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Chapter 24. Debate and Parliamentary Procedure > Assume the Position - Pg. 200

Debate and Parliamentary Procedure · It uses neutral but specific language. If your proposition meets that criteria, it's suitable for debate. 200 Assume the Position The two sides in a formal debate are called the affirmative side and the negative side . Although each side may be represented by any number of speakers, usually only one or two people on each side make the case. The affirmative side has two jobs: · To attack the status quo · To argue that a specific change should occur Class Act Debate is a contest between two opposing points of view; discussion involves agreement between sides. As a result, debate is adversarial rather than cooperative. Because the affirmative side in a debate proposes a change in policy, it must prove not only that a problem exists, but also that the solution stated in the proposition would be an improvement over the present situation. This is called the burden of proof. The affirmative side starts with the prima facie case , an overall argument that would convince any reasonable judge who has not yet heard the response from the other side. Talk Soup The burden of proof is the responsibility of the affirmative side to prove that a problem exists and that their solution is better than the current situation. The negative side has only one task: to disprove the affirmative side. To do so, the negative side refutes the attacks on the status quo made by the affirmative side. There are four main ways to do this: 1. 2. 3. 4. Attack the affirmative side's argument by asserting that the status quo is completely satisfac- tory. Attack the affirmative side's plan, arguing that the affirmative plan would create more serious problems than those currently being experienced. Attack the logical link between the affirmative's need and plan. This is called a need-plan wedge case. Attack all parts of the affirmative case. Called a running-refutation negative case , it is the most common method of attack.