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Daniel Gaskell was kind enough to reply to my argumentative post.

And here we go again… 🙂

Yes, I guess I misunderstood the intent of Daniel’s post (though I did read it…hmm). Though the statement  that “we should reject parametrics automatically as an unnecessary layer of complexity” still smacks of “rejecting” parametrics, rather than saying “don’t USE parametrics because there is no need”. I find it humorous to see Occam’s razor as a reason to “reject” anything.

Occam’s razor isn’t a reason to reject, it is a reason to ignore/not use. For example, God created time and space, I exist in time and space, therefore we must reject God because time and space are what is logically necessary for and explain my existence. (Okay, that’s silly, but you get my point)

What I fail to grasp is how this is a debate between “preferring the resolution” and rejecting or not reject parametrics. Parametrics IS a resolution-preferring argument within the resolution paradigm…

On to Parametrics itself…

“This would be a persuasive argument for the application of parametrics – if “mute the red phone” was, in fact, a policy resolution. It’s not.”

Correct. Anyone who has been to an Ethos camp probably remembers me saying a sentence nearly exactly like that. And here is where Daniel misunderstands me. I see both sides of the parametrics discussion but actually tend to not advocate it as an argument in policy debate where the resolution is maintained all year. Excellent graphics though!

With that said, I do occasionally see the legitimacy of parametrics.

Let’s take your same example and see it through a different lens. “[S]uppose the Government team abolishes our nuclear stockpile, and the Opposition reduces it instead. Both the Government and the Opposition could theoretically be construed as” significantly reforming policy towards Russia. But the negative is not intending to justify the resolution in making their case, while the affirmative is.

So the affirmative does some wordplay and spends its time on dictionary definitions of the word “reform” instead of comparing the benefits of abolishing over reducing (which is a fair, reasonable, and should be expected debate). I elsewhere advocate an implied counterplan in such situations, just making the argument “if we take action on the stockpile, we should be reducing and not eliminating” but alas, most of my debaters don’t listen to me on this point. Given that negative ran a CP, parametrics is a great argument here to focus the debate back on the substantive issues. And now we are using your example from parli in this year’s policy resolution, which is where I see the application.

So when an affirmative chooses to mince words and quibble about definitions, parametrics is just as necessary as it often is in parli since the resolution’s boundaries aren’t clear based on social, political, historial, and cultural meaning of the term—the aff is changing the meaning around to make it, much like an amoeba, eat up the negative’s CP.

Bringing it all together…

Daniel argues that “Under the resolutional framework, however, running a topical counterplan logically leads to an Aff win, and whether or not topical counterplans are “good” doesn’t change that. … Note: I’m using the term “topical counterplan” here, even though I realize that “topical” counterplans aren’t technical “topical” under the parametrics framework… don’t kill me, HSD.”

Actually that’s exactly the point of our disagreement. The part about HSD. Under the resolutional framework, you are correct, a topical counterplan logically leads to an aff win. Under that framework, the argument of parametrics allows a plan that defeats the affirmative plan but is not the affirmative plan to succeed as “better policy debating” or the “successful argument” even if the AFF can muster up enough word mincing to, while losing their case, find a construction of the resolution into which the CP falls. So parametrics, which is a resolutional framework argument, means an aff win is not logically led to, since the aff case was defeated.

In other words, we mostly agree, but sort of don’t. But someone could argue “Daniel is basically agreeing with you”, to which I think Daniel would frustratedly use an argument exactly like parametrics to say “the conclusions are similar, but not quite the same, and the rationale is 100% different, so no I’m not supporting Isaiah”. And vice versa. Yay parametrics in real life 😉

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