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Re: Evidence and ethics
On Wed, 19 Apr 1995 MRCrossman@aol.com wrote:
> Let's face it, two
> things have happened. First, the community has gotten very relaxed with its
> requirements for evidence use. Source qualifications are an afterthought,
> half the briefs I've seen when I ask for evidence don't even have the source
> listed on them. Debaters who argue that we should require source
> qualifications to be read (and source citations available) are looked at
as if they have fallen off the banana truck.
Huh? I think that you are just plain wrong from my experience. Almost all
the teams that I debate have full citations on all evidence, many teams
also read the quals of an author when introducing evidence. In any case
it is mostly available. I have no problem discussing the qualification of
the authors that I cut, nor do my teammates, nor do my opponents that I
regularly debate in the Midwest. This point will become important later
as a response to your attempt, once again, to defame (should I sue? :))
the evil "national circuit".
Second, lexus and similar services
> have created an evidence prolif-to the point that the quality of the evidence
> is not regularly good (I've seen stuff from letters to the editor being
> passed off using the source of the letter , ie the LA Times or whatever). I
> think that Lexus access has also contributed to the practice of passing
> briefs around between schools as well. Perhaps because if I didn't have to
> spend a lot of time in the library, I don't value the cards as much, and I'm
> more willing to give them to everyone.
First of all, the SMS squad like many others, does not trade evidence
with other schools. However, our squad, like many others, will make cites
freely available to individuals who request them. Lexis access (lexus is
a car) has actually decreased the trading of actual blocks and lead to
the trading of cites, because they are easily available. Also, if you
think that Lexis means you type "give me cards on x" in and it spits them
out, you are wrong again. Lexis research is no less tedious - I prefer it
to our miserable library for newspaper, periodical and law review sources
(we have no law library within 2 hours of our campus). Support your
claims - I want to know why you have this opinion.
> Beyond the argumentation problems associated with these issues (ie, why
> do I buy your claim if the source isn't qualed: no warrant exist to link the
> grounds to the claim)-there are real verification problems. Try digging up a
> copy of some of the obscure International Newspapers being quoted without
In that case - you can verify lexis evidence on lexis itself - every law
library has access to it and Westlaw. Most other libraries have it at their
disposal as well. Your first concern has two troublesome problems - 1st -
this is not unique to on-line evidence. You can cut cards from anywhere
and not qual them. This is the hallmark of a poor researcher, not a
method of research. 2nd - this assumes that evidence in a debate round is
a pure appeal to authority. The argument made in the card is as important
to the quality of argument made by the author. This is why a card from
an eminantly qualified author that is one sentence long is not good
> I don't really know the answer to these problems. I think it probably has
> something to do with a shift back to debate as an exercise in argumentation
> though. Not clear to me, for example, why people bother running evidence
> without qualying the source. I also don't understand why newspapers are
> deferred to as authorities on opinion claims (why is the editor of the
> newspaper any more credible than Joe debater who has researched the topic for
> hours). A shift back to credible sources might help.
Support your claim - what credible sources are you talking about? Why
should we accept you opinion as being law as the qualifications of sources.
> Debaters are far to
> quick to accept a source as credible, simply because it is published.
Not me, and not good debaters. On an issue where quals are important they
should be discussed. Who are you talking about, specifically.
> might also spend some time explaining what is and isn't the contextual use of
> evidence. A lot or authors, for example, set up their opponent's position in
> an article, then they attack it. I've seen people quote the set up as the
> author's position. I think the arguer has a responsibility to quote authors
> who conclude consistently with the claim the arguer is presenting.
I think that you are right about this.
> It would
> seem to me that the community is producing a lot of people who know a lot
> about academic debate (ie can argue the hell out of biotech, postmod,
> critiques, etc) but who have learned very little about argumentation. The two
> aren't mutually exclusive, but coaches have to be willing to take the time to
> emphasize the argumentation, before handing the novice debater the brief that
> was written by the senior team (tell me that that doesn't happen).
Why does this seem true to you? If anything, your argument is
self-indicting, if people can "argue" issues well, they HAVE learned
about argumentation in the important, real-world ways you seem to
cherish. Just because nobody quotes Toulmin or appeals to the powers that
be in the Communications field during their speech does not discount
their accomplishments. What do you mean they "haven't learned about
argumentation"? I dare say that Toulmin would find you guilty of
supplying no data to support your claims throughout this entire post.
Reasons, reasons, reasons - the three things that make an argument
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (email@example.com)
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