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Tea for Two with Helen Pluckrose and Iona Italia



United Kingdom






48 - Colin Wright - No One is Born in the Wrong Body

You can find Colin’s Quillette article, “The New Evolution Deniers” here: https://quillette.com/2018/11/30/the-new-evolution-deniers/ And his article with William Malone and Julia Robinson, “No One is Born in the Wrong Body” here: https://quillette.com/2019/09/24/no-one-is-born-in-the-wrong-body/ Colin’s article with Emma Hilton, “The Dangerous Denial of Sex” can be found here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-dangerous-denial-of-sex-11581638089?mod=opinion_lead_pos5 You can find Colin’s...


47 - David Robert Grimes — Bad Science, Flawed Logic and Misinformation

David’s book, The Irrational Ape: Why Flawed Logic Puts Us All at Risk, and How Critical Thinking Can Save the World (2019) is available here: https://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/The-Irrational-Ape/David-Robert-Grimes/9781471178252 Additional References Visit Letter here: https://letter.wiki/conversations. Looking for a correspondent? DM @JacksonAEdwards on Twitter or email humans@karma.wiki. Emily St Mandel, Station Eleven: A Novel (2014) Steve Stewart-Williams, The Ape that Understood...


46 - Aaron Rabinowitz - Is Civility Overrated?

You can find Aaron’s podcast, Embrace the Void, here: https://voidpod.com/podcasts; and his podcast, Philosophers in Space, co-hosted by Thomas Smith, here: https://0gphilosophy.libsyn.com/ You can find Aaron’s conversations on Letter and write to him here: https://letter.wiki/AaronRabinowitz/conversations Support Aaron here (I’m a patron!): https://www.patreon.com/EmbraceTheVoid Follow Aaron on Twitter: @ETVPod Further References Thomas Chatterton Williams, A Self-Portrait in Black and...


45 - David Ley - Porn, Masturbation and Sexual Integrity

David’s latest book, Ethical Porn for Dicks: A Man’s Guide to Responsible Viewing Pleasure (2016) can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.com/Ethical-Porn-Dicks-Responsible-Pleasure/dp/0996485236/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 David’s The Myth of Sex Addiction (2012) can be found here: https://rowman.com/isbn/9781442213067/the-myth-of-sex-addiction David’s 2012 book, Insatiable Wives: Women who Stray and the Men who Love Them can be found here:...


44 - Salil Tripathi - Journalistic Integrity

For a comprehensive guide to Salil’s work, see: http://www.saliltripathi.com/Welcome.html Salil’s articles for Mint: https://www.livemint.com/topic/salil-tripathi Salil’s article for Caravan: https://caravanmagazine.in/author/93 Salil’s books can be found here: The Colonel Who Would Not Repent: The Bangladesh War and Its Unquiet Legacy (2016): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0300218184/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0 Detours: Songs of the Open Road (2015):...


43 - Steve Stewart Williams - An Astonishing Ape

For Steve’s book, Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life: How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew (2012) see: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/darwin-god-and-the-meaning-of-life/A3055F89051D5F4ADE4AFE9473BF0AAB For Steve’s book, The Ape that Understood the Universe: How the Mind and Culture Evolve (2019) see: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/ape-that-understood-the-universe/3448755E3BF801C936343555DA7AECBB Find out more about Steve here:...


42 - Andy Curran - Diderot, Intellectual Libertine

3:38 What attracted Andy to Diderot? 7:09 Diderot’s radical questioning of political and sexual norms: homosexuality; masturbation; incest fantasies 20:55 “My thoughts are my sluts”—intellectual libertinage 25:44 Diderot’s relationships with women 28:00 Diderot as a playwright 30:24 Religious sexual fantasies 31:00 The Literary Correspondence 31:50 Diderot on painting and on acting 39:15 Samuel Richardson and the new focus on humble people 41:32 La Religieuse (The Nun) 45:12 Diderot on...


41 - Jon Rosen and Ben Burgis - Free Will and Moral Responsibility

6:38 Defining terms: compatibilism, semi-compatibilism, determinism, libertarianism 46:50 Moral responsibility 1:02:30 Reasons responsiveness 1:20:07 Sociopathy and the amydala 1:24:30 The sorites paradox (the paradox of the heap) 1:36:15 What does it mean to have control? 1:52:05 Rights forfeiture theory, criminal punishment and free will 2:29:30 How did the three of us arrive at our respective positions? For the original discussion on Letter, see: https://letter.wiki/conversation/54. For...


40 - Imran Shamsunahar - Troubled Tropical Powerhouse: Malaysia’s Past, Present and Future

2:13 General information about Malaysia: history, politics, economics 4:36 Demographics and religion 8:03 Malaysian independence 9:15 The history of Malaysian party politics since independence 10:10 The evolution of Malay nationalism and the rise of Islamist politics 15:06 Anwar Ibrahim 16:21 Sodomy laws and gay rights in Malaysia 17:38 The decriminalisation of homosexuality in India 20:18 Changes to Islam within Malaysia: from tropical Islam to a more austere & authoritarian form 27:05 The...


39 - Eric Kaufmann - Fight, Flee, Repress or Join: Facing the Mixed Race Future

Timestamps 3:50 Eric argues that people’s feelings about immigration aren’t linked to economic anxiety 4:42 Brexit/Trump/populist right support isn’t linked to social class. What does predict this? 7:44 Psychological dimensions of conservative attitudes: is it reactionary? Retrograde or just nostalgic? 13:21 The Islam factor 24:52 Four white majority responses to immigration change: fight, flee, repress & join. 25:24 The fight response 25:38 The flee response: white flight from minority...


