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Is the "Addressing Sin Nature Case" from Monument Mondays unethical?
Yea! 57%  57%  [ 8 ]
Nay! 43%  43%  [ 6 ]
Total votes: 14
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:02 pm 
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Here is a link to a sample, a summary, and the comment section of the case.
https://www.monumentpublishing.com/ncfc ... ature-neg/
Here are my opinions on what I see as the ethical problems of the case, which I privately sent to Chris Jeub (the owner of Monument Publishing), and later submitted to the comment section of the case (at Chris Jeub's bequest).

"To begin with I would like to thank Joel Erickson and Monument Mondays for all of the quality ideas and cases that they have been sending out this debate season. They have been incredibly helpful, and have given me a much needed advantage over my competition, and because of that I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that they had the best of intentions when they submitted this most recent negative case the “Addressing Sin Nature”. But despite whatever their intentions might have been, to put it bluntly, this negative case is blatantly unethical, and it is in complete opposition to the spirit of NCFCA speech and debate. It is an explicitly Christian case that will force fellow Christians on the Affirmative to feel as though they must do one of three things,
First they could try to ignore their opponents flagrant religious pandering to the judges, and just simply surrender the religious high ground and leave their opponent to preach from their pulpit.
Or secondly they could they could try to refute their opponent’s arguments by using similar Christian reasoning (i.e. bible verses, apologetics, theologian quotes, etc…)
Or lastly they could argue try to disagree by saying things that go against their own personal religious beliefs and put themselves in a very spiritually compromising position.
As you can tell, all three of these options are a little less than appealing. Luckily most experienced debaters (or at least those in Region V) know better than to use such spiritually toxic tactics to win debate rounds. But every once in a while you will see a younger well-meaning more inexperienced debater that will use apologetics in LD rounds, and the results can be devastating.
For example last year I was timing a debate round between two novices and the Affirmative made the argument that we shouldn’t value privacy because God is everywhere and therefore privacy doesn’t exist. Her opponent was completely flustered by this; he spent most of the rest time in silence or trying to stutter out an answer to his opponent’s spiritual attacks… I honestly wouldn’t be surprised at all if that was his last debate with NCFCA, and if it was I wouldn’t blame him at all.
The ideas behind the “Addressing Sin Nature” Negative are in no way exclusive to that case, they were presented in a far more ethical way in Travis Herche’s “Bad Apples” and the “Good, Bad and Normals” cases. This year has more than its fair share of cases that have articulated the ideas behind Erickson’s case without intentionally (or more often unintentionally) attacking the faith of the Affirmative debater. Which is why I would like to humbly request that (if it is at all possible that) Monument Mondays take down the “Addressing Sin Nature” negative case from this website or offer some form of warning to debaters about how unethical this case will be if it is not significantly edited.
Yours respectfully,
Jake Walmsley"


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:54 pm 
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jmwalms wrote:
First they could try to ignore their opponents flagrant religious pandering to the judges, and just simply surrender the religious high ground and leave their opponent to preach from their pulpit.
Or secondly they could they could try to refute their opponent’s arguments by using similar Christian reasoning (i.e. bible verses, apologetics, theologian quotes, etc…)
Or lastly they could argue try to disagree by saying things that go against their own personal religious beliefs and put themselves in a very spiritually compromising position.

Or, option 4, run a K in the debate round if you think it's unethical.

Debate is a place to debate. I'm a big fan of Sheldon Vanauken, who wrote that "Only someone who has faced the question--is Christianity false?--can help someone else resolve the counter-question--is it true?" "Spiritually compromising position" is vague and hand-wavily ominous. I suggest that debate is precisely the environment that these discussions should be taking place in, and trying to debate as though Christianity doesn't exist is the real "spiritually compromising position."

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:20 am 
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OK well this is a peeve of min so here it comes... :twisted:

Exhibit A: An affirmative TP team runs a case. The negative runs a Disadvantage claiming that it would lead to unemployment and then death for some people in third world countries. The affirmative responds by refuting the link, talking about net benefits and lives saved elsewhere and whether it's the government's job to pick winners and losers, etc. Obviously, whatever their response is, the affirmative isn't going to respond by saying "well life doesn't matter so their DA is null".

Exhibit B: An affirmative TP team runs a case. The negative runs a Disadvantage claiming that it would lead to unemployment and then death for some people in third world countries. Then they impact it by reminding the judge that the Bible says "thou shalt not kill" so the case must be a bad idea. The affirmative cries foul and tells the judge it's unfair cause they can't argue against the Bible.

Doesn't this seem more than a little silly? Of course the arguments that the affirmative team would have used if the Bible had not been referenced - those same arguments never question the assumption that murder is wrong. So they are not being pressured into arguing against the Bible. I've personally seen similar things happen in the NCFCA.


To take the example you mentioned: the case starts out with an example where rehabilitation is justified from a viewpoint where there is no sin, just various manifestations of social failures that can be fixed by society reconditioning people. Obviously this contradicts the Bible's teaching about sin nature. Here's my question: can you personally think of a system and rationale for rehabilitation that doesn't contradict the Bible's teaching about sin? If so, then you having nothing to fear about that negative, just tell the judge how your case agrees with the concept of sin nature, then press on with debate as usual. If your opponent wants to waste their time establishing something that doesn't contradict your case, that's hardly you're problem. (You'll notice that many of the arguments that the case brought up - claiming rehabilitation is a risk to society for example - are standard stock arguments where you can run the same response you would have if they never brought the Bible up). And if you don't personally have a rationale for rehabilitation that doesn't contradict the Bible's teaching on sin nature, then you are already arguing against what you believe in each and every affirmative debate round, and kudos to any negative who has the guts to point it out.

