Not your typical debate…

couple of weeks back, I was browsing through different podcasts online,
trying to decide what new podcasts I could start to listen to that were
in line with the kind of person that I want to be. I wanted to find
something that I could listen to that would discuss a wide variety of
issues, something that would not be as biased as most of the news that I
get today, something that researches the topic, and presents both sides
in a more moderated opinion. I found that in the podcast “Intelligence
Squared US”.

The idea is that every few weeks, a “debate” is held
where two sides examine an issue, offering commentary and research on
that issue, with an opening statement, rebuttal, and concluding
statement. At the beginning of the podcast, there is a talk by the host
on why they chose the topic that comes up, as well as how it is
important to society at the time. The panelists are pretty well known,
if not academic then authoritative people on their topics. The debates
are not shouting matches, they are not our own political debates where
the candidates shout across the room at each other, interrupt each
other, and then turn toward debasing each other and the news media that
pits them against each other (or tries to)… they are calm, reflective,
and turn based. As at the beginning, at the end a poll is taken
containing the audience’s opinion, and whichever side has shifted the
most is declared the “winner”… although it’s hard to imagine a
“winner” with this kind of debate/discussion.

True, the comments
on the bottom of each video are less than civil sometimes. Sometimes the
debates seem to reflect the audience and its location (the debates are
held in NYC), rather than a more diversified opinion across the US. But
for the most part, I feel that these debates are helpful and give strong
insight into understanding the variety of opinions that we as Americans
hold in this country. Furthermore, it also helps to give us a bit more
insight as to what issues other people/ “the other side” might have…
Because as much as we might say that there are a lot of “biased” people
out there, in the end we are all “biased”, we all have our own views.
All we can do is try to reflect on, understand, and question what it is
the other side is thinking, then voice our own opinions, in a cool

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