Archive for October, 2008

The American Foreign Policy Debate…

October 30, 2008


On Thursday the 30th October 2008, the Phil gathered to debate the motion ‘That This House Believes That US Military Might is Necessary for Global Stability‘. We were pleased to welcome Peter Brookes, Senior Fellow of The Heritage Foundation and member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, to deliver a paper on the subject; his firmly pro-US stance was criticised by the first opposition speaker, Dr David Ryan of UCC. This set the stage for a vibrant and passionate debate.

Henry McDonald, Belfast correspondent for the Observer, described himself as a “reformed communist” and took a stance he admitted was unusual for a Guardian writer when he spoke in favour of US intervention. He was challenged by Professor Theo Farrell of KCL’s Department of war Studies. We were pleased to invite two maiden speakers to take the floor next; both John Engle, for the proposition, and Brendan Guildea, for the opposition, managed to hold their own among our distinguished guests.

Former Phil President Paddy Cosgrave gave an entertaining speech in favour of both US military might and John McCain. Scott Lucas, Professor of American Studies at the University of Birmingham, spoke against the USA having such an interventionist role. He was attacked by Patrick Mercer MP, former Shadow Minister for Homeland Security, who ably defended the US with a stream of brilliant rhetoric, speaking about his own experiences in the army. Jonathan Waugh (Phil MC) closed the debate by criticising the US, and although the house voted to thank Mr Brookes for his paper, the motion was defeated. Mr Mercer demanded a re-vote, but was overturned.



Mike Gravel speaks to The Phil…

October 30, 2008

Mike Gravel

On Thursday 3oth October, the Phil played host to Mike Gravel. Gravel is a former Democratic Senator from Alaska and a former candidate in the 2008 presidential election. Gravel became nationally known for his forceful but unsuccessful attempts to end the draft during the Vietnam War and for having put the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971 despite risk to himself. He conducted an unusual campaign for the Democratic nomination for Vice President of the United States in 1972, and in 2006, Gravel began a run for the 2008 Democratic nomination for President of the United States.


The Capitalism Debate…

October 23, 2008


On Thursday 23rd October 2008, the Phil debated the motion ‘That This Hoiuse Believes That Capitalism is the only basis for a stable society”. A paper on the subject was presented by the socitey’s schools convenor, Ciara Finlay, who argued in favour of the motion and opened a lively debated featuring guests from all over the world with various colourful viewpoints. She was quickly followed by Robin Hahnel, Professor of Economics at American University in Washington DC, who spoke in favour of “21st centruy socialism” and compared capitalism to “a manic-depressive patient”.

Jacob Arfwedson, research fellow of the Stockholm Network, conceded that the current financial crisis made it a difficult time to defend capitalism, but nevertheless did his best. He was followed by student speaker Emma Regan (Phil MC), who spoke about how she believed it was possible to achieve utopia without capitalism.

First year BESS student Cathal Dunne made his maiden speech in defence of the capitalist system, and was rebutted by Mick Murphy, Socialist Party councillor for Dublin South-West. Lars Feld, of the University of Heidelberg, also defended our current system. Our final guest, David Nielsen, was the last speaker in favour of a socialist system. He was followed by Jonathan Wyse (Debates Convenor), before Ciara Finlay responded to the debate, concluding that capitalism was still a superior system.

The vote of thanks to Ciara for her paper was resoundingly passed, while the vote on the motion itself was mixed, with those in favour of capitalism narrowly winning out.


Ben Dunne speaks to The Phil…

October 23, 2008

On the 23rd October 2008, the Phil was pleased to welcome Ben Dunne, entrepreneur and former director of Dunnes Stores, to receive the society’s honorary patronage. While addressing the society, Ben spoke about his time as head of one of Ireland’s largest retail chain, his experience being kidnapped by the IRA, and his views on the ongoing Lisbon Treaty issue. We thank Ben for giving us his time, and for entertaining us with his enthralling words.


