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Intelligence Squared

Updated 9 days ago

News & Politics
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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 podcast every Friday.

Read more

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 podcast every Friday.

iTunes Ratings

352 Ratings
Average Ratings
251
56
21
13
11

No podcast I would recommend more

By a non y-mous - Jan 12 2019
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Especially in the day and age. The moderator is sharp and always on point

Worth downloading.

By PhotoDruggie - Dec 08 2018
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Very insightful. Engaging. And worth listening to.

iTunes Ratings

352 Ratings
Average Ratings
251
56
21
13
11

No podcast I would recommend more

By a non y-mous - Jan 12 2019
Read more
Especially in the day and age. The moderator is sharp and always on point

Worth downloading.

By PhotoDruggie - Dec 08 2018
Read more
Very insightful. Engaging. And worth listening to.
Cover image of Intelligence Squared

Intelligence Squared

Updated 9 days ago

Read more

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 podcast every Friday.

Rank #1: Nessa Carey and Xand Van Tulleken on How Gene Editing Will Rewrite Our Futures

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In this week's episode of the Intelligence Squared podcast we were joined by Nessa Carey, the molecular biologist and author of Hacking The Code Of Life. She was interviewed by the doctor and TV presenter Xand Van Tulleken in a wide-ranging discussion on the ethical and social implications for the revolutionary new tools scientists have developed to edit our genes. 

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 09 2019
59 mins
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Rank #2: An Evening With Slavoj Zizek

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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. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jan 24 2014
1 hour 30 mins
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Rank #3: Richard Dawkins: The Rational Revolutionary

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In the 1960s and 70s, a revolution took place in the way we understand human nature. Out went Marx and Freud, and in came a rational, scientific approach to the way we see ourselves. At the vanguard of that revolution was Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist whose book 'The Selfish Gene' changed the thinking not just of other scientists but of all of us, and propelled its author to intellectual stardom as the modern heir to Darwin.

To mark the 40th anniversary of 'The Selfish Gene' and Dawkins’ 75th birthday, Intelligence Squared staged a global event, bringing together luminaries from the worlds of science, philosophy and culture to engage with Dawkins about his life and work. Steven Pinker, celebrated cognitive scientist, and Daniel Dennett, philosopher and fellow ‘New Atheist’, were beamed in live from America. On-stage guests included the illusionist Derren Brown, an avowed fan of Dawkins’ theories about the workings of the mind, the science writer Susan Blackmore, who has further developed... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jul 22 2016
1 hour
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Rank #4: The Catholic Church is a Force For Good in The World

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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. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 13 2013
46 mins
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Rank #5: Michael Lewis On How Behavioural Economics Changed The World

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Michael Lewis is one of the most successful non-fiction authors alive. He has been acclaimed as a genius by Malcolm Gladwell and as the best current writer in America by Tom Wolfe. In a series of titles that have sold 9 million copies worldwide, he has lifted the lid on the biggest stories of our times, enthralling readers with his knack for humanising complex subjects and giving them the page-turning urgency of the best thrillers. Liar's Poker is the cult classic that defined Wall Street during the 1980s; Moneyball was made into a film with Brad Pitt; Boomerang was a breakneck tour of Europe’s post-crunch economy; and The Big Short was made into a major Oscar-winning film starring Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell.


In November 2017 Lewis came to the Intelligence Squared stage, where he was joined by Stephanie Flanders, former economics editor at the BBC. Discussing the themes of his latest book, The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed the World, they explored the extraordinary story of the relationship between Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky – a collaboration which created the field of behavioural economics. This is the theory which shows that human beings are not the rational creatures we imagined ourselves to be, and has revolutionised everything from big data to medicine, from how we are governed to how we spend, from high finance to football. It won Kahneman the Nobel Prize in economics in 2002 – the first time the award had gone to a psychologist.

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Nov 24 2017
1 hour
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Rank #6: Yuval Noah Harari on the Myths we Need to Survive

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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. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 19 2016
1 hour 1 min
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Rank #7: Sam Harris on the Science of Good and Evil

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Where do our ideas about morality and meaning come from? Most people - from religious extremists to secular scientists - would agree on one point: that science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, science's failure to explain meaning and morality has become the primary justification for religious faith and the reason why even many non-believers feel obliged to accord respect to the beliefs of the devout. In this podcast, recorded at our event in April 2011, Sam Harris, the American philosopher and neuroscientist, argues that these views are mistaken - that amidst all the competing arguments about how we should lead our lives, science can show us that there are right and wrong answers. This means that moral relativism is mistaken and that there can be neither a Christian nor a Muslim morality - and that ultimately science can and should determine how best to live our lives. After an opening speech, Revd Dr Giles Fraser, former-canon chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, joins Harris in conversation. The event was chaired by Jeremy O'Grady, Editor-in-chief of The Week magazine and co-founder of Intelligence Squared.

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Sep 07 2017
59 mins
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Rank #8: Both Britain and the EU Would Be Happier if They got Divorced

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Some people just can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that a relationship is over. Finished. Unsalvageable. David Cameron, for instance. His long awaited speech on Europe has been one big exercise in denial. Yes, we should stay married to Europe, he says, because we can now renegotiate our wedding vows and get the EU to do things our way. Who is he kidding? If it were so easy to pick ‘n mix what we want from Brussels, wolfing down all the soft-centred goodies and rejecting the nutty ones, wouldn’t every member state do the same? That would be a certain recipe for a 27-speed Europe and why on earth would Brussels agree to that? After the euro crisis, Brussels is hell-bent on tightening the rules not loosening them. So once you discard the new wrapper Cameron is trying to put around a thorny old problem, the reality re-emerges in all its starkness: we can’t live under the old rules – Cameron himself is clear about that – and the new rules will entail an even greater loss of sovereignty. So time for... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 01 2013
46 mins
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Rank #9: Daniel Goleman On Focus: The Secret to High Performance and Fulfilment

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Psychologist Daniel Goleman shot to fame with his groundbreaking bestseller 'Emotional Intelligence'. The premise of the book, now widely accepted, is that raw intelligence alone is not a sure predictor of success in life. A greater role is played by ‘softer’ skills such as self-control, self-motivation, empathy and good interpersonal relationships.

