Episode Archive for October 2012

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 also conducting an interview!

Our guests:

Jon Ronson (interviewed by Chris Mooney) is a journalist, filmmaker, radio personality and humorist-author of books you have heard of like The Men Who Stare at Goats and The Psychopath Test. You may have heard him on This American Life,…

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 which legends are made and broken. Any skeptic worth his or her salt, however, can’t help but marvel at the diversity and frequency of ritualistic behaviors on display amongst these world class athletes. What is it about baseball that cause intelligent, highly-motivated, elite athletes to refrain from washing their underwear,…

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, ScienceDebate got Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to answer 14 top science policy questions, leading to some revealing results. And with the election less than a month away—an election whose winner will guide science policy at a time when international research competitiveness, climate change, and other science based issues demand…

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 bestselling Warped Passages: Unraveling the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions, and more recently Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World, which is just out in paperback.

Between the hardback and paperback release of Knocking on Heaven’s Door, a subject much discussed…

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 for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life. And in it, Pigliucci lays out an approach that he calls “sci-phi.” It involves assessing the science of an issue—like, say, the biology of romance—and then also weighing an array of philosophical considerations, before figuring out…