In Which I Am Not Filled With Optimism

Via Ophelia Benson, this unwelcome news: the Center for Inquiry’s podcast Point of Inquiry, which I listened to regularly until now, is seeing a change in hosts. D.J. Grothe, who formerly conducted the interviews, is leaving to serve as the president of the James Randi Educational Foundation. He’ll be replaced by a rotating series of hosts, and the most important of which, who’s expected to conduct approximately half of Point of Inquiry’s new interviews, is Chris Mooney.

On its face, this is a bizarre choice. No one has expressed more consistently than Chris Mooney the view that atheists should sit down, shut up, and not speak our minds if doing so might upset or offend anyone. Yet he’s now the head interviewer for a podcast whose stated purpose is to interview the leading minds of today, including a majority of guests who are well-known atheists and religious skeptics. What is he going to ask them? Will the interview be thirty minutes of silence, since he’s against giving such people additional opportunity to air their views? More plausibly, will he steer clear of any interview topic that might give his guests the opportunity to express opinions he dislikes, or select only guests who agree with his accommodationist viewpoint of silence and surrender?

Although I have nothing against the other named interviewers, Robert Price and Karen Stollznow, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can no longer in good conscience listen to or promote Point of Inquiry. D.J. Grothe conducted interviews with skill and professionalism, regardless of his guest’s viewpoint, and I’m sorry to see him go (though I am glad to see the atheist movement developing the kind of infrastructure that leads to competition for outreach jobs like these). But I’m not optimistic about his replacement.

So, it seems I need to find some new atheist/skeptic-themed podcasts. Anyone have any suggestions? Feel free to recommend your favorite in the comments.

You Got Your Ideology in My Atheism!
Atlas Shrugged: The Craft of Not Acting
New on the Guardian: Beyond Debating God’s Existence
Atlas Shrugged: Bring Me a New Black Guy
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  • Jerryd

    Reasonable Doubts Podcast is excellent:

  • Dennis N

    Ugh, this is disappointing. I love me some Robert Price though, so I will only download the podcasts without Mooney. If enough people do this, the discrepency between different hosts will show up in the download numbers. This, I think, is the best way to send a message.

  • Luke

    Well definitely look forward to DJ’s new show from the JREF called “For Good Reason”! He gave a great interview recently on The Skeptics’ Guide.

  • syliach

    You don’t have to miss D.J.

    The first podcast is already available.

  • Jason

    Seems I am in agreement with Dennis N: Robert Price is so good, that I will at least be getting those episodes that he hosts. If there’s an easy way to filter by host automatically that would be fantastic.

  • Shannon
  • Tito

    Another vote for Reasonable Doubts, it’s fantastic; I don’t miss an episode. Agree Bob Price is wonderful.

    Skeptoid is my favorite pure critical thinking podcast although it’s brief but dense.

    Glad to hear DJ is on another podcast I agree with Ebon that his interview skills are amazing.

  • Michael

    The Atheist Experience
    Non Prophets (both of these are from the same group, the Atheist community of Austin)
    Reasonable Doubts
    Declaring Independence by ScienceBlogger Ed Brayton (focused more on politics eg. civil liberties, but also creationism, anti-scientific religious extremism etc)

  • pks

    Skepticality podcast by Derek and Swoop of Skeptic magazine is good:

    Freethought Radio Podcast by Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker of FFRF is excellent:

    Atheist Experience Show by Matt Dillahunty and crew is also excellent:

    Thunderf00t’s channel on Youtube is also a can’t miss:

    Ed Brayton’s Declaring Independence Podcast I also second, although he may be too libertarian for your tastes (Haha), but he is a founding member of Panda’s Thumb and is an outspoken atheist:

  • Valhar2000

    Come on, guys! You should give Mooney a chance! Unless you are required to pay a hefty sum for each podcast he hosts you don’t really loose anything by downloading one of two of them and seeing how he does it.

  • Valhar2000

    That said, I also believe that Chris Mooney will likely do a poor job of it, but, honestly, by giving him the benefit of the doubt in this situation we put ourselves in very little risk.

  • Ebonmuse

    If there’s a webpage or an RSS feed that lists only the non-Mooney interviewers on Point of Inquiry, I’ll gladly include it under the Podcasts section of my sidebar. That said, Mooney has been so outspoken in telling us atheists to shut up, I can’t in good conscience do anything that supports him, regardless of whether he turns out to be a “good” interviewer or not.

  • Valhar2000
  • MissCherryPi

    No one has expressed more consistently than Chris Mooney the view that atheists should sit down, shut up, and not speak our minds if doing so might upset or offend anyone.

    You forgot Sippy Cup! She’s an atheist but her new book is called “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity.”

  • Valhar2000

    You forgot Sippy Cup! She’s an atheist but her new book is called “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity.”

    It certainly does sound like garbage. Have you read it? Is it as bad as the title makes it sound?

  • Martin

    See Russell Blackford’s blog for some truly pathetic comments on this topic from the head of CFI.

  • MissCherryPi

    It’s not coming out until April. But this article might give you an insight into her.

  • nfpendleton

    There’s also the Skeptics Guide to the Universe…but I hear Ken Ham will be taking that over from Steven Novella.

    I kid.

  • Tommykey

    Why do I get the feeling that Sippy Cupp is not even really an atheist? Without knowing much about her, I suspect she is pretending to be an atheist so that her criticisms of atheism and liberalism (not that the two necessarily go hand and hand) can be cited by conservatives as saying “You see, one of them gets it!” My instinct tells me she is the atheist equivalent of the “Fox News Democrat” who regularly appears on Fox News to bash Democrats and validate the likes of Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly.

  • Tommykey

    As for Chris Mooney, while I disagree with the stance he has taken on outspoken atheists, I don’t think I would have a problem listening to POI podcasts he does if the topic or the guest is interesting.

  • Ebonmuse

    Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. I’ve heard good things already about Reasonable Doubts, and I didn’t know that D.J. Grothe is doing a new podcast for the JREF, so I’ll definitely have to check that one out.

  • Peter Magellan

    I’ve just been listening to an episode of Freethought Radio featuring Jerry Coyne. Dan Dennett was on recently and RD himself is on next week: