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meaning

Nick Bostrom — Life and Meaning in a Solved World

Bostrom and Shermer discuss: An AI Utopia and Protopia • Trekonomics, post-scarcity economics • the hedonic treadmill and positional wealth values • colonizing the galaxy • The Fermi paradox: Where is everyone? • mind uploading and immortality • Google’s Gemini AI debacle • LLMs, ChatGPT, and beyond • How would we know if an AI system was sentient?

Samuel Wilkinson — What Evolution and Human Nature Imply About the Meaning of Our Existence

Shermer and Wilkinson discuss: • evolution: random chance or guided process? • selfishness and altruism • aggression and cooperation • inner demons and better angels • love and lust • free will and determinism • the good life and the good society • empirical truths, mythic truths, religious truths, pragmatic truths • Is there a cosmic courthouse where evil will be corrected in the next life? • theodicy and the problem of evil: Why do bad things happen to good…

Robert Sapolsky on Free Will and Determinism

Shermer and Sapolsky discuss: free will, determinism, compatibilism, libertarian free will • Christian List’s 3 related capacities for free will • how what people believe about free will and determinism influences their behaviors • the three horsemen of determinism: (1) reductionism (2) predetermination; (3) epiphenomenalism • dualism • punishment • retributive vs. restorative justice •Is the self an illusion? • game theory evolution of punishment • luck • and meaning (or lack thereof).

Mark Skousen — What You Should Know About Economics

Shermer and Skousen discuss: whether economics is politicized • Adam Smith and what he really said • how the economy really works • fiat money vs. gold standard money • inflation and what to do about it • experimental economics • regulation on capitalism • what the Fed does (or should do) • Modern Monetary Theory • bitcoin/cryptocurrency • monopolies, duopolies, and market capture • antitrust, trustbusting • What’s wrong with free market capitalism? • money, happiness, and meaningfulness.

Jennifer Michael Hecht on How to Find Meaning, Purpose, and Happiness in Everyday Life

Shermer and Hecht discuss: awe and wonder • science and religion • the new atheists • humanism and atheism • secular Judaism • replacing religion, with what? • the original meaning of liturgy and why it’s still important • rituals for atheists • how to cope with loss, death, and grief • what to say at weddings and funerals • Alvy’s Error (the universe is expanding but Brooklyn is not) • what we do in the hear-and-now matters, whether or…

Paul Zak — Immersion: The Science of the Extraordinary and the Source of Happiness

Shermer and Zak discuss: neuroeconomics, neuromanagement, and neuromarketing • Zak’s work with the CIA and DARPA • immersion and how is it quantified (with a formula) • monotony of the mundane • the ordinary and extraordinary • peak-end storytelling • immersion in advertising, entertainment, education, attractions, marriage, and retail • what makes a great movie or successful unscripted TV show • novelty • sensitivity training programs • how to give a TED talk • immersion and political candidates • The…

Moneyball For Your Life: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz on Using Data to Get What You Really Want

Most people rely on their gut instinct to decide how to date, who to marry, where to live, what career path to take, how to find happiness, but what if our gut is wrong? Biased, unpredictable, and misinformed, our gut, it turns out, is not all that reliable. Michael Shermer speaks with economist and former Google data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz on using data to get what you really want in life.

Alexander Green on Money & Why It Matters

In episode 184 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, Michael speaks with Alexander Green about one of the most important and yet poorly understood concepts in modern society: money and why it matters.

eSkeptic for May 25, 2021

In episode 184 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, Michael speaks with Alexander Green about one of the most important and yet poorly understood concepts in modern society: money and why it matters.

Angus Fletcher — 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature

In episode 177 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, he speaks with neuroscientist and literature professor Dr. Angus Fletcher about 25 of the most powerful developments in the history of literature, from ancient Mesopotamia to Elena Ferrante.

eSkeptic for May 1, 2021

In episode 177 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, he speaks with neuroscientist and literature professor Dr. Angus Fletcher about 25 of the most powerful developments in the history of literature, from ancient Mesopotamia to Elena Ferrante. PLUS: From now through May 3, 2021 all print and digital back issues of Skeptic magazine are on sale for only 99 cents each! Now is the time to complete your collection!

Jordan Peterson & Michael Shermer on Science, Myth, Truth, and the Architecture of Archetypes

Michael Shermer and Jordan Peterson discuss: the balance between chaos and order • Maps of Meaning • truths: objective, subjective, historical, political, religious, and literary • why all countries aren’t democracies • the appeal of populist, authoritarian leaders • the danger of assessing according to race, sex, class and power • oppression-redemption myths • how Peterson’s dark dreams and mental health issues inform his worldview as tilting toward the darker side of humanity.

eSkeptic for April 20, 2021

In episode 174, join Michael Shermer and Jordan Peterson (bestselling author of 12 Rules for Life) for this extraordinary conversation based on Peterson’s new book Beyond Order. PLUS: Save 40% on new digital subscriptions to Skeptic Magazine via Pocketmags.com, now through April 27, 2021!

Michio Kaku — The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything

Synthesizing relativity and quantum theory would be the crowning achievement of science, a profound merging of all the forces of nature into one beautiful, magnificent equation to unlock the deepest mysteries in science. In this episode, Michael Shermer speaks with professor of theoretical physics Michio Kaku about: the Big Bang, black holes, worm holes, the multiverse, time travel, dark energy and dark matter, gravity, string theory, ETIs, meaning, and God.

eSkeptic for April 6, 2021

Michael Shermer speaks with professor of theoretical physics Michio Kaku about The Quest for a Theory of Everything. PLUS: From now through April 10, 2021 (5 days only) all print and digital back issues Skeptic magazine are on sale for only $1.99 each!

eSkeptic for October 13, 2020

In Science Salon podcast # 137, Michael Shermer speaks with Marta Zaraska about her new book Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100. In addition to healthy nutrition and physical activity, deepening friendships, practicing empathy and contemplating your purpose in life can improve your lifespan.

Marta Zaraska — Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100

In Science Salon podcast # 137, Michael Shermer speaks with Marta Zaraska about her new book Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100. In addition to healthy nutrition and physical activity, deepening friendships, practicing empathy and contemplating your purpose in life can improve your lifespan.

Bart Ehrman — Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife

Nearly everyone wonders about what, if anything, comes after death. In Science Salon # 110 Michael Shermer speaks with Bart Ehrman about his book Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife in which Ehrman investigates the powerful instincts that gave rise to the common ideas of heaven and hell and that help them endure.

eSkeptic for March 31, 2020

Nearly everyone wonders about what, if anything, comes after death. In Science Salon # 110 Michael Shermer speaks with Bart Ehrman about his book Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife in which Ehrman investigates the powerful instincts that gave rise to the common ideas of heaven and hell and that help them endure. PLUS, save 40% on new digital subscriptions to Skeptic magazine now through April 12, 2020.

Brian Greene — Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe

Until the End of Time is Brian Greene’s breathtaking new exploration of the cosmos and our quest to find meaning in the face of this vast expanse. Greene takes us on a journey from the big bang to the end of time, exploring how lasting structures formed, how life and mind emerged, and how we grapple with our existence through narrative, myth, religion, creative expression, science, the quest for truth, and a deep longing for the eternal.

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