Category Archives: The Debating Stuffs

Pelajaran dari Lomba Debat: Suatu Kerinduan (Bocoran Tulisan untuk Kumpulan Cerita Penerima Beasiswa LPDP hahaha)

Dear all,

Teman-teman awardee LPDP sedang menyusun sebuah kumpulan cerita dari sesama awardee yang mendapatkan beasiswa ke luar negeri (S2 maupun S3). Ada yang menceritakan tentang suka duka mencari beasiswa, hal-hal positif yang bisa diambil dari negara tujuan untuk diimplementasi di Indonesia, bagaimana bertahan hidup di luar negeri, dan lain sebagainya, termasuk kategori “Lain-Lain”. Kumpulan cerita ini sekarang masih dalam tahap editing, tapi biarin deh, ini aku post tulisan yang aku kirim buat mereka, di bawah kategori “Lain-Lain” (walaupun nggak tau juga ya, siapa tau ada juga bagian dari kisah ini yang diedit, so you know inilah versi yang belom diedit).

Selamat menikmatiii ^_^

 

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Pelajaran dari Lomba Debat: Suatu Kerinduan

(Fajri Matahati Muhammadin, LLM in International Law, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, P.K. 2)

Kemenangan yang Ajaib

Pada tanggal 9-10 November 2013 di King’s College London, saya mengikuti lomba debat bahasa Inggris khusus WNI di United Kingdom (UK) yang diadakan oleh ISIC dan PPI-UK. Di lomba tersebut, saya berpartner dengan Omi Ongge (beasiswa DIKTI, di London Metropolitan University) atas nama Jogja Debating Forum (JDF). Setelah mengalahkan tiga tim di babak penyisihan (Newcastle, Indonesia Mengglobal, dan Edinburgh), tim kami lolos ke final untuk rematch melawan Indonesia Mengglobal.

Yang ingin saya ceritakan adalah hikmah yang saya dapat di babak final lomba tersebut, saat melawan tim “Indonesia Mengglobal” yang terdiri dari Willy Limiyadi (Oxford University) dan Santi Nuri Darmawan (King’s College London). Di babak final tersebut, dewan juri terdiri dari empat orang akademisi bergelar Doktor, satu orang Inggris yang tidak saya kenal, dan Bapak Dubes RI untuk UK.

Tema mosi untuk babak tersebut adalah (diterjemahkan) “kurangnya cinta tanah air, yang berimbas pada kurangnya permintaan pasar, menghambat daya saing industri manufaktur Indonesia”, di mana tim kami berperan sebagai Tim PRO.

Objektif dari pengalaman saya sembilan tahun menjadi pengajar dan juri debat, kami kalah (walaupun barangkali tidak telak). Saya kuliah hukum perang dan partner saya politik, sedangkan lawan kami kuliah ekonomi. Tapi terjadi keajaiban. Tiga juri memihak kami, dan tiga memihak lawan. Karena seri, panitia meminta penonton menentukan pemenang.

Alhamdulillah, penonton memilih kami jadi juara!

Kenapa kami bisa menang? Banyak spekulasi. Memang saat menyampaikan argumentasi, saya setengah stand-up comedy sehingga menghibur banyak penonton. Mungkin penonton (mayoritas peserta presentasi paper ilmiah) sudah lelah dengan rangkaian acara yang panjang, sehingga agak kurang tertarik menyimak penjelasan yang relatif rumit tentang faktor-faktor daya saing industri manufaktur dan lebih senang dengan lawakan saya? Itu adalah salah satu alasannya. Namun, yang lebih penting lagi, adalah mendengar apa yang dikatakan oleh beberapa penonton yang saya tanya setelah acara selesai.

Agen Ind*mie

Terus terang saya agak muak membaca materi yang sudah kami unduh tentang topik tersebut. Begitu banyak yang harus dibaca, sedangkan waktu begitu sedikit, dan sebagian besarnya terlanjur kami habiskan dengan mengobrol. Omi maju pertama, menceritakan bagaimana industri garmen Indonesia jatuh bukan karena kualitas tetapi karena pembeli lebih suka label asing. Itu saja yang berhasil kami serap dari bahan bacaan, dan saya tentu harus bawa materi yang berbeda. Saya memutuskan untuk curhat saja.

Sebetulnya saya intinya menyampaikan bahwa kecintaan produk dalam negeri bisa menjadi ajang mouth-to-mouth advertising saat putri-putra tanah air sedang ada di luar negeri. Jenis advertising tersebut sangat efektif karena tidak memakan biaya, dan langsung berdampak pada grassroot society. Tapi, sambil curhat ternyata saya malah seakan menjadi agen mie instan terbaik dunia.

Saya bercerita bahwa saya begitu suka pada merk tersebut, tetapi kecewa dengan ‘Export Product’ yang dijual di UK karena rasanya agak lain (baca: kurang micin hehehe). Akhirnya, saya mencari pemesanan online untuk mencari produk yang lebih otentik. Dan karena biaya kirim yang lebih irit kalau memesan banyak, saya akhirnya memperdayai beberapa teman dari negara lain (misalnya Estonia, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Palestina, dlsb) untuk ikut membeli. Mereka memang suka Ind*mie, tapi belum pernah merasakan produk ‘otentik’ (kecuali yang dari Hong Kong).

Kisah kawan dari Hong Kong menarik juga. Di sana, Ind*mie nomor satu diikuti Niss*n di nomor dua, karena Ind*mie jauh lebih murah walaupun Niss*n lebih enak. Sedangkan di Korea Selatan, Ind*mie nomor dua karena, walau Niss*n lebih mahal, tetapi warga Korsel lebih cinta produk tanah airnya. Tentu contoh ini saya ceritakan dalam argumentasi saya.

Sangat menyenangkan rasanya saat berargumentasi di podium, sambil tertawa terus menerus bersama penonton. Sayangnya, saya harus kemudian agak berkecil hati karena begitu pembicara kedua lawan kami maju (Santi), berlapis-lapis analisisnya menghantam argumen saya yang hanya didukung oleh curhat kangen mie instan tanah air. Karena itulah, saya fikir mungkin kebetulan saja juri memutuskan seri dan penonton sedang ingin dihibur saja.

Bukannya itu salah, karena bisa jadi itu memang benar. Tetapi saat saya tanya beberapa kawan di bangku penonton, mereka mengatakan hal yang sama.

Gue jadi pengen makan Ind*mie”

(Ada yang menambahkan “…padahal gue udah makan.”)

Santi pun memulai pidato argumentasinya dengan (terjemahan): “Fajri kok berani bilang Niss*n lebih enak daripada Ind*mie?

Setelah pidatonya selesai, kami bersalaman dengan lawan kami, dan topik pertama yang dibahas adalah tentang kurang otentiknya Ind*mie yang dijual di UK, dan kami sedikit berdebat lagi produksi Ind*mie mana yang lebih mendekati otentik (Santi: Produksi Saudi, saya: Impor dari Hong Kong yang dijual di Chinese Store). Diskusi senada dengan kawan-kawan lain terjadi setelah acara usai.

Cuma kebetulan saja yang saya bahas di lomba ini hanyalah mie instan. Pada kenyataannya, bukan cuma ind*mie saja yang dikangeni oleh para WNI yang menonton acara tersebut. Kisah Ind*mie ini hanya puncak gunung es dari apa yang ingin saya ceritakan (walaupun sudah menghabiskan setengah jatah kata hehehe).

Ind*mie cepat hilang dari pembahasan, karena beralih ke objek lain tapi dengan tema yang senada. Silih berganti kami bercerita tentang betapa kami rindu masakan tanah air. Ada yang rindu sambel terasi, dan yang lain pamer karena berhasil menemukannya di UK. Saya membagi betapa terharunya saat menemukan kecap dan sambal merek A*C di Chinese Store, dan betapa kecewanya saat mendapatkan informasi penjual tempe di Edinburgh tempat saya kuliah yang ternyata HOAX!

Sehari sebelum babak final, sebetulnya awalnya diumumkan bahwa di kompetisi tersebut tidak disediakan konsumsi. Kami juga kecewa karena katanya Gita Gutawa dan Maudy Ayunda akan tampil, tapi mereka tidak jadi. Tapi kemudian, ternyata dibagikan nasi rendang dengan kuah pedas khas Manado (iya bukan ya?). Saya kurang tahu asalnya persisnya dari mana, yang jelas kuahnya tidak murni beraroma Padang. Namun itu tidak penting, karena ada satu hal yang pasti: ini rasa INDONESIA!

Saya sudah makan karena mengira tidak akan diberi makan. Akan tetapi, dalam bus menuju pulang, saya melahap konsumsi dari panitia sampai habis, termasuk emping yang sebetulnya tidak boleh saya makan. Keesokan harinya, setelah babak final selesai, kotak makan tersebut juga menjadi topik hangat pembicaraan. Seorang kawan dari Nottingham bercerita bahwa dia sebetulnya tidak begitu tahan dengan makanan pedas, tapi tetap melahapnya sambil bercucuran keringat dan air mata. Saat itu, saya tidak malu mengatakan keras-keras bahwa saya rindu makanan Indonesia!

Tuh Kan, Kangen..

Sebelum saya berangkat ke UK, banyak teman-teman yang bertanya apakah saya akan kesulitan beradaptasi di luar negri. Salah satu kekhawatiran orang-orang adalah kesulitan mencari makanan Indonesia, karena takut seleranya tidak cocok. Teman-teman calon penerima beasiswa LPDP juga banyak yang yang khawatir hal yang sama. Apalagi, Edinburgh adalah kota di UK yang tidak banyak akses ke bahan-bahan makanan Indonesia.

