Debate is a venue of reasoned discussion from two opposing sides on a well-defined context, where parties deliver their arguments in an organized fashion with the primary purpose of convincing and persuading the parliament or the audience to give merit on the contention of their cause.
It is an educated exercise where parties outline their arguments and offer dynamism by contributing and responding to the different issues raised by each side.
Debate is tool for advocating a defined view of a particular issue with the intent of providing the relevant information and supporting details that will convince the listener to support their view.
In order to have a debate, the following must bepresent: 1. Topic- the subject to be discussed and debated upon. 2. Format- the certain type of debate rule that will govern the conduct and proceedings of the debate. 3. Opposing teams- they will either support or negate the topic to be debated upon.
4. Arguments- the substance which both sides will present. 5. Venue- place to be debated upon. 6. Audience- the people who will witness and assess the issues of the debate.
Debate must have the following characteristics:1. Informative- a good debate presents complete information and factual setting. Debate is supposed to inform the public of what they should know, to educate the people, and to help them reach a logical understanding of the facts.
Debaters should feed the audience the necessary facts and evidence to will properly aid the latter in learning, grasping and appreciating the novelty of the motion. Debaters should not rely merely on their own opinions but on the general principles laid down by the authorities and experts.
2. Well-reasoned- arguments raised in a debate must be logical, relevant, competent and well explained. Arguments must show a direct link on the motion that is debated upon. Arguments must support the core that will aid the team prove their claims.
Arguments raised must be acceptable to an average reasonable person who has an average analysis of the issues presented. All questions that will lead to the conclusion of the debate must be clarified, answered, and analyzed. Debaters should make all their points clear and understandable.
3. Persuasive- Debate should give emphasis and force to strong arguments that need the support of the people. In order to convince the people in the position that debaters are supporting, debaters must be firy in presenting their issues. Debaters should build rapport with their audience and help them follow the points raised by the debaters.
4. Orderly- A debate must follow a certain format that will govern the proceeding of the debate and the conduct of the debaters. The rules should among others set the task of each speaker and the time limit all noted to each of them.Speeches must be organized, structured and presented in a methodological form.
5. Dynamic- Since in a debate, two teams present opposing views, said views must be responded to by both teams respectively. All important points must be questioned and answered by each team and teams must directly clash with the points raised by their opponent. Each speaker must contribute and respond to the requirements and necessities of the debate.
What is a Case? Motion? This is the word you will hear thrown around most often in debating. A case is the motion that the government team has put forward for debate. The case will define the topic of debate, its place and time and the actors involved.
The government has a responsibility to define all of these things (known as defining the debate) as clearly as possible. A case can be a moral judgement or a detailed plan, or somewhere in between. An example of a moral judgment or principled case is: Be it resolved that (BIRT) this House believes that pre-emtpive war is wrong. An example of a plan or model case is: BIRT the United States should ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
You can see that the plan case calls for a specific course of action, whereas the principled case merely takes an ethical stance on one side or another of a particular issue. Both types of cases are equally valid.
Open and Closed Motions As a matter of formal parliamentary procedure, there must always be an official motion before the house. At a tournament, the tournament director (TD) will give the debaters the motion for each round of debate. These motions can be open or closed. This will be announced before the debate begins. Most tournaments will use only one or the other type of motion, although some tournaments will mix and match.
A closed motion (also known as a straight or tight-link motion) is one where the government team must use the motion given as the basis for its case. Sometimes the motion will be very narrow, and the government team will have nothing to do but come up with arguments. For example: BIRT Canada should completely ban the sale and manufacture and consumption of cigarettes. There is no margin for maneuvre here at all. However, other times the motion will be less strictly defined, and the government team will have some latitude as to how it interprets it. For example: BIRT The world should intervene in the Sudan.
Here, the government team will have to explain what it means by world and intervene. Does world mean the UN, or Nato, or the African Union, or the EU? Does intervene mean invasion, diplomatic sanctions, economic sanctions, etc. An open motion (also known as a squirrellable motion) is one where the TD is merely respecting the formalities of parliamentary debate, but intends to leave it up entirely to the government team what the debate shall be about.
