Understanding beliefs, I think, requires engaging seriously with the machine that produces beliefs, which is the human mind.
To me I think the brain is basically a belief-making machine. It has to be, because everything that we see on the inside is really just kind of a – – an interpretation of what’s out there.
Our belief systems aren’t entirely based on what is tangible or true.
We’re very gullible creatures. We want to believe that something that we can do or take will change our life, for the better.
My name is Joe Sorge. Welcome to Make Belief.
I’ve spent nearly all my life questioning the truth. What is indeed fact and what is fiction, and what exists between the two. That’s where the element of “belief” comes in and how it acts as a tool that can be used to shape our lives, for good and bad.
As a scientist, I’ve lived my life observing the rules of the scientific method, evidence based, questioning, and testing in order to produce some viable truths.
I read this book by Michael Shermer called “The Believing Brain” which led me to conduct over 150 hours of interviews with some of the world’s leading experts on the nature of belief. I started to ask myself some question about the nature of belief. What is it? What drives it? And why are we so invested in it? It seems to be shaping our lives, and do we understand where it originates?
What will make us happier, healthier, and more productive? Living in a world of “make- believe” or fact? And where do we draw the line? Certain beliefs can help us survive difficult experiences or overcome challenges, but other beliefs can polarize us, cause us to disagree or even cause us to start wars.
The big question here is not whether beliefs are good or bad, but when are they helpful, and when are they harmful?, and how can they affect the most important decisions in our lives?
This is the start of a multi-part series on Belief. This first episode is just a sampling of what’s to come. We’ll be sprinkling this episode with quotes from various experts…
– philosophers, scientists, holy men and women, professors, healers, doctors, nutritionists, politicians, survivors, health experts and more… looking for answers. Some of our earliest beliefs begin in our childhood. Here’s Julia Galef
My name’s Julia Galef, and I founded a Non-Profit Organization called the Center For Applied Rationality. We’re based out in Berkeley, California.
We talked about some of her earliest beliefs…
I sort of almost believed when I was in elementary school in unicorns that would come down from the sky and wisk me away to a magical land in which I was loved and popular, because that was not the case in my elementary school. And I had read some stories in which believing something makes it happen, so I tried believing in the unicorns really hard in hopes that they would appear in the sky. I think that it just went away when I got friends.
But you were hoping?
Yeah, hoping and believing can seem very similar on the inside. As a kid, you get told a lot of things about the world, and you don’t know what’s realistic or, you know, implausible. So, eh, everything seems equally wondrous or normal to you.
Have you ever wondered whether children should be taught falsehoods and fables at a very early age? We all use stories to help children learn about the world around them, but when promoted as factual, is it harmful to a child’s development? I asked Rabbi David Wolpe, known as “America’s Rabbi” for his thoughts on the subject and whether it was ethical to teach beliefs to children before they have the ability to evaluate them for themselves.
RABBI DAVID WOLPE
I wrote a book before I had a child, called Teaching Your Children About God. And in it, I said that you shouldn’t teach things that you later have to un-teach. And yet, once I had a child, I ended up saying things that I had to un-say. The un-teaching is very painful, and very damaging to trust. We are both born with beliefs – – and learn them. That is, there are certain instinctive reactions, like we believe that falling is bad for us. Um, but, there are many beliefs that we pick up along the way, both unwittingly, and also by education and indoctrination.
So what is belief?
A belief is essentially some conclusion that our mind has come to that we hold to with some conviction. It could be very mild, or it could be absolutely unshakable. The whole spectrum.
That’s Steven Novella, a clinical neurologist at Yale, who also hosts the podcast, The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe.
It’s clearly important, evolutionarily, to the functioning of our brain, that we form beliefs about the world. It’s not really clear why we hold onto those beliefs so jealously, so firmly, but clearly, psychologists have uncovered a host of mechanisms by which we form and maintain our beliefs.
So, our belief systems are very important to us and they latch onto our brains like barnacles. But where do they come from? Michael Shermer speculates on the origins of belief in his book I mentioned earlier, The Believing Brain.
Beliefs, are influenced by a number of different factors: where you happen to have been born; who your parents were; how you were raised; family dynamics and sibling influences; peer group influences; teachers; pop culture; books; films and so forth. All these things come in that are just totally subjective, m – – mostly emotionally-based and you glom on to an idea, uh, or a belief. Then the brain goes into high gear to find evidence to support it. So our brains are more like lawyers than they are – – scientists. They’re designed to, uh, find evidence and proof, uh, for what you already believe and ignore the – – the disconfirming evidence. This is called a confirmation bias.
