Science, Philosophy, Epistemology, Mayhem

About the show

Vaden Masrani, a senior research scientist in machine learning, and Ben Chugg, a PhD student in statistics at CMU, get into trouble arguing about everything except machine learning and statistics. Coherence is somewhere on the horizon.

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

Increments on social media


  • #69 - Contra Scott Alexander on Probability

    June 20th, 2024  |  1 hr 45 mins
    bayesianism, credences, frequentism, probability, scott alexander, superforecasting

    Cursed to return to this subject again, we attack the big man himself on probability. What's your credence that we're correct?

  • #68 - Libertarianism IV: Political Issues (w/ Bruce Nielson)

    May 30th, 2024  |  1 hr 50 mins
    counterfactuals, libertarianism, metaphysics, politics

    In our last libertarianism episode we tackle the remaining part of Scott's FAQ: Political issues! Can government ever do anything right? How should we think about that question? Is Scott being fair to libertarians?

  • #67 - Libertarianism III: Social Issues (w/ Bruce Nielson)

    May 9th, 2024  |  1 hr 45 mins
    just desserts, libertarianism, regulation, social mobility, taxation

    Back for part III of libertarianism series, when we find out if poor people deserve to be poor!

  • #66 - Sex Research, Addiction, and Financial Domination (w/ Aella)

    April 18th, 2024  |  1 hr 6 mins
    addiction, aella, escorting, fetishes, financial domination, findom, neo-trad, onlyfans, sex research

    Aella joins the boys for a chat on fetishes, gangbangs, OnlyFans, addiction, and the crazy underground world of Financial Domination (aka 'findom').

  • #65 - Libertarianism II: Economic Issues (w/ Bruce Nielson)

    March 28th, 2024  |  1 hr 33 mins
    coercion, coordination-problems, externalities, irrationality, libertarianism, non-aggression-principle

    In our second episode on Libertarianism, we finally dive into the meat of Scott Alexander's excellent critique, and cover four major flaws with the libertarian position - externalities, coordination problems, irrational choices, and lack of information. Buckle up.

  • #64 - Libertarianism I: Intro and Moral Issues (w/ Bruce Nielson)

    March 6th, 2024  |  1 hr 52 mins
    incrementalism, libertarianism, morality, politics

    First episode in a series on libertarianism. Coercion, taxation, freedom, liberty, every annoying keyword you've ever heard! Let's have it out.

  • #63 - Recycling is the Dumps

    February 14th, 2024  |  1 hr 6 mins
    garbage, landfills, recycling

    A deep dive into the world of recycling! Is it clean, green, and everything that is right with the world? Or is it wasteful, inefficient, and one big pile of virtue signaling?

  • #62 (Bonus) - The Principle of Optimism (Vaden on the Theory of Anything Podcast)

    January 31st, 2024  |  2 hrs 45 mins
    constraints, epistemology, optimism, physics, progress

    Listen to Vaden's dulcet tones on Bruce Nielson's Theory of Anything Podcast discussing the principle of optimism.

  • #61 - Debating Free Will: Frankenstein's Monster and a Filmstrip of the Universe (with Lucas Smalldon)

    January 17th, 2024  |  1 hr 42 mins
    determinism, explanation, free will, moral responsibility, reductionism

    We have Lucas Smalldon on for a good ol' fashion free will debate. In particular, we discuss his blog post "Reconciling Free Will with Determinism" and try to sort of the age old question of whether or not we have the ability to make choices.

  • #60 - Creativity and Computational Universality (with Bruce Nielson)

    January 3rd, 2024  |  1 hr 58 mins
    chaos theory, creativity, determinism, turing-completeness, universality

    Bruce Nielsen makes his first appearance on the podcast to push us on machine intelligence and creativity, computational universality, Roger Penrose, and everything in between!

  • #59 (C&R, Chap 8) - On the Status of Science and Metaphysics (Plus reflections on the Brett Hall blog exchange)

    December 22nd, 2023  |  1 hr 26 mins
    austrianism, conjectures-and-refutations, copernicus, induction, irrefutability, kant, metaphysics, prediction

    Chapter 8 of conjectures and refutations! Back on the horse baby, talkin' bout Kant, induction, irrefutability, induction - all the good stuff. Oh, and also Vaden's failed blog exchange w/ Brett Hall

  • #58 - Ask Us Anything V: How to Read and What to Read

    November 29th, 2023  |  1 hr 40 mins
    anti-rational memes, ask-us-anything, books, e-fuels, veganism

    In this episode we finally conclude our AUA series. We cover subjects like "how to read and learn more effectively", "can you change your own interests", "which books/authors have influenced you the most", veganism, rational/anti-rational memes, stoicism, and e-fuels.

  • #57 (Bonus) - A calm and soothing discussion of The Patriarchy

    November 15th, 2023  |  1 hr 1 min
    activism, feminism, progress, sexism, the patriarchy

    A sneak preview into what is usually reserved for our patrons! We talk patriachy as causal explanation vs patriarchy as description. Let's get spicy

  • #56 - Ask Us Anything IV: Certainty, Emergence, and Popperian Imperatives

    November 1st, 2023  |  1 hr 21 mins
    ask-us-anything, belief, certainty, confidence, emergence, moral imperatives

    Perhaps you thought, in your infinite ignorance, that the release of the previous episode marked the end of the age of the AMA! But nay: the age of the AMA has just begun!

  • #55 - Is all thought problem-solving?

    October 9th, 2023  |  54 mins 9 secs
    consciousness, problem-solving, thought

    We return to the argument from last episode: Is all thought problem-solving? This epic showdown might catalyze the next world war, listen accordingly.

  • #54 - Ask Us Anything III: Emotional Epistemology

    September 18th, 2023  |  1 hr 18 mins
    ask-us-anything, emotions, epistemology, problem-solving, thinking, universality

    The third of infinite installments in our ask us anything series. We touch on universality, emotions, epistemology, and whether all thinking is problem solving.