AcademicI’m Antony Davies, Associate Professor of Economics at Duquesne University and co-founder of Paragon Software. AMA!
Nov 28th 2016 by AntEconomist • 38 Questions • 85 Points
We are some of the foremost leaders of the microbiology field, three of us are national academy members. Dan Portnoy is working on Listeria and collaborating with Aduro Biotech to help reach a cure for cancer. Michael Thomashow works to understand the mechanisms to help plants handle freezes and drought, in order to reach the potential of crops. Steven Lory works to understand how soil based bacteria cause diseases. John Mekalanos is the former chair of microbiology at Harvard and works on the mechanisms and vaccine development for cholera.
Here is the link to each of our labs and proof: https://mcb.berkeley.edu/labs/portnoy/Portnoy_Lab/Welcome.html
As we approach the point where human labor become obsolete and the costs of living (esp in the US) keep going up, where do you see the economy going when it's based on humans selling time/labor?
Is there going to be a split where if we go down one side (socialism) people won't have to work, we just all share what there is, vs the other side (capitalism) where we grow faster than ever?
What will the producers do with all the non-producers as the non-producers continue to vote themselves whatever they want while holding the producers hostage thru the voting system?
What moral authority does a non-producer have to take from a producer and is there any limit to what a non-producer is entitled to take from a producer?
If all Scientology's secrets were revealed tomorrow, which do you think would be most shocking?
How cooperative are you with other scientists working on the same subject? Do you help each other and share ideas if you share the same goal?
The economy is already largely based on humans selling time/labor. For decades (though less of late) people have decried America's transition to a "service economy" - as if service is somehow less economically meaningful than tangible goods. But that's what a service economy is - people selling their time/labor.
There will be yet another transition from "service" economy to "creativity" economy. In this transition, more and more people will produce neither goods nor services but ideas. Some will produce art, some music, some designs (software, architecture, etc.).
When you reach the top of The Bridge (OTP 8) you will be told that God is a lie for LRH, and there are more levels ahead, that will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is no end to Scientology.
6:30AM - alarm goes off, hit snooze. 6:39AM - alarm goes off, hit snooze. 6:48AM - alarm goes off, hit snooze. 6:57AM - alarm goes off, hit snooze. 7:05AM - get up JUST BEFORE alarm goes off again. 7:06AM - scratch itchy parts. 7:07AM - brush teeth 7:08AM - scratch itchy parts. 7:09AM - decide it's not worth it. 7:10AM - return to bed. 12:05PM - get up again on my own accord, not when some frickin' alarm tells me to. I am my own man! 12:08PM - watch both Hobbits and all three LOTR's. - Rhett
Sorry for deleting my comment it was an accident. but what i said was that i really do my best to help my ex students and collaborators, and I said less helpful to competitors, as the first response quotes. this does not mean not helpful it means less helpful than the extreme amount that I grant to my students.
I read an NPR article saying that most economists agree with switching to a consumption tax. Do you recommend switching from an income tax to a consumption tax?
Have you seen the HBO documentary Going Clear? If so, would you say it's an accurate representation the church and worth showing to people?
I've noticed that you guys are slipping in more adult content is this on purpose?
How do you simply but adequately describe the dangers of antibiotic resistance to the lay public? Every time I try to describe it, people don't listen, don't fully understand, or both.
The important thing to remember is that when you tax something, the economy produces less of it. Tax income and people will work less. Tax consumption and people will buy less.
One benefit of a consumption tax is that it addresses what many people mean when they talk about "the idle rich." Picture someone who works hard and lives frugally. That person will accumulate wealth. But certainly, that's someone who is good to have around. This is a person who contributes a lot to society and asks for little in return.
Now, picture someone who spends lots of money on frivolous stuff. That's really the person we mean when we talk about "the idle rich." The problem is that an income tax hits the first person but possibly not the second. A consumption tax hits the second person more so than the first. So, in that sense, a consumption tax falls where many people really want taxes to fall.
Having said that, a consumption tax is dangerous for political reasons. The income tax was instituted via Constitutional amendment. If we institute a consumption tax, then we need to repeal the Amendment establishing the income tax at the same time. If we don't, we'll end up with both taxes.
