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Point of Inquiry

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Point of Inquiry is the premiere podcast of the Center for Inquiry, drawing on CFI's relationship with the leading minds of the day including Nobel Prize-winning scientists, public intellectuals, social critics and thinkers, and renowned entertainers.

Point of Inquiry is the premiere podcast of the Center for Inquiry, drawing on CFI's relationship with the leading minds of the day including Nobel Prize-winning scientists, public intellectuals, social critics and thinkers, and renowned entertainers.
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Location:

Virginia Beach, VA

Description:

Point of Inquiry is the premiere podcast of the Center for Inquiry, drawing on CFI's relationship with the leading minds of the day including Nobel Prize-winning scientists, public intellectuals, social critics and thinkers, and renowned entertainers.

Language:

English


Episodes

Lee Billings on the Search for Life in a Silent Universe

9/27/2017
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It’s a big cosmos out there. It wasn’t too long ago that we couldn’t be sure that any planets existed anywhere outside of our own solar system. But in just the past handful of years, we’ve learned that planets orbiting stars are the rule, not the exception, which suggests that there may be 200 billion planets just in our galaxy alone, and trillions upon trillions of planets throughout the known universe. Surely, many of the planets in the Milky Way must be home to life forms, and even...

Duration: 00:58:15


Be Not Constrained: James Croft on Humanists’ Responsibility to Fight Oppression

8/24/2017
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The modern conception of secular humanism arose in large part as a response to the horrors of Nazism and the Holocaust, and the evils of racism and bigotry. Humanist Manifesto II, written in 1973, called for “the elimination of all discrimination based upon race, religion, sex, age, or national origin,” and envisioned a world in which all human beings were given equal dignity within a global community. It is now two weeks since newly emboldened white supremacists, including Nazis and Ku...

Duration: 01:00:00


Space Reporter Loren Grush: Hope and Hubris in Space Exploration

7/18/2017
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The U.S. space program is both beloved and neglected. It brings us breathtaking pictures from distant worlds and drives the human species to push itself farther out into the cosmos. But at the same time, it is subject to terrestrial political concerns, and without the urgency of a Cold War-era “moonshot” to galvanize the public’s enthusiasm, U.S. space policy is at times directionless, and always underfunded. To talk about the state of space exploration, Point of Inquiry host Paul Fidalgo...

Duration: 00:49:08


Elizabeth Kolbert on Coming to Grips with a Warming Planet

6/12/2017
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We want to believe that climate change can be stopped, that humanity can summon the political will to take decisive and meaningful action to avert disaster and save civilization. But the difficult reality is that even if we make our very best efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, climate change is coming. The real question now is how bad are we going to allow it to get? There is perhaps no one better suited to discuss humanity’s unwitting impact on the planet than this episode’s...

Duration: 00:48:10


Carl Pope on Trump, Paris, and the Climate: We’re Going to Be Okay

6/2/2017
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On June 1, President Donald Trump declared that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accord, an international agreement meant to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the global average temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celsius. For those who accept the reality of the threat posed by climate change, the news has sparked a good deal of anger, outrage, and not a small amount of despair for the fate of our planet. Despair not, says...

Duration: 00:30:07


Show Update - Get Ready for Point of Inquiry: The Next Generation

5/3/2017
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Don’t touch that podcast! Yes, Lindsay Beyerstein and Josh Zepps have moved on to new endeavors, but a new chapter for Point of Inquiry is about to begin, with new hosts and a new format. In this quick update the hosts-to-be will tell us a little bit about themselves and preview what they have planned for Point of Inquiry’s new direction. So stay subscribed to Point of Inquiry in your podcast app of choice, and look for new episodes starting in June.

Duration: 00:05:21


Is Anybody Listening? Jill Tarter on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

4/24/2017
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Jill Tarter holds the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, CA where she also served as the former director of the Center for SETI Research. She was also a Project Scientist for NASA’s SETI program and has conducted a number of observational programs at radio observatories worldwide. Since funding for NASA’s SETI program was cut in 1993, she has worked to secure private funding so that SETI may continue to...

Duration: 00:48:16


Sarah Posner: How Trump Got His Hands on the Religious Right

4/11/2017
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How did a man living an ostensibly godless, hedonistic life become the champion of the very groups who one would expect to denounce his behavior? Being a real estate mogul and reality TV star, it’s no secret to anyone that President Trump has spent far more time in country clubs than churches. A man who’s had several wives, owned casinos and bars, and had multiple accusations of sexual assault leveled against him is hardly the pinnacle of virtue the religious right professes to yearn...

Duration: 00:30:00


Paul Offit: The Fate of Science in an Age of Darkness

4/4/2017
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While science was once the force that propelled humanity into an age of enlightenment, a pernicious fear of science and the unknown threatens to plunge society to into an age of darkness. So says Dr. Paul Offit, a groundbreaking immunologist, and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Offit’s new book, Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong, comes at a time when the fundamental concepts of evidence, facts, and truth itself are being smothered by a miasma of...

