Jump to content
CongratulationsDamien

Standards for Evidence

Recommended Posts

i wasn't defending skarb's gumption - where he sets the line on kilowatt hours or how he predicts budgetary trade-offs. if you don't trust him to make such claims, why would you trust john marburry to? you're making an argument as to why counter-plans ought to require credible solvency authors or as to why only those intimately familiar with the budget should be consulted as to whether a specific spending proposal will or won't result in cuts to other programs. you're not making an argument as to why debaters or coaches who have researched a particular literature should be forbidden from speculating on it in the context of online discussion boards or from citing such speculations in a debate round. it's precisely because this card doesn't say anything new that it's not a credible 'piece of evidence' (as skarb has already admitted). the $1/killowatt hour figure comes directly from this report: http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:Vo17Su05ZRIJ:www.acq.osd.mil/nsso/solar/SBSPInterimAssesment0.1.pdf ["The DoD is a potential anchor tenant customer of space‐based solar power that can be reliably delivered to U.S. troops located in forward bases in hostile territory in amounts of 5‐50 megawatts continuous at an estimated price of $1 per kilowatt hour, but this price may increase over time as world energy resources become more scarce or environmental concerns about increased carbon emissions from combusting fossil fuels increases."] - think that's what the u.s. military is currently paying in iraq and afghanistan; in any case, skarb didn't pull it from thin air. as for the other request, i don't imagine that cards which say 'the military budget is stretched thin now: every new program will tradeoff with an existing program' are that hard to come by, are they? you're really asking me cross-examination questions anyway: 'why do you condition s.p.s. on $1/killowatt hour and not at or below $1.25?' or 'how do you know spending on s.p.s. will result in military cuts?'. and this is why i say the emperor has no clothes - because if your answer to those two questions is ever 'because someone with a b.a. in history, a b.s. in political science, and an m.a. in communication said so', it's the deference to authority that's the real problem, not the pen name. i won't be as harsh as some have been via backchannel, but i will say, bluntly, that much could be resolved if instead of pretending that cards are magical creatures, participants simply took the time to examine their reasoning.

Edited by Lazzarone
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On a side note:

 

Noncompetition agreements, if enforceable, prohibit working for a company that is in direct competition with your prior employer.
What Fortune 500 company considers The Space Review a competitor?

 

Its already been discussed how 7-11 is likely the company in question. However, if it is not....I would suggest that the only companies which would fall under the non-compete would be a military defense company like Lockhead Martin (or perhaps an oil, energy, or electricity related company.)

 

But the fact that non-competes are unenforceable in California I guess makes this a bit of a moot question.

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

skarb's tomfoolery also produced this - a point-by-point refutation 3 weeks later which would not otherwise have existed.

_

 

SBSP: If not here, where? And if not now, when?

G. Andrew Youngstrom & William E. Maness

 

In an article dated April 27, 2009, Mr. John Marbury opined with regard to space-based solar power that in the current economy “the last thing we need is to start throwing money hand over fist at a project that might end up being nothing more than pie-in-the-sky fantasy.”

 

Well that is certainly true, as far as it goes, but it is a straw man argument. Of course we don't want to waste money. Mr. Marbury completely fails to make the case that SBSP is such a fantasy. To the contrary, later in his article, he lauds the potential of SBSP, and cites the recent contract between Pacific Gas & Electric and Solaren, contradicting his own thesis.

 

Mr. Marbury has used a single report from a branch of the DOD (the NSSO report) to create another straw man to argue against all government funding for SBSP. There is more to the government than the Department of Defense. The Department of Energy and NASA also have legitimate interests in SBSP.

 

Mr. Marbury then uses a thirty year old report to suggest that, “every dollar spent on solar satellites will not be spent on terrestrial research and commercialization.” No one is suggesting a trade-off between funding national security and SBSP. This is another false dichotomy. Much of the research that is needed to retire SBSP technical risks have direct terrestrial applications.

