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Ethics | Podcast | Politics | Science | Violence | August 25, 2015

The Dark Side

A Conversation with Paul Bloom

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(Photo via Woody Hibbard)

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris and Paul Bloom talk about Donald Trump, torture, trophy hunting, and other terrors.

Paul Bloom is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University. His research explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with special focus on morality, religion, fiction, and art. He has won numerous awards for his research and teaching. He is past-president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and co-editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, one of the major journals in the field. Dr. Bloom has written for scientific journals such as Nature and Science, and for popular outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic Monthly. He is the author or editor of six books, including Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil.

Ethics | Meditation | Podcast | Religion | Self | Spirituality | August 11, 2015

Questions Along the Path

Further Reflections on the Practice of Meditation with Joseph Goldstein

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(Photo via Lorenzoclick)

Joseph Goldstein has been leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and the Forest Refuge. Since 1967, he has practiced different forms of Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Burma, and Tibet. His books include The Experience of Insight, A Heart Full of Peace, One Dharma, and Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening.

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam and Joseph discuss the practice of meditation and answer questions that came from listeners in response to their first conversation, The Path and the Goal.

For those interested in practicing mindfulness, Joseph and Dan Harris have developed a short meditation course as an app, 10% Happier: Meditation for Skeptics. You can begin the course for free, and if you choose to purchase the full course, you will receive a 20 percent discount by using the code: WAKINGUP (all caps required).

Ethics | Neuroscience | Philosophy | Podcast | Politics | Psychedelics | July 29, 2015

The Virtues of Cold Blood

A Conversation with Paul Bloom


In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with psychologist Paul Bloom about the limitations of empathy as a guide to moral reasoning.

Paul Bloom is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University. His research explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with special focus on morality, religion, fiction, and art. He has won numerous awards for his research and teaching. He is past-president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and co-editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, one of the major journals in the field. Dr. Bloom has written for scientific journals such as Nature and Science, and for popular outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic Monthly. He is the author or editor of six books, including Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil.

Announcements | Ethics | Podcast | Politics | Violence | July 20, 2015

The Moral Gaze

A Conversation with Joshua Oppenheimer

 


In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with the filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer about his remarkable documentaries, The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence.

Atheism | Cults | Podcast | Religion | Christianity | July 3, 2015

Leaving the Church

A Conversation with Megan Phelps-Roper

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In this episode, Sam Harris speaks with Megan Phelps-Roper, granddaughter of Fred Phelps of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church.

Ethics | Podcast | Politics | Religion | Islam | Terrorism | Violence | War | June 27, 2015

Shouldering the Burden of History

A Crosscast with Dan Carlin

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In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris and Dan Carlin (host of the Hardcore History and Common Sense podcasts) discuss American interventionism, the war on terror, and related topics.

 

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(Photo via Stefan Thiesen)

My wife, Annaka Harris, has created several guided meditations designed for children (ages 6-10). Enjoy! —SH

Islam and the Future of Tolerance Book Cover

Atheism | Book News | Free Will | Podcast | Religion | Science | May 19, 2015

Faith vs. Fact

An Interview with Jerry Coyne


Jerry A. Coyne is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. He received a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary and a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at Harvard University. After a postdoctoral fellowship at The University of California at Davis, he took his first academic position as assistant professor in the Department of Zoology at The University of Maryland. In 1996 he joined the faculty of The University of Chicago and has been there ever since. Coyne’s work has been largely concerned with the genetics of species differences, aimed at understanding the evolutionary processes that produce new species. He has written 115 scientific papers and more than 130 popular articles, book reviews, and columns, as well as a scholarly book about his research area—Speciation, co-authored with H. Allen Orr—and a trade book about the evidence for evolution—Why Evolution is True, which was a New York Times bestseller. His most recent book is Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible. Coyne is a contributor The New York Times, The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, The Nation, USA Today, and other popular periodicals.

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(Photo via Simon & His Camera)

Sam Harris reflects on his failure to have a productive conversation with Noam Chomsky.

Debates | Ethics | Philosophy | Politics | Religion | Terrorism | Violence | War | May 1, 2015

The Limits of Discourse

As Demonstrated by Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky

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(Photo via Axel Naud)

For decades, Noam Chomsky has been one of the most prominent critics of U.S. foreign policy, and the further left one travels along the political spectrum, the more one feels his influence. Although I agree with much of what Chomsky has said about the misuses of state power, I have long maintained that his political views, where the threat of global jihadism is concerned, produce dangerous delusions. In response, I have been much criticized by those who believe that I haven’t given the great man his due.

Last week, I did my best to engineer a public conversation with Chomsky about the ethics of war, terrorism, state surveillance, and related topics. As readers of the following email exchange will discover, I failed. I’ve decided to publish this private correspondence, with Chomsky’s permission, as a cautionary tale. Clearly, he and I have drawn different lessons from what was, unfortunately, an unpleasant and fruitless encounter. I will let readers draw lessons of their own.

–SH

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(Photo via TexasEagle)

In this episode of the Waking Up Podcast, Sam Harris talks about atheism, artificial intelligence, rape, public speaking, meditation, consciousness, free will, intellectual honesty, and other topics.

Book News | Ethics | Martial Arts | Self-Defense | Violence | April 13, 2015

Fighting

A Conversation between Sam Harris and Jonathan Gottschall

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Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Duel After the Masquerade

Jonathan Gottschall is a Distinguished Fellow in the English Department at Washington & Jefferson College. His research at the intersection of science and art has frequently been covered in outlets such as The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times, Scientific American, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nature, Science, and NPR. His book The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice Selection and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. His latest book is The Professor in the Cage: Why Men Fight and Why We Like to Watch.

Book News | Economics | Ethics | Health | Politics | Religion | April 7, 2015

A War Well Lost

Sam Harris and Johann Hari discuss the “war on drugs”

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(Photo via Pete Zarria)

Johann Hari is a British journalist who has written for many of the world’s leading newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Le Monde, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The Nation, Slate, El Mundo, and The Sydney Morning Herald. He was an op-ed columnist for The Independent for nine years. He graduated from King’s College, Cambridge with a double first in social and political sciences in 2001.

Hari was twice named “National Newspaper Journalist of the Year” by Amnesty International. He was named “Environmental Commentator of the Year” at the Editorial Intelligence Awards, and “Gay Journalist of the Year” at the Stonewall Awards. He has also won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for political writing.

Hari’s latest book is the New York Times best seller Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. You can follow him on Twitter @johannhari101.

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In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris discusses the Heaven’s Gate suicide cult and argues that we all have something important to learn from them about the power of belief.

The following videos are discussed:

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