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Intelligence Squared

Intelligence Squared is the world’s leading forum for debate and intelligent discussion. Live and online we take you to the heart of the issues that matter, in the company of some of the world’s sharpest minds and most exciting orators. Join the debate at www.intelligencesquared.com and download our weekly podcasts every Tuesday and Friday. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Ibram X. Kendi and Razia Iqbal on How To Be An Antiracist

What's the difference between being merely non-racist and being an antiracist? And what will it take to completely uproot racism from our societies, institutions and our own selves? In this episode were were joined by Ibram X. Kendi, the founding director of the Antiracism Research and Policy Center at American University and author of How To Be an Antiracist. He was interviewed by BBC presenter Razia Iqbal.  Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

40mins

23 Aug 2019

Rank #1

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An Evening With Slavoj Zizek

Radical philosopher, polymath, film star, cult icon, and author of over 30 books, Slavoj Žižek is one of the most controversial and leading contemporary public intellectuals, simultaneously acclaimed as the ‘Elvis of cultural theory’ and denounced as ‘the most dangerous philosopher in the West’. In this special lecture for Intelligence Squared from July 2011, Žižek argues that global capitalism is fast approaching its terminal crisis and that our collective responses to economic Armageddon correspond to the five stages of grief – ideological denial, explosions of anger, attempts at bargaining, followed by depression and finally acceptance of change. Referencing everything from Kafka, the "Hollywood Marxism" of Avatar, the Arab Spring and WikiLeaks, he presents a roadmap for finding a way beyond the madness. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr 30mins

24 Jan 2014

Rank #2

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Steven Pinker on Good Writing with Ian McEwan

Steven Pinker is one of the world’s leading authorities on language, mind and human nature. A professor of psychology at Harvard, he is the bestselling author of eight books and regularly appears in lists of the world’s top 100 thinkers. On September 25th he returned to the Intelligence Squared stage to discuss his latest publication 'The Sense of Style', a short and entertaining writing guide for the 21st century. Pinker argued that bad writing can’t be blamed on the internet, or on “the kids today”. Good writing has always been hard: a performance requiring pretence, empathy, and a drive for coherence. He answered questions such as: how can we overcome the “curse of knowledge”, the difficulty in imagining what it’s like not to know something we do? And how can we distinguish the myths and superstitions about language from helpful rules that enhance clarity and grace? Pinker showed how everyone can improve their mastery of writing and their appreciation of the art. Professor Pinker was joined by Ian... Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr 18mins

30 Sep 2014

Rank #3

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The Catholic Church is a Force For Good in The World

Can anything good really be said of an institution that has such a warped attitude to sex that it tries to stop the world from wearing a condom, is bitterly opposed to gays leading a fulfilled life and regards women as unworthy of officiating in its rituals? But who you gonna call when it comes to finding a good school for your children, when it comes to standing up for the oppressed, when it comes to giving material and spiritual succour to the wretched of the earth? In 2009 Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens locked horns with Anne Widdecombe and John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, over whether or not the Catholic Church was a force for good. Today the debate has been watched more times online than any other Intelligence Squared event. We're thrilled to make the audio available to all as part of our Advent podcast. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

46mins

13 Dec 2013

Rank #4

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P.J. O’Rourke and Lionel Shriver on the Battle for the White House

This episode was from one of our live Intelligence Squared events, featuring satirist P. J. O’Rourke and bestselling author Lionel Shriver. They joined us for a night of withering satire, relentless ridicule and sharp political insight in a discussion chaired by Razia Iqbal of the BBC. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr 1min

22 Nov 2019

Rank #5

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Speeches and Letters That Changed The World, With Simon Sebag Montefiore and Kate Mosse

At the 2019 Cliveden Literary Festival, Intelligence Squared brought together historian Simon Sebag Montefiore and novelist Kate Mosse to discuss some of the speeches and letters in Sebag’s latest books Voices of History and Written in History. Bringing it all to life on our stage were the actors Jade Anouka, Alex Macqueen and Natascha McElhone. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr

11 Oct 2019

Rank #6

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To Stop Climate Collapse, We Must End Capitalism

According to some scientific predictions, human civilisation could completely collapse by 2050 if we don’t take drastic action to stop climate change now. So is capitalism responsible for the impending climate crisis, and should we abandon our economic system before it’s too late? Or is capitalism actually history’s most effective way of solving our problems - including the pressing challenge of climate change?Arguing in favour of the motion "To Stop Climate Collapse, We Must End Capitalism" were Guardian journalist and polemicist George Monbiot and Extinction Rebellion's Farhana Yamin.Arguing against the motion were Chair of the Energy Transitions Commission Adair Turner and sustainability adviser Tony Juniper.The debate was chaired by BBC journalist and broadcaster Ritula Shah. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr 7mins

21 Feb 2020

Rank #7

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Robert Macfarlane on Landscape and the Human Heart

