EF4 SHOW NOTES
Looking to play or download the episode? Click here…(EF4) S1-E2: The Decapitation of Reason: A Skeptic’s Guide (Season One, Episode Two)
How Can You Know Anything?
The big question driving Episode EF4 is… How can you know anything? People rarely think about the origins of knowledge. From where does everything we know come from? It does sound a bit stupid to ask until you realize that knowledge rarely changes. Yes, there is the knowledge that’s set in stone like that if you have two apples and add another two, you’ll have four.
But 300 years ago, the common knowledge was that the only way to communicate long-distance is using birds. Today, thanks to development and thus the constant change of knowledge, we can communicate anyway we want – pic or no pic. So if knowledge is constantly developing, does that mean you should evolve as well? But how if knowledge, the tool for development, is constantly shifting as well? Who knows, maybe in a near future, adding two apples to a basket with two apples will no longer make four.
DEDICATION: Episode EF4 is dedicated to Richard Dawkins, a British evolutionary biologist, and reason-fanatic who, like Ian Ament in Episode EF4, might be willing to cut off his head if it would prove something fundamental about science. Perhaps something near and dear to his heart like disproving the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster might justify decapitation.
Dawkins coined the term meme just like Monty Python coined spam. His work on popularizing the gene as the central unit of evolutionary selection puts him on ‘Darwin of the modern era’ lists, at least in the popular sphere. And similar to the ubiquitous utility of the word spam in an internet flooded with junk, the word meme is synonymous with the current fake news epoch. It’s also likely to be the key concept for which Dawkins will be known.
If we take Dawkins’ perspective and look at individuals as “survival machines”, we can see the irony behind our need to be right. It is not a biological survival, but survival in the arena of opinion where several collections of knowledge are always fighting to be right. Knowledge is less and less used to prove a fact and more to establish a subjective point. It’s a slippery slope because although one side might have the correct facts, they aren’t the goal, but a tool to defeat the opponent.
People aren’t sharing the facts to enrich each other’s knowledge, but to fight, win, and survive. This tendency appears almost to be a biological instinct hardwired in all one of us. Because in the end, we are all only human.
HOW RICHARD DAWKINS INSPIRES EF4
In Episode EF4, the protagonist Ian Ament goes all in to shake the very foundation of humanity without questioning the possible downsides or what might physically happen to him. Progress, it seems, only proceeds in a single direction.
Whether you agree with all of his viewpoints or his combative style, Dawkins’ work is a plethora of thoughtful insights about humanity. Here is more you can check out if you want to learn more:
INSPIRATIONS: Charles Darwin, a man haunted by his discovery of what humanity might be, and the heavy burden of what that knowledge meant in a society still living in the dark. Mary Shelley, the famous writer of the novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus who dared to cut off more than just one limb with her pen. David Hume, a famous philosopher who is directly responsible for developing three contrary schools of thought. Because why should what we know limit us? Sergio Canavero, a neuroscientist who quite literary plans to bring Mary Shelley’s work to life. Episode EF4 was further inspired by Sergei Brukhonenko, Vladimir Demikhov, Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Plato, David Hume, Epicurus, Friedrich Nietzsche, Nicolaus Copernicus, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Yuri Gagarin, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin. For a full list of data and references please, see Episode EF4 Show Notes.
Episode EF4 Summary
At the height of his success, a controversial philosopher named Ian Ament reveals a dangerous plan to do a head transplant swap with his brother. Nobody knows why and both the scientific and medical communities at large are concerned. In a tense live interview with a potential surgeon named Ross Hunter, Ament methodically explains his reasoning to the world. Yet his reasons only bring more questions. Is there something more behind Ament’s plan? For the next 60 minutes of this interview, the historical arc of reason—and Ian’s head—are both on the chopping block as we wait to find out if the ax will fall.
In this episode, we’ll discover what do the theories of rationalism, empiricism and skepticism have to say about the way we gain new knowledge. Why do rationalism and empiricism seem to collide on how humans function? Would it work to instead be a skeptic every time you face a new obstacle? Finally, is there a way to optimize your mindset and personal means of knowledge acquisition?
