[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Return to main CEDA-L Archive Page
Why The Solution to Net Evidence Needs to be In round
>Instead of putting the burden on judges lets put it on coaches. Last year I
>became a stickler for our teams always putting the quals on every card we
>cut. I will continue to work on getting them to use this in debates.
>There are many different 'reasons to prefer' one argument over another. If
>coaches teach debaters to use RTP's then judges only have to listen to the
>arguments made in debates.
Hmmm. A partial solution, but I think we need to do more to encourage
"RTP's" than simply coaching.
The best motivation for debaters is what wins. Right now too often what
wins is having a card that says it. Not necessarily knowing why your
evidence is better. Granted, coaching students to make more comparisons
will improve things. Granted, many good debaters already make use of
comparisons. (A certain Lewis and Clark debater last year did it so much
he was mocked for it...)
But, coaching doesn't solve the problem. Right now I can read twenty
pieces of evidence without qualifying them and feel comfortable that the
judge will still put a higher priority on carded than non-carded responses,
simply because there is a card there. Many of those cards may have good
quals that a team could supply if challenged. But, some of those cards may
be the kind of evidence that Steve Hunt has nightmares about -- random,
unqualified, unthought out, rantings on some random news group (say,
alt.tv.x-files). As is, to police this, we depend on the opponents
checking every card to see which ones are well qualified and which ones
aren't. That works somewhat, but not well enough for many people. Because
of time constraints there is too much potential for bad evidence to get the
unfair weight that we place on quoted arguments.
What internet evidence is doing, and why I think it is great, is pointing
out a fallacy that we have let become a dogma in our activity. We give
more weight to arguments that are quoted, simply because they are quoted.
Granted, some quoted arguments match the ideal described by Randi, Sue, or
Earl of evidence from peer-reviewed, carefully edited, prestigious journals
publishing experts in their field. But not all evidence. The "good
reasons" to give weight to such evidence is not the mere fact that it is
"quoted," but that it is peer-reviewed, from an expert, and so on.
My solution is simple. Judges (and debaters) need to give up on this
dogma, and stop perpetuating the fallacy. A quoted argument is simply an
argument unless some good reason is given for why it should be given more
weight. Maybe for some people the mere fact that it comes from someone
else, or that someone somewhere holds that view is enough of a reason to
give it more weight (and you could certainly argue this in a debate round).
But, presumptively, it is not enough for me, nor I think for many people.
And certainly not the amount of weight that we currently give to "cards."
(I'm scaring myself a little, I just went to the mirror to make sure that
the rest of my hair hadn't fallen out overnight. No offense to my elders,
I think if debaters know that judges are treating quoted arguments, absent
reasons to prefer, like any other argument then they will be more focused
on making comparisons and giving reasons to prefer and researching evidence
that they can better defend. They will also be less likely to use random
evidence from alt.tv.dr.who.yes.yes.yes, and more likely to challenge
evidence with their own analysis when that evidence is just plain bad.
Tim raises one other argument against my "solution," which is that relying
on coaching means "judges only have to listen to the arguments made in
debates." But, this is not what we do now. Now, when a debater makes an
argument with a quotation most of us give it more weight. The debaters
haven't made any arguments for us, we did the work. I think my solution is
closer to Tim's ideal: stop making implicit, and I think fallacious,
arguments for debaters. Treat an unqualified card as if the debater simply
said the text themselves.
Anyway, here in Ithaca they are even talking about closing the roads. It's
cold. And I'm signing off to go get a nice bottle of wine.
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Return to main CEDA-L Archive Page