Hosted by Indre Viskontas



Temple Grandin – The Science of Livestock Animal Welfare
August 12, 2013

Point of Inquiry is on a short hiatus right now as we transition to a new podcast team. In the meantime, enjoy these classic episodes from the POI archives, featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Susan Jacoby, and other luminaries in the science and secularism movement. According to the USDA, Americans produce and consume more …

Daniel Dennett – Tools for Thinking
June 10, 2013

Having spent 50 years as an influential thinker, Daniel Dennett has earned the right to tell us how to think. His latest book is a collection of 77 tools for thinking, which every self-respecting critical thinker should consider, if not actively use. American philosopher and author Daniel C. Dennett is perhaps best known in cognitive …

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. …

Mary Roach – Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
April 29, 2013

In the science section at your local bookstore, you’ll find plenty of books on everything from the brain, to the climate, to the cosmos. But how many books will you find that take you on a tour of the digestive tract—from our mouths, to our stomachs, to our intestines? Popular science writer Mary Roach’s new …

Carol Tavris – The Science of Sex and Gender
March 25, 2013

Back in February, Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer made a decision that pushed gender issues and the work/life balance back into the headlines: she mandated that her employees can no longer work from home. It’s a decision that impacts families with children in a big way—and puts a focus on women in the workplace. …

Matthew Hutson – The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking
February 25, 2013

Even the hard-core skeptics believe in magic, says Matthew Hutson in his new book The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep us Happy, Healthy and Sane which has just been released in paperback. Most of us have some sentimental objects that would seem to lose their importance if replaced by an exact …

Carl Zimmer – Viruses and Other Little Things
February 4, 2013

This year’s flu season has been dubbed the worst in recent history, despite the fact that the flu vaccine is fairly effective and readily available. But of course, not everyone experiencing flu-like symptoms actually has the flu—with so many cold viruses and bacterial infections being passed around, it seems that everyone has been sick this …

Scott Sigler – Encouraging Critical Thinking Through Science Fiction
December 31, 2012

It’s become almost a truism that in their spare time, skeptics tend to gravitate towards TV shows, novels and games that portray the very monsters, myths and conspiracies that they work so hard to debunk. A great story is just as entertaining to the most hardened skeptics as it is to the rest of the …

Samuel Arbesman – The Half-Life of Facts
December 3, 2012

Because we live in an uncertain world, we arm ourselves with facts to gain a sense of control and therefore some modicum of comfort. We know that the sun will rise tomorrow even though it disappears tonight. But what happens when facts, those bits of information that we believed captured some fundamental truth about our …

Oliver Sacks – Hallucinations
November 5, 2012

Despite our individual differences, highlighted especially during an election, much of what we see, hear, smell or feel is shareable: that is, when standing in front of an object, we can more or less agree that it has a particular color, shape, texture, size and so on. But what if I tell you that I …