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jsmith36

Ideal paradigm

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I didn't say "racist evidence." I said blatantly racist argumentation. That has no place in an academic exchange of ideas. Debate is better than that. Blatantly racist argumentation that says "white people are better than non-white people and should be privileged" doesn't belong in the activity, and I don't care if that makes me a genocidal censoring jerk. Note that I am making a distinction between this and "racism key to heg," which is a bad argument but slightly less morally reprehensible.

 

I also think a lot of your arguments hinge upon racism having any sort of ideological merit. It doesn't. If an argument has ideological merit (and if you can't make a distinction between "white people are the best bro!" and other types of argumentation, you're not thinking), it certainly does belong in debate. Anyone who thinks racism is good is wrong. Me saying "blatantly racist argumentation has no place in debate" does not mean that I think other arguments should be excluded.

 

 

 

=

 

"I'm not a racist, some of my best friends are black."

 

Ahh but if some suffering is inevitable, then what suffering is not? Suffering has occurred without even being previously perceived, and yet not all suffering has been prevented. If some suffering could be prevented, then how much? And if not all suffering is preventable, then what suffering can actually be prevented? Suffering does indeed seem to be prevalent in all times, regardless of any context, and yet some suffering does indeed seem to be prevented. In reality though, how much of that suffering was actually prevented? What form of suffering is preferable, in this regard? The one that is easily prevented, or the one prevented only to allow another, perhaps greater, suffering to be endured? Suffering is a fickle concept in this regard, because no matter how you define it, more can be done and you have not done enough. It seems that suffering in fact does not even exist! It is merely a radical form of epistemology that persists in defining what naturally occurs in our daily world. In this sense, suffering will never cease to exist until we stop defining it as such. This is the basis of nihilistic thinking. Such a thinking is hypocritical in that it is radical in and of itself; its endless pursuit of knowledge about suffering is as pervasive as the radical concept of suffering itself. The basic question remains, is it true? This is of course the most difficult question of all to answer, because if we no longer define suffering as suffering, does suffering not yet exist even though we refuse to recognize it? This proposes a paradoxical situation in which we must recognize the radical nature of suffering at the same time as we radically refuse to recognize that recognition. In this way, we have to ask ourselves whether it is actually worth it to even pose the question in the first place. If the question is answered with a paradox, is that actually an answer to the question or merely a restatement of the question itself?

 

thats deep

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Given that there's no response to nihilism other than to call it what it is, it's not really a strawman. It's you being a nihilist. I refuse to be a nihilist. Just because some suffering is inevitable doesn't mean all suffering is inevitable nor does it mean I should be placid in the face of suffering.

This is not my argument, don't be an ass.

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Man, you got devastated on the whole disabilities thing, Kersch.

 

I think that debate rounds should be as close to a blank slate as possible. I think that the role of the judge should be to determine who won the debate using the least intervention possible. This role serves to maximize a debater's control over whether or not they win the game, which incentivizes research and subsequent clash, and makes the debate more educational and fulfilling for the participants.

 

The only thing that judges can intervene upon, in this paradigm, is whether or not the most basic conditions for a debate occured. So, things that make it literally impossible for the other team to compete are okay to ignore: new 2ar arguments are structurally impossible to answer, since there is no other speech that the negative can give to rebut them; opponents that rely on assailing their opponents with hateful langauge (like racial or sexual slurs), much like an opponent who seeks to physically intimidate their opponent, structurally change the ability of a debater to compete on an even playing field; deliberate lying, like clipping cards, skew speech time (by allowing teams to lie and say they said more when they had not).

 

A caveat for why this doesn't mean a judge can intervene in theory/topicality debates. This litmus test of "literal" impossibility for a fair debate to occur contrats to most fairness claims in debate, which boil down to "you should've done something else to make it more reasonable for us to prepare to answer your argument and then engage with it within a round". Not being topical, for example, doesn't make it literally impossible to compete, since you can still make arguments against something you've prepared for or know exists or can figure out with equal speech time and without fear of discrimination, although it may make it harder (whether or not that increase in difficulty is outweighed by something else is subsequently up for debate).

 

With this, I think that the only thing the judge can intervene against re: racism is hateful and offensive language. "Racism good", "genocide good", "extinction good", "sexism good", and a slew of other arguments are not only offensive but imbecilic. As long as the discourse of these arguments remains civil and within the bounds of academic integrity (i.e. not using hateful language and/or attempting to demean the opponent), you should debate it. It's unpredictably arbitrary for a judge to say "this is my porn test for whether or not an argument is good enough, you lose fuckers". If you're not able to defeat the argument that "black people are biologically inferior to white people so discriminating against them puts them in their place" (which is not that logically distinguishable from "racism key to hege" - I think kersch's porn test here is arbitrary and for some reason treats racism, which is clearly a vile ideological system, as worse than all other vile ideologies). Likewise, if you can't figure out how to answer sexism good, the Holocaust was sweet, OSPEC, etc successfully, you're not getting my ballot.

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If you're not able to defeat the argument that "black people are biologically inferior to white people so discriminating against them puts them in their place" (which is not that logically distinguishable from "racism key to hege" - I think kersch's porn test here is arbitrary and for some reason treats racism, which is clearly a vile ideological system, as worse than all other vile ideologies). Likewise, if you can't figure out how to answer sexism good, the Holocaust was sweet, OSPEC, etc successfully, you're not getting my ballot.

 

To sound a contrary note, the words, "RFD: black people are biologically inferior to white people," are never going to appear on a ballot signed by me. If that makes me a bad judge, I can live with that.

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To sound a contrary note, the words, "RFD: black people are biologically inferior to white people," are never going to appear on a ballot signed by me. If that makes me a bad judge, I can live with that.

