Decoding the Gurus

Christopher Kavanagh and Matthew Browne

An exiled Northern Irish anthropologist and a hitchhiking Australian psychologist take a close look at the contemporary crop of 'secular gurus', iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights. Leveraging two of the most diverse accents in modern podcasting, Chris and Matt dig deep into the claims, peek behind the psychological curtains, and try to figure out once and for all... What's it all About? Join us, as we try to puzzle our way through and talk some smart-sounding smack about the intellectual giants of our age, from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo. Are they revolutionary thinkers or just grifters with delusions of grandeur? Join us and let's find out!

Start Here
Very Bad Gurus with David Pizarro & Tamler Sommers
Very Bad Gurus with David Pizarro & Tamler Sommers
2 hrs 15 mins
Interview with Timbah Toast on his Tim Pool Documentary & Scooby Doo Partisans
This week's episode we have an extended interview with an independent decoder, the YouTube documentary maker, Timbah-on-Toast. A kindred spirit in many respects Timbah is perhaps the ultimate form of the 'I can't come to bed, someone is wrong on the internet' meme. He makes detailed videos analysing the content of a variety of internet pundits, especially those who are posing as something they are not. If you have not experienced one of Timbah's documentaries you should go do so now. He has an excellent 3-part series on Dave Rubin's interview techniques and another 4-part series breaking down the career of the propagandist founder of the Veritas Project, James O'Keefe. His most recent series, however, is looking at self-proclaimed milquetoast centrist fence-sitter, the eternal beanie wearing Tim Pool. We compare notes, delve into what makes Timbah motivated to do what he does, and discuss his Scooby Doo narrative arc. So join us as Chris meets a kindred consumer of irritating content and Matt continues to ponder if it's all just cloud castles and narcissism. Also featuring... a Weinstein World update, the standard banter quotient, and an abusive Patreon shoutout segment. Links https://twitter.com/jordanbpeterson/status/1513286026659250178?s=20&t=JIYxIy3tvKVHYM-FGWcdxQ (Jordan Peterson's 'Smug Judge' Tweet) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NYz1DJ4ByM (Bret Weinstein & Jonathan Pageau: Ancient Wisdom, Modern World) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPslWoHNC5x3noyezZ79BlkvGV1XK3ubf (Timbah's Series on Dave Rubin: Battle of Ideas) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPslWoHNC5x3kroln-h38kaS5lULne8cZ (Timbah's Series on James O'Keefe: 10 Years of Truth) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRfbczIaR7E (Tim Pool: Chaotic News Analyst) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onXJ7PItu8g (Tim Pool: Fence Sitter)
2 hrs 2 mins
Reverend Sun Myung Moon: Absolute Decoding
This week we return one more time to the disturbing world of Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, also known as the 'Moonies', this time with a historical decoding episode. We are joined again this week by Elgen Strait, from Falling Out podcast, who helps us with a historical decoding of Reverend Moon's speeches and Moonie promotional material. Due to the subject matter we cannot promise a barrel of laughs but we hope this episode offers some useful insights into the approach of a genuine cult leader. It's also a useful comparison episode to see where there are parallels with the modern secular gurus we usually examine and where they diverge. So join us as we return to an imagined glory era of America in the 1950s (or was it 70s) when Absolute Sex & a God centred ideology was all anyone needed for a perfect society... at least according to Moon. Links https://www.fallingoutpod.com/ (Falling Out Podcast) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQXlglbh3V8 (Sun Myung Moon: God Bless America Festival (1976) Rare Complete Bicentennial Documentary) & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAiXQo93sLc (We will Stand. Rev. Sun Myung Moon ) https://soundcloud.com/qanonanonymous/episode-160-the-moonies-conquer-dc-feat-elgen-strait (QAnon Anonymous 160: The Moonies Conquer DC feat Elgen Strait) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-moonies-speech-unifaction-church-b1918750.html (Article on Trump's appearance at Unification Church linked event) https://twitter.com/thebadstats/status/1508579434441236482 (Jordan Peterson speaking with Andy Ngo about Antifa)
1 hr 46 mins
Interview with Elgen Strait on growing up in the Moonies & cultish manipulation
