All Episodes

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

May 17, 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 meeting with Pluto and its…

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

December 29, 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 human endeavor, 2017…

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

December 06, 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 time, poor editorial judgments and a toxic culture of sexism…

Lee Billings on the Search for Life in a Silent Universe

September 27, 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 exception, which suggests…

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

August 24, 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 based upon race, religion, sex, age, or national…

Space Reporter Loren Grush: Hope and Hubris in Space Exploration

July 18, 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 concerns, and without the urgency of a Cold…

Elizabeth Kolbert on Coming to Grips with a Warming Planet

June 12, 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 to rein in greenhouse gas emissions,…

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

June 02, 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 no more than 2 degrees Celsius. For those who accept the reality…

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

May 03, 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…

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

April 24, 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 Scientist for NASA’s SETI program and has conducted…

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

April 11, 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 far more time in country…

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

April 04, 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 Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.…

Phoebe Maltz Bovy: Check Your Privilege-Checking

March 28, 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 more equal and inclusive society. Why then do…

Mile-High Violence: Judith Matloff on Mountain Conflict

March 20, 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 persistent conflicts. The reason for this correlation between…

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

March 14, 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 airports in disarray over the unprompted and unclear executive order, the directive…

Lawrence Krauss: Accidental Origins

March 06, 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 these same deep existential questions? We…

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

February 27, 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 at Buffalo, objects.

His newest…

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

February 20, 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 was activist and journalist Ethel Payne, who played…

Gary Taubes: The Bittersweet Truth about the Dangers of Sugar

February 13, 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 formula to cigarettes. There is…

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

February 06, 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 against the clock to back up their data in fear of it…

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

January 30, 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 of Hurricane Katrina, but was instead ambushed…

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

January 24, 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 with the homeless or navigating the ethical pitfalls…

Daniel Dennett: The Magic of Consciousness…Without the Magic

January 17, 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 the Spell. Author and co-author of two-dozen…

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

January 09, 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. For Richard Nixon, power was something…

Should Atheists Celebrate Christmas? Tom Flynn Debates Lindsay Beyerstein

December 27, 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 professional Christmas opponent “the Anti-Claus,” and author…

Amanda Marcotte on the Trump Transition and the Reshaping of America

December 21, 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. Marcotte currently blogs at The Raw Story and…

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

December 12, 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 standing army become a global superpower?

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

December 05, 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 Child Grows Up. The book follows Berube’s son Jamie as he…

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

November 28, 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 episode’s subject matter is remarkably relevant for this current political and…

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

November 21, 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 “make America great again” may…

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

November 14, 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 principles, but in government, the secular worldview is badly underrepresented.…

Comprehending the Incomprehensible: Samuel Arbesman on Rapidly Accelerating Technology

November 07, 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 complexity they have created? This week’s guest is a…

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

October 31, 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.”

According to Nickell, the term “paranormal” refers…

Cats and the Domestication of Humans, with Abigail Tucker

October 24, 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 apartment.

Abigail Tucker is a contributing…

Trolling Unplugged: Benjamin Radford on the Creepy Clown Craze

October 17, 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 resulted in actual arrests. With…

Godless Infidels: Leigh Eric Schmidt on Atheism in the 19th Century

October 10, 2016

Today the United States is the most secular and irreligious it has ever been. According to Pew Research, the percentage of Americans who identify as atheist, agnostic, or having no religion in particular is up to 23%, compared to the 16% it was in 2007. With a lack…

Doomsday Dread: The End of Civilization, with Phil Torres

October 04, 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, Huffington Post, and our very own Free Inquiry. His book…

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

September 26, 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 several international academic journals. She returns to Point…

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

September 19, 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 instincts. Pollution invoked climate change is exacerbating natural disasters and spurring unprecedented human migration. So when so many…

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

September 12, 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…

In the Weeds with Emily Willingham on Medical Cannabis

September 07, 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 anti-vaccination activists claim that cannabis may hold the key for a…

Faking Your Own Death: Elizabeth Greenwood on Death Fraud

August 29, 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 start. There was no going back on what she had done…

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

August 23, 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, and numerous other publications. For Dickey’s

Competitive Cupping: David Gorski on Pseudoscience at the Olympics

August 16, 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 cupping is an ancient practice in which cups are placed…

Faisal Saeed Al Mutar: Facebook and Social Media Silencing

August 08, 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 secularism advocate as well as founder…

Donald Trump’s Dirty Laundry, with David Cay Johnston

August 02, 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 United States. In 1988 Johnston left the LA…

Wendy Kaminer: Dangerous Spaces for Free Speech

July 26, 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 the 1960s, college campuses have long been a kind of testing…

Ali Rizvi: Islam and Identity for an Atheist Muslim

July 18, 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 on Islam, as a debate rages…

Digitally Aware: David Levy on Mindfulness in an Information Overload

July 11, 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 computers are the norm, our attention spans are shrinking…

Surviving the Beauty Culture, with Autumn Whitefield-Mandrano

June 28, 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 Beheld: Beauty and What It Means. Her book…

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

June 20, 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 became a chemical engineer in…

Bloody Bangladesh: Michael De Dora on the Attacks on Secularists

June 13, 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 Office of Public Policy…

Jessica Valenti: The Measure of a Woman’s Worth

June 07, 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 newest contribution to the movement is her new book, Sex Object: A…

Susan Jacoby on Conversions, Both Profound and Practical

May 31, 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 conversion stories. But what about the less flashy stories of…

Hooked on a Stigma: Maia Szalavitz on Understanding Addiction

May 23, 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 Kids. Her latest book is Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way…

An Unrecognizable Reformation: Shadi Hamid on Islamic Exceptionalism

May 17, 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 Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam…

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

May 09, 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 publications and news outlets over the years educating…

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

May 03, 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 distraction, including Driven to Distraction, Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most…

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

April 26, 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 viable option for women. Today, however, marriage rates show us…

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

April 18, 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 take for granted; yet one doctor, Stanislaw Burzynski,…

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

April 13, 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 session on…

David Silverman: The Relentless Ascent of Atheism

April 04, 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, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Silverman attempted to persuade Republican believers and non-believers alike that that there was a dire need to…

Surviving Death: Ann Neumann on the Ethical Landscape of Dying

March 28, 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 process. Our guest this week, Ann Neumann,…

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

March 21, 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 ABCNews.com, “Who’s Counting?” His new book is called A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores…

Former White Supremacist Arno Michaelis: Understanding Hate, Overcoming Fear

March 15, 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 of concepts such as forgiveness and personal responsibility. Today…

The Cunning Art of Con Artistry, with Maria Konnikova

March 07, 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 being scammed? New Yorker contributor Maria…

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

February 29, 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 instances don’t tell the whole story.

This…

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

February 23, 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…

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

February 14, 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, and she joins us on this special Valentine’s Day episode…

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

February 08, 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 January that it would merge with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason &…

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

February 01, 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 nuanced as they are today. Tim Whitmarsh is…

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

January 25, 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 of god do the nones believe in?…

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

January 19, 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 Beyerstein about the enormous good that’s been done as…

Religious Belief, Naturally Selected - with John C. Wathey

January 12, 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, however, in 2016 faith and religion…

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

December 07, 2015

During the perennial War on Christmas, certain Christians often feel the need to remind the rest of 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 in pews at Christmas mass. Something…

Islam, Paris, and Polarization - with Michael Brooks

November 30, 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 acts of violent Islamists from public…

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

November 23, 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 will, discreetly from their…

Steve Silberman: Evolving Attitudes Toward Autism

November 17, 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, in most of us.…

Mexico’s Drug Policy in Flux, with Sylvia Longmire

November 10, 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 “the right to the free development of one’s personality.” The ruling was…

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

October 31, 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 investigating spiritualists and mediums. With…

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

October 27, 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 is an expert in the political machinations of the religious right in…

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

October 19, 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 Kenji Lopez-Alt, managing culinary director of the…

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

October 12, 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 own child at risk by denying them vaccinations remains,…

The Mysteries of Parkinson’s, with Jon Palfreman

October 05, 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 Parkinson’s in order to write the classic book,…

Trials and Textbooks: Jeffrey Selman on Fighting Creationism in Schools

September 29, 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’s education.

This week…

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

September 21, 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 experience untangling religion from government as Rev. Lynn,…

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

September 14, 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 to lend some insight is…

Invisible Catastrophes: Erik Loomis on the Consequences of Outsourcing

September 08, 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 was booming, and with the advent of unions, labor laws,…

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

August 31, 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 day, much of New Orleans…

Eugenie Scott: Decrypting Pseudoscience

August 24, 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 most venerated luminaries of the skeptic and…

Bred to Suffer: Paul Shapiro on Animals in Factory Farming

August 17, 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 farming is far worse than most…

Dealing with Distraction in the Modern World, with Matt Crawford

August 10, 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 post office pass in the blink of an…

Ta-Nehisi Coates: A Country Built on Black Bodies

August 03, 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 with his cover feature, “The Case for Reparations.” He…

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

July 28, 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 Policy magazine,

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

July 20, 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 Phillip Lerner was a renowned infectious disease specialist who practiced medicine during what many consider to be the…

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

July 14, 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 standstill, with political factions unable or unwilling to…

Taslima Nasrin: A Woman of Courage without a Country

July 06, 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 influential writings have angered both governments and Islamists, forcing her to…

Bangladeshi Blogger Asif Mohiuddin: Attacked, Imprisoned, and Undeterred

June 29, 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 inspiring story of courage.

Mohiuddin is among…

Richard Dawkins: LIVE at the Reason for Change Conference

June 22, 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 influential and controversial scientists; a pioneer in…

Overwhelmed by Celebrity Culture, with Tim Caulfield

June 15, 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 celebrities we revere are now…

Anti-Abortion Terrorism and Free Speech, with David Cohen

June 08, 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 of providers who are forced to live each day fearing for…

The Benefits of Religion Without the Belief, with Jeff Rasely

June 01, 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 technicalities.

This week on Point of Inquiry, Jeff…

Michael Specter on the Gluten-Free Fad

May 26, 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 trend of gluten-rejection is growing despite the…

Alex Garland: Ex Machina and the Question of Consciousness

May 18, 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 this is Garland’s debut as a director…

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

May 11, 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 a whirlwind of conflicting information.…

Advice for the Teenage Atheist, with David Seidman

May 04, 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 Seidman was perplexed by this lack of material for…

Peter Singer: Maximizing Morality with Reason

April 27, 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 The Most Good You Can Do, and it’s an exploration…

The Misinterpretations of the Supreme Court, with Ian Millhiser

April 20, 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 how its words should be interpreted. But…

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

April 13, 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 popularity, and by 2011 he had moved his satirical show…

Phil Zuckerman: Those Normal, Upstanding Nonbelievers

April 06, 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 Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old…

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

March 30, 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 Historian for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and adviser…

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

March 23, 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 and researching the war on drugs for his…

The World Human Extinction Will Leave Behind, with Michael Tennesen

March 16, 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 continue to exist long after…

Eli Lake: How Islamic is “Islamic Extremism”?

March 09, 2015

This week on Point of Inquiry, Josh Zepps talks to Eli Lake, a journalist with extensive experience covering international intelligence, diplomacy, and the recent conflicts in the Muslim world. With the Islamic State now eclipsing Al Qaeda as a prime flashpoint for terrorism, discussing and defining the ideology behind…

False Memories Creating False Criminals, with Dr. Julia Shaw

March 02, 2015

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 entirely wrong we were. But could it be that our memories are so easily corrupted that we could be led to believe we’ve committed…

Leighann Lord: Courageous Comedy as a Safe Space

February 23, 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 distant as they seem. They explore the unique dynamic…

Laci Green: Truth and Myths about Sex and Love

February 14, 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 discussed, her videos have managed to shed light on…

Letting Go of the Soul, with Julien Musolino

February 09, 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 reality. As the science of the brain…

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

February 02, 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 neighboring states. Although measles were eliminated in the U.S. by 2000, the misinformation of the anti-vaccine movement has caused a return of…

Conservative for Climate Science, with Kerry Emanuel

January 26, 2015

Lindsay and Josh are off, but since the U.S. Senate recently voted 98-1 that climate change is not a hoax, and then failed to pass a resolution affirming that human beings are the cause of climate change, and with the massive blizzard about to pound the Northeastern United States,…

The Women Spies of the Civil War, with Karen Abbott

January 20, 2015

This week on Point of inquiry, New York Times bestselling author Karen Abbott talks to Lindsay Beyerstein about her newest book,  Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, which tells the true story of four women who served as spies during the U.S. Civil War.

In a time when women…

Before Charlie Hebdo: The Danish Cartoons That Shook the World, with Jytte Klausen

January 12, 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 nebulous threats, Sony…

Penalizing Pregnancy: Lynn Paltrow on the Fight for Reproductive Justice

January 05, 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 are being met with incarceration and outrageous sentences,…

Christmas Extra: Tom Flynn’s 30th Year of Anti-Clausing

December 25, 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 and he’s here to talk about why…

Greta Christina on Coping with Death, No Afterlife Required

December 22, 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 the tendencies we have to avoid and deny death and…

Frank Schaeffer on Cynicism and Paranoia in the “War on Christmas”

December 16, 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 this year; according to…

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

December 08, 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 Beyerstein welcomes Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry, the…

Deciphering Alan Turing, with Andrew Hodges

December 01, 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 in a much darker direction. He saved millions of…

Getting Over Racial Anxiety, with Rachel D. Godsil

November 24, 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 these disparities are likely not due to…

Surviving Saddam and Confronting Islam, with Faisal Saeed Al Mutar

November 19, 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 discrimination and racism go…

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

November 10, 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 “correct,” as “Language Mavens” continue to delight in…

Ebola in the Age of Epidemics - Special Live Episode

November 03, 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 sort fact from fiction about the real threat…

Halloween Extra: 18th Annual Houdini Séance with Joe Nickell

October 31, 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 2014, Point of Inquiry’s new producer…

Pro-Choice Without Apology, with Katha Pollitt

October 22, 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 normal and often necessary (one in three women will have an abortion before menopause), even those who are staunchly pro-choice feel compelled to hedge…

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

October 14, 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 gathered at an Astrobiology Symposium…

The Theology of ISIS, with Dr. Adam Silverman

October 06, 2014

The rise of ISIS, the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has sparked debate about the role of religion — specifically Islam — in violent extremism. This week, Dr. Adam Silverman offers us a glimpse into the theology of ISIS, and tackles some difficult questions; What does ISIS…

Austin Dacey - The Future of Blasphemy

September 29, 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…

Mark Oppenheimer on Misogyny in the Freethought Community

September 22, 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 communities deal—or refuse to deal—with allegations…

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

September 17, 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 Christopher Leonard, investigative journalist whose work has appeared in FortuneSlate, and The…

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

September 08, 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 grieving person?” to “How could my titanium…

Sam Harris: Seeking Transcendence Without Religion

September 02, 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 something of a maverick among nonbelievers and progressives, frequently at the…

Dr. Adia Benton: The West African Ebola Outbreak

August 25, 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 epidemics because they study both the physiology of illness and…

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

August 18, 2014

Point of Inquiry’s hosts are off this week, so we’re running Lindsay Beyerstein’s excellent interview from late last 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 awarded the Robert P. Balles Prize…

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

August 11, 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 reasonable people let…

Laurel Braitman on Animals and Mental Illness

August 04, 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 Ourselves.

