I'm Now A Podcast Host: For Point of Inquiry

By Chris Mooney | February 1, 2010 1:00 pm

I just got the press release by email, so there is no hiding this news any longer. Here it is, from the Center for Inquiry:

Center for Inquiry Announces Three New Hosts for its Popular Podcast, ‘Point of Inquiry’

The Center for Inquiry has announced that there will be three new hosts for its popular podcast, Point of Inquiry. Joining the podcast are Chris Mooney, Karen Stollznow, and Robert Price.

“We are tremendously excited about having Chris Mooney, Karen Stollznow and Robert Price as hosts for our podcast,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “All three are smart, articulate, witty individuals, with a depth of knowledge in their respective areas of expertise. We expect the podcasts to be thought-provoking and engaging—an entertaining intellectual feast. Moreover, given the scope of topics to be covered, we anticipate we will be able to broaden the audience for our podcast.”

Mooney is expected to host about half of the approximately 50 new shows per year, with the balance evenly split between Price and Stollznow. The first episode to feature this new format is scheduled tentatively for February 12.

The Center for Inquiry launched the weekly podcast in 2006, and it was hosted by CFI Vice President for Outreach D.J. Grothe until his recent departure from CFI to become president of the James Randi Educational Foundation.

About the hosts:

Chris Mooney is a 2009-2010 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and the author of three books, The Republican War on Science, Storm World, and Unscientific America. Mooney maintains a blog hosted by Discover magazine titled “The Intersection” with Sheril Kirshenbaum and serves as a contributing editor for Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

Robert M. Price is professor of theology and scriptural studies at Coleman Theological Seminary and professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute. He is a fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion and the Jesus Seminar. Dr. Price is the author of a number of books, including The Reason Driven Life, Deconstructing Jesus, The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, and The Da Vinci Fraud. He has appeared widely in the media, and was featured prominently in the movie The God Who Wasn’t There. His latest book is Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today’s Pop Mysticisms.

Karen Stollznow is an author and skeptical investigator with a doctorate in linguistics and a background in history and anthropology.  She is an associate researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and a director of the San Francisco Bay Area Skeptics. A prolific skeptical writer for many sites and publications, she is the “Naked Skeptic” Web columnist for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the “Bad Language” columnist for Skeptic magazine, a frequent contributor to Skeptical Inquirer, and managing editor of CSI’s Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. Dr. Stollznow is a host of the Monster Talk podcast and writer for the Skepbitch and Skepchick blogs, as well as for the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Swift.

Point of Inquiry is the premier podcast of the Center for Inquiry, drawing on CFI’s relationship with the leading minds of the day, including Nobel Prize-winning scientists, public intellectuals, prominent authors, and social critics and thinkers. Each episode combines incisive interviews, features, and commentary focusing on issues of science and public policy, pseudoscience and the paranormal, and religion and secularism.

So what do folks think of that?


Comments (23)

Links to this Post

  1. News From Around The Blogosphere 2.1.10 « Skepacabra | February 2, 2010
  1. A 'new' atheist

    That it’s very bad news.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I think it’s terrific news. Congratulations, seriously.

    Hopefully you’ll remember this is about inquiry, not about inquisition, suppression, or policing the conversation.

  3. jfoster

    I think it’s a damn shame. Someone like Mooney who thinks, amongst other things, that astrology is compatible with astronomy shouldn’t be hosting a podcast which has a skeptical bent to it. How sad.

  4. Neuro-conservative

    I think it’s probably a good idea for you to cultivate new lines of work, as the whole global warming thing is kind of collapsing all around you.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure that entering a market where 80% of the target audience already hates you is really a great idea.

    Maybe you could sell life insurance or something?

  5. Sven DiMilo

    I don’t pod, so I couldn;t care less, but what is the deal with that colon in the title to this post?

  6. jfoster


    You must concede that if one believes in proper punctuation, then putting superfluous colons in blog title posts is compatible with that stance. It is after all a fact that there are living, breathing people who do both simultaneously!

