Episode Archive for May 2010

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 critical studies as The Weird Tale and The Modern Weird Tale. His award-winning biography, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, has already become a collector's item.

But critical, biographical, and editorial work on weird fiction is only one aspect of Joshi's multifaceted output. A prominent atheist, Joshi has published…

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.

In his recent book Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives, Specter charts how our resistance to vaccination and genetically modified foods, and our wild embrace of questionable health remedies, are the latest hallmarks of an all-too-trendy form of fuzzy thinking—one…

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 who has performed on-stage with Elton John, and given a performance in the White House for Bill Clinton.

For the past fifteen years he has also been a solo artist, releasing his music independently. George’s songs tackle science, the paranormal and pseudoscience, from the Occasional Songs for…

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 number of angles: by historians of science, for example, and philosophers. However, relatively little data from the social sciences has been available concerning what today’s scientists actually think about faith.

Today’s Point of Inquiry guest, sociologist Dr. Elaine Ecklund of Rice University, is changing that. Over the past…