Episode Archive for August 2014

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 the cultural factors that influence its transmission. That’s why the World Health Organization has deployed med anthros to combat prior Ebloa outbreaks. They ask questions like: “How do people think a disease is spread?,” “What role do traditional healers play in this culture?,” and “Do people trust Western medicine?” The answers…

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 in Critical Thinking. 

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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…

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 “The Great War” begin, and what can reasonable people today learn from it?

Joining us this week is Christopher Capozzola, an MIT professor in political and legal history, war, and the military, and author of Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making…

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 that animals suffer from mental illness, but the brain systems that regulate anxiety, attachment, and arousal are evolutionarily ancient. If faulty neurochemistry compounded by stress can lead to mental illness in humans, why not in other animals? 

Today we look into the minds of our fellow animals. What…