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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:05 am 
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IMHO, topicality should never be run in a round. If the plan is blatantly non-topical, topicality should be your only argument.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:08 am 
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tehepicpwnzor wrote:
IMHO, topicality should never be run in a round. If the plan is blatantly non-topical, topicality should be your only argument.

Ummm...wow?

There is truly nothing you can say to that.

Topicality is the shizzle.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:38 am 
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Epic wrote:
tehepicpwnzor wrote:
IMHO, topicality should never be run in a round. If the plan is blatantly non-topical, topicality should be your only argument.

Ummm...wow?

There is truly nothing you can say to that.

Topicality is the shizzle.


Topicality is a way to skirt around the actual argumentation that SHOULD be happening in a debate round.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:51 am 
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tehepicpwnzor wrote:
IMHO, topicality should never be run in a round. If the plan is blatantly non-topical, topicality should be your only argument.


Exactly, I dont care if their plan changes the USFG's E-policy instead of Reforming it, if you contested that anywhere outside o a debate round you'd be lauged out of the building. It's a Chewbacca defense. On the other hand, if they are giving back funding to NASA's moon program than you need to make i clear to the judge that their case is blatantly non-topical by emphasizing topicality. (Maybe not your ONLY argument... but still.)

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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:58 am 
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tehepicpwnzor wrote:
IMHO, topicality should never be run in a round. If the plan is blatantly non-topical, topicality should be your only argument.
Because a non-topical plan is automatically acceptable if the negative team can point out flaws in it, obviously. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:26 pm 
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Halogen wrote:
tehepicpwnzor wrote:
IMHO, topicality should never be run in a round. If the plan is blatantly non-topical, topicality should be your only argument.
Because a non-topical plan is automatically acceptable if the negative team can point out flaws in it, obviously. :roll:


No, you just need to emphasize topicality so it's a legit argument instead of spending 30 seconds saying. lookjudgeunderthisdefinitionthatforsomereasonissuperiortotheaffirmativeteam'stheircaseis
notanenvironmentalpolicythisisn'tfairbecausethenegativeteamcan'tresearchthiscase
andsoitisn'tfair!.
Now moving on to my 42 solvency points...

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"The north remembers, Lord Davos. The north remembers, and the mummer's farce is almost done." - Wyman Manderly


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:28 pm 
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A good topicality debate teaches just as much about quality argumentation as a debate over any other issue, substantive or procedural.

And any of you who've enjoyed arguing enough that you're considering going to law school, I can report that ex-debaters who are now lawyers consistently say that the topicality debates did a lot more to prepare them for practicing law than the stock issues or disadvantage debates did. The law is far more often about line-drawing and linguistic construction than it is about weighing the evidence to make a decision on the merits.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:14 am 
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DrSraderNCU wrote:
The law is far more often about line-drawing and linguistic construction than it is about weighing the evidence to make a decision on the merits.

That's not a GOOD thing, I hope.

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"The north remembers, Lord Davos. The north remembers, and the mummer's farce is almost done." - Wyman Manderly


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:09 am 
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People sick and maimed and dying isn't a "good thing," but for an emergency room doctor, it's part of their daily work and isn't going away anytime soon. It's not nice to cut into another person's flesh with a sharp blade, but doctors have to know how to do it, because when that's the only thing that can save a life, the last thing they need is someone who's clumsy from lack of experience.

Consider also that if people are going to live together, they have to make rules that allow coexistence, which will inevitably spark disagreements about what the constituent words mean. Lawyers settle those disagreements peaceably, through rules and processes that are refined over time, which is far better than the way power is exercised in much of the rest of the world.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:45 am 
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How do you weigh when another has broken these "rules" that are needed for people to coexist. It is all fine and good to draw a line that says "Murder is Bad" but in the end it is proving that someone is guilty or not guilty of murder that matters. To translate this to debate, proving someone is non-topical, i.e. Trying to get a conviction for murder of a robbery suspect. In that case it is good to "draw lines" as the charge is clearly "extra topical" but what matters when you get down to it is Means, Motive and Opportunity, plus any "smoking guns" that are left around. I agree that topicality is a good line check for a debate round, but if you are so caught up in the "line drawing" that you don't adress the more fatal issues with the case or crime as it may be, you're not going to get a conviction or a ballot.

Pardon my lack of understandibility and the lack of any clear structure in my post. I really hope I understand what you're getting at. :?

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"The north remembers, Lord Davos. The north remembers, and the mummer's farce is almost done." - Wyman Manderly


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:09 am 
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I think you understand it fine. I think what you're running into is the difference between what you imagine is the work of lawyers and judges, and what their work actually consists of. All I can say is, don't take my word for it: find one and ask her or him. I was both a college debater and a college debate coach, so most of my old college friends are now lawyers, and I mean something on the order of four out of five. And there's a strong consensus: it's much more about definitions and line-drawing than it is about deciding substantive matters on the merits.

Legal fora exist for the purpose of being deliberate and careful and not irrational. For that reason, there are layers upon layers of safeguards in place to prevent injustice through hastiness or sloppiness. Really, the essence of what any legal proceeding is, is that they lay out their reasoning in very step by step ways, and open the result up to review by others: appellate courts, interested citizens, law review authors, etc. When that's what you do, most disagreements will amount to "Now when you say ___, that could mean X, or it could mean Y, and X is acceptable because, and Y is unacceptable because ... "


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:15 am 
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DrSraderNCU:

For those who aren't going to waste their lives away in a court room, argumentation > technical gibberish. Period.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:18 am 
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tehepicpwnzor wrote:
DrSraderNCU:

For those who aren't going to waste their lives away in a court room, argumentation > technical gibberish. Period.


