Zach Baker Paradigm

Last changed 10/19 4:35P CDT

I am currently a graduate assistant coach for the Kansas State policy debate team. I debated in high school and for Weber State in the NDT/CEDA circuit. Argumentatively, my focuses have been on philosophy and critical theory, so it is likely that I will have at least a respectable amount of background in whatever literature base you are pulling from. That said, I don't do work for you. I do not consider an argument completed until it has been articulated in a speech.

Yes, I want to be on the email chain. zacharypbaker@gmail.com

I evaluate debates by looking for central questions or tensions to be resolved. My eyes are drawn to ink. The heavy implication is that strategic focus is in your interest. A necessary debate skill is being able to tell what matters and what doesn't, and to make arguments about these classifications.

The 1NR is a rebuttal and cannot make new arguments except in response to 2AC arguments. That said, the affirmative must point out that an argument is new for me to disregard it in this manner, barring extreme cases.

My views on debate as an activity are better said by Calum Matheson (https://www.tabroom.com/index/paradigm.mhtml?judge_person_id=6330).

"Either defend it, or don’t say it. Defend everything.

The appeal of debate for me is in chicanery and sophistry. Arguments are refined by endless friction, like gems in a tumbler…or at least, turds with a good coat of polish. It is a mistake to limit out a class of arguments because they’re “stupid,” “offensive,” or “something no one will ever say”—if they’re bad, then beat them, don’t complain about them. Nothing is too dumb to appear in public discourse. Evil things get said. They flourish when no one engages them; they metastasize when they are labeled taboo and off-limits. That only adds to their appeal. If something is so vile that it would not survive exposure to the light, then be the one to bring it there. Victory in debate rewards good argument. If you can’t beat some argument, then you don’t deserve to win—doubly so if the argument is “bad”—because you’re not a good advocate of your cause if you cannot respond to your opponents. It’s as simple as that. Nearly every supposed benefit of debate is easy to replicate, but this environment of ruthless inquiry is not, and neither is the crucible of high-level competition.

Does that mean I might vote on “warming good because it solves ice age” against a critical aff about object oriented ontology and the Anthropocene? No. It means I will especially do that. Where there’s a link, there’s a way.

Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. I don’t care what kind of argument you make. All kinds of debate can be done well or done poorly. If you can explain why it’s important, then do it. If you cannot, then I cordially request that you do not. One caveat for the college topic: I am more interested in the policy aspects and science of this topic than I usually am, and my favorite debates are likely to be about that. The argument that we should learn about these things is more compelling to me than it normally would be, although that hardly means I’ll ignore the counterarguments. See above.

You have to communicate arguments clearly. The baseline requirement of this activity is that you communicate with the person you’re trying to persuade—that is, after all, how you persuade them. My hearing is not very good, but I will compensate for that without you needing to do anything. I will not yell “clear.” I will not read your stupid card that you slobbered through. I will simply ignore you without feeling, much less remorse.

I am not an unusually emotional person, and as a result, pathetic appeals are not particularly effective for me. I tend to disassociate when people get very emotional. It’s especially obnoxious when debaters scream at each other or generally perform overaggressively. This isn’t a matter of respectability—it’s just boring and tedious to watch a bunch of people I usually don’t know get live about something I don’t usually care about. Saying that you’re upset about something is fine, of course, but you can’t beat an argument by reporting on your brain chemistry. Concentrating on readjusting the dopamine levels of your enemies through losses.

Here are some ways that I think about debate. None of them are immutable; I have changed my mind before and intend to do so frequently in future. I’ll ignore all of these things if you’ve made and won an argument to the contrary in a specific debate. I’m writing this because people make decisions within sets of unquestioned normative parameters all the time (e.g. “human life good” even if no one explicitly says that), so here are some of mine:

--“Any risk” is just objectively wrong. A small enough signal is overwhelmed by noise, which means not only that we can’t establish its magnitude with precision, but if sufficiently small, we can’t establish its sign either. Similarly, “this is 100% true” is almost never the case, even with conceded causal arguments, because the full weight of most things is radically overclaimed. “X will cause Y” almost invariably (there are exceptions) means “X is highly likely to cause Y” because even in well-established relationships r seldom equals 1. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should—I mean that because it will make you a better (policy) debater.

