mountain dude wrote:
The Ginga Ninja wrote:
I can't speak to the judging pool in your region. I guess it's possible that in the five states of Region 5, people are far more emotionally driven than they are out here on the west coast. But in my experience, some people are overly swayed by emotional appeal, but the majority do their best to make objective decisions based on logic. Emotional impact is used to drive home points, but the points themselves still stand or fall on logical reasoning. It's possible that you're right about people in your region, but based on my experience it seems more likely that you're simply operating based on a cynical and jaded viewpoint that has skewed your ability to objectively judge the judges (wow that sounds weird) in your region. Again, I can't make an absolute statement. I could be wrong. I'm simply looking at my personal experience, and while I see how one could be led to think all/most judges are weighing rounds based on emotion, when you don't allow yourself to be swayed by personal bias (i.e. having lost rounds because of perceived emotivism in the past) it becomes clear that such a blanket generalization can't be made.
Ok so we're basically both accusing each other of being blinded to the truth by our own bias, and claiming that we both see opposite things from different perspectives. Because we can't get anywhere from here, you think what you want, and I'll think what I want.
But I’m going to point out that, if this is the way it is in my region, my family is unlikely to move to somewhere else or travel an extra 4-5 hours per tournament just so that I can get to a better area of the league. I’ve met and watched some Region II teams and, I admit, they seemed a lot more wholesome than most of the R5 teams that I’ve debated, so maybe it’s better up there. But the league here (and, from what I’ve seen of other regions, this is true in other places as well) is not much like that.
I'm truly sorry if competition in your region is as bad as you make it out to be. I was not intending to discredit your opinion, I was simply pointing out that you can't apply your experience to the rest of the nation any more than I can apply my experience to your region. In my experience, the NCFCA is a wholesome, encouraging, logical community. That's why I was very surprised at and, I will admit, suspicious of, your claims that it's harmful in your region. If it's truly like that in your region, then I'm sorry for that. I believe you. I was just hoping that what you said was an exaggeration because it's so different from my experience in the league.
Mountain Dude wrote:
The Ginga Ninja wrote:
I never said we should make decisions without logic. Not even close. I said that good decisions should be made based on both logic and emotion. Neither should cancel the other out. You act as if the two are opposites. They aren't. They're complimentary principles. Yes, it's possible to allow emotion to cloud your logical judgment. It's also possible to be blinded by perceived logical superiority to the point that you make morally wrong decisions. If you had the option to sacrifice your life to save another person, but the other person was weak or elderly or disabled, logic divorced from feeling would dictate that you ought to preserve your own skin. But a society that operated on such a basis would be horrible.
Also, I'm going to go ahead and play the trump card here. How logical do you suppose it was for God to take on human flesh, experience human life and suffering, and accept the most horrific and painful death imaginable, for a bunch of jerk-wad sinners who would spit in his face even after he did that for them? If God was purely ruled by logic, He never would have allowed himself, who clearly is infinitely more important, to suffer for our sake. It's because God operates not only on logic, but also on love, that He is who He is. If we're going to reflect the image of God as we're designed to do, we need to find the beautiful harmony between logical reasoning and emotional understanding that God has modeled for us.
I'm going to push this, because you really aren't making sense. But firstly, love is not a sentiment, emotion, or feeling. If you have a crush on a really cute girl, that doesn’t mean you love her. Actually, the extreme version of that is voyeurism, which isn’t love at all–it’s exploitive and often downright abusive, not loving. My chemistry teacher has failed me on a few quizzes. He gets a bit angry at me angry and asks, “Why didn’t you get this? This is simple. You should know it.” But even while he’s angry, he’ll say, “Yeah I failed you but it doesn’t mean I don’t love ya.” Because love is not affection, and it’s not “liking” somebody. It’s caring for
someone, not having warm fuzzy emotional feelings about the person. The Bible tells us “Greater love has no one than this, that he laid down his life for his friends” (reference). The greatest love is not an emotion (see definitions below). It’s caring for a person.
It was logical for Jesus to say, “Ok, how can I save them?” if he cared for us. So he came up with a solution. If you really think that Jesus' sacrifice was illogical...go read On the Incarnation by Athanasius and Cur Deus Homo by Anselm, then tell me if his sacrifice was illogical. I honestly find the idea that it is "illogical" a pretty big offense to my faith.
You're rather missing my point here, again. I was not saying it was "illogical" for Jesus to save us. In fact, my point was precisely that it wasn't
illogical. My point was that logic and emotion are not opposites.
