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Debate Should Add An 'in The Interest Of Humanity' Value Parameter To Fix Debate's Insulation From The Real World

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i'm torn in some ways. I'm a highly philosophical individual so the ability to study the lit and format certain concepts and idealism into an argument to be discussed by other knowledgable people is one of the most appealing aspects of debate to me. At the same time however, the resulting affects that these arguments have on debate is degrading from the outside looking in. Just think how long it takes to teach novices the most basic principles of stock-issue policy deabte....it takes four times that long to teach them the basic principles in debating and understanding the K. Along with the fact that evidence quality is only getting worse and worse, i understand and somewhat agree that the IL and Impact debates are becoming crap in regards to certain arguments. the illogical and unprompted escalation of certain scenarios are just unjustifiable and almost comical at times. All that said, there is an accepted culture and pattern of sorts that is inherit to debate right now. the format of policy debate in 2013 is unique in that it allows you to either accept it and debate under its socially accepted (in terms of active debaters) norms, or you can take a 'kritikal' stand and revolt against its flawed practices and express your individualistic opinions in relation to its flaws or mispractices. There is a freedon intrinsic to this activity that doesn't exist in any other activity. 

 

I remember my first day of practice for policy debate. "What are the rules for debate?" --- "There are none."

The ability to say what we feel, believe, deduce, etc. allows us to discuss with other people that actually give a crap that problems that may exist within our activity. I dont think that there needs to be an overhaul of the 1940's "Resolved" format at this point. I am DEFINITELY NOT saying that policy debat doesn't have massive problems, but as far as the current format of debate, i think it offers an 'equal' oppurtunity to all idealisms, strategies, and mindsets. the liberatory open-ended nature of each debate round allows for the constructive discourse of change. We don't need to overhaul the format to funnel debate into a more 'real-world' argumentative style simply because we have the ability to defend and debate such an understanding as it currently stands. 

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This is one of the reasons I never actually joined debate. Most policy debater seem to have no genuine concern over the issues raised, and are just intellectual prostitutes.

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Yeah, I'll echo Chaos' point; if "interest" is the standard, then there is no non-arbitrary reason why nonhuman animal interests are not relevant. Without the quadruple negative, nonhuman animal interests have as much of a place in debate as human animal interest. 

 

Perhaps the standard would be public intellectualism instead? A framing of issues in terms cognizable to the public and most policy wonks?

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The future world created by the following mandate would advance humanity:

The US federal government should increase investment in nuclear power. 

 

 

Interesting idea.  The premise might even make for a decent classroom debate of if we should change the framework or not (ideally that debate would be something like 3/3/90 sec/90 sec.)  Or it could just be a discussion.

 

Current model allows this to be a focus--but include others (ie the current model subsumes)

 

Also, it does seem to mute the issue of rights or ethics.

 

In the real world, we have to compare values and worldviews.  The current model allows for this rather than having one prescribed.

Better analysis of values, better analysis of assumptions and interactivity of belief systems.

 

Also, I don't think your resolution functionally changes anything....it really just gives us more to disagree about.

1) new burdens entailed by a new format

2) what "humanity" means  

 

Because you could still:

1) K the res....which would get you out of those constraints

2) PIC out of the first part of the resolution 

 

Also, humanity isn't really how Congress deals.  They seem to be constituent & US based.  Remember we do give to foreign nations, but thats only 1% of the overall budget.  We do try for win/win solutions, but at the end of the day, Congress votes to make constituents happy and money from donators coming in the door....to fuel their next campaign.

 

1) The "nerd" debates serve a purpose of balancing out resolutions.  They give the negative a chance against squirrel affs & affs that are unpredictable.  The idea of a backfile debate creates the possibility of a playbook.....even when small or obscure affs are run.

2) Ks would be the aff would still have to defend the choice.

3) FX based interpretation

4) Topicality issues over "humanity" or what portion of humanity had to be helped (if they read a DA is that game over for the aff, because obviously they hurt someone too).

 

At a minimum, this shift would create more of a focus on topicality as an issue.....I tend to think that is a negative one.  I'd rather have "nerd" debates (or backfile debates) than topicality over what humanity is in the resolution.  

You'd even have the challenge of explaining how your impact analysis....then relates to humanity.  That would shift focus from impact debates.  The current model puts debaters in the drivers seat....this model would shift it toward knowing what human good or common good is--I'm not sure those debates are super interesting.

