The Instigator
InquireTruth
Pro (for)
Winning
71 Points
The Contender
mastajake
Con (against)
Losing
44 Points

Atheism can be a causal factor in atrocity

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 18 votes the winner is...
InquireTruth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/10/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,203 times Debate No: 5699
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (41)
Votes (18)

 

InquireTruth

Pro

Premise: Atheism can be a causal factor in atrocity.

Definitions:

Atheism - the doctrine or belief that there is no God.

Cause - a person or thing that acts, happens, or exists in such a way that some specific thing happens as a result; the producer of an effect

Factor: one of the elements contributing to a particular result or situation.

Contentions:

1) Stalin and Mao (among many others) were self-proclaiming atheists and they killed tens of millions of people.

2) The destruction of religious art and architecture by groups that were operating under a material atheistic argument for the nonexistence of God.

3) Atheists, per capita, have a much higher probability of incarceration.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

1. Stalin targeted religious institutions because he saw religion as "opposite of science." Mao and Stalin fought for a religious-free utopia under the dictates of the atheistic communist manifesto – religion was the opiate of the masses and need be rid of. Had Mao and Stalin not been atheist, they would not have had a special inclination to rid from their sights all of religion. It cannot be said that such dictators just happened to be atheist and their atheism did not play any fundamental role. This betrays the well known fact that Mao and Stalin particulary fought for a religious-free utopia, a feat that relies heavily on their self-proclaimed atheism. It should lastly be noted that atheists in power commit acts of violence against their own people with such alarming regularity that one would have to be a fool to omit atheism from suspicion.

2. Richard Dawkins in his book, "The God Delusion," says this: "I do not believe there is any atheist in the world who would bulldoze Mecca—or Chartres, York Minster or Notre Dame, the Shwe Dagon, the temples of Kyoto or, of course, the Buddhas of Bamiyan." Pg. 229
Dawkins must be ignorant of history seeing as how between 1917 and 1969 the atheist soviets destroyed 41,000 of Russia's 48,000 churches. Similar behavior has been seen in atheist-run Spain, Poland, Romania and East Germany. Even in our time atheists have been responsible for destroying 440 of the 500 Buddhist temples in North Korea. The large body of historical and contemporary evidence to support this contention could go on indefinitely.

3. In April 2001, the Office for National Statistics reported that agnostics/atheists/no-religionists are 3.84 times more likely to be convicted and jailed for committing a crime than a Christian.

This should be sufficient for now and I look forward to my opponent's response.
mastajake

Con

Rebuttal to your (#1) statement - Stalin and Mao clearly evil people but their mal intent on religion was never because they were atheist. They didn't do things in the name of atheism per say a religious extremist would. it was the hate for religious domination in society that they were more against ( giving these where greedy dictators that would make sense ) more so than the doctrine of religions believing in God. Stalin did say yes that religion is the opposite of science but keep in mind that it is, making that nothing but a pure factual statement. You can't blame their unethical acts on his atheism specially considering that he was an evil man in general wanting to dominate society which has nothing to do with atheism. religious oppression is what brought this on to its self and there is no doubting that given the power of religion especially in those days of Stalin and Mao (and for the same in response to your second contention [religious oppression is at fault] with Dawkins as a reference, whom by far I know has no major in history making him ignorant of that subject) I almost want to propose the statement that religion is a causal factor in atrocity even more so by far than atheism. given your God supposedly ("supposedly" because I do not believe in god to start off with) killed more than Mao and Stalin Combined ~ I find this ironic

http://blog.planetpreterist.com...

And crusades anyone? now lets talk about mal religious intent and atrocity. Muslim extremist driving plane into our twin towers in the name of god. there seems to be a direct link with god and their social beliefs that led to such an atrocity and there is no denying it. they willingly did this thinking that they were doing what their god had wanted them to do making there irrational decision to kill thousands easy. It is well known that the pope strongly discourages the use of condoms in Africa, calling for abstinence only. Leading to the death of countless people "600-1,000 people are thought to die every day because of Aids."

http://news.bbc.co.uk...