Saat itu saya tidak khawatir. Pertama, masa kecil saya dihabiskan di Manchester UK (usia 1-6 tahun). Setelah pulang, butuh bertahun-tahun untuk menyesuaikan lidah dengan tempe, tahu, dan bumbu khas Indonesia. Saya biasa kok makan makanan asing. Kedua, saya bukan orang yang “kalo bukan makanan Indonesia (atau malah, makanan daerah!) saya nggak bisa makan” seperti banyak teman dan anggota keluarga saya. Saya senang mencoba makanan baru. Ketiga, sekian lama hidup di Jogja, saya mulai bosan dengan makanan yang ada. Karena itulah, dengan tenang saya mengatakan “santai, saya tidak akan kangen makanan Indonesia!”

Minggu-minggu awal sampai di Edinburgh, UK, saya sangat puas makan beranekaragam masakan internasional. Mulai dari makanan India, Timur Tengah, Mediterania, hingga makanan lokal, baik racikan sendiri maupun sekali-sekali beli. “Tuhkan betul, saya baik-baik saja?” batin saya, saat teman-teman saya di Facebook atau Whatsapp entah mengeluh karena kesulitan menemukan tempe atau nasi, atau bersyukur karena menemukan teman-teman PPI dan bahan-bahan makanan Indonesia.

Tapi minggu-minggu terus berlalu, dan rasanya ada yang begitu hampa. Makin muak makan makanan dengan roti (kebanyakan yang saya beli selalu roti, karena paling murah), dan yang lebih memuaskan adalah makanan India atau Thailand. Itupun tidak bisa benar-benar memuaskan, sedangkan itupun tidak bisa sering karena mahal kalau makan di restoran. Sebetulnya kesimpulan sudah ada di kepala, tapi saya belum mau mengakuinya.

Suatu hari saat saya masuk Chinese Shop, barulah saya sadari kalau hati tidak bisa bohong. Begitu melihat botol botol kecap dan sambal merk A*C, meluaplah perasaan yang tertuang dalam wujud kalap. Saya beli masing-masing satu botol, lalu bahan-bahan lainnya termasuk nasi dan beberapa bungkus ind*mie.

Malam itu juga saya memasak nasi goreng ayam. Setelah kenyang makan (dengan bayangan ind*mie untuk sarapan besok), saya sudah tidak bisa menyangkal lagi. Makan bukan hanya dengan mulut, kerongkongan, lambung, dan usus, melainkan juga dengan hati.

Karena itulah, saat saya mengakhiri pidato babak final lomba debat ISIC, diiringi gemuruh tepuk tangan dan tawa, jelas sekali bahwa curhat saya bukan curhat biasa. Sampai sebegitunya hingga saya yang mestinya menganalisis industri manufaktur malah curhat kangen ind*mie, dan penonton yang merupakan akademisi atau mahasiswa Indonesia yang berkuliah di UK dan datang untuk karya ilmiah (dan semestinya menilai analisis kami) juga ikut merasakan kangen yang sama.

Saya memang petualang  makanan, dan juga petualang pendidikan. Banyak sekali teman-teman yang juga begitu, dan karena itulah kita dapat jumpai warga Indonesia di segala penjuru dunia. Semuanya ingin mendapatkan hal yang baru dan tidak bisa didapat di tanah air. Tapi walaupun demikian, kemanapun kita pergi, ada sebagian dari hati (lidah dan pencernaan) kami yang masih tertinggal di Indonesia.

Sneak Peak of the Third Edition of JDF’s Debating Book!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

The Jogja Debating Handbook is a debating manual authored by a team of seniors of Jogja Debating Forum, chaired by myself. As of now, we have already launched the second edition in 2012. Currently, though, we are constructing a third edition! There are going to be major changes in this third edition, inshaa Allah it could be launched in 2-3 months.

Here is a sample of whats new from the third edition, just one part from a whole new chapter. Enjoy and sit tight 🙂

 

THE IRRATIONALITY OF RATIONALISM: AN ALTERNATE APPROACH IN THE DECONSTRUCTION AND RECONSTRUCTION OF ARGUMENTS

 THE IRONY OF RATIONALITY

Throughout the history of mankind, there has been a noticeable development of way of thinking. At the start, we used mystics to explain natural phenomena. However as humanity developed over time, philosophy was introduced with mathematics, science, empiricism, providing something we generally concede to be a better explanation to those phenomena. This process has generally caused people to leave the mystical explanations behind and move to accept rational explanation.

Mysticism, which usually comes from or forms religions, are then faced with a new challenge. Some religions managed to show that their coherence with science and human development (or that such development is still limited within what their God permits), some manage to convince their believers to separate logic and faith, others simply loose faith and leave their religions. This section is not intended to argue on religion, but to examine this phenomenon: some ideas are seen as rational, and others as irrational –and mankind today seem to have a tendency to prefer rational explanations than that of irrational ones. Even further, something irrational is always judged as something bad.

The irony, as this section wishes to propose, is that the truth is that nothing is truly rational. Even rationalism stands on an irrational premise. For an explanation to be rational, it means that such an explanation must adhere to means that are considered rational (an example would be deduction, as explained in a previous section). But in order to accept that, one must assume and accept first that ‘everything must be rational’. This area is very vague, but to accept such a statement rationally would mean that you have accepted rationality first, which is then self defeating. Keep on asking ‘why’ to a statement, and getting your answer ask another ‘why’, on and on, and you will end up with something you have no explanation to other than ‘well, because, just because’.

An example to this would be in answering the following question: “to which direction will a ball fall to if you casually drop it: up, down, or sideways (either left or right)?”.

A very simple answer would be: down. But this only true when we assume and accept that the ground is beneath, and the sky is above, and since the ball falls towards the ground (down beneath) instead of the sky (up above) thus it falls down. But putting in mind that we are in Indonesia and gravity pulls towards earth (check where Indonesia is on the globe, its on the side part of earth), the rational conclusion is that the ball will fall sideways.

But then, that is only true if we assume and accept that the north pole is “up above” and the south pole is “down below”, just like how the globes are usually place on our tables (or sometimes with certain angle). We can always go on and on and never end, so then we simply assume a basic premise to be true first, and then we rationalize from there.

Having that said, this section proposes that any rational idea will always be based on an irrational assumption.

Not that this statement is wrong, and not that this is true either, as it all ends up with an irrational assumption anyways. This section will explain how the cognizance of such could be utilized as an advantage in constructing and deconstructing an argument. A new assumption would be taken, that something irrational is not necessarily bad.

Sneak Peak of the Third Edition of JDF’s Debating Book!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

The Jogja Debating Handbook is a debating manual authored by a team of seniors of Jogja Debating Forum, chaired by myself. As of now, we have already launched the second edition in 2012. Currently, though, we are constructing a third edition! There are going to be major changes in this third edition, inshaa Allah it could be launched in 2-3 months.

Here is a sample of whats new from the third edition, just one part from a whole new chapter. Enjoy and sit tight 🙂

 

THE IRRATIONALITY OF RATIONALISM: AN ALTERNATE APPROACH IN THE DECONSTRUCTION AND RECONSTRUCTION OF ARGUMENTS

 THE IRONY OF RATIONALITY

Throughout the history of mankind, there has been a noticeable development of way of thinking. At the start, we used mystics to explain natural phenomena. However as humanity developed over time, philosophy was introduced with mathematics, science, empiricism, providing something we generally concede to be a better explanation to those phenomena. This process has generally caused people to leave the mystical explanations behind and move to accept rational explanation.

Mysticism, which usually comes from or forms religions, are then faced with a new challenge. Some religions managed to show that their coherence with science and human development (or that such development is still limited within what their God permits), some manage to convince their believers to separate logic and faith, others simply loose faith and leave their religions. This section is not intended to argue on religion, but to examine this phenomenon: some ideas are seen as rational, and others as irrational –and mankind today seem to have a tendency to prefer rational explanations than that of irrational ones. Even further, something irrational is always judged as something bad.

The irony, as this section wishes to propose, is that the truth is that nothing is truly rational. Even rationalism stands on an irrational premise. For an explanation to be rational, it means that such an explanation must adhere to means that are considered rational (an example would be deduction, as explained in a previous section). But in order to accept that, one must assume and accept first that ‘everything must be rational’. This area is very vague, but to accept such a statement rationally would mean that you have accepted rationality first, which is then self defeating. Keep on asking ‘why’ to a statement, and getting your answer ask another ‘why’, on and on, and you will end up with something you have no explanation to other than ‘well, because, just because’.

An example to this would be in answering the following question: “to which direction will a ball fall to if you casually drop it: up, down, or sideways (either left or right)?”.

A very simple answer would be: down. But this only true when we assume and accept that the ground is beneath, and the sky is above, and since the ball falls towards the ground (down beneath) instead of the sky (up above) thus it falls down. But putting in mind that we are in Indonesia and gravity pulls towards earth (check where Indonesia is on the globe, its on the side part of earth), the rational conclusion is that the ball will fall sideways.

But then, that is only true if we assume and accept that the north pole is “up above” and the south pole is “down below”, just like how the globes are usually place on our tables (or sometimes with certain angle). We can always go on and on and never end, so then we simply assume a basic premise to be true first, and then we rationalize from there.

Having that said, this section proposes that any rational idea will always be based on an irrational assumption.

Not that this statement is wrong, and not that this is true either, as it all ends up with an irrational assumption anyways. This section will explain how the cognizance of such could be utilized as an advantage in constructing and deconstructing an argument. A new assumption would be taken, that something irrational is not necessarily bad.