How do the landscapes we love shape the people we are? Why do we walk? For several years and more than a thousand miles, celebrated travel writer Robert Macfarlane has been following the vast network of old paths and routes that criss-cross Britain and its waters, and connect them to countries and continents beyond. Listen to his enthralling account from June 2012 of the ghosts and voices that haunt old tracks, of songlines and their singers, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, and of rights of way and rites of way. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr 15mins

4 Dec 2013

Rank #8

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The Battle Over Gender, Race and Identity with Douglas Murray and Anne McElvoy

In this episode we were joined by the conservative thinker Douglas Murray, whose new book The Madness of Crowds examines this century's most divisive issues: sexuality, gender, technology and race. He was interviewed on his ideas by Anne McElvoy, Senior Editor at The Economist and head of Economist Radio. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

51mins

22 Oct 2019

Rank #9

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Yuval Noah Harari on the myths we need to survive

Myths. We tend to think they’re a thing of the past, fabrications that early humans needed to believe in because their understanding of the world was so meagre. But what if modern civilisation were itself based on a set of myths? This is the big question posed by Professor Yuval Noah Harari, author of 'Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind', which has become one of the most talked about bestsellers of recent years. In this exclusive appearance for Intelligence Squared, Harari argued that all political orders are based on useful fictions which have allowed groups of humans, from ancient Mesopotamia through to the Roman empire and modern capitalist societies, to cooperate in numbers far beyond the scope of any other species. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr 1min

25 Sep 2015

Rank #10

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The World Needs Religion Even if it Doesn't Need God

God is dead and man has no need of the myths and false consolation that religion offers. That’s the battle-cry of Richard Dawkins and other tough-minded critics of religion. And yet millions cling to their faith, finding value and meaning in the concepts and rituals they adhere to. But is this dichotomy all we have to choose from – prostration or denigration? Some would argue that there’s another way, that it’s possible to remain an atheist and still make use of certain ideas and practices of religion that secular society has failed to engender – the promotion of morality and a spirit of community, for example, and the ability to cope with loss, failure and our own mortality. But is this “religion for atheists” something that would ever catch on? Without belief in the numinous and some form of authority wouldn’t it all fall apart? And do atheists really need sermons and reminders to be good? Arguing against this motion in this debate from January 2012 were philosopher and author Alain de Botton and... Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr 2mins

29 Apr 2015

Rank #11

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The Best Chance For Peace In Israel And Palestine Is For Uncle Sam To Butt Out

Is it surprising that the Israelis and Palestinians are still unable to come to some sort of agreement? After all if the adjudicator in a mediation is firmly on your side why bother to concede anything to the enemy? Conversely, why accept anything proposed by the adjudicator if you know his affections are biased towards the other side? We know America’s neutrality is hopelessly compromised on this issue and it doesn’t pretend otherwise. Say something against Israel in the run-up to the US presidential elections and you won’t become president. And since that’s not going to change, the best thing one can hope is for America to simply withdraw from the peace process. Or is it? Some have faith that Washington can be persuaded to adopt a more flexible and even-handed stance – that it can free itself from the influence of the hard-liners and be responsive to more liberal voices. For if America were not involved – if the most important global playmaker were excluded or pulled out of the negotiating process –... Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr 48mins

27 Mar 2014

Rank #12

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Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism

Is there a country in the world that attracts so much criticism as Israel? Studies consistently show Israel to be one of the most disliked nations in the world (along with Iran and North Korea). But how much of this is to do with genuine concern about Israel’s actions, and how much is actually a cover for the age-old hatred of the Jews?In this week's podcast Mehdi Hasan of The Intercept and the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe go head to head against Times columnist Melanie Phillips and Israeli former Member of the Knesset Einat Wilf.  Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr 5mins

21 Jun 2019

Rank #13

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Parenting Doesn't Matter (Or Not As Much As You Think)

The multibillion-pound parenting industry tells us we can all shape our children to be joyful, resilient and successful. But what if it’s all bunk? Intelligence Squared are bringing together a panel of top geneticists and parenting experts to explore just how important parenting is.Arguing in favour of the motion are Robert Plomin, Psychologist and Professor of Behavioural Genetics at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London; and Stuart Ritchie, Lecturer in the Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King’s College London.Arguing against the motion were Susan Pawlby, a developmental Clinical Psychologist with over 30 years of experience working with mothers and babies both in clinical and research contexts; and Ann Pleshette Murphy, a therapist, parenting counsellor and advocate for young children and their families.The debate was chaired by Xand van Tulleken, a medical doctor and broadcaster who has presented numerous shows for the BBC and Channel 4, often alongside his identical twin brother Chris.  Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr

23 Nov 2018

Rank #14

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David Brooks on the Road to Character

On May 26th 2015, New York Times columnist David Brooks came to the Intelligence Squared stage to share the insights of his latest book, 'The Road to Character'. Brooks argued that today’s ‘Big Me’ culture is making us increasingly self-preoccupied: we live in a world where we’re taught to be assertive, to master skills, to broadcast our brand, to get likes, to get followers. But amidst all the noise of self-promotion, Brooks claimed that we’ve lost sight of an important and counterintuitive truth: that in order to fulfil ourselves we need to learn how to forget ourselves. Brooks was joined on stage by writer and lecturer on psychology, politics, and the arts Andrew Solomon. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

