Episodes


Only as Bad as it’s Ever Been: PJ O’Rourke on American Values, Politics and Culture
November 28, 2016

This week we’re dusting off a favorite Point of Inquiry episode from three years ago: Josh Zepps’ conversation with P.J. O’Rourke – humorist, cultural commentator and bestselling author of sixteen books. Originally broadcast in December of 2013, this episode’s subject matter is remarkably relevant for this current political and cultural moment, as we prepare for …

The Normalization of Hate: David Neiwert on Trump and the Rise of the Alt-Right
November 21, 2016

There’s no getting around the fact that the alt-right has come out of the shadows to fully embrace Trump as their candidate. From Steve Bannon to David Duke, controversial support did not wait long to rush to Trump’s side. It’s clear that for many “make America great again” may just mean to make America white …

Trump’s Victory and the Challenge to a Secular America, with Larry Decker
November 14, 2016

The religiously unaffiliated, also known as the “nones,” are currently the largest “faith” demographic in the country. Yet evangelicals beat them two to one in turnout at the polls. We live in an increasingly secular nation based on secular principles, but in government, the secular worldview is badly underrepresented. President-elect Donald Trump spoke to many …

Comprehending the Incomprehensible: Samuel Arbesman on Rapidly Accelerating Technology
November 7, 2016

We live in a digital era in which science and technology have revealed new frontiers never before possible. In developing the complicated technologies that permeate our lives, is it possible that humans have failed to grasp the magnitude of the complexity they have created? This week’s guest is a complexity scientist, Samuel Arbesman, author of …

Halloween Special: Joe Nickell on the Paranormal’s Origin Story
October 31, 2016

Joe Nickell is perhaps the world’s foremost investigator of the paranormal, as well as a magician and author, and he joins us for this special Halloween episode to discuss his recent feature article in Skeptical Inquirer, “Creators of The Paranormal.” According to Nickell, the term “paranormal” refers to things that lie beyond the normal range …

Cats and the Domestication of Humans, with Abigail Tucker
October 24, 2016

The cat. King of the jungle, emperor of the internet, overlord of our homes? Cats are easily among the most adaptable mesopredator, able to survive and thrive everywhere from the deserts of Australia, to the Arctic tundra, to a cramped studio apartment. Abigail Tucker is a contributing writer for Smithsonian and author of the new …

Trolling Unplugged: Benjamin Radford on the Creepy Clown Craze
October 17, 2016

Halloween is almost here, and Target stores are pulling clown masks from their shelves. After the creepy clown craze made its way through Europe, the circus has finally arrived in the US with sightings in at least 40 states, 10 of which have now resulted in actual arrests. With more reports filed every day, the …

Godless Infidels: Leigh Eric Schmidt on Atheism in the 19th Century
October 10, 2016

Today the United States is the most secular and irreligious it has ever been. According to Pew Research, the percentage of Americans who identify as atheist, agnostic, or having no religion in particular is up to 23%, compared to the 16% it was in 2007. With a lack of religious affiliation becoming normalized, it’s hard …

Doomsday Dread: The End of Civilization, with Phil Torres
October 4, 2016

Phil Torres is an author, contributing writer for the Future of Life Institute, and an Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. His writing has been featured in numerous publications such as Time, Motherboard, Salon, Huffington Post, and our very own Free Inquiry. His book is The End: What Science and Religion …

Editing Our Pasts: Dr. Julia Shaw on The Illusion of Memory
September 26, 2016

Dr. Julia Shaw is a psychological scientist and senior researcher in the Department of Law and Social Science at London South Bank University. She teaches at the undergraduate and graduate level and her research on false memory has been published in several international academic journals. She returns to Point of Inquiry this week to discuss …