Episode Archive for April 2015

Peter Singer: Maximizing Morality with Reason

April 27, 2015

Peter Singer has revolutionized the way we think about morals and values. He’s lead the way in providing evidence for some of the toughest moral controversies such as animal rights, abortion, and wealth inequality. Singer’s newest book is entitled The Most Good You Can Do, and it’s an exploration of the philosophical movement known as effective altruism; the desire to make the world its best possible version using reason and evidence.

This week on Point of Inquiry, Singer discusses how opinion and fact are not mutually exclusive, and how effective altruism uses science-based evidence and critical thinking…

The Misinterpretations of the Supreme Court, with Ian Millhiser

April 20, 2015

Our guest this week says that the U.S. Supreme Court’s power to interpret the Constitution is so great that they can use it to justify nearly anything they please. Even the American founders who forged the Constitution often had differing ideas of how its words should be interpreted. But one thing they did not foresee was the Supreme Court having the final say over all constitutional interpretation. Ironically, the most unconstitutional practice that we have may be the Supreme Court’s absolute power to determine what is and is not considered constitutional.

This week Point of Inquiry’s Lindsay…

Bassem Youssef and Ahmed Ahmed: The Risk and Rewards of Satire

April 13, 2015

While Bassem Youssef’s satirical voice has made him widely known as the Egyptian Jon Stewart, merely five years ago Youssef was a heart surgeon broadcasting humorous political commentary on YouTube from his laundry room. His videos soon exploded in popularity, and by 2011 he had moved his satirical show to television. In 2012 Jon Stewart invited Youssef to join him on The Daily Show, and shortly thereafter in 2013 Time Magazine named Bassem Youssef one of the “100 most influential people in the world.” Unfortunately, some would like to see his influence muted, and the political climate in Egypt…

Phil Zuckerman: Those Normal, Upstanding Nonbelievers

April 06, 2015

Phil Zuckerman is a professor of sociology at Pitzer College, and among the world’s leading experts in the growing field of secular studies, with a deep understanding of how people’s lives are lived without religion. He’s the author of the books Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions, Society without God, and Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion.

There is a wide range of secular people, from hardcore atheists and secular humanists to those for whom religion is simply unimportant, and Zuckerman distinguishes between the vast majority of nonbelievers who live normal, upstanding lives,…