59mins

4 Jun 2015

Rank #15

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Stephen Fry and Friends on the Life, Loves and Hates of Christopher Hitchens

In this historic event, Stephen Fry and other friends of Christopher Hitchens came together to celebrate the life and work of this great writer, polemicist and orator. Fry was joined on stage in London by Richard Dawkins where the two discussed Hitchens' unflinching commitment to the truth. Hollywood actor Sean Penn was beamed in from LA via Google+ Hangouts and, between cigarette puffs, read from Hitchens' acclaimed work, 'The Trial of Henry Kissinger'. And friends of Hitchens, including Martin Amis, James Fenton and Salman Rushdie, spoke of their deep affection for him via satellite in New York. Hitchens himself watched the event live online from his bedside in Texas. Novelist Ian McEwan who was at his side sent Fry a text which read “The Rolls Royce mind is still purring". The event took place on 11th November 2011, shortly before Hitchens died on 15th December. We are proud to make this special discussion available for all to listen to on our podcast. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

46mins

11 Apr 2014

Rank #16

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Thomas Friedman On The World In 2019

Earlier this month we were joined by Thomas Friedman as he brought his wisdom and insight to the world’s current predicaments: How should the West respond to an emboldened China? How do we rebuild the global economy so that it creates prosperity for everyone, not just the few? And how, above all, should we handle the tectonic shifts – technological, demographic and political – that are reshaping our world today?  Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr

12 Apr 2019

Rank #17

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University is an unwise investment

For many Western teenagers university has long been considered a passport to the good life: a rite of passage consisting of mind-expanding reading and writing or the acquisition of a professional qualification, and meeting like-minded people often over a drink or three – all ending up in a well paid, interesting job and a network of useful contacts. But in these straitened times is the traditional university education really worth the time and money – and the hangovers? More and more young people are attending university in Britain and the US, and ever fewer graduates are finding jobs. Costs are soaring too: fees at American universities have increased by over 1000% in the last 30 years and British institutions have nearly tripled their annual fees to £9000 in the last year. The result? A new type of high-school leaver is emerging who combines formal learning with on-the-job experience. Businesses are increasingly interested in employing young people with a sense of determination, grit and a strong work... Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr 2mins

14 Aug 2014

Rank #18

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Psychiatrists & the pharma industry are to blame for the current ‘epidemic’ of mental disorders

Drug pushers. We tend to associate them with the bleak underworld of criminality. But some would argue that there’s another class of drug pushers, just as unscrupulous, who work in the highly respectable fields of psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. And they deserve the same moral scrutiny that we apply to the drug pedlar on the street corner. Within the medical profession labels are increasingly being attached to everyday conditions previously thought to be beyond the remit of medical help. So sadness is rebranded as depression, shyness as social phobia, childhood naughtiness as hyperactivity or ADHD. And Big Pharma is only too happy to come up with profitable new drugs to treat these ‘disorders’, drugs which the psychiatrists and GPs then willingly prescribe, richly rewarded by the pharma companies for doing so.That’s the view of those who object to the widespread use of the ‘chemical cosh’ to treat people with mental difficulties. But many psychiatrists, while acknowledging that overprescribing is a problem, would argue that the blame lies not with themselves. For example, parents and teachers often ramp up the pressure to have a medical label attached to a child’s problematic behaviour because that way there’s less stigma attached and allowances are made. And psychiatrists and the pharma companies also take issue with those who argue that the ‘chemical imbalance’ theory of mental disorder is a myth. ADHD is a real condition, they say, for which drugs work. Research shows that antidepressants really are more effective than just a placebo, especially in cases of severe depression.Defending the motion in this Intelligence Squared debate at London's Emmanuel Centre in November 2014 were author and journalist Will Self and psychoanalyst and author Darian Leader.Opposing the motion were former Head of Worldwide Development at Pfizer Inc. Dr Declan Doogan and President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Professor Sir Simon Wessely.The debate was chaired by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr

12 Apr 2018

Rank #19

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Naomi Klein on Climate Change, Extinction Rebellion & the case for a Green New Deal

This is an episode from the second series of How I Found My Voice, a podcast from Intelligence Squared. Presented by the prominent BBC journalist Samira Ahmed, the podcast explores how some of the world's greatest artists and thinkers became such compelling – and unique – communicators.In this episode Samira speaks to the journalist, social activist and New York Times best-selling author Naomi Klein about growing up in a politically active family, being at the forefront of protest movements, the case for a Green New Deal and her views on Extinction Rebellion.Subscribe to How I Found My Voice and listen to more episodes here: https://bit.ly/2XpFPyMSeason 2 is proudly supported by THE OUT, innovative car rental powered by Jaguar Land Rover. Photo credit: Kourosh Keshiri. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/intelligencesquared.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

43mins

19 Nov 2019

Rank #20