 

I doubt they'll ever appear on mine either. I guess I don't have a problem voting for offensive arguments, or arguments that are patently won, if the team honestly can't figure out how to respond to them successfully. To me, the idea that I should die so that "rocks can live" is offensive, but I'd vote on wipeout. The idea that I should die because life is net unhappy, but I'd vote on Schopenhauer. The idea that I should rejoice in the suffering of others is offensive, but I'd vote on (likely misinterpreted) strands of Nietzschean philosophy that support that argument. I can go on with other arguments that are run in debate that I find offensive on some level... Malthus/Rights Malthus, Patriarchy Good, any argument about terrorism being bad or hegemony being good, the way Kersch runs Lacan... Likewise, I'd find an argument that says black people are biologically inferior to white people both unpersuasive and offensive ... but if the team they're debating can't come up with the ability to say "nope, that's just wrong - no scientific basis, racial bias, and faulty scholarship, and it results in the undue suffering of people", they don't deserve my ballot.

 

You can't determine capital-T truth in a two-hour contest, and that's not the goal of the ballot, either. It's to determine who does the better debating, and I posit my role as a decisionmaker accordingly.

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If you're not able to defeat the argument that "black people are biologically inferior to white people so discriminating against them puts them in their place" (which is not that logically distinguishable from "racism key to hege"

 

Uh... no? The reasons people claim racism is key to heg probably aren't actually because they believe race inferiority is real--much like in the same way people that say "patriarchy k2 econ" don't actually have to believe that women are inferior to men, just that viewed objectively, other people engaging in patriarchal activity do things like buy porn that may contribute to economic growth. Heg would be an external disad to breaking down racism--not case d.

 

If anything, debate teaches people that there are costs and benefits to every action, be that reducing troop presence in Khorason or ending "vile ideologies". Calling someone a racist because they point that out is

 

A)Not going to win you the debate

 

B)Probably going to be counterproductive if you're actually trying to end racism and not alienate people who actually agree with the more fundamental issues of your case

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The RFD on my ballot would probably be (not in these words) -

 

Negative - stop running these arguments. You could have run [more strategic argument]. You'll get screwed over by some judges if you run this garbage. These arguments will make some people within debate hate you, because of differences in ideology, and that's a shame because some of those people are worth befriending.

 

Affirmative - you suck. If you're incapable of proving racism bad, you don't deserve to win.

 

I voted Neg because the Affirmative is terrible.

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The RFD on my ballot would probably be (not in these words) -

 

Negative - stop running these arguments. You could have run [more strategic argument]. You'll get screwed over by some judges if you run this garbage. These arguments will make some people within debate hate you, because of differences in ideology, and that's a shame because some of those people are worth befriending.

 

Affirmative - you suck. If you're incapable of proving racism bad, you don't deserve to win.

 

I voted Neg because the Affirmative is terrible.

 

I may love you.

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Uh... no? The reasons people claim racism is key to heg probably aren't actually because they believe race inferiority is real--much like in the same way people that say "patriarchy k2 econ" don't actually have to believe that women are inferior to men, just that viewed objectively, other people engaging in patriarchal activity do things like buy porn that may contribute to economic growth. Heg would be an external disad to breaking down racism--not case d.

 

If anything, debate teaches people that there are costs and benefits to every action, be that reducing troop presence in Khorason or ending "vile ideologies". Calling someone a racist because they point that out is

 

A)Not going to win you the debate

 

B)Probably going to be counterproductive if you're actually trying to end racism and not alienate people who actually agree with the more fundamental issues of your case

 

...so it's okay to vote for an argument that says that we should discriminate against or kill people so that the privilege of other people continues, but not okay to vote for an argument that says that certain races are biologically superior to other ones? Both seem patently false and patently offensive to me.

 

Asserting that there's a difference because one "objectively" can say racism k/t hege but not that white better than black is arbitrary. Eugenics can use "objective" science too... Northwestern pioneered that shit in the early 1900's. Warrantless argumentative devices like rhetorical questions such as "Uh... no?" or quoting something that I said in a derisive tone (twice, no less!) aren't all that persuasive to me.

 

I don't think you're getting my point. It's not that the argument that "black people worth less than white people" is as "good" or "bad" of an argument as "racism key to heg". It's that in debates, we should be willing to vote for patently false things to limit intervention, even if those false things are offensive. Even truths that people find offensive (white better than black, your death key to my life, whatever, there's lots of offensive shit besides "scientific" racism) should be evaluated in a debate. If you can't defeat the argument that "black people are biologically inferior" (which I think that anyone can defeat in literally two coherent sentences, max), you don't deserve to win that debate round. If your argument is so true (which in this case, it certainly is), don't whine about it. Beat it. That's one of the most valuable skilsl debate gives you... how to argue.

 

If you disagree with that point, I'd imagine it's because you want your ballot to make an ideological point that certain truths you find offensive to argue against (like black people being inferior to white people) shouldn't even be allowed within the acceptable academic discourse of debate. Some people (Tim Wise, Shanera Reid-Brinkley, etc) agree with this. Some other judges, like Shuman, do this with spark. Repko does this with ASPEC and the Consult CP. Whatever. Everyone has their own political proclivities. I think that debate is better when you are forced to beat any argument with counter-arguments, and I think that the most educational thing a judge can do for debaters is limit their intervention as much as possible (allowing predictable rfd's that debaters can improve their skills with and forcing debaters to do the arguing for themselves). I think that goal is more important than and facilitates any political ideology that determines an argument to be right or wrong (even if it's as blatantly obvious as racism good). Subsequently, that's how I judge. Probably because only K teams pref me, I haven't had to vote on an argument that atrocious or offensive, and hopefully I never judge a poor enough advocate of the struggle against racism that they can't defeat it (I can only imagine how abysmal of a round that must be). But I think there's value in forcing people to argue against a position.

 

If you disagree, don't prefer judges who limit their intervention as much as possible for yourselves and your teams, and don't judge that way.

