Very Bad Wizards
TamlerSommers&DavidPizarro
NSFW
Very Bad Wizards is a podcast featuring a philosopher (Tamler Sommers) and a psychologist (David Pizarro), who share a love for ethics, pop culture, and cognitive science, and who have a marked inability to distinguish sacred from profane. Each podcast includes discussions of moral philosophy, recent work on moral psychology and neuroscience, and the overlap between the two.
A lotta anger out there right now, but does it do more harm than good? Is anger counterproductive, an obstacle to progress? And even when it is, can anger be appropriate anway? We talk about two excellent articles by the philosopher Amia Srinivasan criticizing anger's critics. Plus we express some counterproductive anger of our own at the IDWs response to the protests.  Sponsored By:The Great Courses Plus: Never stop learning. Pursue your passion. Quench your curiosity. Embark on an educational endeavor. Watch thousands of streaming videos on hundreds of subjects. Promo Code: wizardsSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Would Politics Be Better Off Without Anger? | The NationWelcomeSrinivasan, A. (2018) The Aptness of Anger, Journal of Political Philosophy. Reprinted in the Philosopher’s Annual.

David and Tamler talk about police violence, the protests, and Harry Frankfurt's journal article turned bestseller ”On Bullshit." Plus we dive into a comic masterpiece of late capitalism: the University of Oregon's brand guidelines.Sponsored By:The Great Courses Plus: Never stop learning. Pursue your passion. Quench your curiosity. Embark on an educational endeavor. Watch thousands of streaming videos on hundreds of subjects. Promo Code: wizardsSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Brand and Style | University CommunicationsThe Black Goat – A podcast about doing scienceTwo Psychologists Four Beers Episode 46: Very Good Men (with Very Bad Wizards)Break Music: Seven Minutes by peezOn Bullshit - WikipediaFrankfurt, H. (2005) On Bullshit. Princeton University Press.

David and Tamler dive into Sigmund Freud’s world of unconscious drives, death instincts, and thwarted incestuous urges in his classic text “Civilization and its Discontents.” If society has made so much progress, why are human beings perpetually dissatisfied? Can religion help us or is it a big part of the problem? What’s really going on when you piss on a fire to put it out? Also: how seriously should we take Freud today given some of his wackier ideas? And is he a psychologist, a philosopher, or something else entirely? Plus we select the finalists from a huge list of suggested topics for the Patreon listener-selected episode!Sponsored By:BetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Anal retentiveness - WikipediaAnal expulsiveness - WikipediaPsychosexual development - WikipediaCivilization and Its Discontents - Wikipedia

Socrates was ugly and tired of life, so he made a tyrant of reason. Philosophers are mummies who hate the body and the senses. Reason is a tricky old woman. Morality is a misunderstanding. Kant is a sneaky Christian. And don't even get Nietzsche started on "free will" or the "self" - just excuse for priests to punish people, a hangman's metaphysics. David and Tamler dive into Friedrich Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols, a fascinating set of aphorisms brimming with passion, provocation, questions without answers. Plus, a professor is sanctioned for sex talk with his students - fair or coddling foul? Sponsored By:BetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:George Mason University investigation faults professor for sexual talk with students in class and a hot tub, court records show - The Washington PostNietzsche, F. "Twilight of the Idols" [amazon.com affiliate link] — This is the version we read, but there's a cheaper kindle version on Amazon if you search (at least on the US website). Twilight of the Idols - Wikipedia

With a global pandemic and a collapsing economy upon us, it's time to ask ourselves some tough questions. Sex robots or platonic love robots - what are you more excited for? If you walked in on your partner with one of them, which would make you more jealous? Are you male or female? Can evolutionary psychology explain sex-linked preferences for sensitive, empathetic Alexas? We then dive into the shadowy echo-filled streets of post-war Vienna - and talk about one of our favorite movies, a true noir classic: The Third Man.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Frontiers | Friends, Lovers or Nothing: Men and Women Differ in Their Perceptions of Sex Robots and Platonic Love Robots | PsychologyBreak Music: Framed Your Eyes by peezThe Third Man - WikipediaAllied-occupied Austria - WikipediaDutch angle - Wikipedia

The legendary Peter Singer joins us to talk about effective altruism, AI, animal welfare, esoteric morality, future Tuesday indifference, and more. I mean, it’s Peter freakin’ Singer - what more do we need to say? Plus, the explosive ‘one or two spaces after a period' debate: has science resolved it?Special Guest: Peter Singer.Sponsored By:GiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think!Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Are two spaces better than one? | Butterick’s Practical TypographyRappers, sorted by the size of their vocabulary [thanks to listener Kevin Litman-Navarro]Peter Singer - Wikipediade Lazari-Radek, K., & Singer, P. (2017). Utilitarianism: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press.Singer, P. (2010). The life you can save: How to do your part to end world poverty. Random House Incorporated."A Gadfly for the Greater Good" (Tamler's interview of Singer in his "A Very Bad Wizard" book)"A Very Bad Wizard" by Tamler Sommers [amazon affiliate link]

David and Tamler begin by talking about the question on everyone’s mind right now – are we obligated to be pansexual? Then, since many of us have more free time on our hands these days, we thought it might be a good idea to revisit Bertrand Russell’s essay (published in Harper’s Magazine) “In Praise of Idleness.” How did workaholism become the norm? Why do we see working insanely long hours as a virtue, a moral duty rather than a necessity? Would more leisure make us more fulfilled and creative or just bored? We also discuss Daniel Markovits’ book "The Meritocracy Trap" - when life is a non-stop hyper-competitive grind from preschool to retirement even among the elites, is anyone happy?Sponsored By:BetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Is Pansexuality Obligatory? – The Electric AgoraIn Praise of Idleness, by Bertrand Russell | Harper's Magazine“The Meritocracy Trap,” explained - VoxThe Meritocracy Trap by Daniel Markovits [Amazon affiliate link]

Here's something that might help with the Coronavirus blues: we're releasing our latest Patreon bonus episode for everyone. In this (unedited) episode, Tamler and David talk about their Top 5 Deadwood characters. If you've seen the show, let us know if you agree or disagree, or if we should go fuck ourselves. And if you haven’t watched it yet, you might have some time on your hands for the next month or two - there’s almost no better way to spend it than watching Deadwood. Enjoy! Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler start off talking about the infamous Richard Dawkins eugenics tweet. What does it mean for eugenics to “work”? And given the sensitive nature and horrific history of eugenics, is it wrong to raise the topic even if you’re just focused on the science? Hey we’re just asking questions, man… Then, huge baseball fan that he is, David insists that we talk about the massive Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal and cheating in sports more generally. When is bending the rules just part of the game (“if you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin’”) - and when is it really wrong? Why does the use of technology make cheating seem more dishonorable? Why weren’t the Astros players punished since they were the driving force behind the scandal? And why are apologies so hard on twitter?Sponsored By:BetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Richard Dawkins slammed for saying 'of course' eugenics would work - Washington TimesMercatorNet: Twitter piles on Richard Dawkins over eugenics tweetAstros cheating scandal had to result in historic punishment - Sports IllustratedSign-stealing [wikipedia.org]How Much Of The Astros’ Legacy Is Now In Doubt? | FiveThirtyEightDoes José Altuve’s Bad Tattoo Explain His ALCS Home Run Celebration? - The RingerThe Astros’ Apology Tour Is Off to a Comically Disastrous Start - The Ringer

VBW favorite Paul Bloom takes a short break from his Sam Harris duties to help us break down the Coen Brothers' ode to uncertainty, A Serious Man. Does inaction have consequences? Can you understand the cat but not the math? Why are there Hebrew letters carved into the back of a goy's teeth? Dybbuk or no Dybbuk? Why does God make us feel the questions if he’s not gonna give us any answers? Plus, Paul defends the psych establishment against critiques from the podcast peons at Two Psychologists Four Beers and Very Bad Wizards.Special Guest: Paul Bloom.Sponsored By:Hello Fresh: A healthy, delicious, time-saving meal delivered to your doorstep. Try Hello Fresh, America's #1 Meal Kit. Promo Code: verybadwizards10Daily Budget App: A fun and simple five-star iOS app to keep your spending on track. GiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think!Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:A Serious Man - WikipediaGods And Victims | The New YorkerA Serious Man Song "Dem Milners Trern"- Sidor Belarsky (with lyrics translation)Break Music: ▶ Guilty Remnant by peez

Podcasting legend Yoel Inbar (from Two Psychologists Four Beers) joins us to break down Tal Yarkoni's "The Generalizability Crisis,” the paper that launched a thousand Twitter wars. Psychologists make verbal claims about the world, then conduct studies to test these claims - but are the studies actually providing evidence for those claims? Do psychological experiments generalize beyond the the strict confinments of the lab? Are psychologists even using the right statistical models to be able to claim that they do? Does this debate boil down to fundamental differences in the philosophy of science - induction, Popper, and hypothetico-deductive models and so forth? Will David and Tamler ever be able to talk about a psych study again without getting into a fight? Plus ahead of tonight's New Hampshire primary, expert political analysis about what went down in Iowa.Special Guest: Yoel Inbar.Sponsored By:BetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Promo Code: VBWProlific: Prolific is giving away $50 to VBW listeners who want to give online sampling a go! Whether you’re a social scientist doing research, part of a marketing group, or even a high school student interested in doing a social science project, prolific can offer you fast, reliable, quality data to answer your research questions. Promo Code: verybadwizardsGiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think!Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Yoel Inbar Two Psychologists Four Beers (Podcast)The app that broke the Iowa Caucuses was sent out through beta testing platforms - The VergeYarkoni, T. (2019). The generalizability crisis.The 20% Statistician: Review of "The Generalizability Crisis" by Tal Yarkoni [Daniël Lakens' Blog]Inbar, Y., Pizarro, D. A., Gilovich, T., & Ariely, D. (2013). Moral masochism: On the connection between guilt and self-punishment. Emotion, 13(1), 14.Mook, D. G. (1983). In defense of external invalidity. American psychologist, 38(4), 379.

Our whole lives we’ve been frauds. We’re not exaggerating. Pretty much all we’ve ever done is try to create a certain impression of us in other people. Mostly to be liked or admired. This episode is a perfect example, Tamler pretending to be a cinephile (check out his four favorite pieces of 2019 “pop culture” in the first segment), David trying to connect with the people (Baby Yoda, Keanu Reeves etc.) – and of course what could be more fraudulent than a deep dive into a David Foster Wallace story, rhapsodizing over the endless sentences, the logical paradoxes, the seven-layer bean-dip of metacommentary (Jesus Christ I’m surprised there aren’t like eight footnotes in this episode description), and meanwhile the Partially Examined Life dudes refresh their overcast feeds and wonder through the tiny keyhole of themselves how David and Tamler have sunk so low that they’d ramble on about “Good Old Neon” like a couple of first year Comp-Lit grad students trying to impress that girl who works at the Cajun bakery. Sponsored By:Hello Fresh: A healthy, delicious, time-saving meal delivered to your doorstep. Try Hello Fresh, America's #1 Meal Kit. Promo Code: verybadwizards10GiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think!BetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:What is Baby Yoda? | TechRadarHigh Life (2018 film) - WikipediaWatchmen (TV series) - WikipediaKeanu Reeves Is Too Good for This World | The New YorkerMidsommar (film) - WikipediaHomecoming (TV series) - Wikipedia'Joker' is first R-rated movie to make $1 billion at global box office - Business InsiderUnder the Silver Lake - WikipediaKanye West’s 'Jesus Is King' Divides the Christian Community | TimeHow Often Do Women Talk in Quentin Tarantino Films? | TimeDavid Foster Wallace - WikipediaGood Old Neon (PDF) - Stephen MillerThe Real Question | Fiction Writers Review

Eleventh Century Japan. A samurai and his wife are walking through the forest and come across a bandit. The bandit attacks the samurai and has sex with/rapes his wife. A woodcutter finds the samurai, stabbed to death. Who killed the samurai and with what? What role did his wife play in his death? Kurosawa gives us four perspectives, told in flashbacks within flashbacks. Who’s telling the truth? Is anyone? Can we ever know what really happened? A simple story on the surface becomes a meditation on epistemological despair. Plus, your lizard brain is out to get you and you only have 90 seconds to stop it!Sponsored By:Prolific: Prolific is giving away $50 to VBW listeners who want to give online sampling a go! Whether you’re a social scientist doing research, part of a marketing group, or even a high school student interested in doing a social science project, prolific can offer you fast, reliable, quality data to answer your research questions. Promo Code: verybadwizardsGiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think!Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:When Your Lizard Brain Burns You Out And Short-Circuits Your CareerTriune brain - WikipediaCesario, J., Johnson, D. J., & Eisthen, H. (2019). Your Brain Is Not an Onion with a Tiny Reptile Inside.David talks Watchmen on the Pretty Much Pop PodcastTamler Sommers Talks Honor on Stoa PodcastRashomon - WikipediaRashomon (1950) | The Criterion CollectionRashomon | The Current | The Criterion CollectionRashomon Analysis - Rashomon's Problem with Truth | TopicEvery Frame A Painting: The Bad Sleep Well (1960) - The Geometry of a Scene - YouTubeAkira Kurosawa - Composing Movement

David and Tamler wrap up the decade with an episode on trash-talking that morphs into a debate over the value of experimental inquiry. Participants in a lab put more effort into a slider task after they’re insulted by a confederate. Do experiments like these tell us anything about trash-talking in general? Can it explain the effect of Mike Tyson telling Lenox Lewis he’d eat his children, or of Larry Bird looking around the locker room before the 3-point contest saying he was trying to figure out who’d finish second? Can it tell us how football players should talk to their opponents? Does it give us a more modest but still valuable insight that we can apply to the real world? This is our first real fight (or disagreement) in a while. Plus, some mixed feelings about Mr. Robot Season 4 Episode 11 and some tentative predictions (recorded before the finale which aired by the time this episode is released). Happy holidays!Sponsored By:GiveWell: This holiday season, open your heart to those in need, and consider donating through Givewell.org. Givewell.org is an organization that cares about finding the most effective charities in the world, so that you can make each charitable dollar work as hard as possible. And for our listeners who are first time donors, Givewell.org will match your donation (up to $1,000). Promo Code: VerybadwizardsBlinkist: Fit reading into your life. Key takeaways from the world’s best nonfiction books in text and audio. Visit blinkist.com/verybadwizards for a special offer for our listeners. Promo Code: verybadwizardsSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Yip, J. A., Schweitzer, M. E., & Nurmohamed, S. (2018). Trash-talking: Competitive incivility motivates rivalry, performance, and unethical behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 144, 125-144.Kniffin, K. M., & Palacio, D. (2018). Trash-talking and trolling. Human Nature, 29(3), 353-369.

David and Tamler happen across Jorge Luis Borges’ “The Zahir” and now they can’t stop thinking about it. What is the ‘Zahir’ – this object that can take many forms and that consumes the people who find it? What does it represent? Is it the fanaticism of being in love? The ever-present threat (and temptation) of idealism? A subtle critique of Christian theology? Is the Zahir a microcosm of everything? Why is Borges so obsessed with obsession? Plus, it’s the annual drunken end-of-the night Thanksgiving ‘debate’ between Tamler and IDW stepmother extraordinaire Christina Hoff Sommers. Topics raised and then quickly dropped include Bernie for President, Melinda Gates, critic reviews of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and more. Stay tuned for the end when Christina finds her “notes”. (And for special cameos from David Sommers and Eliza).Sponsored By:Blinkist: Fit reading into your life. Key takeaways from the world’s best nonfiction books in text and audio. Visit blinkist.com/verybadwizards for a special offer for our listeners. Promo Code: verybadwizardsGiveWell: This holiday season, open your heart to those in need, and consider donating through Givewell.org. Givewell.org is an organization that cares about finding the most effective charities in the world, so that you can make each charitable dollar work as hard as possible. And for our listeners who are first time donors, Givewell.org will match your donation (up to $1,000). Promo Code: VerybadwizardsSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:The Zahir - Jorge Luis Borges (Full Text PDF)El Zahir - Sufi theme in Jorge Luis Borges's writing | Technology of the HeartThe Most Famous Coin in Borges

Tamler learns something new about menstruation. David weighs in on the democratic debates and the impeachment hearings. Then we map the various social and political factions onto the factions in our respective fields. Who are establishment neoliberals of philosophy, and who are the white feminists? What about the IDWs of psychology – and the Chads and Stacys? Finally we get serious and break down the article by Alan Fiske in Psychological Review called “The Lexical Fallacy in Emotion Research.” Does language affect how we understand the emotional landscape? Do the words we happen to use deceive us into thinking we have “carved nature at its joints”? What is a natural kind anyway when it comes to emotions? Plus, after the outro, a quick unedited Mr. Robot discussion of the revelation in season 4, episode 7.Sponsored By:GiveWell: This holiday season, open your heart to those in need, and consider donating through Givewell.org. Givewell.org is an organization that cares about finding the most effective charities in the world, so that you can make each charitable dollar work as hard as possible. And for our listeners who are first time donors, Givewell.org will match your donation (up to $1,000). Promo Code: VerybadwizardsSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Fiske, A. P. (2019). The lexical fallacy in emotion research: Mistaking vernacular words for psychological entities. Psychological review.UCLA AnthropologyNatural Kinds (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)"Mr. Robot" 407 Proxy Authentication Required (TV Episode 2019) - IMDb

David and Tamler discuss famous 'split brain' experiments pioneered by Roger Sperry and Michael Gazzaniga. What happens when you cut off the main line of communication between the left and right hemispheres of our brain? Why under certain conditions do the the left and right brains seem like they have different abilities and desires? What does this tell us about the ‘self’? Do we have two consciousnesses, but only that can speak? Does the left brain bully the right brain? Are we all just a bundle of different consciousnesses with their own agendas? Thanks to our Patreon supporters for suggesting and voting for this fascinating topic! Plus, physicists may be able to determine whether we’re living in a computer simulation – but is it too dangerous to try to find out? Sponsored By:GiveWell: This holiday season, open your heart to those in need, and consider donating through Givewell.org. Givewell.org is an organization that cares about finding the most effective charities in the world, so that you can make each charitable dollar work as hard as possible. And for our listeners who are first time donors, Givewell.org will match your donation (up to $1,000). Promo Code: VerybadwizardsOutlier.Org: Enrich your mind and earn college credits with one of the new courses from Outlier.Org. From the co-founders of MasterClass, Outlier.Org brings you beautifully crafted and filmed courses taught by some of the top professors in the world. Spaces are limited, so sign up today for classes beginning in January 2020. Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Opinion | Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? Let’s Not Find Out - The New York TimesPhysicists find we’re not living in a computer simulation | CosmosNagel, T. (1971). Brain bisection and the unity of consciousness. /Synthese/, /22/(3), 396-413. CGP Grey video - You Are Two Split brains - Routledge Encyclopedia of PhilosophyGazzaniga, M. S. (1995). Principles of human brain organization derived from split-brain studies. /Neuron/, /14/(2), 217-228. Split brain: divided perception but undivided consciousness | Brain | Oxford AcademicInteraction in isolation: 50 years of insights from split-brain research | Brain | Oxford AcademicDennett, D. C. (2014). The self as the center of narrative gravity. In /Self and consciousness/ (pp. 111-123). Psychology Press.

We try (with varying success) to wrap our heads around Thomas Nagel’s classic article “What is it Like to be a Bat?" Does science have the tools to give us a theory of consciousness or is that project doomed from the outset? Why do reductionist or functionalist explanations seem so unsatisfying? Is the problem that consciousness is subjective, or is it something about the nature of conscious experience itself? Is this ultimately an epistemological or metaphysical question? What are we talking about? Do we even know anymore? Plus, the return of Mr. Robot! We talk about the big new mystery at the heart of the new season. Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Mr. Robot - Season 4 - IMDbNagel, T. (1974). What is it like to be a bat? The Philosophical Review, 83, 435-450. [pdf]What Is it Like to Be a Bat? - WikipediaMortal Questions by Thomas Nagel

Is character destiny, or can fluky decisions or tiny shifts in weather patterns fundamentally change who we are? Does the existence or non-existence of alternate universes have any bearing on freedom and responsibility? David and Tamler conclude their discussion of Ted Chiang’s “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom” along with another very short piece by Chiang called “What’s Expected of Us” that was first published in Nature. Plus, do you have low likability in the workplace? It could be because you’re too moral and therefore not that funny. But don’t worry, we have a solution that’ll help you increase your humor production and likability with no reduction in morality. All you have to do is listen! Sponsored By:GiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think!Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Richard Brody Reviews "Joker" | New YorkerBatman: The Killing Joke - WikipediaFalling Down (1993) - IMDbPeople with high moral standards 'less likely' to be funny | The IndependentYam, K. C., Barnes, C. M., Leavitt, K., Uhlmann, E. L., & Wei, W. (2016). Why So Serious? Experimental and Field Evidence that Morality and a Sense of Humor are Psychologically Incompatible. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.Aquino, K., & Reed, I. I. (2002). The self-importance of moral identity. Journal of personality and social psychology, 83(6), 1423.Exhalation by Ted Chiang [amazon.com affiliate link]What's Expected of Us by Ted Chiang | Nature

David and Tamler dive back into the Ted Chiang well and explore the fascinating world described in "Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom." What if you could interact with alternate versions of yourself - versions that made different choices, had different jobs, or different partners? Would you get jealous of your other selves if they were more successful? Would you want them to be unhappy so you could feel better about your own choices and path? If your alternate self was in a good relationship with a woman, would you try to track down the version of that woman in this world? If you made an immoral choice but your other self made the moral one, what does that say about your character? And what does it say about free will and responsibility? So many questions, such an interesting story - turns out we need to dedicate another segment next time to conclude the discussion. Hope you enjoy it! If you haven't bought Exhalation (Ted Chiang's new collection) We can't recommend it highly enough. This is the last story in that collection. Plus – we select the topic finalists for our beloved Patreon listener-selected episode. Will Denial of Death make the cut again?Sponsored By:GiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think!Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Ted Chiang's "Exhalation" [amazon.com affiliate link]Eddy Nahmias, Close calls and the confident agent: Free will, deliberation, and alternative possibilities - PhilPapers

David and Tamler start out with a discussion of the new Chappelle special and the negative reaction from many critics. Is Chappelle trolling his audience? Has he lost touch with the powerless people he used to champion? Or have critics missed his larger point, and failed to approach the new special as an art form? Then they address the latest development in the literature around Benjamin Libet's famous study that, according to some people, proved that free will doesn't exist. How did that study get so much attention in the first place? Tamler proposes a Marxist analysis. Plus, David teaches Tamler how to pronounce Bereitschaftspotential antisemitically. This episode is sponsored by Simple Habit. Sponsored By:Simple Habit: Try out Simple Habit--the meditation app that can make your life better in as little as 5-minutes per day. Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Does Free Will Exist? Neuroscience Can't Disprove It Yet. - The AtlanticUnconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will in voluntary action by Benjamin LibetNeuroscience of free will - WikipediaBreak Music: Cold Stares by peez | SoundCloud

David and Tamler dive back into the Bible, this time to the perplexing and poetic Book of Job. What does this book have to say about the theodicy, the problem of evil? Why does Job (and his children) have to suffer so much just so God can prove a point to Satan? Are the speeches of Job's friends meant to be convincing? Does Job capitulate in the end? Does God contradict himself in the last chapter? What’s the deal with Elihu? So many questions, not as many answers – maybe that's why it's such a classic. Plus, "transhumanism" – dystopian wet dream or perfect moral system of the future based on logic, reason, and code? (Always code).Sponsored By:Simple Habit: Try out Simple Habit--the meditation app that can make your life better in as little as 5-minutes per day. Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Environmentalists are Wrong: Nature Isn’t Sacred and We Should Replace It - Transhumanist WagerTranshumanism - WikipediaThe Book of Job (New International Version)Book of Job - WikipediaWho really wrote the Book of Job? - Jewish World - Haaretz - Israel News | Haaretz.comSatan - WikipediaMorriston, W. (1996). God's answer to Job. Religious studies, 32(3), 339-356.Misery | The New Yorker

Is social psychology just a kid dressing up in grown-up science clothes? Are the methods in social psychology--hypothesis-driven experiments and model-building--appropriate for the state of the field? Or do these methods lead to a narrowing of vision, stifled creativity, and a lack of informed curiosity about the social world> David and Tamler discuss the strong methodological critique of psychology from two of its leading practitioners - Paul Rozin and Solomon Asch. Plus, food porn, real estate porn, outrage porn, and David's personal favorite - power washing porn. Sponsored By:Simple Habit: Try out Simple Habit--the meditation app that can make your life better in as little as 5-minutes per day. Prolific: Just for listeners of Very Bad Wizards-get $100 added on to your account when you start an account and top it off at $250 or more! Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Power Washing PornOpinion | Why We Call Things ‘Porn’ - The New York TimesPizarro, D.A., & Baumeister, R. (2013) Superhero comics as moral pornography. In R. Rosenberg (Ed.) Our Superheroes, Ourselves. Oxford University Press.Rozin, P. (2001). Social psychology and science: Some lessons from Solomon Asch. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5(1), 2-14.2nd Annual BEworks Summit for Behavioural Science in Business — Enter “Very Bad Wizards” at checkout if you’re looking to attend!

