129 episodes

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!

Decoding the Gurus Christopher Kavanagh and Matthew Browne

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.3 • 177 Ratings

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!

    *Preview* Decoding Academia 27: Dark Triad Authenticity

    *Preview* Decoding Academia 27: Dark Triad Authenticity

    We do bonus episodes every month that are focused on analysing academic content or discussing research and we thought it might be useful to let new listeners know! So find attached a preview...
    In this episode of Decoding Academia, Matt and Chris delve into a paper that explores the complex world of dark personality traits and their impact on authenticity. They examine how traits like narcissism and psychopathy might intersect with the concept of the true self, and consider whether cultural differences in self-conception play a significant role. The episode also features reflections on Logan Roy from Succession and a friendly disagreement between Matt and Chris about labels in psychology.
    Paper referenced: Bulbuc, A. A., & Visu-Petra, L. (2024). Shedding a light on authenticity in high dark trait individuals: A morally grey territory? Personality and Individual Differences, 224, 112632.
    The full episode is available for Patreon subscribers at the Revolutionary Genius tier (1 hr 9 mins).
    Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus

    • 30 min
    Supplementary Materials 6: Christian Sensemaking, Hipster Race Realists, & Marijuana Pseudoscience

    Supplementary Materials 6: Christian Sensemaking, Hipster Race Realists, & Marijuana Pseudoscience

    We shake our heads in despair at some truly terrible Guru crossovers:
    Old Man Health Routines: Jogging, Diets, and the Pursuit of 'Wellness'Jordan Peterson and Russell Brand offer the apotheosis of indulgent Christian-themed sensemakingTaylor Lorenz and activist journalismAre Twitch Streamers the Future of Journalism? No.Huberman gets himself in hot water over Marijuana episodeThe Value of Debating Pseudoscience with HubermanCasey Means: Cramming all the pseudoscience red flags into a single TweetWhen Red Scare met Steve Sailer: Ironic Hipsterism X Old Skool Scientific Racism
    Links
    JBP Podcast: The Collective Unconscious, Christ, and the Covenant | Russell Brand | EP 444Washington Post: Twitch streamers become go-to news source for campus protest coverage (Taylor Lorenz)Red Scare: Sailer Socialism w/ Steve SailerHuberman Lab: Dr. Casey Means: Transform Your Health by Improving Metabolism, Hormone & Blood Sugar RegulationCasey Means Red Flag filled Pinned TweetNew York Magazine: The Man Who Invented Identity Politics for the Far Right
    The full episode is available for Patreon subscribers (1 hr 43 mins).
    Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus

    • 49 min
    Interview with Flint Dibble on Pseudo Archaeology and Science Communication

    Interview with Flint Dibble on Pseudo Archaeology and Science Communication

    In this episode, join Matt and Chris as they enjoy a stimulating discussion with the archaeologist Flint Dibble. Flint recently appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience to discuss the evidence (or lack thereof) of advanced ancient civilizations facing off against the famed pseudoarchaeologist Graham Hancock. The episode was a four-and-a-half-hour tour de force in science communication and effective debunking, thanks to Flint's efforts.
    We talk to Flint about his experience on the show, the extensive preparation involved, his thoughts on how to effectively engage with pseudo-archaeology and strategies for enhancing broader science communication. Additionally, Flint discusses the significance of authentic archaeological work and the crucial role of academic participation in public discourse.
    We enjoyed this one a lot and hope you will too!
    Links
    Flint's YouTube ChannelFlint on XJoe Rogan Experience #2136 - Graham Hancock & Flint DibbleFlint's Guardian Article: Lost civilisations make good TV, but archaeology’s real stories hold far more wonderCritical YouTube series on Hancock's Netflix Show Ancient ApocalypseFlint's Conversation Article: With Netflix’s Ancient Apocalypse, Graham Hancock has declared war on archaeologistsFlint's Cardiff University ProfileAtun Shei Review: An Archaeologist Debated Graham Hancock. I Have ThoughtsMedium Article by Chris that talks a bit about Graham Hancock's Book
    Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Supplementary Material 5: Spiritual UFOs, Alternative Theories of Evolution, and Atlantean Grievances

