Point of Inquiry

Center for Inquiry

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Point of Inquiry is the Center for Inquiry's flagship podcast, where the brightest minds of our time sound off on all the things you're not supposed to talk about at the dinner table: science, religion, and politics. Guests have included Brian Green...Show More

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The Secret Sting Operation to Expose Celeb Psychics with Susan Gerbic

43:24 | Apr 4th

On this week's episode of Point of Inquiry, we are thrilled to have friend of the Center for Inquiry, Susan Gerbic to talk about the recent New York Times featured story that detailed Gerbic and her team's work exposing celebrity psychics. Kavin Sen...Show More

Mark Boslough on the Dangers of Climate Change and Destructive Asteroids

1:10:25 | Mar 21st

Mark Boslough is a Caltech-trained physicist and CSI Fellow who spent 34 years at Sandia National Laboratories doing research on hypervelocity impacts, energetic materials, explosions, and global risk from asteroid impacts and climate change. He has ...Show More

Carl Zimmer and Paul Offit on Genetics, Race, and Vaccinations at CSICon 2018

33:26 | Mar 7th

We find ourselves in the information age among many who, although have the access to proper and accurate scientific information, choose not to believe it. What causes the parents of a newborn to avoid vaccines? Where do the misconceptions of genetics...Show More

The New Stars of Skeptical Investigation

1:04:19 | Feb 21st

The world of skeptical investigation is full of interesting personalities full of stories about their run-ins with ghost chasers, debunking charlatans, and dealing with "magic". Today on Point of Inquiry, Jim Underdown talks with Massimo Polidoro and...Show More

Twitter’s Resident Gynecologist And The Crusher Of The Gender Binary

39:27 | Feb 7th

Dr. Jen Gunter is an OB/GYN, pain medicine physician, and Twitter's resident gynecologist. She blogs and also writes The Cycle, a column on the intersection sex, science, and society, for the New York Times. One day she hopes to ask Gwyneth Paltrow f...Show More

The Battle for Young Minds - Bertha Vazquez on Teaching Evolution in Schools

38:08 | Jan 24th

As science standards across the country improve to include middle school standards on evolution, more and more teachers are teaching evolution for the first time and the battle to teach sound science moves into the individual classrooms themselves. T...Show More

Adam Conover and Tim Caulified on The Algorithm, Gwyneth Paltrow, Netflix and more

38:09 | Jan 10th

Adam Conover is the creator and host of Adam Ruins Everything, an informational comedy show that debunks common misconceptions and encourages critical thinking. The New York Times calls it “one of history’s most entertaining shows dedicated to the ar...Show More

The Odyssey of the Plutophiles: Alan Stern and David Grinspoon on the Voyage of New Horizons

50:35 | May 17th, 2018

In July of 2015, a spacecraft called New Horizons gave humankind its first close-up view of a small, misunderstood world called Pluto. It took almost 10 years for New Horizons to soar across more than 3 billion miles of space and give us our first me...Show More

Trying to Throw Science at Them: Yvette d'Entremont and Kavin Senapathy on Food, Fads, and Fear

59:48 | Dec 30th, 2017

We are living in a land of confusion, as the band Genesis warned us back in 1986, but even they could not have predicted just how much more confusing things would get 31 years later. With a storm of misinformation engulfing almost every field of huma...Show More

Margaret Sullivan: Reckoning and Redemption for the Reality-Based Press

42:08 | Dec 6th, 2017

In the post-truth world, the mainstream media is beset on all sides. Peddlers of propaganda, misinformation, and conspiracy theories seek to strip the media of its authority by creating parallel realities and fomenting anger and mistrust. At the same...Show More

Lee Billings on the Search for Life in a Silent Universe

58:16 | Sep 27th, 2017

It’s a big cosmos out there. It wasn’t too long ago that we couldn’t be sure that any planets existed anywhere outside of our own solar system. But in just the past handful of years, we’ve learned that planets orbiting stars are the rule, not the exc...Show More

Be Not Constrained: James Croft on Humanists’ Responsibility to Fight Oppression

1:00:01 | Aug 24th, 2017

The modern conception of secular humanism arose in large part as a response to the horrors of Nazism and the Holocaust, and the evils of racism and bigotry. Humanist Manifesto II, written in 1973, called for “the elimination of all discrimination bas...Show More

Space Reporter Loren Grush: Hope and Hubris in Space Exploration

49:09 | Jul 18th, 2017

The U.S. space program is both beloved and neglected. It brings us breathtaking pictures from distant worlds and drives the human species to push itself farther out into the cosmos. But at the same time, it is subject to terrestrial political concern...Show More

Elizabeth Kolbert on Coming to Grips with a Warming Planet

48:11 | Jun 12th, 2017

We want to believe that climate change can be stopped, that humanity can summon the political will to take decisive and meaningful action to avert disaster and save civilization. But the difficult reality is that even if we make our very best efforts...Show More

Carl Pope on Trump, Paris, and the Climate: We’re Going to Be Okay

30:09 | Jun 2nd, 2017

On June 1, President Donald Trump declared that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accord, an international agreement meant to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the global average temperature increase to...Show More

Show Update - Get Ready for Point of Inquiry: The Next Generation

05:22 | May 3rd, 2017

Don’t touch that podcast! Yes, Lindsay Beyerstein and Josh Zepps have moved on to new endeavors, but a new chapter for Point of Inquiry is about to begin, with new hosts and a new format. In this quick update the hosts-to-be will tell us a little...Show More

Is Anybody Listening? Jill Tarter on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

48:17 | Apr 24th, 2017

Jill Tarter holds the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, CA where she also served as the former director of the Center for SETI Research. She was also a Project Scientis...Show More

Sarah Posner: How Trump Got His Hands on the Religious Right

30:01 | Apr 11th, 2017

How did a man living an ostensibly godless, hedonistic life become the champion of the very groups who one would expect to denounce his behavior? Being a real estate mogul and reality TV star, it’s no secret to anyone that President Trump has spent f...Show More

Paul Offit: The Fate of Science in an Age of Darkness

40:51 | Apr 4th, 2017

While science was once the force that propelled humanity into an age of enlightenment, a pernicious fear of science and the unknown threatens to plunge society to into an age of darkness. So says Dr. Paul Offit, a groundbreaking immunologist, and a F...Show More

Phoebe Maltz Bovy: Check Your Privilege-Checking 

26:09 | Mar 28th, 2017

Often when we talk about privilege, we’re referring to the systemic advantages some groups of people have over others, by virtue of their race, gender, or orientation. Having social awareness of privilege like this is an important part of fostering a...Show More

Mile-High Violence: Judith Matloff on Mountain Conflict

38:26 | Mar 20th, 2017

People living at mountainous high altitudes account for only 10 percent of the world’s population, spread out over roughly 25 percent of the Earth’s surface, and yet they also are responsible for a huge portion of the world’s most violent and persist...Show More

Tweaking the Travel Ban: Dahlia Lithwick on Trump’s Revised Executive Order

26:38 | Mar 14th, 2017

President Trump’s travel ban aimed at select Muslim-majority countries (with exceptions for Christian minorities) was first framed this past January as an urgent action to protect the nation from the imminent danger of foreign terror attacks. With ai...Show More

Lawrence Krauss: Accidental Origins

30:05 | Mar 6th, 2017

Fate. Purpose. Design. These are words that hang over many of our heads as we navigate the everyday chaos of life. Religion is often given exclusive purview over the discourse surrounding these concepts, but what if science was able to answer some of...Show More

The Pains of Justice: David M. Engel on Why Americans Don’t Sue

26:35 | Feb 27th, 2017

Americans have a stereotype of being somewhat lawsuit-happy. Any disagreements, no matter how small, wind up in court and we will sue the pants off our neighbors at the slightest scrape or bump. David M. Engel, author and law professor at University ...Show More

James McGrath Morris on Ethel Payne, First Lady of the Black Press

28:59 | Feb 20th, 2017

Every significant turn towards progress has had its trailblazers, and history can easily forget these pioneering individuals who have helped get us to where we are today. One of the most important figures at the height of the civil rights movement wa...Show More

Gary Taubes: The Bittersweet Truth about the Dangers of Sugar

34:40 | Feb 13th, 2017

Diabetes and obesity are on the rise in America in epidemic proportions, but we don’t respond to it with the urgency of an epidemic. Sugar industry lobbyists work hard to keep regulations at bay, and today sugar can be found in everything from baby f...Show More

Science, Stopped at the Border: Jen Golbeck on Science in Trump’s America

37:19 | Feb 6th, 2017

The United States leads the world in science and innovation, but there’s no guarantee that this will always be the case. The Trump administration’s orders to halt federal science publication and public communication has American scientists racing aga...Show More

Murder, Chaos, and Cover-Ups After Hurricane Katrina, with Ronnie Greene

30:50 | Jan 30th, 2017

Ronnie Green is a Pulitzer-winning journalist and author whose latest book is Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina. His book follows the true story of an innocent family seeking help and security in the aftermath o...Show More

Extended Mileage in Someone Else’s Shoes: Ted Conover on Immersive Journalism

30:27 | Jan 24th, 2017

Ted Conover is an American journalist and author, known for fully immersing himself in the world of the subjects he covers. Conover writes about the people we understand the least by attempting to live their lives. Whether he’s riding freight trains ...Show More

Daniel Dennett: The Magic of Consciousness…Without the Magic

33:44 | Jan 17th, 2017

Daniel C. Dennett is one of the most influential philosophers of our time, perhaps best known in cognitive science for his multiple drafts (or "fame in the brain") model of human consciousness, and to the secular community for his 2006 book Breaking ...Show More

Enemies List Redux: Rick Perlstein on the Parallels between Trump and Nixon

32:19 | Jan 9th, 2017

With great power, comes great responsibility, so we are told by Voltaire and Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben. It’s something we learn anew with each presidency, as the person who holds the office must decide how they will wield the power they’ve been given....Show More

Should Atheists Celebrate Christmas? Tom Flynn Debates Lindsay Beyerstein

28:21 | Dec 27th, 2016

Tom Flynn is Executive Director of Council for Secular Humanism (a program of the Center for Inquiry), as well as a novelist, journalist, and editor of Free Inquiry magazine. Outside of the freethought universe, however, Flynn may be best known as a ...Show More

Amanda Marcotte on the Trump Transition and the Reshaping of America

40:15 | Dec 21st, 2016

There's no question that Trump and his incoming administration have plans to take the country in a very different direction on a plethora of issues. To help us sort through what to expect, we welcome writer and political journalist, Amanda Marcotte. ...Show More

Embargo for America: Andrew W. Cohen on Smuggling and the Rise of a Superpower

34:00 | Dec 12th, 2016

From the early isolationist policies of George Washington to Thomas Jefferson’s universal embargo on foreign trade, 19th century America had no plans to become an imperial power. How then does a nation with no navy and a commitment to not having a st...Show More