In response to your third contention. What are your sources? I cant find any document backing that up what so ever infact I found multiple saying exactly the opposite that there is more religious in incarceration than atheist, agnostics, and non-religious together. Christians make up 75% of the U.S. Prisons population ~according to federal bureau of prisons

InquireTruth, you seem to be confused about what atheism is. Atheism is not strictly about people who criticize or hate religion, in fact, that's not the point at all. As you've defined yourself atheists just don't believe or can't believe in a religion. For example, a child raised without religion is, by definition, an atheist. Implicit vs. explicit.

This should be adequate for now and I look forward to my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 1
InquireTruth

Pro

Thank you for you response Mastajake. But let me remind you that whether or not religion shares responsibility in atrocity is a subject for another debate. The question is whether atheism can contribute to atrocity.

1. "They didn't do things in the name of atheism per say a religious extremist would."

Please inform me how persecuting, torturing, and killing millions of your own people in hopes of establishing a religious-free utopia is not extremism. The fact of that matter is that if Mao and Stalin were not atheists they would not have had the proclivity to systematically persecute religious followers.

"it was the hate for religious domination in society that they were more against ( giving these where greedy dictators that would make sense ) more so than the doctrine of religions believing in God."

It was actually a specific tenet of their atheistic communism. Perhaps the following quotes will enlighten you. These quotes are from Karl Marx (and from his successor Lenin), the creator(s) of the system Stalin and Mao sought to follow:

"Communism begins where atheism begins…" (Marx)
"The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion" (Marx)
"Atheism is the natural and inseparable part of Communism." (Lenin)
"Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism." (Lenin)
An early Soviet slogan said "Let us drive out the Capitalists from the earth, and God from Heaven!"

Atheism is an absolutely necessary element in communism (says its proprietor and practitioners), and because of that, religion was systematically stamped out with brute force.

"I almost want to propose the statement that religion is a causal factor in atrocity even more so by far than atheism. given your God supposedly ("supposedly" because I do not believe in god to start off with) killed more than Mao and Stalin Combined ~ I find this ironic"

Religion's role in atrocity is not the topic. But my opponent seems to be misinformed as to the amount of people Mao and Stalin killed. The website he cited approximated 2.5 million deaths ascribed to God. However, the consensus for Stalin's red-hand is 20 million (http://en.wikipedia.org...). Stain alone killed 8 times more than the website you cited.

"And crusades anyone? now lets talk about mal religious intent and atrocity. Muslim extremist driving plane into our twin towers in the name of god. there seems to be a direct link with god and their social beliefs that led to such an atrocity and there is no denying it. they willingly did this thinking that they were doing what their god had wanted them to do making there irrational decision to kill thousands easy. It is well known that the pope strongly discourages the use of condoms in Africa, calling for abstinence only. Leading to the death of countless people "600-1,000 people are thought to die every day because of Aids."

This is completely irrelevant. The topic is whether atheism can be a causal factor in atrocity – not religion.

Let's be realistic. Between 1917 and 2007 approximately 148 million were killed by 52 atheist leaders, that is three times more than all the human beings killed by war. (The Irrational Atheist 240).

3. "In response to your third contention. What are your sources?"

http://irrationalatheist.com...

"Christians make up 75% of the U.S. Prisons population ~according to federal bureau of prisons"

I said Per Capita. The united states it largely Christian.

Conclusion:
"InquireTruth, you seem to be confused about what atheism is. Atheism is not strictly about people who criticize or hate religion, in fact, that's not the point at all."

I never said that is what atheism was. I am arguing that atheism CAN be a causal factor in atrocity, which, as it stands, has yet to be refuted.

Questions that need to be answered by my opponent:

1. Is it your contention that Stalin would still have systematically killed theists even if he himself was one?

2.Stalin and Mao were destroying and eliminating religion because the atheism inherent in communism called for it. If Stalin and Mao were not eliminating religion because of atheism or communism, why were they? And how did their atheism NOT contribute to this?