This episode is the first of two linked episodes in which we delve into the disturbing world of Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church also known as the 'Moonies'. Here in an interview episode we introduce https://twitter.com/FallingOutPod (Elgen Strait), host of the Falling Out Podcast which is "a podcast about leaving the Moonies and other cults, as told by the kids who grew up within them." The topic matter is serious and Elgen deftly introduces us to the manipulative cult dynamics he experienced first hand, as well as offering some broader information about how the Moonies craft their public image and raise funds. However, Elgen is a man after our own hearts and his dark sense of humour means that he can also enjoy a laugh at Moon's expense & enlighten us about Absolute Sex(!), a term that might mean something slightly different than you imagine. Our next episode will be guest co-hosted by Elgen as we take an excursion from the contemporary secular gurus and attempt to decode some historical recordings from a bonafide religious cult leader. This episode hopefully provides the foundations to better understand that decoding and we hope you 'enjoy' the discussion with Elgen as much as we did, despite the subject matter! Links https://www.fallingoutpod.com/ (Falling Out Podcast) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQXlglbh3V8 (Sun Myung Moon: God Bless America Festival (1976) Rare Complete Bicentennial Documentary) & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAiXQo93sLc (We will Stand. Rev. Sun Myung )Moon(content for the decoding episode) https://soundcloud.com/qanonanonymous/episode-160-the-moonies-conquer-dc-feat-elgen-strait (QAnon Anonymous 160: The Moonies Conquer DC feat Elgen Strait) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-moonies-speech-unifaction-church-b1918750.html (Article on Trump's appearance at Unification Church linked event) Podcast Recommendations http://www.wdfpodcast.com/ (When Diplomacy Fails) https://monocle.com/radio/shows/the-foreign-desk/ (Monocle 24: Foreign Desk) https://warontherocks.com/podcasts/ (War on the Rocks)
1 hr 31 mins
Interview with Julian Walker on Conspirituality, Conspiracies and (Global) Culture Wars
Another interview episode - we've had a flurry recently but don't worry, we'll be returning to a good ol' fashioned decoding episode very soon. This week we just couldn't resist the opportunity to have a chinwag with our podcasting compadre https://mobile.twitter.com/julianmwalker (Julian Walker), an eloquent writer on evidence-based & conspiracy matters and co-host of the Conspirituality podcast. Julian's a yoga instructor and (maybe even) a spiritual kinda guy, but has long opposed the conspiratorial, anti-science, and exploitative guru side of the yoga & 'health & wellness' communities. In short, he's a science-minded guy moving in spiritual and yoga circles, who is now directly involved in countering the endless proliferation of pseudoscientific & conspiratorial nonsense. So, Matt and Chris take this opportunity to pick Julian's brain about what's been going on over on the crunchy side of the aisle, how it relates (and even overlaps) with the secular gurus, and the cultural moment we're in more generally. Due to the backlog caused by lazy elves in the DTG editing bay, some of the references to the trucker convoy and whatnot are a bit outdated, nor will you hear any mention of Ukraine. But don't mind that! Julian's got a lot of insight to offer and we hope you enjoy listening to him as much as we did! Links https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/90-the-convoy-is-an-occupation-w-elizabeth-simons/id1515827446?i=1000550734922 (Conspirituality 90: The Convoy is an Occupation (w/ Elizabeth Simons). More detailed analysis of the Trucker Convoy) https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/95-aleksandr-dugin-kali-yuga-chess/id1515827446?i=1000554365809 (Conspirituality 95: Aleksandr Dugin: Kali Yuga Chess. A recent episode by Julian doing a deep dive on Putin's alleged guru.)
1 hr 58 mins
Interview with Josh Szeps, The Rumble from Downunder
Hot on the heels of our Joe Rogan Trilogy, the big red phone at Decoder HQ rang with an intriguing proposal. Well, it was more of a DM, and it said, "Hi, love your show, would love to come on talk about Joe. Josh Szeps". "Josh Szeps?" we thought. "Who's that?" 5 mins of internet research later we found out it was none other than the voice of Olly the Kookaburra at the 2000 Sydney games! Well, we have to have him on, we thought. And as a bonus, he's also been on the Joe Rogan Experience where he famously gave him some real talk about COVID, vaccines, and the relative threat of myocarditis. In so doing Josh become, for a while at least, something of a reluctant hero to Joe Rogan cancel mobs everywhere. "Book him!" intoned Matt, decisively. "Right you are sir!" chirped Chris, obsequiously. Recollections of the specific events differ, but essentially just like that, podcast interview history was made. Josh Szepps has been an ABC journalist, panelist, TV and radio host, raconteur, and general opinionated and interviewer in Australia for donkey's years. He also has his own podcast, (Impossible) sorry https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/uncomfortable-conversations-with-josh-szeps/id1002920114 (Uncomfortable Conversations), which some say is pretty, pretty OK. Matt's been listening to him for years on the radio, so he tried not to be star-struck. While Josh managed (some would say too easily) to conceal his awe of Matt's towering intellect and impressive academic achievements. Chris meanwhile, knowing nothing of Australian culture and etiquette waffled on with his usual wild abandon. The conversation does include chat about the shiny-headed, supplement-infused, muscle master himself, but (fortunately) soon turns to broader discussion of disinformation, censorship, responsible heterodoxy, the general health of the info-sphere, and many, many more topics crucial to Saving our Civilisation! We argue constructively debate many topics including the impact of deplatforming and whether there