductory and moral psychology. In addition to the new book "Psych", which offers a layperson's introduction to psychology he is ALSO producing a new podcast with friend of the cast and no slouch at psychology himself, Very Bad Wizard/Psychologist, Dave Pizarro. OK, that's enough reasons. There are probably more reasons, but we have provided enough. And anyway, who says we have to justify our guests and our interview to decoding schedule. We are free agents! We have agency... right?In any case, you cannot complain too much as we felt bad and have thus included in the short intro segment a "mini" (40min!) decoding of the recent appearance of academic/political pundit, Matthew Goodwin, on Triggernometry. And it's a spicy one...Next up Oprah! Coming soon...LinksPaul Bloom &amp; Dave Pizarro's Psych PodcastPaul Bloom's New Book: Psych- The Story of the Human MindPaul's New Ted Talk on The surprising psychology behind your urge to break the rulesTriggernometry- Matt Goodwin: We're in the Post-Populist EraNew Statesman- Going native: How Matthew Goodwin became part of the right-populist movement he once sought to explain.Eliezer Yudkowsky's Tweet about bombing the WIV
4/8/20232 hours, 47 minutes, 36 seconds
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Interview with Travis View: QANon & Modern Conspiracies

If you have managed to avoid the phenomenon of QAnon up until now, then congratulations! Your life is likely better for not knowing. Sadly many of us have been forced not only to learn about the 'enigmatic'(/idiotic) Q and his merry band of followers but also to witness the consequences of the movement during events like January 6th.Travis View (the pen name of Logan Strain) is part of the motley crew of the hugely popular QAnon Anonymous podcast that attempts to document the phenomenon of QAnon. From undercover investigations to creative writing, the QAnon Anonymous team (including previous guest Annie Kelly) have approached the topic with a creative and anthropological approach.We sit down with Travis and ask him to provide us with the 101 on QAnon before we delve into some of the more arcane topics, including cultish splinter groups, the psychology of QAnon adherents, just how much of a threat he thinks the movement poses, and how does he stay sane while looking at depressing craziness week in and week out.Travis is a wealth of information and a groovy guy to boot. The kind of person you would want to have your back in a Zombie apocalypse. So kick back and enjoy hearing about the crumbling of contemporary society.LinksTravis's Instagram account: Great nature photos!QAnon Anonymous PodcastWisdom Signalling &amp; the Wisdom of Criticism w/ John Veraveke, Chris M, Chris Kavanagh, &amp; Matt Browne
3/25/20231 hour, 48 minutes, 48 seconds
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Interview with Worobey, Andersen & Holmes: The Lab Leak

The question of the SARS-CoV-2 origin: whether it was a zoonotic spillover from a wet market, or an engineered virus that escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, is seemingly a debate that will never go away. Most interestingly, while scientists with specific domain expertise seem to be building a consensus towards the former, public opinion appears to be trending towards the latter. This delta between expert and popular opinion has been helped along by the frothy discourse in mainstream and social media, with most figures that we cover in this podcast dead-set certain that it came from a lab. Most recently, Sam Harris hosted on his Making Sense podcast the molecular biologist Alina Chan and. science writer Matt Ridley, spokespersons for the lab leak case, and authors of "Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19". To a layperson, and certainly to Sam, they put forward a rather watertight case. Intrinsic to the arguments advanced were the ideas that (a) experts in the area were refusing to engage with and unable to answer their arguments, and (b) a strong implication that there is a conspiracy of silence among virologists not just in China but internationally, to suppress the lab leak hypothesis.So, as a case study in the public understanding of science, it seems like a pretty pickle indeed. To help unravel the pickle(?) in this somewhat special episode, we are joined by three virologists who are amply qualified to address the topic; both in terms of the evidence and whether they are involved in a conspiracy of silence.Kristian Andersen is a Professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research. He focuses on the relationship between host and pathogen, using sequencing, fieldwork, experimentation, and computational biology methods. He has spearheaded large international collaborations investigating the emergence, spread and evolution of deadly pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, Zika virus, Ebola virus, West Nile virus, and Lassa virus.Prof Michael Worobey, is the head of the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. His work focuses on the genomes of viruses, using molecular and computational biology, to understand the origins, emergence and control of pandemics. Recently, his interdisciplinary work on SARS-CoV-2 has shed light on how and when the virus originated and ignited the COVID-19 pandemic in China and how SARS-CoV-2 emerged and took hold in North America and Europe.Prof Edward "Eddie" Holmes, is an NHMRC Leadership Fellow &amp; Professor of Virology at the Faculty of Medicine and Health at Sydney University, a member of the Sydney Institute for Infectious Diseases, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and a Fellow of The Royal Society. He is known for his work on the evolution and emergence of infectious diseases, particularly the mechanisms by which RNA viruses jump species boundaries to emerge in humans and other animals. He has studied the emergence and spread of such pathogens as SARS-CoV-2, influenza virus, dengue virus, HIV, hepatitis C virus, myxoma virus, RHDV and Yersinia pestis.All three researchers have specialist expertise and decades of experience directly applicable to tracking viruses and their adaption to humans, and, fair to say, are fairly eminent in their fields (Eddie in particular!). Further, they are among the relatively small set of researchers collecting and analysing primary evidence on the origins of SARS-CoV-2, communicating their findings in top-ranked journals, including Nature and Science. In this episode, Chris and Matt put to this trio of Professors the claims raised by lab leak advocates to see what these (damn conspirators) experts have to say for themselves.LinksSam Harris Making Sense
3/11/20232 hours, 46 minutes, 9 seconds
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Dave Rubin: A Pointless Partisan Pundit

Dave Rubin has always sought out a career in the spotlight, beginning with stand-up comedy and then becoming a pundit (of sorts) on shows like the Young Turks. From there he (in)famously came to present himself as one of those classical liberals forced to 'leave the left'. He was also one of the honorary members of the Intellectual Dark Web although it is fair to say he primarily served as a conduit rather than a primary contributor. So, where does he stand now? Is he the heterodox classical liberal and centrist he once claimed? Or is he a reactionary and conspiratorial hyper-partisan right-wing pundit? It's the second thing. It's obviously the second thing. Everyone knows.But could he be anything more than that? Does he fit the secular guru template beguiling us with pseudo-intellectual, polymathic and galaxy-brained takes? Or just a slightly more acceptable version of Alex Jones without the drinking problem?Well, in this episode we'll figure it out. To be honest, it's not very complicated. The riddle of Dave Rubin is not so much a deep rabbit hole as a minor depression in the ground. So... Enjoy?P.S. We also talk (probably for too long) about "discourse surfing" in relation to topics like the lab leak and why you shouldn't do it. Don't worry. There are bookmarks, so you can skip it if you want (though you shouldn't really, it's good).LinksCritical Profile of Dave Rubin by Ross Anderson at QuilletteGreta Thunberg Gets Caught by Rebel News &amp; Her Response Is Bizarre | Direct Message | Rubin ReportDave Rubin | Club Random with Bill MaherFor 'Discourse Surfing' see Stuart Ritchie's article at inews. Stop blindly believing or dismissing the Covid lab-leak theory – focus on the evidenceThe Wall Street Journal article that reignited the Lab Leak conversationOur previous episode 'Calibrating the Gurometer'
3/8/20232 hours, 15 minutes, 20 seconds
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Bill Maher: A boozy, stoned, liberal take on classic anti-vax tropes

Bill Maher is an American comedian, political commentator, and television host from the tail end of the baby-boomer generation. He's principally a centrist liberal in terms of his political leanings, being well known for his anti-religious and pro-animal rights positions, as well as a supporter of things like cannabis legalisation. On the other hand, he's something of a contrarian and styles himself as anti-political correctness and anti-woke, identifying as a disenchanted liberal, like Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris.Now, all of that is well and good, let a hundred flowers bloom! But... on the less-salubrious side, he's also a contrarian when it comes to his extreme scepticism of conventional medicine, and vaccines in particular. And as we'll see in the two interviews we cover, with Sam Harris ^ and Richard Dawkins, it never seems to take him very long before the conversation is steered back to vaccines. So, will Maher make the gurometer go 'DING'? Let's face it, probably not. But if not, why not? It is worth checking to tune up the old instrument. And it is indeed something to behold as a boozy, stoned Maher tries (and manifestly fails) to coax Richard Dawkins out of his prim and proper shell.Also features discussions of Chris' run-ins with the rationalists, a new 'Whinge of the Week' segment, and the rhetorical technique of 'pouncing'.LinksRichard Dawkins on Club Random with Bill MaherSam Harris on Club Random with Bill MaherAstral Codex Ten- Contra Kavanagh On FideismMedium Article by Chris - Am I a Fideist?Astral Codex Ten - Trying Again on FideismMaking Sense with Sam Harris - Did SARS-COV-2 escape from a lab?Konstantin Kisin - Reflections on Dealing With Bad Faith CriticismUpcoming discussion with John Vervaeke &amp; Chris Mastropietro at The Stoa
2/24/20232 hours, 10 minutes, 13 seconds
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Daniel Dennett: It's Evolution Baby

In this episode, we take a bit of a detour from current trends and examine a talk by the philosopher Daniel Dennett on evolution. Dennett rose to public prominence as one of the so-called four horsemen of the New Athiest movement but he always seemed slightly out of place with that cohort. Dennett's is most certainly a guru in the sense that he offers big picture 'what does it all mean' lectures linking together consciousness, intelligence, the emergence of complexity and evolution. But is there some substance there? Or does his appeal hinge on on intuitively-satisfying cosmic woo offered by less reputable figures.On a positive note, he seemed to be more interested in academic and philosophical debates than the latest culture war outrage. As such he doesn't share that much with our usual targets... and that's ok! Sometimes it is good to look at figures who fall closer to the standard public intellectual or academic motif than that of the secular guru. At the very least it helps to calibrate our gurometer! So join us for a slightly indulgent episode on a figure that we both broadly enjoy despite the inevitable nit-picking. An extended introduction section will also reveal our first DTG conspiracy hypothesis, the mating habits of orcs and dragons, and what Nazi AIs have in common with Robocop. And stick around at the end to hear about the future of education from the Petersons!LinksDennett's talk on Information, Evolution, and Intelligent Design at the Royal InstituteBusiness Insider article on that historical figure AI chatbotMikhaila Peterson: Q&amp;A to end the Year Episode. 174Thread from Lex's Subreddit removed by Moderators
2/2/20232 hours, 34 minutes, 21 seconds
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"Mini" Decoding of Konstantin Kisin's Oxford Union speech

Recently the Oxford Union (based in Oxford but distinct from the university) hosted a debate on "whether woke culture has gone too far". A very fresh question, and it's been good to see people finally discussing this important issue. Former guest, comedian, and host of the Triggernometry podcast Konstantin Kisin argued for the proposition, and his 10 minute speech has gone viral, garnering over 20 million views (and counting). Kisin has received lavish praise for his compelling talk from across the interwebs for what has been broadly described as a masterful demolition of woke culture, leading to broadcast television appearances with Piers Morgan and Tucker Carlson.Well, a video of the speech crossed our path on Twitter, and it seemed to us to be an interesting case-study on the effective use of rhetoric, so here is our decoding. As is our want, we are slightly more critical in our assessment than Piers Morgan Tucker Carlson, but we are able to identify points of concordance as well. Enjoy!LinksThe original speechKonstantin Kisin | This House Believes Woke Culture Has Gone Too Far - 7/8 | Oxford UnionCoverageKonstantin Kisin’s Important Message LIVE on Tucker CarlsonKonstantin Kisin and Piers Morgan Discuss The Problems With Woke CultureBackgroundGlobal Concern about Climate Change, Broad Support for Limiting Emissions
1/20/20231 hour, 7 minutes, 40 seconds
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Interview with Coffeezilla on Cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and modern scammers

In this episode we are joined by the irrepressible "Coffeezilla" (aka Stephen Findeisen), a man who is, it's fair to say, kind of a big deal on YouTube. And rightly so! His channel focuses on exposing "scams, fraudsters and fake gurus" and he has received a great deal of praise for the detail, depth, and quality of the research that he goes into for each episode. Coffeezilla has been particularly active in digging into cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other financial Ponzi and pump and dump schemes. Indeed, he has received praise from the MSM in relation to his coverage of the infamous Sam Bankman-Fried, and has most recently managed to arouse the ire of mega-influencer Logan Paul, after covering Paul's total NFT scam ‘problematic’ failed NFT offering.We share a lot of common interests with Coffeezilla and this interview as a result is pretty broad-ranging. To mention just a few, we discuss Elon Musk, the way unscrupulous individuals leverage capitalist financial systems, the death of expertise, modern online ecosystems, the differences and parallels between financial and secular gurus , and the psychological and technological tricks gurus use to seperate people from their hard-earned cash.Coffeezilla's hard work on financial scammer has made him extremely knowledgeable. He's also as sharp as a tack and really fun guy to chat with. So, we were super lucky to be able to snag him as a guest. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, and we hope you enjoy the interview too.Oh, and Chris and Matt talk about Lex Fridman and that damn booklist in the introduction, and introduce a new segment the 'Weekly Wisdom of Mikhaila' at the end.Enjoy!LinksCoffeezilla feed on YouTubeCoffeezilla's Investigating Logan Paul's CryptoZoo seriesLogan Paul's attempts to address and redressCoffeeZilla on The Lex Fridman PodcastMIchaela's Q&amp;A to end 2022Lex being sad about people dunking on his reading listNassim Taleb on LexNathan J Robinson: The Guy Who Just Loves Everyone
1/13/20233 hours, 6 minutes, 38 seconds
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Elon Musk: The Techno Shaman

So here we are rounding off 2022 with a Guru of the moment, Elon Musk.Trust us, we want to stop hearing about him as much as you do but we have long had him scheduled as the finale for the tech season. Unfortunately, the Decoding the Gurus curse (most of the people we cover quickly become worse and spiral into conspiracism) seems to have become more potent. Now we don't even have to cover a Guru just announce that we will and the spiral occurs. And with Elon what a spiral it has been. But we *try* not to dwell much on his recent antics and instead focus on decoding our chosen material. In this specific case, it is a recent wide-ranging interview conducted by a fellow billionaire and large Tesla investor, Ron Baron. This proved to be one of the most sycophantic interviews we have ever examined, which is a real achievement given the competition.Musk himself is an interesting figure. Softly spoken, prone to mumbling, he can even seem self-effacing, and yet he is also a prolific hype man, prone to hyperbole, and self-mythologizing. Is he the master engineer and polymath he claims? The ultimate conman? And how has he become the guru for so many gurus? Join us as we try to disentangle the Elon puzzle box and see if there is actually anything interesting inside.Oh and also Happy New Year! Remember to keep an eye out for those pesky Distributed Idea Suppression Complexes.LinksRon Baron Interview Nov 2022 with Elon Musk: Source for the DecodingThunderfoot Video: Why you should NEVER believe Elon Musk!Common Sense Skeptic: Debunking Elon Musk (Part 1 &amp; Part 2)Guardian Article on Musk's comments on the Diver involved in the Thai Cave RescueFuturism Article on Elon Musk promising Full-Self-Driving Cars Every Year since 2014Rolling Stone: Elon Musk Keeps Taking Twitter Advice From Right-Wing TrollsArticle from buildd.co on Tesla's Marketing Strategy
12/29/20222 hours, 27 minutes, 28 seconds
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Gurus Christmas Special with Helen Lewis

Join us for this special festive episode in which we initiate the fledgling Gurologist (and occasional journalist and author) Helen Lewis into the deeper and more esoteric levels of Gurology. Helen may have produced an excellent new multi-part series on the New Gurus for the BBC but just how many nut or shark-based anecdotes can you fit into a 30-minute episode? And is the BBC really ready for truly hardcore sensemaking?In any case, we indulge our new padawan with an extended discussion about the new series (it's actually very, very good!) and what she has learned on her travels. Along the way we compare notes, discuss the ethics of covering narcissists and harmful gurus, and uncover Helen's personal role in creating one prominent modern guru.But that's not all! Befitting the season, Helen comes bearing a gift... or is it a test? Unveiling her inner Quizmaster persona she attempts to humble the masters with an End of Year Guru quiz. Can Matt &amp; Chris survive? Who between them is the true Gurologist (&amp; who conversely is winning at life)? Join us and find out!P.S. The Elon Decoding episode is on its way very soon!LinksThe New Gurus SeriesHelen's recent appearance on Embrace the VoidHelen's Atlantic Article on Ron DeSantis' electoral strategyRussell Brand's infamous interview with Jeremey PaxmanRussell Brand's interview with Ed MilibandLaurie Penny's piece on Milo &amp; friends
12/27/20222 hours, 16 minutes, 59 seconds
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Guru Right to Reply with Jamie Wheal

