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DARWIN UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Questioning Darwinism

with William Dembski, Eugenie Scottvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, December 7, 2001

More than 140 years after Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, his theory of evolution is still generating controversy. Although Darwinism is championed by the majority of the scientific community, some have claimed that Darwin's theory is bad science and have put forward their own, even more controversial theories. What should we make of these arguments? Is one such theory, known as Intelligent Design, merely creationism by another name, or is it a legitimate scientific alternative to Darwinism?

THE WAR ON BUGS: Bioterrorism

with Abraham D. Sofaer, Jonathan B. Tucker, Dean Wilkeningvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, November 14, 2001

With the arrival of anthrax letters in Washington, New York, and Florida in the fall of 2001, the often-ignored threat of bioterrorism became a very frightening reality, causing illness and death and costing billions of dollars. How has this attack changed our assessment of the threat of biological and chemical weapons? What can and should be done to detect and control these weapons and defend ourselves against future attacks?

THE RULES OF THE GAME: Just War Doctrine

with Rev. Robert Sirico, Rev. William McLennan, Rabbi Daniel Lapinvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Thou Shalt Not Kill—perhaps the most famous moral commandment in the western world. And yet Judeo-Christian religious leaders have also created a doctrine that can justify killing—commonly known as Just War Doctrine. What sort of military action does Just War Doctrine permit and what sort does it proscribe? Is America's campaign against terrorism a just war?

DISORDER IN THE COURT: The Supreme Court and the 2000 Election

with Pamela S. Karlan, Richard A. Posnervia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, November 14, 2001

On December 12, 2000, the Supreme Court of the United States brought an end to thirty-six days of dramatic vote recounts and legal challenges in the state of Florida. The decision let stand the initial results of Florida's election, which gave the state's electoral votes, and thus the Presidency, to George W. Bush. What was the legal justification for the Supreme Court's decision? Should the Court have intervened in the first place? And what precedent did the Court create for future elections?

GOING FOR BROKE? Welfare Reform

with Eloise Anderson, Barbara Ehrenreichvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, October 23, 2001

In 1996, a Republican Congress passed, and President Bill Clinton signed, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, better known as welfare reform. The Act replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (AFDC) with the Temporary Aid to Needy Families program (TANF). These changes effectively refocused welfare as job training and temporary assistance and moved millions of people off the welfare rolls. With TANF up for re-authorization by Congress in 2002, the debate over the first five years of welfare reform is heating up. Has welfare reform helped poor families and reduced child poverty? Does welfare reform itself need to be reformed?

A TALE OF TWO DECADES: The Eighties vs. the Nineties

with Haynes Johnson, P.J. O'Rourkevia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, October 23, 2001

We look back at America during the last two decades of the twentieth century. Each decade was dominated by a two-term President and marked by long economic booms. Do these parallels suggest that 1990s were merely a continuation of the 1980s? Or does each decade have a unique place in American history?

THE GHOST OF COMMUNISM PAST: Reform in Russia and China

with Michael McFaul, Coit Blacker, Orville Schellvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, October 23, 2001

After two decades of reform, Stalin and Mao wouldn't recognize Russia and China today. But each state has taken a different path away from their communist past. Russia has emphasized democratic reforms while enduring economic instability. China has promoted economic growth based on market reforms, while maintaining tight control over politics. Which path will prove to be more successful, Russia's or China's?

IS HOMER DEAD? Teaching the Classics

with Page duBois, Bruce Thorntonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, September 28, 2001

Does Homer still matter? For more than 2000 years, the ancient Greeks and Romans have had a special place in the canon of western civilization and their writings have been studied by generation after generation of scholars and students. But are the classics still relevant in twenty-first century, multi-cultural America? Or are the ancient Greeks of no more importance to us than other ancient cultures such as the Aztecs, Egyptians, or Chinese?

DIVISIONS AND DECISIONS: The Ethics of Stem Cell Research

with Irving Weissmanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, September 25, 2001

In August of 2001, President Bush announced his decision to limit federal funding of stem cell research to already established lines of embryonic stem cells, while forbidding funding for any research that required the destruction of additional human embryos. But his decision ended neither stem cell research nor the debate over the ethics of such research. How do we weigh the medical benefits of this research against the destruction of embryos? Where do we draw the line on research using human embryos and are we on a slippery slope toward even more controversial research?

FATHERS KNOWN BEST: The Founding Fathers

with Joyce Appleby, Jack Rakove, Alan Taylorvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Biographies of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams and histories of the revolutionary era have been bestsellers and Pulitzer Prize winners in the past several years. What explains this recent surge of interest in the founding fathers of the American nation? What does the fascination with the founding fathers tell us about our own time? What would the founders have to say about the state of the nation today?

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