is a need for greater editorial oversight (or if we are taking the first step to the Gulags). We don't see eye to eye on everything, but Josh is a super cool guy so enjoy some civility porn as we engage in the kind of debate that would make even the IDW superstars proud. Check it out! Links https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/uncomfortable-conversations-with-josh-szeps/id1002920114 (Uncomfortable Conversation with Josh Szeps) https://www.abc.net.au/radio/sydney/programs/afternoons/myocarditis/13719262 ('The Facts about Myocarditis' On Afternoons with Josh Szeps) https://twitter.com/joshzepps (Josh on Twitter) https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvss/vsrg/vsrg03-508.pdf (The CDC requirements for certifying deaths as due to Covid) https://open.spotify.com/episode/3QKDzetcvnP7rM8RozQS1W (The Joe Rogan Experience #1762 - Josh Szeps on Spotify) https://wethefifth.com/blogs/episodes/348-w-matt-taibbi-richard-perle-in-new-jersey-putin-in-hell-ukraine-in-crisis (The Fifth Column: 348 w/ Matt Taibbi "Richard Perle in New Jersey, Putin in Hell, Ukraine in Crisis") https://twitter.com/unclearirony/status/1478840020664471553?s=20&t=ksJl2YFsH1STC9sWtFFSdg (Clip from James Lindsay on Dr. Phil) This Week's Sponsor Check out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News, and get the app at https://ground.news/gurus (ground.news/gurus).
1 hr 42 mins
James Lindsay & Michael O'Fallon: Eating bugs for Feminist Glaciology
This is an important episode. 2022 you needs to realise what 2020 you could not and what 2030 you is ready to tell you. Confused? You will be. On this episode we tackle two gurus that we have treated separately: James Lindsay of New Discourses (episode 2) and Michael O'Fallon of Sovereign Nations (episode 13). O'Fallon hasn't changed much from our episode analysing him, aside from starting a conspiracy laden daily news show. But James... well... judge for yourself. On this episode you will learn many amazing facts, including how feminist glaciology is at the core of the Great Reset, that the NFL is now the Critical Race Football league, and how what 'it' is really all about is making people into pets who are driven by AI cars and eat bugs. For this excursion, Chris and Matt are joined for the second time by Aaron Rabinowtiz, host of Embrace the Void (@ETVPod) and Philosophers in Space podcasts, PhD student, and lecturer at Rutgers University. This means we have now had two back to back episodes with philosophers... and we really can't apologise enough. Links https://twitter.com/willystaley/status/1483813173518086147 (Ben Garrison's cartoon featuring Scott Adams) https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/woke-nfl-public-occurrences-ep-7/id1383339158?i=1000532142778 (Sovereign Nations' Public Occurrences | Episode 7 | Woke NFL) https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/obedience-training-public-occurrences-ep-10/id1383339158?i=1000532490073 (Sovereign Nations' Public Occurrences | Episode 10 | Obedience Training) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A8oyO9LoOo (Climate Justice | James Lindsay & Michael O'Fallon | Changing Tides Ep. 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtKfrRcm6Vs (A Critical Reset | James Lindsay & Michael O'Fallon | Changing Tides Ep. 2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OQL1Jja3p4 (New Discourses | Groomer Schools 2: Queer Futurity and the Sexual Abuse of Your Children) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8pHloB5qb4 (New Discourses | Groomer Schools 3: The Creation of an American Red Guard) https://www.amazon.com/Immune-Kurzgesagt-gorgeously-illustrated-immune-ebook/dp/B08YR8FNCP (That Immune book by Philipp Dettmer from Gurzgesagt)
3 hrs 15 mins
Interview with Liam Bright on Scientific Orthodoxy, Reform Efforts & DTG's Philosophy
Today we have a little mid-week treat, ahead of our next decoding episode, a discussion with the philosopher and Leverhulme Prize Winning Twitter sensation, Liam Kofi Bright. Liam is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method at a little known degree-mill called the London School of Economics. On this episode we have a wide ranging discussion revolving around the state of the Orthodoxy in modern scientific research, the viability of proposed reforms, and finally Liam decodes whether we are mindless defenders of the status quo or the true heirs of the Logical Positivists tradition. Along the way we also learn the three rules to master Twitter, what Open Science is all about, whether philosophers of science are good or bad, and what exactly 26+6 equals. Links https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EazLoBk9gA (Chris' appearance on The Stoa discussing the Gurometer) https://www.liamkofibright.com/ (Liam Bright's website) https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11098-016-0682-7.pdf (Liam's (2016) paper 'On Fraud') https://www.liamkofibright.com/uploads/4/8/9/8/48985425/why-do-scientists-lie.pdf (Liam's (2021) paper 'Why do Scientists Lie') https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1093/bjps/axz029 (Remco Hessen & Liam's (2021) paper 'Is peer review a good idea') https://twitter.com/lastpositivist (Liam on Twitter) This Week's Sponsor Check out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News, and get the app at https://ground.news/gurus (ground.news/gurus).
