Episode Archive for October 2015

Conjuring Rose: Joe Nickell’s Annual Houdini Séance (Halloween Extra)

October 31, 2015

Most people know Harry Houdini as the world famous magician and illusionist, but in addition to his life as a performer, Houdini was also known to have a deep fascination with the afterlife. So much so he spent the later part of his career investigating spiritualists and mediums. With the help of his undercover assistant Rose Mackenberg, he was able to investigate spiritual claims and assess if they were in fact actual paranormal occurrences or mere illusions, much like the ones he preformed as a magician.

In this special Halloween extra, Point of Inquiry’s producer Nora Hurley…

Sarah Posner: Trump, Carson, and the Religious Right in 2016

October 27, 2015

This week Josh Zepps chats about the 2016 Republican presidential primaries with journalist Sarah Posner, a senior correspondent for Religion Dispatches and the author of Gods Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters. She is an expert in the political machinations of the religious right in the United States.

The current GOP field has Seventh-day Adventist Ben Carson and the newly Bible-loving Donald Trump battling for the top spot in polls, despite their theological differences with the Evangelical base of the party. Posner explores what’s behind the appeal of these two unlikely front-runners, compares…

Taste the Science! - Serious Eats’ J. Kenji López-Alt

October 19, 2015

Myths and pseudoscience do not only apply to the realms of religion, alternative medicine, and the paranormal. One area of our lives in which science and a little myth-busting can do enormous good is…cooking!

This week Point of Inquiry welcomes Kenji Lopez-Alt, managing culinary director of the website Serious Eats. Kenji suggests we take the scientific methods we’ve learned in school and bring them into our kitchens in his new book The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. Chatting with host Lindsay Beyerstein, he shows how cooking is nothing more than a series of reactions between…

Putting Kids First: Sarah Levin and Ed Beck on Vaccine Laws

October 12, 2015

With misinformation about vaccines proliferating among certain groups in the U.S., diseases that had previously been thought eradicated are creeping back into American life. As far as the law is concerned, whether or not a parent chooses to put their own child at risk by denying them vaccinations remains, largely, their personal choice. But this hands-off attitude toward vaccinations, particularly among children, puts everyone else at risk.

Here to talk about the threat posed by the anti-vaccination movement, and what we can do to stop it, are Sarah Levin and Ed Beck. Sarah Levin is the Legislative…

The Mysteries of Parkinson’s, with Jon Palfreman

October 05, 2015

Brains, the means by which we scrutinize our world, are themselves inscrutable, and no more so than when things are going wrong. Just ask our guest this week, award winning medical journalist Jon Palfreman. After spending years of his life studying Parkinson’s in order to write the classic book, The Case of the Frozen Addicts, Palfreman was himself diagnosed with the very disease he built his career around understanding. Palfreman’s new book is called Brain Storms: The Race to Unlock the Mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease

As modern medicine allows our bodies to live longer with each new…