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Author Topic: Law schools + religious right  (Read 2839 times)

misery

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Law schools + religious right
« on: March 14, 2006, 02:44:50 AM »
Hope you guys find this interesting... maybe you will end up at school with them.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11078887/site/newsweek/


Fidelio

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2006, 11:18:39 AM »
Hope you guys find this interesting... maybe you will end up at school with them.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11078887/site/newsweek/



Interesting, has Liberty Law received ABA accreditation?

allthatjazz

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2006, 06:10:40 PM »
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The problem is that they don't debate; they just really good at evoking emotion.

Oh, is that how Liberty's debate team came to be ranked #1 in the country?  By relying on emotion?  Interesting...
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dividebyzero

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2006, 06:41:30 PM »
OMGLOLBBQ!!!
To borrow the xoxohth tradition: "TTTrash, 120".
"Fire and brimstone" isn't going to do jack *&^% come bar exam time. I love how the article somehow implies that because a) these are law students and b) they are successful competitive debaters that c) they must be brilliant legal minds.

Fraid' A does not equal C, and if they or anyone else thinks so, they're in for a shock.
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Acceptances: Georgetown ("off da' chain!")
That is all...

misery

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2006, 11:52:59 PM »
OMGLOLBBQ!!!
To borrow the xoxohth tradition: "TTTrash, 120".
"Fire and brimstone" isn't going to do jack sh*t come bar exam time. I love how the article somehow implies that because a) these are law students and b) they are successful competitive debaters that c) they must be brilliant legal minds.

Fraid' A does not equal C, and if they or anyone else thinks so, they're in for a shock.

I definitely hope you're right...

Alamo

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2006, 11:06:43 AM »
You know, we can talk all the trash on them that we want, but we're just a bunch of elitists typing on our keyboards.  To the citizens of the heartland, emotion is very persuasive, particularly emotional appeal to things that reinforce their deeply ingrained, very firm notions of right and wrong.  A very large percentage of this country will have more respect for the Liberty JD preaching law infused with Christian values than they'll have for the managing editor of the Yale Law Review.  We can dismiss them all we want, but we'd do better to listen and understand, even if they would not give us the same consideration.

Liberty's team is gaming the system, but they did beat the Harvard varsity team.  I would love to see footage of the debate to see if it really was just a shouting match; however, I'd have to believe they're learning at least some logic to support what they preach if they can beat Haaahvahd. 
I must admit that I may have been infected with society's prejudices and predilections and attributed them to God . . . and that in years hence I may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history.  I don't believe such doubts make me a bad Christian.  I believe they make me human . . .

LitDoc

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2006, 11:29:24 AM »
I'm a bit surprised that everyone is so disparaging of "emotional" arguments. In argument (i.e. rhetoric), there are three basic components: ethos, pathos, and logos. Or, put another way, appeals to authority (precedent, written law, scripture, persons of status or position, etc.); appeals to emotion (sob stories, "personalizing the issue," evoking patriotism or some other loyalty, charged word choice, etc.); and appeals to logic or reason.

These three components are not mutually exclusive -- there's a lot of overlap. And a given component is more or less effective in different contexts. Think about advertising, where probably 70% of the rhetoric is pathos-laden (appeals via humor, or to your sense of what's "cool"), and the other 30% is ethos-laden (appeals via authority figures -- usually celebrities or sports stars). No logic.

And if you think our country can't be run effectively if it favors emotion over reason, then it hasn't run effectively for decades and decades and decades -- politics has always been a forum heavily laden with appeals to, and arguments made of, emotion. Hell, do you really think Bush got reelected on logic? Did we pass the Patriot Act as a well-reasoned response to 9/11?

Don't discount emotion.
"There is no was." -- William Faulkner

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Alamo

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2006, 11:42:10 AM »
Excellent point Litdoc, not something I'd though of.  I'd be curious to see how the debates are scored - are the judges using explicit criteria to score logic positively over ethos/pathos, are effective use of ethos/pathos explicitly rewarded, or are the judges simply falling prey to emotional arguments themselves? 