2 hrs 6 mins
Interview with Virginia Heffernan on Edge, the dangers of Scientism, & Culture Wars
On this week's show we have a broad ranging discussion with the well known journalist and author Virginia Heffernan. Virginia has written a bunch on the topic of technology, social media, scientism, and especially the Edge organisation. We discuss her research into Edge and related figures but also range further afield to cover debates in academia, the culture war and gurus, anthropology debates in the 90s, race & IQ rationalists, and other such topics. One short service note is that Matt is incognito for part of the conversation as he had a prior appointment so you will have to endure Chris functioning on his own but do not fear our intrepid psychologist re-emerges to offer some words of wisdom at the end. Also, the conversation with Virginia was recorded in advance of the events in Ukraine so no recent events are discussed (which is probably for the best). For those who want to do a bit more digging on the topics discussed, below are a bunch of related articles and you can also follow Virginia on Twitter (@page88) and check out her new podcast 'https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/this-is-critical/id1584858105 (This is Critical)' which encourages people to look critically at a wide array of topics, which is quite on brand for us! Links https://www.wired.com/story/an-end-to-pornography-sophistry-and-panty-raids/ (Virginia's piece on Edge & John Brockman) https://www.wired.com/author/virginia-heffernan/ (Virginia's essays on Wired) https://virginiaheffernan.substack.com/p/what-to-do-about-jordan-peterson (Virginia's Substack piece on Jordan Peterson) https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/21/books/review/the-contrarian-peter-thiel-max-chafkin.amp.html?referringSource=articleShare (Virginia's Substack piece on Peter Thiel) Virginia's Website Virginia's book: Magic & Loss- The Internet as Art https://www.insider.com/chris-chan-arrest-geno-samuel-youtube-series-hiatus-2021-8#:~:text=Samuel's%20%22Chris%20Chan%3A%20A%20Comprehensive,spans%20Chandler's%20life%20through%202017. (Insider article on the sordid tale of Chris chan) Two articles Chris wrote on his ancient blog about the Captain Cook debate (https://god-knows-what.com/2009/09/06/the-battle-over-captain-cooks-corpse/ (part 1) and https://god-knows-what.com/2009/09/16/the-battle-over-captain-cooks-corpse-part-2/amp/ (part 2)) This Week's Sponsor Check out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News, and get the app at https://ground.news/gurus (ground.news/gurus).
2 hrs 22 mins
Robert Wright: A Cosmic Journey Across the Bob-o-verse
Matt and Chris finally leave the Rogan-verse behind, activate their Infinite Improbability Drive, and blast off for the Bob-o-verse. In an off-again / on-again, will they / won't they battle of wits, we outmanoeuvre Bob by covering an episode that he planned to record for our benefit, which we then explained we wouldn't cover because that would violate our rules, which he decided to record anyway, and we then decided it would be alright to cover because he thought we weren't going to cover it. Which one of us is playing 4-dimensional chess and who's playing Hungry Hippo? We're not sure. Robert Wright is a journalist, author, independent commentator, and podcaster. A stalwart of the public intellectual scene, he never joined the Intellectual Dark Web. How's that for a recommendation!? He's written and thought, or thought and then written about so many topics it's impossible to mention them all, but they span evolution, Buddhism, geopolitics, philosophy, and everything in between. But is he a guru? (Spoiler) Of course he is. Yes, definitely. But is he a good guru? Well, we're not going to tell you. You're going to have to tune in to find out. Chris and Matt are simple folk, but they do their best to wrap their heads around Bob's cosmic philosophy, which spans the fundamental algorithms of evolution, black holes, alternative universes, and how we should probably all be nice to one another if we want to create a global brain. You might think grokking those ideas would be like watching Koyaanisqatsi while tripping on ayahuasca, but actually it all makes sense. We think. But is it true? Is it real? Is Wright right? That my friends, is up to you to decide. But in this episode we will open the door.... (and possibly resolve the mystery of consciousness at the same time, turns out there was no problem all along). Links https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onXJ7PItu8g (Timbah on Toast's new video on Tim Pool: Fence Sitter) https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/641-formulaic-objections-part-4/id1192992870?i=1000549027542 (Knowledge Fight: Formulaic Objections Part 4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwgT6KmDVqA (The Dharma of Bob 8: A Cosmic View of Our Situation | Robert Wright & Josh Summers | The Wright Show) What is Tribalism? Non-Zero Newsletter Sponsor Check out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News to compare news coverage. Spot media bias. And be better informed. Download the free Ground News app at http://ground.news/gurus (ground.news/gurus). Coverart Thanks to Mark Ledwich (https://twitter.com/mark_ledwich (@mark_ledwich)) and Elsa Jansen (https://twitter.com/ElsaJansen (@ElsaJansen)) for the coverart this week! Contributions for coverart for upcoming episodes always welcome.
