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On Thu, 6 Mar 1997 William E Newnam <wnewnam@EMORY.EDU> writes:
>I was merely making the point that the debates today are
>more substantively focused then debate in the seventies.
>They require more (not necessarily better evidence) then the debates
>of an earlier era.
Here's a question, Bill, that you can answer whereas I can't. You coach
some of the best debaters in the country. When you judge, you hear the
best debaters in the country. Within the time period that you and Prof.
Southworth are discussing, lets take the energy topic. Any good varsity
debaters who wanted to compete at a good mid-season tournament had to
know each major study on air pollution and was probably prepared to read
evidence attacking or defending the conclusions and methodology of each
of them. They had to know which studies controlled for temperature
variations and which did not control for socio-economic status. On
nuclear power they had to know about the specifics of the Fermi nuclear
reactor, the strengths and weaknesses of the Ernest Sternglass claims
about radiation, etc.
SO2 air pollution is a salient issue on this year's topic. Even
factoring out the consideration of "better evidence," does the average
varsity debater this year have "more" evidence on air pollution? How
much specific material would they have on, say, the four most important
air pollution studies? Is there any case area (except perhaps climate)
that MOST varsity debaters are prepared to discuss in depth, with
on-point evidence on each of the major issues within that case area? Or
is the "more evidence" simply a factor of (a) broad topics, and (b) covering a variety of generics?
>2. It takes more cards to win today. It is difficult to win any debate
>let alone a big debate without up-to-date research.
Up to date and quality research on the case area (lead paint, CFC
smuggling, chemical weapons, or whatever)? Or a new set of cards on
bipartisanship or the budget battle, to replace last week's "brink card"
with this week's version? Either one involves cards, and thus time, so I
am in no way denying the conclusion you draw about the time commitments
and the exhaustion. I am just trying to understand how that time is
used, and to what end.
I would probably feel differently if there were not so many disclosure
messages on Internet listing the DAs or counterplans the given teams run
on the negative (rather than saying that the team runs disadvantages specific to the plan, and thus it uses different arguments each negative
round). Or if I did not talk to coaches of middle level teams who say
that their team came with three disadvantages, so they just run them and
extend the one that seems to apply. Or if I did not read on NDT-L about
a final round between two of the best teams in the country, where
reportedly there was great clash on the specifics of the CWC but the decision came down to a Clinton DA. There were undoubtedly a few teams at
Heart who researched a few case areas in depth, because they felt they might win the tournament and they felt that the team running that case
might also win the tournament, so they might meet in a "big debate."
But I am not sure that your evidence claim applies to most teams and
most case areas. And if there is so much time-consuming research being
done, including Lexis/Nexis at tournaments, I am not sure that the time
is being used optimally. Just curious.
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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