--Uniqueness does not determine the direction of the link. Deep reflection suggests that the, uh, link determines the direction of the link. If X thing prevents Y thing, the occurrence of Y does not make this relationship less likely to be true. In most situations, there should be some residual link turn, because uniqueness tends to be a projection of future likelihood which, although possibly almost certain, is very, very rarely actually certain. If X prevents Y, and Y is almost certainly not happening now, that doesn’t mean that X might cause Y. It means that X would prevent Y if Y was not in fact going to occur, which is possible, although unlikely. “Y happening now” doesn’t change the issue of whether X would cause Y. Those probabilities are calculated separately. Yes, “Y happening now so anything you do might change the outcome” is possible, but it relies on the same sloppy thinking as “any risk.”

--Fairness is usually an internal link, not an impact. Fairness is important to preserve a kind of debate, which needs an impact, or maintain the quality of competition, which needs an impact, etc. If debate was perfectly fair in an argumentative sense (not in an acceptance-of-difference sense), it wouldn’t necessarily be a good model for the world. If we need to learn to debate to overcome warming deniers (or whatever), wouldn’t those skills only be sharpened by unequal odds? Maybe, maybe not, but make an impact argument anyway.

--“The identity of this author is X so this argument is bad” doesn’t typically compel me. It’s not that I don’t think it matters, but rather that people usually don’t make a complete argument. If their identity influenced this argument and so it’s bad, make that link claim specific about what they said. That’s probably more helpful to you anyway.

--“Critical” or identity-based debate has evolved beyond the point where the theoretical language of policy debate still analogizes easily to it. What I mean is that concepts like “permutation,” “opportunity cost,” “intrinsicness,” “net benefit,” “mutual exclusivity,” and so on, most of which are the products of game-theoretical modeling or RAT economic thought, don’t track very well. That’s perhaps good—make the argument you want to make and explain (if necessary) why that’s okay. We should be innovating here, trying to figure out what works in a newer style of debate assessment, not fixating on false analogies. For example, I don’t think “permutations” make sense in debates without plans, but that doesn’t mean that an argument about why two strategies are complementary is necessarily bad.

--Points don't really make any sense to me anymore, but I've gone back to assigning them based on how well a particular speaker fulfills their position's role; i.e., 1Ns get points for being "good 1Ns," so I've been giving them somewhat higher points relative to other debaters that the average (I think). Speaker points are still arbitrary and best used as an expression of praise or disdain, so that's what I'm doing."

[End quotation]

A couple of things to add:

My conceptual framework for a kritik is that it is a non-unique disad with a non-instrumental counterplan. If I should think differently, tell me so.

I really like it when debaters pull specific lines out of evidence in speeches. I tend to mentally track link extension by looking for vocabulary and terms of art to be repeated and applied.

Overview or don't overview, I don't actually care.

If you are making arguments you don't understand, I can probably tell. Do yourself a favor and stick to arguments you can be an effective advocate for and which you find fulfilling, instead of trying to satisfy what you assume I want you to argue. Debate is ultimately for you, not for me.