Michael Berube: The Value and the Virtue of Raising a Child with Down Syndrome

33:37 | Dec 5th, 2016

Michael Berube is the Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University where he teaches American literature, disabilities studies, and cultural studies. His newest book is Life as Jamie Knows it: An Exceptional C...Show More

Only as Bad as it’s Ever Been: PJ O’Rourke on American Values, Politics and Culture

34:46 | Nov 28th, 2016

This week we’re dusting off a favorite Point of Inquiry episode from three years ago: Josh Zepps' conversation with P.J. O'Rourke – humorist, cultural commentator and bestselling author of sixteen books. Originally broadcast in December of 2013, this...Show More

The Normalization of Hate: David Neiwert on Trump and the Rise of the Alt-Right

32:11 | Nov 21st, 2016

There’s no getting around the fact that the alt-right has come out of the shadows to fully embrace Trump as their candidate. From Steve Bannon to David Duke, controversial support did not wait long to rush to Trump's side. It’s clear that for many “m...Show More

Trump’s Victory and the Challenge to a Secular America, with Larry Decker

36:39 | Nov 14th, 2016

The religiously unaffiliated, also known as the “nones,” are currently the largest “faith” demographic in the country. Yet evangelicals beat them two to one in turnout at the polls. We live in an increasingly secular nation based on secular principle...Show More

Comprehending the Incomprehensible: Samuel Arbesman on Rapidly Accelerating Technology

26:57 | Nov 7th, 2016

We live in a digital era in which science and technology have revealed new frontiers never before possible. In developing the complicated technologies that permeate our lives, is it possible that humans have failed to grasp the magnitude of the compl...Show More

Halloween Special: Joe Nickell on the Paranormal's Origin Story

30:52 | Oct 31st, 2016

Joe Nickell is perhaps the world's foremost investigator of the paranormal, as well as a magician and author, and he joins us for this special Halloween episode to discuss his recent feature article in Skeptical Inquirer, "Creators of The Paranormal....Show More

Cats and the Domestication of Humans, with Abigail Tucker

31:58 | Oct 24th, 2016

The cat. King of the jungle, emperor of the internet, overlord of our homes? Cats are easily among the most adaptable mesopredator, able to survive and thrive everywhere from the deserts of Australia, to the Arctic tundra, to a cramped studio apartme...Show More

Trolling Unplugged: Benjamin Radford on the Creepy Clown Craze

35:02 | Oct 17th, 2016

Halloween is almost here, and Target stores are pulling clown masks from their shelves. After the creepy clown craze made its way through Europe, the circus has finally arrived in the US with sightings in at least 40 states, 10 of which have now resu...Show More

Doomsday Dread: The End of Civilization, with Phil Torres

52:42 | Oct 4th, 2016

Phil Torres is an author, contributing writer for the Future of Life Institute, and an Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. His writing has been featured in numerous publications such as Time, Motherboard, Salon, H...Show More

Editing Our Pasts: Dr. Julia Shaw on The Illusion of Memory

31:10 | Sep 26th, 2016

Dr. Julia Shaw is a psychological scientist and senior researcher in the Department of Law and Social Science at London South Bank University. She teaches at the undergraduate and graduate level and her research on false memory has been published in ...Show More

The People vs. the Planet: Barry Vann on the Consequences of Climate Change

36:10 | Sep 19th, 2016

Since the beginning of humankind unpredictable forces of nature have been among our most dangerous threats: volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, tornados, hurricanes, and other disasters that trigger our fight-or-flight survival instinc...Show More

Terrible Food, Small Portions: Andrew Stark on Accepting Your Inevitable Demise

31:39 | Sep 12th, 2016

Death is an unsettling thing to come to grips with. We know it is inevitable that it will one day happen to us. One of the first things most of us learn about death is that it happens to everyone, yet perhaps because no one ever comes back to tell th...Show More

In the Weeds with Emily Willingham on Medical Cannabis

26:20 | Sep 7th, 2016

Emily Willingham is a journalist, scientist, and award winning skeptical blogger, with much of her work centered on autism and debunking junk science controversies. Recently the autism community has shown a surge in support for medical cannabis, as a...Show More

Faking Your Own Death: Elizabeth Greenwood on Death Fraud

31:09 | Aug 29th, 2016

Elizabeth Greenwood teaches at Columbia University and like many other young professionals she has an insurmountable amount of student loan debt. With the overwhelming feeling that she would never escape her debt she desperately longed for a new star...Show More

Getting to the Pit of the Bull: Bronwen Dickey on Canines and Conspiracies

33:26 | Aug 23rd, 2016

Bronwen Dickey is a contributing editor at The Oxford American, and author of Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon. Her writing can also be found in The New York Times, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Newsweek, Slate, The San Francisco Chronicle...Show More

Competitive Cupping: David Gorski on Pseudoscience at the Olympics

36:27 | Aug 16th, 2016

Those following the Olympics this year may have noticed Michael Phelps sporting circular bruises all over his body. That’s because Phelps, like many Olympic athletes, won’t go after their medals without going after their cups. The growing fad of cupp...Show More

Faisal Saeed Al Mutar: Facebook and Social Media Silencing

34:50 | Aug 8th, 2016

Iraqi-born writer Faisal Saeed Al Mutar is a blogger for the Huffington Post and a columnist for the Center for Inquiry’s own Free Inquiry magazine. Having grown up in Iraq under the rule of Saddam Hussein, he’s now a human rights activist and secula...Show More

Donald Trump's Dirty Laundry, with David Cay Johnston

30:40 | Aug 2nd, 2016

David Cay Johnston is an award winning investigative journalist and New York Times best-selling author, as well as one of few journalists who has deeply dug into the dirty laundry of Donald Trump, now the Republican nominee for President of the Unite...Show More

Wendy Kaminer: Dangerous Spaces for Free Speech

29:41 | Jul 26th, 2016

Free speech on college campuses has become a topic of impassioned debate, as the lines between hate speech and harassment, or peaceful protest and public disturbance, are rather blurry and hotly contested. Particularly since the protest movements of ...Show More

Ali Rizvi: Islam and Identity for an Atheist Muslim

50:18 | Jul 18th, 2016

Religions have always gone through transitions over time. Not only do the faiths themselves evolve, but the role they play in day-to-day life adapts to fit the needs of a given culture. As the youngest Abrahamic religion on the market, all eyes are o...Show More

Digitally Aware: David Levy on Mindfulness in an Information Overload

35:02 | Jul 11th, 2016

It was only a couple of decades ago that the most complex handheld computing system fathomable was a TI-83 graphing calculator. Technology has usually served to make our lives easier, but in the post-digital boom, in which full-blown pocket size comp...Show More

Surviving the Beauty Culture, with Autumn Whitefield-Mandrano

29:12 | Jun 28th, 2016

Autumn Whitefield-Mandrano is the author of the acclaimed new book on feminism and beauty, Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women’s Lives. Her work can be found such outlets as Glamour, Jezebel, Salon, The Guardian, and her own blog, The Beh...Show More

Invisible Asperger’s: Michelle Vines on Late-Life Diagnosis

32:30 | Jun 20th, 2016

Michelle Vines grew up knowing she was different from other people. She always assumed she was just a bit odd and eccentric but never in a way that suggested she wasn’t neurotypical. She lived in Australia where she excelled in math and science and b...Show More

Bloody Bangladesh: Michael De Dora on the Attacks on Secularists

35:31 | Jun 13th, 2016

Secularist bloggers, writers and LGBT activists are being hacked to death in the streets of Bangladesh by militant Islamic groups. To help us get to the bottom of why there needs to be no end in sight to the violence is the Center for Inquiry’s Offic...Show More

Jessica Valenti: The Measure of a Woman's Worth

33:34 | Jun 7th, 2016

Author and Guardian US columnist Jessica Valenti is a pioneer of digital-age feminist writing, starting her blog">Feministing in 2004, and becoming known as one of the leading voices in the discussion about gender equality. Valenti’s ...Show More

Susan Jacoby on Conversions, Both Profound and Practical

39:41 | May 31st, 2016

In the literature about religious conversion, embracing a new faith is usually explained as being a profound and magical experience. A flash of light, a near death experience, an emotional new beginning; these are all common themes in religious conve...Show More

Hooked on a Stigma: Maia Szalavitz on Understanding Addiction

32:38 | May 23rd, 2016

Maia Szalavitz is an author and award-winning journalist specializing in science, public policy, and addiction treatment. Most famous of her several books was her 2006 exposé, Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled–Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Ki...Show More

An Unrecognizable Reformation: Shadi Hamid on Islamic Exceptionalism

57:59 | May 17th, 2016

This week, Josh Zepps sits down with commentator and writer Shadi Hamid. He’s a senior fellow in the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution, a contributing writer to The Atlantic, and his new book is http://amzn...Show More

Lies They Told My Mother: Dr. Amy Tuteur on the Moralization of Childbirth

35:44 | May 9th, 2016

Dr. Amy Tuteur is an obstetrician-gynecologist and writer, returning to Point of Inquiry to discuss her new book, Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting. Known from her popular blog as The Skeptical OB, she has appeared in several publicati...Show More

Race Car Brains with Bicycle Brakes: Dr. Ned Hallowell on ADHD in a Distracting World

27:38 | May 3rd, 2016

Dr. Ned Hallowell is a child and adult psychiatrist, a New York Times bestselling author, and among the world’s leading experts in the field of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He’s written numerous books about ADHD and modern distrac...Show More

Single Ladies, Single Longer: Rebecca Traister on the Rise of the Unmarried Woman

36:39 | Apr 26th, 2016

For a very long time marriage was considered a foundation of American life. Adulthood and marriage came hand in hand, and shortly after marriage children were the next logical step. Breaking that mold wasn’t a socially acceptable or financially viabl...Show More

The Burzynski Case and the Pitfalls of Medical Journalism, with Tamar Wilner

27:29 | Apr 18th, 2016

Medical doctors can hold our lives in their hands. But with great power comes great responsibility, and doctors owe it to their patients to provide accurate information and treatments based on science and evidence. This is the standard we expect and ...Show More

Johann Hari: The Beginning of the End of the War on Drugs

56:16 | Apr 13th, 2016

This week we welcome back journalist Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. Hari is a vocal advocate for ending the drug war, and he joins us this week in advance of the UN General Assembly’s special s...Show More

David Silverman: The Relentless Ascent of Atheism

40:25 | Apr 4th, 2016

David Silverman, president of American Atheists, was recently seen on championing the importance of the atheist vote to American conservatives on the late night comedy show, a href="">Full Frontal with Saman...Show More

Surviving Death: Ann Neumann on the Ethical Landscape of Dying

29:44 | Mar 28th, 2016

Many of us picture our dying moments as being surrounded by loved ones, uttering last words of gratitude and advice before we slip off into a peaceful departure. Yet the reality is that dying is often a long, painful, and constantly fluctuating proce...Show More

The Odds of Life’s Oddities, with Mathematician John Allen Paulos

32:17 | Mar 21st, 2016

John Allen Paulos is an award winning mathematician and best selling author. A professor in mathematics at Temple University, he has written for The Guardian, CFI’s Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and his monthly column for, “Who’s Count...Show More

