Episode Archive for October 2016

Halloween Special: Joe Nickell on the Paranormal’s Origin Story

October 31, 2016

Joe Nickell is perhaps the world’s foremost investigator of the paranormal, as well as a magician and author, and he joins us for this special Halloween episode to discuss his recent feature article in Skeptical Inquirer, “Creators of The Paranormal.”

According to Nickell, the term “paranormal” refers to things that lie beyond the normal range of human experience and scientific explanation. Nickell’s paranormal investigations have covered everything from spirits and psychic phenomena to less spectral phenomena such as UFOs and cryptozoology. Questions about the paranormal have haunted humans since ancient times, but much of our modern conceptions…

Cats and the Domestication of Humans, with Abigail Tucker

October 24, 2016

The cat. King of the jungle, emperor of the internet, overlord of our homes? Cats are easily among the most adaptable mesopredator, able to survive and thrive everywhere from the deserts of Australia, to the Arctic tundra, to a cramped studio apartment.

Abigail Tucker is a contributing writer for Smithsonian and author of the new book, Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World. Tucker explains just how wild the beasts that live among us really are. Known for their independence and convenience, cats need little house training, if any.…

Trolling Unplugged: Benjamin Radford on the Creepy Clown Craze

October 17, 2016

Halloween is almost here, and Target stores are pulling clown masks from their shelves. After the creepy clown craze made its way through Europe, the circus has finally arrived in the US with sightings in at least 40 states, 10 of which have now resulted in actual arrests. With more reports filed every day, the clown scare that’s taking the nation by storm shows no signs of breaking. Where are all these clowns coming from and why are these once-lovable jesters suddenly so terrifying?

Point of Inquiry welcomes writer, author and skeptic Benjamin Radford to discuss his…

Godless Infidels: Leigh Eric Schmidt on Atheism in the 19th Century

October 10, 2016

Today the United States is the most secular and irreligious it has ever been. According to Pew Research, the percentage of Americans who identify as atheist, agnostic, or having no religion in particular is up to 23%, compared to the 16% it was in 2007. With a lack of religious affiliation becoming normalized, it’s hard to imagine what it was like for the nonreligious when God’s primacy was almost entirely unquestioned.

Point of Inquiry welcomes Leigh Eric Schmidt, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis and author of the new book, Village Atheists: How America’s…

Doomsday Dread: The End of Civilization, with Phil Torres

October 04, 2016

Phil Torres is an author, contributing writer for the Future of Life Institute, and an Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. His writing has been featured in numerous publications such as Time, Motherboard, Salon, Huffington Post, and our very own Free Inquiry. His book is The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us About the Apocalypse.

Since the beginning of civilization, people have worried about its collapse. Pockets of people across the world have long warned that the end is near, and as it turns out, their warnings of apocalypse might be…