David and Tamler try to control their emotions (with varying success) as they go deep into Franz Kafka's masterful novella "The Metamorphosis." What kind of a story is this? A Marxist or religious allegory? A work of weird fiction? A family drama? A dark comedy? Why does a story about a man who turns into a giant insect get under our skins so much? Plus a study that links insomnia to our fear of death. What a cheerful summer episode! (Actually we're fairly proud of this one... As always we suggest reading the text before you listen or soon after). This episode brought to you by Prolific.co, and by the support of our listeners.Sponsored By:Prolific: Just for listeners of Very Bad Wizards-get $100 added on to your account when you start an account and top it off at $250 or more! Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Life is short, stay awake: Death anxiety and bedtime procrastination. - PubMed - NCBI2nd Annual BEworks Summit for Behavioural Science in BusinessThe Metamorphosis - WikipediaOn Translating Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” | The New YorkerFranz Kafka - Wikipedia

It's Part 2 of the Lebowski vs. Pulp Fiction showdown. This time we focus on the Dude, Walter, Donny, and most importantly Jesus Quintana. (Nobody fucks with the Jesus). What's the ethos of this stoner masterpiece? Is it a nihilstic movie? A deconstruction of masculinity? A cannabis infused Daoist parable? And is it fair to compare these two classics from the 90s? Fair? Who's the fucking nihilist you bunch of crybabies! Plus - trolling. What is it? Why do people do it? Can works of art troll their audience? And is there such a thing as a benign troll? Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Internet troll - WikipediaKen M Is The Most Epic Troll On The InternetWrestling’s new villain named himself ‘Progressive Liberal.’ Hillary’s on his shirt. - The Washington PostThe Big Lebowski - Wikipedia‘Big Lebowski’ Sequel Renamed ‘The Jesus Rolls,’ Plans 2020 Release | IndieWire

There are only two kinds of people in the world, Pulp Fiction people and Big Lebowski people. Now Pulp Fiction people can like Big Lebowski and vice versa, but nobody likes them both equally. Somewhere you have to make a choice. And that choice tells you who you are. In the first episode of this two-parter, David and Tamler make that choice – and then go deep into the themes, performances, and philosophy of Tarantino’s iconic 90s classic Pulp Fiction. What’s the meaning of a foot massage? What counts as a miracle? Is failing to disregard your own feces a sufficient condition for a filthy animal? We have a lots to talk about, and time is short. So pretty please, with sugar on top, listen to the fucking episode. This episode is sponsored by Blinkist and by all of our supporters. Sponsored By:Blinkist: Fit reading into your life. Key takeaways from the world’s best nonfiction books in text and audio. Visit blinkist.com/verybadwizards for a special offer for our listeners. Promo Code: verybadwizardsSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Pulp Fiction Deleted Scene: Elvis vs The BeatlesPulp Fiction - WikipediaThe Big Lebowski - WikipediaGabriel Vinas (@gabrielvinasart) Instagram photos, videos, stories and highlights | Insgain

Memory is highly selective and often inaccurate. But what if we had an easily searchable video record of all our experiences and interactions? How would that affect our relationships? What would it reveal about our characters and our sense of who we are? Is there a kind of truth that can’t be determined by perfect objectivity? David and Tamler dive deep into Ted Chiang’s amazingly rich and poignant short story “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” which explores how new technologies shape individual and group identities.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Meryl Streep: 'We hurt our boys by calling something "toxic masculinity"' | Film | The GuardianDeadwood: EB Farnum At Work Exhalation by Ted Chiang [amazon.com affiliate link]

Sam Harris returns to the podcast to talk about meditation and his new Waking Up meditation app. What are the goals of mindfulness practice - stress reduction and greater focus, or something much deeper? Can it cure David's existential dread? Tamler's fear of his daughter going away to college? Can sustained practice erode the illusion of self? Is that even something we'd want to do? What if it diminishes our attachment to people we love? And what is the self anyway? Is Sam a defender of panpsychism? So many questions... Plus, the ethics of creating talking elephants by curing them of their autism through bonding and possibly mounting. (Seriously.)Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Rossler, O. E., Theis, C., Heiter, J., Fleischer, W., & Student, A. (2015). Is it ethical to heal a young white elephant from his physiological autism?. Progress in biophysics and molecular biology, 119(3), 539-543.Scientists Predict A Talking Elephant, Szilamandee - NeuroskepticThe Social Exchange Podcast | David Pizarro - Correcting Bias, Heuristics, and Decision-Making Break music: ▶ Lazarus Lives by peezWaking Up with Sam Harris (app)Sam Harris | Home of the Making Sense PodcastOn Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious: Douglas E. Harding: 9781878019196: Amazon.com: Books

David and Tamler argue about William James' classic essay "The Will to Believe." What's more important - avoiding falsehood or discovering truth? When (if ever) is it rational to believe anything without enough evidence? What about beliefs that we can't be agnostic about? Are there hypotheses that we have to believe in order for them to come true? Does James successfully demonstrate that faith can be rational? Plus, a philosopher at Apple who's not allowed to talk to the media - what are they hiding? And why are academics constantly telling students that academia is a nightmare?Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Apple won't let its in-house philosopher talk to the press — QuartzThe Will to Believe - WikipediaThe Will to Believe (Full Text PDF)Evidentialism - Wikipedia

David and Tamler are pulled into Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas." Omelas is a truly happy city, except for one child who lives in abominable misery. Is that too high a moral cost? Why do some people walk away from the city? Why does no one help the child? Why does Le Guin make us create the city with her? Plus, we talk about our listener meetup in Vancouver, and a new edition of [dramatic music] GUILTY CONFESSIONS. Note: if this episode strikes you as too puritanical, then please add an orgy.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas - YouTubeThe Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas - WikipediaThe Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (Full Text)The Wind's Twelve Quarters by Ursula K. Le Guin [amazon.com affiliate link]

As parents we like to think we have an impact on our children - their future, their happiness, the kinds of people they turn out to be. But are we deluded? Dave and Tamler are joined by empathy's kryponite, the great Paul Bloom, to talk about Judith Rich Harris's view that parents matter a lot less than you might think (while genes and peer groups matter a lot more than you might think) . Plus, what the connection between art and morality? Should we support "cancel culture"? Is it wrong to play Michael Jackson's P.Y.T. (spell it out) on the radio? What about the Jackson 5? And what about art that is itself immoral? You're not gonna believe this but Louis CK gets mentioned. Thanks to our beloved Patreon supporters for suggesting and voting for this topic!Special Guest: Paul Bloom.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:'Too big to cancel': can we still listen to Michael Jackson? | Music | The GuardianThe Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do, Revised and Updated: Judith Rich Harris [amazon affiliate link]Do Parents Matter? Judith Rich Harris and child development (by Malcolm Gladwell)Children Don't Do Things Halfway | Edge.orgJudith Rich Harris & Jerome Kagan: The Nature of Nurture: Parents or Peers? Slate dialogue, Oct. 28 - Nov. 21, 1998

The less we know, the more we know it. David and Tamler talk about the notorious Dunning-Kruger effect, which makes us overconfident in beliefs on topics we're ignorant about and under-confident when we're experts. Plus, we break down an evolutionary psychology article on why poor men and hungry men prefer women with big breasts. Trust us, it's a really bad study. We're sure about it.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Resource Security Impacts Men’s Female Breast Size PreferencesPeez on Freakonomics Radio Live: “Would You Eat a Piece of Chocolate Shaped Like Dog Poop?”Dunning–Kruger effect - WikipediaWe Are All Confident Idiots - Pacific StandardDunning, D. (2011). The Dunning–Kruger effect: On being ignorant of one's own ignorance. In Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 44, pp. 247-296). Academic Press.

David and Tamler dive into the book of Ecclesiastes, an absurdist classic that is somehow also a book of the Bible. Is everything meaningless, vain, and a chasing after the wind? Are humans just the same as animals? Are wise people no better off than fools? Will God judge us after we die, rewarding the good people and punishing the shit-heels? What if there is no afterlife and this is all we get? How should we deal with our pointless, unjust existence? Plus we return to our opening-segment bible— Aeon—and talk about an argument for replacing jealousy with...wait for it…compersion.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Love without jealousy: consider the benefits of compersion | Aeon EssaysBreak Music: Back From Salina | SoundCloudJust to say thanks to the wizards : VeryBadWizardsEcclesiastes - WikipediaEcclesiastes 1 NIV - Everything Is Meaningless - The words - Bible Gateway

Poor and black defendants have more legal rights than ever, but that didn't stop mass incarceration. Why is that? We talk about a paper by Paul Butler called "Poor People Lose: Gideon and the Critique of Rights." Plus, we answer the question that’s on everyone’s mind: how to live as an anti-natalist. And Tamler is appalled to discover David's anti-natalist leanings.Sponsored By:Eero Promo Code: VERYBADWIZARDSSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:How to Live As an Antinatalist: 11 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHowSuing your parents for being born has philosophical support — QuartzIndian man to sue parents for giving birth to him - BBC NewsButler, P. D. (2012). Poor people lose: Gideon and the critique of rights. Yale LJ, 122, 2176.Butler, P. (2010). Let's get free: a hip-hop theory of justice. The New Press. Chicago Gideon v. Wainwright - Wikipedia

David and Tamler talk about the invasion of dual process theories in psychology. Why do we love theories that divide complex phenomena into just two categories? Is there any evidence to back up these theories? Are we distorting our understanding of the mind and morality? And what we can do to get out of this mess? Plus, Liam Neeson, moral pet peeves, and oral ethics.Sponsored By:Mack Weldon Promo Code: VERYBADWIZARDSSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Melnikoff, D. E., & Bargh, J. A. (2018). The mythical number two. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22, 280-293.The Annals of the TERF-Wars | Jane Clare JonesFeldman Barrett's theory of constructed emotion - WikipediaDual process theory - Wikipedia

David and Tamler continue their discussion of Dostoevsky's funny, sad, philosophical novella Notes From Underground. We focus on part 2 this time - three stories from the Underground Man's past - and explore what the stories tell us about his existentialist rants in part 1. Is he consumed with guilt over his treatment of Liza? Is he ashamed of his social awkwardness, low status, and self-destructive behavior? Or is he a narcissistic proto-incel suffering from an especially acute case of spotlight effect? (As usual, the answer is probably some combination of all these and more.) Plus, we select the finalists for our Patreon-listener selected episode. Thanks to everyone for their support! Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Notes from Underground - WikipediaNotes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky [amazon.com affiliate link]

We’re sick men. We’re spiteful men. We’re unpleasant men. We think our livers are diseased (especially Tamler’s). So we talk about Dostoevsky’s wild, complex, stream of consciousness masterpiece Notes From Underground. For this episode we focus on part 1 of the novella, and the philosophy behind it. Is the underground man an existentialist hero affirming his freedom in the face of a deterministic hyper-rationalist worldview? Or is he a lonely man consumed with guilt and self-loathing, constructing a pretentious post-hoc rationalization of his character and behavior? Plus, the American Psychological Association just issued guidelines for how to treat men who embrace traditional masculine ideologies. Is the backlash justified? This episode is brought to you by Eero, Curiosity Stream, and the generosity of listeners like you. Sponsored By:Eero Promo Code: VERYBADWIZARDSCuriosityStream Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:'Traditional Masculinity' Can Be Harmful, Psychologists Find - The AtlanticAPA ‘Masculinity’ Guidelines Face a Title IX Challenge at Harvard University, for Discriminating Against Men in PsychologyNotes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky (trans. by Constance Garnett) [amazon.com affiliate link]Notes from Underground - Wikipedia

David and Tamler dive deep into Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 hallucinatory classic, Vertigo. Why does this movie seem to gain stature among critics and academics every year? Is this a really a exploration of Hitchcock's own obsessions and sexual repression? Is it a story about filmmaking and celebrity? Or is it just a twisty noir thriller about a man who has no job and can't kiss to save his life? Plus, some thoughts about bad reviews on Rate My Professor and why it's hard to get feedback about job performance in academia. Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Relax (Short film by Matthew Herbertz)Bob Einstein on "The Ringer" podcastVertigo (film) - WikipediaVertigo | Scanners | Roger Ebert

In the famous words of the idealist philosopher George Berkeley, “To exist is to be perceived.” Our ideas and perceptions are the fundamental objects in the universe; there is no real world beyond them. Hume wrote (I think) that Berkeley’s arguments don’t admit of the slightest refutation, and they don’t inspire the slightest conviction. On Earth, that may be true. On Tlön, it’s false – the people there are “congenital idealists.” Their language, philosophy, literature, and religion presuppose idealism. It’s their common sense. And their philosophy starts to encroach on their reality. But what happens when we read and hear about Tlön – can their idealism invade our “real” world? Will we start to lose our metaphysical bearings? David and Tamler talk about Borges’s invasive, unsettling story “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.” Please listen so we can exist! (And speaking of things that may or may not exist, we also discuss the metaphysics of holes.) This episode is brought to you by GiveWell and the generous support of our listeners. Sponsored By:GiveWellSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Is a hole a real thing, or just a place where something isn’t? | Aeon IdeasThe Simpsons - Nature's Biggest Holes - YouTubeTlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius - WikipediaNeoplatonism and Gnosticism - Wikipedia

David dies for science’s sins and addresses the failed replication of one of his studies (conducted with three former VBW guests) by the Many Labs Project. But first, the guys try to gauge their intuitions about the phenomenal experience of their molecule-for-molecule mirror reflection duplicate in a universe with a non-orientable topology. Could this spell doom for e-categoricalism? Plus, the annual Thanksgiving tradition: IDW star and Factual Feminist Christina Hoff Sommers and Tamler argue over drinks about standpoint epistemology, political correctness, and lingerie. This episode is brought to you by Audible, Givewell, and the generosity of our supporters. Special Guest: Christina Hoff Sommers.Sponsored By:Audible Promo Code: VERYBADWIZARDSGiveWellSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:2018 Sanders Philosophy of Mind Prize Winner - Daily Nous — Experiencing Left and Right in a Non-Orientable WorldExperiencing Left and Right in a Non-Orientable World by Jonathan SimonVery Bad Wizards is on Reddit — Join in on all the repugnant discussions on our Reddit community. Large scale replication project finds that one of Dave's and colleagues' most cited findings (association between disgust sensitivity and homophobia) is not real. : VeryBadWizardsOSF | Many Labs 2: Investigating Variation in Replicability Across Sample and Setting

Tamler and David continue their Nagel-gazing by discussing another essay from Mortal Questions: "Ruthlessness in Public Life." Why do we treat the immorality of politicians, military leaders, and others in power differently than the immorality of individuals? Why does it seem less aversive to shake the hand of someone responsible for the death of thousands of civilians through military action than it does to shake the hand of a serial killer who has merely killed dozens? Are the rules we use to judge the moral atrocities of public officials different from the ones we use to judge private atrocities? Do they have the same basic foundations? Plus, we satisfy our listeners bloodlust by arguing about the new "Journal of Controversial Ideas" (because it would be cowardly not to). This episode is brought to you by Givewell.org, and by the private morality of our generous supporters. Sponsored By:GiveWellSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Here Comes ‘The Journal of Controversial Ideas.’ Cue the Outcry. - The Chronicle of Higher EducationNagel, T. (2012). Mortal questions. Cambridge University Press. [Amazon affiliate link]

There was me, that is Tamler, and my droog, that is David, and we sat in our living rooms on Skype trying to make up our rassoodocks what Stanley Kubrick's a Clockwork Orange was really about? Free will? We didn't think so. Punishment? Yeah but what about punishment? And what about the old ultraviolence - can it still shock us in the modern age? Then suddenly we viddied that thinking was for the gloopy ones and that the oomny just, like, press record and start the podcast. Slooshy well, my brothers, slooshy well. This episode is brought to you by our beloved Patreon supporters and www.givewell.org. Sponsored By:GiveWellSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:A Clockwork Orange (film) - WikipediaCOTO - Re-interpreting Alex's Violence in A Clockwork OrangeA Clockwork Orange | Film Review | Slant Magazine

What better way to celebrate our 150th episode than to bring back our favorite guest – Paul Bloom! We riff on a series of topics: the new “grievance studies” hoax, sex robot brothels, perverse desires, and perverse beliefs. Then we get a little navel gazey (OK maybe more than a little) and talk about podcasting as a form of media and discussion, good teaching, and what we’ve learned about our listeners and ourselves. (Note: the audio may sound a little echoey towards the end because of how far we’ve crawled up our own asses.) This was a fun one, enjoy! Special Guest: Paul Bloom.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Proposed 'sex robot brothel' blocked by Houston city council‘Sokal Squared’: Is Huge Publishing Hoax ‘Hilarious and Delightful’ or an Ugly Example of Dishonesty and Bad Faith? - The Chronicle of Higher EducationThe Jem'Hadar - Wikipedia

Is living forever a good thing? Could we maintain our values and personal attachments throughout eternity? Would we be motivated to accomplish anything? Can we make sense of a human life that doesn't have a fixed endpoint? We try to alleviate David's paralyzing fear of death by examining two articles - one on how immortality is worse than we think, and the other providing evidence that dying might be better than we think. Plus,we examine some famous thought experiments - if they were porn. And a special bonus: after the outro music, Eliza Sommers joins her Dad at to give her theory about Twin Peaks: The Return (contains spoilers).Special Guest: Eliza Sommers.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Intuition pump - WikipediaVery Bad Wizards Episode 52: Thought Experiments (Huh!) What Are They Good For? (Part 2)Frankfurt cases - WikipediaGettier problem - WikipediaRussell's paradox - WikipediaVeil of ignorance - WikipediaBuridan's ass - WikipediaThere’s a big problem with immortality: it goes on and on | Aeon EssaysGoranson, A., Ritter, R. S., Waytz, A., Norton, M. I., & Gray, K. (2017). Dying Is Unexpectedly Positive. Psychological Science, 28(7), 988-999.Williams, B. (1973). The Makropulos case: reflections on the tedium of immortality (pp. pp-82).

Tamler wades into a Twitter controversy about Serena Williams - could this be his fast-track pass into the IDW? And since we're talking about that, why not throw in a discussion of Louis CK's surprise set at the Comedy Cellar? In the second segment, we step outside of last week's social media culture wars to discuss "But I Could Be Wrong," a paper by philosopher George Sher from Rice University. What happens once we realize that our moral convictions are often not better justified than the convictions of people who disagree with us? Does that mean it's no longer rational to act on them? And is the problem deeper for moral beliefs than it is for empirical or aesthetic beliefs? Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:US Open 2018: Serena Williams’ fight with umpire Carlos Ramos, explained - VoxTamler tweetsSher, G. (2001). But I could be wrong. Social Philosophy and Policy, 18(2), 64-78.A Crying Shame: The 2018 US Open Will Only be Remembered for Serena by Cindy Shmerler (tennis.com)Martina Navratilova: What Serena Got Wrong (NY Times)

Oxford philosophy professor Will MacAskill joins us to talk about effective altruism, moral uncertainty, and why you shouldn’t eat your grandmother (even if consequentialism is true). How should we act when we’re not sure which moral theory is the right one? Can we formulate a guide for behavior, modeled on decision theory, that maximizes expected moral value? How do we assign credences to ethical (as opposed to empirical) claims? Why has effective altruism become so popular, so fast, yet at the same time seem off-putting to many people? Plus, Tamler faces a dilemma when narrating his audiobook, and Dave is the Louis CK of his own backyard. 0:00 - 25:41 Tamler's dilemma and Guilty Confessions. 25:41 -31:15 Break, contact info, updates, thanks to our listeners and supporters. 31:16 -1:43:19 Wil MacAskill interview. Special Guest: William MacAskill.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:William MacAskill homepageThe Most Efficient Way to Save a Life - The AtlanticDoing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Help Others, Do Work that Matters, and Make Smarter Choices about Giving Back [amazon.com affiliate link]Moral uncertainty - Effective Altruism Concepts80,000 Hours: How to make a difference with your careerGiving What We Can

Is being a sports fan irrational? Does it lead to more suffering than happiness? David and Tamler discuss a recent study that suggests the answer is "yes." But does the study really capture the benefits of being fans? More generally, does science have the tools to truly measure the costs and benefits of rooting for your favorite teams? Plus, we talk about The Nation apologizing for publishing a poem written in Black English Vernacular, and introduce a dramatic new segment: "Guilty Confessions." Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:A Poem in The Nation Spurs a Backlash and an Apology - The New York TimesBritish economists prove it: Sports destroy happiness - The Washington PostDolton, P., & MacKerron, G. (2018). Is football a matter of life and death - or is it more important than that? mappiness, the happiness mapping app

David and Tamler go deep into Borges’ labyrinth to discuss the fascinating, multi-dimensional story “The Garden of Forking Paths.” What is the underlying reality of this story? What demands does Borges make of his readers? What is Borges telling us about time, freedom, war, and art? Is the story itself a maze for readers to wander and lose their way? We don’t have all the answers, but it was one of our favorite discussions in a long time. Plus, we give some brief non-spoiler opinions about Boots Riley’s movie "Sorry to Bother You," but a spoiler-filled Patreon episode is coming soon.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Sorry to Bother You (2018) - IMDbBoots Riley - WikipediaDJ Pam The Funkstress Scratch RoutineLakeith Stanfield - WikipediaThe Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges (full text PDF) [mycourse.es]The Garden of Forking Paths - WikipediaCollected Fictions: Jorge Luis Borges (translated by Andrew Hurley) [amazon.com affiliate link]"A Labyrinth of Symbols: Exploring 'The Garden of Forking Paths'" by Ethan Weed

David and Tamler try to wrap their heads around Jorge Luis Borges' “The Library of Babel” – a short story about a universe/library that contains every possible book with every possible combination of characters. How many books would this library contain? Would some of the books justify our lives (if we could find them)? Can we know whether a book is deeply meaningful or deeply misleading? Why are the librarians so alone and so consumed with anguish? Wouldn’t we all just end up just looking for the porn books? Plus, we talk about the ethics of doing research on data drawn from the Ashley Madison leak. Life is short, listen to this episode.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:I. Y. Yunioshi - WikipediaEddie Murphy: White Like Me (SNL)Scarlett Johansson Withdraws from Controversial Role as a Trans Man Following Backlash

David and Tamler tackle the topic selected by their Patreon supporters - the psychology of personality. What are the different dimensions of personality that distinguish one person from another? How many dimensions are there - do the Big Five capture all of them? Do we share some of these differences with other species? Why don't personality psychologists include moral character traits? Plus - are you curious about your partner's true political commitments? No problem, just install a periscope in your toilet.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Testing Inter-hemispheric Social Priming Theory in a Sample of Professional Politicians-A Brief Report https://t.co/SnozmgFgRJ"" rel="nofollow">Gary Lewis on Twitter: "I submitted a hoax manuscript to a predatory journal. The finding? Politicians from the right wipe their ass with their left hand (and vice versa) - big breakthrough! Manuscript accepted w/o review. I then haggled the OA fee down to $0 - so here it is -> https://t.co/SnozmgFgRJ"Break Music: Thief's Theme (peez remix)Personality psychology - WikipediaPersonality and Social Dynamics Lab | Sanjay SrivastavaSimine VazireThe Black Goat – A podcast about doing scienceBig Five personality traits - Wikipedia — Myers–Briggs Type IndicatorThe Big Five Personality Traits & what they mean for your Political Views. | elephant journalHEXACO model of personality structure - WikipediaMyers–Briggs Type Indicator - Wikipedia

In what has to be the most somber VBW to date, David and Tamler welcome Harvard psychologist Matthew Nock to the podcast to talk about suicide and other forms of self-harm. Matt tells us what we know – and what we don’t know - about the causes of suicide and the ways to prevent it. In the first segment we talk about the recent exposé of Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment. Were the guards told to be brutal? Were the prisoners never aware that could have left the study at any time? What is Tamler going to do about the Zimbardo interview in A Very Bad Wizard the book? Is David going to continue teaching it in his intro psych course? And does Yoel Inbar need to preregister his beers?Special Guest: Matthew Nock.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Stanford Prison Experiment: why famous psychology studies are now being torn apart  - VoxThe Lifespan of a Lie – Trust Issues – MediumReicher, S., & Haslam, S. A. (2006). Rethinking the psychology of tyranny: The BBC prison study. British journal of social psychology, 45(1), 1-40.Episode 176: Situationism in Psych: Milgram & Stanford Prison Experiments (Part One) | The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast | A Philosophy Podcast and BlogMatthew K. Nock, Ph.D., Director | Nock LabCha, C. B., Franz, P. J., M. Guzmán, E., Glenn, C. R., Kleiman, E. M., & Nock, M. K. (2018). Annual Research Review: Suicide among youth–epidemiology,(potential) etiology, and treatment. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, 59(4), 460-482.

