[eDebate] Standards for Evidence/Skarb

Paul Johnson paulj567
Mon May 11 20:05:45 CDT 2009

"When is the next "socio-political" foray into space based energy going to be published?" 

Eh, Gordon Mitchell could probably do it. 

--- On Mon, 5/11/09, Rahul Jaswa <rahul.jaswa at gmail.com> wrote:

> From: Rahul Jaswa <rahul.jaswa at gmail.com>
> Subject: [eDebate] Standards for Evidence/Skarb
> To: edebate at www.ndtceda.com
> Date: Monday, May 11, 2009, 3:42 PM
> A teammate pointed this out to me on the high school debate
> website and I
> was pretty shocked so I left some commentary. I didn't
> realize this was on
> edebate as well--i'm copying and pasting my thoughts
> here.
> 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. More
> importantly, the
> longer this goes without
> 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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