2 hrs 40 mins
Interview: Debunking (Antivaxx) Funk with Dr Dan Wilson
This week we speak to fellow traveller, kindred spirit, and vaccine misinformation debunker, Dr Dan Wilson. Yes, we know we've talked SO much about anti-vax rhetoric recently, and we hope the day will soon come when we can leave it all behind us, but friends, today is not that day. For more than a year, Dan's YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/DebunktheFunkwithDrWilson (DebunkTheFunk )has focused on rebutting COVID and vaccine misinformation from characters such as Geert Vanden-Bossche, Joseph Mercola and RFK Jnr. His recent episodes on Robert Malone and Peter Mc Collough have been an invaluable source for the decoders for our recent episodes. So of course we were delighted that Dan could come speak to us about what he does, what they do, and what kind of rhetorical tropes and tricks he sees from these characters. Dan seems to suffer from the same masochistic malaise we do, in feeling compelled to listen to some of the worst material available on the internet, so as to point out what's wrong with it. And he accomplishes that mission effectively, and most mysteriously for Chris and Matt, concisely as well. It's not all negative, because as well as talking about anti-vaxxers specifically, we all bask in our shared admiration for This Week in Virology, the kind of critical yet open-minded science communication show we'd all love to see a lot more of. We also talk about the kind of everyday epistemics that we can all practice to separate fact from fiction, and the kind of public engagement that genuine experts, researchers and scientists need to practice in order to take back the infosphere from snake-oil salesmen and attention-seekers of all kinds. It was an absolute pleasure to talk to Dan. We love what he does, and we hope he goes on doing it for a long time to come. We hope you enjoy it too, and we heartily recommend sharing https://www.youtube.com/c/DebunktheFunkwithDrWilson (DebunkTheFunk )with friends, family and colleagues who have slipped down the conspiratorial rabbit-hole on COVID and vaccines.
1 hr 15 mins
Special: Joe Rogan 'Sorry, not Sorry'
To cap off our impromptu mini-series focusing on the Rogan-verse we take a critical look at Joe's short (non) apology video responding to the Spotify controversy surrounding his recent episodes with Robert Malone & Peter McCullough. In it we get to see a charming Joe Rogan being humble and compromising, while standing firm to explain why his critics have got him all wrong. He's not some hardline anti-vaccine advocate with an agenda to spread covid misinformation, he's just a normal guy who likes to have interesting conversations and hear from both sides(tm) on controversial topics. Joe's certainly on the charm offensive and he's already won plaudits from the heterodox for doing the right thing but are these really deserved? And how well does what Joe says hold up when you look at it critically? We do what few will bother and compare & contrast how Joe describes what he does vs. what he actually does and says in his content. And we find a few discrepancies that seem worth mentioning. This will be our last dip into the Rogan-verse for the next while but we would encourage anyone who wants more to go back to our episodes on Rogan & Jocko Willink or the combined episode on Robert Malone & Peter McCullough. Whether you are a fan of Rogan or a critic, we hope you can find something useful in our critical evaluation and we will back soon with a full length decoding. Links https://www.instagram.com/tv/CZYQ_nDJi6G/ (Joe Rogan's apology video) https://decoding-the-gurus.captivate.fm/episode/robert-malone-peter-mccullough-a-litany-of-untruths (DTG: Episode on Robert Malone & Peter McCullough) https://decoding-the-gurus.captivate.fm/episode/joe-rogan-just-an-average-joe (DTG: Episode on Joe Rogan & Jocko Willink) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onXJ7PItu8g (Timbah on Toast: Tim Pool - Fence Sitter) https://areomagazine.com/2022/02/02/joe-rogans-controversial-guests/ (Article by Tristan Flock on what Malone & McCullough have actually said and promoted) https://newsroom.spotify.com/2022-01-30/spotify-platform-rules/ (Spotify's new platform rules on Misinformation)
