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Intelligence Squared Debates Podcast

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Free Resource (#836) - June 17th, 2009
Today's Free Resource

NPR: Intelligence Squared U.S. Podcast

One of the best things to listen to on audio is a good debate. The full rhetoric comes through in the speakers, making it very exciting to listen to. NPR has created a debate podcast where they confront controversial topics. Recent shows include debates over "Is Diplomacy With Iran Going Nowhere?", "Who's To Blame For The Financial Crisis?", "Is Reducing Carbon Emissions Worth The Cost?". and numerous other interesting topics. Have a listen to these fantasic debates.

NPR: Intelligence Squared U.S. Podcast

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A Way with Words, Part I: Writing Rhetoric and the Art of Persuasion

In A Way with Words: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Art of Persuasion, esteemed professor Michael D.C. Drout brings his expertise in literary studies to the subject of rhetoric. From history-altering political speeches to friendly debates at cocktail parties, rhetoric holds the power to change opinions, spark new thoughts, and ultimately change the world. The study of rhetoric not only leads to a greater understanding of how personages such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Winston Churchill elevated the power of speech to majestic heights, but also to a stronger proficiency in using rhetoric in anyone's day-to-day life. Professor Drout examines the types of rhetoric and their effects, the structure of effective arguments, and how subtleties of language can be employed to engage in more successful rhetoric. Drout also ponders the role of rhetoric in our world and the ageold question of whether it is just a tool for convincing people of things that aren't true, or whether it is indeed a force for good that will ultimately lead to truth.

Available on MP3 Download.

Listen to a free lecture from: A Way with Words, Part I: Writing Rhetoric and the Art of Persuasion

Ten Top Audio & Video Debates
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Listen to ten great debates with these ten free resources on audio & video. For the past three years we've featured hundreds of free audio & video resources as part of our Free Resource of the Day Emails. From these resources we've selected the top ten free debates covering issues such as abortion, gay marriage, religion, politics, intellectual property, evolution, and more. You can check them all out by clicking the links below:

1. 2008 Presidential Debates Video Podcast

In case you missed the 2008 presidential debates or the vice presidential debate, you can now watch them as podcasts. CBS News is offering all the debates on their podcast series. The first presidential debate between Republican Party nominee John McCain and Democratic Party nominee Barack Obama focused primarily on foreign policy, while the second one focused on domestic issues covering the economic crisis, and the third debate again focused the economy addressing Joe the Plumber. The only vice-presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden covered a range of issues and what a vice president's role was in confronting them.

2. A Public Debate On The Limits of Intelligent Machines

Can we Create conscious machines that are every bit as self-aware as a human being? Ray Kurzweil and David Gelertner debate the feasibility of this question in this downloadable audio released by WGBH. Kurzweil argues that future technology will allow humans to mechanically simulate consciousness, to which Gelertner counters that mere replication doesn't necessarily lead to self- awareness. Listen in on this lively and thought provoking discourse on what makes the human brain unique. This debate is available on streaming audio & video and MP3 download.

3. Is Abortion Morally Justifiable in a Free Society?

Listen to this 90-minute debate offered by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. It's a well-organized debate with interesting arguments for pro-life advocate & philosophy professor Peter Kreeft and pro-choice advocate and author of A Defense of Abortion David Boonin. Boonin argues for the right of a woman to not keep the fetus on "life support" in the womb, while Kreeft that abortion is wrong by moral and religious standards. This debate is available on MP3 download and streaming video.

4. Al Sharpton and Christopher Hitchens Debate

Listen to a stimulating debate between the Reverand Al Sharpton and God Is Not Great author Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens provides many arguments against religion, arguing against religious texts, dogmatic beliefs, and a creator God. Al Sharpton contends that Hitchens cannot prove the non-existence of God and argues that if immoral acts are performed in the name of God that they have no relation to the great character of God. They both reflect on the modern implications of a belief in God, as Hitchens denounces the intrusion of religion into politics and culture (particularly in the Middle East) and Sharpton emphasizes the role of religion in positive social change such as in the American Civil Rights Movement. The whole debate is handled with good humor, even if neither Sharpton nor Hitchens are able to change one another's minds. This debate was held at the New York Public Library and is available on streaming video and MP3 download from FORA.tv.