 

This reasoning is reminiscent of the arguments against spaceflight in the 1970's, “We shouldn't be spending money on space, it should be spent on Earth!” Of course, all the money spent on spaceflight is spent on Earth, we do not ship crates of dollars to the moon. The very technology that we're using for this discourse is a direct spin-off of those early “pie-in-the-sky” efforts.

 

“[an] economy teetering on the edge of disaster” is used to argue against any SBSP activity at this time. In fact, the federal government is currently spending billions to help stimulate the economy. An aggressive SBSP program could do nothing but create jobs, and aid in that stimulus.

 

The argument is advanced that terrestrial solar, wind and tidal energy are to be preferred over SBSP because they can be rolled out in short order. No mention is made to the considerable technical challenges these terrestrial systems face, nor of their geographical limitations. The entire eastern seaboard, where the majority of the American population lives, is devoid of significant alternative energy resources.

 

Lastly, we must consider the fundamental issue that is being confronted here. The issue of long-term investment and planning versus short-sighted, immediate gratification. We admire other countries for their long-term economic planning; are we in a position now to not be thinking in the long-term economically? The current Obama administration seems to be more focused on the long-term than any in recent history. One cannot write a check today, and expect to receive utility power tomorrow; all generation modalities take time between investment and delivery of first power. However, there are immediate economic benefits from beginning implementation now, including job creation. Mr. Marbury concedes that SBSP holds great promise, and with successful commercialization will yield tremendous economic and environmental benefits. While pursuing the good, we must not abandon the best.

 

G. Andrew Youngstrom received his education at Witworth College, Georgetown University, Trinity College Dublin, University of Amsterdam, and University of York in Political Science, International relations, international and health economics. He serves as the director of international relations for PowerSat Corporation.

 

William E. Maness is a serial entrepreneur, pilot and the CEO of PowerSat Corporation. He holds a degree in Business Finance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
and this is why i say the emperor has no clothes - because if your answer to those two questions is ever 'because someone with a b.a. in history, a b.s. in political science, and an m.a. in communication said so', it's the deference to authority that's the real problem, not the pen name. i won't be as harsh as some have been via backchannel, but i will say, bluntly, that much could be resolved if instead of pretending that cards are magical creatures, participants simply took the time to examine their reasoning.

 

The choice between consideration of who is making an argument and the quality of that argument is not either/or. If your contention is that the author of an argument is irrelevant, then so be it... I disagree. Even if I'm wrong and you're right, I think we would be derelict in our duties as educators if we did not prepare our students to survive in a world where source credibility does matter. I'm well aware of your criticisms of the education system. But if I told my school that I was teaching my students that an authors' qualifications don't matter, they would probably fire me.

 

EDIT: Erwin Chemerinsky's "Keynote Address From the Tahoe Conference on Academic Debate" (published in Argumentation and Advocacy (38) Fall 2001, pp. 63-68) has a great quote about this in the context of the law profession:

 

"Another thing from debate that hasn't mattered much since is the idea that anything counts as authority. I remember in debate the sense that a quote from a published source is all that was needed--even if it was from a crackpot, or a law student writing a law review note, or some obscure and unknown source and journal. It definitely does not work that way in law. Judges care ver much about the authority and really want cases from their jurisdiction or from a court above them."

 

And yes, I realize that all debaters don't grow up to be lawyers. But the authority of a source is something that matters whether the topic is law or Major League Baseball (Peter Gammons > Woody Paige, for example).

 

~Bill

Edited by bigbillybatman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
and this is why i say the emperor has no clothes

 

Thank you, quote of the day:

 

It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.

- Neil Gaiman

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Obviously I'm not a coach and my opinion doesn't really matter (heidts are certainly set in their ways about not reading emails) but personal attacks on skarb are pretty stupid, and ignorant. Most of the coaches haven't done this, yet there have been alot of tools that just hang around on the site that probably don't even know skarb.

