chapter  3
Evaluating Contradictory Evidence
ByJon Bruschke
Pages 12

This chapter is written from the perspective of a career debate coach. The first reaction most lay people have to debate is that it involves some eloquence and public speaking. Logic wasn't unimportant to the best college debaters; it just never came up because as soon as one team won an important substantive point everyone generally understood how that point connected to the overall dispute. But resolving inconsistent evidence truly begins to engage higher-ordered skills. Education that trains students to expect such contradictory conditions and carefully maneuver their way through the evidence is truly a next-generation idea that can propel a nation out of its critical thinking doldrums and empower it to address global challenges. The end product of vigorous debate is students who can more effectively produce evidence-driven ideas, and perhaps more importantly, students who are better at judging a public debate for themselves.