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Proposition and Opposition Arguements

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Proposition and Opposition Arguments Worksheet
Cari M. Stephens, Greer Cimbalik, Tawni Brown, and Yolanda Martinez
June 5, 2012
Mac Wrigley

Proposition and Opposition Arguments Worksheet
Proposition and Opposition Arguments Worksheet

Detailed Initial Argument Preparation:

For each of the 10 general arguments that you defined as supporting your stance on the problem or issue being debated in your Week Two Debate Plan Worksheet, research and list at least two facts that support each of the supporting arguments. Be sure to cite your source.

Finally, determine how and what you are going to focus on for your debate by ranking the strength or importance of your arguments with 1 being the best or most important argument, and 10 being the weakest or least important argument.

General arguments that support your stance on the problem or issue being debated“Proposition” | Two facts that support the argument | Rank of Argument Importance / Strength | Footprints have not been able to be disproven as credible evidence that Bigfoot does exist. | * Size of foot and distance between strides justifies that the footprint cannot be human. Footprints cannot be faked of staged due to size, (Big Foot And Yeti, ). * These footprints are bigger and are different shapes than any other animal on record, (Big Foot And Yeti, ). | 6 | Eyewitness sightings of the North American Bigfoot date back to the 1830’s. | * The fact that there are still eyewitness sightings for over 180 years, possible longer with better documentation, says that this creature or rumor of creature has not gone away. * The people who have reported sightings are credible people. | 8 | Samples of DNA: hair, blood, etc., of Bigfoot have been found. | * These samples do not show human DNA. If it is not human than what is it? * Oxford University is looking for any and all samples people have that they believe belong to Bigfoot. If a credible university is conducting a story on Bigfoot there must be some validity to the statement, (Curry, 2012). | 4 | Audio and video recordings exist of Bigfoot. | * All of the video recordings seen from throughout North America have the same major characteristics: tall, hairy, long arms, and large feet. * Using the video to re-inact or revisit the sight where the Bigfoot was seen. Using info gained from the videos they are able to prove that no human could be capable of faking the video or audio. | 10 | It is unusual for male or female origins of a particular species to be different from one another. | * This could prove the existence of a reproductive viable hybrid species or end up indicating that Bigfoot is 100% human, (Edwards, 2012). * Dr. Jeff Meldrum has collected DNA and tissue samples from a wooden board that was used as a bear trap, these samples could be from Bigfoot, (Edwards, 2012). | 5 | Evidence of Bigfoot came unexpectedly through the form of a nest and excrement found by the makers of Swamp Loggers. | * The nest shows that Bigfoot has similarities toward Gorillas and how they make their nests and are able to watch from afar, (Bigfoot Nest and Stick Structures In North Carolina, 2010). * The excrement or “skat” as it is commonly called, also shows an animal side to Bigfoot, (Bigfoot Nest and Stick Structures In North Carolina, 2010). | 7 | Scientific analysis of DNA will decipher missing link or mis-evolved. | * According to "Bigfoot Missing Link Or Mis-Evolved" (2010), “Bigfoot is not the missing link, but a potential next step in evolution,” (). * According to "Bigfoot Missing Link Or Mis-Evolved" (2010), “Bigfoot would have evolved from the humans reaching the Western World as they migrated here from the human race’s point of origin,” (). | 1 | Bigfoot is able to exist in undisturbed forest areas around the world and away from the public and scientific eyes. | * There is still plenty of untouched wilderness area when we look at the whole picture of the earth, some the size of Texas, (The Evolution of Bigfoot A Rebuttal To The Sceptical View, 2012). * Bigfoots are highly intelligent and able to survive off the land and can survive in the smaller areas of wilderness, (The Evolution of Bigfoot A Rebuttal To The Sceptical View, 2012). | 3 | In order to avoid extinction Bigfoot would have to have a breeding population in excess of 100,000, give or take 10,000. | * This is where they are like human with gestation rate, growth rate, and lifespan being similar to ours, (The Evolution of Bigfoot A Rebuttal To The Sceptical View, 2012). * It is possible that Bigfoots have favored genes for extended lifespan, (The Evolution of Bigfoot A Rebuttal To The Sceptical View, 2012). | 2 | Sightings of Bigfoot are not all hoaxes as once thought. | * Real people from all walks of life are reporting these sightings, all of them have the description in common. (“The World Explained Mysteries Is Bigfoot”, 2009). * No one has been brave enough to walk up to one or talk to one, even though they are reportedly shy, (“The World Explained Mysteries Is Bigfoot”, 2009). | 9 | | | | | | |

Now, For each of the 10 general arguments that you defined as opposing your stance on the problem or issue being debated in your Week Two Debate Plan Worksheet, research and list at least two facts that support each of the opposing arguments. Be sure to cite your source.

