15 February, 2006

Debate revised

It seems I may have over-complicated my first debate idea. (And in other news, water may be wet.)

I am taking corrective suggestions.

Right now I am thinking that the important things are:
  1. The debate must begin and end.
  2. It must have a narrowly focused topic. (Not "Calvinism v Arminianism", but "The church should universally affirm that everyone for whom Christ died will be saved.")
  3. It must be judged by people outside of the debate - an even number of judges represent each side, which tends to encourage ties. The advantage is that the debater is not trying to persuade his opponent, which should be hopeless. They are trying to persuade someone not lost in the passion of debate, and who is at least superficially charged with impartiality.
  4. There should be a limit to the number of words so that pure verbosity doesn't carry the day, wear out the judges, bore everyone to tears, and allow the conversation to spin out of control.

Right now, I am thinking:

3 posts by each side of 1000 words or less apiece. After post number 3, the judges speak, and the debate is over.



Scott Roche said...

I could work within that format.

Weekend Fisher said...

What are the criteria the judges will use?

codepoke said...

Cool, cap'n. That's more than I got from the last idea. ;-)

codepoke said...

Good question, WF.

In my big ol' Rube Goldberg system, it was easy to answer. In this system, I think they should just vote for the most persuasive arguments. Not the most persuasive arguer, nor for the argument they agree with, but for the argument that would be most likely to persuade an objective seeker.

Ties go to the conservative position. The radical must win a conservative judge over without losing any of their own.

Reasonable? Better ideas?

Weekend Fisher said...

Hmm, tie goes to the "conservative" position? That could be problematic.

Let's say there were a debate between the Lutheran view of predestination (election is in Christ and involves the immutable will of God to head up all things in Christ, grace comes through Christ which is resistible) and the Calvinist view of predestination (election is in the immutable will of God and involves Christ, salvation and damnation both predetermined, grace is irresistible) how do we determine which would be "conservative"?

codepoke said...

Hmmm. Well thought about this one most of the afternoon, and I guess it comes down to choosing the simplest answer. I think that the whole "ties to the conservative" thing was probably just another pointless complication.

It's easy enough to pick a radical. In official debate the radical is called "the proposition" group. It is the group that presents the proposition that things be done their way, instead of the status quo way. But as soon as I write that, I am back at the whole problem where reading rules takes so long nobody wants to play.

Your point is solid. I will change my vote to "ties are ties."