Remember, the point I was making with my argument about Jesus's sacrifice was that we're supposed to find the beautiful harmony between logic and feeling that God has modeled for us. Ultimately, that's the primary point I've been trying to make. Your whole case is built on the idea that logic and emotion are somehow mutually exclusive, when that's not remotely true. Emotion and logic are both essential elements of what makes us human. Because we are created in the image of God, we are able to process things logically; we don't operate purely on instinct, but on logic. Because we are created in the image of God, we are able to feel.
We don't run on pure logic; we temper our logic with feeling. The combination of those two is what makes us human; we can think and we can feel. Because we are sinful, we tend to lose the balance between those two. Yet we are meant to operate based on both of those things. You act as if feelings are inherently bad. They aren't, not remotely. They have been corrupted by sin, yes. So has everything else. But when we look at God's example, we see that He chose a logical course of action because of how He felt about us. God is not a physical being; His emotions are not powered by chemical reactions or hormones. Our emotions are merely a pale reflection of God's ability to truly feel.
God saw that we were broken. He saw that we rejected Him. He saw that we turned our backs on Him. And he still loved us. God chose a "logical" course of action in regards to how He went about carrying out his plan of salvation; yet the motivation behind his decision to pursue our redemption was not logic. There is no way you can argue that God was simply operating on logic when He chose to do what he did. God was not illogical; but he wasn't acting because it was logical. He was acting because he loves us.
Now, I recognize that having a crush on a girl isn't love. I absolutely agree. But you have to understand that love is not powered by logic alone, or by emotion alone. Love is an incredible thing that transcends all our understanding of what drives a person. Ultimately, love is about being like God; putting others before yourself. Laying down your life for them. And you know what? Sometimes, that means operating based on what is right,
rather than on what is simply logical.
I'm not saying logic is bad. Not at all. What I am saying is that logic is not the be-all-end-all of our existence. It's a tool. It's the organon of all academia, as Aristotle pointed out, because it makes sense of the world around us. Yet we were not created to be logical with no emotion. We were created to think and to feel. Again, that's why I brought up the three canons of rhetoric. We aren't meant to operate on logic alone. Calculators operate on logic alone. Computers operate on logic alone. We do not.
Basically, my point is this: logic is not bad. Emotion is not bad. But logic with no emotion can be bad, and emotion with no logic can be bad. They're meant to work together. That's what we see when we look at God's example, that's what we see when we look at human nature, and that's what we ought to pursue in the setting of formal debate.
Mountain Dude wrote:
To be honest, I don't understand what situations you could be referring to when we ought to allow our logic to overcome our emotions. If our logic is based in the Bible, then we never need consult our emotions when making decisions, because the Bible is the perfect word of God. The Bible is supremely logical, and it’s an insult to God to claim that his actions are not so. “Perceived logical superiority” is not intrinsically logical at all, and can’t be, because if we knew anything about the truth, then we would know that our “perceived logical superiority” is complete rubbish.
You're misunderstanding and twisting my argument. I never said, and never will say, that emotions should overcome logic.
What I did say is that logic and emotion are meant to work together. In an imperfect world, both logic and emotion tend to fall short, because our logic is often flawed and our emotions are often misguided. That's why I've been looking to God's example. In the character of God, we see his feelings for us displayed through his logically sound actions toward us. We see the sort of harmony that we're meant to display. It's really sad to me that you would say we "never need consult our emotions when making decisions." That takes away our humanity, and it utterly disregards the example we are given in Christ. 1 Peter 2:21 says Christ was "leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps." When I look at the life of Jesus Christ, I don't see someone who believed we should "never consult our emotions." I see someone who struck the harmony we are meant to strive for; I see someone who was sensible, logical, and wise, yet who truly cared for those around him to the point that he laid down His own life, which was infinitely more valuable than theirs, because He loved them. I see someone who possessed understanding and logic beyond anything we can comprehend, yet at the same time wept bitter tears at the loss of a dear friend and was filled with righteous anger at the sight of His father's house being defiled. He truly struck the perfect balance. Yes, the Bible is supremely logical. Yet it's also a story of God's love for us. The fact that it's logical need not get in the way of the fact that it's an expression of God's feelings toward us. They're meant to work together.
Mountain Dude wrote:
You can look further to the definitions of ‘logic’ and ‘emotion.’ The first definition of emotion that I found (in my 20-volume OED =D) is “a moving out, migration, transference from one place to another” which I think ties perfectly into the nature of emotions, but, more specifically to our discussion, it’s “a mental feeling or affection of pleasure or pain, desire or aversion, surprise, hope or fear, etc. as distinguished from cognitive or volitional states of consciousness.” A second definition calls it “a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.” Logic, however, is “the branch of philosophy that treats the form of thinking in general, and more especially of inference and of scientific method. Also…a formal system using symbolic techniques and mathematical methods to establish truth-values in the physical sciences, in language, and in philosophical argument.” Another definition calls logic “reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity.”