Former White Supremacist Arno Michaelis: Understanding Hate, Overcoming Fear

53:01 | Mar 15th, 2016

Today’s guest is former white supremacist Arno Michaelis, author of My Life After Hate. A leader within what he called a “racial holy war," Michaelis later realized his hate was misplaced, the product of fear, anger, and an overall misunderstanding o...Show More

The Cunning Art of Con Artistry, with Maria Konnikova

32:44 | Mar 7th, 2016

What is it about human behavior that allows con artists to pull off elaborate scams in which they fool thousands? Moreover what is about those thousands of people — many of them intelligent and sophisticated — that make them so vulnerable them to bei...Show More

Censorship in the Islamic World, Through the Eyes of Journalist Jessica Davey-Quantick

36:35 | Feb 29th, 2016

We know more and more about how repressive attitudes about blasphemy and religious criticism in parts of the Islamic world can become explosive, as with the Charlie Hebdo attacks or the murder of secularist bloggers in Bangladesh. But these extreme i...Show More

Can't Help Helping: Larissa MacFarquhar on Attitudes Toward Altruism

30:46 | Feb 23rd, 2016

Most of us have no problem operating under the notion that we should do unto others as we would have others do unto us. But what do we make of people who do go well beyond that, while asking for nothing in return? Why are often perplexed by those who...Show More

Sex and the Safely Satisfied, with Jaclyn Friedman (Valentine's Day Special)

30:04 | Feb 14th, 2016

Jaclyn Friedman is a writer, speaker, and sex education activist, challenging misconceptions about what it means to have consenting, satisfying sex. She’s the author of What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex & Safety, a...Show More

Robyn Blumner and Ronald A. Lindsay: A Joining of Forces, a Passing of the Torch

36:32 | Feb 8th, 2016

The freethought movement has seen two of its most respected and influential institutions combine into what has been called a “supergroup” for secularism. The Center for Inquiry, the organization that proudly produces this program, announced in Januar...Show More

Athens' Atheists: Tim Whitmarsh on Religious Doubt in Ancient Greece

32:54 | Feb 1st, 2016

In ancient Greece, did everyone unquestioningly believe in the gods of Olympus? Was there no one in classical Athens to write the equivalent of “The Zeus Delusion”? According to our guest this week, the Greeks’ religious beliefs were as varied and nu...Show More

Judaism for Nones: Millennials and God, with Rabbi Mark Wildes

42:15 | Jan 25th, 2016

The “nones” are on the rise in the U.S. with 33 million Americans identifying as having no religious affiliation. Atheists shouldn’t get too excited, though, because 68% of the unaffiliated indicate that they do believe in some sort of god. What kind...Show More

Avoiding the TRAP: Defending Legal Abortion, with David A. Grimes, M.D.

30:08 | Jan 19th, 2016

This week Point of Inquiry welcomes Dr. David Grimes, a board certified physician in obstetrics and gynecology and author of the new book Every Third Woman in America: How Legal Abortion Transformed Our Nation. Dr. Grimes talks with host Lindsay Beye...Show More

Religious Belief, Naturally Selected - with John C. Wathey

37:31 | Jan 12th, 2016

Throughout history, humans have looked to religion to explain why the world is the way it is. Thanks to the development of science, we now have more concrete ways of understanding the world, ways that do not rely on faith. Despite our progress, howev...Show More

Retconning Christmas: David Kyle Johnson on the Real Reason for the Season

32:09 | Dec 7th, 2015

During the perennial War on Christmas, certain Christians often feel the need to remind the rest pf us what the holiday season is really about. It’s Jesus Christ’s birthday and we’re all invited to the party… if by “party” you mean sitting reverently...Show More

Islam, Paris, and Polarization - with Michael Brooks

37:22 | Nov 30th, 2015

After the Paris attacks, tensions are running higher than they have in many years over the threat posed by Islamism, how we should talk about it, and how policy should respond to it. One of our most difficult cultural challenges is distinguishing the...Show More

No, This Podcast is Not About You: David Laporte on the Proliferation of Paranoia

33:40 | Nov 23rd, 2015

You don’t have to be paranoid to recognize that privacy isn’t what it used to be. The government can get access to our phone calls and emails, video surveillance is becoming a norm in public places, and nearly everyone has the ability to record at wi...Show More

Steve Silberman: Evolving Attitudes Toward Autism

33:29 | Nov 17th, 2015

It used to be that autism was considered to be the result of poor parenting, but starting in the 1930s, it was understood to be a hereditary condition, and the behaviors often associated with autism turn out to be present, to one degree or another, i...Show More

Mexico’s Drug Policy in Flux, with Sylvia Longmire

46:44 | Nov 10th, 2015

Is smoking pot a fundamental human right? On Wednesday, November 4th Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that four individuals involved in a private cannabis club have the constitutional right to grow, sell, and smoke cannabis based on  a href="https://www....Show More

Conjuring Rose: Joe Nickell’s Annual Houdini Séance (Halloween Extra)

24:41 | Oct 31st, 2015

Most people know Harry Houdini as the world famous magician and illusionist, but in addition to his life as a performer, Houdini was also known to have a deep fascination with the afterlife. So much so he spent the later part of his career investigat...Show More

Sarah Posner: Trump, Carson, and the Religious Right in 2016

31:27 | Oct 27th, 2015

This week Josh Zepps chats about the 2016 Republican presidential primaries with journalist Sarah Posner, a senior correspondent for Religion Dispatches and the author of Gods Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters. She i...Show More

Taste the Science! - Serious Eats' J. Kenji López-Alt

33:46 | Oct 19th, 2015

Myths and pseudoscience do not only apply to the realms of religion, alternative medicine, and the paranormal. One area of our lives in which science and a little myth-busting can do enormous good is…cooking! This week Point of Inquiry welcomes ...Show More

Putting Kids First: Sarah Levin and Ed Beck on Vaccine Laws

31:02 | Oct 12th, 2015

With misinformation about vaccines proliferating among certain groups in the U.S., diseases that had previously been thought eradicated are creeping back into American life. As far as the law is concerned, whether or not a parent chooses to put their...Show More

The Mysteries of Parkinson’s, with Jon Palfreman

31:15 | Oct 5th, 2015

Brains, the means by which we scrutinize our world, are themselves inscrutable, and no more so than when things are going wrong. Just ask our guest this week, award winning medical journalist Jon Palfreman. After spending years of his life studying P...Show More

Trials and Textbooks: Jeffrey Selman on Fighting Creationism in Schools

40:30 | Sep 29th, 2015

When the public school board in Cobb County, Georgia, placed a disclaimer describing evolution as “just a theory” (in the non-scientific sense) and not a fact, citizen and author Jeffrey Selman knew he had to take a stand for the integrity of his son...Show More

Keep ‘Em Separated: Rev. Barry Lynn on God and Government

35:26 | Sep 21st, 2015

One of the United States’ most prominent and respected advocates for secularism is a reverend, and that of course is our guest this week, Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Few have more experi...Show More

Craig Unger on the U.S. and Saudi Arabia: Frenemies 14 Years after 9/11

30:39 | Sep 14th, 2015

Last week marked 14 years since the attacks of 9/11, the reverberations of which will certainly be felt well into the future. But for all the impact and tragedy of the attacks, there is still so much that remains unanswered, and unanswered for. Here ...Show More

Invisible Catastrophes: Erik Loomis on the Consequences of Outsourcing

33:00 | Sep 8th, 2015

Corporate outsourcing is so common in the U.S. that it’s become exceedingly difficult to avoid consuming products made by unregulated and unethical means. But this has not always been the norm, as several decades ago America’s working class economy w...Show More

The City is Still Drowning: Gary Rivlin on New Orleans Ten Years After Katrina

29:44 | Aug 31st, 2015

Ten years ago on August 29, 2005, nearly 80 percent of New Orleans found itself underwater. Over the following months, the New York Times sent its correspondent Gary Rivlin to live in New Orleans and report on the city’s effort to rebuild. To this da...Show More

Eugenie Scott: Decrypting Pseudoscience

37:43 | Aug 24th, 2015

Our very special guest on Point of Inquiry this week is Eugenie Scott, the former director of the National Center for Science Education who has been waging and winning battles against creationism and pseudoscience for years, and has become one of the...Show More

Bred to Suffer: Paul Shapiro on Animals in Factory Farming

34:58 | Aug 17th, 2015

Happy cows and chickens grazing in pastures, we see them plastered all over our milk and egg cartons at the grocery store. While most of us realize these images are more marketing than reality, the truth about how animals are treated in factory farmi...Show More

Dealing with Distraction in the Modern World, with Matt Crawford

29:16 | Aug 10th, 2015

Every year technology produces more innovative ways to entertain us. Everything from Twitter to Candy Crush and from billboards to viral commercials, the information that engrosses us on a daily basis makes dull tasks such as waiting in line at the p...Show More

Ta-Nehisi Coates: A Country Built on Black Bodies

31:07 | Aug 3rd, 2015

This week on Point of Inquiry, our guest is Ta-Nehisi Coates, a renowned journalist and celebrated essayist on culture, history, and politics. He’s a senior editor at The Atlantic, where last year he ignited national introspection and heated debate w...Show More

Stephen M. Walt: Learning to Live with the Islamic State

33:22 | Jul 28th, 2015

As difficult it is to accept, there may be no loosening of the grip ISIS currently holds over its territory, at least not any time soon. Our guest, Stephen M. Walt, begins to come to terms with this unpleasant situation in a new article for Foreign P...Show More

Patient Autonomy and Shifting Medical Ethics, with Dr. Barron Lerner

37:30 | Jul 20th, 2015

This week, Lindsay Beyerstein chats with medical ethicist Dr. Barron Lerner, author of the new book The Good Doctor: A Father, A Son and the Evolution of Medical Ethics. Lerner’s father Myer Lerner was a renowned infectious disease specialist who pra...Show More

Radical Nationalism in Greece and the Romance of “No,” with Daphne Halikiopoulou

34:21 | Jul 14th, 2015

On July 5th, 2015 Greece said no to a bailout and austerity measures that would have kept them in the eurozone, lending more uncertainty to an already weakened financial structure. The country that birthed Western democracy has found itself at a stan...Show More

Taslima Nasrin: A Woman of Courage without a Country

24:47 | Jul 6th, 2015

Taslima Nasrin is a world-renowned author and secular activist from Bangladesh. A physician by training, she has written a plethora of novels, poems and papers standing for the rights of women and criticizing religious extremism. Nasrin’s brave and i...Show More

Bangladeshi Blogger Asif Mohiuddin: Attacked, Imprisoned, and Undeterred

30:16 | Jun 29th, 2015

This week we welcome Bangladeshi atheist blogger and social activist, Asif Mohiuddin, for a special episode of Point of Inquiry, recorded before a live audience at the Center for Inquiry’s Reason for Change conference. His is a harrowing and deeply i...Show More