    Supplementary Material 5: Spiritual UFOs, Alternative Theories of Evolution, and Atlantean Grievances

    We watch in awe as the guru-sphere grapples with a host of 'alternative' theories:
    Bret promotes pseudoscience on Polio and alternative theories on evolutionThe Gurusphere collides with Tucker's takes on evolutionRogan and Tucker praise Alex Jones' prophetic abilitiesTucker's views on spiritual UFOsHasan endorses Lex Fridman as the most genuine centristContrasting Destiny and Hasan's transparencyWorld War 3 WarningsThe Great Archaeology Debate: Dibble vs. HancockGraham Hancock- A Grievance Mongering MasterclassIntentional MisrepresentationWhite Supremacy angers Great JoeThe Cass Review Controversy: A lesson in misinformation
    Links
    The Untold Story of Polio – Forrest Maready on DarkHorseJerry Coyne's old takedown of Bret's confused theories about evolutionBret's tweets defending TuckerJoe Rogan Experience #2138 - Tucker CarlsonJoe Rogan Experience #2136 - Graham Hancock & Flint DibbleThe Iced Coffee Hour- Confronting Hasan Piker on Socialist Grift, Hypocrisy, and How “The Top 1%” Keeps You Poor!The Iced Coffee Hour- Destiny on Debating Ben Shapiro, Toxic Wokeism and Getting DivorcedA comparison of the reactions to Iran's missile launchesMore or Less (BBC)- 98%: Is misinformation being spread about a review of trans youth medicine?The Cass ReportSystematic Reviews from the Cass Report
    The full episode is available for Patreon subscribers (1 hr 51 mins).
    Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus

    • 44 min
    Destiny: Debate King and/or Degenerate?

    Destiny: Debate King and/or Degenerate?

    In this episode, Matt and Chris dive deep into the world of online streamers, focusing on the pioneering and controversial figure Steven Bonell II, better known as Destiny (AKA Mr Borelli). As seasoned explorers of sense-making jungles, Petersonian crystalline structures, and mind-bending labyrinths in Weinstein World, they thought they were prepared for anything. However, the drama-infused degeneracy of the streamer swamps proves to offer some new challenges.
    Having previously dipped their toes in these waters by riding with Hasan on his joyous Houthi pirate ship (ignoring the screams of the imprisoned crew below decks), Matt and Chris now strip down to their decoding essentials and plunge head-first into streamer drama-infested waters as they search for the fabled true Destiny.
    Destiny is a popular live streamer and well-known debater with a long and colourful online history. He is also known for regularly generating controversy. With a literal mountain of content to sift through, there was no way to cover it all. Instead, Matt and Chris apply their usual decoding methods to sample a selection of Destiny's content, seeking to identify any underlying connective tissue and determine if he fits the secular guru mould.
    In so doing, they cover a wide range of topics, including:
    Destiny's background and rise to prominence in the streaming worldHow much of his brain precisely is devoted to wrangling conservatives?What's it like to live with almost no private/public boundaries?What are the ethics of debating neo-Nazis?The nature of the Destiny's online communityWhether murder is a justified response to DDOS attacks?
    Whether they succeed or fail in their decoding will be for the listeners to judge, but one thing is certain: if this is your first exposure to the streaming world, you are in for a bit of a ride.
    Links
    The Institute of Art and Ideas: Destiny and the new world of Internet politics | Steven Bonnell full interviewEnd of the Leftist Arc? - Destiny Addresses the Recent DramaIced Coffee Hour: Destiny on Debating Ben Shapiro, Toxic Wokeism and Getting DivorcedHelpful Reddit thread with a bunch of relevant videos and summariesDocumentary on Destiny Lore by Dingo: The Steven "Destiny" Bonnell II IcebergDestiny's Positions page on his dedicated WikiDestiny's ManifestosMrGirl's anti-Destiny 'Report'

