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We Are Not Saved

We Are Not Saved is a podcast covering Eschatology. While this concept has traditionally been a religious one, and concerned with the end of creation, in this podcast that study has been broadened to include secular ways the world could end (so called x-risks) and also deepened to cover the potential end of nations, cultures and civilizations. The title is taken from the book of Jeremiah, Chapter 8, verse 20: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
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Now displaying: June, 2019
Jun 29, 2019

We've discussed cultural evolution, and everyone knows about evolution by natural selection, but is something different happening now? Some people have said that we have transitioned to a different a third type of evolution, memetic evolution. Is this just an improvement to cultural evolution in the same way that cultural evolution was an improvement on genetic evolution? Or is it an entirely different beast? Does it allow us to adapt faster? Or does it make all adaptation more difficult?

Jun 22, 2019

It seems obvious that there are certain traditions which work to improve the survival of the culture in which they exist. It seems equally obvious that some traditions are pointless. How do we tell the difference? As it turns out it may be harder and take longer than you think. Also reason might help you less than you think. In this episode I consider four factors which might be helpful:

  1. The duration of the tradition. How long has it been around?
  2. The strength of enforcement for the tradition. How severe are the penalties for going against it?
  3. The frequency of the tradition among the various cultures. How widespread is it? Is it present in many different cultures?
  4. The domain of the tradition. Is the tradition related to something which could impact survival or reproduction?
Jun 14, 2019

A review of Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis by Jared Diamond.

It's not Guns, Germs and Steel, but he does put forth an interesting list of factors for how nations successful navigate crisis. My assessment of these factors is that they're useful, but that they also serve to illustrate the depths of the current crises faced by the US and the world.

Jun 11, 2019

Lots of trends associated with the modern world seem to be increasing at an exponential rate. This includes things like energy use, CPU speed, and even scientific publications. But what if rather than being a exponential curve, all of these trends are really the bottoms of S-curves? Curves that start out looking like exponential curve, but which taper off at the top and plateau as constraints kick in. What would that mean for the ongoing progress people have come to count on, and what might be some potential examples of this?

Jun 2, 2019

I review a bunch of books:

  • The Collapsing Empire
  • Porcelain: A Memoir
  • Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI
  • The Inevitable Apostasy and the Promised Restoration (Religious)
  • The City & The City
  • 13 Ways of Going on a Field Trip: Stories about Teaching and Learning
  • Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee
  • The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (Incerto)
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