Point of Inquiry

Point of Inquiry is the radio show and flagship podcast of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), "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 logo.png
Hosted by
  • Science
  • news
  • religion
Original release2005 (2005) – present


Point of Inquiry is recorded at the Center for Inquiry headquarters in Amherst, New York.[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 in December 2005 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]

In October 2013, CFI announced the "new team who will take Point of Inquiry into its next exciting phase", Lindsay Beyerstein, Josh Zepps and producer Joshua Billingsley.[8]

On June 2, 2017, Point of Inquiry released its first episode with new host Paul Fidalgo. New hosts Kavin Senapathy and James Underdown were announced on October 15, 2018. The show is produced by CFI digital marketing strategist, Michael Powell.[9]


Host Tenure[10] Information
D. J. Grothe December 2005 to March 2010 American author and public speaker
Robert M. Price March 2010 to November 2011 Former host of CFI podcast The Human Bible
Karen Stollznow March 2010 to December 2011 Australian writer, linguist and skeptic
Chris Mooney March 2010 to September 2013 U.S. journalist and academic
Indre Viskontas February 2012 to August 2013 Neuroscientist and opera singer
Lindsay Beyerstein November 2013 to April 2017 Investigative journalist
Josh Zepps November 2013 to April 2017 Journalist
Paul Fidalgo May 2017 to May 2018 CFI Communications Director
Kavin Senapathy January 2019 – October 2019 Author, Journalist, Activist
James Underdown October 2018 – Present[11] Executive Director of CFI-West
Leighann Lord April 2020 - Present[11] Comedian, writer, actor
Producer Tenure
Thomas Donnelly 2005 to 2009
Adam Isaak 2010 to 2013
Joshua Billingsley 2013 to 2014
Nora Hurley 2014 to 2017
Mike Powell 2017 to present[11]


Popular Science IdolEdit

Point of inquiry co-sponsored the "Popular Science Idol"[12] contest along with the National Science Foundation Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, Discover Magazine, and Popular Science as a science spoof of the reality television series 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.[13]

Select episodesEdit

Guest Topic Air Date
Steven Pinker The Decline in Violence February 18, 2013[14]
Paul Krugman Science and Pseudoscience in Economics January 28, 2013
David Brin Uplifting Existence December 17, 2012
Oliver Sacks Hallucinations November 5, 2012
Lisa Randall Knocking on Heaven's Door October 8, 2012
Temple Grandin The Science of Livestock Animal Welfare August 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
S. Jay Olshansky Can Science Extend Human Life? September 10, 2010[15]
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.[16]


In May 2012, Point of Inquiry was named one of the "Top 10 Podcasts to Feed Your Brain" by Business Insider.[17]

Featured podcast suggestion by the Telegraph February 9, 2013.[18]


  1. ^ This description appears at the beginning of most episodes.
  2. ^ "Top 50 Rated Podcasts 6/2010 - Society & Culture | Podcast Alley". Archived from the original on February 23, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  3. ^ "Hot Needle of Inquiry". Bad Astronomy at discovermagazine.com. Retrieved April 16, 2009.
  4. ^ "About the Program | Center for Inquiry". Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  5. ^ Grothe, DJ (December 11, 2005). "Paul Kurtz - Science and Religion - Are They Compatible?". Point of Inquiry Podcast. Center for Inquiry. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  6. ^ "Point of Inquiry In Studio: Chris Mooney Talks to Jamie Kilstein, Ed Brayton, and More.| Center for Inquiry". Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  7. ^ "Center for Inquiry Announces Three New Hosts for its Popular Podcast, 'Point of Inquiry' | Center for Inquiry". Retrieved February 14, 2010.
  8. ^ "The Wait is Over: CFI Unveils New 'Point of Inquiry' Team!". Center for Inquiry. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  9. ^ "Point Of Inquiry podcast announces new co-hosts Kavin Senapathy and James Underdown". CFI. Center for Inquiry. October 15, 2018. Archived from the original on April 27, 2019.
  10. ^ "All Episodes". Center for Inquiry. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c "Comedian Leighann Lord Joins Point of Inquiry Podcast as New Co-Host". Center for Inquiry. Archived from the original on April 9, 2020. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  12. ^ "Do You Have What It Takes to Be America's Next Science Idol?". March 10, 2013.
  13. ^ "Meteorologist wins first-ever America's Science Idol competition". March 10, 2013.
  14. ^ "Steven Pinker - The Decline of Violence". February 18, 2013.
  15. ^ Olshansky, Jay. "Can Science Extend Human Life?". Point of Inquiry. Center for Inquiry. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  16. ^ "iTunes Archive". Apple at apple.com. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  17. ^ Smith, Kevin (May 14, 2012). "Top 10 podcasts to feed your brain". Business Insider at businessinsider.com. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  18. ^ Naughton, Pete (February 9, 2013). "Podcast and internet radio previews: The Secret Policeman's Ball, Point of Inquiry, Radio Three Sixty and The Jazz Groove". The Telegraph. UK: Telegraph Media Group Ltd. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on February 15, 2013.

External linksEdit