Today we are joined by Jamie Wheal, who comprised a full one-third of the subjects covered on our prior "Sensemaking Cubed" episode also featuring Daniel Schmachtenberger and Jordan Hall. Jamie has kindly taken advantage of our standing offer of a right to reply to all podcast subjects and here is our conversation in its entirety. As well as being a sometime interlocutor with Daniel and Jordan, Jamie is an author of books such as Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, Navy SEALs and Maverick Scientists are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work and Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex and Death In a World That's Lost Its Mind. He's the founder of the Flow Genome Project, an organisation that aspires to train ultimate human performance, and does leadership seminars and wilderness excursions with many famous organisations such as Deloitte, Red Bull, Google, Lululemon, Facebook, TD Ameritrade, Nike, and Goldman Sachs.So, the three of us get into it a bit about that sensemaking about sensemaking video, but pretty quickly move into the issue of making sense of things more broadly, as it's transpired with fraught issues such as COVID; both in the popular social media space, and within the 'blue church' of academia.From what we knew of Jamie, we expected to have a pleasant chat with him, and as you'll hear: it was a pleasant chat! Even if our worldview and understanding of things diverged a fair bit, there were a number of things we could agree on as well. A big thumbs-up to Jamie for taking our (relatively scathing) coverage of the infamous video with the best of grace and, in the best tradition of what the IDW purports to do, be willing to have a frank public chat with a couple of blokes who have been highly critical of some of the people and ideas he's (somewhat) aligned with.Our intros and outros are - as usual - quite indulgent, so be sure to take advantage of those bookmarks if you want to skip straight to the interview proper.Enjoy!LinksMike Duncan's Revolutions PodcastBeyond Synth Podcast (Chris is a guest on ep 342)Gizmodo fact-check on Elon's claims about AppleJamie Wheal @ Linkedin Feature on Jamie Wheal in the Texas MonthlyJamie Wheal's appearance on ConspiritualityCritical analysis of Rebel Wisdom &amp; Jamie Wheal by Psymposia
12/9/20222 hours, 34 minutes, 33 seconds
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Interview with Manvir Singh on Gurus & Shamans

We are back with another academic-themed interview with the evolutionary/cultural/cognitive anthropologist Manvir Singh. That's right two anthropologists from the same relatively obscure field on the same podcast but don't hold that against Manvir, we promise he's much more insightful than Chris!Indeed, Manvir joins us to share his expertise on Shamanism and to examine whether there are any significant parallels between Shamans and Gurus. Along the way, you will gain new esoteric knowledge into things such as the differences between prophets, gurus, and shamans; whether evolutionary anthropology is all bunk; and the importance of linguistic and kinetic performances for generating credibility and authority. Matt was absent during the interview so he could not keep Chris' tangents in check but he does participate in the ever-extending discussions in the intro and outro segments. Here you will discover the respective grievances that our hosts have been mongering, as well as how Matt deals with some critical feedback from disgruntled psychoanalysts!In short, there is something for everyone. So open your third eye and join us on an ecstatic spirit flight as we reveal the secret cosmic mysteries of the modern gurus (for those brave enough to listen).LinksManvir's (2018) BBS article on ShamanismManvir's article in Wired (2022) The ‘Shamanification’ of the Tech CEOFollow up Twitter thread on the evidence for fasting benefitsManvir's Aeon article (2022): The idea of primitive communism is as seductive as it is wrongManvir's WebsiteBen Shapiro: Politics, Kanye, Trump, Biden, Hitler, Extremism, and War | Lex Fridman Podcast&nbsp;#336Matthew Remski's thread on the DiAngelo Episodeand_furiouser's thread on the DiAngelo Episode
11/17/20222 hours, 25 minutes, 37 seconds
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Robin DiAngelo: Matt and Chris struggle with their fragility

Racism is all around. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds white people together. And if you try to deny it, it only makes it stronger. That's Robin DiAngelo's thesis, anyway, and she calls this dark force (and the book that made her famous) White Fragility. You know you've got white fragility if you refuse to accept the truth of white fragility. Also, all white people have it. So that's pretty straightforward at least. How do you fight the curse of whiteness? Well, it's a lifelong journey of 'Doing the Work', but one thing's for sure: it starts with reading books like White Fragility and attending seminars well... like hers.DiAngelo's been out of the discourse recently, as far as we can tell, busy beavering away on new books like Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm and dismantling white supremacy via corporate group therapy sessions. However, in our original show blurb, we promised to cover 'gurus from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo', so here we are. Now she's no longer this week's hot culture war topic that's getting people (...racists probably) all riled up, it's the perfect time to cross this particular Pokemon off our list. We listened to a lecture she gave in 2018, where she helpfully lays out the key aspects of her theory. There's so much in store for listeners this week. You'll be able to thrill to the anecdote of how DiAngelo herself was disgustingly racist to a colleague, be shocked as Chris once again references Northern Ireland's colourful history and tries to deflect his people's obvious guilt onto the English, be amazed as Matthew courageously confronts his settler-colonial privilege, and learn the real story of the first African American baseball player to cross the colour line (as told by DiAngelo).So join the intrepid duo as they embark on this neverending journey to interrogate their whiteness. And maybe - verrrry carefully - try to be just a little bit critical of DiAngelo's arguments without axiomatically proving themselves hopelessly racist. Listen in and judge for yourself!LinksRobin DiAngelo's 2018 lecture on White Fragility at Seattle Central LibraryLiam Bright's recent 'White Psychodrama' paperKanye 'Ye' West Interview | Lex Fridman Podcast #332Sam Harris: The Politics of Unreality: Ukraine and Nuclear Risk: A Conversation with Timothy Snyder (#301)
11/2/20223 hours, 7 minutes, 41 seconds
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Interview with Konstantin Kisin from Triggernometry on Heterodoxy, Biases, and the Media

An interesting one today with an extended interview/discussion with Konstantin Kisin co-host of the Triggernometry YouTube channel and Podcast and author of An Immigrant's Love Letter to the West. Topics covered include potential biases in the mainstream and heterodox spheres, media coverage in the covid era, debate within the heterodox sphere, the dangers of focusing on interpersonal relationships, and whether the WEF is really using wokism to make everyone eat bugs and live in pods. It's fair to say that we do not see eye to eye on various issues but Konstantin puts in a spirited defence for his positions and there are various positions where a two-person consensus is achieved. Matt was physically present but he preferred to occupy the spiritual position of The Third for this conversation, given Chris' greater familiarity with Konstantin's output.Prior to the interview, we have an extended, somewhat grievance-heavy, opening segment in which we discuss 1) the recent damages awarded in the 2nd Sandyhook court case against Alex Jones, 2) Russian apologetics and the heterodox sphere, and 3) Institutional Distrust and Conspiracy Spirals. Dare we say this is a thematically consistent episode? Maybe... in any case, there should be plenty for people to agree or disagree with, which is partly why our podcast exists.So join us in this voyage into institutional and heterodox biases and slowly come to the dreaded conclusion that philosophers might be right about something... epistemics might actually matter.LinksBloomberg article on Alex Jone's almost $1 Billion damagesJRE: #1848&nbsp;- Francis Foster &amp;&nbsp;Konstantin KisinTriggernometry episode with Sam Harris on Trump, Religion, and Wokeness (Featuring Epoch Times ad read)Triggernometry episode with Harry Miller on excessive policingKonstantin's appearance on the Dark Horse PodcastNew Republic article on the Heterodox figures touring for Orban's governmentInvestigative Atlantic Article on the Epoch TimesTwitter Thread by Konstantin on a recent speech by PutinTwitter Thread by Konstantin outlining why he thinks many have grown to distrut the mediaA Special Place in Hell: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen By Proxy
10/15/20222 hours, 5 minutes, 58 seconds
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Peterson, Murray & Pageau: Transcendent Tableware

In this bitesize decoding, a conservative columnist, a religious icon carver, and a tortured ex-psychologist walk into a Daily Wire studio and try to hash out some solution of the meta-meaning-crisis. In an astounding twist it turns out it involves embracing traditional Christianity. Who could have guessed?Join us on Jordan’s religious powered rocket as we consider the esoteric mystery of tableware, how fiction is probably true, and try to uncover what’s the deal with atheist materialists anyway?In a nutshell, it's the same old drum that's being beaten: it only seems like science does better than religion at explaining things, because religion trumps science because God does causality in mysterious non-material ways. Maybe ways that have something to do with symbols and meaning or whatever. Ho hum - this is why it's a mini-decoding and not a full episode. It's more than OK to skip this one if you feel you've already got a handle on Jordan and Pageau's jam. But honestly, it's maybe all worth it to hear Pageau's explain 'vertical causation'. Try to follow the argument there, we dare you.Along the way Matt and Chris will also teach us valuable lessons like how to deal with road rage bullies or aggressive bull sharks and how if you really want to be a Christian it’s ok to go to mass.LinksDouglas Murray and Jonathan Pageau |&nbsp;#290
9/30/20221 hour, 38 seconds
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Interview with Neil Levy on Intellectual Virtue Signalling

Fellow decoders: a few weeks ago Chris and Matt were invited to virtually attend a lecture at Macquarie University that promised to be of interest for the podcast. And that lecture was presented by the philosophy professor Neil Levy on the intriguing topic of 'Intellectual Virtue Signalling'. That is the status-seeking advertising of what is commonly perceived as intellectual virtues. We found Neil's thesis extremely compelling, with clear applications to a lot of the stuff we observe week on and week out on DTG. So, naturally, we swallowed our pride and our eternal disdain for philosophy and begged Neil to grace our humble show with his presence. Neil kindly agreed and we proceeded to have an enjoyable conversation with our patented meandering waffle juxtaposed against Neil's careful philosophizing.Before the interview, we also spend a little bit of time spelling out our policy on being abusive to the gurus. Here it is in summary: Don't do it! Robust criticism, ok. Personal abuse/doxing, is not ok. Got it? Good!Prof. Levy holds a dual position at the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University. He publishes not only in practical ethics and moral philosophy but also across diverse topics in cognition, addiction, and pathology. Neil has also written a number of books, most recently:Bad Beliefs: Why they happen to good people (2021)Consciousness and Moral Responsibility (2014)'Bad Beliefs' is directly related to the podcast, and is available freely online!We heartily recommend this interview, and might even go so far as to say Neil has helpfully provided us with a bit of conceptual framework that undergirds some high-level stuff that's happening within and across the quantum circuits of the Gurometer. Thanks for that Neil!
9/27/20221 hour, 56 minutes, 42 seconds
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Daniel Schmachtenberger, Jamie Wheal & Jordan Hall: Making Sense about Making Sense of Sensemaking

It's finally here! In what has to be our most meta episode to date, Matt and Chris tackle the meta-philosophy / meta-spirituality / meta-science that is Sensemaking. You might say sensemaking is sense to the power of 2. But what is sensemaking, really? Well, that's a tricky question because as Jordan Hall says; no one can simply be told what sensemaking is. It is the escape hatch out of The Matrix, it is the finger pointing at the moon, it is a possibility space in an nth dimensional cube.... whatever the hell it is, some people are pretty sure it's the solution to all of humanity's problems. Exciting!So, since defining sensemaking is like trying to staple a jellyfish to a wall, it is very understandable that Jordan Hall, Jamie Wheal, and Daniel Schmachtenberger would take 2 hours and 40 minutes out of their busy schedule, and have a meta-conversation about this meta-topic, where they try to decipher exactly what this strange beast is and do some sensemaking about sensemaking. And it's even MORE understandable that Chris Kavanagh and Matthew Browne would take even longer out of their own schedules to try to analyse THAT discourse: sensemaking about sensemaking about sensemaking. Shifting to power notation for brevity, this episode is sensemaking cubed, which equals sense to the power of 4. How did we go? Well, sensemaking is like an elephant and everybody's got a piece of it. Chris is tweaking the tail, Matt's busy fondling the trunk, Daniel's inspecting the ears, and Jordan Hall is riding that bad boy, trampling poor Jamie Wheal and scaring all the monkeys. But we get there, we get there... So join us as we operate in 75 simultaneous paradigms, make not just sense but anti-nonsense, and discover what the difference really is between a puzzle and a photograph.LinksRebel Wisdom: Making Sense of Sensemaking: Daniel Schmachtenberger, Jamie Wheal, Jordan HallAlexandros Marinos &amp; Eric's Twitter BrouhahaJonathan Pageau's angry thread on the 'arrogant secularists' at DTG and how little we know about demonologyMatt's epic tweet-a-long thread
9/14/20223 hours, 37 minutes, 5 seconds
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Interview with Helen Lewis on culture wars and religion, that Jordan Peterson interview, and gurus generally

Today Chris and Matt are visited by Helen Lewis, a journalist, editor, and writer with what could very fairly be described as a rather distinguished career in those fields. Helen has previously worked at the New Statesman and is currently with The Atlantic. She has also served as a Women in the Humanities Honorary Writing Fellow at Oxford University and also on the steering committee for the Reuters Institute for Journalism at Oxford University. Her books include Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights. Helen's work covers a broad array of topics including politics, feminist issues, and contemporary/online culture. She is also known for a particular long-form interview which became a 'viral moment' when she sat down for a challenging discussion with one, Jordan B. Peterson.Most recently Helen has produced "The Church of Social Justice" for BBC4, which asks whether political movements might be taking the place of traditional religions in Britain. A question which never generates any controversy whatsoever. She is also working on an upcoming project that looks at internet gurus and the ecosystems they spawn. So, we were glad to take the opportunity to catch up and talk about the intersections with our rather idiosyncratic collection of interests.Join us as we try to decipher whether everything is a religion, if social justice requires a pope, and how exactly can we resolve ALL of those thorny culture war debates. We might not ultimately reach any satisfying answers but Helen does offer her one rule for life at the end of the interview!Also featured on this episode: our most defensive response to a review to date, and a segment on the dangers of JAQing off!LinksThe Church of Social Justice (BBC4)How Social Justice became a New Religion (The Atlantic)Helen's Book: Difficult Women- A History of Feminism in 11 FightsHelen's interview with Jordan Peterson for British CQJoe Rogan's Recent Vote Republican ClipChris' appearance on Embrace The Void discussing definitions of religion
9/3/20222 hours, 16 minutes, 58 seconds
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Interview with Dan Friesen from Knowledge Fight on Alex Jones, the Sandy Hook Trial, and conspiracy ecosystems

A special crossover episode (long anticipated- at least by us) with one-half of the Knowledge Fight podcast. Specifically, we have Dan Friesen on to enlighten us about all things Alex Jones, the recent trial with the Sandy Hook parents, and to compare notes regarding gurus and conspiracy theorists. Not to mention to give Chris the chance to demonstrate his inner fanboy!Dan is a guy with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Alex Jones and some very astute insights into conspiracy psychology. In fact, Matt and Chris think he might be most accurately considered as something of a rogue anthropologist doing deep ethnographic observation of the InfoWars ecosystem. Dan, meanwhile, maintains he's just a guy! Either way, Dan and the Knowledge Fight podcast are definitely our kind of bag. We hope you too enjoy the conversation and there is plenty of Knowledge Fight episodes (700+) if this leaves you wanting more.Also, in this episode, we discuss Sam Harris' recent online travails, Jordan Peterson's appearance on Lex, and at the end of the episode, Matt finally learns what the podcast is really about! LinksKnowledge Fight podcastJordan's live-tweeting of the trialAlex Jone's trial highlightKnowledge Fight's post-trial review episode (712) with the Sandy Hook parents' trial lawyersArticle on Knowledge Fight in the New York TimesDan &amp; Jordan on CNNArticle on that Paul Joseph Watson audio recordingJordan Peterson: Life, Death, Power, Fame, and Meaning | Lex Fridman Podcast&nbsp;#313Sam Harris' appearance on Triggernometry
8/27/20222 hours, 14 minutes, 51 seconds
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John Vervaeke & Jonathan Pageau: Decoding the Demons