Unknown Writer, How Russian Scientists Kept a Dog’s Severed Head Alive!, scribol.com. http://scribol.com/science/biology/how-russian-scientists-kept-a-dogs-severed-head-alive/ (Accessed: May 5, 2017)
Tasos Vossos, Advantages & Disadvantages of Rationalism & Empiricism, classroom.synonym.com. http://classroom.synonym.com/advantages-disadvantages-rationalism-empiricism-8754632.html (Accessed: May 5, 2017)
Peter Markie, Rationalism vs. Empiricism, plato.stanford.edu. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rationalism-empiricism/ (Accessed: May 7, 2017)
Hume, D., 1739–40, A Treatise of Human Nature, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1941.
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(EF4) And now you’re asking for my hand in repeating the great earthquake. — The Evolve Faster Podcast (Season One, Episode Two)
(EF4) You will continue to swim in the unknown because you’re afraid to potentially turn on the light of true knowledge. — The Evolve Faster Podcast (Season One, Episode Two)
(EF4) Your senses should fuel your reason. Your reason should make you skeptical. And this questioning should then inspire your drive for deeper sense experiences — The Evolve Faster Podcast (Season One, Episode Two)
(EF4) But now, Ian had a much more extreme goal—one that could actually paralyze his body and mind…or even kill him. — The Evolve Faster Podcast (Season One, Episode Two)
(EF4) Is your mind—and your legacy—ready to take on a centuries-old problem and solve it, once and for all? — The Evolve Faster Podcast (Season One, Episode Two)
(EF4) I’m asking you to help us shake the world from a dream that’s been dreamt for too long. It’s time for people to wake up — The Evolve Faster Podcast (Season One, Episode Two)
(EF4) The next 60 minutes could start humanity down an irreversible path to not only the decapitation of Ian’s head but of reason itself. — The Evolve Faster Podcast (Season One, Episode Two)
(EF4) Season One, Episode Two: We rarely have a chance to change the world. If you could prove something fundamental about the human experience, but it came at an enormous cost, would you have the guts? And what if you proved humanity can’t really know anything?
(EF4) Season One, Episode Two: Can you Trust Reason?
Season One: The journey begins as we embark on 11 episodes on big questions relating to MIND. What is the truth? Can we trust reason? Why do we have emotions? Does happiness define the good? What is identity? What is creativity?
(EF1) Trailer: The Evolve Faster Podcast (Extended) Trailer
(EF2) Intro: Life is a Near Death Experience: Welcome to The Evolve Faster Podcast
(EF3) S1-E1: All Aboard the Experience Machine: Destination…Unknown (Season One, Episode One)
(EF4) S1-E2: The Decapitation of Reason: A Skeptic’s Guide (Season One, Episode Two)
(EF5) S1-E3: The Truth is Clay in the Hands of a Sculptor (Season One, Episode Three)
(EF6) S1-E4: Information Mainlining and the Folly of Modern Wisdom (Season One, Episode Four)
(EF7) S1-E5: Sleight of Mind: The Black Magic of Rhetoric (Season One, Episode Five)
(EF8) S1-E6: Without a Compass: All Who Sail the Seas of Identity Are Not Lost (Season One, Episode Six)
(EF9) S1-E7: I Feel Therefore I am: Capsized by the River Emotion (Season One, Episode Seven)
(EF10) S1-E8: The Road to Happiness is Inked in Suffering (Season One, Episode Eight)
(EF11) S1-E9: When the Lights Go Out: The Blinding Light of an Artificial Future (Season One, Episode Nine)
(EF12) S1-E10: Wired to Fail: Leveling Up in the Game of Life (Season One, Episode Ten)
(EF13) S1-E11: The Bloody Fingerprint of Creativity (Season One, Episode Eleven)
(EF14) BTP: Behind the Evolve Faster Podcast - The Making of a Speculative Fiction Meets Philosophical Nonfiction Podcast
(EF15) AMA: Ask Me Anything: About Scott Ely and Evolving a Philosophy for Life
(EF16) BTP: On Creative Writing, Video Games and the Future of the Evolve Faster Podcast (About Antonio Rozich)