 

On a side note:

Noncompetition agreements, if enforceable, prohibit working for a company that is in direct competition with your prior employer.
What Fortune 500 company considers The Space Review a competitor?

Its already been discussed how 7-11 is likely the company in question. However, if it is not....I would suggest that the only companies which would fall under the non-compete would be a military defense company like Lockhead Martin (or perhaps an oil, energy, or electricity related company.)

 

But the fact that non-competes are unenforceable in California I guess makes this a bit of a moot question.

You, a high school punk, that has nothing better to do than make fun of him when a. you don't know everything that's gone on, b. you don't have a job, and c. wouldn't even give you the authority to judge, should probably lay off at least for now and try and be somewhat mature. Regardless of whether you think its not justifiable, personal attacks are stupid (shoutout to the guy that neg repped me saying 'I hope you die in a fire' - right on brother, very kind words I appreciate it).

 

What I'm getting (besides the fact that mister nathan debate doesn't have a right to make fun of skarb) is that there are so many WORSE 'ethical practices' that people could be picking out. Almost the entire debate community smokes, drinks, treats people of the opposite gender terribly, acts selfishly - and so on. This doesn't mean that the debate always needs to be about pure ethics, but its just really silly when there's alot of people trying to put skarb out on the ledge when there are so many worse forms of 'cheating' - which have a lot more in common with ethics than a debate coach writing a blog post that was most likely not going to be used.

 

blabla rubie rubie rubie filler got sorted

 

People can think what they want about the 'fabrication of evidence' (even though this only proves how uncredible blog posts can be, and that they detriment debate) but how about people act in a somewhat civilized manner :s

Edited by I<3topicality
  • Downvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Obviously I'm not a coach and my opinion doesn't really matter (heidts are certainly set in their ways about not reading emails) but personal attacks on skarb are pretty stupid' date=' and ignorant. [i']Most of the coaches haven't done this, yet there have been alot of tools that just hang around on the site that probably don't even know skarb.[/i]

 

 

You, a high school punk, that has nothing better to do than make fun of him when a. you don't know everything that's gone on, b. you don't have a job, and c. wouldn't even give you the authority to judge, should probably lay off at least for now and try and be somewhat mature. Regardless of whether you think its not justifiable, personal attacks are stupid (shoutout to the guy that neg repped me saying 'I hope you die in a fire' - right on brother, very kind words I appreciate it).

 

What I'm getting (besides the fact that mister nathan debate doesn't have a right to make fun of skarb) is that there are so many WORSE 'ethical practices' that people could be picking out. Almost the entire debate community smokes, drinks, treats people of the opposite gender terribly, acts selfishly - and so on. This doesn't mean that the debate always needs to be about pure ethics, but its just really silly when there's alot of people trying to put skarb out on the ledge when there are so many worse forms of 'cheating' - which have a lot more in common with ethics than a debate coach writing a blog post that was most likely not going to be used.

 

lol @ the guy who won't judge damien fairly now. Well done, you exhibit both forgiveness and wise judgement for bringing their whole team into this now - why don't we put you up on the wall and stone you for your 'unethical' choice.

 

People can think what they want about the 'fabrication of evidence' (even though this only proves how uncredible blog posts can be, and that they detriment debate) but how about people act in a somewhat civilized manner :s

 

LOL

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One more caveat to my posts - I'm being as unbiased as possible; I have no vested interest in damien succeeding or skarb remaining a coach. If I was trying to suck up to damien that would be stupid because there would be no net benefit to that; usually suck ups try to get something in return, but I'm certainly not doing this so I can get their A spot coaching job or whatever gift/opportunity exists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One more caveat to my posts - I'm being as unbiased as possible; I have no vested interest in damien succeeding or skarb remaining a coach. If I was trying to suck up to damien that would be stupid because there would be no net benefit to that; usually suck ups try to get something in return' date=' but I'm certainly not doing this so I can get their A spot coaching job or whatever gift/opportunity exists.[/quote']

thats what perplexes me about what you do. it doesnt make any sense yet it always happens.

