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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:17 pm 
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Think tanks have always been biased. Cato's biased libertarian. Brookings is biased moderate left. Actually, people have always been biased. My guess is that the president of Heritage has always voted for the Republican Party. If the president of Heritage was a current Republican senator, that might be a little more problematic. DeMint is not a current representative of the Republican Party, so he has no non-ideological (i.e. monetary or electoral) incentive to be biased. I'm sure he's ideologically biased. So is every other think tank. And every other person.

Plus, sometimes, the partisans are right. If there's a yes/no issue, a Republican says yes, and a Democrat says no, one of them is right. That doesn't change in academia. Partisan hacks can sometimes tell the truth. My favorite example: James Dobson is literally paid to preach the gospel. But when he says "Jesus is the Son of God," I don't think anyone says "well obviously you believe that -- you're paid to believe that."

Debate the warrants, not the source. If the argument you read is a logical argument (especially a philosophical/moral/normative argument), then it really doesn't matter who the source is. If Heritage says "killing is bad," it doesn't matter that "OMGZ HERITAGE IS REPUBLICAN." The argument can be true, no matter who said it. If the argument you read is an empirical argument, then there's a little more problem.

But even then, you just can't say "that study is from Heritage, and Heritage is Republican, so the study is wrong. OK, let's move on." The better way to do it is to read the study, realize there's no methodology (as Isaiah points out), and say "this study is bad, and here are studies that have real methodology."

lucky13 wrote:
_TakenUsername_ wrote:
So you are saying it is impossible to be a conservative or a liberal and be unbiased
Yes. It's impossible to eliminate bias, although it is possible to suppress it.


Your definition of who is unbiased and biased is going to be, by definition, biased by your point of view. How can you measure if someone is unbiased or not? There's no such thing as being unbiased.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:16 am 
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Hint hint peoples.
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^ Listen to this guy. :)

There are some occasional instances where a source indict is needed. But unforunately, some teams simply use source indicts to fill up speech time or help sway a judge who might be of a certain political persuasion. Everybody has a bias, and that bias isn't necessarily reason to disregard an entire line of logic or an entire research report.

I've used source indicts against the Heritage Foundation before in debate, and trust me, they did NOT go over very well with my judges. :-/ So know your audience before you consider running a source indict or an argument that might rub your judge the wrong way.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:13 pm 
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I've used source indicts against the Heritage Foundation before in debate, and trust me, they did NOT go over very well with my judges. :-/ So know your audience before you consider running a source indict or an argument that might rub your judge the wrong way.


That also reminded me: keep in mind that a lot of source indicts come from equally un-credible groups with equally (if not more) ridiculous studies and claims, and that your judge will likely be weighing this as well. Case in point: one of the most popular Heritage indicts from enviro year was from Greenpeace. Make fun of Heritage, sure, but it's a lot more credible than Greenpeace.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:06 am 
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andrewmin wrote:
That also reminded me: keep in mind that a lot of source indicts come from equally un-credible groups with equally (if not more) ridiculous studies and claims, and that your judge will likely be weighing this as well. Case in point: one of the most popular Heritage indicts from enviro year was from Greenpeace. Make fun of Heritage, sure, but it's a lot more credible than Greenpeace.


^This. Sadly, most source indictments are idiots critiquing incompetence. :P

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:35 am 
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I really wish there was a source indict against Brett Schaefer. He writes so much advocacy for sometimes bad ideas. I want him to stop that.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:54 pm 
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Looks like you'll just have to get evidence against the arguments, and not the author. :P

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:08 pm 
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Unfortunately he says dumb things that no one else writes about, so often there isn't good specific evidence on the same topic.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:18 pm 
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So know your audience before you consider running a source indict or an argument that might rub your judge the wrong way.


It's important to distinguish what a good source indictment is, from a not-so-good one. A source is not bad or non-credible because I don't like what he says, or his views disagree with my worldview, or he says things that wreck my Affirmative debate case.

A good source indictment goes to things like:

- flawed methodologies (Dr Expert mistakenly studied people in Russia about the problem when the issue is only happening in Estonia)

- factual errors (The Smith Study reported that the Brady Act reduced gun crime by 30%, but the Brady Act wasn't passed until 6 years later. OR, Prof. Smith has made numerous factual errors in many of his writings as evidenced by X, Y, and Z, thus he has credibility problems.)

- corruption (The sociology department at Big University was caught last year fabricating data in their studies, and AFF is quoting a study from that same group)

Mistaken or not-logically-sound source indictments can backfire on you. I was doing a practice debate with some students in which they tried to indict my quote from a university scientific source by arguing that the source endorsed evolutionary theory in other writings not cited in the round, so my argumentation must be endorsing it by citing them. I noticed that one of their sources was from the US Army, so I suggested that they must be endorsing everything the US Army has done, like the My Lai massacre and the Abu Ghraib torture. They quickly dropped the argument...

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