38 - David Sloan Wilson - The Evolutionary View of Life

2:07 Evolutionary theory as a comprehensive way of looking at life 7:20 Evolutionary theory and English literature 11:52 Gene-centric evolutionary theory versus the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis 15:50 Looking at learning and management from an evolutionary standpoint: Toyota 17:07 How a knowledge of evolution can influence public policy 25:40 An evolutionary view of psychotherapy 27:00 Multi-level selection theory. Application to cancer therapies. 28:20 How chicken farming illustrates...


37 - Rahmaan “Roc” Mwongozi - Overcoming Our Inner Demons

3:20 Roc’s name 9:00 Childhood and adolescence 28:28 College 31:20 Race and social circles 35:42 “Conservative” ideals which are actually commonsense ideals 37:00 The black community 38:50 Compassion and resilience 43:05 Privilege 48:30 Money, success, winning at the system 53:30 Growing up in the analogue world; living in the digital one 1:09:47 On speaking “for” your community 1:17:25 Shared goals 1:13:34 Science fiction Roc’s book, Inner Demons: Blazing a Path to Happiness (2018), can be...


36 - Claire Graham - Intersex Issues

1:27 Defining intersex—how common is it?; different types 8:06 Intersex versus trans 12:20 What does it mean to be assigned the “wrong” sex at birth? 25:03 Is sex a spectrum? 30:33 Hermaphrodites 32:33 The condition MRKH and Claire’s own experiences being diagnosed 38:20 CAIS (complete androgen insensitivity syndrome); past approaches to intersex people and more recent changes 47:10 Claire’s Twitter ban; trans activists and intersex people 1:07:40 Some misconceptions about intersex people...


35 - Dayne and Clyde Rathbone - Letter: Changing the Nature of Online Conversations

2:42 Dayne and Clyde’s backgrounds and why they decided to found Letter 10:50 What is Letter? How does the form nudge us towards more worthwhile forms of exchange. 16:16 How to avoid trolls and call-out culture on a platform. 27:00 How certain technologies facilitate and encourage certain types of use 34:02 The advantage of having a discussion in written form 37:20 Twitter 42:02 Time well spent 44:12 Addiction, unitasking and focus; longer term value 51:19 Connection 58:38 Long-term goals...


34 - Jamie Woodhouse - Sentientism

25:04 Can we derive moral values from reason? 27:30 Veganism 42:20 The nature of sentience 53:20 AI 59:50 Humans versus non-humans 1:03:50 Cognitive dissonance in everyday life 1:08:20 Are the lives of endangered animals worth more? Is there a value to things even when humans can’t experience them? 1:17:20 Potential problems with sentientism 1:30:02 Humanists and their responses to sentientism Jamie would love to hear your questions or feedback about Sentientism on Twitter at @jamiewoodhouse...


33 - Melissa Chen - Toward a New Arab Enlightenment

4:06 Melissa’s Methodist upbringing in Singapore 8:49 Press censorship in Singapore; Singapore society in general 14:30 Why Melissa decided to come and study in the US; her studies in genetics (transcriptomics) 21:50 Her meeting with Faisal al Mutar 24:10 Their secular humanists Facebook page 27:55 On the right way to make tea 35:00 Melissa’s early work with Faisal 36:30 Ideas Beyond Borders 49:45 Literacy in the MENA region 51:55 Bringing a new Enlightenment to the Arab world 1:06:30 The...


32 - Oliver Traldi and Victor Rivera - Philosophy, Postmodernism and Types of Meaning

3:40 Chapo Trap House and the phenomenon of internet trolling 8:34 Jordan Peterson 38:01 Postmodernism versus analytic philosophy 40:10 The difference between the new critical theorists and the classic postmodernists 43:56 The implications of this for literary criticism 50:19 Baudrillard—Oliver's favourite postmodernist 51:33 Why postmodernism isn't neo-Marxist 55:35 Complicity and trolling 1:07:30 Free speech, social media and content moderation 1:27:52 Should Oliver celebrate things more...


31 - Sohail Ahmad - Ahmadis: Islam’s Peaceful, Persecuted, Patriarchal Proselytisers

24:11 Should we continue to criticise Islam in the age of Trump or is white nationalism and, in India, Hindutva now a greater threat? 31:13 The close-knit Ahmadi community & the pressures it brings. Sexual segregation. Rules about marriage. Double standards for Ahmadi women. 36:31 Homosexuality in Ahmaddiyat 38:24 Proselytisation 39:48 Raising children within a religion 41:42 Ahmadis in the Western media: contradictions and hypocrises 49:12 Should we respect religion? 51:07 Our overemphasis...


30 - Will Storr - The Psychology of Stories

5:20 How to begin a story with a moment of unexpected change 5:58 Evolutionary psychology and storytelling 11:46 Status 16:38 Anti-heroes 24:31 Three routes into story: milieu, what if and argument 28:05 The problem with recipes for storytelling 30:01 The broken protagonist 38:37 Loss of control 50:20 What psychology teaches us about stories and vice versa 53:23 Plot-driven versus character-driven novels 57:08 The novel and the advent of human rights 1:00:18 The idea of the ‘trashy’ novel...


29 - Jay Shapiro - Discarding Old Gods and Inventing New

2:46 Jay’s film Islam and the Future of Tolerance 7:03 Why Jay became a documentary filmmaker 10:05 Why Jay chose to film Sam Harris & Maajid’s Nawaz’s book, Islam and the Future of Tolerance 19:01 Three different mindsets: political, philosophical, psychological 28:00 How responsible is a writer for the way in which he or she is interpreted? 38:24 Different types of Muslims 45:19 Reform versus apostasy 49:16 The problem with Islam 54:19 Who is Maajid Nawaz most skilled at reaching? 56:53...