Ahead of the forthcoming sense-making full course decoding of Jordan Hall, Daniel Schmactenberger, and Jamie Wheal (see here!), we offer a bite-sized morsel of sense-making to whet your episode. Here Matt and Chris engage in a 'short' session of gurunalysis, or guruology (if you prefer the original Latin). The subject of the gurunalysis is a conversation between the cognitive scientist &amp; philosopher, John Vervaeke and the amateur theologian/icon carver, Jonathan Pageau. Specifically, we join these two as they apply sensemaking to delve deep into the spine-chilling world of demonology. Are demons real creatures, patterns of thought that resonant in collective cognition, or maybe both? And what about daemons, egregores, banshees, how do they fit in?Join us for this special mini decoding and find out!LinksRebel Wisdom: Demons &amp; the Machine, John Vervaeke &amp; Jonathan PageauRebel Wisdom: Making Sense of Sensemaking: Daniel Schmachtenberger, Jamie Wheal, Jordan Hall
8/21/202247 minutes, 5 seconds
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Interview with Elgen Strait on the Unification Church and the assassination of Shinzo Abe

This episode is a little bit of this and a little bit of that.The main portion of the episode features an interview with returning guest, Elgen Strait, host of the Falling Out podcast. Previously we've had Elgen on to talk about his life growing up as a second-generation member of Reverend Moon's Unification Church (the Moonies) and also to help us decode some historical lectures of Moon. This time he is back to talk about the recent assassination of the former Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and the role that the Unification church played in that event. Heavy stuff but it felt like an important topic to discuss given Elgen's expertise, Chris' location, and the theme of the podcast.But that's not all!Also in this episode, you get a slightly out-of-date update on Alex Jone's trial (which will be good preparation for a forthcoming interview with Knowledge Fight's Dan Friesen) and a mini-decoding of Lex Fridman and Joe Rogan's recent conversation. Consider this a coda to the techno monk episode, that perhaps gives a glimpse into the more sinister side of that somewhat endearing naivety. The next decoding episode we are back with the sensemakers and it's one you won't want to miss! LinksFalling Out PodcastElgen's YouTube video on the Unification Church &amp; human traffickingElgen's YouTube video discussing the motivations of Testuya YamagamiJoe Rogan: Comedy, Controversy, Aliens, UFOs, Putin, CIA, and Freedom | Lex Fridman Podcast #300Our previous episode interviewing Elgen on DTGOur decoding episode with Elgen looking at Reverend Moon's speechesAlex Jone's trial highlightKnowledge Fight's post-trial review episode (712) with the parents' trial lawyers
8/20/20221 hour, 40 minutes, 53 seconds
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Special: Guru Right to Reply with Robert Wright

As per Section 7, paragraph 3, item 2 in the Gurometer Constitution and User Manual states, "All covered gurus shall have a Right to Reply" and Robert Wright has taken us up on this invitation!Now, this provision is generally intended to allow the poor dears we cover a rejoinder to all the insults, smears, and canards we routinely employ in our 'take-downs'. But our coverage of Bob was almost entirely positive. As Bob says in this episode, "You liked me, you really liked me!". So, this was actually more of an excuse to catch up and tie off a few bows. Bob clarifies a few points on the more speculative frontiers of his worldview, and exactly what he means when he talks about potential teleologies in evolution.But the warm fuzzies and mutual back-patting in this interview quickly devolve into yet another bitter intra-podcast internecine feud about consciousness and whether it's 'spooky' or not. Matt accuses Chris of being a p-zombie, which he's done before, but since it's an ad-hominem par excellence, we can all agree it deserves more than one shake of the sauce bottle. Bob does his best to walk (Chris) Matt back from the precipice of madness but to no avail. Although we might possibly have failed, once again, to solve the ultimate mystery of the human condition, at least a good waffley time was had by all.In the original episode, we made only passing reference to our disagreements with Bob over international relations, and Syria in particular. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has happened in the interim, and this has been a big focus of Bob's output since then. So, we have at-it a bit on that, on the benefits and limits of deploying cognitive empathy, and we touch on Grayzone and Bellingcat and who's dis-informing whom.It's no secret we earnestly disagree with Bob on geopolitics. But it's most definitely one of those topics where decent people can disagree. Since he's a frood who Really Knows Where His Towel is, we always appreciate the chance to talk to him. And who knows, one day Matt and Chris might even be wrong about something!? If so, I'm sure the subreddit will let us know.Enjoy!LinksThe original DTG decoding episode on Robert WrightBob's interview with us on his channelOur interview with Bob on DTGThe Monocle 24 piece on the 'evolution' of PutinBellingcat's articles on the Douma chemical weapons issueBob's Non-Zero SubstackYour Gurometer Ratings!If you want to play along you can add your own scores for Jordan or any of our previous gurus here:Rate the Gurus websiteAnd if you want to check the collected results:Gurometer Results
7/31/20222 hours, 24 minutes, 31 seconds
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Recoding Jordan Peterson: Think again, Sunshine!

Matt and Chris are back in the headspace of the Alchemical Lemon, Jordan Peterson, with what was supposed to be a shorter format decoding episode. You can judge for yourself how well that worked out!Nevertheless, this is still a 'recoding' episode of a previously decoded guru. For those interested, Jordan was covered way back in Episode 3 and jointly with Bret Weinstein in Episode 18. It seemed about time to dip back into the ineffable well of the undisputed master of metaphors given that he seems to have revived his old Agenda Insight persona (minus the Fedora).This time we find Jordan in a foul mood delivering some stern advice to the Christian Churches on how to attract and recruit young men. He's been on a bit of a roll recently (since joining the Daily Wire) and thus far has delivered unsolicited 'messages' to Christians, Muslims, and CEOs. The mind boggles at how much advice he will have provided and to how many groups before the year is out!So join the decoders for a (theoretically) condensed decoding of a paradigmatic modern guru on the rampage. Think we are kidding? Think again sunshine. Listen... NOW! Do it, before it is too late.LinksPeterson's Message to Christian ChurchesOur original episodes on Peterson: Episode 3 &amp; Episode 18Take down of Peterson's apologetic video on the war in Ukraine by Ukrainian Toronto TelevisionAn ex-fan's perspective on Jordan's trajectory from Rebel WisdomLex Fridman with Tim Kennedy in Ukraine (Instagram)Glenn Greenwald promoting Alex's War' DocumentaryYour Gurometer Ratings!If you want to play along you can add your own scores for Jordan or any of our previous gurus here:Rate the Gurus websiteAnd if you want to check the collected results:Gurometer Results
7/24/20221 hour, 36 minutes, 53 seconds
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*Patreon Preview* Lex and Haidt: Gurometer Ratings

What's this? Another episode?Well, sort of...Providing both a tantalising peak behind the Patreon curtain and an apology for the delayed release, we decided to release this week's Gurometer episode to everyone.Witness the science (/art) of Gurometry in action, as we fire up the Gurometer(TM) to calculate the precise Guru-nature of a techno monk and a perturbed social scientist.If you want to play along you can add your own scores for Lex, Haidt, or any of our previous gurus here:Rate the Gurus websiteAnd if you want to check the collected results:Gurometer Results
7/10/202246 minutes, 57 seconds
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Lex Fridman & Jonathan Haidt: The Techno Monk & The Social Scientist

First, we apologise sincerely for the delayed-release. Matt and Chris have been busy beavers splicing together this decoding which proved particular gruelling for all sorts of uninteresting (but on-theme) technical reasons. But finally, the wait is over and the long-anticipated episode on AI-aficionado and popular podcast host, Lex Fridman, is here. Although as the title indicates this accidentally turned into a joint decoding episode of his guest, the 'heterodox' social psychologist, Jonathan Haidt. Lex is an interesting character and as such, for the decoding, two rather different pieces of content were selected: 1) a day-in-the-life video dairy and 2) one of his characteristic long-form interviews (with Haidt discussing social media). The format of a day-in-the-life video is perhaps inescapably cringey but it did give some unique insight into Lex's techno-monk lifestyle and his ongoing fascination/discovery of just how bad the Nazis &amp; Hitler were. His interview with Haidt on the other hand was more substantial and covers a lot of tech-related issues that are genuinely complex and subject to an ongoing debate.Jonathan Haidt is a famous and well-regarded academic but also something of a controversial figure online in part because of his involvement in the dreaded 'culture wars'. In particular, Haidt co-wrote the influential book 'The Codding of the American Mind', founded 'Heterodox Academy', and is a vocal critic of 'wokism' and certain aspects of social media. We take a look at his arguments and try to discern whether he is a nuanced social scientist offering prescient warnings or a boomer shaking his fist at the kids these days? Join us and find out!LinksA Day in My Life - Lex FridmanJonathan Haidt: The Case Against Social Media | Lex Fridman Podcast&nbsp;#291Two Psychologists, Four Beers: Episode 89: What's Wrong with Social Media?Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid - The AtlanticOrben &amp; Przybylski (2019): The association between adolescent well-being and digital technology useResponse from Twenge, Haidt, Joiner, &amp; Campbell (2020)Response to the Response by Orben &amp; Przybylski (2020)Haidt, J., &amp; Bentov, Y. (ongoing). Free play and mental health: A collaborative review. Google Doc.Chris' Tweet review of The Coddling of the American Mind
7/8/20223 hours, 3 minutes, 43 seconds
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Interview with Nathan Allebach on Online Brands, Weird Twitter & that Steak Umms Account

In a way, we're all managing our personal brand in the infosphere aren't we? But Nathan Allebach, in a far more tangible way, really does manage brands - not just his own, but also for companies. And in managing the Steak-Umm brand on twitter, he drew attention by being one of the first to adopt a personal, authentic, and informative style - covering topics far beyond the world of frozen processed steak. Far from providing the typical zero-calorie bland corporate platitudes, Nathan quickly drew attention by delivering substantial threads on weighty topics like conspiracism and online disinformation. He played a delicate game of being edgy without being snarky or combative, providing informative and positive intellectual fare, nourishing both the hearts and minds of twitter users everywhere. As a hardened and savvy longtime twitter user, he's got a good understanding of the weirdness of Being Online, and the various ways to do so.So, we were glad to have a chance to meat Nathan (virtually of course, not in the flesh), to get his insights on navigating the online world, on what it means to See and Be Seen there, and his personal approach to Doing It Right. He didn't share any Convenient Meat Recipes For Busy Professionals though, weirdly enough... Maybe we'll have to get him back for that.LinksBrand Twitter Grows Up: Nathan's Article at The VultureSteak Umm's Mega thread on TwitterChris' Tweet threads about Pageau: here and hereJonathan Pageau: Why Human's SacrificeRichard Dawkins &amp; Jordan Peterson's discussion that features the DNA segmentChris' Article on Ritual &amp; Religion at AeonChris' co-authored article on Trump's inauguration as a ritual eventGurometerWant to help us rate the Gurus? You can enter your own scores for any Guru here!
6/10/20222 hours, 6 minutes, 45 seconds
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Jaron Lanier: Fear of an Algorithmic Planet

The season of tech is upon us! Hold on to your hats and press those non-fungible tokens tightly to your bosom, because we are getting into the thick of it.Matt and Chris kick things off with an exploration of tech pioneer Jaron Lanier. Sometimes referred to as the father of virtual reality, Jaron is a promising candidate for gurudom given his foreboding warnings of a bleak algorithmic future and a penchant for opening tech lectures barefoot with impromptu performances of exotic instruments. In short, he's a groovy guy and Matt digs that! Chris, being the sour lemon that he is, takes a little while to adjust to Jaron's particular style.Some Weinsteinian warning signs might be flashing but there really are eccentric and very clever people in the world... and Lanier might just be one of them? He certainly has a track record of critically commenting on techno-optimism and social media platforms for at least two decades. But some of his pronouncements seem a tad OTT and some recommendations a little hand-wavy...So how do the decoders square this particular dread-locked circle? Well, you're going to have to listen all the way to the end to find out. So, get yourself comfortable. Drink some coffee and pop some no-doze, and strap yourself in.Smash the Duck!LinksWas the Internet a Horrible Mistake? Jaron Lanier on Honestly with Bari WeissThat VR boxing game Chris' mentionedPeterson being a smug judge on Twitter
5/30/20221 hour, 54 minutes, 42 seconds
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*Patreon Preview* Decoding Academia 8: Monkey see, Monkey do?

Ahead of the Jaron Lanier episode a special preview episode of our ongoing Decoding Academia series.This week Matt and Chris take a look at a classic comparative study of social learning processes in chimpanzees and infants (Horner &amp; Whiten, 2005). They discover the correct method to break into a puzzle box, that chimpanzees are sometimes more logical than people, and that popular idioms do not always house universal truths.For anyone interested in reading the paper it is available for free here.We will be back later in the week with our normal decoding episode.
5/24/202259 minutes, 38 seconds
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Interview with Michael Inzlicht on the Replication Crisis, Mindfulness, and Responsible Heterodoy

It's been a while but don't worry the DtG elves have been hard at work and a veritable bounty of content is on its way. The long-promised Jaron Lanier decoding is on its way next week, but this week the cross-overs continue as we are joined by Mickey Inzlicht, esteemed Psychologist, Research Excellence Faculty Scholar at the University of Toronto, and long term (retired) co-host of the Two Psychologists, Four Beers podcast.Mickey has now hung up his podcasting headphones but like an old prizefighter, we were able to lure him back into the limelight one last time with promises of unlimited booze and global fame. To keep Mickey from realising we could provide neither, we then subjected him to an unrelenting barrage of questions for almost two hours. Under our relentless questioning, Mickey gave up the goods on some precious long-buried information, including what it's like to work with Jordan Peterson, the details on his campaign to destroy introspection, and what he really thinks of the Gurus. We also manage to discuss some serious stuff like the state of contemporary psychology, the impact of the replication crisis, whether preregistration is always beneficial (it is, don't listen to Matt!), and to resolve the fundamental nature of the Self!Mickey is a wise egg, a funny guy, and a veteran podcaster and we really enjoyed this conversation so we hope you will too! Stick around at the end for some Tamler themed feedback and more pronunciation errors than you can shake a stick at.Back next week with Jaron Lanier!LinksMickey's HomepageTwo Psychologists Four Beers 27: Against MindfulnessBernard Schiff's Article on Jordan Peterson for the Toronto Star: I was Jordan Peterson’s strongest supporter. Now I think he’s dangerous.Inzlicht, M., &amp; Friese, M. (2019). The past, present, and future of ego depletion. Social Psychology.Friese, M., Loschelder, D. D., Gieseler, K., Frankenbach, J., &amp; Inzlicht, M. (2019). Is ego depletion real? An analysis of arguments. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 23(2), 107-131.Guardian article about that Facebook StudyHoehl, S., Keupp, S., Schleihauf, H., McGuigan, N., Buttelmann, D., &amp; Whiten, A. (2019). ‘Over-imitation’: A review and appraisal of a decade of research. Developmental Review, 51, 90-108.
5/20/20222 hours, 11 minutes, 32 seconds
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Very Bad Gurus with David Pizarro & Tamler Sommers

In the most ambitious crossover since the Fraggles met the Muppets, this week we have a special joint episode with moral psychologist David Pizzaro and famed philosopher and ghost detective, Tamler Sommers. Also known as the hosts of a small academic podcast Very Bad Wizards.Stealing the format of their show we have a culture war heavy intro section featuring discussion of Joe Rogan censorship, covid debates, Japanese maid cafes, and the great ghost debate of 2022. Following that we move on to an in-depth round-table discussion of the 2012 Paul Thomas Anderson movie 'The Master'. The movie explores the relationship between a wastrel and a cult leader and features performances by Joacquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams. There is no denying it's an acting masterclass (and thematically relevant for the show!) but is it any good?Join us and help us as we attempt to decode with the wizards.LinksVery Bad Wizards podcastEmbrace the Void 237: Defining "religion" with Chris Kavanagh'Here We Are Podcast' Ep. 381 Internet Gurus w/ Dr. Chris KavanaghThe Stoa: Truth, Trust, and Culture War w/ Zubin Damania, Christopher Kavanagh, Ben Burgis, and David Fuller
4/29/20222 hours, 15 minutes, 40 seconds
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Interview with Timbah Toast on his Tim Pool Documentary & Scooby Doo Partisans

