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October 14, 1999 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-14

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IGH-IER E IDUCATION The Mchigan Daily - Thursday, October 14, 1999
Trinceton professor clarifies controversial views

By Richard Just
'the Daily Princetonian
month after Princeton University's most contro-
versial professor began teaching a handful of
students in a graduate-level seminar, Peter
Singer made his public debut in front of hun-
dreds Tuesday night as he attempted to clarify
his much-maligned views.
With public safety officers stationed at each
of McCosh 50's doors, Singer and Wellesley
College professor Adrienne Asch traded amiable
yet intellectual barbs for almost two hours on
topics ranging from abortion to disability rights.
Singer proved quite blunt in addressing the
charges of groups that have called on the univer-
sity to rescind his appointment. Mentioning Not
Dead Yet several times by name, the utilitarian
' bioethicist wasted no time in addressing the dis-
ability-rights group's specific criticisms of his

Hundreds hear bioed*cist at public debut

Singer read two e-mails he received from par-
ents who regretted allowing their disabled chil-
dren to live. He also repeated an argument that
he has used repeatedly throughout his career -
that the widespread belief in the sanctity of
human life is little more than a cultural construct
that ought to be reconsidered.
"Philosophers, I think, have a professional
obligation to think critically about things we
often take for granted," he said. "I think that it's
one of those beliefs we have that does not stand
up to critical reflection, providing that critical
reflection is not based on a particular religious
Asch, who is blind, repeatedly chided Singer

for assuming that disabled infants will not lead
productive lives. She argued that infants' dis-
abilities are only one of their characteristics and
will not necessarily play an important role in
determining future happiness.
"The mistake that many people make is
(believing that a) disability will stunt the life
process of the individual and burden the family,
with no redeeming other benefits, with no
redeeming other attributes," Asch said.
The Wellesley professor also upbraided her
opponent several times for not spending enough
time with the disabled. If Singer knew more
handicapped people, she said, he might be per-
suaded to reconsider his positions.
Singer proved capable of returning the good-

tempered vitriol. Late in the debae, he repi
manded Asch for brushing aside a quesion
about whether the lives of disa bled inlmis 're
more or less valuable than the lies of amm a
Asch twice emphasized that her opposiion to
Singer's ideas does not preclude her from sup-
porting his right to teach at Pnceton. She
devoted a considerable portion of her opening
remarks to praising Singer for his serious con-
sideration of difficult issues.
"Philosophers, I think. have a professional
obligation to think critically about things e
often take for granted," he said. "i1 think that it's
one of serious consideration of dificult issues
"It is a field in which reasonable people can
disagree," Asch said of bioethics. "if there is a

monster, iis not Peter Singer, but it is the views:
that he holdsw"
ard the end of the debate, \sch responded
to an cudence questin about hether the umj-
, ersity should rescind Smngers appointment with
an abrupt "no"
But she quckly qupified her answ cr bx sayinlg
tha if disabled imda duals were treated i P h as
much respect a other A\merican minorities, anti-
Singer groups might be taken more seniousy
\X hile both professors said they are pro-
cho ice. Sinuer sai d he favors a bort ion rig ht s
because he does not believe the potential of a
ba by or a fet us to grow into a sel laware human
is ethic ll significant ile therefore drams ittle
moral distinction beieen abortion and intanti-
ci de.
A1sch said she is pro-choice because she
believes women have the preroatixe to decide
whether or not to carry their babies to term.

IIn the mix 1

Game systems provide
addictive entertainment

Justin Fitins scratches a record on a turntable at the Neutral Zone on South Main Street during his weekly disc jockey
class yesterday.
College students at ris or
d evelop gamblig problems

By Jon Allison
Daily Collegian
Bob Massino never thought he'd see the
day. Pennsylvania State University's
Massino, a junior, grew up in
Norristown, just outside of
Philadelphia. A devoted Eagles fan, he
loathed their bitter rival, the Dallas
But there he was, watching Monday
Night Football, cheering for the
Cowboys, hanging on every play. His
reason was simple.
He had money on the game. "It's
really no big deal," he said, cheering as
an errant Atlanta Falcons pass ensured
Dallas would cover the point spread.
"Usually, I see a game I like, wager
about $25 to $50 on it, and just go for
* it," he said.
Massino joins a surprising num-
ber of college students who wager
money on sports each week. Many
of these students bet on horses, go to
casinos, play poker or buy lottery
A Harvard University medical study
last year revealed that nearly 50 percent
of college students in the United States
and Canada spend time and money in
Factor in sports betting, horse racing,
letto tickets and other forms of gam-
bling and that number approaches 87
percent, said Frank Murtha, psychology

"Problem gambling is nothing new, but
rather something that's been grossly
- Frank Murtha
Center for Counseling and Psychological Services psychology intern at
Pennsylvania State University