A real problem with this the fear of the Bible in debate is that it totally misses the whole point about the authority of God's Word. Murder doesn't become wrong when someone reminds you that God forbade it, murder is wrong because God already said it was so. If you are a Christian and you advocate a position in debate that contradicts the Bible, you are arguing against your spiritual beliefs quite regardless of whether your opponent points it out or not. And if your position is consistent with a Biblical worldview, you have nothing to fear if your opponent brings Scripture into the round.

Fortunately, the NCFCA knows we have to debate both sides of an issue so their topics are reasonably balanced. In all the examples I've ever heard of where someone referenced Scripture and it was "unfair", not one of them hasn't had valid normal arguments that could have been used against the case if people hadn't got scared and shut down their critical thinking. (For example way back in medical malpractice year there was a case that made abortions to be medical malpractice. People felt the case was unfair. The simple solution would be to run a counterplan and make abortion a homicide, and beat the aff on their own ground. Which better upholds the principle of the sanctity of life - treating murder as a medical mistake or calling it murder in the first place? But time and time again people get scared and don't think up a strategy.)

The NCFCA mission statement says that "homeschool students develop the skills necessary to think critically and communicate effectively in order to address life issues from a biblical worldview in a manner that glorifies God". If we refuse to think analytically about how a biblical worldview informs our debate positions then this is all a hoax. You mentioned a debate where one person said "privacy doesn't exist with God" and the other person got scared and didn't know how to defend privacy after that. (I'll refrain from refuting this absurd argument b/c that's beside the point). First of all this a coaching failure for the student from the get go - somebody sent him in there when he wasn't prepared. My real question is how he was coached afterward. Did someone sympathize with him afterward and tell him it was all his opponent's fault - leaving him without any real notion of what in the world a biblical worldview has got to do with privacy or civil liberties? Or did someone coach him on how to easily point out the absurdity of the argument and then move on with the debate?

This resolution is about justice. Justice presupposes wrongdoing, a.k.a. sin. It's just absurd to think we can advocate a position on justice without having some idea of how the two relate to each other.

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Caleb Smith
Region IV Alumnus
Cog Debate

"But I declare that Carthage must be destroyed."
Cato the Elder


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:37 pm 
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Caleb wrote:
OK well this is a peeve of min so here it comes..
.


+1, liked, RT, etc

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:28 am 
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Hello Jake,

I replied to your comment on the Monument Publishing website. You can link to the response here, or read it below.

Joel Erickson on Monument Publishing's website wrote:
Jake,

I’m glad Monument Publishing has been able to help you improve your debating this season. I hope to elucidate the rationale for publishing “Addressing Sin Nature” through addressing each of your arguments—first, your point about it being in complete opposition to the spirit of NCFCA, second, your point about affirmatives only having three possible ways to respond, and finally, your point about the case being unethical.

In regard to your point about the case being diametrically opposed to the spirit of NCFCA, you merely asserted this point without providing any justification. Furthermore, the NCFCA’s website explicitly suggests otherwise. According to their “Vision of Forensics,” (found on their website at http://www.ncfca.org/who-we-are/our-mission/ ) “while others may pursue speech and debate for the sport, NCFCA aims to use forensics to teach life skills. For this reason, NCFCA supports a real-world, conversational style of speech and debate and advocates the use of content and strategy that ultimately upholds a biblical worldview.” Their words, not mine. By this standard, it’s your position of expunging Christian notions from debate rounds that is antithetical to the spirit of NCFCA.

You say that the affirmative debater will only have three recourses. This is the fallacy of false trilemma. There are, in fact, other ways to refute the case—such as attacking the tenuous resolutional analysis, refuting the underlying pragmatism, or noting that Colson did endorse some rehabilitation programs. Several of the formidable arguments against the case are included in the thorough opposition brief at the end of the case.

Finally, you’ve referred to the case a number of times throughout your as “unethical,” and imply that the reason for this designation is because it forces debaters to argue against their consciences. First, I’ve already suggested that there are ways to debate the case without violating one’s conscience, which in and of itself renders your objection a moot point. Moreover, violating one’s conscience is invariably a product of debate, regardless of whether or not Scripture is an element. I’ve had to debate against my deeply-held philosophical and political convictions on a number of occasions, in LD and parliamentary debate rounds. The fact of the matter is that you can’t have a debate without two sides. And you can’t have two sides without inevitably generating some form of disagreement with one's personal ideals. Furthermore, in arguing that the case is “unethical,” what standard of ethics are you referring to? Scripture? If that’s that’s the case, I’d like to see some biblical support for your contention that we shouldn’t talk about the Bible.

If you don’t take my word for it, take fifteen minutes and watch this video by nationally acclaimed debate coach Isaiah McPeak. Isaiah has won innumerable tournaments in over ten formats of debate (both high school and collegiate), and has coached a number of national champions. He propounds a case for integrating Christianity into debate rounds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ltiE66v0PI

Last weekend, I attended an NCFCA qualifier as a coach and alumnus. A fellow coach of one of the largest LD clubs in the region approached me and informed me that her students were having difficult developing negative strategies, and that the “Addressing Sin Nature” case had enabled them to grapple with alternate negative philosophies and inspired them to debate negative.

Sincerely,
Joel Erickson

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Joel Erickson
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