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CEDA-L digest #958 - topic comments
Alfred C. Snider, University of Vermont
"Thomas L. Murphy" <email@example.com>
"One of the things I appreciated about CEDA was the thrill of doing something
different and intellectually challenging, although that diversity seemed to
dwindle as the year passed. In my observations of high school debaters over
the years, I became (and remain) concerned about formulaic approaches which
fail to teach critical thinking. Limiting debate to one type of
proposition, whether it be policy or non-policy, limits the exposure of
those debating. I am convinced that my perspective, which has always been
broad, came from competing and coaching both NDT and CEDA."
This is why I think a shared topic can be very good. If we have to debate an
NDT-style topic, so be it and let's learn from that. If they have to debate a
CEDA-stytle topic, then I hope they learn from it instead of just giving up
and going away. My learning curve usually involves getting to know something,
then experimenting with it, and finally arriving at what I think is the best
approach to it. Then, I am likely to use that approach over and over again
unless it doesn't work. Thus, for my own good, I need a change in substance
every now and then or else I become extremely formulaic and uninventive. For
me, change leads to learning. I am not afraid of change in this way.
"there are several reasons to reject the topic proposal: "that we should
embrace the principles of deep ecology" first, the topic terms are
entirely imprecise. what exactly, are the principles of deep ecology?
professor snider directs to a couple of books in the literature, yet fails
to identify what authors in the field identify as these "principles." the
problem is identifiable in the following description of the adherents of
I tried to read your cards carefully and I do not think they proved your
point. It is a good thing we didn't put "narrative" in the topic, I guess,
but we didn't. How is that different than disagreeing about whether CO2 is a
pollutant or not? There is no such thing as a concept with "one meaning."
Everything is open to interpretation. MEANING IS FOUND IN PEOPLE, NOT IN
WORDS. The 8 principles of deep ecology I will be posting very soon are about
as clear as we ever get in this activity. ALSO, it is an evolving concept,
why isn't that a good reason to debate it? Must we always debate things about
which the meaning is set? Determining a "better" approach to deep ecology
might be a useful output of the process.
"of course, a year of "not my deep eco" is fairly easy to envision. this
phraseology is used not so much as a backhanded jab at Chico but rather to
highlight the lack of precision in the topic wording. the jab is just a net
Our debates are already full of this, as they should be. There is no escape
from fine distinctions used by both teams for their advantage. We already
have a lot of "not my plan" and "not my case," so I fail to see how this is a
unique problem. How about, "not my regulation"?
"R: That the USFG should adopt substantial regulatory reform to decrease
airborne pollutants within the US.
this topic has a precision problem with the phrase "airborne pollutants.""
Yes, it is broad. It is air, but it is broad. I have no problem with that.
What with an entire year for three organizations, I prefer a broad topic.
firstname.lastname@example.org (michael krueger)
"Who, exactly, is "we?" Maybe I missed something on the L, but this is
mighty ambiguous... The affirmative could define we as, say, an
environmental group, I suppose. To "parli-esque" for my happiness."
Congratulations on the MTSU job. I look forward to working with you.
Please see my response to an earlier question like this. "We" could be the
people in the room, could be an environmental group, could be a government
group ... anything you would belong to. The call was for a non-USFG actor,
and this gives us that. It is strange that people are confused by one of the
most commonly used words such as "we" but have no problem with USFG, a more
technical term. The "exact" meaning of we depends on who is present. It seems
to me that it includes everyone present. It wouldn't work to say "partner &
I" are we, because the judge may not be empowered to vote aff unless she
decides to join the we. Otherwise, as the High Priestess of the Kinda would
say, she would be the "not we." We simply asks for the affirmative to get the
judge to agree with them.
I am concerned by your utilization of stereotypes here. In case you didn't
know, parliamentary debating uses many different topic approaches, some
value, some policy, some fact, some....who knows what? There is no such thing
as a "parli-esque" topic. To dismiss something by association troubles me. I
am not accusing you of this, but it reminds we of the "policy bigotry" point
I have previously made.