Very much so. I thought it was very accurate. I was shocked how accurate it was for not coming from Scientologists. I wanted to see more stories about how it affected children. The systematic recruitment of members' children. I wish it would have told the story of how Scientologists give their children to the "Church." It protects the life source that is continually bolstering the religion. But, I think they did an amazing job and they cleared the path for people like me to speak about it. HBO was very brave in taking it on. As is A&E, as it will be the first network is do a full series about it.
I think there's always been innuendo on GMM, and that's mostly a function of the unscripted nature of the show. We think our content remains appropriate for most everyone, including our own children. - Rhett
Dan Portnoy: among the problems is that bacteria that are normally of no threat, but are resistant to antibiotics, can then pose a very large threat especially to those who are immunocompromised once the antibiotics are administered.
Is it true they record your meetings and blackmail you with the recordings?
Stupid question, but is it possible that some peoples immune system is strong enough to kill off Gonorrhea on it's own? Couldn't we start searching for people who have stronger antibodies to create new vaccines? As an example of James Harrison.
People are resources - each has talents, abilities, and ideas. The more people we have, the more we can produce and the better off everyone is.
Couple this with the fact that immigrants, on average, are a special subset of people. Immigrants (on average) are people who are willing to take the risk to move somewhere where they don't know the people or possibly the customs or possibly the language, and do what's necessary not only to make a living, but to provide for loved ones back home.
These are the characteristics of an entrepreneur. IOW, immigration is a giant filter that predominantly selects entrepreneurial people. That's exactly the sort of people we want if we want to grow the economy.
Yes, every "therapy room" is equipped with cameras and listening devices, as admitted by the "Church." Do they use it for blackmail? No, they use it to discredit you when you speak out.
Dan Portnoy: That is difficult, and is actually part of of the problem in finding a cure for HIV. generally for our purposes though the answer is no
Hey guys! Greetings from about 45 minutes north of Burbank! (Aka Lancaster) I have made you part of my daily routine for about 3 years now and it feels weird when I miss a day! My question for you guys is:
The two of you have been friends for a really long time. Do you have a favorite memory together? Rhett, what is one memory about Link that makes you laugh every time? Link, what is a memory about Rhett that makes you cringe every time?
Love you guys!
What have been the most impressive recent discoveries in terms understanding how soil microbes affect human beings? Or how they affect crop development?
I think the blood oath we took in the cow pasture behind Keith Hills golf course is a favorite. We swore to "create something together" one day. (Not like a baby...like a movie.) But we seriously did take a blood oath around middle school age, not knowing specifically what we wanted to do. - Link
Steve Lory: Soil micro bioms - better understanding of the community of bacteria that is involved in harming or benefiting crops and human health
How much longer do you plan on continuing Good Mythical Morning?
Can you say anything regarding what that understanding is?
There is a correlation between those communities and the health, but we do not have evidence of causation yet.
Since you guys do a lot of game show style shows on GMM, I'm wondering what would be your dream game show to compete on?
How do microorganisms get lead in them in the first place?
We're still waiting for our call from Wheel of Fortune to appear on their "best friends" episode. ABC holler at us! - Rhett & Link
John M: It is just in the environment around them and enters through diffusion. Most microorganisms actually pump out lead to stay healthy.
When you were a scientologist did you ever get any weird reactions from other famous people?
Do you guys plan on bringing back ear biscuits soon? Really loved that podcast.
What percentage of your PhD candidates end up doing lab work they truly enjoy? How many of them actually make 50k+ for annual salary?
No, but people keep recommending it to me. Now I have to go see it.
Weird reactions? No. I got appropriate reactions, "Why are you in this crazy shit?"
I wouldn't say sooooooon, per se. But we love the podcast format and hope we can find a way to work it in to our schedule in the future. - Rhett
Dan Portnoy/John Mekalanos: I believe the majority of my students enjoy their work while in the lab, after that point, in their first real position perhapse half truly enjoy what they do., and the vast majority make an excess of 50k
Why did you and your families decide to homeschool your kids? Love the show, guys!
What are some common misconceptions about microbes?
We wanted to keep them sheltered from the real world and fully control their thoughts and actions.