David and Tamler tackle the topic of implicit bias and the controversy surrounding the implicit association test (IAT). What is implicit bias anyway? Does it have to be linked to behavior in order to truly count as a "bias"? Has the IAT been overhyped as a reflection of individual or group prejudice? And why is the debate on this topic so depressing? Plus, some deep thoughts on the intellectual dark web, how to join it, and what the analogy is supposed to reflect.Sponsored By:RXBAR Promo Code: badwizardsSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Opinion | Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web - The New York TimesPsychology’s Racism-Measuring Tool Isn’t Up to the Job -- Science of UsImplicit-association test - WikipediaTake the Implicit Associations Test (IAT)Greenwald, A. G., Poehlman, T. A., Uhlmann, E. L., & Banaji, M. R. (2009). Understanding and using the Implicit Association Test: III. Meta-analysis of predictive validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(1), 17.Oswald, F. L., Mitchell, G., Blanton, H., Jaccard, J., & Tetlock, P. E. (2013). Predicting ethnic and racial discrimination: A meta-analysis of IAT criterion studies. Journal of personality and social psychology, 105(2), 171.Nock, M. K., & Banaji, M. R. (2007). Prediction of suicide ideation and attempts among adolescents using a brief performance-based test. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 75(5), 707.Uhlmann, E. L., Pizarro, D. A., & Bloom, P. (2008). Varieties of social cognition. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 38(3), 293-322. — This is a paper in which Eric Uhlmann, Paul Bloom and one of your humble hosts try to tackle the ways in which the word 'unconscious' is used (and abused) in the literature on social cognition.

Honor shmonor, David and Tamler return to their repugnant roots for this one. First, we pay an overdue homage to the great anonymous blogger and twitter-redeemer Neuroskeptic. We pick a few of our favorite pithy tweets and crazy science article links from his @neuro_skeptic twitter account. Topics include: How much would you pay for porn? Should we be stereotyping zoophiles? Animal or fist - how to distinguish? And what do the left and right brain actually do? In part 2, we discuss an experiment that aims to finally answer the question: do our judgments in sacrificial dilemmas (like the trolley problem) -actually- predict our behavior? Plus, we find out live (on tape) if David is a Laurel or a Yanni - or is he a Samantha? Thanks to our sponsor www.awaytravel.com. Sponsored By:Away Promo Code: BADWIZARDSSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Neuroskeptic - WikipediaNeuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic) | TwitterNeuroskeptic's Blog for Discover Magazine@Neuro_skeptic: "If one post sums me up"Two Psychologists Four Beers — New podcast hosted by VBW regular Yoel Inbar and Michael Inzlicht. Tatter (podcast) — New podcast, hosted by social psychologist Michael Sargent, with interviews and discussions on politics and policy.The Political Theory Review by Jeffrey Church on Apple PodcastsBostyn, D. H., Sevenhant, S., & Roets, A. (2018). Of Mice, Men, and Trolleys: Hypothetical Judgment Versus Real-Life Behavior in Trolley-Style Moral Dilemmas. Psychological Science, 0956797617752640.

It took two tries (the first one led to a big non-productive fight), but David and Tamler end up with a good discussion of honor and its connection to identity, pride, and personal relationships. Why have we rejected honor in favor of dignity? What are the costs and benefits of doing that? How do people "find themselves" in an industrialized anonymous society? What should you do when someone insults your sister and you're playing in the final of the World Cup? The seminal paper by Peter Berger "On the Obsolescence of the Culture of Honor" (along with Tamler's new book) was the launching point for the discussion (links to both in show notes). This episode is brought to you by Simple Contacts.Sponsored By:Simple Contacts Promo Code: WIZARDSSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Why Honor Matters by Tamler Sommers [amazon affiliate link]Berger, P. (1970). On the Obsolescence of the Concept of Honor. European Journal of Sociology/Archives Européennes de Sociologie/Europäisches Archiv für Soziologie, 11(2), 339-347.Materazzi finally admits what he said to Zidane in the World Cup Final | For The Win

Award-winning screenwriter and medieval philosophy scholar Yoel Inbar joins us for a deep dive on the Charlie Kaufman/Michel GondREY masterpiece Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. When relationships go bad is it better to believe they never happened? What is the nature of memory, how is it constructed, and is it possible to zap them out existence with an Apple IIe? Will Tamler have a more optimistic take on the ending of the movie than David? (Hint: yes) Also--only two more weeks to preorder Why Honor Matters and get your free bonus episode! Upload your receipt here Special Guest: Yoel Inbar.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Yoel Inbar Michel Gondry - IMDbEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - IMDbEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Movie Review (2004) | Roger EbertThe Science of Sleep (2006) - IMDbBe Kind Rewind (2008) - IMDbJay Electronica - Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) (Full 15-minute version) - YouTube

Why are we always attracted to people who mock us, resist our advances, and play hard to get? Maybe because it’s extra satisfying when you finally get them to… appear on your podcast. In our first live episode (recorded in San Antonio), the philosopher Shaun Nichols joins us to discuss his recent article “Death and the Self”. You might think that Buddhist conceptions of the self as illusory would reduce their fear of death (after all, if there’s no real self, why worry about it ceasing to exist?). But the evidence collected by Shaun and colleagues suggests exactly the opposite. Why would that be? Plus, David and Tamler choose six finalists for the Patreon listener selected episode (did Jordan Peterson make the list?), and we announce a special bonus for people who pre-order Tamler’s forthcoming book "Why Honor Matters."Special Guest: Shaun Nichols.Sponsored By:RXBAR Promo Code: badwizardsSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Why Honor Matters by Tamler SommersNichols, S., Strohminger, N., Rai, A., & Garfield, J. (2018). Death and the self. Cognitive science.Shaun Nichols | University Center for Human Values

From Very Bad Wizards to Megyn Kelly Today back to Very Bad Wizards, Laurie Santos has traveled the typical trajectory of the celebrity academic. Laurie joins us to talk about her cult status after creating the most popular course in Yale University history: Psychology and the Good Life. Why are we so bad at predicting what will make us happy? What makes it so hard to do the things we know are good for us? Why are young people more stressed, anxious, and overworked than they used to be? And how can we nudge ourselves into living better lives? Plus we take a test for determining the virtues that come easiest to us and the ones that come.. harder. This episode is sponsored by Audible and Casper. Special Guest: Laurie Santos.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Laurie Santos | Comparative Cognition LaboratoryYale’s Most Popular Class Ever: Happiness - The New York TimesPsychology and The Good Life 2018 Course SyllabusMatt Killingsworth: Want to be happier? Stay in the moment | TED TalkCharacter Strength SurveyAudible Casper

David and Tamler take a break from complaining about psychological studies that measure utilitarianism to complain about the moral theory itself. We talk about one of the most famous critiques of utilitarian theories from Bernard Williams. Does utilitarianism annihilate our integrity--our unity--as people? Would trying to maximize well-being fracture our identities, and swallow up our projects, motivations, and moral convictions--the same convictions that make utilitarianism seem appealing in the first place? Is it ultimately self-defeating as a moral theory? Plus, we talk about the adventures of Tamler's based step-mom Christina Hoff Sommers' at Lewis and Clark law school. Will David stay woke?Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Protesters try to shut down Christina Hoff Sommers at Lewis & Clark Law School - YouTubeStatement on the Christina Hoff Sommers Event at the Law School - Newsroom - Lewis & ClarkWe’re All Fascists Now - The New York Times"The Usual Suspects" final scene *spoilers* Bernard Williams - WikipediaWilliams, B. "Consequentialism and Integrity" [published originally in "Utilitarianism: For and Against", ed. Smart and Williams (Cambridge University Press, 1973), pp. 82-118.]Smart, J. J. C., & Williams, B. (1973). Utilitarianism: For and against. Cambridge University Press. [Amazon.com affiliate link] — Worth reading the whole book!

It's been 5 years since Molly Crockett has been guest on VBW. During that time she's completed a post-doc at University College, London and become a professor at Yale University. And we're...well, we're still doing the podcast. Today Molly joins us to talk about moral outrage in the age of social media. Has the outrage changed now that we express so much of it online? Does it contribute to polarization and social division, or give a voice to the less powerful? How can we harness the benefits of online outrage while minimizing the costs? Plus, Dave and Tamler perform an exorcism on the unholy offspring of evolutionary psychology and trolleyology.Special Guest: Molly Crockett.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Brown, M., & Sacco, D. F. (2017). Is pulling the lever sexy? Deontology as a downstream cue to long-term mate quality. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 0265407517749331.Crockett, M. J. (2017). Moral outrage in the digital age. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(11), 769.

David and Tamler talk about the nature of death. Is being dead a bad thing? If so, what makes it bad? How can anything be bad for a subject that no longer exists? We didn't have a problem with oblivion for the thirteen billion years before we were born, why fear it now? Plus, a discussion about the "it was all a dream" trope in TV and film. Why is it so infuriating in some works but not others?Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Tommy Westphall - Wikipedia20 Years Ago: 'Newhart' ends with a shock | EW.comDallas (1978 TV series) (season 9) - WikipediaIt's Just a Cartoon, How can SpongeBob and friends go to the beach if...Nagel, T. (1970). Death. Noûs, 73-80.

What's the best way to build self-control, patience, productivity, and delayed marshmallow eating? For decades psychologists and economists have told us to develop traits like willpower and grit. But psychologist David DeSteno describes a better, easier, and more effective path--the emotions. We talk to David about his new (not-self-help) book "Emotional Success," which argues that the emotions of gratitude, pride, and compassion can help us fulfill long-term goals and (as a special bonus) make us happier and better people. Plus, David and Tamler take a quiz that measures how utilitarian they are, and you won't believe the results!!! (Actually, you will.) This episode is sponsored by Casper. Visit www.casper.com and enter offer code BADWIZARDS to get $50 toward select purchases. Special Guest: Dave DeSteno.Sponsored By:Casper Promo Code: BADWIZARDSSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:How Utilitarian Are You? The Oxford Utilitarianism Scale | Practical EthicsEverett, J. A., Pizarro, D. A., Crockett, M. J. (2016). Inference of trustworthiness from intuitive moral judgments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145, 772–787David DeSteno's websiteEmotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride

David and Tamler break down two episodes (with full spoilers) from the new season of Charlie Brooker's bleaker-than-bleak Netflix series Black Mirror. First up, "The USS Callister," a Star Trek parody that becomes a meditation on fandom, humiliation, and cowardly revenge. Next we talk about "Black Museum" - could it be the final episode of Black Mirror? Should it be? After four seasons of indicting humanity, has Charlie Brooker turned his critical lens on himself? Plus, you thought it was bad for children to tell lies, but it turns out that it's good! This episode is brought to you by RXBAR. Visit www.rxbar.com/wizards, and enter promo code "BADWIZARDS" at checkout for 25% off your first purchase. Sponsored By:RXBAR Promo Code: badwizardsSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Is Your Child Lying to You? That’s Good - The New York Times"Black Mirror" USS Callister (TV Episode 2017) - IMDb"I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" by Harlan Ellison"Black Mirror" Black Museum (TV Episode 2017) - IMDb▶ Bruised by peez

In this Very Special Boxing Day edition of the podcast, Tamler and David welcome back honorary Third Wizard Paul Bloom to discuss his latest article in the New Yorker about dehumanization and cruelty. Is it really the case that we dehumanize in order to harm others? Or does most violence actually require us to view others as fundamentally human, agentic, and capable of true suffering? But first, we discuss the stages of Star Trek transporter cognition, whether Paul and David are closet-dualists, and whether the process of choosing a Dalai Lama suffers from p-hacking concerns. (And between segments we give our brief, spoiler-free thoughts on Season 3 of Mr. Robot). Happy Chanukah, Kwanzaa, New Year, and Merry Christmas to all!Special Guest: Paul Bloom.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Join the Very Bad Wizards discussion on RedditPaul Bloom | Department of PsychologyThe Root of All Cruelty? | The New YorkerKlaus J. Jacobs Awards - Jacobs FoundationWar ChildOur enemies are human: that’s why we want to kill them | Aeon IdeasOn Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society - Kindle edition by Dave Grossman. Professional & Technical Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.Virtuous Violence: Hurting and Killing to Create, Sustain, End, and Honor Social Relationships by Alan Fiske and Tage RaiDown Girl: The Logic of Misogyny by Kate Manne

David and Tamler assert their autonomy as individuals by discussing their favorite dystopian works of art. Rebelling against a repressive regime, they refuse to sacrifice their privacy, uniqueness, and reproductive freedom. Through sheer force of will - the human spirit - they triumph over the pressures to ... wait what? You want me to take that pill? Okay, can't hurt. Aaahhhhh. So happy... So content... Must keep order. When the individual feels, the community reels. I am you, and you are I. I am you, and you are I. Plus, a real-life trolley problem! (Or is it?)Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Very Bad Wizards subreddit — Contribute to our Reddit discussions!Letters of Note: 1984 v. Brave New WorldHarrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut [wordfight.org]The Lobster (2015) - IMDbGattaca (1997) - IMDbNever Let Me Go (novel) - WikipediaChildren of Men (2006) - IMDbThe Trial (1962) - IMDbThe Trial - WikipediaIt's a Good Life (The Twilight Zone) - WikipediaSnowpiercer (2013) - IMDbIdiocracy (2006) - IMDbA Clockwork Orange (1971) - IMDb

David and Tamler keep their Nagel streak alive, discussing the essay "The Fragmention of Value" from his collection "Mortal Questions." How should we address our fragmented moral landscape, with multiple sources of value that can't be reduced or systematically ordered? Does this make all of our moral decisions arbitrary? Plus, we talk about Louis CK and in a Thanksgiving tradition special guest Christina Hoff Sommers rejoins the podcast in a moderately drunken debate with Tamler about a possible sex panic. Special Guest: Christina Hoff Sommers.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Christina Hoff Sommers - WikipediaWe’re at risk of turning #metoo into rush to blame all men - NY Daily NewsNagel, T. (2012). Mortal questions. Cambridge University Press. [amazon.com affiliate link]Documentary Film Finding Vivian Maier | Vivian Maier Photographer

David and Tamler dip back into the Thomas Nagel well, and discuss the problem of "moral luck." Why do we blame drunk drivers who hit someone more than drunk drivers who make it home OK? Why do we judge people for things that are beyond their control (when we have strong intuitions that uncontrollable acts don't deserve blame)? Does moral luck ultimately swallow all of our behavior? Can we truly embrace the view that "actions are events and people are things" or are we stuck with another unsolvable clash of competing perspectives (just like the problem of absurdity)? Plus, Dave exposes himself on the Partially Examined Life, Tamler self-censors, and somehow we discuss Hollywood harassment and stand-up comedy without mentioning Louis CK. (But only because we recorded this episode about five hours before the NY Times story broke.)Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Nagel, T. (2012). Mortal questions. Cambridge University Press. [amazon.com affiliate link]Nagel, T. Moral Luck.Moral Luck (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)Intentional stance [wikipedia.org]The Partially Examined Life Episode 176 Situationism in Psych: Milgram & Stanford Prison Experiments (Part One) — Part one of the PEL episode with DavidThe Partially Examined Life Episode 176 Situationism in Psych: Milgram & Stanford Prison Experiments (Part Two)The Partially Examined Life Episode 93: Freedom and Responsibility (Strawson vs Strawson) — Tamler's appearance on PEL

Is life meaningless? Are humans just glorified dung beetles, pushing around our piles of poop with no greater purpose? What would it take for life to actually be meaningful? In this episode, Tamler and David discuss Thomas Nagel’s essay on the sense of meaninglessness and absurdity that can so easily creep into human existence (with a special emphasis on the work of Camus and the philosophy of Rick and Morty). But first we tackle even more important questions about the human condition such as, why is it easier to detect the size of a hole with your tongue than with your little finger? And which moral "dilemmas" are actually moral no-brainers? (In the process, we even solve the problem of free speech on campus. You’re welcome.) Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:The Extent of Skin Bending Rather Than Action Possibilities Explains Why Holes Feel Larger With the Tongue Than With the Finger. - PubMed - NCBIPure joy: a colorblind man sees color for the first timeDan Harmon Reveals the Meaning of Life in RICK AND MORTY | NerdistMicrocosmos - Dung beetle rolls ball and gets stuck. - YouTubeNagel, T. (1971). The absurd. The Journal of Philosophy, 68(20), 716-727.Camus, A. (1955). The myth of Sisyphus, and other essays. Vintage.

What do we mean when we say someone is angry? Can we identify anger (or any other emotion) via facial expressions, physiological changes, or neural markers? Is anger simply a feeling, something that happens to us, or does it involve a judgment? How much control do we have over our emotions, and can we be responsible for them? We talk about the work of Lisa Feldman Barrett and Bob Solomon. Plus, Tamler engages in conceptual analysis on Star Trek transporter beliefs (yes you read that right) and David is too stunned to argue. Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Yale’s Paul Bloom to receive $1 million Klaus Jacobs Prize | YaleNewsSolomon, R. C. (1973). Emotions and choice. The Review of Metaphysics, 20-41.What Emotions Are (and Aren’t) - The New York TimesAre Emotions Natural Kinds? Perspectives on Psychological Science - Lisa Feldman Barrett, 2006

Do you think of your life as a story? Does your life have a narrative structure or form? Do you identify with your past selves and your future selves? If not, can you live a good life, a moral life, an authentic life? Can you feel guilt, regret, and resentment? Plus, speaking of stories, we talk about a new study suggesting that books with anthropomorphic animals can't teach moral lessons to kids. Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Larsen, N. E., Lee, K., & Ganea, P. A. (2017). Do storybooks with anthropomorphized animal characters promote prosocial behaviors in young children?. Developmental Science.Children's books with humans have greater moral impact than animals, study finds | Books | The GuardianStrawson, G. (2004). Against narrativity. Ratio, 17(4), 428-452.Strawson, G. (2007). Episodic ethics. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, 60, 85-115.Parfit, D. (1995). The unimportance of identity.I am Not a Story

It’s Part 2 of the Patreon listener selected episode! David and Tamler continue their discussion on intelligence from our last episode by tackling the radioactive topic of group differences and IQ. Are there reliable differences in IQ across races? Given that IQ is strongly heritable, and that racial categories are based (in part) on biological differences, does it follow that group differences in IQ are due to biological differences across racial groups? (Could only a politically motivated science-denier conclude otherwise?) David argues that biological explanations for racial differences in IQ are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of genetics and race. It’s a complex argument, so if you start listening, please finish! (Oh and @VBW_No_Context on Twitter, take a vacation, you’ve earned it!). Plus, more on neuroscientific explanations, and Tamler relates his experience of Hurricane Harvey. Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Race & IQ: Debate Serves No Purpose | National ReviewReturning to the race and IQ debate | Glenn Loury & John McWhorter [The Glenn Show] - YouTubeRace & IQ: Don’t Obsess Over It, but Do Discuss It | National ReviewTempleton, A. R. (1998). Human races: a genetic and evolutionary perspective. American Anthropologist, 100(3), 632-650. Chicago Study Finds Africans More Genetically Diverse Than Other PopulationsHuman penis size - Wikipedia

David and Tamler do their best to talk frankly about intelligence and IQ research. (It's our Patreon listener-selected topic! We probably would never have chosen this one on our own...). Is intelligence a meaningful, definable concept? Can we reliably test for it? How much of the variability in IQ across individuals is due to heritable factors? Are people with higher IQ happier, wealthier, or healthier than people with lower IQ? And why is this topic so controversial anyhow? Plus in the intro segment Tamler and David discuss why you probably don't need fMRI to know what your dog wants, and why cognitive neuroscience seems to confuse otherwise intelligent folks. (Note: This is Part 1 of our discussion on intelligence. In Part 2 will delve into the slightly more controversial topics of IQ, race, and gender). Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:What Does Your Dog Really Want? - Scientific American Blog NetworkA Very Bad Wizard: Morality behind the curtain by Tamler Sommers [amazon.com affiliate link] — David does the links, so it's him telling you to support Tamler and buy his book!The Simpsons - Crayon in Homer's brain - YouTubeRitchie, S. (2015). Intelligence: All that matters. Hodder & Stoughton. [amazon.com affiliate link] — Stuart Ritchie's very well-written primer on intelligence. Accessible to a wide audience, but with all the nuance you'd expect from a clear-thinking academic. It's also a very quick read.Stuart Ritchie (@StuartJRitchie) | TwitterStuart Ritchie | The University of Edinburgh

Guest Yoel Inbar joins David and Tamler to break down David Lynch’s dreamy masterpiece Mulholland Drive. (FULL SPOILERS – watch before you listen!) What’s real and what’s illusion? What happens when our illusions unravel? How do expectations affect our experience? How can artists use our expectations to manipulate our emotions? Come for the questions, stay for the answers – or at least for more questions. Special Guest: Yoel Inbar.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Mulholland Drive (2001) - IMDbEverything you were afraid to ask about “Mulholland Drive” - Salon.comFilm Crit Hulk Smash: HULK VS. THE GENIUS OF MULHOLLAND DRIVE | Birth.Movies.Death.David Lynch Signature Cup Organic Coffee | Organic Coffee | JavaDistribution.comUrban Dictionary: fuck tab

Special guest Robert Wright joins the podcast to discuss his latest book "Why Buddhism is True." What is the Buddhist conception of not-self? When we become aware that the boundaries between us and the world are fluid, what is the “we” that arrives at this insight? Can daily meditation make you less of a dick? How does evolutionary psychology bear on these questions? Plus, Dave horrifies Tamler with his new hipster habit.Special Guest: Robert Wright.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:One-Hand Clapping Kōan [wikipedia.org]Robert Wright (journalist) - WikipediaRobert Wright's WebsitePre-order "Why Buddhism Is True" by Robert Wright [amazon.com affiliate link]Break music: Try Harder by peez | Free Listening on SoundCloud

What happens when we discover why we believe the things we believe? What if we discover that our values are the product of our cultural tradition, or personal experience, or natural selection? Should we be more skeptical of our values once we learn their history? Plus, data on Google porn searches reveal that you're all a bunch of sick fucks. Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Proof that Americans are lying about their sexual desires - VoxDoris, J. M. (2009). Genealogy and Evidence: Prinz on the History of Morals.Kahane, G. (2011). Evolutionary debunking arguments. Noûs, 45(1), 103-125.The Splintered Mind: Tamler SommersBreak Music: Everything Is Wrong by peez

David and Tamler try to put the topic of campus politics to bed once and for all – with limited success. First, we get into a big fight about the prevalence and danger of political correctness in American universities. We junked that recording, and tried to distill our best points into a new one. (Trust us – it was for the best.) We also narrow down all the topic recommendations from our beloved Patreon supporters to five finalists. In the second segment, James Lindsay (co-author of the "Conceptual Penis" hoax) joins us to talk about why he thinks the hoax was more successful in exposing gender studies than some of their critics (including us) have suggested.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:James Lindsay (@GodDoesnt) | TwitterJames Lindsay's Website (God Doesn't; We Do)Skeptic » Reading Room » The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct: A Sokal-Style Hoax on Gender StudiesAlan Sokal: Some Thoughts on “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” HoaxBreak Music: Dusted by peez [soundcloud.com]

David and Tamler break down a recent classic in the philosophy of mind: "The Extended Mind" by Andy Clark and David Chalmers. What is boundary of your mind? Is it contained with your body, or does it extend to the external environment--to your laptop, notebook, smartphone and more? Is this a purely terminological question, or one with practical and moral significance? And what is the role of intuition in providing an answer? Plus, Dave shares an email alerting him to the psychological trauma of male circumcision along with an exciting all-natural method for restoring the foreskin (that was stolen from us as infants).Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Gay man, who suffered from depression over his circumcision, kills himselfCircumcision’s Psychological Damage | Psychology TodayForeskin restoration for circumcised males — "Non-surgical foreskin restoration was reinvented in the late 1970s by a movement of circumcised men, mostly from the United States, who were upset at having been mutilated against their will."Break Music- In Effect by peez "The Extended Mind" by Andy Clark and David ChalmersDistributed cognition - Wikipedia

David and Tamler break down the latest small-stakes academic controversy--yes the one about conceptual penises. Does the recent "Sokal-like" hoax expose the ideological extremism of gender studies? Or does it show that certain portions of the "skeptic" community are susceptible to the same biases as their opponents? In the main segment they discuss the problems with measuring pain, pleasure, and happiness. When your doctor asks you to rate your pain between 1 and 10 and you say a 7, does your '7' reflect the same subjective experience as another person's '7'? (That depends--have you experienced childbirth?) How can we get more accurate readings of pain and pleasure across different people with different experiences? Most importantly, which number gets you the Vicodin?Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Skeptic » Reading Room » The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct: A Sokal-Style Hoax on Gender StudiesSokal affair - WikipediaWhy the "Conceptual Penis" Hoax is Just a Big Cock Up. - Bleeding Heart LibertariansThe engine of irrationality inside the rationalists – Ketan JoshiAn embarrassing moment for the skeptical movement – Footnotes to PlatoBartoshuk, L. (2014). The measurement of pleasure and pain. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9, 91-93.Krueger, A. B., & Stone, A. A. (2014). Progress in measuring subjective well-being. Science, 346(6205), 42-43.

