Not Related! is a podcast for the unpretentious. Made by Luke Smith.
The past ten years... even the past five years... even the past two and a half years have totally rewritten a lot of the story of human prehistory. In this episode we review a large lump of scientific papers, few having made it into popular culture or general knowledge so far, but all painting a picture of human prehistory that is much deeper and longer than the old theorists behind recent Out-of-Africa migration theories.
We talk about human settlements in unexpected places and unexpected times, hidden genetic lineages and Neanderthal seafaring, language and construction. Too often do the "Well, actually!" crowd focus on listening to partial evidence instead of using their head, and we see how this has harmed the theories in the field of paleo-history. Soon, we'll move the microscope closer to home and talk about what early humans might've been up to all that time..
Are humans rational? What would that even mean? Does it mean we follow the laws of formal logic, or does it mean we only care about getting a positive end result? Some modern psychologists, often in the vein of the Heuristics and Biases Program (à la Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky) often implicitly assume that these are the same thing, that humans are often gravely miscalibrated in our sense of reason. We are logically broken. Some, proponents of Libertarian Paternalism, propose that this illogicalness should be actively mitigated by governmental policy and Nudging (see Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler's book Nudge).
But another line of thought, Ecological Rationality holds that what seems "irrational" about human behavior is only an artifact of when we fail to look at our decision-making in improper circumstances in the laboratory. What aspects of our psychology seem irrational are often mechanisms based in the wisdom of real-life risk, and far more trust-worthy than the recommendations of psychologists and behavioral economists. Sometimes even, our irrational mind is much smarter than we are.
Whig History is a hell of a drug. In our cocoon of electronic toys and United Nations statistics about how great the world is, it might sound absurd to say that by many of the most crucial metrics, human life has become measurably worse since man adopted agriculture. Our bodies, our metabolism, our social structure, our psychology and our deepest desires are built of paleolithic life, but now that that life has been nearly entirely abandoned, we find ourselves thoroughly unfit for the marvelous technology that defines our new environment, and environment which is changing far faster than we can keep up.
Even worse, the comfort of modernity is putting us in potentially disastrous evolutionary circumstances. We are accumulating harmful mutations, while at the same time, becoming more mentally cloistered. In this episode we look at Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending's The 10,000 Year Explosion, Spencer Wells' Pandora's Seed and Michael Woodley's work on mutational load.
Does anyone even pretend to believe in democracy anymore?
As the veil of perfection of liberal democracy is now generally acknowledged to be in tatters, it's about time for normal people to start looking mechanically at what democracy really is.
In this episode, we explore the structure of a party system in democracy, Bryan Caplan (in Myth of the Rational Voter) argues that people are not randomly stupid, but systematically stupid, James Burham (in The Machiavellians: The Defenders of Freedom) tells us about Dante and the real meaning of political ideology, and SJWs absolutely annihilate Ben Shapiro and bulldoze his house down.
The Eternal Anglo comes in many shapes and sizes! And America is made not of a homogeneous group of Britons, but at least four systematically different ethnic groups varying by social values, dialect, dress, gender relationships, religion, worldview. These ethnic groups create the regionalisms of today's America and also have affected superstrate populations after them.
This episode surveys David Hackett Fischer's monumental work Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. We talk not only about these four ethnic groups, which will sound very familiar, but also on a history of the United States, particularly its most significant political battles, interpreted through this ethnic lens.
Joseph Schumpeter, self-described "greatest lover in all Vienna" penned the book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, which not only still serves as an insightful rejoinder to mainstream economics, but also might be Patient 0 for the ironic Black Pill.
Schumpeter dismisses the autistic formalism of perfect competition and market modeling and casts the economy as a battle not for a stagnant market positions, but a gradual, evolving system whose main goal is the development of new means of production and the overthrowing of their inefficient predecessors, a process he termed Creative Destruction. Monopolistic competition is the natural state of the market, and desirable at that. He also prophecies the end of capitalism as we know it, but also the rise of a socialist government which might look a little more familiar than we anticipate...
Inspired by the vastly different mindset and cultural and religious structure of ancient civilizations, the psychologist Julian Jaynes put for the radical notion of the Bicameral Mind, which posits that ancient people, indeed all people in their more natural environment are not actually conscious.
Consciousness, to Jaynes, was a mental habit that gradually developed in the period after the Bronze Age collapse, around 1200 BC. Before that, the two hemispheres of the brain were separate, and mental deliberation appeared to people as divine inspiration.
As utterly mad as this theory first sounds, the cultural, psychological, archaeological and linguistic evidence for it is grounds for more than a pause. Join us for a journey through the Iliad, Mesopotamia, the oldest prophets of the Bible and more on the first episode of Not Related!.
Luke introduces his self and the podcast and the principles and reasons behind it.