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lol @ the guy who won't judge damien fairly now. Well done' date=' you exhibit both forgiveness and wise judgement for bringing their whole team into this now - why don't we put you up on the wall and stone you for your 'unethical' choice.

 

People can think what they want about the 'fabrication of evidence' (even though this only proves how uncredible blog posts can be, and that they detriment debate) but how about people act in a somewhat civilized manner :s[/quote']

I do have a name, which I chose to use. For private purposes, if you're still upset, I messaged you. For public/reading comprehension purposes, just to be clear;

"Judging the Damien kids has been one of the rare pleasures of my short judging career."

"I have always respected Justin's love for debate and passion for his kids' success...Justin, I think you're an otherwise good guy who loves debate and made a very bad decision...I don't want to see you lose your job in this economy... I don't want to kick a man while he is down "

"I hope I get to judge them in the future but I can't unless the Damien squad verifies that changes are made."

"I respect you all...the violations of trust you (Damien kids) did nothing to create."

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thats what perplexes me about what you do. it doesnt make any sense yet it always happens.

must have been pretty darn puzzled trying to add me 4 times on facebook - how about we keep the 'you puzzle me bro' comments to yourself. Trying to call me a suck up to damien is pretty darn childish =)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What I'm getting (besides the fact that mister nathan debate doesn't have a right to make fun of skarb) is that there are so many WORSE 'ethical practices' that people could be picking out. Almost the entire debate community smokes' date=' drinks, treats people of the opposite gender terribly, acts selfishly - and so on. This doesn't mean that the debate always needs to be about pure ethics, but its just really silly when there's alot of people trying to put skarb out on the ledge when there are so many worse forms of 'cheating' - which have a lot more in common with ethics than a debate coach writing a blog post that was most likely not going to be used.[/quote']

 

Even if you believe that smoking, drinking, gender discrimination, and selfishness are unethical behaviors that does not mean they are a form of cheating at debate. I really don't see how poor behaviors by members of the debate community can be conceived of as "many worse forms of 'cheating" since they aren't examples of cheating at all, just poor behavior (if that).

 

And to be fair to debate as a whole, the assertion that "almost the entire debate community smokes, drinks, treats people of the opposite gender terribly, [and] acts selfishly" is really quite a stretch. The claim that even MOST HS debaters smoke and drink at debate tournaments is obviously wrong which makes the claim that almost the ENTIRE community is doing it downright laughable. Debate is also the most sensitive community to gender discrimination that I have ever been a part of, which includes an actual F500 company. As for selfishness as some type of ethical malfeasance, well I don't even want to touch that one but I know very few members of debate that are selfish to the point of directly harming others and many members that are selfless to the point of their own disadvantage.

 

Also, your 'reliance' on putting everything you're 'skeptical' of in 'quotations' like 'so' does not dismiss accusations of cheating and behavior unbecoming of a HS debate instructor so much as it dismisses your credibility on the subject. The very fact that so many people take seriously an event that you're intent on pigeonholing through incessant use of 'these' should prompt you to maybe reconsider your laissez faire attitude towards ev fabrication.

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have a ton more to add her so mikey unfortunately I'll be dropping your last post because I dont want to make it back and forth blablabla.

 

I certainly don't condone cheating, but I just want to illuminate the hypocrisy that we all often engage in (I mean that's sin for you) so its somthing to be aware of. Obviously there are different magnitudes of stuff; cheating versus poor language choice when talking to someone, and so on. I'm not the one who is going to judge whether or not skarb is justified, I wanted to put my point out there about the importance of peer review versus blog writing and the significance of staying civil.

 

I guess this was the battle of the year in terms of DEBATE DRAMA though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On a side note:

 

Noncompetition agreements, if enforceable, prohibit working for a company that is in direct competition with your prior employer.
What Fortune 500 company considers The Space Review a competitor?

