Very Bad Wizards
Very Bad Wizards
Tamler Sommers & David Pizarro
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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.
Episode 201: Very Bad Lizard People
David and Tamler dive deep into the psychology and epistemology of conspiracy theories. What makes people so prone to believe in complex malevolent plots that require meticulous organization and utter secrecy at the highest levels of power? Are some conspiracies like [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] more plausible than [REDACTED] give [REDACTED] for? And what about [REDACTED]? Do [REDACTED] mislead [REDACTED] by making us think [REDACTED]? How are we supposed to [REDACTED]? Plus, we do some navel gazing, reflecting on what we love and have struggled with over 200+ hundred episodes of [REDACTED].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: wizardsGiveWell: 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! Promo Code: verybadwizardsBetterHelp: 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:Conspiracy theory - WikipediaConspiracy Theories: Evolved Functions and Psychological Mechanisms - Jan-Willem van Prooijen, Mark van Vugt, 2018The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories - Karen M. Douglas, Robbie M. Sutton, Aleksandra Cichocka, 2017Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional WisdomRex 84 - WikipediaThe Great 5G Conspiracy - The Atlantic
Nov 24
1 hr 56 min
Episode 200: Our 200th Episode Spectactular
David and Tamler celebrate their 200th episode with bourbon and a return to their potty humor roots. First we talk about holes, zoom dicks, and the election. Then we relitigate our bitter debate (from episode 45) over gender, toys, and balanced play diets. Have we matured over all these years? Well it’s not for us to say…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:Hole -- from Wolfram MathWorldGiovanni Kuan (@giovannikuan) • Instagram photos and videosVery Bad Wizards Episode 45: Rounded Brains and Balanced "Play Diets"Davis, J.T.M., Hines, M. How Large Are Gender Differences in Toy Preferences? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Toy Preference Research. Arch Sex Behav 49, 373–394 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01624-7Fine, C., & Rush, E. (2018). “Why does all the girls have to buy pink stuff?” The ethics and science of the gendered toy marketing debate. Journal of Business Ethics, 149(4), 769-784.Stove, D. (1990). The intellectual capacity of women.Help train your child's brain according to gender | Express.co.uk[OC] I asked 1.6k people how many holes certain objects have. : dataisbeautiful
Nov 3
1 hr 44 min
Episode 199: When Philosophy Goes Sideways
David and Tamler check out some recent work in metaphysics and applied ethics. Does playing a Nina Simone song sideways show that Einstein was wrong about spacetime? Does a Dali painting nailed to the wall backwards have intrinsic value (see figure 1)? Is childhood bad for children? Do you have to be a child before you're an adult? Are we kidding? Is this a joke? We don't know but don't play this podcast sideways or it may lose its aesthetic value.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: wizardsBetterHelp: 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:Ferguson, Z. (2020). A song turned sideways would sound as sweet. Analysis.Markosian, N. (2020). Sideways music. Analysis, 80(1), 51-59.Hannan, S. (2018). Why childhood is bad for children. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 35, 11-28.
Oct 20
1 hr 39 min
Episode 198: Is Mental Illness a Myth? (Thomas Szasz's "The Myth of Mental Illness")
David and Tamler explore Thomas Szasz’s provocative and still relevant 1961 book “The Myth of Mental Illness,” the topic selected by our beloved Patreon supporters. When we think of mental disorders as “diseases,” are we making a category mistake? Are we turning ordinary “problems in living” into pathologies that must be treated (with pills or psychoanalysis)? Does this model rob us of our autonomy in direct or indirect ways? Plus, with VBW 200 only 2 episodes away we give our top 3 dream guests, and David dons his punditry cap to break down the first presidential debate, which already seems like six months ago.   Sponsored By:Hello Fresh: Get healthy, fresh meals delivered to your doorstep with Hello Fresh. As a special deal for our listeners, use the code 80verybadwizards and get a total of $80 off across 5 boxes, including free shipping on your first box! Promo Code: 80verybadwizardsBetterHelp: 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:Agnes Callard | Department of PhilosophyDavid Chase - WikipediaDonald Glover - WikipediaDavid Lynch - WikipediaPedro Martínez - WikipediaElon Musk’s Neuralink is neuroscience theater | MIT Technology ReviewThomas Szasz - WikipediaThe Myth of Mental Illness - Wikipedia
Oct 6
1 hr 32 min
Episode 197: The Long Slow Death That Is Life
The psychologist Yoel Inbar has always tried to imbue his work with a sort of interiority, and now he joins us for a deep dive into Charlie Kaufman’s baffling and distressing new film “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.” Why does Jessie Buckley’s name and career keep changing? What’s going on with the dog? Why are the parents unstuck in time? Don’t worry you’ll get home, we have tire chains in the trunk. Plus, aliens, open science, and the illuminati. It’s all connected.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: VBWThe 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:Venus Might Host Life, New Discovery Suggests - Scientific AmericanPentagon forming a task force to investigate UFO sightings - CNNPoliticsI'm Thinking of Ending Things (film) - Wikipedia