David and Tamler go ambulance chasing for scandals in their own fields. Inspired by a tweet from Jay Van Bavel, they argue about which of their disciplines--philosophy or psychology--is more completely and irredeemably fucked. Is the recent controversy at the feminist philosophy journal Hypatia diagnostic of larger problems in philosophy? Can the replication crisis ever be solved? Can philosophy return to studying the big questions? What can psychologists actually discover about the human mind? Warning: this episode features a more respectful and mature dialogue than some VBW listeners may be comfortable with.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Jay Van Bavel on Twitter: "Psychologists: "our field is a hot mess" Philosophers: "hold my beer" https://t.co/mX344fBBfV"EP. 86 SAM HARRIS Part #1 by #WeThePeople LIVE | Free Listening on SoundCloudLeiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog: Issues in the ProfessionThis Is What a Modern-Day Witch Hunt Looks LikeThe real damage done by the flare-up over a philosopher's journal article (essay)The Nastic Gospels | PeezBrian Nosek's Reproducibility Project Finds Many Psychology Studies Unreliable - The AtlanticInside Psychology’s ‘Methodological Terrorism’ Debate -- Science of UsReplication studies: Bad copy : Nature News & CommentRepeat After Me - by Maki Narosometimes i'm wrong [Simine Vazire's blog]The Hardest Science [Sanjay Srivastava's Blog]The 20% Statistician [Daniël Lakens' Blog]The Black Goat – A podcast about doing scienceYou Are Not So Smart

Somehow, after 113 episodes David and Tamler have never done a top 5 movie episode about revenge (so unbelievable that we had to double-check). That changes today. Among the things we learned: good revenge movies are harder to find than we thought, revenge (at least, movie revenge) is messy, and David knows at least one movie that Tamler has never heard of. Plus, should Jews be celebrating the killing of Egyptian first borns? Or atoning for it? (Or perhaps just pouring out a little more wine at Passover?)Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:The price of freedom | OUPblogProgressive Family Unable to Finish Game of 'Guess Who?'David's #5: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) - IMDbTamler's #5: High Plains Drifter (1973) [IMDb.com]David's #4: Tombstone (1993) [IMDb.com]Gunfight at the O.K. Corral - WikipediaEarp Vendetta Ride - WikipediaTamler's #4: The Limey (1999) [IMDb.com]David's #3: Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) [IMDb.com]David's #2: Carlito's Way (1993) [IMDb.com]Tamler's #2: Blue Ruin (2013) [IMDb.com]Tamler's #1: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) [IMDb.com]

David and Tamler break down what may be the best argument that it's rational to believe in God: Pascal's Wager. (No, we're not just trolling our Sam Harris listeners.) Does the expected value of believing in God outweigh the probability that you're wrong? How does belief work--can you just turn it on and off? What if you believe in the wrong God? This leads to a wide-ranging discussion on decision theory, instrumental rationality, artificial intelligence, transformative experiences, and whether David should drop acid. Your brain AND your future self will love this episode!Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:2017 BP MS 150: Mr. Tamler Sommers - National MS SocietyProse&Cons - YouTube Why people are so bad at thinking about the future.On Intertemporal Selfishness: How the Perceived Instability of Identity Underlies Impatient Consumption | Journal of Consumer Research | Oxford Academic

For four years Tamler has been bitching about Gettier cases without even explaining what they are or why he hates them. That ends today. David and Tamler talk about the famous paper that challenged the (widespread? non-existent?) notion that knowledge is, and only is, justified true belief. We talk about the so-called skeptics about knowledge that Gettier inspired, then discuss the real skepticism that Descartes examined with his evil demon thought experiment. Plus, you know how you're in a monogamous relationship because of science? Well, turns out that science may be flawed.... Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:The idea of monogamy as a relationship ideal is based on flawed science — QuartzA Former Student Says UC Berkeley’s Star Philosophy Professor Groped Her And Watched Porn At Work - BuzzFeed NewsAbout - The Casual Sex ProjectThe Woman With an Alternative Theory of Hookups -- The CutClark, R. D., & Hatfield, E. (1989). Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 2(1), 39-55.Research - The Gottman InstituteBreak music: Shadow Play by peezBrock Jarrett on Twitter: "I was shocked to meet a podcast hero at a coffee shop in Denver. @tamler @verybadwizards https://t.co/4WBdqhUw8t"#BONUS – “Dr. David Pizarro from Very Bad Wizards.” - I Doubt It with DollemoreA Good Cause: Sponsor Tamler in the 2017 BP MS 150Gettier, E. L. (1963). Is justified true belief knowledge?. analysis, 23(6), 121-123.Frankfurt cases - WikipediaEvil demon - WikipediaThe Long Road to Skepticism on JSTOR

In Part 2 of our episode with film scholar Yoel Inbar (AOS: Quebecois New Wave Cinema), we break down the philosophy and psychology of the movie Arrival. [Note: Massive spoilers, see the movie first!] Does our language shape our perception of reality? Would you have a child that you knew had a short time to live? What color is 'fuschia'? Why does right-wing radio make you want to dynamite alien spacecrafts? For Part 1 of this episode, see https://verybadwizards.fireside.fm/110Special Guest: Yoel Inbar.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:yoel inbar :: homeArrival (2016) - IMDbCasasanto, D. (2008). Who's afraid of the big bad Whorf? Crosslinguistic differences in temporal language and thought. Language learning, 58(s1), 63-79. ChicagoBreak Music (soundcloud.com/peezismyname)Linguistic relativity - WikipediaInscrutability of reference - WikipediaSex-related differences in the color lexicon

Any time the topic is campus politics there's a good chance we'll have to record more than once. True to form, David and Tamler yelled at each other for most of the first attempt to discuss the Middlebury College incident while special guest Yoel Inbar wept quietly in the corner. We did a little better the second time but the whole recording session took so long that we have to release it in two parts. In part one we talk about the most popular porn search terms by U.S. State and then wade into the Charles Murray protest at Middlebury. In part two (coming next week) we do a deep dive on the movie Arrival (so if you haven't seen it yet you have one more week!)Special Guest: Yoel Inbar.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:yoel inbar :: homeThe United States Top Searches – Pornhub InsightsA Violent Attack on Free Speech at Middlebury - The AtlanticUnderstanding the Angry Mob at Middlebury That Gave Me a Concussion - The New York TimesThe Bell Curve - WikipediaComing Apart (book) - Wikipedia

David and Tamler return to their repugnant roots to talk about Cornell's refusal to hire conservative faculty, Milo getting disinvited from CPAC, and a case in Canada involving child sex dolls and a bottle of lube. Then they launch into a discussion of moral pluralism. Do competing values ultimately reduce to a single set of moral principles? What defines and justifies the boundaries of pluralism? What should you do when your Amish friend is getting bullied? Plus, more lube.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Cornell University Students Vote Against Intellectual Diversity, on Grounds It Would Harm Diversity - Hit & Run : Reason.comChild sex doll trial opens Pandora's box of questions about child porn - Newfoundland & Labrador - CBC NewsThe 96 hours that brought down Milo Yiannopoulos - The Washington PostAge of Consent - by Jesse Bering - The StrangerVery Bad Wizards (@verybadwizards) • Instagram photos and videosOvercast (Podcast client for iOS) — In addition to being my favorite podcast client, Overcast allows you to send time-stamped links to audio via the website as well. Wolf, S. (1992). Two levels of pluralism. Ethics, 102(4), 785-798.Value Pluralism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)Yo, Judío by Jorge Luis Borges

Inspired by a recent article, David and Tamler try to figure out what's behind our aversion to moral hypocrisy. Why do we have such low opinions of people who don't practice what they preach? Shouldn't we be happy that they promote the views we agree with? Plus we respond to an email about how to come up with ideas for research. (Hint: ask Paul Bloom). Note: this episode was recorded before the greatest comeback and sporting event in human history. (Editor's Note: I'm sure Donald Trump is as happy as Tamler is about the Superbowl. Just sayin'.)Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:The Real Problem With Hypocrisy - The New York Times — new researchWhy Do We Hate Hypocrites? Evidence for a Theory of False Signaling by Jillian J. Jordan, Roseanna Sommers, Paul Bloom, David G. Rand :: SSRNThrill of the chaste: The truth about Gandhi's sex life | The Independent — 'Gandhi would have women in his bed, engaging in his "experiments" which seem to have been, from a reading of his letters, an exercise in strip-tease or other non-contact sexual activity.'Very Bad Wizards | Teespring

The philosopher and pride of Bakersfield, CA Manuel Vargas joins us to talk about culpability under conditions of oppression. How should we treat wrongdoers when their actions and character are shaped in part by their oppressive circumstances? Is it disrespectful not to blame oppressed people for their bad behavior? Can being oppressed make you more culpable in some circumstances? And what's the point of holding people culpable anyway? Plus, the differences between "Hispanic" and "Latino/Latina/Latinx" and an exciting announcement: VBW merch!Special Guest: Manuel Vargas.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Our new VBW shirts are here! Very Bad Wizards | Teespring — Shirts, hoodies, mugs, and stickers! This time there are two slightly different designs, and a few colors to choose from! Nelson Walkom (listener/musician/artist who suggested the VBW "repugnant" t-shirt design)Manuel Vargas, that's who!Latino - WikipediaBakersfield, California - WikipediaSituationism (psychology) - WikipediaAction theory (philosophy) - WikipediaGary Watson - USC Gould School of LawBreak Beat"The Social Constitution of Responsible Agency: Oppression, Politics, and Moral Ecology" in The Social Dimensions of Responsibility. Edited by Marina Oshana, Katrina Hutchinson, and Catriona Mackenzie. New York: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming.

David and Tamler take a break from moral grandstanding to talk about moral grandstanding. How often do we moralize to make us look respectable? Does grandstanding make us more cynical about ethical debates? Does it contribute to outrage exhaustion and increased polarization? Most importantly, who does it more, David or Tamler? Plus: some of our favorite answers to this year's Edge.org question. (You can read the paper by Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke on the links page.)Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:What Scientific Term or Concept Ought to Be More Widely Known? | Edge.orgEdge.org - Brian Eno "The Confirmation Bias" Edge.org - Daniel Rockmore "The Trolley Problem"Edge.org - Michael Gazzaniga "The Schnitt"

David and Tamler go back to basics--discussing a paper (Victoria McGeer on responsibilty and Strawson) and arguing about restorative justice. What is the function of attitudes like resentment and anger? Do they presume anything metaphysics of agency? Why is Josh Greene trying to erode the moral scaffolding of society? Plus we talk about the latest Aeon troll piece on why sexual desire is wrong.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Why sexual desire is objectifying – and hence morally wrong | Aeon IdeasSatoshi Kanazawa - WikipediaVictoria McGeerCo-reactive attitudes and the making of moral community Final MS, forthcoming in In Emotions, Imagination and Moral Reasoning, eds., C. MacKenzie & R. Langdon. Macquarie monographs in Cognitive Science. Psychology Press, 2010.Roskies, A. (2006). Neuroscientific challenges to free will and responsibility. Trends in cognitive sciences, 10(9), 419-423.Greene, J., & Cohen, J. (2004). For the law, neuroscience changes nothing and everything. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 359(1451), 1775-85.Pizarro, D.A. & Helzer, E. (2010). Freedom of the will and stubborn moralism. In Baumeister, R.F., A.R. Mele, and K. D. Vohs (Eds.) Free will and consciousness: How might they work? (pp. 101-120) Oxford University Press.

Paul Bloom takes some time away from his "Waking Up" appearances to join us for a very special movie episode: our top three films about empathy. Can movies help us understand the experiences of people who live completely different lives? Do serial killers need empathy to effectively torture their victims? Does empathy make you want to blow up the world, or lead naked men into black liquid-y voids? Plus Paul and David try to bully Tamler into watching "Westworld." Also, buy Paul's new book (link below) "Against Empathy"! [Note: this episode is heavy on the spoilers. If you're worried, check the links below--they contain the titles for each movie in the order discussed on the podcast].Special Guest: Paul Bloom.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Against Empathy by Paul Bloom [amazon.com affiliate link]Paul Bloom on Sam Harris' "Waking Up" podcastReview: ‘Against Empathy,’ or the Right Way to Feel Someone’s Pain - The New York TimesEx Machina (2015) - IMDb (Paul's Pick)The Revenant (2015) - IMDb (David's Pick)Nightcrawler (2014) - IMDb (Tamler's Pick)Never Let Me Go (2010) - IMDb (Tamler's Pick)The Cabin in the Woods (2012) - IMDb (Paul's Pick)Tangerine (2015) - IMDb (David's Pick)Sullivan's Travels (1941) - IMDb (Tamler's Pick)Break Music: Built-In Frown by peez [soundcloud.com]The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - IMDb (Paul's Pick)Being John Malkovich (1999) - IMDb (David's Pick)Under the Skin (2013) - IMDb (Tamler's Pick)

It’s the Thanksgiving episode! David and Tamler give thanks to their listeners and Patreon supporters with an episode chosen by our top Patreon subscribers (it was the most enjoyable election we've had all month). It was close, we had a bunch of great suggestions (that we'll refer to for upcoming episodes), but the winner was this topic from Bryan Farrow: "In the vein of the Republic and Rationalia, I want to hear Peez and Tamler draft a constitution for "Oz", a sovereign state that maximizes whatever they cherish most. (Honor and porn, presumably.)" Bryan’s wish is our command. Welcome to “Honoraria” and “Puerto Rico”, currently at war over the five paragraph essay. Plus, Dave relates how it feels to get the bulk of the critical feedback for once. And we talk about a few other things we’re grateful for – including students who don’t try to bullshit us, “honeybuns”, academic PEDs -- and Tamler says a few words about his Mom. Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Gross Anatomy | News & City Life | Houstonia"Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging" by Sebastian Junger [amazon.com affiliate link]Very Bad Wizards is creating a Biweekly Podcast | Patreon

David and Tamler stumble their way through talking about the election results, how Trump got elected, the role of racism, sexism, the liberal bubble, complacency, economic anxiety - and find they're just as confused as everyone else. In the second segment, we lighten things up a little (really!) and discuss the Black Mirror episode "San Junipero" (available on Netflix). Spoiler talk so try to see the episode before listening.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Wes Alwan's Facebook post about the election [facebook.com] — Telling the millions of uneducated white rust belt voters who put Obama in office in 2008 and 2012 that they are evil bigots is not a strategy for winning an election.Glenn Greenwald on Who’s to Blame for Trump’s ElectionWhat So Many People Don't Get About the US Working Class by Joan Williams [hbr.org]I Will Never Underestimate White People's Need to Preserve Whiteness Again [verysmartbrothas.com]Episode Break Music [soundcloud.com]Black Mirror - San Junipero [imdb.com]Heaven is a Place on Earth by Belinda Carlisle [youtube.com]Charlie Brooker Shares 'San Junipero' Playlist from Black Mirror [ew.com]Mr. Robot Virtual Reality Experience [youtube.com] — Step inside the world of Mr. Robot like never before and experience a pivotal moment from Elliot's past. Written and directed by Sam Esmail.

Why do we call Mozart a creative genius? He created his music, but do we also think that he created himself? How do we determine who deserves praise as an artist? What about athletes? What standards do we use - do they involve a strong notion of free will that’s incompatible with determinism? If not, why should we think that moral praise and blame require agents to act with that sort of free will? David and Tamler argue over how much we can learn about moral responsibility from our responsibility practices in the domains of arts and sports. Plus, it’s Halloween – time to rev up the campus culture wars. Do concerns about “cultural appropriation” amount to a “war on Halloween”?Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Oregon Student Government: Dressing Up as Any Character Is Cultural Appropriation, Not Okay - Hit & Run : Reason.comRussell, P. (2008). Free will, art and morality. The Journal of ethics, 12(3-4), 307-325. [academia.edu]Infernal Affairs - WikipediaPaul Gauguin - Wikipedia

David and Tamler have their 100th episode hijacked briefly before taking it back like Wesley Snipes in Passenger 57. To celebrate the milestone Tamler pops some champagne, Dave sips his high priced Ivy League bourbon, and we both take a quiz designed by MIT that assesses our moral worldview and determines how driverless cars should be programmed. In the second segment we answer a bunch of questions our listeners submitted on Facebook and Twitter for an AMA. (We didn’t get to all of them, and some were cut not because they were bad questions but because our answers were incoherent. But we did our best.) Plus, has David changed his mind about Straw Dogs? How would we argue if we switched positions in our big fights? And we expose the vast Partially Examined Life conspiracy that keeps us down in the iTunes (and Linux) ratings.Special Guests: Eliza Sommers and Isabella Pizarro.Support Very Bad WizardsLinks:Moral Machine — MIT Media Lab's Self-Driving Car Moral TestGarfield Minus GarfieldBem, D. J. (2011). Feeling the future: experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on cognition and affect. Journal of personality and social psychology, 100(3), 407.Simmons, Joseph P., Leif D. Nelson, and Uri Simonsohn. "False-positive psychology undisclosed flexibility in data collection and analysis allows presenting anything as significant." Psychological science (2011): 0956797611417632. [haas.berkeley.edu]

David and Tamler tackle three topics on their last double digit episode. First, should a middle school perform "To Kill a Mockingbird" even if they have to use bad language the "n-word," and talk about sexual assault? Tamler relates a story involving his daughter (who was supposed to play Scout) and a playwright who refused to allow his play to be censored. But when it comes to drama, middle school's got nothing on social psychology. Next, David and Tamler break down the latest controversy surrounding Princeton psychologist Susan Fiske's leaked column about the bullying destructo-critics and methodological terrorists that are challenging the establishment in the field. Finally, they give a spoiler-filled analysis of season 2 of Mr. Robot, a polarizing season for many fans. Tamler's suffering from a little theory fatigue, but David blows his mind with his explanation of what's really going on with the Dark Army and F-Society. Have you ever cried during sex?LinksTo Kill a Mockingbird stage play [stageagent.com]Mob Rule or the Wisdom of Crowds? Susan Fiske's forthcoming column in the APS Observer [verybadwizards.com]Andrew Gelman's blog post about Susan Fiske's column [andrewgelman.com]Ioannidis, J. P. (2005). Why most published research findings are false. PLoS Med, 2(8), e124. [plos.org]The Hardest Science blog by Sanjay Srivastava (@hardsci)sometimes i'm wrong blog by Simine Vazire (@siminevazire)The 20% Statistician blog by Daniel Lakens (@lakens)Too Many Cooks [youtube.com]Bitcoin explained and made simple [youtube.com]Key generation [wikipedia.org]Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler break down the biggest question in moral philosophy -- can we derive value judgments from a set of purely factual claims? Like the Scottish Philosopher David Hume they're surprised when the usual copulation of propositions 'is' and 'is not' suddenly turn into conclusions in the form of 'ought' and 'ought not.' And what's the deal with all these copulating propositions anyway? Aren't they a little young for that?  Do propositions practice safe copulation?  Is proposition porn about to be the new fad? They also talk about Moore's Open Question Argument, which introduced the term "naturalist fallacy," and respond to angry criticism over last episode's Rationalia segment.     LinksListener C. Derek Varn's blog post: "The Dogmatic Slumber of Neil deGrasse Tyson" [symptomaticcommentary.wordpress.com]Hume's Moral Philosophy [Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]Is-ought problem [wikipedia.org]GE Moore's Moral Philosophy [Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]Open-question argument [wikipedia.org]The Naturalistic Fallacy [wikipedia.org]Support Very Bad Wizards

Do you have strong views on climate change, taxes, health care, or gun control? Do you think the evidence and reason support your side of the debate? How do you know you’re right? David and Tamler discuss a recent paper by Dan Kahan and colleagues showing how prone people are to make errors in processing information to favor positions they are predisposed to believe. And even more shocking: the higher your numeracy skills, the more prone you are to fall prey to this bias. So how do we correct for this? Can we know anything at all with any confidence? Could it be that 'Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret' in not in fact a completely accurate depiction of how young girls think about puberty? Plus, we decide whether to join Neil deGrasse Tyson as a citizen of Rationalia. To paraphrase Mr. T, I pity the newscasters!LinksReflections on Rationalia by Neal deGrasse Tyson [facebook.com]Vulcan learning pods from Star Trek (2009). [youtube.org]Kahan, D. M., Peters, E., Dawson, E. C., & Slovic, P. (2013). Motivated numeracy and enlightened self-government. Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper, (307). [uoregon.edu]Ditto, P. H., & Lopez, D. F. (1992). Motivated skepticism: Use of differential decision criteria for preferred and nonpreferred conclusions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63(4), 568. [phi.org]Support Very Bad Wizards

So where are you? You’re in some house. What am I listening to? Sounds like the radio. Is it the radio? No, you’re not allowed to use that language on the radio. What are they talking about? A movie, it’s called "Memento." Have I seen that? I think so, yeah. Who are these people? Hey I recognize that voice, that’s Paul Bloom! I took his Coursera course before the accident, it was awesome! What’s he doing talking to these guys? One of them sounds like he has a tampon down his throat. Hey wait, this is starting to get interesting. Personal identity, the search for purpose. All right, let’s settle in... So where are you? You're in some house. What am I listening to? Sounds like the radio...LinksPaul Bloom [campuspress.yale.edu]Memento [imdb.com]Christopher Nolan [imdb.com]Everything you wanted to know about "Memento" by Andy Klein [salon.com]Kania, A. (Ed.). (2009). Memento (Philosophers on Film Series). Routledge. [amazon.com affiliate link]Clive Wearing: Man without a memory [youtube.com]Patient H.M. (Henry Molaison) [wikipedia.org]Christina Starmans [christinastarmans.com]Special Guest: Paul Bloom.Support Very Bad Wizards