Richard Dawkins: LIVE at the Reason for Change Conference

1:09:35 | Jun 22nd, 2015

This week, Point of Inquiry welcomes Richard Dawkins for a special episode recorded before a live audience at the Center for Inquiry’s Reason for Change conference in Buffalo, New York on June 13, 2015. Dawkins is easily one of the world’s most influ...Show More

Overwhelmed by Celebrity Culture, with Tim Caulfield

34:26 | Jun 15th, 2015

Celebrities have always played an oversized role in our culture, and there’s nothing new about them using their star power to endorse ideas or products. But we now live in a time in which mass media consumption is greater than ever before, and the ce...Show More

Anti-Abortion Terrorism and Free Speech, with David Cohen

36:53 | Jun 8th, 2015

Opponents of abortion have been largely successful in wielding the First Amendment in their fight to protest abortion providers and patients, and according to this week’s guest, this freedom has too often resulted in the terrorization and harassment ...Show More

The Benefits of Religion Without the Belief, with Jeff Rasely

32:42 | Jun 1st, 2015

Religion is a very comforting aspect of many people’s lives, providing a community of like-minded individuals, as well as more than a little nostalgia. But even within the same faith groups, one can almost always find tension over theological technic...Show More

Michael Specter on the Gluten-Free Fad

35:33 | May 26th, 2015

This week on Point of Inquiry, Lindsay Beyerstein is joined by renowned journalist Michael Specter, a staff writer for The New Yorker, to talk about the subject of his award-winning story, “Against the Grain: Should You Go Gluten-Free?”  The tre...Show More

Alex Garland: Ex Machina and the Question of Consciousness

32:28 | May 18th, 2015

Ex Machina, a new film that tells the story of a billionaire programmer who creates an artificially intelligent female robot, is in theaters now, and its writer and director, Alex Garland, is our special guest on Point of Inquiry this week. Although ...Show More

Clearing Up the Calorie: The Science of Nutrition, with Marion Nestle

33:44 | May 11th, 2015

When over one-third of American adults are obese, it’s no wonder that our culture is deluged with fad diets and alleged miracle supplements. Everyone is looking for the easiest way to obtain and maintain health but it’s no small task in the midst of ...Show More

Advice for the Teenage Atheist, with David Seidman

28:55 | May 4th, 2015

There are dozens of bestselling books on spirituality for teens (and many more not on the bestseller list), and many books on atheism as well. But, surprisingly, books about atheism and agnosticism specifically for young people are rare indeed. David...Show More

Peter Singer: Maximizing Morality with Reason

36:52 | Apr 27th, 2015

Peter Singer has revolutionized the way we think about morals and values. He’s lead the way in providing evidence for some of the toughest moral controversies such as animal rights, abortion, and wealth inequality. Singer’s newest book is entitled Th...Show More

The Misinterpretations of the Supreme Court, with Ian Millhiser

27:39 | Apr 20th, 2015

Our guest this week says that the U.S. Supreme Court’s power to interpret the Constitution is so great that they can use it to justify nearly anything they please. Even the American founders who forged the Constitution often had differing ideas of ho...Show More

Bassem Youssef and Ahmed Ahmed: The Risk and Rewards of Satire

38:25 | Apr 13th, 2015

While Bassem Youssef’s satirical voice has made him widely known as the Egyptian Jon Stewart, merely five years ago Youssef was a heart surgeon broadcasting humorous political commentary on YouTube from his laundry room. His videos soon exploded in p...Show More

Phil Zuckerman: Those Normal, Upstanding Nonbelievers

31:15 | Apr 6th, 2015

Phil Zuckerman is a professor of sociology at Pitzer College, and among the world's leading experts in the growing field of secular studies, with a deep understanding of how people's lives are lived without religion. He’s the author of the books Livi...Show More

Realpolitik and America's Conflict with Iran, with Joint Chiefs of Staff Advisor David Crist

30:04 | Mar 30th, 2015

Negotiations between Iran and the U.S. in concert with Germany and the United Nations Security Council are set to result in an agreement on March 31, 2015 regarding Iran’s nuclear program, potentially restricting Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Senior Hist...Show More

Johann Hari: The Falsehoods of Addiction and The War on Drugs

53:06 | Mar 23rd, 2015

Billions of dollars are funneled into federal drug programs to keep our children away from drugs and our cities safe from crime and economic turmoil. Our guest this week, journalist and author Johann Hari, has spent the last several years traveling a...Show More

The World Human Extinction Will Leave Behind, with Michael Tennesen

28:36 | Mar 16th, 2015

As climate change progresses and takes its toll on the planet, the life forms we share it with continue to evolve and adapt. Some species thrive while many face imminent extinction. What we often fail to realize as humans is that the world will conti...Show More

Eli Lake: How Islamic is 'Islamic Extremism'?

31:32 | Mar 9th, 2015

<span style="font-size:9.5pt; font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black">This week on Point of Inquiry, Josh Zepps talks to Eli Lake, a journalist with extensive experience covering international intelligence, diplomacy...Show More

False Memories Creating False Criminals, with Dr. Julia Shaw

36:36 | Mar 2nd, 2015

<span style="font-size:9.5pt; font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black">Memory is remarkably fallible, as we often frustrate ourselves with how certain we are about where we left our car keys only to realize how entire...Show More

Leighann Lord: Courageous Comedy as a Safe Space

28:17 | Feb 23rd, 2015

This week on a special episode highlighting the upcoming Reason for Change conference, Point of Inquiry welcomes stand up comedian Leighann Lord. Talking with show producer Nora Hurley, they discuss how the worlds of comedy and skepticism are not as ...Show More

Laci Green: Truths and Myths about Sex and Love

31:55 | Feb 14th, 2015

This week Point of Inquiry welcomes Laci Green for a special tell-all Valentine's Day episode. Green is a popular Youtube video blogger, sex education activist and feminist. In a time when sex pervades popular culture and marketing, and yet rarely di...Show More

Letting Go of the Soul, with Julien Musolino

35:27 | Feb 9th, 2015

Intuitively, it can feel as though the essence of our thoughts and feelings exists separate from the body and brain, and that essence is what is normally referred to as the soul. Empirical evidence, however, forces us to reconcile our intuitions with...Show More

Paul Offit, MD, on Measles in the Magic Kingdom and the Anti-Vaccine Movement

29:49 | Feb 2nd, 2015

Measles are the newest attraction at Disneyland this season, and unfortunately the only thing magical about them is how quickly they’ve begun to spread throughout California and Arizona. Although measles were eliminated in the U.S. by 2000, the misin...Show More

The Women Spies of the Civil War, with Karen Abbott

27:37 | Jan 20th, 2015

<span style="font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black">This week on Point of inquiry, New York Times bestselling author Karen Abbott talks to Lindsay Beyerstein about her newest book, Liar, Temptress,...Show More

Before Charlie Hebdo: The Danish Cartoons that Shook the world, with Jytte Klausen

35:06 | Jan 12th, 2015

The terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo was a human atrocity, as well as an assault on free expression. Yet numerous prominent news publications are still refusing to show the very Hebdo cartoons at the center of the story. Last year, in the midst of n...Show More

Penalizing Pregnancy: Lynn Paltrow on the Fight for Reproductive Justice

34:01 | Jan 5th, 2015

The effort to overturn Roe v. Wade and criminalize abortion has spiraled into challenging not only women’s right to abortion, but a women’s right to carry her baby to term. Across the country, women who seek medical help for pregnancy complications a...Show More

​Christmas Extra: Tom Flynn’s 30th Year of Anti-ClausingTom Flynn is Executive Director of The Council for Secular Humanism, Editor of Free Inquiry magazine, Director of Inquiry Media Productions, as well as professional anti-Christmas advocate and au

12:47 | Dec 25th, 2014

Tom Flynn is Executive Director of The Council for Secular Humanism, Editor of Free Inquiry magazine, as well as professional anti-Christmas advocate and author of “The Trouble with Christmas.” Tom is on his 30th year of being completely Yule free a...Show More

Greta Christina on Coping with Death, No Afterlife Required

27:27 | Dec 22nd, 2014

Our Guest this week is Greta Christina, popular atheist blogger, speaker and author of several books on atheism including her newest, “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do With God.”   Christina discusses with Lindsay Beyerstein ...Show More

Frank Schaeffer on Cynicism and Paranoia in the "War on Christmas"

32:38 | Dec 16th, 2014

Fox News’ "War on Christmas" is already in full swing, as Bill O’Reilly wasted no time jumping into battle this year to defend the holiday from the great secular menace. However, it looks like Bill might be able to leave the trenches a little early t...Show More

Ronald A. Lindsay: Why God Can't Tell Us What to Do

34:22 | Dec 8th, 2014

Despite the fact that the United States was founded as a secular state, government neutrality toward religion remains a tumultuous and controversial issue -- a conversation-stopper in most public policy discussions. This week on the show, Lindsay Bey...Show More

Deciphering Alan Turing, with Andrew Hodges

29:15 | Dec 1st, 2014

Alan Turing was a true visionary. Founding what we understand today as computer science, he was also a mathematician, a philosopher, and an early trailblazer for gay equality. Without his genius for codebreaking, the Second World War might have gone ...Show More

Getting Over Racial Anxiety, with Rachel D. Godsil

43:32 | Nov 24th, 2014

As a nation, the U.S. prides itself on at least aspiring to the ideal of equality, even if it often falls short. The educational, health care, and legal systems, are plagued by institutional biases against racial minorities. The good news is that the...Show More

Surviving Saddam and Confronting Islam, with Faisal Saeed Al Mutar

35:00 | Nov 19th, 2014

As the threat posed by radical Islamists like those of ISIS grows in popular awareness, Islam itself becomes more of a target for criticism; some of it fair, and some of it based in ignorance or bigotry. Can efforts to defend Islam and Muslims from d...Show More

Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not as a Weapon

0:00 | Nov 10th, 2014

The English language is often treated as delicate and precious, and disagreements about what is “proper English” go back as far as the 18th century. Then as now, style manuals and grammar books placed innumerable restrictions on what is and isn’t “co...Show More

Ebola in the Age of Epidemics - Special Live Episode

0:00 | Nov 3rd, 2014

There’s no doubt that Ebola is an incredibly dangerous and genuinely lethal virus, but it’s also a highly manageable one, though you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise given the kind of hyperbolic coverage we’ve seen of the epidemic. In order to so...Show More

Halloween Extra: 18th Annual Houdini Séance with Joe Nickell

0:00 | Oct 31st, 2014

Harry Houdini, the most famous illusionist the world has ever known, spent the later part of his career fascinated with spiritualists and mediums. This led him to become a dedicated skeptic and investigator.  In this special Halloween episode for 20...Show More

Pro-Choice Without Apology, with Katha Pollitt

0:00 | Oct 22nd, 2014

Given the divisive nature of the debates over abortion, the subject is understandably not the best table-talk material. But despite the fact that abortion is a normal and often necessary (one in three women will have an abortion before menopause), ev...Show More

