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Professor McLoughlin wins 2012 Lifeboat Debate

By Taylor Fulkerson
On November 21, 2012

Over 110 Xavier students voted to answer an unusual
question as seven Xavier professors squared off on
Thursday in the second annual Lifeboat Debate: If you had to rebuild civilization, which single professor would you choose to bring with you, if any? Senior Chris Dobbs and junior Michael Petrany organized the event this year and seven professors participated. The participating professors
consisted of a philosophy professor, a chemistry professor, a mathematics professor, a psychology professor, a political
science professor and a devil's advocate (played by a philosophy professor). The evening concluded after
lively debate with the vote count. Over 110 votes were tallied. Dr. Gottlieb (playing devil's advocate) took third place
with 19 votes, Dr. Chrastil (a history professor) received 32
votes for second place, and Dr. McLoughlin (a chemistry professor) was awarded the first place of an oar after receiving 37 votes. "I thought the devil's advocate would win. And I'm very surprised that chemistry wins anything," McLoughlin said. The event, only in its second year, had an impressive turnout. Dr. Timothy Quinn participated last year and helped organize this year. "I thought it went outstanding.
It was another impressive turnout. The students were enthusiastic, participating faculty were enthusiastic, prepared;they did a great job. [...] If the last two years are any indication, I think that we should be able to continue this for quite a long time, and successfully. It shows you how seriously the students are taking their education," Quinn said. Co-organizer Chris Dobbs verified the success of the evening. "There's no pizza here. If this [event] can legitimately fill up this auditorium, attract [more than one hundred students] and if it's just a talk about the liberal
arts, then I think it shows that the liberal arts are interesting
and valued by Xavier students," Dobbs said. Though serious in its dialogue approach, the evening had its laughs as well, with each professor presenting their own
view of why their subject discipline is superior to the others.
"Philosophy is the most pregnant discipline," Dr. Sweeney
said in the first presentation, "It gave birth to all the others."
Dr. McLoughlin insinuated the limited utility in the other
disciplines and their own education to the audience in a bid
to win votes. "Do you know how to make steel? I do," McLoughlin said. The number of votes that he received proved that he managed to hold his own, despite the fact that he was the only hard science represented at the table.
"Psychology isn't ancient. It's the new kid on the block. We're hip," Dr. Stukenberg said, arguing that his discipline was best. In spite of philosophy professor Dr. Gottlieb claiming that "being hip isn't an argument," Stukenberg still managed to earn a fourth-placed finish. It appears that the advantage that the devil's advocate seemed to hold in last year's debate has been eradicated; both Dobbs and Petrany asserted that the format of this year's debate seemed fair.


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