[eDebate] da bait + critical thinking skills + preparatory pedagogy

Jake Stromboli infracaninophile
Wed Jun 28 11:36:21 CDT 2006

gordom mitchell aptly has said (cited below):

"I have no truck with the 'preparatory pedagogy' of switch-side tournament 
debating, so long as it is leavened meaningfully with applied collaborative 
projects in public advocacy, public debate, primary research and debate 
outreach. Such dual level pedagogy checks the 'spectator politics' mentality 
instilled by an exclusive diet of tournament competition. This view draws 
from the vision of a 'total forensics program' sketched in Douglas Ehninger 
and Wayne Brockriede's 1969 classic, Decision by Debate"

unfortunately, korcok, the guy who felt "gipped" by the kucinich 
presentation of the debate petition concerning WMD deception on the floor of 
the congress and turned into an edebate crybaby b/c obviously that's too 
religious for his petiion signing taste, missed the mark on permuting 
competitive debate with other activities when he diluted the importance of 
the advocacy of debate during an executive power grab that belittles public 
debate with these statements:


"persons with improved critical thinking abilities are de-politicized in an 
important respect.
not de-politicized in that they stop caring about the public realm, but 
de-politicized in the sense of less likely to be prancing ideological 
monkeys.but monkeys will be monkeys and sometimes even several decades in 
debate doesn't fix it.

there is pretty good research that the higher a person's critical thinking 
skills the lower their religiosity."

the big problem for korcok here is that he overemphasizes the importance of 
critical thinking skills sans public agency and effectively argues that 
contest round debating is sufficient in itself because it reduces extremism 
which he apparently operationally defines to include any form of public 
advocacy since it often involves taking a side or stand for or against his 
political party.   his republican party is not a religion, korcok says, much 
less the political party whose current fortunes primarily ride on the 
UNEDUCATED EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS who have a difficult time understanding 
the importance of public debate and also have a certain 
weakness/vulnerability in the face of totalitarian strategies mass 
deception.  korcok's eggs are in the very basket he tries to ridicule.   his 
attempt to portray the activists who have used their critical thinking 
skills to determine that the war is illegal, a failure and probably involves 
mass murder of innocent civilians as the religiosos is SO FUCKING PATHETIC.

there are thresholds of policy failure that require debaters to reexamine 
the relative importance of contest round competition at specific moments in 
history (i think the threshold argument is the best way to avoid the 
straight up competitive debate/activism tradeoff argument that stannard has 
put forward).   the current assault on public debate and the Constitution is 
one of those moments and the war is the most blatant example with the most 
murder as its result.   korcok has absolutely no argument here but generic 
critiques that try to link all activism and advocacy beyond the limitations 
of contest rounds to the very christian evangelicism that he promotes 
through his affiliation with the Republican Party.  oh, i forgot he also has 
a community call for cowardice in the form of a retreat to sharpening 
critical thinking skills which in the current context amounts to numbing.  
the korcok motto: "hone your critical thinking skills so you can blindly 
levy all encompassing critiques without scrutiny of the specific 
circumstances and so you can blindly always belong to the Republican Party 
no matter how much they degrade debate and critical thinking skills and 
instead promote evangelical preaching".  heil roverer!!!  never apologize or 
admit that your party leadership has maliciously outed a CIA agent in effort 
to intimidate public opposition and debate instead religiously stand by them 
no matter how low they go.   that's why i spent decades debating -- you too 
core-cock?   i recognize your right to post but do you ever have anything 
INTELLIGENT to say and can you ever make an argument that you can defend two 
lines deep?   no, when you get crushed in a debate about the war and murder 
just CUT AND RUN like a little fucking pussy and wait for an activism post 
to load up people's inboxes with more ridiculous shit like "gandhi 
bad/limbaugh good" implied args.   the archives are loaded with your 
cowardly retreats from bad arguments.

from what i gather from his posts, korcok wishes he could revoke his 
republican party membership because he thinks zealous religiosity is 
dangerous but korcok is not smart enough to figure out to quit his cute 
affiliation with the evangelical christians.   shaq guarantees another 
title.  stromboli guarantees that korcok has no way out of the specific line 
by line on his "activism=religion" argument and especially the evangelical 
christian turns and that korcok is a good model for the simpleton debate 
cowards who are going to just shup up and stop whining while the critically 
minded develop a strategy of self defense against the assault on the 
meaningful debate that democracy requires to function by the fanatical, 
hysterical neoconservative chickenhawks in the white house.


