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Author Topic: Space exploration topic paper  (Read 14721 times)
andreareed
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« on: April 19, 2010, 07:52:39 PM »

Attached is the space exploration topic paper.

* Space Exploration Paper.doc (244.5 KB - downloaded 1541 times.)
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repko
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2010, 06:54:04 AM »

With voting around the corner, there's been almost no discussion of the space area.

The topic paper is way better than average -- especially in terms of evidence. The authors speak to the issue of "topic uniqueness" -- a blueprint that 2011 papers will hopefully follow.

That said, it probably aids the discussion for me to be up-front and say that I am not a supporter of the space exploration topic.

While I have concerns about the area in general, some of the criticisms are not absolute deal-breakers and could be better handled at the wording phase. 

Here are some of my reactions:

1. It is unclear to me what is *not* "exploration".

In general, topic papers (and -- more accurately wording papers) need more definitions that exclude.

This mirrors concerns I had about terms like "role" and "mission" -- except those terms were not identified as the mechanism built-into the topic.

A great deal of energy is invested in the space paper establishing topic uniqueness. In the general sense, the authors are right -- "space = down now".

The problem is that "exploration" (as a term) is so broad that:

 a) The experiences of "pressure now" (from the China topic) will creep-in.

When the general trend is with the neg -- but non-exclusive terms like "pressure" and "exploration" are used, the gift of topic uniqueness is not quite as advertised.

I am hoping the final wording would more directly bind the Aff to be in the opposite direction of the canceled projects cited in the paper's uniqueness wall. As it stands, none of the ev rises to the level of "no exploration".

 b) The topic is simply de-limiting when "exploration" is the term.

Some have said this topic is narrow. I do not share this sentiment. More than other areas of public policy, proponents (even credible ones) of exploration espouse extreme theories. These proponents respond to pessimistic critics by *correctly* pointing-out that so very much about space is unknown that almost-anything is possible.

To be clear, this does not mean these proponents are wrong... or that the case in favor of exploration is somehow flawed.

Rather, it means that the Aff options are not terribly limited.

To be constructive -- as opposed to a pure critic -- let me recommend a narrower term like "space militarization" or a list of exploration projects as alternatives.


2. I am just afraid that the area of space lends itself to cooky, near sci-fi levels of discussion.

Ask yourself these questions -- because they will come-up:

 a) is Leonard Nimoy a qualified source ?..
 b) do we have answers to the distinction between Ashtar and the Ashtar High Command Council ?... it's a committee -- that checks abuse.
 c) A-to "not our Extra-Terrestrials" ?...

I haven't mentioned A-Life's rate of expansion, time-travel, space diseases, astrology, or the "what if nothing is real and everything is all just a big illusion K" ?...

Any topic could be criticized for punching out some silly discussions... it's just that the space topic is especially good at it.

I don't share the opinion (expressed by the authors of the topic paper) that this area is particularly "timely" in public policy circles... nor do I share a belief that the topic would play-out in a manner that emphasized the areas of space policy that might be more timely (exploration v. militarization, let's say).

... I think the identified mechanism of exploration is quite apt to produce a lot of debates that are silly, that don't represent the community particularly well, and that are not the nexus policy questions of the day. 

 -- Will
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ScottElliott
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2010, 10:31:09 AM »

Want to know where Space Exploration will go--One word and one link: "TimeCube" ; and http://www.contour2002.org/article/what-are-the-benefits-of-astral-projection-and-lucid-dreaming

"So while we can say Lucid Dreaming and Astral Projection are a means of spiritual development, they are not limited to those with spiritual interests. Both can be used to greater understand and experience any aspect of life, whether physical, chemical, biological, inspirational, psychological, emotional, mental, philosophical, religious or scientific...These realms are not even limited by our imagination, but frequently expand it instead! Here is just some of what we may choose to explore:

· Far reaches of outer space, including galaxies, planets and cosmological wonders

· Far reaches of inner space, including biological, chemical and atomic wonders

· Radical new worlds and dimensions with different laws..."

Woohooo! Space, baby!

