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Debate can often be the lifeblood of reasonable conversation. While Goretti Publications endeavors at all times to present its arguments in a non-polemical and conversational way, it is often useful for each side, when a dispute has arisen, to put its views into the open and on the table, so that onlookers can compare both arguments and see which one has the better of it. Consequently, Goretti Publications is willing to accept any offers of debate on any of the topics on which it publishes works, or on any other matter of the Catholic Faith. We cannot claim the ability to pursue a full, scholarly dispute; however, we can offer to give answers to any objections that anyone may have concerning the Faith.

GP's Debate Format
ArgumentLimitation
Aff. Constructive2 weeks
1st Neg. Cross-Ex24 Question
Neg. Constructive2 weeks
1st Aff. Cross-Ex24 Questions
1st Aff. Rebuttal1 week
2nd Neg. Cross12 Questions
Neg. Rebuttal1 week
2nd Aff. Cross-Ex12 Questions
2nd Aff. Rebuttal1 week

Each side would be required to post the entire text of the debate, including cross-examinations, on his respective website; if Goretti Publications's opponent has no website, Goretti Publications will post the debate on its site regardless. Each side will also be permitted to publish a summary of the arguments, or its version of the "flow"; within this summary further arguments may be made, but no response will be permitted. Beyond this, the debate may be referenced, but no new arguments may be brought up by either side for the purpose of claiming victory in the debate. These conditions are merely to ensure that the debate remains what it is intended to be: a definitive argument, in which everything that can be said on a subject by the two disputants has been said and countered. New arguments may occur to both sides, and they are perfectly free to advance them as they will; however, Goretti Publications shall insist upon this condition, that those new arguments not be used to attempt to effect the outcome of the debate. Otherwise the debate is useless, and each side may as well continue simply publishing its own opinions and never allowing them to clash directly. The debate, in other words, would never end.

The format given in the table is a suggested structure for the debate; this, of course, is open to alteration by agreement between the disputants. However, certain terms should probably be recited before the structure is discussed. The affirmative and negative are the opposing sides; the affirmative is the side which bears the burden of proof. Whichever side is challenging the other is the affirmative; if Goretti Publications reacts to a criticism of one of its works, for example, by challenging the author of that criticism to a debate, then Goretti Publications is the affirmative; if, on the other hand, someone dislikes one of its works and challenges it to debate, then that someone is the affirmative. The affirmative, as said before, bears the burden of proof, which means that it must present sufficient evidence to establish both that there is a problem with the negative's viewpoint and that the affirmative's argument is able to fix that problem. The negative, consequently, could say nothing and still win the debate, provided that the affirmative has not satisfied that burden. The affirmative must, therefore, be careful to satisfy its burden, lest the negative claim victory simply by default. This burden should suffice to prevent mere polemics, since a real argument must be offered before debate can even begin.

A few more terms will be helpful. Topicality means that a given argument is relevant to the topic at hand. If, for example, a challenger to Goretti Publications on distributism begins to argue against Marxism, the argument is a topicality violation---unless, of course, he has established that the traits of Marxism which he is criticizing are also traits of distributism. Solvency is another burden which falls upon the affirmative; once it has satisfied its burden of proof that there is something wrong with the negative's viewpoint, it must then show that its viewpoint will solve whatever that problem is. If it fails to do so, even if it has met its burden of proof, it has lost the debate---though that provides a thin victory for the negative, at best.

Other terms can be defined and violations objected to as they arise. Goretti Publications looks forward to any challenges, and hopes that all debates will be conducted fairly, calmly, and rationally.


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