A stunning example of flawless argumentation here ;)

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"The north remembers, Lord Davos. The north remembers, and the mummer's farce is almost done." - Wyman Manderly


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:11 pm 
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Right, because you're never going to be involved in any legal proceeding. You'll never close on a house. You'll never adopt a child. You'll never be the victim of a crime. All of your relatives are immortal, so you'll never have to probate a will. What was I thinking? You'll probably go into business, but it'll be the magic kind of business where no contracts, trademarks, licensing agreements or patents are involved. Clearly, law has nothing to do with the everyday conduct of people's lives. And this notion that successful debaters very often become lawyers, so possibly the way debates are conducted should include issues that help prepare them for that career? Wow, I was completely making that up. Most ex-debaters go on to be snake milkers, so really every round should focus on the chemical properties of phospholipase A2.

The nice thing about keeping a foot in debate is that you can meet some incredibly intelligent, high-caliber kids who think before they open their mouths. But the price I pay for that is occasionally running across someone who's the perfect storm of clueless and arrogant. Some of those outgrow it; I pray you're one.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:33 pm 
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On that note, we were talking to a recent immigrant to the US, a college educated and very sharp individual. He was amazed at how much you have to know just live an every day life in the US. You have auto insurance policies, health insurance policies, liability insurance policies, life insurance policies, homeowners insurance policies, renters insurance policies - all contracts where the only discussion you are likely to have with the companies are the meanings of the terms and clauses used. Then, you have taxes - sales taxes, income taxes, FICA taxes, etc. All of these also depend upon the meaning and interpretation of clauses and terms. You sign a HIPPA release when you visit the doctor or any medical facility. You sign liability releases. You have credit card agreements as well as agreements with your bank for all of your accounts. I could go on and on with examples of topicality in every day life. This person was amazed at the number of legal instruments, terms, and papers we actually sign every single day and the fact that we don't seem to even know or understand most of what we sign.

So yes, the most important thing you will get out of debate not only if you decide to become a lawyer is the ability to read and interpret clauses and terms and understand exactly what people are saying. The merits of the plans (insurance, credit, mortgages, etc.) are often obscured by the meanings of the words. If you aren't on the same page with the meanings or the terms, you aren't going to be able to intelligently discuss anything that follows.

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"...if you want to tell a story, that's great, but if I wanted to hear fluffy oratory I would be watching C-SPAN."


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:27 pm 
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Well, I for one won't be wasting my life in a court room. I plan to go into politics when I'm 19. And if you were on the state senate floor and started arguing, HB3092 is NON-TOPICAL!!!!!! No one would care, everyone would think you were crazy, and you would never be elected to something bigger than janitor.

I am in debate to learn how to research and argue effectively. Not to learn how to distinguish between energy policy and environmental policy. It's a waste of my time and everyone who isn't going into law.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:39 pm 
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Go visit a legislature sometime and find out how many of the members are lawyers. (Hint: most of them.) And find out how much of introducing, marking up and passing a bill is about wordsmithing. (Hint: most of it.)

Last, try to name me a public controversy, any controversy, you pick, for which I can't pull out a major element that's a matter of definition. Abortion: is it a human life or a fetus? What does "viability" mean? Affirmative action: is it a quota, or is it robust recruitment? What do we mean by "quota?" Go ahead, pick one, and let's see if I can't find a definitional issue that's huge. Take as long as you like.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:40 pm 
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tehepicpwnzor wrote:
I am in debate to learn how to research and argue effectively. Not to learn how to distinguish between energy policy and environmental policy. It's a waste of my time and everyone who isn't going into law.
1. False dichotomy -- you can effectively argue and research the meanings of terms.

2. For you to have any reason to research effectively, instead of just researching for the sake of researching, then plans had better be topical.

3. Legislators have more than 74 minutes between learning about a bill and passing it.

4. You're right that not everyone in NCFCA will be a lawyer, but not everyone in NCFCA will "waste" their life on the senate floor either. For those of us who will not be politicians (like me), knowledge about energy policy and environmental policy is just as much of a "waste of my time" as knowledge about what "environmental policy" and "energy policy" mean. Furthermore, as Dr. Srader and JustMe have shown, life for anyone outside a courtroom involves far more technicalities than what you'd like to deal with. Non-politicians probably have to argue much more about everyday technicalities than about the merits of environmental policies.

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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:07 pm 
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I'm not saying that topicality should NEVER be argued. I'm saying that unless the case is blatantly non-topical, topicality shouldn't be run. I have seen in my 3 years of debating one round where the judge voted on topicality.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for dummies
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:11 pm 
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tehepicpwnzor wrote:
I'm not saying that topicality should NEVER be argued. I'm saying that unless the case is blatantly non-topical, topicality shouldn't be run. I have seen in my 3 years of debating one round where the judge voted on topicality.


Are you saying T shouldn't be argued (when it's not blatantly non-T) because it doesn't win, or because it ruins educational value?

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