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CEDA-L digest #959 - topic comments
Alfred C. Snider, University of Vermont
"D. Hingstman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Shawn's statement is a reasonably accurate description of the default
procedure that the NDT topic committee has been asked to implement in the
event that a non-policy topic is chosen by the CEDA community. The
feedback we have received from the NDT community since the end of the
season indicates support for two priorities: choosing a topic that is as
close to that chosen by the CEDA community as possible, while maintaining a
Thanks for clarification.
"Our hope is that the assurances we have received about the commitment of the
CEDA community to a policy topic will be realized in the final selection.
Such a choice seems to be an essential part of the spirit of the cooperative
venture to which so many members of both communities have devoted their
I am sure we agree, but I just want to clarify something for readers. While
many have made a personal commitment, there is no formal agreement between
CEDA & NDT about topics. The organization itself has made no assurances of
anything. I proposed and spearheaded the CEDA changes which made all this
possible -- the early release and the year long topic -- and I never made the
argument that it would bring us closer to NDT. I proposed these changes
because I thought they would be beneficial to the CEDA community as it now
stands. However, I agree that many people have made personal commitments and
personal assurances, and this is what you seem to be talking about.
"My understanding is that the CEDA topic committee hopes to finish the
wording process by July 15. "
We hope to do it before then, perhaps by July 7. David, if you have important
suggestions about changes, please make them to us now.
"It seems that the best we as a community can do for now is to continue
making suggestions for improving the wording of the topics that are already
under consideration and to maintain confidence that our mutual interest in
cooperation and coordination will prevail. "
Very wise, but please feel free to make specific suggestions.
"I could give a damn about the inclusion of value resolutions. If you
remember, I was behind Dave Klein when he stated that the offered
justification given by some members of the list was hollow and a front. I
agree that there should not be an arbitrary inclusion of a certain category
of topic.(whether it be value, policy, non-normative, etc.) "
How about the notion that over 50% of the schools in Stepp's topic survey
wanted a mix of policy and non-policy topics? Is that a reason to include
them? Apparently not.
"this is a question of temporal emphasis. perhaps I am simply misinformed as
to the process, but are flaws in topic wording correctable at this point, if
discussion of the topic wording displays flaws to exist? "
My original official posting explicitly indicates that changes can be made.
Glen Strickland <email@example.com>
I appreciate your frank evaluation of the topics.
"and 6 and last. the non-human animal species--please, what ground does the
negative have--arguing that species shouldn't be protected???? The only hope
is the one big link to ice age on the neg. and that's what would be debated
round after round."
The topic calls for giving "rights" to species. These rights can involve a
lot more than simple protection. Humane treatment of pets, livestock, etc.
Also, Christopher Stone has proposed giving species a legal voice in
proceedings so that their interests can be reflected.
Once again, the affirmative will be stating a specific right they want given
or extended, and the negative will be opposing that. This does not mean the
negative has to say "go to hell, species." Counterplans, disadvantages
against using the legal system, a defense of anthropocentrism, etc.
I am reminded of the problem I addressed earlier -- if there is no negative
positions to take against it, why is it the prevailing wisdom, that species
have very few rights? If it is the status quo, there ought to be some reasons
Pat Gehrke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"I can just never imagine how a topic would divide ground. Maybe an
interpretation would divide ground, but... "
Correct. Interpretation is crucial. Meaning is in people, not words. We
merely use words as very inexact vessels to transport our meanings from one
person to the other.
"Suppose it depends on interpretation, but I think this encompasses not only
the standard DE mainstream lit (Fox, Session, Devall, etc.) but after reading
Tuna's posts, I also believe it would be possible to defend other
e-philosophies which have been called DE. Ecofeminism, social ecology,
postmodernism, anarcho-environmentalism, etc."
Right, the negative has a number of choices.
"The day Lexis (as it currently exists) becomes a measure of debatability we
should put a bullet through the head of intercollegiate debate."
