[eDebate] Standards for Evidence/Skarb

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Mon May 11 19:51:12 CDT 2009

Just a note, im not really making evaluations of skarb's academic
capabilities, that was a poor choice of words...my intention was to say his
MA program required at least more rigorous academics than this article

On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 8:48 PM, Andy Ellis <andy.edebate at gmail.com> wrote:

> Yeah Bad ev that all to often passes...why does it matter that justin wrote
> it its either good ev or bad ev
> On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 6:49 PM, Rahul Jaswa <rahul.jaswa at gmail.com>wrote:
>> The concern here is obviously that a debate coach wrote an article which
>> said the aff plan froze and deepened recessionary economic condition, trades
>> off with DOD weapons programs, and stretches military readiness to the
>> breaking point, all of which can be solved by an advantage counterplan to
>> purchase commercial beam power from space, which, just for kicks, results in
>> the aff plan later.
> Other cards that win rounds say similarly outlandish things...not sure why
> its unethical, just bad ev,
>> That being said, seriously? The only references cited are a blog called
>> next100.com, a dialogue on the next century of energy, and a quote from a
>> DOE report from 1978 which says "every dollar spent on solar satellites will
>> not be spent on terrestrial research and commercialization."
> A reason that it wouldnt matter if justin skarb or justin timberlake wrote
> it..its bad..
>> If that's considered sufficient for a BA history/poli sci, MS poli comm to
>> extrapolate that to determine DOD deficit spending would collapse the
>> economy, collapse U.S. readiness, treadoff with critical weapons programs,
>> etc., then by all means expect I won't be going for the K next year and will
>> instead be authoring a host of new disads equipped with my berkeley
>> economics knowledge.
> If you replicated skarbs work it would be a frustrating season for
> you...but it wouldnt make you unethical...
>> I could go through the article and detail the logical gaps...but the
>> obvious counterpoint you could make to that is "well, newspapers articles
>> don't usually report data and are opinionated with lacking evidence." Not
>> only does this "article" attempt to present itself as a scholarly
>> contribution (Skarb's qualifications are noted as "independent policy
>> analyst"...is that what high school debate coaches are nowadays?), newspaper
>> articles are background checked for accuracy, credibility, and legitimacy.
> Correct, blogs and half the things that begin with http:// are not
>> Thespacereview.com, according to its submission guidelines, filters out
>> primarily articles on UFOs and Area 51...
> Yeah and V:Dare finds laughable that people call them white suprmeacist....
> http://bit.ly/IhSdy isn't this a reason to question all of their
> submissions(not that an answer is nt available to that question)...i don't
> get the uproar...i'll agree that my intial reaction did not have a few
> details right, but still...
> Two final things...If skustin Jarb wrote the the same thing, everybody
> would be trading the cite right now...this is evident by the fact that the
> article that was written was writen, if we as a community had higher
> standards for warrents the article would have been writen with more
> warrents, but justin, a very good coach and an excellent debater, and a
> decent academic, chose to write something judges would want to hear
> (allegedly) and debaters would not be able to answer...the fact that this is
> the outcome of that idea says a whole lot more about what passes as good
> evidence then it does about justin.
> Two...the real problem here is that most of us know that the high school
> students we work with and the judges we entrust their education to are not
> the rigerous content and truth analyzers we like to pass them off as,
> everything i wrote above SHOULD be true, but everybody is put off by this
> because we know they aren't and the damage this would cause would force us
> to expose that most high school and college debaters would not be able to
> point out the bad scholarship within this article, OR MAYBE THEY WOULD and
> judges wouldnt buy it...either way, bigger problems than this
>> On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 3:25 PM, Andy Ellis <andy.edebate at gmail.com>wrote:
>>> 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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