 

Its already been discussed how 7-11 is likely the company in question. However, if it is not....I would suggest that the only companies which would fall under the non-compete would be a military defense company like Lockhead Martin (or perhaps an oil, energy, or electricity related company.)

 

7-Eleven is actually competing for a DOD contract right now. They want to make the 32 oz. Big Gulp the official drink of the US space militarization program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I posted this before but I believe it was deleted by a moderator.

 

 

 

Yeah, what's the deal? There were at least 5 or 6 serious posts (including 2 long posts from CWPatterson) that were deleted. I know that some people were trolling, but this is a serious thread - don't be so quick to delete posts just because there's trolling around.

 

The mod should restore the deleted posts and stop abusing his mod powers.

Edited by John Lennon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Justin - as per your latest post (specifically, the reply to nathan_debate), I have really no idea what point you're trying to get a cross. I doubt you are reading through every message in this thread like I and (I assume) many others have, but do you care to elucidate whatever defense, rebuttal, or point you are trying to make? I already feel left out with the West Wing references, and hopefully I am not alone in feeling somewhat puzzled by that post.

 

Christos - this has already been mentioned before, but smoking and drinking aren't considered cheating in any form. If something is borderline evidence fabrication, it probably needs to be investigated and talked about, because as Tim said, the integrity upon which evidence is produced in debate rounds weaves the very fabric of our activity. DHeidt, Tim, Ms. Tate, Batterman, and a ton of others have made compelling arguments as to why this case needs to carefully examined. The fact that debaters commit other minor vices is not a reason to condone, excuse, or fail to examine evidence fabrication and academic integrity in debate.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why is it problematic for debaters or coaches to write real arguments during the season for consideration in the real world? Perhaps the metaphor of debate as a game has eclipsed any sense of debate as a space of invention where people are transformed by the force of the stronger argument. It really is a bit tragic that a participant in the debate community might be asked to limit their written public contributions to a dialogue about the collective good to preserve the purity of the debate game board. Students and coaches should use their knowledge to write. Writing is a form of activism. Writing is a skill set needed to go on to grad school or law school. Asking coaches and students to be silent on public issues they have unique knowledge about robs them of the chance to make a difference. To do so suggests we care more about the game than we do about the issues. Mitchell's examples of debate related activism are being missed altogether. Teams can use the knowledge productively and we can have a debate community that informs arguments in the public sphere.

 

The problem with Skarb is that he engaged in systematically distorted communication. He lied and deliberately misled those who emailed him. To suggest his actions are a reason to discourage writing and publishing is to miss a chance for learning and activism. That approach makes debate a sporting game divorced from any possibility for use in real meaningful public dialogues.

 

Evidence is too often treated as a fetish - judges are unwilling to police evidence qualifications consistently in debate rounds. The result is that we have educators who are actually arguing that debate coaches and students should not publish work that interrupts a game. I am all for opposing lying. Telling students and coaches to be publicly silent during the season is a travesty. I think a better answer is to invite every student and coach to publish/blog post their arguments and analysis.

Edited by cryptic
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Christos - this has already been mentioned before, but smoking and drinking aren't considered cheating in any form. If something is borderline evidence fabrication, it probably needs to be investigated and talked about, because as Tim said, the integrity upon which evidence is produced in debate rounds weaves the very fabric of our activity. DHeidt, Tim, Ms. Tate, Batterman, and a ton of others have made compelling arguments as to why this case needs to carefully examined. The fact that debaters commit other minor vices is not a reason to condone, excuse, or fail to examine evidence fabrication and academic integrity in debate.

I was never defending evidence fabrication - I don't think thats what it looked like. People have been ranting that it was an ethical issue that had to be dealt with, so I brought into question other ethical issues in the debate community - those were my examples. No its not cheating with evidence, but its sure a bad way to life one's life.

