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Public Forum: Rebuttals and Crossfires

A guide to rebuttals and crossfires in Public Forum Debate
by

Alexi Khechfe

on 15 October 2012

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Transcript of Public Forum: Rebuttals and Crossfires

Rebuttals: Second Speakers, 4 Minutes Each Public Forum Rebuttals and Crossfires Crossfires: 1st Speaker Crossfire, 2nd Speaker Crossfire, Grand Crossfire, 3 minutes each Rebuttals: Quick Introduction First impromptu (not prewritten) speech of the debate round
Often times starts with a "brief of time roadmap."
Lasts 4 minutes, second speaker talks.
Spend most of time going over your opponent's arguments, and if time allows (which it usually does), you can reinforce your own arguments.
If you give the rebuttal second, you may want to "rebuild" your arguments that were attacked in the last rebuttal. Ways to prepare for the rebuttal: Know your own cases. Your opponent's may argue similar things to what you argue in your other case. Know how to refute your own arguments, and how to refute the refutes.
Make some notes as to how to refute certain arguments. There are usually standard arguments most people use.
Have an "evidence dump" of evidence not used in your case but may be helpful in rebuttals.
FLOOOOOOOOOOOOOW. Write down arguments AND their evidence. Preflow your own case as well. Ways to Refute an Argument: Three types of arguments: Defensive Arguments
Offensive Arguments
Weighing Defensive Arguments Defensive arguments show why your opponents' arguments are worse than yours, not why yours are better. Ways to do this: Attack the Evidence Go for the important evidence so their arguments collapse
Check for evidence that conflicts with your own, or evidence that contradicts their arguments.
If there is conflicting evidence, show why yours is better/more credible.
Make sure that their warrant supports their impact. They may be drawing a conclusion from insufficient evidence. i.e., because Bill Gates dropped out of college and became rich, people shouldn't go to college.
Make sure their article has good credentials. If needed, question how a study was done.
Opponents need to be able to tell you HOW a study was done. Attack their Logic Be wary of your opponents using logical fallacies and poor logic. Highlight it to the judge early on.
Examples of fallacies and poor logic:
Straw Men: Attacking a weaker form of your argument.
Correlation vs. Causation
Generalization off of one example.
Slippery slopes. A leads to B leads to C leads to D leads to nuclear war. (DirecTV)
False dilemmas. If we don't do ____, ____ happens.
Finding Contradictions in their Evidence/Arguments Flow well and thoroughly and you will catch these.
If they contradict themselves, make them choose one argument or piece of evidence. It makes them look stupid in front of the judge.
Offensive Arguments Why your arguments are better, and why the judge should vote for you. Primary method is "turning" Impact Turns: Take their argument and impact, and show how it is actually bad for their side, and make it help you.
"Double Bind": Take two of the opponent's arguments that don't work together, turn them, and make them choose one. Weighing Why the judge should value your impacts over your opponents'. Requires comparing both sides. Types of Weighing: Magnitude weighing: Show how your impact affects more people. Most basic form of weighing.
Probability weighing: Show how your impact is more probable than theirs.
You can combine this with a turn to show that even if theirs' does happen, it is bad for their side.
What the impact is: Saving lives are better than saving $$
Timing: Used a lot for things relating to money. Talk about how long it takes for something to happen. Important if resolution addresses smaller time frame.
Your impact stops the other person's from happening: This makes yours stronger.
Reversability: Can their impact be reversed? If it can, it is weaker if yours cannot be reversed. i.e., Civil liberties can be restored, but human lives cannot.
Remember to combine and layer your arguments. Don't just use one of these at a time.
Crossfires A.K.A. Hell in a Cell Deathmatch (not really) There are three crossfires in a debate round: one for each speaker, and then a Grand Crossfire. Each lasts 3 minutes.
The point is to lead the judge to certain conclusions, and to get your opponents to say things to hurt their case.
The Goals of the Crossfires: First Crossfire: Get clarification questions out of the way quickly.
If you need to talk about framework, get it done then. Either agree on a framework or try to assert your own.
Ask for evidence used in their Constructive Speech.
Try to reinforce your case and show why your arguments are better than their arguments, and question any evidence that may be poor. Second Crossfire Talk about your opponent's rebuttals.
Ask questions that make them weigh their arguments against yours to show how yours are better. (How does your argument still stand when our impact affects more people?)
Bring up arguments that you couldn't talk about in your rebuttal.
Bring up arguments that your opponent's haven't addressed. Make the judge know they didn't bring it up. Grand Crossfire Don't bring up new arguments. It's too late in the round.
Find the most important points of the debate and try to win them over. By now, you aren't so much talking about the resolution as you are talking about certain points.
Grand Crossfire can easily get messy. If it starts getting messy, be the one to clean things up for the judge. It looks good for your side.
Good teamwork. Share question and answer time. How to Form Questions: The best questions are ones that you know the answer to. Don't ask open ended questions where you may get an unpredictable response.
Phrase the question quickly so people don't get confused. Have as little of an intro as possible (time management).
Ask clarification questions in the first speech to get them out of the way.
Leading questions: Start out with a simple question that leads them to a bigger question, where they may contradict themselves or a hole in their argument may be exposed.
Make sure you actually ask a question, and that you aren't just posing a statement.
Don'ts:
Wouldn't you agree...?
Don't you think...?
Yes or no questions.
How to Answer a Question Don't just answer their questions mindlessly. Make it so they can't use your answer against you (i.e., make it support your arguments.
Don't let them ask yes or no questions. If they ask you a leading yes or no question, predict where it's going and answer based on that knowledge.
If they ask a stupid yes or no question (Don't you agree with our first contention?), just say no.
If you don't know how to answer their question on the spot, ask them to rephrase the question. While they rephrase it, think about how you are going to answer (it buys you 7 seconds of time). If you still can't answer it, say your partner will address it in their next speech. Things to watch out for: Ramblers: People who keep babbling on and on after you ask a question. Politely cut them off (Thank you, I'd like to move on...). If they still don't cut off, give the judge subtle look.
Yellers: Don't yell, it usually annoys the judge. If your opponent is blowing up, remain calm.
Opponents not letting you answer.
"Not a question" questions.
Being stuck on one issue (time management).
If opponent's ask for evidence, have your partner get it so you don't waste time.
Not having a question. Always come prepared with one, two, or three good questions.
Crossfire Etiquette. Look at the judge when you ask questions and answer, but look at your opponent when they answer to see their body language.
Look at your opponent when you ask for evidence.
Stand during first and second crossfire, sit during Grand.
Don't hog asking questions. Start out the crossfire by saying "May I have the first question?" or "Would you like the first question?"
Gentlemen, don't be too hostile towards female opponents. You'll look like a jerk.
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