Emotional Considerations in Deciding a Debate Winner: a Case Study of Medsco 2013 Grandfinals

Emotional Considerations in Deciding a Debate Winner: a Case Study of Medsco 2013 Grandfinals

  1. Introduction: Arguments and Rhetorics

In almost every debating competition held in Indonesia, most if not all adjudications are (supposed to be) made based on the rational construction of arguments. Teams win or lose based on which team, according to the adjudicator, has managed to out argue the other team by generally proving their case better. By ‘proving better’, an adjudicator would first consider the relevance and consistency of arguments presented owing to the context set up at the beginning, and then, as a main point, considering whether or not the arguments (in form of major premises) have been proven well or dis-proven by the other team.

The main instruments to prove arguments, according to most adjudicators, would be the construction of logic based on induction or deduction methods. Induction is where one concludes by generalizing from a set of premises from an observable range of data. In the framework of an inductive argument, if we assume that the premises are correct, then the major premise is very likely to be correct. This is different from a deductive argument, where the major premise is a natural and consequent conclusion from the premises. Thus in a framework of deductive argument, if we assume that the premises are correct, then the major premise is absolutely correct.

Such deductive or inductive reasoning should be incorporated into the well known Assertion-Reasoning-Evidence-Linkback (AREL) pattern to then become a full argument. This is the Argument 101 for almost any debate communities.

However, if we refer to the works of Aristoteles on rhetorics, there are three elements of a speech for it to be acceptable by the audience: ethos, logos, and pathos. Such an ancient piece of work, yet today’s reality still sees the truth of it.

The induction and deduction of arguments would be the fulfillment of the element ‘logos’. To accept a certain argument, there must be some understandable logical explanations that the argument is correct. However, that is not the only element. We also need to fulfill the element of ‘ethos’, which means building up credibility. In this element, the speaker needs to present themselves as someone credible and capable to gain trust from the audience. Having trust, it is easier for the audience to believe what the speaker says.

The last element, which this essay would mainly discuss about, would be ‘pathos’ element. It talks about how a person can be influenced by the grasping of emotional acceptance. On this level, which speaks more of psychoanalysis than that of rationality, audiences tend to easily believe arguments that correspond well to what they emotionally already expect –or to put it in other words: an emotional prejudice.

Some simple examples of this would be in a debate about liberal economy, where the notion “companies are profit oriented” generally has a negative connotation. Therefore, it is easier for an audience to accept the argument of “the profit oriented nature of companies are regrettable”, regardless whether or not such a premise has been properly rationalized.

Traditionally, training and briefings for debate adjudicators (as usually practiced by Jogja Debating Forum and other major debate communities in Indonesia, materials are easily and freely downloadable for reference) would consider Eros and Pathos cumulatively and holistically in contribution to the clarity and the convincing-ness in the delivery of the logos element.

This essay will analyze the grand final round of the Medical School Competition 2013, held in Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta. The debate was between Team Pendidikan Dokter (Affirmative) and Team Titik (Negative), by the motion of “THBT Doctors Should Not Require Parents Consent to Perform Medical Procedures on Children”. Team Negative won the debate with a split decision 2 versus 1 judges.

The author does not wish, through this essay, to imply any prejudice to the competence of the majority adjudicators. The aim of this essay is only to argue that the element of ‘pathos’ was more overwhelming than the element of ‘logos’ in the majority judge’s ground of deciding the winner.

  1. An Overview of the Debate

  1. The Set Up

Debating with the motion as mentioned previously, Team Affirmative set the debate in a very unclear kind of way. While the First Speaker Affirmative mentioned that the context of the debate would only be in emergency situations and gave examples of cases when children get into accidents and the whereabouts of the parents are unknown, Team Negative mentioned that such setting is truistic –and this claim was agreed by one of the judges.

However, Team Affirmative seemed to argue that emergency cases means urgent life and death situations, regardless whether or not their parents were there. They also argued situations where parents were there, but refusing certain medical procedures on irrational basis –which provides a very fair room for debate. The author therefore concludes that the definition was multilayer and partially truistic (some of it is truistic, as elaborated in the previous paragraph, some of it is not truistic, as elaborated in the first part of this paragraph), yet the truistic part of the definition was eventually left out of the debate and did not matter anymore. Having that said, the author concluded that the debate set up became fair.

  1. The Empathy Argument

The Empathy Argument was the core argument of Team Negative in response to Team Affirmative. This argument was the winning argument for Team Negative in the perspective of the majority of adjudicators. To understand this argument, one needs to first see the “Qualification Argument” brought by Team Affirmative.

In the qualification argument, Team Affirmative argued first that they acknowledge that not asking parents consent would breach the Autonomy Principle –patients have rights to choose what medical procedures to undergo or not. Being children, such choices are legally given to the parents. Then Team Affirmative added that in situation of emergency, the Autonomy Principle must be sacrificed for the higher priority: the safety of the patient.

Team Affirmative further argued that “prioritizing the safety of the patient” is not only more paramount than the Autonomy Principle, but more importantly is that in situation of emergency, the Autonomy Principle clashes with patient safety. Their biggest premise was : “Doctors are unarguably qualified in the medical field, while parents are not, thus it is best for doctors to make the decisions than leaving it to parents”.

Such claim was justified by Team Affirmative by asserting that the profession of doctors have been through a very thorough and comprehensive multilevel education and training system, so much, that such profession was given monopoly by law over formal medical service. The author saw that this point was proven, to the extent that there is no doubt that doctors know so much better than parents in understanding medical conditions and procedures.

This argument then formed the main room of debate and burden of proof. In the situation of medical emergency: if it can be proven that parents can have considerations that are more important than the doctors, Team Negative wins. If not, Team Affirmative wins.

In response to that, here comes the “Empathy Argument“. Team Negative said that parents would know their kids better emotionally while doctors only understand the medical side. They said that parents, especially mothers, would have much better empathy to the child. Their example was what if the child was afraid of needles or surgeries, while the emergency medical procedures might involve such things. Basically, the whole point of this argument is to show that there is a part of a medical situation of a child that doctors will not understand but only parents. Therefore, in these kinds of situations, it is parents that should have better knowledge and is therefore more competent to make decisions.

Retaliating to this response, Team Affirmative came with an example of a certain emergency heart condition, namely Patent Ductus Arteriosus. In such condition, the best way of saving the child is by inserting some amplatzer or other duct occluder –which is done through surgery. Such surgery can only be performed while the child is at a young age. Mere medications would only buy a few more years of life –which by then the heart surgery cannot be performed anymore so nothing is left to save the child. Thus if a parent refuses such surgery because the child was afraid of surgeries, then the child will not survive the situation.

Team Negative argued again with an example of chemotherapy for cancer which might buy some time for the child’s life, but makes the child bald and might potentially hinder social life. Team Affirmative responded by explaining that chemotherapy does not classify as an emergency procedure, as it is a long term therapy procedure –not something needed urgently therefore irrelevant to the debate.

  1. Other arguments

Team Negative asserted that children cannot practice their own autonomy rights. The reason to that was because children are still irrational, immature, and unable to form reasonable decisions. They further explained how parents legally represent the children for that matter, as parents are presumed to be more rational, mature, and able to form reasonable decisions.

However the relevance of this argument is questionable, as this is something that Team Affirmative also agrees upon. If both teams agree upon it, it is no longer part of the room of debate. However, it may seem that Team Affirmative has a slight advantage in this point. This is because Team Affirmative has extended the debate by saying that doctors also are capable in forming reasonable decisions (similar to the parents), but doctors have a greater advantage by also being more capable in solving medical situations unlike the parents (which is then subject to the contention of the ‘qualification argument’ vs ’empathy argument’).

Another minor contention was on the rights to know. While Team Negative argued that parents have rights to know the condition of the child and about the medical procedures given to their child, Team Affirmative responded by saying that not requiring their consent does not suggest that parents will not be informed (they could be informed afterwards). This argument was raised by the second speaker of Team Negative, and was discussed even until the reply speech. Such an argument had little significance to the course of the debate, yet it was ironic that the discussion upon it lasted for a great deal of airtime.

  1. Logos v. Pathos

  1. Dissenting View: The Element of Logos

The judge that gave winning to Team Affirmative, let us further refer to as the Dissenting Judge, was on a very simple basis. While the burden of proof was “if it can be proven that parents can have considerations that are more important than the doctors, Team Negative wins”, it becomes a debate where Team Affirmative wins unless Team Negative can prove otherwise.

Team Affirmative has managed to prove that if the situation was medical, then a medical doctor knows best. Having that said, the burden shifts to Team Negative to prove whether or not exists another consideration that is more important than medical considerations, that a parent is capable of and a doctor is not. On this contention, Team Negative brought forth the Empathy Argument. The whole debate is now on whether or not the Empathy Argument can be proven.

As a matter of response, Team Affirmative has successfully tackled the ‘fear of surgery’ argument as previously explained. However, this only gives a minor credit to Team Affirmative for tackling down a particular example. Referring to the AREL principle of argument, what Team Affirmative did was merely knocking out the E(vidence), but has not negated the entirety of the argument. Therefore, viewing from the dynamics of the debate, nothing much has changed despite a very slight advantage of Team Negative.

However, if one takes a look at the construction of the argument itself, it is totally flawed. Firstly, it is very strange for one team to assert at one time that a child’s opinion are immature and cannot be trusted (i.e. fear of surgery), but at another time assert that parents know the child’s opinion and must take that child’s opinion (i.e. parents must take into account the fear of surgery). This is also an almost explicit statement that the parents’ will decide based on the irrationality of the child, which:

  • Even Team Negative themselves acknowledged that such irrationality is something that must not be trusted, making the argument contradictory

  • That, put against the very rational Qualification Argument brought by Team Affirmative, stands no chance.