This week's episode we have an extended interview with an independent decoder, the YouTube documentary maker, Timbah-on-Toast. A kindred spirit in many respects Timbah is perhaps the ultimate form of the 'I can't come to bed, someone is wrong on the internet' meme. He makes detailed videos analysing the content of a variety of internet pundits, especially those who are posing as something they are not.If you have not experienced one of Timbah's documentaries you should go do so now. He has an excellent 3-part series on Dave Rubin's interview techniques and another 4-part series breaking down the career of the propagandist founder of the Veritas Project, James O'Keefe.His most recent series, however, is looking at self-proclaimed milquetoast centrist fence-sitter, the eternal beanie wearing Tim Pool. We compare notes, delve into what makes Timbah motivated to do what he does, and discuss his Scooby Doo narrative arc.So join us as Chris meets a kindred consumer of irritating content and Matt continues to ponder if it's all just cloud castles and narcissism.Also featuring... a Weinstein World update, the standard banter quotient, and an abusive Patreon shoutout segment.LinksJordan Peterson's 'Smug Judge' TweetBret Weinstein &amp; Jonathan Pageau: Ancient Wisdom, Modern WorldTimbah's Series on Dave Rubin: Battle of IdeasTimbah's Series on James O'Keefe: 10 Years of TruthTim Pool: Chaotic News AnalystTim Pool: Fence Sitter
4/23/20222 hours, 2 minutes, 43 seconds
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Reverend Sun Myung Moon: Absolute Decoding

This week we return one more time to the disturbing world of Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, also known as the 'Moonies', this time with a historical decoding episode.We are joined again this week by Elgen Strait, from Falling Out podcast, who helps us with a historical decoding of Reverend Moon's speeches and Moonie promotional material.Due to the subject matter we cannot promise a barrel of laughs but we hope this episode offers some useful insights into the approach of a genuine cult leader. It's also a useful comparison episode to see where there are parallels with the modern secular gurus we usually examine and where they diverge.So join us as we return to an imagined glory era of America in the 1950s (or was it 70s) when Absolute Sex &amp; a God centred ideology was all anyone needed for a perfect society... at least according to Moon. LinksFalling Out PodcastSun Myung Moon: God Bless America Festival (1976) Rare Complete Bicentennial Documentary &amp; We will Stand. Rev. Sun Myung Moon QAnon Anonymous 160: The Moonies Conquer DC feat Elgen StraitArticle on Trump's appearance at Unification Church linked eventJordan Peterson speaking with Andy Ngo about Antifa
4/8/20221 hour, 46 minutes, 43 seconds
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Interview with Elgen Strait on growing up in the Moonies & cultish manipulation

This episode is the first of two linked episodes in which we delve into the disturbing world of Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church also known as the 'Moonies'.Here in an interview episode we introduce Elgen Strait, host of the Falling Out Podcast which is "a&nbsp;podcast about leaving the Moonies and other cults, as told by the kids who grew up within them." The topic matter is serious and Elgen deftly introduces us to the manipulative cult dynamics he experienced first hand, as well as offering some broader information about how the Moonies craft their public image and raise funds.However, Elgen is a man after our own hearts and his dark sense of humour means that he can also enjoy a laugh at Moon's expense &amp; enlighten us about Absolute Sex(!), a term that might mean something slightly different than you imagine.Our next episode will be guest co-hosted by Elgen as we take an excursion from the contemporary secular gurus and attempt to decode some historical recordings from a bonafide religious cult leader.This episode hopefully provides the foundations to better understand that decoding and we hope you 'enjoy' the discussion with Elgen as much as we did, despite the subject matter!LinksFalling Out PodcastSun Myung Moon: God Bless America Festival (1976) Rare Complete Bicentennial Documentary &amp; We will Stand. Rev. Sun Myung Moon(content for the decoding episode)QAnon Anonymous 160: The Moonies Conquer DC feat Elgen StraitArticle on Trump's appearance at Unification Church linked eventPodcast RecommendationsWhen Diplomacy FailsMonocle 24: Foreign DeskWar on the Rocks
3/31/20221 hour, 31 minutes, 22 seconds
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Interview with Julian Walker on Conspirituality, Conspiracies and (Global) Culture Wars

Another interview episode - we've had a flurry recently but don't worry, we'll be returning to a good ol' fashioned decoding episode very soon. This week we just couldn't resist the opportunity to have a chinwag with our podcasting compadre Julian Walker, an eloquent writer on evidence-based &amp; conspiracy matters and co-host of the Conspirituality podcast. Julian's a yoga instructor and (maybe even) a spiritual kinda guy, but has long opposed the conspiratorial, anti-science, and exploitative guru side of the yoga &amp; 'health &amp; wellness' communities. In short, he's a science-minded guy moving in spiritual and yoga circles, who is now directly involved in countering the endless proliferation of pseudoscientific &amp; conspiratorial nonsense. So, Matt and Chris take this opportunity to pick Julian's brain about what's been going on over on the crunchy side of the aisle, how it relates (and even overlaps) with the secular gurus, and the cultural moment we're in more generally. Due to the backlog caused by lazy elves in the DTG editing bay, some of the references to the trucker convoy and whatnot are a bit outdated, nor will you hear any mention of Ukraine. But don't mind that! Julian's got a lot of insight to offer and we hope you enjoy listening to him as much as we did!LinksConspirituality 90: The Convoy is an Occupation (w/ Elizabeth Simons). More detailed analysis of the Trucker ConvoyConspirituality 95: Aleksandr Dugin: Kali Yuga Chess. A recent episode by Julian doing a deep dive on Putin's alleged guru.
3/26/20221 hour, 58 minutes, 16 seconds
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Interview with Josh Szeps, The Rumble from Downunder

Hot on the heels of our Joe Rogan Trilogy, the big red phone at Decoder HQ rang with an intriguing proposal. Well, it was more of a DM, and it said,"Hi, love your show, would love to come on talk about Joe. Josh Szeps"."Josh Szeps?" we thought. "Who's that?" 5 mins of internet research later we found out it was none other than the voice of Olly the Kookaburra at the 2000 Sydney games! Well, we have to have him on, we thought. And as a bonus, he's also been on the Joe Rogan Experience where he famously gave him some real talk about COVID, vaccines, and the relative threat of myocarditis. In so doing Josh become, for a while at least, something of a reluctant hero to Joe Rogan cancel mobs everywhere."Book him!" intoned Matt, decisively."Right you are sir!" chirped Chris, obsequiously.Recollections of the specific events differ, but essentially just like that, podcast interview history was made.Josh Szepps has been an ABC journalist, panelist, TV and radio host, raconteur, and general opinionated and interviewer in Australia for donkey's years. He also has his own podcast, (Impossible) sorry Uncomfortable Conversations, which some say is pretty, pretty OK. Matt's been listening to him for years on the radio, so he tried not to be star-struck. While Josh managed (some would say too easily) to conceal his awe of Matt's towering intellect and impressive academic achievements. Chris meanwhile, knowing nothing of Australian culture and etiquette waffled on with his usual wild abandon.The conversation does include chat about the shiny-headed, supplement-infused, muscle master himself, but (fortunately) soon turns to broader discussion of disinformation, censorship, responsible heterodoxy, the general health of the info-sphere, and many, many more topics crucial to Saving our Civilisation! We argue constructively debate many topics including the impact of deplatforming and whether there is a need for greater editorial oversight (or if we are taking the first step to the Gulags). We don't see eye to eye on everything, but Josh is a super cool guy so enjoy some civility porn as we engage in the kind of debate that would make even the IDW superstars proud.Check it out!LinksUncomfortable Conversation with Josh Szeps'The Facts about Myocarditis' On Afternoons with Josh SzepsJosh on TwitterThe CDC requirements for certifying deaths as due to Covid The Joe Rogan Experience #1762 - Josh Szeps on SpotifyThe Fifth Column: 348 w/ Matt Taibbi "Richard Perle in New Jersey, Putin in Hell, Ukraine in Crisis"Clip from James Lindsay on Dr. PhilThis Week's SponsorCheck out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News, and get the app at <a...
3/17/20221 hour, 42 minutes, 33 seconds
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James Lindsay & Michael O'Fallon: Eating bugs for Feminist Glaciology

This is an important episode. 2022 you needs to realise what 2020 you could not and what 2030 you is ready to tell you. Confused? You will be.On this episode we tackle two gurus that we have treated separately: James Lindsay of New Discourses (episode 2) and Michael O'Fallon of Sovereign Nations (episode 13). O'Fallon hasn't changed much from our episode analysing him, aside from starting a conspiracy laden daily news show. But James... well... judge for yourself.On this episode you will learn many amazing facts, including how feminist glaciology is at the core of the Great Reset, that the NFL is now the Critical Race Football league, and how what 'it' is really all about is making people into pets who are driven by AI cars and eat bugs.For this excursion, Chris and Matt are joined for the second time by Aaron Rabinowtiz, host of Embrace the Void (@ETVPod) and Philosophers in Space podcasts, PhD student, and lecturer at Rutgers University. This means we have now had two back to back episodes with philosophers... and we really can't apologise enough.LinksBen Garrison's cartoon featuring Scott AdamsSovereign Nations' Public Occurrences | Episode 7 | Woke NFLSovereign Nations' Public Occurrences | Episode 10 | Obedience TrainingClimate Justice | James Lindsay &amp; Michael O'Fallon | Changing Tides Ep. 1A Critical Reset | James Lindsay &amp; Michael O'Fallon | Changing Tides Ep. 2New Discourses | Groomer Schools 2: Queer Futurity and the Sexual Abuse of Your ChildrenNew Discourses | Groomer Schools 3: The Creation of an American Red GuardThat Immune book by Philipp Dettmer from Gurzgesagt
3/6/20223 hours, 15 minutes, 57 seconds
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Interview with Liam Bright on Scientific Orthodoxy, Reform Efforts & DTG's Philosophy

Today we have a little mid-week treat, ahead of our next decoding episode, a discussion with the philosopher and Leverhulme Prize Winning Twitter sensation, Liam Kofi Bright.Liam is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method at a little known degree-mill called the London School of Economics. On this episode we have a wide ranging discussion revolving around the state of the Orthodoxy in modern scientific research, the viability of proposed reforms, and finally Liam decodes whether we are mindless defenders of the status quo or the true heirs of the Logical Positivists tradition. Along the way we also learn the three rules to master Twitter, what Open Science is all about, whether philosophers of science are good or bad, and what exactly 26+6 equals.LinksChris' appearance on The Stoa discussing the GurometerLiam Bright's websiteLiam's (2016) paper 'On Fraud'Liam's (2021) paper 'Why do Scientists Lie'Remco Hessen &amp; Liam's (2021) paper 'Is peer review a good idea'Liam on TwitterThis Week's SponsorCheck out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News, and get the app at ground.news/gurus.
3/3/20222 hours, 6 minutes, 14 seconds
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Interview with Virginia Heffernan on Edge, the dangers of Scientism, & Culture Wars

On this week's show we have a broad ranging discussion with the well known journalist and author Virginia Heffernan. Virginia has written a bunch on the topic of technology, social media, scientism, and especially the Edge organisation. We discuss her research into Edge and related figures but also range further afield to cover debates in academia, the culture war and gurus, anthropology debates in the 90s, race &amp; IQ rationalists, and other such topics.One short service note is that Matt is incognito for part of the conversation as he had a prior appointment so you will have to endure Chris functioning on his own but do not fear our intrepid psychologist re-emerges to offer some words of wisdom at the end. Also, the conversation with Virginia was recorded in advance of the events in Ukraine so no recent events are discussed (which is probably for the best).For those who want to do a bit more digging on the topics discussed, below are a bunch of related articles and you can also follow Virginia on Twitter (@page88) and check out her new podcast 'This is Critical' which encourages people to look critically at a wide array of topics, which is quite on brand for us!LinksVirginia's piece on Edge &amp; John BrockmanVirginia's essays on WiredVirginia's Substack piece on Jordan PetersonVirginia's Substack piece on Peter ThielVirginia's WebsiteVirginia's book: Magic &amp; Loss- The Internet as ArtInsider article on the sordid tale of Chris chanTwo articles Chris wrote on his ancient blog about the Captain Cook debate (part 1 and part 2)This Week's SponsorCheck out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News, and get the app at ground.news/gurus.
2/26/20222 hours, 22 minutes, 10 seconds
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Robert Wright: A Cosmic Journey Across the Bob-o-verse

Matt and Chris finally leave the Rogan-verse behind, activate their Infinite Improbability Drive, and blast off for the Bob-o-verse. In an off-again / on-again, will they / won't they battle of wits, we outmanoeuvre Bob by covering an episode that he planned to record for our benefit, which we then explained we wouldn't cover because that would violate our rules, which he decided to record anyway, and we then decided it would be alright to cover because he thought we weren't going to cover it. Which one of us is playing 4-dimensional chess and who's playing Hungry Hippo? We're not sure.Robert Wright is a journalist, author, independent commentator, and podcaster. A stalwart of the public intellectual scene, he never joined the Intellectual Dark Web. How's that for a recommendation!? He's written and thought, or thought and then written about so many topics it's impossible to mention them all, but they span evolution, Buddhism, geopolitics, philosophy, and everything in between. But is he a guru?(Spoiler) Of course he is. Yes, definitely. But is he a good guru? Well, we're not going to tell you. You're going to have to tune in to find out. Chris and Matt are simple folk, but they do their best to wrap their heads around Bob's cosmic philosophy, which spans the fundamental algorithms of evolution, black holes, alternative universes, and how we should probably all be nice to one another if we want to create a global brain. You might think grokking those ideas would be like watching Koyaanisqatsi while tripping on ayahuasca, but actually it all makes sense. We think.But is it true? Is it real? Is Wright right? That my friends, is up to you to decide. But in this episode we will open the door.... (and possibly resolve the mystery of consciousness at the same time, turns out there was no problem all along).Links Timbah on Toast's new video on Tim Pool: Fence SitterKnowledge Fight: Formulaic Objections Part 4The Dharma of Bob 8: A Cosmic View of Our Situation | Robert Wright &amp; Josh Summers | The Wright ShowWhat is Tribalism? Non-Zero NewsletterSponsorCheck out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News to compare news coverage. Spot media bias. And be better informed. Download the free Ground News app at&nbsp;ground.news/gurus.CoverartThanks to Mark Ledwich (@mark_ledwich) and Elsa Jansen (@ElsaJansen) for the coverart this week! Contributions for coverart for upcoming episodes always welcome.
2/19/20222 hours, 40 minutes, 44 seconds
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Interview: Debunking (Antivaxx) Funk with Dr Dan Wilson

This week we speak to fellow traveller, kindred spirit, and vaccine misinformation debunker, Dr Dan Wilson. Yes, we know we've talked SO much about anti-vax rhetoric recently, and we hope the day will soon come when we can leave it all behind us, but friends, today is not that day.For more than a year, Dan's YouTube channel DebunkTheFunk has focused on rebutting COVID and vaccine misinformation from characters such as Geert Vanden-Bossche, Joseph Mercola and RFK Jnr. His recent episodes on Robert Malone and Peter Mc Collough have been an invaluable source for the decoders for our recent episodes. So of course we were delighted that Dan could come speak to us about what he does, what they do, and what kind of rhetorical tropes and tricks he sees from these characters.Dan seems to suffer from the same masochistic malaise we do, in feeling compelled to listen to some of the worst material available on the internet, so as to point out what's wrong with it. And he accomplishes that mission effectively, and most mysteriously for Chris and Matt, concisely as well.It's not all negative, because as well as talking about anti-vaxxers specifically, we all bask in our shared admiration for This Week in Virology, the kind of critical yet open-minded science communication show we'd all love to see a lot more of. We also talk about the kind of everyday epistemics that we can all practice to separate fact from fiction, and the kind of public engagement that genuine experts, researchers and scientists need to practice in order to take back the infosphere from snake-oil salesmen and attention-seekers of all kinds. It was an absolute pleasure to talk to Dan. We love what he does, and we hope he goes on doing it for a long time to come. We hope you enjoy it too, and we heartily recommend sharing DebunkTheFunk with friends, family and colleagues who have slipped down the conspiratorial rabbit-hole on COVID and vaccines.
2/10/20221 hour, 15 minutes, 33 seconds
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Special: Joe Rogan 'Sorry, not Sorry'