They are usually silly, or will follow some theme for the tournament. For example: This House would dance with the devil by the pale moonlight. With an open motion, the government team is expected to provide its own case for debate. These cases will usually be prepared beforehand.
Making valid arguments is the basic skill of debating. Without this ability the best you will be is a stylistically wonderful bag of hot air. An argument should contain the three elements below– then it will be a SEXI argument.
Motions debated in international and local debate competitions are rooted on issues and topics that currently controversial and debated upon.
These topics may relate to a policy that is to be implemented by a certain country or a situation that is viewed differently in the international community. These topics are socially relevant to all whether directly or indirectly.
These topics when debated upon are worded in the form of a motion. Motions are worded in different forms. The following are the types of motions: 1. Positive motion- this motion is worded in a manner that a positive act must be done, or that a certain situation must be assessed as true.
examples: a. This House believes that we should trade with Myanmar. b. This House believes that democracy in Iraq succeeds.
2. Negative motion- a motion proposing that something must not be done, or that which describes the situation negatively or as false. examples: a. This will not negotiate with the terrorist b. THBT that Islam has had a bad press.
3. Abstract motion - a motion wherein the subject is not apparent in its meaning. example: a. THTB we should plant cabbages rather than roses.
4. Direct motion - the motion is worded wherein the subject and issue is clear. example: a. THBT EU should sanction Russia for using energy as a tool for blackmail.
5. Value judgment - a motion wherein a certain situation, person, or place is assessed. It calls for the measuring of a certain act whether it is good or bad. True or false. example: a. THBT conditional economic aid is futile.
6. Policy motion - a motion which porses that something must be done or undone. That should be supported or not. It calls for an action. example: a. This House would use racial profiling in the war against terror.
7. Local motion - a motion that concerns only issues of national interest. example: a. That people power is nothing but the revolution of the rich.
8. International motion - a motion which is a global concern. example: a. That globalization defeats its own purpose.
9. Subjective motions - political, civil society, human rights, powers of the state, international diplomacy, religion, science and technology, economics, international policies, environment, etc. examples: a. This would prosecute extrajudicial killings. b. That Vatican upholds religious conquest and not religious conversion. c. That spy satellite is the way to go. d. This house would grant amnesty to war crimes offenders.
State your point: What is it that you are trying to say? Make it clear and brief. "Prostitutes will be safer in legal licensed brothels.“ Explain your point: Why do you think this? What is the basis for your statement? "This is because it will be easier to arrest anyone assaulting them if the police know where they are and prostitutes feel more comfortable contacting the police.“ Illustrate your point: Give an example or analogy which backs up your point. "In Germany, where prostitution is legal, the number of prostitutes assaulted by their clients has fallen."
Assertions and Assumptions vs. Arguments One of the most common accusations that your opponents will throw at you is that you are merely asserting something rather than arguing it. The difference between the two is fairly easy to understand. Imagine that, instead of going through the steps of point, argument, evidence, I merely stated my point and left it at that. That is called an assertion: when one simply asserts the truth of a statement, without bothering to provide evidence of its truth. It is inevitable that at some point, some things will be assertions, because you are limited in the time you have to support your arguments and your means of providing evidence.
Every single case, and every single argument, no matter how good a debater the person who built it is, will be full of assertions and assumptions. So the best advice I can give a new debater is: look for the assumptions. That is your best and simplest strategy for undermining your opponents logic.
Asian Parliamentary StyleThere are 2 teams:1. Government- proposes and defends the motion.2. Opposition- refute and negates the motion.
Each team has 3 members and each team gives 4 speeches. Limited preparation format - the topic is announced, depending on the tournament, roughly 30 minutes before the debate.
The 3 members of the Government should defend the motion. The 3 members of the team, each of which gives a 7 minute speech, are: 1) Prime Minister (PM) 2) Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) 3) Government Whip (GW)
One speaker from the Government team - either the Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister - is charged with giving a 5 minutes reply speech that clarifies the debate from the Government perspective without bringing forth new arguments.
