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Intro to Debate

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Brian Lain

on 28 June 2016

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Transcript of Intro to Debate

Argument as a process- Controversy, Ethics,

Controversy Presentations

How does Debate Differ from Discussion?
(Master Debaters)
Debate has structure
Format for our debates
Debate between the sides is equal, and based on Cost Benefit Analysis
Duties of the Speakers
Affirmative Constructive
Specific Duties
1. State the motion.
2. Define any terms you need to define.
3. State your team's caseline.
4. Establish the NEED for change
5. Describe 2 Advantages to your proposal
6. Support the advantages with evidence
Questions by Negative
Specific Duties
1. State the Caseline
2. Introduce issues of COST, 2 disadvantages
3. Support the disadvantages with evidence
Attack Speeches
1. Restate caseline.
3. Make sure to introduce any evidence you feel is necessary but not included so far.
Defense Speeches
1. State caseline.
3. Rebuild your advantages or disadvantages reaffirm evidence

1. Restate the caseline and develop any arguments as necessary -
2. but do not introduce a new line of argument.
3. Explain why your caseline still stands and why you have won the debate.
4. Compare Arguments, evidence form both the advantages and disadvantages portion of the debate
Summary Speeches
Negative Summary Speaker
Affirmative Summary Speaker
Each reply speech sums up the debate, drawing attention to points not addressed by the other side and points well substantiated by the side delivering the reply speech. Only the captain or the first speaker can deliver a reply speech
Summary examples
Public Debate
Political Debate
Academic Debate
Competitive Debate
Shameless Plug:
UNT debate, meetings
Tuesdays at 4:00pm, G.A.B. 325.
Academic Debate Formats:
Cross-Examination or Policy
Public Forum
World's University Debating Council
HEnDA style
Canadian style
World's School's Debating Council
The discourse of refutation presents the framework for the way it is engaged or used by debaters and rhetors.
Provides clash.
“Refutation is the process of attacking the arguments of an opponent in order to weaken or destroy those arguments (Ziegelmuller, & Kay, 1997).”

What is refutation?
Is refutation happening here?
1. Naming of the argument to be refuted.
2. Stating of your position.
3. Offering support of your position.
4. Conclude by relating to the issue.
Example: They say lowering the drinking age contributes to traffic accidents. We believe that the opposite is true. Allowing teens to drink in bars increases the chance they will take taxis home, thus decreasing the chance that they will drive intoxicated.
Refutation should include:
a clear plan
Inconsistent Arguments:
The presence of inconsistent arguments suggests unclear thinking and a weakness in the overall analysis presented.
One example of this is the “Flip-Flopping” argument – If you charge your opponent with flip-flopping you have not automatically won the argument or disproved their argument, but you do force them to clarify and narrow their argument.
Topoi of Refutation
Minimization of Impacts or Conclusion
This is an important strategy because most of the time your opponents arguments are at least partially true
Implies that a conclusion may be correct but denies its significance in relation to other facts or other arguments.

Economy –The economy is not as important as defense of our nation form foreign threats
Border politics: The cost of a wall is not as costly as allowing people to cross over the border illegally and take jobs frm others.
Topoi of Refutation
Maximization (the opposite of minimizing) of position opposing team argues is insignificant
Maximization reveals the importance of a position that the opposition has argued is insignificant.

Handing in a paper late is no big deal. But missing the assignment altogther means you fail the entire course.
Topoi of Refutation
Reducing to Absurdity:
Involves extending the analysis to the point where the conclusion is absurd or otherwise unacceptable.
Often these are slippery-slope arguments.
Gay Marriage.
Health Care.
Like this …
Topoi of Refutation
Denying Inherency
Responds to an opposition argument by attempting to demonstrate that the particular problem identified is not fundamental to the system.
The economy is in deep trouble, we need to raise more revenue for the government. I propose a federal income tax solution.
Topoi of Refutation
Irrelevance of the arguments to the issue
Suggests an argument is unrelated to the issue and that it should have no bearing on the final judgment.
Drug testing fails to find drugs in employees even if they take drugs.

Topoi of Refutation
Establishing dilemmas
Reduces the opposition to two alternatives, neither of which is acceptable to the opponent or to the audience.

We either stop all illegal immigration or we stop all hiring until we can find a way to screen businesses hiring practices.
Topoi of Refutation
“Turning the Tables” (turnarounds/turns)
Admits the validity of part of an opposing argument and claims that the admitted part actually supports, rather than denies, your claim.

Prohibition did stop many from drinking, but it also created the conditions for the rise of organized crime in America, which is what allows more drinking today.
Topoi of Refutation
Assessing possibilities (weighing impacts)
Compares the likelihood of disadvantages in order to claim that one or the other is a greater concern. (MP!)
If you skip class you probably won't get caught, even though each class is important. (Probability.)
Even though you might be able to drive slightly tipsy, if you have an accident it could kill someone, if you get caught it will be a mark that will stay with you for the rest of your life. . (Magnitude.)

Topoi of Refutation
Time frame
Establishes immediacy as the basis for comparing competing harms -- long vs. short term.

Economic growth vs. global warming.
Topoi of Refutation
In order to do well, you need to do research. from good source,s peer reviewed, scholarly sources
To compile that research we make a brief.
The brief is not a speech, and it is not an outline. It is the raw materials for a speech
Principles of logical outlining
Sample briefs
2. Directly attack the other side's construction of an argument either advantages or disadvantages
2. Answer any arguments made in the Attack speech
1. deploy strategy
2. Set up for future arguments
Negative Constructive
Can be prepared in advance
Can be prepared in advance
Questions from first affirmative
1. deploy strategy
2. Set up for future arguments
Negative Attack
Affirmative attack
Affirmative defense
Negative Defense
Keep in mind:
1. You need to convince a third party
2. Use ethical reasning, fallacies, and refutation
Senator Iglesias claims that a system of merit pay will lead to more effective teaching. The National Education Association argues that since there is no effective way to administer merit pay, the result will be a decline in teacher effectiveness because of the tremendous morale problems created by the merit pay system.


Frank claims to be a very strong advocate for freedom of speech. However, he also claims that individuals espousing racist rhetoric should not be allowed to speak in public.


It may be true that ten people died last year because of faulty garage door openers, but if you examine the trend within the last five years the deaths are decreasing.



Carlos argues that we should allow doctors and families to make decisions to stop all life support and let a terminally ill patient die with dignity. Wendy counters with argumentative questions, such as “ Who will be next? Will we choose to eliminate all the old, the disabled, the poor, the sick, people with brown hair, people with low intelligence, or people whose last name begins with R? Where will it stop?”

Reducing to absurdity. Wendy expands the argument beyond its immediate scope to demonstrate the absurd results of the argument.

Turning the Tables (Turn): The National Education Association argument shows that the advantage of merit pay is actually a disadvantage.
Exposing Inconsistency: A fact is exposed that leads to questioning Frank’s true belief in freedom of speech.
Minimization: The argument’s impact is reduced by considering the trend toward decreased deaths.
Full transcript