(EF17) BTP-EF3: What Am I Supposed To Do Free Will and Other Everyday Problems Behind the Podcast of Episode EF3
(EF18) AMA-EF3: The Mystical Allure of Converting to Buddhism and Speculating about Quantum Mechanics Ask Me Anything for Episode EF3
(EF19) BTP-EF4: Head Transplantation and Finding Inspiration for Speculative Fiction - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF4
(EF20) AMA-EF4: The Declining Value of Information and Taking Risks to Determine What is the Truth Ask Me Anything of Episode EF4
(EF21) BTP-EF5: Should Lying be Made Illegal and the Importance of Figuring Out Why You Believe What you Believe --Behind the Podcast of Episode EF5
(EF22) AMA-EF5: Defeating Fake News and Critical Thinking as the Superpower the World Needs Most Ask Me Anything of Episode EF5
(EF23) BTP-EF6: Scaling Mount Wisdom Without Suffocating Under an Avalanche of Ego Behind The Podcast of Episode EF6
(EF24) AMA-EF6: Is Less Really More When it Comes to the Pursuit of Wisdom or is Ignorance Bliss - Ask Me Anything of Episode EF6
(EF25) BTP-EF7: The Power of Propaganda and Rhetoric to Divide Us and the Quest for a Better World - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF7
(EF26) AMA-EF7: The Impossibility of Honest Politicians and Protecting Our Kids from The Most Insidious Fake News Ask Me Anything for Episode EF3
(EF27) BTP-EF8: Who are You and is it Possible to Upgrade Your Identity as an Adult? - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF8
(EF28) AMA-EF8: Drugs, Consciousness Manipulation and Cheating Your Way To a Better You - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF8
(EF29) BTP-EF9: Waging War Between Reason and Emotions and the Importance of Leaving Things Unresolved Behind the Podcast of Episode EF9
(EF30) AMA-EF9: Emotional Manipulation Tribalism and Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Think Before you Feel - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF9
(EF31) BTP-EF10: Dharma Modifying Negative Thinking and the Never-Ending Pursuit of Happiness by Embracing Suffering - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF10
(EF32) AMA-EF10: Mind Control Through a Well Chosen Tattoo and the Unlikely Case of Being Happy Enough - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF3
(EF33) BTP-EF11: The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Creativity - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF11
(EF34) AMA-EF11: On Perfection, the AI Alignment Problem, and the Possibility of Quantum Leaps of Creativity - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF11
(EF35) BTP-EF12: Cryptocurrencies Gaming and Leveraging Failure to Help Us Define Who We Are - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF12
(EF36) AMA-EF12: Pyrrhic Victory and Finding the 10% of Your Mind that Defines Who You Are - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF12
(EF37) BTP-EF13: Where Creativity Comes From and How to Find Your Uniquely Bloody Fingerprint - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF13
(EF38) AMA-EF13: Flow, Creative Improvisation and Other Altered States of Consciousness Ask Me Anything for Episode EF13
(EF39) S2-E0: LIFE, UPGRADED: Welcome to Season Two of the Evolve Faster Podcast
(EF40) S2-E1: Dehumanized: The Search for Self in the Devil’s Looking Glass
(EF41) S2-E2: Transhuman Fallibility: The Existential Risk of a Superhuman Future
(EF42) S2-E3: Civil Individualism: Loneliness Atop Mount Empowerment
(EF43) S2-E4: Evil Urges: The Fiery Duality of Human Nature
(EF44) S2-E5: Reality Unchained: Smashing the Icons of Social Delusion
(EF45) S2-E6: Weaving Society’s Web: Purpose in a Future Without Work
(EF46) S2-E7: Empathetic Distortion: Rigging the Scales of Justice
(EF47) S2-E8: Infinite Regress: Drawing Back The Veil of Perception
(EF48) S2-E9: Checkmate: A Child’s Guide to the Good Life
(EF49) S2-E10: The Domino Effect: The Momentum of an Unstoppable Future