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Open to Debate

Author: Open to Debate

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America is more divided than ever—but it doesn’t have to be. Open to Debate offers an antidote to the chaos. We bring multiple perspectives together for real, nonpartisan debates. Debates that are structured, respectful, clever, provocative, and driven by the facts. Open to Debate is on a mission to restore balance to the public square through expert moderation, good-faith arguments, and reasoned analysis. We examine the issues of the day with the world’s most influential thinkers spanning science, technology, politics, culture, and global affairs. It’s time to build a stronger, more united democracy with the civil exchange of ideas. Be open-minded. Be curious. Be ready to listen. Join us in being Open to Debate. (Formerly Intelligence Squared U.S.)

359 Episodes
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From AI to the political climate during an election year, our modern world is constantly changing and facing more polarization than before. How can we combat it and adapt to a changing America? CNN host and bestselling author Fareed Zakaria says you have to be open-minded and embrace compromise. In this conversation with John Donvan, Zakaria discusses our current revolutionary times, how past revolutions can help us understand our present, and why despite everything, he’s still hopeful. Our Guest: Fareed Zakaria, Host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS; Author of "Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present"    Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What George Carlin jokes would be deemed offensive today? What makes us laugh has come under scrutiny. Old jokes or skits are often off-limits in today's context, leading to public apologies and cancellations. Some argue political correctness stifles comedic creativity, thus affecting their ability to tackle tough subjects. Those who disagree say comedy has always evolved with changing norms and it can still flourish within wokeness. This week we revisit one of our favorite debates from the past year: is Wokeness Killing Comedy?    Against this background, we debate the question: Is Wokeness Killing Comedy?    This debate will take place in front of a live audience, on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at The Comedy Cellar’s Village Underground in New York City. Warning that this content is not made for kids.    Arguing Yes: Lou Perez, Comedian, Producer, Author of  "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore"  Arguing No: Michael Ian Black, Actor and Comedian    Nick Gillespie, Editor-at-Large of Reason, guest moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Married or Single?

Married or Single?

2024-06-2851:58

Marriage has long been considered a goal to aspire to and a conventional path to happiness. But over the last few decades, the traditional view of marriage as the cornerstone of adult life has been questioned. Changes in economic conditions, gender roles, and cultural values have fueled a reevaluation of whether marriage is still desirable or necessary for personal fulfillment and social stability. Those who believe it’s better to get married argue that married individuals report better physical and mental well-being, compared to single adults. They also experience economic and social benefits. Those who believe it’s better to be single say singledom helps promote independence, allows individuals to make decisions freely, makes it likely to create broader social networks and communities, and feel more fulfilled than they would if they felt pressured to be partnered.     Whether you are in a relationship or not, we debate the following prompt: Married or Single?  Arguing Married: Jonathan Rothwell, Principal Economist at Gallup   Arguing Single: Bella DePaulo, Social Scientist and Author of "Singled Out" and "Single at Heart"    Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Is Islam Antisemitic?

Is Islam Antisemitic?

