Point of Inquiry

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Point of Inquiry
Hosting Unknown
Genre science / news
Updates Weekly
Debut 2005
Ratings Non-explicit
Website www.pointofinquiry.org/

Point of Inquiry is the radio show and flagship podcast of the Center for Inquiry, "a think tank promoting science, reason, and secular values in public policy and at the grass roots".[1] Started in 2005, Point of Inquiry has consistently been ranked among the best science podcasts available in iTunes.[2] It has been celebrated for its guests and for the quality of its interviews.[3] Former guests include leading scientists, writers and public intellectuals such as Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Paul Krugman, Lisa Randall, Brian Greene, Oliver Sacks, Susan Jacoby, David Brin and Temple Grandin.


Point of Inquiry is recorded at the Center for Inquiry headquarters in Amherst, NY.[4] iTunes features over 200 free episodes of Point of Inquiry, averaging 30 to 35 minutes in length, with each consisting of a long form interview with a high profile guest from the worlds of scientific skepticism, science, academia, and philosophy. The show focuses on traditional topics in scientific skepticism, such as psychic investigations, alternative medicine, alleged extraterrestrial visitations, ghosts, and cryptozoology. It also covers current events and public policy. The inaugural episode featured an interview with CFI founder Paul Kurtz, who spoke about the incompatibility of science and religion.[5]

In July 2012, Point of Inquiry produced their first video episode featuring Michael De Dora, Ed Brayton, Jessica Ahlquist, and Jamie Kilstein.[6]

Previously, Chris Mooney hosted half of the shows with the balance split between the other hosts.[7] However, on June 25, 2013, bloggers such as Rebecca Watson reported that Mooney, along with host Indre Viskontas and producer Adam Isaak resigned from the show following a controversy over statements made by the organization's CEO during opening remarks at the Women in Secularism 2 conference.[8] In a press release, Mooney, Viskontas, and Isaak stated, "The actions of [CEO Ron] Lindsay and the Board have made it overwhelmingly difficult for us to continue in our goal to provide thoughtful and compelling content, including coverage of feminist issues as in past interviews with guests like Amanda Marcotte, Katha Pollitt, MG Lord, and Carol Tavris."[9]

October 17, 2013 Center for Inquiry announced the “new team who will take Point of Inquiry into its next exciting phase”, Lindsay Beyerstein, Josh Zepps and producer Joshua Billingsley.[10]


Host Tenure Information
D. J. Grothe 2005 to 2009 American author and public speaker. He is the current president of the James Randi Educational Foundation
Chris Mooney 2010 to 2013 U.S. journalist and academic
Robert M. Price 2010 to 2012 Now hosts his own CFI podcast, The Human Bible
Karen Stollznow 2010 to 2012 Australian writer, linguist and skeptic
Indre Viskontas 2012 to 2013 Neuroscientist and opera singer
Lindsay Beyerstein 2013 to present Investigative journalist
Josh Zepps 2013 to present Journalist
Producer Tenure
Thomas Donnelly 2005 to 2009
Adam Isaak 2010 to 2013
Joshua Billingsley 2013 to present

Center for Inquiry[edit]

Point of Inquiry is the premiere podcast production of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), a non-profit educational organization located in the United States. Its primary mission is to encourage evidence-based inquiry into paranormal and fringe science claims, alternative medicine and mental health practices, religion, secular ethics, and society. CFI is dedicated to promoting and defending science, reason, and free inquiry in all aspects of human interest. The CFI also promotes two related podcasts titled "The Human Bible" and "Center Stage."

Popular Science Idol[edit]

Point of inquiry co-sponsored the "Popular Science Idol"[11] contest along with the National Science Foundation Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, Discover Magazine, and Popular Science as a science spoof of the popular reality show American Idol. The event was hosted as a workshop to discover the next great science communicator. The event was hosted by Chris Mooney and Indre Viskontas served as one of the expert judges. The first event was won by Tom Di Loberto for a 3 minute presentation on the difficulties involved in predicting the weather.[12]

Popular Episode Guide[edit]

