The Dancing Bear Extravaganza Spreecast: How bogus arguments of human nature undermine your efficacy.

Today’s Spreecast explores an argument from Man Alive!, specifically from Chapter 2, which is currently under discussion at

1. “We now know we know nothing!” Either your mind is inherently unreliable or the world outside your mind is fundamentally incomprehensible.

2. “Your good behavior is not to your credit, but at least your bad behavior is not your fault!” The actions you think of as being morally good or evil are either causally unavoidable or are caused by something other than your free will – hormones, brain chemistry, genes, brian defects, drugs, diseases, your upbringing, your environment, your wealth or poverty, memes, etc.

3. “Dancing bears are just like us!” Either animals such as apes or dolphins (or even “artificially intelligent” computer programs) are just as smart as you, or you are just as flailingly ignorant as an animal.

These kinds of reductionist claims are all bogus: They are self-consuming, with the result that no one actually believes and acts upon them in his real-life, existential behavior. But affecting to make believe to pretend to uphold them necessarily results in cognitive dissonance and could lead to an enduring philosophical fatalism — the belief that nothing can be changed.

I discuss that kind of fatalism briefly with respect to the Tea Party’s victories this week, then tie it all back to the idea of evangelizing egoism.

Wednesday I had my first guest, and today I had my first heckler. I’m getting better, I think, at doing this kind of video, but I’m always eager to talk with people on these Spreecasts. If you have a topic you would like to take up, email me and we’ll figure something out.

The audio-only version of this video is linked below, or you can find the podcast on iTunes.

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