8.23.11 debate 1 reading - resolutions and ... - westwooddebate

onwardhaggardBiotechnology

Dec 12, 2012 (4 years and 4 months ago)

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Copyright 2009 Kathryn Kernoff

1.1 The Resolution

Every debate begins with a topic for the participants to argue over. This topic is called
the
resolution
. Without a resolution, teams might talk about two different things. They
wouldn’t be debating at all; they would just be talking. When teams argue back and forth,
responding to each other’s arguments, it’s called
cl
ash
. Having a resolution is necessary for
effective clash.

You have probably heard of New Year’s resolutions. When you make a New Year’s
resolution, you are making a statement about a change you should make, like going on a diet.
Likewise, some resoluti
ons are statements that a change should be made. For example, a
resolution might be “Resolved: AITE should require students to wear uniforms.” Right now,
students at AITE are not required to wear uniforms. This resolution is a statement that AITE
should

change its policy to require them.


Other resolutions are more
abstract. They are not about a specific change. Instead, they
are about general principles. Many of these resolutions are about
morality

or
justice
. For

instance, a resolution might be “Resolved: Human genetic engineering is morally justified.” You
are not debating about a specific government or a specific change. Instead, you are debating
about whether genetic engineering i
s good or bad overall. Another example is “Establishing a
safe educational environment in grades K
-

12 justifies infringement of students’ civil liberties.”
In this case, you are comparing two principles: safety and liberty.


Sample Resolutions:



Resolve
d: The United States federal government should substantially increase alternative
energy incentives in the United States.



Resolved: That the United States government should substantially strengthen regulation
of immigration to the United States.



Resolved:
The death penalty is immoral.



Resolved: An adolescent’s
right

to privacy ought to be valued above a parent’s
conflicting right to know.


The two sides in a debate are called the aff and the neg. The
affirmative

or
aff

tries to
prove the resolution is good or right. They try to convince the judge to say “yes” to the
resolution. For instance, let’s say you are debating the topic about whether AITE students
should have to wear uniforms.

The aff says, “Yes, they should have to wear uniforms. It would
be good if all AITE students wore uniforms.”

The
negative

or
neg

tries to prove the resolution is bad or wrong. They try to convince
the judge to s
ay “no” to the resolution. In the school uniform example, the neg says, “No, they
should not have to wear uniforms. It would be bad if all AITE students had to wear uniforms.”


Examples of Aff and Neg:



Resolved: An adolescent’s right to privacy ought to
be valued above a parent’s
conflicting right to know.



Aff: Privacy is more important.



Neg: The right to know is more important.



Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its
alternative energy incentives in the United Sta
tes.




Copyright 2009 Kathryn Kernoff



Aff: Alternative energy incentives are good.



Neg: Alternative energy incentives are bad.


There are three main types of debate you’ll be learning about:
policy
,
Lincoln
-
Douglas
,
and

public

public forum

debate. Policy debate resolutions are all about whether a change should
be made. Specifically, you debate about government policies. In policy debate, there are two aff
debaters on one team and two neg debaters on the other. Lincoln
-
Douglas resolutions are about
more philosophical issues. In Lincoln
-
Douglas, there is one aff debater arguing against one neg
debater. There are many different types of public debates and they can use any kind of
resolution. Usually, there are two deba
ters on a side but there can be more or less. The
important thing about public debates is they are meant for a public audience, not policy or
philosophical experts.


Questions for Section 1.1

1.

Write a resolution for each of the following topics:

a.

Homework i
n school

b.

The drinking age

c.

Global warming

d.

Something else you’re interested in debating

2.

Identify the aff and neg side for each of the resolutions in question 1 as shown in the box
on this page.

3.

Why do you think it’s important to have a resolution?





Copyright 2009 Kathryn Kernoff

1.2 Cont
entions


In every debate, each team makes arguments that support its side. At the beginning of the
debate, teams usually organize their arguments into cases. A team’s
case

tells the judge the main
reasons that side should win. When you’re aff, your case

contains your reasons why the
resolution is good. When you’re neg, your case contains your reasons why the resolution is bad.