New Treasurer appointed…

October 16, 2008

The Phil is delighted to appoint Sinéad Finegan as it’s new treasurer. Sinéad, who has been acting as the Socities active treasurer, was appointed unopposed during the Private Business of the creationism debate on Thursday 16th October.

We wish the best of luck to our previous Treasurer Cearbhall Maguire for his hard work and dedication over the summer and wish him the best of luck in Paris this year.

The Creationism Debate…

October 16, 2008

On Thursday 16th of October 2008, a debate took place in The Chamber of The GMB on the motion ‘that this house believes creationism is a valid world view’. A paper entitled ‘Evolution Science, Creationism and Materialism’ was presented by Mr Bob Bloomfield, a representative for the London Natural History Museum.

Responses to the paper were made by Paul Nelson, a director of Access Research Network, Darren McCallig, the Chaplain of Trinity College. Speakers from the floor included born again Christian Cian, who argued in defence of the concept of creationism and he was retorted by Luke Ryder (ex-Registrar of the Society). Peter Korevaar, the head of the physics and cosmology working group in Studiengemeinschaft Wort und Wissen spoke next and he was preceded by Fellow Emeritus of Geology, Chris Stillman. Kiera Healy (current Registrar) argued in defence of Creationism as a world view and she was challenged aggressively by Orla Marnell (current Steward and Geology Student) who concluded her speech with “if I’m wrong and go to hell, I say bring it. At least there will be loads of Geologists down there to keep me company”. The closing speakers for the debate were David Colquhoun, a professor of Pharmacy and an Honorary fellow of UCL and David Berlinski, a fellow of the Discovery Institute and critic of the theory of evolution.

The vote to thank Mr Bloomfield for his paper was passed, and when the final vote was opened to the floor, the motion was defeated.


‘Worlds’ Teams announced…

October 11, 2008

The teams going who will be representing The Phil at The World Universities Debating Championships are:

TCD Phil A: Jonathan Wyse & Brian O’Beirne
TCD Phil B: Dave McGuire & Barry Devlin
TCD Phil C: Ruth Faller & Kiera Healy
Congratulations also to our two judges
Joe McCaffery
Ed Gaffney
Congratulations to all students who competed in the trials.

Trent Lott addresses…

October 10, 2008

On Friday 9th October Trent Lott was awarded the Honorary Patronage of the Society.

Lott is the only politician ever to serve as Whip in both Houses of Congress, Trent Lott is one of the most successful Republican politicians of the past 30 years. Beginning in 1973 he was elected to the House of Representatives seven times and went on to serve in almost every Senate Leadership position before his resignation in 2007.

The Drugs Debate…

October 9, 2008

On Thursday, 8th of October, 2008 a debate took place in The Chamber of The GMB on the motion ‘that this house would legalise all drugs’. Jonathon Wyse, a student of TCD and the Debates Convenor of The Phil presented a paper entitled, ‘Damaging Freedom – Psychoactive Drugs and the Duty of the State’.

The speakers responding to the paper were Rick Doblin, the president and founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Chris Murphy from the HSE, Kevin Lynch (a student speaker), Edward Gaffney (a student speaker), Paul O’Mahony, TCD Criminologist, Joe McCaffrey (a student speaker), Kiera Healy (Registrar of the Society), Sinead Waldron (student speaker), Werner Pieper, drugs historian and former drug dealer, and Tony Allwright, journalist with the Irish Times.

The vote to thank Jonathan Wyse for his paper was passed, but the final vote on the motion of the debate was left inconclusive as the audience was divided.

The Honorary Patronage of John McGinley…

October 7, 2008

On the evening of Tuesday 7th October, John McGinley was awarded the Honoary Patronage of the Society. McGinley has starred in over sixty roles over two decades, from the timid Sergeant Red O’Neill in Oliver Stone’s Platoon, to the gruff Dr. Cox in the enormously popular tv-series Scrubs.


Part 1.

Part 2.