[eDebate] A plug for the Genetic Engineering Topic

Joe Patrice joepatrice
Tue Apr 10 08:46:29 CDT 2007


I think Eli is absolutely right that the genetic engineering topic will
largely avoid the scientific literature, but that's why I'm for it --
because ever so slightly it will expose students to at least SOME literature
beyond foreign policy (and of course there are real world foreign policy
implications to genetic engineering, but I digress).  It's reached the level
of absurdity that the debate community is fixated on constructing tangential
foreign policy scenarios with huge impacts regardless of the debate topic.
I think the only hope of changing this culture of complacency -- running the
same argument and researching out of the same sources over and over (while
Eli focuses on "policy" debate, this is true of "K" debating too) -- is to
keep providing the community with topics that alter the starting point of
the debate and force at least some engagement with new literature and forces
the community to deal with the unpleasant reality that it often runs stupid
arguments.

Eli puts it best that these are often "silly debates," but rather than
concede that debaters make dumb arguments when challenged with a non-foreign
topic, the answer is not to only have foreign topics.  This is functionally
grade inflation.  If debaters have trouble tackling literature about
non-foreign policy problems, then we should endeavor to have MORE
non-foreign topics, not less.  That said, I think all 4 topic areas will
provide great debates, but I am thinking in the long-term and think that
every year of great foreign policy debates just entrenches this culture a
little bit more.  There are other dire policy questions facing the USFG (and
other policy making agents) and giving in to the complacency of the
community guarantees that the debate community will never have a coherent
argument about them (when and if they ever become the resolution).

Joe
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