Back in 2013, I received a humbling email. I was being invited to be a guest on “The Joe Rogan Experience”. Unlike other guests who are brought on for a free-wheeling three hour conversation, however, I was being invited to engage in a specific task: to debate a man named Dr. Peter Duesberg, who was famous for refusing to accept the causal link between infection with the HIV virus and contracting the disease AIDS.
At the time, I was a fan of Rogan’s show. I appreciated his open format, his conversation style, his selection of guests, his open-mindedness, and his intellectual humility. I was also a fan of Rogan the comedian, martial arts commentator, the marijuana liberalization activist, and Rogan the navigator of various self-development strategies about which I would otherwise not know.
Fast forward 10 years and Rogan is now a media behemoth, his podcast attracting more listeners and viewers than does CNN. In the era of COVID, the show seems to have embraced and championed some troubling anti-science positions, has platformed some truly rancid characters, seems to revel in amplifying some tiresome talking points from a particular political ideology, and Rogan himself has made some public statements that make me uncomfortable. (more…)