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...so it's okay to vote for an argument that says that we should discriminate against or kill people so that the privilege of other people continues, but not okay to vote for an argument that says that certain races are biologically superior to other ones? Both seem patently false and patently offensive to me.

 

Asserting that there's a difference because one "objectively" can say racism k/t hege but not that white better than black is arbitrary. Eugenics can use "objective" science too... Northwestern pioneered that shit in the early 1900's. Warrantless argumentative devices like rhetorical questions such as "Uh... no?" or quoting something that I said in a derisive tone (twice, no less!) aren't all that persuasive to me.

 

I don't think you're getting my point. It's not that the argument that "black people worth less than white people" is as "good" or "bad" of an argument as "racism key to heg". It's that in debates, we should be willing to vote for patently false things to limit intervention, even if those false things are offensive. Even truths that people find offensive (white better than black, your death key to my life, whatever, there's lots of offensive shit besides "scientific" racism) should be evaluated in a debate. If you can't defeat the argument that "black people are biologically inferior" (which I think that anyone can defeat in literally two coherent sentences, max), you don't deserve to win that debate round. If your argument is so true (which in this case, it certainly is), don't whine about it. Beat it. That's one of the most valuable skilsl debate gives you... how to argue.

 

If you disagree with that point, I'd imagine it's because you want your ballot to make an ideological point that certain truths you find offensive to argue against (like black people being inferior to white people) shouldn't even be allowed within the acceptable academic discourse of debate. Some people (Tim Wise, Shanera Reid-Brinkley, etc) agree with this. Some other judges, like Shuman, do this with spark. Repko does this with ASPEC and the Consult CP. Whatever. Everyone has their own political proclivities. I think that debate is better when you are forced to beat any argument with counter-arguments, and I think that the most educational thing a judge can do for debaters is limit their intervention as much as possible (allowing predictable rfd's that debaters can improve their skills with and forcing debaters to do the arguing for themselves). I think that goal is more important than and facilitates any political ideology that determines an argument to be right or wrong (even if it's as blatantly obvious as racism good). Subsequently, that's how I judge. Probably because only K teams pref me, I haven't had to vote on an argument that atrocious or offensive, and hopefully I never judge a poor enough advocate of the struggle against racism that they can't defeat it (I can only imagine how abysmal of a round that must be). But I think there's value in forcing people to argue against a position.

 

If you disagree, don't prefer judges who limit their intervention as much as possible for yourselves and your teams, and don't judge that way.

 

How is this responsive at all? I don't disagree with the larger part of your personal position, just the part that I quoted--which, surprisingly(?), is why I quoted it. I'm not taking a stance on whether or not judges should intervene against racism, I'm just questioning the assertion that saying "racism k2 heg" is racist.

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How is this responsive at all? I don't disagree with the larger part of your personal position, just the part that I quoted--which, surprisingly(?), is why I quoted it. I'm not taking a stance on whether or not judges should intervene against racism, I'm just questioning the assertion that saying "racism k2 heg" is racist.

 

Well, your original post was relatively unclear. My only position was that it's poor judging to intervene in rounds because you think an argument is offensive. You shouldn't quote posts and go "ummm no?" if you agree with them. As I said, different people find different things offensive. I really don't care what you personally find offensive or inoffensive.

 

To answer your question though, if you can't figure out the racial biases and racism inherent in a position that "racism is key to hege"... well, I would make a joke about going to school and paying attention, but you go to Little Rock Central. Seriously, the argument that in order to effectively dominate other countries abroad, we need a racist caste system at home is pretty offensive. Finding a distinction between that and "no, no, we're not REALLY saying black people are inferior!" is trivial and seems to justify racist scholarship. I think the threshold for defeating that argument is nearly as low as the scientific racism argument.

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You can't determine capital-T truth in a two-hour contest, and that's not the goal of the ballot

 

No worries on that score since I’m very skeptical about any notion capital T-truth in the first place. More on this later…

 

Understand, too, that as far as I am concerned, we’re talking about a thought experiment. Not even in Vidor, TX, at the worst of the worst UIL prep tournaments, would someone bust out a KKK K with cards from the National Front and David Duke. Even if the debaters believed in a genetic inferiority of blacks vis-à-vis whites, even if they suspected that the judge believed the same, they would still be unlikely to articulate this is the way you presented.

 

But if they did, and I was the judge, they would lose.

 

I guess I don't have a problem voting for offensive arguments, or arguments that are patently won, if the team honestly can't figure out how to respond to them successfully.

 

Scenarios after one team runs a racial inferiority position:

 

1) The other team is obviously flustered and visibly upset, getting too emotional to articulate a coherent response.

2) The other team says, “This is offensive, and I refuse to dignify this with a response,†and proceeds to answer everything else.

3) The other team says, “You know what, we don’t have to put up with this crap,†and walks out.

 

In these three situations, that would be enough of a response for me.

 

I might think harder about:

 

4) The other team rolls with it, but is too stupid or incompetent to answer back the argument effectively.

 

But, even here, there are some things that I believe are not up for debate. Were a student of mine to turn in a research paper that made the same argument, for instance, even if it were brilliantly written and flawlessly put together, I would still give it an F. If we were sponsoring an academic conference about what to do about urban poverty, and one of the presenters made this argument, not only would it be absolutely unpersuasive, but everyone would walk out in protest. Some arguments, in other words, trump the format of the event.

 

[To determine the truth is] not the goal of the ballot, either. It's to determine who does the better debating

 

Part of making an argument is to understand your audience. A full throttle Lacan K delivered at top speed in front of community judging would be about the stupidest strategic choice one could make if the goal was to secure the ballot. I doubt anyone would have a lot of sympathy for a team that did this and later complained about getting screwed by “mommy judges.†On the contrary, they would deserve the loss, even if they “won†on the flow.

