Point of InquiryAuthor: Center for Inquiry
22 Feb 2019

Point of Inquiry

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Launched in 2005, Point of Inquiry is the premier podcast of the Center for Inquiry. Point of Inquiry critically examines topics in science, religion, philosophy, and politics. Each episode takes on a specific issue and features in-depth discussions with leading scientists, researchers, and writers.

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    The New Stars of Skeptical Investigation

    The world of skeptical investigation is full of interesting personalities full of stories about their run-ins with ghost chasers, debunking charlatans, and dealing with "magic". Today on Point of Inquiry, Jim Underdown talks with Massimo Polidoro and Kenny Biddle while at CSICon 2018 about what they've been through as two of the top investigators in the skeptic movement.

    In this episode, Massimo speaks about the fascinating details around the life of genius, Leonardo da Vinci and about his new book, Leonardo.

    Jim and Massimo also speak about Massimo's training under James Randi to be a magician and about Sherlock Holme's creator, Arthur Conan Doyle and his fascination with the occult and spiritualism, specifically Conan Doyle's fascination with The Cottingley Fairies and Princess Mary's Gift BookCottingleyFairies

    Jim and Kenny speak about Kenny's work with Skeptical Inquirer, The Independent Investigations Group, and Kenny's previous life as a ghost chaser.

    Massimo Polidoro is a writer and an internationally recognized “mystery detective.” He began his career as James Randi’s apprentice and is the cofounder and head of the Italian skeptics group CICAP. He is a TV personality in Italy, a research fellow for CSI, and a longtime columnist for its magazine, the Skeptical Inquirer. He is starting a new series, “Stranger Stories”, on his YouTube channel. 
    You can find Massimo on twitter: twitter.com/massimopolidoro

    Kenny Biddle is a science enthusiast and skeptical investigator of paranormal claims. He’s been involved in photography for over twenty years. He applies his knowledge, experience, and critical thinking skills to analyzing alleged paranormal photographs and video to determine the most plausible causes. His work has been featured in several skeptical publications. Find him on twitter: twitter.com/kennybiddle42

    New music heard on this episode


    "The Time To Run (Finale)" by Dexter Britain / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 
    "Wahre by Blue Dot Sessions / CC BY-NC 4.0


  • Posted on 21 Feb 2019

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    Twitter’s Resident Gynecologist And The Crusher Of The Gender Binary

    Dr. Jen Gunter is an OB/GYN, pain medicine physician, and Twitter's resident gynecologist. She blogs and also writes The Cycle, a column on the intersection sex, science, and society, for the New York Times.

    One day she hopes to ask Gwyneth Paltrow for the physics equation that explains how a jade egg can be recharged with lunar energy.

    Abby Hafer is an author, scientist, educator, and public speaker. Her scientific career includes a doctorate in zoology from Oxford University and teaching human anatomy and physiology at Curry College. She has recently broadened her scope to include crushing the gender binary using biology, and giving the same treatment to morality based on the supernatural.

    This week on Point of Inquiry, Kavin Senapthy speaks to Jen Gunter and Abby Hafer (recorded during CSICon 2018). Jen chats about how she combats misinformation from Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop and the settlement the company had to pay for fraudulent health claims linked to their magical Jade Eggs. She also points us to theGoopJadeEgg best resources for accurate, evidence-based information on women’s reproductive health and birth control.

    American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
    World Health Organization
    Planned Parenthood
    National Library of Medicine
    U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

    Kavin and Abby recount their experiences at California Freethought Day, talk about the Tetrahymena thermophila microbe, and and how the Pulse nightclub mass shooting and various bathroom bills around the US led to her CSICon 2018 gender binary talk, which you can watch here.

     


  • Posted on 07 Feb 2019

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    The Battle for Young Minds - Bertha Vazquez on Teaching Evolution in Schools

    Bertha Vazquez

    As science standards across the country improve to include middle school standards on evolution, more and more teachers are teaching evolution for the first time and the battle to teach sound science moves into the individual classrooms themselves. The Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES) is a program of the Center for Inquiry. TIES seeks to helps teachers teach evolution by providing them with the content and resources to do so effectively. In just three and a half years, TIES has grown from a powerful idea shared by Richard Dawkins and Bertha Vazquez to a network of over fifty teachers who have presented over 100 professional development workshops in over 40 states.

    Bertha Vazquez and Jim Underdown

    TIES Director Bertha Vazquez has been teaching middle school science in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for 27 years. An educator with National Board Certification, she is the recipient of several national and local honors, including the 2014 Samsung’s $150,000 Solve For Tomorrow Contest and the $5,000 Charles C. Bartlett National Excellence in Environmental Award in 2009.

    Bertha sits down with one of Point of Inquiry's new hosts, Jim Underdown, to talk about her experiences with teaching science and evolution in the classroom, meeting Richard Dawkins, and her favorite TIES moment.


  • Posted on 24 Jan 2019

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    Adam Conover and Tim Caulified on The Algorithm, Gwyneth Paltrow, Netflix and more

    Adam ConoverAdam Conover is the creator and host of Adam Ruins Everything, an informational comedy show that debunks common misconceptions and encourages critical thinking. The New York Times calls it “one of history’s most entertaining shows dedicated to the art of debunking” and refers to Adam as a “genial provocateur”.

    He is a founding member of the sketch group Olde English, who performed at HBO’s Comedy Fest in Aspen and was named “Best Sketch Group on the Web” by Cracked.com. As a standup comedian, he performs at colleges and theaters across the country. 

    Timothy Caulfield

     

    Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. His interdisciplinary research on topics like stem cells, genetics, research ethics, the public representations of science and health policy issues has allowed him to publish over 350 academic articles.

    He has won numerous academic and writing awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Trudeau Foundation and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. 

    On this episode of Point of Inquiry, Kavin speaks to Adam and Tim about their CSICon talks, Tim's new Netflix show A User's Guide to Cheating Deathand Adam's TruTV show Adam Ruins Everything and his interest in Gameboys.


  • Posted on 10 Jan 2019

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    The Odyssey of the Plutophiles: Alan Stern and David Grinspoon on the Voyage of New Horizons

    In July of 2015, a spacecraft called New Horizons gave humankind its first close-up view of a small, misunderstood world called Pluto. It took almost 10 years for New Horizons to soar across more than 3 billion miles of space and give us our first meeting with Pluto and its family of moons.

    But that journey is just a small part of a much bigger and more harrowing story of how New Horizons came to be. It was a mission that was decades in the making, an endeavor that endured several near-death experiences, from its early planning stages all the way to the eve of its encounter with Pluto.

    Our guests are now telling this incredible story in the new book Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto, having experienced this adventure first-hand and from two very different perspectives. Alan Stern is the principle investigator of the New Horizons mission, and his co-author, David Grinspoon, is an astrobiologist, author, and advisor to NASA who witnessed the New Horizons saga as it unfolded and helped to bring its story to life.


  • Posted on 17 May 2018

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