Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas
Spela

9 | Solo -- Why Is There Something Rather than Nothing?

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

00:00

9 | Solo -- Why Is There Something Rather than Nothing?

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

Ever wanted to know how music affects your brain, what quantum mechanics really is, or how black holes work? Do you wonder why you get emotional each time you see a certain movie, or how on earth video games are designed? Then you’ve come to the right place. Each week, Sean Carroll will host conversations with some of the most interesting thinkers in the world. From neuroscientists and engineers to authors and television producers, Sean and his guests talk about the biggest ideas in science, philosophy, culture and much more.

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

It's fun to be in the exciting, chaotic, youthful days of the podcast, when anything goes and experimentation is the order of the day. So today's show is something different: a solo effort, featuring just me talking without any guests to cramp my style. This won't be the usual format, but I suspect it will happen from time to time. Feel free to chime in below on how often you think alternative formats should be part of the mix. The topic today is "Why Is There Something Rather than Nothing?", or equivalently "Why Does the Universe Exist at All?" Heady stuff, but we're not going to back away from the challenge. What I have to say will roughly follow my recent paper on the subject, although in a more chatty and accessible style. It concerns ideas at the intersection of physics, philosophy, and theology, so tune in if you're into that sort of thing. [smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/seancarroll/something-nothing.mp3" social_gplus="false" social_linkedin="true" social_email="true" hashtag="mindscapepodcast" ] Big news! After a number of people have asked, I have finally opened a Patreon account for people who would like to support Mindscape in some way. You can sign up to kick in a dollar or more per podcast episode, and in return you get 1) access to occasional Ask Me Anything episodes done exclusively for patrons, and 2) my undying gratitude. If the Patreon route is successful enough, I'll forego having ads on the podcast -- we'll see how it goes. Download Episode

Published

Play Episode

Related episodes Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

8 | Carl Zimmer on Heredity, DNA, and Editing Genes
(NaN)
Our understanding of heredity and genetics is improving at blinding speed. It was only in the year 2000 that scientists obtained the first rough map of the human genome: 3 billion base pairs of DNA with about 20,000 functional genes. Today, you can send a bit of your DNA to companies such as 23andMe and get a report on your personal genome (ancestry, health risks) for about $200. Technologies like CRISPR are allowing scientists to edit genes, not just map them. Science writer Carl Zimmer has been following ...

en dna society culture ideas crispr philosophy heredity arts genes physics science

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

7 | Yascha Mounk on Threats to Liberal Democracy
(NaN)
Both words in the phrase "liberal democracy" carry meaning, and both concepts are under attack around the world. "Democracy" means that they people rule, while "liberal" (in this sense) means that the rights of individuals are protected, even if they're not part of the majority. Recent years have seen the rise of an authoritarian/populist political movement in many Western democracies, one that scapegoats minorities in the name of the true "will of the people." Yascha Mounk is someone who has been outspoken...

en arts philosophy science society authoritarianism physics populism ideas culture politics democracy

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

6 | Liv Boeree on Poker, Aliens, and Thinking in Probabilities
(NaN)
Poker, like life, is a game of incomplete information. To do well in such a game, we have to think in terms of probabilities, unpredictable strategies, and Bayesian inference. These are ideas that play a central role in physics and rationality as well as in poker, which makes Liv Boeree such a great person to talk about them. Liv is a professional poker player who studied physics as a university student, and maintains an active interest in science generally and astrophysics in particular. We talk about poke...

en poker rationality aliens arts society physics altruism philosophy science probability ideas culture

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

5 | Geoffrey West on Networks, Scaling, and the Pace of Life
(NaN)
If you scale up an animal to twice its height, keeping everything else proportionate, its volume and weight become eight times as much. Such a scaling relation was used by J.B.S. Haldane in his famous essay, "On Being the Right Size," to help explain certain features of living organisms. But scaling relations go much deeper than that, and they are often much more subtle than the volume going as the cube of the length. Geoffrey West is a particle physicist turned complexity theorist, who studies how features...

en complexsystems arts philosophy physics networks ideas science scaling society culture

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

4 | Anthony Pinn on Humanism, Theology, and the Black Community
(NaN)
According to atheism, God does not exist. But religions have traditionally done much more than simply proclaim God's existence: they have provided communities, promoted the arts, handed down moral guidance, and so on. Can atheism, or perhaps humanism, replicate these roles? Anthony Pinn grew up as a devout Methodist, but became a humanist when he felt that religion wasn't really helping the communities that he cared about. Today he is a professor of religion who works to bring together atheism and the black...

en physics culture philosophy atheism science arts humanism blacktheology society ideas africanamericancommunity

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

3 | Alice Dreger on Sexuality, Truth, and Justice
(NaN)
The human mind loves nothing more than to build mental boxes -- categories -- and put things into them, then refuse to accept it when something doesn't fit. Nowhere is this more clear than in the idea that there are men, and there are women, and that's it. Alice Dreger is an historian of science, specializing in intersexuality and the relationship between bodies and identities. She is also a successful activist, working to change the way that doctors deal with newborn children who are born intersex. We talk...

en physics philosophy science arts academia sexuality ideas society culture activism intersex

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

2 | Carlo Rovelli on Quantum Mechanics, Spacetime, and Reality
(NaN)
Quantum mechanics and general relativity are the two great triumphs of twentieth-century theoretical physics. Unfortunately, they don't play well together -- despite years of effort, we currently lack a completely successful quantum theory of gravity, although there are some promising ideas out there. Carlo Rovelli is a pioneer of one of those ideas, loop quantum gravity, as well as the bestselling author of such books as Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and the recent The Order of Time. We talk about how to ...

en arts society culture ideas physics quantumgravity philosophy science loopquantumgravity spacetime

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

1 | Carol Tavris on Mistakes, Justification, and Cognitive Dissonance
(NaN)
For the first full episode of Mindscape, it's an honor to welcome social psychologist Carol Tavris. Her book with co-author Eliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me), explores the effect that cognitive dissonance has on how we think. We talk about the fascinating process by which people justify the mistakes that they make, and how that leads to everything from false memories to political polarization. [smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/seancarroll/carol-tavris.mp3" social_email="tru...

en science philosophy cognitivedissonance culture psychology society arts ideas physics

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

Welcome to the Mindscape Podcast!
(NaN)
I've decided to officially take the plunge into the world of podcasting. The new show will be called Mindscape, and will mostly consist of me talking to smart people about interesting ideas. (Occasionally it will be me talking by myself about ideas of questionable merit.) I'm a grizzled veteran at appearing on other podcasts, and it's past time I sat in the director's chair here. [smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/seancarroll/episode-zero-audio.mp3" artist="Sean Carroll" social_gplus="false...

en philosophy mindscape podcast culture seancarroll science arts physics society ideas