2024-06-2152:01

Though they share similar values, guidelines, and principles, Islam and Judaism have a long, complicated relationship that has led to tension recorded within the Quran that might engender antisemitism. Those who agree argue that certain Quranic verses could be used to justify some people’s hostility towards Jews. Those who disagree say that references to Jews must be understood in their historical and textual contexts and there have been multiple periods of Muslim-Jewish tolerance. Now we debate: Is Islam Antisemitic?  Arguing Yes: Tim Dieppe, Head of Policy at Christian Concern    Arguing No: Reza Aslan, Iranian-American Religion Scholar; Bestselling Author of "Zealot"   Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The Supreme Court will soon decide on a case whether government interference on social media is coercive and suppresses free speech. Those who argue legitimate cooperation say that where misinformation threatens public health or safety, they are justified to protect the public. Those argue coercion believe that increased content moderation could lead to authoritarian control over public discourse online. Now we debate: Mock Trial: Free Speech, Government, and Misinformation on Social Media Platforms.   Plaintiff: Charles "Chip" Miller, Senior Attorney at the Institute for Free Speech   Defendant: Rylee Sommers-Flanagan, Founder and Executive Director of Upper Seven Law   Cross examiners: Nina Jankowicz, CEO of The American Sunlight Project; Former Executive Director of the Department of Homeland Security's Disinformation Governance Board Matt Taibbi, Best-selling Author and Journalist; Writer and Publisher of Racket News Eric Schurenberg, Business Journalist and Media Executive; Founder of the Alliance for Trust in Media Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Prostitution remains heavily stigmatized and legally complex globally, ranging from full decriminalization to controlled regulation like the Nordic Model, where only purchasers of sex, not sellers of sex are penalized. This model has been implemented in eight countries, including Sweden, Iceland, Canada, and France, as well as in the U.S. state of Maine. Those who argue that it is ok to pay for sex say that it’s a profession that deserves as much respect as any other and that those who do it for a living have a right to do with their bodies as they please. They also argue that decriminalizing the profession is the only method to reduce violence against sex workers. Those who say that it is not ok to pay for sex and support the Nordic model are concerned about inequities present between sex buyers and sex workers that are rooted in oppression and power imbalances, as some sex workers choose the profession under economic or social duress. They are also concerned about exploitation and coercion, which can sometimes open the door to human trafficking.     With this background, we debate the following question: Is It OK to Pay for Sex?     Arguing Yes: Kaytlin Bailey, Sex Workers Rights Advocate; Founder & Executive Director of Old Pros and Host of “The Oldest Profession Podcast”   Arguing No: Yasmin Vafa, Human Rights Attorney; Co-Founder and Executive Director at Rights4Girls  Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
China recently conducted two days of military exercises around Taiwan as a “punishment” for “separatist acts” by Taiwan’s new president. Beijing sees Taiwan as territory that needs to be “reunified” with the mainland, while the U.S. is Taiwan’s strongest backer. Some argue that China’s military presence is too large to stop and the island nation is indefensible. Those who disagree argue that American credibility is on the line and they should stand by their political posturing. Now we debate: Is Taiwan Indefensible?    With this background, we debate the question: Is Taiwan Indefensible?  Arguing Yes: Lyle L. Goldstein, Research Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College; Charlie Glaser, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University    Arguing No: Elbridge Colby, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense; Elizabeth Larus, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at University of Mary Washington      Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Two days. Four questions. Ten judges and high school students participating in the national championship run by Incubate Debate, the U.S.’s fastest-growing high school debate league. This is what civil debate in the public square looks like — and what it can be across the country. Join us as we follow eight students who debate the following questions: “Should College DEI Programs Be Abolished?” and “Is Climate Change An Emergency?”  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Happiness is a complex emotion and mental state that can be achieved through virtue or pleasure. But should it be for the good of the individual or society? Those in favor of virtue point to the Stoics and the Founding Fathers, saying you should strive for a life of moral virtue and rationality. Those in favor of pleasure say everyone should be able to experience it and define their sources of happiness. Now we debate: The Pursuit of Happiness: Virtue or Pleasure?  Arguing Virtue: Jeffrey Rosen, CEO & President of the National Constitution Center; Author of “The Pursuit of Happiness: How Classical Writers on Virtue Inspired the Lives of the Founders and Defined America”       Arguing Pleasure: Roger Crisp, Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford; Uehiro Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at St. Anne's College, Oxford    Nayeema Raza, Journalist at New York Magazine and Vox, is the guest moderator.