 

At its heart, debate is a persuasive activity, and though non-intervention is a laudable goal (and one that I broadly share), I decided long ago that I have different thresholds of persuasion for different issues. I came to this conclusion precisely because I could not come up with a better explanation to myself as to why, for example, I preferred the warrants in one card over another in a close round, or why high quality judges sometimes (often?) end up awarding ballots for reasons that were not, for the debaters themselves, the central focus of the round.

 

My problem with “tabula rasa†judging is not that I believe it “allows†arguments like “racism good†or “2+2=5,†but precisely because it pretends that there is a “capital-T truthâ€-- located not in the issues themselves, but in the meta-procedural issues involved in adjudicating the round itself. In other words, it presumes that the format of the event is inviolable-- that if one could develop enough technical skill, learn to bracket one’s own feelings to a perfect extent-- then the truth (which team was best) can be discovered without error.

 

I respectfully believe this to be nonsense, particularly if one witnesses rounds at the highest level of competition (and admittedly I’m not really thinking of high school rounds, even very good ones). Split decisions on panels in late rounds of the NDT, for example, are not a result of someone “screwing up†(usually), but of different people seeing the same arguments differently, of having different persuasion thresholds for different strategic choices that the teams are making. I find the notion of mimetic truth (in the Platonic sense) suspect on a theoretical level, but, more importantly in this context, semi-delusional as an ideal. People are people, and it's idle to pretend they're not, and even were people super-humanly rational, I have no idea why this would be desirable in an activity designed to be persuasive.

 

To return to the example at hand, I would vote against the team making a full-throated defense of racism because there is literally no evidence that could convince me of this argument’s merit, and I still make no apology for that.

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But, even here, there are some things that I believe are not up for debate. Were a student of mine to turn in a research paper that made the same argument, for instance, even if it were brilliantly written and flawlessly put together, I would still give it an F. If we were sponsoring an academic conference about what to do about urban poverty, and one of the presenters made this argument, not only would it be absolutely unpersuasive, but everyone would walk out in protest. Some arguments, in other words, trump the format of the event.

This is foolishness. Analogies aren't arguments, debate differs from these insofar as debate is a game where we make arguments that are rare elsewhere, that's the sole unique pedagogical benefit that it has. Just because something is done a certain way elsewhere doesn't mean it should be done that way in debate.

 

You haven't even proven that walking out is justified in the context of an academic conference.

 

Part of making an argument is to understand your audience. A full throttle Lacan K delivered at top speed in front of community judging would be about the stupidest strategic choice one could make if the goal was to secure the ballot. I doubt anyone would have a lot of sympathy for a team that did this and later complained about getting screwed by “mommy judges.†On the contrary, they would deserve the loss, even if they “won†on the flow.

This dodges the issue at hand. This thread isn't discussing which options are strategic for debaters to choose, it's discussing how judges should evaluate the round.

 

 

At its heart, debate is a persuasive activity, and though non-intervention is a laudable goal (and one that I broadly share), I decided long ago that I have different thresholds of persuasion for different issues. I came to this conclusion precisely because I could not come up with a better explanation to myself as to why, for example, I preferred the warrants in one card over another in a close round, or why high quality judges sometimes (often?) end up awarding ballots for reasons that were not, for the debaters themselves, the central focus of the round.

 

My problem with “tabula rasa†judging is not that I believe it “allows†arguments like “racism good†or “2+2=5,†but precisely because it pretends that there is a “capital-T truthâ€-- located not in the issues themselves, but in the meta-procedural issues involved in adjudicating the round itself. In other words, it presumes that the format of the event is inviolable-- that if one could develop enough technical skill, learn to bracket one’s own feelings to a perfect extent-- then the truth (which team was best) can be discovered without error.

 

I respectfully believe this to be nonsense, particularly if one witnesses rounds at the highest level of competition (and admittedly I’m not really thinking of high school rounds, even very good ones). Split decisions on panels in late rounds of the NDT, for example, are not a result of someone “screwing up†(usually), but of different people seeing the same arguments differently, of having different persuasion thresholds for different strategic choices that the teams are making. I find the notion of mimetic truth (in the Platonic sense) suspect on a theoretical level, but, more importantly in this context, semi-delusional as an ideal. People are people, and it's idle to pretend they're not, and even were people super-humanly rational, I have no idea why this would be desirable in an activity designed to be persuasive.

You use a lot of words to make one claim - that because judges evaluate rounds differently, bias is inevitable and that at its root all decisions are measures of how effectively the debaters persuaded judges. You use the analogy of an NDT round with a split decision to justify this. The problem can be found within this analogy - in an NDT round good judges don't take issue with an argument because of issues mentioned outside of the round - that's completely unpredictable. You have no reason that intervention is good in this context, just a reason that it's "inevitable" however there are clearly certain degrees of intervention which can be avoided. The fact that a judge has the option to vote on arguments which are objectively false makes this argument moot.

 

All of your arguments are not justifications in themselves, but rather are appeals to the way that things are commonly done under certain circumstances.

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Analogies aren't arguments

 

Aristotle might have a bone to pick with that statement (see Cameron Shelley's Multiple Analogies in Science and Philosophy), but more pertinently, I use analogies here as metonymous examples that share attributes with the idea I am engaging, e.g., in the example of mine you quote, to suggest that some types of argumentation trump the format of the activity in which they are situated. I did not "warrant" why I would give a student an F "proving" blacks are inferior to whites, for example, because I am using examples that are both illustrative and typical, and because I am not in a debate round. I presumed that most readers would agree that 1) the outcomes I described would probably happen, and 2) they are probably desirable outcomes. It's no different than saying, in round, that T is a voter for "education and fairness"-- itself not a warrant, but shorthand for, "I'll provide warrants along those lines later if you attack this," because there is a de facto presumption that most debaters and judges default to the idea that T as a voter. If you believe my examples to be flawed, feel free to attack them.