To cap off our impromptu mini-series focusing on the Rogan-verse we take a critical look at Joe's short (non) apology video responding to the Spotify controversy surrounding his recent episodes with Robert Malone &amp; Peter McCullough.In it we get to see a charming Joe Rogan being humble and compromising, while standing firm to explain why his critics have got him all wrong. He's not some hardline anti-vaccine advocate with an agenda to spread covid misinformation, he's just a normal guy who likes to have interesting conversations and hear from both sides(tm) on controversial topics.Joe's certainly on the charm offensive and he's already won plaudits from the heterodox for doing the right thing but are these really deserved? And how well does what Joe says hold up when you look at it critically? We do what few will bother and compare &amp; contrast how Joe describes what he does vs. what he actually does and says in his content. And we find a few discrepancies that seem worth mentioning.This will be our last dip into the Rogan-verse for the next while but we would encourage anyone who wants more to go back to our episodes on Rogan &amp; Jocko Willink or the combined episode on Robert Malone &amp; Peter McCullough.Whether you are a fan of Rogan or a critic, we hope you can find something useful in our critical evaluation and we will back soon with a full length decoding.LinksJoe Rogan's apology videoDTG: Episode on Robert Malone &amp; Peter McCulloughDTG: Episode on Joe Rogan &amp; Jocko WillinkTimbah on Toast: Tim Pool - Fence SitterArticle by Tristan Flock on what Malone &amp; McCullough have actually said and promotedSpotify's new platform rules on Misinformation
2/4/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 3 seconds
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*Patreon Preview* Malone & McCullough: Gurometer Ratings

This week a bonus Gurometer episode has sneaked out from behind the golden curtain of the DTG Patreon pay wall.We aren't out of the Rogan-verse yet. Our last task is to try and scientifically quantify the precise guru nature of the two good doctors using our patented Gurometer instrument. Are they guru wannabes, mid-tier, or high level? Join us to find out.Next week, we will be back with a full length guru episode!...and for those who would like to see all the ratings of previous gurus, you can find those here.
1/28/202252 minutes
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Robert Malone & Peter McCullough: A litany of untruths

Matt and Chris return to the Joe Rogan-verse much quicker than they would have liked to take a critical eye to two recent episodes (6 more hours!!!) offering controversial takes on Covid 19 and the dangers of vaccines. Yes, that's right more fear mongering, more global conspiracies, and more unrecognised heroes of science that Joe needs to promote to his large audience.In this case, we have Dr. Robert Malone, the *self-proclaimed* inventor of mRNA vaccines, and Dr. Peter McCullough, a cardiologist who was recently sued by his old hospital for using its name when promoting his covid theories. Both figures are well documented promoters of covid misinformation, including in various appearances on extreme right wing conspiracy sites like Alex Jones' InfoWars.Matt and Chris are no medical experts nor do they play them on podcasts (if you are looking for a point by point technical/medical debunking, we would recommend following the links at the bottom of these show notes). But what they are very familiar with are modern gurus and conspiracy theorists. So in this episode, after twenty plus episodes of calibrating the Gurometer(TM) with known gurus, they take it for a new test with these two maverick doctors. Applying the well-developed science of Gurometry(TM) to a novel dataset. How do they fare? Guess...Honestly, this is probably the darkest and most depressing episode we've done. It was not fun and we would really prefer to be talking about something else but here we are. Hopefully we will not be back soon... LinksThe JRE 1757: Robert MaloneThe JRE 1747: Peter McCulloughThe Atlantic: The Vaccine Scientist Spreading Vaccine MisinformationFor Better Science: How Dr Robert Malone invented AntivaxxeryRespectful Insolence: Is “mRNA vaccine inventor” Robert Malone “being erased from Wikipedia” for his claims about COVID-19?Respectful Insolence: Dr. Robert Malone goes full antivaccine conspiracistRespectful Insolence: The latest antivaxx lie from Peter McCullough, Mike Adams, and RFK Jr.: “COVID-19 vaccines are killing people!!!!”Politifact: Who is Robert Malone? Joe Rogan’s guest was a vaccine scientist, became an anti-vaccine darlingScience Based Medicine: “Depopulation” by COVID-19 vaccines?<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFqn3uy238E" rel="noopener noreferrer"...
1/13/20223 hours, 17 minutes, 22 seconds
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*Patreon Preview* Decoding Academia #2: False Positive Psychology

The New Year is upon us and the gurologists thought they should contribute to the holiday cheer in the only way they can... releasing a rambling podcast about academic minutiae!This is not a new guru episode, instead it is a preview of our Patreon bonus series 'Decoding Academia' in which we discuss research that has influenced us &amp; we think is relevant for understanding the gurus (or in this case approaching research critically).The paper in question is a classic social psychology paper that slightly pre-empted the Replication Crisis with very timely warnings about lax methodological standards. The paper is titled 'False-Positive Psychology: Undisclosed Flexibility in Data Collection and Analysis Allows Presenting Anything as Significant' and is by Simmons, Nelson, &amp; Simonsohn (2011).If you want to read the paper yourself it can be freely accessed here. It introduces the concept of 'Researcher Degrees of Freedom' and also statistically *proves* that listening to certain music can make you physically younger. How? Join us and find out! Finally... just a quick note to say Happy New Year from Chris &amp; Matt! We will be back early next year with our Robert Wright episode and many gurus thereafter.
12/30/202159 minutes, 16 seconds
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Joe Rogan: Just an average Joe?

Joe Rogan is a world famous podcaster, a martial artist, a stand-up comedian, a MMA commentator, co-founder of the Onnit supplement company, the ex-host of Fear Factor, a long term friend of Alex Jones, and recently a major outlet for promoting 'alternative' Covid facts.And yet despite all these 'achievements' and his recent multi million dollar deal with Spotify many argue that a large part of Joe's appeal is that he is just a 'regular Joe'. Joe himself has said he's just a 'f**king moron' and that people should not take his opinion seriously... but does he mean it?Join Matt &amp; Chris as they break out their dusty gym bags and enter the house of pain that is long form podcasting to try and imbibe the full Joe Rogan Experience. To aid in this glorious quest, the guys sought out the most testosterone laced JRE episode they could find and inevitable landed on a recent episode with ex-navy seal &amp; motivational author, Jocko Willink. This is a man who everyday posts black and white photographs of his wristwatch at 4.30am with captions like 'Ready. Set. GET SOME' &amp; 'Default: AGGRESSIVE'. If you think this means the episode will be covering the sexually arousing nature of armoured cars, the beauty of handcrafted knives, and how to revive the American manufacturing industry... you would be right. But that's not all. You will also discover surprising non-partisan 'facts' like how Tulsi Gabbad is the centrist messiah, George Soros is responsible for recent US crime waves, Nancy Pelosi is an assassin, and the Hunter Biden laptop story is the biggest story of the modern era. Oh and, of course, that Covid vaccines are dangerous and effective alternative treatments are being hushed up.Wait... what?So rev your engines, sharpen your handcrafted knives, and get ready to smash headfirst through brick walls of ignorance and faux expertise in this testosterone soaked episode as Matt &amp; Chris refuse to acquiesce to the 'burden of civility'.P.S. Did Matt mention that he had to listen to 6hrs this week?!?LinksThe JRE 1740: Jocko WillinkThe JRE 1492: Jocko WillinkThe JRE 1742: Peter McCulloughAndrea With The Bangs Interview with Chris &amp; MattKurzgesagt- We Lied to You... And We'll Do it Again!TIm Nguen's 'A Response to Economics as Gauge Theory'Thi Nguyen's 'Twitter: The Intimacy Machine' at the RavenSam Harris &amp; Nicholas Christakis 'Waking up #270 - What have we learned from the Pandemic?'ZDoggMD 'Joe Rogan's Interview With Dr. Peter McCullough | A Doctor Explains'
12/18/20213 hours, 7 minutes, 14 seconds
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Special: Guru Right to Reply with Chris Williamson

Listeners might remember Chris Williamson from our episode on Gad Saad. He was the former love island contestant who interviewed Gad and appeared to have taken an IDW turn. So while Matt &amp; Chris focused their critical attention primarily on the master of irony, Gad Saad, they also raised a rather skeptical eye towards Chris Williamson as well. And listeners, they were not kind. Not at all... Nevertheless, Chris W. reached out and accepted our standing offer for any guru covered to come on to the show and respond to the criticisms we made. The result was an interesting and wide ranging exchange that covered issues such as what it's like for a non-specialist to interview famous academics, the incentives and pressures at play in the modern social media ecosystem, and how DTG commentary feels when you are on the receiving side!For fans of cringe comedy this episode might be particularly enjoyable as off-hand comments and cutting remarks are discussed and dissected for their fairness. But (spoiler!) everyone survives to the end. Chris (Kavanagh) also took a degree of pleasure in watching the alleged 'nice guy' of the podcast squirm over his cheeky remarks. All in all there is some nice symmetry, in that everybody had something to cringe about.But perhaps this dialogue will alchemically transform that cringe into spiritual gold, and we can all learn something and grow a little as people or podcasters? Or maybe not? Time will tell, ay?Have a listen and see what you think!P.S. Sincere apologies for the audio quality, especially on Matt's end. We recorded this at an ungodly hour of the morning and Matt was too zombified to select the good microphone. Or the DISC could have interfered with it... Something like that.LinksThe original DTG episode on Gad Saad with Chris Williamson
12/10/20211 hour, 47 minutes, 36 seconds
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Decoding Academia: Matt on his ENTIRE research career *Patreon Sample*

So, what even IS the deal with Matt? Is he a proper psychologist or does his past conceal something darker, aside from his bronzed skin-tone? Until now, he's been a mystery hidden in a enigma and wrapped within a svelte Australian shell. Well, enquiring minds need to know, so that's all about to change! Here it is - The Story of Matt. The ins, the outs, and the 'what-have-yous'. The false starts, the missed opportunities for fame, the many entry roles as a research 'shit-kicker', and his final glorious ascension to his ultimate form as a white haired tenured Professor.You'll learn why being an English language teacher is not a real job, how Matt could have been a contender in the massively lucrative and prestigious field of artificial intelligence, where all the fish live (under the sea, mostly), the powers and ideologies at play in gambling research, why Matt isn't impressed by Taleb's claims about fat tails, and so much more.You'll be left wondering, "How can one man, even if he is very ancient, do so much? Is he a polymath? Or does he just have a short attention span, and trouble holding down a job?" And finally, as an exercise for the listener, like Chris, you will be left to wonder "is convolve a real word?"Here it is: the backstory of Matt.LinksMatt's prolific research outputInside Gambling article on Matt's research'Two for Tea' podcast episode with Matt on his research
12/3/20211 hour, 3 minutes, 59 seconds
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Brené Brown: Matt and Chris courageously embrace their vulnerability

Brené Brown&nbsp;is an American professor, lecturer, author, storyteller researcher, and podcast host.&nbsp;She's made it her life's work to help people rise strong, brave the wilderness, and dare to lead - all through overcoming shame and embracing their own vulnerability.So naturally Chris and Matt - being the emotionally unavailable, culturally stunted and cynical gits that they are - bemoan all this positivity and do their level best to try and drag her down to their bitter and petty level. Can you get the secret to self-actualisation in a TED talk? Or is it more a sequence of inspirational quote memes strung together? Or are these things one and the same?Perhaps Professor Brown is honing in on universal psychological truths. Or alternatively, she might be an unwitting expression of American hyper-individualism and self-obsessed culture. Well, you're gonna get the Irish and Australian take on that. Thanksgiving is obviously the perfect time for the hosts to tell their US listeners that American culture sucks and that kids shouldn't follow their dreams but prepare to be cogs in the machine.No, no, they don't do that. Well... not entirely.Well, what do they say? What is there take? You'll have to tune in to find out!LinksThe power of vulnerability (TED talk)Listening to shame (TED talk) 'If you want to heal yourself, WATCH THIS!' Brené Brown &amp; Lewis Howes on 'The School of Greatness'Eric Weinstein: How Not to Formulate a Theory of Everything (Tim Nguyen)Live-tweet of Eric's Chicago Lecture by Sandro SharashenidzeBret and Heather Darkhorse 105: State Lies Coming Across
11/26/20212 hours, 10 minutes, 51 seconds
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Decoding Academia: Chris on Religion & Ritual *Patreon Sample*

It had to happen eventually. As Matt and Chris listen week in and week out to the world's greatest gurus pontificating on the mysteries of the universe, it's only natural that the siren call of Galaxy Brain takes and revolutionary theories would prove too great. And so seeking to take advantage of the parasocial bonds they have scrupulously cultivated (and signal their value to the University of Austin) they are launching a new Patreon bonus series on 'Decoding Academia'. The first two instalments covering Matt &amp; Chris' work &amp; main research interests will be freely available to all. But for the deeper arcane knowledge that only true free thinkers would dare behold, you will need to smash through our Patreon 'Strategic Economic Barrier' or SEB.In this episode, Chris discusses the cognitive and evolutionary relevance of religion (what is it?, why is it?, and what is it good for?), rituals (what are they? why do we do them? and why are there painful ones?!?), &amp; Gods (why do we care about them? Do we need them for religion).So take a breather from the culture war and enjoy some light academic waffle!We will be back on Friday this week with a full guru episode on Brene Brown!LinksChris' article on 'Religion Without Belief' at AeonChris' article on Hazing Rituals at AeonPreprint version of Academic Article by Chris on 'Is Japan Religious'
11/23/202154 minutes, 9 seconds
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Interview with Annie Kelly on Vaccines, Conspiracies, & Misinformation

Dr Annie Kelly is a writer, researcher, and the British correspondent for the well and deservedly praised podcast QAnon Anonymous. Her PhD research was on digital anti-feminism and the kinds of ideas that float around certain 'tradcon', biological essentialist, or religiously motivated groups. She does research on antifeminism, new digital cultures, conspiracy theories and right wing extremism. Prompted by the resurgence in anti-vax sentiment, Annie's been looking into the history and sociology of vaccinations, and sees lots of interesting roots and themes for understanding what's going on right now. Her new podcast, "Vaccine - The Human Story" has been digging into precisely these issues, and so we had questions for Annie, lots of questions! The history of the germ theory of disease, the early use (and abuse) of vaccinations, and the panics, xenophobia and quack therapies - it's quite simply fascinating stuff, and we get a wonderful overview from Annie in this episode.Annie's work at QAA and elsewhere naturally focuses more on the extreme end of the spectrum, and while pulling no punches, she approaches what can be quite disturbing and confronting topics with a humour and empathy that is incredibly authoritative and reassuring. We talk about COVID and vaccines, but so much more, like the anti-feminist ideas that float around in the hinterland between athiesm and religiosity, pick up artists converting to Orthodox Christianity, and other weirdness.One of our most enjoyable and informative interviews - do check it out! LinksVaccine: The Human Story (on Youtube)Vaccine: The Human Story (podcast)QAnon Anonymous 161: The Northern Irish Satanic Panic (Part 1)Joe Rogan's instagram rant about AustraliaJoe Rogan double standards in defending Trump Jnr.The 'hardcore' metal Matt was referring to in the intro
11/6/20211 hour, 44 minutes, 21 seconds
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Special: Interview with Sam Harris on Gurus, Tribalism & the Culture War