Moreover, while it is very true that parents would empathize to their children emotionally, there was however no explanation on the relevance of such empathy when it comes to emergency medical situations. The only attempts were by saying that children can be afraid of needles or surgeries, yet there were no explanations on why one should succumb to such fear in medical emergencies.

Bear in mind also that Team Affirmative did not point out this weakness of Team Negative. However we must remember that a weak point is a weak point, and we should mark it weak. If Team Affirmative points it out then credit them for it, but even without that Team Negative should be given a weak mark for providing a weak point. Compare this to Team Affirmative which provided a stronger argument.

Having that said, it was obvious for the Dissenting Judge that this contention was won by Team Affirmative. The debate was a close one, however, because the Dissenting Judge had to take into account some other perspectives (e.g. First Affirmative wasn’t clear in their stance as previously explained, etc).

As could be clearly seen, the consideration made by the Dissenting Judge was heavily influenced by the element of Logos. The elements of Eros and Pathos were accumulated subjectively, though. It must be admitted that the explanations by Team Affirmative using all those medical terms would be more appealing, which might have given them an extra edge in credibility or Eros. As a matter of Pathos, the clash on medical qualifications versus empathy did to some extent try to appeal to the emotions of the judges: “but the child might die”, “what if the child is afraid”, etc. However, Logos was very dominant in the analysis.

  1. Majority View: Element of Pathos

The judges who voted for Team Negative, which will be referred to as the Majority Judges, were basically based on two grounds. The first ground was the truistic nature of Team Negative’s definition, which was pointed out and clarified by Team Negative.

PS: As a side note, the author wishes to argue that this ground is basically senseless by the following reasons:

  • Only part of the stance was truistic, and wasnt discussed much anyway and left out in the dynamics

  • Factually, fierce engagement happened anyway on the part of the stance from Team Affirmative which was not truistic –an evidence of not being truistic

  • Even if the definition was really truistic, that only further confirms that Team Affirmative should win the debate. A truistic definition means that there is no room for Team Negative to argue, which means that Team Affirmative consequently should win. This is why the definitional challenge mechanism is provided, so Team Negative could get out of that awful definition and make a fair debate in their new definition.

To understand further about truistic definitions and challenge of definitions, kindly refer to other materials regarding definitions (e.g. Jogja Debating Handbook or other adjudicating materials).

Another judge pointed out that the lack of clarity in the definition of “emergency” as a fatal flaw of Team Affirmative, and a ground to vote against them. On this matter, the Dissenting Judge also discredited the First Speaker Affirmative for making such mistake, but saw that the direction of the dynamics were clear anyway due to the clarification of Team Negative, and the Second Speaker Affirmative also clarified that their case was multilayer (both with and without parents present).

However, the author wishes to mainly draw attention to the second and main ground for the Majority Judges to vote for Team Negative. They made such decision because they were convinced by the empathy argument.

From the verbal adjudication and further discussions internally within the panel, the Majority Judges seemed to simply take for granted that empathy is indeed important, and that was it. There does not seem to be much to explain, because that was just it.

As a matter of psychology, it cannot be denied that empathy is very important. The need for affection, especially by children, has been long established. Not only the need of it, but also the dangers of its absence. An average reasonable person would usually refer to this as something you cannot necessarily rationally explain, but is something that one can undoubtedly feel. There are direct implications between lack of affection and stress, which would then reduce one’s overall health and performance.

However, in a debate competition, a Judge must remain neutral. They may not use their personal knowledge to fill in the gaps of what the teams failed to look at and consider it to the team’s advantage/disadvantage. The rationale for this is simple: it is the teams who are supposed to be debating, not the adjudicators.

It has been explained previously how Team Negative attempted to prove the argument, as well as the Dissenting Judge’s view of it. The author wishes to argue that on any angle or perspective, the “empathy argument” cannot be seen as a well induced or deduced argument, as explained in the Dissenting Judge’s view section. Therefore, as a matter of logos, one can objectively conclude that the element of Logos is not fulfilled.

Yet the author of this essay argues that the empathy argument, while not proven in the framework of the Logos element, was convincing on the Pathos element. This is not suggesting, as previously mentioned, that the Majority Judges were incompetent in reaching their decision. They really are competent, accredited, respected, and well achieving adjudicators. This is not, either, suggesting that the Dissenting Judge is perfect and free from flaw or bias in analyzing the debate, his views is presented merely as an example of a purely Logos-based approach to contrast the Pathos-based approach.

Because this is not a situation where the Majority Judges were filling in the gaps of Team Negative’s Logos element with explanations that the team never gave in the debate.

The author argues that this is a situation where the notion of ‘parents empathize better’ and ‘empathy is needed’, at least by the Majority Judges, has been accepted as a general truth. This is usually because one’s personal conscience cannot accept the absence of empathy. Just like how saying that companies are profit oriented already naturally implies something negative, this is an emotional acceptance and not a logical understanding. Therefore, this is why the author concludes that this is a decision based on Pathos more than Logos.

There are a number of ways to explain why these particular Judges decided in such a way. It is very natural for humans to respond to Pathos in that way. After all, Aristoteles did not suggest in any way that there is a hierarchy of significance between the Pathos, Logos, and Ethos. All of them are equally proper according to which area they target. The American Legal Realists observe this in more detail, in explaining the reason for court judges and juries in reaching verdicts.

Having that said, it is just natural for one to heavily respond emotionally to a very emotional issue. Perhaps, to the Majority Judges, the relations between parents and children with empathy is that kind of emotional issue. If that is so, then there is no such Logos element needed, according to the Majority Judges.

Trying best not to be gender biased, but perhaps (to some extent) the fact that the Majority Judges were females may have taken some part. The author understands that stereotyping is not something that is generally acceptable in the context of parliamentary debating. However, the author suggests that it is not entirely beyond the realm of possibilities that the judges were, to some extent, influenced by their social construction.

Parents care most about their children, children should love their parents, a parent’s love is the greatest human love, they all are claims that are constructed in many societies –Indonesia included. Other more relevant socially constructed claims would be that men are more rational and tend to be insensitive towards emotional issues, and women are the exact opposite.

There are physiological and social arguments that suggests that such claims are naturally true, and the postmodern feminists would argue that such things are only socially constructed but not necessarily within human nature. However even the postmodernist feminists would agree that if an individual was constructed in a certain way, then that individual will tend to act based on that construction. Therefore, naturally or constructed to believe that they are more sensitive and respond more to emotions, the Majority Judges are more inclined to emotionally accept the empathy argument as a truth despite the lack of logical explanation to it.

  1. Conclusion

Regardless of reason or motive, the author concludes that it was very apparent that the Majority Judge’s decision was reached more by emotional acceptance (Pathos) than that of rational or logical understanding (Logos).

As mentioned earlier, this is not to necessarily suggest that the Majority Judges were incompetent. While the conduct of Logos is a reflection of rationality, and it seems that rationality is something that is more widely accepted as the proper parameter of evaluation, however the notion that ‘rationality is the best way’ is not a rational claim –it is a metaphysical one.

While this essay does not talk about competence or incompetence, perhaps there is a lesson that debaters, coaches, and judges, must reflect on. Debaters must realize how important Pathos is as an element of high importance. Therefore, they must utilize this to the maximum effect. Coaches must also put greater emphasis in teaching and evaluating this aspect (for a much more massive case as to how extreme Pathos can influence a large audience, please refer to Jogja Debating Handbook: Second Edition, final chapter on How to Win a Debate, on the Subjective way to win a debate section).

As for judges, one must realize that there should be a balance in Logos, Eros, and Pathos. Unlike the reference in the previous paragraph that emphasizes more on the performance aspect, this essay speaks more from the inner-self of the judge in making decisions. While it is essential to evaluate the logical construction of the arguments (Logos), do not forget to also be more attentive to what belongs to Pathos, and also to transparently and appropriately award and evaluate the debaters based on it. It is important to admit and clearly use Pathos as one of the means of deciding and evaluating, rather than never mentioning it while factually considering it –consciously or not.

 

Adjudicating for Beginners

Some time ago, I remember hearing a remark regarding the judges of American idol: “Hey, Simon cant even sing. Why the hell does he think he knows how to comment on those people?”

But then, the same person said: “Hmm, I think the Chris Daughtry sung quite well for a Queen song which is not quite known. I would really prefer him to either sing a more famous Queen song, or perhaps stretch the vocal-work more so we could at least hear the most of Chris’s beutiful voice.”

PS: this friend of mine CAN NOT SING.

It strikes me when I realized that you do not have to be a good singer or music specialist to judge whether you like the song or not.

Quoting also from the manga “Addicted to Curry” and “The Real Master Cooking Boy”, the main characters always say: “Good food is good food. Anyone can tell.”

I think the same should go for adjudicating a debate. It is quite strange to my ears, when in one hand we say:

“Adjudicators must be the most qualified, must undergo accreditations”

But at another occasion we say:

“Adjudicators must perform as an average reasonable person”

Hey, we technically ARE average reasonable persons! So I guess that adjudicating a popular debate such as parliamentary debating does not necessarily have to be identical with the most highly qualified persons. But just like any other things which “can be judged by all” such as food and music, it is still best to give some substantive and constructive guidance so that they know what specific aspects to look out for.

The challenge presented itself in due course. Jogja Debating Forum is faced with a competition which must involve some muggles –completely inexperienced people– to become adjudicators. And we must train them.