Hello friend, did you come from the Berenstein with an 'E' universe? Or have you lived in the Berenstain with an 'A' universe? David and Tamler try to make sense of what's going on in Season 2 of Mr. Robot (Ep.1-5). You're gonna want to dig through your vomit for adderall for this one.LinksThe Berenstain Bears [wikipedia.org]The Berenstein Bears: We Are Living in Our Own Parallel Universe [woodbetween.world]On the Berenstein Bears Switcheroo [woodbetween.world]Support Very Bad Wizards

We all remember the famous iTunes review calling David and Tamler "repugnant." (And the T-shirt/mugs are coming soon, we promise!) But what did the reviewer mean by that? Was he calling us "immoral"? Did he actually feel disgust when he listened to the podcast? And if so, was there wisdom in his repugnance--did the feeling offer any moral insight about the podcast's value? How did an emotion that originally evolved for pathogen avoidance get into moralizing business anyway? And why do white people kiss their dogs? Plus, an illuminating two week old discussion about the election, and Tamler finally comes around to defending a Kantian position—“the cart-egorical imperative” LinksKass, L. R. (1997). The Wisdom of Repugnance: Why we should ban the cloning of humans, the. Val. UL Rev., 32, 679. [stanford.edu]Very Bad Wizards Episode 7: Psychopaths and Utilitarians Pt. 2 [verybadwizards.com]"Freedom" internet blocking app [freedom.to]Dolly the cloned sheep [wikipedia.org]Kelly, D. (2011). Yuck!: the nature and moral significance of disgust. MIT Press. [amazon.com affiliate link]Sommers, T. (2013). Review of "Yuck: The Nature and Moral Significance of Disgust." The Philosophical Quarterly, 63(250), 172-174. [verybadwizards.com]Pizarro, D., Inbar, Y., & Helion, C. (2011). On disgust and moral judgment. Emotion Review, 3(3), 267-268. [peezer.net]Exaptation [wikipedia.org]Pinker on Kass--"The Stupidity of Dignity" in New Republic May 28 2008. [newrepublic.com]Do I Need an Umbrella? [doineedanumbrella.com]Cthulhu For President [cthulhuforamerica.com]Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler don’t agree about much, but one thing they do share is an affinity for character-based approaches to ethics. Using Tamler’s interview with Georgetown Philosopher Nancy Sherman as their guide (link to chapter included), they discuss two ancient perspectives on how to develop good character and live happy, virtuous lives: Aristotle's and that of the Stoics. Why did Aristotle focus so much on friendship and what happens when those friendships get too "watery"? Are emotions crucial for developing virtues or are they “so much mist on the windshield?” Are the stoics right that we shouldn’t get attached to things that are beyond our control? Plus, a new Twitter account has David and Tamler polishing their CVs, and a request for listener suggestions for our 100th episode.Note: We recorded this episode after the police shootings in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis but before the shootings of the police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. We talk a bit about the violence, but not about what happened after Minneapolis.LinksVery Bad Wizards No Context (@vbw_no_context)Effective altruism [wikipedia.org]Nancy Sherman Homepage [nanycsherman.com]Nancy Sherman "Navigating our Moral World." In Sommers, T. (2016). A Very Bad Wizard: Morality behind the curtain. Routledge. [verybadwizards.com]Support Very Bad Wizards

Scandinavian film scholar Yoel Inbar joins the podcast for a deep dive on the Swedish film Force Majeure, a darkly funny meditation on what our instinctive behavior in a moment of panic can reveal about our characters and relationships. The story: while having lunch on a ski slope in the French Alps, a family believes that an avalanche is bearing down on them. Just as it seems the avalanche is going to hit them, the father (Tomas) grabs his phone and gloves and runs indoors, abandoning his wife Ebba and two children. How does the family reckon with this incident? Is the act itself unforgivable, or is it Tomas’s behavior afterwards that makes him despicable? How blameworthy is Tomas for his display of cowardice? Is it even cowardice since he didn’t have time to think about it? What’s the deal with that creepy janitor and all the tooth brushing scenes? Why can’t Yoel and Tamler agree about the answers to any of these questions? Plus, more on the Redskins and Tamler tells an embarrassing story from his past.LinksYoel Inbar [yoelinbar.net]On that one awkward sex scene from The Americans [vulture.com]Scandinavia [wikipedia.org]Force Majeure [imdb.com]Louie Season 1 Episode 9 "Bully" [imdb.com]Special Guest: Yoel Inbar.Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler continue their intermittent “classic paper series” with an episode on Jonathan Bennett’s “The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn” (published in 1974—before the reason vs. emotion debate was all cool again). Using fictional and historical examples, Bennett raises a number of questions that are central to our understanding of human morality, such as what ought to guide our behavior--human sympathy or moral beliefs? Do emotions like empathy/sympathy have judgments built into them? Are these emotions dumb? Is morality dumber? Why was Jonathan Edwards such an asshole? Plus, we talk about the implications of a poll that suggests that most Native Americans aren’t offended by the name “Redskins” for the Washington D.C. NFL team.Episode LinksNew poll finds 9 in 10 Native Americans aren’t offended by Redskins name by By John Woodrow Cox, Scott Clement and Theresa Vargas [washingtonpost.com] Bennett, J. (1974). The conscience of Huckleberry Finn. Philosophy, 49, 123-134. [earlymoderntexts.com]The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [wikipedia.org]Heinrich Himmler [wikipedia.org]Jonathan Edwards [wikipedia.org]Pizarro, D. (2000). Nothing more than feelings?: The role of emotions in moral judgment. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 30, 355-375. [peezer.net]Support Very Bad Wizards

Inspired by a recent ProPublica report on racial bias in an algorithm used to predict future criminal behavior, David and Tamler talk about the use of analytic methods in criminal sentencing, sports, and love. Should we use algorithms to influence decisions about criminal sentencing or parole decisions? Should couples about to get married take a test that predicts their likelihood of getting divorced? Is there something inherently racist about analytic methods in sports? Plus, David asks Tamler some questions about the newly released second edition of his book A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain.LinksMachine Bias by Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu and Lauren Kirchner [propublica.org]Mission Impossible: African-Americans & Analytics by Michael Wilbon [theundefeated.com]A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain [amazon.com affiliate link to the Kindle version of 2nd edition. Eight new interviews. And an all-new foreword by Peez.]Paperback version of the 2nd edition (currently only available on the publisher's website) [routledge.com]Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler have their first real fight in a while over an article defending "social mixing"--distributing babies randomly across families such that no infant is genetically related to the parents who raise them.. Then they discuss a study published in Science in 2013 in which participants could earn money if they agreed to let mice be killed in a gas chamber.  Do free markets threaten our moral characters and cause us to abandon our principles? What are mechanisms behind this phenomenon when it happens? And why does David hate mice so much?Episode LinksMaus by Art Spiegelman [wikipedia.org]If babies were randomly allocated to families, would racism end? by Howard Rachlin and Melvin Frankel [aeon.co]Falk, A., & Szech, N. (2013). Morals and markets. Science, 340, 707-711. [sciencemag.org].pdf available here [gtcenter.org]Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler welcome author and environmental science professor Jennifer Jacquet to the podcast to discuss the pros and cons of shame. What's the difference between shame and guilt? Is shaming effective for generating social progress or getting tax cheats to pay up? Is twitter shaming on the rise or on its way out? And what does David do when he's alone in the dark?But before all of that, David and Tamler introduce a new way to support the podcast--through our Patreon account (patreon.com/verybadwizards). Plus, we discuss the retraction of a press release announcing that a professor agreed to referee a journal article (!) And can one passage get Tamler, the eternal optimist, to hate philosophy?LinksVery Bad Wizards are on Patreon [patreon.com]Sociology faculty member publishes book chapter [psu.edu]Penn State retracts press release about sociologist reviewing an article. [retractionwatch.org]A very confusing paragraph [verybadwizards.com]Bradley, B. (2009). Well-being and death. OUP Oxford.Jennifer Jacquet [jenniferjacquet.com]Is Shame Necessary? by Jennifer Jacquet [amazon.com affiliate link]Congratulations, you have an all male panel! [allmalepanels.tumblr.com]Racists getting fired [racistsgettingfired.tumblr.com]Shame (movie) [imdb.com]Babies (movie) [imdb.com]Special Guest: Jennifer Jacquet.Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler celebrate Passover with a high-spirited episode on guns, revenge, liberals, being offended, the fear of death, and whether kids have a right to be loved. Thanks to all you listeners for emailing your questions, comments, and complaints--this was a fun, energetic discussion. Plus, a blast from the past from an unusually alert Pizarro: Michael Shannon reading a sorority letter.  But won't somebody please think of the children???!! LinksMr. Robot Season 2 premiere date [usanetwork.com]Michael Shannon reads sorority letter [youtube.com]George Rainbolt's review of "The Right to be Loved" by Matthew Liao [npdr.nd.edu]The Right to be Loved by S. Matthew Liao [amazon]The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker [wikipedia.org]A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell [wikipedia.org]The Story of Philosophy by Wil DurantRick and Morty [imdb.com]Marijuana is Kosher [npr.org]Louis CK on the Bill Simmons podcast [youtube.com]Is Shame Necessary? by Jennifer Jacquet [amazon.com affiliate link]Jennifer Jacquet [jenniferjacquet.com] Support Very Bad Wizards

We hit the jackpot with this one! Economist Robert Frank (you may remember him from such episodes as The Greatest Books Ever Written) joins David and Tamler to talk about his new book Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy. What role does pure chance play in making or breaking our careers and lives? Are effort and talent enough to succeed, or does the ball need to bounce our way? Where do we get our will-power and talent--is that ultimately a matter of luck as well? And what happens when we reflect on the lucky breaks we've received in our lives? Does it make us happier and more generous? Or do we feel like our accomplishments have been taken away? Plus a brief discussion of the Frank's revelatory 1988 book Passions Within Reason, and of some recent studies about how we convey our commitment to cooperate.     LinksRobert Frank [johnson.cornell.edu]Robert Frank interviewed on Fox News by Stuart Varney [video.foxbusiness.com]Ronald Coase [wikipedia.org]Everett, J.A.C., Pizarro, D. A. & Crockett, M.J., (in press). Inference of Trustworthiness from Intuitive Moral Judgments.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. [papers.ssrn.com]Passions within Reason by Robert Frank [amazon.com affiliate link]Frank, R. H., Gilovich, T., & Regan, D. T. (1993). The evolution of one-shot cooperation: An experiment. Ethology and sociobiology, 14, 247-256.Desteno, D., Breazeal, C., Frank, R. H., Pizarro, D., Baumann, J., Dickens, L., & Lee, J. J. (2012). Detecting the trustworthiness of novel partners in economic exchange. Psychological science, 23, 1549-1556. [pdf from davedesteno.com]Frank, R.H. (2016) Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy. [amazon.com affiliate link]Special Guest: Robert Frank.Support Very Bad Wizards

We know that criminal punishment has consequences, both good and bad, and that many people think that offenders deserve it. But what does punishment mean? What is society trying to express in the way it punishes criminals? And since people from all sides of the political spectrum agree that the prison population is way too big, is there a way to convey that meaning with alternative forms of sanctions? David and Tamler discuss Yale Law Professor Dan Kahan's classic paper "What do alternative sanctions mean?" that addresses these questions. But first, Tamler gets sanctimonious about other people being sanctimonious about guns on campus. At the risk of angering "that student," we "go there."  LinksUniversity of Houston Faculty Devises Pointers on How to Avoid Getting Shot by Armed Students by Elliott Hannon [slate.com]A PowerPoint Slide Advises Professors to Alter Teaching to Pacify Armed Students by Rio Fernandes [chronicle.com]Kahan, D. M. (1996). What do alternative sanctions mean? The University of Chicago Law Review, 63(2), 591-653. [law.yale.edu]Moskos, P. (2013). In defense of flogging. Basic Books. [amazon.com affiliate link]Support Very Bad Wizards

Philosophers can be funny and funny movies can be philosophical. David and Tamler welcome frequent VBW guest and arch-enemy of empathy Paul Bloom to discuss their five favorite comic films with philosophical/psychological themes. Groundhog Day was off-limits for our top five (we would've all chosen it) so we start by explaining why it's the quintessential movie for this topic.Links[all movie links are to imdb.com]Paul's Top 5The Big LebowskiShaun of the DeadThe Man with Two Brains/All of MeStranger than FictionBeing ThereTamler's Top 5Defending Your Life/Lost in AmericaModern TimesSeven Psychopaths/In BrugesBarton Fink/Sullivan's TravelsPurple Rose of CairoDavid's Top 5Office SpaceDr. StrangelovePinker, S. (1999). "The Doomsday Machine" in How the mind works. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 882(1), 119-127.BrazilTrading PlacesMr. SkinThe Princess BrideSpecial Guest: Paul Bloom.Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler talk about the perils of trying to step outside of your own perspective in ethics, science, and politics. What do Rawls' "original position" thought experiment, Pascal's Wager, and Moral Foundations Theory have in common? (Hint: it involves baking.) Plus, what movies (and other things) would serve as a litmus test when deciding on a potential life partner? What might liking or not liking a certain film, book, or TV series tell you about a person, and whether or not the relationship would work? And what sexual position is it rational to choose under the veil of ignorance? (It's a night episode...)LinksPart 1: Litmus TestsThe Bad News Bears (1976) [imdb.com]A Confederacy of Dunces [wikipedia.org]Drive [imdb.com]Every Frame A Painting--Drive: The Quadrant System [youtube.com]Ferris Bueller's Day Off [imdb.com]The Far Side [wikipedia.org]Frank [imdb.com]Hustle and Flow [imdb.com]Jackie Brown [imdb.com]Key and Peele [imdb.com]Miracle of Morgan's Creek [imdb.com]The Office (UK) [imdb.com]Pulp Fiction [imdb.com]Spaghetti Western [wikipedia.org]ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement/Dubbing) [wikipedia.org]Sullivan's Travels [imdb.com]Spellbound [imdb.com]Slapshot [imdb.com]What We Do in the Shadows [imdb.com]Part 2: Williams, B. (1981). Rawls and Pascal’s Wager. Moral Luck, 94-100. [verybadwizards.com]Moral Luck [amazon.com affiliate link]Moral Foundations Questionnaire (30-item) [moralfoundations.org]Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler continue their series of breaking down a classic essay/article in their fields. For this installment, David assigns Tamler Anthony Greenwald's fascinating 1980 review article "The Totalitarian Ego." What do totalitarian regimes, scientific theories, and your own cognitive biases have in common? As it turns out, quite a bit. Why do egos rewrite our memories, preserve our beliefs in the face of contradictory evidence, and make us think we're way more important than we are? And how does Thomas Kuhn fit into all this? Plus, we read a few of our favorite iTunes reviews.LinksAudience video of Society for Personality and Social Psychology 2016 Session on Moral Purity with Kurt Gray, Jon Haidt, David Pizarro (courtesy of Kate Johnson) [youtube.com]Greenwald, A. G. (1980). The totalitarian ego: Fabrication and revision of personal history. American psychologist, 35, 603. [verybadwizards.com] Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler take a break from their main jobs as TV critics to talk about a masterpiece in political philosophy: "Two Concepts of Liberty" by Isaiah Berlin. While they both celebrate the style and substance of this classic essay, in a startling twist Tamler praises conceptual analysis and David expresses a few misgivings about his Kantianism. What is the elusive idea of positive liberty, and  how can its pursuit lead to totalitarian rule?  When is it more important to buy boots than read Russian poetry? And why is David still so depressed by pluralism? Plus, coddling in Wisconsin? And another famous set of social psych studies is accused of biting the dust.  LinksIn Wisconsin, Efforts to End Taunting at Games Lead to Claims of Coddling By Mike McPhate [nytimes.com]Take my Breath Away by Berlin [youtube.com]Cortex Podcast Episode #20 [relay.fm]Amy Cuddy "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are" TED Talk [ted.com]"The Power of the Power Pose: Amy Cuddy's Famous Finding is the Latest Example of Scientific Overreach" By Andrew Gelman and Kaiser Fung [slate.com]Berlin, I. (1958) “Two Concepts of Liberty.” In Isaiah Berlin (1969) Four Essays on Liberty.Oxford: Oxford University Press. [verybadwizards.com]Positive and Negative Liberty [plato.stanford.edu]Freedom: Block DistractionsSupport Very Bad Wizards

Hello, listener. Hello, listener? That's lame. Maybe I should give you a name, but that's a slippery slope. You're only in my head. Or maybe we're in your head. Are you listening to this with headphones?Shit. It's actually happened, I'm talking to imaginary listeners.  What I'm about to tell you is top secret, a conspiracy bigger than all of us. There's a powerful group of people out there that are secretly running the world. I'm talking about the guys no one knows about, the guys that are invisible. The top 1% of the top 1%, the guys that play God without permission. That's right, it's the Partially Examined Life guys. And now I think they're following me.Special guest Yoel Inbar joins us to talk about the best show of last year. Warning: This episode is full of spoilers. Do not listen until you've seen Season 1 of Mr. Robot.LinksMr. Robot IMDBWikipediaSpecial Guest: Yoel Inbar.Support Very Bad Wizards

It's our last episode on campus protests and political correctness for a while, we promise! But it's a fun one.  David and Tamler welcome two guests on the opposite side of the debate spectrum. Recent Yale Alum, cognitive scientist, freelance writer, (and writer of novel-length emails) Vlad Chituc joins both of us to defend the Yale protests, provide some context, and explain why the good people at FIRE are hypocritical about free expression. In the middle segment, Tamler talks with his notorious stepmother and "factual feminist" Christina Hoff Sommers (author of "Who Stole Feminism?" and "The War Against Boys"). They argue over whether the new political correctness poses a serious threat to campus climate, whether it is even "new," and over whether one is obligated to smoke weed on Joe Rogan's podcast. Plus, Tamler gets all huffy about the panic over terrorism, and we read some email responses to VBW Episode 78 ("Wizards Uprising").  Oh, and we have a recording a date set for the Mr. Robot episode!LinksVlad Chituc [vladchituc.com]Christina Hoff Sommers [aei.org]"Fear in the Air, Americans Look Over Their Shoulders" [nytimes.com]The Coddling of the American Mind [theatlantic.com]Who Stole Feminism by Christina H. Sommers [amazon.com affiliate link]The War Against Boys by Christina H. Sommers [amazon.com affiliate link]"CDS Appropriates Asian Dishes, Students Say" [oberlinreview.org]  (ht/@brittanyepage)Special Guests: Christina Hoff Sommers and Vlad Chituc.Support Very Bad Wizards

Special guest Valerie Tiberius joins us to talk about values, well-being, and friendship. What role should reflection play in the good life? What about emotion? How can we make our values more consistent and sustainable? Do we know our friends better than we know ourselves? Plus, are philosophers experts? Experts of what? What are the boundaries of our discipline? And what motivates a gay Mormon to stay in the Church? In the first segment, David and Tamler list a few things they're grateful for on Thanksgiving, including you, the listeners (awwwwww...)LinksNational Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation [wikipedia.org]Valerie Tiberius personal website [sites.google.com]Tiberius, V. (2012) Cell Phones, iPods, and Subjective Well-Being. In Brey, P., A. Briggle & E. Spence (Eds.). The good life in a technological age. Routledge. [verybadwizards.com]Desire theories of well-being ( from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Well-Being) [plato.stanford.edu]Special Guest: Valerie Tiberius.Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler return to the minefield of campus politics and talk about recent events at Yale, Missouri, and Amherst. Are the protests are long overdue response to systematic oppression and prejudice? Or is this new generation of students coddled, hypersensitive, and hostile to free speech? A little bit of both? Can our hosts get through this episode without fighting?   LinksThe New Intolerance of Student Activism by Conor Friedersdorf [theatlantic.com]President Peter Salovey's statement to Yale community [news.yale.edu]2015 University of Missouri Protests [wikipedia.org]Amherst College Uprising (with list of demands) [amherstuprising.com]Vlad Chituc (@vladchituc) [vladchituc.com] Support Very Bad Wizards

Special guest Eric Schwitzgebel joins David and Tamler to discuss the moral behavior (or lack thereof) of ethicists. Does moral reflection make us better people, or does it just give us better excuses to be immoral? Who's more right about human nature--Mencius or Xun Zi? What did Kant have against bastards and masturbating? Plus, we talk about jerks, robot cars, and killing baby Hitler. (Godwin's Law within 1:42--might be a new record for us). LinksEric Schwitzgebel publications.  (Has links to all the discussed papers).Why Self-Driving Cars Must be Programmed to Kill  [technologyreview.com]Bonnefon, J. F., Shariff, A., & Rahwan, I. (2015). Autonomous Vehicles Need Experimental Ethics: Are We Ready for Utilitarian Cars? [arxiv.org]Mencius [wikipedia.org]Xun Zi [wikipedia.org]"The Philosophical Problem of Killing Baby Hitler." [vox.com]Why it's Unethical to Go Back in Time and Kill Baby Hitler. [forbes.com]Special Guest: Eric Schwitzgebel.Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler list three things they've changed their minds about in their careers. (This episode was recorded before Episode 75, but that one was way too long already.) What does Tamler think about X-phi these days? Has Dave lost his faith in the power of reason? What the hell is 'non-cognitivism'? Plus, Dave disagrees with John Hodgman about the metaphysical property of a hot dog. And a couple of listener shout-outs, including giving credit to a listener for giving us a topic idea we discussed without realizing she had suggested it in an email weeks ago. LinksEthical Expressivism (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)Moral Anti-Realism (Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy)John Hodgman on the hot dog/sandwich debate.  (NY Times Mag)"Perspectives on P.F. Strawson's "Freedom and Resentment." (Really good introduction by Michael McKenna and Paul Russell.)Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler celebrate their 75th episode by welcoming six BFFs of the podcast and asking them to share the biggest thing they've changed their minds about in their professional careers. You'll hear Dan Ariely on our moral duty to take science into the real world, Laurie Santos on the the role of neuroscience in explaining psychological findings, Yoel Inbar on what it means to do good science as a psychologist, Eric Schwitzgebel on his metaphysical epiphany about materialism, Nina Strohminger on breaking-up with priming research, and Sam Harris on Artificial Intelligence and its perils, and his recently changed views about vegetarianism. (Sadly, we had a technical glitch with the audio when we recorded our most-frequent guest Paul Bloom, but we'll bring him on again soon.) Plus we play some hilarious mash-ups, raps, and voicemails sent in from listeners.Links to info about our GuestsDan ArielyLaurie SantosYoel InbarNina StrohmingerEric SchwitzgebelSam Harris Listener-Created Music in this EpisodeSpecial Guests: Dan Ariely, Eric Schwitzgebel, Laurie Santos, Nina Strohminger, Sam Harris, and Yoel Inbar.Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler return after an end of summer hiatus to finally talkabout the ethics of deception….eventually. But first they break downa recent article in the journal Science documenting an attempt to replicate100 recent psychology experiments. What does it mean that justover 1/3 of the studies were successfully replicated? Is socialpsychology in crisis or is this just how science works? Will Davidsomehow try to pin the blame on philosophers?Plus--a brief and almost certainly regrettable foray into the AshleyMadison hack, the neuroscience of lying to your kids about Santa, and we announce a new way to contact us to help celebrate our 75th anniversary.LinksAuthors, Shitload of (2015) Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science, Science, 39. The Bayesian Reproducibility Project  post by Alexander Etz [alexanderetz.com]Harris, S. (2013). Lying. Four Elephants Press. Buy on AmazonBok, S. (2011) Lying: Moral choice in public and private life. Vintage, 2011. Buy on AmazonSanta on the Brain by Kelly Lambert [nytimes.com]James Randi (aka "The Amazing Randi") [wikipedia.org]An Honest Liar [anhonestliar.com] (Available on Netflix in the U.S.)The Honest Truth about Dishonesty [amazon.com affiliate link] (Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies [thedishonestyproject.com]Exit Through the Gift Shop [wikipedia.org]F for Fake [imdb.com]Support Very Bad Wizards

