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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 4:46 am 
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Hammy wrote:
Most alumni can probably agree that there has been a noticeable decline in the quality of debate over the past few years. The teams today seem to be nothing like the teams of yesterday. I feel that debaters are forgetting what debate really is.


Good luck proving that.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:49 am 
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I don't think so at all. Ludicrous facts are ludicrous for a reason and it takes far more skill to dissect and point them out as such rather than reading a "card from my NEG front-line" in response. I believe you can refute without evidence; this is why they are separate judging criteria.

The problem is, a lot of the time you CAN'T refute the evidence without evidence of your own. The evidence is just wrong. So many people write so many wrong things that you can't possibly refute without better evidence.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:12 pm 
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1. It is a collection of counterwarrants to the warrants in the evidence of your opponent.
2 To add credibility to your position.

3. To establish facts and statistics that cannot be proven with logic.

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To point 1, if you can come up with the same warrants as the evidence to counter the warrants of your opponent's claims, you should win the round regardless of who you cite. This is the real art of debate that closedness forces you into; it makes you think, rather than read. As someone who has done collegiate debate, I can assure you that "OpenEvidence" leads you into a system where debaters stop thinking up their own warrants because "there's a card for it". Point being, closedness leads to better debate via more critical thinking.

I agree for the most part, but some warrants are FACTS, which cannot be proven logically and require evidence.

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Secondly, when you isolate the credibility variable, I think one would be hard pressed to find a round in which all judges involved said "I'm gonna go with the PhD. Why? Because he's a PhD". If a judge says that, there are two problems: (a) it represents fallacies by virtue of circular reasoning and appeal to authority and (b) shows a shallow understanding of argumentation. I'd call it a fluke ballot if it ever happens.

So, if the Aff team has some fact or statistic that's bogus that I can't refute...I should argue that "that guy is just a PhD, he's not necessarily right"??

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:21 pm 
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Facts can be (a) found in generic briefs (buy COG, folks ;))

I have gotten COG before. It almost never has facts in it specific enough to counter the type of problem I'm talking about. COG is really only good for extremely general cards that explain general phenomena. Not statistics or specific facts about cases.

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(b) established with warrants. If your evidence is a claim without warrants, it's useless outside of credibility; as aforementioned, credibility isn't purely a reason to need evidence.

You don't understand. THERE ARE NO WARRANTS FOR FACTS. ;) Facts don't have warrants.

For instance, if someone says "we give x amount of money to y program" that claim has no warrant. It is simply a fact. And unfortunately, experts get them wrong sometimes.

A good example of this is last year. People ran prisoner law. They had evidence from very credible people saying that we give money directly to the PA's prisoner law. Do we? No. Detailed government reports show that actually we only give the money to specific parts of the PA budget, and not the budget in control of the prisoner law.

How can I refute this without evidence? I can't. The same way I can't refute the erroneous claim that the b-61 bombs at Incirlik base are older, and therefore have no PALs. The same way I can't refute the claim that mandatory minimums are advisory (which they aren't). Sometimes you just need evidence to refute people's facts, or to have any type of high quality debate.

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You should argue that the reasoning for "Dr. Expert" doesn't logically justify the conclusion reached in his statistic. This yields better debate than saying "my PhD says otherwise" and leaving it there.

You don't need a logical justification for facts. They are just facts.

I'd also like to point out that when people go neg without evidence, there are very few good DAs they can run, because most DA links require case-specific evidence. This further degrades the quality of the debate round. In a good debate round you want both peoples' best arguments to clash.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 6:00 pm 
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I would disagree, but I'd recommend putting together generic briefs on areas within the resolution (appellate courts, trial courts, etc) that have specifics.

No COG generic briefs had anything specific to the prisoner law or TNWs, which are the two cases I mentioned.

