Letter to the Editor: Two sides
BY Al Houser, Tulsa
Thursday, August 02, 2012
8/02/12 at 3:11 AM
Teaching students critical thinking skills is a good idea. As far as I know these skills have only been taught to students on high school debate teams.
The most important aspect for evaluating any argument is the reliability of the sources. Let's see how this can be done by analyzing the argument about Medicaid expansion presented in the July 22 Tulsa World.
Sources of the "Yes" side:
1. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority;
2. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured;
3. President of the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa and a physician;
4. Oklahoma Hospital Association president;
5. President and CEO of Saint Frances System;
6. The Urban Institute.
This is obviously a very liberal and biased group, but compare the sources used by the "No" side. They started out their argument with a statement that, "Everyone expects." Any debate student who used such a phrase in their argument would probably be removed from the team.
Sources of the "No" side:
1. Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs;
2. A Republican senator;
3. The Congressional Budget Office;
4. The opinion found on the Heritage Foundation website;
5. Another Republican senator;
6. And another quote from another Republican lawmaker.
Their argument attempted to discredit the findings of the CBO by using demagoguery. They quoted numbers developed by OCPA only because they were the highest of all other estimates. The rest of their arguments relied on the expertise of Republican lawmakers.
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