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Serious Inquiries Only
55 minutes | 6 days ago
SIO266: Why Sam Harris Is Wrong about Police Killings
It's been something like 70 years since the George Floyd protests, and the news cycle has had no choice but to move onto so many other huge and terrible things. But Lindsey Osterman and I still haven't forgotten the terrible arguments used by people like Sam Harris, and many in the right-wing information ecosystem, to push back against Black Lives Matter and to try to undermine the massive protests we saw. Lindsey takes us through two papers that have heavily influence this view, and why they're completely wrong. (spoiler: one was even RETRACTED!) This episode was far more focused on the academic papers than on Sam Harris, but if you'd like to hear us absolutely destroy his "Can We Pull Back From the Brink" episode, make to become a Patron!
60 minutes | 13 days ago
SIO265: Did The System Work?
I'm finally answering my listener email! It's been a tense... year, and I haven't gone to the inbox for a while. Today that changes! Before that, I can't help but unload a bit about whether or not "the system worked." When I hear people say that, it just does not seem right. But also... it did... kinda? Then I get to your questions and comments, about Constitutional Conventions and lizard people and revolution and progressive policies and more!
60 minutes | 20 days ago
SIO264: Did Progressive Causes Lead To House Losses?
After Democrats had a disappointing election in the House, there was a group call in which some centrist members blamed progressives. AOC responded in the New York Times. This has set off a pretty bitter debate. I wanted to get to the bottom of the claims using the actual voting data and see if there was anything to be learned going either way. Hours of data entry later, I believe I have (some) answers.
53 minutes | a month ago
SIO263: Not The Worst Possible Outcome, But Close
As of recording, it's looking like a narrow Biden victory and Republican control of the Senate. This isn't set in stone, and there's still an outside shot of taking the Senate and winning the Presidency by a more comfortable margin, but this analysis is under the assumption that we won't. Here are my thoughts.
47 minutes | a month ago
SIO262: I'm Perfectly Calm
Calmer than you are. It's election day. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU Here are a series of disjointed thoughts. God damn I hope this all ends.
36 minutes | a month ago
SIO261: A Monster Island Follow-up
Listeners were fascinated by the Monster Island experiment Aaron told us about last episode! At the same time, another member of the group responded by posting that Aaron had perhaps left some things out of his account. I thought it would be a great opportunity to hear more about the experiment and also see how identity can affect how things like this are experienced.
55 minutes | a month ago
SIO260: Aaron Rabinowitz on James Lindsay and Monster Island
My brother from another pod-mother Aaron Rabinowitz is on to discuss the fantastic article he wrote for The Skeptic! The article is about his experience in the Facebook group Monster Island, which was a no-holds-barred debate group that some of you may have been involved with. If you weren't, Aaron will detail what happened, including a pretty scary twist (or predictable?) ending. Before that, we talk about James Lindsay going full Trump supporter.
51 minutes | a month ago
SIO259: Hunter's Damned Emails
I've been wondering how two things could be true - that Giuliani has an obviously fake story about obtaining Hunter Biden's laptop, and that the leak contains seemingly real texts between Joe and Hunter Biden. I tried to get to the bottom of it. I also talk about the recent murder of a teacher in Paris, committed by a Muslim refugee with radical beliefs, and how we can try to maintain proper perspective in the wake of visceral acts of terror.
60 minutes | 2 months ago
SIO258: How Social Media Can Subvert Democracy
Lindsey Osterman is back for a follow-up to our Social Dilemma episode. Last time we talked about where the documentary got things a little wrong. Today Lindsey's here to tell us what they had right, but didn't go enough into. It's not a pretty picture! As usual, she's got the science to back the claims: 3 major studies which show that Facebook has affected real elections. Studies: Kramer et al 2014, Bond et al 2012, Haenschen
42 minutes | 2 months ago
SIO257: The Psychology Behind Cults, Part 2!
The second part of our conversation on cults. We finish up on the psychology and then talk about Q anon and Trumpism and whether or not they can fairly be called cults.
49 minutes | 2 months ago
SIO256: The Psychology Behind Cults, with Lindsey Osterman
If you've been watching The Vow on HBO (or any number of other cult related shows) you may have been wondering how cults work - why people join, and how cults hang onto their members. There is a lot of psychology behind it, so who better to help break it down than our evo psych expert Lindsey Osterman!