 

And if I say I'm going to not post, I prefer if my name stops appearing here, head royce debater

christos' brother debated with skarb in college at asu, so i can somewhat understand his defense of him, as he has probably had many positive personal interactions with him.

Nice you did your research about me, but that doesn't mean I'm best friends with skarb. I've competed against damien and I've certainly not gone 'easy' on them because their coach was my brother's partner for ONE year. And, a lot of the people my brother knew, neither of us like; this doesn't mean I have to tell you how I feel about him (my comments have been purely about principle). You probably know how I feel about you now; so stop using my name, don't tell me that I've sucked up to damien, and please, stop pretending you're some authority on this issue.

 

Now I would like to leave the discussion since I think its hit a ceiling, but don't bring me into this again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

bill batterman, i'm not saying sources don't matter. see above where i say you wouldn't trust me to expound on how many nukes there are in the u.s. arsenal. there are objective conditions of the world we refer to as 'facts' and we trust journalists, scientists, and others to report these conditions to us in as neutral a language as possible. if i had to choose between conflicting reports of the associated press and the san antonio express-news, i will choose the a.p., all things being equal. credentials are important, though by themselves, they can rarely determine the best course of action for us. what i find inane is the search for 'a card that says it' when a simple review of the available evidence suffices and can be debated out at that level. skarb's article "is closer to an op-ed piece than a news piece" (says john marburry, http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1359/1). he did not fabricate anything in the piece other than a new name for himself: he did not say 'several unnamed sources have confirmed that the u.s. military is already building s.b.s.p. on a massive scale in secret' (therefore plan is non-inherent) nor did he say 'a new study suggests that s.b.s.p. is actually twice as costly and the energy output we can expect is actually half as much'. he cited two real sources (albeit one an irrelevant 30-year-old study) and defended an obvious set of opinions: that the project is too costly for current federal budgets and that a d.o.d. announcement might spur private r&d investment. c'mon people, can we really not see a clear distinction between evidence fabrication and pseudonymous commentary? are we so afraid of new media we're willing to throw out all the good they can do in order to keep in place evidential standards that produce wasteful redundancy and undue deference to authority while still failing to exclude the far-fetched and incredible? until judges weigh analyticals as heavily as 'evidence' and debaters are trusted to craft arguments in their own words, more skarb fiascoes shouldn't surprise anyone. point blank: using a pen name is not cheating.

 

-samuel clemens.

 

 

 

p.s., i agree wholeheartedly with cryptic - wonder who s/he is?

Edited by Lazzarone
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

someone negative reputed me to write:

"there are objective conditions of the world we refer to as 'facts'" Really? Are these the same facts that said blacks have naturally smaller brains? Define objective. Every "fact" still need to perceived by a certain perspective to measure reality.

 

since you didn't leave your name, i can't respond to you privately, yet you asked me questions and demanded i define what i meant by objective. well...

 

i watch a lot of basketball: when a player shoots from within the three-point line, and the ball goes through the hoop, that shot counts as 2 points; when a player shoots from beyond it, and the ball goes through the hoop, that shot counts as 3 points. pretty much every shot, that's not a free throw, is one or the other: these are what i mean by objective conditions of the world. you're right to say they're subjectively-ascertained, but being so, there is still a line and something either happens to one side of it or the other. now, there might be subjective disagreement about whether a particular shot was a 2 or 3, and i'm even willing to say there might be objective ambiguity if our empirical methods for resolving disputes (say, video playback) are not sufficiently precise. so yes, every report on the objective world is mediated by subjective perspectives, but there can still be inter-subjective agreement based on the actual conditions of the world. i'm fairly sure a territory referred to as 'china' exists although i've never been there, because i trust the reports of others. not sure i know anyone who disagrees with these basic orienting notions, and feel this kind of conversation might be better suited for an introduction to philosophy course.