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Agalol
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2010, 01:18:31 PM »

So the reason we shouldn't vote for space is because ULF will run shitty arguments on that topic?
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anon1384
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2010, 02:33:46 PM »

So the reason we shouldn't vote for space is because ULF will run shitty arguments on that topic?

impact inevitable
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NJ
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2010, 01:55:11 AM »

Want to know where Space Exploration will go--One word and one link: "TimeCube" ; and http://www.contour2002.org/article/what-are-the-benefits-of-astral-projection-and-lucid-dreaming

"So while we can say Lucid Dreaming and Astral Projection are a means of spiritual development, they are not limited to those with spiritual interests. Both can be used to greater understand and experience any aspect of life, whether physical, chemical, biological, inspirational, psychological, emotional, mental, philosophical, religious or scientific...These realms are not even limited by our imagination, but frequently expand it instead! Here is just some of what we may choose to explore:

· Far reaches of outer space, including galaxies, planets and cosmological wonders

· Far reaches of inner space, including biological, chemical and atomic wonders

· Radical new worlds and dimensions with different laws..."

Woohooo! Space, baby!


IF we get space i call cutting this aff =P
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andreareed
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2010, 09:18:20 AM »

I'll respond to a couple points made here and elsewhere...

1. "increase space exploration" is unlimited.  Yes, if we just adopted the old rez from the 80s, that would be a nearly unlimited topic which is why the topic paper includes it has a historical reference, but acknowledges that the sentiments in the community have changed since then.  Is it impossible to limit the space topic?  No, of course not.  Here are some suggestions:
-write a list topic.  Potential list items include shuttle replacement, space station coop, going to the Moon, going to Mars, or export controls reform.  No weird sci-fi affs here.  These are all very mainstream space policy issues for which there is a lot of discussion by qualified individuals.
-write into the rez that its NASA's space exploration.  This would limit out affs that sought to incentivize private exploration, which I think is a good idea if we want the aff to be forced to act in the direction opposite the Squo.
-make the rez "beyond the Earth's mesosphere but inside this Solar System"- or something like that... you've probably eliminated a lot the so called "weird stuff". 

AT: pressure now will creep in- Yes, probably.  But its happened every year since China- overrules now, engagement now, subsidy and nuke cuts now.  I'm not sure there is any area on the ballot where debaters will not make these arguments.  START now, immigration now.  Its gunna happen.  There is good ev for the neg on this question for space.

Will it be more work for the topic committee to write the resolutions for space than say treaties?  Obviously, but its not impossible by any means.  Also, the term in the resolution itself doesn't HAVE to be "exploration," anyone is welcome to chime in and help with wording papers if they find a term that is more limiting.

2. No one qualified talks about space.  This is just wrong.  There is a healthy body of literature discussing space *policy* out there.  The topic paper included a section at the end that detailed some good places to start getting qualified articles.  There is are also qualified blogs out there, so you can load up your RSS feeder just like you did last year.  Yes, there are unqualified people that discuss space, but there are fringe crazies that talk about all the potential areas (immigration? yikes).  I can't see that this is a reason to vote for or against any of the topics on the slate this year.  Oh, and maybe it would be good for debaters to be pushed to do more debating regarding the qualifications for evidence, its seems like a lot of crap slides these days no matter what the topic.

3. If we vote for space, we'll have to talk about weird stuff.  Well, this is a matter of personal opinion, and is one I know many in the community do not share based on conversations I've had.  But as I addressed above, there are ways to limit out some of the weird sci-fi stuff you talk about.  Also, really really qualified people talk about some of the things you fear.  Aliens?  You can cut cards by Nick Bostrom, the first ever recipient of the Gannon Award, (http://www.nickbostrom.com/extraterrestrial.pdf), Gregg Easterbrook (http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/88aug/easterbr.htm), or Stephen Hawking (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/space/article7107207.ece).  And I guess here I will point out that if a team wants to read Ashtar or Timecube, they are going to do it anyways no matter what the topic is.  Thats why we've debated it in the past.

4. The Space Policy Review will mess with the topic like the NPR did with nukes.  The people making these arguments do not seem to have read the part of the paper addressing this.  a. The SPR is D-list compared to the NPR.  You couldn't read a single blog post about nukes that didn't mention it.  The SPR isnt like that.  b. The SPR wont "do" the topic.  Obama's space policy is largely heading in the opposite direction of the topic.  See the ev in the paper.  c. It IS going to be really far off.  If the NPR taught us anything, its that the USFG is really bad about meeting deadlines for these sweeping policy reviews.

