36 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
    • 4.4 • 56 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!

    Special Episode: Interview with Stuart Neil on SARS CoV-2

    Special Episode: Interview with Stuart Neil on SARS CoV-2

    You might have noticed there's been a bit of talk recently about a certain virus. A virus that may or may not have a vaccine that is very safe and effective, that may or may not be curable via hydroxychloroquine, vitamin D and ivermectin. That may or may not have escaped from a certain Chinese lab....
    Yes folks, we're talking about SARS CoV-2. And although it's technically not directly guru-related, these are topics that have sucked so many of our gurus in like a conceptual black hole.
    So, we were particularly happy that Dr. Stuart Neil was willing to talk to us and sort this stuff out. Stuart is a Professor of Virology at King's College London. He's a specialist in virus cell biology and immunology, antiviral restriction, and has studied HIV, Ebola, and most recently COVID.
    Stuart is passionate about helping to inform the public about the state of scientific knowledge on COVID, and is known for his many excellent twitter threads helping to provide summaries and combat the misinformation and conspiracy theories that surround these topics.
    In this episode, Stuart gives a nuanced and crystal clear summary of where the evidence is pointing on these COVID-related topics. Stuart's frank about what we do and we do not know on these topics. And with Matt and Chris, there's interesting discussions about the controversies surrounding THAT letter to the Lancet, how scientific publishing works, and how the 'scientific consensus' develops in a politically charged and highly dynamic situation.
    If you have friends or colleagues who are uncertain about what positions the evidence supports on COVID, then THIS is the guy and THIS is the episode you want them to listen to.
    Links
    https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/AID.2020.0095 (Stuart's article on Fake Science and Judy Mikovits)
    https://twitter.com/stuartjdneil (Stuart's Twitter profile)
    https://drasticresearch.org/ (D.R.A.S.T.I.C.'s Website)
    This Week's Sponsor
    Check out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News, and get the app at https://ground.news/gurus (ground.news/gurus).

    • 1 hr 59 min
    Special Episode: Interview with Stuart Ritchie on Hunter Gatherers in the 21st Century, covid skeptics, and bad science

    Special Episode: Interview with Stuart Ritchie on Hunter Gatherers in the 21st Century, covid skeptics, and bad science

    This week we have an engaging interview with the scientist, author, and public science communicator Stuart Ritchie. Stuart wrote the excellent 'Science Fictions: Exposing Fraud, Bias, Negligence and Hype in Science' and is a prolific advocate fr better science and more nuanced public discourse.
    In this episode we start of by discussing Stuart's recently published review of Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying's new book 'A Hunter Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century'. Was Stuart a fan and is now an acolyte of Weinsteinian lineage theory? Tune in to find out.
    Also, for those who enjoy 'challenging conversations', robust discourse, and regularly shop in the marketplace of ideas, there is an extended discussion on whether we have been a little bit too kind on the government and public health institutions. Stuart uses facts and logic and attempts to DESTROY us, so come and get your well earned vicarious catharsis but be prepared for plenty of postmodern deflection. We've learned from the best.
    Links
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/sep/24/a-hunter-gatherers-guide-to-the-21st-century-review-sciencey-self-help (Stuart's Review of Bret and Heather's new book at the Guardian)
    https://www.sciencefictions.org/ (Website for Stuart's (Excellent) Book: Science Fictions)
    https://www.covidfaq.co/ (Anti-Virus: The Covid 19 FAQ Website)
    https://unherd.com/2020/10/how-the-experts-messed-up-on-covid/ ('How the Experts Messed up on Covid' at Unherd by Stuart and Michael Story)
    https://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/2021/03/how-covid-sceptics-were-duped-wonder-drug-ivermectin ('How Covid Skeptics were duped by the Wonderdrug Ivermectin' at New Statesman by Stuart)
    https://twitter.com/C_Kavanagh/status/1293012571511898112?s=20 (Chris' Tweet-thread Chapter by Chapter review of Stuart's Book (use the hashtags to find the rest))
    https://twitter.com/thebirdmaniac/status/1440107670929768451?s=20 (Kevin Bird's Tweet with an extract from BandH's book)
    This Week's Sponsor
    Check out the sponsor of this week's episode, Ground News, and get the app at https://ground.news/gurus (ground.news/gurus).

    • 1 hr 53 min
    Jordan Hall: Sensemaking, or the superficial pitter-patter on the neocortex?

    Jordan Hall: Sensemaking, or the superficial pitter-patter on the neocortex?