1 hr 9 mins
*Patreon Preview* Malone & McCullough: Gurometer RatingsRobert Malone & Peter McCullough: A litany of untruths
Matt and Chris return to the Joe Rogan-verse much quicker than they would have liked to take a critical eye to two recent episodes (6 more hours!!!) offering controversial takes on Covid 19 and the dangers of vaccines. Yes, that's right more fear mongering, more global conspiracies, and more unrecognised heroes of science that Joe needs to promote to his large audience. In this case, we have Dr. Robert Malone, the *self-proclaimed* inventor of mRNA vaccines, and Dr. Peter McCullough, a cardiologist who was recently sued by his old hospital for using its name when promoting his covid theories. Both figures are well documented promoters of covid misinformation, including in various appearances on extreme right wing conspiracy sites like Alex Jones' InfoWars. Matt and Chris are no medical experts nor do they play them on podcasts (if you are looking for a point by point technical/medical debunking, we would recommend following the links at the bottom of these show notes). But what they are very familiar with are modern gurus and conspiracy theorists. So in this episode, after twenty plus episodes of calibrating the Gurometer(TM) with known gurus, they take it for a new test with these two maverick doctors. Applying the well-developed science of Gurometry(TM) to a novel dataset. How do they fare? Guess... Honestly, this is probably the darkest and most depressing episode we've done. It was not fun and we would really prefer to be talking about something else but here we are. Hopefully we will not be back soon... Links https://open.spotify.com/episode/3SCsueX2bZdbEzRtKOCEyT?si=BcWVL9R2T3ya9Ck2nzS4Mg (The JRE 1757: Robert Malone) https://open.spotify.com/episode/0aZte37vtFTkYT7b0b04Qz?si=e992543918df4b5d (The JRE 1747: Peter McCullough) https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/08/robert-malone-vaccine-inventor-vaccine-skeptic/619734/ (The Atlantic: The Vaccine Scientist Spreading Vaccine Misinformation) https://forbetterscience.com/2021/10/04/how-dr-robert-malone-invented-antivaxxery/ (For Better Science: How Dr Robert Malone invented Antivaxxery) https://respectfulinsolence.com/2021/07/13/is-mrna-vaccine-inventor-robert-malone-being-erased-for-his-claims-about-covid-19/ (Respectful Insolence: Is “mRNA vaccine inventor” Robert Malone “being erased from Wikipedia” for his claims about COVID-19?) https://respectfulinsolence.com/2021/12/17/dr-robert-malone-goes-full-antivaccine-conspiracist/ (Respectful Insolence: Dr. Robert Malone goes full antivaccine conspiracist) https://respectfulinsolence.com/2021/05/17/latest-antivax-lie-covid-19-vaccines-are-killing-people/ (Respectful Insolence: The latest antivaxx lie from Peter McCullough, Mike Adams, and RFK Jr.: “COVID-19 vaccines are killing people!!!!”) https://www.politifact.com/article/2022/jan/06/who-robert-malone-joe-rogans-guest-was-vaccine-sci/ (Politifact: Who is Robert Malone? Joe Rogan’s guest was a vaccine scientist, became an anti-vaccine darling) https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/depopulation-by-covid-19-vaccines/ (Science Based Medicine: “Depopulation” by COVID-19 vaccines?) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFqn3uy238E (Kurzgesagt: We Lied to You... And We'll Do it Again!) Technical Rebuttal Resources https://youtu.be/xjszVOfG_wo (Debunk the Funk with Dr Wilson: Robert Malone goes full anti-science on Joe Rogan's podcast) https://youtu.be/8pcIbVvHI2c (ZDogg MD: Joe Rogan's Interview With Dr. Peter McCullough | A Doctor Explains) https://youtu.be/GwzfnZfo-rU (Rebel Wisdom: Yuri Deigin Responds to Bret Weinstein on Vaccines, Ivermectin & Quillette) https://medium.com/rebel-wisdom/on-vaccine-safety-ivermectin-and-the-dark-horse-podcast-an-investigation-f32491d4c970 (Rebel Wisdom: On Vaccine Safety, Ivermectin and the Dark Horse Podcast: An Investigation)
3 hrs 17 mins
*Patreon Preview* Decoding Academia #2: False Positive PsychologyJoe Rogan: Just an average Joe?