While this is NOT Prof. Strickland's argument, your response to anything like
that is appropriate. I think a non-lexis/nexis topic would be a good thing.
Matt Stannard <mstannard@AC.CEU.EDU>
"I asked one of our returning debaters whether he wanted me to forward him
some CEDA-L posts containing the (often hostile) discussion about choosing a
I found the responses you posted to be very revealing and absolutely on
target. We will survive, because the environment is a great topic area, and
the debaters and coaches will make it work. We seem to worry a lot about
things which are not that important. MANY, MANY of the issues we discussed at
the Executive Council meeting in Nashville are more important than all of our
By the way, the meeting was FABULOUSLY hosted by Russell Church of MTSU, in
Murfreesboro .... not Nashville was the fly location and restaurants, music,
etc. were in Nashville.
Michael Miroslav Korcok <email@example.com>
"it is a dichotomy which makes little sense and it seems to me to present a
forced choice for no particularly good reason. the sane folk in the world
respect both anthropocentrism and biocentrism - humans are, after all, a
very nice part of the biological world."
Well, bio is a larger set than anthro, which is the whole point. By the way,
"ecocentrism" is broader still, considering the needs of non-living parts of
the environment as well. After all, Mike, we can "respect" both, but the
topic says which is "more desirable."
"2) change #2 into a policy/value topic. something like
R: environmental policy should embrace the principles of deep ecology."
There is a lot of interest in a non-USFG actor. I believe that it is a policy
resolution in its current form.
"it would also ease, I hope, the concerns of the NDT committee. the decision
about whether or not to "meet" has been made: let's not screw it up. if
there are folks who don't want a joint topic they should say so: voting for
one of the two "values" topics only makes this year a big mess."
At the meeting in Long Beach you seemed to oppose this. I am told you warned
the CEDA student meeting that they would become NDT's "Division 2." Now, you
seem all in favor of it. I appreciate changing ones mind, but I am curious as
to the state of yours.
CEDA members (including NDT schools who have joined) need only vote for what
they think is in their best interest and we will be fine.
"5 topics on the ballot and make them all policy."
Therefore you believe we should totally ignore Prof. Stepp's survey which
indicated that a majority of CEDA schools wanted a mixture of policy and
non-policy topics. I believe that any Topic Committee which so blatantly
ignored the wishes of the community would be abusing its authority. Do you
Glenn Ellingson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"1) Our L arguments serve as models for students on how to argue & resolve
2) Our L arguments can and will be read by people who do and will have
impact on the overall health of the community. We should put our best face
forward in this public forum.
3) People have noted the low student participation on the L. A skill and a
willingness to participate in on-line repartee should not be a barrier to
participation on the L. Especially for people who are already in a 1-down
power position. But any student who reads the L for a month and doesn't
think they risk flames if they contribute is brain-dead.
4) I think it is especially important for us to maintain a separation
between people and their ideas, and to refuse to attribute motivations to
people whose motivations we cannot know (basically, anyone but ourselves).
5) Everyone who does not have a bandwidth problem, please raise your hand.
Thought so. Reducing the "signal-to-noise" ration of the L helps everyone to
be more productive.
6) More focused and higher quality argumentation should also produce
"better" results. "
This is an outstanding list. It applies to discussing this issue as well as
all of the other areas on the listserv. I especially believe that as people
involved in argument and deliberative discourse, we have a special
EVERY TIME YOU READ SOMEONE ENGAGING IN PERSONAL ATTACKS OR QUESTIONING
PEOPLE FOR HAVING "EVIL" MOTIVES WITHOUT A TRACK RECORD TO SUBSTANTIATE THAT,
WE SHOULD ALL JUST VIEW THEM AS "ARGUMENTATIVELY DISABLED" AND REALIZE THAT
THEY JUST DON'T GET IT. That's OK, this is an educational activity, and
people learn over time.
Oh, they have the freedom to do it if they wish, but most reading the L know
that they hate it and views those who engage in it accordingly.
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (email@example.com)
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