Science, Philosophy, Epistemology, Mayhem

About the show

Vaden Masrani, a PhD student in machine learning at UBC and Ben Chugg, a research fellow at Stanford Law School, get into trouble arguing about everything except machine learning and law. Coherence is somewhere on the horizon.

Bribes, suggestions, love-mail and hate-mail all welcome at

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  • #39 - The Enigma of Reason

    April 27th, 2022  |  1 hr 1 min
    bias, cognitive biases, evolution, psychology, rationality, reason

    A discussion of The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber.

  • #38 (C&R Series, Ch. 2) - Wittgenstein vs Popper

    March 8th, 2022  |  1 hr 3 mins
    conjectures and refutations, philosophical problems, popper, wittgenstein, wittgenstein's poker

    What made Wittgenstein so angry with Popper that he threatened him with a poker? We analyze Chapter 2 of C&R to find out.

  • #37 - Montessori Education w/ Matt Bateman

    February 16th, 2022  |  1 hr 21 mins
    child development, childhood, education, education reform, maria montessori, work

    We're joined by Matt Bateman, the director of the Montessori think tank Montessorium, to talk all things education.

  • #36 - Analyzing Effective Altruism as a Social Movement

    January 26th, 2022  |  56 mins 15 secs
    core values, cults, effective altruism, groupthink, social movements

    Vaden and Ben debate Effective Altruism and provocatively ask "Is EA a cult?" and come up with a resounding... Kinda. Maybe. It's hard to say.

  • #35 - Climate Change III: Fossil Fuels

    November 29th, 2021  |  47 mins 48 secs
    climate change, energy, energy transitions, fossil fuels, peak oil, shale gas revolution, vaclav smil

    A dive into the science and politics of fossil fuels, guided by the inimitable Vaclav Smil.

  • #34 - Climate Change II: Growth, Degrowth, Reactions, Responses

    November 9th, 2021  |  55 mins 3 secs
    apocalypticism, climate change, degrowth, economic growth, optimism, specialization, trade

    Round two of climate change! We talk about the degrowth movement, why economic growth is good for wellbeing, and respond to some of the criticism we received in the previous episode.

  • #33 (C&R Series, Ch. 3) - Instrumentalism and Essentialism

    October 25th, 2021  |  40 mins 10 secs
    essentialism, instrumentalism, language, politics, progress

    We discuss Popper's delicious criticism of two dominant approaches to knowledge in physics and philosophy departments: instrumentalism and essentialism.

  • #32 - Climate Change I: Initial Thought-Crimes

    October 5th, 2021  |  51 mins
    alarmism, climate change, environmentalism, nuclear energy, renewables

    We dip our toes into the heated (heating?) waters of the climate debate. Sorry Greta.

  • #31 - The Fall of the Weinstein Republic

    September 14th, 2021  |  54 mins 51 secs
    animal suffering, physics, secular guru, tim nguyen, weinstein

    We had a semi-serious conversation about environmentalism in store for you, but we got trapped by the WIN (Weinsteinian institutional narrative). Like a black hole, the epic meltdown of Weinstein's and the confrontation with Tim Nguyen -- apparently the only adult in the room -- pulled us in, and we couldn't avoid talking about it.

  • #30 - Let's all just have a good cry (w/ Christofer Lövgren)

    August 30th, 2021  |  1 hr 39 mins
    community, criticism, crying, david deutsch, free will, labels

    Christofer Lövgren joins us for a wide ranging discussion on community, criticism, and crying.

  • #29 - Some Scattered Thoughts on Superforecasting

    August 16th, 2021  |  45 mins 20 secs
    good judgement project, philip tetlock, politics, probability, superforecasting

    We discuss Philip Tetlock's work on Superforecasting.

  • #28 (C&R Series, Ch. 9) - Why is Logic Applicable to Reality?

    July 19th, 2021  |  1 hr 1 min
    arithmetic, logic, philosophy of mathematics, rules of inference

    We discuss Chapter 9 of Conjectures and Refutations: Why are the Calculi of Logic and Arithmetic Applicable to Reality?

  • #27 - A Conversation with Marianne

    June 28th, 2021  |  2 hrs 1 min
    activism, police, politics, race, social media

    Marianne recounts her summer. That's all we'll say for now.

  • #26 - Moral Philosophy Cage Match (with Dan Hageman)

    June 8th, 2021  |  1 hr 33 mins
    cluelessness, derek parfit, meta-ethics, thought experiments, wild animal suffering

    Dan Hageman joins us to celebrate our completely fair treatment of Derek Parfit, to utterly agree with our use of thought experiments, and to deem us the world's most renown meta-ethicists.

  • #25 - Mathematical Explanation with Mark Colyvan

    May 24th, 2021  |  2 hrs 7 mins
    counterfactual, explanation, logic, philosophy of mathematics, probability, thought experiments

    We're joined by professor Mark Colyvan to talk about the philosophy of mathematics, logic, and thought experiments.

  • #24 - Popper's Three Worlds

    May 11th, 2021  |  1 hr 13 mins
    abstractions, explanation, logic, popper, reality