Full Judging Record

Tournament Date Ev Rd Aff Neg Vote Result
Blue Valley North Invitational 10/16/2020 VAR R2 Derby JS Washto CG Aff
3rd Annual Phyllis Schatz Invitational 9/25/2020 Open O5 Housto KF GeoMas JT Aff
3rd Annual Phyllis Schatz Invitational 9/25/2020 Novi N1 George Mason BP Binghamton RM Aff
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/18/2020 Var R5 Wichita East WF Blue Valley West SP Aff
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/18/2020 Var R3 Olathe East TB Blue Valley Southwest CS Aff
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/18/2020 Var R2 Blue Valley Northwest MB Blue Valley Southwest SS Aff
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R8 X273 X147 Neg Neg on a 2-1
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R7 X228 X271 Aff Aff on a 2-1
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R6 X199 X112 Neg
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R5 X205 X148 Aff Aff on a 2-0
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R4 X132 X118 Aff Aff on a 2-0
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R2 X194 X239 Neg
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R1 X224 X138 Aff Aff on a 2-0
NDT District IIIMAC Championship 2/21/2020 MAC Finals Kansas Snow & Rose Texas McKinley & Real Neg Neg on a 2-1
NDT District IIIMAC Championship 2/21/2020 NDTD3 R7 Texas Sen & Watts UMKC Hauschildt & Davis Neg
NDT District IIIMAC Championship 2/21/2020 NDTD3 R6 UCO Colquitt & Huffman Baylor Conner & Wyatt Neg
NDT District IIIMAC Championship 2/21/2020 MAC R5 UTD Lasseter & Iske Houston Bonnete & Curry Aff
NDT District IIIMAC Championship 2/21/2020 MAC R3 Houston Trinh & Velani JCCC Candie & aqui Neg
NDT District IIIMAC Championship 2/21/2020 MAC R1 UCO Holzwarth & Lott UMKC Bhatti & Prins Aff
Texas Open 2/1/2020 OP R3 Wake Forest EF Binghamton AM Aff
Texas Open 2/1/2020 JV R1 Missouri State CT Central Oklahoma HL Aff
Texas Swing 2 Rowdy Debates in Dallas 1/9/2020 OPEN Finals Kansas Henry & Ottinger Texas Coltzer & Marriott-Voss Aff Aff on a 2-1
Texas Swing 2 Rowdy Debates in Dallas 1/9/2020 OPEN Sems Texas Coltzer & Marriott-Voss Kansas Scott & McMahon Aff Aff on a 3-0
Texas Swing 2 Rowdy Debates in Dallas 1/9/2020 JV R6 JCCC aqui & Sanches UCO Kyle Wendland Aff
Texas Swing 2 Rowdy Debates in Dallas 1/9/2020 JV R5 UCO Kyle Wendland JCCC aqui & Sanches Neg
Texas Swing 2 Rowdy Debates in Dallas 1/9/2020 OPEN R3 UTD Lasseter & Iske UCO Holzwarth & Lott Aff
Texas Swing 2 Rowdy Debates in Dallas 1/9/2020 OPEN R2 Kansas Hassett & Snow MOState Engelby & Hopkins Aff
Texas Swing 2 Rowdy Debates in Dallas 1/9/2020 OPEN R1 Kansas Henry & Ottinger UCO Colquitt & Huffman Neg
Texas Swing 1 Fear and Loathing in Dallas 1/6/2020 OPEN Quarte Kansas Henry & Ottinger MOState Engelby & Hopkins Aff Aff on a 3-0
Texas Swing 1 Fear and Loathing in Dallas 1/6/2020 JV R4 UTSA Martinez & Umesh UMKC Bhatti & Prins Aff
Texas Swing 1 Fear and Loathing in Dallas 1/6/2020 OPEN R3 MOState Engelby & Hopkins UCO Colquitt & Huffman Aff
Texas Swing 1 Fear and Loathing in Dallas 1/6/2020 OPEN R2 UCO Holzwarth & Lott UTD Iske & Lasseter Neg
Texas Swing 1 Fear and Loathing in Dallas 1/6/2020 JV R1 UCO Kyle Wendland JCCC aqui & Sanches Aff
Kansas Flint-Hills District Tournament 12/13/2019 CX R1 109 127 Aff Aff on a 2-1