It might sound strange to say…

David Ropeik: Airplane Disasters and the Psychology of Risk

July 29, 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 Ropeik, an international consultant and expert…

Joshua Horwitz: Protecting the Whales from the U.S. Navy

July 21, 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 story told in War of the…

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

July 14, 2014

Point of Inquiry is taking a week off and filling in with a classic episode from March 27, 2009. 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 assaults on freedom of religion, belief and expression, we felt…

The Gospel According to Hobby Lobby—With Brian Leiter

July 07, 2014

To discuss last week’s Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Point of Inquiry
welcomes Dr. Brian Leiter, law professor and philosopher at the
University of Chicago. He’s the author of several books including Why Tolerate Religion?. He blogs at Leiter Reports:…

Montel Williams: Leading a Surge on the Veterans Administration

July 02, 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 sixties, he joined the Marines as…

Marlene Zuk on the Truth about Paleofantasies

June 23, 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 perspective are the subject of the new…

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

June 16, 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. To discuss what this means for the future of the GOP, and…

Janet Mock: Redefining Realness, Biology, Sex and Gender

June 09, 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 from an infant sexed male at birth in Hawaii in…

Negin Farsad: Red States and Muslim Comedy

June 03, 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 Muslims are Coming!, a documentary following some of the funniest Muslim…

Capital Punishment in Crisis with Dahlia Lithwick

May 27, 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 a graduate of Stanford Law School and she joins Lindsay Beyerstein to talk about…

Farzana Hassan on Islamic Extremism

May 20, 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 joins Point of Inquiry’s Josh Zepps to talk about issues surrounding…

Science Denialism with Donald Prothero

May 12, 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 of 

Talking Nerdy (And Ethically) with Cara Santa Maria

May 05, 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…

Coming out Atheist, with Greta Christina

April 28, 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 your life about your non-belief.

A Trek Through Skepticism with The Amazing Randi

April 21, 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, An Honest Liar, which brings to life…

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

April 14, 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 Thinking Is Undermining America, she took aim…

Ann Druyan: Telling the Story of the Cosmos

April 07, 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 deGrasse Tyson.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Druyan talks to Josh Zepps about…

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

March 31, 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 the Size and Structure of the Underground Commercial Sex Economy in Eight Major US…

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

March 24, 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 ElectSex, Mom, and God: How the…

Cancer Quack Stanislaw Burzynski: Exposed

March 17, 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 Stanislaw Burzynski in the March/April issue of the Skeptical Inquirer, one…

The Philosophy of Belief with Rebecca Goldstein

March 10, 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

Goldstein, who will be a speaker at the…

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

March 03, 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 Living Beings Came to Be, and a series of illustrated books subtitled 

Gabriel Sherman - Roger Ailes, the Loudest Voice in the Room

February 24, 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 book takes an indepth look at Roger…

Amy Tuteur, MD - The Skeptical OB

February 17, 2014

Point of Inquiry looks into midwives, home births, and what they mean for a safe delivery for child and mother. Our guest is skeptic, obstetrician, gynecologist, and author of How Your Baby is BornDr. Amy Tuteur. 

Dr. Tuteur, a graduate of Harvard and the Boston…

Stanton Peele, PhD - Addiction and Recovery

February 10, 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 Seymour Hoffman.

Peele holds the somewhat…

Greg Dworkin, MD - Founding Editor of Flu Wiki

February 04, 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 cope with a possible influenza pandemic. He’s an expert on pandemic Flu preparedness and…

J.R. Havlan - Writer for The Daily Show

January 28, 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 which led to writing jokes for that show’s monologues. He’s also co-author of the New York Times best-selling books America: The…

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

January 21, 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 Weaver, argue that the disproportionate…

Arthur Caplan, PhD - The Ethics of Brain Death: The End of Life, the State, and the Religious Right

January 14, 2014

This week Point of Inquiry is discussing death, specifically, brain death and the efforts of some sectors of the Religious Right to…

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

January 06, 2014

This week on Point of Inquiry we welcome Chris Emdin, 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.

The War on Christmas

December 30, 2013

As the War on Christmas wages on, our host Josh Zepps interviews Rob Boston, Senior Policy Analyst for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, editor…

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

December 23, 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 is called The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption.

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

December 16, 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-chief of National Lampoon, and has spent 20 years reporting for Rolling…

Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State

December 09, 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 church and state.


Gadadhara Pandit Dasa - First Hindu Chaplain for Columbia University

December 02, 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, and the Divine. Pandit, who teaches courses on Hindu scriptures, has spoken at a recent…

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

November 25, 2013

Paul A. Offit, MD is best known as a co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine and a staunch, public supporter of vaccination and opponent of pseudoscientific alternative medicine.

His most recent book, Do you Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine points a critical eye at the…

Bill Nye The Science Guy

November 18, 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 on science. They also delve into Bill’s view into the future…

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

November 11, 2013

Point of Inquiry, the flagship podcast of 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 influence and impact on our schools and the educating of our…

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

November 05, 2013

You can watch this episode on YouTube

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.…

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Communicating Science

September 30, 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 and secularism movement.

Our…

Bill Nye - In Praise of Reason (and Skepticism)

September 10, 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 and secularism movement.

Recently…

Brian Greene - The Fabric of the Cosmos

August 19, 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 and secularism movement.

It’s…

Temple Grandin - The Science of Livestock Animal Welfare

August 12, 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 and secularism movement.

According…

Susan Jacoby - American Freethought Heritage

August 05, 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 and secularism movement.

Susan…

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Communicating Science to the Public

July 29, 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 and secularism movement.

Neil…

Ethan Zuckerman - Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection

June 24, 2013

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 of Global Voices,…

Mario Livio - Brilliant Blunders From Darwin to Einstein

June 17, 2013

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. He and Gregor Mendel were as ships passing in the night. Granted, Darwin eventually realized…

Daniel Dennett - Tools for Thinking

June 10, 2013

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, if not actively use.

American philosopher and author Daniel…

Stephan Lewandowsky - The Mind of the Conspiracy Theorist

June 03, 2013

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 large one—who always seem to think there’s some…

Katha Pollitt - Is Religion Inherently Sexist?

May 20, 2013

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 probably know her “Subject to Debate” column in the Nation—always both insightful…

Michael Levi - Fracking, Pipelines, and Science

May 13, 2013

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.

McKibben makes a compelling case that our climate system is…

Jared Diamond - The World Until Yesterday

May 06, 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 of California, Los…

Mary Roach - Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

April 29, 2013

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 mouths, to our stomachs, to…

Scott Atran - What Makes a Terrorist?

April 22, 2013

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 dramatic capture of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, we…

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

April 15, 2013

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, this claim is precisely half true. Yes, academia is really liberal.…

A.C. Grayling - The God Argument

April 08, 2013

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 shown by renowned philosopher A.C. Grayling in his new book The God Argument: The…

Frans de Waal - The Bonobo and the Atheist

April 01, 2013

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 primatologist Frans de Waal, they…

Carol Tavris - The Science of Sex and Gender

March 25, 2013

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 that impacts families with children in a big way—and puts a…

Amanda Marcotte - Skepticism Needs Feminism

March 18, 2013

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, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Greta Christina,…

Mark Lynas - Science and the Left

March 04, 2013

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 very well is Mark Lynas.

Matthew Hutson - The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking

February 25, 2013

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 some sentimental objects that would seem to…

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

February 18, 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 remiss if we didn’t add our signature…

Susan Jacoby - Freethought’s Forgotten Hero

February 11, 2013

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 her career at the Washington Post, and her work…

Carl Zimmer - Viruses and Other Little Things

February 04, 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 viruses and bacterial infections being passed around, it seems…

Paul Krugman - Science and Pseudoscience in Economics

January 28, 2013

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 professor of economics at Princeton and…

Sean Carroll - The Particle at the End of the Universe

January 21, 2013

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 End of the Universe: How the Higgs Boson…

Maria Konnikova - How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes

January 14, 2013

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 Holmes.

In addition to her new…

Phil Plait - #Notpocalypse!

January 07, 2013

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. Time for reflection…

Scott Sigler - Encouraging Critical Thinking Through Science Fiction

December 31, 2012

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 as entertaining to the most hardened skeptics as it…

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

December 24, 2012

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 Center for Inquiry is…

David Brin - Uplifting Existence

December 17, 2012

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, Existence. I read…

Bill McKibben - Do the Math

December 10, 2012

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 McKibben has become, simply put, the country’s leading…

Samuel Arbesman - The Half-Life of Facts

December 03, 2012

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 when facts, those bits of information that we believed…

Steven Novella - Exposing Medical Nonsense

November 26, 2012

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 become hugely…

Michael Gordin - The Pseudoscience Wars

November 19, 2012

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 out to be Venus—shaping the course of human history.

Jacques Berlinerblau - How to Be Secular

November 12, 2012

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 week, Jacques Berlinerblau, has a provocative thesis about all this.…

Oliver Sacks - Hallucinations

November 05, 2012

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 particular color, shape, texture, size and so on. But what…

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

October 29, 2012

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 of them covering current events—the 2012 election, the passing of CFI founder Paul Kurtz—and each…

Bruce Hood - Superstitions in Baseball

October 22, 2012

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, the last weeks of October are ripe with matchups in…

Science and the 2012 Election - Shawn Otto and Matthew Chapman

October 15, 2012

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 actual presidential science debate. But this year,…

Lisa Randall - Knocking on Heaven’s Door

October 08, 2012

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 National Academy of Sciences—but she’s also a very popular science author, behind the…

Massimo Pigliucci - Living Philosophically

October 01, 2012

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 more ambitious.

It’s called Answers…

Dan Ariely - The Honest Truth about Dishonesty

September 24, 2012

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 society. But just how honest are we, with others and…

Phil Zuckerman - The Sociology of Irreligion

September 17, 2012

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 often alleged—or, is it…

Rick Hayes-Roth - TruthMarket

September 10, 2012

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, just maybe,…

Peter Ditto - Morals, Facts, and Libertarians: New Developments in the Science of Ideology

September 03, 2012

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?

new scientific paper (PDF) has recently come out that reopens this question,…

Temple Grandin - The Science of Livestock Animal Welfare

August 27, 2012

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 Americans, regardless of dietary habits. One of the world’s…

Arie Kruglanski - The Science of Closed-Mindedness

August 20, 2012

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”—including how it drives fundamentalist belief systems and violent extremism.

Dr. Kruglanski has…

Joe Romm - Language Intelligence

August 13, 2012

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 people. It’s entitled Language…

Peter Montgomery - 12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics

August 06, 2012

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.

Point of Inquiry invited Montgomery on the…

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

July 30, 2012

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.

To remind us what the right…

Kerry Emanuel - Conservative for Climate Science

July 23, 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 to talk about whether global warming is indeed…

David Niose - Nonbeliever Nation

July 16, 2012

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. Simply put, he…

Tina Dupuy - Skepticism Meets Comedy

July 09, 2012

Our guest this week 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 Jones, the Atlantic, Skeptic, and many other publications.

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

July 02, 2012

Note: You can watch this episode on Youtube

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 comedian Jamie Kilstein. As…

Stuart Firestein - How Ignorance Drives Science

June 25, 2012

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 often feels more akin to dipping a cup into a…

Chris Hayes - Twilight of the Elites

June 18, 2012

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: America After Meritocracy, and in…

Cara Santa Maria - Talk Nerdy to Us

June 11, 2012

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 thinking, to the strange sex lives of animals, to the, well, bizarreness…

Will Gervais - This is Your Brain on Religion

June 04, 2012

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, having a cognitive style where you’re less analytic, and more…

Christof Koch - Consciousness and Free Will

May 28, 2012

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, exactly, is consciousness. To get up to speed on…

Johan Braeckman - The Rise of Islamic Creationism

May 21, 2012

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 this case, perhaps the most disturbing story out of the…

Greta Christina - Why Are You Atheists So Angry?

May 14, 2012

Our guest this week is Greta Christina, a leading atheist blogger, speaker, and commentator, and a regular contributor to AlterNet.org.

Christina is author of the new ebook Why Are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things that Piss Off the Godless, which grows out of a 2007 blog…

M.G. Lord - The Accidental Feminist

April 30, 2012

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 recent study conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Often, femininity…

Naomi Oreskes - Neoliberalism and the Denial of Global Warming

April 23, 2012

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 influential book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the…

Austin Dacey - The Future of Blasphemy

April 16, 2012

This week, our guest is a return one: Austin Dacey. He’s a philosopher, a writer, 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 Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life and,…

Chris Mooney - The Republican Brain

April 09, 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 mainstream science among Republicans is…

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Space Chronicles

April 02, 2012

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 on, Dr. Tyson engaged in a wide ranging…

David Morrison - Cosmic Impact Hazard

March 26, 2012

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, with Lars von Trier’s latest film Melancholia exploring…

Jonathan Haidt - The Righteous Mind

March 19, 2012

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 validity of…

Ari Rabin-Havt - The Fox Effect

March 12, 2012

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 politicized, misinformation.

What do we mean by “misinformation”? The denial…

Sean Faircloth - Attack of the Theocrats

March 05, 2012

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 notwithstanding—or at beating back the steady advances of the religious right.

How can we…

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

February 27, 2012

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 are not tethered to our bodies, and…

Michael Mann - The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

February 20, 2012

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 political attacks and misrepresentations. It’s called The Hockey Stick and…

Dan Kahan - The Great Ideological Asymmetry Debate

February 13, 2012

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 science.

