Someone once observed that if Howard Stern and Krista Tippett had a love child, it would be Scott Jones. Scott liked that.
Scott is the former host and producer of the popular Give and Take podcast and an in-demand consultant on all things “pod.” He is also a writer for several online and print magazines, a frequent conference speaker, a PhD candidate in Theology, and an ordained minister.
A New Jersey native, Scott lives with his best friend and wife, Lindy, in the suburbs of Philadelphia with two rescue pit bulls that he swears are sensitive souls.
Episode | July 8th, 2019 | 1 hr 10 mins
In this episode of the podcast, recorded the day after America's 243rd Anniversary celebration, we consider the nature of freedom, whether it's a static or dynamic thing, and a host of other questions! There's a little something for everyone (and maybe everything for someone?!?) in this episode!
Episode | July 8th, 2019 | 51 mins 26 secs
In this episode we discuss a debate between two controversial public intellectuals: Slavoj Žižek and Jordan Peterson. The debate took place in Toronto on April 19, 2019.
Episode | June 21st, 2019 | 50 mins 6 secs
This episode is based on a recent piece Chris wrote and sent to the community that usually recieves his "maps." In his own words these field notes are, "Rougher, faster than my carefully crafted 'maps.' Big provocations that I can't see through to the end…but maybe you and I’ll flesh out the map together."
Episode | June 14th, 2019 | 1 hr 45 secs
The real world is complex. It is changing very fast. So the optimal solution probably doesn’t exist. If it does exist, it doesn’t stay the optimal solution for long. To the extent that Artificial Intelligence focuses our choices and behaviors on the optimal solution, we’re in trouble.
Episode | May 13th, 2019 | 53 mins 12 secs
In this episode we look at the most recent Edelman Trust Barometer numbers. Surprisingly (at least to one of us) China blows the West out of the water when it comes to its citzens trust in public institutions. Why is this? How does an autocratic state engender this kind of trust, the kind that is eluding most liberal democracies in Western Europe and North America? This leads us to a discussion of Alexis de Tocqueville's famous 19th Century work "Democracy In America."
Episode | May 6th, 2019 | 53 mins 30 secs
We're in the golden age of television, with dramas like Game of Thrones capturing the attention of millions. In fact we're increasingly critical of our favorite shows, as the critical reception of a recent Game of Thrones episode, "The Battle of Winterfell" has shown. While our expectations of entertainment continue to increase, our expectations of politics and public life get lower and lower. We consider the relationship between the two trends in this episode.
Episode | April 27th, 2019 | 34 mins 28 secs
In this episode Chris and Scott talk about the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the reaction to it in the media and in Europe and North America more broadly. We also consider what it means to cherish the past and be open to a future that might stand in tension with it.
Episode | April 5th, 2019 | 1 hr 5 mins
In this episode we talk the Mueller Report in the U.S. and Brexit in the U.K. We then talk about the recent horrific shooting in New Zealand (where Chris was at the time). We consider how our filters color the reception of all these events and why it matters.
Episode | March 16th, 2019 | 33 mins 43 secs
In this episode we talk about science, the transcendent moments it can evoke, and how we integrate those moments in to the rest of our lives.
Episode | March 6th, 2019 | 1 hr 3 mins
In this episode we consider the question: Is Humanity on the Right Track? But we do it with a twist. We discuss it as a motion, Oxford debating style. The idea came from a recent talk Chris gave at Oxford, at the great Oxford debating hall. He had the idea to do the talk debating style, debating himself! We had a great time unpacking it!
Episode | February 18th, 2019 | 50 mins 53 secs
It’s time to critique “critical thinking”...“Critical thinking” has become a new panacea—society’s go-to antidote to the spread of fake news, the rise of populism, and the AI-driven atomization of our social media feeds. If no one should control which messages get published and spread (given the priority we place on free speech), then everyone should at least possess the skills to judge the logic and legitimacy of the messages they consume. And how do we develop those critical thinking skills? Education, obviously. Yes, the power of lies to mislead whole sections of society may be a big problem. But education can solve it...That is a comforting thought. But here’s a discomfiting one. What if “critical thinking” isn’t just a discrete skill that can be taught or trained in individuals? What if it’s also an emergent property of society as a whole—the same way that “intelligence” is an emergent property of the brain, or that “niceness” is an emergent property of certain communities, like Minnesota, USA or Gothenburg, Sweden? What if the popular power of obvious lies isn’t due simply to the failure to teach specific skills well enough, fast enough, to consumers of social media? What if the real problem is some sort of systemic failure?
Episode | January 31st, 2019 | 1 hr 4 mins
In this episode we talk about income inequality and the impact it's having on today's political conversations. We also consider whether or not income inequality stifles upward mobility. And we talk a little Max Weber.
Episode | January 29th, 2019 | 57 mins 20 secs
In this episode we talk about social media and its effects on public discourse and communal life. We also take some time to look at some of the week's headlines, offering our own less than expert but always interesting insights and analysis.
Episode | January 18th, 2019 | 57 mins 47 secs
In our first episode of the new year we try to figure out which country's government looks more dysfunctional right now: The United State's or the UK's? We found ourselves talking about democratic values and norms as things comparable to currency. Their value is dependent on people choosing to value them, like the dollar or the euro.
Episode | December 20th, 2018 | 52 mins 39 secs
In this our Christmas episode, inspired by Andrew Sullivan (and a few others), we think about the soul of democracy and the relationship of democracy and religion. Faith in the democratic project seems to be waning in many places in the West. Is politics becoming a new form of religion today? Is this a good thing?
Episode | December 17th, 2018 | 46 mins 34 secs
Social media, and the fake news that spread across it, no doubt played a role in delivering the “Brexiteers” their surprise victory in the UK’s May 2016 referendum on EU membership. If the benefit of letting social media run amok is that doing so lays bare some chronic and unrevealed ills in democratic society, then we had best cherish those insights and act upon them. Because they come at a very high cost, opening cracks so wide, mere patches no longer suffice.