On the negative, all the reading I've done suggests limiting a case to 1-2 contentions. Some of my opponents, though, have negative cases with 3 contentions, 3-4 subpoints apiece. I understand the idea of prioritizing arguments when I'm aff, but when I don't address all of the subpoints explicitly in the 1AR, flow judges extend the individual subpoints and often vote on these "dropped" arguments. One thing I've tried is grouping subpoints under a main idea (e.g. group his contention 1 subpoints because they all pertain to how PMFs aren't accountable), but this is often too general a response. How can I avoid this dilemma in the 1AR?There are a few ways to handle this.
1. If you know you have a flow judge who can handle speed, go faster and hit every subpoint, even if only with a blippy argument. This may be better than the phantom "drops."
2. Effective grouping may depend on which way you're addressing your opponent's argument. Are you actually taking down the whole argument at once, logically speaking, or just claiming that you are because you think it's necessary?
For instance, consider an opponent who argues:
C1: Private Military Firms (PMFs) are necessary for military operationsIf you group and try to argue that PMFs aren't necessary because we could always institute a draft, in a way you've taken out the whole contention, but you haven't really addressed its logic. A draft defeats warrant (c), but doesn't compete with (a), (b), or (d). So your opponent could legitimately argue that you've dropped 3 out of 4 warrants, and her point still stands.
d) Superior Resources
If you group and try to argue that PMFs are both morally abhorrent and that overstretch is good because it limits US military foreign adventuring, now you have two reasons to dismiss the entirety of the contention without even addressing its warrants--first, that moral considerations trump practical considerations, and secondly, a retort or "turn" that actually provides you with offense.
3. The problem with drops is asymmetric, since you lack the time in the 1AR to dismiss your drops as irrelevant or insignificant (if you're taking the "bigger picture" approach), yet your opponent has time to extend and impact those drops. So, if you're in front of a flow judge, you might try this: at the end of your 1AR, say something to effect of, "In her next speech the Neg is going to point out that I've dropped several inconsequential subpoints. In my closing, I'll crystallize the round and explain exactly why those drops don't matter." In that way, you've prepared the judge for your approach.
It may be risky, but it's better than leaving the drops for the judge to deal with in the absence of any direction from you--and with plenty of prompting by your opponent!
Let's move on to a couple of questions about evidence.
My second question is regarding the justifications behind a source. I've found that judges in my state often respond much better to studies/statistics over analysis from a professor/expert, but I know that expert analysis is definitely valuable. How do I respond to claims that "just because a professor says it, it isn't true"? Do I just need to better understand my evidence, or is there some argument I can make to save my analytical warrants?Your opponent may be correct about the potential dubiousness of expert opinion--but if a professor's expertise and analysis are dubious, what about the analysis of a high school student? Ad hominem is a nonstarter. Instead, argue that your opponent hasn't actually addressed the logic of the analysis, which stands or falls on its own. (Decry the "ad hominem" attack and call it out as a fallacy if necessary.) And besides, the so's-your-old-man to the statistical card is "Figures lie and liars figure." Evidence battles, unless there are good reasons to doubt the evidence, are pretty boring and obnoxious to most judges.
I have one more question for you after going over some recent flows. One of my opponents spewed a lot of evidence at me in one of my debates, but they didn't actually READ said evidence...they paraphrased in 1-2 sentences and provided a brief citation at the end. Call I call them out on that, or is that allowed?This is a gray, foggy area. Academics do this all the time--and it's quite likely that the cards being cited by debaters in rounds are actually footnoted paraphrases themselves! But without a direct source, we have to hold it in faith that our opponent isn't cherry-picking, card-stacking, context-ripping, or improperly summarizing. That's quite a leap, and it's fair in cross-ex to ask for a direct citation for any "evidence" that sounds too good to be true. But only for evidence that sounds unreasonable or dubious. Otherwise you'll sound like a nit-picker, which is the cardinal sin of evidence-challenging.
When writing your own case, use direct quotations whenever feasible.
If your opponent is doing something genuinely abusive, and you're sure you can convince the judge on this point, then make it a voting issue.
Debaters are encouraged to submit their examples, tactics, or questions regarding the above scenarios.