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The Supreme Court will soon decide on a case surrounding a medication used for abortion, mifepristone, and whether the drug should continue to be available based on claims of safety and ethical considerations. Those in favor of restrictions argue that the FDA fast-tracked its approval without considering health impacts. Those against restriction argue the FDA made its decisions based on safety and efficiency, and it’s being targeted to further infringe on women’s rights. Now we debate: Should the Courts Restrict Access to the Abortion Pill?   Petitioner: Julia Kaye, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project   Respondent: Catherine Glenn Foster, Senior Fellow in Legal Policy at the Charlotte Lozier Institute   Judge's Chair: John Donvan, Moderator-in-Chief and Emmy award-winning journalist  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Many colleges during the pandemic decided to make their applications test-optional, but new research has elite colleges rethinking that policy. Those in favor of reinstating say the SAT is the best way to bring talented students from all socioeconomic levels into the fold. Those against it say it favors the affluent and argue that admissions decisions should be based on a holistic, more inclusive review that considers a wide range of factors Now we debate: Should Elite Universities Reinstate the SAT? Arguing Yes: John Friedman, Professor and Chair of the Economics Department at Brown University   Arguing No: Ben Nelson, Founder of Minerva University  Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Tensions have been ramping up at universities across the country as students continue to protest the war in Gaza. Reports of antisemitism, islamophobia, and harassment have led to concerns that some students have crossed a line into hateful and threatening speech that requires intervention. Others contend that efforts to clamp down on protests in the name of campus safety suppresses free speech. Within that context, we revisit this debate on adjacent issues from a few years back to see what lessons that can be applied to the current situation: Is Free Speech Threatened on Campus?  Arguing Yes: John McWhorter, Linguist and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University; Wendy Kaminer, Writer and Lawyer    Arguing No: Shaun Harper, Founder and Executive Director of the USC Race and Equity Center; Jason Stanley, Professor of Philosophy at Yale University  Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Former criminal offenders in the United States face challenges reentering the job market after incarceration and so-called “Ban the Box” policies aim to fix this. This criminal justice initiative calls for removing questions about criminal history from job applications and delaying background checks. Those against "the box" argue former offenders shouldn’t continue to be punished and it prevents societal reintegration. Those in favor of early screening argue employers have a responsibility to ensure their business’s safety and make informed hiring decisions. Those who are against it argue former offenders shouldn’t continue to be punished and it prevents societal reintegration. Now we debate: Ban the Box: Should We Banish the Criminal History Check Box from Job Applications?    Arguing Yes: Beth Avery, Senior Staff Attorney at the National Employment Law Project  Arguing No: Jennifer Doleac, Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice at Arnold Ventures    Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The U.S. has provided more than $75 billion in aid to Ukraine in its war against Russia. Some Congress members question whether we have done enough to help, and they say increased funding sustains strategic interests and demonstrates support of democratic values. Those who say we should stop funding the war, argue that Ukraine can’t win and additional U.S. dollars will prolong the loss of human lives and territory. Now we debate, in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations: Should Congress Stop Funding the War in Ukraine?   Arguing Yes: John Mearsheimer, Political Science Professor at the University of Chicago;    Daniel L. Davis, Retired Lieutenant Colonel, Senior Fellow and Military Expert at Defense Priorities  Arguing No: Heather Conley, President of German Marshall Fund of the United States;   Paula Dobriansky, Former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs; Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Vice Chair, Atlantic Council Scowcroft Center for Strategy & Security    Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Religion has long shaped human civilization, and many have wondered whether it’s good for society. Those who argue “yes” say it offers a sense of identity and belonging and provides a moral compass to do good acts. Those who argue “no” say that religious beliefs are a source of historical and conflict and discrimination and can hinder social progress that clash with modern values. Now we debate: Is Religion a Force for Good?  Arguing Yes: Shadi Hamid, Columnist and Editorial Board Member of The Washington Post; Assistant Research Professor of Islamic Studies at Fuller Seminary  Arguing No: Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-Founder and Co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation  Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released new guidelines to address childhood obesity, affecting over 14 million children, including recommendations for weight loss medications and surgery. Those who consider the guidelines good medicine say that it is a step forward in recognizing obesity as a condition requiring a range of medical interventions. Those who think the guidelines are too extreme worry these approaches could impact mental health and body image, contributing to weight stigma and shame. Now we debate: Childhood Obesity Guidelines: Good Medicine or Too Extreme? Arguing "Good Medicine: Dr. Julia Nordgren, Pediatric Lipid Specialist at Palo Alto Medical Foundation; Attending Physician at the Stanford Weight Clinic  Arguing "Too Extreme": Dr. Janna Gewirtz O'Brien, Pediatrician and Assistant Professor at University of Minnesota Medical School  Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