5. Space isn't timely- Again, this is a matter of personal opinion and something those in the space policy circle wouldn't agree with.  The nature of US space exploration as we've known it for the past 50 years is changing.  Our destination-driven approach to exploration is being abandoned (see the paper).  Plus, is space any less timely than the First Amendment?  Education?  The rights of the child?  I dunno, again, I don't think this is a strong argument for or against any topic.  And maybe if its not timely, then the "pressure now" concern is far reduced Smiley

Thanks for jump starting the discussion about space!

Andrea
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andreareed
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2010, 12:02:54 PM »

I'll add a little more about T debates, given that space is being discussed re: topicality in other threads.

1. Kelly's example of send 4 satellites space I hope is hyperbole because those affs would clearly not be topical under substantial.  And before you scoff, remember that there are some recent examples in very big debates where teams were successful at limiting out these affs that dont pass the gut check regarding substantial.  Dartmouth beating Emory's bear bile aff is one that comes to mind, and Cal beating MSU's airlines aff is another.

2. The people out there who fear effectually topical cases- develop this type of energy, remove this barrier to something, study astral projection (is this even a real thing?)- are also the ones who will be judging these T debates.  We haven't had a topic where FX T debates were a big thing in a while, but remembering back to the China topic, Wake lost T debates on effects with their EASA aff even when there wasn't a great basis for the violation in the resolution.
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kelly young
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2010, 02:15:15 PM »

I'll add a little more about T debates, given that space is being discussed re: topicality in other threads.
1. Kelly's example of send 4 satellites space I hope is hyperbole because those affs would clearly not be topical under substantial.  And before you scoff, remember that there are some recent examples in very big debates where teams were successful at limiting out these affs that dont pass the gut check regarding substantial.  Dartmouth beating Emory's bear bile aff is one that comes to mind, and Cal beating MSU's airlines aff is another.

Yes, it was hyperbole about the 1991 space topic--I did debate the 4 satellites aff and lost the "significantly" T debate, I'm still bitter. But that was h.s. I agree that some limits can be created on space--the list idea or specifically stating a mechanism are nice options--and I appreciate you outlining them, Andrea (Although I have less faith that "substantially" is much of a limit. Yes, a few teams win on this debate, but not very many. I prefer some of your other options as better solutions to limit the topic).

All I was doing in the last post was clarifying that I don't hate all T debates so that people will stop explaining to me the importance of the argument. Any previous mocking of terms like "exploration" or "development" were directed at the anonymous person's silly comparative claims between space and treaties, not at the space topic itself.

Please for the love of god don't read my remarks as some hyperbole that Elliott regularly provides. I give the space topic much more credit as a viable option.

Kelly
« Last Edit: May 09, 2010, 02:21:53 PM by kelly young » Logged

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antonucci23
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2010, 03:11:46 PM »

Quote
the gut check... Dartmouth beating Emory's bear bile aff...Cal beating MSU's airlines aff...Wake lost T debates on effects with their EASA aff even when there wasn't a great basis for the violation in the resolution.

These examples don't reassure me.  There is no stare decisis in T debates.  There is definitely no cross-topic stare decisis.  

T is a Napoleanic code, not a common law system.  I tend to think it should be resolved on the basis of clear definitions and debates within the literature.  I'm discomfited by the idea that it might be resolved on the basis of either oral tradition or social conventions; common law is only predictable when decisions are actually codified.  

I find it difficult to vote on quantifiers because their scope isn't predictably grounded in evidence.  That's especially true for a term like "exploration" - which seems unquantifiable to me.  

Short version: maybe people dropped bear bile, but I don't know when or if they'll do it again, and I trust cards not guts.

@"exploration"

My concern's different from Repko's.  I worry that "exploration" might trend to limiting out the core of the policy literature in favor of a goofier fringe.

"Exploration" seems to imply an outward directional orientation.  A mission to Mars would explore.  Introducing the prep phrase "beyond" solidifies my instinct on this - the topic's arguably oriented to external exploration.

Unfortunately, that's the goofy part of the topic: asteroids, SETI, remote viewing (the scientistic version of astral projection).

The less speculative parts of space policy - allocation of GSO slots, militarization, Moon Treaty, access to satellite imaging - are arguably not topical under the old wording.  They look back down - they don't "explore" or go "beyond."