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Actually, I do understand. The statement "we give x money to y program" can be easily refuted by saying that the federal budget appropriation, as congressionally authorized, does not have the means to satisfy "x money". You could also talk about monetary verification issues; while another card would be nice to have, it isn't necessary to win the argument.

I don't understand what you're getting at. How would congress not have the means to give money to the prisoner law? And what verification issues?

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These are things that should be in either generic briefs on the resolution or specific briefs on other cases.

Ummm, no definitely not. There's no way your generic brief on Turkey is going to contain details of the PALs on Turkish nukes. Generic briefs do not get anywhere close to being that specific.

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Furthermore, if this is the only argument for having open evidence, it's a weak one. Evidence is important and I don't decry that; I'm just saying that the fact some people quote illegitimate facts isn't a reason to advocate an open-evidence policy. That's their problem, not really yours.

I'd say it's pretty strong, because almost every squirrel case I've ever hit was based on false "facts" that couldn't be refuted with logic.

But that's not my only reason anyway. As I previously mentioned, it degrades the quality of the debate by not allowing the neg to run any of the strongest DAs (which almost always require case-specific evidence). It makes it less like an actual congressional debate, where both sides know facts about the policy in question.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:58 am 
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Seems like we may be at an impasse, but I'll go ahead and respond :P.

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Then write your own generics. ;)

There is absolutely no way that any generic I wrote would contain the minute details of the prisoner law or PALs on TNWs. I'd have to crazy lucky to happen to have put that in the brief if I didn't know about those cases ahead of time.

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You could make the argument that the AFF would require a reevaluation of the congressional budget, since it has already been decided upon; they'll likely try to fiat their way out of it though. A better strategy would be to refute the case on other grounds -- be creative; there's always more than one way beat a case and no case is perfect for that reason.

Sure, it's possible (though quite hard) to win without refuting that point. But the point is, debates become pretty stupid if the entire thing is Neg's legit DAs vs Aff's erroneous harms that are based on a false claim about the status quo. I'd rather debate about reality than Aff's fictitious idea of reality.

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You don't need to be "that specific" to win. Specs are good to have, but they are not necessary; that's my point. No debater has a "right to specifics!" in a given round; hence, we shouldn't start exhorting teams to "be open". The NEG has a no more a right to my AFF than the Green Bay Packers have rights to see the game-day plans of the New England Patriots.

Right, you don't have a RIGHT to specifics, but it does improve the quality of debate by having people argue about reality rather than a fictional world.

Quote:
You and I disagree on what "quality debate" looks like, so it seems. I do not think that pre-meditating an entire debate round so that everyone plays off of their frontlines is "quality debate"; academic debate is an exercise in critical thinking and logical reasoning, not a congressional deliberation (if you take a look at how much critical thinking and logical reasoning goes into a congressional "debate", I think you'll see my point... ).

1) As I previously mentioned, I think people can be TOO open. I'm not saying that everyone should know every minute detail about everyone's cases, merely that they should know what cases peopel are running.

2) Congressional debates are pretty high quality last I checked.

Quote:
Who determines the "strongest D/As"? The D/A my brother/partner ran in our last outround at nationals was the deciding issue for one of our judges and he had no evidence to support it; this can be contrasted with the D/As from certain sourcebooks that have evidence and yield nothing in the round. Evidence is by no means an indicator of a "strong D/A". D/As are predicated upon ideas; if you have an idea better than that of a PhD, then you should be given due credit (and victory) based on that idea.

All I know is, from my experience, the strongest DAs by far are case specific and not at all general. OF course you can win a few ballots with super general DAs, but they usually have very theoretical impacts, and therefore do not appear as powerful as Aff's harms. I can't think of a single case that has more significant generic DAs to it than case specific DAs.

I mean, take TNWs for instance. What generic stuff can you run against that? Maybe some really weak DAs about relations or soft power or something, both of which can easily be refuted by Aff. You need to know about it in order to come up with anything very powerful against it.