In what is possibly our most repugnant first segment ever, David and Tamler break down the ethics of zoophilia and investigate the true nature of consent. In the second segment we answer some listener emails and address our first question in our new capacity as International Ethics Experts.™  If your family is religious, how honest should you be with your children about your non-belief? Do the comforting aspects of religious belief outweigh the fears and anxieties? What’s the deal <Seinfeld voice> with Christians and hell?Plus, sex-ed from a female perspective, a brief nostalgic trip to The Electric Company, and David overcomes his horror of self-promotion to thank some people for praising the podcast. LinksTop 25 Podcasts for Men [hiconsumption.com]People Behind the Science podcast episode featuring David [peoplebehindthescience.com]Radio Tatas! Episode 37: "In a Row?!?" (their review of VBW starts at around the 30:00 mark) [radiotatas.libsyn.com]Cecil the Lion [wikipedia.org]New York Court: Chimps Are Still Property, Not People [npr.org]The Electric Company Intro [youtube.org]Suggestions for our listeners for the next podcast episode: Santa on the Brain by Kelly Lambert [nytimes.com]James Randi (aka "The Amazing Randi") [wikipedia.org]An Honest Liar [anhonestliar.com] (Available on Netflix in the U.S.)The Honest Truth about Dishonesty [amazon.com affiliate link] (Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies [thedishonestyproject.com]F is for Fake [imdb.com] Support Very Bad Wizards

It finally happened: David and Tamler welcome special guest Joshua Weisberg to the podcast to talk about Turing machines, Chinese Rooms, and AI. What does it mean for a machine to acquire intelligence? What is the proper test? How much processing power would it take? Do computers shed light on how human beings think? Why is John Searle trapped in a Chinese room, anyway? Plus, a spoiler-filled discussion (beginning at 58:20) of the recent movie Ex Machina. David tries to assert his feminist bonafides but Tamler takes Eva's side, proving once again that he is the real feminist. And we have a quick 5-minute discussion of Mr. Robot Episode 4 (beginning at 1:24) and respond to a couple of emails from the authors of the Inside Out article we discussed in our previous episode. LinksTuring Test [wikipedia.org]Chinese Room thought experiment [wikipedia.org]Artificial Intelligence [wikipedia.org]Weisberg, J. (2009). It stands to reason: Skynet and self-preservation. In Irwin, W., Brown, R., & Decker, K. S. (Eds.) Terminator and philosophy: I'll be back, therefore I am (Vol. 13). John Wiley & Sons.Ex Machina [IMDB.com]Special Guest: Josh Weisberg.Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler go deep into the best TV show of the summer, "Mr. Robot. They talk about the moral ambiguity of its central character, the distorted vision of reality it portrays, and play a round of "Real or Not Real" with all the main characters. Plus, what the swooning critics ignore about Pixar's "Inside Out"--its irresponsible failure to reference the relevant literature in cognitive science and philosophy of mind.     LinksTwo philosophers explain what Inside Out gets wrong about the mind [vox.com]The James/Lange theory of emotion [wikipedia.org]Mr. Robot [IMDB]Unreliable Narrator [wikipedia.org]Shoot the Dog Trope [tvtropes.org]  Support Very Bad Wizards

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, papers by Williams and movies from Sweden. Long graphic novels that celebrate being. These are a few of our favorite things. Dave and Tamler offer some moral psych-themed recommendations to help you get your summer off to a good start. Plus, is porn bad for you now that it doesn't come in brown paper packages tied up in string?LinksPornucopia by Maria Konnikova [aeon.com]Maria Konnikova on Twitter [twitter.com]Zhana Vrangolova [zhanavrangolova.com]BooksDaytripper by Fabio Bá and Gabriel Moon [amazon.com affiliate link] [comixology link]Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro [amazon.com affiliate link]MoviesForce Majeure [imdb.com]Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter [imdb.com]Academic PapersKahane, G., Everett, J. A., Earp, B. D., Farias, M., & Savulescu, J. (2015). ‘Utilitarian’ judgments in sacrificial moral dilemmas do not reflect impartial concern for the greater good. Cognition, 134, 193-209.Williams, B. A. O., & Moore, A. W. (2006). Philosophy as a humanistic discipline. Princeton University Press. [verybadwizards.com]TV ShowsMr. Robot [usa.com]Louie [imdb.com]Deadwood [imdb.com]The Americans [imdb.com]Sherlock [imdb.com]Podcast (David's Extra)Robot or Not? Podcast [incomparable.com]Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler try to figure out what we talk about when we talk about objectivity. In past episodes we’ve claimed that logic and science (when it isn't fraudulent) are objective. Tamler has claimed repeatedly that "Louie" is an objectively better TV show than "Jessie." Dave is constantly claiming that Kant is objectively the best philosopher. But to be honest, we say these things without being exactly sure what we’re saying.  Today we try to be sure--only to get more confused. Plus, we get into a big fight over trigger warnings, the Kipnis affair at Northwestern, and other related issues. (The infamous Episode 45 was an ecstasy-fueled love fest in comparison.) However, we have spared our listeners the drama, and have only included a few lowlights. If you listen closely, you can even hear Tamler apologize. LinksSexual Paranoia Strikes Academe by Laura Kipnis [chronicle.com]Laura Kipnis Is Cleared of Wrongdoing in Title IX Complaints [chronicle.com]Title IX [wikipedia.org]For Tamler's views on the campus climate and the Kipnis fiasco, check out his comments on this post. [leiterreports.typepad.com]Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave drags Tamler into the nerd abyss by making him watch an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (“Tapestry,” from the 6th season. It's available on Netflix instant in the US, and likely worldwide on many sites of varying legality). We talk about the themes of the episode: regret, risk aversion, the arrogance of hindsight, and the dream of living your past “knowing what you know now.” What are the things that shape our character? Should we embrace our mistakes or would we change something if we could? How should we think of our lives--as one long continually unfolding story or as a series of unrelated episodes?And speaking of regret, we reflect on our comedy episode and some listener dissatisfaction (we agree with much of it) and talk about yet another fraudulent study with sexy results.  Plus, Dave finally learns what ‘chuchma’ means.    "Science Retracts Troubled Gay Marriage Study." [retractionwatch.com]"Michael Lacour Responds to Critics." [latimes.com]"The Strangest Thing about Lacour's Response" (nymag.com)Star Trek: The Next Generation. "Tapestry" [en.memory-alpha.wikia.com] Best Episode Ever #30: Star Trek: The Next Generation [craveonline.co.uk]Patrick Stewart on Extras [youtube.com]  Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler break the cardinal rule of comedy by trying to analyze it. What are the origins and functions of humor? Can a theory explain what makes us laugh? Is humor entirely subjective? Why would anyone find Mr. Bean funny? Plus, we lose some geek cred by confessing some iconic comedians that we never liked, and ask why the American Psychologist Association loves to torture people.LinksReport Claims American Psychological Association Secretly Supported Torture Policy [time.com]The philosophy of humor [iep.utm.edu]Key and Peele: Gay Wedding [youtube.com]Key and Peele: Awesome Hitler Story [youtube.com]Goodfellas: How the Fuck Am I Funny? [youtube.com]Steven Wright: Birthday Present [youtube.com]Hannibal Burress: Pickle Juice [youtube.com]George Carlin on Fat People [youtube.com]Jerry Seinfeld on Airport Security [youtube.com]Louis CK: Pig Newtons [youtube.com]Curb Your Enthusiasm: Rash [youtube.com]Eddie Murphy: Barbecue [youtube.com]Bill Burr on Trying to Buy a Pumpkin [youtube.com] Support Very Bad Wizards

Special guest Yoel Inbar (author of Hitchcock’s Women: From Margaret Sullivan to Tippi Hedren) joins us to talk about Hitchcock’s long take masterpiece/gimmick Rope. Based loosely on the case of Leopold and Loeb, Rope tells the story of two young men who have read Nietzsche and decide to murder a schoolmate in order to cement their Übermensch status. Did they read Nietzsche correctly? Is conventional morality nothing but a construct to keep the inferior masses in line? Are professors accountable for what they teach? (Please God, no.) Plus, we delve deeper into Julie and Mark’s motivation, and Yoel plays a round of “Does the government deem this trademark scandalous?”  LinksYoel Inbar [yoelinbar.net]Very Bad Wizards Episode 22: An Enquiry Concerning Slurs and Offensiveness [verybadwizards.com]Rope [IMDB.com]Leopold and Loeb [wikipedia.org]Leopold and Loeb's Criminal Minds (Smithsonian Magazine)The Leopold and Loeb Trial Page (UMKC Law)Paul Gauguin [wikipedia.org]The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham [wikipedia.org]Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy [plato.stanford.edu]Damasio, A. "Remembering When," Scientific American, 2002. [antonellapavese.com]What's the matter with a little brother sister action? by Tamler Sommers [psychologytoday.com]Support Very Bad Wizards

Holy crap, it's the apocalypse!!!!  ...for philosophy. Maybe. Has this 2500 year old discipline become too technical, too disconnected from the real world? Is it just a handmaiden to the sciences? (Which would make Tamler Dave's handmaiden.) And what the hell is conceptual analysis? Plus, a short excerpt of Tamler's interview with Simon Blackburn, and definitive proof that worms have free will (sorry Sam). And only one more week to buy our t-shirt!LinksFree Will? Analysis of worm neurons suggest how a single stimulus can trigger different responses [sciencedaily.com]Strawson, P. F. (1962). Freedom and resentment. [princeton.edu]Doomen, J. (2015). The end of philosophy. Think, 14(39), 99-109. [verybadwizards.com]For a Non-Ideal Metaphysics by Justin Smith [jehsmith.com] Concepts [plato.stanford.edu]Harry Frankfurt says Philosophy is in the Doldrums [http://leiterreports.typepad.com]Simon Blackburn's Website [phil.cam.ac.uk]Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler talk about the human tendency to believe in a just world. Why do we have the belief? Does it make us less motivated to fight injustice? How does it connect to our beliefs about free will and punishment? Plus, the SAE incident—a case where the twitter mob did some good? And Tamler changes his mind about Harmony the Hamster.      LinksAs Two Oklahoma Students Are Expelled for Racist Chant, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Vows Wider Inquiry [nytimes.com]Just World Hypothesis [wikipedia.org]System Justification [wikipedia.org]The Future of The Culture Wars is Here, and it's Gamergate [deadspin.com]Lerner, M. J., & Simmons, C. H. (1966). Observer’s reaction to the “innocent victim”: Compassion or rejection? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4(2), 203–210. [MIT.edu]Clark, C. J., Luguri, J. B., Ditto, P. H., Knobe, J., Shariff, A. F., & Baumeister, R. F. (2014). Free to punish: A motivated account of free will belief. Journal of personality and social psychology, 106(4), 501. [sharifflab.com]Sommers, T. (2007). 4 The Illusion of Freedom Evolves. Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual Volition and Social Context, 61.Pizarro, D.A. & Helzer, E. (2010). Freedom of the will and stubborn moralism. In Baumeister, R.F., A.R. Mele, and K. D. Vohs (Eds.) Free will and consciousness: How might they work? (pp. 101-120) Oxford University Press. [peezer.net]Sartre is Smartre [vimeo.com]Support Very Bad Wizards

Sam Harris gets back in the VBW ring for another round on moral responsibility, ethical theories, and the grounds for our obligations to other people. Are we at a genuine stalemate when it comes to blame and desert? Is Tamler a closet consequentialist? Is Sam a closet pluralist? Why is Dave such a big Wagner fan? Plus, Twitter shaming: what is it good for? Settle in, get comfortable, pour yourself a drink, you’re in for the long haul on this one.LinksHow One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco's Life [nytimes.co]The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris [samharris.org]Value Pluralism [plato.stanford.edu]Bill Burr vs. Philly [youtube.com]Special Guest: Sam Harris.Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler discuss a new study that, according to Tamler, offers decisive support for restorative approaches to criminal punishment (the only problem is he didn't read past the introduction). And speaking of justice, we talk about "White Bear"--the most disturbing episode of the UK series Black Mirror that doesn’t involve sex with a non-kosher animal.  (Note: Massive spoilers for this episode of BM--watch before listening.  Available on netflix, amazon prime.)LinksBlack Mirror, "White Bear" episode [imdb.com]Ultimatum Game [wikipedia.org]Justice Porn [reddit.com]Fehr, E., & Gächter, S. (2002). Altruistic punishment in humans. Nature, 415(6868), 137-140.FeldmanHall, O., Sokol-Hessner, P., Van Bavel, J. J., & Phelps, E. A. (2014). Fairness violations elicit greater punishment on behalf of another than for oneself. Nature Communications, 5.Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler take a break from blame and responsibility to tackle a much easier subject: meaning in life. We discuss Susan Wolf's new book "Meaning in Life and Why it Matters," and play some excerpts from Tamler's recent discussion with her. Plus, we list some of our favorite listener-suggested drinking game ideas so far. (The contest for the free T-shirt is still open--send in your ideas before the next episode!)  LinksMeaning in Life and Why it Matters by Susan Wolf [amazon.com affiliate link]Billie Pritchett on the Sam Harris and Free Will discussion. [bpritchett.blogspot.com] (Highly recommended!) The Heaven's Gate Cult [wikipedia.org]Special Guest: Susan Wolf.Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler argue some more about the role of emotion and intuition in blame judgments, and then offer some moral psychology-related recommendations for your New Year’s viewing and reading pleasure. Plus, can you turn listening to VBW into a good drinking game? Offer some suggestions and win a free Very Bad Wizards T-shirt!  LinksTamler's early defense of free will skepticism:"Darrow and Determinism" [naturalism.org]"No Soul? I Can Live with That. No Free Will? AHHHHH!!!" [psychologytoday.org]"Free Will Skepticism in Action" [naturalism.org]Tamler's interview with Galen Strawson [believermag.org]The Objective Attitude [philpapers.org]Daniel Miessler on Sam Harris vs. Very Bad Wizards [danielmiessler.com]The Sceptic by David Hume [econlib.org]Paul Russell’s Free Will, Art, Morality [verybadwizards.com]Locke [imdb.com]The Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide by William James [erowid.org]Kahan, D. M., Peters, E., Dawson, E. C., & Slovic, P. (2013). Motivated numeracy and enlightened self-government. Social Science Research Network. Available: http://ssrn. com/abstract, 2319992.Black Mirror [imdb.com]Snowpiercer [imdb.com]Snowpiercer-Left or Right [everyframeapainting.tumbler.com]Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth [amazon.com affiliate link] Meaning in Life and Why It Matters by Susan Wolf. Princeton University. Press, 2010. [amazon.com affiliate link]Support Very Bad Wizards

Bestselling author and friend of the podcast Sam Harris joins Tamler and Dave for a marathon podcast. (Seriously, pack two pairs of astronaut diapers for this one). We  talk about the costs and benefits of religion, dropping acid in India, and the illusory nature of (a certain kind of) free will. Then we go at it on blame, moral responsibility, hatred, guilt, retribution, and vengeance. Sam thinks these are antiquated responses based on a belief in spooky metaphysics, Tamler thinks they are important components of human morality, and Dave just wants everyone to get along and be reasonable (like that nice Kant fellow). Time markers (roughly)0:00-47:00 Intro and costs and benefits of religion47:00-77:30 Drugs, the self, free will77:30-- Blame, guilt, vengeance, moral responsibility, desert. LinksSam Harris [samharris.org]Waking Up: A guide to spirituality without religion by Sam Harris [amazon.com affiliate link]Daniel Dennett reviews "Free Will" by Sam Harris [naturalism.org]Sam Harris responds to Dennett's Review of "Free Will" [samharris.org]Special Guest: Sam Harris.Support Very Bad Wizards

Film critic, VBW regular, and social psychologist Yoel Inbar joins David and Tamler to talk about Spike Lee's controversial 1989 film, Do the Right Thing, a movie about a day in the life of a small Brooklyn community on the hottest day of summer, and how the day's events lead to a race riot. Which characters in the film deserve our sympathy? (Maybe all of them?) Who was Spike Lee criticizing with his depiction of the characters in this community? Why did Mookie start the riot at Sal's? Was his action justified? Was starting the riot the "Right Thing" that Spike Lee was referring to in the title? Twenty five years after its release, how much have things changed? [Please note: we recorded this episode before the Ferguson verdict, which is why--despite some parallels--we don't refer to the verdict or the aftermath.]LinksDo the Right Thing [imdb.com]Do the Right Thing Scene: Insults [youtube.com]Do the Right Thing Scene: RIP Boom Box [youtube.com]Do the Right Thing Scene: Just Off the Boat [youtube.com]When Spike Lee Became Scary by Jason Bailey [atlantic.com] The Boondocks [wikipedia.org]Uncle Remus [wikipedia.org]Lyrics to Black Korea by Ice Cube [rapgenius.com]Do the Right Thing and Night of the Hunter Side by Side [youtube.com]The movie ends with the following two quotes: Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys a community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I think there are plenty of good people in America, but there are also plenty of bad people in America and the bad ones are the ones who seem to have all the power and be in these positions to block things that you and I need. Because this is the situation, you and I have to preserve the right to do what is necessary to bring an end to that situation, and it doesn't mean that I advocate violence, but at the same time I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don't even call it violence when it's self-defense, I call it intelligence. - Malcolm XSpecial Guest: Yoel Inbar.Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler talk about a new study that links your belief in free will to the fullness of your bladder. How do our bodily states influence our metaphysical commitments? What's the best way to measure beliefs about free will? Can you get your prostate checked without having someone stick something in your private areas? Plus, an exclusive look at the shocking truth about social psychology experiments.  LinksThe Philosophical Implications of the Urge to Urinate by Dan Ladkin, Scientific American Ent, M. R., & Baumeister, R. F. (2014). Embodied free will beliefs: Some effects of physical states on metaphysical opinions. Consciousness and Cognition, 27, 147-154.Free Will and Determinism Scale (Rakos, Laurene, Skala, & Slane, 2008, Behavior and Social Issues).  Support Very Bad Wizards

Following up their discussion of moral villains, Dave and Tamler argue about what makes a moral hero. Tamler defends Sharon Krause’s view that honor values can motivate heroic behavior. Dave accuses Tamler of being inconsistent (nothing wrong with that) and slightly Kantian (NOOOOOO!!!). In the final segment, we’re back on the same page fawning over Susan Wolf’s paper “Moral Saints.” Plus, are drunks more likely to be utilitarians? And why does Dave hate Temple Grandin?LinksThe Cold Logic of Drunk People by Emma Green [theatlantic.com]Duke, A. A., & Bègue, L. (2015). The drunk utilitarian: Blood alcohol concentration predicts utilitarian responses in moral dilemmas. Cognition, 134, 121-127. [sciencedirect.com]Wolf, S. (1982). Moral saints. The Journal of Philosophy, 419-439. [verybadwizards.com]Krause, S. R. (2002).  Honor and democratic reform (Ch. 5) [verybadwizards.com]. In Liberalism with honor [amazon.com affiliate link]. Harvard University Press. Support Very Bad Wizards

Paul Bloom joins us to talk all things villainous -why we sometimes root for the bad guys, why we admire them even when we don't, why they are much more compelling than some of our heroes.  Then more evidence that we're really a movie podcast at heart: we list our top 5 villains and antiheroes from TV and film.  Plus, more on the benefits of religious rituals and how to make a sitcom about Himmler.    Our Top 5 VillainsPaul Bloom Todd Alquist (Breaking Bad)Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother)The Joker (The Dark Knight)Bridgette Gregory (The Last Seduction)Agent Smith (The Matrix)Tamler SommersDaniel Plainview (There Will be Blood)/Tony Montana (Scarface)Willie (Bad Santa)Tommy  (Goodfellas)Alonzo Harris (Training Day)Go-Go (Kill Bill Vol. 1) David PizarroTom (Tom & Jerry)Keyser Soze (The Usual Suspects)Vic Mackey (The Shield)Harry Lime (The Third Man)Hal 9000 (2001 A Space Odyssey)Clips: "You need people like me.  The bad guy." "I'm sorry Dave.  I'm afraid I can't do that." From 2001: A Space Odyssey [youtube]"Come on Mr Ed.  Let's see it." From The Last Seduction [youtube]"A good narcotics agents loves his narcotics." From Training Day.  [youtube]"I loved a woman who wasn't clean."  "Mrs. Santa?"  "No, her sister."  From Bad Santa [youtube]"He showed these men of will what will really was." From The Usual Suspects. [youtube]"Funny how?" From Goodfellas [youtube]Special Guest: Paul Bloom.Support Very Bad Wizards

Tamler and David get bullied into talking about "anti-natalism," (the view that it is unethical to bring a being into existence), and to defend our ethical position as "breeders." Well, one of us defends it, at least. The other one? Well, you'll have to judge for yourself... Along the way we discuss how much pleasure you would need to equal the pain and suffering you've experienced, the joy of pooping (especially while on E), and Tamler explains why he calls David a Kantian, and why he thinks it's such an insult. For those who have missed the arguing, it's back on this one. LinksAnti-Natalism [wikipedia.org]Ecclesiastes 4:2-3 [usccb.org]: And those now dead, I declared more fortunate in death than are the living to be still alive. And better off than both is the yet unborn, who has not seen the wicked work that is done under the sun. "No Life is Good" David Benatar.  [Philosopher's Magazine]Don't Have Any Children, by David Benatar [moreintelligentlife.com]David Benatar Radio Interview (MP3) on 702.co.zaEvery Conceivable Harm: A Further Defence of Anti-Natalism by David Benatar [squarespace.com]Baumeister, R. F., Bratslavsky, E., Finkenauer, C., & Vohs, K. D. (2001). Bad is stronger than good. Review of general psychology, 5(4), 323. [Thanks to listener Brian Erb]Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler take a shot at answering the question: what is an evolutionary psychologist? Is it just a psychologist who believes in evolution? (No.) Is it a psychologist who embraces a computational, modular theory of the mind? (No. Well, maybe…we’re not sure.) Are they psychologists who are part of a cult that fanatically endorse evolutionary explanations for every aspect of human judgment and behavior? (No! Well, most of them aren’t, anyway.) So what are they? And why do they generate so much hostility?Plus, we go back to Genesis (the real story of how we evolved) to offer another thought experiment: what is it like to be Adam and Eve before eating the forbidden fruit? What is it like not to know good and evil? And we give our aspiring playwright listeners a perfect idea for a one-act play: Abraham and Isaac walking down the mountain after the aborted sacrifice.LinksThe Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil [wikipedia.org]The Leviathan [wikipedia.org]E.O. Wilson [wikipedia.org]Sociobiology [wikipedia.org]Burke, D. (2014). Why isn't everyone an evolutionary psychologist? Evolutionary Psychology and Neuroscience, 5, 910.Making birds gay with science!: Adkins-Regan, E. (2011). Neuroendocrine contributions to sexual partner preference in birds. Frontiers in neuroendocrinology, 32(2), 155-163.Just-so stories [wikipedia.org]Waist-hip ratio [wikipedia.org]"A natural history of rape: Biological bases of sexual coercion" by Thornhill and Palmer [wikipedia.org]Buss, D. M., Larsen, R. J., Westen, D., & Semmelroth, J. (1992). Sex differences in jealousy: Evolution, physiology, and psychology. Psychological science, 3, 251-255.Satoshi Kanazawa [wikipedia.org]Support Very Bad Wizards

Experience Machines, Chinese Rooms, Original Positions, and Ice Buckets.  ("I don't know what you have in mind for this evening Homer, but count me out!")  Dave and Tamler continue their discussion on thought experiments--how they can be effective, the difference between their use in philosophy and psychology, and how they can spin out of control like deadly viruses and become the disease they were trying to cure. Plus, do our motives matter when it comes to raising money for charity? LinksChinese Room thought experiment [wikipedia.org]Turing Test [wikipedia.org]Ice bucket challenge [alsa.org]Weird Al Yankovic does the Ice Bucket Challenge [youtube.com]Flight of the Conchords "Pro-Aids" [youtube.com]Rawls' Original Position [plato.stanford.edu]The Veil of Ignorance [wikipedia.org]Press Your Luck "No Whammies!" [youtube.com]Behaviorism [wikipedia.org]Logical positivism [wikipedia.org]Support Very Bad Wizards

