Debate Topic—Value Statement: “Entertainment is ruining society

Debate Topic—Value Statement: “Entertainment is ruining
Affirmative: Pro: “Entertainment is ruining society.”
Negative: Con: “Entertainment is not ruining society.”
Lincoln-Douglas Debate is a VALUE debate, meaning it is a debate about what ought to
be rather than specific policy. It is usually a topic regarding the conflict between the
rights of the individual opposed to the rights of the larger society
Affirmative Constructive (5)
Negative Cross-Examine (2)
Negative Constructive (5)
Affirmative Cross-Examine (2)
Prep time ________________________________________(3)
First Affirmative Rebuttal (2)
Prep time ________________________________________ (3)
Negative Rebuttal (4)
Second Affirmative Rebuttal (2)
Breakdown of segments of debate:
5 minute Affirmative Constructive. This speech is prepared
ahead, rehearsed and should be perfectly timed. It is a
presentation of the affirmative's position and establishes his/her stance.
2 minute Negative Cross Examination. The Negative asks
for clarification, asks for repetition of certain points, and tries to
set up the affirmative to admit damaging information.
5 minute Negative Constructive/Rebuttal. This speech really
has two parts: The first part is a written, rehearsed speech that
builds the negative case and is about four minutes long. In the
second part, the negative must attack his/her opponent's points.
The attack takes the last three minutes.
2 minute Affirmative Cross Examination. Now it's the
affirmative's turn to question the negative, asking for clarification
and trying to lead him/her down an ivy-covered path to destruction.
2 minute Affirmative Reconstructive/Rebuttal. The
affirmative doesn't have much time here, so she/he has to talk fast.
She/he must go down the flow (outline) of the argumentation,
hitting any arguments against her/his own case and then attacking
each of her/his opponent's arguments. Again, two parts:
Rebuild and Attack.
4 minute Negative Reconstructive/Rebuttal. This speech
has three parts: Rebuild, Attack and Crystallize:
about two minutes to rebuild any arguments against the
negative's own case; two minutes to attack the affirmative; and two
minutes to summarize the voting issues for the judge.
2 minute Affirmative Reconstructive/Rebuttal. This is
a very short speech--time only to argue the most important points,
attack the negative's voting issues,
and crystallize the affirmative's own voting points.
3 minutes of prep time will be given before each first rebuttal.
You will need to write TWO speeches: the affirmative (5 min.)
that says that the resolution is true and the negative (3-4 min)
that says that the resolution is false. You will use your
affirmative speech in two of your debates and your negative
speech in the other two debates.
Formulating Debate Cases:
Step One: The Resolution. The resolution is a statement
of the topic of the debate.
The entire debate is a test of the validity of this statement.
Therefore, wording and semantics are crucial.
Each important word must be defined from different angles.
After a brief opening paragraph using the resolution
as the thesis statement,
or in the case of the negative, its antithesis,
you will state your definitions.
Step Two: The Value Premise.
Remember that we said that Lincoln-Douglas Debate is a
VALUE debate about what ought to be, right?
Each debate speech will center on a value that you
choose as the cornerstone of your position.
I know this seems very, very vague.
Let me clarify using a simple analogy:
Pretend the debate is:
Resolved: A cheeseburger ought to be valued above spaghetti.
Before you can start arguing about which of these two
yummies is the more valuable, you need to figure out
what yardstick to use to measure them: Is it
Good Taste? Nutritional Value? Ease of Preparation?
Aesthetic Presentation?
The yardstick you choose is called your
Value Premise. Naturally, you will choose the yardstick
that you think will help you win!
If you're debating for the
cheeseburger, you might take
"Good Taste" as
the most important value; if you're taking the side of
spaghetti, you might claim that "Nutrition" must be the value
by which to measure foods. In this debate,
the affirmative might claim that if food doesn't taste good,
no one will eat it. The negative might claim that nutrition is prime
and that if it's not good for the body, it's
not good food. From this example, you can see
that the debate should go back and forth.
The value is achieved through certain Criteria.
After you state your value premise, you will name the
criterion or criteria that you will use to achieve the value. For
example, for the value of Nutrition, your criterion might be
the Four Food Groups as set up by the U.S. Dept of Health,
Education and Welfare.
Step Three: State arguments as main points.
You will need two or three main points.
The cheeseburger
affirmative might be:
Value: Common Good
Criterion: Quality of Life
Contention One: The cheeseburger provides one of
the basic needs of mankind, according to Maslow's
hierarchy of basic needs.
Contention Two: The cheeseburger provides nutrition
from all four food groups.
Contention Three: The cheeseburger provides
advantages that the negative cannot provide,
including portability and ease of use.
The spaghetti
negative might be:
Value: Life
Criterion: Nutrition
Contention One: Spaghetti provides a high standard
of nutrition needed for life.
Contention Two: A cheeseburger is fat-filled
and therefore fails to provide nutrition.
Step Four: Use evidence to back up each point.
Evidence can consist of quotes, reasoning, or analogy.
Step Five: Find a good opening for the speech.
This can be an apt quote,
startling statistics, or interesting example.
Step Six: Time the speech.
(Five minutes for the affirmative exactly.
About three to four minutes for negative.)