Perfect.

So I wrote this guideline, to help them learn (although it must work in tandem with some parts of JDF’s debating handbook, as well as good delivery of materials with an exhibition for practice). I really hope this will help beginners have a kick start in their adjudicating skills.

Before the training starts by the end of this month, I really hope I could get much inputs on this one. Please read and review!

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BASIC PRINCIPLES OF ASIAN PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE COMPETITION ADJUDICATION

By Fajri Matahati Muhammadin[1]

 

 A.     A UNIVERSAL STANDARD AND WHY WE NEED IT

Other competitions do not bother to have a uniform standard of judgment, but debating does. In fact, debating competitions generally have adjudicator accreditations to ensure who may qualify and who may not. This is true nationally in Indonesia (Indonesia’s Ministry for Education acknowledges this too), and even in almost all international competitions.

The reason why debating societies would trouble themselves this much is because they see debating as an educational process of critical thinking. In education there should be a standardized evaluation, so that participants could actually learn from it in details –not only from their coaches whom are watching, but from the adjudicators which decide victory in competitions.

Skills of critical thinking does not always naturally come to us, e.g. how our society never thanks the government for fuel subsidies but complain vigorously everytime a small portion of it is removed, or how the concept of human rights or welfare economics actually mean and applies in policy making. These skills are important to be trained. But of so many competitions which claim to help harness certain skills of the participants, english debating tradition is perhaps the only one that actually sets a custom to accomodate this aim to the fullest extent.

Debate competitions may be conducted in various formats: Asian/Australasian Parliamentary, British Parliamentary, American Parliamentary, Rapid-Fire, and so much more. But in essence, there are similar principles held erga omnes –by all.

B.     PRINCIPLES IN ADJUDICATING A DEBATE

1.      Keeping Notes on the Track of the Debate

Debating is a qualitative competition, as opposed to quantitative. It requires a detailed holistic approach to then compare both teams. It is therefore imperative for an adjudicator to take notes on the how each teams tried to prove their case.

The main purpose of this is so that the adjudicator can remember what has happened in the debate to the most substantive detail necessary. Not only to assist in qualitative decision making, but also so that the adjudicator could answer to participants question as specific as “What do you think about my first speaker’s second argument, how did I prove it, what flaws did you see, and what do you think I should do to improve that point.”

Please note that an adjudicator’s verdict is final and not subject to appeal, therefore it gives a moral burden to explain and live up to that verdict.

2.      Identifying the Debate Contextualization, as Eyes to Perceive the Rest of the Debate

Since the very start of the debate, Team Government must define and contextualize the motion to a specific room of debate. Team Opposition generally must abdicate to the definition and contextualization set by Team Government. This is done to avoid confusions and irrelevancy during the debates.

Motion definitions and contextualizations are not to be confused with “word definition”. Not necessary to define the motion word-by-word using dictionaries, the main purpose of this is just to clarify what is to be debated and what is not.

A motion on THW Privatize its State Owned enterprises, for a example, may be confused with many forms of privatizations. A definition would clarify from the start, which form of privatization is to be debated upon[2]. A definition must be clear, given by the first speaker of government, and must be fair.

Contextualization refers to the divisions of stances between the teams especially in proposal debates. In response to a new solution/proposal brought by Team Government , Team Opposition may opt to say that the status quo is better or that they have another solution –but they must be clear from the start, and be consistent with that stance.[3]

The purpose of this is to make sure that we understand where the debate should be going, that the teams know how to position themselves against each other, and to see whether they are consistent in directing their case.

3.      Focus Not on What Argument/Rebuttal They Bring, But How They Prove Them

The challenge of a debating competition is similar to that of scientific challenges. The statements of teams that “A is bad because it is against human rights” or “B is good because it promotes social wellfare better” are merely hypothesis. The real point is how to prove those hypothesis in order to prove that they are right. Without that, its just like the teams are relying on the adjudicator’s minds and prejudice to try prove both sides of the arguments for them.

The first things which a team must pay attention to is indeed choose a relevant argument which is consistent with their stance. But the real deal is to prove them by providing a hypothesis (or assertion), giving analysis (Das Sollen vs Das Sein or “theory” versus “realtity” or other deduction methods), and giving evidence/facts to support it.[4]

After keeping track on how teams prove their arguments and provide rebuttals towards each other, an adjudicator will be able to see which team has proven their arguments better than the other team (in a constructive, deconstructive, or both ways).

4.      Adjudicators Must Not Use Specific Personal Knowledge

Adjudicators may have specific knowledges in certain motions. For example, a professor of political science would know best about the detailed facts on the Bureaucratics Politics Model application in the United States of America. While judging a motion on THBT the USA should ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the said professor could easily spot out some factual flaws brought by the teams. Or, a very experienced or informed adjudicator can easily prove that a certain argument is wrong.

The adjudicator may provide inputs with his/her specific knowledge. But he/she may not use that knowledge to deduce/give points to the teams. Although debating requires scientific-ways of proving, but this is not a specialized scientific debate competition. This is more of a popular debating competition one would experience in a parliament and viewed by people from various backgrounds and also the society.

Furtherly it is unfair if one team looses because an adjudicator knows that they brought a wrong fact, while a team in the next chamber wins because the adjudicator coincidentally did not know that wrong fact. Plus, if adjudicators unilaterally prove that a team’s argument is wrong then they are no longer neutral.

An adjudicator is a passive person, considering the debate as it is.

5.      Exceptions to Principle 4

There are certain mistakes which can be reasons to deduce a team even when the opponent did not point it out. Also, there are certain facts which the adjudicator may unilaterally penalize because they are wrong. These certain situations are when the mistakes are universally known as a mistake. They would include:

–          Contradictions and inconsistensies between arguments,

–          Irrelevannt arguments,

–          Facts or theories which people would generally know is wrong (e.g. Palestine is a country in South America, with a majority hindu population and aborigine ethnicity)

–          Arguments which are clearly morally incorrect and despicable (e.g. We will reduce the poverty rate by killing all poor people)

Another exception is in context of evaluational and educational purposes. Adjudicators must endeavor to the furthest extent possible to provide feedback even if it has to include using personal knowledge –but it is essential to state a disclaimer that this part is feedback and not part of ratio decidendi (or reason behind judgment).

6.      Public Speaking Skills as a Subjective Element in Proving

Skills of public speaking is essential, but only to the extent of helping teams send their message to the adjudicators. Analogous to handwriting, the minimum standard one would expect is so that it is at least readable and the sentence construction is understandable.

The average public speaker would at least enable adjudicators to understand their speech without difficulty. Nothing impedimenting the adjudicator’s ability to understand, but nothing impressive either.

But just like handwriting. It would be very special if the handwriting is beautiful, the choice of words and sentence construction is so artful that it attracts us further than simply “understanding it”. More skilled public speakers will use their gestures, expressions, intonations, choice of words, etc, to persuade the adjudicators to believe in their arguments.

Then consequently, the final output of public speaking is how well the adjudicators get the message which the teams wish to deliver throughout their speech. Thats all.

7.      Observations of Role-Based Dynamics

In line with Principle 2 and 3, a debate is about how both teams: establish the grounds/platform of their case, provide arguments and prove them well, and try destroy each other with rebuttals. In the end, the adjudicator can see which team’s case still stands stronger.

But it is imperative to know that for the sake of fairness and quality, every speaker in a debate has a role to fulfill –not as a procedural requirement, but for imperative substantive necessity. For example, please refer again to Principle 2. If a definition was brought in the second speaker of Team Government, then only God knows what the first speakers were debating about.

Furthermore, it is unfair if the Reply Speaker of Team Government brings a new argument. Nobody is there to rebuttal them. It is therefore important to know what these roles of speakers are.[5]

Government

Opposition

First Speaker
  • Define the Motion,
  • Contextualization
  • Provide arguments

First Speaker

  • Clarify negating stance
  • Respond Team Government’s case (rebuttals)
  • Provide Arguments

Second Speakers

  • Respond the other teams (and defend own case from opponent previous rebuttals)
  • Provide extensions: new arguments compared to that of the first speaker

Third speakers

  • Holistic Rebuttals to opponent case
  • Must not bring new arguments

Reply Speakers

  • Comparative summary of case: why their team should win the debate
  • Must not bring new arguments
  • Must not bring new rebuttals

 

There are a few things which are excluded from the table, but are essential also: team splits, background, and summarizing. These items are matters of ethiquette (or functional) of general public speaking which would be missed but its absence not necessarily fatal to the dynamics of the debate, while the table includes speaker-specific job descriptions which their absence would indeed be fatal.

8.      Qualitative Judgment First, then Quantify

After following and considering Principle 1 to 7, it all comes down to one simple question: which team convinced the adjudicator more?

The aforementioned ‘one million dollar question’ should be answered considerately, responsibly, and accurately. Adjudiators, in deducing the debates from the previous principles, must not only observe each teams individually but also both teams comparatively.

In practice, sometimes adjudicators are faced with easy choices when one team clearly outstands the other. At another other time, adjudicators may face a team with a great argument but no rebuttals at all, versus another team with no arguments but really good rebuttals. It can go harder when one team is at advantage at some arguments, while the other team is at advantage at other arguments –or one team has a really good speaker and two very bad ones, while the other team has three average speakers.

Adjudicators must consider all elements holisticly and fairly. Making their priorities based on the given principles. And it still comes down to that same simple question: which team is more convincing?

Deciding who wins is the first thing that an adjudicator must do. Then, they would fill in the adjudicator’s sheet with scores. Adjudicators must be mindful of the score ranges given in the sheets, as well as the landmarks for guidance to ensure a same standard to the fullest extent possible.