 

 

Debaters need to have "nerd" debates...so they understand the arguments and assumptions behind the status quo.  (ie the reasons for why things are the way they are).

 

If you could create the type of change you are talking about (goal) without also

1) denying important debate opportunities

2) re-focusing unnecessarily on topicality

 

* "Nerd" debates was used by the original author to refer to counter-intuitive backfile check debates.

** As a side note: you would have to add the words "on balance" to make this a fair resolution.  Otherwise, affs which didn't directly encourage the future of everyone would be considered--insufficient and non-topical.  Which brings up another issue....its an FX based interp.

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This is one of the reasons I never actually joined debate. Most policy debater seem to have no genuine concern over the issues raised, and are just intellectual prostitutes.

You didn't join because others seemed uncommitted to their arguments? Even if most people don't really care about whatever argument they raise (and this is usually not very accurate I think), why'd that deter you from arguing about things you wanted to?

 

I mean yeah I hate when our 1NC has like a T violation,a couple disads, and a K, but just because I don't dedicate my whole life to leaking underground storage tank activism or highway trust fund politics doesn't mean that they're not worth debating... And typically I have at least an intellectual interest in whatever K I'm running so there's always that ha. That's just me though - but I can't imagine someone dedicating so much time to debate and not running an aff or neg arguments that they don't really have an interest in. That sounds so mundane.

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Oh and related to the OP: I agree with Snarf and Chaos/Xlii. I don't understand why it's necessary to compare the "debate world" to the "real world" ... that seems to regard debate and debaters as severed from worldly education and activism and I think most debaters - especially the kritikal ones that you seem to think can't "fairly" weigh their arguments against policy arguments - would disagree with this notion. Debate's pretty real even if it's an insular sphere of academia.

 

Also on your K paragraph you discuss a problem, that kritiks don't think about the world after the kritik - but I think that's the point of "reject" alternatives. It's implicit that they think the world would be better without (gendered language / securitized representations / racism etc) - but just rephrasing it into your "the Future World would be glorious without X" is not very functionally different than what happens now... Nor could it be impossible to debate currently. I don't think there's anything in the "rules" of debate (hah) that prohibit someone from arguing  in your style, and I don't think that changing topics from "resolved" would spur that change. Probably most people would scratch their heads and say either "why?" or "so what?" Which leads me to:

 

If you're trying to get rid of arguments that you think are dumb - say, Wipeout or Death Good - then there's an easier solution; win them. Nobody good at debate should lose to "death isn't real" against their policy aff. And if you're wanting to put an anthropocentric focus on debate...then that's where the anthro K and process-metaphysics arguments come in, except directly against the resolution. You can't cut out the arguments you like by changing how the topic is worded; people would just do anthro K affs that critique all of debate now instead - and it sounds like you'd not like that very much.

 

In other words - just win, it shouldn't be that hard if you really think that these arguments are so dumb. I think it's a test of an intelligent person to be able to point out why some arguments aren't intelligent or worth evaluation, and that's where the substance of the debate comes in. And if you want to make arguments about why "real-world" arguments are better and "illogical" disads shouldn't be evaluated - do that! It's called "politics of fear" and "low risk impacts should be weighed at zero" and "real world prep best" and "nuclear war will never happen!" Make theory arguments about it if you want. I personally don't think it'll be effective, but it's what you're shooting for.

 

Like nathan said: we could just PIC out of the beginning of the resolution every time, because it's super-great ground for a criticism.

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Here are 2....well really 3 arguments that should be pointed out (in addition to my post above):

 

1) Our Constitution has a number of values--particularly the preamble.  These values see there way into Congressional (aka real world debates) in a number of ways:

a) General welfare/Utility

b] Rights

c) Community/Union

d) Fairness/Justice

e) others...

This kills those other important real world debates--or slices them off at the knees.

 

2) This kills a ton of literature that has other impacts (ie not humanity).  Kills education, research, and debate.

Sure its possible those could be revived in other ways....but in a way that warps how it would be debated in the real world.

 

The Alternative:

If you wanted to outlaw backfile checks you could just outlaw backfile checks---it would be best to specify the arguments you found objectionable obviously--rather than calling them a backfile check.

 

Unfortunately, this would have at least two opportunity costs:

1. We don't learn both sides of those issues

2. More aff win skew--which is actually important given the need & desire for fairness in the activity.

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I remember my first day of practice for policy debate. "What are the rules for debate?" --- "There are none."