 

your comment about 'blacks having naturally smaller brains' is way off-base. first, simply admitting there are objective conditions in the world does not mean i agree with every assessment anyone has ever made of what those objective conditions are - certainly not white supremacist 'scientists'. but second, it's the very fact that there are objective conditions that allow me to debunk such pseudo-science, and to say, with relative confidence, that blacks do not have smaller brains. and finally, it goes without saying that, as i've already said, knowing what the facts are does not often lead to obvious, unimpeachable consensus on the best course of action to take with regard to those facts. there is still an important place for discussions of societal values and of the historical interpretations of whatever facts we find. to the point, even if blacks as a category had smaller brains, that would in no way justify mistreatment of individual blacks: that's why racial discrimination is wrong. (duh)

 

to the neg repper who felt i needed to know that i am "a dispicable tard bag asshole", i'd just like to point out that it's spelled 'despicable', not "dispicable".

 

if anyone has something to say to me which you don't wish to air out in the quasi-public sphere, then feel free to private message me; i won't reveal your identity, and i'll reply back in as kind a manner as i can muster. it's not the ignorance or the vitriol that bugs me - it's the cowardice.

Edited by Lazzarone
  • Upvote 3
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to stay out of this discussion for the most part, but I thought of a question that no one seems to have asked: if Justin Skarb has the academic background for it to be expected of him to write articles on SBSP, where are the other articles he's written? I haven't been able to find any, and it seems a huge coincidence that his first (or one of his first) published article(s) is on a topic directly related to the debate community sent in shortly before the season ends.

 

-Alec Zimmer

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Skip to what interests you, if any:

I. Assessment of Skarb’s “apology.”

II. Why Skarb had the requisite “intent.”

III. Conclusion – A failure in ethical vocabulary.

 

I. SKARB’S “APOLOGY” MISSES THE POINT

 

Mr. Skarb, your array of arguments all either (1) avoid the issue, or (2) are implausible.

 

You suggest you "never" believed people would cut these cards. This is an impossible claim and a blatant attempt to avoid the issue. Here's four undisputed facts that prove you knew that people might read the cards: (1) You admit that when you learned the essay would "be published prior to the TOC," you immediately "asked the editors of The Space Review to include my name in the article." (2) You admit that you were contacted by numerous coaches regarding this evidence. (3) You admit that the blog is actually widely read, and that the comments on the blog by respected experts prove it's highly qualified and a material part of the space literature. (4) You admit that you reposted the article under your name because you wanted debaters to know. (5) You admit that your own coaching staff intervened in Damien's space neg to ban Damien from reading this evidence.

 

You suggest that if you had never made your involvement known, you would never have been accused of cheating. It shocks me that you actually think this shows you were ethical. (1) The fact that you admitted to doing something does not mean it was ok to do it. Are you really suggesting that someone who fabricates evidence is only "ironically" accused of cheating when the fabrication is discovered by the fact that he admitted to it later? (2) You're missing the point - it's that you lied about the authorship. In fact, you specifically told the editor at Space Review to make you a contributing researcher, and that it would be "fine" if he didn't add your name at all. http://www.ndtceda.com/pipermail/edebate/2009-May/078844.html. (3) In emails before and after TOC, you maintained the deception - one that harms all those who unwittingly cut the cards for their neg strategies. (4) It is admitted by Damien students that the other coaches were the reason you included your name at all! It is why there was a ban and why you were forced to email the editor to correct your made-up mistake in attribution.

 

You say no Damien team read the evidence. This misses the point. (1) Damien was BANNED from reading the evidence because of ethical concerns by the rest of its coaching staff. A ban only makes sense if there's something to ban. (2) Other debaters cut these cards innocently. Other debaters may have seen this article and thought they could stop researching SPS budget links and could move on. You focus on whether Damien would read these cards while ignoring the consequences in non-Damien debates (such as the one that did in fact happen at TOC). (3) The harm isn't just from lost debates. It's from lost trust: the submission of evidence in circumstances like this harms the community's integrity and our ability to trust each other. No win/loss harm does not mean no foul. If I fabricate and read evidence and lose for unrelated reasons, there is still wrongdoing worth calling out because those actions pollute the activity.