Sep 22
1 hr 52 min
Episode 196: The Loneliest Paper in Philosophy
She’s beautiful, smart, funny, and head over heels in love with you. There’s only one problem – she’s from a possible world, not the actual one. What we thought would be a funny opening segment idea turns into a semi-serious discussion of Neil Sinhababu’s 2008 article “Possible Girls.” Plus David and Tamler share some thoughts on teaching in normal times and today.   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: wizardsBetterHelp: 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:Sinhababu, N. (2008), Possible girls. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89, 254-260.Paul Bloom's "Informal Teaching Advice"
Sep 8
1 hr 49 min
Episode 195: Jesus on Trial (Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov")
David and Tamler dive into the most celebrated and philosophically rich scenes in Dostoevsky’s masterpiece "The Brothers Karamazov." Alyosha gets in the middle of a rock-fight, Ivan Karamazov makes a devastating moral case against God, and the Grand Inquisitor convicts Jesus Christ of heresy against the church. (Note: this segment is the second of an upcoming five episode VBW miniseries on The Brothers Karamazov – more info on that to come very soon!) Plus one of us has a milestone birthday... [Special note from Peez: Stick around after the closing music to hear VBWs most frequent guests Paul Bloom and Yoel Inbar talk to David about Tamler behind his back.]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: VBWThe 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:The Brothers Karamazov - WikipediaThe Grand Inquisitor - WikipediaThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky) [amazon.com affiliate link] — This is the edition we used for this episode (and our upcoming 5-part series).
Aug 25
1 hr 55 min
Episode 194: God Has No Mother (with Chris Matheson)
David and Tamler welcome special guest Chris Matheson - co-writer of the "Bill and Ted" movies and author of "The Story of God" and "The Buddha’s Story" - to talk about religion, immortality, comedy, Freud, and why the secret ingredient to good satire is love.  Plus David and Tamler do a conceptual analysis of stoner movies and discuss their favorites. Special Guest: Chris Matheson.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: wizardsBetterHelp: 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:Chris Matheson (screenwriter) - WikipediaThe Story of God by Chris Matheson [amazon.com affiliate link]The Trouble with God by Chris Matheson [amazon.com affiliate link]Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure - WikipediaBill & Ted Face the Music - WikipediaThe Roast of Richard Pryor (very NSFW) [youtube.com]Dark Side of the Rainbow - WikipediaFriday (1995 film) - WikipediaTom and Jerry (Gene Deitch Era) - Terrible TV Shows WikiFantastic Planet - WikipediaAqua Teen Hunger Force - WikipediaThe Return of the Pink Panther (1975) - IMDbHarold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) - IMDbStep Brothers (2008) - IMDbThis Is the End (2013) - IMDb2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - IMDbInherent Vice (2014) - IMDbPlaytime (1967) - IMDbSpirited Away (2001) - IMDbSpider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) - IMDbDazed and Confused (1993) - IMDbJackie Brown (1997) - IMDbTin Men (1987) - IMDb
Aug 11
1 hr 53 min
Episode 193: Free Wanting (Frankfurt's "Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person")
David and Tamler want to go old school and discuss a classic Frankfurt paper on free will. But do they want to want that? Are they free to want what they want to want? Are they free to will what they want to will or to have the will they want? And if that’s not Dr. Seuss enough for you, shouting “FUCK” increases pain tolerance but what about shouting “TWIZPIPE”?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:Repeating the “F” word can improve threshold for pain during an ice water challengeFrontiers | Swearing as a Response to Pain: Assessing Hypoalgesic Effects of Novel “Swear” Words | PsychologyVery Bad Wizards has a new shirt! [CottonBureau.com]Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person by Harry Frankfurt
Jul 21
1 hr 28 min
Episode 192: Postmodern Wet Dreams (Borges' "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote")
David and Tamler dive into “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” a very funny Borges story that also raises deep questions about authorship, reading, and interpretation. What would it mean for the same text to be written by two different authors more than three hundred years apart? Is this story the post-modernist manifesto that literary critics like Roland Barthes believed it to be? Or is the narrator in the story just a delusional sycophant, a victim of Menard’s practical joke – and the story by extension, a practical joke by Borges on the post-modernist movement to come? Plus, My Little Pony fans finally confront their Nazi problem. 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:'My Little Pony' Fans Confront Their Nazi Problem - The AtlanticVery Bad Wizards has a new shirt! [CottonBureau.com]Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote - WikipediaThe Brothers Karmazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky) — This is the edition we will be reading from in our upcoming miniseries.
Jul 7
1 hr 36 min
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