The Human Impact of Discovering Alien Life, with Astrobiologist Steven J. Dick

29:54 | Oct 14th, 2014

Our universe is made up of billions of galaxies. The cosmos is so mind-bogglingly vast, that it’s hard not to suppose that we aren’t alone, that life must exist somewhere else besides our own planet. Last month, some of the world’s leading scientists...Show More

The Theology of ISIS, with Dr. Adam Silverman

52:31 | Oct 6th, 2014

<span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#222222">The rise of ISIS, the self proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has sparked debate about the role of religion — specifica...Show More

Austin Dacey

41:00 | Sep 29th, 2014

Josh Zepps is off, and since this week is the 5th International Blasphemy Rights Day, we're rebroadcasting this interview by Chris Mooney with Austin Dacey, CFI's former UN representative and an expert on the subject of blasphemy laws. *** This wee...Show More

Mark Oppenheimer on Misogyny in the Freethought Community

36:07 | Sep 22nd, 2014

This week Point of Inquiry welcomes journalist Mark Oppenheimer. Mark writes the Beliefs column for the New York Times, and is the author of the e-book The Zen Predator of The Upper East Side. He is an expert on how religious and philosophical commun...Show More

Factory Farming and the Meat Racket: Christopher Leonard on our Irrational Meat Industry

39:31 | Sep 17th, 2014

It’s National Chicken Month! But rather than celebrating the consumption of fowl, Point of Inquiry is asking what exactly is going on in America's meat industry? Is the way we consume meat at all rational?    Joining us this week is Christoph...Show More

Ask a Mortician: Caitlin Doughty on the Death Industry's Dirty Secrets

30:11 | Sep 8th, 2014

Point of Inquiry welcomes Caitlin Doughty, creator of the cult classic web series Ask A Mortician, which gives unvarnished answers to questions about dead bodies and the death industry. Caitlin has tackled topics ranging from "What to say to a grievi...Show More

Sam Harris: Seeking Transcendence Without Religion

49:43 | Sep 2nd, 2014

It’s been ten years since the publication of Sam Harris’s book The End of Faith kicked off the cultural phenomenon of “new atheism,” bringing frank criticism of religion into mainstream conversation. In the decade since, Harris has emerged as somethi...Show More

Dr. Adia Benton on The West African Ebola Outbreak

39:00 | Aug 25th, 2014

This week Point Of Inquiry welcomes Dr. Adia Benton, a professor of medical anthropology at Brown University. She joins host Lindsay Beyerstein to talk about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.Medical anthropologists bring a unique expertise to epidem...Show More

Paul Offit, MD - Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine

38:33 | Aug 18th, 2014

Point of Inquiry's hosts are off this week, so we're running Lindsay Beyerstein's excellent interview from earlier this year with Dr. Paul Offit. Dr. Offit will be the Center for Inquiry's special guest on September 6th in Amherst, NY, as he is award...Show More

Christopher Capozzola: 100 Years After the Great War, Lessons in Reason

30:17 | Aug 11th, 2014

One hundred years ago, Great Britain declared war on Germany, joining in what we now refer to as World War I, a conflict which cost more than 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians their lives, and shaped the the world we know today. How did re...Show More

Laurel Braitman on Animals and Mental Illness

35:32 | Aug 4th, 2014

This week, Point of Inquiry welcomes Laurel Braitman, a TED fellow with a PhD in History and Anthropology of Science from MIT, and the author of Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Oursel...Show More

David Ropeik: Airplane Disasters and the Psychology of Risk

30:35 | Jul 29th, 2014

How do we rationally assess risk? Following a terrible series of horrifying air travel disasters, reasonable people begin to question what we consider to be "safe." But should we?    To answer this question, our host Josh Zepps is joined by David R...Show More

Jason Horowitz: Protecting the Whales from the U.S. Navy

37:35 | Jul 21st, 2014

On March 15, 2000, over a dozen whales beached themselves in the Bahamas in one of the largest multi-species strandings in history. Suspicion turned to U.S. Navy sonar, but at first there was no proof. This revelation brings us into the detective sto...Show More

Austin Dacey - The U.N. and Defamation of Religions

24:18 | Jul 14th, 2014

Point of Inquiry is taking a week off and filling in with a classic episode. After Saudi Arabia recently tried to silence the Center For Inquiry's UN representative, Josephine Macintosh, as she delivered a statement critical of their repeated assault...Show More

The Gospel According to Hobby Lobby--With Brian Leiter

38:48 | Jul 7th, 2014

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 To discuss last week's Supreme Court decisio...Show More

Montel Williams: Leading a Surge on the Veterans Administration

33:57 | Jul 2nd, 2014

Best known for his 17 years as a talk show host, Montel Williams is now bringing his name and dynamic personality to activism on behalf of U.S. servicemen and women. Raised during the height of the Civil Rights Movement and into the tumultuous sixtie...Show More

Marlene Zuk: The Paleo Delusion

34:28 | Jun 23rd, 2014

We evolved to eat berries rather than bagels, to live in caves rather than condos, to sprint barefoot rather than wear sneakers—or did we? These, along with many other questions about what is or is not "natural" for humans from an evolutionary perspe...Show More

Howard Fineman on Eric Cantor's Defeat and the Battle for the Soul of the GOP

33:25 | Jun 16th, 2014

Few intra-party political battles have been as astonishing and unexpected as last week's primary loss by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to religious-conservative challenger David Brat, who was quickly embraced by the Tea Party after his victory. T...Show More

Janet Mock, Redefining Realness, Biology, Sex and Gender

40:48 | Jun 9th, 2014

This week POI welcomes bestselling author and trans rights activist, Janet Mock. Janet is the author of the new memoir Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More, which recounts her emotional and physical transition fr...Show More

Negin Farsad: Red States and Muslim Comedy

46:47 | Jun 3rd, 2014

This week, we welcome Negin Farsad, a groundbreaking Iranian American comedian. A TED speaker and TED Fellow, she was named one of the Huffington Post's 50 Funniest Women. She's been seen on Comedy Central, MTV, CNN, MSNBC, and in her movie The Musli...Show More

Capital Punishment in Crisis with Dahlia Lithwick

33:51 | May 27th, 2014

This week, Point of Inquiry welcomes Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor and Legal Correspondent for Slate, where she writes the "Supreme Court Dispatches" and "Jurisprudence" columns. Her legal commentary won her a National Magazine Award in 2013. She is...Show More

Farzana Hassan on Islamic Extremism and the Boko Haram

35:34 | May 20th, 2014

Our guest this week is Farzana Hassan, a Pakistani-Canadian political scientist, a columnist for the Toronto Sun, whose new book is Prophecy and the Fundamentalist Quest: An Integrative Study of Christian and Muslim Apocalyptic Religion.  Hassan joi...Show More

Science Denialism with Donald Prothero

32:54 | May 12th, 2014

Our guest this week is Donald Prothero, paleontologist, geologist, and author of the new book Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten our Future. He's an expert on the effect of past climate change on the fossil record, as well as the co-author o...Show More

Talking Nerdy (And Ethically) with Cara Santa Maria

38:34 | May 5th, 2014

Our guest this week is Cara Santa Maria, contributor to Al Jazeera America's science show TechKnow, and the host of the podcast Talk Nerdy. This neuroscientist, science educator, producer, writer, and television personality has brought her intelligen...Show More

Coming Out Atheist - Greta Christina

34:48 | Apr 28th, 2014

This week Point of Inquiry welcomes the well-known atheist blogger, speaker, and author Greta Christina to talk about her new book, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other and Why, a no nonsense guide to leveling with everyone in you...Show More

A Trek Through Skepticism with The Amazing Randi

35:20 | Apr 21st, 2014

This week, Point of Inquiry is excited to welcome “The Amazing” James Randi: famed magician a godfather (as it were) of the modern reason movement, and founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation. Randi is the subject of a new documentary film,...Show More

Living with a Wild God: Barbara Ehrenreich, Atheism, and Transcendence

23:51 | Apr 14th, 2014

This week, Point of Inquiry welcomes Barbara Ehrenreich, award-winning columnist and essayist, and author of 21 books. In Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, she went undercover as a minimum wage worker and in Bright-Sided: How Positive...Show More

Ann Druyan: Telling the Story of the Cosmos

32:33 | Apr 7th, 2014

This week, Point of Inquiry is delighted to welcome Ann Druyan, co-writer and co-creator of both the original Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, starring her late husband Carl Sagan, as well as the new series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, starring Neil deGra...Show More

Investigating the Oldest Profession: Prostitution and Science Meet, with Meredith Dank of the Urban Institute

38:50 | Mar 31st, 2014

This week, Point of Inquiry welcomes Meredith Dank, PhD, Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute. Dank is the co-principal investigator on several international and domestic human trafficking projects, including the new study, "Estimating th...Show More

Frank Schaeffer on Escaping Fundamentalism, and the Death of Fred Phelps

49:10 | Mar 24th, 2014

Following the death of the Westboro Baptist Church's Fred Phelps, Josh Zepps discusses the state of religious fundamentalism with Frank Schaeffer, the New York Times bestselling author of Crazy for God: How I grew up as one of the Elect, Sex, Mom, an...Show More

Cancer Quack Stanislaw Burzynski: Exposed

38:38 | Mar 17th, 2014

This week, Point of Inquiry welcomes David Gorski, MD, PhD: cancer researcher, surgeon, and managing editor of the Science-Based Medicine blog, aka "Orac" of Respectful Insolence.     Gorski and Beyerstein discuss a pair of exposés of cancer quack S...Show More

The Philosophy of Belief with Rebecca Goldstein

36:11 | Mar 10th, 2014

Rebecca Goldstein, a professor of philosophy and the author of five novels and a collection of short stories, joins us on Point of Inquiry to discuss atheism, philosophy and her new book, Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away. Along w...Show More

Daniel Loxton: Bigfoot, Nessie and Other Kinds of “Abominable Science”

35:20 | Mar 3rd, 2014

This week Point of Inquiry welcomes Daniel Loxton, longtime Editor of Junior Skeptic, the 10-page kids' science section bound within Skeptic magazine, author and illustrator of the national award-winning kids' science book Evolution: How We and All L...Show More

Gabriel Sherman - The Loudest Voice in the Room : How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News--and Divided a Country

35:37 | Feb 24th, 2014

This week Point of Inquiry welcomes Gabriel Sherman, writer and contributing editor for New York Magazine and author of the new book The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News - and Divided a Country. The b...Show More

Amy Tuteur, MD

30:03 | Feb 17th, 2014

<span style="font-size:10.5pt;font-family:"Trebuchet MS","sans-serif"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Arial; color:#333333">This week, Point of Inquiry looks into midwives, home births, and what they mean for a safe ...Show More

Stanton Peele, PhD - Addiction and Recovery

42:00 | Feb 10th, 2014

This week, Point of Inquiry welcomes Stanton Peele, PhD., J.D.. Dr. Peele, an addiction expert and author of 12 books on the subject, discusses his views on the current ‘disease model’ view of addiction and the recent tragedy involving actor Philip S...Show More

Greg Dworkin, MD - Founding Editor of Flu Wiki

36:42 | Feb 4th, 2014

This week, Point of Inquiry welcomes Greg Dworkin, MD. Dr. Dworkin is a founding editor of Flu Wiki ( an international, wiki-format clearinghouse of Influenza information designed to help local communities prepare for and perhaps...Show More

J.R. Havlan - Writer for The Daily Show

30:10 | Jan 28th, 2014

This week Point of Inquiry discusses satire in politics and American life with J.R. Havlan, eight-time Emmy Award winning writer on The Daily Show. J.R. was previously a stand-up comic, including a stint doing crowd warm-up for Politically Incorrect ...Show More

Jason Stanley - Is the United States a ‘Racial Democracy?

