Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

Airs Sunday, June 12, at 6 p.m. What if we didn’t have to grow old and die? The average American can expect to live for 78.8 years, an improvement over the days before clean water and vaccines, but it's still not long enough for most of us. So researchers around the world have been working on arresting the process of aging through biotechnology. What are the ethical and social consequences of radically increasing lifespans? Should we accept a “natural” end, or should we find a cure to aging?

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Airs Sunday, June 5, at 6 p.m. Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, more than 4 million Syrians have fled the country, creating the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. The United States has taken in just over 2,000 Syrian refugees since the war’s start, and the Obama administration has pledged to take another 10,000 in 2016. What are our moral obligations, and what are the cultural, economic, and security issues that must be taken into account? Should the U.S. let in 100,000 Syrian refugees?

Airs Sunday, March 27, at 6 p.m. Central banks all around the world have been printing money. This policy, known as quantitative easing in banker jargon, has driven up the price of stocks and bonds. But will it lead to real and sustainable increases in global growth, or is it sowing the seeds of future inflation? The debaters are Roger Bootle, Edward Conard, Simon Johnson, and Andrew Huszar. 

Airs Sunday, March 20, at 6 p.m. The Highway Trust Fund provides funding for road, bridge, and mass transit projects across the country – and it’s running out of money. Its revenue source, the federal gas tax, has not been raised in over two decades. There are many arguments for a leaner fund, but proponents of the tax say that it still plays a vital role in supporting infrastructure. Should Congress raise the federal gas tax? The debaters are Shailen Bhatt, Adrian Moore, Alison Premo Black, and Stephen Moore.

Airs Sunday, January 17, at 6 p.m. If you could take a pill that would help you study and get better grades, would you? Off-label use of “smart drugs” – pharmaceuticals meant to treat disorders like ADHD, narcolepsy, and Alzheimer’s – are becoming increasingly popular among college students hoping to get ahead. But is this cheating? Should their use as cognitive enhancers be approved by the FDA, the medical community, and society at large? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? The debaters are Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, Eric Racine, Nita Farahany, and Nicole Vincent.