Wed Feb 18 08:46:55 CST 1998
At 05:55 PM 2/17/98 EST, you wrote:
History would suggest that academic debate has been an effective forum for
training in public speaking. As far back as Daniel Webster we find examples
of legislators, educators, ministers, lawyers, and coe's who credit academic
debating for their success.
Granted there are a multitude of classes to teach public speaking as there
are a multitude of pe classes that play football but you still field a
varsity team that gets more training in their craft.
If the "valuable lessons" that debate teaches is research, there are history
and English classes where they may do the same, why should debate be the
vehicle to teach these at the expence of the demonstrated skills in academic
The recent emphasis on information processing over public speaking will play
its course eventually as have other theories. At that time, academic debate
will return to the theories that have kept it going since the time of Corax.
Stay the course.
>2) Answering Strange's "Debate teaches real-world skills"
>Intercollegiate debate is clearly an inferior arena for teaching public
>address skills. There are classes a every university teaching public speaking.
>There are IE tournaments offering Extemporaneous and Persuasive speaking
>events. These are excellent vehicles to teach student public speaking skills.
>I fail to understand why debate must teach them too, especially if it comes at
>the expense of other valuable lessons debate can teach.
>The ability to intensively research a subject and organize the information is
>an amazing skill that is rarely (if ever) tought better than research-
>intensive debate can. People with these skills are highly sought after
>The ability to make decisions at breakneck speed is a necessity in a world
>that is always speeding up. The ability to digest large amounts of information
>and to formulate a cogent response under extreme time pressure is a very
>valuable lesson. Once again, I'd be hard pressed to find another activity that
>teaches this lesson so well.
>Trusting that your critic will be able to follow a more advanced demonstration
>of knowledge is important in allowing debaters the free rein they need to
>develop innovative arguments. I've coached and judged debate at many different
>levels and location, and it's been my experience that the slower debate is in
>a region, the less challenging the arguments are. Simply put, experienced
>judging doesn't constrain the argumentative imagination like lay judging does.
>That's not the fault of lay critics of course. It is, instead our fault. Many
>experienced critics sit on the sidelines (in high school and college), and
>then decry the lack of judging that they helped to create.
>I can certainly see the lessons that lay judging can help to teach, but I
>question whether these benfits are unique to policy debate and its practice. I
>think these skills are tought better elsewhere. We should focus on the uniques
>aspects of our activity and the educational lessons they offer. To that end, I
>oppose expanding the use of lay critics.
>Southern Illinois University
>BoisBrule at aol.com
Associate Professor of Communication Arts
Pineville, LA 71052
>From Wed Feb 18 10:52:44 1998
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 10:52:44 -0500
Reply-To: WHITNEMR at MORRISVILLE.EDU
To: Team Topic Debating in America <EDEBATE at LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: WHITNEMR at MORRISVILLE.EDU
Organization: SUNY College of Agriculture & Technology - Morrisville, New York
Subject: Lay Judges and the Ebb and Flow of Sophistry
Content-type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCII
I've been reading most of the posts on lay judges and wasn't really
planning on getting involved, as most of it is ground that has been
covered many times before on the list. But I can't help but make some
Many messages decry the need to adapt to those "incompetant" lay
judges. Others claim that there is adaption in Open CEDA today. But
these positions are made in the face of ever shrinking numbers in the
CEDA organization, compared to the quickly growing numbers in other
formats. There is nothing inherently "wrong" with this. There will
always probably be a place for CEDA (at least I hope so). But it appears
that CEDA may have made its own bed, and now has to lie in it.
CEDA, admittedly by all sides in the discussion, has evolved into
a highly technical activity, both in theory and process. Again admitted
by about everyone, not everyone can do this activity. This may be a point
of pride for the participants, and consternation for the others. But the
result may be that CEDA has evolved into an entropic system. It may be
approaching the point of finding it hard to support itself (in terms
of "qualified" judges). Many things may be contributing to this state:
schools leaving the activity (taking their judges with them), the "better"
judges being put only into Open (a la Bear, who didn't even have CEDA teams),
MPJ, resource inequities, travel inequities, and other things. But in terms
of the NUMBER of qualified judges available, we may also want to take note
that there may be a lag between judges and theory. The judges (often) are
debaters who have gone on to graduate school. Many of these fine folks, and
many of the Open debaters, join to create new theories, or espouse known
ones in a debate forum for the first time (which changes them). The graduate
students graduate, and often end up leaving the activity for the "Real World."
That leaves fewer experienced judges remaining in debate. Then, recent seniors
fill the graduate student's positions, starting the chain over again. Each
time a small number is left behind to build on the core. But, schools leaving,
and other real world calls lower these numbers too. The number of people who
can satisfy the demand of the Open level of judging becomes lower and lower.
However, the activity itself doesn't stop changing, which compounds the
problem of fewer judges.
This, in addition to the history of debate, may become an even larger
problem for CEDA. Look at what has been written. Judges are "incompetant,"
becuase they don't believe that if we don't stop porn in indochina there
will be a nuclear war. The participants say that this is an example of the
refined logic and research that they do. Lay judges, and most people in
general, point to this as evidence of what a farce modern policy debate is.
Do you really BELIEVE that this has any real chance of coming true at all?
If you do, why aren't you home making preparations instead of at debate
tournaments. EVERYONE involved knows that these dire predictions are
in a fantasy world. It is truly Sophistry. Because you can make an
argument that leads to the conclusion you want, does NOT make it a good
argument. The Sophists of old don't have the best reputations in
the modern day, and there's probably a reason for that. People began to
turn their backs on them when they were faced with the arguments based
in a more valid form. The same may be happening to CEDA today. How many
1,000s of nuclear war scenarios have I heard? and gee, not a SINGLE one
has even come close to coming true. One reason is because CEDA debaters
insist on treating human behavior mechanistically, when it is anything
There are also practices within the activity itself that inhibits
growth. JV debate in some areas and not others, emphasis on the success
of teams that travel nationally, massive resource inequities, small
chance of success for smaller programs, and more. Many of these things
are beyond the control of the CEDA organization, but impact the activity
nonetheless. CEDA also has some admirable outreach programs, but are the
numbers rising significantly (especially if you take out the boost from the
NDT programs joining)?
I have to go and warp some minds in class now. If anyone cares, or
responds, perhaps I can expand on what I am referring to.
>From Wed Feb 18 10:09:55 1998
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 10:09:55 -0600
Reply-To: herro at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU
To: Team Topic Debating in America <EDEBATE at LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Steve Herro <herro at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU>
Subject: Re: Delay CP
In-Reply-To: <Pine.PMDF.3.95.980217222735.1415355C-100000 at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU>
Content-type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
ok, i am awake now. i do know of an example where there is solvency ev
for the an exclusionary cp. in that case, i guess i am more open to it,
but i think there is something to be said for the aff staking out their
ground re: the plan in the 1ac and the neg STAYING OFF OF IT.
but not by me, now.
Director of Debate
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
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