[eDebate] Standards for Evidence/Skarb

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Mon May 11 17:25:02 CDT 2009


Putting aside the attribution issues for a second, all of the cards you
quote sound like typically bombastic things that make up a good cross
section of evidence....context wise why are they approaching or crossing the
line...

On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 4:58 PM, Rahul Jaswa <rahul.jaswa at gmail.com> wrote:

> Here are my thoughts:
>
> First, this is completely unethical.
>
> 1) No attempt was made to inform the community that such an article was
> written. Given that it was produced by a debate coach instructing students
> during the current season, that seems to be minimally appropriate.
>
> 2) The article is obviously written for strategic benefit. It has several
> DA and CP solvency arguments without appropriate data, and draws on
> "non-intrinsic" arguments which would be largely inappropriate for any real
> "peer-reviewed" journal. Citing 2 references and attempting to then publish
> an article would be laughed at by any journal submission board.
>
> Some examples:
>
> ?every dollar spent on solar satellites will not be spent on terrestrial
> research and commercialization?. Unfortunately, it is these very programs
> that may be critical to preventing a deepening of the current economic
> crisis."
>
> "the problem with DOD investments in SBSP in the short term is that the
> military will end up having to pay not only for its traditional energy
> supplies but will have to also carry the extra burden of funding SBSP
> research and development costs. With readiness, maintenance, and procurement
> accounts already stretched thin, this is simply a situation the DOD can not
> afford. In a worst-case scenario, a mandate to pursue SBSP research and
> development could force the military to drastically scale back, if not
> cancel entirely, critical weapons programs to pay for an energy system that
> it will not be able to use for decades."
>
> "If there were such a thing as a money tree and the American economy were
> not in dire straits it would make perfect sense for the government to embark
> upon an all-out path towards the development of space-based solar power.
> Unfortunately, money trees only exist in our dreams and, quite simply, the
> nation currently has better uses for the money that would need to be spent
> by funding SBSP research and development. Fortunately, however, there is a
> more moderate path the government can take, agreeing to purchase commercial
> power beamed from space, which does not require any federal outlays in the
> near-term but will effectively help speed the development of SBSP. This is
> one case where we might be able to have our cake and eat it too."
>
> 3) Why was a name other than Skarb's ever cited? Marburry is Skarb, as we
> know, and saying that Skarb helped "research" is even more unethical
> because it blatantly redirects credit for the article from an actual person
> to a fictitious person.
>
> 4) This was in the comments section, posted under the name "norman
> ornstein," coincidentally... I wonder how that would sound in a debate
> round? Plan derails lost--Ornstein yesterday
>
> "It seems clear, however, that DOD serving as an anchor tenant for
> commercial power beamed from space would drain the last drop of Barack
> Obama's finite reserve of political capital that he is currently using to
> persuade key senators and moderate Republicans to pass the Law of the Sea
> Treaty. That treaty is up in the air right now, but if the status quo is
> maintained it seems very likely to pass, due to Obama's focus on spending
> political capital there. Space is a controversial issue in these times, as
> poll after poll attest to, and DOD action would surely be perceived as part
> of Obama's green energy plan, which would engender backlash from the same,
> interestingly enough, senators he's co-operating with to pass LOST."
>
> 5) Published 2 days before the TOC
>
> 6) Did Damien teams debate this case at the TOC? If not, I don't think that
> "we didn't read these cards is an appropriate defense." The onus is clearly
> on them.
>
> 7) It pollutes the existing research base which is constituted by the
> writings of researchers who have no vested interest in producing
> oversimplified debate arguments.
>
> 8) When is the next "socio-political" foray into space based energy going
> to be published? I'm anxious to hear more from the newest topic expert.
> After all, Arizona State's political science, history, and political
> communication departments are world renowned for their classes on space
> based energy. And your master's research, i'm sure, required you to devote
> your time and thoughts to learning the intricacies of DOD weapons programs,
> the details of agency fiscal discipline, and the workings of the imaginary
> "money tree" which guide the future of such a program--most importantly, how
> they would interact given immediate funding of such a program.
>
> 9) The bottom line is that this activity is meant to promote quality
> education among students. Even if Damien's coaching doesn't believe that
> debate is more than a game, there are a slew of people, apparently more
> wise, who recognize the importance of keeping debate clean. EVEN IF there
> were arguments in defense of this behavior (there are not), this was clearly
> approaching questionable territory and instead of erring against it, or at
> least diffusing the problem by proactively taking measures like informing
> the community that such an article had been written by your program, you
> decided it was more important to have another strategic tool.
>
> Second, addressing other people's rationalizations.
>
> 1) "I'd say that it's fairly important to take into consideration the
> credentials of the author. If you're a coach with a major in engineering or
> something of the sort, there's no problem with you publishing the article
> and having debaters card from it."
>
> This is nonsensical--just like how qualified global warming researchers
> used to be paid money by thinktanks to publish articles supporting their
> side of the debate. Except this is worse because it affects a strategic
> game.
>
> 2) "you should email them directly instead of asking for responses on a
> public forum known for devolving into keyboard wars."
>
> Please, own up. I know you're young and proud and feel the need to defend
> your program--this obviously deserves "community" attention, and the fact
> that I, a UC Berkeley debater with essentially no ties to high school
> debate, heard about it, is clear evidence that this sort of discussion has
> far-reaching influence.
>
> Right or wrong, relegating this to the private sphere is obviously an
> inappropriate way to deal with a phenomenon which directly affects the way
> that debates take place on a community-wide basis
>
> It was published two days before the TOC. There was no effort to tell the
> whole community that this article was available. The article obviously cited
> no research to backup the vast majority of its assertions.
>
> 3) "What if the coach is an expert in the field. For instance, what if the
> coach is, say, the chief scientist at the JPL, and he/she coaches debate in
> their spare time - would anything that the coach writes be off-limits
> insofar as debate is concerned? Even if they were the main solvency author
> in the field?"
>
> Well that is certainly not the case here, and this imaginary coach/field
> expert would certainly not publish articles in an obscure hybrid between
> community blog and public discussion of "published" articles.
>
> More importantly, this article wouldn't be written from an oversimplified
> argumentative perspective with shallow analysis and exclusively debate
> arguments. "Peer-reviewed" in academia/policy analysis doesn't just mean
> that someone else read and approved it, it means that reputable
> academics/analysts within your subdiscipline read and approved it. Please,
> submit this to a scientific journal and send us the response, i'd be glad to
> read it. Or, if you prefer, an economics journal, or the economist, or the
> New Yorker even.
>
> 4) "if they are writing for peer-reviewed or edited journals, etc., then I
> don't think their writing is off-limits. you can't say that we can't have
> subject matter experts coaching debate, and if you're lucky enough to get a
> subject matter expert coaching you, then their writing should be fair game -
> as long as the writing is from legit sources.."
>
> At minimum, there needs to be specific practice to protect the
> community--people need to be made aware of the existence of such an article
> from the author/debate coach; in this case it is inappropriate to say that
> the burden is on the researcher because, among other things, this is
> ingenuine research and artificially benefits the team making the arguments.
>
> Their writing should not be fair game as evidence, their opinions should
> help direct your research/argumentation so that you can find people who
> don't have a vested interest in your winning that support your findings.
>
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