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Re: CEDA Mini-History
Al Johnson does fill in a few points, but I have some responses to explain
some of my original. Here goes!
>On Mon, 17 Mar 1997, Tom Preston wrote:
>As one of the seven founders of CEDA (the others being Tim Browning,
>University of Arizona; Paul Winters, University of Pacific; Gordon
>Zimmerman, University of Nevada; Penny Byrne, University of Texas at
>El Paso; the coach from ASU who I will think of his name in a moment;
>and Jack Howe, Long Beach State) let me correct a couple of things.
>First, Debate (it was not called NDT at that time) was certainly not
>incomprehensible (that came later).
Of course there has been recurring debate over "incomprehensible"
throughout the century--I for example find both forms comprehensible, but
others might disagree.
Any how let me address the two corrections above.
At a 1984 CEDA meeting at Reno, I specifically remember Jack Howe saying
"CEDA was formed to provide an alternative to incomprehensible
argumentation" and decried that incomprehenisbility had begun to creep into
CEDA. That is how I arrived at my conclusion that even as of when CEDA was
founded, some of the founders considered the amount of evidence used to
render debate less comprehensible to a lay audience. So although I asked
for and appreciated the correction, I'm not sure the above is a
"correction" as much as "an alternative perspective by somebody who helped
Second, although there was only one "debate" before the founding of SCEDA,
I have in my desk a "5Oth anniversary issue of the NDT" booklet from last
year's tournament in my drawer. So I don't think that it's "incorrect" to
call debate "NDT" as existed before SCEDA. The National Debate Tournament,
as well documented, has existed since 1946 (look at the initials--I believe
it's "NDT")--very much like the final four existed in 1957 (North Carolina
54, Kansas 53) long before it was "called" the final four.
Those minor points aside, I was intrigued by the rest of Al's entry,
appreciated the information, and offer commentary as one perspective on how
the efforts of those who went before helped pave the way for one who
started well after those valuable contributions:
>At least my reasons for starting CEDA (and I think the reasons of the
> An opportunity for students who had little, if any experience
>to participate. Particular students in our classes. We did not announce
>the topic in the early days until after the first of October.
> We wanted to try Cross-Examination. Regular debate (now called
>NDT) did not use cross-X in those days.
I am professionally and personally indepted to CEDA's founders for this
innovation. As I pointed out below--I must say that I appreciate the point
about allowing students with little if any experience to participate. That
made tournaments such as our semester-ending Study Break for novices and
class debaters possible, and would have been difficult to do without
CEDA--so chalk that up as another contribution by the founders.
> Try some value topics rather than straight policy.
This led to some interesting alternatives and debates when it was
practiced. . .although I'm more for just having more students learn policy,
as policy requires the tough step of "doing something about" a problem
rather than merely debating about it.
> Put less emphasis on evidence and more on analysis and reasoning
>(although certain CEDA (first SCEDA) debaters did use evidence.
As I noted below, this was intriguiging at first, but to me experience has
borne out that such attempts in debate will always become frustrated as we
ask students to provide proofs, and give them more and more theory to read,
disclaimers that "the CEDA Yearbook is not a rulebook" notwithstanding. I
think this worked for awhile, but like value topics, it has been abandoned.
> Allow second semster studens to compete as we changed topics in
This was helpful to those who showed up second semester, but keeping the
same topic is better for those who take Argumentation classes in the fall
and desire to keep debating in the Spring.
> Certainly, it is true that we never intended for SCEDA to replace
>any other form of debate. We assumed after gaining some experience most
>SCEDA students would do "regular debate" and most of them did.
but, it ironically first replaced NDT (in some regions), and then to a
large extent became NDT (as NDT policy debaters in regions where NDT dies
had, until parli, nowhere to go but CEDA), even though some feel as Bear
does that we are far from an actual merger. An earlier entry about the
similarities bears that out.
I still seek other perspectives and additions to the below, and see most of
the above as helpful. I note below that I did ask for corrections as well,
and while I may attempt to repair some and clarify, they add to the
discussion as I feel that both I and others genuinely want to learn more.
Thanks for the response!
>> To: All
>> Jeremy Mallory ("The Author") has raised some interesting and valid points
>> lately, and leaves an open point about the history and reasons behind CEDA.