The ability to say what we feel, believe, deduce, etc. allows us to discuss with other people that actually give a crap that problems that may exist within our activity. I dont think that there needs to be an overhaul of the 1940's "Resolved" format at this point. I am DEFINITELY NOT saying that policy debat doesn't have massive problems, but as far as the current format of debate, i think it offers an 'equal' oppurtunity to all idealisms, strategies, and mindsets. the liberatory open-ended nature of each debate round allows for the constructive discourse of change

I was going to write a response, but i feel like this would be it

 

 

In other words - just win, it shouldn't be that hard if you really think that these arguments are so dumb. I think it's a test of an intelligent person to be able to point out why some arguments aren't intelligent or worth evaluation, and that's where the substance of the debate comes in. And if you want to make arguments about why "real-world" arguments are better and "illogical" disads shouldn't be evaluated - do that! It's called "politics of fear" and "low risk impacts should be weighed at zero" and "real world prep best" and "nuclear war will never happen!" Make theory arguments about it if you want. I personally don't think it'll be effective, but it's what you're shooting for.

 

Exactly, if the IL into econ decline is terrible, fucking point it out that that's not what bearden meant.

 

 

 

This would get rid of impacts and crappy debate-nerd arguments 

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem

 

 

Edit: To build a little bit on what dancon said, i believe the current largely ruleless style of debate is self-correcting.  If an arg. is ridiculous, or is cheap, or whatnot, their is theory/framework/impact analysis to answer that.  The fact that we have no rules to prevent "nerd" arguements means that i can make up any rule on the spot as long as i have standards for it.  That solves your problems without constricting intellectual thought.  Read the ev they flash you, and makes them pay for powertagging or ridiculous args. 

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"I remember my first day of practice for policy debate. "What are the rules for debate?" --- "There are none."

 You're confused. Debate as an activity has a lot of rules and lines you cannot cross. The freedom of argumentation is a different issue, and my reform would only lead to better and more logically coherent arguments -- I don't advocate argument censorship, I just advocate the arguments need to be logically salient to a specified value system.

 

 

 

In the real world, we have to compare values and worldviews.  The current model allows for this rather than having one prescribed.

Better analysis of values, better analysis of assumptions and interactivity of belief systems.

 

Exactly my point, making a comparison between options is impossible outside of a value perspective. How do you compare the value-perspective that the judge should evaluate from between humanity's interest or the dolphin's interest or the aliens or the universe observing itself. You cannot compare which perspective to look debate at if you do not already have some perspective (from which to compare the best perspective). "Debate should concern with human interest" vs "Debates should be concerned with advancing non-human Earth species"... we cannot argue over this if we don't have a implicit value perspective already existing from which to make a decision between these two options. We can't truly see it outside the value parameters of the human brain, at best we speculate. We can't step outside ourselves. 

 

 

As for the other objections, I have not thought things out perfectly, it is just a start. Maybe we could say Fiat instead of Resolved. The debate handbook would define Fiat just like topicality of time constraints. I think the 1940s Resolved parameter limited debates to a public policy style hearing, where crazy arguments outside of the values of that audience would get laughed at. Obviously debate has evolved which is good. But we need to have more logical coherence instead of just debate tradition. If I ended a disad with "I get a bad homework grade" then I would get told this disad is incomplete, I need to read some cards to connect it to overall model for education and to economic growth and to war and human extinction. But why do we assume "human death" or "biological earth-life death" is any less arbitrary of an end-point.... what about the perspective of the universe or of parallel universes? There's no end to absurdity, anything we can conceptualize is still shaped by the human brain. Exclusion is inevitable in anything ever and debate has *many* rules like you have to be in high school or college and even arguing presumes you have a consciousness which can be related to by other consciousnesses -- so debate is "racist" towards rocks or trees. In order to make comparisons we need to enter into the parameters of a value system shaped by a specified form of consciousness. We should specify humanity. 
 

 

The aff would need to prove a logical if-then statement true. Having to prove logical coherence in a human brain value system is probably the lowest level of necessary assumptions we have to make. If we imagine a future world where this occurred "USFG pass nuke power", then humanity is advanced. It is easier to prove a logical loop is true or false. Framing things in terms of this closed system of logic gives us something to validate explicitly defined. Saying "should increase alt energy because benefits economy which prevents human death" is still relying that the judge's brain would illicit a neurochemical reaction instinct of death=bad. It's genetically  predetermined in the chemicals in our brain to concern over species survival. Since 99% of rounds have this assumption implicitly anyways, why not make it an explicit logical loop system to prove.

