Richard Dawkins on Flight and Other Evolutionary Achievements

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape | 2 May 2022 | 1h 18m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Richard Dawkins about his book Flights of Fancy: Defying Gravity by Design and Evolution. Discusses the different ways that heavier-than-air objects might be made to fly, and why natural selection produces some but not others. Also discusses central issues in evolution: levels of selection, the extended phenotype, the role of adaptation, and how genes relate to organisms.

Arvid Ågren on the Gene’s-Eye View of Evolution

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape | 21 February 2022 | 1h 25m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Arvid Ågren about his book The Gene’s-Eye View of Evolution. Backgrounds the modern synthesis of Darwinian selection theory and population-oriented view of Mendelian genetics to explain evolution. Discusses the selfish gene view of evolution and group selection.

Tai-Danae Bradley on Algebra, Topology, Language, and Entropy

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape | 23 November 2021 | 1h 21m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Tai-Danae Bradley discussing her work using mathematical ideas from areas like category theory, topology, and quantum probability theory to analyze real-world phenomena like the structure of natural-language speech. A masterclass in the crisp communication of complex ideas.

Herbert Gintis on Game Theory, Evolution, and Social Rationality

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape | 13 September 2021 | 1h 29m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Herbert Gintis arguing that game theory, together with an expanded model of rational behaviour (that includes social as well as personally selfish interests) provides an understanding of human behaviour that integrates ideas from biology, economics, psychology, and sociology.

Kathryn Paige Harden on Genetics, Luck, and Fairness

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape | 20 September 2021 | 1h 25m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Kathryn Paige Harden about her book The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality. Argues that DNA matters to how we understand people, that we can clearly measure some of its effects, and understanding those effects is a crucial tool in fighting discrimination and making the world a more equitable place.

See also the excellent New Yorker profile of Hardin.

Daryl Morey on Analytics, Psychology, and Basketball

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape | 15 March 2021 | 1h 16m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Daryl Morey, the President for Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers. Discusses the science, art and human relations of optimising a basketball team to win games and championships – the data required, what to ignore, correcting for bias, while taking account of human intuition, etc.

Erich Jarvis on Language, Birds, and People

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape | 14 December 2020 | 1h 15m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Erich Jarvis comparing vocal learning in birds and other animals with humans. Argues that there is a particular mental circuit in the brains of parrots (for example) responsible for vocal learning, and that it corresponds to similar circuits in the human brain. Discusses the implications for the development of intelligence and other important human characteristics.