  7. SLC

    Mr. Neuro-conservative, Marc Moranos’ megaphone, is really an amusing fellow. Apparently demonstrating his lack of innovation, he sounds like the evolution denialists who have been claiming for some 150 years that the theory of evolution is on its last legs and will be abandoned in the near future. Somehow, that future never arrives.

  8. science-based humanist

    Congratulations, though you don’t seem that excited . . . You should be! DJ Grothe developed an excellent podcast and the CFI leadership surely wants to preserve and develop this valuable brand. The fact that they gave you 50% of it reflects well on them and on you, IMO. Good luck.

  9. bob

    DJ Grothe is an excellent interviewer, so I think anyone stepping into his shoes (especially without interview experience) will probably result in a major decrease in PoI’s quality. Frankly, though, I think it’s was a bad move on CFI’s part to have Mooney take over as main host.

    Regardless of your opinion about Mooney or his positions, you cannot deny that he doesn’t take criticism, or even disagreement, well. (His petty responses to the brouhaha over his latest book make that abundantly clear.) How could he possibly conduct a fruitful interview of someone he disagrees with? Imagine him trying to interview a prominent atheist at this point. The interview either simply wouldn’t happen or would be an embarrassing disaster.

    The only silver lining to this cloud is that DJ will probably do a great job heading the JREF, and that’s ultimately more important than a weekly podcast (possibly) going into the toilet.

  10. SLC

    Re bob @ #10

    Imagine Mr. Mooney interviewing PZ Myers!

  11. bob


    Yeah, PZ’s the most obvious example, but I didn’t want to mention him by name. In my experience, typing the letters P and Z around these parts really sets off the locals.

  12. Marion Delgado

    CONGRATULATIONS. And doubly so, because I think you’ll add a great deal to that podcast – make it better, and expand its audience.

  13. Chris, you might be interested in this discussion: http://metamagician3000.blogspot.com/2010/02/mooney-goes-to-point-of-inquiry.html.

    I, for one, think this is a daft decision. Luckily, DJ is hosting a new podcast – For Good Reason – which is essentially the old POI with a new name, and under a new organization. The new POI, whatever it is, won’t be the old POI. FGR is the old POI that we loved.

    I’ll listen to too many awesome podcasts already (including now FGR). Unless, the new POI really impresses me – and quickly – I aint staying. I have my doubts whether the new hosts will be able to do that.

  14. (Sorry, *I* listen, not *I’ll*)

  15. bob

    Interesting link, Michael. It seems that even Chris’ valiant defender (and now-employer) Ronald A Lindsay has some reservations about him. How do you feel about not being trusted to interview new atheists, Chris?

  16. Lisa

    I’m now unsubscribing from the Point of Inquiry podcast.

  17. A 'new' atheist

    Imagine Mr. Mooney interviewing PZ Myers, or Jerry Coyne, or Russell Blackford, or Ophelia Benson. Imagine any of them agreeing to be interviewed. It’s hard to do, isn’t it.

  18. This is my first time posting here as I’m a big POI fan but don’t know much about Mooney. I’m disappointed that he hasn’t responded to the comments posted here. I wouldn’t mind some assurances from him that he’ll be impartial while interviewing people he doesn’t agree with. I’ll give Mooney a fair shot, trying to keep an open mind!

  19. Scote

    Hmm….Seeing as how my first, critical post was rejected, I have no reason to be confident that Chris Mooney can or will be an open minded host in favor of free and objective inquiry.

  20. I agree with EnlightiningLinZ. Chris, what is your response to all this? There has been something of an outcry and I think a response of some kind is in order.

  21. SLC

    Re A “new” atheist

    Actually, I think an interview with Ms. Abbie Smith of the ERV blog would be even more interesting as she suggest that Mr. Mooney perform a physically impossible sex act on her blog.

  22. gillt

    Mooney banned Ophelia Benson from this blog about a year ago. I can’t imagine that interview taking place.


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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs.For a longer bio and contact information, see here.


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