Point of Inquiry

Center for Inquiry

Religion & Spirituality, Science & Medicine, Social Sciences, Society & Culture, Philosophy

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Science & Medicine 38
Social Sciences 7

Point of Inquiry is the Center for Inquiry's flagship podcast, where the brightest minds of our time sound off on all the things you're not supposed to talk about at the dinner table: science, religion, and politics. Guests have included Brian Greene, Susan Jacoby, Richard Dawkins, Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugenie Scott, Adam Savage, Bill Nye, and Francis Collins. Point of Inquiry is produced at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y.


Jennifer Michael Hecht - Doubt

November 28th, 2008

Episode 159 of 537 episodes

Jennifer Michael Hecht is the author of award-winning books of philosophy, history, and poetry, includingThe End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism and Anthropology;Doubt: A History;The Happiness Myth,and her book of poetry,Funny, which Publisher’s Weeklycalled one of the most original and entertaining books of the year. In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, Hecht talks about the relationship of her bookDoubt: A Historyto the books of the New Atheists, if media reception of the New Atheists was "gendered," and in what sense her book is "less evangelical" than theirs. She explains what she means by the kind of doubt she believes in, how it is broader and deeper than mere disbelief, and the ways in which doubt can feed belief. She explores the implications of doubt for scientific inquiry, and how doubt should be applied to the questions and the certitude that some scientists and skeptics express. She talks about the importance of art, poetry and psychoanalysis for doubting, and how such forms of introspection and expression increase the benefits of doubt. And she reveals some her favorite doubters in history, and what she learns from them.