And is such an answer possible?…

Lawrence Krauss - A Universe from Nothing

February 06, 2012

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…

Brian Malow - The Science Comedian

January 30, 2012

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 Chris found himself hanging out a lot with Brian Malow—aka, the Science Comedian.

Eugenie Scott - Defending Climate Education

January 16, 2012

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 Education take on a new initiative, everybody listens.…

Brian Greene - The Fabric of the Cosmos

January 02, 2012

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 science communication maestro.

Officially: Greene is co-founder…

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

December 26, 2011

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 PhD in Astrophysics through the Geophysics program from the University of Colorado at Boulder.…

John Cook - The Debunking Handbook

December 19, 2011

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 something else again-you have to change minds, and make the corrective information stick.…

Daniel Dennett - The Scientific Study of Religion

December 12, 2011

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 conference, John Shook, CFI’s Director of Education, sat down with Dennett for this interview. 

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

December 05, 2011

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 endeavor?

That’s the argument made…

Scott Gavura - Dispensing Skepticism

November 28, 2011

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 begin a discussion within the industry about its obligations as a health profession.

Jonathan Weiler - Authoritarians Versus Reality

November 21, 2011

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 and Polarization in American Politics.

In it, they describes this…

Tom Flynn - The Trouble With Christmas

November 14, 2011

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”? Christians complain that the holiday has become secularized—so should Secular Humanists just say “Thanks!”…

Bill Nye - In Praise of Reason (and Skepticism)

November 07, 2011

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 “In Praise of Reason” award.

The next day, Point of…

Seth Shostak - ET, Call SETI

October 31, 2011

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 well known as one of the hosts of the popular radio show Big Picture Science. (Formerly…

Jonathan Moreno - Our New Biopolitics

October 24, 2011

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 personhood, identity, ethics, are at play. The human future may be very…

Richard C. Johnson - Religion: The Failed Narrative

October 17, 2011

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 long been a kind of participant observer of religion and learned…

Shawn Otto - The Assault on Science

October 10, 2011

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 crazy.”

So it’s very timely that Shawn Lawrence…

CSICon - The Conference Dedicated To Scientific Inquiry And Critical Thinking

October 05, 2011

Later this month—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 might be the first skeptics’ conference ever held, a CSICOP (CSI) conference back in 1983.

This episode of…

Indre Viskontas - The Miracle Detective

October 03, 2011

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 against “believer” Randall Sullivan, author of the book The Miracle Detective. The show…

Austin Dacey - Rock the Theocrats

September 26, 2011

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 from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Iran.

Lee Salisbury - From Faith to Critical Thinking

September 19, 2011

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 themselves to entertain doubts as to the worthiness of their enterprise, but…

Rachel Tabachnick - Exposing Dominionism

September 12, 2011

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 Reformation, which helped organize a recent prayer rally for Texas governor…

John Dodes - The Tooth About Dentistry

September 05, 2011

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 Health Fraud, and a member of the Health Fraud Advisory Council. He…

Scott Atran - Violent Extremism and Sacred Values

August 29, 2011

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 extremism. There has also been considerable scientific study…

Dan Barker - U-Turn on the Road to Damascus

August 22, 2011

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 happening to more…

Did Reason Evolve For Arguing? - Hugo Mercier

August 15, 2011

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 rhetoric and complex mathematical calculations?

According to…

Donald Prothero - The Psychology of Cryptozoologists

August 08, 2011

Our guest this week is Donald Prothero, Professor of Geology at Occidental College, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology. Don is a distinguished academic; a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the Paleontological Society, he has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and…

David Frum and Kenneth Silber - Conservatives and Science

August 01, 2011

When it comes to the U.S. political right, it often appears that the opposition to science-and reason in general-is everywhere. From climate change denial to anti-evolutionism; from debt ceiling denial to, that’s right, incandescent light bulb availability denial; conservatives today have plenty to answer for.

Fortunately,…

Jaco Gericke - Confessions of a Died-Again Christian

July 25, 2011

A couple of student hecklers once reproved Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus: “Faustus! Plumb the depths of that which you profess!” Many evangelical Christians have buckled down to study apologetics or biblical studies in just that spirit—and wound up not professing any more! Their stories are often eerily similar yet always…

Rebecca Watson - Skepticism and Feminism

July 18, 2011

Our guest this week is Rebecca Watson, the founder of the Skepchick blog. Recently, she’s been at the center of an explosive controversy over the relationship between feminism and the skeptic/atheist movement.

It all started when Watson made a relatively casual remark in a video to her…

Richard Wiseman - Paranormality

July 11, 2011

Richard Wiseman is Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in England. Richard began his career as a professional magician before pursuing a career in psychology, and developing a reputation for research into luck, deception, the paranormal, humor, and the science of self-help.

Matthew Chapman - The Ledge

July 04, 2011

It’s not often that Hollywood takes up the subject of atheism directly—much less sympathetically.

Even rarer is finding this in a film starring major names like Liv Tyler and Terence Howard.

But that’s what Matthew Chapman has achieved in The Ledge—which also stars Patrick Wilson…

D.M. Murdock - The Christ Conspiracy

June 27, 2011

D.M. Murdock, who also goes by the pen name “Acharya S.,” is the author of The Christ Conspiracy, the most controversial of modern treatments of the Christ Myth theory. She has had to field flack from both apologists and atheists. 

An independent scholar of comparative religion and…

Rick Perlstein - Is There a Republican War on History?

June 20, 2011

Recently, we’ve seen a spate of news stories—and news incidents—involving conservative politicians and activists getting details wrong about American history.

There was, most infamously, Sarah Palin saying that Paul Revere, on his famous midnight ride, rang bells and “warned the British.”

There was Michele…

Jean Mercer - Child Development: Myths and Misunderstandings

June 13, 2011

This week’s guest is Jean Mercer, a Developmental Psychologist and Professor Emerita at Richard Stockton College. She is the author of the new book Child Development: Myths and Misunderstandings.

Jean writes the blog “Child Myths”, and along with Penn Jillette and Richard Dawkins, she is a co-author…

Michael Shermer - The Believing Brain

June 06, 2011

Our guest this week is Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic magazine and head of the Skeptics Society, and a longtime commentator on issues relating to science, critical thinking, and the paranormal.

Chris asked Michael on to discuss his new book, which is entitled The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods…

Scott Lohman - Star Trek and Humanism

May 30, 2011

Do you often wish you lived in the far future? Or on a different planet? Do your friends and family think you belong there, too?

Cheer up! This may not be just because you’re a science fiction nerd! It may be because you espouse a worldview that is in the…

Jonathan Kay - Among the Truthers

May 23, 2011

From Birthers, to Truthers, to Deathers—to occasional Liars—America seems to be crawling right now with fevered conspiracy mongers. What’s up with that?

To find out, Point of Inquiry turns in this episode to Jonathan Kay, author of the new book Among the Truthers: A Journey into America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground. In…

Robert Sheaffer - It’s a Conspiracy

May 16, 2011

Robert Sheaffer is a Committee for Skeptical Inquiry fellow and author of the “Psychic Vibrations” column for Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He writes the “Bad UFO” blog and “The Debunker’s Domain” website, and is the author of The UFO Verdict: Examining the Evidence, UFO Sightings - The Evidence and The Making…

Chris Mooney - Accommodationism and the Psychology of Belief

May 09, 2011

Special Guest Host: Ronald A. Lindsay 

In this special episode, Chris Mooney changes places and becomes the interviewee—and then finds himself facing some probing questions from CFI president and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay. This frank interview is all substance and no fluff as Mooney is asked to defend accommodationism and his…

Bo Bennett - Christian Nontheism

May 02, 2011

Robert “Bo” Bennett wears many hats (author, motivational speaker, black belt Karate master, businessman, etc.) but manages not to have a swelled head to accommodate them!

His latest book is called The Concept: Introduction to Christian Nontheism, an accessible and engaging presentation of the case for maintaining one’s Christian identity…

George Lakoff - Enlightenments, Old and New

April 25, 2011

George Lakoff is a cognitive linguist at the University of California at Berkeley. But unlike many of his scientific peers, he’s known as much for his work on politics as for his research.

Lakoff the famed author of many books on why the left and right disagree about politics, including…

Josh Rosenau - The Evolution Revolution

April 18, 2011

Our guest this week is Josh Rosenau, the Programs and Policy Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), and writer of the blog “Thoughts from Kansas” at ScienceBlogs.

Josh has pursued a doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas, studying the ways ecological competition shapes the ecological niche and…

Nuclear Risk and Reason - David Brenner and David Ropeik

April 11, 2011

When the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan last month, it left behind not only mass destruction, but also a nuclear crisis that was covered 24-7 by the international media. 

Since then, we’ve been embroiled in a huge debate about nuclear policy—should there be a “Nuclear Renaissance” in the United States,…

August Berkshire - Minnesota Atheist

April 04, 2011

One of the outstanding leaders of organized atheism in our day is a man named August Berkshire. He is a non-believer of broad sympathies, having served as an officer and/or board member of organizations as diverse as Minnesota Atheists, Atheist Alliance International, Humanists of Minnesota, Freedom from Religion Foundation, and…

Lawrence Krauss - Quantum Man

March 28, 2011

Physicist Lawrence Krauss has written numerous popular books about science, including the bestselling The Physics of Star Trek.

But now he’s tried something different—penning a scientific biography of the famed Nobel Prize winning physicist (and infamous bon vivant) Richard Feynman.

The resulting book, Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science, is a…

Cheryl Russell - Society, Statistics and Skepticism

March 21, 2011

My guest this week is Cheryl Russell, a recognized authority on statistics and demographics.

Cheryl is the editorial director of New Strategist Publications and the former editor-in-chief of American Demographics magazine. She is the author of the “Demo Memo” blog and the books The Master Trend, 100 Predictions for the Baby…

Spirituality: Friend or Foe? - Adam Frank and Tom Flynn

March 14, 2011

Recently, it has come to light that many scientists—scientists who don’t believe in God—nevertheless claim to be “spiritual but not religious.” Some in the secular movement have responded favorably to this new trend-one unfolding against the backdrop of an increasingly secular America, and a millennial generation that is also discarding…

Frank Zindler - The Christ Myth

March 07, 2011

One of the most effective (not to mention hilarious) speakers for atheism and secular humanism today is Frank Zindler, author, linguist, translator, Bible scholar, and scientist—truly a Renaissance Man.

He is an advocate as well for the much-despised but increasingly hard to ignore Christ Myth hypothesis, which he has ably…

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Communicating Science

February 28, 2011

Our guest this week needs little introduction—he may be our most famous public communicator of science.

He’s Neil DeGrasse Tyson, renowned American astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, and the host of PBS’s NOVA ScienceNow, which just completed a new…

Michael Cicchini - Myths, Misconceptions, and the Law

February 21, 2011

Michael Cicchini is a criminal defense attorney and a skeptic.

Through extensive research and writing in the field of criminal law he has advocated for defendants’ rights. Super Lawyers and Milwaukee Magazine have named him among “The Top Young Lawyers” for four consecutive years.

Michael is the author of the book But…

Dan Kahan - The American Culture War of Fact

February 14, 2011

Why do Americans claim to love science, but then selectively reject its findings when they’re inconvenient? And why do some cultural groups reject certain types of scientific findings (about, say, harm to the environment), whereas others reject others?

Yale law professor Dan Kahan is doing some of the most cutting edge…

Don Webb - Devil’s Advocate

February 07, 2011

The nineties witnessed an outbreak of “Satanic Panic,” with psychologists dredging up false memories of “Satanic ritual abuse” which landed innocent parents in jail and banked the fires of hysteria. It seemed the Salem Witch Trials had returned! But what is Satanism? Are there actually murderous, nihilistic cults sacrificing human…

Art Caplan - Bioethics Comes of Age

January 28, 2011

Our guest this week is Arthur Caplan, sometimes called the country’s “most quoted bioethicist” and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. In this wide ranging episode, Caplan discusses not only the latest issues and problems in his field, but also how those issues have changed…

Joe Nickell - The Other Side

January 21, 2011

Joe Nickell is one of the world’s most prominent skeptical investigators of the paranormal. He has researched numerous historical, paranormal, and forensic mysteries, myths and hoaxes, including hauntings, crop circles, UFOs, psychic claims, the Shroud of Turin, and the purported diary of Jack the Ripper.

Joe is a Senior Research Fellow…

The Irrationality Vaccine - Seth Mnookin

January 14, 2011

Recently the British Medical Journal dealt yet another blow to 1998 scientific study that first terrified the public about the possibility that vaccines might cause autism. The paper, the Journal alleged, was nothing less than “fraudulent.”

Amazingly, however, no one expects anti-vaccine advocates to retract, change their minds, or cease…

Hector Avalos - The End of Biblical Studies

January 07, 2011

Robert Price interviews fellow Bible Geek and secular Bible scholar Hector Avalos on a wide range of topics, from the increasingly devotional character of the Society of Biblical Literature to law enforcement in the Bible and whether Ezekiel was seeing a flying saucer.

Did Abraham exist? How about Moses? David?…

Barry Kosmin - One Nation, Losing God

December 31, 2010

By now you’ve probably heard the finding-the United States is growing less godly. More precisely, more and more Americans in surveys report that they lack a religious identity.

These are the so-called “nones,” and they already comprise 15 percent of the total population. But there are estimates that their numbers will…

Reed Esau - SkeptiCamp: The Unconference

December 24, 2010

Reed Esau is a skeptical activist and one of the founders of SkeptiCamp. Also known as Open Events, these are informal, community-organized conference where speakers tackle issues regarding science and skepticism. SkeptiCamp encourages participation as well as observation.

A software architect by trade, Reed is author of the blog “An Illustrative…

Why Facts Fail - Brendan Nyhan

December 17, 2010

Ever been in an argument with someone and felt massively frustrated, because nothing you can say seems to change the person’s mind?

Maybe that’s what you should expect to happen. Maybe you should get used to it.

According to University of Michigan political scientist Brendan Nyhan, that’s how our minds work-and it’s…

Roger Nygard - The Nature of Existence

December 10, 2010

Roger Nygard recently produced and directed a feature documentary called The Nature of Existence. In it, he asks some of the biggest of questions to “the widest cross-section of humanity possible.” Why do we exist? What is our purpose? What is truth? He asked these and many other substantial questions…

The Future of Atheism: Beyond the Question of God

December 03, 2010

Recently at Pomona College in California, three atheists—one of them a Point of Inquiry host—got together to debate the future of the movement.

And some sparks flew.

Topics raised included the rise of the so-called “nones” (those professing “no religion” in surveys), the lack of…

James Randi and D.J. Grothe - Amaz!ng Skepticism

November 26, 2010

This week is a special episode featuring interviews with two guests, James Randi and D.J. Grothe.

James Randi is a world-renowned magician and the modern-day Houdini of skepticism. He is the author of numerous books, including Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns and Other Delusions and the forthcoming A Magician in the Laboratory.…

John Abraham and Scott Mandia - Climate Science Strikes Back

November 19, 2010

For the community of scientists who study the Earth’s climate, these are bewildering times.

They’ve seen wave upon wave of political attacks. They’re getting accustomed to a public that grows more skeptical of their conclusions even as scientists grow more confident in them.

No wonder…

Ronald A. Lindsay - Observations on Ethics, Law, and CFI

November 12, 2010

How did his studies at Catholic Georgetown University set CFI President and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay on the primrose path to atheism? Does he now count himself a lawyer or a philosopher, neither, or both?

Point of Inquiry asks Ron about the basis for ethics for…

Massimo Pigliucci - Nonsense on Stilts

November 05, 2010

It’s a longstanding debate in the philosophy of science: Is “demarcation” possible? Can we really draw firm lines between science and pseudoscience?

Massimo Pigliucci thinks so. In his new book Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk, Pigliucci attempts to rescue the notion that there are claims we…

Warren Bonett - Down Under Reason

October 29, 2010

Warren Bonett is a skeptic, author and an independent bookseller. Warren wanted to become actively involved in critical thinking without joining an organization or becoming an –ism, so he opened “Embiggen Books”. This is a unique store specializing in skeptical and science titles… right in the middle of a…

Carl Zimmer - This is Your Brain on iPad

October 22, 2010

On the show this week, Point of Inquiry features one of our most distinguished science writers—Carl Zimmer. He’s the author of many acclaimed books, including Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, and now he’s taken on an experiment: Publishing his next book, Brain Cuttings, as an e-book, digital only.…

John Shook - The God Debates

October 15, 2010

Our guest is philosopher and author John Shook, discussing his experiences debating religious believers and whether such debates are a good idea.

Some say no, that such spectacles merely serve believers by making it look like atheists take them more seriously than they deserve. Others say yes,…

PZ Myers, Jennifer Michael Hecht, and Chris Mooney - New Atheism or Accommodation?

October 08, 2010

Recently at the 30th anniversary conference of the Council for Secular Humanism in Los Angeles, leading science blogger PZ Myers and Point of Inquiry host Chris Mooney appeared together on a panel to discuss the questions, “How should secular humanists respond to science and religion? If we champion science, must…

Steve Spangler - Hands-on Science

October 01, 2010

Steve Spangler is a science educator, inventor, and an Emmy Award winning TV personality. He is the author of Fizz Factor: 50 Amazing Experiments With Soda Pop, Secret Science: 25 Science Experiments Your Teacher Doesn’t Know About and his latest title Naked Eggs And Flying Potatoes.

Steve’s…

Jennifer Ouellette - Calculus, Las Vegas, and the Zombie Apocalypse

September 24, 2010

Ever wonder about the mathematical basis for battling a zombie infestation? Jennifer Ouellette has. In her new book The Calculus Diaries, the English major turned science journalist goes on an odyssey to relearn the branch of math that so intimidated her in high school.

Along the way,…

Jen Roth - Atheist Against Abortion

September 17, 2010

In this episode of Point of Inquiry, Robert Price interviews Jen Roth, co-founder of All Our Lives, a secular organization committed to advocating for women’s right to exercise freedom of conscience in making voluntary, nonviolent, sexual and reproductive decisions.

Jen is an atheist who seeks no grounds…

S. Jay Olshansky - Can Science Extend Human Life?

September 10, 2010

At a recent conference in Lake Tahoe, demographer S. Jay Olshansky presented a roomful of technologists with an exciting prospect. Through a concerted scientific attack on the problem of aging, he suggested, we might be able to extend human life by as much as 7 years on average.

Brian Brushwood - Scams, Swindles and Skepticism

September 03, 2010

Brian Brushwood began his career in magic “To get free drinks at bars and impress friends,” but ended up becoming a science communicator and skeptic.

The author of Cheats, Cons, Swindles & Tricks: 57 Ways to Scam a Free Drink and The Professional’s Guide to Fire Eating, Brian is a “Bizarre Magician”.…

Richard Wrangham - Rediscovering Fire

August 27, 2010

This is a show about evolution—but not, for once, about the evolution wars. Instead, it concerns one of the most intriguing ideas to emerge in quite some time about the evolution of humans.

In his much discussed book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, Harvard anthropologist…

Robert M. Price - Is the Bible Mein Kampf?

August 20, 2010

Robert Price being off for the week, today we present a lecture given by Dr. Price at the Center for Inquiry’s annual Student Leadership Conferece titled “Is the Bible Mein Kampf?”

In his talk, Price suggests the Bible has much to offer even the most secular and…

Alexander Zaitchik - Glenn Beck’s War on Reason

August 13, 2010

This week, the scope of Point of Inquiry expands to include politics and more particularly, the fount of misinformation that is Glenn Beck of Fox News. This TV and radio personality is ushering in a new reign of ignorance in our national discourse—and even has the gall to

Andrew Mayne - Magic, Mischief and Mayhem

August 06, 2010

Andrew Mayne is a magician, paranormal illusionist, inventor, TV producer, and skeptic.

One of the most creative and innovative minds in magic, Andrew has written and produced over 40 books and DVDs. Both creator and consultant, he has worked with a number of artists including David Blaine,…

Francesca Grifo - Science Under Obama

July 30, 2010

When President Obama was inaugurated in January of 2009, he pledged to “restore science to its rightful place” in the U.S. government. And true to his word, the president promptly staffed his cabinet with distinguished scientific leaders, liberated embryonic stem cell research from the Bush era restrictions, and released…

Tom Quinn - O Sweet Jesus

July 23, 2010

Tom Quinn has spent the past 15 years as a documentary TV writer and producer for Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic and others. He has traveled the world producing programs that explore and deconstruct urban legends, psychic claims, religious myths and conspiracy theories, and has worked with the…

Phil Plait - Death from the Skies

July 16, 2010

Our guest this week needs no introduction for those in the skeptical and secular world. After all, he has a frakkin’ asteroid named after him.

He’s Phil Plait—science blogger extraordinaire for Discover Blogs, where he authors “Bad Astronomy.” Recently, Plait joined Point of Inquiry for a wide…

Adam Savage - Skeptic (Confirmed)

July 09, 2010

Adam Savage is an artist, actor, educator, special effects designer and co-host of the Discovery Channel’s TV show Mythbusters.

Adam has a diverse background in animation and design, and for almost two decades he has concentrated on the special effects industry for film, theater and television. 

Robert Price & Chris Mooney - Must Atheists Also Be Liberals?

July 02, 2010

Recently in Amherst, New York, two of Point of Inquiry’s hosts sat down for a special in-studio episode of the show. One was a conservative (Robert Price), one a liberal (Chris Mooney)—and both were atheists.

The topic they tackled: Is there any necessary correlation between one’s disbelief in God and one’s…

Tom Flynn - In Like Flynn

June 25, 2010

Tom Flynn is Executive Director of The Council for Secular Humanism,
Editor of Free Inquiry magazine, Director of Inquiry Media
Productions, and Director of the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace
Museum.

A journalist, novelist, entertainer, and freethought historian, Flynn is the author of numerous…

Bill McKibben - Our Strange New Eaarth

June 18, 2010

Global warming, we’re often told, is an issue we must address for the sake of our grandchildren. We need to cut carbon because of our moral obligation to future generations.

But according to Bill McKibben, that’s a 1980s view. As McKibben writes in his new book Eaarth:…

Tim Farley - What’s the Harm?

June 11, 2010

Tim Farley is a computer software engineer, skeptic, and creator of the popular website What’s the Harm? His site answers this salient question with over 670,000 stories of people who have indeed been harmed, damaged, injured, or even killed by pseudoscience and the paranormal

What’s the Harm’s

Naomi Oreskes - Merchants of Doubt

June 04, 2010

This week’s guest is Naomi Oreskes, co-author with historian Eric Conway of the new book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.

Through extensive archival research, Oreskes and Conway have managed to connect the dots…

S.T. Joshi - Fright and Freethought

May 28, 2010

S. T. Joshi is a leading authority on H. P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, H. L. Mencken, and other writers, mostly in the realms of supernatural and fantasy fiction. He has edited corrected editions of the works of Lovecraft, several annotated editions of Bierce and Mencken, and has written such…

Michael Specter - The Menace of Denialism

May 21, 2010

This week, we learned that J. Craig Venter has at long last created a synthetic organism—a simple life form constructed, for the first time, by man. Let the controversy begin—and if New Yorker staff writer Michael Specter is correct, the denial of science will be riding hard alongside it.…

George Hrab - Soundtrack to Skepticism

May 14, 2010

George Hrab is a composer, professional musician, singer, songwriter, podcaster, and skeptic.

George is the Host and Producer of the Geologic Podcast, a popular weekly show about music, comedy, science, and skepticism. The drummer in the band Philadelphia Funk Authority, he is a successful multi-instrumentalist musician…

Elaine Howard Ecklund - How Religious Are Scientists?

May 07, 2010

It’s hard to think of an issue more contentious these days than the relationship between faith and science. If you have any doubt, just flip over to the science blogosphere: You’ll see the argument everywhere.

In the scholarly arena, meanwhile, the topic has been approached from a…

Lois Schadewald - The Schadewald Legacy: Nemesis of Pseudo-Science

April 30, 2010

Lois Schadewald's interest in both science and pseudoscience rubbed off on her from her brilliant brother Robert J. Schadewald, a prolific author and debater. When Bob died a decade ago he left behind a legacy of published essays and book chapters, as well as much unpublished material including a…

Deborah Blum - Murder and Chemistry in Jazz Age New York

April 23, 2010

For many of us, chemistry is something we remember with groans from high school. Periodic Table of the Elements—what a pain to memorize, and what was the point, anyway?

So how do you take a subject like chemistry and make it exciting, intriguing, and compelling?

Bob Carroll - Defining Skepticism

April 16, 2010

Dr. Robert Todd Carroll is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and author of The Skeptic's Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions. He is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Sacramento City College, where he taught Logic and Critical Reasoning, Critical Thinking about…

Eli Kintisch - Is Planet-Hacking Inevitable?

April 09, 2010

For two decades now, we’ve failed to seriously address climate change. So the planet just keeps warming—and it could get very bad. Picture major droughts, calving of gigantic ice sheets, increasingly dramatic sea level rise, and much more.

Against this backdrop, the idea of a technological fix…

Thomas J.J. Altizer - The Death of God

April 02, 2010

Thomas J.J. Altizer burst onto the religious scene in the 1960s with his book The Gospel of Christian Atheism. He was one of the "Death of God" theologians discussed in the famous TIME cover story, "Is God Dead?" Altzier holds an M.A. in theology and Ph.D. in History of…

Paul Kurtz - John Dewey and the Real Point of Inquiry

March 26, 2010

Paul Kurtz is founder and chair emeritus of the Center for Inquiry and founder of a number of other organizations. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, chairman of the…

Scott Lilienfeld - Real Self-Help

March 19, 2010

Dr. Scott Lilienfeld is Professor of Psychology at Emory University in Atlanta. Scott is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, a Consulting Editor for Skeptical Inquirer and the Founder and Editor of the CSI journal Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. He’s a regular contributor to Scientific…

Victor Stenger - Taking a Stand for Science and Reason

March 16, 2010

Victor Stenger is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Hawaii and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado. He is also founder of Colorado Citizens for Science. He’s held visiting faculty positions at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and at Oxford in the United…

Andrew Revkin - The Death of Science Writing, and the Future of Catastrophe

March 12, 2010

We live in a science centered age—a time of private spaceflight and personalized medicine, amid path-breaking advances in biotechnology and nanotechnology. And we face science centered risks: climate and energy crises, biological and nuclear terror threats, mega-disasters and global pandemics.

So you would think science journalism would…

Robert J. Miller - The Jesus Seminar

March 05, 2010

Robert J. Miller is Rosenberger Chair of Christian and Religious Studies at Juniata College in Pennsylvania.  A Fellow of the Jesus Seminar since 1986, he was Scholar-in-Residence at Westar Institute in 2001.  He is the of author numerous books, including Born Divine: The Births of Jesus and Other Sons…

Michael Mann - Unprecedented Attacks on Climate Research

February 26, 2010

For the scientists who study global warming, now is the winter of their despair.

In the news, it has been climate scandal after alleged climate scandal.  First came “ClimateGate,” then “GlacierGate,” “Amazon Gate,” and so on.  In public opinion polls, meanwhile, Americans’ acceptance of the science of…

Victor Stenger - The New Atheists

February 24, 2010

Victor Stenger is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Hawaii and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado.  He is also founder of Colorado Citizens for Science.  He's held visiting faculty positions at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and at Oxford in the United…

Ian Rowland – The Cold Hard Facts of Cold Reading

February 19, 2010

Ian Rowland is a Mentalist and Mind Reader living near London, UK.  The world’s foremost authority on cold reading, he is the author of the Full Facts Book of Cold Reading.  In this book, Rowland has defined and categorized the different types of psychic readings, and created a taxonomy…

Paul Offit - The Costs of Vaccine Denialism

February 12, 2010

Recently, there was another nail in the coffin for vaccine skeptics. The British medical journal The Lancet took the dramatic step of retracting a 1998 paper that lies at the root of modern vaccine denialism.  Authored by a doctor named Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues, it was heavily touted…

Banachek - Mentalism and Skepticism

November 13, 2009

Banachek is an American mentalist and skeptic. He has written numerous books and invented various magic and mentalism effects, and is often sought out by top entertainers such as David Blaine, Lance Burton, James Randi and Criss Angel. He has been the recipient of a number of awards and…

Frank Schaeffer - Crazy for God

November 06, 2009

Frank Schaeffer is New York Times best selling author whose books include three semi-biographical novels about life in a strict, fundamentalist household: Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma. His latest book is Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism).