To sum up my position, I think it's perfectly possible to have excellent debate rounds where one team runs a squirrel. However, I don't see why a debate with less detailed, more general arguments from neg, and arguments based on erroneous "facts" from aff, is higher quality than a debate that covers every aspect of the case, down to the tiny details. A debate where neg has no evidence is a restricted debate.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:25 am 
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Cyberknight wrote:
I mean, take TNWs for instance. What generic stuff can you run against that? Maybe some really weak DAs about relations or soft power or something, both of which can easily be refuted by Aff. You need to know about it in order to come up with anything very powerful against it.

So said the debater who relies heavily on evidence.

Cyberknight wrote:
2) Congressional debates are pretty high quality last I checked.

Watch CSPAN sometime. They really aren't that great. :P

Cyberknight wrote:
A debate where neg has no evidence is a restricted debate.

Restricted to where the negative actually needs debate skills instead of a well researched position to win.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:54 am 
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So said the debater who relies heavily on evidence.

...Yeah, I do. So? :P How does that change anything about my statement?

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Restricted to where the negative actually needs debate skills instead of a well researched position to win.

Tell, me, have you ever known a team that had only good research, and not good argumentation skills, that actually did well? I didn't think so. Evidence is useless without logic.

Also, as someone already mentioned on this thread (forget who), you can't really be good at research if you aren't a good critical thinker and arguer. I have never known anyone who was a good researcher and not a good arguer.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:51 pm 
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Cyberknight wrote:
...Yeah, I do. So? :P How does that change anything about my statement?

At risk of sounding like an ad hominem, you're the one having trouble coming up with arguments. ;)

Cyberknight wrote:
Tell, me, have you ever known a team that had only good research, and not good argumentation skills, that actually did well? I didn't think so. Evidence is useless without logic.

Us, last year.

Cyberknight wrote:
Also, as someone already mentioned on this thread (forget who), you can't really be good at research if you aren't a good critical thinker and arguer. I have never known anyone who was a good researcher and not a good arguer.

Well that's good that you haven't met anyone like that, but I've met several.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:42 pm 
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Then cross-apply evidence from other briefs. I've done this before and it's not as bad as it sounds; there will also, frankly, always be something that you come up against in debate that you don't have evidence for. We debated a team in finals at the Columbia tournament that we didn't have any specific neg evidence against; the case certainly qualified as a "squirrel", but we were able to take the AFF's evidence and dissect it. Dissecting their evidence, many times, can be more effective than presenting some of your own because it forces a deeper level of analysis than you'll get by just "reading and going".

1) Other briefs aren't going to have stuff on this either. Only a case-specific TNWs brief will have stuff like that.
2) I cross apply stuff all the time. I'm not saying it's impossible to have ANY arguments against a squirrel. Obviously you'll come up with something, either from other neg briefs or maybe just logical arguments. However, you won't be able to run nearly as strong arguments on the neg side. You'll be debating about a false status quo, which is kind of pointless.

Quote:
Then debate their fictitious idea of reality. Argue that the context, circumstances, and precedent don't properly frame the "facts" they presented. Ask them to explain their position in light of these facts; 9/10 times they cannot do it because so few other authors will support a completely erroneous position. If the facts are wrong, they'll have a very hard time backing up and supporting them. You don't need your own evidence to do it.

That just isn't true though, in my experience. I gave several examples of false status quo facts from various cases. None of these could be defeated by logic.

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We've been over this; quality goes down with openness because you get less analysis and more reading.

More evidence does not necessarily lead to less analysis. How does more evidence automatically mean less analysis?

It does lead to more reading, but reading typically only takes up a small part of the debate anyway. There's usually almost no reading at all in the rebuttals.

Quote:
Case specific D/As are great, but I don't think they're always necessary. I certainly don't think AFF teams should be obligated to give NEGs their case topics so that stronger D/As can be run against them. Maybe D/As aren't always the answer; try for solvency. Be creative. There are a lot of arguments that folks could run against a given case, especially when they're not fretting over what they "could have run". It's always better to use your brain than to use your brief.