Finally, determine how and what you are going to focus on for your debate by ranking the strength or importance of your arguments with 1 being the best or most important argument, and 10 being the weakest or least important argument.

General arguments that oppose your stance on the problem or issue being debated“Opposition” | Two facts that support the argument | Rank of Argument Importance / Strength | Man keeps moving into uninhabited parts of the countries so by this time somebody would have actually caught a real Bigfoot on tape or photograph. | * 98% of all Bigfoot pictures or films are proven to be a hoax or trick photography, (Big Foot And Yeti, ). * People have been reporting Bigfoot sightings in the US and Canada since 1884, so why no actual photos or film of Bigfoot? (Big Foot And Yeti, ). | 5 | The most compelling evidence for Bigfoot would be DNA analysis, since it is scientifically definitive. | * In 2008 a TV show claimed to recover a hair of a Yeti, however after running the sample it came back as an “unknown DNA sequence,” (Edwards, 2012). * A finger was also said to have been recovered and help in a monastery in Nepal, was also ran and came back with “unknown DNA sequence,” (Edwards, 2012). | 3 | Could Bigfoot be the original Cain from the Bible? | * In Mormon history a man named David Patten claimed to have been approached and talked to by a Bigfoot while riding his mule, he identified himself as Cain, “ (Edwards, 2012). * The description of Bigfoot fits the general description of a Bigfoot and the story was later recalled again by A. O. Smoot, another member of the Mormon Church, (Edwards, 2012). | 10 | Scientists suggest Bigfoot is the missing link or mis-evolved, but no clarity to which is fact. | * The same DNA from humans, monkeys, chimpanzees’, and pigs all share the same amount of similarities, implies one designer. There is no comparable DNA to prove missing link between humans and apes neither is there proof that Bigfoot mis-evolved from humans. * Only DNA proof exposed 100% Homo sapiens, not a new hominid, (Stubstad, 2011). | 1 | Should not the state of existence be improving, as claimed by evolutionists, instead of getting worse? | * The evolutionary theory of osmosis is not still happening. The existence of Bigfoot is not completely accepted by evolutionists. * Man attempts to improve life forms by genetically modified organisms and instead man cripples life forms. | 2 | If there are remains should not there be evidence (pictures, documentation) for the public to see? | * Bigfoot is a warm blooded mammal; therefore would be exposed by radar from Navy ships, or night surveillance during travel, (Stubstad, 2011). * Undocumented claims of Giants and Neanderthal remains, co-exist, but no documented proof. | 7 | There is no comparison between human intelligence and the intelligence of a bigfoot or gorilla. | * Humans developed technology, yet Bigfoot still exists as a caveman. Family functions were not displayed or participated in by Bigfoot cultures, (Sutherland, 2012). * Humans left to themselves become uncivilized; if Bigfoot families exist, civilization would occur and improve their existence. | 6 | There is no physical evidence of secluded Bigfoot cultures, except for suspicious sightings. | * All sightings reported are of a single Bigfoot, not of multiple Bigfoot, nor of younger/smaller Bigfoot. * Bigfoot would be exposed with thermal monitoring technology, even in caves. | 4 | With all the different scientific experiments is it possible that Bigfoot is a cloning experiment gone wrong? | * The way scientific experiments are done with different cloning techniques there could have been one or more made and released, (“The World Explained Mysteries Is Bigfoot”, 2009). * If this was an experiment gone bad, who would admit to making this mistake and setting Bigfoot free? (“The World Explained Mysteries Is Bigfoot”, 2009). | 8 | The humanity of Bigfoot is in question, when approached, Bigfoots react viciously. | * Dr. Jeff Meldrum claims to have retreated to his cabin after Bigfoots threw rocks at him, (Lindsay, 2012). * Claims have been made that a Bigfoot ripped a cow’s ears off down to the skull, (Spencer, 2010). | 9 | | | | | | |