 

that's the sole unique pedagogical benefit that it has

 

I disagree. You can discuss controversial positions or play devil's advocate in a variety of situations. The purpose of debate involves argumentation: learning how to argue, learning how to articulate arguments persuasively, and learning how respond to other arguments in a like manner. I do not believe debate has a "unique" benefit (in the sense one would use that term in a round).

 

Just because something is done a certain way elsewhere doesn't mean it should be done that way in debate.

 

Did I ever claim it was? All analogies are imperfect, but notice the essential similarity between my two examples and debate: we're talking about activities (self-directed research and academic conferences) that have a structured format and a strong presumption for academic freedom of expression. Analogy here, as elsewhere, is nothing more than shorthand for a deduction: if a /b are like c, then the outcomes for both should be similar; a/b is like c; therefore, the outcomes for both should be similar.

 

This thread isn't discussing which options are strategic for debaters to choose, it's discussing how judges should evaluate the round.

 

This isn't dodging anything at all. In fact, it's central to my claim: debate is argument; argument is persuasion; persuasion involves an audience; that audience will have different thresholds for persuasion for different arguments or argumentative strategies. Adapting to your critic is a key part of this, and the failure to do so results in undesirable outcomes. The "mommy judge" example illustrates what lay judges understand that tabula rasa judges pretend not to, viz. it all comes down to, "Do I buy this argument or not." I contend the lay judge is more intellectually honest with his or her self.

 

because judges evaluate rounds differently, bias is inevitable and that at its root all decisions are measures of how effectively the debaters persuaded judges

 

Yep.

 

The problem can be found within this analogy - in an NDT round good judges don't take issue with an argument because of issues mentioned outside of the round - that's completely unpredictable. You have no reason that intervention is good in this context, just a reason that it's "inevitable" however there are clearly certain degrees of intervention which can be avoided.

 

Nope. If I’m right, judges are ALWAYS biased and ALWAYS base decisions on issues outside of the round. Super-cool Judge A looks at card X and decides the warrant is superior to card Y. Super-cool Judge B looks at the same two cards and comes to the opposite conclusion, How do you explain this?

 

I would suggest that experience outside the round-- including but not limited to: outside education, experience running the same or similar arguments, and good old predisposition to some arguments-- is the only reasonable explanation. You pretend there is no Truth to be found in the content of arguments while simultaneously assuming there is Truth to be found in the procedures of adjudication. I contend that this “objectivity†is a fiction, that it is no different than admitting that there are some arguments I find more persuasive than others.

 

If I’m right, it does not make much sense to talk about judges with good or bad paradigms; rather it is more productive to talk of good or bad judges (recognizing that these will never be stable criteria).

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I presumed

There's your problem.

 

If you believe my examples to be flawed, feel free to attack them.

No. You don't get it. Just because you can find an analogous situation doesn't mean that it's right.

 

For this to serve as proof, you need to prove that those outcomes are desirable within their initial context, and then prove that those reasons apply equally to policy debate.

 

The burden of proof is on you to make an example into an argument.

 

I disagree. You can discuss controversial positions or play devil's advocate in a variety of situations. The purpose of debate involves argumentation: learning how to argue, learning how to articulate arguments persuasively, and learning how respond to other arguments in a like manner. I do not believe debate has a "unique" benefit (in the sense one would use that term in a round).

It's unique. There are zero other competitive forums that allow us to debate crazy things. Even if other forums exist, they aren't as well populated as debate, and many students might not have access to them.

 

More is better. If debate allows us to have another arena for the discussion of nonmainstream arguments, that is good whether or not other arenas exist.

 

Did I ever claim it was? All analogies are imperfect, but notice the essential similarity between my two examples and debate: we're talking about activities (self-directed research and academic conferences) that have a structured format and a strong presumption for academic freedom of expression. Analogy here, as elsewhere, is nothing more than shorthand for a deduction: if a /b are like c, then the outcomes for both should be similar; a/b is like c; therefore, the outcomes for both should be similar.

No. This is a fallacy. A tiger is like a cat, that does not mean they should both be treated the same way.

 

You have never proven that walking out of the initial academic conference is good.

 

This isn't dodging anything at all. In fact, it's central to my claim: debate is argument; argument is persuasion; persuasion involves an audience; that audience will have different thresholds for persuasion for different arguments or argumentative strategies. Adapting to your critic is a key part of this, and the failure to do so results in undesirable outcomes. The "mommy judge" example illustrates what lay judges understand that tabula rasa judges pretend not to, viz. it all comes down to, "Do I buy this argument or not." I contend the lay judge is more intellectually honest with his or her self.

The question is not whether debaters should adapt to judge intervention, but whether judge intervention should be minimized.

 

There are degrees of intervention. Your argument is that judges are forced to weigh the relative strength of warrants which justifies judges evaluating arguments that are not made within the round. This is bad because it makes it impossible for certain arguments to win in front of certain judges.

 

By legitimizing judge intervention, you make it much easier for biased judges to vote against teams that they dislike for personal reasons. Judge intervention turns debate into a measure of local popularity as opposed to a reasonably objective process wherein the arguments and decisions made in round can be evaluated by third parties to determine whether or not the process was fair.

 

There's no impact to intellectual honesty. I don't even know what you think that means.

 

Yep.

The way you quoted this was dishonest insofar as it attempted to make it look like I was defending your claims, instead of stating them.

 

I was not defending that claim, but refuting it.

 

If you didn't mean to be dishonest, too bad. You still did it, and I needed to address it in order to prevent confusion.

 

Nope. If I’m right, judges are ALWAYS biased and ALWAYS base decisions on issues outside of the round. Super-cool Judge A looks at card X and decides the warrant is superior to card Y. Super-cool Judge B looks at the same two cards and comes to the opposite conclusion, How do you explain this?

