Ars on your lunch break: Thinking in public and brawling with Batman

Batman: he drinks, and he knows things. Wait, maybe that's a different guy.

Enlarge / Batman: he drinks, and he knows things. Wait, maybe that's a different guy. (credit: Warner Bros.)

This week we are serializing yet another episode from the After On Podcast here on Ars. The broader series is built around deep-dive interviews with world-class thinkers, founders, and scientists, and tends to be very tech- and science-heavy. You can access the excerpts on Ars via an embedded audio player, or by reading accompanying transcripts (both of which are below).

This week my guest is Sam Harris: a neuroscientist turned bestselling author turned podcasting colossus. We’ll be running the episode in four installments, starting today. Harris has described his job as “thinking in public.” In doing this, he has never been one to shrink from controversy. He irked many by revealing himself as a committed atheist in his first book, 2004’s End of Faith. He’s spent much of the time since then articulating a genuinely heterodox set of political and other beliefs.

The uniqueness of Harris’ perspective is evidenced by his ability to trigger comparable gusts of outrage from both the left and the right (generally from the extremes of each camp). The many fans and supporters he has won likewise hail from throughout the political spectrum. I’ll add that a lot of Sam’s fascinations and domains of expertise are apolitical. These include meditation and the nature of consciousness, as well as both philosophy and neuroscience writ large.

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