Episode Archive for October 2014

Halloween Extra: 18th Annual Houdini Séance with Joe Nickell

October 31, 2014

Harry Houdini, the most famous illusionist the world has ever known, spent the later part of his career fascinated with spiritualists and mediums. This led him to become a dedicated skeptic and investigator.

In this special Halloween episode for 2014, Point of Inquiry’s new producer Nora Hurley chats with Joe Nickell, the world’s leading paranormal investigator, and a former professional magician himself. Together, they conduct the Center for Inquiry’s 18th Annual Houdini Séance. Listen in as Nickell follows traditional séance protocol to call upon the spirit of Houdini to communicate with us beyond the grave.…

Pro-Choice Without Apology, with Katha Pollitt

October 22, 2014

Given the divisive nature of the debates over abortion, the subject is understandably not the best table-talk material. But despite the fact that abortion is normal and often necessary (one in three women will have an abortion before menopause), even those who are staunchly pro-choice feel compelled to hedge their support by making sounds about how abortions are “horrible” and “unfortunate.” When both sides of the controversy associate abortions as immoral and shameful, much of the conversation ground is yielded to anti-abortion advocates.

This week on Point of Inquiry, columnist and activist Katha Pollitt discusses her new…

The Human Impact of Discovering Alien Life, with Astrobiologist Steven J. Dick

October 14, 2014

Our universe is made up of billions of galaxies. The cosmos is so mind-bogglingly vast, that it’s hard not to suppose that we aren’t alone, that life   must exist somewhere else besides our own planet. Last month, some of the world’s leading scientists gathered at an Astrobiology Symposium run by NASA and the Library of Congress to discuss where we stand in our search for extraterrestrial life.

This week on Point of Inquiry, Steven J. Dick, the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology, discusses the progress that has been made in the search…

The Theology of ISIS, with Dr. Adam Silverman

October 06, 2014

The rise of ISIS, the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has sparked debate about the role of religion — specifically Islam — in violent extremism. This week, Dr. Adam Silverman offers us a glimpse into the theology of ISIS, and tackles some difficult questions; What does ISIS believe and how do its religious beliefs shape its political choices? What about the notorious video-taped beheadings and reports of rape as weapons of war? How does ISIS want the United States to react, and how should we?

Dr. Silverman has just completed a four-year stint as Cultural Advisor…