Joe Rogan is a world famous podcaster, a martial artist, a stand-up comedian, a MMA commentator, co-founder of the Onnit supplement company, the ex-host of Fear Factor, a long term friend of Alex Jones, and recently a major outlet for promoting 'alternative' Covid facts. And yet despite all these 'achievements' and his recent multi million dollar deal with Spotify many argue that a large part of Joe's appeal is that he is just a 'regular Joe'. Joe himself has said he's just a 'f**king moron' and that people should not take his opinion seriously... but does he mean it? Join Matt & Chris as they break out their dusty gym bags and enter the house of pain that is long form podcasting to try and imbibe the full Joe Rogan Experience. To aid in this glorious quest, the guys sought out the most testosterone laced JRE episode they could find and inevitable landed on a recent episode with ex-navy seal & motivational author, Jocko Willink. This is a man who everyday posts black and white photographs of his wristwatch at 4.30am with captions like 'Ready. Set. GET SOME' & 'Default: AGGRESSIVE'. If you think this means the episode will be covering the sexually arousing nature of armoured cars, the beauty of handcrafted knives, and how to revive the American manufacturing industry... you would be right. But that's not all. You will also discover surprising non-partisan 'facts' like how Tulsi Gabbad is the centrist messiah, George Soros is responsible for recent US crime waves, Nancy Pelosi is an assassin, and the Hunter Biden laptop story is the biggest story of the modern era. Oh and, of course, that Covid vaccines are dangerous and effective alternative treatments are being hushed up. Wait... what? So rev your engines, sharpen your handcrafted knives, and get ready to smash headfirst through brick walls of ignorance and faux expertise in this testosterone soaked episode as Matt & Chris refuse to acquiesce to the 'burden of civility'. P.S. Did Matt mention that he had to listen to 6hrs this week?!? Links https://open.spotify.com/episode/1utiTB2HB5GGnYGX3gtgTP (The JRE 1740: Jocko Willink) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL5RzI5LyVc (The JRE 1492: Jocko Willink) https://open.spotify.com/episode/0aZte37vtFTkYT7b0b04Qz?si=a5944c4af02a4686 (The JRE 1742: Peter McCullough) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5KxwPk40OU (Andrea With The Bangs Interview with Chris & Matt) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFqn3uy238E (Kurzgesagt- We Lied to You... And We'll Do it Again!) https://arxiv.org/abs/2112.03460 (TIm Nguen's 'A Response to Economics as Gauge Theory') https://ravenmagazine.org/magazine/twitter-the-intimacy-machine/ (Thi Nguyen's 'Twitter: The Intimacy Machine' at the Raven) https://www.samharris.org/podcasts/making-sense-episodes/270-what-have-we-learned-from-the-pandemic (Sam Harris & Nicholas Christakis 'Waking up #270 - What have we learned from the Pandemic?') https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pcIbVvHI2c (ZDoggMD 'Joe Rogan's Interview With Dr. Peter McCullough | A Doctor Explains')
3 hrs 7 mins
Special: Guru Right to Reply with Chris Williamson
Listeners might remember Chris Williamson from our episode on Gad Saad. He was the former love island contestant who interviewed Gad and appeared to have taken an IDW turn. So while Matt & Chris focused their critical attention primarily on the master of irony, Gad Saad, they also raised a rather skeptical eye towards Chris Williamson as well. And listeners, they were not kind. Not at all... Nevertheless, Chris W. reached out and accepted our standing offer for any guru covered to come on to the show and respond to the criticisms we made. The result was an interesting and wide ranging exchange that covered issues such as what it's like for a non-specialist to interview famous academics, the incentives and pressures at play in the modern social media ecosystem, and how DTG commentary feels when you are on the receiving side! For fans of cringe comedy this episode might be particularly enjoyable as off-hand comments and cutting remarks are discussed and dissected for their fairness. But (spoiler!) everyone survives to the end. Chris (Kavanagh) also took a degree of pleasure in watching the alleged 'nice guy' of the podcast squirm over his cheeky remarks. All in all there is some nice symmetry, in that everybody had something to cringe about. But perhaps this dialogue will alchemically transform that cringe into spiritual gold, and we can all learn something and grow a little as people or podcasters? Or maybe not? Time will tell, ay? Have a listen and see what you think! P.S. Sincere apologies for the audio quality, especially on Matt's end. We recorded this at an ungodly hour of the morning and Matt was too zombified to select the good microphone. Or the DISC could have interfered with it... Something like that. Links https://decoding-the-gurus.captivate.fm/episode/18-gad-saad-oh-my-gad-its-the-saadfather (The original DTG episode on Gad Saad with Chris Williamson )
1 hr 47 mins
Decoding Academia: Matt on his ENTIRE research career *Patreon Sample*