Cases are usually organized into
contentions
. Aff contentions are pros, or specific
re
asons why the resolution is good. For instance, an aff team debating uniforms might have a
contention that says, “Uniforms reduce school violence because students won’t display gang
symbols.” They might have a different contention that says, “Uniforms in
crease academic
achievement because students won’t be distracted by clothes.” Each of these is a specific reason
why uniforms are good.

Neg contentions are cons, or reasons why the resolution is bad. For instance, a neg team
debating uniforms might have
a contention that says, “Uniforms will make students hate school
so they won’t want to learn.” They might have a different contention that says, “Uniforms
violate the right to free speech.” Each of these contentions is a specific reason why uniforms are
bad.
1


Sample Contentions:



Resolved: Violent video games should be regulated.



Aff: Regulation of violent video games is good.



Aff Contention 1: Violent video games make kids more violent.



Aff

Contention 2: Video games make kids obese because they play them instead of
sports.



Neg: Regulation of violent video games is bad.



Neg Contention 1: Regulating video games just makes kids want to play them more.



Neg Contention 2: Regulating video games un
dermines rights and freedoms.


When we talk about contentions, we’ll often just summarize the main idea like in the
above examples. In an actual debate, speakers
support their contentions with
evidence

and
reasoning just like

the main points in an essay. The type and amount of evidence

you use
depends on the particular debate. For the first few days of class, we’ll do mini debates where
you don’t have to worry about doing research. Later, you will learn about how to use res
earch to
support y
our arguments.


Sample Contention for an In
-
Class Mini Debate:



“My first contention is that school uniforms decrease school violence. I have two reasons
for this. First, when kids wear uniforms they won’t be able to display gang symbols
,
offensive messages, sports team logos, and other items of clothing that could cause
violence. They’ll all be wearing basically the same thing so they’ll have nothing to fight
over. Second, when kids are dressed up they’ll behave better. When they look




1

In policy debate, the neg’s cons are usually called
disadvantages

or disads

instead of
contentions. They’re still reasons why the resolution is a bad idea. You don’t need to know
about disads yet; you’ll learn more about them in the next chapter.




Copyright 2009 Kathryn Kernoff

respectable, they feel like they have to act respectfully. This means fewer kids will get
hurt and they’ll also be less violent when they grow up.”


At the end of the debate, the
judge

decides, based on the argume
nts in the debate, which
side of the resolution is stronger. He or she then votes for that team. The stronger their
contentions are the more likely a team is to win. The judge is not supposed to let his or her
personal feelings decide the winner, so it
is up to you to persuade the judge that you should win.

Like football or other sports, debate is won through a combination of offense and
defense.
Offense

means scoring points for your team. In football, this mean
s advancing forward
on the field to score touchdowns. In debate, this means winning your own contentions.

Defense

means preventing the other team from scoring points. In football, this means
blocking other playe
rs from advancing forward on the field. In debate, this means refuting the
other team’s contentions to disprove them
. Good debate teams, like good football teams, will
make a combination of offensive and defensive arguments.


Offense and Defense:



Aff off
ense: School uniforms increase academic achievement (the resolution is good).



Aff defense: School uniforms don’t cause students to hate school (the resolution is not
bad).



Neg offense: School uniforms cause students to hate school (the resolution is bad).



Neg defense: School uniforms don’t increase academic achievement (the resolution is not
good).


Questions for Section 1.2

1.

Identify at least one aff and one neg contention for each of the following resolutions:

a.

Resolved: That the United States government sh
ould substantially strengthen
regulation of immigration to the United States.

b.

Resolved: Marijuana should be legalized.

2.

Identify one example of aff defense and one example of neg defense for each of the
resolutions in question 1.

3.

Assume you are debating the

topic “Resolved: The death penalty is immoral.” Label
each argument aff or neg and offense or defense:

a.

The death penalty won’t reduce crime because criminals don’t think they’ll get
caught.

b.

The death penalty is immoral because killing is wrong.

c.

It’s okay

to kill murderers. Because they killed someone else, they no longer
have a right to live.

d.

The death penalty will protect innocent lives.

4.

Why does a strong debate team have a combination of offense and defense?