I don't think that the topic would actually limit out LANDSAT or GSO affs; I don't remember any slam dunk def of exploration or beyond, so there's wiggle room.  Still, it seems odd and offputting that there's a bigger T disad to space mil than there is to asteroid mapping.

I guess this is either the opposite or the flip side of Repko's concern - either exploration means too little or it means the wrong thing.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2010, 03:13:52 PM by antonucci23 » Logged
ScottElliott
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2010, 03:21:55 PM »

If you do not think astral projection is an area of research...and, in fact, an area of government based research, you better do your homework..or just watch "Men Who Stare at Goats."  Better yet, look at the editors (with Ph.D's, no less) of the Journal of Exopolitics (one has a Ph.D. in Astral Projection, LOL).

I voted Space number two on my list. I will have a ball with it. However, recall, the last time space was debated, the internet did not exist. Now every nutjob and his sister is on-line writing about aliens.

My biggest concern, and this may make it valuable for debate, is the costs involved. If the topic committee attempts to limits the case areas to NASA programs, Affs. are going to be caught in a huge double-bind...either lose on the substanital "T" debate, or get crushed on five versions of spending disads. Here is an easy 1N.C. against Moon Bases (heart of the resolution):

1. Flat Earth K
2. Spending..China T-Bill sell-off collapses global economy
3. Plan kills private investment trade off disad;
4. Politics spending disad..the same "flatearthers" will get with the "birther" and and spending hawks to vote in Republicans in both houses.

5. Space Debris ...plan is too soon, the equipment sucks, one bad launch pins us down on Earth forever.
6.China/Russia Space Race Encirclement
7.Co-opt with EU on space drive Portugal into bankruptcy.
Ouch. Astral Projection does not sound so bad compared to that s-storm.
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andreareed
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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2010, 04:46:39 PM »

Antonucci- Several good points....

1. I had also thought about the fact that "exploration" might limit out the core policy areas- like export control reform, maybe that area just can't be written in.  Maybe "space development" is a better term?  Would it bother you if there was a list topic that used the word exploration in the stem, but included list items that might only questionably be considered exploration?  There is something inelegant about a resolution that would look like that, but no aff would lose on T- not exploration if their plan was clearly a list item.

2. The question of evidence for T debates- obvi I agree that debates are better with good ev than not.  But its not like there is NO evidence that attempts to define exploration more narrowly.  And the nukes topic is instructive that the community trends towards the most limiting interpretation with ev that gets as close as possible.  There wasn't really a definition of what a "nuclear mission" was and people feared that "mission" might mean literally one bomber flying somewhere.  The Oelrich 15 missions card ended up ruling the year because it was the most limiting and it was as close to a good definition as we could get.  Thats why we tried to include some evidence in the paper that also tried to limit the scope of what the US considers its space exploration, the contextual evidence from the Vision for Space Exploration.  And I'll admit, this card is not as nearly good as the 15 missions card, its "intent to define" is not as strong as Oelrich, and the 4 points themselves could mean a lot of things.  I'll try tonight to find some better definitions of "exploration" and look into "development".

3. "asteroids, SETI, remote viewing"- I think my proposal to say something like exploration "beyond the Earth's mesosphere but inside this solar system" limits out all of these examples.  Unless I've missed something huge in the news recently, there are no aliens in our solar system, no asteroid that could potentially hit Earth is that close, and remote viewing is a technique whose use could not be limited to a specific geographic area.  If I am understanding correctly what remote viewing/astral projection means, this would be an extra topical aff. (Asteroid mapping wouldn't be T, but mine the asteroid belt could be?  Could be an exploration/development distinction...)

As a random aside... Why does everyone hate asteroids so much?  Too weird for you?  Ok, maybe the space topic just isn't for you then.  But lots of smart people write about them, they are real things out there (existential threats anyone?), and who knows, you might even think mining them is a legitimate idea if you spent any time researching it.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2010, 05:22:58 PM by andreareed » Logged
Malgor
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2010, 06:12:25 PM »

I don't know why people are concerned the topics will be too big.  these are reasons you all should help write wording papers-especially if you think evidence should be the thing that dictates T (which i agree with).

the beauty of wording papers is that anyone can do them.  the power is yours!
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antonucci23
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2010, 08:01:01 PM »

@Malgor - People talk out the scope and quality of potential resolutions in order to get a sense of what they're buying with their vote, or because they're nerds and enjoy it.  So?

