[eDebate] ans Warner and Stannard

NEIL BERCH berchnorto
Wed Jul 18 18:57:11 CDT 2007

Matt--I'm a little puzzled by this post.  I'm not about to defend Mr. Korcok's rhetoric or consistency, but I do want to address some of the related points that you've made.  Here's what I think has happened:
1.  Several people who would prefer a more elegant but broader resolution have posted.
2.  Some have suggested that programs have disappeared due to the types of resolutions that have been adopted.
3.  The best evidence offered on this point (which I don't think is the strongest point in favor of trying such resolutions) has been that there is a correlation between program decline and the rise of less elegant, narrower resolutions (plus a few anecdotes).
4.  You pointed out quite correctly that correlation does not equal causation and, quite commendably, you introduced systematic evidence into the discussion that appears to show that there is little reason to suspect a direct causal relationship between resolutions and programs exiting.
5.  Typical edebate discussion ensued, with people talking past one another.

Let me make some points in response:
1.  Other than your evidence, there is no evidence one way or the other on the relationship between resolutions and program withdrawal.
2.  I've pondered this since you posted yesterday, and I think it would be somewhat unreasonable to expect your survey to show such a relationship.  I think a more realistic scenario is that the resolution variable would have an indirect effect, mediated through one of the variables that you did find to be important.  For instance, perhaps resolutions are a reflection of "national circuit ideological hegemony" or helped to cause the decline of regional debate (both of which you say directors cited as reasons for leaving).
3.  In any event, I don't think that this reason is the strongest one for at least trying an elegant but broad resolution.  I think the novice recruitment angle is more important, and I think trying out different types of resolutions is an important reason to do this.
4.  We do lots of things without evidence.  I don't know how much evidence you have regarding the success of cooperatives (hard-headed evidence, not just anecdotes).  My position is that your reasoning sounds good, so, in the absence of contrary evidence, I think cooperatives are a good thing.  I only wish my students would be more willing and/or able to participate in them.  I thought we were headed for Baltimore next month, but it doesn't look like it at the moment.
5.  If we shouldn't make a decision to go for elegant but broader resolutions without evidence to support the efficacy of that move, why should we maintain the status quo without evidence to support its efficacy.  We're going to make a decision with little evidence.  The question is which one?
6.  I'm puzzled by your claim that "people have unthinkingly and hurtfully ignored, cajoled and marginalized a lot of good people in the community who question this current crusade."  I haven't read every word of every post, and I suspect that some of this goes back to previous discussions (and maybe there's hidden enmity in the Iron Chef references that I don't understand), but, as edebate discussions go, this one seems pretty pleasant (and I might add that I've gotten at least one backchannel asking why I'm being so nice).

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: matt stannard<mailto:stannardmatt at hotmail.com> 
  To: Michael Korcok<mailto:mmk_savant at hotmail.com> ; edebate at ndtceda.com<mailto:edebate at ndtceda.com> 
  Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 5:52 PM
  Subject: Re: [eDebate] ans Warner and Stannard

    MK: I didn't mean to minimize your research.  Trying to get a handle on people's reasons for their decisions is a good idea.  
    And even though I am skeptical about our ability to accomplish that and how far we can take the results, I wouldn't discourage the attempt.
    MS: Yeah and that's not what people are doing in this conversation and you know that.  

    MK: But I think there is a plausible explanation of why folks wouldn't mention topics as a reason their programs left.  
    Just like people wouldn't say "I just wasn't smart enough to win in policy debate" for simple psychological reasons, they wouldn't say "I moved my program because I didn't like the topics."
    MS: No, one instance is an admission of stupidity, and the other is a dislike for topics.  There's apparently no shame involved in slamming the topics, but none of those directors did so, and one even said list topics are good for small schools.  I guess what discourages me is how all the self-proclaimed progressives on the topic issue are not really concerned with data about what people have really, like, actually, said...the voice of the other you know.  Kind of how they're dismissive of other projects people do in this community to increase access.  You've been quick to accuse your ideological enemies in the past of searching for data to support preordained conclusions.  That's exactly what our colleagues are doing in this discussion but you are giving them a free pass.  Heck, Marlow even ADMITTED he wasn't interested in data.  Jackie's myopia is catching.  And Marlow says the cooperative serves elites too without ever having sent students to the cooperative.  Is this the crowd you want to climb in bed with just because you're all old Saluki friends?    

    MK: You are right that doesn't mean that anyone actually had that reason and i acknowledge that in my post.
    MS: Thank you.

    MK: And I agree that just having simpler resolutions and non-policy resolutions won't eliminate privilege, either life privilege or debate experience privilege.  the argument I presented was that it would cut some of that privilege away.  and there is the historical example of middle years CEDA:  a lot more people and programs, in large measure because it was easier for them to compete, and resolutions were a part of that.  And that is a good thing that it only gets at part of privilege:  that leaves a lot for you and others to do still.
    Just a suggestion that a non-policy resolution might be a good start.  Maybe?
    MS: A completely different debate involving a lot of assumptions that (a) nobody's come close to proving, and (b) people have unthinkingly and hurtfully ignored, cajoled and marginalized a lot of good people in the community who question this current crusade.  


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