Ask Me Anything #10

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Questions Answered

In his book "God is Not Great", Christopher Hitchens wrote very critically of meditation. Did you ever try to convince him that he was wrong? 

00:01:34 January 7, 2018

What is the ethical response to homeless people asking for money?

00:04:55 January 29, 2018

What is your view of prostitution and pornography? Should they be legal?

00:08:21 January 7, 2018

Your interview with Johann Hari has completely changed my mind on drugs, I am really curious of your insights on this other controversial topic. On a related note, I am also curious about your view on pornography. The two issues are quite similar, but a great difference came in with the internet, as it became virtually impossible to raise a dime by exploiting women with the latter, due to the virtually unlimited free supply online.

What podcasts do you personally listen to?

00:14:00 January 20, 2018

You seem to neglect economics. Have you considered having more economists on your show?

00:15:57 February 1, 2018

What is your process of developing your opinion on a new subject?

00:16:48 January 20, 2018

What are your thoughts on the ethics of universal health care and a social safety net?

00:19:42 January 7, 2018

How should we challenge our own beliefs in an ongoing way?

00:22:47 February 1, 2018

How can the concept of "metaphorical truth" be reconciled with science?

00:27:32 February 1, 2018

What are your thoughts on the ethics of suicide?

00:35:28 February 8, 2018

You seem to be very good at emotional self-regulation, but is it possible to take this too far?

00:37:54 January 19, 2018

You have said that moderate religion provides cover for religious extremism, could the same be said about your criticism of Islam, that it provides cover for bigotry against Muslims as people?

00:40:44 February 1, 2018

How do you speak so eloquently?

00:43:45 January 17, 2018

What is your view on living a solitary life?

00:46:58 January 28, 2018

Hi Sam, I always love to hear about your experience in the east during your younger years, and all that you learned from the eastern contemplative traditions, such as, meditation techniques, the truth about the self, eastern ethics, etc. But I haven’t really heard you comment on the fact that all these eastern ‘monks’ usually lead solitary lives, even in the company of students and peers.

I feel that in our western society, to be a part of the society while also living a solitary life, is looked down upon as downright pathological. But I see that a lot many people find it easier, and are happier, to forgo romantic and family relationships, due to trust/anxiety issues, or simply to avoid financial responsibilities, etc. And I wonder if a solitary life may also be more well suited for living an ‘enlightened’ life.

As a young man, I have seen the quality of my emotional life, and peace, confidence and stability of mind, increase tremendously after I stopped seeking out romantic relationships about a year ago. I would love your take on this phenomenon. Sadly, I feel this is a taboo question, and would probably get downvoted on this reddit-styled website of yours.

How would you compare the ethics of adoption versus having one’s own biological children?

00:49:20 January 29, 2018

As a neuroscientist and father, what are your rules for your kids’ screen time?

00:53:06 February 1, 2018
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