    This episode is about sense-making... if you are not sick of that term yet, trust us, you soon will be.
    To get things rolling, Matt and Chris launch the podcast with a pair of rants. Chris vents about the lab-leak theorists who plague his mentions and Matt gets triggered by US libertarian takes on the military dictatorship apparently taking over Australia. He needs to get his thoughts out there before the secret police come and drag him away.
    Then we get the point (relatively quickly this time - see, we're getting better!) and leap into a truly indulgent level of sense making meta dialogue. Matt and Chris talk about a conversation between David Fuller and Jordan Hall, who are themselves discussing another conversation that Jordan Hall had with someone called Brandon Hayes.
    Yes, in this episode, you'll be listening to a conversation about a conversation about a conversation. It's like a podcast version of Inception, including a large amount of ponderous and ambiguous dialogue - you'll have to dig deeper, engage your sense making muscles, and it'll maybe make sense once it's all over.
    Anyway, so Brandon Hayes is a 'Propertarian', which appears to be an anti-semitic, ethnonationalist 'philosophy' with fascist and eugenic elements created by an odd American man called Curt Doolittle, . Cool, cool... David Fuller is raising some very legitimate concerns, and pulling Jordan Hall up on what seemed to be a rather generous and pally interview he conducted with Brandon.
    But it's Jordan's responses that really sparked the interest of the duo. He responds and explains. Or does he? There's a lot of reflections on the co-participatory seeking of Truth, the importance of the conversational process, the transformative nature of challenging relationships, but no real interest in the actual content of what people believe and promote. In this framing, a conversation with an anti-semite who promotes a neo-fascistic ideology becomes primarily just a stepping stone on a spiritual journey of transformative self-growth.
    As Jordan says, the literal content is just the superficial pitter-patter on the neocortex. But he's interested in something deeper, ineffable. The language Jordan uses is a tour-de-force in guru-esque 'sensemaking'. In a linguistic sense, he's like the bastard lovechild of Jordan Peterson and Eric Weinstein.
    Anyway if that sounds good to you then tune in, check it out, and if you manage to stick it out all the way to the end you are rewarded by Chris and Matt mulling over the validity of a harsh one-star review.
    Links
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfMjyNipCLI (Interview featured on the Episode on Rebel Wisdom: 'Sensemaking, Gatekeeping and the Propertarians, Jordan Hall')
    https://medium.com/rebel-wisdom/sensemaking-gatekeeping-talking-with-fascists-fda652608f0e (Very good and highly critical Medium Article on the topic by David Fuller)

    • 2 hrs 12 min
    Special Episode: Welcome to Weinstein World with special guest David Pizarro

    Special Episode: Welcome to Weinstein World with special guest David Pizarro

    The Weinstein brothers have been busy bees over the past few weeks/months(!) and it left Matt and Chris with a conundrum. How do they cover them as part of an intro segment without it turning into a five hour podcast?
    The solution was to make a two hour stand alone special episode purely dedicated to exploring the wonders (and shivering at the occasional horrors) as we try to map the terrain of Weinstein World. To help us navigate the alien geography and provide a 'relatively normal person' sanity check we have enlisted the help of the famed psychologist, David Pizarro, also known for co-hosting Very Bad Wizards (a small, upcoming ghost-hunting/philosophy podcast).
    Together with David we decode ancient mysteries, like why does Eric always wear a jacket?, we solve deep existential puzzles, like whether vodka can cure all conflicts, and we ponder heretofore unimagined possibilities, like how successful an audiobook of Fifty Shades of Grey read by Sam Harris and Heather Heying would be.
    So we hope you will join us on this exploration and remember our core message: *You do not have to promote anti-vaccine rhetoric and unproven miracle cures during a global pandemic*
    Links
    https://www.verybadwizards.com/ (Very Bad Wizards(!): David's excellent podcast hosted with philosopher Tammler Sommers)
    https://www.verybadwizards.com/191 (Very Bad Wizards Episode 191: All the Rage)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d8xLUXk58Q (Rebel Wisdom interview with Eric Weinstein: Vaccines, Ivermectin and Dark Horse)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CY3cbIvvBo (Rebel Wisdom: Better Skeptics for the Dark Horse)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwzfnZfo-rU (Rebel Wisdom: Yuri Deigin Responds to Bret Weinstein on Vaccines, Ivermectin and Quillette)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsAuBn9UQWM (Bret and Heather 92nd DarkHorse Podcast Livestream: The Blankest Slate)
    https://quillette.com/2021/07/06/looking-for-covid-19-miracle-drugs-we-already-have-them-theyre-called-vaccines/ (Claire Berlinski and Yuri Deigin's Article on Quillette: Looking for COVID-19 ‘Miracle Drugs’? We Already Have Them. They’re Called Vaccines)
    https://medium.com/rebel-wisdom/on-vaccine-safety-ivermectin-and-the-dark-horse-podcast-an-investigation-f32491d4c970 (Article on Medium by David Fuller: On Vaccine Safety, Ivermectin and the Dark Horse Podcast: An Investigation)

    • 2 hrs 1 min
    Gad Saad: Oh my Gad, it's the Saadfather!