Is love a mental feeling? Is love (itself) affection? Does love change–does it move in or move out? Is it something which only operates on instinct, based on circumstances? No. Go read 1 Corinthians 13. Emotions come and go by definition; they triumph and fall based on our circumstances, but love is everlasting. Would he have done it in other circumstances–did he only act on instincts that arose because of the specific time? It's an insult to God's nature to claim that he saved us because of some quasi-emotion that happens in his mind. I'd point out that if Jesus had done what his emotions were driving him to do, then he would have taken a different road (read Matthew 26). Is there any emotional inclination or feeling in your body that would make you sacrifice yourself for the entire human race? I doubt it. Our sinful nature means that we are more emotionally and materialistically attached to ourselves than others, so based on our own selfish emotions we would probably not do what He did. Jesus himself cried out to his father in his sorrow, asking for him to take the cup from him. What he did was logical, because he cared for us. He was not following general human instincts and emotions.
Finally, now, the question. Is emotion ever more important than logic? God gave us the ability to use both, so which should we use? Is it ever preferable to eschew inference, the scientific method of reasoning, truth, principles, ethics, metaphysics, philosophy, and validity for volatile feelings or instincts of desire, pleasure, aversion, pain, sympathy, and fear? I’d love to hear you make that argument, because it would get to the root of the question rather than just scratching the surface.
OK, again, I'm going to be reiterating similar points here. The most basic flaw with your argumentation here is that you're comparing an idealistic standard of logic to a broken standard of emotion. The definitions themselves are fine, yet you're comparing emotion as it is corrupted by human sin to logic in its ideal form. Ideally, both logic and emotion are perfect. Emotion expresses feelings, which, outside of sin, ought to be a completely good thing. The Bible teaches that sorrow, anger, excitement, and other feelings are meant to be good things. It is sin that breaks them. The same is true of logic. Yes, ideally logic can't be bad. But pragmatically, it's just as tarnished by sin as emotion. Logic is used as an excuse to ignore principles of fundamental morality. "Abortion is necessary," they say, "Because overpopulation is going to hurt more people even more." From the standpoint of unadulterated logical validity, the argument could potentially be made. I believe it's flawed, but there are many who do not. But regardless of whether it is or is not logical, it's still wrong, because it allows logic to trump morality. Basically, emotion and logic should
both be good, but when either is used to trump morality, it becomes bad. You pointed out that, if Jesus had operated solely on emotion, He would have chosen to reject the pain of the cross. You're right. If He'd operated solely on logic, He never would have subjected Himself to the suffering of humanity. It would fit the rigid standards of logical validity and reasoning for Him to have just stayed at the Father's side. But He didn't operate solely on emotion or on logic. He operated on love: the perfect balance between them. You rather exposed the flaw in your reasoning in that last paragraph. In your own words:
Is emotion ever more important than logic? God gave us the ability to use both, so which should we use?
And therein lies your most basic error. God gave us the ability to use both, because we're supposed to use both.
You say you'd love to see me make the argument that we should occasionally value emotion over logic; yet that exposes your misunderstanding of my position. I'm not contending that logic is any less valuable than emotion. I'm simply arguing that allowing emotion to play a part, alongside logic, in one's decision-making is not a bad thing. God gave us both, not so we could choose which one to use, but so that we could use them both, just as He does.
Mountain Dude wrote:
The Ginga Ninja wrote:
Your argument is, in essence, that debate teaches people to take the "easy road" by appealing to emotion rather than logic. And you know what? Sometimes that happens, unfortunately. But it's not a valid argument against debate for two reasons. First, the fact that people can take advantage of other people's emotions is a fact of life. It's by no means exclusive to debate. Debate doesn't teach people to be emotionally manipulative; it's just an unfortunate reality that sometimes shows up in debate. But the main reason this isn't an argument against debate is that the easy road can only take you so far. Sure, you can win some rounds that way. Maybe even win some qualifiers. But the day that Team B goes up against Team C, who have learned that the best way to debate is to make logically-sound arguments that are delivered with emotional weight, Team B is going to lose. Every time. Because logic and emotion are not mutually exclusive. The best decisions are made by considering both logical soundness and emotional impact. Thus, the best debaters are the ones that can argue with both of those elements. That's why we learn the three modes of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos. If you want to do well, you need all three of them.
I'm not shocked to hear what you're saying. I've heard it before. In fact, I've considered the merits of these ideas myself in the past. I've simply come to a different conclusion than you. I have been looking at your arguments objectively, and will continue to do so. My point here was simply that you're painting the NCFCA as an inherently harmful organization simply because of a number of isolated cases that are, as I pointed out, the exception rather than the rule. Yes, mistakes have been made. We should work to prevent those sorts of unfortunate mistakes. But we shouldn't label the NCFCA "harmful" simply because they aren't perfect. That's an impossible standard to uphold.
