Principle of Charity

Generosity in Controversial Conversations

Are you ready to burst your filter bubble? To hit pause on righteous anger? Principle of Charity injects curiosity and generosity back into difficult conversations, bringing together two expert guests with opposing views

Is There Anything We Can Really Do To Mould Our Kids? With Geneticist Robert Plomin

Season 1, Ep. 28
Behavioural geneticist Robert Plomin’s book Blueprint, How DNA Makes Us Who We Are has changed lives. Robert is arguably the leading figure in behavioural genetics, working across the field for many decades. In his book Blueprint, he shows us the extraordinary evidence for our genetic nature being the absolutely dominant force in predicting who we are and will become. In fact about 50% of everything we care about is predicted by our genes. Not just our weight and height, but schizophrenia, anxiety and depression, to personality traits like agreeableness, grit, and love of learning, through to general intelligence and even university success.  Emile and Lloyd probe Robert for the implications his research has for how we approach parenting. Outside of loving and protecting our children, Robert says parents can let go a bit of that inner panic that tells them that their role is to mould their kids, that their actions are crucial determinants in their children growing up to be smart, resilient, growth mindset, kind, enthusiastic, healthy, non-anxious or depressed, adults.  Parents are just not that important, except in the genes they’ve passed on. Most radically of all, Plomin entreats us to focus on enjoying our time with our children, saying that parenting matters most just through the quality of our experiences together. Robert PlominRobert Plomin is Professor of Behavioural Genetics in the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre at The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London. His research brings together genetic and environmental strategies to investigate the developmental interplay between nature and nurture. In 1994 when he came to the UK from the US, he launched the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS), which continues to thrive. He has published more than 900 papers and a dozen books, which have been cited more than 130,000 times. His latest book is Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are (Penguin, 2019).After 50 years of research, Robert  has come to the view that inherited DNA differences are the major systematic force that makes us who we are as individuals – our mental health and illness, our personality and our cognitive abilities and disabilities. The environment is important, but it works completely different from the way we thought it worked. The DNA revolution has made it possible to use DNA to predict our psychological problems and promise from birth. These advances in genetic research call for a radical rethink about what makes us who we are, with sweeping, and no doubt controversial, implications for the way we think about parenting, education and the events that shape our lives.~~ You can be part of the discussion @PofCharity on Twitter, @PrincipleofCharity on Facebook and @PrincipleofCharityPodcast on Instagram. Your hosts are Lloyd Vogelman and Emile Sherman. Find Lloyd @LloydVogelman on Linked in Find Emile @EmileSherman on Linked In and Twitter. This Podcast is Produced by Jonah Primo and Bronwen Reid Find Jonah at & @JonahPrimo on Instagram. 

TRIGGER WARNING!: Should we move towards or away from triggers?