>> I thought I might fill in and others might fill in further to make the
>> historical information more complete.
>> According to the Founding Statement of CEDA, the association, originally
>> Southwest CEDA in that some schools in the Southwest met and decided to
>> begin debating alternative resolutions to NDT, was to promote more of a
>> balance between "evidence, delivery, and analysis" as opposed to
>> "incomprehensible argumentation" that a general educated audience would not
>> be able to understand. Resolutions changed at the semester to discouraged a
>> hoarding of evidence that might contribute to excessive speed during time
>> CEDA began as a "slower" and more audience-oriented style of debate as
>> opposed to NDT, which was perceived by CEDA's founders to be educational
>> (they never intended to replace NDT, but to provide an alternative) but to
>> appeal only to a specialized arena. Although nothing restricted the types
>> of CEDA topics chosen, they were often of a quasipolicy (eg: Resolved:
>> That US Aid to Authoritarian regimes would be justified) or value
>> (Resolved: That improved diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union is
>> more important than increased military preparedness) nature. It was felt
>> by many that by eliminating the need for a plan (and hence counterplans and
>> perms, etc.), this would help debaters discuss other issues more
>> deeply--and slowly--within time constraints. One of the big innovations
>> CEDA made that was adopted by NDT was the use of cross examination.
>> As theory began to be published in the CEDA Yearbook, A&A, and various
>> textbooks and cited by debaters, and as debaters borrowed from various
>> policy debate paradigms when assigned a qualipolicy resolution, there was
>> more to discuss within the same time limites. Hence, speed became a
>> necessity just as in NDT. Plans began to emerge in the late 1980s and
>> early 1990s, and to complete the reinvention of the policy debate wheel, a
>> year-long policy topic was adopted by CEDA for the 1995-96 year (eg, voters
>> selected to repeat the same topic, and the majority of CEDA now favored
>> policy debate topics). NDT decided to follow the CEDA choice in 1996-97,
>> and since CEDA voted to maintain the same topic for Spring 1997, the two
>> forms of debate have merged in every way except for sweepstakes point
>> calculation and the method of qualification for the two national
>> Today, although some regional differences and critic variations may exist,
>> speed in delivery is usually accepted within the CEDA community, which now
>> significantly overlaps the NDT community. In fact, in elimination rounds I
>> saw at CEDA nationals two years ago in San Diego as opposed to those I saw
>> last year at the NDT at Wake Forest, speed would seem to if anything to
>> have been greater in San Diego. When I asked persons to compare CEDA and
>> NDT today, most would say CEDA will give leeway on internal links and weigh
>> impacts, whereas NDT stresses the links more (and a sure-thing/small impact
>> approach is prefered to a tenuous link/huge impact scenario). That, more
>> often that speed, would appear to be the more often cited difference
>> between the two today, although the merger of topics this year and
>> integration of competition may have reduced even that difference.
>> And although parliamentary debate in the US now bans evidence or "specific
>> knowledge," one begins to wonder whether debaters citing rules (as well as
>> theory from the Parli Journal), as well as the notion of NPDA promoting
>> "expert" graduate critics, will gradually lead to an evolution toward more
>> speed within parliamentary debate.
>> Interesting would be a longitudinal study of the speed in parli debate
>> similar to the ones done for NDT debate. As well, interesting will be the
>> choices we make toward integrating ideas from other forms into parli debate
>> and vice versa.
>> I posted this to the CEDA-L as well. Others might have different
>> perceptions of this history and may wish to share it--I know that there may
>> be some regional differences (EG, there is less stress on evidence in CEDA
>> in the northern midwest than there is in the southern midwest). Correct me
>> if I'm wrong and fill in where incomplete, anybody, please.
>> Perhaps ADA is the best example of policy debate with more emphasis on
>> delivery, as it increased the time limits to allow for its stated goal of
>> "reasonable policy debate."
>> Bob Derryberry of Southwest Baptist said it best when he noted recently
>> that debate is in a very "liquid" state as an activity at this point, and
>> that it will be some time before we know how it "conjeals."
>> See you all later!
>Al Johnson Colorado College
>Director of Forensics Colorado Spring, CO 80903
> FAX 719.389.6214
North Carolina 73, Colorado 56--Justice prevails!
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