    • 3 hrs 16 min
    Supplementary Material 4: Passive Aggressive Therapists, Shit-posting Monks, and Weaponised Naivety

    Supplementary Material 4: Passive Aggressive Therapists, Shit-posting Monks, and Weaponised Naivety

    We ponder whether, due to our naivety, do we actually deserve the gurus and other topics, including:
    Is Hasan Piker even better than we said?The ethical quandaries of online therapy with Dr. KThe False Halos of Status and SuccessThe Rest is History Luther series and parallels with Secular GurusThe Power of Polemicists: Peterson, Trump, and Martin Luther?Secular vs. Religious GurusShit-posting MissivesOrthodoxic Atheism and Orthopraxic ReligionLex Fridman's Reflections on Intellectual HumilitySome important Messages from the hosts
    Links
    Game Rant Article about Hasan Piker's donation to Strike FundsUncovering the Higher Truth about Jay Shetty by John McDermottCoffeezilla Interview with John McDermottDr. K and Doctor Mike: Debating The Value Of Eastern Medicine (Ayurveda)That stream with Dr. K and his wifeThe Rest is History: Series on Martin LutherArticle by Chris in Aeon about Orthopraxic ReligionLex's extremely humble tweet about his intellectual humility
    The full episode is available for Patreon subscribers (1hr 19mins).
    Join us at: https://www.patreon.com/DecodingTheGurus

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
177 Ratings

177 Ratings

M McAuley ,

Essential for your baloney detection kit

This was in my podcast list for ages but the eps were so long I didn’t listen to more than a few until I heard Chris say he listened to podcasts at higher speed and that did the trick! As a fellow Norn Irish person I appreciate Chris’s nods to home and enjoy his and Matt’s random ganching as much as the more academic and vital decoding! More power to yer elbows boys!

A Emich ,

Great analytical show

I’m a 34 year old clinical researcher out of the uk with a phd in biochemistry. I used to listen to JRE a lot back in the day. I am also a fan of Sam Harris and have all his books. I’m also a DDGer.. long story short I’ve interacted with many of the gurus on this show in both positive and negative ways. I LOVE THIS PODCAST. It’s a strong analytical show that is fair and balanced and does a great job exposing the nonsense that permeates our modern world.

Perplexed No More ,

Confirmation Bias on Repeat

Despite enjoying many of the takedowns of the more pompous guru types, after a few episodes it's entirely predictable what the hosts' position will be.

For those of us in academia, Chris and Matt represent a typically performative, careerist and mainstream position, so the sniggering and smugness comes as little surprise. Chris, who works in Japan, will not have been subject to the witch trials affecting those of us in the Anglosphere, so it's hardly surprising he sounds as clueless as he does in terms of the politicking that has destroyed the humanities and social sciences, while Matt is old enough, tenured and high enough up the greasy pole so that he just has to be careful, which he very clearly is, and hang on to becoming Emeritus. Maybe then he might be braver, but it doesn't seem as though he has it in him.

Neither provide any useful commentary in this regard, which is what they keep missing: the gurus are colonising the spaces academia should be occupying in addressing its own derangements rampant in each and every Western university department, which has escaped into government, institutional, media and corporate policy to disastrous effect.

Pretty astonishing they've dodged any discussion of gender woo woo - or maybe not - their half-hearted 'decodings' of racialist conspiracy theorist Kendi and the mad di Angelo, were notably tame compared to the knives out for any other guru types. Of course for Chris in Japan, his kids won't be inculcated with ginger bread ideology at elementary school, so he does have another thing to thank for living in a deeply conservative country.

Until they turn their gaze away from the gurus' staring at their navels and towards the institutions that provoked this situation, they won't get anywhere in understanding why the heterodox sphere has gained such impetus and influence. Their continued careful harvesting of obvious and (alleged) right wing leaning/conspiratorial gurus to shoot in barrels suggests this is unlikely to change, as they have well and truly been captured by their audience, who simply reflect back their own biases in a joyless, sniggering, reenactment circle jerk.

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