debating data (was e-mail as evidence)
Sat Nov 22 00:43:52 CST 1997
some more interesting ideas concerning the e-mail as evidence notions.
i thought william newman's comments were quite honest about how much is
still needing to be thought through.
what struck me tonight was that the quality of debate concerning data
has diminished in the past decades. the development of kritiks has
increased the depth of debates about warrants for arguments immensely.
But it seems that the same period shows a minimizing of discussions of
data collection techniques and data reliability. the best i've heard as
of late have been a card or two here and there about economic bias.
but the questions concerning the reliability of various data collection
methods and the intricacies of methodologies seems to be wanting (a fact
i was shocked about on the environment topic quite frankly).
the e-mail or interview has strengths and weaknesses as a methodology
and those issues are arguments which can be made in debate rounds. they
can also be made with conventional quoted evidence - about the
reliability of methods. the discussions concerning the reliability of
journalism as a method of data collection that have sprung up as a
corrolary to the e-mail thread reminded me of sections in Murray
Edelman's "Constructing the Political Spectacle" which functionally
kritiked journalism as a method and form of information transfer.
these arguments function differently than the warrant-heavy debating of
the past decade. it would be interesting to see how judges would
evaluate such arguments in assessing probability. if a team has good
evidence against journalism as a method, and all of the link evidence on
a Clinton disad is from journalists, would the probability be reduced to
near zero? Would this evidence in combination with some evidence on
low-risk analysis evaluation be sufficient to dismiss the arguments?
The warrants might be completely valid -- usually the negative on this
type of argument (and many others obviously) are very good at putting a
spin on things at the warrant level. but if the data per se supporting
these warrants is called into question of what relevance are these
it also seems that many of the difficulties associated with the e-mail
as evidence that can't be addressed by debates about interview
methodology in the round can be handled by ACTUALLY using the
cross-examinations to set-up effective analytical arguments.
just some late night thoughts from Kansas. hope the convention is going
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