300 episodes

Point of Inquiry is the Center for Inquiry's flagship podcast, where the brightest minds of our time sound off on all the things you're not supposed to talk about at the dinner table: science, religion, and politics.

Guests have included Brian Greene, Susan Jacoby, Richard Dawkins, Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugenie Scott, Adam Savage, Bill Nye, and Francis Collins.

Point of Inquiry is produced at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y.

Point of Inquiry Center for Inquiry

    • Philosophy
    • 4.4, 39 Ratings

Point of Inquiry is the Center for Inquiry's flagship podcast, where the brightest minds of our time sound off on all the things you're not supposed to talk about at the dinner table: science, religion, and politics.

Guests have included Brian Greene, Susan Jacoby, Richard Dawkins, Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugenie Scott, Adam Savage, Bill Nye, and Francis Collins.

Point of Inquiry is produced at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y.

    The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe and Science-Based Medicine's Steven Novella

    The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe and Science-Based Medicine's Steven Novella

    In this episode of Point of Inquiry, cohost Leighann Lord talks with famous skeptic and Assistant Professor of Neurology, Steven Novella, MD.
    Novella is also the founder and current Executive Editor of Science-Based Medicine which explores issues and controversies between science and medicine and works to expose dangerous medical scams and practices. He is also the host of the popular weekly podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. Novella also has a series of insightful courses on critical thinking that he has published through Great Courses.
    In this week's interview, Lord and Novella speak about the ongoing battle to fight scientific ignorance especially during the current Covid-19 outbreak, how Novella's Science-Based Medicine has stepped up to counter vast amounts of misinformation about the disease, the relationship between doctors and patients when there's hard news to deliver, how we all have blind spots in our thinking that hinder our curiosity and skepticism, and the importance of not being too comfortable with information that confirm our biases.
    You can follow Leighann on twitter @LeighannLord.

    • 40 min
    Ian Harris on Comedy, Skeptical Audiences, and Atheism

    Ian Harris on Comedy, Skeptical Audiences, and Atheism

    In this episode of Point of Inquiry, cohost Leighann Lord talks with fellow comic Ian Harris.
    Besides being a comedian, Harris is a voice actor, writer, director, and MMA trainer. He is also an outspoken atheist and skeptic who confronts magical thinking and religion in his comedy. In 2019, Leighann Lord and Harris joined forces and performed their mainstage show at Dragon Con. That show, dubbed “The Science and Fiction Comedy Show,” blended nerdom (it's Drgaon Con after all!), atheism, skepticism, and science.
    In this engaging interview with Lord, Harris tells us about what it's like to perform skeptical comedy for audiences and lets us in on the type of audience that gives the best laughs.  Harris explains how he effectively uses his comedy to teach people skeptical and critical thinking.  He's seen certain topics, such as climate change, become politicized and divorced from science. It’s his hope to rectify that with his comedy. Lord and Harris also dive into the observation that even within the atheist community, many hold onto their own "religious" beliefs and not everyone in the community is a critical thinker or skeptic. They then discuss the resulting schism or gap that's been created.
    You can follow Leighann on twitter @LeighannLord.
    You can follow Ian on twitter @comediocre and check out his YouTube channel, IanHarrisComedian, where you can enjoy videos from his stand-up specials, "Critical & Thinking" and “ExtraOrdinary”, his Reason Rally performances, interviews, and more.

    • 38 min
    Mandisa Thomas on Black Nonbelievers and the Atheist Community

    Mandisa Thomas on Black Nonbelievers and the Atheist Community

    On this week's episode, Leighann Lord speaks with Mandisa Thomas, president of Black Nonbelievers. Black Nonbelievers connect with other Black folks and allies who have chosen to live without religion. They serve as a community for those who have been otherwise shunned by family and friends. From the Black Nonbelievers' website, "Instead of accepting dogma, we seek to determine truth and morality through reason and evidence."
    Leighann and Mandisa have a frank and honest discussion about their shared experience of what it's like to exist in the atheist community as women of color and how things they've seen and witnessed may be holding the atheist community back from growing. They also discuss the importance of critical thinking and introspection and how growing up as a New Yorker has helped Mandisa navigate a world as an atheist women of color running a national organization. You can follow what Mandisa and Black Nonbelievers are up to on twitter @mandy0904 and @BNonbelievers.
    You can follow Leighann on twitter @LeighannLord

