On Wednesday we're debating the motion "Hunters Conserve Wildlife,” and the mere advertising of the topic has touched off a perfect storm of pre-debate message blasting by interest groups on opposite sides of the issue.
For instance: We've already seen more votes than ever before -- thousands more -- in our pre-debate online poll. And that's AFTER we purged all the votes where it was obvious that some people were voting hundreds of times. (If you want to vote, go here.)
For instance: Last night I suddenly started getting a flood of tweets to my handle on Twitter (@johndonvan). First a dozen or two, but it soon swelled to hundreds, tweeting the exact same text over and over again. Um, folks, just so you know, I'm the debate moderator. I don't even get to vote on the night of the debate. But even if I did, organized slogan-spouting "tweetstorms" are anything but persuasive.
And persuasion, of course, is what our IQ2US debates are all about. In front of an audience that is actually willing to be persuaded, by virtue of attending an event where opposing ideas are presented with, at best, intellectual force, as well as wit, charm, and an understanding of how to make an audience rethink its own ideas.
On Wednesday, that will mean hearing one team argue that wildlife, from the lions of Africa to the white-tailed deer of Minnesota, is better off because regulated hunting helps control animal populations and maintain animal habitats. This is a passionately held view among hunters. It is also passionately rejected by their opponents, who believe that regulated hunting is corrupt, inhumane, and ineffective.
Can those who hunt animals also be considered their protectors?