After you’ve come up with lots of general arguments both for and against the problem or issue, pick out the ones on your list that initially seem the most promising. (But don’t throw away the list – keep it for use later, when you go back to brainstorming in the future.) Then run each case idea through the following gauntlet of tests, which constitute the narrow end of the funnel.
For each
1. State the case idea as a single, concise case statement. If you can’t come up with a simple proposition that you’re defending, everyone will be confused. Remember that any good case statement will have an evaluative term in it: "should," "ought," "better than," "desirable," "preferable to," etc.
2. Come up with at least three arguments in favor of your case. If you can come up with three, you can probably come up with more. If not, then your case is in danger of being a "one-trick pony" or "two-trick pony": a case with too few arguments. Sometimes even a very good idea turns out to be poor case, because there’s really just one very good reason to do it.
3. Come up with at least two arguments against your case. If you can’t, then your case is probably tight. The arguments should be at least superficially persuasive.
4. Come up with responses to the opposition arguments you just came up with. The responses don’t have to be knock-outs, but if you can’t come up with something plausible, then your case is probably too weak. On the other hand, if you come up with knock-out responses to all opposition arguments, then return to 3 above and come up with more opposition arguments.
5. Ask yourself what the opposition needs to know in order to debate the case. If it’s common knowledge, you’re fine. If it’s something frequently discussed in the news, you’re fine. If it’s something they should have learned in high school, you’re fine. If it’s none of the above, but you can tell them everything additional they need to know in under 30 seconds, you’re fine. Otherwise, the case is probably spec knowledge.
If your case makes it through steps 1 through 5, it’s probably a decent candidate for running. But before you run it, you should go through the following process to get the case just right.
6. Tweak the case statement. For any given topic, there are many different ways you can frame the debate, and some make better debates than others. You should think about each of the following issues:
A. Agent of action. Does your case statement say who should do whatever you’re proposing? It doesn’t have to. Whether you should specify the agent of action depends on what kind of debate you want to have. If you specify the agent, then expect the opposition to say the agent should be different. For example, if you say the federal government should implement Policy X, the opposition might say that the states should do it instead. To avoid that kind of opp, put the statement in the passive voice: instead of "The federal government should require employers to provide free childcare to their employees," say "Employers should be required to provide free childcare to their employees." This leaves the level of government unspecified.
B. Definitions. If your case statement includes any terms whose meaning is not immediately apparent, you should prepare clear definitions of those terms. Some terms that seem obvious are not. For example, what is meant by the word "capitalism"? Some would take it to mean a system of pure laissez faire. Others would take it to include a broad range of economic systems based upon private ownership of the means of production, some involving more government involvement than others.
C. Breadth of opposition strategies. The wording of your case statement will affect what kind of responses are available to your opposition. For instance, if you say "Capitalism is the best economic system," your opposition could defend any alternative system, from communism to the modern welfare state. But if you say "Capitalism is superior to socialism," then your opposition is forced into defending socialism.
D. Exceptions. Do you wish to make any exceptions to the applicability of your case statement? Then you should either change your case statement, or else have provisos to state immediately after the case statement. For example, if your case is "Drugs should be legalized," do you intend for children to be able to buy drugs? If not, then your case should be "Drugs should be legalized for adults." Alternatively, you could keep your original case statement, but follow it with a proviso: "Under our policy, drugs would be subject to regulations similar to those for alcohol and tobacco, including age restrictions."
E. Point of view. This is similar to the agent of action issue. If you specify an agent of action, then you may want to consider making it a time-space case by putting your judge in the shoes of the agent. Instead of saying "Israel should oppose the creation of a Palestinian state," you could say, "You are the Prime Minister of Israel. You should oppose the creation of a Palestinian state." This opens up arguments (for both government and opposition) that appeal to the particular interests of the agent in question, such as a politician’s desire to please certain constituencies and curry popular favor. Whether this weakens or strengthens the case depends on the topic at hand. Remember that you don’t always want to strengthen a case. If you have a case that is borderline tight, then a shift in point of view to weaken it might be a good idea.