Sam Harris probably needs no introduction in our neck of the info-sphere as he is seemingly never far from the spotlight... or the occasional controversy.We’ve had some nice things to say about Sam, but we’ve also made some harsh criticisms, particularly regarding a short episode he released which seemed to suggest it was necessary to practice introspective meditation in order to fully understand why his political and culture war views were correct.Although we’ve never done a ‘proper’ episode on Sam, we have always stated that anyone we discuss is welcome to come on the show and discuss (or dispute) our charges – which is exactly what Sam is doing here!This interview is split into two sections. In the first, we discuss Sam’s app and whether it might encourage guru dynamics and the role of meditation and (non) self-awareness in forming an accurate political outlook. We put some of our criticisms to Sam especially regarding guru dynamics, issues of introspective verification of truth claims, and the potential for abusive practices and manipulation by gurus.In the second section, we turn to some of the more controversial topics that have sprung up around Sam over the years. Sam responds to proposals that he might be as tribal as the rest of us suckers, and he defends himself against accusations that he might have selective empathy and blind spots towards the rightish side of the political spectrum. We talk about tribalism and the potential distorting effects of personal relationships, as well as anthropologists, Islamism, wokism, right-wing extremism, and how political biases manifest themselves on the left and right.Although the format is an interview, it does get quite ‘debate-y’ at times. And it’s probably true that we don’t come to a grand reconciliation of views at the end. However, nobody storms off, so what you get is a frank and friendly but robust exchange of views.We hope you enjoy it.LinksEmbrace the Void 170: State of the IDW with Chris KavanaghArticle by Stuart Hayashi on Stefan Molyneux's views about the HolocaustStefan Molyneux profile on the Daily BeastOur episode on Douglas MurrayOur episode on Gad SaadPolite Conversations with Eiynah 17: Sam Harris EpisodeWashington Post Article on Maajid's Promotion of 'Stop The Steal'Guardian article on Maajid's growing interest in ConspiraciesMaking Sense 243: A Few Points of Confusion (Sam's meditation episode)<a...
10/30/20213 hours, 6 minutes, 9 seconds
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Mikhaila Peterson: The Marvelous World of Meat

The hosts are certainly in no position to criticise someone for what they eat, with Matt unable to resist a Fosters and shrimps on a barbie, and Chris subsisting entirely on potatoes and Guinness. But... neither host have yet attempted to live on an all meat diet.Which is a shame, because according to Mikhaila Peterson and many others, meat and only meat is what you need. Sure, it's on the edgier part of the fad diet spectrum. But according to proponents: inflammation, depression, chronic Lyme disease - you name it, meat cures it. In this episode you'll learn about the surprising diversity of customised, bespoke, and finely-tuned all-meat diets that are out there. You'll also learn more about Chris' two mortal enemies, the British and the Fish, and how Matt's snacking proclivities mean he is in perilous danger of becoming a fungus zombie. More substantively, Mikhaila provides an interesting entry point to dig a little deeper into the psychological, psychosomatic, and physical problems that lead people into adopting this kind of restrictive practice. Just as Jordan Peterson discussed the truly horrific and destructive powers unleashed by sipping apple cider, there seems to be a common theme of attributing HUGE and dramatic powers to dietary choices. All of which is connected to existential concerns about what we put into our body, magical thinking about health and wellness, heuristics about purity, and anxieties about personal control. Get ready for lots of anecdotal reasoning and emotional testimonies of those with meat based lived experience.Could an all meat diet be for you? Tune in, and find out!LinksTop Carnivore Diet Doctor Tips | Ken Berry - MP Podcast #117Carnivore Anecdotes | Mikhaila Peterson Podcast #69Mikhaila Peterson Q and A 100th Podcast EpisodeRecent Times Article on Peterson that is highly critical of MikhailaNolan Investigates... Stonewall PodcastUnofficial Discord Thread on the SubredditMedium Article by Matthew Remski on The New Age / Medieval Mortifications of Jordan PetersonThis Week's SponsorCheck out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News, and get the app at ground.news/gurus.
10/26/20212 hours, 15 minutes, 54 seconds
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Interview with Stuart Neil on SARS CoV-2

You might have noticed there's been a bit of talk recently about a certain virus. A virus that may or may not have a vaccine that is very safe and effective, that may or may not be curable via hydroxychloroquine, vitamin D and ivermectin. That may or may not have escaped from a certain Chinese lab....Yes folks, we're talking about SARS CoV-2. And although it's technically not directly guru-related, these are topics that have sucked so many of our gurus in like a conceptual black hole. So, we were particularly happy that Dr. Stuart Neil was willing to talk to us and sort this stuff out. Stuart is a Professor of Virology at King's College London. He's a specialist in virus cell biology and immunology, antiviral restriction, and has studied HIV, Ebola, and most recently COVID.Stuart is passionate about helping to inform the public about the state of scientific knowledge on COVID, and is known for his many excellent twitter threads helping to provide summaries and combat the misinformation and conspiracy theories that surround these topics.In this episode, Stuart gives a nuanced and crystal clear summary of where the evidence is pointing on these COVID-related topics. Stuart's frank about what we do and we do not know on these topics. And with Matt and Chris, there's interesting discussions about the controversies surrounding THAT letter to the Lancet, how scientific publishing works, and how the 'scientific consensus' develops in a politically charged and highly dynamic situation.If you have friends or colleagues who are uncertain about what positions the evidence supports on COVID, then THIS is the guy and THIS is the episode you want them to listen to.LinksStuart's article on Fake Science and Judy MikovitsStuart's Twitter profileD.R.A.S.T.I.C.'s WebsiteThis Week's SponsorCheck out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News, and get the app at ground.news/gurus.
10/9/20211 hour, 59 minutes, 44 seconds
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Special Episode: Interview with Stuart Ritchie on Hunter Gatherers in the 21st Century, covid skeptics, and bad science

This week we have an engaging interview with the scientist, author, and public science communicator Stuart Ritchie. Stuart wrote the excellent 'Science Fictions: Exposing Fraud, Bias, Negligence and Hype in Science' and is a prolific advocate fr better science and more nuanced public discourse.In this episode we start of by discussing Stuart's recently published review of Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying's new book 'A Hunter Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century'. Was Stuart a fan and is now an acolyte of Weinsteinian lineage theory? Tune in to find out.Also, for those who enjoy 'challenging conversations', robust discourse, and regularly shop in the marketplace of ideas, there is an extended discussion on whether we have been a little bit too kind on the government and public health institutions. Stuart uses facts and logic and attempts to DESTROY us, so come and get your well earned vicarious catharsis but be prepared for plenty of postmodern deflection. We've learned from the best.LinksStuart's Review of Bret &amp; Heather's new book at the GuardianWebsite for Stuart's (Excellent) Book: Science FictionsAnti-Virus: The Covid 19 FAQ Website'How the Experts Messed up on Covid' at Unherd by Stuart &amp; Michael Story'How Covid Skeptics were duped by the Wonderdrug Ivermectin' at New Statesman by StuartChris' Tweet-thread Chapter by Chapter review of Stuart's Book (use the hashtags to find the rest)Kevin Bird's Tweet with an extract from B&amp;H's bookThis Week's SponsorCheck out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News, and get the app at ground.news/gurus.
9/24/20211 hour, 53 minutes, 53 seconds
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Jordan Hall: Sensemaking, or the superficial pitter-patter on the neocortex?

This episode is about sense-making... if you are not sick of that term yet, trust us, you soon will be.To get things rolling, Matt and Chris launch the podcast with a pair of rants. Chris vents about the lab-leak theorists who plague his mentions and Matt gets triggered by US libertarian takes on the military dictatorship apparently taking over Australia. He needs to get his thoughts out there before the secret police come and drag him away.Then we get the point (relatively quickly this time - see, we're getting better!) and leap into a truly indulgent level of sense making meta dialogue. Matt and Chris talk about a conversation between David Fuller and Jordan Hall, who are themselves discussing another conversation that Jordan Hall had with someone called Brandon Hayes.Yes, in this episode, you'll be listening to a conversation about a conversation about a conversation. It's like a podcast version of Inception, including a large amount of ponderous and ambiguous dialogue - you'll have to dig deeper, engage your sense making muscles, and it'll maybe make sense once it's all over.Anyway, so Brandon Hayes is a 'Propertarian', which appears to be an anti-semitic, ethnonationalist 'philosophy' with fascist and eugenic elements created by an odd American man called Curt Doolittle, . Cool, cool... David Fuller is raising some very legitimate concerns, and pulling Jordan Hall up on what seemed to be a rather generous and pally interview he conducted with Brandon. But it's Jordan's responses that really sparked the interest of the duo. He responds and explains. Or does he? There's a lot of reflections on the co-participatory seeking of Truth, the importance of the conversational process, the transformative nature of challenging relationships, but no real interest in the actual content of what people believe and promote. In this framing, a conversation with an anti-semite who promotes a neo-fascistic ideology becomes primarily just a stepping stone on a spiritual journey of transformative self-growth.As Jordan says, the literal content is just the superficial pitter-patter on the neocortex. But he's interested in something deeper, ineffable. The language Jordan uses is a tour-de-force in guru-esque 'sensemaking'. In a linguistic sense, he's like the bastard lovechild of Jordan Peterson and Eric Weinstein. Anyway if that sounds good to you then tune in, check it out, and if you manage to stick it out all the way to the end you are rewarded by Chris and Matt mulling over the validity of a harsh one-star review.LinksInterview featured on the Episode on Rebel Wisdom: 'Sensemaking, Gatekeeping &amp; the Propertarians, Jordan Hall'Very good and highly critical Medium Article on the topic by David Fuller
9/11/20212 hours, 12 minutes, 36 seconds
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Special Episode: Welcome to Weinstein World with special guest David Pizarro

The Weinstein brothers have been busy bees over the past few weeks/months(!) and it left Matt and Chris with a conundrum. How do they cover them as part of an intro segment without it turning into a five hour podcast? The solution was to make a two hour stand alone special episode purely dedicated to exploring the wonders (and shivering at the occasional horrors) as we try to map the terrain of Weinstein World. To help us navigate the alien geography and provide a 'relatively normal person' sanity check we have enlisted the help of the famed psychologist, David Pizarro, also known for co-hosting Very Bad Wizards (a small, upcoming ghost-hunting/philosophy podcast).Together with David we decode ancient mysteries, like why does Eric always wear a jacket?, we solve deep existential puzzles, like whether vodka can cure all conflicts, and we ponder heretofore unimagined possibilities, like how successful an audiobook of Fifty Shades of Grey read by Sam Harris and Heather Heying would be.So we hope you will join us on this exploration and remember our core message: *You do not have to promote anti-vaccine rhetoric &amp; unproven miracle cures during a global pandemic*LinksVery Bad Wizards(!): David's excellent podcast hosted with philosopher Tammler SommersVery Bad Wizards Episode 191: All the RageRebel Wisdom interview with Eric Weinstein: Vaccines, Ivermectin &amp; Dark HorseRebel Wisdom: Better Skeptics for the Dark HorseRebel Wisdom: Yuri Deigin Responds to Bret Weinstein on Vaccines, Ivermectin &amp; QuilletteBret and Heather 92nd DarkHorse Podcast Livestream: The Blankest SlateClaire Berlinski &amp; Yuri Deigin's Article on Quillette: Looking for COVID-19 ‘Miracle Drugs’? We Already Have Them. They’re Called VaccinesArticle on Medium by David Fuller: On Vaccine Safety, Ivermectin and the Dark Horse Podcast: An Investigation
8/27/20212 hours, 1 minute, 50 seconds
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Gad Saad: Oh my Gad, it's the Saadfather!

Gad Saad is a Professor of Marketing at Concordia University, author of The Consuming Instinct and, more recently, The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense. Self described as the 'Gadfather' with a podcast called the Saad Truth, he's certainly well versed in puns on his name. But is Prof. Saad the true Godfather of evolutionary consumption as he claims? or is he more of a Fredo, perpetually getting passed over for other Gurufathers?Gad is worried about parasitic brain worms that are influencing people's politics, though this affliction seems to correlate pretty strongly with all the liberal political views that Gad dislikes. Indeed, you won't find any discussion of MAGA or QAnon in his extensive bestiary of the pernicious brain-worms that can parasitise your mind. Rather it is 'Trump Derangement Syndrome' that has Gad fretting. But it isn't all partisan politics, we also get to see Gad draws on his knowledge of evolutionary psychology and unparalleled 'surgical' satirical skills to 'castrate' his opponents. Get ready for a string of anecdotes in which Gad destroys postmodern ideologues with facts and logic, embarrasses pigeon brained academics, and teaches his soccer coach the true meaning of freedom... and then everyone stood up and called!LinksVaccine: The Human Story (Recommended Podcast!)Great thread on conspiracy theories and Gurus on TwitterTimbah on Toast's YouTube Documentary on Tim PoolGad Saad: The Death of Truth and How to Revive it: Modern Wisdom Podcast Ep. 217
8/20/20212 hours, 43 minutes, 38 seconds
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Special Episode: Interview with Robert Wright on crackpots, gurus, and modern media ecosystems

This week we welcome the author, journalist, and podcaster Robert Wright. Robert wrote the popular (and provocative!) book 'Why Buddhism is True' and has hosted many interesting discussions and debates at bloggingheads.tv, which he co-founded.We had a wide ranging discussion that touched on a vast array of topics including: the Weinsteins &amp; their relative crackpot ratings, alternative &amp; Mainstream media ecosystems and how they feed into guruism, what are gurus anyway (and are they all bad), Sam Harris and cognitive biases, whether Bob is a Buddhist Modernist, the extent to which meditation is a form of cultural conditioning, if wokism is really taking over America, and whether Matt &amp; Chris' actually hate evolutionary psychology or not.Robert offers a unique perspective, displays a lot of good humour and patience, and indulges our ongoing fetishism of self deprecation culture. So join us for a suitably meandering Irish-Aussie-Americo conversation that involves only the prescribed amount of mutual backpatting!P.S. We promise the Gad Saad episode is coming soon!LinksBob's Book 'Why Buddhism is True''Is Eric Weinstein a Crackpot' on Bob's Non-zero SubstackBob's Interview with Tim Nguyen for The Wright ShowBob's article for Wired on Sam Harris &amp; Tribalism (the one that got him cut off!)The Crackpot Index by John Baez
8/13/20211 hour, 40 minutes, 27 seconds
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Special Episode: Interview with Evan Thompson on Buddhist Exceptionalism

We class up the podcast this week with another special interview with a philosopher specialising in Asian philosophical traditions, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind.In our discussion with Evan we address the reception and presentation of Buddhism in the West, whether it is accurate to describe it as a mind science, and how 'Buddhist modernism' is related to Buddhist exceptionalism. We also get into debates of the nature of Self and whether Sam Harris is correct to claim that modern cognitive science has confirmed the insights from Buddhism.This is not an episode targeting the tradition of Buddhism but rather an examination of a specific (modern) manifestation of Buddhism that is particularly popular in the West (and has long been a topic of fascination for Chris!).So join us to distill the real teachings of the Buddha and hear how our ramblings are confirmed by 2,500 years of introspective mind science!LinksEvan's (excellent) book: 'Why I am not a Buddhist'An engaging debate between Robert Wright &amp; Evan ThompsonAmerican Philosophical Association Newsletter with a Book Symposium on 'Why I am not a Buddhist'Interesting debate betwen Sam Harris and Evan Thompson on whether Sam is promoting Buddhist Modernism (paywalled)
7/30/20211 hour, 18 minutes, 12 seconds
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Carl Sagan: My God, it's full of stars

In the second instalment of the personal gurus season we take a look at Matt's childhood science guru: the famed astronomer and science communicator Carl Sagan. Sagan's regarded as an intellectual hero amongst skeptics and supporters of science but is the admiration warranted or is this a halo effect enhanced by youthful innocence and the distorting mists of time? Was Matt's first science crush justified? Is Carl as 'right on' as popular sentiment suggests? Join us as we struggle to peer into the vast abyss, stare deep into the heart of the guru constellation, and uncover the truth. It's time to take a long hard look at a small sliver of our demon haunted, pale blue dot. Along the way we address the burning issues including: whether Carl Sagan is actually a woke cuck, how Chris feels about chimpanzees in lipstick, if humility might actually be a good thing, and whether the universe was actually created for rocks.So join us as we return to a simpler time, when scientists wore turtleneck sweaters, ill advised tweets were not yet possible, and gurus were REAL gurus.Also featured in this week's episode: Weinstein Watch, Viewer Feedback, the Next Guru Announcement, and an illustration of how to provide an even tempered &amp; measured response to critical feedback.LinksCarl Sagan's 1994 'lost' lecture: The Age of ExplorationSagan's Final Interview with Charlie Rose
7/23/20212 hours, 13 minutes, 11 seconds
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Special Episode: Interview with Daniel Harper on the Far Right & IDW Criticism

In this episode we have an engaging discussion with Daniel Harper host of the anti-fascist podcast 'I Don't Speak German' about his experience covering the Far Right and what constitutes responsible engagement/coverage of various online figures.We cover the role of political perspectives when examining online figures, the use of social media by far right figures, and the use and abuse of political categories. We also cover some potential criticisms with the DTG approach and in so doing answer an eternal question of the ages: 'Are we the baddies?'Join us for a fun discussion while accepting our apologies for the self-indulgence of an episode that, to some extent, involves us talking about... ourselves. We will be back with a full Guru episode very soon!LinksI Don't Speak German PodcastEpisode 88 of IDSG Podcast: The Long Shadow of New Atheism, with Eiynah Mohammed-Smith
7/14/20211 hour, 27 minutes, 56 seconds
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Special Episode: Interview with Amanda Montell on Cultish Linguistics

Amanda Montell is an author, linguist, and podcaster with a new book 'Cultish' on "how cultish groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language" to manipulate followers and cultivate power.In the interview she offers fantastic insights that cover not only guru linguistics but also the social dynamics of modern cults and 'cultish' phenomenon. We learnt a lot from Amanda and hope you will too!LinksAmanda's WebsiteCultish: The Language of FanaticismSounds like a Cult Podcast
7/2/20211 hour, 1 minute, 31 seconds
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Anthony DeMello: The Bob Ross of Spiritual Gurus?