In this conversation with…

The 13th Annual CFI Houdini Seance

October 30, 2009

Harry Houdini, the world-famous magician and debunker of mediums, earnestly explored the religion of spiritualism and communication with the dead after his beloved mother’s death in 1913.

In this episode for Halloween 2009, skeptics and former professional magicians Joe Nickell and D.J. Grothe discuss how Houdini's background in magic motivated…

Randy Olson - Don’t Be Such a Scientist

October 23, 2009

Randy Olson is a marine biologist and filmmaker who holds a PhD in biology from Harvard University. A graduate of the U.S.C. Cinema School in 1997, he wrote and directed the movies Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus, and Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy. His new book is…

Darrel Ray - The God Virus

October 16, 2009

Dr. Darrel W. Ray is author of three books, two on organizational psychology. He has been a psychologist for over 30 years. After practicing counseling and clinical psychology for 10 years, his focus shifted to organizational psychology and consulting. A longtime student of religion, his latest book is out…

Chris Mooney - Unscientific America

October 09, 2009

Chris Mooney is a 2009-2010 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science, Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum.

In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, Chris Mooney…

Russell Blackford - 50 Voices of Disbelief

October 02, 2009

Russell Blackford is an Australian writer, philosopher, and critic, and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Evolution and Technology. His new book, edited with Udo Schuklenk, is 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists.

In this interview with D.J. Grothe, Russell Blackford explains the need for 50 Voices of Disbelief.…

Ben Radford - Skepticism 2.0

September 25, 2009

Ben Radford is is one of the world's few science-based paranormal investigators, and has done first-hand research into psychics, ghosts and haunted houses, exorcisms, Bigfoot, lake monsters, UFO sightings, crop circles, and other topics. He is managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He is the author of the following: Media…

Greg Craven - What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

September 18, 2009

Greg Craven is a high school science teacher and climate change activist from Oregon. His new book is What's the Worst That Could Happen? A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate.

In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, Greg Craven discusses the youtube video on global warming…

J.D. Trout - The Science of the Good Society

September 11, 2009

J.D. Trout is a professor of philosophy at Loyola University Chicago, and an adjunct professor at the Parmly Sensory Sciences Institute. He writes on the nature of scientific and intellectual progress, as well as on the contribution that social science can make to human well-being. He is the author of…

J.D. Trout - The Empathy Gap

September 04, 2009

J.D. Trout is a professor of philosophy at Loyola University Chicago, and an adjunct professor at the Parmly Sensory Sciences Institute. He writes on the nature of scientific and intellectual progress, as well as on the contribution that social science can make to human well-being. He is the author of…

Jeff Sharlet - The Family

August 28, 2009

Jeff Sharlet is a contributing editor for Harper's and Rolling Stone, and a visiting research scholar at New York University's Center for Religion and Media, where he has taught journalism and religious studies. He is the coauther, with Peter Manseau, of Killing the Buddha, and editor of TheRevealer.org. His latest…

William Little - The Psychic Tourist

August 21, 2009

William Little is a freelance journalist based in London, England. He has written for the Saturday Telegraph magazine, Weekend Telegraph, the Guardian, The Times and the Financial Times. He has also worked for Arena, Esquire and Cosmopolitan, and contributed articles to the Independent, the Daily Express and the Big Issue,…

Paul Kurtz - A Kinder, Gentler Secularism

August 14, 2009

Paul Kurtz is founder and chair emeritus of the Center for Inquiry and founder of a number of other organizations. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, chairman of the…

Benjamin Wiker - The Darwin Myth

August 07, 2009

Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and is also a senior fellow with the Discovery Institute. His books include Answering the New Atheism and Ten Books That Screwed Up The World. His Newest is out now titled The Darwin Myth: The…

Ron Lindsay - International Blasphemy Day

July 31, 2009

Ronald A. Lindsay is a bioethicist, lawyer, and chief executive officer of the Center for Inquiry. For many years he practiced law in Washington, DC, and was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and American University, where he taught jurisprudence and philosophy courses. His new book is out now…

Mark Blumberg - Freaks of Nature

July 24, 2009

Mark S. Blumberg is Professor and Starch Faculty Fellow at the University of Iowa. His books include The Oxford Handbook of Developmental Behavioral Neuroscience, Body Heat: Temperature and Life on Earth, and Basic Instinct: The Genesis of Behavior. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, and President of the…

Zachary Shore - Blunder

July 17, 2009

Zachary Shore is Associate Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of European Studies, University of California, Berkeley. He previously served on the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State. He is the author of many books,…

James Randi - The Faith Healers

July 10, 2009

James “The Amazing” Randi is a world-renowned magician, skeptic and investigator of paranormal claims and is a central figure in the founding of the world-wide skeptical movement. Perhaps best known for the One Million Dollar Challenge, in which his educational foundation awards $1,000,000 to anyone who is able to show…

Ayaan Hirsi Ali - The Caged Virgin

July 03, 2009

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, was raised Muslim, and spent her childhood and young adulthood in Africa and Saudi Arabia. In 1992, Hirsi Ali came to the Netherlands as a refugee. She earned her M.A. in political science and worked for the Dutch Labor party. She has…

Tom Flynn - Secular Humanism versus . . . Atheism?

June 26, 2009

Tom Flynn is Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Editor of Free Inquiry magazine. A journalist, novelist, entertainer, and folklorist, Flynn is the author of numerous articles for Free Inquiry, many addressing church-state issues, as well as the best-selling The Trouble With Christmas, about which he…

Peter Singer - The Life You Can Save

June 19, 2009

Peter Singer has been called “the world’s most influential living philosopher,” by The New Yorker and Time Magazine listed him in “The Time 100,” their annual listing of the world’s 100 most influential people. He is DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and laureate professor at the Centre for…

Tom Clark - Scientific Naturalism and the Illusion of Free Will

June 12, 2009

Tom Clark is director of the non-profit Center for Naturalism and author of Encountering Naturalism: A Worldview and Its Uses. He writes on science, free will, consciousness, addiction and other topics, and maintains Naturalism.org, an extensive resource on worldview naturalism. He is also moderator for the monthly philosophy café at…

Ray Hyman - The Elusive Quarry

June 05, 2009

Ray Hyman is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Oregon and one of the leading figures of modern skepticism. He was a founding member of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP). He has been a consultant with the U.S. Department of Defense, helping investigate parapsychology for the…

Susan Sackett - The Secular Humanism of Star Trek

May 29, 2009

Susan Sackett began an association with Gene Roddenberry, creator of the television legend Star Trek, serving as his personal executive assistant for over 17 years until his death in October 1991. She also served as his production assistant on the first Star Trek film and worked closely with him on…

Michael Shermer - Science, Skepticism and Libertarianism

May 22, 2009

Michael Shermer is one of the most well-known skeptics in America, working for decades to advance the scientific outlook in society. He is a contributing editor and monthly columnist for Scientific American, and is the host of the Skeptics Distinguished Lecture Series at Caltech. Since his founding of the Skeptics…

Dale McGowan - Raising Freethinkers

May 15, 2009

Dale McGowan has edited and co-authored Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers, the first comprehensive resources for nonreligious parents. He writes the secular parenting blog The Meming of Life, teaches nonreligious parenting seminars across the United States, and serves as executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief, a 501(c)(3) humanist charitable…

David Koepsell - Who Owns You?

May 08, 2009

David Koepsell is an author, philosopher, and attorney whose recent research focuses on the nexus of science, technology, ethics, and public policy. He is Assistant Professor, Philosophy Section, Faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management at the Technology University of Delft, in The Netherlands, and Senior Fellow, 3TU Centre for Ethics…

Jeff Schweitzer - Beyond Cosmic Dice: Moral Life in a Random World

May 01, 2009

Dr. Jeffrey Schweitzer is an author, scientist and public speaker who has traveled widely speaking to varied groups about the application of the scientific worldview to public policy and ethical questions. He has published more than one hundred articles in an eclectic range of fields, including neurobiology, marine science, international…

Paul Kurtz - Science and the Limits of the New Skepticism

April 24, 2009

Paul Kurtz is founder and chair of the Center for Inquiry and a number of other organizations. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, chairman of the Committee for the Skeptical…

Bruce M. Hood - Supersense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable

April 17, 2009

Bruce M. Hood is chair of the Cognitive Development Center in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Bristol. He was a research fellow at Cambridge and has been a visiting scientist at MIT and professor at Harvard. Hood has received many awards for his work in child development…

Mary Roach - Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

April 10, 2009

Mary Roach is the author of Stiff: The curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. Her writing has appeared in Salon, Wired, National Geographic, New Scientist, and the New York Times Magazine. Her latest book is Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex.

In this…

Dacher Keltner - Born to Be Good

April 03, 2009

Dacher Keltner is professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, director of the Greater Good Science Center, and coeditor of Greater Good magazine. His research focuses on the prosocial emotions, such as love, sympathy and gratitude, and processes such as teasing and flirtation that enhance bonds. He has…

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

March 27, 2009

Austin Dacey serves as a respresentative to the United Nations for CFI, and is also on the editorial staff of Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry magazines. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times and USA Today. His new book is The Secular Conscience: Why…

Neil deGrasse Tyson - The Pluto Files

March 20, 2009

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History, director of the world-famous Hayden Planetarium, a monthly columnist for Natural History, and an award-winning author. Tyson is also the host of NOVA ScienceNOW and a frequent guest on The Daily Show and Jon Stewart, The…

Angie McQuaig - Camp Inquiry

March 13, 2009

Angie McQuaig is a distinguished educator whose PhD is in educational leadership. Dr. McQuaig has served for nineteen years in public education as a teacher and administrator both in the US and abroad. She is currently chief academic officer in a professional development company that trains teachers on exemplary pedagogy.…

Eric Maisel - The Atheist’s Way

March 06, 2009

Eric Maisel, PhD, is the author of more than thirty works of fiction and nonfiction. His nonfiction titles include Coaching the Artist Within, Fearless Creating, The Van Gogh Blues, The Creativity Book, Performance Anxiety, Ten Zen Seconds, A Writer’s San Francisco, and A Writer’s Paris. A columnist for Art…

Jerry A. Coyne - Why Evolution Is True

February 27, 2009

Jerry A. Coyne has been a professor at the University of Chicago in the department of ecology and evolution for twenty years. He specializes in evolutionary genetics and works predominantly on the origin of new species. He is a regular contributor to The New Republic, the Times Literary Supplement, and…

Norm Allen - Skepticism and Black History

February 20, 2009

Norm Allen is executive director of African Americans for Humanism, an educational organization primarily concerned with fostering critical thinking, ethical conduct, church-state separation, and skepticism toward untested claims to knowledge among African Americans. He is the editor of the ground-breaking book African-American Humanism: An Anthology, AAH Examiner, and Deputy Editor…

Ronald A. Lindsay - The Future of The Center for Inquiry

February 13, 2009

Ronald A. Lindsay is a bioethicist, lawyer, and chief executive officer and senior research fellow of the Center for Inquiry. For many years he practiced law in Washington, DC, and was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and American University, where he taught jurisprudence and philosophy courses. His new book…

David J Linden - The Accidental Mind

February 06, 2009

David J. Linden, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His laboratory has worked for many years on the cellular substrates of memory storage in the brain, among other topics. He has a longstanding interest in scientific communication and serves…

John W. Loftus - Why I Became an Atheist

January 30, 2009

John W. Loftus earned M.A. and M.Div. degrees in theology and philosophy from Lincoln Christian Seminary under the guidance of Dr. James D. Strauss. He then attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he studied under Dr. William Lane Craig and received a Th.M. degree in philosophy of religion. Before leaving…

Kendrick Frazier - The Skeptical Inquirer

January 23, 2009

Kendrick Frazier has been the editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine for over 30 years. He is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and the American Geophysical Union. In 2005, Frazier was made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for "distinguished contributions to…

Christopher Burns- Deadly Decisions

January 16, 2009

Christopher Burns is one of the country's leading minds on modern information management. He has been a news executive and consultant to government and the private sector for thirty years, advising clients on emerging information management technologies and the evolution of the information economy. His previous positions include vice president…

Ginger Campbell - Podcasting Neuroscience

January 09, 2009

Ginger Campbell, M.D., is an emergency physician whose long-standing interest in philosophy and science motivated her to begin podcasting in 2006. While her Brain Science Podcast focuses on neuroscience, her other show, Books and Ideas, often explores the intersection between science and religion. She is also the founder of sciencepodcasters.org,…

Simon Singh - Trick or Treatment

January 02, 2009

Simon Singh is an author focusing on science and mathematics for the general public. His books include Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem, The Code Book, and Big Bang. He has produced a number of documentaries for television on science topics, and is a…

Tom Flynn - Science Fiction and Atheism

December 26, 2008

Tom Flynn is the Editor of Free Inquiry magazine. A journalist, novelist, entertainer, and folklorist, Flynn is the author of numerous articles for Free Inquiry, many addressing church-state issues, as well as the best-selling The Trouble With Christmas, about which he has made hundreds of radio and TV appearances in…

Paul Kurtz - Forbidden Fruit

December 19, 2008

Paul Kurtz is the leading figure in the humanist and skeptical movements over the last four decades. He is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. As chair of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the Council…

Solomon Schimmel - Fundamentalism and the Fear of Truth

December 12, 2008

Solomon Schimmel is professor of Jewish education and psychology at Hebrew College. He is the author of a number of books, including The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian and Classical Reflections on Human Psychology, and numerous articles and book chapters on Jewish thought, psychology of religion and Jewish education.…

Solomon Schimmel - The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs.

December 08, 2008

Solomon Schimmel is professor of Jewish education and psychology at Hebrew College. He is the author of a number of books, including The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian and Classical Reflections on Human Psychology, and numerous articles and book chapters on Jewish thought, psychology of religion and Jewish education.…

Jennifer Michael Hecht - Doubt

November 28, 2008

Jennifer Michael Hecht is the author of award-winning books of philosophy, history, and poetry, including The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism and Anthropology; Doubt: A History; The Happiness Myth, and her book of poetry, Funny, which Publisher’s Weekly called one of the most original and entertaining books of…

James McGaha - Lights in the Sky

November 21, 2008

James McGaha is a retired USAF pilot, astronomer and director of the Grasslands Observatory. He held a TOP SECRET compartmented security clearance and was involved in numerous classified operations including operations in the so-called "Area 51." His current work includes astrometry and photometry of asteroids and supernovae. He has discovered…

Peter Singer - Vegetarianism and the Scientific Outlook

November 14, 2008

One of the most controversial and influential philosophers alive today, Peter Singer is DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and laureate professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, University of Melbourne. He writes a regular column for Free Inquiry magazine, and is the author of dozens…

Peter Singer - Ethics in an Age of Darwin

November 07, 2008

One of the most controversial and influential philosophers alive today, Peter Singer is DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and laureate professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, University of Melbourne. He writes a regular column for Free Inquiry magazine, and is the author of dozens…

The 12th Annual CFI Houdini Seance

October 31, 2008

Harry Houdini, the world-famous magician and skeptic, sincerely explored the religion of spiritualism and communication with the dead after his beloved mother’s death in 1913.