Franklin R Shirley at Wake Forest 11/23/2019 SHIR RD 8 Pittsburgh OM Missouri State CL Aff
Franklin R Shirley at Wake Forest 11/23/2019 SHIR RD 7 Kansas PS Georgetown/Harvard RG Aff
Franklin R Shirley at Wake Forest 11/23/2019 SHIR RD 6 Kentucky KL Emporia State SV Neg
Franklin R Shirley at Wake Forest 11/23/2019 SHIR RD 5 Navy GR Indiana OH Aff
Franklin R Shirley at Wake Forest 11/23/2019 SHIR RD 2 Wake Forest DH Harvard BY Aff
Aaron Thomas Memorial Invitational at Mill Valley 11/15/2019 Novice Semis Washburn Rural Beach & Kromminga Blue Valley North Gaffney & Eterovic Aff Aff on a 2-1
Aaron Thomas Memorial Invitational at Mill Valley 11/15/2019 Novice Qtrs Bishop Seabury Eicher & Jackson Blue Valley Northwest Alon & Schiffman Aff Aff on a 3-0
Aaron Thomas Memorial Invitational at Mill Valley 11/15/2019 Novice R5 Blue Valley North Nordby & Parmet Shawnee Mission South Hato & Johnson Neg
Aaron Thomas Memorial Invitational at Mill Valley 11/15/2019 DCI R4 Lawrence Free State Bellemere & Harris Lansing Sr Woodcock & Daniels Aff
UCO Joe C Jackson 11/8/2019 NOV Sems JCCC PW Houston WP Neg Aff on a 2-1
UCO Joe C Jackson 11/8/2019 JV R6 Kansas HM UMKC BP Neg
UCO Joe C Jackson 11/8/2019 NOV R5 Houston HR JCCC ES Neg
UCO Joe C Jackson 11/8/2019 NOV R3 JCCC ES Houston KP Neg
UCO Joe C Jackson 11/8/2019 JV R2 Houston PS UCO/Wyoming HL Neg
UCO Joe C Jackson 11/8/2019 JV R1 Wyoming HP Houston CK Neg
KCKCC DCI TOC Policy Qualifier 11/1/2019 DCI R6 Lawrence Free State Aiden Basore & Timothy Huffman Mill Valley Aiden Burke & Noah Reed Aff
KCKCC DCI TOC Policy Qualifier 11/1/2019 DCI R5 Wichita East Wael Yessin & Bao Nguyen Barstow Phoebe Brous & Rishi Malay Neg
KCKCC DCI TOC Policy Qualifier 11/1/2019 DCI R4 Truman Garrett Burton & Ayden Smith Blue Valley Southwest Alex Swanson & Karthik Sathish Aff
KCKCC DCI TOC Policy Qualifier 11/1/2019 DCI R3 Mill Valley Travis Babcock & Thomas Babcock Topeka Cade Blenden & Adrianne Caracioni Aff
KCKCC DCI TOC Policy Qualifier 11/1/2019 DCI R2 Lawrence Free State Shreya Bhakta & Karsen Ponzer Blue Valley Southwest Kristina Wu & Ben Ziegelman Neg
Shocker Fall Debates 10/25/2019 Open R5 MOState Van Dyke & Waggoner UMKC Hauschildt & Rose Aff
Shocker Fall Debates 10/25/2019 Open R3 UCO Colquitt & Huffman MOState Cade & Kauffman Neg
Shocker Fall Debates 10/25/2019 Open R2 Wichita Benson & Hinecker JCCC aqui & Redmond Aff
Salina South Cougar Classic 10/18/2019 DCI R2 Topeka BJ Wichita East WG Aff
Salina South Cougar Classic 10/18/2019 DCI R1 Shawnee Mission South HT Kapaun Mount Carmel TW Aff
64th Annual George R R Pflaum Debate Tournament 10/11/2019 OPEN Qtrs UTD IL UCO CH Neg Neg on a 2-1
64th Annual George R R Pflaum Debate Tournament 10/11/2019 OPEN R6 JCCC AR UCO HL Aff
64th Annual George R R Pflaum Debate Tournament 10/11/2019 JV R5 JCCC PW Houston NW Aff
64th Annual George R R Pflaum Debate Tournament 10/11/2019 OPEN R4 Baylor EG Concordia KP Neg
64th Annual George R R Pflaum Debate Tournament 10/11/2019 OPEN R2 UCO CH UTD IL Aff
64th Annual George R R Pflaum Debate Tournament 10/11/2019 JV R1 UTSA TM UMKC BP Neg
7th Mukai College Classic 10/5/2019 J Q AriSta SW Mis- BP Neg Neg on a 3-0
7th Mukai College Classic 10/5/2019 O R6 Wyomin BP AriSta CG Aff
7th Mukai College Classic 10/5/2019 O R5 Mis- MW AriSta FG Aff