@SElliott - Your arg seems to be that you hate all disads because you are too smart for their disad-y tricks.  (Many topics link to this spending disad you've minted.)  Regardless of your claim's truth value, it's not relevant as a metric for topic comparison, because all topics will have disads.

@Reed - I don't like putting T debates in the hands of the community.  Even if a consensus evolves, not everyone gets the memo at the same time.  On principle, I want to be able to help plan T violations and new affs by reference to logical argument and research, not aggressive spin in debate's social spaces.  Theoretical issues should be resolved by deeper reading, not louder shouting.

--exploration stem + discordant list: It wouldn't end the world, but why not just pick a consistent stem?

--alternate terms: Sure.  I'm not sure which ones work, but I do think the topic should be centered around space-based imaging of the Earth, instead of outward exploration.  Mapping the Earth from space is just a hotter topic.

--beyond mesophere but inside this solar system: Eeek.  Not a fan.  Since there's no basis in the literature for such a distinction, it becomes exceptionally difficult to make determinations as dicey as "extra-T based on intent."  Celestial bodies and matter don't respect our arbitrary distinctions.  

If I map asteroid paths, those certainly intersect our solar system.  The radio signals which SETI breaks down are necessarily within our solar system when we intercept them, even if they may originate beyond our solar system.  Unless we're going there, most exploration is just dissecting data which comes to us.

That all might be dismissed as extra-T, but it's awfully hard to control; if we're scoping out the Oort cloud, would the rez mandate that we just close off our instruments and say LALALALALA CAN'T SEE YOU when other observational data seeps in?

Personally, I'd rather suck it up on the weird than the arbitrary.

Also, this doesn't really control the goofy.  You can remote view inside the solar system (if you can remote view at all.)  Extra-solar SETI might be weird, but it's not a conspiracy theory.  On the other hand, many authors do claim that aliens are inside the solar system, and those are the folks that might BLOW YOUR MIND.  Carl Sagan > MUFON, but the second distance limit pushes MUFON and exopolitics over SETI.

--asteroids: too weird?  Few things are too weird for me.  

It isn't weird.  It's potentially stale and none too robust.  There's not all that much to say about the subject, and the card base could be exhausted in about a week.  Thus, I'm not leery of an asteroids aff, but I'm leery of a topic that accidentally excludes LANDSATs and makes asteroids *the* aff.  

I'm thus not too moved by introducing additional limits ("inside our solar system").  Asteroids is fine; it's just not enough.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2010, 08:46:19 PM by antonucci23 » Logged
ScottElliott
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« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2010, 08:39:40 PM »

I am not opposed to the Space Topic..as I mentioned before, I will have a ball with it. I voted for it as second place. I just want a little truth in advertsing.

And, regarding spending, I disagree.  Two points: First, I retract my comments about the education topic. Gordon is right and I should have read tot eh conclusion of the paper. His propsed topics would NEVER link to a spending disad or federalism...if anything, those would be Aff. advantages; Second, I do not think spending disads would link to many of the Treaties topices. But SPACE is particularly vulnerable. Has anyone  ever spent more than a minute wondering why the "spendiest" spender in USFG history just gutted the space program (i.e. your inherency)? Becuz....it costs between one million and 10 million dollars to send just one ton of material into Space. We ain't got no transporter beams. We ain't got no mass colliders/mass drivers hooked up to Mt. Kilimajaro yet. So, whatever plan you have is going to cost a f----load of money and, if you are just going to claim the solar system, the payoffs will be trumped by the short-term costs---in politcal capital, or actual government money.  Maybe I am old school, but unless you are going to win a "try or die" story, most judges are going to vote negative on a spending disad or poltical capital disad that turns case, or leads to nuclear war. This is what almost all of the NASA programs will link to.

So, you end up running stupid stuff like astral projection...because it don't link to the big disads and leads to finding the meaning of life. The topic paper did a good job on inherency...but, it did a poor job explaining the long term benefits of space exploration versus all ofthe short term disads an affirmative will have to contend with. A resolution on this topic runs a high risk of being overlimiting, screwing the affirmative, or overly broad, making the Affirmative run to the "Dark Force."

Scott
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