33:41 | Jan 21st, 2014

This week, Point of Inquiry welcomes Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale and co-author of a provocative essay in last week’s New York Times entitled Is the United States a ‘Racial Democracy?  Dr. Stanley and his co-author, Dr. Vesla Wea...Show More

Arthur Caplan, PhD - Ethics of Brain Death, end of life, the State and the Right

34:39 | Jan 14th, 2014

This week Point of Inquiry is discussing Death. Specifically, Brain death and the efforts of some areas of the religious right and their attempts to eliminate whole brain Brain Death as the legal standard for death in America.  To aid in that,Lindsay...Show More

Chris Emden - Hip Hop Archivist and Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University

37:08 | Jan 6th, 2014

This week on Point of Inquiry we welcome Chris Emden, a Columbia Professor who's helped design New York City's public school policy, a leading science education researcher, and Harvard Hip Hop Archive Fellow. Chris Emden is a favored guest of Josh Z...Show More

The War on Christmas

31:10 | Dec 30th, 2013

As the War on Christmas wages on, our host, Josh Zepps, interviews Rob Boston, Senior Policy Analyst for American's United for the Separation of Church and State, Editor of Church & State magazine and author of Close Encounters with the Religious Rig...Show More

Kathryn Joyce - The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption

37:44 | Dec 23rd, 2013

Joining Lindsay Bernstein this week is Kathryn Joyce, one of the foremost reporters chronicling the Religious Right today.  She made “Quiverfull” a household name with her first book, Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement.Her new book ...Show More

P.J. O'Rourke - American Satirist, Journalist and Author

33:54 | Dec 16th, 2013

This week on Point of Inquiry, Josh Zepps welcomes P.J. O’Rourke, humorist, cultural commentator, and best selling author of sixteen books. An early proponent of “gonzo journalism” and is a self-described libertarian, O’Rourke has served as editor-in...Show More

Barry W. Lynn - Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State

34:22 | Dec 10th, 2013

This week on Point of Inquiry, Lindsay Beyerstein talks with Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, and a strong advocate of separation of chur...Show More

Gadadhara Pandit Dasa - First Hindu Chaplain for Columbia University

37:18 | Dec 2nd, 2013

This week's Point of Inquiry features Gadadhara Pandit Dasa, first ever Hindu Chaplain for Columbia University and New York University, the interfaith chaplain at Union Theological Seminary, and author of Urban Monk: Exploring Karma, Consciousness, a...Show More

Paul Offit, MD - Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine

38:33 | Nov 25th, 2013

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 This week’s guest on Point of Inquiry, Paul ...Show More

Bill Nye The Science Guy

47:41 | Nov 17th, 2013

Famed educator, engineer and "Science Guy," Bill Nye Joins our host Josh Zepps for this week's Point of Inquiry. They discuss Bill's start as an Engineer and part time stand up comedian to his groundbreaking work in television educating a generation ...Show More

Katherine Stewart: The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children

30:57 | Nov 11th, 2013

Point of Inquiry, the flagship podcast for the Center for Inquiry, presents a special episode recorded before a live audience at the 2013 CFI Summit in Tacoma, Washington, with new co-host Lindsay Beyerstein. The fundamentalist, Christian right's inf...Show More

Leonard Mlodinow: Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior

31:56 | Nov 5th, 2013

Point of Inquiry, the flagship podcast of the Center for Inquiry, relaunches with a special episode recorded before a live audience at the 2013 CFI Summit in Tacoma, Washington, with new co-host Josh Zepps of HuffPost Live.Our unconscious minds offer...Show More

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Communicating Science

55:16 | Sep 30th, 2013

Point of Inquiry is on a short hiatus right now as we transition to a new podcast team. In the meantime, enjoy these classic episodes from the POI archives, featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Susan Jacoby, and other luminaries in the science an...Show More

Bill Nye - In Praise of Reason (and Skepticism)

36:48 | Sep 10th, 2013

Point of Inquiry is on a short hiatus right now as we transition to a new podcast team. In the meantime, enjoy these classic episodes from the POI archives, featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Susan Jacoby, and other luminaries in the science an...Show More

Brian Greene - The Fabric of the Cosmos

33:51 | Aug 19th, 2013

Point of Inquiry is on a short hiatus right now as we transition to a new podcast team. In the meantime, enjoy these classic episodes from the POI archives, featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Susan Jacoby, and other luminaries in the science an...Show More

Temple Grandin - The Science of Livestock Animal Welfare

44:39 | Aug 12th, 2013

Point of Inquiry is on a short hiatus right now as we transition to a new podcast team. In the meantime, enjoy these classic episodes from the POI archives, featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Susan Jacoby, and other luminaries in the science an...Show More

Susan Jacoby - American Freethought Heritage

33:12 | Aug 5th, 2013

Point of Inquiry is on a short hiatus right now as we transition to a new podcast team. In the meantime, enjoy these classic episodes from the POI archives, featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Susan Jacoby, and other luminaries in the science an...Show More

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Communicating Science to the Public

47:19 | Jul 29th, 2013

Point of Inquiry is on a short hiatus right now as we transition to a new podcast team. In the meantime, enjoy these classic episodes from the POI archives, featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Susan Jacoby, and other luminaries in the science an...Show More

Ethan Zuckerman - Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection

35:00 | Jun 24th, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney Our guest this week is an inspiring thinker whom we've wanted to get on the show for a long, long time: Ethan Zuckerman. He's the director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and works at MIT's Media Lab. He's also the co-founder...Show More

Mario Livio - Brilliant Blunders From Darwin to Einstein

30:50 | Jun 20th, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney One thing we often forget about great scientists, especially as they are lionized and mythologized: they made mistakes. Sometimes big ones. Sometimes, even, brilliant ones. Charles Darwin, for instance, didn't understand genetics. ...Show More

Daniel Dennett - Tools for Thinking

45:20 | Jun 11th, 2013

Host: Indre Viskontas Having spent 50 years as an influential thinker, Daniel Dennett has earned the right to tell us how to think. His latest book is a collection of 77 tools for thinking, which every self-respecting critical thinker should consider...Show More

Stephan Lewandowsky - The Mind of the Conspiracy Theorist

47:04 | Jun 4th, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney From 9-11, to the death of Osama bin Laden, to the Boston Bombings, there's been a consistently bizarre and troubling reaction by some members of the public. We're referring to the people—a minority, to be sure, but a surprisingly ...Show More

Katha Pollitt - Is Religion Inherently Sexist?

31:41 | May 23rd, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney Over the weekend, the Center for Inquiry's Women in Secularism II conference unfolded in Washington, D.C.—and we caught up with one of the event's most distinguished speakers, the feminist poet and author Katha Pollitt. You probabl...Show More

Michael Levi - Fracking, Pipelines, and Science

29:34 | May 14th, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney A few months back on this show, we heard from Bill McKibben, the celebrated environmental writer and, more recently, leader of a mass movement around preventing climate change that has focused on blocking the Keystone XL pipeline. ...Show More

Jared Diamond - The World Until Yesterday

40:35 | May 8th, 2013

Note: You can watch this episode on Youtube. In this special episode of Point of Inquiry, Chris and Indre speak with the Pulitzer Prize winning Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel. Dr. Diamond is Professor of Geography at the University o...Show More

Mary Roach - Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

38:44 | May 1st, 2013

Host: Indre Viskontas In the science section at your local bookstore, you'll find plenty of books on everything from the brain, to the climate, to the cosmos. But how many books will you find that take you on a tour of the digestive tract—from our mo...Show More

Scott Atran - What Makes a Terrorist?

41:25 | Apr 23rd, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney Back in the summer of 2011—just before the 10 year anniversary of 9/11—this show welcomed on Scott Atran, an anthropologist who is a leading expert on terrorism and violent extremism. Now, in the wake of the Boston bombings and the...Show More

Neil Gross - Why Are Professors (and Scientists) So Liberal?

29:29 | Apr 16th, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney We've all heard the claim: Academia is liberal. And it indoctrinates students. It kills their religious faith and basically—or at least, so the allegation goes—transforms them into unkempt, pot-smoking hippies. As it turns out, thi...Show More

A.C. Grayling - The God Argument

33:46 | Apr 9th, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney Remember all the greatest hits of religious apologists—the ontological, cosmological, and teleological arguments for God's existence? You may have learned how to refute them in college—but not, perhaps, with the zest and humor show...Show More

Frans de Waal - The Bonobo and the Atheist

31:22 | Apr 2nd, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney You hear it a lot from religious believers: Faith is about doing good works, bringing about good in the world, and showing compassion. In fact, some go further and argue that you can't really be moral without religion. Well, says p...Show More

Carol Tavris - The Science of Sex and Gender

45:25 | Mar 26th, 2013

Host: Indre Viskontas Back in February, Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer made a decision that pushed gender issues and the work/life balance back into the headlines: she mandated that her employees can no longer work from home. It's a decision ...Show More

Amanda Marcotte - Skepticism Needs Feminism

34:32 | Mar 19th, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney Later this year, May 17 to 19 in Washington, D.C., the Center for Inquiry will convene its second "Women in Secularism" conference. There are a host of great speakers, many of whom we've had on this show before, like Susan Jacoby, ...Show More

Mark Lynas - Science and the Left

39:18 | Mar 5th, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney I'm a big defender of the proposition that when it comes to abusing science, the political left and the political right are very different beasts. But that doesn't make the left innocent of science abuses—and one man who knows that...Show More

Matthew Hutson - The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking

40:42 | Feb 28th, 2013

Host: Indre Viskontas Even the hard-core skeptics believe in magic, says Matthew Hutson in his new book The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep us Happy, Healthy and Sane which has just been released in paperback. Most of us have ...Show More

Point of Inquiry Live | Steven Pinker - The Decline of Violence

52:36 | Feb 20th, 2013

Note: You can watch this episode on Youtube.  Since the horrendous massacre of children and teachers in Newtown, CT last year, gun control and the second amendment have been frequent topics of the national conversation. Point of Inquiry would be remi...Show More

Susan Jacoby - Freethought’s Forgotten Hero

35:19 | Feb 12th, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney Our guest this week is Susan Jacoby. She's the bestselling author of a number of books about secularism and American culture, including Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism and The Age of American Unreason. Jacoby started...Show More

Carl Zimmer - Viruses and Other Little Things

43:12 | Feb 5th, 2013

This year's flu season has been dubbed the worst in recent history, despite the fact that the flu vaccine is fairly effective and readily available. But of course, not everyone experiencing flu-like symptoms actually has the flu—with so many cold vir...Show More

Paul Krugman - Science and Pseudoscience in Economics

36:39 | Jan 28th, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney We are thrilled by our guest this week, who is not only one of the world's most famous economists and economics commentators, but also a Nobel Laureate in his field: Paul Krugman. In case he needs any introduction: He is a professo...Show More

Sean Carroll - The Particle at the End of the Universe

34:38 | Jan 22nd, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney Our guest this week is Sean Carroll—theoretical physicist at CalTech, and skilled science communicator. I've known Sean and his work for almost a decade, and I've invited him on to talk about his latest book: The Particle at the En...Show More

Maria Konnikova - How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes

34:24 | Jan 15th, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney Our guest this week is Maria Konnikova, who is the author of a simply fascinating new book about training your mind so you're as sharp as the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. It's entitled Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock...Show More

Phil Plait - #Notpocalypse!