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Chunkry takes issue with some of the fundamental assumptions of this post.

Chunkry will point out the highlights:

 

Many objections to this idea are non-unique since debate judges already have an implicit assumption that collective human death is bad.

 

 "Advance humanity" is a good value because it is the goal of genetic evolution and most better business and sci tech research has that goal -- we are training future leaders.

 

Debate should inspire us to change the world and influence society. 

 

How mistaken you are Mr. Synergy. Life is but a carnival of pain and suffering; why should debaters aspire to change a world that is cruel and uncaring? The fact that many people (mistakenly) think life is worthwhile is not a reason to codify this fallacy into the structure of our resolutions; indeed, it would be unethical to force anti-optimists such as Chunkry to endorse a resolution whose sole purpose is to "advance humanity". Chunkry endorses switch-side debate in its current form, but it would be solipsistic (and racist) to force Chunkry and Chunkry's comrades to defend the desirability of life.

 

Advance humanity? Your format of debate PRESUMES that humyn-kind deserves to be advanced. In Chunkry's humble (and tasty) opinion, humanity would be best (worst) advanced by a planet-ending nuclear war or disease pandemic of some sort.

 

How dare you? Your model of debate is a proto-fascist authoritarian conversation stopper that rests on shaky assumptions about the benevolence of mankind. When choosing to debate your resolutional format, Mr. Synergy, we are not immune to the colonialist legacy of mankind. But rather than question the wisdom of advancing the human race, you would have us rush headfirst into continued existence on this planet, without consideration of the future generations who existence you will create the conditions of possibility for! Chunkry's friend Benatar would be disgusted...have you forgotten the precautionary principle? We cannot wish away the horrific atrocities perpetrated by humans (who you would foolishly attempt to preserve) simply by refusing to acknowledge these implications.

 

In conclusion, Chunkry will leave us to reflect on the folly of Synergy's ideas by quoting Chunkry's good friend (and table tennis partner) Arthur Schopenhauer:

 

 

"If you try to imagine, as nearly as you can, what an amount of misery, pain and suffering of every kind the sun shines upon in its course, you will admit that it would be much better if, on the earth as little as on the moon, the sun were able to call forth the phenomena of life; and if, here as there, the surface were still in a crystalline state. Again, you may look upon life as an unprofitable episode, disturbing the blessed calm of non-existence. And, in any case, even though things have gone with you tolerably well, the longer you live the more clearly you will feel that, on the whole, life is a disappointment, nay, a cheat."

 

Bad tidings, Mr. Synergy.

 

 

 

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I think the most important thing here is that if this change happened, you'd deal with arguments like ^that... is that really what you want, man?

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No. In my opinion, even being able to debate the points that have lead you to your conclusion in round is invaluable.

 

Also I think it would be foolish to make a year-long commitment to an area of philosophy that is constantly being developed. There are tons of ways, most of which we probably don't even know of, to go at this issue.

 

Just my 2c!

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 You're confused. Debate as an activity has a lot of rules and lines you cannot cross. 

Name some for me.  The only one i can think up off the top of my had is arguing racism good, and don't tell me its logical to argue that.  Aren't you the one who said we run too much random shit in debate?

 

 

 

- I don't advocate argument censorship, I just advocate the arguments need to be logically salient to a specified value system.

 

So you can run whatever you want as long as it follows a pre-set list of rules

 

 

 

 

 

Exactly my point, making a comparison between options is impossible outside of a value perspective. How do you compare the value-perspective that the judge should evaluate from between humanity's interest or the dolphin's interest or the aliens or the universe observing itself. You cannot compare which perspective to look debate at if you do not already have some perspective (from which to compare the best perspective). "Debate should concern with human interest" vs "Debates should be concerned with advancing non-human Earth species"... we cannot argue over this if we don't have a implicit value perspective already existing from which to make a decision between these two options. 

There's this thing called Framework.  You may have heard of it.

 

 

What you seem to fail to realize is that you all the args you're making to support your idea are ones that can be made in a debate round.  The very fact that we can run such a broad range of arguments checks any abuse because we can answer by saying "Debate should be X" withing a debate round.  Just be smart.  

