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

Adam Farra adamhfar
Fri Sep 8 13:06:38 CDT 2006


The Magical Piece(s) of Evidence: A Fairy Tale

Once, long ago, there was a debater named Adam (he was a Prince) who  
debated on a mediocre China topic. Adam was a young debater - he  
liked clearing at tournaments, talking to his friends, and long walks  
on the beach. An evil King, known as Peter K. Yu, wrote a number of  
highly specific pieces of evidence indicting Prince Adam's  
affirmative, which was to file a WTO complaint against China based on  
its poor IPR protection practices.

Adam and his partner, Knight Dylan, did pretty well on the  
affirmative at the beginning of the year. Then...something  
happened...they lost affirmative round after affirmative round -  
Peter K. Yu wrote links specific to IPR for the Chinese Politics DA  
(made popular by the barbaric tribe from East Lansing), and the  
Relations DA. He wrote hyper-specific comparative CP solvency  
evidence (which Adam didn't have very good answers to - he ended up  
losing to a emaciated version of Harry Potter Round 6 at Wake).

Adam became exasperated, and Adam's King, Joshua Hoe, was equally  
exasperated with Adam's inability to adequately answer this argument.  
Prince Adam cried himself to sleep on many occasions.

Then, coming upon the second semester, Prince Adam discovered that a  
strange magical tribe from Washington had spoken to some qualified  
author(s) about the likelihood of a variety of DA links in the world  
in which the US filed a WTO complaint. Adam looked up the website on  
which these cards were published and discovered these cards were MUCH  
better than the ones that he had!! These cards ranged from questions  
about the PLA's reaction to a WTO complaint (evidently, we are not  
crazy in confirming that they probably couldn't care less), to  
questions about the rise of nationalism in a world in which the  
complaint succeeded.

Adam did feel slightly uncomfortable about the nature of the cards,  
but he reasoned two things...1) Debate judges on the college circuit  
seem to prefer having evidence to answer a particular question rather  
than not (of course, everyone likes to think that they "Always will  
listen to a smart argument over a mediocre card") and 2) Everyone  
respected Whitman (Adam did) and since no one seemed to protest what  
they were doing, then no one would protest Adam! Adam was totally on- 
board.

FK began to do much better on the affirmative (this is also due to  
the fact that Adam started taking debate more seriously second  
semester) and King Josh was happy, very happy.

And they lived happily ever after (absent the 6 months that Adam quit  
debate).

THE END

On Sep 8, 2006, at 12:56 PM, Ryan Galloway wrote:

> 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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