Firstly, no. Sin is a “fact of life,” but that does not mean that we should just ignore it and move on. Speech and Debate competition can be wholesome, but if emotional manipulation corrupts the activity to the point where it doesn’t fulfill it’s purpose, then we need to either throw it out or fix it. I believe that it has been corrupted based on what I’ve seen.
Secondly, in the second half of that first paragraph you basically said “the main reason that you are wrong is that you are wrong.” I made the observation that emotion seems to be trumping logic more than the other way round in this league. You basically said “Well your argument is invalid because A) it’s a sinful world but so what and B) your assertion is wrong because I say so, therefore your argument is invalid.”
You’re getting ahead of yourself. Attack my assertions and prove them wrong, don’t try to skirt around them. If you can’t prove my assertions wrong, then don’t try to accuse me of logical corruption just because you don’t like my assertions.
You’re correct that we can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater–NCFCA can never be perfect. But the imperfections need to be at a point where it doesn’t corrupt the main purpose of the league-“addressing life issues from a biblical worldview in a manner that glorifies God” (or something very close to that), and honestly, in my experience, it isn’t there. TP is becoming a pity-case competition. Impromptu is becoming a game of who can memorize the sappiest, most emotional stories. Apol has become a sermon competition. Extemp is mostly won by whoever has the best canned jokes. Open and Duo have become a game of who can tell either the most shockingly graphic or the most hilariously funny story. Why do competitors do this? Because they win that way.
NCFCA has become not about giving good speeches, but about how many medals you have in your closet, and the judge pool has largely decided that they will vote for the people who give the most emotional, not the most logical, speeches. I’m glad I got out before it got any worse, (and from what I’ve heard from my former fellow competitors, it has). Winning is fine if the winners deserve the win. If they don’t deserve it, they’re learning to love doing the wrong things. They learn to appeal to the emotions, because that’s how they get people to vote for them. You can testify about Region 2, because maybe your region is different, but in my region, it’s definitely the case, and I know what I saw at nationals in outrounds and at the showcase was largely the same thing I had been seeing for the past 4 years.
Should people be awarded for manipulating emotions? Ought we to admire people who are more emotionally manipulative, or ought we to admire those who are logical? It’s because I’m seeing NCFCA move from the latter towards the former that I’m really hesitant to ever compete again. I’m okay with isolated incidents, because they’re unavoidable, but that’s not been my experience. This is a debate that I’ve had over more than just speech and debate, but music, theology, worship, and everything else you can think of. I’ve turned to the Bible. “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison,” “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks,” “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”
Ok so if I pass tests then I’m going to come out of next week with 15 college credit hours…but if I don’t then it’s your fault.
jk, but meaning to say, I probably won’t get around to looking at this or replying to it for a week or maybe more.
Firstly, I was not in any way implying that we should just suck it up and deal with it. I was merely pointing out that the issue is not caused by speech and debate, because it is not at all unique to speech and debate. My second point did not contradict my first one, because it was addressing a different issue. My first point was addressing the question of whether this "emotivism" was being caused by speech and debate; clearly it wasn't, because it exists just as much in every other area. The second point was addressing the question of whether speech and debate particularly encourages emotivism. It doesn't. You didn't respond to my point about Teams A, B, and C. If "emotionally manipulative" competitors came out on top all the time, then maybe I'd see your point. But that simply isn't the case. Maybe "manipulative" competitors beat those who act like Spock. Maybe all-emotion-no-logic beats all-logic-no-emotion. But neither approach is correct. And both get creamed by those who learn to balance logic and emotion. I've seen some of the symptoms you're talking about. I've been frustrated by impromptu competitors who win with the same tear-jerking opener every time. I've been annoyed by debaters who appeal to pity the whole round. But I've also beaten them. A lot. Not in any way attempting to brag, but I've been pretty successful this season by learning to strike the necessary balance.
So no, we shouldn't honor those who are emotionally manipulative. We shouldn't honor people who are manipulative in general. But honestly, we shouldn't honor those who reject all feeling in favor of cold logic, either. People in either category have a lot to learn. I've studied plenty of logic in my time. I'm a homeschool debater, for crying out loud. I'm also a musician and writer who crafts songs and poems designed to evoke an emotional response. If I try to manipulate people with either of those things, I'm in sin. But if I can speak the truth in love, then and only then am I following Christ's example. And I truly believe that, in the long run, that's exactly what the NCFCA teaches people to do.
And good luck on your tests