Actually, we did it because we liked the flexibility it offered due to our unpredictable schedules, and our wives wanted to be more directly involved in our kids education. - Rhett
Dan Portnoy: the misconception is that they are simple, however they are extremely complex.
How did you guys react to watching Shepard say that he wanted a newborn baby's heart in the Jack in the box? Lol.
What is the coolest thing you have seen or learned in regards to microbio?
I laughed a lot, and swelled with pride as a father. - Rhett
Mike Thomashow: That there are some naturally occurring bacteria that exchange genetic information with plants, and actually change the plants genetics in a way that benefits the bacteria.
Steve Lory: the power of bacteria to cause the death of humans, and the power of humans to combat that.
What solution would you have for the US to address wealth distribution? 1. Is wealth distribution in the US a problem? 2. What solution path would you suggest to correct it if you see it as a problem?
Do you think there are members of the cult of Scientology reading this AMA?
I've always wondered, do both of your families spend holidays together? Such as thanksgiving and Christmas?
This has peaked my interest, what do you think is an interesting example of this happening?
In a free market, wealth distribution is a non-issue. People believe wealth distribution is an issue because (a) they confuse profit (wealth acquisition via voluntary exchange) with plunder (wealth acquisition via coercion), and (b) they confuse money with wealth.
Consider (in a free market environment), someone who provides a service to society and also asks for some of society's resources in return. Now, suppose that society highly values the service this person performs. In turn, society is willing to pay the person a high price for his services.
Suppose also that society places a lower value on the resources the person asks in return - perhaps because the resources are plentiful, or no one else wants them very much. Consequently, society asks a low price for the resources.
This person is exactly the sort of person most everyone would say is valuable to society - he offers more to his neighbors than he asks in return.
But, over time this person will accumulate dollars because the dollars society pays him for his very valuable service outnumber the dollars society asks in return for its resources. The person's accumulation of dollars is evidence that he has provided more to society than he asked.
Many people say that those with wealth have an obligation to "give back" to the rest of us. But, through this example, you see that the person doesn't need to give back. In fact, his accumulation of dollars is evidence that society actually owes him more than he has consumed.
Do I think? I know. Hi Karin Pouw and members of OSA! If any Sea Org member is currently reading this and works for OSA and wants to leave, I will help you... including Karin.
Since moving to CA, we've done Thanksgiving together each year (along with other LA based friends). But, even though we both go home to NC for Christmas each year, we almost never see each other there. That's pretty much all the family time we have with folks back home, so we try to give them all our time. If we happen to see each other, we pass by one another without speaking. - Rhett
Mike Thomashow: Crown Gall Disease.
People change over time. Why do you think you guys have been able to be friends for so long?
Thank you very much for doing this AMA! What advice to you have for a senior post doc that would like to stay in academia (in the process of applying for assistant professorships now) but is worried about getting funding in the future? I should mention my postdoctoral advisor consistently had anywhere between 3-4 R01s in the past, however is down to only one and hasn't been able to obtain anymore in the last 3 years despite publishing in immunity, nature immunology, cell host microbe and plos pathogens.
We okay it with each other before we change.
hmm. I think it'd take a whole book to answer that question. _Link
Dan Portnoy/John Mekalanos: I think if you truly love science you should just go for it, make sure to hold on to much of your post doc research to get you ahead, and do your best to join a program that matches your interests and goals. There will always be money for creative and interesting science with possible applications, however the future of funding is unclear to us as well.
Edit: Please feel free to ask more questions, we love to help people in your situation.
Thanks Dan and John for your honest responses, particularly concerning the future of funding. I have interests in cyclic dinucleotide signaling independent of sting or ddx41 as well as examining additional P. aeuruginosa derived pamps in the context of innate immunity. Do you think this is considered "too basic science", particularly since my postdoctoral advisor thinks I should focus more on disease models?
Yes. to walk with you (to walk with you) along the avenue (along the avenue) - Rhett
We don't want to interfere the advice of your advisor as there are many different approaches. Dan enjoys advising and would be happy to help on a more private level, please private message for a more specific response as we don't want to step on any toes.
Considering that Scientology is consistently painted in such a negative light how did you maintain the commitment to Scientology for so long?
