West Point 2014 Semifinals: AU A v. Harvard/Hopkins

Case: Does the majority of interpersonal violence arise from the general conditions of the natural world or something unique to humans? Opp chose general conditions of the natural world.

Gov: AU A
PM: Ashe Girard
MG: Dan Cobos

Opp: Harvard/Hopkins
LO: Nathaniel Donahue
MO: David Israel

[expand title=””Results”” notitle=””true”” trigclass=””arrowright””]AU A won on a 3 – 0 decision.[/expand] 

17 thoughts on “West Point 2014 Semifinals: AU A v. Harvard/Hopkins

  1. This case is designed to provoke all of these persuasive OPP arguments and still win by staying focused on the troubling question of how we can explain mass-genocide and atrocity with naturalistic and evolutionary arguments, with the obvious strategic move of focusing on the fact that genocide and purges simply account for more inter-person violence and so if they are uniquely human GOV wins. The PMR emphasizes the simplicity of the strategy by honing in on this clash, simply calling attention to the fact that purges and concentration camps are beyond the pale, terrible to an extreme no one ever saw coming and a phenomenon that seems terribly irrational and all-too human in its use of ideology and hatred. Though the Opp does some fantastic debating in this round the central thesis that genocide is a uniquely human creation fueled by language and ideology seems irrefutably true at the beginning of the debate and remains that way at the end, and so it is easy to vote GOV on magnitude.

    It is easy to see the more persuasive and more technically refined debaters as winning but some times a series of clever arguments do not amount to proving the central thesis of your position.

  2. Yeah, opp had no chance in the round because they utterly failed to engage with the question of what sources result in the most violence and just assumed that there’s some kind of amorphous “violence” they get to talk about

  3. Replace opp with gov and you’ve got an accurate statement. Pretty sure in all opp speeches that I heard specific instances of violence were warranted (rise in ideology driven by scarcity, international conflicts driven by resource disparities). When opp literally coopts all of gov ground by the end of MO, and gov doesn’t even contest it, there’s no way a gov vote makes any sense.

  4. I skimmed parts of the round: did Opp bring up the observation that the murder rate among humans is VASTLY lower than that of most natural predators such as lions and tigers? Human intellect decreases violence on the aggregate; it does not increase it. That’s why we live in the least violent era in human history, and why advanced societies tend to be more peaceful than their third world counterparts.

    1. It’s definitely possible that things unique to humans hugely decrease violence that would otherwise have been caused by natural conditions, but that of the violence that occurs in the modern day more of it is caused by unique human elements than by natural conditions (even if only because unique human things pre-empted the influence of natural conditions)

  5. With all due respect to Dan, it doesn’t seem like he understood the evolution point at all, or even what the theory is. Did he just deny that the emotion of hatred comes from Evolution?

  6. Opp should have won. Maybe the judges got confused by the arguments that Gov made and gave them the benefit of the doubt. To an inexperienced debater/judged they may seem technical. In reality they were incoherent.

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