Reply Speech: Reply speech is a comparative analysis of the strength and weaknesses of the case of both sides. The aim of the speech is to give a bias judgment as to why should the people support the teams claim. The speech is first delivered by the opposition side and followed by the government side who will close the debate.
The 3 members of the Opposition team should negate the motion and refute arguments brought forth by the Government. The 3 members of the team, each of which gives a 7 minute speech, are: 1) Leader of Opposition (LO) 2) Deputy Leader of Opposition (DLO) 3) Opposition Whip (OW)
Matter, Manner, Method: Asian Parliamentary Debate is assessed by an Adjudicator Panel composed of an odd number according to the following criteria: 1. Matter (40)- substance of the debate, the arguments and evidence presented, and the logical reasoning and presentation of said arguments.
2. Manner (40)- the style of delivery, the persuasionskills, and the conduct of the debaters.3. Method (20)- the response to the dynamics of thedebate, and the observance of the rules of debate.
The Members of the government side are thefollowing:1. Prime minister (PM)- opens the debate, definesthe motion and advances arguments;
2. Deputy prime Minister(DPM)- refute at firstinstance the case of the opposition, re-establish thegovernments claim, and advances arguments;3. Government whip(GW)- makes an issue-basedrebuttal of the oppositions case and summarizes thecase of the government.
The Members of the Opposition side are thefollowing:1. Leader of the Opposition(LO)- respondsdirectly to the case of the government bygiving a direct clash, and advancesarguments. May challenge the motion if thedefinition is challengeable;
2. Deputy Leader of the Opposition(DPL)- refutes the case of the DPM, reestablishes the case of the opposition, and advances an argument; 3. Opposition Whip (OW)- makes an issues-based rebuttal of the governments and summarizes the case of the opposition.
Prime Minister: 1. What is the motion all about? (Simplify it) 2. Give the background of the debate. State the problem. 3. Define the issues. 4. Give a Model: Mechanism/Standards. 5. Give the outline of your arguments 6. Discuss arguments 1 by 1 7. Summarize your points by reiterating your outline. 8. Throw a burden
Leader of the Opposition 1. Overview, try to recontextualise the debate. 2. Rebut: bash the model; attack substantive case. Sometimes a counter-model will be introduced. Sample Rebuttal: “Will taxing church property solve the budget deficit? No – for two reasons ...” 3. Give the outline of your arguments a. Discuss arguments 1 by 1 b. Summarize your points by reiterating your outline. 4. Throw a burden
Deputies 1. Give a brief rebuttal (integrate rebuilding of arguments) 2. Give the outline of your arguments 3. Discuss arguments 1 by 1 4. Summarize your points by reiterating your outline. 5. Throw a burden
Whips1. Lay down the issues in the debate2. Discuss each issue by:a. presenting the analysis of the opponent on saidissueb. Rebut their analysis (by using the case presentedby your team or by giving supplements)
Reply 1. Why should you win the debate? Criteria: a. Greater contribution to the debate. b. Responsiveness to the motion and the issues presented. 2. Comparative analysis: a. How your team had advantage over the other? b. What is the problem with the case of the opponent? (Causal links, Assertions, Contradictions)
What is a “good” definition? A definition that is in the spirit of the motion and clearly explains the contention of the debate. Definitely not a definition that wins the debate, as that means no debate occurs.
Can team parameterise definitions? Yes. Teams are allowed to set parameters to limit the grounds of the debate, as long as those parameters are fair.
Do you have to include every word in the motion during the definition? You do not have to define every word, but the words in the motion define the potential scope of the debate and the onus of the teams.
On what basis can you challenge a definition? A definition can be challenged on the basis that a definition is: (take definitions from rules) a) time set/place set b) truistic/tautological c) wholly unreasonable/squirrel
Who can challenge and who can’t? Any team in the debate can challenge the definition, because each team is a unique entity. Thus, a debate could have 4 definitions.