Do your spouses mind when you kiss them after eating something gross, spicy, etc?
I love to play a game with my wife. It's called, "Kiss me and tell me what animal body part I ate today!" She hates it. - Rhett
Everybody: We all believe this is a very relevant and imminent problem.
What is something the average citizen can do to help prevent Scientology growth?
What was the worst "will it" episode to date?
Thanks for doing this! I was wondering if you could recommend any books that are must haves for people interested in microbiology? I have my old textbook from university but I'd like to learn more for fun.
Speak to your local councilmen/women about cracking down on the abuse of its citizens. I believe people have influences, they know judges, lawyers, police enforcement I think everyone bringing attention to these abuses can help. It takes a community to police itself.
Hard to pick one specific moment, they all have their low points. Throwing something up into a custom barf bucket is a pretty consistent experience. - Rhett
Dan Portnoy: Microbe Hunters by Paul DeKruif, it is the book that made me excited about science, and I give it to every single student who leaves my lab.
Do the higher ups know it's a scam or do they really believe this crap?
When will Rhett's dad come on?
Do any of you brew beer and if so what is your favorite yeast strain?
The higher up is singular. And he definitely knows. however I believe most parishioners and Sea Org members (people who work for the "church") are int he dark and believe that they are doing amazing things for the world. And David Miscavige is directly responsible for that fraud.
Looking to have him on the next time he's in town. Fair warning: He's not nearly as tan as Link's dad! - Rhett
Was there a single breaking point that convinced you to leave the church? Or was it a long term struggle with the decision?
RHETT AND LINK!! Seriously would not be able to get through my day without GMM+GMMore. I watch them every night when I get home from work and I'm constantly watching reruns.
My question is: You both used to have successful careers in the engineering field (I believe Link, at least, used to work for IBM?) and now you have successful careers in the entertainment field. How and why did you make that transition? Did you feel you were taking a huge risk making such a big transition? Lets talk about that...
We never felt engineering was the right fit, and we were pretty much looking for ways to work together in entertainment from the beginning. YouTube provided a way to reach a large audience without having to travel or move (initially). Once we realized we could get paid to make videos (through ads or integrations), we figured we could make a go of it. - Rhett
Dan Portnoy: Not recently, sorry for the bad response edit: a word
Over the past 10 years, I've seen my parents get deeper and deeper into Scientology. Decent reasoning, science and logic have done nothing to convince them to question the church. From someone who left, is there anything a loved one can do to help a brainwashed member see the truth, without ruining the relationship completely?
Were there any videos that you were particularly nervous to put up due to controversy or bad feedback?
GMM is not as controversial as some of our older videos, especially our local commercials which touched on resolving racial tension through furniture sales, or promoting a car selling gynecologist Cuban refugee. But, we've never been too nervous about creating controversy because that's not what our work is really about. - Rhett
Cancer is not an evolving system, so it cannot develop across the population to become resistant, however within the particular person the cancer can mutate to be more resistant. edit: The type of cure we are referring to is that of immunotherapy.
What odds do you give of the whole thing collapsing once Miscavige dies?
Have you ever had an interaction with a viewer that's made either yourselves or your families uncomfortable? You don't have to describe what happened I'm just curious :) Thanks!
Does the microbiology community have any plans to analyze Donald Trump's "hands"?
The policies of the "Church" are the policies of the "Church." They will not change, and there will be someone right behind him ready to pick up where he left off.
HAHA, They are all refraining from answering that one.
Are people actively being held prisoner against their will?
If so, how upsetting is it that the government and law enforcement does not act?
Hey guys. Big fan so thankyou to you and all the crew! Has there ever been a "Will it?..." episode that you have refused to do?
It's very upsetting. I'm only an actress with a short window of interest. So it is up to the authorities who have to do something about it and the judges who are hearing cases of abuse, coerced abortions, being held prisoner, fraud, mental and emotional imprisonment. They won't look at cases to decide its a religion. They have to separate and look at the law. Your doctrine is abusive. It mandates that you abuse people.
We have asked a MD/PHD, who practices medicine, their opinion on this question, and she said that you really need to have a love for medicine, if you have a preference for research perhaps you should consider moving to another field.