Guest Topic Air Date
Steven Pinker The Decline in Violence Feb 18, 2013[13]
Paul Krugman Science and Pseudoscience in Economics Jan 28, 2013
David Brin Uplifting Existence Dec 17, 2012
Oliver Sacks Hallucinations Nov 5, 2012
Lisa Randall Knocking on Heaven’s Door October 8, 2012
Temple Grandin The Science of Livestock Animal Welfare Aug 27, 2012
Cara Santa Maria Talk Nerdy to Us June 11, 2012
Lawrence M. Krauss A Universe from Nothing February 6, 2012
Brian Greene The Fabric of the Cosmos January 2, 2012
Daniel Dennett The Scientific Study of Religion December 12, 2011
Austin Dacey Rock the Theocrats September 26, 2011
Neil deGrasse Tyson Communicating Science February 28, 2011
John Shook The God Debates October 15, 2010
Adam Savage Skeptic July 9, 2010
S.T. Joshi Fright and Free thought May 28, 2010
Scott Lilienfeld Real Self-Help March 19, 2010
Andrew Revkin The Death of Science Writing, and the Future of Catastrophe March 12, 2010
Chris Hedges I Don’t Believe in Atheists May 2, 2008
Lawrence M. Krauss Seducing for Science December 28, 2007
Paul Kurtz Ethics for the Nonreligious December 21, 2007
Richard Dawkins Science and the New Atheism December 7, 2007
Neil deGrasse Tyson Communicating Science to the Public November 16, 2007
Michael Behe The Edge of Evolution November 9, 2007
Steven Pinker The Stuff of Thought October 26, 2007
Alan Dershowitz Blasphemy October 5, 2007
Francis Collins The Language of God August 31, 2007
Carol Tavris Mistakes Were Made August 3, 2007
Ophelia Benson Why Truth Matters July 20, 2007
Philip Kitcher Living with Darwin July 13, 2007
Christopher Hitchens God Is Not Great July 6, 2007
Natalie Angier The Canon June 29, 2007
Tom Clark Encountering Naturalism June 22, 2007
Matthew C. Nisbet Selling Science to the Public April 20, 2007
Steven Pinker Evolutionary Psychology and Human Nature February 23, 2007
Barbara Forrest The Wedge of Intelligent Design February 16, 2007
Peter Singer The Way We Eat February 9, 2007
Neil deGrasse Tyson Death by Black Hole January 25, 2007
Ann Druyan Carl Sagan and The Varieties of Scientific Experience January 5, 2007
Susan Blackmore In Search of the Light December 15, 2006
Richard Dawkins The God Delusion October 16, 2006
Sam Harris Letter to a Christian Nation October 6, 2006
Ann Druyan Science, Wonder, and Spirituality September 15, 2006
Neil deGrasse Tyson The Sky Is Not the Limit August 17, 2006
Thomas Kida Don't Believe Everything You Think July 14, 2006
James Randi Science, Magic, and Future of Skepticism June 30, 2006
Tom Flynn The Rise of the Non-Religious June 23, 2006
Eugenie Scott Evolution vs. Religious Belief? April 28, 2006
Sam Harris The Mortal Dangers of Religion April 14, 2006
Sam Harris The End of Faith April 7, 2006
Jamy Ian Swiss Psychics, Science, and Magic March 24, 2006
Daniel Dennett Breaking the Spell March 3, 2006
Richard Dawkins The Root of All Evil? February 10, 2006
Eugenie Scott The Dover Trial: Evolution vs. Intelligent Design January 20, 2006
Max Maven Magic and Skepticism January 13, 2006

A full episode list is available on iTunes.[14]


In May 2012, Point of Inquiry was named one of the "Top 10 Podcasts to Feed Your Brain" by Business Insider.[15]

The show is consistently one of the top science podcasts on iTunes.

Featured podcast suggestion by the Telegraph Feb 9, 2013.[16]


  1. ^ This description appears at the beginning of most episodes.
  2. ^ "Top 50 Rated Podcasts 6/2010 - Society & Culture | Podcast Alley". Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "Hot Needle of Inquiry". Bad Astronomy at discovermagazine.com. Retrieved 16 April 2009. 
  4. ^ "About the Program | Center for Inquiry". Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Grothe, DJ (11 December 2005). "Paul Kurtz - Science and Religion - Are They Compatible?". Point of Inquiry Podcast. Center for Inquiry. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  6. ^ ".Point of Inquiry In Studio: Chris Mooney Talks to Jamie Kilstein, Ed Brayton, and More.| Center for Inquiry". Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Center for Inquiry Announces Three New Hosts for its Popular Podcast, ‘Point of Inquiry’ | Center for Inquiry". Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Point of Inquiry Team Resigns, Launches New Show with Mother Jones". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Point of Inquiry Team Resigns, Launches New Show with Mother Jones". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Wait is Over: CFI Unveils New ‘Point of Inquiry’ Team!". Center for Inquiry. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  11. ^ "Do You Have What It Takes to Be America’s Next Science Idol?". 10 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Meteorologist wins first-ever America's Science Idol competition". 10 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Steven Pinker - The Decline of Violence". Feb 18, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Top 10 podcasts to feed your brain". Business Insider at businessinsider.com. Retrieved May 2012. 
  15. ^ "ITunes Archive". Apple at apple.com. Retrieved Feb 2013. 
  16. ^ "Podcast and internet radio previews:". Retrieved 14 February 2013. 

External links[edit]