Very Bad Wizards
About the Show
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 92: Jonathan Edwards' Basement
June 21st, 2016 | 1 hr 8 mins
David and Tamler discuss Jonathan Bennett's classic paper "The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn."
Episode 91: Rage Against the Machines
June 7th, 2016 | 1 hr 24 mins
Tamler and David discuss a recent article that claims that an algorithm used to predict criminal behavior is racially biased, and argue about the wisdom of using algorithms across other domains in life.
Episode 90: Of Mice and Morals
May 24th, 2016 | 1 hr 20 mins
David and Tamler have their first real fight in a while over an article defending "social mixing"--distributing babies randomly across families such that no infant is genetically related to the parents who raise them. Then they discuss a study published in "Science" in 2013 in which participants could earn money if they agreed to let mice be killed in a gas chamber.
Episode 89: Shame on You (with Jennifer Jacquet)
May 10th, 2016 | 1 hr 37 mins
David and Tamler welcome author and environmental science professor Jennifer Jacquet to the podcast to discuss the pros and cons of shame.
Episode 88: A Doobie for Elijah
April 26th, 2016 | 1 hr 20 mins
David and Tamler celebrate Passover with a high-spirited episode on guns, revenge, liberals, being offended, the fear of death, and whether kids have a right to be loved.
Episode 87: Lucky You (with Robert Frank)
April 12th, 2016 | 1 hr 19 mins
The economist Robert Frank joins us for a discussion of success and luck.
Episode 86: Guns, Shame, and the Meaning of Punishment
March 22nd, 2016 | 1 hr 14 mins
Tamler and David discuss the meaning of punishment and the recent decision in Texas that will allow students to carry guns on campus.
Episode 85: A Zoo with Only One Animal (with Paul Bloom)
March 11th, 2016 | 1 hr 9 mins
Philosophers can be funny and funny movies can be philosophical. David and Tamler welcome frequent VBW guest and arch-enemy of empathy Paul Bloom to discuss their five favorite comic films with philosophical/psychological themes.
Episode 84: Lifting the Veil
February 23rd, 2016 | 1 hr 33 mins
Tamler and David discuss Bernard Williams' "Rawls and Pascal's Wager"
Episode 83: Ego Trip
February 9th, 2016 | 1 hr 1 min
Tamler and David discuss Anthony Greenwald's classic article "The Totalitarian Ego."
Episode 82: Totalitarian Slide-Rulers
January 26th, 2016 | 1 hr 5 mins
Tamler and David discuss Isaiah Berlin's influential essay, "Two Concepts of Liberty"
Episode 81: Domo Arigato, Mr. Robot (With Yoel Inbar)
January 12th, 2016 | 1 hr 47 mins
Special guest Yoel Inbar joins Dave and Tamler to talk about the best show of last year. Warning: This episode is full of spoilers. Do not listen until you've seen Season 1 of Mr. Robot.
Episode 80: The Coddling of the Wizard Mind (with Vlad Chituc and Christina Hoff Sommers)
December 21st, 2015 | 1 hr 40 mins
It's our last episode on campus protests and political correctness for a while, we promise! But it's a fun one. David and Tamler welcome two guests on the opposite side of the debate spectrum: Recent Yale Alum, cognitive scientist, freelance writer, (and writer of novel-length emails), Vlad Chituc joins both of us to defend the Yale protests, provide some context, and explain why the good people at FIRE are hypocritical about free expression. In the middle segment, Tamler talks with his notorious stepmother and "factual feminist" Christina Hoff Sommers (author of "Who Stole Feminism?" and "The War Against Boys").
Episode 79: Good Lives, Good Friends, and Gay Mormons (with Valerie Tiberius)
December 3rd, 2015 | 1 hr 47 mins
Special guest Valerie Tiberius joins us to talk about values, well-being, and friendship. In the first segment, David and Tamler list a few things they're grateful for on Thanksgiving, including you, the listeners (awwwwww...).
Episode 78: Wizards Uprising
November 23rd, 2015 | 1 hr 8 mins
David and Tamler return to the minefield of campus politics and talk about recent events at Yale, Missouri, and Amherst. Are the protests are long overdue response to systematic oppression and prejudice? Or is this new generation of students coddled, hypersensitive, and hostile to free speech? Maybe a little bit of both?