What is the most unusual 'corrective action' you've seen them physically do to someone?
What did your family think of you having no beard Rhett ? Xx
I sent my mom a picture after I shaved, and she replied with "Poor baby. I still love you." - Rhett
OH, our bad we meant to send this response to another question. haha.
do you remember what your initial reaction was upon first seeing the course materials for OT3?
Hey! huge fan! My co-worker and I watch your shows (anything you guys make) every day. I wanted to ask how it feels to have come so far looking back at where it all started? I get a certain amount of excitement and dare I say pride following what you guys are up to and how successful you have become. And to do it all as life long best friends just makes it that much more special. Keep up the great work! :)
How have inventions like the life straw and other water filters helped the fight against Cholera.
Also, what are some major hurdles in the development of a Cholera vaccine?
Yes my first reaction was "Are you all fucking nuts?" and then I looked at my mother and said "What kind of bullshit did you get me in?" My only option was to leave, but at the time my family was not ready to go. The "church" told me I didn't need to believe it, just do it. And they always pose this question: "Are you ready to leave everything you've ever known?"
The first cassette tape I ever owned was Weird Al's Even Worse. I learned all those songs by heart and thought it was hilarious. But I never actively thought "I could do that!" at the time. We're truly humbled that we make stuff that shapes the next wave of weirdos out there.
Now get back to work! -Link
John Mekalanos: 1.anything that provides pure water is an effective intervention in controlling cholera, especially in epidemic situations 2.The major hurdles: there are vaccines already in existence, however they are very difficult to manufacture. This means that the largest hurdle is developing a cheap and easy to vaccine that does not require a cold chain (does not have to stay cold until the admission)
Hey guys, love the show. My question is; how long does it take to shoot an episode of GMM - on average?
With the way that academia is going these days, are you becoming more likely to suggest industry to grads/postdocs than previously? It's approaching 100s of good applicants/tenure track gig at decent schools. As a recent postdoc on the academic job hunt from one of your schools (rhymes with 'Barvard'), shit's getting real out there.
I actually do not know. Ask the LAPD.
Shooting an episode is usually just about as long as the final product, unless it's a more involved episode with multiple setups. But the prep takes much longer than that (see Link's longer answer). - Rhett
John M: You are correct, that is the way it is going. I am more likely to suggest it but it is of course not the only option. Industry is somewhat high pressure due to need for a product.
Dan Portnoy: They are very different, If you have any interest in teaching you should definitely stick with academia. if you want strict research both will fit your purposes. Personally we all prefer academia due to the cutting edge nature of the science and the freedom of academic pursuit.
How do the powers that be in Scientology keep their followers from reading anti-Scientology news, or your book? Why don't more scientologists leave?
On average, how much work goes into making an episode of good mythical morning? xx
What do you guys think is the future of probiotics in topical applications?
Great question. Because very early on in the brainwashing process, L. Ron Hubbard's "technology" teaches you that outside sources (i.e. The news, the Internet, books, magazines) are ALL LIES and hellbent on destroying something decent like Scientology. The AMA, and APA, and all "governments" do not give scientology its due because they have a vested interest in not healing people and not helping people. And Scientology is in the business of making people better. So Scientologists are taught that their safest bet is to get their info from the only true decent people...and those are Scientologists. And if they look on the internet, if they read time mag, they will be met with punishment at their expense. And, as a Scientologist...you have to confess that you've read outside materials, and that will be met with punishment at your expense.
Why do you think there are so many people in the entertainment industry in the religion?
Is Buddy System going to be multi seasonal or a one off?
What advice do you have for medical students? Have you ever seen "sketchy micro" and what do you think of it?
If you really look at the numbers at the entertainment industry, in comparison to the small number of scientologists that are celebrities, the number wouldn't even register. I think Scientology has done an amazing job convincing people that there is a great number of celebrities in the "Church."
We have no official announcement to make at this point...but even this morning, we were tossing around ideas for a possible Season 2. Any ideas? -LInk
We have asked a MD/PHD, who practices medicine, their opinion on this question, and she said that you really need to have a love for medicine, if you have a preference for research perhaps you should consider moving to another field.
Hello Rhett & Link! First off thank you so much for the countless hours of entertainment, education and emotional support you've given us.
