Published on:

31st Jul 2022

Special: Guru Right to Reply with Robert Wright

As per Section 7, paragraph 3, item 2 in the Gurometer Constitution and User Manual states, "All covered gurus shall have a Right to Reply" and Robert Wright has taken us up on this invitation!

Now, this provision is generally intended to allow the poor dears we cover a rejoinder to all the insults, smears, and canards we routinely employ in our 'take-downs'. But our coverage of Bob was almost entirely positive. As Bob says in this episode, "You liked me, you really liked me!". So, this was actually more of an excuse to catch up and tie off a few bows. Bob clarifies a few points on the more speculative frontiers of his worldview, and exactly what he means when he talks about potential teleologies in evolution.

But the warm fuzzies and mutual back-patting in this interview quickly devolve into yet another bitter intra-podcast internecine feud about consciousness and whether it's 'spooky' or not.

Matt accuses Chris of being a p-zombie, which he's done before, but since it's an ad-hominem par excellence, we can all agree it deserves more than one shake of the sauce bottle. Bob does his best to walk (Chris) Matt back from the precipice of madness but to no avail. Although we might possibly have failed, once again, to solve the ultimate mystery of the human condition, at least a good waffley time was had by all.

In the original episode, we made only passing reference to our disagreements with Bob over international relations, and Syria in particular. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has happened in the interim, and this has been a big focus of Bob's output since then. So, we have at-it a bit on that, on the benefits and limits of deploying cognitive empathy, and we touch on Grayzone and Bellingcat and who's dis-informing whom.

It's no secret we earnestly disagree with Bob on geopolitics. But it's most definitely one of those topics where decent people can disagree. Since he's a frood who Really Knows Where His Towel is, we always appreciate the chance to talk to him. And who knows, one day Matt and Chris might even be wrong about something!? If so, I'm sure the subreddit will let us know.



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About the Podcast

Decoding the Gurus
A psychologist and an anthropologist try to make sense of the world's greatest self-declared Gurus.
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!
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About your hosts

Christopher Kavanagh

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A Northern Irish cognitive anthropologist who occasionally moonlights as a social psychologist. Chris has long standing interests in the psychology of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscience. His academic research focuses on the Cognitive Science of Religion and ritual psychology. He lives happily in Japan with his family.

Matthew Browne

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An Australian psychologist and numbers-guy. He does research on all kinds of stuff, but particularly enjoys looking into why people believe the things they do: religion, conspiracy theories, alternative medicine and stuff. He's into social media in the same way people slow down for car accidents.