While bias is inevitable, it can be minimized. The minimization of bias is desirable because it forces debaters to have stronger justifications for 'common sense' positions. This increases education. This minimization also allows for more refutations of status quo ideologies. Therefore, judge intervention would stifle innovation within the debate sphere.

 

I would suggest that experience outside the round-- including but not limited to: outside education, experience running the same or similar arguments, and good old predisposition to some arguments-- is the only reasonable explanation. You pretend there is no Truth to be found in the content of arguments while simultaneously assuming there is Truth to be found in the procedures of adjudication. I contend that this “objectivity†is a fiction, that it is no different than admitting that there are some arguments I find more persuasive than others.

Bias doesn't preclude degrees of objectivity in judging the arguments made in round. It can and should be maximized. There is a clear difference between weighing the warrants given in round and using warrants which are external to the round.

 

While I may be biased in favor of the belief that Western knowledge is good, that doesn't mean that the laws of physics are lies.

 

If I’m right, it does not make much sense to talk about judges with good or bad paradigms; rather it is more productive to talk of good or bad judges (recognizing that these will never be stable criteria).

wat?

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Well, your original post was relatively unclear. My only position was that it's poor judging to intervene in rounds because you think an argument is offensive. You shouldn't quote posts and go "ummm no?" if you agree with them. As I said, different people find different things offensive. I really don't care what you personally find offensive or inoffensive.

 

To answer your question though, if you can't figure out the racial biases and racism inherent in a position that "racism is key to hege"... well, I would make a joke about going to school and paying attention, but you go to Little Rock Central. Seriously, the argument that in order to effectively dominate other countries abroad, we need a racist caste system at home is pretty offensive. Finding a distinction between that and "no, no, we're not REALLY saying black people are inferior!" is trivial and seems to justify racist scholarship. I think the threshold for defeating that argument is nearly as low as the scientific racism argument.

 

congrats on paying attention during APUSH

 

I didn't quote the whole post--in case you didn't notice the first time when I bolded the text I was questioning, not to mention the fact that I didn't sound a peep on capital-T truth or biology or whatnot.

 

You just keep calling the distinction "trivial" or "offensive" or "shoddy scholarship", I think some actual examples or pieces of ev that people have read would be nice to prevent this discussion from getting too tautological.

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There's your problem… If you didn't mean to be dishonest, too bad.

 

Dude, chill out, and recognize this exchange for it is. I’m slumming here because I don’t feel like grading papers. There’s no ballot, nothing at stake, and I’m not even terribly interested in convincing you that I’m right. If you want to score points at the expense of someone who has been judging debate rounds since before you were born, mission accomplished; I just positive repped your responses to me. Feel free to neg rep mine so your triumph will be complete.

 

The “Yep,†was merely an acknowledgement that you seemed to understand what I was articulating while the, “Nope,†was meant to indicate I do not believe you to have grasped the implications.

 

Just because you can find an analogous situation doesn't mean that it's right.

 

For this to serve as proof, you need to prove that those outcomes are desirable within their initial context, and then prove that those reasons apply equally to policy debate.

 

The burden of proof is on you to make an example into an argument.

 

I already gave the syllogism. You complain that doesn’t constitute an argument, but you still haven’t shown why the two hypotheticals I outlined were not analogous. I would say the burden of proof is on you to make an argument.

 

The closest you come is, “You have never proven that walking out of the initial academic conference is good,†but that just reiterates my initial problem with your refutation, i.e., that you haven’t stated why that would be an undesirable outcome, so it’s difficult for me to understand why you believe the analogy to be flawed (“A tiger is like a cat, that does not mean they should both be treated the same wayâ€). The major premise of my conditional syllogism (“if a /b are like c, then the outcomes for both should be similarâ€) remains unrefuted in any meaningful way.

 

But, since you were so sweet about it, here goes: the purpose of our hypothetical urban poverty conference is to examine the scope of and possible solutions to urban poverty, including, no doubt, the phenomenon of generational minority poverty. The minute someone attempts to hijack this forum and turn it into a klan rally, the well has been poisoned, and later speakers would either feel obliged to refute a position that should not have to be refuted or feel as if they are, on some level, complicit in the argument by either ignoring it or pretending that it an idea worth serious scrutiny (i.e., that deserves the dignity of a response).

 

It's unique. There are zero other competitive forums that allow us to debate crazy things. Even if other forums exist, they aren't as well populated as debate, and many students might not have access to them.

 

More is better. If debate allows us to have another arena for the discussion of nonmainstream arguments, that is good whether or not other arenas exist.

 

The competitive aspect may be unique, but this seems to feed my position that content is largely irrelevant, that it is the framework for the activity that is important. As such, I still see no uniqueness in articulating nonmainstream arguments. One can do the latter in any number of ways.

 

The question is not whether debaters should adapt to judge intervention, but whether judge intervention should be minimized.

 

Assuming intervention is bad. I don’t necessarily believe this to be the case. I do think it is inevitable. Moreover, I believe attempts to pretend it does not exist are disingenuous and/or delusional.

 

There are degrees of intervention. Your argument is that judges are forced to weigh the relative strength of warrants which justifies judges evaluating arguments that are not made within the round. This is bad because it makes it impossible for certain arguments to win in front of certain judges.

 

Now you’re catching on. Certain arguments are impossible to win in front of certain judges. You’ll never win “blacks are inferior to whites†with me. Some judges do not listen seriously to critical arguments. Many, many judges have extreme aff biases in regards to topicality.

