Episode Archive for March 2014

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 Cities”, which attempts to put dollar figures on prostitution in Atlanta, Denver, San Diego, Seattle, and other major municipalities.

Point of Inquiry goes behind the headlines to interrogate the methodology and meaning of this three-year study, which uses a complex statistical model to extrapolate the size of…

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 Bible’s Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics—and How I learned to love Women(and Jesus) Anyway, among many others

Having recovered from beingraised in a fundamentalist Christian family, and having written multiple novels about growing up in that world, Schaeffer has a fascinating perspective on what he sees as…

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 by Gorski and one by skeptical activist Robert Blaskiewicz.

Gorski explains why Burzynski’s urine-derived antineoplaston therapy is worthless; how the doctor strong-armed the FDA into letting him peddle these expensive and potentially dangerous drugs for over 30 years; and how the treatment may have killed a little girl. Gorski also…

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 upcoming Women in Secularism III conference, has written five novels—including the recent 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction —as well as a number of short stories, essays, and biographical studies. As someone with a distinguished career teaching Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind, and as…

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 Tales of Prehistoric Life. Loxton has published two major essays on skeptical activism; “Where Do We Go From Here?” in 2007, dealing with the focus and direction of the new generation of skepticism, and which helped to inspire the SkeptiCamp community organized conferences on scientific skepticism; and “What Do I Do Next?” in 2009, providing…