[eDebate] Consult CP's - AT: Johnson & Phillips

Andrew D. Barnes barnesad
Thu Oct 4 12:19:27 CDT 2007

Claim: It is dumb to punish people's speaker points for running dumb 

I can certainly understand this perspective from the standpoint that you 
are "bludgeoning" someone. However, because the other team is inferior 
at debating a "dumb" argument does not mean that strategy is persuasive. 
I can definitely vote for ASPEC even though it is dumb but that does not 
mean that you have earned a 29. I think it is also disingenuous to all 
of us in the activity to act as though content does not/should not 
matter. Many times students and coaches alike are motivated to read new 
literature and bring new perspectives to the activity precisely because 
of its value as content. Giving higher speaker points to those students 
and coaches who go through the pain of providing new content should be 
rewarded. A system that ignores content will not only discourage 
innovation and research but also encourage people to continually chose a 
"dumb" strategy. I'm also skeptical of isolating this as an argument 
against a clearly defined rubric for evaluation when most judges admit 
that they have predispositions or "ceilings" when assigning speaker 
points. You want to know whether a judge votes on conditionality, why 
wouldn't you be interested in understanding how a judge interprets 
speaker points. I am not yet convinced that punishing speaker points is 
necessarily a good idea but I have not yet been convinced that is 
functionally different than what is happening in the status quo.

Claim: Debaters should learn to debate just like we did.

Pedagogically this is difficult to dispute as I'm sure most judges have 
fond memories of their undergraduate debating careers. However, should 
we revive attitudinal inherency, hypo-testimg, insert favorite dead 
argument here? Should I start having my debaters make these arguments so 
that others can learn why these arguments are bad. I guess I've yet to 
be convinced that losing the ability to learn how to debate the 
theoretical legitimacy of consult counterplans would be unique visa vi 
other debate arguments or that debating about consult counterplans 
offers unique educational benefits as it is applied to theory. Debating 
education (topic specific or otherwise), ground, fairness and 
predictability are standards for all theoretical objections. Judges 
don't have to write their preferences to account for old theory 
arguments because the community collectively decided that these weren't 
good strategies/arguments. If there is collective will to claim that we 
should move away from a particular strategy why shouldn't we use our 
ability as judges to assess speaker points to move in that direction.

Claim: Using judge philosophy to experiment is dumb.

Concede. Although my argument is that clarifying and establishing a 
clear rubric for evaluation is better than the status quo.

Claim: Consult counterplans might be legit.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to respond to these 
arguments. I can say I have yet to be persuaded that any argument made 
is a reason why Consult counterplans are uniquely beneficial for the 
community at large.

I still hope that people are interested in a serious conversation about 
the merits of using speaker points in a public way to deter people from 
running particular arguments.

- Andrew

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