In this exclusive talk for Intelligence Squared, Goleman discusses the themes of his latest book, 'Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence'. Attention, he argues is an underrated asset for high achievers in any field. Incorporating findings from neuroscience, Goleman shows why we need three kinds of focus: inner, for self-awareness; other, for the empathy that builds effective relationships; and outer, for understanding the larger systems in which organisations operate. Those who excel rely on Smart Practices such as mindfulness meditation, focused preparation and positive emotions that help improve habits, add new skills, and sustain excellence. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Feb 07 2014
1 hour 18 mins
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Rank #10: David Brooks on the Road to Character

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In May 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.

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Jan 05 2018
59 mins
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Rank #11: Atheism is the new Fundamentalism, with Richard Dawkins and Richard Harries

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Does God exist? Has atheism replaced religion as the new faith of the secular age? Are today's atheists as blinkered and dogmatic as they claim religious believers to be? This Intelligence Squared debate from November 2009 was recorded at Wellington College. Arguing for the motion were former Bishop of Oxford Richard Harries and Editor of the Daily Telegraph Charles Moore. Arguing against the motion were evolutionary biologist and science author Richard Dawkins and philospher AC Grayling. The debate was chaired by historian, author and Master of Wellington College Anthony Seldon.

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Aug 24 2017
1 hour
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Rank #12: Chris Hirst and Helen Lewis on No Bullsh*t Leadership

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In this week's episode of the Intelligence Squared podcast we were joined by Chris Hirst, Global CEO for the advertising company Havas Creative Network and author of No Bullsh*t Leadership: Why the World Needs More Everyday Leaders and Why That Leader Is You. He was interviewed by The Atlantic staff writer Helen Lewis on his own unique philosophy for running a business.

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Aug 02 2019
42 mins
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Rank #13: Jordan Peterson on Gender, Patriarchy and the Slide Towards Tyranny

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In May 2018, we recorded a special episode of the Intelligence Squared podcast in London. Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, was joined by Anne McElvoy, Senior Editor at The Economist and head of Economist Radio, to discuss identity politics, liberalism and #MeToo.

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May 23 2018
57 mins
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Rank #14: Robert Macfarlane on Landscape and the Human Heart

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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. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 04 2013
1 hour 15 mins
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Rank #15: The World Needs Religion Even if it Doesn't Need God

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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... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Apr 29 2015
1 hour 2 mins
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Rank #16: Steven Pinker on Good Writing with Ian McEwan

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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... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 30 2014
1 hour 18 mins
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Rank #17: Putin Has Been Good For Russia

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There’s not a lot to like about Vladimir Putin: he’s autocratic, vain and runs a corrupt government. And he doesn’t give a fig for human rights. The repression in Chechnya, the jailing of the (now pardoned) businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the Pussy Riot protesters, the murders of journalist Anna Politkovskaya and of Alexander Litvinenko, the former spy – all this happened on Putin’s watch. Who would not be on the side of the 100,000 people who turned out on Moscow’s streets last winter to protest against Putin’s election to a third term as president and to demand fair elections and an honest government? Russia would be better off without Putin – who would argue otherwise?

As a matter of fact, millions would. Talk to many Russians and they’ll tell you that life under Putin is vastly better than under Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin let a handful of oligarchs hoover up Russia’s wealth while ordinary Russians were reduced to selling their possessions on the street. Putin, by contrast, has quelled the economic... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 20 2013
1 hour 36 mins
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Rank #18: Daniel Dennett on Tools To Transform Our Thinking

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Daniel Dennett is one of the world's most original and provocative thinkers. A philosopher and cognitive scientist, he is known as one of the 'Four Horseman of New Atheism' along with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens.

In 2013 he came to Intelligence Squared to share the insights he has acquired over his 40-year career into the nature of how we think, decide and act. Dennett revealed his favourite thinking tools, or 'intuition pumps', that he and others have developed for addressing life's most fundamental questions. As well as taking a fresh look at familiar moves - Occam's Razor, reductio ad absurdum - he discussed new cognitive solutions designed for the most treacherous subject matter: evolution, meaning, consciousness and free will. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 22 2017
59 mins
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Rank #19: How to Think Like a Freak: Learn How to Make Smarter Decisions with the authors of "Freakonomics"

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The books 'Freakonomics' and 'SuperFreakonomics' have been worldwide sensations, selling tens of millions of copies. They have come to stand for challenging conventional wisdom using data rather than emotion. Questions they examine are typically: Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? How much do parents really matter? Why is chemotherapy prescribed so often if it’s so ineffective?

Now the books’ two authors, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, have turned what they’ve learned into a readable and practical toolkit for thinking smarter, harder, and different – thinking, that is, like a Freak.

On 28th May they came to Intelligence Squared to discuss their new Frequel, 'Think Like a Freak'. By analysing the plans we form and the morals we choose, they showed how their insights can be applied to help us make smarter decisions in our daily lives. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 18 2017
59 mins
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Rank #20: Psychiatrists & the pharma industry are to blame for the current ‘epidemic’ of mental disorders

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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.

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Apr 12 2018
1 hour
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