[eDebate] Blogs, Emails, Guided Questions, and the Question of What is Evidence?

Ryan Galloway rwgallow
Fri Sep 8 11:56:41 CDT 2006


Apparently what I was thinking about this morning on the drive in to
work has already exploded on edebate.  Sorry about any redundancy, as I
haven't caught up with the posts yet.

This topic has already seen a plethora of "ask the author" style
questions (Harrison blog, Gannon question on scotus, Hoe question on
terrorism, etc), more so than I have seen on other topics.  I've done
some of this myself--I've emailed con law profs at Samford's law school,
emailed some authors of articles, and of course had long email exchanges
with several friends now in the legal community.  I suspect the growth
of these email exchanges, etc. is because of the connections the
community has with the legal community, and perhaps the complexity of
the issues on the topic.

I see both sides of this question and am wondering what others
think...

1) On the one hand, it seems like it is more in-depth research to ask
an author of a lead book, article, or expert in law a specific debate
question to solicit a response.  It could take debate to the next level,
in the sense that are arguments become more specific and in-depth than
reading law reviews, amici briefs, etc. for our arguments.  We gain more
of an ability to translate the legal literature to our debate rounds.

2) On the other hand, it seems like many of the questions "guide" the
author to a given response.  Especially when that author has a debate
background, the kinds of cards we get from those authors would be far
different than what is generally published in a peer reviewed law
journal/review.   

As an example that I just thought of this morning, it never occurred to
me that the private email exchanges that I solicited in the topic
writing phase would be "evidence" for anything more than the discussion
surrounding topic formulation and places to go for further research.  It
never occurred to me that merely posting the plethora of emails I
solicited earlier this year to the Samford website or to edebate would
then become T cards like "limited definition of overrule key to
fairness--Dunbar 06, Gottlieb 06."  It occurs to me that perhaps those
individuals might not have thought of that use either.

I fully realize we probably gave up on the idea of evidence being peer
reviewed a long time ago.  The world of exitmundi.com is probably not
too concerned about getting published in a peer reviewed journal. 
Therefore, it is difficult to figure out the appropriate balance for
evidence in our increasingly technological based research world.  As a
last consideration, it seems that friendship and contacts may somewhat
unbalance the playing field, in that it seems those with connections to
the legal field are more likely to get responses than others.

Although I bet anyone could email Dunbar and he would reply with a
10-page response...

Just a question, not providing any answers.  

See you all soon.  

RG 





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