Duration: 00:40:50


Phoebe Maltz Bovey: Check Your Privilege-Checking

3/28/2017
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Often when we talk about privilege, we’re referring to the systemic advantages some groups of people have over others, by virtue of their race, gender, or orientation. Having social awareness of privilege like this is an important part of fostering a more equal and inclusive society. Why then do people who value inclusiveness feel insulted when their own privilege is pointed out? Writer and editor Phoebe Maltz Bovey joins us to discus her new book, The Perils of “Privilege”: Why...

Duration: 00:26:08


Mile-High Violence: Judith Matloff on Mountain Conflict

3/20/2017
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People living at mountainous high altitudes account for only 10 percent of the world’s population, spread out over roughly 25 percent of the Earth’s surface, and yet they also are responsible for a huge portion of the world’s most violent and persistent conflicts. The reason for this correlation between altitude and violence isn’t entirely understood, but there are several factors contributing to the effect the geography of mountain living undoubtedly plays in conflict. Journalist and...

Duration: 00:38:25


Tweaking the Travel Ban: Dahlia Lithwick on Trump’s Revised Executive Order

3/14/2017
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President Trump’s travel ban aimed at select Muslim-majority countries (with exceptions for Christian minorities) was first framed this past January as an urgent action to protect the nation from the imminent danger of foreign terror attacks. With airports in disarray over the unprompted and unclear executive order, the directive was quickly taken to court, and it became clear that Trump’s dire warnings about national security threats were lacking one very important thing:...

Duration: 00:26:37


Lawrence Krauss: Accidental Origins

3/6/2017
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Fate. Purpose. Design. These are words that hang over many of our heads as we navigate the everyday chaos of life. Religion is often given exclusive purview over the discourse surrounding these concepts, but what if science was able to answer some of these same deep existential questions? We may not always like the answers that science has to give us. Laurence Krauss is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, professor, author, and science communicator, and an honorary member of the...

Duration: 00:30:04


The Pains of Justice: David M. Engel on Why Americans Don’t Sue

2/27/2017
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Americans have a stereotype of being somewhat lawsuit-happy. Any disagreements, no matter how small, wind up in court and we will sue the pants off our neighbors at the slightest scrape or bump. David M. Engel, author and law professor at University at Buffalo, objects. His newest book is The Myth of the Litigious Society: Why We Don’t Sue, where he explains that contrary to popular belief, most American injury victims never so much as contact a lawyer, let alone file a claim. Engel...

Duration: 00:26:34


James McGrath Morris on Ethel Payne, First Lady of the Black Press

2/20/2017
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Every significant turn towards progress has had its trailblazers, and history can easily forget these pioneering individuals who have helped get us to where we are today. One of the most important figures at the height of the civil rights movement was activist and journalist Ethel Payne, who played a pivotal role as a trailblazer for both women’s rights and civil rights in general, rising to become the first black female commentator employed by a national television network. James...

Duration: 00:28:58


Gary Taubes: The Bittersweet Truth about the Dangers of Sugar

2/13/2017
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Diabetes and obesity are on the rise in America in epidemic proportions, but we don’t respond to it with the urgency of an epidemic. Sugar industry lobbyists work hard to keep regulations at bay, and today sugar can be found in everything from baby formula to cigarettes. There is no customer too young or too old for the sugar industry, and the earlier in a person's life a dependency is developed, the better. Renowned journalist and author Gary Taubes doesn’t sugarcoat how bad our...

Duration: 00:34:39


Science, Stopped at the Border: Jen Golbeck on Science in Trump’s America

2/6/2017
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The United States leads the world in science and innovation, but there’s no guarantee that this will always be the case. The Trump administration’s orders to halt federal science publication and public communication has American scientists racing against the clock to back up their data in fear of it being eradicated. Meanwhile, the scientists who come to America from all over the world face new roadblocks, as the travel ban from select Muslim-majority nations is reeking havoc on scientists...

Duration: 00:37:18


Murder, Chaos, and Cover-Ups After Hurricane Katrina, with Ronnie Greene

1/30/2017
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Ronnie Green is a Pulitzer-winning journalist and author whose latest book is Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina. His book follows the true story of an innocent family seeking help and security in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but was instead ambushed by New Orleans police officers’ gunfire. Further outrage comes not just from the massacre itself but that the officers and their supervisors at the New Orleans Police Department planted evidence in...

Duration: 00:30:49


Extended Mileage in Someone Else’s Shoes: Ted Conover on Immersive Journalism

1/24/2017
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Ted Conover is an American journalist and author, known for fully immersing himself in the world of the subjects he covers. Conover writes about the people we understand the least by attempting to live their lives. Whether he’s riding freight trains with the homeless or navigating the ethical pitfalls of being a prison guard, he walks a mile in their shoes so we don’t have to. His newest book is Immersion: A Writer’s Guide to Going Deep, and in this week’s episode of Point of Inquiry,...

Duration: 00:30:25


Daniel Dennett: The Magic of Consciousness…Without the Magic

1/17/2017
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Daniel C. Dennett is one of the most influential philosophers of our time, perhaps best known in cognitive science for his multiple drafts (or "fame in the brain") model of human consciousness, and to the secular community for his 2006 book Breaking the Spell. Author and co-author of two-dozen books, he’s the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, where he taught our very own Point of Inquiry host Lindsay...

Duration: 00:33:43

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