This episode, featuring Andy Luttrell of the Opinion Science Podcast, is all about a machine, built by IBM, that can debate human beings on any issue. This machine raises a strange question. Is persuasion with language, using arguments (and the ability to alter another person’s attitudes, beliefs, values, opinions, and behavior) a uniquely human phenomenon, or could you be persuaded to change your mind by an artificial intelligence designed to do just that? If so, what does that say about opinions, our arguments, and in the end, our minds?

In this episode, Micheal Rousell, author of The Power of Surprise, explains the science of surprise at the level of neurons and brain structures, and then talk about how surprises often lead to the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, the different personal narratives that guide our behaviors and motivations and goals, and, perhaps most importantly, our willingness to be surprised again so that we can change and grow.

In the show, you will how we can use the current understanding of how surprise leads to learning, and how learning depends on interpretation, to improve our lives, and the lives of others

In this episode we sit down with Joey Rodman (@okiespacequeen), a science educator in Oklahoma whose recent Twitter thread about using a portable planetarium to reach out to flat earthers went viral thanks to their counterintuitive advice about how to discuss science denial and conspiracy theories with people who may have never interacted with a scientist before.

After years of on-the-ground, one-on-one conversations, Joey has developed a technique similar to those we’ve discussed on the show, including street epistemology, motivational interviewing, deep canvassing, and even the socratic method. It shares elements with all of these, but was developed in-person through conversations with people who met with Joey in their communities and home towns. 

In this episode, we sit down with Henry Ernest Gee, the paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and senior editor of the scientific journal Nature

I was honored to get the opportunity chat with one of the absolute titans of science journalism and science communication about his new book: A Very Short History of Life on Earth, 4.6 billion years in 12 chapters.

In this episode, Dr. Jud Brewer, a neuroscientist and addiction psychiatrist, discusses the biological origins of anxiety and how to unwind our feedback loops using techniques derived from his lab’s research.

Since his last appearance on the show, Dr. Jud has written and published a book which is now a NYT bestseller titled Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind which he describes as, “a clinically proven step-by-step plan to break the cycle of worry and fear that drives anxiety and addictive habits.”