The St. Justin Martyr Forum, a new avenue for practical and formative debate training at Franciscan University of Steubenville, debuted on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m.
Unlike any other debate club, the St. Justin Martyr Forum presents its members with an original style of debating, temporarily dubbed “Theory Application Debate” by its inventors Daniel McNichol and Ava Montes.
Established through the leadership of McNichol, a junior economics major, and Montes, a sophomore English major, the forum seeks to train students to defend the “why” of what they believe with creative reasoning and evidence.
“A lot of times … (we) hear a lot of the philosophy behind (issues) but not enough practical application,” said Montes, using pro-life arguments as an example.
“Once Roe v. Wade is overturned, then what? What do you do to support people who … want abortions but can’t get them?” she asked. “How can you counsel them to keep their child?”
Theory Application Debate seeks to answer similar real-world questions with a strong defense of ethical values and practical application.
The new debate format is a “happy medium” of two common debate styles, Lincoln-Douglas and Policy debate, said Montes.
It gathers the best from each style, taking the principles of arguing with ethics or philosophy and defending policy, as in Lincoln-Douglas and Policy debate, respectively.
“We want students to see the value in this so that way it will help them defend the truth when they go out into the world,” said McNichol.
The forum was named after its patron, St. Justin Martyr, who wrote and taught apologetics in the second century A.D. He was eventually martyred for his strong and active faith.
St. Justin Martyr Forum will meet again in the St. Leo’s Room in the J.C. Williams Center on Thursday, Nov. 8.