In this episode for Halloween 2008, Joe Nickell, the world’s leading paranormal investigator and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry’s senior research fellow, and D.J. Grothe…

Todd C. Riniolo - When Good Thinking Goes Bad

October 24, 2008

Todd C. Riniolo is an associate professor of psychology at Medaille College. He has written many peer-reviewed articles in the psychological literature.

In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, Todd Riniolo discusses his book When Good Thinking Goes Bad: How Your Brain Can Have a Mind of Its Own, exploring ways…

Edward Tabash - The U.S. Presidential Election and Secular Values Voters

October 17, 2008

Edward Tabash is a constitutional and civil rights lawyer in Beverly Hills, California. He has chaired the National Legal Committee of Americans United for Separation of Church and State since 1995, and has argued and won before the California Supreme Court. He also sits as a part-time judge for the…

Lawrence M. Krauss - The Fear of Physics

October 10, 2008

Lawrence M. Krauss is Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Director of the new Origins Initiative at Arizona State University. He is an internationally famous theoretical physicist who focuses on the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has…

Michael Lackey - Science, Postmodernism, and the Varieties of Black Humanism

October 03, 2008

Michael Lackey teaches courses in twentieth-century American and African American literature at the University of Minnesota, Morris. A recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, he has published articles in many journals, including Philosophy and Literature, Journal of the History of Ideas, and the Journal of Colonialism & Colonial History.…

Greg Long - The Making of Bigfoot

September 26, 2008

Greg Long is a professional writer, investigative journalist, and editor who lives in Washington state. He has been researching and writing about "mysteries" and unexplained phenomena of the Pacific Northwest for twenty-five years. His work has been featured on radio and television, including the Discovery Channel. His most recent book…

Justin Trottier - The Fight for Science and Reason on the Campuses

September 20, 2008

Justin Trottier is Executive Director of the Centre for Inquiry in Ontario, the first venue dedicated to secular humanists and freethinkers in Canada, and helps oversees CFI Communities in Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver. A former freethought campus activist, Justin co-hosts the student oriented Course of Reason podcast and supports over…

Andrew Fraknoi - Your Body’s Cosmic History

September 12, 2008

Andrew Fraknoi is the Chair of the Astronomy Program at Foothill College near San Francisco. In 2007, he was selected as Professor of the Year for the state of California by the Carnegie Endowment for Higher Education. For 14 years, Fraknoi served as the Executive Director of the Astronomical Society…

Barbara Oakley - Social Psychology, Genes and Human Evil

September 05, 2008

Barbara Oakley, PhD, has been dubbed a female Indiana Jones — her writing combines worldwide adventure with solid research expertise. Among other adventures, she has worked as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers in the Bering Sea, served as radio operator at the South Pole Station in Antarctica, and risen…

Ronald A. Lindsay - Future Bioethics

August 30, 2008

Ronald A. Lindsay is a bioethicist, lawyer, and chief executive officer and senior research fellow of the Center for Inquiry. He is also executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism. For many years he practiced law in Washington, DC, and was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and…

Rev. Michael Dowd - The Marriage of Science and Religion

August 22, 2008

The Reverend Michael Dowd, along with his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, have lived permanently on the road for years, sharing a "sacred view of evolution" with religious and secular audiences of all ages. His new book is Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion…

Rev. Michael Dowd: Thank God For Evolution

August 15, 2008

The Reverend Michael Dowd, along with his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, have lived permanently on the road for years, sharing a "sacred view of evolution" with religious and secular audiences of all ages. His new book is Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion…

Allan Mazur - Implausible Beliefs

August 08, 2008

Allan Mazur, a sociologist and an engineer, is professor of public affairs in the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Previously a member of the social science faculties of MIT and Stanford University, he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has published over 150…

Guy P. Harrison - 50 Reasons People Give For Believing In A God

August 01, 2008

Guy P. Harrison is a graduate of the University of South Florida with degrees in history and anthropology. He currently lives in the Cayman Islands, where he is a columnist and travel writer for a national newspaper. He has won several international awards for his writing and photography.

Lewis Wolpert - The Evolutionary Origins of Belief

July 25, 2008

Lewis Wolpert is Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine in the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology of University College, London, focusing his research on the mechanisms involved in the development of the embryo. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and the Royal Society of Literature.…

Joe Nickell - Humanistic Skepticism

July 18, 2008

The world’s leading paranormal investigator, Joe Nickell is a regular contributor to Skeptical Inquirer science magazine. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including Looking for a Miracle, Inquest on the Shroud of Turin, and most recently The Relics of the Christ.

In…

Maggie Jackson - Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age

July 11, 2008

Maggie Jackson is an award-winning author and journalist who writes the popular “Balancing Acts” column in the Boston Globe. Her work also has appeared in the New York Times and on National Public Radio, among other national publications. Her acclaimed first book, What’s Happening to Home? Balancing Work, Life…

Ben Radford - Paranormal Investigation

July 04, 2008

Ben Radford is is one of the world's few science-based paranormal investigators, and has done first-hand research into psychics, ghosts and haunted houses, exorcisms, Bigfoot, lake monsters, UFO sightings, crop circles, and other topics. He is managing editors of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, and editor-in-chief of the Spanish-language…

PZ Myers - Expelled from Expelled

June 27, 2008

P.Z. Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris and the author of Pharyngula, the most heavily-trafficked science blog online.

In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, P.Z. Myers details his expulsion from a screening of Expelled, Ben Stein's documentary which…

PZ Myers - Science and Atheism in the Blogosphere

June 20, 2008

P.Z. Myers PZ Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris and the author of Pharyngula, the most heavily-trafficked science blog online.

In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, P.Z. Myers explains the purpose and impact of his blog, and whether his priority…

Susan Jacoby - The Age of American Unreason

June 13, 2008

Susan Jacoby is the author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism. A prominent public intellectual, she frequently appears in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Free Inquiry. Her latest best selling book is The Age of American Unreason.

In this conversation with D.J. Grothe,…

Taner Edis - Science and Nonbelief

June 06, 2008

Taner Edis, born and raised in Turkey, is associate professor of physics at Truman State University and the author of The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science and Science and Nonbelief, among other publications. His latest book is An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion…

Robert M. Price - Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today’s Pop Mysticisms

May 30, 2008

Robert M. Price is professor of theology and scriptural studies at Coleman Theological Seminary and professor of Biblical Criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute. He’s a fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion and the Jesus Seminar. Dr. Price is the author of a number of…

Jamy Ian Swiss - Skepticism and the Art and Philosophy of Magic

May 23, 2008

Jamy Ian Swiss is universally considered one of the world’s top sleight of hand performers, famous to magicians for his subtlety, skill and depth of understanding of magic’s history. He has appeared on a number of television programs in the United States, Europe, and Japan, including on The Today…

Paul Kurtz - The Transnational Center for Inquiry

May 16, 2008

Paul Kurtz, considered by many the father of the secular humanist movement, is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. As chair of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the Council for Secular Humanism, and Prometheus Books, and…

Austin Dacey - Moral Values After Darwin

May 09, 2008

Austin Dacey serves as a respresentative to the United Nations for CFI, and is also on the editorial staff of Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry magazines. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times and USA Today. His new book is The Secular Conscience: Why…

Chris Hedges - I Don’t Believe in Atheists

May 02, 2008

Chris Hedges is a journalist and author who focuses on American and Middle Eastern politics and society. He is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He…

John Shook - Naturalism and the Scientific Outlook

April 25, 2008

John Shook is Vice President for Research and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry Transnational in Amherst, N.Y. He received his PhD in philosophy at the University at Buffalo and was a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University for six years. Among his current responsibilities are…

Michael Shermer - The Mind of The Market

April 18, 2008

Michael Shermer is the author of ten books, including the bestselling Why People Believe Weird Things and The Science of Good and Evil. An adjunct professor of economics at Claremont Graduate University, he is a columnist for Scientific American, the publisher of Skeptic magazine, and the founder and director…

Tom Flynn - Ingersoll: The Most Famous Person You’ve Never Heard Of

April 11, 2008

Tom Flynn is editor of Free Inquiry Magazine and director of the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum. He also directs traditional video operations at the Center for Inquiry. He is editor of The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief and author of three books: the science-fiction novels Galactic Rapture and Nothing Sacred

Marc Hauser - Moral Minds

April 04, 2008

Marc Hauser is an evolutionary psychologist and biologist. He is Harvard College Professor and Professor of Psychology, and Director of the Primate Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at Harvard University. He is the author of a number of books, including The Evolution of Communication, Wild Minds: What Animals Think, and Moral…

Sir Harold Kroto - Science Education and Freethinking

March 28, 2008

Sir Harold Kroto, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, is in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The Florida State University. He is a tireless science educator who gives lectures, presentations and workshops to groups of all ages with the aim of communicating his passion for science.…

Austin Dacey - The Secular Conscience

March 21, 2008

Austin Dacey serves as a respresentative to the United Nations for CFI, and is also on the editorial staff of Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry magazines. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times. His new book is The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in…

Norm Allen - African American Religiosity, Humanism, and Politics

March 14, 2008

Norm Allen is executive director of African Americans for Humanism, an educational organization primarily concerned with fostering critical thinking, ethical conduct, church-state separation, and skepticism toward untested claims to knowledge among African Americans.  He is the editor of the ground-breaking book African-American Humanism: An Anthology, AAH Examiner, and Deputy…

Robert M. Price - The Paperback Apocalypse

March 07, 2008

Robert M. Price is professor of theology and scriptural studies at Coleman Theological Seminary and professor of Biblical Criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute. He’s a fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion and the Jesus Seminar. Dr. Price is the author of a number…

Matthew C. Nisbet - Communicating about Science and Religion

February 29, 2008

Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Communication at American University. His research tracks scientific and environmental controversies, examining the interactions between experts, journalists, and various publics. In this area, Nisbet has published numerous peer-reviewed studies, has written for several leading popular outlets including the Washington…

Tom Flynn - The Science vs. Religion Warfare Thesis

February 22, 2008

Tom Flynn is editor of Free Inquiry Magazine and director of the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum. He also directs traditional video operations at the Center for Inquiry. He is editor of The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief and author of three books: the science-fiction novels Galactic Rapture and Nothing…

Lynne Kelly - The Skeptic’s Guide to the Paranormal

February 15, 2008

Lynne Kelly is a writer and science educator in Australia, and a founding member of Australian Skeptics. An expert on the paranormal who uses aspects of the magician's art to advance skepticism, she holds degrees in education and engineering and is the author over a dozen books, including The…

Tory Christman - Anti-Science Scientology?

February 08, 2008

Tory Christman is a former member of the Church of Scientology. She left the organization in 2000, after being a member for about 30 years and is now one of its most visible and high-profile critics, having appeared on CNN, NPR and in the LA Times, and many other…

Edward Tabash - Science, Secularism, and the 2008 Presidential Election

February 01, 2008

Edward Tabash is a constitutional and civil rights lawyer in Beverly Hills, California. Graduating magna cum laude from UCLA in 1973, he graduated from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles three years later and was admitted to the California Bar that same year. He has chaired the National Legal…

John Allen Paulos - Irreligion

January 25, 2008

John Allen Paulos is Professor of Mathematics at Temple University. He has been celebrated as a writer and speaker about the importance of mathematical literacy, although he is also drawn to other related subjects, such as the mathematical basis of humor. He is the author of Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy…

Colin McGinn - Secular Philosophy and Skepticism

January 18, 2008

Colin McGinn, educated at Oxford University, is the author of sixteen previous books, including The Making of a Philosopher. He has written for the London Review of Books, The New Republic, the New York Times Book Review, and other publications. He has taught…

Aubrey de Grey - Ending Aging

January 11, 2008

Aubrey de Grey, PhD, is a biomedical gerontologist and Chairman and Chief Science Officer of The Methuselah Foundation. His major research interests are the role and etiology of all forms of cellular and molecular damage in mammalian aging, and the design of interventions to reverse the age-related accumulation of…

Dr. Stephen Barrett - Watching Out for Quackery

January 04, 2008

Stephen Barrett, M.D. has achieved national renown as an author, editor, and consumer advocate. In addition to heading Quackwatch, he is vice-president of the National Council Against Health Fraud, a scientific advisor to the American Council on Science and Health, and a Fellow of the Center for Inquiry's Committee…

Lawrence Krauss - Seducing for Science

December 28, 2007

Lawrence M. Krauss is Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Prof of Astronomy, and Director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University. The author of seven popular books including international bestseller, The Physics of Star Trek, and the award winning, Atom,…

Paul Kurtz - Ethics for the Nonreligious

December 21, 2007

Paul Kurtz, considered by many the father of the secular humanist movement, is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. As chair of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the Council for Secular Humanism, and Prometheus Books,…

Student Freethought Leaders Speak Out

December 14, 2007

CFI supports a growing network of campus groups on about 200 campuses throughout North America and around the world. While this is a much smaller number than its “cultural competitors,” with groups like Campus Crusade for Christ having an annual operating budget of $380 million, Center for Inquiry’s campus…

Richard Dawkins - Science and the New Atheism

December 07, 2007

Richard Dawkins, considered one of the world’s most influential scientists, is the first holder of the Charles Simonyi professorship of the public understanding of science at Oxford University and the recipient of a number of awards for his writings and for his science, including the International Cosmos Prize, the…

Keith Stanovich - Robot’s Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin

November 30, 2007

Keith Stanovich holds the Canada Research Chair of Applied Cognitive Science at the Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology, University of Toronto. His research areas include the psychology of reasoning and rationality and the psychology of reading, which explores what happens in the brain and to the brain…

Richard Wiseman - Quirkology

November 23, 2007

Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, started his working life as a professional magician and currently holds Britain’s only Professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He frequently appears in the media, and has written over 60 academic articles and several books, including the best-selling…

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Communicating Science to the Public

November 16, 2007

Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of America’s leading spokespersons for science. The research areas he focuses on are star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. In addition to many scholarly publications, Dr Tyson is one of America’s most respected science…

Michael Behe - The Edge of Evolution

November 09, 2007

Michael J. Behe, a central figure in the Intelligent Design movement, is professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He is the author of Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution and most recently…

The 11th Annual CFI Houdini Seance

November 02, 2007

Harry Houdini, the world-famous magician and escape artist, earnestly explored the religion of spiritualism and communication with the dead after his beloved mother’s death in 1913, even as he later crusaded against those whom he believed were fraudulent mediums.
 