By Jonathan Murray
Daily Northwestern
EVANSTON (U-WIRE) - For an hour or more every day,
Northwestern University first-year student Paul Flaig becomes
a Tenchu Stealth Assassin.
Instead of a sword, he carries a video-game controller.
Punching buttons at a furious pace, he advances to another level
of the game.
If Flaig is not playing Tenchu, a Sony PlayStation game, he is
transporting himself into Metal Gear Solid or Twisted Metal I.
After an hourlong mental vacation, he returns to reality.
Flaig is one of many students at Northwestern who own a
video game system or use one regularly. His hobby follows a
decade-long national trend of teenagers and college students
increasing their time in front of video games, said sociology
Prof Bernard Beck. Many students spend hours each week
playing games.
But games do not distract Flaig from homework, he said.
"It's a social activity that's as fun as any other board game or
other activity," Flaig said. "It's a good way to relieve stress too:"
saves man
from fire
By Mike Trocchi
Northeastern News
*BOSTON (U-WIRE) - Philip
Chigos was hungry, so driving around
Middlebury, Vt., with a friend he was
visiting at 4 a.m. in search of food was-
n't out of the ordinary. But when he
came upon a burning residence,
Chigos, a junior at Northeastern
University, jumped into action and
saved a human life.
In the early morning hours Sunday,
Chigos raced to the burning structure, 6"
knocking on the windows, wondering if
someone was trying to get out.. 61 1 Chi
"I ran up to the house, banged on the
window, screaming my lungs out," said
Chigos. "I decided to run around the
house, still screaming and yelling."
Middlebury resident Tom Edgerton
was sleeping in the basement and,
according to his sister Carolyn LaRose,
woke up determined to quiet down the
"There was someone outside the win-
dow," LaRose said Edgerton told her.
LaRose said her brother opened the
door of the basement and "the heat just
blasted him."
"I told him the place was up in
flames," said Chigos. And the situation
got even scarier, he added. Edgarton
"said two folks might be in the build-
ing. I ran to the front of the house and
hammered in the windows," he said.
The other two residents of the multi-
family home were out at the time, so no
one was injured.
Chigos said he was taken aback at
the size of the fire when he arrived at
the house. "I'd say about a quarter of
the house was on fire. The front porch
was completely charred," he said.
After the fire department arrived and
doused the flames, Chigos said he was
asked to give a statement of what he
saw and then he left for home at around
6:30 a.m.
Looking back at the situation on
Tuesday night, Chigos said he is thank-
ful no one was hurt or injured. "You
become very involved," he said. "You
want everyone to come out unharmed.
"That fire was cookin'. It must have y
been going for 10 to 15 minutes."
LaRose, the sports information
director at Middlebury College, was,
thankful that Chigos acted the way he
did for her brother. She has been trying
to track him down for the past few days
and hones tn thank him directly

/T ,

7 47
iurc -



Even though most students who play games use Platation
or Nintendo 64, some such as sophomore Scott Medlock, still
make use of the original 8-bit Nintendo system.
'it's not complicated," he said. "You've got three buttons
instead of eight. You don't need all that other complicated stuff"
Medlock plays games on his computer more often, but dab-
bles with his Nintendo for an hour or so weekly. Last year lie
didn't bring his system., but he and his neighbors played video
games at midnight one day each week.
Neither Medlock nor Flaig said that video games interfere
with their coursework.
"Whatever floats your boat, as long as it doesn't hurt you."
Medlock said. "As long as it's not detrimental to your health or
grades," it's harmless.
Many parents raise their eyebrows at the violent content of
some games, such as the popular James Bond: Goldeneye. The
game places players in scenarios from the movie with the mis-
sion of killing a progression of enemies, Players choose from
weapons including small handguns, compact missile launchers
and fully automatic machine guns.

intern in the Center for Counseling and
Psychological Services.
Murtha is working on a dissertation
on problem gambling. Problem gam-
bling often develops much like any
other addiction - taking complete con-
trol over one's life, all the while destroy-
ing relationships and personal liveli-
hood in the process, he said.
"Problem gambling is nothing new,"
he said, "but rather something that's
been grossly understudied."
Murtha attributes this to the fact
that problem gambling is not as
clear an addiction as drugs and alco-
Often the signs gambling is becom-
ing a problem are within the individ-
"When you can't get it (gambling)
off your mind, and it is all you can think
about, then it is clearly now problemat-
ic," he said.
Murtha notes that problem gambling
is most common in students with a high

disposable income - upwards of $200
a week. It is also frequent in students
who carry a low-credit total for the
semester, allowing more time to bet.
"If they (problem gamblers) have
the extra time to gamble, they certain-
ly will take full advantage of it," he
Junior John Arent realized gam-
bling was a problem in his life. After
gambling for six years, dating back to
his time in early high school, Arent
now understands the hazards of gam-
"My father always told me, 'there's
no easy way to make money,"' he said.
"It took me a while, but I finally real-
ized how true he was."
Both Massino and Arent believe
gambling is like a high, something risky
that gets the adrenaline going.
"I never try and bet outside my limits
- to go way up or go way down,"
Massino said. "I know when enough is

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