 

You discuss your non-compete clause. Let's stop and think about this for a second. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Fortune 500 company you work for "7-11"? Your clause, as you posted on cross-x.com, actually just says you can't steal your employer's corporate opportunity. I know you're not in law school. But in what crazy world is an uncompensated blog post about space based solar power a corporate opportunity for 7-11? But let's say you used the pen-name because if you used your real name, you'd be violating your contract. We're supposed to forgive a debate deception because it was necessary for you to deceive your employer and steal from them? Is that really your argument? Really?

 

You suggest that "the real problem" is that card cutters have low standards. That's no excuse in your particular case. (1) It has nothing to do with your email deceptions. Debaters were entitled to know the author so they could make a "your author is biased" argument IN ADDITION TO a "blogs are silly" argument. The "bias" argument has special weight against power-worded cards. (2) Low card standards means you have higher obligations – there’s fewer alternative safeguards.

 

You say that evidence written in debate language should not be banned. That's a scarecrow argument. The problem is that you insulated your article from bias arguments.

 

You say it isn't true that you fabricated your qualifications. No one claims you did. But it’s admitted that you fabricated the author's impartiality by pretending you weren’t the author.

 

II. SKARB HAD THE REQUISITE WRONGFUL INTENT; OR, WE SHOULD AT LEAST BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT WE MEAN BY “INTENT.”

 

Mr. Skarb says no one can know his intent. This mirrors some other comments, as well as the general way that many debaters/coaches discuss “intent.” I’ll focus on two key questions: (1) burden of proof, and (2) culpability.

 

Burden of proof: in debates, we have a high standard to prevent excessive ethics challenges in a constrained format - that's good, but also under-inclusive. We're not limited by such constraints outside rounds and we should not be; otherwise ethics violations will routinely be under-policed. In civil cases, the threshold is "more likely than not." The facts present here would lead me to conclude that it is more likely than not that you had the requisite intent. In criminal cases, the standard is "beyond a reasonable doubt." That does not include speculations. That does not require any of us to believe you when you say you didn't intend to deceive anyone, but provide little to no credible PROOF of this assertion. Even at this high standard, and even though I am not certain, I would still find for an ethics violation.

 

Culpability: The requisite intent need not be that you acted with a "purpose" that envisioned this whole set of events. At the least, you should have known that the actions you took could create serious problems. Maybe it's a defense that you didn't have alternative actions (which you did), or that you were forced to do this (which you weren't), or that you didn't foresee ethical objections (which you did). None of those defense, however, would answer the fact that you acted recklessly. You can act with knowledge of the likely consequences of your actions, even if you believed those consequences were not objectionable.

 

Maybe these conclusions on intent are premature – I’m certainly open to being persuaded otherwise. But even if people disagree, we still need a more nuanced vocabulary to explain what we really mean by “intent.” Which leads me to:

 

III. CONCLUSION – A FAILURE IN ETHICAL VOCABULARY*

 

Mostly I'm sad this is even an issue. It's sad that this community doesn't have the vocabulary to discuss evidence issues without the extremes of "absolute ethical challenge" and "completely innocent, can ONLY attack the quality of the evidence." This dichotomy is a result of inadequate evidence discussion, and it is the reason any of this came up the way it did. It’s why people were afraid of saying things in public even though they had suspicions – even though public discussion before TOC could have prevented this from exploding.

 

This is prior to the community’s acceptance of bad cards. The dichotomy is why people don’t see as much responsibility to avoid bad cards, but it’s also why we don’t have enough ethical-based criticism of questionable cards.

 

David

 

*As a side note, I also dislike the term “ethics,” but I suppose it’s a useful term right now.

  • Downvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...