Landmarks for substantive speeches are as follows:

Minimum         : Pure silence/something just as good as pure silence

Average           : The speaker:

– fulfilled their speaker role

– provided relevant and consistent arguments (and rebuttals, if applicable)

– Made logical attempt to prove the arguments, although not yet proven

– Made adjudicators not in need for extra effort to understand speech, but not impressive

– Was not undertime (undertime is less than 6 minutes) nor overtime (overtime is over 7 minutes and 20 seconds). Please be mindful of significancy, e.g. as 7 minutes and 21 seconds is not too far from the limit

Maximum        : This speaker is so convincing that if he/she claims to be a God/Prophet, people will believe him/her

C.     CLOSING REMARKS

It is apparent that although teams may conduct their own practices with their coaches, but the a great deal of portion in critical thinking education through debate is obtained from one competition to the other. This puts adjudicators on a critical role in this part of education.

It is therefore imperative and essential for adjudicators to live up to such role. They should perform their duties responsibly, by considering the aforementioned principles –carefully, because they will serve as knowledge to the participants.

Apart from substantial matters, it is equally important for an adjudicator to conduct themselves professionally. It is apparent that many debating competitions tend to be less formal (compared to that of Model United Nations or International Moot Courts). Notwithstanding that fact, the author suggests that adjudicators must respect the participants and committees in all ways possible (attitude during or not during adjudicating, choice of clothings, etc).

Having this said, it is the author’s wishes that this short paper would be of good use to assist new adjudicators in preparing themselves. The author equally hopes that adjudicators will also seek further references and never stop learning.


[1] Advisory Council member for Jogja Debating Forum

[2]  For further explanations on definitions, please refer to Fajri M. Muhammadin, et.al..2012. Jogja Debating Forum: Handbook for Parliamentary Debating (Second Edition), pp13-16 (http://www.ziddu.com/download/18126255/JDFHandbook-SecondEdition.pdf.html)

[3] For further explanations on arguments and rebuttals, please refer to ibid, pp24-43)

[4] For further explanations on arguments and rebuttals, please refer to ibid, pp44-88)

[5] Ibid, pp117-121


PS: I JUST FOUND OUT THAT WORDPRESS CAN USE FOOTNOTES!!!!!! ^_^

Do Adjudicators Need to Research?

I have heard from a friend that she was trained in a way so that debate adjudicators are supposed to research upon the prepared motions, prior to adjudicating in the said competition. This post will explain my perspective on the matter.

I have posted another article on “How to adjudicate a clash of facts”, yet that article emphasizes on a very specific problem. This shall be more general to the role of an adjudicator with respect to research –finding facts.

My view on this goes three folds:

  • It is not imperative, despite a good bonus, for adjudicators to conduct indepth research on motions
  • Adjudicators whom choose to conduct so may only apply the result of such research when providing constructive feedback –not as judgment consideration.
  • This may not be construed as to a bar for adjudicators to rule on wrong facts which can be identified by average reasonable persons, or that an adjudicator may be completely clueless on a motion to the extent that e.g. they think “Free Trade” is “trading goods for free”.

The following are my reasons:

Role of Adjudicators

An adjudicator must be a passive 3rd party to the debate, where they only judge based on what appears in the debate and brought by team government or opposition (audi et alteram partem. Its a legal term for this principle. Its unnecessary, but I just think its cool. HAHA).

They must be neutral as an average reasonable persons, in the sense that they may not have their own personal specific knowledge to be used as consideration. If I, personally as a law student, knows that a team is bringing a wrong fact/theory which is a very detailed matter of law, then I should not rule it out. It is unfair, because other teams in other chambers can bring the same fact/theory and get away with it simply by sheer luck that the other adjudicators are not law students.

As addition to that, adjudicators must not second guess an argument/rebuttal of the teams by providing a counter argument/rebuttal. E.g. a team bringing an argument that “homosexual parents can not provide different figure-models for their children, thus may not adopt”, and the adjudicator sees that it is a bad argument because “these gender based figure models are simply a matter of construction, and has nothing to do with whether or not the child can grow normally or not”. This is stepping in to the debate. This is wrong because the debate should be only between Team Government and Team Opposition. Adjudicators remain in between.

Even if the motions are prepared where every adjudicator has the chance to research equally. A debate must be determined by the efforts of the teams in researching and building their case, NOT by the extent of research which the adjudicators have done (which may vary between adjudicators).

Therefore, it is not necessary for an adjudicator to research upon a prepared motion in order to prepare him/herself to perform the primary role as an adjudictor: to judge. Any results of these research, if applied to the debate, will result in interference.

It is however very nice if an adjudicator decides to research, in order to provide constructive feedbacks to the teams. Debate is more than a competition, as it is also a part of a learning process. But it must be remembered that these researches and knowledges of specific facts/theories must strictly be used for evaluational purpose only. NOT JUDGING.

Average Reasonable Knowledge

Despite the aforementioned explanations, there are some certain facts/theories which is safe to be assumed known by everyone –and therefore, getting them wrong would sound riddiculous for anyone regardless of academic knowledge (or people not knowing them are sadly ill-informed). For example, it is safe to say generally people would know that poor people tend to starve and that they should not be in such condition. Or, an extreme one, is that Ahmadinejad is not the president of USA.

Now on these facts, adjudicators may rule them out. One may assume that it does not take specific research to know these things. But it would help to randomly scour the newspapers/internet for random facts. (further anaysis on how to rule out clashes of facts of extreme nature, kindy refer to my article “How to adjudicate Clash of Facts” which can also be found in this blog.)

Plus, as I said that everytime you enter a chamber to adjudicate, adjudicators must make sure that they have an idea of what the motion is generally about. Not to the extent that they try think of arguments that teams are supposed to bring, definitely not whether or not they personally agree/disagree with the motion. But at least what is the motion about.

E.g. A motion about eco terrorism. At least you should know that the debate is about groups of people terrorizing environmental offenders, not Al Qaeda.

This is just my opinion, though. Please let me know if you have other ideas upon this matter.

Parliamentary Debating: How to Adjudicate Wrong Facts

How to Adjudicate Wrong Facts

Sometimes we may face a problem in adjudicating when two teams present contradictory facts, which would definitely mean that one of those facts is fake (or misanalyzed). Whether the adjudicator truthfully knows the truth or not, both would present different level of problems to the adjudicator in judging the particular clash. These are my findings to deal with the matters.

The Doctrines

There are two doctrines (sounds cool, eh? :p Credits of lingo to Rizky Wirastomo) which I have seen its practice, and to be considered of its plusses and minuses.

The first one is what I used to be told some years ago, which is the average reasonable person doctrine (yep, I made up the name). One of the basics of adjudicating is that the judge must be an average reasonable person, meaning that they have to be a person (natuurlijk person, in this context, LoL), reasonable in the sense that they are capable of basic logical usage (identifying how a hypothesis is proven, weighting, pointing irrelevancies and inconsistensies etc), and is average –not necessarily in IQ, but in knowledge where a judge must remain as a generally informed person without any specific indepth knowledge (certainly, except for debating and adjudicating rules from which a judge must be a master).

The point of knowledge is perhaps what goes in the way of an adjudicator from independently declaring a fact true or false, as personal knowledge would consequently be beyond fairness to use. This is also against principles of impartiality where a judge may not interfere to a debate.

This principle, however, consequently only applies to a clash of fact which its validity involves deep personal knowledge on a certain area of study discipline. An example would be what I faced in round 3 of JOVED 2011, in the motion of THBT Courts should not recognize prenuptial agreements, where I was panelist with Wishnu (STMIK AMIKOM) serving under Kiki (UNDIP) as chair adjudicator.

When the debate was contextualized to be within Indonesia’s legal system, I found it quite troubling when team opposition simply said : “..without prenuptial agreements, the judge has no basis of in deciding and thus cause more conflicts and injustice.” This is very wrong, as the fact is that there are many kinds of law sources which judges can apply accordingly owing to the circumstances of the marriage and origins of the persons (Adatrecht, islamic laws, and Burgerlijk Wetbook –Indonesian code of civil laws, but in Dutch it sounds cooler). But that is my specific knowledge as a law student, thus I did not insert these as reasonings for my judgement.

Keeping the average reasonable person doctrine in mind, in another instance, I could then penalize a team for saying: “Adolf Hitler is a British Lady, married to Genghis Khan in 2004, and started the communist party in China” (extremely speaking, of course).

Or in a more debate relevant context, when an opposition challenges a definition on the basis of squirreling under the motion of TH Would Put Soeharto behind bars. In that debate, team government defined Soeharto as some random becak driver who was prosecuted for some random reason (it was a practice session in my old highschool). Opposition, apparently with their senses still intact, along with their challenge proposed an alternate definition which defines Soeharto as Indonesia’s former president. The adjudicator would then have complete liberty to penalize team government for what they did, and favor the attempt done by the opposition.

But then, confusions may happen in determining where is the thin red line between what is an average reasonable fact or not.

In another debating competition, a preliminary round of IVED (Indonesian Varsities English Debates) 2006, team Universitas Sanata Dharma (USD) lost a round. Among the reasons delivered by the judge (Astrid Fina, from UI), the statement from USD: “reducing carbon emissions in just one country will not help reduce global carbon emission levels as a whole” was a wrong fact determinable by an average reasonable person and therefore was penalized despite the other team not responding to the point. Team USD was not quite satisfied by that reasoning, and thought that the judge interfered in the debate too far. As a disclaimer, I am not judging as to whether I do or do not agree with that judgement.