Once that happens, you then interpret information, in that light, so if you believe in ghosts, for example, and you go to a haunted house, then every thing will be interpreted through that. A shaft of light, a little noise, a shadow, is evidence that there’s a ghost or a haunting.
If you’re a skeptic like me, you just interpret those noises as just random, anomalous, physical events. Why is it that smart people believe weird things? That’s the more interesting – question, cause generally, most of us think, well, people that believe weird things like ghosts or haunted houses, or whatever; they’re just – – ignorant or uneducated, or stupid, or – – unintelligent or whatever. But, I would never believe that of course. That’s not at all the case. Smart people believe weird thing ‘cause they’re really good at rationalizing beliefs that they arrived at for non-smart seasons. Once you’ve got the belief then you just find the evidence to fit it.
And this is true for all beliefs, religious, political, economic, ideological beliefs that we hold. Once you’re committed to a particular belief, then it’s hard to see evidence that contradicts it.
Wow. So Michael’s saying our brains fool us the whole time into thinking our beliefs are always right. Which they are because we’re smart, right? So when did this mental tactic develop in our brains? Michael Schermer has an explanation for that as well…
Well the idea that, that, wh, why you would be committed to a belief probably has some evolutionary origins to it that is you have to, um, react and behave in a certain way. So my thought experiment is imagine you’re a hominid on the plains of Africa 3.5 million years ago…
You’re a little three-foot high, small brained Australopithecine named Lucy, and you hear a rustle in the grass. Is it a dangerous predator or is it just the wind? Well, if you assume that it’s a dangerous predator and it turns out it’s just the wind, that’s a type one error, a false positive. You thought the – – the thing was connected to this, and it wasn’t, uh, but no harm, but if you think the rustle in the grass is just the wind and it turns out it’s a predator, you’re lunch.
Congratulations, you’ve just been given a Darwin award for taking yourself out of the gene pool early. Now why can’t you just sit in the grass and collect more data until you know for sure whether it’s the wind or a dangerous predator? And the answer is that, too, will make you lunch because predators don’t wait around for potential prey organisms to collect more data. So the default rule of thumb is just assume all rustles in the grass are dangerous predators just in case. Our brains are designed to make snap decisions, just make instant belief decisions, as it were, and so getting it perfectly right is not what our brains are designed to do. Our brains are designed to run our bodies and to survive.
According to Michael, the survival instinct is perhaps responsible for our tendency to make instant, belief decisions with very little information to support them. Lucy’s quick decision to associate a rustling in the weeds with the image of a dangerous predator may have helped her to get the heck out of there to survive long enough and pass on those instincts to her offspring. But if our ancestors didn’t make these instant decisions, we wouldn’t be here. But where do we draw the line between creating helpful survival strategies and self-delusion?
Andrew Newberg, the director of research in the department of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, and Doctor James Giordano, Chief of Neuro-Ethical Studies at Georgetown University have both discovered this in their research.
We never really know if what we’re thinking on the inside is accurate with what’s out there on the outside. So we construct ideas, beliefs, renditions of what that world is, and we hope that they’re right. And as long as we’re surviving, we say okay. You know, it – – it almost doesn’t matter if our belief systems are accurate as long as they are adaptive and allow us to survive.
That’s exactly right. So what we do is we observe, we orient, and then we decide and we act. But our observations are also colored by certain predispositions. So very often, those beliefs that are formed first may be very, very solid. That’s not to say they can’t be changed and very often they are, but the solidity of those beliefs very often provides the sort of Launchpad for the way we view, observe and orient and decide a whole host of things that we encounter, experience, and act on.
Certain authority figures, organizations, and even corporations attempt to capitalize on our belief instincts in order to control or persuade us. Tom Asacker is the author of the successful book, The Business of Belief…
People are moved by their present beliefs and their desires for something in the future, for a better experience. It’s not manipulation any more than a yellow flower is manipulating a particular type of butterfly.
