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RS 238 - Razib Khan on "Stuff I've Been Wrong About"

Release date: August 19th, 2019

Razib Khan

It's rare for public intellectuals to talk about things they've gotten wrong, but geneticist Razib Khan is an exception. He recently published list of 28 things he's changed his mind about in the last decade, not just in genetics, but in other fields of science, politics, society, and religion. Julia interviews Razib about some of the items on the list -- why did he change his mind, and what lessons does he feel he's learned from his past errors?


Razib's website

Razib's blog post, "Stuff I was wrong about"

"The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization" by Bryan Ward-Perkins

Razib's follow-up post about religion and the Roman Empire

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

Full Transcripts 

Reader Comments (5)

Very Kool Podcast with a very kool guest.

Age does bring an increase in skepticism, and an increase in wisdom.

Rome definitely fell. It took a long time for Mediterranean and European Civilization to recover.

Christianity does provide a better model for civilization than paganism. Christianity does transcend ethnicity.
August 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJameson
"I wonder if there's anyone whose evolution of their thinking over time has gone in the opposite direction, and they're now less agnostic and they think things are simpler and clearer than they used to, when they were younger."
Ideally, people would be ambivalent about things they know little about, and pick sides as they learn more, but that's not how the Dunning-Kruger effect works. I was ambivalent about Global Warming before I read up on it. I'm still ambivalent about genetic engineering.

Anything unexpected is a learning opportunity. How many people correctly predicted the last five presidential elections?

"And then the younger people who haven't lived through the bursting of the hype bubbles are just like, 'No, this time it will be different! This one's going to work!'"

Some technology was ahead of its time, like electric cars and neural networks.
Now we have Luddites and pessimists who say that "this time" automation will kill more jobs than it creates.
August 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMax
Great idea for a blog post (things I've been wrong about), with insightful questions by Julia--insightful meaning just the questions I would have asked if I had her mental quickness and presence of mind. Every year around New Year's I make a list of topics where I've changed my opinion recently. A little like the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius that Jesuits do. It's humbling, and I learn a lot, including solidifying my new understanding of the topics in question. But when I mention this exercise to friends, I get puzzled looks, and a quick change of topic.
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