With one billion active users across more than 150 countries, TikTok is by many measures one of the world’s most successful video apps — and half of Americans use it. The House of Representatives has passed a bill that could ban the social media company in the U.S. if its parent company, Bytedance, does not divest from it and requires TikTok to be bought by a country that is not a U.S. adversary. Those supporting such a move often point to a ban on another Chinese tech giant, Huawei, as an effective means of limiting China’s influence and bring up concerns the app could be used to leak Americans’ data to China for surveillance, making it a security risk. Those who argue against it say a ban would undermine what has become an important tool in the video marketplace, and that such efforts are not only politically motivated but are also easily bypassed.     In that context, we debate the question: Should the U.S. Ban TikTok?  Arguing Yes: Kori Schake, Senior Fellow and Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute  Arguing No: Milton Mueller, Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy; Founder and Director of the Internet Governance Project   Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Taylor Swift achieved her billionaire status because of her talent, work ethic, and support from her fans. But some question whether any individual should be able to accumulate so much wealth. Those arguing they should point to philosopher Robert Nozick, who says if someone acquires wealth through just means, they are entitled to it. Those arguing “no” say that luck and systemic advantages often play a role, sometimes involving exploitation, and that billionaires have an outsized influence on policy. Now we debate: Does Taylor Swift Deserve Her Billion Dollar Fortune?  Arguing Yes: Jessica Flanigan, Political Philosopher and Chair in Ethics and Democratic Values at the University of Richmond  Arguing No: Ingrid Robeyns, Chair in Ethics of Institutions at Utrecht University's Ethics Institute; Author of "Limitarianism: The Case Against Extreme Wealth"  Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
American women are, on average, paid 84 cents for every dollar men make, according to the Department of Labor. This wage gap has persisted despite near-record rates of women’s participation in the labor market, with wage gaps even larger for women in minority populations, and it’s estimated that pay parity will not be achieved until 2052. Should policy interventions address these disparities, or is it more important to recognize and honor women's personal decisions and find another way to look at the gap Those in favor of fixing the gap see it as a point of fairness and equity that would bring economic benefits, such as enhanced family incomes and increased productivity, and say that new policies are needed urgently to dismantle systemic barriers stopping women from earning more. Those who aren’t in favor argue wage disparities reflect individual choices regarding career paths, work-life balance, and tenure, rather than systemic discrimination. They also point out that when adjusted for factors like job type, hours worked, and career breaks, the gap significantly narrows.      Against this backdrop, we debate the question: Should We Address the Gender Wage Gap?  Arguing Yes: Kadie Ward, Commissioner and Chief Administrative Officer of the Pay Equity Commission of Ontario  Arguing No:  Allison Schrager, Pension Economist, Bloomberg Opinion Contributor & Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute    Nayeema Raza, Journalist at New York Magazine and Vox, is the guest moderator.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In a high-stakes presidential election year, in partnership with the Newt and Jo Minow Debate Series at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Open to Debate is taking a look at more than a decade of the Citizens United Supreme Court case. The 2010 landmark decision that ruled the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for political communications by corporations, including nonprofits, labor unions, and other associations, changed the landscape of political spending in the U.S. This gave rise to Super PACS and an increase in election campaign spending. Since then, there have been questions about whether the decision has harmed our democratic process. Those who support the decision argue it upholds free speech, allowing diverse voices in the political arena, and broadens the range of discourse by enabling groups to freely express their views and support candidates or policies. Those against it argue that it allows a disproportionate influence from corporations and special interest groups, and leaves the voices of ordinary citizens overshadowed by the financial resources of a few, eroding the principles of equality and fair representation.  With this context, we debate the question: Has Citizens United Undermined Democracy?     This debate is presented in partnership with the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law as part of the Newt and Jo Minow Debate Series. It will be recorded live in person on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, at the Thorne Auditorium at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in Chicago, Illinois. Arguing Yes: Francesca Procaccini, Assistant Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School; Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Professor of Law at Stetson University   Arguing No: Floyd Abrams, Senior Counsel at Cahill Gordon & Reindel; Eric Wang, Partner at The Gober Group, pro bono Senior Fellow at the Institute for Free Speech   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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Comments (37)