So, what even IS the deal with Matt? Is he a proper psychologist or does his past conceal something darker, aside from his bronzed skin-tone? Until now, he's been a mystery hidden in a enigma and wrapped within a svelte Australian shell. Well, enquiring minds need to know, so that's all about to change! Here it is - The Story of Matt. The ins, the outs, and the 'what-have-yous'. The false starts, the missed opportunities for fame, the many entry roles as a research 'shit-kicker', and his final glorious ascension to his ultimate form as a white haired tenured Professor. You'll learn why being an English language teacher is not a real job, how Matt could have been a contender in the massively lucrative and prestigious field of artificial intelligence, where all the fish live (under the sea, mostly), the powers and ideologies at play in gambling research, why Matt isn't impressed by Taleb's claims about fat tails, and so much more. You'll be left wondering, "How can one man, even if he is very ancient, do so much? Is he a polymath? Or does he just have a short attention span, and trouble holding down a job?" And finally, as an exercise for the listener, like Chris, you will be left to wonder "is convolve a real word?" Here it is: the backstory of Matt. Links https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=g0Dr9csAAAAJ&hl=en (Matt's prolific research output) https://www.insidegambling.com.au/editions/4/feature/gambling-harm-impact-on-community-on-par-with-depression-and-alcohol-abuse (Inside Gambling article on Matt's research) https://www.stitcher.com/show/tea-for-two-with-iona-italia-and-helen-pluckrose/episode/72-matthew-browne-why-people-gamble-public-limited-version-80344533 ('Two for Tea' podcast episode with Matt on his research)
1 hr 3 mins
Brené Brown:  Matt and Chris courageously embrace their vulnerability
Brené Brown is an American professor, lecturer, author, storyteller researcher, and podcast host. She's made it her life's work to help people rise strong, brave the wilderness, and dare to lead - all through overcoming shame and embracing their own vulnerability. So naturally Chris and Matt - being the emotionally unavailable, culturally stunted and cynical gits that they are - bemoan all this positivity and do their level best to try and drag her down to their bitter and petty level. Can you get the secret to self-actualisation in a TED talk? Or is it more a sequence of inspirational quote memes strung together? Or are these things one and the same? Perhaps Professor Brown is honing in on universal psychological truths. Or alternatively, she might be an unwitting expression of American hyper-individualism and self-obsessed culture. Well, you're gonna get the Irish and Australian take on that. Thanksgiving is obviously the perfect time for the hosts to tell their US listeners that American culture sucks and that kids shouldn't follow their dreams but prepare to be cogs in the machine. No, no, they don't do that. Well... not entirely. Well, what do they say? What is there take? You'll have to tune in to find out! Links https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o (The power of vulnerability (TED talk)) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psN1DORYYV0 (Listening to shame (TED talk)) 'https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbsRU-crgsc (If you want to heal yourself, WATCH THIS!' Brené Brown & Lewis Howes on 'The School of Greatness') https://www.cantorsparadise.com/eric-weinstein-how-not-to-formulate-a-theory-of-everything-35b8875341e6 (Eric Weinstein: How Not to Formulate a Theory of Everything (Tim Nguyen)) https://twitter.com/neocentrist/status/1458539747635236867 (Live-tweet of Eric's Chicago Lecture by Sandro Sharashenidze) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRyEdcuHTH0 (Bret and Heather Darkhorse 105: State Lies Coming Across)
2 hrs 10 mins
Decoding Academia: Chris on Religion & Ritual *Patreon Sample*
It had to happen eventually. As Matt and Chris listen week in and week out to the world's greatest gurus pontificating on the mysteries of the universe, it's only natural that the siren call of Galaxy Brain takes and revolutionary theories would prove too great. And so seeking to take advantage of the parasocial bonds they have scrupulously cultivated (and signal their value to the University of Austin) they are launching a new Patreon bonus series on 'Decoding Academia'. The first two instalments covering Matt & Chris' work & main research interests will be freely available to all. But for the deeper arcane knowledge that only true free thinkers would dare behold, you will need to smash through our Patreon 'Strategic Economic Barrier' or SEB. In this episode, Chris discusses the cognitive and evolutionary relevance of religion (what is it?, why is it?, and what is it good for?), rituals (what are they? why do we do them? and why are there painful ones?!?), & Gods (why do we care about them? Do we need them for religion). So take a breather from the culture war and enjoy some light academic waffle! We will be back on Friday this week with a full guru episode on Brene Brown! Links https://aeon.co/essays/can-religion-be-based-on-ritual-practice-without-belief (Chris' article on 'Religion Without Belief' at Aeon) https://aeon.co/ideas/people-are-intensely-loyal-to-groups-which-haze-newcomers-why (Chris' article on Hazing Rituals at Aeon) https://psyarxiv.com/qyt95/ (Preprint version of Academic Article by Chris on 'Is Japan Religious')
54 mins