"Keep Talking" exists to have conversations that might help to make a better society and culture.
As humans, talking openly to each other is one of the key tools we have to gain knowledge, to seek the truth, to foster curiosity, to exchange and explore ideas, to see nuance, to ask big questions, to defend individual liberty, to resist ideology and tribalism, to heal and develop, to glean insight, to learn from history, to change our minds.
And in that spirit, I believe that each guest has important information and stories to share.
This show is also a deeply personal project for me, to learn, to grow, to reduce my own ignorance, to try to make me a better human being and a better citizen.
And it's something that I want to share.
Episode 15: Ben Westhoff - Fentanyl in America
Ben Westhoff is an investigative journalist and author. In 2019, he published "Fentanyl, Inc.", the definitive story of the Fentanyl drug trade and its effects on American culture. During our conversation, Ben talks about his reasons for writing the book, where fentanyl is made and how it enters America, the pervasiveness and dangers of fentanyl to society, and what might be done to add a measure of safety to people at risk from its toxicity.------------Show notesFollow Keep Talking on Twitter, Instagram, and FacebookListen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTubeSupport the podcast on Patreon------------(00:00) Intro(04:41) Ben shares what got him interested in studying fentanyl(06:59) The role of China in the distribution of fentanyl in American society(11:50) Is it technically correct to say that although fentanyl export is illegal, its ingredients can be exported?(12:40) Where are we currently in terms of the death rates or the effects of fentanyl in society? Is it as bad as it ever was?(14:19) How are people affected by the drug?(17:29) What percentage of street drugs, including cocaine or heroin, has fentanyl laced within it?(18:39) How would you advise people to mitigate some of the risks of fentanyl(20:50) Do we know if fentanyl-laced drugs are more common in certain regions of the country?(24:09) What are your thoughts on India potentially taking over as a potential leader in the production of fentanyl?(25:54) What prompted Ben to do firsthand research on fentanyl?(30:06) Why did Ben decide to put himself at risk for the sake of his research?(31:54) Ben talks about his book, "Fentanyl Inc."(34:47) Ben shares the possible ways to improve the situation(37:07) Ben discusses if there is any city, state, or country, that is dealing with the use of the drug in the most rational way(38:59) Has Ben changed his mind on anything after publishing his book?(41:21) The legal ways in which fentanyl is used in the medical context(43:49) What do people taking substances like fentanyl experience?(45:38) What are the substances that people in our culture should be looking out for as a potential risk for having fentanyl in it?(48:09) Ben shares his interests and next steps
Episode 14: Peter Neufeld - The Innocence Project
Peter Neufeld is a civil rights lawyer and the co-founder of the Innocence Project. During over conversation, Peter talks about how and why he and Barry Scheck created The Innocence Project, the importance of DNA testing in exonerating wrongly convicted citizens, common scientific and procedural errors that have been used to convict defendants, and how our culture might create a more fair and impartial criminal justice system.------------Show notesFollow Keep Talking on Twitter, Instagram, and FacebookListen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTubeSupport the podcast on Patreon------------(0:00) Intro(02:52) Peter shares what got him to found the Innocence Project(06:07) What were the issues in society back when Peter started the Innocence Project?(09:31) Peter shares what got him interested in law(12:15) The story behind starting the Innocence Project(18:41) Peter talks about his relationship with the Innocence Project co-founder, Barry Scheck(20:57) Why and how scientists use DNA typing(26:41) Peter’s thoughts on the systems that needed to be changed prior to founding the Innocence Project(30:55) How DNA testing was used to exonerate innocent people or to potentially introduce incontrovertible evidence that proved a person’s innocence(39:21) Peter talks about the emotional satisfaction he receives through his work. He also lists the first few cases that the Innocence Project took up(46:43) How the Innocence Project accepted cases at its beginning, and how that evolved over the years(51:46) How the Innocence Project has helped society at large(55:01) What are the hurdles to achieving a more just criminal justice system?(01:04:54) How Peter feels about the existing judicial system, and hope for improvement(01:08:24) What are the ways normal people could try to help the Innocence Project(01:14:35) What percentage of the population of convicted criminals, according to Peter, have likely been wrongly convicted?(01:27:48) What's the right attitude to have as a citizen and juror?(01:33:17) Some changes Peter wishes to see in America's criminal justice system
Episode 13: Avi Loeb - 'Oumuamua, UFOs, and Extraterrestrial Life
Avi Loeb is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at Harvard University. During our conversation, Avi talks about his interest in science, humanity's search for truth, his view that the interstellar object 'Oumuamua is an alien spacecraft, his book "Extraterrestrial," and The Galileo Project, which he leads, which will embark on the "Scientific Search for Evidence of Extraterrestrial Technological Artifacts."------------Show notesFollow Keep Talking on Twitter, Instagram, and FacebookListen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTubeSupport the podcast on Patreon------------(01:05) Meet Avi Loeb(02:28) Avi shares his background and upbringing(07:21) Avi shares the intentions behind his book, "Extraterrestrial"(08:42) Avi shares his understanding of science and philosophy, explaining the difference between the two(14:15) Avi shares his personal development story and how he cultivated a curiosity for the facts and evidence behind explanations(21:41) Avi shares how he used to question spiritual beliefs growing up and how it made him stand out from other people(23:54) Avi’s views on human life considering his current worldview(31:07) Avi’s ideas on evolution and the meaning of life(41:38) Avi shares his most high-profile work to date(51:13) Avi discusses the importance of holding onto evidence and offering a valid justification for your work(59:54) Avi shares his goals and aspirations behind sourcing funds for his future projects(01:09:39) Avi explains Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) and how it's different from Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs.(01:27:11) Avi shares references to the most respectable people he’s come across in his life(01:39:23) Advice for people enthusiastic about approaching the world in a more realistic and accurate way