In essence, What we desire is what we end up believing, and what we believe drives our actions. When I started investigating why people do what they do, I had no understanding at all that it was belief. I–I didn’t know that there was a word for it. Because I always thought it was understanding, but I discovered that it’s called belief. Why people do what they do, is because of their personal beliefs; that drives their behaviors. And that’s why a lot of times we can’t understand people’s actions, because we don’t know what their beliefs are.
Does our interest in spirituality and transcendence lure us into seeing signs and symbols in physical objects and phenomena, and do we attribute meaning to events that are merely coincidental? Back to Steve Novella.
Uh, One good example of how our brain constructs our internal model of reality is what we can pareidolia. Pareidolia is our brain’s tendency to see patterns in, in random noise or random signals. So for example, we see constellations in the random pattern of stars at night. You might see a face in the clouds. The face isn’t really there. Your brain is just imposing a familiar pattern on to a random shape that it’s seeing in a tree bark or a hillside or in a cloud. That’s pareidolia.
There’s this crazy Jim Carrey movie called The Number 23, which takes the idea of pareidolia and runs wild with it…
The visual analogy is just an easy way to explain what our brains do for everything. We impose patterns where – – on everything. Our brains are really good at pattern recognition, and we seek out patterns everywhere. Patterns in events, patterns in what people are saying. And we put that together until we think we’ve found out what’s really going on. And once we think we see a pattern, it’s hard to unsee it. It’s hard to convince somebody that it’s not real. It’s just an illusion.
But then there’s a critical thinking part of our brain that says, “Okay, but is the pattern real?” And you need to have a balance between those two things, between seeing patterns and then reality testing to see if the patterns are actually real. I think most people realize that there isn’t actually a face in the clouds. There’s part of our brain that tells us that’s random. That’s not a real pattern, but then there’s other patterns that people think are real, even when they’re just as fictitious as the face in the cloud. If it’s the face of the mother Mary on a bank window, suddenly, that’s real because it has emotional significance for some people. It’s the same phenomenon but people – – they – – they will set aside their reality testing because now it’s confirming a very tightly held belief system.
Tom Asacker again.
And that’s what it all comes down to; this isn’t about evidence and rationality — it’s about people’s desires. Once you understand what they — people desire, then you can start making sense of their beliefs. So that’s what’s going on — it’s all about desire — it’s not about being rational.
You know, I’ve always been astounded by how strongly we hold on to our beliefs, no matter how much evidence suggests otherwise. Our minds can convince us of pretty much anything. In the Matrix, when Morpheus told Neo that every thing he thought he knew was in fact a virtual world, constructed to keep him happy while he was turned into a battery, it just took a pill to break him out of this fantasy and make him see reality.
For us, it’s not as simple as taking a pill to break us out of our convictions. We want to reinforce and solidify our beliefs; find supporting evidence, and ignore disconfirming evidence; we gravitate toward web sites and news programs that mirror our views, and ignore information that might prove us wrong. Why is this?
Simone Wright, author of the book, First Intelligence: Using the Science and Spirit of Intuition, is an intuitive coach and psychic to law enforcement who has helped police solve crimes. Her alternative approach involves addressing hardened beliefs on an emotional level.
So you can’t go in and shift your belief systems by attacking it logically. You’ve got to go into that subconscious program, and approach it like you would approach, um, rebooting a computer and that’s done through, um, emotional approaches, that’s done through meditation, that’s done through a softer, kinder, gentler approach other than trying to rip up the beliefs at the root.
Steven Novella again…
Our brains have been likened to a noisy committee. It’s 100 people shouting for attention all at the same time. And every part of the brain seems to be contributing to this net effect of consciousness that we experience. So the emotions are in there. The analytical part is in there. The reality testing is in there, all vying for the final thing that you’re going to believe.
The emotional part seems to be very powerful. It’s very hard to overcome that, and the more powerful the emotion, the greater its ability to completely override the analytical part of our brain. In fact, it will simply just enslave the analytical part of the brain, in that motivated reasoning will take over, which means that you’ll use all of your logic and intelligence to support your limbic system, the m – – the emotional part of your brain, and then you’ll just be really convinced that what you want to believe is true because you spent all this time thinking about why it must be true. Not realizing that the entire process is systematically biased towards arriving at the conclusion that you want, rather than something that honestly reflects reality.
