Episode Archive for July 2014

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 on the subject of risk perception and communication, and author of Risk: A Practical Guide for Deciding Whats Really Safe and Whats Really Dangerous in the World Around You and How Risky Is It, Really?: Why Our Fears Don’t Always Match the Facts

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 Whales: A True StoryPoint of Inquiry welcomes the author, Joshua Horwitz. 

We discuss the history of the U.S. Navy’s use of high-intensity active sonar; the cover-up of sonar in the Bahamas; and the titanic struggle between the Navy and an unlikely team of conservationists: marine biologist and ex-Navy sonar man…

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 that our Austin Dacey episode was fitting to fill in during our week off.

Austin Dacey serves as a representative 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.…

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: A Philosophy Blog

Leiter and host Lindsay Beyerstein discuss what the Hobby Lobby decision means for women’s health, corporate personhood, and the separation of church and state. 

In 2013, Leiter headlined a daylong symposium with the Center for Inquiry (the organization that produces Point of Inquiry), and…

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 a young man and enrolled at the U.S. Naval Academy, earning a Bachelor of Science in Engineering

After spending years as a motivational speaker and talk show host he returns to his roots in supporting U.S. military men and women after their return home. Williams has put his…