"carbon dioxide is not a pollutant "
One card does not a claim make. A "functional" approach to pollutant would
indicate that what does harm is a pollutant.
I am prepared to go with this, though. The real problem, David, may be that
the air pollution topic includes pollutants you don't like (too many of them,
see your notes from above) but doesn't contain the "pollutants" you do like,
like CO2. Your complaint seems to be that the topic is too broad but not
broad enough to contain the gas you want to debate about.
"Robert E. Tucker" <email@example.com>
"R: That the USFG should enact regulation requiring industries to decrease
substantially the domestic production and/or emission of environmental
I am forwarding this to the Committee. Thanks for your advice.
Sean Harris <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"First, what is the actor? "We"? What does that mean? I suppose that's a
rhetorical question. I think that a resolution requiring "us" or "we" to
act is problematic. We could refer to the aff team themselves, or society
at large, etc."
See my earlier note to Pat and my note above to Krueger.
" This would make for a year of horrible debates because there is no disad
(carded, at least) to a case that has the affirmative team embrace deep
Why? If deep ecology is bad, then "we" shouldn't go with it. Not the federal
government, not you, not me, and not the affirmative team. Besides, then it
isn't "we" unless the judge joins in. Sean, horrible debates come from,
generally, horrible and unimaginative debaters. I feel that if we spark
imaginations with a new approach to the topic, debaters and coaches will
respond. I am not afraid of challenging my imagination.
" What if you had a case that claimed Mark West was straying from his deep
ecological roots, and should ride his bike around Seattle more often? I'm
rambling, but I think you get the point."
Your point is that any negative team could figure out that what Mark West is
currently doing has very little to do with what "we" "should" do now.
"Second Problem: definitions of deep ecology are numerous, sometimes
contradictory, and somewhat nebulous, especially for a movement that, for
the most part, claims to advocate personal action. It would seem
legitimate to have personal definitions of deep ecology. "
The number of inconsequential disagreements present on CEDA-L demonstrate
that everyone has personal definitions for everything. See my above comments.
Deep ecology is as well outlined as just about anything we deal with. Also,
see my above comments about meaning and where it comes from, as well as the
benefits of debating things which need to be better defined.
"Third Problem: It's weighted very heavily for the aff. I mean, the neg
gets the joy of saying, "no, we shouldn't live sustainably, I think we
should send the planet into ecological destruction." "
You confuse sustainability with deep ecology. For example, my position would
be to reject deep ecology and go with social ecology (Bookchin et al)
instead. Just because you can't think of negative arguments doesn't mean they
don't exist. I assure you that they do. Yes, the Cato Institute has a
position, and it isn't deep ecology. As I was channel surfing this week I saw
Rush Limbaugh dumping on deep ecology. When someone on tape denied
anthropocentrism and indicated other elements of the ecology ought to be
valued highly, everyone in the audience laughed. When that person said deep
ecology calls for a huge reduction in the use of automobiles in our society,
everyone laughed as well. Hopefully, they have some reasons for these
chuckles. We discover the issues when we begin researching and debating them.
"Last problem: All the debates are the same. Consciousness = backlash,
Kothari 1982. Hundred Monkeys, Dasmann 1988. Every single 2NC. Elite
backlash is a great position, don't get me wrong, but c'mon now, do we want
this all year?"
This confuses me. There is a strong demand for "generic negative ground" on a
topic, yet when it exists, people say "All the debates are the same." Yow! I
refuse to believe that your imagination is that shallow. This is your "first
reaction" list, but I know there is more to come. Your team mates and coaches
will join with you and find stuff to say. We should not reject an area as
having no issues before we investigate it. There are always issues.
By the way, thank you for all of your hard work and input in the topic
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (email@example.com)
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