To further explain,Julia Galef has an interesting explanation for why beliefs are at times unshakable…
We get invested in our beliefs. They become part of our identity, especially if they have to do with politics or religion or our lifestyle. Um, and that can make them very sticky. People are inclined to think of arguments and disagreements as battles, where I’m going to go around with my shield up and my sword out to knock down ideas that disagree with me. And protect myself from ideas that threaten me and my ideas. So trying on a different point of view feels sort of like, you know, popping up and hanging out in the enemy camp.
Our brains function as like a belief machine with a story, and once we have a story, we want all the pieces to fit together and make sense, and so we happily will choose the details we need, manipulate our own memory, do whatever it takes, use fallacious logic, engage in motivated reasoning, confirmation bias where we select the information that supports our narrative until our narrative all hangs together, and then that’s what we’re going with.
We actually get a shot of dopamine in our brain, and it makes us feel good because we have, you know, we’ve resolved any cognitive dissonance. Our belief system supports what we want to believe and matches other things that we believe and all is right in the world, and then that is a pit that you will not get somebody out of once their belief has solidified like that and all the pieces have appeared to fall into place.
So there you have it. Our first thoughts on belief. What are they? How do they help us survive? What drives them? And why are they so hard to change?
Throughout this series we’re going to investigate a multitude of topics as they pertain to our beliefs. What follows now is a sneak preview of some of the pillars of belief – ours include love; religion; health and diet; the power of brainwashing and marketing; and more.
Just a heads up, you’re about to hear a whole host of voices, but don’t worry, they’ll all be introduced throughout the course of this series.
Let’s start with Love.
Do you believe in love? What is it?
Love is one of our strongest human urges, making it front and center in our belief spectrum. It’s one of the first beliefs we have, changing our lives and mentally overriding most of our sensibilities.
Is there a bigger reason why we are meant to love? Is it more than hormones and attachment? What is the purpose of Love? And why do we love? Is there a scientific explanation for love?
The question: what is love? It’s a funny thing, because you’ll get a very different answer depending on who you ask.
If someone falls in love and they try to explain it, it sounds ridiculous, right? You’re trying to put something in words which is, not capturable.
You know, we have poets, artists, that all have these very similar and yet different overwhelming representations. But really when it comes down to it from the science point of view, love is simply a cascade of chemicals in your brain that help you bond with another person.
HELEN FISHER’s TED TALK
“As the poet Terence, the Roman poet once said, he said, “The less my hope, the hotter my love.” Two thousand years later, we can explain this in the brain. That brain system — the reward system for wanting, for motivation, for craving, for focus — becomes more active when you can’t get what you want. In this case, life’s greatest prize: an appropriate mating partner.”
Romantic love is one of the most powerful sensations on Earth. Almost nobody gets out of love alive.”
It’s a lot like drug addiction and in fact the same areas that are involved with drug addiction are also involved with love and lust and so when you first meet somebody and you feel all those powerful feelings it can be very hard to resist and then if you do have sex, more chemicals are released, and it becomes, you become like a drug seeker looking for the next hit.
HELEN FISHER TED TALK
“Anthropologists have found evidence of romantic love in 170 societies. They’ve never found a society that did not have it. So my final statement is: love is in us. It’s deeply embedded in the brain. Our challenge is to understand each other Thank you.”
So that gives you a neurological glimpse on love and the brain. Next up is religion.
How do we use, employ and engage religion in our lives? Does belief in god make us happier and healthier? Are communities that are galvanized around faith more successful?
These are questions we’re interested in exploring. Our episode on religion gives a voice to those with strong religious beliefs, but also questions whether religions can take beliefs too far.
Time to go to church…
Faith is essentially believing something without evidence to show that it’s definitely true.
We could look at the opiate receptors in the brain and we could find out whether or not, uh, the statement by Marx that religion is the opiate of the masses is really true.
RABBI DAVID WOLPE
Religious traditions bring meaning to life because they give you several things: one, a community; two, a tradition, so that you understand that other people have been where you’ve been; and three, a sense that all of this is not futile. That ultimately there’s a purpose to human existence – – even if we’re not capable of grasping it. The conviction that there is purpose, I think, animates our days- – and- and lightens our load.
What you believe in can have profound changes in your body. So whether you repeat, hail Mary, full of grace, Ava Maria or ohm, Shalom, or One, you change your genes’ activity.