Episode Audio Dave and Tamler talk about the value and purposes of thought experiments in philosophy and science. Does the trolley problem tell us more about moral psychology than how people make judgments introlley problems? Can an imagined scenario about two balls refute an almost two thousand year old theory of falling objects?  When young virgin Dave learned all the physical facts about sex, did he learnanything new when it finally happened?  All this and more in Part One of our two part episode on this topic.LinksThe experience machine [wikipedia.org]Mary the color scientist [wikipedia.org]Zombies [wikipedia.org]Qualia [wikipedia.org]The Violinist from "A defense of Abortion" [wikipedia.org]The Ship of Theseus [wikipedia.org]Newcomb's Paradox [wikipedia.org]Ring of Gyges [wikipedia.org]Peter Singer's thought experiment [wikipedia.org]Veil of Ignorance [wikipedia.org]Galileo's Balls [philosophical-investigations.org]Tamler's Zombie PaperSupport Very Bad Wizards

Dude, do you ever think about how, like, we could be all be in the Matrix? Seriously, no no, dude, I'm being serious. It's like, none of this might be real, you know? Actually we don't know. We honestly can't believe we made it to 50 episodes, so we must be brains in a vat. But we play along and celebrate with...a movie episode! We list our five favorite films about the subjective or questionable nature of reality. Our only rule: we couldn't choose The Matrix.  Listen to this episode--your Mom says it's psychologically taut.LinksKramer, A. D., Guillory, J. E., & Hancock, J. T. (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Rashomon (David) [imdb.com]Exit Through the Gift Shop (Tamler and David) [imdb.com]Banksy on "Life Remote Control" (clip, youtube.com)Paul Bloom on art and forgery [ted.com]Spirited Away (Tamler) [imdb.com]My Neighbor Totoro (David) [imdb.com]Mr. Snuffleupagus [wikipedia.org]Adaptation (Tamler) [imdb.com]Donnie Darko (David) [imdb.com]Stories we Tell (Tamler) [imdb.com]Waking Life (David) [imdb.com]Robert Solomon [wikipedia.org]Mulholland Drive (Tamler) [imdb.com]Tamler's Honorable MentionsPrimerDark CityEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindMementoThe Truman ShowRosemary's BabyThe ShiningPurple Rose of CairoThe ConversationShutter IslandSome SPOILER ALERT LinksTim Minchin summarizes Donnie Darko in song [youtube.com]Everything you were afraid to ask about Mulholland Drive by Bill Wyman,  Max Garrone, and Andy Klein [salon.com]Support Very Bad Wizards

Special guest Walter Sinnott-Armstrong joins the podcast to explain how his theory which desperately needs a new name ("contrastivism") can dissolve most of the fundamental problems and paradoxes in philosophy.  We also talk about psychopaths--what they are and what we can do about them.  But first we read and respond to an angry piece of fan mail (ok, maybe 'fan' is not the right word) from Sam Harris, trashing us--mostly Tamler--for our comments on VBW 45 about the new atheists. LinksSam Harris debates Andrew Sullivan [samharris.org]Richard Dawkins on the harm of fairy tales (read until the end) [telegraph.co.uk]Walter Sinnott-Armtrong's Home Page [duke.edu]Sinnott‐Armstrong, W. (2008). A contrastivist manifesto. Social Epistemology, 22(3), 257-270. Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter. (2006) It's not my fault: Global warming and individual moral obligations. Advances in the Economics of Environmental Resources 5, 285-307.The Memory of Jurors: Enhancing Trial Performance by Anders Sandberg, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, and Julian Savulescu.Special Guest: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong.Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler take a mulligan and try to resolve their conflict about restorative justice.  Do restorative processes lead to more just outcomes than other approaches? Is it more vulnerable to instances of prejudice and bias? Is revenge a form of restorative justice? Also, on this episode: can being sexist get you killed in a hurricane? Are replication attempts a form of bullying? And why is Dave hoarding gefilte fish in his pantry?LinksEd Yong on Hurricane Study [phenomena.nationalgeographic.com]Scatterplot blog on hurricane study [scatter.wordpress.com]Simine Vazire on "Repligate" [sometimesimwrong.typepad.com]Restorative Justice online [restorativejustice.org]"Restorative Justice in Texas: Past, Present, and Future."  by Mark Levin [texaspolicy.com]Bridges to Life [bridgestolife.org]Michelle Anderson The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness [amazon.com]Support Very Bad Wizards

Tamler and David leech off of their listeners and dedicate an episode to their favorite comments, questions, and criticisms from the past few weeks (but not before Tamler goes on a rant about bicycle helmets). Included in this episode: Does doing research on hypothetical moral dilemmas actually say anything about how people would act in real life? Do people make different moral judgments in their native language than in a more recently acquired language? Do Tamler and David only appeal to intuitions when it's convenient for the view they are defending? Do they hold "barbaric" views about justice and revenge? Does doing philosophy make your life better? And, perhaps most importantly, why do we seem to mention porn on every episode? LinksBicycle helmet effectiveness [wikipedia.org]Tamler's appearance on The Partially Examined Life podcast [partiallyexaminedlife.com]Axons and Axioms podcast [axonsandaxioms.com]Spacetime Mind podcast [spacetimemind.com]A valuable site if you're interested in putting together your own podcast: Dan Benjamin's Podcasting Handbook [podcastinghandbook.co]If you like the music we use, you can listen/download here: soundcloud.com/peezismynamePea Soup Blog [peasoup.typepad.com]Qualia [wikipedia.org]Judith Jarvis Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion" [wikipedia.org]Entranced by Reality by Ian Corbin (Review of "A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning" by Robert Zaretsky). [theamericanconservative.com]Iranian killer's execution halted at last minute by victim's parents by Saeed Kamali Dehghan [theguardian.com]Academic Articles MentionedBartels, Daniel M. (2008), "Principled Moral Sentiment and the Flexibility of Moral Judgment and Decision Making," Cognition, 108, 381-417. [uchicago.edu]Costa, A., Foucart, A., Hayakawa, S., Aparici, M., Apesteguia, J., Heafner, J., & Keysar, B. (2014). Your Morals Depend on Language. PloS one, 9(4), e94842. [plosone.org]Gold, N., Colman, A. M., & Pulford, B. D. (2014). Cultural differences in responses to real-life and hypothetical trolley problems. Judgment and Decision Making, 9, 65-76. [sjdm.org]Special thanks to listeners (in order of question-appearance) Jakub Maly, Mark Ellis, Derek Leben, Jennifer Cohen, Rob Sica, Larson Landes, Billie Pritchett, Dave Herman, Otakar Horak, Monique Oliveira, Paul Bello, and Dag Soras. Support Very Bad Wizards

May I have your attention please? Will the real Josh Knobe please stand up? Will the real... [you know what, screw this--we're just dating ourselves.] X-phi phenom Josh Knobe rejoins the podcast to talk about the true self, naked people, gay preachers, and the Talmud. Plus, what happens when Tamler takes a sleeping pill by mistake in the afternoon and goes on Facebook? Why do you have get so drunk on Purim? And Dave discovers a Google-assisted loophole that allows you to be an immoral shit your whole life and get away with it.  LinksJoshua Knobe's home page [yale.edu]XXX: 30 Porn-Star Portraits by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders [amazon.com affiliate link]Gray, K., Knobe, J., Sheskin, M., Bloom, P., & Barrett, L. F. (2011). More than a body: mind perception and the nature of objectification. Journal of personality and social psychology, 101, 1207. [yale.edu]Moral Scrupulosity [wikipedia.org]Newman, G. E., Bloom, P., & Knobe, J. (2014). Value Judgments and the True Self. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 203-216. [verybadwizards.com]Frankfurt on the Hierarchical Will: Frankfurt, H. G. (1988). Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person (pp. 127-144). Humana Press. [verybadwizards.com]"Tarred and Feathered" episode of "This American Life," covering a man who started a support group to keep pedophiles from victimizing children. [thisamericanlife.org]Purim [wikipedia.org]Simchat Torah [wikipedia.org]Pizarro, D.A., Uhlmann, E., & Salovey, P. (2003). Asymmetry in judgments of moral blame and praise: The role of perceived metadesires. Psychological Science, 14, 267-272. [peezer.net]Cohen, A. B., & Rozin, P. (2001). Religion and the morality of mentality. Journal of personality and social psychology, 81, 697. [upenn.edu]Newman, G. E., Lockhart, K. L., & Keil, F. C. (2010). “End-of-life” biases in moral evaluations of others. Cognition, 115, 343-349. [yale.edu] Stupid Sexy Flanders!Special Guest: Joshua Knobe.Support Very Bad Wizards

A British tabloid article about kids, brains, and spatial skills somehow provokes the biggest argument ever on the podcast. Dave and Tamler get into it about gender, toys, properly rounded brains, and balanced "play diets." Is Dave a sanctimonious toe-the-line academic liberal?  Is Tamler a Fox-News watching, mysoginist genetic determinist? Do they actually disagree about anything? Plus Dave takes Tamler back after his fling with Partially Examined Life,  and we discuss whether the new documentary The Unbelievers the atheist version of God is Not Dead?LinksThe Partially Examined Life podcast, and Tamler's Precognition of Ep. 93. [partiallyexaminedlife.com]Girls and boys DO have different brains – should they have different toys? by Rachel Carlyle [express.co.uk]The Unbelievers [unbelieversmovie.com]My Growing Disappointment with the New Atheist Movement: A Review of the The UnBelievers.  Ami Palmer.  [missiontotransition.blogspot.com]Nosek, B. A., Banaji, M. R., & Greenwald, A. G. (2002). Math= male, me= female, therefore math≠ me. Journal of personality and social psychology, 83, 44. [briannosek.com]Cvencek, D., Meltzoff, A. N., & Greenwald, A. G. (2011). Math–gender stereotypes in elementary school children. Child development, 82, 766-779. [washington.edu]Support Very Bad Wizards

David and Tamler argue about the use of autonomous robots and drones in warfare.  Could it lead to less suffering during wars and afterwards? Would nations be motivated to design robots that behave ethically on the battlefield? Can David get through an episode without mentioning Star Trek? Plus, Tamler distances himself from the villainous philosophy professor in the new movie God is Not Dead and David complains about the growing number of porn journals.  LinksKnowledge is Power Program (KIPP) [kipp.org]God's Not Dead [imdb.org]Arkin, R. C. (2010). The case for ethical autonomy in unmanned systems. Journal of Military Ethics, 9(4), 332-341.Kahn, P. W. (2002). The Paradox of Riskless Warfare. Philosophy & Public Policy Quarterly, 22(3), 2-7. [yale.edu]Singer, P. W. (2009). Wired for war: The robotics revolution and conflict in the twenty-first century. Penguin. [amazon.com affiliate link] "A Taste of Armageddon" Episode 23, Star Trek (The Original Series) [wikipedia.org] Moral Machines in the Military Sphere by Dr. Paul Bello. http://robotsandyou.eucognition.orgBio: Paul Bello joined the Office of Naval Research as a Program Officer in the Warfighter Performance and Protections Department in May of 2007.Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler talk about a recent study that seems to support the view that "justice is what the judge had for breakfast" (or at least how long ago the parole board had breakfast), and that makes Tamler question his position on widening judicial discretion in criminal justice.  In the second segment David tries to work out his guilt about manipulating consumers into buying stuff for whatever shadowy organization employs him (BEWorks!), and we discuss the ethics of nudges in government and consumer marketing. Should the government frame issues like organ donation in ways that will benefit society? How much of a threat are nudges to our autonomy? Should Apple take steps to ensure that people can control themselves when making in-app purchases? Tamler even comes up with a "theory," which means that there must have been something wrong with him. Please note that portions of the audio during the second segment are little spotty, likely due to a hex or poltergeist in one of the microphones.  We'll have that worked out for the next episode.  Enjoy!     (For the handful who have asked--if you like the music David makes for the podcast, you can listen/download to your heart's content at www.soundcloud.com/peezismyname).LinksDanziger, S., Levav, J., & Avnaim-Pesso, L. (2011). Extraneous factors in judicial decisions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(17), 6889-6892. [pnas.org]"Prisoners of our own resources" by Jonathan Levav, TEDx Rio de la Plata [youtube.com]Capestany, B. H., & Harris, L. T. (2014). Disgust and biological descriptions bias logical reasoning during legal decision-making. Social neuroscience, 1-13. [tandfonline.com]Asymmetric Dominance (Decoy Effect) [wikipedia.org]Opting-in vs Opting-out of organ donations [nytimes.com]The evil stuff people do with in app purchases and games [ibtimes.com]Support Very Bad Wizards

Can a fully determined creature deliberate? How big a role does conscious reasoning play in moral judgment and everyday life? Are we responsible for our thoughts and actions? Paul Bloom rejoins us against his better judgment to discuss his book "Just Babies" and his recent article in The Atlantic that set the internet on the fire and riled up the likes of Sam Harris and Jerry Coyne.  Plus, what's the difference (if any) between getting into a Star Trek transporter and getting an axe to the head, and why does David know so much about boy bands?LinksJust Babies by Paul Bloom [amazon.com-vbw affiliate link]The War on Reason by Paul Bloom [theatlantic.com]Jerry Coyne replies to Paul Bloom's Article [whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com]Bloom replies to Coyne [whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com]Tamler is the only one who realized he has a face for radio. Special Guest: Paul Bloom.Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave keeps trying to explain to Tamler that we're not a movie podcast, but somehow they're doing another podcast about movies. This time they each list their top 5 movies featuring moral dilemmas. Also, Tamler tries to rationalize the Woody Allen controversy, Ozymandias from Watchmen says "screw you Paul Bloom," Dave confuses Maggie Gyllenhaal with Droopy, and for the second time ever we have to censor something one of us (Tamler) says. Put on your astronaut adult diapers, folks, it's a long one. LinksDylan Farrow's Story [nytimes.com]Woody Allen Speaks Out [nytimes.com]The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast [thedailybeast.com]"It's shockingly easy to create false memories" by Cara Laney [thedailybeast.com]Elizabeth Loftus [wikipedia.org]Watchmen Graphic Novel [wikipedia.org]The Vengeance Trilogy [wikipedia.org]Droopy Dog [wikipedia.org]Maggie Gyllenhal looks like Droopy Dog [cheezeburger.com]"Hard Determinism, Punishment, and Funishment" by Saul Smilansky [philosophycommons.typepad.com] Tamler's Top 5 (links all go to IMDB.com)The Third ManSympathy for Mr. VengeanceIn BrugesLa Femme du Boulanger (The Baker's Wife)Gone Baby GoneDavid's Top 5 The Dark KnightWatchmenMinority Report3:10 to YumaExecutive DecisionTamler's Honorable MentionsMovies that couldn't be talked about without spoilers:Oldboy (Park Chanwook's not fucking Spike Lee's).MotherThe Maltese FalconSevenMovies too close to personal identity SolarisShutter IslandSo close...Beast of the Southern Wild.3:10 to YumaThe Dark KnightCasablancaThe InsiderDonnie BrascoMaltese FalconShaneDo the Right ThingPrincess MononokeSupport Very Bad Wizards

Jesse Graham joins us for part 2 of our discussion on the nature of morality, and his recent paper on Moral Foundations Theory. He highlights the key components of MFT, defends himself against our accusations of weaseling out of the normative implications of MFT, champions "Synechdoche, New York" as one of the greatest films ever made, and comes out of the closet as a rationalist. Also in this episode, Tamler begins to defend Sam Harris (you read that right) from Dan Dennett's criticisms of Harris' Free Will--and then we pull back and realize that we need to devote a whole episode to Dennett's review.  LinksDan Dennett's review of "Free Will" by Sam Harris [naturalism.org]Free Will by Sam Harris [amazon.com affiliate link]Jesse Graham's lab website [usc.edu]Moral Foundations Theory: The Pragmatic Validity of Moral Pluralism by Jesse Graham et al. Synechdoche, New York   (RIP Phllip Seymour Hoffman!)Special Guest: Jesse Graham.Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler bounce back this week after having to trash the last episode. Does morality ultimately boil down to a single principle (such as harm or justice), or is there more to ethical life than is dreamt of in the minds of philosophers? We settle this question once and for all in the first of a 2-part episode in which we discuss Jesse Graham et al's recent paper on Moral Foundations Theory. (Jesse Graham himself will join us for part 2).  Plus: how liberal is this podcast?  We'll give you the precise percentage after taking a Time.com quiz that purports to measure political leanings, (and which includes that perennial litmus test of political preferences: is it OK to come home and find your partner watching porn?)     LinksCan TIME predict your politics? [science.time.com]Moral Foundations Theory: The Pragmatic Validity of Moral Pluralism Foundations Theory (in press, Advances in Experimental Social Psychology) by Graham, J. et al [usc.edu]Old School [imdb.com]"Boy, I've Put You in a Really Tough Spot, Haven't I?" by Woody Allen [onion.com]Support Very Bad Wizards

Who is the real you? What happens to your identity when your body gets cloned or reconstituted with all the same memories and character traits? Does society construct our true selves or repress them? Can we ever escape our pasts and become different people?   Dave thinks conceptual analysis and arousal measuring devices can solve all these problems but allows Tamler his dream of temporarily becoming the host of a movie podcast. They list their top 5 favorite movies about personal identity. Plus, do they have to eat still more crow--this time from Sam Harris?       LinksPersonal Identity [plato.stanford.edu]Google Glass [youtube.com]Tamler's Top 55. Fight Club4. A Clockwork Orange3. Infernal Affairs2. Moon1. A History of ViolenceDavid's Top 55. Blade Runner4. Vertigo3. Looper 2. Groundhog Day1. Back to the FutureHonorable MentionsSolaris (Russian version)Being John MalkovichMementoMy Fair LadyAll of MeZelig One Flew Over the Cuckoos NestSpirited AwayThe PrestigeShutter IslandUnforgivenSide EffectsAny Star Trek MovieSupport Very Bad Wizards

The guest we've been waiting for--Nina Strohminger--joins us to talk about the connection between disgust and humor, cheap laughs, moral character and personal identity, and the British opt-in plan for porn.  Plus: how psychologists measure erections and Dave goes Platonist about the form of hilarity. Tamler's daughter should have issued an extra strong disclaimer for this one.LinksNina Strohminger [ninastrohminger.com]David Cameron Proposes Porn Filter [thedailybeast.com]Strohminger, N. and Nichols, S. (in press). The Essential Moral Self. Cognition.Special Guest: Nina Strohminger.Support Very Bad Wizards

Our most irresponsible episode ever!  Dave and Tamler talk about two reviews of a book they haven't read--Joshua Greene's Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them--and feel only a little shame.   (Since the recording, at least one of us has finished the book).  Can Greene successfully debunk all non-utilitarian intuitions?  Does Greene have a dark enough view of human nature?  What would an ideal moral world look like?   Will Dave ever stop making fun of Tamler's haunted boy haircut?  We answer all of these questions and more.  Plus we respond to a listener's email and read a couple of our favorite iTunes reviews.LinksMoral tribes: Emotion, reason, and the gap between us and them by Joshua Greene [amazon.com]Joshua Greene's website [harvard.edu]Why can't we all just get along? The uncertain biological basis of morality. Robert Wright reviews "Moral Tribes" for The Atlantic.You Can't Learn About Morality from Brain Scans: The problem with moral psychology. Thomas Nagel Reviews "Moral Tribes" for the New RepublicIf you don't already have it, Tamler's interview with Joshua Greene and Liane Young in his book A Very Bad Wizard is worth the read [amazon.com]On Debunking (Tamler's five part series of posts at Eric Schwitzgebel's blog The Splintered Mind)*book links are amazon affiliate links. They are the same price for you but sends a few pennies our way. Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler talk about the influence of character judgments on attributions of blame. What is the function of the blame--to assign responsibility or to judge a person's character? Is it fair that we blame douchebags more than good people who commit exactly the same act, or is it yet another cognitive bias that should be avoided? Plus we delve into the Richie Incognito hazing story (maybe a little early since the story has developed) and Tamler tries to figure out how to teach the Gospels to students who know roughly 100 times as much about them than he does. Links"The Miami Dolphins and Everything that Will Never Make Sense." by Andrew Sharp.  (grantland.com)Interview with Richie Incognito (youtube.com) Gospel of Matthew [wikipedia.org]Synoptic Gospels [wikipedia.org]Pizarro, D.A. & Tannenbaum, D. (2011). Bringing character back: How the motivation to evaluate character influences judgments of moral blame. In M. Mikulincer & Shaver, P. (Eds) The Social psychology of morality: Exploring the causes of good and evil. APA Press.  A recent chapter on character and moral psychology that David wrote (with Roy Baumeister) just to be able to talk about comics and porn : Superhero Comics as Moral Pornography. In R. Rosenberg (Ed.) Our Superheroes, Ourselves. Oxford University Press.Tannenbaum, D., Uhlmann, E. L., & Diermeier, D. (2011). Moral signals, public outrage, and immaterial harms. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(6), 1249-1254.Support Very Bad Wizards

Special guest Will Wilkinson joins the podcast to talk about whether fiction makes us better people, and to discuss his recent Daily Beast article that trashed Dave's profession and livelihood. Also, Dave and Tamler try to make sense of Ancient Greek justice in a myth about incest, adultery, daughter-killing, husband-killing, matricide, cannibalism, and trash talking to disembodied heads.     LinksAgamemnon [wikipedia.org]Will Wilkinson [wikipedia.org] The Will Wilkinson article that hurt David's feelings [thedailybeast.com]Hurt Feelings by Flight of the Concords [youtube.com] Does great literature make us better? by Gregory Currie [nytimes.com] Reading literature makes us smarter and nicer by Annie Murphy Paul [time.com]Want to learn how to think? Read fiction by Tom Jacobs [psmag.com]In Pursuit of Happiness Research [pdf] by Will Wilkinson   Special Guest: Will Wilkinson.Support Very Bad Wizards

Special guest Laurie Santos (Psychology, Yale) joins us to talk about what animal cognition can tell us about human nature. Why are other primates better at resisting the misleading influence of others than humans? Is conformity a byproduct of our sophisticated cultural learning capacities? Are we more like Chimpanzees or Bonobos? Why does Dave spend so much time writing Smurf fan fiction? [Smurf you, Tamler. -dap]. Also, Dave and Tamler talk about a scathing review of Malcolm Gladwell's new book, and Eliza Sommers poses the question of the day. This was a fun one. LinksComparative Cognition Laboratory [yale.edu]Laurie Santos and Jesse Bering on The Mind Report [bloggingheads.tv] Buy Jesse Bering's latest book "Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us" [amazon.com affiliate link]Philospher's Pipe (a directory of podcasts related to philosophy) [philosopherspipe.com]Smurfette [wikipedia.org]Horner, V., & Whiten, A. (2005). Causal knowledge and imitation/emulation switching in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and children (Homo sapiens). Animal cognition, 8(3), 164-181.Kovács, Á. M., Téglás, E., & Endress, A. D. (2010). The social sense: Susceptibility to others’ beliefs in human infants and adults. Science, 330(6012), 1830-1834. True Bonobo Love [youtube.com]Bonobos vs. Chimps [youtube.com] What does the fox say? [youtube.com] "The Trouble With Malcolm Gladwell."  by Christopher Chabris [Slate.com]."Christopher Chabris Should Calm Down" by Malcolm Gladwell [Slate.com]  Special Guest: Laurie Santos.Support Very Bad Wizards

