Two skeptical podcasts, both new and kinda new

By Phil Plait | February 15, 2010 1:39 pm

With my friend D.J. Grothe taking the helm of the JREF, the question came up with what would happen with his old podcast, Point of Inquiry, that he did for the Center for Inquiry. The solution is interesting, and doubles your skeptical outlets: D. J. is doing a new podcast for the JREF, and PoI has been handed over to some new folks… with familiar names.

First, D. J. is now podcasting for the JREF on For Good Reason, an appropriately-named ‘cast where he interviews, as usual, leading lights in critical thinking. The premier episode was with Randi hisself, the second with Daniel Loxton (who wrote a kid’s book on evolution I really liked), and the latest is a talk with Richard Dawkins. It’s a good podcast, which is no surprise! You can subscribe to it via iTunes too.

Point of Inquiry is continuing on as well, with new hosts Robert Price and my friends Karen Stollznow and Chris Mooney (who blogs here at the Hive Overmind at The Intersection). The first installment is Chris interviewing Paul Offit on the evils of the antivax movement. I have that one cued up in my iPod and I’m looking forward to listening to it when my schedule allows. I actually don’t have a lot of time to listen to podcasts, but these two are definitely on my subscription list.

If you’re a skeptic, and especially if you’re not, you should give these shows a listen. They may make you laugh, or make you angry… but they’ll definitely make you think.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience, JREF, Skepticism

Comments (18)

  1. Wes

    Kind of a mixed bag. I’m really glad to see that DJ Grothe has a new podcast, and I’ve always liked Robert M. Price. But I have no idea who Stollznow is, and Mooney gets on my nerves.

  2. Prattlehorn

    Really? Mooney?!? Accommodationists are the Blue-dog Dems of the scientific world, and should be treated accordingly.

  3. Jeff Keogh

    I quite enjoyed Mooney’s interview style; it was quite relaxed.

    I’m a bit concerned about For Good Reason, however. It seems to me that DJ’s focus is still on secular humanism, whereas the JREF’s domain is somewhat more broad than that.

    Yes, we’re only three episodes in, but I am concerned that FGR is turning out to be the bastid lovechile’ of Point of Inquiry.

    DJ! More skepticism!

  4. Wes

    I liked the FGR episodes, except for the opening music. They really need to change that.

  5. Shamik

    Saw this from your Twitter:

    One comment caught my eye:
    “Bev L. Pattenden of Grafton 2460 Posted at 9:11 AM Today
    Don’t think the anti-vaccination movement is going to stop because it is world wide. The pro-vaccine propaganda machine over the past decades has failed to do any proper research between vaccinated and unvaccinated, because they know that vaccines cause so much damage it is beyond comprehension. Childhood cancer, ADD and asthma all started after vaccination was introduced and if you did some research you would find that smallpox and polio were not cured by vaccines, but spread worldwide. It is the perpetuation of disease not the cure. Check out the ingredients you will be sick just knowing what you are putting into your healthy body to make it sick. Kill the Beast before it kills you.”

    As a med student, maybe I’m taking the knowledge of vaccines and their HUGE impact for granted, but that is some serious ignorance and mis-education up there!

  6. Badger3k

    I should have realized the irony and not deleted that podcast from iTunes. Mooney, the hack who advocated finding common ground and giving in to antivaxers (see Orac, and many more), talking with a guy who is against the anti-vaxers! Did Offitt get to ask Mooney about his position (or if not his position, was that a failure at the framing he is a master of, supposedly?). Mooney is of the “why can’t we get along school” of bipartisanship that has worked so well in Congress lately, and I lost all respect for him years ago. So, I’ll pass on hearing him speak more inanities.

    Stollznow does the Monstertalk podcast for Skeptic magazine. She and Dr Price should do great.

  7. Spencer

    It’s great that D.J. is staying “on-air”. I really like his conversational style of interview on PoI.

