Episode Archive for December 2016

Should Atheists Celebrate Christmas? Tom Flynn Debates Lindsay Beyerstein

December 27, 2016

Tom Flynn is Executive Director of Council for Secular Humanism (a program of the Center for Inquiry), as well as a novelist, journalist, and editor of Free Inquiry magazine. Outside of the freethought universe, however, Flynn may be best known as a professional Christmas opponent “the Anti-Claus,” and author of the book The Trouble with Christmas.

For decades, Flynn has argued against atheists taking part in the celebration of Christmas, saying it makes hypocrites of nonbelievers and validates Christians’ claims over the season. Point of Inquiry host Lindsay Beyerstein disagrees, and this week she and Flynn engage…

Amanda Marcotte on the Trump Transition and the Reshaping of America

December 21, 2016

There’s no question that Trump and his incoming administration have plans to take the country in a very different direction on a plethora of issues. To help us sort through what to expect, we welcome writer and political journalist, Amanda Marcotte. Marcotte currently blogs at The Raw Story and is a political contributor for Slate, Salon, and The Guardian.

With Republican majorities in the House and Senate, Marcotte says we can expect drastic changes on a multitude of issues, and in areas such as immigration and climate change, Trump will not even require congressional approval. Labor rights,…

Embargo for America: Andrew W. Cohen on Smuggling and the Rise of a Superpower

December 12, 2016

From the early isolationist policies of George Washington to Thomas Jefferson’s universal embargo on foreign trade, 19th century America had no plans to become an imperial power. How then does a nation with no navy and a commitment to not having a standing army become a global superpower?

Andrew W. Cohen is an author and U.S. history professor at Syracuse University. His new book is Contraband: Smuggling and the Birth of the American Century. Cohen argues that looking at early 19th century American trade policies, and the effort to police smuggling goods and contraband, gives us some…

Michael Berube: The Value and the Virtue of Raising a Child with Down Syndrome

December 05, 2016

Michael Berube is the Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University where he teaches American literature, disabilities studies, and cultural studies. His newest book is Life as Jamie Knows it: An Exceptional Child Grows Up. The book follows Berube’s son Jamie as he grows into adulthood, eagerly navigating the world as a young adult with Down syndrome.

Berube tackles the misconceptions about intellectual disability from the perspectives of both a scholar of disabilities and that of a father. He challenges the misconception that intellectual disability detracts from the value of a…