I don't believe that society should be encouraged to function without ethos or pathos, but I do believe that law should be as independent of them as is humanly possible.  Law student competitions that reward them over logic are, in my mind, inherently flawed.  But that doesn't make the orators who win them any less effective at achieving their ultimate goals. 
I must admit that I may have been infected with society's prejudices and predilections and attributed them to God . . . and that in years hence I may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history.  I don't believe such doubts make me a bad Christian.  I believe they make me human . . .

LitDoc

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2006, 12:03:58 PM »
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I do believe that law should be as independent of them [ethos and pathos] as is humanly possible.

This is both wishful thinking and, I'm afraid, a little ignorant. (No offense intended.) Law is packed with appeals to ethos -- that is the core nature of stare decisis and of statute law. Legal arguments depend heavily on showing "what the law is" and how it should be applied to the given set of facts. That's an ethos-laden argument if there ever was one. (And, of course, it involves logic/reason too -- as I said, these are not mutually exclusive categories.)

As for emotion (pathos), there's no getting rid of that either. Legal Realism, for instance, argues that judges decide cases based on their sense of what is right -- making the law conform to that sense, reasonably, after the fact. (This is a very reductive representation of Legal Realism. But hey. It's all I've got time for.) And courtroom law is laced with emotional pleas and statements; and legislation is often driven by political (read: often emotional) motivations; and every little statement of facts that appears in a memo or a brief is written with words, and words themselves have emotional impact.

In short, unless you can divorce law from language, you're not going to make it independent of emotion.
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allthatjazz

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2006, 12:31:57 PM »
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Actually, yes.  According to my old roomie, depending on the tournament, one quarter to one half of most competitions are graded on "rhetorical ability" -- not the actual legitimacy and substance of their argument.

I'd also like to point out that the article has a further explanation: funding the team so that it can attend virtually every competition.  Places like Harvard only fund the teams for the big tournaments.

Actually, probably not.

I too would like to know just how much of a role emotion plays in these debates.  I find it highly doubtful that emotion plays that large of a role or at least is the deciding factor, despite what Lily's "old roomie" might have to say on the subject.  With that being said, even if the rhetorical part of the debate figures into 50% of the points awarded, a team could do really well on the non-rhetorical parts of the debate and still win with a mediocre rhetorical score.  Also, as has been pointed out, rhetorical does not necessarily equal emotional. 

In addition, the article only states that the amount of debates that Liberty competes in plays a role in their being #1.  It does not inform us of how much a role it plays.  If Liberty participated in the same number of debates as Harvard or the other "powerhouses", how much would it affect their score?  Would it drop them to second, third, seventh, or lower?  Would they still be first?  Liberty did beat Harvard head-to-head after all.

Quote
My old roommate was a national debate champion in high school, and even though she's devoutly religious (Russian Orthodox, though), she says they're the most frustrating people on the planet.  The problem is that they don't debate; they just really good at evoking emotion.

I guess my point is I think it is foolish to believe that SOME members of the "religious right" relying on emotion when presenting their ideas means that every single member of the "religious right" does so or that even most of them do so.  After all, some members of the "loony left" and the "moderate middle" do the same.  Lumping people into such groups and painting them with broad strokes is almost always bad form.   

My contention is that in a controlled environment, such as a debate competition, I am unsure how much of a role emotion is allowed to play or would be able to play.  Perhaps it plays a large role and perhaps it does not.  Perhaps Liberty depends on the emotional content of their arguments for winning debates and perhaps they do not. 

Exactly how much of a role emotion plays in these debates and how much Liberty relies on emotional arguments above logical ones I am not in a position to say.  After all, I have never witnessed Liberty in a debate competition, but I have my suspicions that it might not be as influential or as all determining as some would think.

Just my two cents.
What is history but a fable agreed upon?

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