5. Was America Responsible for the Attacks of September 11th?

A bit of a provocative title perhaps, but this debate offered from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute really doesn't cover the September 11th attacks. Instead it is more of an overall debate about whether American power and wealth in the world is generally good or bad. Dinesh D'Souza, author of What's So Great About America, argues that the American way of life is superior than other cultures and that we all too often ignore the freedoms and priviledges that make us the envy of the world. Rabbi Michael Lerner argues that the American empire is excessively selfish and greedy, and that our financial and military power has been used to oppress cultures throughout the world. It makes for a very heated and interesting debate. It is available on streaming audio and video as well as on MP3 download.

6. Creativity, Commerce, & Culture: Lessig vs. Valenti

If you want to hear an interesting debate over copyright in the digital age, tune into this free online video from the USC Annenberg School for Communication. President of the Motion Picture Association Jack Valenti is hilarious as he stubbornly keep to his position for the entertainment industry's battle to maintain it's intellectual property as long as it wants to. Law professor and author Lawrence Lessig has a sense of humor too, but he is seriously concerned that in our increasingly copyrighted culture the artist's freedom and fair use is being stifled. Decide for yourself and be entertained while doing so.

7. A Debate over Intelligent Design

Timely and provocative, this talk provided by the Intercollegiate Study Institute presents a debate between intelligent design advocate William Dembski and evolutionist Lee Silver. Both men are given equal time to present their case, giving the listener a detailed examination of how the case for a creator might work with or run counter to the biological foundations of modern science. We are then asked to come to our own conclusions based on the evidence at hand in a debate that has captured the headlines and continues to be a hot button issue in science classrooms across the nation. This debate is available on MP3 download, streaming audio, and streaming video.

8. Gay Marriage Debate

Watch this debate on gay marriage with David Blankenhorn, author of The Future of Marriage, and Evan Wolfson, author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry. This 2 hour debate, along with audience questions, becomes quite heated, but is very informative as to the positions on each side of the gay marriage debate. Blankenhorn expresses his belief of what marriage is and what it means for parents and children if the definition of marriage is changed. Wolfson cites studies by numerous organizations that have shown gay marriage to not be harmful in regards to raising children, and to deny gay couples marriage is discrimination and violates their civil rights. This debate was conducted on C-SPAN and can be viewed on streaming video through FORA.tv.

9. Howard Dean and Richard Perle Foreign Policy Debate

Today's resource consists of a very entertaining debate between Richard Perle and Howard Dean that was held at Pacific University in Portland, Oregon on February 17, 2005. In front of this mostly anti-war audience, Richard Perle gets a shoe thrown at him and Howard Dean delivers his points to uproarious applause almost as if he is at the Democratic Convention. Richard Perle is one of the most articulate proponents of the foreign policy behind the war on terrorism and Howard Dean is a key voice of how the Democrats believe we should defend America so it makes for an excellent debate. This debate was recorded by C-SPAN and is available on audio download from Audible.com.

10. An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths

In this book forum from the Cato Institute, Instapundit.com blogger Glenn Reynolds discusses his book An Army of Davids. He argues that the internet and blogs are creating ways for the common man to strike back at the media and the government. Henry Farrell disagrees with Reynolds, suggesting that the blogosphere is only representational of nerdy, upper middle class, educated, white males. It's an interesting discussion and is available on MP3 download.

Elsewhere on LOL: Podcast Directory

Have you gotten into podcasting yet? Whether you're an avid podcast listener or someone who has yet to listen to their first episode you'll want to check out the LearnOutLoud.com Podcast Directory. We've listened to thousands of podcasts and hand-selected less a few thousand of them for your listening. We feel that it's the best of the best in terms of what's out there right now. Our favorite part is that all of these podcasts are...you guessed it, free!

The LearnOutLoud.com Podcast Directory

Also take a look at the hundreds of great video podcasts we've assembled for you to learn from by clicking the link below:

LearnOutLoud.com Video Podcasts

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