35:58 | Jan 8th, 2013

Host: Chris Mooney This is our first show of 2013, and notably, we're still here. A lot of people actually thought the world was going to end at the end of last year, which, presumably, means that now it's rejoicing time. And also reflection time. Ti...Show More

Scott Sigler - Encouraging Critical Thinking Through Science Fiction

43:55 | Jan 2nd, 2013

Host: Indre Viskontas It's become almost a truism that in their spare time, skeptics tend to gravitate towards TV shows, novels and games that portray the very monsters, myths and conspiracies that they work so hard to debunk. A great story is just a...Show More

Ronald A. Lindsay and Michael De Dora - Mr. Science Goes to Washington

38:39 | Dec 27th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney We usually record Point of Inquiry at a distance. Over the phone. Skyping. But for this show, I packed up my gear and hailed a cab—to the Center for Inquiry's brand new Office of Public Policy in downtown, Washington, D.C. The Cent...Show More

David Brin - Uplifting Existence

42:20 | Dec 20th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney It's rare that I can say about a guest that, I read his books when I was a kid. But David Brin is just such a guest. He's the celebrated science fiction author of the Uplift novels, The Postman, and many other books—most recently, ...Show More

Bill McKibben - Do the Math

31:32 | Dec 13th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney When we last had Bill McKibben on this show in 2010, I was mainly treating him as another bestselling science author—one who happens to focus on climate change. Well. Something kinda big happened in the intervening years, and McKib...Show More

Samuel Arbesman - The Half-Life of Facts

40:42 | Dec 4th, 2012

Host: Indre Viskontas Because we live in an uncertain world, we arm ourselves with facts to gain a sense of control and therefore some modicum of comfort. We know that the sun will rise tomorrow even though it disappears tonight. But what happens whe...Show More

Steven Novella - Exposing Medical Nonsense

40:20 | Nov 27th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney One of the first people I ever got to know in skepticism was Steven Novella. He was a professor at Yale, just starting out as an organized skeptic—I was a student, just getting fired up about the same stuff. Since then, Steve has b...Show More

Michael Gordin - The Pseudoscience Wars

32:49 | Nov 20th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Before the "complementary and alternative medicine" fad, and before UFO craze, lived a man whom you might call the first modern pseudoscientist. His name was Immanuel Velikovsky. He had a strange theory about a comet—that turned ou...Show More

Jacques Berlinerblau - How to Be Secular

34:49 | Nov 13th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney On this show, we often debate the state of American secularism—covering topics like the rise of the so-called "nones," or the unending battle to rescue the country from the pernicious influence of Christian right. Our guest this we...Show More

Oliver Sacks - Hallucinations

39:55 | Nov 6th, 2012

Host: Indre Viskotnas Despite our individual differences, highlighted especially during an election, much of what we see, hear, smell or feel is shareable: that is, when standing in front of an object, we can more or less agree that it has a particul...Show More

Special Double Episode: Jon Ronson and Richard Wiseman, with Indre Viskontas and Chris Mooney

55:45 | Oct 31st, 2012

Hosts: Indre Viskontas and Chris Mooney At the 2012 CSICON conference in Nashville, Tennessee, your Point of Inquiry hosts Indre Viskontas and Chris Mooney finally actually found themselves in the same place. The result was a show that features both ...Show More

Bruce Hood - Superstitions in Baseball

36:26 | Oct 23rd, 2012

Host: Indre Viskontas The month of October is associated with falling leaves, autumn winds and hallowe'en. But for sports fans in the US, it also signals a high point in America's national pastime: baseball's postseason. After a long run of 162 games...Show More

Science and the 2012 Election - Shawn Otto and Matthew Chapman

36:48 | Oct 16th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney In this show, we talk to two founders of ScienceDebate, a nonprofit organization that in the last two election cycles has pushed to get the presidential candidates to talk about and debate science policy. So far, there has been no ...Show More

Lisa Randall - Knocking on Heaven’s Door

33:54 | Oct 8th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Our guest this week is Lisa Randall, the Harvard theoretical physicist and one of the most heavily cited and influential researchers in her field. She's a member of a number of distinguished scientific societies, including the Nati...Show More

Massimo Pigliucci - Living Philosophically

43:41 | Oct 2nd, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Our guest this week is a return guest of the show, Massimo Pigliucci. We last heard about his book Nonsense on Stilts, which was about how to distinguish between science and pseudoscience. But his newest effort is in some ways even...Show More

Dan Ariely - The Honest Truth about Dishonesty

32:38 | Sep 25th, 2012

Host: Indre Viskontas There is no doubt that our world is populated with cheats and liars. Most of us, slaves to the availability heuristic, think of major cheaters like Bernie Madoff, Tiger Woods, and Barry Bonds as inflicting the most damage onto s...Show More

Phil Zuckerman - The Sociology of Irreligion

41:28 | Sep 18th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney How many atheists are there in the world? Where do they live? What kind of people are they, and how do they get that way? Are they happy? Are they prosperous? Do they drag their societies down into a cesspool of immortality—as is o...Show More

Rick Hayes-Roth - TruthMarket

37:08 | Sep 10th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Wouldn't it be nice if there were a way to make American politics just a little more rational, just a little more evidence based? Wouldn't it be even nicer if there was a website, or an app, that helped that process along? Maybe, j...Show More

Peter Ditto - Morals, Facts, and Libertarians

44:01 | Sep 4th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Several times on this show, we've discussed the topic of ideological asymmetry. In other words, are people of all political persuasions equally biased, equally prone to reasoning based on their emotions to support prior commitments...Show More

Temple Grandin - The Science of Livestock Animal Welfare

44:39 | Aug 28th, 2012

Host: Indre Viskontas According to the USDA, Americans produce and consume more beef, veal, and chicken than any other nation in the world. As a result, the status of animal welfare in the meat production industry should be of some concern to all Ame...Show More

Arie Kruglanski - The Science of Closed-Mindedness

35:20 | Aug 21st, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Our guest this week is Arie Kruglanski. He's a Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland College Park, and has been a pioneer in the study of closed-mindedness-or, the "need for closure"—includi...Show More

Joe Romm - Language Intelligence

41:51 | Aug 13th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney This week's guest is Joe Romm. You may know him as a top blogger on global warming and energy—but that's not why we're having him on. In an impressive show of versatility, Romm the scientist has written a book about how to persuade...Show More

Peter Montgomery - 12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics

36:52 | Aug 7th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Our guest this week is Peter Montgomery, senior fellow with People for the American Way and author of a new report entitled Twelve Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics, released last week with a new introduction by Bill Moyers. P...Show More

Christopher diCarlo - How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass

39:07 | Aug 1st, 2012

Host: Indre Viskontas In an election year, it is especially important that our critical thinking skills be sharply honed. We have to sift through facts, fiction, and hyperbole in order to decide who it is that should lead us for the next four years. ...Show More

Kerry Emanuel - Conservative for Climate Science

31:10 | Jul 24th, 2012

Kerry Emanuel is a leading atmospheric scientist and a self-described conservative. As a result, lately he's been at the forefront of trying to convince his ideological brethren that the science behind global warming is real. We invited Emanuel on t...Show More

David Niose - Nonbeliever Nation

41:04 | Jul 16th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Can people who care about secularism take America back from the religious right? Of all the questions that concern us on this show, this is perhaps the most important, the most central, of all. And David Niose has an answer to it. ...Show More

Tina Dupuy - Skepticism Meets Comedy

43:33 | Jul 10th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Our guest is Tina Dupuy—the reporter, comedian, skeptic, and editor-in-chief of the startup publication SoapBlox. Dupuy appears frequently on MSNBC, Current TV, RT and the BBC and on numerous radio shows. She has written for Mother...Show More

Special In Studio Episode: Jamie Kilstein, Ed Brayton, and More

1:03:49 | Jul 4th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney For this episode of Point of Inquiry, we tried something a little different. At Center for Inquiry headquarters in Amherst, NY, we filmed a special hour long program with multiple in-studio guests, including the famed atheist comed...Show More

Stuart Firestein - How Ignorance Drives Science

38:35 | Jun 25th, 2012

Host: Indre Viskontas The idea that science moves forward by carefully peeling back layers of the onion of truth, one by one, in a deliberate fashion, is so prevalent that it borders on cliche. But the truth is that running scientific experiments oft...Show More

Chris Hayes - Twilight of the Elites

36:59 | Jun 19th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney  Our guest this week is Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC's Up With Chris Hayes and editor at large of The Nation. Hayes has come out with a much anticipated new book that makes a surprising argument. It's called Twilight of the Elites: A...Show More

Cara Santa Maria - Talk Nerdy to Us

40:07 | Jun 12th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Our guest this week is Cara Santa Maria, the senior science correspondent for the Huffington Post and the personage behind its "Talk Nerdy to Me" video series. Recent topics range from cannibalism, to the non-power of positive thin...Show More

Will Gervais - This is Your Brain on Religion

32:15 | Jun 4th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney In late April, a study came out in Science that really got the secular blogosphere hopping. It was a paper showing that something we've long suspected may be true—less critical thinking is associated with more religiosity. In fact,...Show More

Christof Koch - Consciousness and Free Will

43:34 | May 29th, 2012

Host: Indre Viskontas Recently, there has been a flurry of neuroscientists declaring that free will is an illusion in the popular press. But before we can assess the extent to which we are zombies, we need to first tackle the question of what, exactl...Show More

Johan Braeckman - The Rise of Islamic Creationism

32:05 | May 22nd, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Over the weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend the 2012 World Skeptics Conference in Berlin. It's important to keep tabs on our skeptical and freethinking colleagues around the world, and the challenges they're facing. And in t...Show More

Greta Christina - Why Are You Atheists So Angry?