Congratulations on Buddy System, I really felt it was a project that came from your hearts and I enjoyed it very much!
I'd like to ask, realistically how much would it affect your synergy as a duo if you guys swapped seats in GMM?
Have a mythical day!
You're welcome :) It is always so cool to hear that GMM gives people an emotional boost. If we swapped seats...i think it would really mess with our mojo...but we should try it! what would be a good occasion for that?hmmm --Link
John M: we generally have quite a lot of enthusiasm for microbiom research.
Do you personally feel like you're being watched/tracked/etc by the church for doing everything your doing?
Link, will your mythical beard ever make a comeback?
I got a microscope for my 7 and 8 year old. They are bored of the prepared slides that came with it. I remember peeling onion skins and looking at them in biology. Do you have other interesting suggestions?
I am. I'm okay with it because I knew what I was getting into and I knew the policies of the "church" and what would happen by my speaking out against it.
My face has recently been asking me the same thing. If it were to happen, it'd be over the holiday break...but that beard-in-process might mess up all my family photos :/ -Link
dirty pond water under the right microscope will be flush with bacteria. besides that you can have them scrape the inside of their cheek to try to see their own cells.
I've been a huge fan since the early days of KoQ (was watching at 11, now 24!). Did you ever find that your religion interfered with your work in a way you would turn town any potential jobs, either for your own religious reasons or advice received from members?
Crazy song idea that got scrapped for being too crazy?
Many years ago we started writing a song called Barbed Wire Tattoo. Never finished it. I guess we got distracted with it's followup "Fartin' Girl." - Link
We are not structural biologists and therefore do not feel qualified to answer
Are there any sexual malpractices that occur in the church?
Hi guys! What is the worst injury you've suffered during the making of GMM? Also, will Rhett's massage song ever be released as a single?
Link gave me a bloody nose. Not on GMM, but during Epic Gun Battle. We've stunned each other with a stun cane a few times. But no serious injuries, thankfully.
As for the massage song, you're going to have to enjoy it in it's native GMM form for now. - Rhett
Everybody: the microbiom influence on the immune system, nervous system and metabolic system. But that is just one of many.
Your show is very family-friendly and enjoyable for viewers of all ages, what in your personal life wouldn't be considered "all-ages?" For example, enjoying a specific alcoholic beverage, violent movies/tv/video games, if you're nonchalant about cursing, any particular hobbies, etc.
Also, what was your favorite episode to film of GMM?
We drink wine, beer, or whiskey on occasion, watch R rated movies, and curse when it's called for. - Rhett
Resident MD: Certain people with take antibiotics prophylactics. Generally speaking the less antibiotics the better, even in the case of some infections.
You are so brave for telling the truth about Scientology. Why are so many other people staying quiet? What can we do to help?
You mean you're real people???
Thank you! Watch our show tonight and spread awareness. It is bigger what people think. This religion is massive.
What do members actually gain from being a member? How is it made worth all the money and time they invest?
Hey, Rhett and Link, nice to see you here on reddit! On Good Mythical Morning, you’ve talked about growing up in Buies Creek. My mom’s side of my family lives up in Fuquay and Coats, and it’s nice to hear some love about where you grew up. What’s the biggest thing you miss about the area?
They gain a purpose. They gain a group. They gain a sense of accomplishment (awards, certificates). They gain an education that in the real world LRH states would be equivalent to getting a "PHD in life." You become an elitist. That you have all the answers in life. If you have a question about life, you are made to think that Scientology has the answer.
Shout out to Coats, NC! The soil there. Wow. There used to be a Skats Drive Thru beside the IGA. It was like a half-baked Hardees. Remember that? I'm not sayin I miss it; but I do miss Cook Out, of course Bojangles, and also my extended family. -Link
Everybody: None of us feel qualified to answer that question
What's your favorite brand of hot dog? Bright Leaf hotdogs right?!
Sending you Love from Raleigh!
Hi guys I'm a surface chemist, have you guys done much work into antibacterial surfaces? It's the field I'm hoping to do my pHD in! If you guys have had anu exposure to the field, what do you think of using surfaces to combat AMR?