Season 1, Ep. 26
Trigger warnings have become common practice these days, not just in university campuses, but across the media landscape, in film, television, online and social media. They warn us that the material we’re about to see or hear might trigger distress. But what actually is a trigger? And what’s it meant to protect us from?Trigger warnings were originally linked with post traumatic stress disorder - the idea being that those who have been through a traumatic event, for example sexual violence, and who then suffer from PTSD, can be triggered into re-experiencing that distress when exposed to related content. These days, however, trigger warnings seem to capture any sort of potentially distressing content, and are aimed at everyone, whether we have clinical PTSD or not. The idea is that we should be (or maybe even we have the right to be) warned about distressing content in advance.But do trigger warnings work effectively?  Do people in practice avoid content that may be triggering and if they choose to watch, are people able to prepare themselves emotionally, to reduce the impact of the material. Or, does the opposite happen - is there an ‘anticipatory effect’ where people get more distressed as they wait for and brace for the traumatic content. Our guests on this podcast bring two different views to the table. Victoria Bridgland is a psychologist who has done detailed data based research into trigger warnings and has concluded not only that they don’t work, but that they are likely to exacerbate distress.  Sociologist Nicole Bedera sees trigger warnings as important but not enough. She believes we need institutions that do much more to support those who’ve been through trauma, particularly sexual assault, otherwise they’re at risk of a secondary trauma caused by ‘institutional betrayal’.Guests:Nicole Bedera, Ph.D. is a sociologist at the University of Michigan and author of the forthcoming book On the Wrong Side: How Universities Betray Survivors to Protect Perpetrators of Sexual Assault. Her research broadly focuses on how our social structures contribute to survivors’ trauma and make sexual violence more likely to occur in the future. Her scholarship has influenced sexual violence prevention programming across the United States, including for Planned Parenthood, and her work has featured in media including The New York Times, NPR, and the BBC.Victoria BridglandVictoria graduated with a research PhD in 2021 from Flinders University. Victoria’s research interests include expectancy effects, emotional regulation, and memory for traumatic events. Her main body of work concerns trigger warnings, and what benefit – if any – they have for people encountering negative material. Victoria currently serves on the Student Caucus Executive board for the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. In 2019 Victoria won a South Australian Postgraduate Fulbright Scholarship. Victoria is currently at Harvard, with her research focussing on trigger warnings in art spaces.~~ You can be part of the discussion @PofCharity on Twitter, @PrincipleofCharity on Facebook and @PrincipleofCharityPodcast on Instagram. Your hosts are Lloyd Vogelman and Emile Sherman. Find Lloyd @LloydVogelman on Linked in Find Emile @EmileSherman on Linked In and Twitter. This Podcast is Produced by Jonah Primo and Bronwen ReidFind Jonah at

Is Complementary (Alternative) Medicine Helpful?

Season 1, Ep. 23
What do we do when we don’t feel well and mainstream western medicine can’t seem to help us. Maybe it’s an irritable bowel, headaches that come too frequently, chronic fatigue or joint pain that just won’t go away. Maybe it’s more serious - a life-threatening diagnosis of cancer, or a neurological condition like parkinsons, and we are told by doctors that there’s no cure or they have limited treatment options. In all these cases, how should we assess complementary medicine?  The alternative medicine market is a massive and growing industry increasingly framing health as  ‘wellness’ which aims to help us live a life of flourishing rather than just an absence of illness. Is there a point, though, when the therapies shift from helpful to hoax? In this episode with our guests Dr Norman Swan and Dr Penny Caldicott we explore what’s reasonable to do if we feel sick, but our doctor doesn’t seem to be able to help.Dr Norman SwanNorman is a multi-award winning broadcaster, journalist and commentator. He is the host and creator of the Health Report, on ABC Radio National, which is the longest running health programme in the English-speaking world. Norman consulted for the World Health Organisation on global priorities in health research, putting evidence into health policy and clinical trial registration. He co-facilitated, with Richard Horton (editor in chief of The Lancet) a global ministerial forum in Bamako, West Africa which aimed to advance the global health agenda.In his latest book “So You Want To Live Longer, Younger”  Norman scrutinises the science and the fads to offer up a guide to living a longer, healthier life.Dr Penny CaldicottPenny is president of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association.  She’s also the founder and director of Invitation to Health, a  holistic,  patient-centred medical service on the New South Wales Central Coast. Since graduating from medical school more than two decades ago, Penny’s passion for understanding the journey that contributes to a patient's disease has led her to practice what’s called integrative medicine.  In this practice, complementary therapists like naturopaths and nutritionists work together with gp’s  in an environment designed to apply the best of evidence-based conventional medicine and complementary therapies..Penny believes that this kind of collaborative approach to the prevention of disease can play a significant role in turning back chronic disease in Australia.  She’s a strong advocate within the medical establishment and to governments for a pre-emptive model of health care, one that aspires to both prevent chronic disease and to accompany patients back towards well being.~~ You can be part of the discussion @PofCharity on Twitter, @PrincipleofCharity on Facebook and @PrincipleofCharityPodcast on Instagram. Your hosts are Lloyd Vogelman and Emile Sherman. Find Lloyd @LloydVogelman on Linked in Find Emile @EmileSherman on Linked In and Twitter. This Podcast is Produced by Jonah Primo and Bronwen Reid Find Jonah @JonahPrimo on Instagram.