    Gad Saad: Oh my Gad, it's the Saadfather!

    Gad Saad is a Professor of Marketing at Concordia University, author of The Consuming Instinct and, more recently, The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense. Self described as the 'Gadfather' with a podcast called the Saad Truth, he's certainly well versed in puns on his name. But is Prof. Saad the true Godfather of evolutionary consumption as he claims? or is he more of a Fredo, perpetually getting passed over for other Gurufathers?
    Gad is worried about parasitic brain worms that are influencing people's politics, though this affliction seems to correlate pretty strongly with all the liberal political views that Gad dislikes. Indeed, you won't find any discussion of MAGA or QAnon in his extensive bestiary of the pernicious brain-worms that can parasitise your mind. Rather it is 'Trump Derangement Syndrome' that has Gad fretting.
    But it isn't all partisan politics, we also get to see Gad draws on his knowledge of evolutionary psychology and unparalleled 'surgical' satirical skills to 'castrate' his opponents. Get ready for a string of anecdotes in which Gad destroys postmodern ideologues with facts and logic, embarrasses pigeon brained academics, and teaches his soccer coach the true meaning of freedom... and then everyone stood up and called!
    Links
    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/vaccine-the-human-story/id1569810932 (Vaccine: The Human Story) (Recommended Podcast!)
    https://twitter.com/normative/status/1424946657242796034 (Great thread on conspiracy theories and Gurus on Twitter)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRfbczIaR7E (Timbah on Toast's YouTube Documentary on Tim Pool)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEWOI317XtY (Gad Saad: The Death of Truth and How to Revive it: Modern Wisdom Podcast Ep. 217)

    • 2 hrs 43 min
    Special Episode: Interview with Robert Wright on crackpots, gurus, and modern media ecosystems

    Special Episode: Interview with Robert Wright on crackpots, gurus, and modern media ecosystems

    This week we welcome the author, journalist, and podcaster Robert Wright. Robert wrote the popular (and provocative!) book 'Why Buddhism is True' and has hosted many interesting discussions and debates at bloggingheads.tv, which he co-founded.
    We had a wide ranging discussion that touched on a vast array of topics including: the Weinsteins and their relative crackpot ratings, alternative and Mainstream media ecosystems and how they feed into guruism, what are gurus anyway (and are they all bad), Sam Harris and cognitive biases, whether Bob is a Buddhist Modernist, the extent to which meditation is a form of cultural conditioning, if wokism is really taking over America, and whether Matt and Chris' actually hate evolutionary psychology or not.
    Robert offers a unique perspective, displays a lot of good humour and patience, and indulges our ongoing fetishism of self deprecation culture. So join us for a suitably meandering Irish-Aussie-Americo conversation that involves only the prescribed amount of mutual backpatting!
    P.S. We promise the Gad Saad episode is coming soon!
    Links
    https://www.amazon.com/Why-Buddhism-True-Philosophy-Enlightenment/dp/1439195455 (Bob's Book 'Why Buddhism is True')
    https://nonzero.substack.com/p/is-eric-weinstein-a-crackpot ('Is Eric Weinstein a Crackpot' on Bob's Non-zero Substack)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j86WIfRfPDk (Bob's Interview with Tim Nguyen for The Wright Show)
    https://www.wired.com/story/sam-harris-and-the-myth-of-perfectly-rational-thought/ (Bob's article for Wired on Sam Harris and Tribalism (the one that got him cut off!))
    https://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html (The Crackpot Index by John Baez)

    • 1 hr 40 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
56 Ratings

56 Ratings

Jace the ace big man supremo ,

Will these poachers become gamekeepers?

Extremely likeable duo prone to deep deep dives into mostly IDW gurus. Let’s hope that they don’t become part of the establishment themselves and their acerbic takes on contemporary sages stay irreverent and fun.

Fuzzy Dunlop 🤙🏻 ,

Corporate Sellouts

As a long time listener of the pod I was shocked that to hear the inclusion of paid advertising on the most recent episode. This is great. I now no longer have to burden myself with listening to the heavily accented twaddle coming out of the hosts’ mouths and can skip straight to hearing about products and services that might be of interest to me. Top work. Keep it up.

Jjjjjjjjjjjsssssscdfkkb ,

Love to hate listen

These guys are well funny! Nice work!

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