Hosted by Chris Mooney



Jared Diamond – The World Until Yesterday
May 6, 2013

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Note: You can watch this episode on Youtube. In this special episode of Point of Inquiry, Chris and Indre speak with the Pulitzer Prize winning Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel. Dr. Diamond is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles and has traveled extensively to New Guinea for his research. …

Scott Atran – What Makes a Terrorist?
April 22, 2013

Back in the summer of 2011—just before the 10 year anniversary of 9/11—this show welcomed on Scott Atran, an anthropologist who is a leading expert on terrorism and violent extremism. Now, in the wake of the Boston bombings and the dramatic capture of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, we called Atran back to discuss the first large …

Neil Gross – Why Are Professors (and Scientists) So Liberal?
April 15, 2013

We’ve all heard the claim: Academia is liberal. And it indoctrinates students. It kills their religious faith and basically—or at least, so the allegation goes—transforms them into unkempt, pot-smoking hippies. As it turns out, this claim is precisely half true. Yes, academia is really liberal. But no, this has virtually nothing at all to do …

A.C. Grayling – The God Argument
April 8, 2013

Remember all the greatest hits of religious apologists—the ontological, cosmological, and teleological arguments for God’s existence? You may have learned how to refute them in college—but not, perhaps, with the zest and humor shown by renowned philosopher A.C. Grayling in his new book The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and For Humanism. But Grayling …

Frans de Waal – The Bonobo and the Atheist
April 1, 2013

You hear it a lot from religious believers: Faith is about doing good works, bringing about good in the world, and showing compassion. In fact, some go further and argue that you can’t really be moral without religion. Well, says primatologist Frans de Waal, they really ought to take a look at our close cousin …

Amanda Marcotte – Skepticism Needs Feminism
March 18, 2013

Later this year, May 17 to 19 in Washington, D.C., the Center for Inquiry will convene its second “Women in Secularism” conference. There are a host of great speakers, many of whom we’ve had on this show before, like Susan Jacoby, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Greta Christina, and Rebecca Watson. And we’re going to be there …

Mark Lynas – Science and the Left
March 4, 2013

I’m a big defender of the proposition that when it comes to abusing science, the political left and the political right are very different beasts. But that doesn’t make the left innocent of science abuses—and one man who knows that very well is Mark Lynas. He’s a British environmentalist and author, and he recently gained …

Susan Jacoby – Freethought’s Forgotten Hero
February 11, 2013

Our guest this week is Susan Jacoby. She’s the bestselling author of a number of books about secularism and American culture, including Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism and The Age of American Unreason. Jacoby started her career at the Washington Post, and her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles …

Paul Krugman – Science and Pseudoscience in Economics
January 28, 2013

We are thrilled by our guest this week, who is not only one of the world’s most famous economists and economics commentators, but also a Nobel Laureate in his field: Paul Krugman. In case he needs any introduction: He is a professor of economics at Princeton and a columnist for the New York Times, as …

Sean Carroll – The Particle at the End of the Universe
January 21, 2013

Our guest this week is Sean Carroll—theoretical physicist at CalTech, and skilled science communicator. I’ve known Sean and his work for almost a decade, and I’ve invited him on to talk about his latest book: The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New …