Episode Archive for May 2016

Susan Jacoby on Conversions, Both Profound and Practical

May 31, 2016

In the literature about religious conversion, embracing a new faith is usually explained as being a profound and magical experience. A flash of light, a near death experience, an emotional new beginning; these are all common themes in religious conversion stories. But what about the less flashy stories of people who change their religious affiliation simply for reasons of practicality?

Point of Inquiry welcomes back bestselling, award-winning author Susan Jacoby to discus her new book, Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion, an exploration of the cultural, political and secular forces driving religious conversion in the western…

Hooked on a Stigma: Maia Szalavitz on Understanding Addiction

May 23, 2016

Maia Szalavitz is an author and award-winning journalist specializing in science, public policy, and addiction treatment. Most famous of her several books was her 2006 exposé, Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled–Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids. Her latest book is Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction.

As a recovering addict herself, Szalavitz knows about the stigma of addiction first hand. She spent much of her teen and young adult life addicted to drugs like heroin and cocaine, but now with over 20 years of sobriety under her belt she’s dedicated a…

An Unrecognizable Reformation: Shadi Hamid on Islamic Exceptionalism

May 17, 2016

This week, Josh Zepps sits down with commentator and writer Shadi Hamid. He’s a senior fellow in the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution, a contributing writer to The Atlantic, and his new book is Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam is Reshaping the World.

There is a heated debate about whether there is something intrinsically unique about the religion of Islam that has lead to destructive groups like Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS, or whether their existence has nothing to do with religion and are merely the…

Lies They Told My Mother: Dr. Amy Tuteur on the Moralization of Childbirth

May 09, 2016

Dr. Amy Tuteur is an obstetrician-gynecologist and writer, returning to Point of Inquiry to discuss her new book, Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting. Known from her popular blog as The Skeptical OB, she has appeared in several publications and news outlets over the years educating the public about the facts of birthing healthy babies, and more importantly correcting the misinformation surrounding birth and mothering, such as breast feeding, nipple confusion, attachment theory, and “birth warriors.”

Her book takes a closer look at the factual misconceptions surrounding childbirth, as well as the history behind…

Race Car Brains with Bicycle Brakes: Dr. Ned Hallowell on ADHD in a Distracting World

May 03, 2016

Dr. Ned Hallowell is a child and adult psychiatrist, a New York Times bestselling author, and among the world’s leading experts in the field of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He’s written numerous books about ADHD and modern distraction, including Driven to Distraction, Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder, Worry: Controlling it and Using it Wisely, and others. Dr. Hallowell points out that those with ADHD possess what he calls a “race car brain,” capable of brilliance and great creativity, but without an understanding of how to control and train minds with…