Fantasy Intellectual Teams, week 2
Wright and Turley are leaders
In the May 5-player Fantasy Intellectuals league, the category leaders are (note that the link works better on a computer or tablet than on a phone):
Devil’s Advocate: Robert Wright and Russ Roberts. Two veteran podcasters.
Thinking in Bets: Richard Hanania
Admitting Caveats: Jonathan Turley, Amanda Ripley, John McWhorter
Formal Debate: Robert Wright
Kickoff a discussion: Jesse Singal, Richard Hanania, Bari Weiss, Andrew Erickson
Open to changing mind: Jonathan Turley, Robert Wright
Evaluates research: Emily Oster, Timothy Taylor
Steelman opposing viewpoint: John McWhorter, Jonathan Turley, Megan McArdle
Your information diet will improve if you pay more attention to the FITs category leaders. Neither Turley nor Wright was on my radar before the season started. But their ability to accumulate points in a formal scoring system is no fluke. While neither is bashful about stating an opinion or about criticizing what they see as poor reasoning, they are respectful of differing viewpoints.
The Fantasy Intellectual Teams exercise is showing that there are podcasters and essayists who model proper intellectual discourse. When they encounter facts or opinions that challenge their beliefs, they use what Julia Galef calls “scout mindset,” trying to take in this information. They try to avoid what she calls “soldier mindset,” which involves seeing challenging information as a threat that must be fought off.
This exercise is also showing that two-person podcasts tend to promote high-quality discourse. I speculate that this is because when you have to focus on another person, you are aware of the need to be reasonable. If one person starts to go off the rails, the other person is there to pull them back. This is in contrast to Twitter, where your focus is on the audience, and where you can be rewarded for intellectual malpractice by people who enjoy seeing another person being attacked without any consideration for fairness.