Again, I never once claimed that it's impossible to win a debate without case specific DAs (though it is nearly impossible sometimes), nor did I claim that Aff is obligated to do anything. I'm merely observing that the quality of debate goes up because there are more possible arguments, and more specific, detailed arguments. Without case specific DAs, everything becomes too vague and theoretical, and not as real-world. Again, we don't want to restrict the debate.

Quote:
No one is forcefully "restricting" the NEG; they had every opportunity to do the research themselves. "Restricted" debate would be if someone expressly prohibited research on the topic; that's not the issue here. As aforementioned, false "facts" can be destroyed with the proper contextual analysis. And I like specificity debates because they test the practicality of the plan -- always an important aspect.

When I say "restricted" I don't mean that anyone is forcing anything on anyone. I mean that fewer arguments are possible, fewer GOOD arguments are possible, and fewer DETAILED, SPECIFIC arguments are possible.

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Researchers that compile data, but don't format them into arguments.

Ah. So people who lose. Got it. ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:47 pm 
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At risk of sounding like an ad hominem, you're the one having trouble coming up with arguments. ;)

I don't have any trouble coming up with arguments. I come up with plenty arguments against squirrels and have little trouble. For instance, I hit Increase Aid to Jordan last year, and won by arguing generic stuff like "we can't spend money because of our national debt" and "aid is unconstitutional" and "Jordan sponsors terrorism" and "aid creates dependency."

However, the debate would have been much more fun, much more interesting, and a lot more detailed, if we had had case specific evidence on Increase Jordan Aid.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:59 pm 
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Cyberknight wrote:
I don't have any trouble coming up with arguments. I come up with plenty arguments against squirrels and have little trouble. For instance, I hit Increase Aid to Jordan last year, and won by arguing generic stuff like "we can't spend money because of our national debt" and "aid is unconstitutional" and "Jordan sponsors terrorism" and "aid creates dependency."

So it can actually be quite easy to come up with arguments without having evidence?

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09-10 | Timer | Verdict | R8
10-11 | Folkert/Folkert | Verdict | R8
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:03 am 
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So it can actually be quite easy to come up with arguments without having evidence?

Sure. But the point is, in general they will not be as strong or as specific or as detailed. If you have evidence, you can run both the general, less detailed arguments AND the more specific ones, whereas without you can only run general stuff. That's why I'm saying it restricts the argumentation.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:48 am 
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Cyberknight wrote:
Sure. But the point is, in general they will not be as strong or as specific or as detailed. If you have evidence, you can run both the general, less detailed arguments AND the more specific ones, whereas without you can only run general stuff. That's why I'm saying it restricts the argumentation.

Agreed, but I would contend that placing a higher emphasis on research doesn't build the mind nearly as strong in critical thinking. Yes, I think that you're going to win more rounds being open, but I do feel that it is to your brain's detriment that you do so.

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12-13 | Folkert/Light | Verdict | R8
13-14 | Folkert/Light | Verdict | R8
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 5:45 am 
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Hammy wrote:
Agreed, but I would contend that placing a higher emphasis on research doesn't build the mind nearly as strong in critical thinking.


This is the false dichotomy that this entire discussion is built around. Yes, research without critical thinking is bad for debate. The converse is also true. But this isn't a choice that has to be made. Critical thinking and research go hand in hand, and utilizing both to their fullest extent should be the goal of any serious debater. Trying to downplay the importance of one or the other because of the lackadaisical behavior of some debaters loses sight of what the goal is.

Openness provides an environment in which valuable and deep debate can take place. It can also be abused. But that abuse does not negate its advantages.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:35 am 
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Masked Midnight wrote:
Quote:
Openness provides an environment in which valuable and deep debate can take place. It can also be abused. But that abuse does not negate its advantages.
How do you characterize abuse, advantages, and by what means do you determine the advantages outweigh the abuses?


