November 27, 2018

8.2: Children of Time post-read: Evolution, Language, Consciousness, and Empathy

We've read Children of Time (, and boy do we have a lot to say about it! This episode we discuss the structure of the book, whether novels need strong characters, how animal consciousness might differ from our own, and how to stock a ship designed to re-seed the human race on another planet. Adrian gets to jabber on about the Baldwin Effect & octopuses, and Matt makes some sharp points about the importance of empathy. Truly this podcast represents the future liberals want. 

As always, here's a list of stuff we discuss in the episode. If the links don't show up in your podcatcher, they will on All links are referral links.

Startide Rising by David Brin 
The Bees by Laline Paull 
* The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy 
* Watership Down by Richard Adams 
* The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov 
* Goedel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter 

And finally, a few books on consciousness, language, and evolution that weren't mentioned by name, but which Adrian recommends:

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith (octopus researcher mentioned)
* Adam's Tongue by Derek Bickerton (language evolution & the Baldwin Effect)
The Crucible of Consciousness by Zoltan Torey (language & consciousness) 
* The Perplexities of Consciousness by Eric Schwitzgebel (essays on the difficulty of introspecting consciousness) 
The Ego Tunnel by Thomas Metzinger (laying out the ideas behind the phrase "consciousness is an illusion" for a lay audience)


We'd love to hear from you, either by chatting with us on twitter at @spectologypod, sending us an email at, or submitting the episode to r/printSF on reddit. We'll reply, and shout you out in the next podcast when we talk about your comment.

And if you like the episode, subscribe at or whever you listen to podcasts, and share it with your friends!

Many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art.

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