In this episode, recorded on Halloween, Joe…

Steven Pinker - The Stuff of Thought

October 26, 2007

Steven Pinker, a renowned cognitive neuroscientist, a research psychologist, and is Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. His research on cognition and language won the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences and two prizes from the American Psychological Association. He has also received several honorary doctorates…

Edward Tabash - Why There Really Is No God

October 19, 2007

Edward Tabash is a constitutional and civil rights lawyer in Beverly Hills, California. Graduating magna cum laude from UCLA in 1973, he graduated from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles three years later and was admitted to the California Bar that same year. He has chaired the National Legal…

Barbara Oakley - Evil Genes

October 15, 2007

Barbara Oakley, PhD, has been dubbed a female Indiana Jones — her writing combines worldwide adventure with solid research expertise. Among other adventures, she has worked as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers in the Bering Sea, served as radio operator at the South Pole Station in Antarctica, and…

Alan Dershowitz - Blasphemy

October 05, 2007

Alan Dershowitz, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, is one of the country's foremost appellate lawyers and a distinguished defender of civil liberties. More than a million people have heard him lecture around the world. His books include the New York Times bestsellers The Case…

Joe Nickell - The New Idolatry

September 28, 2007

The world’s leading paranormal investigator, Joe Nickell is a regular contributor to Skeptical Inquirer science magazine. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including Looking for a Miracle, Inquest on the Shroud of Turin, and most recently The Relics of the Christ.
 

Massimo Pigliucci - Making Sense of Evolution

September 21, 2007

Massimo Pigliucci is professor of Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and is well known as an outspoken critic of creationism and advocate of the public understanding and appreciation of science. A recipient of the Dobzhansky Prize from the Society for the…

Paul Kurtz - The New Atheism and Secular Humanism

September 14, 2007

Paul Kurtz, considered by many the father of the secular humanist movement, is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. As chair of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the Council for Secular Humanism, and Prometheus Books,…

Madeleine Van Hecke - Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

September 07, 2007

Madeleine Van Kecke is a licensed clinical psychologist and an adjunct faculty member at North College in Naperville, Illinois. She is a writer, and a lecturer and workshop leader for Open Arms Seminar. Her recent book is Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things.
 
In…

Dr. Francis Collins - The Language of God

August 31, 2007

Francis Collins is one of the world's leading scientists. He has been the longtime head of the Human Genome Project, the groundbreaking international effort to map and sequence all of the human DNA and then determine its functions. The Project is widely considered the most significant scientific undertaking of…

Garrett G. Fagan - Archaeological Fantasies

August 24, 2007

Garrett G. Fagan is Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies at Penn State University. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and McMaster University Canada. His main research interests lie in the field of Roman History, about which he’s published numerous scholarly articles. He has lectured widely…

Chris Mooney - Storm World

August 17, 2007

Chris Mooney is an acclaimed writer about subjects at the intersection of science and politics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New Scientist, Free Inquiry, Skeptical Inquirer, Slate, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, The LA Times, and The Boston Globe, and he has appeared widely in the media, on…

Peter H. Gilmore - Science and Satanism

August 10, 2007

Peter H. Gilmore is the High Priest of the Church of Satan. He has been interviewed on numerous television and radio programs dealing with the topic of Satanism, including spots on The History Channel, BBC, The Sci-Fi Channel, and Bob Larson's Christian radio show. In 1989, he and his…

Carol Tavris - Mistakes Were Made

August 03, 2007

Carol Tavris is a social psychologist, lecturer, and writer whose books include Anger and The Mismeasure of Woman. She has written on psychological topics for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Scientific American, Skeptical Inquiry, and many other publications. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association and…

Peter Irons - God on Trial

July 27, 2007

Peter Irons is professor emeritus of political science at the University of California, San Diego. A noted constitutional scholar, historian, and lawyer, he is the author of the bestselling May It Please the Court; The Battle for the Constitution; War Powers: How the Imperial Presidency Hijacked the Constitution; and…

Ophelia Benson - Why Truth Matters

July 20, 2007

Ophelia Benson is the joint-author (with Jeremy Stangroom) of Why Truth Matters and The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense, and Deputy Editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine. In addition to maintaining the popular website butterfliesandwheels.com, she writes a monthly column for The Philosophers’ Magazine Online.
 
In this conversation…

Philip Kitcher - Living with Darwin

July 13, 2007

Philip Kitcher is the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. An eminent philosopher, he is the author of many books on science, literature, and music, including Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism; The Lives to Come: The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities; and Science, Truth, and Democracy.…

Christopher Hitchens - God Is Not Great

July 06, 2007

Christopher Hitchens, one of the most celebrated social critics of our time, has been a columnist for Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, The Nation, Slate and Free Inquiry. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including God is Not Great (2007), A Long Short War: The Postponed…

Natalie Angier - The Canon

June 29, 2007

Natalie Anger is a Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist for the New York Times. Born in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York, she studied physics and English at Barnard College, where she graduated with high honors in 1978. From 1980 to 1984, Angier wrote about biology for…

Tom Clark - Encountering Naturalism

June 22, 2007

Tom Clark is founder and director of the Center For Naturalism, a non profit advocacy organization in the Boston area devoted to educating the public about naturalism, policy development, and community building. He is the editor of the popular online website, Naturalism.Org, which is among the web’s most comprehensive…

R. Joseph Hoffmann - The Jesus Project

June 15, 2007

Joe Hoffmann, formerly at Oxford, is director of Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER). He has appeared widely in the media and at venues across the United States speaking on Christian origins, the historical Jesus, the proper role of religion in society, and similar topics. He is…

Chris Wisnia - Dr. DeBunko

June 08, 2007

Chris Wisnia has been involved with the comics self-publishing for several years. The creator of the celebrated comic books Tabloia, and Doris Danger Seeks Where Giant Monsters Creep, he also recently began a comic book with a decidedly skeptical theme titled Dr. DeBunko, which features a character who investigates…

David Triggle - Science and the Public

June 01, 2007

David Triggle is distinguished professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo and president of the Center for Inquiry Institute. He is the author and editor of several books dealing with the autonomic nervous system and drug-receptor interactions, some two hundred and fifty research papers and some…

Jennifer Michael Hecht - The Happiness Myth

May 25, 2007

Jennifer Michael Hecht is the author of award-winning books of philosophy, history, and poetry. Her Doubt: A History (HarperCollins, 2003) demonstrates a long, strong history of religious doubt from the origins of written history to the present day, all over the world. Hecht’s The End of the Soul: Scientific…

David Koepsell - Why Secular Humanism?

May 18, 2007

David Koepsell is the Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism, North America’s leading organization for nonreligious people. An author, philosopher and an attorney, David’s work focuses mostly on the nexus of science, technology, ethics and public policy.
 
In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, David…

Joe Nickell - The Relics of the Christ

May 11, 2007

The world’s leading paranormal investigator, Joe Nickell is a regular contributor to Skeptical Inquiry science magazine. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including Inquest on the Shroud of Turin (1983, 1998) and most recently, The Relics of the Christ (2007).
 
In…

Hemant Mehta - I Sold My Soul on Ebay

May 04, 2007

Hemant Mehta is an honors graduate from the University of Illinois, and has been involved in secularist student activism for years. Early on, he attended one of CFI’s summer sessions on scholarship, becoming that year’s student volunteer president of CFI’s campus outreach program. He is now in graduate school…

Taner Edis - Science and Religion in Islam

April 27, 2007

Taner Edis, born and raised in Turkey, is associate professor of physics at Truman State University and the author of The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science and Science and Non-belief, among other publications. His latest book is An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion…

Matthew C. Nisbet - Selling Science to the Public

April 20, 2007

Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Communication at American University. His research tracks scientific and environmental controversies, examining the interactions between experts, journalists, and various publics. In this area, Nisbet has published numerous peer-reviewed studies, with his work having been cited more than 100…

Phil Plait - The Bad Astronomer

April 12, 2007

Phil Plait works in the physics and astronomy department at Sonoma State University. In the early ’90’s, he started Badastronomy.com, which has become a popular website focused on educating the public about astronomy and space science, especially as regards common misconceptions and pseudoscientific astronomy claims. In recent years, he…

Joe Nickell - Debunking in Hollywood?

April 06, 2007

The world’s leading paranormal investigator, Joe Nickell is a regular contributor to Skeptical Inquiry science magazine. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including Inquest on the Shroud of Turin (1983, 1998) and most recently, The Relics of the Christ (2007).
 
In…

Nica Lalli - Nothing: Something to Believe In

March 30, 2007

Nica Lalli is an art educator working with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She also writes a weekly column in the Brooklyn Paper.
 
In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, Nica talks about her new and acclaimed memoir of growing up nonreligious, Nothing: Something to Believe In.…

Susan Haack - Defending Science—Within Reason

March 23, 2007

Susan Haack, formerly Fellow of New Hall, Cambridge, and then professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, is presently Cooper Senior Scholar in Arts and Sciences, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor of Law at the University of Miami. Her areas of interest include philosophy of logic and language,…

Tawfik Hamid - My Life as a Muslim Terrorist

March 16, 2007

Tawfik Hamid, an expert on Islamic terrorism, joined the Islamic group Muslim GI (al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya) in Egypt, while in medical school. His colleagues in the terror movement included Al Zawaherri, then a friend with whom Tawfik used to pray, and now the number 2 person of Al Qaeda. Eventually…

Robert M. Price - Jesus: The Failed Hypothesis

March 09, 2007

Robert M. Price is professor of theology and scriptural studies at Coleman Theological Seminary and professor of Biblical Criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute. He’s a fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion and the Jesus Seminar. Dr. Price is the author of a number…

Victor Stenger - God: The Failed Hypothesis

March 02, 2007

Victor Stenger is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Hawaii and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado. He is also founder and president of Colorado Citizens for Science. He’s held visiting faculty positions at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and at Oxford in…

Steven Pinker - Evolutionary Psychology and Human Nature

February 23, 2007

Steven Pinker, a renowned research psychologist, is Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. His research on cognition and language won the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences and two prizes from the American Psychological Association. He has also received several honorary doctorates and many awards for…

Barbara Forrest - The Wedge of Intelligent Design

February 16, 2007

Barbara Forrest is a philosopher and public intellectual at Southeastern Louisiana University. Widely praised for her compelling expert testimony in the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, she is a tireless defender of science education and the teaching of evolution in U.S. public schools. With Paul R.…

Peter Singer - The Way We Eat

February 09, 2007

Peter Singer has been called “the world’s most influential living philosopher,” by The New Yorker and Time Magazine listed him in “The Time 100,” their annual listing of the world’s 100 most influential people. One of the most controversial philosophers alive today, he is DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at…

Solomon Schimmel - Specious Proofs for Quranic Divinity

February 02, 2007

Solomon Schimmel is a psychologist of religion and Professor of Jewish Education and Psychology at Hebrew College. He has been a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar and Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University and has lectured widely throughout the world. An expert on the psychology of forgiveness and reconciliation among the…

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Death by Black Hole

January 25, 2007

Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of America’s leading spokespersons for science. The research areas he focuses on are star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. In addition to many scholarly publications, Dr Tyson is one of America’s most respected science…

John Shook - Scientific Naturalism and its Discontents

January 19, 2007

John Shook is Vice President for Research and Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry Transnational in Amherst, N.Y. He received his PhD in philosophy at the University at Buffalo and was a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University for six years. His research and writing focuses on…

Eugene Burger - Magic and Mystery

January 12, 2007

Eugene Burger, “universally recognized as perhaps the finest close-up magician in the world,” (Stagebill magazine) has written fifteen best-selling books for magicians, starred in a number of instructional videos, lectured widely to magicians’ groups in over a dozen countries, and his writings have been translated into several languages. His…

Ann Druyan - Carl Sagan and The Varieties of Scientific Experience

January 05, 2007

Ann Druyan is an author, public lecturer, and TV and movie writer and producer whose work focuses on the worldview of science. She is the widow of Carl Sagan, the great astronomer and public advocate of science and reason. With him, she co-wrote the Emmy Award Winning and the…

R. Joseph Hoffmann - The Scientific Study of Religion

December 29, 2006

Joe Hoffmann, formally at Oxford, is director of Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER). He has appeared widely in the media and at venues across the United States speaking on Christian origins, the historical Jesus, the proper role of religion in society, and similar topics. He is…

Tom Flynn - The Real War on Christmas

December 22, 2006

Tom Flynn is the Editor of Free Inquiry magazine. A journalist, novelist, entertainer, and folklorist, Flynn is the author of numerous articles for Free Inquiry, many addressing church-state issues, as well as the best-selling The Trouble With Christmas, about which he has made hundreds of radio and TV appearances…

Susan Blackmore - In Search of the Light

December 15, 2006

Sue Blackmore is a psychologist and writer whose research on consciousness, memes, and the paranormal has been published in over sixty academic papers, as well as book chapters, reviews and popular articles. She regularly writes in The Guardian, and often appears on radio and television in the United States…

Paul Kurtz - What is the Point of Inquiry

December 07, 2006

In this special episode of Point of Inquiry, Paul Kurtz joins D.J. Grothe for an overview of CFI’s mission and challenges. Kurtz is founder and chair of the Center for Inquiry and many other organizations and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He…

Barry Kosmin - The Scientific Study of Secularism

December 01, 2006

Barry Kosmin is a sociologist, and is research professor in public policy and law at Trinity College. He is co-author of One Nation Under God and author of Religion in a Free Market. Kosmin was also the Principal investigator of the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey, the groundbreaking study…

Norm Allen - Science, Humanism, and the Black Community

November 23, 2006

Norm Allen is executive director of African Americans for Humanism, an educational organization primarily concerned with fostering critical thinking, ethical conduct, church-state separation, and skepticism toward untested claims to knowledge among African Americans.  He is the editor of the ground-breaking book African-American Humanism: An Anthology, AAH Examiner, and Deputy…

Michelle Goldberg - Kingdom Coming

November 17, 2006

Michelle Goldberg is a freelance writer who has reported from all over the United States, as well as from Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Israel and the West Bank. In her writing, she focuses on the role of ideology in politics, and has reported extensively on both sides of America’s intensifying…

Richard Wiseman - Theatre of Science

November 10, 2006

Psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman started his working life as a professional magician and currently holds Britain’s only Professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He frequently appears in the media, and has written over 60 academic articles and several books, including the best-selling The…

Chris Mooney - Science, Politics, and the Midterm Election

November 03, 2006

Chris Mooney is an acclaimed writer about subjects at the intersection of science and politics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New Scientist, Free Inquiry, Skeptical Inquirer, Slate, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, The LA Times, and The Boston Globe, and he has appeared widely in the media, on…

The CFI 10th Annual Houdini Seance - Halloween 2006

October 31, 2006

Harry Houdini, the world-famous magician and escape artist, earnestly explored the religion of spiritualism and communication with the dead after his beloved mother’s death in 1913. He eventually crusaded vigorously against those whom he believed were fraudulent mediums, debunking and exposing those whom he argued preyed on the mourning…

Salman Rushdie - Secular Values, Human Rights and Islamism

October 27, 2006

Salman Rushdie is a British-Indian essayist and novelist widely acclaimed for his narrative style that blends myth and fantasy with real life. He has won many awards for his fiction, including the Booker Prize. He is best known for The Satanic Verses which provoked violent reaction from the Muslim…

Jill Tarter - Are We Alone?