3. Is a 58% chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, proved a systematic influence to do bad things? (The Irrational Atheist 241)
mastajake

Con

First of all sorry, you are right that was armature of me to debate with a contra statement that is completely opposite of the premise you presented. I amend you on that, as well as I would like to thank you for providing me with your sources it is greatly appreciated.

Now to the debate :]

"I never said that is what atheism was. I am arguing that atheism CAN be a causal factor in atrocity, which, as it stands, has yet to be refuted."

- your examples of atheism ( with Stalin and Mao) is precisely why I said "InquireTruth, you seem to be confused about what atheism is. Atheism is not strictly about people who criticize or hate religion, in fact, that's not the point at all." because those were Stalin and Mao's ways.

"Questions that need to be answered by my opponent:"

"1. Is it your contention that Stalin would still have systematically killed theists even if he himself was one?"
- yes why not he was an evil man (Hitler did for example;theists killing theists) and at the most Stalin could just be considered as being a genocidal despot and a dogmatic communist. He did things because of his communistic ways of thinking and overpowering the people with his dictatorship. atheism is not at fault, his communist dogma run amok is at fault. Atheism is nothing more than a disbelief, not a way of life or dictatorship such as communism.

"2.Stalin and Mao were destroying and eliminating religion because the atheism inherent in communism called for it. If Stalin and Mao were not eliminating religion because of atheism or communism, why were they? And how did their atheism NOT contribute to this?"
-First of all you talk about communism and atheism so closely together that you almost make them to seem interchangeable in which they are not at all. ATHEISM and COMMUNISM are two entirely separate doctrines.

Definitions:
ATHEISM
1.the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2.disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.
>> neither of these having anything to do with communism.
COMMUNISM
1.a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.
2.(often initial capital letter) a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.
3.(initial capital letter) the principles and practices of the Communist party.
>>nothing to do with Atheism

Marx and Lenin do not define communism just because they were themselves, and wrote books of there way of communism, so if it was inherit for maybe Marx and Lenin but there is no direct link with Stalin or Mao. this is a presumptuous matter which has no certainty at all (there were forms of communism before them, specially in feudal lord days)- just stating in case you thought that Marx or Lenin were the creators of communism the concept itself.

"If Stalin and Mao were not eliminating religion because of atheism or communism, why were they?" i already answered this ^^^^part of question #2^^^^

I will quote my self

"it was the hate for religious domination in society that they were more against ( giving these where greedy dictators that would make sense ) more so than the doctrine of religions believing in God. Stalin did say yes that religion is the opposite of science but keep in mind that it is, making that nothing but a pure factual statement. You can't blame their unethical acts on his atheism specially considering that he was an evil man in general wanting to dominate society which has nothing to do with atheism. religious oppression is what brought this on to its self and there is no doubting that given the power of religion especially in those days of Stalin and Mao"

"3. Is a 58% chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, proved a systematic influence to do bad things? (The Irrational Atheist 241)"
- now this I don't know much about I will admit for I am modest but this statistic means nothing to me for it is only a statistic. < I leave that argument for someone who has the knowledge to rebuttal it. so readers feel free

I am going to be quoting someone else for he says it perfectly and you have to think about the variables in this one.

"Stalin and Mao were indeed atheists.

Stalin/Mao/Pol-Pot were atheists so atheism must be wrong

What is wrong with this argument?

Atheism is a lack of belief, just like sobriety is a lack of alcohol.

We all know that a lack of alcohol causes people to be sober.

Sometimes, drunk people cause traffic accidents.

But very often, sober people also cause traffic accidents.

Should drunkards apologise for all the accidents caused by people drinking alcohol only if we sober people apologise for all the accidents caused by people who had no alcohol inside them?

The claim that Stalin/Mao etc were atheists, so atheism is wrong, is like claiming that being sober is just as bad as being drunk, because look at the traffic accidents caused by sober people who happened to have taken cannabis or speed, or LSD or whatever.

