All Episodes


November 24, 2014

Lindsay Beyerstein

As a nation, the U.S. prides itself on at least aspiring to the ideal of equality, even if it often falls short. The educational, health care, and legal systems, are plagued by institutional biases against racial minorities. The good news is that these disparities are likely not due to hateful intent, but caused by a …

November 19, 2014

Josh Zepps

As the threat posed by radical Islamists like those of ISIS grows in popular awareness, Islam itself becomes more of a target for criticism; some of it fair, and some of it based in ignorance or bigotry. Can efforts to defend Islam and Muslims from discrimination and racism go too far, and keep us from …

November 10, 2014

Lindsay Beyerstein

The English language is often treated as delicate and precious, and disagreements about what is “proper English” go back as far as the 18th century. Then as now, style manuals and grammar books placed innumerable restrictions on what is and isn’t “correct,” as “Language Mavens” continue to delight in pointing out the unforgivable errors of …

November 03, 2014

There’s no doubt that Ebola is an incredibly dangerous and genuinely lethal virus, but it’s also a highly manageable one, though you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise given the kind of hyperbolic coverage we’ve seen of the epidemic. In order to sort fact from fiction about the real threat posed by Ebola, and to better …

October 31, 2014

Nora Hurley

Harry Houdini, the most famous illusionist the world has ever known, spent the later part of his career fascinated with spiritualists and mediums. This led him to become a dedicated skeptic and investigator. In this special Halloween episode for 2014, Point of Inquiry’s new producer Nora Hurley chats with Joe Nickell, the world’s leading paranormal investigator, and …

October 22, 2014

Lindsay Beyerstein

Given the divisive nature of the debates over abortion, the subject is understandably not the best table-talk material. But despite the fact that abortion is normal and often necessary (one in three women will have an abortion before menopause), even those who are staunchly pro-choice feel compelled to hedge their support by making sounds about …

October 14, 2014

Josh Zepps

Our universe is made up of billions of galaxies. The cosmos is so mind-bogglingly vast, that it’s hard not to suppose that we aren’t alone, that life must exist somewhere else besides our own planet. Last month, some of the world’s leading scientists gathered at an Astrobiology Symposium run by NASA and the Library of Congress …

October 06, 2014

Lindsay Beyerstein

The rise of ISIS, the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has sparked debate about the role of religion — specifically Islam — in violent extremism. This week, Dr. Adam Silverman offers us a glimpse into the theology of ISIS, and tackles some difficult questions; What does ISIS believe and how do its religious …

September 29, 2014

Chris Mooney

Josh Zepps is off, and since this week is the 5th International Blasphemy Rights Day, we’re rebroadcasting this interview by Chris Mooney with Austin Dacey, CFI’s former UN representative and an expert on the subject of blasphemy laws. *** This week, our guest is a return one: Austin Dacey. He’s a philosopher, a writer, a human rights …

September 22, 2014

Lindsay Beyerstein

This week Point of Inquiry welcomes journalist Mark Oppenheimer. Mark writes the Beliefs column for the New York Times, and is the author of the e-book The Zen Predator of The Upper East Side. He is an expert on how religious and philosophical communities deal–or refuse to deal–with allegations of abuse in their ranks. Mark joins …