|Forensics and dead kittens (standard:non fiction, 1432 words)|
|Author: Eutychus||Added: Jun 08 2004||Views/Reads: 2246/1092||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A discussion my son and I had this past year when they were studying debating in language arts. Not an attempt to fuel debate, just an accounting of something that happened in our home that was memorable enough to put down on paper.|
I began hearing about debating in an official sense about three months into the eighth grade. My son came home one day and filled me in on what he thought had been a very interesting day in language arts. I made a point to take this development seriously because he rarely showed such an interest in anything that was associated with his native language. Math is more his thing. “So if it's debating, why does the teacher call it ‘forensics'?” I asked in an attempt to learn just how thoroughly the subject was being covered. “The ‘for' comes from ‘forum', which was a public gathering. I guess the word could mean a public forum to sort through things in a legal trial or in a public debate.” “Good. So what did you debate about?” “She only gave us twenty minutes to research our topics, but I had to argue why building the Alaska pipeline was a bad thing. And then we only had three minutes to make our point.” I smiled at the topic he had been given. That had been the first subject I had gotten to argue when that particular debate had been a timely matter in the 1970s. “Don't worry. Later on, the teacher will give you something a little more current to debate. My first attempt at debating had been over why building the hydrogen bomb was necessary in the 1950s.” “She's given us a list of things we can debate later on,” he said and handed me a list. “I guess global warming will be a hot topic until the next ice age kicks in.” “Ha ha, Dad, real funny,” he said without humor. “You caught that. I'm impressed. Stem cell research and cloning will be appropriate for another twenty years or so, I'll bet. And abortion will always be on this list.” “I was thinking about doing that one. We hear about it a lot and there are even a couple of girls in my grade that have had to make that decision already.” I thought about the five year old girls who had started soccer at the same time Caleb had. It didn't seem long enough ago for any of them to be concerned with such a decision. “You do realize that you will have to prepare to argue either side of the argument, don't you?” “Um... no. Why would you have to argue the position you don't agree with?” “The point of this kind of debating is to make the argument, not to prove the point. I know, that sounds like it should be the same thing, but it isn't. And you won't know which side you'll be arguing until the teacher tells you, so you have to be ready for either.” About a month later, Caleb asked me to review his index cards prepared for debating abortion sometime during the coming week. He had done a fair job on both sides though I felt obliged to point out that the fetus is not technically a part of the mother's body. “In the placenta, the mom's circulatory system comes along side that of the baby's. Nutrients cross from one system to the other, so it is really two separate systems, not one. The baby is totally separate from the mom.” “How do you know that?” “As you may or may not have heard, your mom was pregnant once. I learned a lot about how that particular process operates. But don't let that bit of info keep you from using the ‘it's my body and I should be able to control it' argument. It's classic and worth using.” Click here to read the rest of this story (97 more lines)
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