Episode 5: ad infinitum (to infinity… and beyond)

It seems like everyone and their electric vehicle is on their way into orbit these days, but is the cost worth it? With a real-life astronaut candidate facing off against a strong advocate for community engagement, we explore how these two debaters navigate this cosmic conversation.  

Definition: Be it resolved that we should continue to invest in space exploration. In our definition for this debate, “we” will refer to Canada and should we as Canadians continue to invest in “space exploration” which will focus on the human side of space exploration including our astronauts.

Guests:
Jessica Lajoie– an environmental engineer with stars in her eyes and a passion for the blue marble we earthlings call home. Always ready to tackle challenges close to home, she is a strong advocate for her community in Calgary.


Logan Jones – has lived all over this blue marble from Edmonton to Toulouse, Miami to Waterloo. In 2016 he applied for the Canadian Astronaut recruitment program along with 3772 others. He made it into the Top 32 candidates but was not selected as one of the final two astronaut candidates.

Further Reading:
Video: Whitey on the Moon – by Gil Scott-Heron

Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still.
(while Whitey’s on the moon)

And, as always: The fine print
The opinions and discussions presented in this podcast are solely those of the hosts and guests for the purposes of this podcast and unrelated to their professional work. This podcast generates no revenue.

Episode 4: pari passu (on equal footing?)

Who invited the newby to the discussion? Why can’t the seasoned expert be open to new ideas? What perspective can add the most value to a decision or an argument? Is it true that “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt“? Here’s Episode Four of For the Sake of Argument. A satisfyingly friendly debate on who really owns the conversation.  

Definition: Be it resolved that the amateur mindset is more valuable than the expert mindset. In our definition, we note that amateur does not mean “uninformed” – it suggests some familiarity with the subject, but at an “amateur” level. The term “valuable” relates to the finding and development of new solutions – i.e. valuable to problem solving.

Guests:
Gary Millard – an environmental scientist helping navigate the energy transition. Gary volunteers with Bike Calgary, an advocacy group improving infrastructure and support for cycling. Both Gary and Dewly are Fellows with the Energy Futures Lab.


Dewly Nelson – a Councillor with the Town of Hinton and Mayoral Candidate for the upcoming fall election. Both Gary and Dewly are Fellows with the Energy Futures Lab.

Further Reading:
Book: Thinking, Fast and Slow – by Daniel Kahneman, and his Google Talk on the topic

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt.” – attributed to Bertrand Russell

And, as always: The fine print
The opinions and discussions presented in this podcast are solely those of the hosts and guests for the purposes of this podcast and unrelated to their professional work. This podcast generates no revenue.

Episode 3: argumentum ad populum (appeal to the people)

It’s easier than ever to share your thoughts and opinions with the world… but is anyone listening? And does anyone actually care? We hope you do… but this is the juicy topic we are exploring in Episode Three of For the Sake of Argument. Our podcast pairs two seasoned listeners to debate whether or not people care what others have to say.  

Definition: Be it resolved that no actually cares what you have to say, where ‘care’ implies the desire to participate in perspective taking and ‘what you have to say’ implies a personal point of view on a matter of importance to you, your community or society at large.

Guests:
Juli Rohl – an animator for the Energy Futures Lab, and founder of Regenerate Alberta, she explores how Alberta can be a leader in the global energy transition and how to depolarize tough conversations.


Arsheel Hirji – does give a “bleep” about what you have to say and is a passionate city and community builder through his role as a leader in sustainable infrastructure.

Further Reading:
Study: Empathy and cooperation go hand in hand – University of Pennsylvania, ScienceDaily, April 9, 2019

Despite sometimes selfish instincts, cooperation abounds in human societies. Using mathematical models to explore this complex feature of social behavior, a team shows that the act of taking another person’s perspective — a form of empathy — supports the persistence of cooperation and altruism.

And, as always: The fine print
The opinions and discussions presented in this podcast are solely those of the hosts and guests for the purposes of this podcast and unrelated to their professional work. This podcast generates no revenue.

Episode 2: pro bono publico (for the public good)

We are back with Episode Two, where we debate the hot topic: should speed limits be reduced on residential streets. How do Nishi (our hand-drawn lawyer) and Jack (road engineer) take on this subject? After the debate, we have a great discussion about how bringing data and evidence into an argument can help or hinder your case, what changes when we try to solve and issue versus convince a friend, and how well does debate serve those purposes? 

Definition: Be it resolved that speed limits should be residential streets, where ‘residential streets’ implies streets with houses, parking and a local element and ‘should be reduced’ implies the likely creation of a net social benefit.

Guests:
Jack Mason – civil engineer, road designer, recent convert to seeing grey areas of an argument
Nishi Thusoo – lawyer, avid pedestrian/cyclist/motorist/transit road user,

Further Reading:
Book: The Influential Mind – Tali Sharot
Podcast: The Strategists – Stephen Carter, Corey Hogan, Zain Velji

And, as always: The fine print
The opinions and discussions presented in this podcast are solely those of the hosts and guests for the purposes of this podcast and unrelated to their professional work. This podcast generates no revenue.

Episode 1: compos mentis (having command of mind)

In our first episode, two of our favourite voices in the innovation ecosystem debate the relationship between necessity and invention. After the debate, we have a great discussion about “mic drop” moments, the challenges with being forced into position and having to argue your point, and how building bridges in everyday conversations can be helped or hindered by key moments. Spoiler alert: Both Bryan Helfenbaum and Aatif Baskanderi are debate “first-timers” and the structure gives them some food for thought on how elements of debate sometimes play into our conversations. 

Definition: Be it resolved that necessity is the mother of invention, where ‘necessity’ implies a critical need that is not met by current alternatives and ‘invention’ implies the creation of a new solution to satisfy the need.

Guests:
Bryan Helfenbaum – Executive Director, Alberta Innovates
Aatif Baskanderi – CEO, The Northpine Foundation

Episode 0: ab initio (from the beginning)

What makes critical conversation and debate so difficult in today’s world? When the stakes are high or the topic is close to your heart, how can we meaningfully engage with someone who may not share our point of view? How can we develop the tools and strategies that let people with polarized opinions find common ground or acknowledge other perspectives? 

In “For the Sake of Argument”, Aman and Candice explore these questions and uncover some of today’s conversation roadblocks – those moments that “get your back up”, run emotions high or scare us. 

In each episode, we use structured debate as a tool to inject some tension into conversations between two people with different perspectives. This sets the stage for moments to practice and explore those uncomfortable moments in a discussion. We want to help highlight the tools and techniques that let people hold critical discourse in ways that foster great debate.

Let’s figure out how to talk to each other…. For the sake of argument.