69 minutes | 2 months ago
SIO255: That Horrendous Debate, with Andrew and Alex Torrez!
We're doubling our usual Torrez here! Andrew's son Alex, high school debate champ, is here to help us break down the monstrosity that was that presidential debate!
67 minutes | 2 months ago
SIO254: We Have To Win
The death of the great RBG is absolutely devastating, and has made the stakes so much higher. In this episode, I talk about what we HAVE to do to keep our democracy. Things aren't good. Toward the end, I get into the arguments over whether RBG should have retired, mainly because in EVERY interaction I've seen online about this, people get a bunch of the factual information wrong. However, the arguments are almost completely moot, so if you feel you don't need a history lesson, feel free to skip this part. Links: Ideological measures of the court, Avg justice retirement age, excellent Rebecca Traister article, RBG on why she can't retire, 2014 article asking her to retire.
55 minutes | 2 months ago
SIO253: Unpacking 'The Social Dilemma'
The new doc 'The Social Dilemma' on Netflix is making quite an impression on people. It tells a riveting story of the harms of social media, and has led to many people deleting their accounts or limiting their usage. But are all the claims backed up by science? Yes and no... If you've got an urge to delete all your accounts, you might want to hear what social psychologist Lindsey Osterman has to say about it! (and then maybe still delete your accounts if you want..) Links: Verge article I really liked, social network sites and well-being study, A systematic review: the influence of social media on depression, anxiety and psychological distress in adolescents, Time Spent on Social Network Sites and Psychological Well-Being: A Meta-Analysis.
55 minutes | 3 months ago
SIO252: Lindsey Osterman on Parasocial Relationships
It's been a while, but today we've got a science episode! Making her return to the show is Lindsey Osterman, a psychologist who has been studying parasocial relationships. It's already incredibly likely that you take part in some number of parasocial relationships, but now in the time of COVID they're more prevalent and important than ever. Here are the studies Lindsey references! Gabriel et al (2018) - From apprentice to presidentDownload Osterman & Hecmanczuk (2019) - Parasocial ForgivenessDownload
66 minutes | 3 months ago
SIO251: Dimensions of Political Identity
I've got thoughts and lots of them. How do we as progressives criticize Democrats without damaging our future? Is someone who thinks the DNC is corrupt more left than I am, or more.. something else? No prison stocks didn't go up because of Kamala Harris. Julian Assange is an absolute crap. And lots more.
59 minutes | 4 months ago
SIO250: James Lindsay's "New Discourses" Funded By Far Right Christian Nationalist
Today I'm joined by philosopher Aaron Rabinowitz of Embrace the Void and Philosophers in Space to discuss the some revelations about James Lindsay's organization "New Discourses." If you're a long time listener, you'll remember James Lindsay from this show back when he didn't totally suck. Well he now very much sucks, and to no one's surprise, he's being propped up by right wing Christian Nationalist Michael O'Fallon. PZ Myers has a good writeup of it on his blog. Aaron and I talk about that, our history with James, and what to make of all this.
58 minutes | 4 months ago
SIO249: Can Trump Refuse to Leave? with Andrew Torrez
Here's part 2 of my discussion with Andrew Torrez of Opening Arguments! This time we focus on (hopefully) wild and unlikely scenarios if Trump refuses to leave office. Find out if any of them scare the expert and always optimistic P. Andrew Torrez, Esquire!
41 minutes | 4 months ago
SIO248: Can Trump Steal the Election? with Andrew Torrez
Hey folks, this is one of those unintentional 2-parters! I originally intended to have Andrew on to discuss the scary (and hopefully unlikely?) ways that Trump might try to stay in power even if he lost, but before we even got to that discussion, we go through the ways that Trump and the Republicans are cheating to try to win. Is vote by mail safe? What's the deal with poll-watchers? Those questions and more became part 1, and next episode we talk about the scary theories of how Trump could potentially try to remain president.
60 minutes | 4 months ago
SIO247: Reflections on White Fragility and How To Be An Antiracist
It's a solo show today. I have a lot of thoughts on two books I've read - White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. The monopoly example I used I should have credited to Kimberly Jones.
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