[eDebate] Totally Tangential Reply To Branson

Whit Whitmore whit_whitmore
Tue Mar 6 16:40:32 CST 2007

First, if one team makes an argument author or source quality, then of 
course you should consider it. My issue was with the claim that there should 
be some unspoken default that judges use for evidence comparison.

But there is even some grey area:
1. Say a team in their final rebutal says "perfer our evidence, it's more 
qualified," but neither team actually read the qualifications of thier 
evidence (do you disregard the argument since no qualification has been 
presented or do you inspect the evidence for qualifications in the 
citation). Furthermore, upon inspection, you find that one piece of evidence 
is from a fellow at a think tank and the other is from a professor of law. 
Do you accept the debaters assertion that their author is qualified? Does it 
matter to you if they read the evidence from the professor or the fellow? Do 
you consider the quality of the University/Think Tank when you make this 

2. Say a team reads a sparsely highlighted piece of evidence in the 1AC. The 
neg responds with a card to answer that evidence in the 1NC. The 2AC says 
"the un-underlined parts of our card assume and answer this argument." Do 
you give the 2AC credit for the argument rewarding them for knowing the 
intricacies of their evidence, or do they have to actually read those 
un-underlined portions in the 2AC (even better...is the assertion that it's 
in the un-underlined parts sufficient in the 2AC if those parts of the card 
are read in the 1AR....or would that constitute a new argument?)?

I'm not even sure where I stand on all these points.

Now to the larger issue:

Who gets to determine what is Academically Defensible?

The Idsos cite published peer reviewed studies to support their claims, but 
most in the community would challenge the intellectual rigor of their work. 
When will the Debate Judges Association be meeting to determine if the Idsos 
qualify as "academically defensible" and who will get to vote?

What about Caldwell and Bearden? Will we determine that Bearden's military 
back ground makes him qualified to speak about the geostrategic implications 
of resource scarcity, but his lack of a scientific background makes his 
other claims irrelevent. Or will we just say "he's a crazy internet freak."

Andy Ellis doesn't think Khalilzad's work is academically defensible. Does 
that mean we have to not allow that evidence?

Josh writes:
"First, It is hardly political bias to actually privlege evidence
from qualified sources over evidence from people who are not qualified. In
addition, you make no argument for why it is academically defensible. My
argument is precisely that the academic DA should OW the fairness/strategery
ADV. What you have summed up is precisely the judging I criticized. The
vast majority of judges seem to agree with you (which to me is sad)."

Pretending to adhere to academic rigor is in no way objective. It is almost 
impossible to separate arguments and assumptions about qualifications from 
political bias. See above.

Josh writes:
"Second, you have to believe you can be objective....or that your
"objectivity" itself isnt erring on the side of a particular philosophy. In
this instance, your ideology that you protect through your judging is that
of an unfettered marketplace - a debate libertarianism - in which the
debaters are responsible for all arguments and the judge magically decides
everything without actually applying an ideological bent. In other words,
you are no more objective than I am - you are just pretending your standards
can be objective (very self-serving argument). "

Yes. I spotted you the objectivity impossible argument, but you have yet to 
present an argument for why striving to be objective is worse than embracing 
subjectivity. Last time I checked wrapping yourself up in complete 
subjectivity linked harder to the "self-serving" da than the pursuit of 

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