In 1998, I laid out a research program for 'argumentative agency in academic 
debate.' Debaters occasionally quote my work to leverage their critiques of 
contest round pedagogy, but as this conference paper from the 2004 Tokyo 
Argumentation Conference explains, I have no truck with the 'preparatory 
pedagogy' of switch-side tournament debating, so long as it is leavened 
meaningfully with applied collaborative projects in public advocacy, public 
debate, primary research and debate outreach. Such dual level pedagogy 
checks the 'spectator politics' mentality instilled by an exclusive diet of 
tournament competition. This view draws from the vision of a 'total 
forensics program' sketched in Douglas Ehninger and Wayne Brockriede's 1969 
classic, Decision by Debate. Below are selected materials on recent 
collaborative efforts to hone debaters' 'argumentative agency,' - their 
capacity to contextualize and employ the skills and strategies of 
argumentative discourse in fields of social action, especially wider spheres 
of public deliberation:
The Southeast European Youth Leadership Institute (SEEYLI) is a month-long 
summer camp that brings scores of high school students and community leaders 
from Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia 
to the United States for an intensive four-week program of studies in civic 
culture. The third phase of the program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of 
State and the Open Society Institute, focuses on cooperative public debate 
activities designed to reach general audiences. Students learn many of the 
basic elements of argumentation practice taught in standard debate 
institutes, but then supplement that knowledge with study of the public 
debate method as a political strategy for enlivening civil society. The 
concept and curriculum for this public debate program was developed in 2002 
by Ken Broda-Bahm, Daniela Kempf and Gordon Mitchell, and implemented first 
in the Towson University SEEYLI. More background on the origins and concept 
can be found in "The Blooming of Balkan Public Debate," a 2002 article on 
SEEYLI published in Controversia (the Open Society Institute's scholarly 
journal). In 2004, Allan Louden and Gordon Mitchell added a branch of the 
program at Wake Forest University, where several innovations were 
introduced. See the 2004 curriculum for a general overview, and download a 
draft of "Navigating Dangerous Deliberative Waters: Shallow Argument Pools, 
Group Polarization and Public Debate Pedagogy in Southeast Europe," a 
scholarly paper co-authored by Gordon Mitchell and seven adult community 
leaders attending the 2005 Wake Forest SEEYLI. The slate of 2004 SEEYLI Wake 
Forest public debates featured invited guest speakers and an off-site public 
debate venue. The 2005 institute built on these innovations, featuring even 
more invited guest speakers, three off-site public debate venues, and a 
collective follow-on amplification project designed to bridge the students' 
arguments to wider spheres of public deliberation (See the official 2005 
Wake Forest SEEYLI website for more information on each). One of the 2005 
off-site debates was held at the Winston-Lake YMCA on July 29, 2005, where 
students debated the question, "Should Voting Be Mandatory for all Eligible 
Citizens in the US?" The speeches from this debate have been archived below 
for podcast listening:
Moderator's Introduction (Iva Nestorova, Bulgaria) - 12:44 mp3 [11.6MB]
First affirmative speech (Jetmira Jenjelaj, Albania) - 5:15 mp3 [4.8MB]
First negative speech (Grigore Pop, Romania) - 6:47 mp3 [6.2MB]
Second affirmative speech (Mite Tashev, Macedonia) - 5:37 mp3 [5.1MB]
Second negative speech (Stanimir Ivanchev, Bulgaria) - 4:31 mp3 [4.1MB]
Audience Q and A (All speakers) - 11:51 mp3 [10.8MB]
Affirmative rebuttal (Jetmira Jenjelaj, Albania) - 3:13 mp3 [2.9MB]
Negative rebuttal (Grigore Pop, Romania) - 3:57 mp3 [3.6MB]
Invited guest commentary (Kindra Givens, USA) - 10:48 mp3 [9.8MB]

In May 2005, former Iowa debater and budding security studies expert Michael 
Roston called out former Wake Forest debater and courageous 1997 NDT winner 
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross for his affiliation with Confirmbolton.com, a 
website organized to support the nomination of John R. Bolton as U.S. 
ambassador to the United Nations. I joined the exchange by challeging Daveed 
to an online public debate, which he accepted. The resulting exchanges, 
which pick up on themes developed in the 2003 Rove petition campaign, are 
archived here:
John Bolton and the '16 Stray Words', Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (May 8, 2005)
Bolton's Team B Intelligence Coup, Gordon Mitchell (May 10, 2005).
Public Debates on Global Warming at the National Debate Tournament. The 
slate of public debates features University of Arizona Climate Scientist 
Robert Balling and five intercollegiate policy debate students.

The Claremont Debate Union's Middle Schools Outreach Program pursues 
principles of curricular integration, public debate and community engagement 
in ways that resonate fundamentally with my vision of 'argumentative agency 
in academic debate.' Starting in Fall 2004, new University of Pittsburgh 
graduate student Freya Thimsen (formerly of the Bay Area Urban Debate 
League) will be heading up an effort to create our own version of the 
Claremont model in the Pittsburgh Public School System.

In the spring of 2003, nearly 200 members of the intercollegiate policy 
debate community signed a petition to presidential advisor Karl Rove 
decrying the Bush administration's debating tactics in justifying war on 
Iraq. Download the petition text, see a press release explaining the 
petition campaign, view a photograph of the Capitol Hill delivery petition 
to Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) on July 9, 2003, and read Rep. Kucinich's 
comments on the floor of the House of Representatives entering the petition 
text and list of signatories into the July 11, 2003??D4 Congressional 

Prior to the 2003 NDT and CEDA national championship tournaments, a number 
of debaters and coaches collaborated to conduct "primary research" 
interviews with prominent experts on that year's intercollegiate policy 
debate resolution dealing with U.S. policy toward Southeast Asia. The 
interviews with Indian nuclear proliferation expert Brahma Chellaney and 
Irish legal scholar William Schabas were published by The Global Beat, New 
York University's independent news syndicate.

In the wake of the September 11, 2001 airline attacks on the United States, 
Wake Forest University held a 'National Debate-in' during its regularly 
scheduled intercollegiate policy debate tournament, replacing the last two 
preliminary rounds of debate with public debates. See a sample media 
advisory explaining the event, read expert commentary on the importance of 
public debate in the aftermath of 9/11, see a transcript of "When 
Intercollegiate Debate was Subversive," the "Round 8 keynote address" by 
Robert P. Newman, and peruse real-time interviews of participants.

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