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This idea is bad and here's why: people already debate "what's in the interest of humanity". Just because we don't do it in those terms doesn't mean it doesn't happen. When somebody says we shouldn't do something because it would cause human extinction, there's an implicit assumption there that human extinction is bad because it doesn't allow humanity to continue. Likewise, when people read non-extinction-level impacts (structural violence, etc.) the reasoning behind why these are bad is that they damage humanity (or at least a specific subset of humanity). The thing about all of these though, is that they can be weighed and compared through various means. Your new standard for debate, however, has no brightline or weighing mechanism. People will inevitably end up arguing the same impacts anyway (as there's a reason debate has evolved to its current stage, whether that's good or bad), but now there will be no way to compare them (what we call a "weighing mechanism"). When you talk about extinction being an arbitrary endpoint, you're correct, however there's a problem here: it's the easiest one to compare because it's the "biggest" one that we can easily argue. This means regardless of whether or not it's a good thing, people will inevitably devolve back to it, just under the standard of "extinction is bad for humanity".

 

 

All that said, I think the assumption that debate must be grounded in some form of real world public policy standard is a terrible one in the first place, but the argument I posted above is more a solvency take-out than anything.

 

EDIT: Also your idea that we should always compare the kritik and the plan on the same level is really terrible because it justifies people doing racist things in round, etc.

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 You're confused. Debate as an activity has a lot of rules and lines you cannot cross. The freedom of argumentation is a different issue, and my reform would only lead to better and more logically coherent arguments -- I don't advocate argument censorship, I just advocate the arguments need to be logically salient to a specified value system.

 

Your advocacy towards a new value system already exists within policy debate. In every debate round, you have the ability to develop your 'specified value system' through framework. However, in a reformed system such as the one you advocate, that ability to change and weigh values from opposing view points would be lost. 

 

Also, Debate quite literally has ZERO rules. I'm not sure what you were taught as a novice, but the fact is you can say/do anything in regards to your arguments within a round and still have a change to take the ballet. The realtively arbitrary standards for judging means that a judge could theoretically vote for racism good without breaking any rules, or a judge could vote for a team that refuses to say a single word throughout the entire debate. i'm not saying that this happens, im simply expressing the point that there is no set of rules that determine debates. 

 

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Debate as an activity has lots of rules, it is governed as a high school or college extracurricular and there are many standards on tournament and round structure and preset formats on how the case is argued and how judges weigh arguments, even those anti-debate. I am not trying to impose a rule on argument limits, I am saying that the aff should have to prove a logical reference system true. This should become a norm for arguments just like warrants; warrants are not a rule of debate but are the way that arguments function. Fiat should imagine and compare Future Worlds, and any logical comparison has to be adjudicated under a value parameter -- which should be advancing humanity. We cannot debate over the value parameter because a comparison of hypothetical value parameters can only be done under a preset value parameter. The logic underlying debate judge comparative adjudication should adhere to this norm or else it is not logically coherent because in most cases we just assume "death bad."

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Debate as an activity has lots of rules, it is governed as a high school or college extracurricular and there are many standards on tournament and round structure and preset formats on how the case is argued and how judges weigh arguments, even those anti-debate. I am not trying to impose a rule on argument limits, I am saying that the aff should have to prove a logical reference system true. This should become a norm for arguments just like warrants; warrants are not a rule of debate but are the way that arguments function. Fiat should imagine and compare Future Worlds, and any logical comparison has to be adjudicated under a value parameter -- which should be advancing humanity. We cannot debate over the value parameter because a comparison of hypothetical value parameters can only be done under a preset value parameter. The logic underlying debate judge comparative adjudication should adhere to this norm or else it is not logically coherent because in most cases we just assume "death bad."

ill go ahead and flow that under framework.

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Debate as an activity has lots of rules, it is governed as a high school or college extracurricular and there are many standards on tournament and round structure and preset formats on how the case is argued and how judges weigh arguments, even those anti-debate. I am not trying to impose a rule on argument limits, I am saying that the aff should have to prove a logical reference system true. This should become a norm for arguments just like warrants; warrants are not a rule of debate but are the way that arguments function. Fiat should imagine and compare Future Worlds, and any logical comparison has to be adjudicated under a value parameter -- which should be advancing humanity. We cannot debate over the value parameter because a comparison of hypothetical value parameters can only be done under a preset value parameter. The logic underlying debate judge comparative adjudication should adhere to this norm or else it is not logically coherent because in most cases we just assume "death bad."

We get that - but why can't you do that in SQ debate? Even as your aff - or as a neg framework argument (except that it's not predictable at all)?

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