Yes, I feel very safe. I have the support of my family and friends. And, I feel strangely protected by the world at large.
I'm more of a Jesse Jones guy. Not a big fan of the red dye on Bright Leaf. - Link
John M: It is an extremely exciting field that has only scratched the surface of its potential. it seems to have potential for AMR but we need to see results before we can say anything else.
How different would you say your view of Hollywood is now compared to when you were on Saved by the Bell and did your experience with Scientology effect these views versus if you never joined them?
I was wondering how you two feel about being shipped together, I see a lot of being saying that you ship-bait and other things like that.
do you wish people wouldn't ship you?
Microbiology is my goal. Do you have any tips? I graduate this year and need to put together a CV and list of skills.
When I was a Scientologist I saw Hollywood as a dark, lost bunch of souls that needed saving. Now I see it as any other business and that we're all just trying to do right by ourselves, right by our friends and family and that people outside of scientology are not bad.
we don't care. we just think it's funny to create awkwardness. it just seems to often be misinterpretted as something else... - Link
Everybody: do as much research in undergrad as possible, that will open many doors.
What is your overall opinion on organized Religion now? Did your view on say Christianity change?
What is your dream entertainment project now that you've done a scripted musical comedy?
Is harvard actually that much better than a state college?
Yes my view of religion changed in that I am no longer a bigot against people's religious beliefs when it doesn't harm other people, promote killing people for their beliefs... like extremism. But if religion brings you comfort, hope, and a sense of community, I say "whatever works for you."
We don't have ONE specific thing we want to eventually make. I'd love to make a movie exclusively using Merle Haggard songs as the soundtrack. We're aiming to continue to innovate when it comes to GMM and also have at least one other major project each year for you to enjoy. We're just beginning to scratch our long-form scripted itch. - LInk
Depends on the person and the school.
From what I've seen of Scientology, it seems like there is a major difference in treatment between celebrity "followers" and folks in Sea Org who are tortured, locked in the Hole, beaten publicly by Miscavige, etc.
Did the news of this mistreatment find its way to celebrities and general "members" of the Church who weren't in Sea Org? Or were people left completely in the dark?
Hey guys!!! Huge fan thanks for the ama. you are my go to for eating breakfast before work every morning. Thanks for all the laughs.
You two have been best friends since you were kids and have wonderful chemistry, but there has to be something where you guys had a big disagreement or argument about something where you were legitimately pissed at each other, what was it?
PS. Please bring more Randy Dandy Mandy brothers content.
PSS. Sink Mirror almost made me pee myself.
EDIT: for those wondering, the Hilarious Randy Dandy - I got a freaking koala bear! Arent those things going extinct? I dont care! ONE LESS KOALA BEAR!!
Do you publish what you tried to do and didn't work? So that others can come along after you and continue?
No, and if they did hear about it, we were told that those claiming abuse were lying. Then I would have been interrogated and even punished for asking.
we get legitimately pissed at each other all the time. I think that's part of a friendship and working relationship like ours. Our creative process often involves fighting with each other about ideas and landing on something in the end. We've never assaulted each other, though, unless you count the one time we got into a slap fight on GMM. - Rhett
John/Dan: generally not but sometimes in the context of another paper it will find it's way in. Research is driven by hypothesis, and we are often wrong in the beginning but that leads to something else.
As a psychologist, I am curious what you observed as mental health 'treatment' with Scientology? In addition, I am aware the 'church' is against psychology; how was this opposition demonstrated within or by the 'church'? Finally, in your opinion how prevalent are mental health difficulties with the Scientology community?
Thank you for your time.
Hi R+L- love you guys!! What was the biggest cultural shock moving from the south to the west cost. And what happened to your southern accents?
This whole people thinking that BBQ means a grill has been difficult to deal with.
I think it's safe to say our southern accents haven't been lost...they just go into hiding and we let them out from time to time, especially when things get especially loopy. - Rhett
One very big one would be that of antibiotic resistant bacteria, besides that its the continuing emergence of viruses, including new strains of flu.
Hi guys! What is your most favorite song you've ever done?
I'll always love "The Buffet Song" from 2008 because of how it was made. We just asked people dining in a Vegas buffet to walk us through the fundamentals of a buffet. Then we sang what they said verbatim. "I've had prime rib up the kazoo."
