title

Very Bad Wizards

Tamler Sommers & David Pizarro

148
Followers
625
Plays
Very Bad Wizards
Very Bad Wizards

Very Bad Wizards

Tamler Sommers & David Pizarro

148
Followers
625
Plays
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About Us

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.

Latest Episodes

Are You Free (to like the Chappelle special)?

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 consciou...

100 MIN1 days ago
Comments
Are You Free (to like the Chappelle special)?

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Theodicy? (The Book of Job)

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

91 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Theodicy? (The Book of Job)

Social Psychology Gets an Asch-Kicking

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) Supe...

109 MINAUG 14
Comments
Social Psychology Gets an Asch-Kicking

A Bug's Life (Kafka's "The Metamorphosis")

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

110 MINJUL 30
Comments
A Bug's Life (Kafka's "The Metamorphosis")

The Big Lebowski vs Pulp Fiction (Pt. 2)

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

93 MINJUL 17
Comments
The Big Lebowski vs Pulp Fiction (Pt. 2)

The Big Lebowski vs Pulp Fiction (Pt. 1)

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 Promo Code: verybadwizardsSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Pulp Fiction Deleted Scene: Elvis vs The BeatlesPulp Fiction - WikipediaThe Big Lebowski - WikipediaGabriel Vinas (@gabrielvinas...

68 MINJUL 4
Comments
The Big Lebowski vs Pulp Fiction (Pt. 1)

Total Recall (Ted Chiang's "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling")

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]

109 MINJUN 19
Comments
Total Recall (Ted Chiang's "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling")

Life With No Head (With Sam Harris)

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 | D...

136 MINJUN 5
Comments
Life With No Head (With Sam Harris)

Choosing to Believe

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

81 MINMAY 15
Comments
Choosing to Believe

Should I Stay or Should I Go? (Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas")

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]

94 MINMAY 1
Comments
Should I Stay or Should I Go? (Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas")

Latest Episodes

Are You Free (to like the Chappelle special)?

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 consciou...

100 MIN1 days ago
Comments
Are You Free (to like the Chappelle special)?

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Theodicy? (The Book of Job)

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

91 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Theodicy? (The Book of Job)

Social Psychology Gets an Asch-Kicking

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) Supe...

109 MINAUG 14
Comments
Social Psychology Gets an Asch-Kicking

A Bug's Life (Kafka's "The Metamorphosis")

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

110 MINJUL 30
Comments
A Bug's Life (Kafka's "The Metamorphosis")

The Big Lebowski vs Pulp Fiction (Pt. 2)

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

93 MINJUL 17
Comments
The Big Lebowski vs Pulp Fiction (Pt. 2)

The Big Lebowski vs Pulp Fiction (Pt. 1)

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 Promo Code: verybadwizardsSupport Very Bad WizardsLinks:Pulp Fiction Deleted Scene: Elvis vs The BeatlesPulp Fiction - WikipediaThe Big Lebowski - WikipediaGabriel Vinas (@gabrielvinas...

68 MINJUL 4
Comments
The Big Lebowski vs Pulp Fiction (Pt. 1)

Total Recall (Ted Chiang's "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling")

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]

109 MINJUN 19
Comments
Total Recall (Ted Chiang's "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling")

Life With No Head (With Sam Harris)

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 | D...

136 MINJUN 5
Comments
Life With No Head (With Sam Harris)

Choosing to Believe

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

81 MINMAY 15
Comments
Choosing to Believe

Should I Stay or Should I Go? (Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas")

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]

94 MINMAY 1
Comments
Should I Stay or Should I Go? (Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas")

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