These things make people feel good. They make people feel good when they’re doing them alone, they make people feel good when they’re doing them together,)(and they create a whole host of group commonality processes to which people can
I like that bumper sticker, “I’m a militant agnostic. I don’t know and you don’t either,” and that’s what we come up against against some of these really hard problems. It’s just, uh, I don’t know. it’s okay to say I don’t know and just leave it at that. Don’t invoke a god or multiple universes or whatever that we don’t know. I mean, maybe it’s this, maybe it’s that. Let’s just say it’s okay to say I don’t know.
We’ve all witnessed the ever-growing power of ISIS, and the way it tries to implant beliefs inside the brains of its youthful followers. Horrendous acts such as 9/11, and more recent attacks in Paris, and the kidnapping of 200 young girls in Northern Nigeria, are just some examples of horrific acts triggered by vicious leaders voicing extremist beliefs.
History also shows us] there are charismatic leaders who take advantage of their followers, causing them to harm others, steal, or give their lives over to a radical way of thinking.
The real question here is how? How does this happen? What does it take to overwhelm the mind of an individual with an influential belief that leads to action? How do politicians, marketers and fundamentalists all take advantage of the intoxicating force of an idea, to prey upon human instincts and behavior?
Well the implanting of ideas is just, knowing what a group of people thinks. Not necessarily what they think, but what they feel. So you appeal to their emotions.
If you say something enough, people may ultimately start to believe it. The neurons that fire together wire together. The more that any thought or belief or idea is focused on in the brain then that strengthens those neural connections. If I were to say to you, the United States’ economy is bad, the United States’ economy is bad, it’s bad, it’s bad, then eventually your brain is going to start to think the economy is bad.
People are marketing ideas, products, politics, ah, governments, religions, all of these things, they have a sense that there are individual differences. So you don’t try to get everybody. If you form a cult, you, you know you’re gonna have this very small group of people that you can appeal to; you’re not gonna appeal to everybody. That’s why some of these big religions are so impressive that they can appeal to so many people.
Once you wake up, you realize you have lost all of your freedoms. Your freedom to think, your freedom to talk, your freedom to look, your freedom to read, you know just everything is controlled and awful. That’s who I was when I got into scientology, one of those robots, but I escaped out.
Most people will just hear something on TV or on the news, (and) they’re spoon fed a belief.
Celebrities are a type of authority that people believe. Clearly, they fill some kind of a role as an authority, as a charismatic leader. We recognize them from the TV, and that touches something in us psychologically.
You appeal to their emotions. You know what they’re angry about, you know what they want. If you look at the entire brain as being a Rubik’s Cube, you have two hemispheres, but really the strip down the middle part is another hemisphere. That system is used to look at your own inner truth, when you’re talking to yourself. It probably drives belief more than anything.
That’s some pretty heavy stuff…. let’s move on to a lighter topic, Diet.
It seems everywhere we look, someone is touting a miracle cure or method to improve our health. How can we possibly know what to believe? Are we investing too much trust in these ‘experts’ and corporations that are trying to make a buck? How can we really know what works and what is merely a hyperbolic claim? The bottom line is, much of this unsolicited health advice is unproven. Is there a benefit to thinking that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Or that organic foods will prevent you from being exposed to scary “toxins”? How healthy is all this advice really?
People tend to think that something that comes from a plant is going to be safer than something that was conjured up in a test tube.
Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you and there a lot of, a lot of things that are out there that are natural. Arsenic, that’s natural, that are not good for you.
There’s 55,000 dietary supplements on the market. Fewer than 1% of them have any sort of safety profile.
It’s really unregulated and so many of these, homeopathic and other alternative, ah, medicines, are able to make all kinds of claims about the efficacy of their products. And nobody is really looking into this and saying what’s true and what’s not true, regarding their claims. These things should be supported by evidence. And if they’re not, the public has every right to know that these things don’t work.
If you’ve got the choice between eating an organic apple or a Twinkie, I mean, th- – the Paleolithic man didn’t have exposure to Twinkies. So if you just eat congruent to the way you’re genetically designed, your chances of being healthier are probably gonna be better than if you’re eating things that you were never designed to eat.
I think consumers are going to start looking at this and say, okay, yeah, you told me it’s low fat, you told me it’s non-GMO, and you told me, and I’m so confused, all I want is a cupcake and a soft drink.
Celebrity diet advice – – the safest bet is to just run for the nearest exit.
A lot of them are completely crazy.