We made "The Harry Potter Song" in a similar way. - Link
We think microbes enhance growth on this planet, we and others do not know what will happen on mars.
Out of all the rumors surrounding Scientology, which one is true and hits home the hardest for you?
Why didn't the zoo press charges?
And are you guys doing the AMA tucked or untucked?
This is to Dan specifically I guess because it's specific to listeria. So do you work with the food industry or the FDA, or has your work helped, to combat listeria. Also if not what are you specifically researching in regards to listeria?
I don't what rumors we're referring to here. I haven't read anything that has been inaccurate.
Because we were only 16 at the time.
We're both currently untucked but that can change!
No, I do not. The vast majority of my research for cancer in some way.
Are you really Rhett and Link and not your clones?
I don't want to destroy Scientology. I only want them to admit to the fraud that they promote, to not deny the confidential upper levels of the religion, so people can decide if they want to spend $250K and their lives doing it. That they admit to the policies of Fair Game. That they allow people to decide for themselves where they get their information. That they admit to disconnection and leave families the fuck alone.
We are the clones but all answers are approved by the real R&L. - clones
We can (almost correctly) assume that celebrities receive special treatment because of their status - could you elaborate more on that? For instance, how would your experiences in the church differ from someone who is not a celebrity?
And a follow up - do you think that more celebrities would like to break free from the church but are afraid because of the repercussions? Is there any merit to the claim that there's so much dirt on them that could be exposed that they may not want to leave?
Hope you convince others to follow your path!
In your opinion, what is your funniest moment on; Buddy System? GMM?
We had special course rooms in separate parts of the buildings. Any complaint we had about the outside world was met with agreement from the "Church." We were serviced differently, we had supervisors doing courses in our homes, giving special schedules to celebrities. Staff was interrogated by the Church. Often times there were Sea Org members working for celebrities in their homes, personally working for them. I know of one celeb who had a sea org member working in their home and sea org members were averaging $25/week. The labor laws don't apply to any church therefor they were made to work ungodly hours, forced into interrogations if making human mistakes around the celebrity.
I'm particularly fond of Odell Nobell's backstory, complete with flute solo. - Rhett Slow dancing with a strange man as Peder in episode 8. - Link
How has your friendship evolved since you started working together full time? Similarly, how has making Buddy System changed your friendship and your working relationship?
I guess we have the opposite situation to most adult best friends. Most people work separately and then get together as friends. We see each other all day every day almost the entire year. We actually have to stop and think to do normal friends stuff, like go see a movie together. But working together on everything, and having shared goals where we depend on each other, has been a key to our sustained friendship. - Rhett
Any word on Season 2 of Buddy System? (Huge Mythical Beast btw, freakin' love you guys!)
We'd love to do a second season and are currently conceptualizing what that would look like, but as of right now there's been no official confirmation. - Link
Any advice for fellow engineers that want to switch up their lifestyle like you did?
If you like it, don't quit. The world needs engineers more than guys who eat pig anus for a living. - Rhett
Hi guys! Out of all the outrageous claims made in Epic Rap battle of Manliness, which one would you most want to actually perform? (I'm partial to modifying my garden hose to dispense nacho cheese)
well, we actually did that one, and it was glorious. - Rhett
First of all I just want to thank you both for making such good content for us to enjoy along with you and I hope you guys know how important and uplifting Buddy System has been for a lot of people. In a world that can be really heavy, it’s nice to know there are people like you, and the entire production behind RLBS, who can bring such happiness and love into our lives.
I have questions I’d love to hear your answers to:
What skills did you learn/develop whilst making Buddy System that you feel has benefit you the most?
Was the juggle between acting and managing things behind the camera much different on this larger scale than in other content like your sketches?
Rhett are your eyes green, grey or blue man? Nobody agrees with me when I say they’re green.
Much love to you both. Your creativity and friendship is always inspiring to me.
- writing something of that length, then seeing it come together, taught us a lot.
- thankfully we had a lot of qualified people helping with many points in the process. It was less stressful than we anticipated. Crazy, but not debilitating.
- I don't know. Depends on what I'm wearing. I say green most of the time.