Episode Archive for September 2014

Austin Dacey - The Future of Blasphemy

September 29, 2014

Josh Zepps is off, and since this week is the 5th International Blasphemy Rights Day, we’re rebroadcasting this interview by Chris Mooney with Austin Dacey, CFI’s former UN representative and an expert on the subject of blasphemy laws.


This week, our guest is a return one: Austin Dacey. He’s a philosopher, a writer, a human rights activist,…

Mark Oppenheimer on Misogyny in the Freethought Community

September 22, 2014

This week Point of Inquiry welcomes journalist Mark Oppenheimer. Mark writes the Beliefs column for the New York Times, and is the author of the e-book The Zen Predator of The Upper East Side. He is an expert on how religious and philosophical communities deal—or refuse to deal—with allegations of abuse in their ranks. 

Mark joins host Lindsay Beyerstein to talk about a feature he wrote for BuzzFeed entitled “Will Misogyny Bring Down the Atheist Movement?”, a discussion (as he puts it, “from an outsiders’ perspective”) about sexism and sexual coercion in organized secularism and skepticism,…

Factory Farming and the Meat Racket: Christopher Leonard on our Irrational Meat Industry

September 17, 2014

It’s National Chicken Month! But rather than celebrating the consumption of fowl, Point of Inquiry is asking what exactly is going on in America’s meat industry? Is the way we consume meat at all rational? 

Joining us this week is Christopher Leonard, investigative journalist whose work has appeared in FortuneSlate, and The New York Times. He is a fellow with The New America Foundation, a nonpartisan public policy institute in Washington, DC., and the author of The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business.

Leonard and host Josh Zepps explore the morality of super-industrialized meat production, the iron grip…

Ask a Mortician: Caitlin Doughty on the Death Industry’s Dirty Secrets

September 08, 2014

Point of Inquiry welcomes Caitlin Doughty, creator of the cult classic web series Ask A Mortician, which gives unvarnished answers to questions about dead bodies and the death industry. Caitlin has tackled topics ranging from “What to say to a grieving person?” to “How could my titanium hip implant end up as part of a road sign in the Midwest?” 

Caitlin is the author of the new book Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: and Other Lessons from the Crematory, the story of her stint as a crematory operator in Los Angeles. She went on to…

Sam Harris: Seeking Transcendence Without Religion

September 02, 2014

It’s been ten years since the publication of Sam Harris’s book The End of Faith kicked off the cultural phenomenon of “new atheism,” bringing frank criticism of religion into mainstream conversation. In the decade since, Harris has emerged as something of a maverick among nonbelievers and progressives, frequently at the center of controversy with his opinions on Islam and extremism, science’s role in morality, and his embrace of a kind of “spiritualism” grounded in science.

It is this last item that is the subject of his latest book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, in which…