All of Dan Lahav's Comments + Replies

EA Debate Championship & Lecture Series

Thanks for the comment!

  1. The key budget item we’d need is recruiting a team member that will help in running the organizational aspects of our endeavours. If we find the pilot successful in a few months, or if we want to repeat the event in the future, having a paid member that can dedicate more time to run the program would be extremely useful. 
  2. Having a debate background is a big advantage, but we don’t think it is a must. We are happy to follow up to see whether the person is a good fit.
  3. The survey was actually quite long and we asked for many more thi
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EA Debate Championship & Lecture Series

Thanks for the comment!

WRT the main concern - we think EA is broad enough to be able to generate a distinct enough set of topics on a yearly basis (or a two years basis).

On discussing the EA outreach research - we would like too! This would probably be most relevant when we conclude the pilot program this summer, so we should keep in touch :)

EA Debate Championship & Lecture Series

 Thank you for the comment! Choosing BP was “easy” in the sense that it is the most international format and we were aiming for an event that will be major on the global debate calendar. We think the points you raised are interesting, and even though we believe that BP is actually the most fitting format for the project, the pilot we are running also features some 3vs3 debates, so we will have some ability to compare. If an insight comes up from that comparison we will update.

1Harrison D6moSounds good! Like I said, I do recognize that choosing BP probably has quite a few advantages on the (meta?) level in the sense that it seemingly has a more-global audience and topic scope, perhaps a better competitive culture, etc. (Update/clarification: I would say that all of the "flaws" with BP's format are minor in comparison with the advantages from the BP league culture, which crucially does not have the ridiculous speed and spread from policy debate, as exhibited in the video from Habryka.) If I ever get around to finishing that article about its downsides I might share a link to it here...
EA Debate Championship & Lecture Series

Thanks! The indicators we have are quite positive on whether people took a more profound interest than purely trying to win, and we are trying to figure ways to further deepen the engagement.

It is also great to hear from you Billy, we should definitely schedule a catch up!

EA Debate Championship & Lecture Series

Hi, thank you for your thoughtful response, I appreciate you taking the time to write it. You presented a complicated issue, and I think discussions like this are further complicated by the fact that debating can vary wildly depending on how it’s taught and practiced, so different people can have extremely different experiences (like in the different comments on this thread). Many people already responded to parts, but I’d like to stress a few things that I believe are worth highlighting. 

1) The effect of the tournament. The question of the quality of... (read more)

6Habryka6moI appreciate the response! I do basically think the problems are kind of inherent to the format and pretty hard to fix. Like, I don't think it's physically impossible to fix these issues, but I am very skeptical of any efforts that try to fix them that stay within the existing debate context. Overall, I am not sure where the key causes of our disagreement lies. The above didn't really feel like it addresses my core concerns with the sport, and while the list of benefits is nice, it feels like a list that I can basically construct for an arbitrary sport (like, not this specific list of debates, but something of equal benefit), and below I give some pointers why I think some of them don't hold, or at least don't hold with the forcefulness that one might expect based on your descriptions. To be clear, neither the complexity of the topics or the limited time are at all anywhere close to the central reason why I think debate isn't very truth-seeking. I can totally have a meeting with a bunch of friends of mine about a complicated issue with only an hour of time, and we can easily make good approximations and solid progress on understanding it. I am quite confident we would not if we instead spent that time in any competitive debating context. Indeed, it seems likely to me that we would leave the competitive debating context with worse beliefs than we entered it on the relevant topic. None of these (inclusion, extracurricular education or "exploring complexity is a virtue) have really much to do with my concerns for debate, so at least from my perspective, describing these as trends that are gaining momentum in the debate community does very little to make me less concerned. Some of these seem mildly bad to me. I don't really think debate is really helping you understand how arguments relate to each other, at least not in a truth-tracking way. In most debate formats, it's usually much less about actually making good arguments, but much more about abusing the way judg