5pm Sunday. Nicholas finished his piano lesson, packed up his books, and we headed to the car. I turned on the engine, and as usual my radio was on NPR. A new program caught our attention, it was Intelligence2 US debate, and the issue at debate was “For a better future, live in a red state”. The “for” side started out with a list of statistical numbers and analysis. The minute we got home, both of us rushed inside and turned on the radio. Soon, Allan joined us as well listening attentively. Once in a while we nodded in agreement or interjected a comment. It was quite a unique scene with us huddling around the old fashioned radio in this digital world.
The debate is in traditional Oxford style. Both sides, for and against, first lay out their arguments, then answer questions from audience or opponents, with a moderator. The audience vote on the statement before the debate, then vote again after the debate. The side that gains more vote through debate wins. The debaters are professors, policy makers, analyst, etc. We all really enjoy those well-thought out arguments and well-prepared data-based analysis. We appreciate looking at the same issue from totally different angles. And of course the topics are interesting as well.
After 2 weeks in a row listening to the program, I looked it up online. It turned out this program started in 2006 with live debate held at the Kaufman center in New York. It premiered on PBS earlier this year. I’m so glad we finally caught it on NPR. There’s definitely more to check out, http://intelligencesquaredus.org/
Notes by Allan:
1) NPR's broadcast of the debate lags the real debate by a few weeks
2) This debate we heard on NPR can be found here http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/past-debates/item/908-for-a-better-future-live-in-a-red-state
3) The first debate we listened was on "break up the big banks" http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/past-debates/item/906-break-up-the-big-banks
4) In these two debates I listened to, there was a clear undertone of "liberal" idea vs. "conservative" idea, that is what made the debate interesting. But it is really about debate technique, about debater's knowledge on the topic, and more importantly about catching opponents' weakness, elaborating one's position logically.