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Re: Evidence Sources
I agree that print sources can be schlock too. Schlock means of poor
quality because of internal inconsistency, no analysis, no reasons for a
I agree that authority alone (qualifications of source) doesn't
necessarily make a piece of evidence good. I despise conclusionary
evidence sitting on its own.
Good evidence is evidence that makes a relevant conclusion for good reasons.
Sometimes one of the possible reasons is that the source of the evidence
is an expert on the subject matter in a position to know. This is
frequently not a sufficient reason to accept the evidence. It is much
better as Trapp argues that the source in a position to know with expert
credentials also presents reasoning in context to support the conclusion.
My difficulty with Internet materials and Lexis materials as evidence is
that frequently, not always, debaters only seek conclusions. They are
looking for evidence that says close to what they want. They do not care
if it is from an authority even many times thought that is nice. They do
not care if there are reasons to support the conclusion. Sometimes they
do not know or do not care what the context of the evidence is.
I argue that the quality of the evidence is one factor in the quality of
the argument. Insufficient evidence or bad evidence inadequate evidence
schlock evidence may very well make for an insufficient or inadequate
There is excellent evidence available via Internet and Lexis et al but
there is also much inferior stuff. Many debaters are lumping good and bad
together They don't care as long as the conclusion they want is there. I
think they must care. I think debaters should argue about qualifications
of sources.They must also go much further and argue about
l. Reasons given in the evidence for the conclusion if any
2. Quality of the reasons given in the evidence for the conclusion if
that quality has any way of b eing assessed
3. Context and intent of the evidence
4. Fit pertinence relevance of the evidence to the conclusion being made
5. Fit of the evidence with other evidence on the same pt
Arguments of this sort really assess the quality of the evidence and
hence are part of the process of assessing the quality of the argument.
I am seeing very little of this in debates.
People frequently don't give full source citations. I think sometimes
this is because they are embarassed at the weakness of the quality of the
source. People don't argue much about the qualifications of the source or
more importantly about the reasoning of the source for the conclusion as
it fits the reasoning of the arguer vis a vis his/her conclusion.
Rattling off conclusionary tag lines this will lead to nuclear war x
or environmental disaster y without knowing the causal links is not much
of a real debate.
Quality of evidence does matter. Quality of evidence should be part of
argumentation. When one is rattling off tag conclusions frequently
quality of evidence which is a lot of different things considered
simultaneously and hence quality of argument is not debated much. It
Lexis and the Internet are not uniquely responsible for this but they
exacerbate a previously existing trend. The tendencies of much CERTAINLY
NOT ALL electronically gathered evidence are toward lack of
consideration of and lack of debating of QUALITY OF THE EVIDENCE.
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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