[eDebate] gen eng as topic if leaning domestic

V I Keenan vikeenan
Mon Apr 21 12:08:02 CDT 2008

If I recall the paper correctly (opening doc's is making my computer
crash right now), Scott proposes multiple wording possibilities in the
paper.  I think his conclusions also reject "ban" as the best option.
For individuals overly concerned with limiting aff's, it might be the
inclination, but David is right that it is not really "real world" for
the field.

Most of Scott's versions include variations on limiting more than use
- research and distribution for example.  I think these make sense in
a policy topic because it would actually avoid the "stupid" T debates
we got into (does use include/exclude research?).  My topic was
specifically phrased more broadly to allow a lot of people with a lot
of different backgrounds to approach the topic as they wanted to (also
why I didn't have the FG - nothing says "policy debate" like USFG to
the parli debaters).

The bigger wording debate would be regarding the appropriate version
of "restrict" - options such as regulate, etc.  I very specifically
chose restrict to imply a net decrease of use to simplify the debates,
but the "correct" term can easily be determined by some brief wording
paper research and doesn't have to be as limiting.


On Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 12:45 PM, David Glass <gacggc at gmail.com> wrote:
> the word "restrict" makes a lot more sense than the word "ban", which was
> in at least one email from Scott.  There are many restrictions that might
> be at least debatable.  A ban is a non-starter - because there are so many
> instances where it can be shown that genetic engineering is critical.
> a genetic engineer,
> David
> On 4/21/08, V I Keenan <vikeenan at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > If you're really set on a domestic topic, go back and reread the Gen
> > Eng paper.  I'll probably put more cohesive comments on the blog, but
> > I will say that I think it would be an excellent topic of debate for
> > the year.
> >
> > I just finished running a year long scholarship competition that
> > occurs in a debate format.  Our topic was adapted from Scott's old
> > paper because we were told to 1) be domestic and 2) explore an area of
> > public debate related to science.  Overall, it was probably the best
> > topic we've had and the entire participant AND judge pool were excited
> > and interested in the debates.
> >
> > The resolution was: "The United States should substantially restrict
> > the use of genetic engineering."  Despite being narrower that Scott's
> > potential wordings (and clocking in at only 11 words), there was still
> > a lot of affirmative flexibility in what to discuss (cloning, gmo's,
> > stem cells, etc), but the uni-directional nature gave neg's sufficient
> > predictability.  There are a finite number of federal laws that
> > specifically address biotechnical advances and applications, so it's
> > possible to have very in-depth debates.  Given the first semester
> > focus on elections scenarios and the emergence of new scientific
> > discoveries over the course of the year (we got to deal with stem
> > cells from skin cells), the debates will be able to evolve (we won't
> > run out of stuff by the NDT).
> >
> > The real reason that I like this topic area is that I think teams can
> > make a choice - you can still go the "traditional" debate route with
> > apocolyptic advantage scenarios (yay bioterrorism), international
> > actor CP's, politics and econ trade off da's, your precautionary
> > principle backfile, or standard K's of ethics, cap, and tech OR I
> > think you can honestly develop more specific strategies that return to
> > the case debate that half of the judging philosophies I read say would
> > be desirable.
> >
> > Also, I think few other topic possibilities clearly prioritize ethical
> > and philosophical questions so clearly with the more traditional
> > policy areas of cost/benefit analysis and economics.  It makes the
> > critical ground intrinsic to the "policymaking" questions . . .
> > perhaps giving debaters on both sides of the divide an opening to
> > become familiar with different kinds of arguments.
> >
> > If you REALLY want an agricultural debate, I also think you can
> > reasonably extrapolate parts of that into the GMO debate.  If you
> > REALLY want another international topic, international trade and
> > potential treaties are also inherent to the research.
> >
> > I also think this is a great topic for recruitment.  Even if the
> > science isn't always immediately graspable (but it can be pretty easy
> > to understand it when needed) to the humanities major, the issues out
> > in the public debate make this discussable by the casual observer.
> > One of the first "events" I did this year was with a campus group
> > during their weekly "rap session" - a loosely organized discussion on
> > topics of current relevance.  I made a three page article available to
> > them if they wanted, and after 90 minutes, they were still heatedly
> > debating the potential harms and benefits of biotech applications.  I
> > think for folks who are tired of having the "same" debates this gives
> > them an option, without making all of the backfiles a smaller program
> > may rely on irrelevant.
> >
> > Finally, the Lit major in me likes that for folks who don't
> > immediately get what all of the issues are out there, there are lots
> > of cultural touchstones to begin with for debaters.  Yes, I heard a
> > lot of Gattica references in the past year, but Brave New World and
> > Frankestein have enough popular mythology to work as analogies when
> > you get bored with early Jude Law.  Also, Jodi Picoult (My Sister's
> > Keeper -soon to be a movie, Second Glance, and Perfect Match) has
> > multiple contemporary works that address some of these issues
> > thematically and with scientific detail in her writing.
> >
> > And if argumentation journal articles are more your speed that novels,
> > the Winter 2006 edition of Argumentation and Advocacy had an article
> > called "Making Room for Stem Cells" by John Lynch.  Even if Gen Eng
> > isn't the topic, you should read it for the real world T debate it
> > examines and the implications.
> >
> > Just some thoughts . . .
> >
> > [off to clone some Binghamton debaters]
> >
> > -VIK
> >
> > --
> > Vik Keenan
> > Director - Baruch Debate, CUNY
> > Assoc. Director - New York Coalition of Colleges
> > 212/992-9641 or 347/683-6894
> > _______________________________________________
> > eDebate mailing list
> > eDebate at www.ndtceda.com
> > http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/edebate
> >

Vik Keenan
Director - Baruch Debate, CUNY
Assoc. Director - New York Coalition of Colleges
212/992-9641 or 347/683-6894

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