October 20, 2006

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 serves as director of the Center for SETI Research. She served as Project Scientist for NASA’s SETI program, and has conducted a number of…

Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion

October 16, 2006

Richard Dawkins, considered one of the world’s most influential scientists, is the first holder of the Charles Simonyi professorship of the public understanding of science at Oxford University and the recipient of a number of awards for his writings and for his science, including the International Cosmos Prize, the…

Sam Harris - Letter to a Christian Nation

October 06, 2006

Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times best-seller The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason. He is a graduate in philosophy from Stanford University and has studied both Eastern and Western religious traditions, along with a variety of contemplative disciplines, for twenty…

Robert M. Price - The Reason Driven Life

September 29, 2006

Robert M. Price is professor of theology and scriptural studies at Coleman Theological Seminary and professor of Biblical Criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute. He’s a fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion and the Jesus Seminar. Dr. Price is the author of a number…

Michael Shermer - Why Darwin Matters

September 22, 2006

Michael Shermer is one of the most well-known skeptics in America. He is a contributing editor and monthly columnist for Scientific American, and is the host of the Skeptics Distinguished Lecture Series at Caltech. He is also the co-host and producer of the Fox Family TV show, Exploring the…

Ann Druyan - Science, Wonder, and Spirituality

September 15, 2006

Ann Druyan is a renowned author, lecturer, and television and motion picture writer/producer whose work mostly explores the implications of science and technology for our society. She is the widow of the great Carl Sagan with whom she was a co-writer of the Emmy and Peabody Award winning television…

Paul Kurtz - World War and World Religions

September 08, 2006

Paul Kurtz is founder and chair of the Center for Inquiry and a number of other organizations. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, chairman of the Committee for the…

Amy-Jill Levine - Who Was Jesus of Nazareth

September 01, 2006

Amy-Jill Levine is E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, where she also holds the position of Director of the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality. Her many books, articles, and essays address topics like Christian origins, Jewish-Christian relations,…

Joe Nickell - Ancient Astronauts and the Nazca Lines

August 25, 2006

Joe Nickell, Senior Research Fellow for CSICOP, is considered the world's leading paranormal investigator. A former professional stage magician and private investigator, he has used his varied background to investigate myths and mysteries, frauds, forgeries, and hoaxes. He has been called "the modern Sherlock Holmes," "the original ghost buster,"…

Neil deGrasse Tyson - The Sky Is Not the Limit

August 17, 2006

Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of America’s superstars of science, focuses his research on star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our own galaxy, the Milky Way.
 
In addition to dozens of scholarly publications, Dr. Tyson is one of America’s most eloquent and popular…

Eugene Straus, M.D. - Medical Marvels, Compassion, and Skepticism

August 11, 2006

Eugene Straus, M.D., is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine. He’s also served as a senior faculty member at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. In these positions, he directed…

Bill Cooke - Is Scientific Humanism Anti-Religious?

August 04, 2006

Bill Cooke, former international director for the Center for Inquiry, is a senior lecturer at the School of Visual Arts at University of Auckland at Manukau. He is a fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion and now serves as CFI’s Asia/Pacific coordinator. He is an…

Derek Araujo - A Decade of Campus Freethought Activism

July 28, 2006

Derek Araujo was one of the founders and the first student president of the Campus Freethought Alliance in 1996. At the time he was attending Harvard College where he also founded the Harvard Secular Society before graduating magna cum laude in 1999. Mr. Araujo has since received a J.D.,…

Barry Beyerstein - The Sins of Big Pharma

July 21, 2006

Barry Beyerstein is Professor of Psychology and a member of the Brain Behaviour Laboratory at Simon Fraser University. His research has involved many areas related to his primary scholarly interests: brain mechanisms of perception and consciousness and the effects of drugs on the brain and mind.  His work in…

Thomas Kida - Dont Believe Everything You Think

July 14, 2006

Thomas Kida is a professor in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the author of many articles on decision-making. For the last 25 years he has been researching and teaching how we form our beliefs and make decisions. His new book, Don’t…

Paul Kurtz - The Courage to Become

July 07, 2006

Paul Kurtz, considered the father of the secular humanist movement and a founder of the worldwide skeptic movement, is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. As chair of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the Council…

James Randi - Science, Magic, and Future of Skepticism

June 30, 2006

James “The Amazing” Randi is a world-renowned magician, skeptic and investigator of paranormal claims. He has been a central figure in the development of the world-wide skeptical movement. He’s perhaps most known for the One Million Dollar Challenge, in which his Foundation will award One Million Dollars to anyone…

Tom Flynn - The Rise of the Non-Religious

June 23, 2006

Tom Flynn is the Editor of Free Inquiry magazine. A journalist, novelist, entertainer, and folklorist, Flynn is the author of numerous articles for Free Inquiry magazine, many addressing church-state issues, as well as The Trouble With Christmas, and has made hundreds of radio and TV appearances in his role…

Jerry Coyne - The Case Against Intelligent Design

June 16, 2006

Jerry Coyne is a professor in the department of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, where he works on diverse areas of evolutionary genetics. The main focus of his laboratory is on the original problem raised by Darwin - the origin of species - and on understanding…

Cathleen Falsani - The God Factor

June 09, 2006

Cathleen Falsani is the religion reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, where she has covered spirituality and popular culture from Vatican City, Ireland, the White House, the Playboy Mansion and the dugout at Wrigley Field. In her first book, The God Factor, she recounts her discussions about God and morality…

Joe Nickell - Psychic Detectives

June 02, 2006

Joe Nickell, Senior Research Fellow for CSICOP, is considered the world’s leading paranormal investigator. A former professional stage magician and private investigator, he has used his varied background to investigate myths and mysteries, frauds, forgeries, and hoaxes. He has been called “the modern Sherlock Holmes,” “the original ghost buster,”…

R. Joseph Hoffmann - Examining The Da Vinci Code

May 26, 2006

Joe Hoffmann is Campbell Professor of Religion and Human Values at Wells College, New York and chair of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER) at the Center for Inquiry. He is formerly Professor of Civilization Studies at American University of Beirut and Senior Research Scholar of…

Matt Nisbet - Framing Science

May 19, 2006

Matt Nisbet is assistant professor in the School of Communication at American University. He focuses on the intersections between science, media, and politics, tracking how political strategists, scientists, and the news media selectively define science in ways that shape policy decisions, public opinion, and political culture. His writing has…

Paul Kurtz - Science and Planetary Ethics

May 11, 2006

Paul Kurtz, considered the father of the secular humanist movement and a founder of the worldwide skeptic movement, is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. As chair of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the Council…

Edward Tabash - True Meaning of Church/State Separation

May 04, 2006

Edward Tabash is a constitutional and civil rights lawyer in Beverly Hills, California. Graduating magna cum laude from UCLA in 1973, he graduated from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles three years later and was admitted to the California Bar that same year. He has chaired the National Legal…

Eugenie Scott - Evolution vs. Religious Belief?

April 28, 2006

Eugenie Scott, a physical anthropologist, has been the director of the National Center for Science Education for nearly 20 years. A former president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she is one of the nation’s leading…

Bill Nye - Changing The World With Science Education

April 21, 2006

Bill Nye is one of America’s leading popularizers of the scientific outlook. As a scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, he hosted Bill Nye The Science Guy, which earned 28 Emmys during its six year run. He is the author of a number of children’s books about science and…

Sam Harris - The Mortal Dangers of Religion

April 14, 2006

Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times bestseller The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. Mr. Harris is a graduate in philosophy from Stanford University and has studied both Eastern and Western religious traditions, along with a variety of contemplative disciplines, for…

Sam Harris - The End of Faith

April 07, 2006

Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times bestseller The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. Mr. Harris is a graduate in philosophy from Stanford University and has studied both Eastern and Western religious traditions, along with a variety of contemplative disciplines, for…

Herbert Hauptman - The Joy of Science

March 31, 2006

Herbert Hauptman is winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for pioneering a mathematical model for determining the molecular structures of crystallized materials. This work has proved to be of the greatest importance because it relates molecular structure to biological activity, and allows for a better understanding of life…

Jamy Ian Swiss - Psychics, Science, and Magic

March 24, 2006

Jamy Ian Swiss is universally considered one of the world’s top sleight of hand performers, famous to magicians for his subtlety, skill and depth of understanding of magic’s history. He has appeared on a number of television programs in the United States, Europe, and Japan, including on The Today…

Susan Jacoby - American Freethought Heritage

March 17, 2006

Susan Jacoby is the author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, now in its tenth hardcover printing and recently published in paperback. Freethinkers was hailed in the New York Times as an “ardent and insightful work” that “seeks to rescue a proud tradition from the indifference of posterity.”…

Paul Kurtz - Skepticism of the Third Kind

March 10, 2006

Paul Kurtz, considered the father of the secular humanist movement and a founder of the worldwide skeptic movement, is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. As chair of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the Council…

Daniel Dennett - Breaking the Spell

March 03, 2006

Daniel Dennett, the author of such groundbreaking and influential books as Consciousness Explained and Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life (which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize), is famous for being a philosophical gadfly, challenging unexamined orthodoxies in our society.…

Dr. Wallace Sampson - Science Meets Alternative Medicine

February 24, 2006

Dr. Wallace Sampson serves as editor of The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine and is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council Against Health Fraud. He has served as Chief of Medical Oncology at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and is clinical Professor Emeritus…

Joe Nickell - Aliens and Abductions

February 17, 2006

Joe Nickell, Senior Research Fellow for CSICOP, is considered the world’s leading paranormal investigator. A former professional stage magician and private investigator, he has used his varied background to investigate myths and mysteries, frauds, forgeries, and hoaxes. He has been called “the modern Sherlock Holmes,” “the original ghost buster,”…

Richard Dawkins - The Root of All Evil?

February 10, 2006

Richard Dawkins is professor of the public understanding of science at Oxford University. The recipient of a number of awards for his writing on science, including the Royal Society of Literature Award and the LA Times Literary Prize, he has also been awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Award…

Marci Hamilton - Religion and the Rule of Law

February 03, 2006

Marci Hamilton is a distinguished constitutional law professor at Cordozo School of Law and is the author of the critically acclaimed book God vs. The Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law. She has appeared widely in the media, on shows such as The O’Reilly Factor and The Daily…

Chris Mooney - The Republican War on Science

January 27, 2006

Chris Mooney, a Washington correspondent for SEED magazine, a senior correspondent for the American Prospect, and a columnist for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, focuses on issues at the intersection of science and politics in his reporting. He has contributed to a number of other publications over the last few years…

Eugenie Scott - The Dover Trial: Evolution vs. Intelligent Design

January 20, 2006

Eugenie Scott, a physical anthropologist, has been the director of the National Center for Science Education for nearly 20 years. A former president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she is one of the nation’s leading…

Max Maven - Magic and Skepticism

January 13, 2006

The great movie director Orson Welles wrote that Max Maven has “the most creative mind in magic.” The New York Times observed that his “category-defying mind-reading veers into conceptual art.” The Los Angeles Times stated that his “improvisational skill is enhanced by a charismatic animal magnetism.” He has hosted…

Ibn Warraq - Why I Am Not a Muslim

January 06, 2006

Ibn Warraq is the author of a number of books, including Why I Am Not A Muslim, considered among the most important critical looks at the negative aspects of Islam today. He is an outspoken critic of Islam who has written extensively on what he views as the oppressive…

Susan Jacoby - The History of American Secularism

December 30, 2005

Susan Jacoby is the author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, now in its tenth hardcover printing and recently published in paperback. Freethinkers was hailed in the New York Times as an “ardent and insightful work” that “seeks to rescue a proud tradition from the indifference of posterity.”…

Andrew Skolnick - The Dangers of Alternative Medicine

December 23, 2005

Andrew Skolnick, Executive Director of the Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health, is a nationally renowned science journalist who has won numerous awards and honors for his reporting in biology, medicine, and human rights. Among those honors are Amnesty International USA’s Spotlight on Media Award; World Hunger Year’s…

Joe Nickell - Skeptical Inquiry vs. Debunking

December 16, 2005

Dr. Joe Nickell, Senior Research Fellow for CSICOP, is considered world’s leading paranormal investigator. A former professional stage magician and private investigator, he taught at the University of Kentucky before joining CSICOP. Using his varied background, Nickell has become widely known as an investigator of myths and mysteries, frauds,…

Paul Kurtz - Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?

December 11, 2005

Paul Kurtz, considered by many the father of the secular humanist movement, is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. As chair of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the Council for Secular Humanism, and Prometheus Books,…