    • 37 min
    Kurt Andersen, Fantastyland, and How Irrational Thought Worsened the Pandemic

    Kurt Andersen, Fantastyland, and How Irrational Thought Worsened the Pandemic

    Kurt Andersen is the author of the novels Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (2017), True Believers (2012), Heyday (2007), and Turn of the Century (1999). He's also written for film, television, and the stage and is the former host and co-creator of the Peabody Award winning Studio 360, a weekly radio show about arts and culture. He regularly appears as a commentator on MSNBC, CNN, PBS, and the BBC. He is also the former editor of New York Magazine and co-creator of Spy magazine.
    On this week's episode Andersen speaks with Point of Inquiry's new host, Leighann Lord, to discuss his book, Fantasyland and if the United State's "fantasyland" thinking helped create the current predicament the country finds itself dealing with. Andersen and Lord offer context on Fantasyland to better understand what happens when the departure from empirical reality-based thought plays out during a global pandemic. You can also watch Andersen's CSICon talk where he goes into riveting detail about Fantasyland and how he came to write it.

    • 40 min
    Recognizing Misinformation and Staying Safe from Coronavirusa

    Recognizing Misinformation and Staying Safe from Coronavirusa

    Coronavirus continues to infect more and more people around the world. As the number of infected grows so does the misinformation surrounding the virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. From fake and explicitly dangerous cures, like drinking bleach to folklorish myths and conspiracies on the origins of the virus, institutions like the CDC and the World Health Organization are doing what they can to not only battle the virus itself but also the overwhelming amount of misleading information on social media and the web.
    In this week's episode, Jim Underdown speaks with Ben Radford to debunk the most common myths and pieces of misinformation surrounding the coronavirus. How did it really begin? What can be done to prevent it? How has racism and xenophobia contributed to the spreading of various myths? Radford has also recently published an article on CFI where he goes into more detail on the virus's myths and conspiracies.
    Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and a Research Fellow with the non-profit educational organization the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has written thousands of articles on a wide variety of topics, including urban legends, the paranormal, critical thinking, and media literacy.

    • 36 min
    Professor Elizabeth Loftus on False Memories

    Professor Elizabeth Loftus on False Memories

    Can our memories be trusted if they are easily manipulated by suggestions? Where is the line between repressed memories that bubble up to the surface and false memories that never existed?
    In this week's episode, Jim Underdown speaks to Professor Elizabeth Loftus on what happens in the courtroom when a person's memory of events are a result of suggestion or coercion. Loftus recounts various legal cases she's been involved with where wrongful convictions resulted from false memories implanted in the mind of a witness by family members, prosecutors, or persons of authority. Work done by Harvard professor, Richard McNally has looked into the likelihood for someone to truly have a repressed or recovered memory in relation to past traumas.
    Loftus is a professor of psychology and law at the University of California, Irvine. She has given a TED talk on the manipulation of memories, has published numerous articles and books, and has served as an expert witness or consultant in hundreds of cases including the McMartin preschool molestation case and the trial of Oliver North.

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
39 Ratings

39 Ratings

Parsifal61 ,

standard has slipped

Sadly, this high point of rational thought and erudite speakers has slipped mightily since the departure of Josh Szeps. Now seems a miserabalist meeting place of climate catastrophism and right-on campus activism which is unable to see any virtue in arguments from the 'other side'

londo43 ,

Its about today and your world

Topical, current and now. Looks at the people and events you think you know about and clarifies them to your benefit. Do yourself a favour: learn.

Pbulldog ,

Great show

Look forward to new episode each week . Great guests.

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