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Patterson in Pursuit

Interviews with intellectuals from across the globe. Exploring philosophy, politics, religion, and rationalism. Steve Patterson is an independent philosopher currently traveling the world to interview people in the pursuit of truth. Topics include logic and epistemology, skepticism, metaphysics, ethics, science and religion, truth, Christianity, Buddhism, atheism, culture, economics, the philosophy of mathematics, and every other topic that's important to humans.
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Now displaying: April, 2017
Apr 30, 2017

How fundamental is the conflict between science and religion? Is it true that the history of the church is filled with anti-intellectualism and the suppression of scientific inquiry? Is religious fundamentalism to blame for the tension between science and religion?

I've got my own suspicions about these questions, but I decided to ask Dr. Peter Harrison, who teaches History at the University of Queensland. He specializes in the topic of "Science versus Religion".

Apr 28, 2017

Rationalists are far too quick to dismiss anecdotes as being "non-scientific." They are also too quick to accept all official-looking "data" that comes from scientists - when, in fact, anecdotes might sometimes be more trustworthy than scientific data.

On the other hand, many people are far too likely to accept the theoretical claims of anecdotal evidence - rather than accepting the data while remaining skeptical of any theoretical claims.

Apr 23, 2017

For thousands of years, people have ingested psychedelic drugs in order to alter their consciousness. They report having profound experiences - many of which are life-changing. But is this just simple delusion? Can you really learn important truths while on drugs? I think it's a grave mistake to dismiss the possibility out of hand.

To help me answer, I'm joined by the World Wanderers: Ryan Ferguson and Amanda Kingsmith, who have traveled to more than 45 countries together. While in Peru, they both had an ayahuasca experience that they consider to be life-changing in a positive way.

Apr 20, 2017

Continuing the commentary on hierarchy from last week.

Seeking status, wealth, and prestige - for their own sake - is not a recipe for happiness or human flourishing. It's a recipe for pettiness and division.

Playing power games within a social pecking order is an attempt to compensate for a lack of self-confidence.

Apr 15, 2017

A year ago, I started Patterson in Pursuit. Ten countries later, I want to share some thoughts about what I've learned. 

Apr 13, 2017

Regardless of where people fall on the social hierarchy, they like and reinforce the system. They seek camaraderie with other people in social classes - even if they're in the bottom class.

This is a difficult part of human psychology for me to deal with. For those of us who don't like this system, it can be difficult to opt-out.

Apr 9, 2017

Does infinity really come in multiple sizes? According to mathematical orthodoxy, some infinities are bigger than others - but that's awfully hard to wrap your mind around.

So, I've asked Dr. Toby Meadows from the University of Queensland to help me out. He specializes in the philosophy of mathematics and set theory.

Apr 2, 2017

Why is the history of ideas dominated by male thinkers? Is it because women are discouraged from intellectual life - or is it because women tend to choose other careers?

If we go even deeper: why do women (and men) make the choices they do? Is it because they are influenced by overwhelming societal pressures - or are they acting freely?

These are the questions I've asked Dr. Michelle Boulous-Walker, who teaches at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

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