Rock78 Rock78

lies

Jul 12th
Reply

Fadil Gera

really great!

Jun 18th
Reply

Smoldering Fox

you think?

Apr 26th
Reply

victoria lisa

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Feb 5th
Reply

Ryan Pena

this was a fantastic debate. I came in certain that it was social media causing these mental health problems but I was persuaded that we just don't know yet. correlation is not causation. if the data really doesn't clearly show that there is causation we can't definitely say that it does. we definitely still need to regulate big tech and make it less addictive for a multitude of other reason tho

Jul 28th
Reply

INFJayo

Is there a cat meowing in the background when the debate opens?

Oct 9th
Reply

Levi Speth

I really don't like when they "debate" yet both people are SUPER anti-Trump.

Aug 12th
Reply (1)

Jemi Assefa

my question is, when did cancel culture not exist? book burnings, witch hunts, Jim crow, black codes , housing discrimination, end of segregation.....all these things fall under the category of "cancel culture" ....the only difference now is , power is starting to balance. people have always tried to cancel beliefs, cancel over human beings, cancel change ....what is toxic is the reaction for change

Nov 30th
Reply (1)

Go Billers

that one guy is only talking to people who already voted with him. he's not really compelling.

Oct 3rd
Reply

red snflr

at this point keep "printing"(credit big banks out of thin air) money & spending so my crypto assets keep going up. Fiat currency sprinting towards ot's death, good riddance.

Sep 3rd
Reply

Levi Speth

please go back to people who disagree. for example, when debating the state of the GOP, you had a bunch of left leaning people who don't like the current republican party.

Mar 12th
Reply

Rob Houston

Basically arguing whether being racist is a core GQP principle.

Mar 1st
Reply

Blue Heron

Gas tax is just a way to disproportionately put the burden of taxes on poor working people so rich people who don't even drive can pay less in taxes

Jul 22nd
Reply

Blue Heron

Intelligence Squared is fun, but ridiculously easy to rig. All you have to do is get a half a dozen people or so in the audience who are on your side to agree to vote undecided and then change their vote. I have no doubt the honor system is disregarded in these debates

Jul 22nd
Reply

Kathleen Fuller

The opposing side is correct: patriotism is not the same as nationalism. https://twitter.com/TammyforIL/status/1281415977536815105?s=19

Jul 10th
Reply

David Chavanes

What a horrible debate 2 people arguing 2 sides of the same coin. A waisted crisis with just short term gains, and getting shorter still.

May 6th
Reply

Linda Susan Erickson

Whose science - kudos to the Politifact researcher who understood that the vast majority of Bible believers are NOT anti- science, rather they are cognizant that there are different viewpoints even among scientists and that scientific truth evolves with new discoveries. 🙂

Apr 5th
Reply

Linda Susan Erickson

Seems like you consistently interview liberals. How about interviewing some thoughtful conservatives. Luke Goodrich from Becket on religious liberty would be a good choice.

Feb 4th
Reply (1)

Linda Susan Erickson

Seems like you 5 consistently interviewing liberals. How about interviewing some thoughtful conservatives. Luke Goodrich from Becket on religious liberty would be a good choice.

Feb 4th
Reply

MrMajk898

No!

Oct 21st
Reply
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