Abuse (in this context) = using openness as an excuse for lazy argumentation.

Advantages = all the benefits of openness, which I'm not going to bother explaining here.

Means = I don't know if I can provide you with an objective mechanism to determine that, but my point was that a systems vulnerability to abuse doesn't negate the positive effects of it. In this case, the possibility that some will use it as an excuse to be lazy doesn't negate all the other benefits of openness.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:21 pm 
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It seems like there's always going to be a wayward example that you can define the discussion into that warrants openness. I would suggest that, in this case, a defense brief should contain material on nuclear weapons; TNWs was a big case Russia year and I am certain that someone would pull backfiles under future resolutions as a result.

...I guess if it so happened that you had Russian backfiles, then maybe. But hardly anyone in debate now debated Russia year. Also, that's just one example, I mentioned several others. Generic briefs are not as specific as neg briefs. That's kind of a no-brainer, I don't understand why we're still arguing this. :P

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You don't have to debate the "false" status quo if you can actually destroy the "facts" with context.

My whole point is that you can't always. And I gave you numerous examples of when you can't.

Quote:
vidence is logic. When you present a "fact" in evidence, you have to justify that fact within a given context; just saying "my evidence says X, so therefore it must be true (that's all)" is not the proper way to use evidence in debate. All claims require warrants; the same is true of facts requiring contextualization.

Evidence is NOT necessarily logic, as I already pointed out. "TNWs in Turkey don't have PALs" is not logic. It's a statement of fact. A LOT of evidence is logic, but a good half of it is just facts.

Also, if your evidence says x, and your evidence is credible, and x is merely a statement of fact (not a logical argument), then yes, the judge should assume it's true, unless you give him a really good reason not to (like better evidence to the contrary).

Quote:
Many times, you can have deeper rounds with less evidence. Less evidence also affords you the opportunity to dissect your opponents' evidence, using it to your advantage; this is usually more effective than even reading a card of your own.

If you have a brief, you can dissect your opponent's evidence AND use your own evidence. If you don't have evidence, you can ONLY try to take apart their evidence. It makes the neg team and aff team more different. With evidence on both sides, both teams can attack each other's evidence AND provide their own. With one-sided evidence, neg only has one of these options, rather than both.

The important thing is that you can still dissect your opponents evidence if you have evidence of your own. The only difference is that you have a second option as well.

Quote:
You're pivoting here. This depends on what you want to have a specific argument about. if you want to have a technical debate about a single statistic, then yes, evidence is a must. If you want to have a detailed debate around the practical solvency of the AFF plan, then evidence is not always necessary.

Or, you can address specific statistics AND talk about practical solvency.

Quote:
And, I'd further posit, no few arguments are "possible"; anything is possible -- you're completely free to come up with your own argument with the same reasoning behind it as Dr. Expert.

No you can't. We don't just read evidence for the heck of it. We run evidence primarily because we need to ESTABLISH FACTS that CANNOT BE PROVEN WITH LOGIC. For instance, how can I prove, with logic, that the money we give to the PA goes to it's security forces' budget? How can I prove that the PA's security forces protect Israel? How can I prove that Saudi Arabia fights terrorism? I CAN'T. You need evidence to prove these things, no amount of logic can just magically establish these facts.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:44 am 
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I think both sides here are predicated on false dichotomies. You can have both very well researched positions and critical thinking skills. (See Engle/Vilim, Baldacci/Hansen, Bowers/Damkoehler, Sefzik/Sefzik, Rosa/Warren, Abell/Tant, etc.) Sure, openness makes it easier for some negs to skate by just running canned stuff. But guess what? Smart affs will come up with new responses. And what happens then? The smart negs will come up with new responses in-round. And so on. Competition incentivizes excellence; the best teams will always be able to adapt. Openness just makes it easier on neg for the teams in the middle of the pack.

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