April 2016

How Many Children?

  The world already has too many people.  7.3 billion.  It’ll probably hit over 11 billion by the end of the century.  Too many people, too few resources, too much damage to the environment.  Disaster, Disaster, Disaster. But that doesn’t answer the question.  Do people have the right to have children or not?  General theories of right and morality are above my pay-grade.  But I’m certain that some people don’t have the right to have children.

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Memes and the Evolution of Culture

  I bet that when most people hear the word ‘meme’ they think of the Internet and the viral spread of things like planking.  Or maybe new expressions like LOL, or Gangnam style or the Harlem shake.  This week's program may touch on that stuff, but that’s mostly not what we want to discuss. We want to discuss a serious scientific hypothesis about the evolution of human culture -- the idea that memes are to cultural evolution as genes are to biological evolution. 

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Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times

Sunday we consider whether ancient wisdom -- namely that of the Greeks -- can be applied to modern problems. Most Greeks thought the earth was flat, that slavery was OK, and that women were second-class people. Plato thought democracy sucked, that poetry and drama were bad things, and that freedom of speech is a sort of joke. He even thought that Philosophers, of all people, should be Kings. So, one might ask, where’s the wisdom in all that?

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Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

Why is there something rather than nothing? That’s the big question we’re asking in this week’s show. It’s an odd question that could be thought of as either supremely profound, or supremely silly. It’s hard to know what an answer might even look like.

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Oneness is a Mystery

Concepts such as infinity and oneness are problematic in terms of our capability to describe them accurately. While it can be argued that perception and language are always inaccurate representations of reality, we judge the fitness, accuracy and consistency of representations based on comparison and our concept of knowledge.

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Extreme Altruism

  Altruists are people willing to do good things for others at a cost to their own happiness and well-being.  Some people think that humans are by nature completely self-interested.  Self-interest is the very opposite of altruism.   But in fact most of us have at least a touch of altruism in us.  

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