Ministry of Ideas

Zachary Davis


A podcast about the ideas that shape our lives.

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The Myth of Modernity

34:36 | Nov 9th, 2018

Many think modernity is about the rise of science, the spread of democracy and capitalism, or the decline of religion or superstition. But those stories ignore the bigger picture about colonialism and race.

Spiritual Machines

30:12 | Aug 31st, 2018

Ever since early scientists began experimenting with immortality elixirs in the middle ages, religion has been influencing transhumanism. Now, we’re beginning to see transhumanism influencing religion.

Shifting Blame

27:28 | Jul 25th, 2018

We claim to judge people for what they intentionally do, but accidents often influence our judgments. In our justice systems, people can be harshly and unfairly blamed for bad luck—but in our personal lives, taking on blame isn’t always a bad thing.

Nothing Matters

27:18 | Jul 10th, 2018

Between the Buddhist doctrine of ‘emptiness,’ the Jewish idea of Ayin, and the quantum mechanical zero-point energy of a vacuum, it turns out there’s quite a lot to be said about Nothing.

Tomorrow, Today

26:55 | Jun 15th, 2018

World’s fairs were created to celebrate industry, technology, imperialism, western supremacy, and progress; but they also led to unexpected critiques and movements that challenged those very purposes.

Apocalyptic Politics

29:26 | May 25th, 2018

Evangelical voters made up a significant portion of Donald Trump’s base in the 2016 presidential election. Their political agenda may not be peace or prosperity, but instead bringing us closer to the end of time.


24:42 | May 10th, 2018

Cannibalism has been used for centuries to define the lowest form of humanity, but the story isn't as straightforward as it may seem. Turns out, there may be a logic - or even a love - to eating people.

Child's Play

29:13 | Apr 26th, 2018

We shouldn’t be dismissive of the popularity of children’s literature among adults, as it is often in these works of fiction that powerful themes such as death, love, and virtue are most deeply and imaginatively explored.

Forbidden Fruit

29:41 | Apr 12th, 2018

Contemporary diet culture is only the latest manifestation of a long history of religious fervor about food.

Enlightened Cynicism

20:40 | Dec 28th, 2017

Trust in government, media, organized religion, businesses and even democracy is at historic lows. But what if the answer to declining faith in institutions isn’t more hope, but more cynicism?


25:04 | Dec 18th, 2017

Total faith in meritocracy leads to the dangerous belief that all social winners and losers are wholly deserving. Instead, we need an economy of grace.

Secular Salvations

21:33 | Dec 1st, 2017

The decline of organized religion in the West has opened up new paths for individuals to pursue what once was once understood to be salvation.

21st Century Citizenship

15:27 | Nov 17th, 2017

What does it mean to be a citizen in America in 2017?

Mirror Image

15:05 | Nov 9th, 2017

16th-century glass mirrors and 21st-century camera phones actually share a lot in common; they both are technologies that shaped new forms of the self.

White Balance

13:34 | Nov 2nd, 2017

Understanding race in America requires understanding its relationship to class.


16:40 | Oct 26th, 2017

Efficiency has moved from a technique for measuring machines to a widely held moral value. But at what cost?

Generation Why?

13:22 | Oct 19th, 2017

Who gets to define generational cohorts and do they obscure more than illuminate?

Seriously Funny

14:40 | Oct 12th, 2017

What happens when politics becomes comedy and the jester becomes the king?

The Shape of History

12:01 | Oct 5th, 2017

The way we think about history can affect our belief that we can change it.

Introducing Ministry of Ideas

01:24 | Aug 1st, 2017

Introducing Ministry of Ideas, a podcast that explores the ideas that shape our lives.