Release date: April 21, 2012
In this special live episode recorded at the 2012 Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, Massimo and Julia discuss the "simulation argument" -- the case that it's roughly 20% likely that we live in a computer simulation -- and the surprising implications that argument has for religion. Their guest is philosopher David Kyle Johnson, who is professor of philosophy at King's College and author of the blog "Plato on Pop" for Psychology Today, and who hosts his own podcast at philosophyandpopculture.com. Elaborating on an article he recently published in the journal Philo, Johnson lays out the simulation argument and his own insight into how it might solve the age-old Problem of Evil (i.e., "How is it possible that an all-powerful, all-knowing, and good God could allow evil to occur in the world?"). As usual, Massimo and Julia have plenty of questions and comments!
1. Ted Schick and Lewis's book Vaughn’s "How To Think About Weird Things." In Kyle’s opinion, it's the best critical thinking book out there. He uses it in many of his classes, and he's not the only one. Carl Sagan also liked the book, and used it in at least one of this classes. The first edition even boasted a blurb from James Randi. It lays out the basics of critical thinking, and then applies them to a number of different topics of interest to students: ghosts, UFOs, conspiracy theories, creationism...you name it! There is almost no way you can't be a skeptic after reading this book. If you have a friend who wonders why you are skeptic—give them this book. It’s very readable and much, much shorter than Demon Haunted World.
2. The Band is Ethereal Collapse. It's a Heavy Metal band, not for the faint of heart. They are not mainstream, but not a garage band either. They do dozens of shows a year, have 5 albums--you can even download and play a few of their songs on Rockband. They tickle Kyle's rational fancy because a number of their songs are about philosophy. "Categories," "Discovering the Absolute," and many more. Kyle can vouch for the philosophical quality of the songs--Ryan Klubeck, the lead guitarist and lyric writer for the band, is one of his graduated philosophy majors. Their new album, “The Precipice of Failure” should be available for download soon.