    Sorry, but Point of Inquiry is “continuing”. It is not “continuing on“.

    I’ll shut up now.

  8. The Playboy Scientist

    With my friend D.J. Grothe taking the helm of the JREF,…

    D.J. Grothe, set a course for oblivion! LOL

    And, by the way! What’s the D and the J for in his name?

  9. Michael Kingsford Gray

    When is Mooney going to interview say, Ophelia Benson?
    Or Jerry Coyne?
    Or any of the rational folk who correctly point out that Mooney’s lilly-livered weak-kneed fawning-faitheism is mostly destructive in both the short-term and the long-term.
    At least ‘destructive’ from the point of view of promoting truth & reality.
    Mooney seems to have turned to the dark side as far as such noble aims are concerned, and appears intent on prostituting science and truth for illusory gains of a sort that he has yet to coherently articulate.
    Templeton, watch out…

  10. SLC

    Re Michael Kingsford Gray

    Mr. Mooney will interview Ophelia Benson about the time that the shrimps learn to whistle.

  11. Since I download the episodes individually I’ll be skipping the POI’s hosted by Mr Mooney. Maybe if they notice a trend in the “ratings” they’ll correct their mistake.

  12. Paul


    According to the President/CEO of CfI (this was discussed on Russell Blackford’s blog a week or two ago), the PoI podcast crew has a division of labor. Mooney is handling science in the media, while Price is handling any religious-themed podcasts. I expect Mooney will be mostly focusing on Global Warming (long a hobby horse) and anti-vax type issues. It will be interesting if he plays this arrangement straight, or treats it like other media where he can bash New Atheists in a venue where they cannot meaningfully respond.

    Time will tell, I suppose.

  13. Hmmm, please don’t forget Massimo Pigliucci’s new podcast, Rationally Speaking (, which happens to be the official podcast of New York City Skeptics.

  14. Price is, if I recall, a climate change denier. Which is rather concerning.

  15. Malachi Constant

    For those who don’t know Karen Stollznow, she writes for Swift, Skeptical Inquirer and Skepchick. I’m looking forward to her shows.

    As for Mooney, I didn’t hear anything wrong with his first show. I’ll listen to him until he gives me a reason not to.

  16. Karen is always fantastic. I’m sure she’ll do just fine.

  17. vince charles

    SLC: “Mr. Mooney will interview Ophelia Benson about the time that the shrimps learn to whistle.”

    Actually, Navy sonar operators know shrimp (and other “biologicals”) by their “whistles.” Okay, so technically crustaceans aren’t doing the same as a human whistle (air through extreme contractions)… and so Mooney isn’t interviewing Benson either.

  18. Katharine

    As regards the involvement of quacks such as Andrew Wakefield and others, I wonder if simply instituting an oath similar to the Hippocratic Oath for those in scientific research would help at all – you know, something flowery such as “I swear by the legacies of my forebears that I shall uphold, to the best of my ability, these tenets:

    I shall be ethical. I shall not falsify data. If I use living subjects, I shall not cause harm to human subjects, and shall treat all other of my living, breathing subjects with respect. I shall be judicious about the impact of my research, especially with regard to its potential misuse by others. I shall provide my subordinates with good working conditions and support, I shall treat my colleagues with respect, and I shall respect and take heed of those who have come before me. I shall call attention to the unethical behavior of others.

    I shall conduct myself, in my science, with rationality. I shall take every possible step to prevent the biases of the human brain from tainting my research. I shall not lapse into pseudoscience. I shall take note of my own biases and strive to depend on myself and others and allow them to depend on me to remain firmly attached to reality. If my hypothesis is disproven, I shall discard it.

    I shall support all members of the scientific community in the ways of science, from the most ancient, proud emeritus to the newest student.

    If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life, be treated with respect and affection from my colleagues and the community, and always feel joy in the search for knowledge.”

    Seriously, I think this might at least make some individuals think.


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