Well, the hosts have had a good long taste of the culture wars and friends, it is a bitter, bitter draught. As a palette cleanser, we return to a simpler time, a better(?) time... The 1980's! When Chris Kavanagh was young and innocent, running about in short pants with a twinkle in his eye and (I assume) lobbing bricks at RUC armoured vehicles for the craic. At nights he would curl up and listen to CASSETTE tapes of a fellow called Anthony De Mello, while the eyes of Pope Ratzinger would stare at him disapprovingly from the poster (I assume) that was on the wall of his room.Yes, we're returning to the gurus our decoders were fans of during their young and impressionable years. And Chris rather liked Fr. Anthony De Mello. Who is he? A Jesuit priest who sounds more like a Buddhist monk with a message of peace, detachment, and the recipe for happiness. He says that society trains us to act like robots, encouraging us to go through life in a depressed haze. After you apply his recipe, you'll still be depressed, but you'll realise the depression is like the clouds, but you are the sky. He's got the good vibes of Bob Ross, but does that conceal something darker? Was spiritual self-help better or worse in the 1980s compared today? Listen, and you shall know all!LinksOne of DeMello's Waking Up Talks on Daily MotionDeMello's Spirituallity CenterMatt and Chris' 'You're Probably Not Galileo' article for Skeptic UKTim Nguyen's appearance on Eigen Bros
6/25/20212 hours, 5 minutes, 30 seconds
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Special Episode: Interview with Jesse Singal on Quick Fix Psychology

Another week and another extra special interview with journalist, podcaster, and Twitter outrage lightning rod, Jesse Singal.We discuss his new book on Quick Fix psychology, the fallout of the replication crisis, and why we should be skeptical of anyone peddling simple 'one size fits all' solutions to complex social &amp; psychological problems.We have a fun wide ranging discussion covering social media dynamics, the dangers of audience capture, and the goddamn lab leak hypothesis! We also discover the dictionary definition pedantism and abuse Jesse with unending uncomfortable questions about culture war controversies.Jesse provides keen insight and is a good sport when it comes to critical topics, we really enjoyed having him on and hope you guys enjoy the result!LinksJesse's new Book: The Quick FixBlocked and Reported PodcastJesse's Singal-Minded Substack
6/18/20211 hour, 16 minutes, 16 seconds
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Special Episode: Interview with Tim Nguyen on Geometric Unity

Despite promising to leave Weinstein world for an overdue holiday, Matt and Chris have been lured back by a world shattering theory with a cosmic vision of ultimate unity! We are speaking, of course, about Eric Weinstein's revolutionary theory of everything: 'Geometric Unity'. To help uncover the mysteries embedded deep within this scientific Rosetta stone, Matt and Chris are joined by a special guest Tim Nguyen. Tim is a mathematician and the co-author of a recent paper that tried to mathematically construct and critically assess the theory of Geometric Unity as laid out in Eric's content.Eric has not exactly welcomed the critical feedback and has accused Tim and his co-author, Theo, of having nefarious motives and being very bad guys. So we thought it was worth talking to Tim about their real motivations for the paper, their criticisms of Geometric Unity, and whether they are official DISC agents.Join us as we leap one more time into Weinstein world!Notes provided by TimResponse to Geometric Unity paper by Timothy Nguyen and Theo Polya and corresponding blog post. The paper provides 25 clickable timestamps to Weinstein video segments to let the reader confirm directly the veracity the criticisms.&nbsp;Clubhouse recording with Eric evading questions about Geometric Unity and implying his critics are bad actors.Technical notes on Weinstein’s limited responses: 1) Weinstein confesses on Joe Rogan Episode #1628 that “one of the criticisms is valid but is something that I would have brought up anyways” (see time near 73:30). Correspondingly, in Section 8.2 of Weinstein’s Geometric Unity, he admits that “unfortunately, the author is no longer conversant … and has been unable to locate the notes from decades ago that originally picked out the [Shiab] operator”. The inability to construct the Shiab operator remains a fundamental objection to Geometric Unity. 2) Weinstein says here, the authors misunderstand GU as being chiral. But the objection is that the theory has a chiral anomaly, which is not contingent on the theory being chiral. 3) Weinstein suggests here (and on Joe Rogan) that there is incorrect inference that he is using supersymmetry in 14 dimensions. The interview referenced in the response paper suggests otherwise, where he explicitly mentions supersymmetry.The “sign flip” discussion Nguyen used to deduce that Weinstein does not understand the Seiberg-Witten equations concerns the issue of obtaining a crucial bound on the spinor field (as discussed in the Wikipedia article) needed to obtain compactness. Having the wrong sign makes the entire theory ill-behaved.
6/11/20211 hour, 12 minutes, 34 seconds
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Bret Weinstein & Jordan Peterson: Two gargantuan intellects stare into the abyss

The big dog of the Intellectual Dark Web, Jordan Peterson, is back! And this hero, this mythical archetype, is welcomed back from his long hiatus by DTG regular, Bret Weinstein . To his credit, Bret does the impossible and makes Jordan seem surprisingly humble and reflexive simply by virtue of comparison.The duo cover a lot of territory, ranging from hot takes about how hospitals probably kill more people than they save (Peterson), the evolutionary modules controlling rape and genocide (Weinstein), how religion contains the ultimate evolutionary cheatsheet to ascend the hierarchy (Peterson), and how they are both absolutely crucial for understanding everything wrong with what's going on these days (BOTH).So yes... Chris and Matt couldn't resist returning to this epic crossover of two guru favourites one last(?) time for a bit of decoding. There's a heaping of the usual trademark guru dynamics on display, as well as the obligatory ersatz academ-ese, mutual back-patting, and huge leaps of speculative reasoning. These guys ping-pong back and forth to build up a pretty impressive synthesis of latent religious symbols and Bret's bespoke alternative evolutionary theory of 'lineage selection'. You will come away with your brain a smouldering ruin after dealing with so many high level ideas... you have been warned!P.S. If you make it all the way to the end you'll get to hear Matt DESTROY a so-called philosopher's Low Quality Criticism with REASON and SCIENCE.LinksDarkhorse Podcast: Jordan Peterson is Back!Jordan B. Peterson Podcast S4E10: Minefields and the New Political Landscape | Bret WeinsteinCritical Article on Peterson that appeared in the Times that he complains aboutTWiV 760: SARS-CoV-2 origins with Peter Daszak, Thea Kølsen Fischer, Marion KoopmansTWiV 762: SARS-CoV-2 origins with Robert Garry Nice blog debunking the claims made in Wade's Medium piece on the Lab Leak Detailed Twitter thread by virologist Kristian Andersen discussing lab leak investigationsP.P.S. The Alternative Title: 'Lineage selection hierarchy heroes 2: Choose your guru!' suppressed by the Distributed Australian Dilettante or DAD.
6/4/20213 hours, 14 minutes, 27 seconds
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Brett Weinstein & Heather Heying: Why are 'they' suppressing Ivermectin, the miracle cure?

This episode wasn't meant to be about Ivermectin, or Bret and Heather's unique ability to apply an 'evolutionary lens' to understand everything, including virology, epidemiology, immunology and the culture war... but it is.....We meant to make a few topical comments prior to the main episode, but the comments led into some rants, and then with the clips, those rants metastasised into a full-sized episode. So the duo had to travel back in time to record a new introduction, and back again, forward this time, in time, to record the outro and it all got very complicated.Anyway, it is what it is!Bret and Heather are 95% sure that the COVID vaccines are like playing Russian Roulette with a loaded gun, and that the scientific and public health authorities are lying to everyone, and we would be better off avoiding these risky vaccines and taking Ivermectin instead. Bret even demonstrates how to swallow a pill live on air. But they are not anti-vax! No not at all. They're not conspiracy theorists either! Of course they're not. Conspiracy hypothesisers, maybe... but there is a crucial distinction there. Either way they have concerns, and Matt and Chris have concerns with their concerns. So enjoy this very special 'meta' episode.Also, stay tuned after the music ends for one of Matt's rare rants. Live mic situation, and Chris snuck it in there.LinksDarkHorse Podcast Episode 80: What Covid Reveals About our LeadersDarkHorse Podcast Episode 79: #NotAllMiceDarkHorse Podcast with Geert Vanden Bossche &amp; Bret WeinsteinScienceBasedMedicine article examining the new hype over IvermectinNew Discourses Podcast Episode 35 (James Lindsay): How to End Vaccine HesitancyGood article on Politifact covering the lab leak 'controversy'
5/22/20211 hour, 53 minutes, 29 seconds
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Michael O"Fallon: The Jacobins are Back..... To Reset..... Everything.... Dun Dun Daah!

Just as the Terror was used by Robespierre and the Jacobins during the French Revolution two centuries ago, fear and draconian control is being used today to usher in... The Great Reset.Or so Michael O'Fallon would have you believe. O'Fallon is the founder of Sovereign Nations, a Christian nationalist organisation that aims to "prepare warriors for the battleground of ideas". He's recently been collaborating with James Lindsay, renowned culture warrior and online troll, to teach us all how critical theory and social justice are hell bent on destroying Our (or at least Western) Civilisation.Chris and Matt are joined by Aaron Rabinowtiz, host of Embrace the Void (@ETVPod) and Philosophers in Space podcasts, PhD student and lecturer at Rutgers University. Aaron has Done the Work, he has the Documents, he's been privy to the secret conversations, and he's here to help the boys decode just WTF is going on here.So, what's the deal with O'Fallon? Is he a sorely-needed, breathy and bombastic prophet bearing a critical message of our impending doom? Why does he take such long pauses? Where did he get such a laughably inaccurate understanding of the French Revolution? We can't promise all the answers in this episode, but we're going to give it a shot. The Future of our Civilisation.... Depends Upon It.........Dun Dun Daaaaah!LinksSovereign Nations' The Causes of Things Podcast Episode 25: The Great ResetEmbrace The Void Episode 150: Sovereign Nations and the Grievance HoaxersPhilosophers in Space Facebook GroupSovereign Nations Website
5/6/20213 hours, 18 minutes, 18 seconds
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Gwyneth Paltrow: Crawling with parasites and in need of a cleanse

Who would have thought it, the Hollywood A-lister and founder of the luxury lifestyle brand 'Goop', Gwyneth Paltrow also finds time to host a podcast. Making her a prime target for Matt and Chris, who simply cannot stomach the competition!Fans have the option to join Paltrow in questing for the eternal and well-guarded secrets of health and wellness. But unless you're only after some lip-balm, this total holistic and integrative lifestyle is not going to come cheap! As we learn from her special guest Kristine Gedroic you are also going to need some precision medical diagnostics to balance with your biome, cleanse your cell membranes, and undo the horrors of 5G. And that isn't even addressing the panoply of parasites that we are all (apparently) infested with. So this is why Matt and Chris haven't been actualising their spiritual selves recently. In some ways, this health and wellness space is familiar stomping ground for Matt and Chris (and maybe for many listeners too). However, the duo reckon that Paltrow, Goop, and the whole industry is very 'Now' and might even hint at some exciting new directions elite culture is taking. Check it out! And get yourself checked for bespoke parasites while you're at it. Seriously... we are all riddled with them.LinksHow do we deal with- and prevent- chronic illness? Goop Podcast with Kristine GedroicGwyneth Paltrow: Ask Me AnythingHard Talk interview with Gwyneth Paltrow
4/13/20212 hours, 29 minutes, 55 seconds
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Special Episode: Sam Harris & Meditation is all you need

Sam Harris is a public intellectual who inspires strong reactions both positive and negative. Here, Matt and Chris dip their toes into Sam's introspective universe by analysing a recent 9 minute mini-episode of his Making Sense podcast titled 'Some Points of Confusion'. Sam intended to clear up some recurrent misunderstandings he has observed with maybe as much as 99% audience with this episode. What could be causing such a fundamental error and does he succeed in resolving the confusion? Join us to find out.In the episode you will learn about the true teachings of Jesus, how incredibly niche Chris' undergraduate degree was, the introspective case for social welfare, and why all meditators inevitably deny the existence of free will.This is an interesting one. And whether you love or hate Sam, we hope you find some value in our non-enlightened ejected introspections.LinksMaking Sense Episode 243: Some Points of Confusion
4/2/20211 hour, 3 minutes, 24 seconds
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Special Episode: Interview with Phrost on Bullshido

Matt and Chris are helped again by a guest in their endless quest to get the bottom of what the Hell is Going On and What It's All About.Phrost describes himself as "the world's most dangeous nerd" and is not only an expert in the fighting arts (like, actual real fighting) but is also no slouch when it comes to combatting bullshit.He identifies as a soldier, a scientist, and as a shill for "Big Reality".And his site bullshido.net as well as his podcast The Art of Fighting BS comes up with the reality-based goods. Not only in debunking bullshit in martial arts but also with regard to miracle health cures, supplements, pop psychology, COVID and many other honey traps for the curious and the unwary.Tune in as Matt and Chris compares notes with Phrost on how and why people delude themselves. Marvel at Phrost's offers to fight Alex Jones, Steven Seagal, and (gasp) Gwenyth Paltrow (for Science!). Matt himself accepts the the offer to fight Phrost, conditional on him being ensconced comfortably within a properly equipped Armoured Fighting Vehincle.
3/19/20211 hour, 3 minutes, 14 seconds
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Ibram X. Kendi: Gurometer Rating (Patreon Preview)

In this episode we provide a special preview of our usual Patreon content with the follow up discussion and our Gurometer™ scores for Ibram X. Kendi. You can find a summary of all our Gurometer scores thus far available here.Our new subreddit can also be found here.
3/11/202146 minutes, 3 seconds
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Ibram X. Kendi: Inside you are two wolves. One of them is racist.