7. Consider running the case opp-choice (a.k.a. Wellesley style). There are a couple of reasons to do this. First, it’s another check to make sure you’re not running a tight case. If you’d never choose the other side in a million years, then tightness is likely a problem. Second, running a case opp-choice can cut off certain types of opposition argument. They’ll sound pretty silly calling your side of the debate tight if they had the option of taking that side, for instance. The opp-choice format also tends to make the debate more binary: It forecloses the opposition’s ability to choose a "third way," because they’ve seemingly committed themselves to one of the two positions you set out . (A clever opp team may refuse to be trapped that way, but they might appear to be dodging the debate if they do so. Besides, the strategy will still work on less clever teams.)
Not every case is ideal for opp-choice, of course. Sometimes you’ll just feel more comfortable with one side, for reasons other than tightness. Or you may want to force a particular opposition team into arguing a position they’ll be uncomfortable with. Also, there are some types of argument that work well as responses but not very well as prima facie arguments, in which case you want those arguments to be on the opposition side. (Otherwise, your PMC will sound like it’s responding to a case that hasn’t been made yet.)
8. Subject your case to the nitpick test. Put yourself in the shoes of the opposition, and imagine that you can’t come with any good arguments. Try to think up annoying, nitpicking, technical, whiny points to make against your case. Try to exploit vagueness in the definitions, question the basic assumptions of the case construct, etc. Then find ways to patch your case to prevent such nonsense. Usually, this involves making slight alterations to the case statement and accompanying definitions and provisos.
9. Construct the case. The first part of a case is the case statement. The second part is any definitions or clarifications that may be required. The third part is any provisos or caveats that you want to make. Finally, there are the actual arguments (contentions). What the arguments are will, of course, depend on the case. But here are some general hints for creating and deploying them.
A. Start out with the obvious argument. There was some reason this case came to mind in the first place, right? It was probably an argument. So make it your very first point after laying out the case.
B. If it’s a policy case, think about all the different groups of people who will be affected by it. Each different group that is benefited in some way can be used a separate argument. For instance, if your policy affects education, think about students, parents, teachers, administrators, and future employers. It’s likely that at least one group will be adversely affected (otherwise your case is probably tight), but you should still be able to come up with multiple beneficiaries. And even groups that are adversely affected on the whole may be benefited in small ways, which can reduce their weight in the debate round.
C. Think of different categories of argument. There are philosophical arguments, practical arguments, economic incentive arguments, legal arguments, personal benefit arguments (in time-space cases), etc. Often, arguments in different categories come in pairs. For instance, for almost any argument from the standpoint of economic efficiency ("The minimum wage reduces employment"), there is usually a corresponding rights-based argument ("The minimum wage interferes with the fundamental right to freedom of contract").
D. Be careful about "early responses." Sometimes, if a particular opposition argument is so obvious that it needs to be addressed early, you should head it off at the pass before the opposition has even said it. This is especially true if your response is time-consuming, because the PM typically has more time. But in general, it’s better to let the LO spend time making the argument, and then let the MG make the responses. That way, the MO (who is usually pressed for time and often the weaker debater) will have the job of refuting the responses later in the debate.
E. Think about the order. Don’t order your arguments from strongest to weakest, or vice versa, because you want to start and finish on strong notes. Sandwich your weaker arguments in between stronger ones. This has the added benefit of increasing the likelihood of your opposition dropping a strong argument, since the last argument in the case is the one most often dropped.

Big foot and yeti. (). Retrieved from
Bigfoot nest and stick structures in north Carolina. (2010). Retrieved from carolina-2010.html
Bigfoot missing link or mis-evolved. (2010). Retrieved from evolved-
Curry, C. (2012). Bigfoot yeti hair samples requested for DNA analysis at oxford. Retrieved from for-dna-analysis-at-oxford
Edwards, G. (2012). Could bigfoot be cain?. Retrieved from http://gerald.edwards-
Edwards, G. (2012). Dr. jeff meldrum participates in oxford university genetic bigfoot study. Retrieved from parallel.html
Lindsay, R. (2011). DNA and fiber samples from snelgrove lake, ontario included in ketchum study. Retrieved from stephen-hawkings-of.html
Spencer, P. (2010). The wildman of kentucky. Retrieved from
Stubstad, R. (2011). Sasquatch DNA update, DNA samples may indicate 100% human race. Retrieved from
Sutherland, M. (2012). Bigfoot "is" the neanderthal man . Retrieved from
The world explained mysteries is bigfoot. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.unsolved
The evolution of bigfoot a rebuttal to the sceptical view. (2010). Retrieved from\the-evolution-of-bigfoot-a-rebuttal-to-the- sceptical-view/

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