[eDebate] response to andy's "a contribution to t"

gregg.hartney at jenksps.org gregg.hartney
Mon Jun 11 15:33:18 CDT 2007

My tennis serve illustration was not intended as evidence or
warrant, but as an illustrative metaphor on the funtion of
topicality, and on that level it works quite nicely. It
enables us to talk about the process of deciding what IS
"in" or "out" and how the "lines" of the servers court are
concrete and consistent in tennis but are amorphorous and
"debatable" in the debate activity.

My real argument lay below the tennis metaphor; if
topicality has no penalty for its violation, then only
morons would be topical. By not straying near the "topical"
portion of items that could be discussed, the Affirmative
automatically and dramatically increases the odds that its
increased prep time will leave them with the superior
evidence, argumentation and strategy. Given the impetus to
win, that's where most teams will go. 

Clearly teams or even entire schools might feel that there
are superior resolutions possible, and if they really feel
that way, there is nothing to prevent them for running
examples of those resolutions every round on which they
Affirm. Save the relatively minor penalty of losing most of
those debates (a small price to pay if one truly does
believe in the value of discussing other ideas), they are
free to do so.


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