[eDebate] Response from Lindsay

Jean-Paul Lacy lacyjp
Mon Mar 5 02:24:48 CST 2007

At 02:04 AM 3/5/2007, Adam Farra wrote:
>If there is a problem in this activity with evidence quality, production, 
>etc. then it is not the fault of the debaters but of the judges (and the 
>coaches). As long as most judges continue to shrug at me and say "but 
>they've got a card that says..." in the face of a completely rational 
>argument then I'm going to read the not-so-good card to answer the other 
>"not-so-good" card. If I've got time, I'll make the argument too - but in 
>a big debate against another quick team, I'll "put my head down and read."

Maybe I'm a dinosaur, but I still think well articulated, un-evidenced 
smart arguments should beat evidence that cannot survive rational scrutiny.

Its not "talking pretty" vs "evidence," but properly articulating good 
critical thought against bad arguments with poor evidentiary support.

Yes, I realize that almost every debate judge would like to think the same 
of themselves.

Yes, I realize that I'm part of the same culture that shrugs while saying 
"they've got cards."


Yes, I realize that there is a high standard for calling bull when the 
other team has a "wall of evidence."

But, I have faith in our community of judges that they'll reward truly 
smart, rational arguments over a stack of "not-so-good" cards.

After all, the Bush administration did convince enough people by using a 
wall of "evidence" that the Iraq War was a real good idea (good enough to 
overcome the very strong presumption against pre-emptive use of force.) 
[Yeah, I'm going to stick my neck out and claim that the war was pretty 
high on the list of historically bad ideas.]

I hope we're training advocates with the critical thinking, research, 
communication, and advocacy skills to effectively call bull the next time 
something similar happens.

Sometimes that means being bold enough to explain why an entire stack of 
flimsy cards is wrong.

lacyjp at wfu.edu

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