I faced similar problems in the same prenuptial marriage agreement above. Team government argued “Prenuptial marriage agreements are not legal, because it was not agreed upon within the marriage” (which I know is wrong), when team opposition responded “any agreements are simply legally binding to parties and could be used as evidence in court, when there is a consentual agreement between the parties” (which I know is close to the truth). Such knowledge is very elementary in the study of law, so elementary that it perhaps might as well be a common knowledge. Another analogy would be: the full function and jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court is clearly an indepth knowledge, but one could easily conclude that you dont apply for divorces there. But in the other hand, I am not completely sure either because this does not sound as stupid as applying for divorces in a CRIMINAL court.

So to ensure myself, I used the second doctrine –The doctrine of underlying logic. This is also a knowledge taught since quite a while ago at least in Indonesian debating practices (and was among the accreditation test questions in JOVED 2011). If I did not know the truth among the contrast facts, this doctrine would definitely be my only choice. This doctrine points that a fact is a mere attribute to the construction of an argument.

An argument should consist of an Assertion, Reasoning, Evidence, and Link. Since an evidence can not simply replace an argument so it has to be sustained with analysis and the holistic proving will lead to support one big assertion as a heading. So a fact, acting as an evidence, would mean nothing when holistically considered with so many other things.

So in that case of prenuptial marriage agreement, I also considered that team government simply mentioned that claim and took it for granted. On the other hand, team opposition explained that prenuptial agreements are pretty much arrangements on wealth division while the rights of wealth are private matters which could be concluded upon in any agreement depending on the party’s convenience –therefore it does not have to be done within a marriage. So it was then easy to me to tip the scales in favor of the opposition.

Putting both doctrines in mind, I would recommend a combination between the two. Sometimes two teams are just too riddiculous to point out even the most obviously retarded factual errors, let alone putting any logic behind them. Sad fact, but yes. In NUEDC Kopertis Selections 2011 DIY Region, preliminary rounds, a team actually said “We need husband consent for abortion, because we dont want abortion. Men are logical so they will never agree, while women are illogical and would most likely kill their babies. And yes, the other team did not respond. It sounds like assertions, really crazy assertions, but they treat that as biological facts. Certainly, you do not need a team to point that out. This average reasonable person doctrine could perhaps only come in place in such extreme severe issues like this, but not undermining the doctrine of underlying logic.

Beyond that severe extremety, the judgement reasoning would go to the second doctrine of underlying logic. This is perhaps the best method to ajudge facts, as they all function collaboratively within a whole case of arguments and provings as some previous examples have shown.

Problems which both doctrines perhaps can not solve as simple as that

In the 6th preliminary round of JOVED 2011, I chaired a low room debate with two panelists. The motion was that THBT Criminal Defendants must Only Use Government Appointed Lawyers. Long story short, that debate was a catastrophy. Barely anything went right, other than the fact that they at least spoke in english and neither speakers surrendered. It was an extremely far below average debate.

Among the arguments was team government claiming that in a criminal trial, the burden of proof is solely in the hands of the defence lawyer. Consequently, if the lawyer bullshits then the judge will magically believe him and say “Okay, you are free of all charges. Have a safe trip home.”. This is definitely wrong on all levels. But then team opposition seemed to take that for granted, and decided to say: “but the judge is a highly qualified person” and therefore would somehow see through all the facts or something.

These facts are just equally riddiculously wrong. The latter believes so much that judges somehow has legilimens (mind reading: more information, check Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince), while the former –apart from my knowledge as a law student—somehow believes that real criminal trials relies on something THAT lame. I believe that both cases, average reasonable knowledge would eliminate both.

Seeing the underlying logic behind them does not help. Assuming that a court’s burden of proof solely and ultimately relies on defence lawyers, the assumption that ‘criminal defendants will always escape justice’ is therefore logic. In the other hand it is then true that defence lawyers can not simply lie if then judges can ‘see through the facts’ (I wonder it comes with the ability to see through clothes). And then everything falls down to barely any sense at all. But here is the pragmatic reality. Although unpaid, our job is to judge that.

In that debate, I simply judged that clash as a moot. I wont give credits to either of them. One principle of adjudicating I always emphasize when lecturing about adjudicating is “siapa yang menanam dia yang menuai” (“thy harvesth what thy planteth” –Fajri Doctrine? Or, Harvest Doctrine? ROFLMAO). So both teams on one particular clash managed to provide complete logic in a Tifatul Sembiring kind of way? So I give them both accordingly.

This is perhaps where a debate should be seen holistically for us to seek a final judgement. The aforementioned analysis is simply a single clash judgement, which there could be many clash judgements for us to then approach our final judgement. I left this clash alone, and moved to the –barely existant– other clashes.

Luckily, the opposition clashed the same point brought by the government with a different rebuttal also which was “but there is the opponent lawyer”. Well, in my knowledge of law this is wrong because in criminal law a defendant will face a prosecutor –not the opponent lawyer (although in some cases victims may have legal counsels too who may help the prosecutors in finding evidences).

But then the importance of the existence of this “opponent lawyer” was not analysed, simply mentioned as “..but there is an opponent lawyer” and full stop. So as much as it I can not eliminate this fact on the basis of the average reasonable doctrine (since I thought it would be a degree of a specific knowledge to differ criminal and private law procedure, not to mention they both provide the same notion of ‘counter burden of proof to balance things out’), but there simply isnt any logic behind that one-liner fact without even an assertion.

So I had to pick between a wrong ass fact wrapped with a technically valid assertion supported Tif Sembiring logical argument versus a merely one liner fact with a merely ‘implied’ assertion –let alone underlying logic. It thusly slightly tips to team government. As a minor addition to that, the Adjudication Core meeting on the first day had agreed that “clash of contrast facts are judged based on the logic behind it” and since I did not think of confronting that notion with the average reasonable doctrine then it would simply be unjust for me to not use that agreed notion.

These are my views, I hope there could be constructive feedbacks on this to improve debating knowledge.

JDF-er For Life

BP Debates: Assessing an Isolated Opening Government

British Parliamentary offers a very huge challenge for both debaters and adjudicators. So much more strategic and tactical considerations should be made beside simple argumentative comparisson. Four teams to compare qualitatively is definitely heavier than just finding the better of two. Instead of “win” or “lose”, they have Rank 1-4 (I usually say this as “win”, “kinda win”, “kinda lost”, and “dead lost”).

Among so many controversial issues of which this fascinating format offers, I wish to highlight one with respect to isolated Opening Government Teams.

Naturally, a British Parliamentary debate would be one of great level of dynamics. Opening Teams must struggle to stay alive throughout the end of the debate, while the Closing Teams must struggle to evolve the debate out of strong grounds their Openings have set. Thus adaptation and survival throughout the dynamics of debate would be very essential to winning a British Parliamentary debate round.

Consequently if an Opening Government (OG) gets left out the debate while things have shifted much further away from what that OG had established (especially when both Opposition teams decide to only accept points of informations from the Closing Government –who follows the Opening Opposition’s shift of stance), therefore that Opening Government would be practically dead. This has been a very ancient strategy for British Parliamentary used by teams for a while, I have heard this strategy even since preparations for EDS UI Founders Trophy 2002 (my 1st competition ever ^_^).

This is an illustration of a successful application of this strategy. It was a Jogja Debating Forum debate practice in preparation for EDS UI Founders Trophy 2007. By the motion that TH Supports Federal Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research, the OG brought the debate on a stance that “As it is beneficial and not against ethics, therefore Embryonic Stem Cell Research should be supported”.

Opening Opposition (OO) decided to run around this stance by saying that “we agree that its ethical and beneficial, but we disagree if the US has to provide Federal Funding for it”. This thereby shift the debate far away from what the OG had set. Furthermore, the other teams (Closing Government – CG, and Closing Opposition – CO) chose to play in the game set by the OO, debating no longer about benefits of Embryonic Stem Cell Research but on Federal Funding versus Status Quo. Nobody accepted their POIs: Partially for strategic reasons, partially just for fun. OG was practically left out and shut down.

The debate was not decided formally in a complete decision, but was merely decided as “it was a closing debate, and OG is definitely 4th Rank”.

It only sounds logical for something like this to happen. But then the question is, does “ultimate 4th rank” universally apply for all conditions where “OG left out by the rest”? If the answer is “yes”, then imagine this scenario. If a motion goes “THW Legalize Prostitution” and the OG goes decent on it. What if OO suddenly goes “No, we should not support Veto Rights”, and everybody else decides to follow this wacky stance by OO? Is it just to put OG as 4th rank because they were “left out”?

My answer is no. It is not absolute. Here is another scenario taken from EDS UI Founder’s Trophy 2005, Quarter Final Round.

The motion is that TH Would Elect the President of European Union. Team OG from Jogja Debating Forum brought the debate on “Election versus rotation”, which makes more sense towards what the motion was demanding. But then team OO from STAN (later on, the champion of this competition), shifted the debate by a stance of “the EU does not need a president”. Both closing teams from UI followed the stance of OO, and shut down the OG from POIs.

I did not judge the round, nor did I listen to the verbals (my bad), I merely watched and left after the debate. But the results were just as I predicted, either because the judges saw the way I did or mere coincidence, I have no idea but yeah, OG went as 1st rank in the debate.

Another occurence of this would be the Grand Final Round of Binus International Debates (BIND) 2009. I judged that round, but I almost have completely forgot what had happened (yes, I remembered what happened in 2005 and not what happened in 2009. Sweet.). I have even completely forgotten what the motion was (T_T), but it was something to do with importing/exporting workers or some sort.

