[eDebate] Ledewitz terrorism link to Morrison

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Thu Sep 7 16:28:18 CDT 2006

Debate "seeking truth." What a hoot. Sorry. College academic debate is about
gamesmanship and winning tournaments. I have no delusions about the activity.
If you want to search for "truth," join a philosophy seminar.

The "beef" is that there is a growing trend of debaters and coaches soliticing
information which is often slanted for a strategic reasons rather than for the
formulation of "truth." As pointed out earlier, it is one thing to use
clarfication for "education,' its another to use it for a strategic advantage
in a game.

My suggestion is that the person asking the question disclose to the author the
true purpose of the request--to keep from losing to an argument in a college
debate round. This disclosure would make the author realize the motives of the
persons writing. I, for one, would not respond in an e-mail if I knew that some
debater was going to use it to win a debate round--but that's just me.

In response to the MOI. There are problems with your assumption. First-MOI is a
big picture issue, not debate. Second, the "debunking" is the entire purpose of
peer reviewed publication. Josh's post is an example of unpeer reviewed
publication. This has a couple of implications: (a) There are no "experts in
the field" reading edebate to see if there is a random post to refute. (b) by
the time someone has seen it, if they did, a rebuttal in the MOI is too late
for the debate. For example: I publish some bulshit card saying that
Overturning Quirin will cause the Earth to spin off its axis and go hurling
into the sun. Some kid reads this in a round--hell its published and you have
no "evidence' countering it, so he wins. Now, six months later, somebody reads
this and publishes a series of reasons why the Earth will not fly into the sun.
Hurray for the MOI. However, it is too late for all of those debate rounds that
have been won or lost based on this ginned up/solicited evidence.

If you don't think debaters would solicit evidence to win a round if allowed
too, I think you are dead wrong. I would if I thought it were ethical. But i do
not. I would write articles on topic areas to help my wife's debaters if i
thought it was ethical. And, given my expertise in a variety of areas, on
paper, it would look like a very credible source. So, would it be ethical for
me to write such an article? I don't think so.

Better example-many, many debaters are now in law school and on law reviews. So,
they find out about the topic and in between bong hits with their former
partner, he/she says, "Hey dude, wouldn't it be cool if I wrote an article in
the Samford Law Review on Quirin being overturned--And, I give it all these
great links to our old China/U.S. hegemony file. Dude!! That would be
Awesome!."  He writes it in July for publication in January and his old buddy
starts reading it in rounds just before nationals. Sweet! Ethical? Well,
according to you, the MOI will sort it out so its cool. Good luck finding a law
review article responding to it by March 31, NDT finals. LOL.

I never said that you could get an expert to say something they did not believe.
Rather, (1) you can find an expert to say anything you want and (2) you can
often manipulate people to come to your pre-determined conclusions.

Bottom-line, if the standard of evidence is whatever Joe-Bob can dredge up by
sending out e-mails to professors, be prepared for the consequences. I know
that I could get a lot of people to say things about the topic that would throw
people into fits. Rather than doing research, we would all be running around
e-mailing experts trying to get them to give us "sweet cards" to win the next


Quoting Jamie Carroll <jamiefcarroll at gmail.com>:

> I don't understand what your problem is with what Josh did. If an expert is
> willing to validate arguments at the suggestion of a debater, then those
> arguments are cards, in the same manner that if any other person, such as a
> colleague, suggested to said expert those arguments.
> Now, admittedly, debaters do this for a competitive reason-why this is worse
> than experts writing stuff in service of ideological purpose, money, etc?
>  If the arguments that debaters get experts to admit are so devastating as
> to defeat other team's arguments, then that's good, because perhaps it shows
> that the other team's arguments are not really the 'truth', but instead, as
> in this case, misinterpreting a card.
> Isn't debate all about seeking the truth? The other team can always point
> out that the card was gotten under duress by a debater, and use this as
> another angle to point out why the evidence should be scrutinized
> skeptically. Plus, the idea that a debater could seriously hammer an expert
> into saying something ludicrous that the expert didn't believe seems absurd
> to me-and other experts would quickly debunk it if it was made public to the
> detriment of the original expert. The only concern seems to be that whatever
> questions are asked the expert are made public along with the answers, of
> course.
> Ah, the wonders of the marketplace of ideas.

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