619 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

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.5 • 46 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.

    Interview with David Javerbaum, Daily Show Writer and host of Godcast Podcast

    Interview with David Javerbaum, Daily Show Writer and host of Godcast Podcast

    David Javerbaum is the guest on this week's episode of Point of Inquiry. David discusses his early writing career and his current gig as God.
    David discusses starting out with The Onion and what it was like working with David Letterman, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert. As former head writer and producer on the Daily Show, David gives his insights into what it was like working on the show and its cultural impact.
    David is also the mastermind behind the popular TheTweetOfGod Twitter account and host of the related podcast, Godcast. What began as the book, The Last Testament: A Memoir has since moved on to become a successful Broadway play and was the impetus behind creating the Twitter account. David goes into how it all started and what the journey has been like.

    • 34 min
    Behind The Mind of a Conspiracy Theorist

    Behind The Mind of a Conspiracy Theorist

    Have you wondered what it's like to get caught up in a conspiracy theory? QAnon, the 9/11 truth movement, lizard people who want to take over the world. What does it take for rational humans to believe such outstandingly irrational beliefs?
    In this week's episode, Leighann Lord speaks to Stephanie Kemmerer about her personal journey falling in and eventually coming out of being a conspiracy theorist. She began as a 9/11 Truther, believing that 9/11 was an inside job, and eventually came out of that movement as she discovered people she knew were personally affected by Sandy Hook. Kemmerer speaks about the psychology and mindset that led her and others down the rabbit hole, what she sees in QAnon believers, the huge role that social media and YouTube play in moving people into conspiracy theories, the dopamine hit when digging for the supposed truth, and how you can help others find their way out.
    Stephanie Kemmerer is a researcher and writer for the podcast, Even the Podcast Is Afraid and an occasional contributor for the Southern Oddities podcast. She is a contributing author to Skeptical Inquirer. You can reach her by email: kemperkitten@gmail.com or Twitter @mcpasteface

    • 41 min
    An Atheist and a Christian Walk Into a Bar

    An Atheist and a Christian Walk Into a Bar

    An Atheist and a Christian Walk Into a Bar | Overcoming Differences

    America is as polarized as it's been in decades as our citizenry draws lines in the sand over a variety of issues. Friends and family who hold different political or religious persuasions may find it hard to impossible to hold civil conversation together.

    One friendship hasn't suffered because of all this divisiveness. Jim speaks to Christian Pastor Joe Manno of the Revelation Church in Florida. Joe and Jim have been friends since they met on the set of Cagney and Lacey in the mid-80s. Their conversations touches on how they've stayed friends and how they believe others can look past differences; by making the problem simple and only taking people for people. Manno recounts to Underdown his many experiences that have solidified his faith in a higher power, how miraculously not a single person in Manno's congregation would have anything negative to say to an atheist, and the importance of looking past a person's beliefs to their experiences in order to understand them even when their beliefs counter your own humanity.

    • 39 min
    The Trouble with Christmas for Atheists with Tom Flynn

    The Trouble with Christmas for Atheists with Tom Flynn

    Christmas in 2020 will be unlike any other in recent history due to COVID 19. Nevertheless, Christians around the world will be finding ways to celebrate the birth of Christ.
    On this episode of Point of Inquiry, Jim speaks to Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry magazine and author of The Trouble With Christmas. Affectionately known as the Anti-Claus, Tom gives some insight to when Jesus may actually have been born, the origins of the Christmas holiday, how traditions have changed over the centuries, modern day customs surrounding the event, and the alleged "War on Christmas", real and imagined.
    Happy just another day everyone!

    We are proud to announce that this episode of Point of Inquiry was sponsored by the Wadsworth-Sheng Fund. Our friends, Spike Wadsworth and Sherry Sheng, are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to thought-provoking content that addresses the big questions in science, religion, politics, and culture. We are grateful for their support. If you would like to learn more about how to support Point of Inquiry or the work of its umbrella organization, the Center for Inquiry, please contact our Director of Development, Connie Skingel, at development@centerforinquiry.org.
     

    • 46 min
    Revisiting The Life Of Frank Sinatra – Living A Life Of Homelessness

    Revisiting The Life Of Frank Sinatra – Living A Life Of Homelessness

    In 1997 Jim produced and directed a short documentary called “A Day in the Life of Frank Sinatra” that was an exploration of what it was like to be a homeless man with a famous name. Twenty three years later, Frank Sinatra is recently off the streets, lives in a government-funded camper in Los Angeles, and is trying to live a normal life.
    In this episode, Jim sits down with Frank and asks him about being a cab driver, a one-time contestant on the “Gong Show”, about homelessness in Los Angeles for the last 28 years, the troubles and lasting damage addiction can cause, how Frank believes that no one is immune to turning to drugs, and his hopes for the future.
    This episode of Point of Inquiry does contain explicit language.

    • 31 min
    The Puritan Roger Williams, Church State Separation, and The Impact on Today

    The Puritan Roger Williams, Church State Separation, and The Impact on Today

    What does the Puritan founder of both the state of Rhode Island and the Baptist Church have to say about modern evangelicals?
     
    Roger Williams had certain ideas that didn't fit into 17th century England or its American colonies. Freedom of conscience, separation of church and crown, fair treatment of indigenous peoples, and supporting the rights of women were all a tough sell in the 1600s. But sell he did, and though Roger Williams is far from a household name in 2020, some of his ideas still reverberate through our country and our world.
     
    In this episode, Jim Underdown speaks to Roger Williams' 12th great-granddaughter, Becky Garrison, about her book, Roger Williams's Little Book of Virtues. They speak about and his legacy, dive into his beliefs and their context in the 1600s, and how much of Williams' legacy impacts us today.

    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
46 Ratings

46 Ratings

Cucumberry ,

Very interesting

Good interviews

very funny and clever pod ,

V liberal

Your way to liberal. Try and have more balance

ste_mo ,

Life Changing

Whilst I was "somewhat" informed on many of the topics tackled by the POI podcasts before I subscribed I can honestly say doing so has changed my life. I have spent the last year listening to every single one - from the D.J. years right through to Lindsay and Josh - on my commutes home from work. I have been educated, entertained and inspired on every leg of the journey. The variety of guests and topics is wide ranging whilst keeping to a central theme of skepticism and free thinking. This podcast is a must for anyone who likes to think critically... Embrace doubt - subscribe and evaluate the evidence...

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