Team OG was from Binus International, setting up a reasonable definition and a decent case for it. But then Team OO from Atma Jaya Jakarta seemed to misunderstand the debate and shifted away somewhere else. Team CG from ITB went even further off-course, but CO which was also from ITB somehow brought something else although for some reason it was still kind of in line with the OG’s case. Weird, right? But, yeah.

The panel of judges (chaired by Wijay from UI, paneled by myself, Mita from SMA 1 Depok, Bubu and Perry both co-founders of EDS UI) went in to a very tense discussion on how the debate should be judged. Wijay and Mita voted OG to be 4th rank, as they were left OUT of the debate. I, Perry, and Bubu held our position that, instead, OG deserved to go 1st rank, because the OG was left IN of the debate. Consensus could not be reached, therefore it had to go through a vote which resulted in OG getting 1st rank.

So from the precedences I have experienced, “OG left out therefore 4th rank” is not absolute. And I am certain that there are much more examples which I have not seen. What are the differences, though, between the two possibilities?

In my opinion, it is all about how the shift happened. The basic is that the OG has absolute rights to define a motion and set it (as long as they are valid and none-challange-able), and anyone goes beyond that definition and setting would be irrelevant. This applies not only for three on three formats, but also here in Brittish Parliamentary.

But an adjudicator must also be very careful, and pay attention to how the debate actually goes, especially when a shift happens. If the shift happens still within the setting set by the OG (starting to discuss points of contentions which the OG didnt focus on), and/or a logical expansion taking advantage of loopholes of the given OG’s setting (expanding the setting and scope of the debate), then this is a case where the OG is left OUT of the debate. Therefore, it is very likely for the OG to go fourth rank. But if the shift goes so unjustly irrelevantly away from the OG, then the case would be that the OG is left IN the debate.

To win a debate, one must be IN the debate. I hope that in this extreme case, adjudicators can be more wise and cautions in assessing the debate: who is in, and who is out.

Debating: Manner Does Matter

I was adjudicating in a panel one day, in NineCity (SMA 9 Yk Debating Competition). One team won unanimously. Glad that we didnt need to dispute about anything (not that it would matter anyway, but its just cool to be unanimous), I asked of the margins of my fellows.

One of my panelist gave 1 margins, and the other gave 2. “The differences between both team’s analysis were minor. Equally poor in choice of arguments, confused in each other’s case, but one team had a minor advantage in their analysis –one was bad, the other was worse.” Thats what my panelists say. I agreed to that. However, despite my agreements on the other panelists reasoning, they frowned upon me after seeing what margin I gave.

SIX (6).

I do agree that the differences were minor in argumentation. But when one team never offered any POIs, spoke in a monotonely awful English, blabbering straight as if the only comas were the stutters, one speaker dreadfully undertime, spent 50% time looking at notes (30% looking at mates with scared looks, and 20% to the floor), while the other team were bouncing up and down offering POIs (very few accepted though), spoke clear (though not perfect English) and directed to the adjudicators with mediocre control of intonation and gestures, only checked notes once in a while, all speakers spending reasonable time for speeches, I feel that I had a good reason to judge that there was definitely a clear distinction in performance between the two teams.

Up to 2011, I had debated for 9 years, adjudicated and coached for 8. I have never seen a verbal adjudication taking manners into account, up until I coached Team Indonesia for Worlds Schools Debating Championship 2010, Qatar. Whilst the verbals were very brief, the personal evaluations we sought to the judges (or in most cases, they approach us before we had the chance to make the move first –a good tradition, I suppose Indonesia should start) were very comprehensive and covered issues of Style (manners) and Strategy (method) as well. Yes, each judge (except they have agreed to divide their jobs of explaining).

I myself have always taken manner and method into account, but never actually elaborated any of those in my verbals. Perhaps if there are issues that stand out (such as extreme lack of clarity, severely accute grammar issues, dreadful undertimes, total ignorance of speaker roles, no POI’s –or conversation-like POIs, etc), then I would mention in my verbals –or personally upon request. Furthermore, only such extreme cases would make me mention it in the adjudicator discussion (If I were in a panel).

Lesson learned, though. I have rarely ever seen manners and method put into account here, or perhaps people just dont say it but put it in nonetheless. I dont know. But I have seen so many cases where adjudicators pay huge attention to minor differences in arguments, and no attention at all to major manner gaps.

Therefore, I just think that adjudicators should pay more attention to these sorts of stuff. Not only because Manner and Method among the marking criteria. But we also want to have good public speakers, dont we?

Debating is not only about making a boring lecture. Its not THAT much of argumentation either, if you ask me. Seriously. Professionals and professors can spend up to years to debate, and thousands of pages of research books to support each of their arguments. Do you seriously think that any of us could have perfect analysis within a 8 minute x 3 speech (plus 4 for replies) on whether or not free trade actually gets us better economy? Or worse, expecting highschool kids to do it?

It is a Parliamentary simulation. Real parliaments would take a hell long time to discuss in sessions, out session, inviting experts, given academic recommendations, etc. But one thing for sure, we are pretending to be politicians.

In real life the society may use their own personal knowledge to judge, but adjudicators (representing average reasonable persons) are not allowed in parliamentary debating competitions. But our jobs as politicians are to convince people, right? Try make a long lecture about anti corruption reformation you wish to propose. You might be able to prove a point, but people will at least sleep (or not listen at all).

So what do we have to make an epic and convincing speech? I’d like to propose dangdut concerts, but average-reasonable-persons wont be convinced by merely that. It has to be a combination of cool rhetorics, deduction of logic acceptable by common ears, and appropriate use of public speaking skills. Thus, the criteria of our marking sheets, alltogether holistically.

A nice quote from Megamind:

Titan             :               “What’s the difference between a villiain and a super villain?”

Megamind :               “PRESENTATION!”

Debating: Manner Does Matter

I was adjudicating in a panel one day, in NineCity (SMA 9 Yk Debating Competition). One team won unanimously. Glad that we didnt need to dispute about anything (not that it would matter anyway, but its just cool to be unanimous), I asked of the margins of my fellows.

One of my panelist gave 1 margins, and the other gave 2. “The differences between both team’s analysis were minor. Equally poor in choice of arguments, confused in each other’s case, but one team had a minor advantage in their analysis –one was bad, the other was worse.” Thats what my panelists say. I agreed to that. However, despite my agreements on the other panelists reasoning, they frowned upon me after seeing what margin I gave.

SIX (6).

I do agree that the differences were minor in argumentation. But when one team never offered any POIs, spoke in a monotonely awful English, blabbering straight as if the only comas were the stutters, one speaker dreadfully undertime, spent 50% time looking at notes (30% looking at mates with scared looks, and 20% to the floor), while the other team were bouncing up and down offering POIs (very few accepted though), spoke clear (though not perfect English) and directed to the adjudicators with mediocre control of intonation and gestures, only checked notes once in a while, all speakers spending reasonable time for speeches, I feel that I had a good reason to judge that there was definitely a clear distinction in performance between the two teams.

Up to 2011, I had debated for 9 years, adjudicated and coached for 8. I have never seen a verbal adjudication taking manners into account, up until I coached Team Indonesia for Worlds Schools Debating Championship 2010, Qatar. Whilst the verbals were very brief, the personal evaluations we sought to the judges (or in most cases, they approach us before we had the chance to make the move first –a good tradition, I suppose Indonesia should start) were very comprehensive and covered issues of Style (manners) and Strategy (method) as well. Yes, each judge (except they have agreed to divide their jobs of explaining).

I myself have always taken manner and method into account, but never actually elaborated any of those in my verbals. Perhaps if there are issues that stand out (such as extreme lack of clarity, severely accute grammar issues, dreadful undertimes, total ignorance of speaker roles, no POI’s –or conversation-like POIs, etc), then I would mention in my verbals –or personally upon request. Furthermore, only such extreme cases would make me mention it in the adjudicator discussion (If I were in a panel).

Lesson learned, though. I have rarely ever seen manners and method put into account here, or perhaps people just dont say it but put it in nonetheless. I dont know. But I have seen so many cases where adjudicators pay huge attention to minor differences in arguments, and no attention at all to major manner gaps.

Therefore, I just think that adjudicators should pay more attention to these sorts of stuff. Not only because Manner and Method among the marking criteria. But we also want to have good public speakers, dont we?

Debating is not only about making a boring lecture. Its not THAT much of argumentation either, if you ask me. Seriously. Professionals and professors can spend up to years to debate, and thousands of pages of research books to support each of their arguments. Do you seriously think that any of us could have perfect analysis within a 8 minute x 3 speech (plus 4 for replies) on whether or not free trade actually gets us better economy? Or worse, expecting highschool kids to do it?

It is a Parliamentary simulation. Real parliaments would take a hell long time to discuss in sessions, out session, inviting experts, given academic recommendations, etc. But one thing for sure, we are pretending to be politicians.

In real life the society may use their own personal knowledge to judge, but adjudicators (representing average reasonable persons) are not allowed in parliamentary debating competitions. But our jobs as politicians are to convince people, right? Try make a long lecture about anti corruption reformation you wish to propose. You might be able to prove a point, but people will at least sleep (or not listen at all).

So what do we have to make an epic and convincing speech? I’d like to propose dangdut concerts, but average-reasonable-persons wont be convinced by merely that. It has to be a combination of cool rhetorics, deduction of logic acceptable by common ears, and appropriate use of public speaking skills. Thus, the criteria of our marking sheets, alltogether holistically.

A nice quote from Megamind:

Titan             :               “What’s the difference between a villiain and a super villain?”

Megamind :               “PRESENTATION!”