 

Much more common among quality judging, however, is for one type of argument to be more persuasive than another, depending on a judge’s experiences and predilections. I just wish we could be more honest about it instead of hearing a judge say, “Run what you like; I’m cool with everything,†rather than the more helpful, “Run what you like, but I’m extremely suspicious of x, y, and z, and even though I’ll flow anything, I haven’t actually voted for x, y, and z in a number of years, if ever.â€

 

By legitimizing judge intervention, you make it much easier for biased judges to vote against teams that they dislike for personal reasons. Judge intervention turns debate into a measure of local popularity as opposed to a reasonably objective process wherein the arguments and decisions made in round can be evaluated by third parties to determine whether or not the process was fair.

 

1) All judges are biased. Some are just more honest about it than others. 2) Ballots rewarded because of personal attributes are not what I’m talking about. That is not acting with good will. 3) The adjudication process is not objective. If it were, quality judging would always reach the same conclusions. It does not.

 

There's no impact to intellectual honesty. I don't even know what you think that means.

 

I can give you a very concrete example that might clarify. If you ask me, “How do you feel about politics disads,†I could reply, “The arguments are made by the debaters; I just evaluate the flows,†but a much more helpful response would be, “I’m pretty old school on this issue. My default position is that political capital links blur the should/would fiat distinction, and even though I’ll vote for such links (and have many times in the past), if the aff makes a theoretical objection, I will take it very seriously, even if it’s not the main thrust of their counter attack.â€

 

See: I recognize my bias, and I’m not afraid to tell you I’m biased, so you can make an informed decision. Even if I said, “I will never vote for a politics disad, no matter what,†[not true incidentally] wouldn’t that be something nice to know (even if you found my position irritating), rather than me pretending to myself that I was cool with anything and (falsely) representing myself this way to you?

 

The minimization of bias is desirable because it forces debaters to have stronger justifications for 'common sense' positions. This increases education. This minimization also allows for more refutations of status quo ideologies. Therefore, judge intervention would stifle innovation within the debate sphere.

 

I would rather judges be upfront about what irritates them, rather than pretend to be objective; because even when they claim to be doing this, it’s not happening. New is always scary, even if you pretend it’s not.

 

To give an example: I’m old enough to remember what it was like to run critical arguments when they were brand, spanking new-- in front of college judges who theoretically were down for anything-- only to have them dismissed almost out of hand by even the cheesiest “wrong forum†argument. The response was to drop language like “Fiat doesn’t exist,†from the shell because it made the arguments seem more radical, and to start doing things like offering alternatives (sneaking in uniqueness through the back door and making it much more like a conventional debate argument). The pioneers and early adopters recognized, in other words, that there were biases against this species of argument and, through repletion and adaptation, worked very hard indeed to make it more persuasive to the community at large.

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OK. I don't know how to organize my responses, so I'm starting over. Feel free to reference anything that I miss.

 

The tone of my earlier posts was bad and unintentional, sorry about that.

 

On the analogy: I don't understand how this translates into a reason that racist arguments should be rejected by the judge. Please explain what "wells" are poisoned within the context of switch side debate, and why this outweighs the benefits of nonintervention. Why is it the role of the judge to deal with this poison?

My position:

I think that racist arguments shouldn't be automatically rejected by the judge because I think judge intervention should be minimized.

 

You never address one of my main arguments: there are different degrees of intervention. While the judging process is not and will never be 100% infallible, certain outcomes are more accurate than others and judges should attempt to maximize the accuracy of their decision. While some degree of intervention is inevitable because judges will be forced to weigh relative warrants, that does not deny that in some situations there are clear winners. If team 1 gives no warrants and team 2 gives one, team 2's claim is always objectively better.

 

Your version of intervention is different than bias because it applies warrants which are not given within the round in order to adjudicate claims, instead of applying warrants which weren't in the round in order to weigh the relative strength of warrants which were given in round. The crucial difference is that one necessarily takes into account the arguments made by the debaters, and the other does not.

 

When intervention is minimized, judges are less able to appeal to external sources in order to justify poor decisions. When judges can easily appeal to external sources debate rounds risk descending into a popularity contest or an outlet for local politics instead of a competitive educational activity. This risk also applies to argument content: judges have a much easier time rejecting innovative arguments if they can appeal to external sources in their RFD. These innovative arguments are also much more likely to be rejected out of hand because most judges will be reading mainstream articles that contradict innovative ones, consequently debate will stagnate.

 

There is no mechanism for debaters to know what materials judges are reading or what arguments judges may have heard refutations of, and consequently this judging framework makes the outcome of all rounds extremely unpredictable. It is impossible for a debater to refute arguments that have never been referenced and that the debater may never have heard of, which also makes intervention very unfair.

 

I agree that judges should disclose their biases, I just also think that judges should attempt to minimize the effect their biases have on the round.

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I don't understand how this translates into a reason that racist arguments should be rejected by the judge. Please explain what "wells" are poisoned within the context of switch side debate, and why this outweighs the benefits of nonintervention. Why is it the role of the judge to deal with this poison?

 

Ah, an argument: you claim it’s a poor analogy.

 

Yes, it’s not exact (insofar as a conference does not have the element of adjudication by external authority); the brilliantly written racist research paper to which I give an F is probably a much better fit, but I still believe it exact enough to illustrate what I’m talking about.

 

The research paper and the academic conference both have strong presumptions for a free exchange of ideas, where nothing is theoretically out of bounds, and yet, there are some ideas which seem so antithetical to the framework of the circumstance of their expression that they suggest one has the right to abandon the typical procedures one would normally follow.

 

I do not, claim, incidentally, that one has to do this-- merely that one should have the right. Initially, I was trying to come up with analogues to my argument earlier when I offered up this:

 

Scenarios after one team runs a racial inferiority position:

 

1) The other team is obviously flustered and visibly upset, getting too emotional to articulate a coherent response.

2) The other team says, “This is offensive, and I refuse to dignify this with a response,†and proceeds to answer everything else.

3) The other team says, “You know what, we don’t have to put up with this crap,†and walks out.

