Having a career in science…and what is “science” anyway?

Episode 15 of the Sympathetic People podcast, in which we discuss careers in science and ask questions about what exactly “science” is anyway.

It’s undeniably a problem that scientific research is underfunded. PhD students represent cheap labour for laboratories and universities, but how many of them can find a job when they complete their degrees? How many young researchers ever achieve job security? How does science stack up against other career paths in these regards?

Another core issue we discuss is what “science” really is. Many people seem to believe that science is fundamentally different from the arts and humanities, but “science” is just an outgrowth of empiricism. Empiricism is a branch of epistemology and epistemology is a branch of philosophy – science isn’t clearly separable from philosophy, it’s part of it! Not only this, but differences between the sciences and the arts, or between science and ancient traditions of myth-making and storytelling are greatly exaggerated.

Enjoy, subscribe, like (if you do), and please comment below with your thoughts!

Ouroborus painting by Genevieve Jackson.

To what extent do we perceive the world through words?

 

Episode 11, in which we discuss Carlos Castaneda, Buddhism, Karl Popper, science, fallibilism, magic, reality, and all such fun stuff!

To what extent do we perceive the world through words? Can we escape our verbal preconceptions and experience things “as they really are?” Can we do so and remain functional? We agree that it is healthy and productive to “get outside our selves” and attempt to perceive the world in a way less filtered by our preconceptions, but is all perception ultimately theoretical? Haven’t we evolved to perceive “affordances” – things we can use?

We hope you enjoy the discussion – please leave feedback in the comments section, and subscribe on iTunes.

What is the meaning of life?

Episode 10! In a decimal system that is surely a milestone; in any other system of counting maybe not, but we’ll take it!

Tim reads from Sean Carroll’s wonderful book “The Big Picture“, and the intrepid evolutionary biologists (your hosts) discuss the meaning of life, conflict between science and religion on this topic, meditation, and a bunch of other stuff. It’s fun!

Spoiler alert – we don’t really know what the meaning of life is, but as Bill Fay (he’s a musician, check him out) says “like my old dad said, life is people“…..

Listen! We compel you to do so and hope you enjoy doing so. Subscribe on iTunes! Rate us on iTunes! Comment on the blog! Use exclamation marks excessively!!!

Thanks 🙂

Are gender and sexuality social constructs?

Episode nine of the Permanent Evolution Podcast, a discussion about gender and sexuality and whether or not these are merely socially constructed categories. Do we need labels to function as part of social groups, as part of societies? Words are tools, but what happens when we give them too much power by using them to define our identities?

We speak over each other a couple of times during this episode – sorry, we’re working on that! We’re also working to improve the sound quality. We hope you’re enjoying the content! Please subscribe on iTunes if so.

Thanks for listening!

 

 

Permanent Evolution Podcast, Episode 5 – Death.

 

Episode five of the Permanent Evolution Podcast – the death episode. Dr Coludar and Dr Jackson consider the phenomenon of death from many angles, both evolutionary and experiential. Is death inevitable or was it selected for early in the evolution of life? Since our own death is inevitable, how should we come to terms with it? Why are we so fascinated with apocalyptic mythology?

Permanent Evolution Podcast Episode 2

Episode two of the Permanent Evolution Podcast.

Part 1 – Morals and the Louis C.K. case study; are we becoming more moral? is there progress in history?

Part 2 – Cultural evolution continued; can a complex world view be coherent?

Part 3 – Is reality coherent? Is “evolution” just another catch-all metaphor?

NB.

When Joha says “immoral”, it sometimes sounds like he’s saying “moral”……

Teleology is “goal-directed by knowledge”, as opposed to teleonomy – “goal-directed by law”.

All music and field-recordings/soundscapes by Tim.

Painting by Genevieve Jackson.