Episode 12: Bruce Poulter - MDMA for PTSD
Bruce Poulter is an MDMA therapist, trainer, and clinical supervisor. During our conversation, Bruce talks about his interest in MDMA as a therapy, his years as a practitioner, the experience of such therapy for patients, its efficacy in helping people work through trauma, and the MAPS clinical trials that aim to legalize MDMA therapy in the U.S. by 2023.------------Show notesFollow Keep Talking on Twitter, Instagram, and FacebookListen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTubeSupport the podcast on Patreon------------(00:00) Intro(02:39) Bruce explains where his interest in MDMA stemmed from(06:51) What does it mean to have PTSD?(09:40) Symptoms of PTSD and the clinician-administered PTSD scale(14:36) What is it that makes the life of an individual with PTSD difficult? What are the triggers they experience?(16:32) Bruce explains how they identify someone with PTSD(18:15) Why is PTSD said to be a defense mechanism for what has happened to people?(23:08) Bruce’s dedication towards helping people with this medicine in a therapy setting(31:30) Bruce explains his wife’s battle with PTSD, and what he noticed in her personality, disposition, and mentality as a result of her going through MDMA therapeutic sittings(37:55) What is MDMA? How does it function?(40:43) The dosage amount, duration, setting, and other parameters that decide the usage of MDMA for PTSD(45:29) An outline of an MDMA treatment session(01:04:15) What does a person experience during the 8-hour period of treatment(01:09:21) Different phases of the MDMA drug trial(01:15:52) MDMA is not for everyone - Bruce explains why coercing should not be an option(01:26:08) What is the future of MDMA?(01:33:31) How is MAPS getting involved in the conversation concerning PTSD treatment?(01:40:32) Misconceptions, facts, and anecdotes that could benefit those listening
Episode 11: Stephen Fried - Benjamin Rush & A Life In Journalism
Stephen Fried is an author and investigative journalist. During our conversation, Stephen talks about his life and work in Philadelphia, and his most recent book "Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father." "Rush" details the life of one of America's most important early citizens: an abolitionist, the uniter of the acrimonious relationship of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and the founder of American psychiatry.------------Show notesFollow Keep Talking on Twitter, Instagram, and FacebookListen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTubeSupport the podcast on Patreon------------(00:00) Intro(00:49) Stephen shares where his initial interest and talent in nonfiction history comes from(13:35) How Stephen spent years of his life researching and writing books(18:35) About Stephen’s first book, "Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia"(39:25) Stephen explains how he learned about Benjamin Rush(56:39) Stephen notes that Benjamin Rush was somebody who was well ahead of his time. He explains his understanding of Rush and how he was able to create a new perspective on people who had mental illnesses and addiction(01:15:00) Stephen explains why bleeding someone who’s psychotic is the craziest thing in the world(01:27:34) Stephen’s advice for people learning about Patrick Kennedy’s story(01:37:30) Stephen shares his thoughts on modernity(01:45:06) What Stephen thinks is the best thing we as a country could implement to ease some suffering and improve the mental health crisis
Episode 10: Dan Barker - A Preacher's Journey From Religion
Dan Barker is a former evangelical Christian preacher, current co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and co-founder of The Clergy Project. During our conversation, Dan talks about his two decades as a public Christian figure, what caused him to leave his religion, the purpose of FFRF, how the perspective of atheists and agnostics can be more beautiful and meaningful than the religious outlook, and The Clergy Project, an organization that provides assistance and support to active members of the clergy who have lost their faith.------------Show notesFollow Keep Talking on Twitter, Instagram, and FacebookListen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTubeSupport the podcast on Patreon------------(01:17) Dan talks about the circumstances that led him to become a believer and an evangelical Christian preacher(06:20) Dan’s Christian musical background(13:06) On beliefs and religion(22:45) Understanding Christianity and evolution more deeply(27:48) About the Adam and Eve story(30:15) Dan speaks further about the evolution of his beliefs(38:17) What was the intention behind the creation of the Freedom From Religion Foundation?(47:03) Dan talks about the different services that The Clergy Project offers(48:37) What are the resources available to members of the clergy who no longer believe?(53:50) How Dan faced the truth of his beliefs(01:03:10) Dan’s beliefs about religion in America today(01:10:14) The most persuasive observations and arguments from members of The Clergy Project that changed that caused a perspective shift in people
Just great conversation
Dan’s curiosity about the world and diverse range of issues and people make these conversations unique and worth returning to every week. Keep them coming.
Mr Dan Riley
Have been listening to Dan for quite some time now, and he just keeps engaging w some great, wide ranging guests and continues to do a great job interviewing!
The voice of our generation
Nothing gets my engine humming like a long form conversation with Mr Riley at the wheel