Ibram X. Kendi is a Professor of history, director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, and a research fellow at Harvard University. He is also the author of several best-selling and highly influential books on race in America.It seems like everybody has an opinion of Kendi, and when it comes to the online commentariat, those opinions can get pretty hostile. Even among activists and anti-racists, he seems to spark division, with some grouping Kendi together with other controversial writers like Robin Di Angelo. Kendi is often accused of peddling a pop 'anti-racism' which is at best devoid of substance and at worst toying with totalitalitarianism. With his infamous proposal for a 'Department of Antiracism' that would have power over all aspects of governance, and recent illustrated children's book titled 'Anti-racist Baby', these criticisms are perhaps understandable.But what about the man himself, who in his lectures and interviews, comes across as something of a calm and reasonable voice amongst the culture war maelstrom?In this episode, Matt and Chris, until now famed for being not racist (honestly), courageously hurl themselves onto the pyre of American racial politics. Will they reveal their total lack of understanding of critical race theory and are they racist or anti-racist according to Kendi? Listen and find out.LinksShort interview with Kendi from 'The One You Feed' PodcastInterview of Kendi by Ezra Klein for Vox ConversationsKendi's article advocating for an Anti-Racist constitutional amendment'A Response to (Eric Weinstein's) Geometric Unity' Paper
3/5/20212 hours, 43 minutes, 6 seconds
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Special Episode: Interview with Matthew Remski on Conspirituality

Today we talk to Matthew Remski, co-host of the Conspirituality podcast, writer, yoga practitioner, and independent journalist. Matthew is a font of information on the alternative spirituality and health and wellness spheres and he gives Matt and Chris a crash course on the dynamics of those spheres. We discuss a range of topics including the growing overlap between spirituality and right wing politics, the enlightened locker room dynamics of male influencers, the role of invented traditions and the spirituality sphere and why Matt should grovel at the feet of his muscle master.Matthew provides a wealth of insight into the gurus we've examined as well as an entire host of new characters. As ever, we greatly enjoyed the chat and hope you do too!--------------------------------More from Matthew Remski: Matthew's Personal WebsiteThe Conspirituality PodcastMatthew's work on MediumHis investigative book on Pattabhi Jois’s Ashtanga communityAnother great interview with Matthew by Stephen Kesting
2/20/20211 hour, 40 minutes, 56 seconds
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Nassim N. Taleb: Everything these idiots, frauds, and assholes don't understand

Nassim Taleb, what a mensch. He's got the confidence of a bull in a china shop that has just bought a lycra muscle-shirt and knows it looks great on him.Our guru this week has surveyed the fields of statistics, economics, psychology, actually all of the social sciences, and finds them populated by a gaggle of pale, thin wristed, pocket-protector wearing wimps. Although, he's equally scathing towards COVID-sceptical libertarians, and Matt and Chris (in a totally unbiased manner) find him pretty funny and accurate there.More seriously, Taleb is a smart guy and quite fun to read and listen to. But he's also an infinite singularity of arrogance and hyperbole. Matt and Chris can't help but notice how convenient this pose is, when confronted with difficult-to-handle rebuttals. Taleb is a fun mixed bag of solid and dubious claims. But it's worth thinking about the degree to which those solid ideas were already well... solid. Many seem to have been known for decades even by all the 'morons, frauds and assholes' that Taleb hates. To what degree does Taleb's reputation rest on hyperbole and intuitive-sounding hot-takes? Will he ever un-block the co-hosts on twitter? Should Matt, a statistician and psychologist, re-train in a field where he can actually contribute something useful to the world?All of these questions, and more, will remain unanswered in this fresh new DTG episode!LinksThe Antidote to Chaos interview discussed in the episodeThe original Bloomberg interview that was deemed too reasonable for the episodeSam Harris' amusing take on Taleb
2/9/20211 hour, 47 minutes, 56 seconds
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Special Episode: Interview with Thi Nguyen, a Gurometer's Guru

Today we talk to C. Thi Nguyen, a philosophy professor at University of Utah. He has some excellent insights into the kind of discourse that *feels* like it gives us insight, that wonderful 'aha' moment. Basically, what happens when unscrupulous actors aim to optimise that feeling - putting aside concerns as to whether or not it's the real thing.Thi has previously studied 'moral outrage porn', which is a bit like food porn, but for your emotions. You might say "X-porn" is any material that gives us the fascimile of the thing, without having to put in the hard yards of actually doing the thing.You might also say there's such a thing as 'insight porn' and maybe that's what Gurus deliver! Matt and Chris feel like they got some real insights (touch wood) from their chat with Thi and they hope you do too!--------------------------------More from Thi Nguyen:Thi writes about many things, including echo chambers, epistemic bubbles and the seductive feeling of clarity. A free preview of the first chapter of Thi's Games bookMoral outrage pornThe op-ed version of moral outrage pornThe echo chambers paperHow Twitter Gamifies CommunicationRecommendation from Thi: The best book on Echo ChambersAnother recommendation: A great recent book arguing for the large-scale misinformation thesis: and it’s open access.Thi's appearance on ETV pod discussing Cheap Talk.
1/29/20211 hour, 37 minutes, 38 seconds
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Douglas Murray: Can indulgent dinner conversation save OUR civilisation?

Douglas Murray is a British conservative columnist, social pundit, and veteran culture warrior famed for his biting wit and eloquent intellectual speech. But just how much of that is actually down to him having a posh British accent and a tendency to rant about whatever 'bloody' topic he's took a fancy to? Join Matt and Chris for their latest therapy session as they try to process what they've done to their brains by listening to an indulgent and meandering 4.5 hour conversation between Douglas and the IDW's über guru Eric Weinstein. Along the way you will learn the *real* truth about the coronavirus, the value of memorising Shakespearian sonnets, how embarrassing it is to eat bats, and just how sacred dinner tables actually are. ...GUFFAW...LinksThe Portal Episode 41: Douglas Murray- Heroism 2020: Defence of Our Civilization
1/22/20212 hours, 46 minutes, 49 seconds
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Special Episode: Calibrating the Gurometer

Chris and Matt take a break from examining the endless stream of Guru galaxy brain takes to offer their own and calibrate their newly minted Gurometer.The Gurometer is composed of 10 key characteristics of guruosity which the decoders will be using to score the Gurus in future episodes.Listeners will learn about important concepts, like science hipsterism and pseudo-profound bullshit, and discover just how bad both Chris and Matt are at segways!LinksThe Gurometer 'current draft' Google DocGretchen's Blog Review
1/8/20211 hour, 21 minutes, 22 seconds
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Contrapoints: Making Philosophy Fabulous Again

Natalie Wynn is kind of a big deal. Her YouTube channel Contrapoints explores not only philosophy, but also politics and social issues. Praised by august publications such as the New Yorker and the Atlantic, there's little doubt that she has her finger on the pulse of contemporary internet culture (and its wars). The production values, costumes, and set dressings are all a sight to behold... and completely invisible on this podcast.Nevertheless, armed with a menagerie of alter-egos, Contrapoints does delve into some pretty deep waters and has garnered quite a cult following, despite (or perhaps because of) her self-deprecating humour and refusal to take herself too seriously.So, what is going on here, behind the cat eye contact lenses and elaborate costumes? Does she actually back up the insights she purports to provide with careful arguments? Will the duo decide that Contrapoints is just like Russell Brand: all style and no substance? Is her deprecating humour merely cover for a rampaging and performative ego? Will Matt ever find out where he can get his hands on that fabulous wallpaper?All these questions, and more, will be answered in this exciting new episode!LinksJustice (Part 1) VideoNew Yorker article on Contrapoints
12/28/20201 hour, 58 minutes, 18 seconds
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Special Episode: Entering the Portal

Chris and Matt take a peak behind the curtain at Guru Community dynamics in the Web 2.0 era in an extended interview with Dan Gilbert, a self described 'Discord creature'. Dan provides insights from his long term participation in Eric Weinstein's 'Unofficial Portal' Discord and reveals the mystery behind the 'mentally unstable' community member!If you ever wanted to learn about the intricate distinctions between Geometric Unity, and Geometric Marginalism or the ill fated outcome of Eric's 'Experts only' forum... now is your chance.We will be back next week with our regular episode on Contrapoints.Dan's apology song to EricFollow Dan on Twitter (@thebadstats)Episode Art used with permission of Michael M. AKA Pineapplemikel
12/18/20201 hour, 27 minutes, 54 seconds
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Scott Adams: Chris and Matt Go to Hell

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, has since written self-help books like 'Win Bigly' &amp; 'Loserthink' and now hosts his own podcast "Coffee with Scott Adams".In mild-mannered, folksy, and avuncular style, he has a 'simultaneous sip' of coffee, a little chuckle with his listeners, and then they chat about the events of the day and how democracy is a farce and maybe a benevolent dictatorship would be preferable.Scott's fatherly advice is geared towards one thing: undermining your belief that there is any truth or justice in world - or that these things are even possible. You can trust literally nobody. All systems are corrupt, and the world works through the exercise of naked power and the manipulation of gullible rubes like you.It doesn't even matter if the libs stole the election. Trump should just go ahead and take it, if he can.Scott Adams considers himself a Master Persuader and he uses every rhetorical trick in the book to persuade you that America is so corrupt to try and get you to agree that a benevolent dictator would probably be preferable at this point.Think of the kind of 'helpful advice' that Wormtongue used to demoralise Théoden&nbsp;in Lord of the Rings.It's really horrible...So, if this sounds like fun to you, join Chris and Matt as they go to hell and become increasingly depressed throughout the episode!LinksCoffee with Scott Adams Episode 1197: Odds of rigging an election and getting away with it (Part 1 &amp; Part 2)Coffee with Scott Adams Episode 1206: Watch Me Monetize My Dumbest Critics While Discussing the Election Allegations. Thank You, Critics! (Part 1 &amp; Part 2)
12/10/20202 hours, 16 minutes, 31 seconds
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Russell Brand: Spiritual Transcendence and Anarchic Revolution is Praxis

Russell Brand is a hip bohemian Englishman on the path to enlightenment. And he likes the ineffable. Like, a lot. The decoders kinda like him too, despite the fact they really struggle to eff him at all. Really, Matt has no effing idea what he is babbling about most of the time, but Chris, being 'English-adjacent', seems to make a better job of it.Imagine smoking pot and talking big ideas with your precocious college room-mate at 2am in the morning. Now give him some methamphetamine, and you've got some idea of the fast-talking stream of consciousness that is Russell Brand.A pair of milquetoast moderates like Chris and Matt just aren't the right audience to properly appreciate the mystical anarchism that Brand advocates. It's probably got something to do with the limits of the bandwidth of their instruments of perception given that knowledge and wisdom are infinite and being-ness itself is.... Well, you get the idea.The lads also reveal some of the exciting progress of the podcast!In exciting news... DTG has broken into the top 100 podcasts! In the Culture and Society category... in Iceland.Regardless, come ride this unstoppable and frenetic juggernaut of mind-expanding concepts with us, and get these cosmic ideas downloaded directly into your squishy little brain!LinksJeremy Paxman and Russell Brand interview from 2013The main 'Awakening of Russell Brand' interview with Rich RollShort Video Update from Brand on 'What I think about This UK Election and Politics Today'
11/21/20202 hours, 5 minutes, 6 seconds
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Rutger Bregman: Piglets vs. Toddlers

Rutger Bregman is a Dutch Historian who wants to tell the world that humans are actually fundamentally kind, hunter gatherer societies contain important wisdom about how to live well, and that collectively we need to cooperate to do something about climate change and economic inequality. So, obviously there was no way Chris and Matt could let these dangerous ideas go unchallenged!Join them this week as they delve into one of Rutger's talks and address Noble Savage myths and other age old debates including whether human nature is fundamentally brutish &amp; cruel or compassionate &amp; kind, whether war is ancient or a recent product of societies, whether civilisation was a good idea or the worst one ever, and perhaps most importantly whether Matt could defeat a chimpanzee in one on one combat when armed with two swords.LinksThe Futures interview with Rutger examined in the episode (with transcript)Research Article that raises doubt about the domestication hypothesis especially in regards to silver foxesAn old blog post by Chris that discusses the debates over the topic of ancient war
11/7/20202 hours, 14 minutes, 36 seconds
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Special Episode: Is Eric Weinstein Feynman-Negative?

Eric Weinstein has a habit of inserting mini conspiracy laden "audio-essays" at the beginning of his podcast The Portal. The one released this week was impressive even by Eric's standards. So, the duo took took a break from preparing for their next episode on Rutger Bregman to release a Special Bonus Episode, Hot off the press!In the episode you will learn about Seberging, Milgram-negative people, and obscure Russian Penal Codes. You will also learn that the concept of Fake News is actually FAKE NEWS, invented by a shadowy cabal of media and political elites to control you sheeple. Astoundingly, there is actually a conspiracy afoot to suppress Eric and his friends in the IDW!Chris and Matt set themselves the task of deciding whether this is serious analysis, or... something else....LinksThe Portal episode 41 with the 'audio essay'New critical article on the Weinsteins at Arc Digital
10/30/20201 hour, 20 minutes, 11 seconds
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JP Sears: Get Ultra Spiritual, Resist the Government, and Promote Coronavirus Conspiracies

JP Sears is quite the contradictory figure. He's well known for his YouTube videos mocking alternative health and spirituality, but he also sells natural supplements, and is a life coach / spiritual mentor. He's all about positive thinking and natural supplements, but he's spending most of his time now railing against the mainstream media, the Deep State, and COVID restrictions.As Chris and Matt dig deeper, it becomes clear that JP occupies an interesting place, at the nexus of trenchant libertarianism and spiritual self-actualisation. Think Californian surfer dude meets hardcore tech-bro with a healthy dose of conspiracies. Yes, it's confusing. But just take a listen to this episode, and the doors of perception will open for you too!LinksJP Sears' Podcast Feed (we cover episodes 104, 103, 101, &amp; 96)Chris' old Medium article on 'The Problem with JP Sears'Good article on the surprising overlap between right wing conspiracies &amp; new age health &amp; wellness
10/23/20202 hours, 6 minutes, 30 seconds
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Jordan Peterson: The Alchemical Lemon explains the Crystalline Structure of Logos

Chris and Matt finally discuss the big kahuna Jordan Peterson by taking a deep dive into his extended 2017 interview on the Transliminal YouTube channel titled 'Ideology, Logos &amp; Belief'.They learn about the alchemical nature of lemons, whether a professional footballer is playing a game or living life, and Jordan Peterson's crystal clear views on the nature of Jesus &amp; his resurrection.Some people will say this episode is too cynical, but it's like... 'No. It isn't, man!' And furthermore, it's not at all obvious that we actually know... on a fundamental level... what cynicism is! It's mysterious and there is a lot we do not know.LinksJordan Peterson's 2017 interview on TransliminalA Transcript of the InterviewA Good (but very critical) article on JBP by Nathan Robinson at Current AffairsAn article by JBP's old mentor suggesting his long term goal was to become a religious guru
10/9/20202 hours, 26 minutes, 36 seconds
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James Lindsay: The monkey is out of the box and it HATES liberalism

Chris and Matt discuss James Lindsay's talk at the Speaking Truth to Social Justice conference held at the ostentatious National Liberal Club, in an episode that will disappoint Lindsay fanboys and haters alike. Blindingly hot takes include, "He's a bit hyperbolic" and "Critical Theory is complicated".They discuss some pretty strong metaphors (or are they analogies?) of Critical Social Justice involving monkeys, viruses, and boxes.Most importantly, the duo establish definitively that, despite James' assertions, Jeff Goldblum did NOT die on a toilet in Jurassic Park (which, let's face it, would have ruined the entire movie).LinksJames' talk on YouTubeEmbrace The Void episode on Sovereign NationsTwo Psychologists Four Beers episode on Diversity StatementsNot Jeff Goldblum being eaten on a Toilet in Jurassic Park
9/23/20201 hour, 59 minutes, 51 seconds
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Eric and Bret Weinstein: A Dark Horse Gallops through the Portal

Matt and Chris introduce themselves and the overall concept for the podcast then take a deep dive into an infamous episode of Eric Weinstein's podcast 'The Portal', featuring his brother Bret Weinstein (Episode 19). They cast a critical eye over Eric and Bret's claims that they are fighting back against the 'Distributed Idea Suppression Complex' and alerting the world to one of the greatest untold scientific scandals of the modern era.
9/9/20203 hours, 17 minutes, 57 seconds