Part II of our discussion on Rai and Fiske (sort of):  We answer a listener's email and in the process get into an episode long argument about moral intuitions, psychological facts, the implications of moral disagreement. Before that, we talk about the recent study about testicles and parenting.  We don't play small ball on this one. LinksTesticular volume is inversely correlated with nurturing-related brain activity in human fathers [pnas.org]"Study: You May be a Terrible Dad Because You Have Enormous Testicles" "Aw Nuts!  Nurturing Dads Have Smaller Testicles, Study Shows""Want to Know if Your Partner Will Be a Good Dad?  Measure His Testicles." Frances Kamm [wikipedia.org]Reflective Equilibrium [plato.stanford.edu]Doris, J. M., and Plakias, A. (2008). “How to Argue about Disagreement: Evaluative Diversity and Moral Realism.” In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology, Volume 2: The Cognitive Science of Morality. Cambridge: MIT Press Support Very Bad Wizards

In the first of a two-part episode, we discuss one of our favorite recent papers--Tage Rai and Alan Page Fiske's 2011 paper on how social relationships shape and motivate our moral emotions and judgments.  We also talk about Sam Harris' $20,000 Moral Landscape  Challenge, and whether there's any real chance of convincing him that the arguments he made in The Moral Landscape (first published in English in 2011) are wrong. LinksSam Harris' Moral Landscape Challenge [samharris.org]Alan Fiske's overview of Relational Models Theory [sscnet.ucla.edu]Tage Rai's research [kellogg.northwestern.edu]Rai, T. S., & Fiske, A. P. (2011). Moral psychology is relationship regulation: moral motives for unity, hierarchy, equality, and proportionality. Psychological review, 118, 57-75. [irsp.ucla.edu] Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler celebrate their one year anniversary and 30th episode with one of their least cynical episodes yet.  They talk about 5 philosophy/psychology(-ish) books that influenced and inspired them throughout the years.  They also respond to a listener email that accuses them (mostly Tamler) of being "reckless and irresponsible" in their discussion of responding to insults.   Episode Links (Please note that the Top 5 links below are to purchase books through amazon.com via the Very Bad Wizards amazon affiliate account) Tamler's Top 5 5. The Razor's Edge 4. Culture Of Honor: The Psychology Of Violence In The South (New Directions in Social Psychology)/Humiliation: And Other Essays on Honor, Social Discomfort, and Violence 3. The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene (Popular Science) 2. Passions Within Reason: The Strategic Role of the Emotions 1. Jacques the Fatalist and His Master (Penguin Classics) David's Top 5 5. Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman 4. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid 3. The Modularity of Mind: An Essay on Faculty Psychology 2. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies 1. Passions Within Reason: The Strategic Role of the Emotions Honorable MentionsRevenge: A Story of Hope.  Laura BlumenfeldMortal Questions by Thomas NagelThe Fragility of Goodness by Martha NussbaumNot by Genes Alone: by Peter Richerson and Richard BoydThe Principles of Psychology by William JamesDescartes Error by Antonio DamasioBeyond Good and Evil Thus Spoke Zarathustra The Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl PopperThe Hedgehog and the Fox by Isaiah BerlinEthics: Inventing Right and Wrong by J.L. MackieFinally...David shows Richard Dawkins "Lemon Party"  Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler try to artificially bulk up their expertise on the ethics of performance enhancing drugs and end up raising a lot more questions than they answer.  Why do we condemn certain methods for boosting performance on the playing field and praise others?  Why is it OK to train at high altitudes but not in hyperbaric chambers that simulate high altitudes?  Why is Lance Armstrong a villain and Graham Greene (who wrote many of his most famous novels on benzedrine) a hero?   Is there genetic therapy to cure haunted child haircuts, and if there is, how can Tamler get access to it?  Of course, no discussion on PEDs would be complete without clips from South Park and Sanford and Son.  Also, David misremembers Lyle Alzado as a regular on an 80's sitcom because of a single appearance on "Small Wonder."  We probably should have taken some podcast enhancing drugs for this one.  LinksPerformance-enhancing drugs [wikipedia.org]Benzedrine [wikipedia.org] What do Auden, Sartre, and Ayn Rand have in common? Amphetamines [slate.com] Lyle Alzado [wikipedia.org] "Turin Sample: The nonsense of Olympic doping rules" by William Saletan [slate.com] "Brain Gain: The underground world of 'neuroenhancing' drugs"  by Margaret Talbot [newyorker.com]Adderall [wikipedia.org]Modafinil (Provigil) [wikipedia.org] "A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems"  -Paul Erdos  [amphetamines.org]Up the down steroid [southparkstudios.com] Sanford and Son: "Gorilla Cookies"  [youtube.com]  Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler try their best to do a show without guests--we talk about moral persuasion, motivated reasoning, and whether it's legitimate to use emotionally charged rhetoric in a philosophical argument. Plus, we describe how students proceed through the "Stages-of-Singer," and Tamler finally defends himself against Dave's slanderous accusation of hypocrisy about animal welfare. LinksThomson, J. J. (1971). A defense of abortion.  Philosophy & Public Affairs,1, 47-66.Marquis, D. (1989). Why abortion is immoral.  The Journal of Philosophy, 86(4), 183-202.Ditto, P. H., & Lopez, D. F. (1992). Motivated skepticism: Use of differential decision criteria for preferred and nonpreferred conclusions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63 (4), 568.Ditto, P.H., Pizarro, D.A., & Tannenbaum, D. (2009). Motivated Moral Reasoning. In B. H. Ross (Series Ed.) & D. M. Bartels, C. W. Bauman, L. J. Skitka, & D. L. Medin (Eds.), Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Vol. 50: Moral Judgment and Decision Making. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Dawson, E., Gilovich, T., & Regan, D. T. (2002). Motivated Reasoning and Performance on the Wason Selection Task. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 1379-1387.Sam's House, an orphanage in Nepal [sams-house.org] The identifiable victim effect [wikipedia.org] Tamler's mediocre TEDx talk on Moral Persuasion [youtube.com]10 Classic South Park Impressions (including Sally Struthers) [youtube.com]*musical breaks in this episode stolen from DJ Premier and Jay Electronica. Please don't sue.  Support Very Bad Wizards

Our streak of very special guests continues!  Philosopher Eddy Nahmias joins the podcast to us why people mistakenly think they're not morally responsible, and how his new study casts doubt on Sam Harris's "pamphlet" on free will.  Eddy also describes his new project (with Toni Adleberg and Morgan Thompson) on why women leave philosophy.  Plus Dave and I discuss some reasons for having children, and eat a little Partially Examined Life crow. Links "Name five women in philosophy.  Bet you can't." Tania Lombrozo, [npr.og] "Do Women Have Different Philosophical Intuitions than Men?" Eddy Nahmias (philosophyofbrains.com) "Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will?' Eddy Nahmias.  [nytimes.com] Eddy on Bypassing [agencyandresponsbility.typepad.com]Edd trashing Tamler's Book [agencyandresponsbility.typepad.com]    Special Guest: Eddy Nahmias.Support Very Bad Wizards

Psychologist and author Jesse Bering joins us to talk about evolutionary psychology and his forthcoming book Perv.   In the relatively uncontroversial part of the episode, we ask if homophobia is an adaptation and if women have evolved rape defenses.  After that, sex with animals, sex with bookshelves, foot fetishes, amputee fetishes, falling down the stairs fetishes... I don't know, just listen.  Or maybe don't.  Jesse Bering [jessebering.com]  Perv (pre-order)  by Jesse Bering [amazon.com]"Darwin's Rape Whistle," by Jesse Bering [slate.com] "Natural Homophobes?" by Jesse Bering [scientificamerican.com] The Belief Instinct by Jesse Bering [amazon.com]Why is the Penis Shaped Like That?  by Jesse Bering [amazon.com]"I think you're some kind of deviated prevert."  [youtube.com] Special Guest: Jesse Bering.Support Very Bad Wizards

Josh Knobe, the Michael Corleone of experimental philosophy, joins us to talk about taking philosophy into the lab and the streets.   We discuss how people moralize everyday concepts like intention, causation, and innateness.  Dave wonders if X-phi people are just doing social psychology, and Tamler tries his best to get Josh mad with his critique of Josh's experimental work on free will.  He might have succeeded but that argument had to be cut a little short this time.  We'll have to have Josh back for the rematch!  LinksExperimental philosophy Anthem [youtube.com]Experimental Philosophy [fun 3 minute overview, youtube.com] The Experimental Philosophy webpage. Josh Knobe's webpage Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist by Joshua KnobePhilosophy meets the real world  [slate.com] In Memoriam: The X-Phi Debate by Tamler Sommers [Philosophers Magazine] Experimental Philosophy and Free Will: An Intervention by Tamler SommersExperimental Philosophy [wikipedia.org] Using the Knobe effect as an implicit measure of homophobia:  Inbar, Y., Pizarro, D.A., Knobe, J., & Bloom, P. (2009). Disgust sensitivity predicts intuitive disapproval of gays, Emotion, 9, 435-439.   Special Guest: Joshua Knobe.Support Very Bad Wizards

Paul Bloom joins us in the second segment for a lively discussion about the value of  empathy as a guide our moral decisions.  And in our first scoop, we talk about Paul's new book (coming in November) Just Babies: The Origin of Good and Evil ,  racist babies, and how 80s sitcoms changed the world.  In the first segment, Dave and Tamler face the music and try to respond to a listener's criticisms of their episode on slurs and offensiveness (Episode 22) .  LinksThe Baby in the Well: The Case Against Empathy by Paul Bloom [newyorker.com] Descartes' Baby  by Paul Bloom [amazon.com]Jesse Prinz "Is empathy necessary for morality" [subcortex.com] Pizarro, Bloom, and Detweiler-Bedell on the empathy, disgust, and the moral circle [peezer.net] Pre-order Just babies: The origins of good and evil by Paul Bloom [amazon.com]Louis CK: My Life is Really Evil.   Special Guest: Paul Bloom.Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave, Tamler, and special guest Yoel Inbar break down Sam Peckinpah's brilliant (at least according  to one of us) 1971 film Straw Dogs.    They talk about the notorious rape scene, the meaning of the final siege, standing up to Cornish townies, and whether the urge to respond to insults is rational in in modern society.  Also: Yoel and Tamler go another round in their debate about statistics and grad school. LinksStraw Dogs [imdb.com] Yoel Inbar [yoelinbar.net] "The Power of Straw Dogs" [dailybeast.com] Edward Copeland on Straw Dogs [eddieonfilm.blogspot.com]"Home Like No Place: Peckinpah's Straw Dogs."  [criterion.com] Musical interlude courtesy of Monibeatz  [http://monibeatz.bandcamp.com/]Special Guest: Yoel Inbar.Support Very Bad Wizards

In what might very well be the last episode before we're pulled off the air, Tamler outlines his data-free "theory" of what makes something offensive. What makes a joke about race, ethnicity, gender, disability funny sometimes, and deeply hurtful at other times? What makes Louis CK so goddamn funny and Andrew Dice Clay just...an asshole? Is Family Guy racist? Throughout the episode, David defends the victims of hatred and is a voice of empathy and reason, while Tamler drops the c-word multiple times, jumps to racist conclusions, and makes fun of David's partial Arab heritage. LinksLouis CK and his friends discuss the word f@**%tWikipedia on F**** and C*** [wikipedia.org]Bill Burr on the c-word [youtube.com]Andy Ihnatko's podcast on 5by5.tv, where he discusses why Family Guy is not funnyThe Troubling Viral Trend of the “Hilarious” Black Neighbor by Aisha Harris [slate.com] Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler shrug off inside baseball concerns and argue whether to go to grad school, what to do when you get there, and share horror stories about the job market.   Also, Tamler explains why the sorority sister who wrote the infamous email is a "civil rights visionary," Dave refuses to say "c*#t punt," and listener contributions from Boomer Trujillo, Yoel Inbar, Rachel Grazioplene, Dave Tucker, and Nina Strohminger. LinksMichael Shannon Reads Sorority Letter [funnyordie.com]David Ortiz Pregame Speech [youtube.com] Twitter beef"Thesis Hatement" by Rebecca Schuman [slate.com]"Thesis Defense" by Katie Roiphie [slate.com] The Impossible Decision by Joshua Rothman [newyorker.com] VBW Bonus content: Dave and Yoel inbar on the "replicability crisis."Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler begin with a brief, heartfelt discussion about the Boston Bombings.  Tamler talks about why Patriots' Day and the Boston Marathon mean so much to a kid growing up in Boston.  They speculate a bit about the motive behind the attack and ask why the perpetrators didn't come out and claim responsibility.  In the second and third segments, Molly Crockett joins us to challenge Fiery Cushman for the prize of classiest episode ever.  She tells us about her research on the effects of serotonin depletion on retributive behavior, and how it was reported as "Chocolate and Cheese help you make better decisions" in the popular media.  We talk about the responsibility that scientists have to make sure that their studies are reported properly, and how brain research can (despite David's previous claims) help shed light on human nature and behavior.  Also: Tamler mangles the pronunciation of roughly 14 brain regions, Dave yearns for the days when restrictions of human experimentation were non-existent, and both Dave and Tamler subtly and then not so subtly try to get Molly to hook them up with...molly.  Enjoy!LinksDirty Water by the Standells [youtube.com]Patriots' Day [wikipedia.org]Molly Crockett  [mollycrockett.com]Crockett, M. J., Clark, L., Tabibnia, G., Lieberman, M. D., & Robbins, T. W. (2008). Serotonin modulates behavioral reactions to unfairness. Science, 320, 1739.Serotonin [wikipedia.org]Striatum [wikipedia.org]DMT [wikipedia.org]  Special Guests: Fiery Cushman and Molly Crockett.Support Very Bad Wizards

Re-recording a not-so-tragically lost episode (it kinda sucked), Dave and Tamler talk about the things they hate most about philosophy and psychology.  But first they discuss a blog post by a Rochester professor that wonders why it's not OK to rape someone who's passed out.  Also: same-sex marriage, telling dirty jokes to your daughter, Meredith Baxter Birney, Lifetime movies, how to eat crawfish, and Dave takes a bold, even heroic, stand by criticizing a Republican senator.     LinksIn honor of our 19th episode, some Paul Hardcastle for you..Opening clip: Bridge on the River Kwai [youtube.com] Economist: Rapists reaping rewards of passed out girls  [gawker.com]Molly Crockett's TEDx Talk on Neuro-Bunk  [TED.com]Friendship and Freedom (blog post, Flickers of Freedom--Tamler and Saul Smilanksy get into it about the "dubiousness" of gratitude in the comments )The Ikea Effect [hbr.org] Paul Bloom and David talk about social psychology's dismissal of reason [bloggingheads.tv] Donate to Oxfam. It will feel good.  And then afterwards... Support Very Bad Wizards

Joe Henrich joins the podcast to tell us that we know nothing about his work and that how we got to teach a class in anything is absolutely amazing.   We continue our discussion from Episode 17 about his critique of the social and behavioral sciences in "The Weirdest People in the World" and his work in small scale societies on fairness norms.  We also talk about the weird American obsession with happiness, monkeys throwing cucumbers, and why some people reject "hyper-fair" offers of more than the half the pot in the ultimatum games.  Links"I happen to have Marshall Mcluhan right here."   (From Woody Allen's Annie Hall.)  Longer HD version hereJoe Henrich UBC.ca | Wikipedia The Machiguenga [wikipedia.org] Henrich on Brosnan and DeWaal's capuchin inequity aversion study. Chicha [wikipedia.org] How much money would it take for you to kill a puppy? [liveleak.com] Relevant papers are listed in the notes for Episode 17: Learning About Bushmen from Studying Freshmen?  Special Guest: Joe Henrich.Support Very Bad Wizards

Thousands of studies in psychology rely on data from North American undergraduates. Can we really conclude anything about the "human" mind from such a limited sample-- especially since Westerners are probably more different from the rest of the world's population than any other group?  We talk about Joseph Henrich and colleagues' critique of the behavioral sciences in their paper "The WEIRDEST People in the World."    David offers a defense of psychology, arguing that it's usually not the goal of lab studies to generalize findings to all humans in the first place.  Also, Tamler  gives a brief, heartfelt, completely non-awkward rant about monkey torturer Harry Harlow and David defends the practice of electrocuting baby monkeys for no reason. LinksThe Gods Must Be Crazy [IMDB.com]Bushmen [wikipedia.org]Homo Economicus [wikipedia.org]The Ultimatum Game [wikipedia.org]Müller-Lyer illusion [wikipedia.org]We aren't the world [psmag.com]Harlow studies [wikipedia.org]Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010).The weirdest people in the world. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 61-83.Henrich, J., Boyd, R., Bowles, S., Camerer, C., Fehr, E., Gintis, H., & McElreath, R. (2001). In search of homo economicus: behavioral experiments in 15 small-scale societies. American Economic Review, 73-78.Mook, D.G. (1983). In Defense of External Invalidity. American Psychologist, 38,379-387. Support Very Bad Wizards

For those who thought our most uncomfortable topics were behind us, on this episode we are joined by David's childhood friend Damani McDole [facebook.com] to discuss several potentially offensive topics surrounding race and justice in America, such as slavery, reparations, affirmative action, and the use of the N-word. When Damani mounts an economic and moral defense for reparations for the descendants of slaves, David prefers to point to the difficulties in deciding who gets paid ( someone who's 1/16th descended from slaves? Jamaican-Americans? African immigrants?) and who should be responsible for paying (only people whose descendants benefitted from slavery? all non-slave descended taxpayers?). Tamler proposes (taking a note from Lenny Bruce) that if we use the N-word often enough it will lose its sting, and decides to practice what he preaches. And Damani reveals a surprising theory about race and geography (surprising for a Black man, at least) that leaves Tamler awkwardly speechless. For those who are visually inclined: here's a one-minute set of behind-the-scenes clips from our Google+ Hangout:Links Nigger [wikipedia.org]Leonardo DiCaprio bleeds for his role in Django Unchained [cinemablend.com]Lenny Bruce- Are there any niggers here tonight? [youtube.com] 60-year old white man slaps Black baby  [thesmokinggun.com] The truth about 40 Acres and a Mule [theroot.com]The "great migration" of American Blacks out of the South [inmotionaame.org]1811 Louisiana Slave Rebellion [theroot.com]Maya Angelou and Dave Chappelle on Iconoclasts [sundancechannel.com]Bonus: Dave Chappelle imagines reparations [youtube.com] Special Guest: Joseph Damani McDole.Support Very Bad Wizards

You don't need to be a psychologist or a philosopher to enjoy a good, old-fashioned bitch-fest. In the first of a two-part episode (no single compact disc, 8-track, or LP could hold all our complaints), Tamler and David list two of the things that bug them about their respective fields. We take issue with bad writing, brain worship, meaningless questions, and psychologists' obsession with the number two. Enjoy and try not to hold it against us. LinksSimpsons clip on philosophy majors [youtube.com]Peter Hacker on philosophy [leiterreports.typepad.com]Business-speak buzzwords [wikipedia.org]Dual process theory [wikipedia.org]Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman [amazon.com]Dual-Process Theories in Social Psychology [amazon.com]Gettier Problem [wikipedia.org]Seduced by the flickering lights of the brain by Paul Bloom [seedmagazine.com] Support Very Bad Wizards

In a break from tradition, we recorded a 25-minute episode on the morality of tattletaling, snitching, ratting, and whistleblowing. We discuss why these people seem especially despicable (except for maybe "Bubbles" from "The Wire" and the guy from "The Insider"), and David gets Tamler to agree that he'd never turn him into the police. We also puzzle over the existence of porn theaters, and the origins of the expression "flip a bitch." LinksStop Snitchin' campaign [wikipedia.org]Bubbles (character from "The Wire") [wikipedia.org]Time Magazine Persons of the Year: Whistleblowers [time.com]Ingram, G. P., & Bering, J. M. (2010). Children’s tattling: The reporting of everyday norm violations in preschool settings. Child development, 81, 945-957.Obie Trice feat. Akon "Snitch""Dry Snitching" [urbandictionary.com] Support Very Bad Wizards

Our classiest episode yet (OK, that's not saying much, but still...)--Psychologist Fiery Cushman joins us for a discussion about collective punishment and collective responsibility. We use Fiery's recent paper on the practice of "beaning" in baseball (punishing one player for a teammate's offense by throwing a 95 MPH fastball at the player's head) to illustrate the phenomenon. Is the "innocent" player being punished because he is somehow morally responsible for his teammate's offense?  Or does deserve have nothing to do with it?  Also in this episode: listener feedback (sort of, we're just psyched to have a Norwegian stand-up comic as a listener), and Fiery solves the 3,000 year-old problem of moral responsibility just so he can get out of Dave's hotel room.  LinksFiery Cushman [brown.edu]Beanball [wikipedia.org]Hatfield-McCoy Blood Feud [wikipedia.org]Major League (1989) [imdb.com]Revenge: A story of hope, by Laura BlumenfeldBlood Revenge, by Christopher Boehm"The Two Faces of Revenge: Moral Responsibility and the Culture of Honor." T Sommers."John Kruk and Desert." [Flickers of Freedom blog post]Support Very Bad Wizards

Dave and Tamler square off the role of the victim in criminal punishment and find little to agree about. Tamler defends the restorative justice approach, while Dave expresses skepticism about its value and worries it might even be damaging. Arguments ensue, but be sure to stick around for the third segment as it features an unusually focused and productive discussion--for them anyway.Also discussed:  the best character on "The Wire," the startling specificity of KG's trash-talking, and a listener calls us out on not justifying the meaningfulness of life. LinksFamily Guy- Breaking Bad (and The Wire)  [youtube.com]The Wire- Omar in court [youtube.com]Restorative Justice [wikipedia.org]Christie, N. (1977). Conflicts as Property. British Journal of CriminologyGreg Ousley is sorry for killing his parents. Is that enough? [NY Times magazine]"The Caging of America" by Adam Gopnik.  [New Yorker]"Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice?" [NY Times magazine]Support Very Bad Wizards

Social psychologist Yoel Inbar joins Tamler and David to discuss Clint Eastwood's masterpiece of the Western genre, "Unforgiven." The discussion includes the nature of revenge, the requirements of justice, the rules of nicknaming, and who or what was being referred to as  "unforgiven" in the movie's title.LinksUnforgiven (1992): IMDB, Wikipedia PageIf you haven't seen "Unforgiven," don't worry : Story Spoilers Don't Spoil Stories Actor Saul Rubinek [wikipedia.org] Relevant Book about moral character by a couple of great social psychologists: Out of Character: Surprising Truths About the Liar, Cheat, Sinner (and Saint) Lurking in All of UsSpecial Guest: Yoel Inbar.Support Very Bad Wizards

Does life have meaning if there is no God? Why should I be a good person if there's no reward or punishment waiting for me in the afterlife? Why does religion seem to make people happier and healthier? Dave and Tamler heroically try to answer these questions without being stoned. Other topics include Dave's paralyzing fear of death, bad times on mopeds, and the pros and cons of naming your daughter Chlamydia. They almost get through the episode without having to censor something--but not quite.  LinksWoody Allen's "Love and Death" Paul Bloom- Does Religion Make You Nice? [Slate.com]Follow-up reading on religion and health (for the slightly academically inclined)- Powell, L. H., Shahabi, L., & Thoresen, C. E. (2003). Religion and spirituality: Linkages to physical health. American Psychologist, 58, 36.Pascal's Wager [wikipedia.org]Albert Camus [Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]The Problem of Evil. [Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]"Yes but subjectivity is objective."Collateral Support Very Bad Wizards

After discussing some listener feedback about the movie Swingers, Tamler and David talk about two classic experiments in social psychology: the Milgram Experiments and the Zimbardo Prison experiment.  They discuss the power of the situation, its influence on recent philosophy, and whether there is room given the evidence to believe in moral character and virtue. Also, Tamler admits to his former struggles with hard core street drugs, and Dave ponders which prison gang would be most accepting if he had to serve hard time.Links"Swingers," Directed by Jon Favreau [metacritic.com]The Milgram Experiment [Wikipedia.org]Video clip of a replication of the Milgram Experiment [youtube.com]The Stanford Prison Experiment [Wikipedia.org]Short video on Stanford Prison Experiment [youtube.com]Asch Conformity Experiment [youtube.com]Jon Doris "Lack of Character" [amazon.com]Support Very Bad Wizards