I never look at this website and most likely won't see anyone's responses, but this is almost unbelievable to me. I can be contacted directly through e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and I don't have Skarb's email but if you actually care about resolving such an issue that you can forward this along to him and then i'll post his responses too.
Here are my thoughts:
First, this is completely unethical.
1) No attempt was made to inform the community that such an article was written. Given that it was produced by a debate coach instructing students during the current season, that seems to be minimally appropriate.
2) The article is obviously written for strategic benefit. It has several DA and CP solvency arguments without appropriate data, and draws on "non-intrinsic" arguments which would be largely inappropriate for any real "peer-reviewed" journal. Citing 2 references and attempting to then publish an article would be laughed at by any journal submission board.
“every dollar spent on solar satellites will not be spent on terrestrial research and commercialization”. Unfortunately, it is these very programs that may be critical to preventing a deepening of the current economic crisis."
"the problem with DOD investments in SBSP in the short term is that the military will end up having to pay not only for its traditional energy supplies but will have to also carry the extra burden of funding SBSP research and development costs. With readiness, maintenance, and procurement accounts already stretched thin, this is simply a situation the DOD can not afford. In a worst-case scenario, a mandate to pursue SBSP research and development could force the military to drastically scale back, if not cancel entirely, critical weapons programs to pay for an energy system that it will not be able to use for decades."
"If there were such a thing as a money tree and the American economy were not in dire straits it would make perfect sense for the government to embark upon an all-out path towards the development of space-based solar power. Unfortunately, money trees only exist in our dreams and, quite simply, the nation currently has better uses for the money that would need to be spent by funding SBSP research and development. Fortunately, however, there is a more moderate path the government can take, agreeing to purchase commercial power beamed from space, which does not require any federal outlays in the near-term but will effectively help speed the development of SBSP. This is one case where we might be able to have our cake and eat it too."
3) Why was a name other than Skarb's ever cited? Marburry is Skarb, as we know, and saying that Skarb helped "research" is even more unethical because it blatantly redirects credit for the article from an actual person to a fictitious person.
4) This was in the comments section, posted under the name "norman ornstein," coincidentally... I wonder how that would sound in a debate round? Plan derails lost--Ornstein yesterday
"It seems clear, however, that DOD serving as an anchor tenant for commercial power beamed from space would drain the last drop of Barack Obama's finite reserve of political capital that he is currently using to persuade key senators and moderate Republicans to pass the Law of the Sea Treaty. That treaty is up in the air right now, but if the status quo is maintained it seems very likely to pass, due to Obama's focus on spending political capital there. Space is a controversial issue in these times, as poll after poll attest to, and DOD action would surely be perceived as part of Obama's green energy plan, which would engender backlash from the same, interestingly enough, senators he's co-operating with to pass LOST."
5) Published 2 days before the TOC
6) Did Damien teams debate this case at the TOC? If not, I don't think that "we didn't read these cards is an appropriate defense." The onus is clearly on them.
7) It pollutes the existing research base which is constituted by the writings of researchers who have no vested interest in producing oversimplified debate arguments.
8) When is the next "socio-political" foray into space based energy going to be published? I'm anxious to hear more from the newest topic expert. After all, Arizona State's political science, history, and political communication departments are world renowned for their classes on space based energy. And your master's research, i'm sure, required you to devote your time and thoughts to learning the intricacies of DOD weapons programs, the details of agency fiscal discipline, and the workings of the imaginary "money tree" which guide the future of such a program--most importantly, how they would interact given immediate funding of such a program.
9) The bottom line is that this activity is meant to promote quality education among students. Even if Damien's coaching doesn't believe that debate is more than a game, there are a slew of people, apparently more wise, who recognize the importance of keeping debate clean. EVEN IF there were arguments in defense of this behavior (there are not), this was clearly approaching questionable territory and instead of erring against it, or at least diffusing the problem by proactively taking measures like informing the community that such an article had been written by your program, you decided it was more important to have another strategic tool.
Second, addressing other people's rationalizations.
1) "I'd say that it's fairly important to take into consideration the credentials of the author. If you're a coach with a major in engineering or something of the sort, there's no problem with you publishing the article and having debaters card from it."
This is nonsensical--just like how qualified global warming researchers used to be paid money by thinktanks to publish articles supporting their side of the debate. Except this is worse because it affects a strategic game.
2) "you should email them directly instead of asking for responses on a public forum known for devolving into keyboard wars."
Please, own up. I know you're young and proud and feel the need to defend your program--this obviously deserves "community" attention, and the fact that I, a UC Berkeley debater with essentially no ties to high school debate, heard about it, is clear evidence that this sort of discussion has far-reaching influence.
Right or wrong, relegating this to the private sphere is obviously an inappropriate way to deal with a phenomenon which directly affects the way that debates take place on a community-wide basis. More importantly, the longer this goes without
It was published two days before the TOC. There was no effort to tell the whole community that this article was available. The article obviously cited no research to backup the vast majority of its assertions.
3) "What if the coach is an expert in the field. For instance, what if the coach is, say, the chief scientist at the JPL, and he/she coaches debate in their spare time - would anything that the coach writes be off-limits insofar as debate is concerned? Even if they were the main solvency author in the field?"
Well that is certainly not the case here, and this imaginary coach/field expert would certainly not publish articles in an obscure hybrid between community blog and public discussion of "published" articles.
More importantly, this article wouldn't be written from an oversimplified argumentative perspective with shallow analysis and exclusively debate arguments. "Peer-reviewed" in academia/policy analysis doesn't just mean that someone else read and approved it, it means that reputable academics/analysts within your subdiscipline read and approved it. Please, submit this to a scientific journal and send us the response, i'd be glad to read it. Or, if you prefer, an economics journal, or the economist, or the New Yorker even.
4) "if they are writing for peer-reviewed or edited journals, etc., then I don't think their writing is off-limits. you can't say that we can't have subject matter experts coaching debate, and if you're lucky enough to get a subject matter expert coaching you, then their writing should be fair game - as long as the writing is from legit sources.."
At minimum, there needs to be specific practice to protect the community--people need to be made aware of the existence of such an article from the author/debate coach; in this case it is inappropriate to say that the burden is on the researcher because, among other things, this is ingenuine research and artificially benefits the team making the arguments.
Their writing should not be fair game as evidence, their opinions should help direct your research/argumentation so that you can find people who don't have a vested interest in your winning that support your findings.