38:06 | May 15th, 2012

Our guest this week is Greta Christina, a leading atheist blogger, speaker, and commentator, and a regular contributor to Christina is author of the new ebook Why Are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things that Piss Off the Godless, which gr...Show More

M.G. Lord - The Accidental Feminist

37:21 | Apr 30th, 2012

Host: Indre Viskontas In developed countries at least, the status of women has improved considerably in the last century. But in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), they remain underrepresented in all but one field, according to a recen...Show More

Naomi Oreskes - Neoliberalism and the Denial of Global Warming

35:16 | Apr 24th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney This week at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a conference convened entitled "Science Writing in the Age of Denial." The keynote speaker was a former Point of Inquiry guest and a very popular one—Naomi Oreskes, co-author of the...Show More

Austin Dacey - The Future of Blasphemy

42:02 | Apr 16th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney This week, our guest is a return one: Austin Dacey. He's a philosopher, a writer, and a human rights activist, and the creator of the Impossible Music Sessions, which we featured in a past show. Austin's books include The Secular C...Show More

Chris Mooney - The Republican Brain

50:18 | Apr 10th, 2012

Guest Host: John Shook  In this special episode of Point of Inquiry, we interview our host himself—about his new book, The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality. From climate change to evolution, the rejection of mainstre...Show More

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Space Chronicles

37:56 | Apr 2nd, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney This week, Point of Inquiry is thrilled to welcome back one of our most popular guests: Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famed astrophysicist and Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. Last time we had him o...Show More

David Morrison - Cosmic Impact Hazard

36:11 | Mar 26th, 2012

Host: Indre Viskontas The end is nigh. 2012 is a banner year for doomsday prophecies, though there still seems to be debate concerning precisely how life as we know it will be snuffed out. Hollywood seems to prefer the 'death from the skies' scenario...Show More

Jonathan Haidt - The Righteous Mind

38:35 | Mar 19th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Why is it that some of us are religious, some of us not... some of us liberal, some of us not? If you've been paying attention, then by now you might have noticed that this doesn't really have a lot to do with the intellectual vali...Show More

Ari Rabin-Havt - The Fox Effect

31:23 | Mar 12th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney If there's one thing Point of Inquiry is concerned about, it's ensuring a rational, sensible conversation in politics, in public life. And you simply can't have such a conversation if the culture is awash in political, and politici...Show More

Sean Faircloth - Attack of the Theocrats

35:08 | Mar 6th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney A common goal of freethinkers, humanists, skeptics, and atheists is to preserve Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation" between church and state. But we haven't always been successful in this area—help from the courts notwithstandi...Show More

Gerald Woerlee and Susan Blackmore - Near-Death Experiences and Consciousness

41:11 | Feb 28th, 2012

Host: Indre Viskontas One of the costs of being conscious is that, once in a while, we are forced to contemplate the fact that we are mortal. Ironically, a close brush with the grim reaper leaves many people more convinced than ever that our minds ar...Show More

Michael Mann - The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

34:12 | Feb 20th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Our guest this week is Michael Mann, the prominent climatologist and, above all, leading defender of his field—and himself—against political attacks. Mann is out with a new book this month, which details his ten year battle against...Show More

Dan Kahan - The Great Ideological Asymmetry Debate

58:38 | Feb 14th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney So who's right, factually, about politics and science? Who speaks truth, and who's just spinning? It's kind of the million dollar question. If we could actually answer it, we'd have turned political debate itself into a... well, a ...Show More

Lawrence Krauss - A Universe from Nothing

32:25 | Feb 7th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney We had Lawrence Krauss on Point of Inquiry less than a year ago, to discuss his recent book on the scientific works of Richard Feynman. But in order to keep up with him, we had to have him on again. Already. You see, Krauss has a n...Show More

Brian Malow - The Science Comedian

31:55 | Jan 30th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Earlier this month, Point of Inquiry host Chris Mooney attended Science Online, the premiere science blogging conference, in the research triangle area. There were many science aficionados, communicators, and wonks present, but Chr...Show More

Eugenie Scott - Defending Climate Education

31:05 | Jan 17th, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney Eugenie Scott is no stranger to Point of Inquiry, or to the secular community. Her endless travails to defend the teaching of evolution have won her immense respect. And that's why, when Scott and her National Center for Science Ed...Show More

Brian Greene - The Fabric of the Cosmos

33:51 | Jan 3rd, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney It's the beginning of a new year here at Point of Inquiry, and we've got a pretty good guest to kick it off. He needs no introduction. He's Brian Greene—celebrity physicist, bestselling author, television star and all around scienc...Show More

Stuart Robbins - The End of the World as We Know It

42:38 | Dec 27th, 2011

Host: Karen Stollznow Dr. Stuart Robbins is a postdoctoral researcher in astronomy at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His work focuses on planetary geophysics, and he’s currently researching craters on Mars, and on the moon. Stuart received his ...Show More

John Cook - The Debunking Handbook

29:20 | Dec 20th, 2011

Host: Chris Mooney How do you successfully debunk misinformation? The question is a deceptively simple one—which is precisely the problem. Debunking is easy—just refute false claims, and provide corrective information. Debunking successfully is somet...Show More

Daniel Dennett - The Scientific Study of Religion

48:54 | Dec 13th, 2011

Guest Host: John Shook Recently, the Center for Inquiry held a conference titled "Daniel Dennett and the Scientific Study of Religion: A Celebration of the Fifth Anniversary of Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon". During that confer...Show More

Robert McCauley - Why Religion is Natural (And Science is Not)

37:00 | Dec 5th, 2011

Host: Chris Mooney Over the last decade, there have been many calls in the secular community for increased criticism of religion, and increased activism to help loosen its grip on the public. But what if the human brain itself is aligned against that...Show More

Scott Gavura - Dispensing Skepticism

38:20 | Nov 29th, 2011

Host: Karen Stollznow Scott Gavura is a registered pharmacist in Ontario with a personal and professional interest in improving the way we use medication. Scott started the Science-Based Pharmacy blog in 2009 to scrutinize pharmacy practices, and to ...Show More

Jonathan Weiler - Authoritarians Versus Reality

34:08 | Nov 21st, 2011

Host: Chris Mooney Our guest this week is Jonathan Weiler, a political scientist and director of global studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Weiler is co-author, with Marc Hetherington of Vanderbilt, of the book Authoritarianism ...Show More

Tom Flynn - The Trouble With Christmas

33:36 | Nov 17th, 2011

Host: Robert Price Ebenezer Scrooge once called Christmas "a false and commercial holiday." Is it? Should Humanists refuse to observe it? Should they wage war on it? Should they celebrate "Sanka" versions of it like Solstice and "HumanLight"? Christi...Show More

Bill Nye - In Praise of Reason (and Skepticism)

36:48 | Nov 8th, 2011

Host: Chris Mooney Recently in New Orleans, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry held the very first CSICON—the conference dedicated to scientific inquiry and critical thinking. The main honoree: Bill Nye the Science Guy, who was given CSI's premiere ...Show More

Seth Shostak - ET, Call SETI

32:33 | Nov 1st, 2011

Host: Karen Stollznow Dr. Seth Shostak is the Senior Astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI). Seth is the author of Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and is wel...Show More

Jonathan Moreno - Our New Biopolitics

36:43 | Oct 24th, 2011

Host: Chris Mooney Human cloning. Synthetic biology. Mood (and mind) altering drugs. Personalized medicine. Such topics are rarely at the top of the political agenda. Yet the changes they're causing, often below the radar, are monumental. Issues of p...Show More

Richard C. Johnson - Religion: The Failed Narrative

41:05 | Oct 19th, 2011

Host: Robert Price Richard C. Johnson Ph.D. is a retired chemist and serves as Treasurer for Freethought Arizona. For some 25 years, the company he founded worked with scientists and researchers in chemical analysis. Through family ties, Richard had ...Show More

Shawn Otto - The Assault on Science

42:56 | Oct 11th, 2011

Host: Chris Mooney In recent months, political attacks on science have been back in the news. Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman even famously tweeted, "To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me c...Show More

CSICon - The Conference Dedicated To Scientific Inquiry And Critical Thinking

33:55 | Oct 6th, 2011

Host: Adam Isaak This October-on Halloween weekend-the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry is holding a conference: CSICon. It's the latest in a line of CSI skeptics' conferences going back to what is likely the first skeptics' conference ever held, a CS...Show More

Indre Viskontas - The Miracle Detective

47:53 | Oct 4th, 2011

Host: Karen Stollznow Indre Viskontas is a neuroscientist, a soprano, and a skeptic. She is a host of the television show The Miracle Detectives that recently aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Indre appeared as the scientific investigator pitted ag...Show More

Austin Dacey - Rock the Theocrats

31:43 | Sep 27th, 2011

Host: Chris Mooney This coming October, in Kabul, Afghanistan—on a date, and in a location, that remain undisclosed—there will be a rock concert that's billed as the world's "first stealth music festival." It will feature rock, heavy metal, and funk ...Show More

Lee Salisbury - From Faith to Critical Thinking

28:42 | Sep 20th, 2011

Host: Robert Price Lee Salisbury was at one time an up-and-coming Charismatic Christian pastor, even a healer! Then how did he wind up actively involved in the ranks of Minnesota Atheists? Often successful Christian activists simply cannot allow them...Show More

Rachel Tabachnick - Exposing Dominionism

38:57 | Sep 12th, 2011

Host: Chris Mooney We've heard a lot in the news lately about Dominionists—Christians who believe, basically, that they ought to be running this country. Dominionism has different strains. But one is embodied in a group called the New Apostolic Refor...Show More

John Dodes - The Tooth About Dentistry

45:01 | Sep 7th, 2011

Host: Karen Stollznow John Dodes is a dentist with a special interest in dentistry and pseudoscience. He is one of the founding fellows of the Institute for Science in Medicine, a former President and Chairperson of the National Council Against Healt...Show More

Scott Atran - Violent Extremism and Sacred Values

46:44 | Aug 30th, 2011

Host: Chris Mooney In less than two weeks, the ten year anniversary of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil—9/11—will be upon us. In the past decade, there has been much debate and discussion about the root causes of terrorism and violent extremi...Show More

Dan Barker - U-Turn on the Road to Damascus

35:20 | Aug 23rd, 2011

Host: Robert Price Host Robert M. Price felt uncannily as if he were talking to himself when he interviewed Dan Barker, the two share so much in common. But then their story is not so unusual, come to think of it. The same sort of thing seems to be h...Show More

Did Reason Evolve For Arguing? - Hugo Mercier

33:27 | Aug 15th, 2011

Host: Chris Mooney Why are human beings simultaneously capable of reasoning, and yet so bad at it? Why do we have such faulty mechanisms as the "confirmation bias" embedded in our brains, and yet at the same time, find ourselves capable of brilliant ...Show More