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/20/2019 VADB8 R6 Hutchinson WW Shawnee Mission South FK Neg
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/20/2019 VADB8 R5 Lawrence DV Wichita East DY Aff
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/20/2019 VADB8 R4 Lawrence Free State HJ Mill Valley AS Neg
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/20/2019 VADB8 R2 Mill Valley BR Wichita East WF Aff
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/20/2019 VADB8 R1 Little Rock Central DF Wichita East SG Aff
Ursa Major Copper Hills 12/7/2018 VCX Rd5 AL Middlemas & Rohde BH Srinivas & McVicker Neg
Ursa Major Copper Hills 12/7/2018 NLD rd4 AL Ryan Chen AT Malcolm Martinez Aff
Ursa Major Copper Hills 12/7/2018 NLD rd4 AR Ashton Xu AB Noah Bondi Aff
Ursa Major Copper Hills 12/7/2018 NCX Rd2 AC Ong & Loose AK Delano & King Aff
Ursa Major Copper Hills 12/7/2018 VCX Rd1 BH Summerhays & Wall AA Guzman & Crabtree Aff
Utah Speech Arts 11/9/2018 VCX R6 Bingham OS Logan SJ Aff Aff on a 2-1
Utah Speech Arts 11/9/2018 NCX R4 Copper Hills BM SLC West HP Neg
Utah Speech Arts 11/9/2018 VCX R1 Copper Hills PL Hunter CC Aff
Copper Classic 1/12/2018 OLD Octos American Leadership KR Davis PC Aff Neg on a 2-1
Copper Classic 1/12/2018 OLD R6 Corner Canyon TB Green Canyon JB Neg
Copper Classic 1/12/2018 OLD R6 Davis SW Copper Hills KL Aff
Copper Classic 1/12/2018 OLD R5 Corner Canyon VJ Davis JS Aff
Copper Classic 1/12/2018 OLD R5 Park City HS TS Woods Cross SC Neg
Copper Classic 1/12/2018 OLD R4 Hunter DM Woods Cross AB Neg
Copper Classic 1/12/2018 OLD R4 Davis SC Hillcrest MS Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VLD 3x Mountain View AZ Tucson CS Aff Aff on a 2-1
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VLD 3x Kent Denver GR Pinnacle KA Neg Neg on a 3-0
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VLD R6 Hamilton AM Mesquite JY Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VLD R6 Gabrielino HS (Independent) ET Kent Denver DT Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VLD R5 Hamilton GM Foothill AP Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VLD R5 Perry (Independent) MH Foothill AR Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VLD R4 Los Alamos EH Canyon Crest SX Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VLD R4 Desert Vista SY Tucson SS Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VLD R2 Mountain View AZ Canyon Crest JW Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VLD R2 Red Mountain MC Tucson SZ Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VLD R1 Foothill CB Bellarmine College Prep AP Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VLD R1 Clark MP Skyridge IM Neg
Skyhawk Smackdown 11/17/2017 VLD R5 Bright Jacob Simmons AmeLea Tempest Allred Neg
Skyhawk Smackdown 11/17/2017 VPF R3 Summit Swanson & Roundy RowHal Merrill & Adondakis Neg
Skyhawk Smackdown 11/17/2017 VLD R2 WesJor Katie Esch SalHil Austyn Thomas Neg
Skyhawk Smackdown 11/17/2017 VLD R1 SpaFor Karl Boyack Timpvi HaeIn Jeon Neg
WSDI Two Week 7/20/2017 OLD R3 Fabotrm's MB Fabotrm's BS Aff
WSDI Two Week 7/20/2017 OLD R3 Fabotrm's SD Fabotrm's AR Aff
WSDI Two Week 7/20/2017 OLD R1 Fabotrm's SD Fabotrm's MB Aff
WSDI Two Week 7/20/2017 OLD R1 Fabotrm's AM Fabotrm's BS Aff