We are living in an exciting time for science, but at the same time people are scared of the word, and it can be hard to understand the complexities of scientific studies. Several of our upcoming episodes hope to make scientific thinking more accessible and show how it can be used as a tool to understand the mechanics behind belief. More specifically, how the brain works, and how that compares to a faith-based approach.
“I’ve learnt that the world is four thousand five hundred million years old. If you’re very religious then it’s not four thousand five hundred million years, it’s six thousand years old.
One of these is not correct. Using simple logic here. Now the science boys, they got anoraks, they got glasses, they got Bunsen burners and petri dishes. The religious boys, they’ve got a book.”
The whole notion of faith and science is all about how do we know what we know? Science is about investigating and answering questions that can be answered by science. Faith deals with issues that are outside the realm of science.
We’d like to understand the effects of private spiritual or religious practice on the brain. How does that change the brain? Does it change the way the brain is wired?
“What matters is not what you think, but how you think. And all the discoveries that’ve been made, and all the enlightenment that’s come to us is from the scientific and the philosophical method.
I guess the ultimate basis of the scientific method is what I like to refer to as a passion for inquiry. It means we just gotta keep asking questions and – – and keep exploring the world in as many different ways as we can.
It’s hard to wrap our own mind around how a – – a mind can emerge from just a hunk of flesh in our skulls. But Neuroscience clearly tells us that everything about your thoughts, beliefs, moods, behaviors can be explained by parts of the brain communicating with itself. (We can influence your beliefs. We can influence your personality. We can alter anything that you think of as your mind by altering the brain.
Some people think that the illusion of our conscious self is so powerful that we can’t imagine it’s just the meat inside our heads. In fact, you might argue that our brains evolved to create this illusion that we are more than just a brain.
No matter what facts and arguments science presents, none of it is valuable to us without critical thinking, the means whereby we question and analyze the world around us. This series hopes to inspire and achieve a whole new generation of critical thought.
“The owners of this country, they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that, that doesn’t help them, that’s against their interests. That’s right.”
People have seem to have given up on critical thinking. And, have given up responsibility for their own conscience, which is what I grew up believing in: that I’m responsible for how I behave, and how I think, and what I believe in. And nobody can change that.
Critical thinking is essentially the ability to think carefully about things, to examine your own thought processes, to decide what information is reliable, what information is not reliable, and to arrive at beliefs which are likely to be true as opposed to beliefs which are just comforting or what somebody else wants you to believe.
So that concludes our look ahead at the wild kaleidoscope of beliefs. If you’re now wondering whether anything is real, or grounded, or absolutely true – that’s good. We want you to wonder.
None of us can be held directly accountable for most of our beliefs. After all, most of them were instilled in us by others. But we can examine our beliefs and question. Is this one good for me or not? Does this one make any sense, or is it just there, like that old tape player in the closet?
We’re not going to preach. This is not a religious series. But, we are going to do our very best to get you to question your thinking, to do some mental sight seeing, and take a belief inventory.
As you listen to the series, you might be reassured of your existing beliefs, and that’s fine. Or perhaps you may want to do a little spring-cleaning, or maybe even go on a belief shopping spree. That’s entirely up to you.
Our goal here is to re-examine our beliefss; and perhaps in the process, to better understand ourselves, our neighbors, our family members, our co-workers, etc…
But be forewarned. There’s no turning back. Once we open our minds to deep inquiry, it may change our lives. We hope you’ll come along.
I’m Joe Sorge. Thank you for listening. This is Make Belief.
“And the the whole point is to turn the course of life. I want to see the change while I’m still breathing. And the whole point is to bring in new life and us to heal. And the time is now.” –Andy Sorge “Surface Stains”
Andrew Newberg, MD, Julia Galef, Rabbi David J. Wolpe, Simone Wright, Billy Demoss, Bridget Hedison, Dr. James Giordano, PhD, Dr. Steven Novella, James Fallon, PhD, Eddie Izzard, George Carlin, Dr. Herbert Benson, Dr. Helen Fisher, Daniel Dennett, PhD, Christopher Hitchens, Alan Aragon
Executive Producer: Joe Sorge
Producers: Kristina Sorge, Georgia Cohen, Simone Jantz
Editor: Oliver Riley Smith
Mixing & Web Design: Scott McKay Gibson
Original Music: Andrew Sorge & Scott McKay Gibson