 

I have no idea why I should be forced to award the ballot to the offending team under these circumstances, and if I am being honest with myself, I also would not award a ballot even in the event of this:

 

4) The other team rolls with it, but is too stupid or incompetent to answer back the argument effectively.

 

because, to me, there is no evidence that could overcome my presumption against the argument that one race is superior to another, and I can either accept this and intervene, or pretend to be objective and invent a reason on the flow where none exists. What I refuse to do, in any case, is intellectually endorse a full-throated defense of racism. Like the poverty conference, for me, the advocacy of certain ideas have made the normal procedures suspect. Were I to have attended such a meeting, and, describing it later to a colleague, have to answer the charge that, “I can’t believe you sat and listened to that crap,†I would have no answer (because to leave in disgust is what should have happened in those circumstances).

 

What does this have to do with debate rounds 99.99% of the time? Absolutely nothing. I said from the onset, I consider this nothing more than a thought experiment since I cannot imagine a scenario whereby it would actually occur (like I cannot imagine a student thinking a paper proving blacks inferior to whites would be school appropriate or the sort of thing that I would read for more than half a page).

 

I think judge intervention should be minimized.

 

I disagree, but understand when I say “intervention,†I am probably using the word differently than you’re imagining. Intervention is such a loaded term that perhaps such misunderstandings are inevitable.

 

I believe that all claims to objectivity are suspect and most likely a reification of a socially constructed “truth†that privileges one point of view over another. I can pretend to have an open mind about an issue, but I really don’t (not in any meaningful sense), and every time I “buy†an argument or a link story or one warrant over another, I am making a series of micro-interventions all over the flow. You know: Nietzsche's “mobile army of metaphors†and all of that.

 

My framework, then, for avoiding nihilism essentially follows Rorty: 1) I have convictions and beliefs. 2) I recognize that justification for these convictions and beliefs will inevitably be circular because there is no god’s-eye-view by which to definitively adjudicate competing claims. 3) Therefore, I must assume an ironic position with regards to these convictions and beliefs, not because I lack the courage to defend them, but because all claims are, in this view, necessarily provisional.

 

In practice, this means that I view all truth claims as a species of argument, and my threshold for persuasion for certain ideas is higher than others (T is a voter? Probably. Blacks are inferior to whites? Never.).

 

You never address one of my main arguments: there are different degrees of intervention. While the judging process is not and will never be 100% infallible, certain outcomes are more accurate than others and judges should attempt to maximize the accuracy of their decision. While some degree of intervention is inevitable because judges will be forced to weigh relative warrants, that does not deny that in some situations there are clear winners. If team 1 gives no warrants and team 2 gives one, team 2's claim is always objectively better.

 

Aside from language such as “accurate†and “objectively,†I suspect in practice we’re not as far apart as might be imagined. I just refuse to see intervention as necessarily bad, that one can assign a truth-value to a statement beyond the application of its use (Rorty again). In this, I just think I am more honest than your typical judge. I flow everything, including warrants; make every attempt to evaluate positions based on arguments in the round; and attempt to reach a reasoned, thoughtful position that synthesizes the round as I interpreted it. The difference is I have absolutely zero faith in the procedure of adjudication except in the very narrow sense that, on balance, one team provisionally convinced me that something was or was not desirable, a process reached by a series of small decisions I made over the course of an hour and a half-- all of which, if one were to examine each in isolation, probably owe as much to my own idiosyncrasies as to the skill of the individual debaters.

 

I am quite willing to entertain the notion, incidentally, that specific interventions are more or less desirable, but where we part ways is your willingness to extrapolate a general rule, as I believe there is no coherent basis by which to make such a leap.

 

If all of this seems to form a hermeneutic circle that splits all kinds of hairs and is largely irrelevant to the normal functionings of a debate round: guilty as charged.

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If you "flow everything, including warrants; make every attempt to evaluate positions based on arguments in the round; and attempt to reach a reasoned, thoughtful position that synthesizes the round as I interpreted it" then I have zero problem with the way you're judging.

 

I'm confused as to how this would always result in a nonracist decision because I think there are probably some real (if flawed) arguments on why racism is good, but whatever. It's not really worth disputing if you still do all of the above things.

 

I'm probably not skilled enough to refute the ideologies that underlie your paradigm, even though I disagree with them.

 

Good night.

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I haven't read every post in this thread so I apologize if someone has already posted this, but I think Calum Matheson's judge philosophy puts it well:

 

Do as thou will shall be the whole of the law. I don’t care about the content of your arguments. All styles of debate can be done well or done poorly. Very little offends me. If you can’t beat the argument that genocide is good or that rocks are people, or that rock genocide is good even though they’re people, then you are a terrible advocate of your cause and you should lose. Don’t cry about stuff; “it makes me sad†is not a compelling impact. If it’s so wrong and you’re so right, then it should be easy for you to win. Is that really too high a bar? If so, then I have a 27 here for you. Do you like it? I made it myself. Just for you.

 

I think that the bar for answering the argument that racism is good is obviously very low and if you can't do that, you should lose. That's not some moral condoning of racism, that's just the judge saying, you need to become more persuasive in arguing against racism because in the real world, you can't just tell racists to stop being racist, you might have to use some logos to defeat their arguments.

 

I feel like, if a team is rolling with the "racism good" arg throughout a tournament, sure, they will beat that one bad team, but they'll lose to every other decent team and go 1-6. That means they're still disincentivized to say racism good.

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Is that really too high a bar? If so, then I have a 27 here for you. Do you like it? I made it myself. Just for you.

Is speaker-point inflation in his circuit so horrible now that a 27 is considered really bad?? What is the world coming to?

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Is speaker-point inflation in his circuit so horrible now that a 27 is considered really bad?? What is the world coming to?

 

I guess that makes me hated? I am not afraid to gives zeros.

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