Episodes


The Pains of Justice: David M. Engel on Why Americans Don’t Sue
February 27, 2017

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: …

James McGrath Morris on Ethel Payne, First Lady of the Black Press
February 20, 2017

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 …

Gary Taubes: The Bittersweet Truth about the Dangers of Sugar
February 13, 2017

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 …

Science, Stopped at the Border: Jen Golbeck on Science in Trump’s America
February 6, 2017

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 …

Murder, Chaos, and Cover-Ups After Hurricane Katrina, with Ronnie Greene
January 30, 2017

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. …

Extended Mileage in Someone Else’s Shoes: Ted Conover on Immersive Journalism
January 24, 2017

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 …

Daniel Dennett: The Magic of Consciousness…Without the Magic
January 17, 2017

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 …

Enemies List Redux: Rick Perlstein on the Parallels between Trump and Nixon
January 9, 2017

With great power, comes great responsibility, so we are told by Voltaire and Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben. It’s something we learn anew with each presidency, as the person who holds the office must decide how they will wield the power they’ve been given. For Richard Nixon, power was something to be used in the service …

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 …

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, …