What happens during a definition debate? To challenge the definition, one has to a) explicitly state that you are challenging the definition b) state why (time or place set, truistic, unreasonable) and explain c) provide a new definition
You still maintain your positions in the debate and have to argue appropriately. Thus the Opening Opposition, after challenging the definition and providing a new one would then proceed to oppose the motion, not support it. Once you challenge a definition, other than to show why the previous definition is inaccurate, you do not have to address the issues/arguments that fall under it. One basically ignores that definition.
Matter & MannerWhat is good matter? Good matter is matter that is logically developed, relevant to the case at hand and substantiated.What is good manner? Good manner is manner that is effective in strengthening the argument/case, is entertaining.
Which is more important? They are both equally important (check section on scoring). Thus a team could win on manner just as easily as a team could win on matter.
What part do POIs play in a debate? To give and take Points of Information is the role of every speaker. Not doing either is failing to fulfill your role. POIs contribute matter to the debate, and the way in which they are given or taken is a reflection of manner.
Thus not taking any POIs means a failure to fulfill your role and potentially lower contribution in matter (however that does not mean an automatic last place).
How long should POIs be? POIs are not a place to make an argument, just a point, an example, an accusation or to ask a question. Typically Points Of Information are about 2 sentences long or 15 seconds in length. If a POI is too long, it eats into the time allocated for the speaker and the adjudicator may call order and request the person asking the POI to quit.
How many must I take? It is recommended that each speaker takes 2 points of information, 1 from the opening team and another from the closing team. This is fairest and most optimum for interactivity in the debate.
Elimination Rounds: Round 1: Gender · THBT gay rights movements should compel openly gay celebrities to actively support their causes · THBT feminist politics must transition from the halls of Congress to the bedroom · THBT Muslim universities should grant professional subsidies to feminist scholars living in radically conservative Muslim states.
Round 3: Culpability · THBT sober passengers of a drunk driver should be held criminally liable · THW punish bystanders of a crime · THW allow witnesses of gruesome murders to claim emotional damages against the criminal
Round 4: Environment · TH celebrates the use of emotional blackmail as part of environmental strategies · THBT Earth Hour is a meaningless, faddish, exercise · THW make waste-disposal a mandatory requirement for free trade agreements
Round 5: Print Media · THBT print media is dead · THW ban government officials from obtaining board positions in print media · THW require print media to grant criticized individuals compulsory reply space
Round 6: Pop Culture · THW remove the foreign films category in the Academy Awards · TH regrets the rise of vegetarianism · THW shut down the World Wrestling Entertainment for good
Round 7: Geopolitics · THBT China should revise its amoral foreign policy by sanctioning North Korea · TH regrets Obama’s stance of reducing investments for foreign policy initiatives · THBT it’s time to grant statehood to Taiwan
Quarterfinals: Rights · THW lift the moratorium on blood donations for men who have sex with men · THBT parents who are minors should be allowed to retain custody of their offspring · TH supports the preferential disclosure of sexual harassment issues to religious leaders over state authorities within some religious communities
Finals: Education · TH celebrates the rise of political activism among students in public universities · THW accommodate student-teacher relationships among consenting adults in universities · THB in mandatory sex education in all religious schools
Final : That this house would allow abortion at all stages of pregnancy Semi Final: This house believes governments should subsidise private home ownership. Qtr Final: This house believes that the international criminal court should prosecute crimes against the democratic process. Octo Final: This house would arm local militia to fight the taliban in Afghanistan. ESL Final: This house would implement quotas for domestic players in national football leagues. EFL Final: This house would prohibit all private health care. Round 9: This house would ban the publication of political opinion polls.
Round 8: This house would apply a lower rate of income tax to women. Round 7: This house believes that the west should recognise the independence of Abkhazia. Round 6: This house would criminalise adultery. Round 5: This house believes that China and India should bear the same obligations as the West in fighting climate change Round 4: This house would force the religious desegregation of Northern Irish schools. Round 3: This house would allow soldiers to sue their government for negligence. Round 2: This house would fire the senior managements of all corporations which receive government bailouts. Round 1: This house would ban all forms of gambling. Womens Debate: This house would ban all forms of religious gender discrimination.