Yes, technically these people who crashed their cars after taking cannabis were technically sober. They had not drunk any alcohol.

So they were just as sober as I am when I drive a car without taking cannabis or speed or other drugs.

This hardly means that being sober is as bad as being drunk.

The same for atheism.

Atheism is a lack of belief in gods.

So Stalin really was an atheist , just as somebody who drives a car under the influence of cannabis really is not drunk.

But so what?"

Now hopefully I answered your questions effectively and sufficiently

Nobly I pass debate back to you InquireTruth.

~ MastaJake
Debate Round No. 2
InquireTruth

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for his response.

"your examples of atheism ( with Stalin and Mao) is precisely why I said "InquireTruth, you seem to be confused about what atheism is"

My examples are to express that atheism CAN be a causal factor in atrocity. That is all.

"First of all you talk about communism and atheism so closely together that you almost make them to seem interchangeable"

Since you are unaware let me remind you that Stalin and Mao were operating under a form of communism modeled after Marxism. This is an explicit form of communism that necessitates atheism. Part of Mao and Stalin's communist manifesto was a call for a religious-free utopia. You forget that Lenin, being a power in the Soviet Union, was a huge influence in the communist construct. Lenin, whose experience with communism was limited to the Soviet Union (so we know he was refereeing to it), insisted that communism and atheism were inseparable. Stalin also required individuals to proclaim atheism and stay away from churches.

"He did things because of his communistic ways"

His communist ways were influenced by atheism.

"Hitler did for example;theists killing theists"

Hitler was most certainly not a theist. All of his religious quotes were made before he took office, he was a very manipulative man. After he was already in power, he said things like this:

"The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity ... The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.
I'll make these damned parsons feel the power of the state in a way they would have never believed possible. For the moment, I am just keeping my eye upon them: if I ever have the slightest suspicion that they are getting dangerous, I will shoot the lot of them. This filthy reptile raises its head whenever there is a sign of weakness in the State, and therefore it must be stamped on. We have no sort of use for a fairy story invented by the Jews."
Now does that sound like a religious man?

"now this I don't know much about I will admit for I am modest but this statistic means nothing to me for it is only a statistic."

It is a statistic based on reality. Atheist leaders who have had power over their country typically killed a noticeable amount of their own people. Most religious people in order to free their country of religion. And so you can see that this is unique to Atheism and is not a phenomenon among religious leaders let me remind you that the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than what is consider the very worse destruction committed by Christians. Let me quote the virulent Vox Day, "if one considers the statistically significant size of the historical atheist set and contrasts it with the fact that not one in a thousand religious leaders have commited a similarly large-scale atrocities, it is impossible to concluded otherwise, even if we do not yet understand exactly why this should be the case. Once might be an accident, even twice could be coincidence, but fifty-two incidents in ninety years reeks of causation."

"Sometimes, drunk people cause traffic accidents."

So you are admitting that atheism sometimes causes atrocity?

"The claim that Stalin/Mao etc were atheists, so atheism is wrong"

I never said atheism was wrong, I said it can be a causal factor in atrocity – a point you seemed to already have conceded to.

"Atheism is a lack of belief in gods."

So what of it? My dad lacks hair and it caused him to buy a toupee. Are you also going to say that my dad would still have bought a toupee even if he had a full head of hair?

Your whole analogy thing does not make any sense. Especially since someone under the influence of elicit drugs IS technically intoxicated an thus not sober. Technically.

Questions:

Now that you are informed that atheism is an inseparable part of Maoism and Stalinism, do you still believe that they would have fought for a religious-free utopia had they not been atheist? You still believe that they would think religion is the opiate of the masses?

Now that you know that within the last 90 years 52 atheists have killed well over 100 million people, making it a 58% chance that an atheist leader who gains control will kill a large amount of his own people, do you still agree that atheism had no motivational role? You must also consider that atheists had only one-twentieth the amount of opportunities in which to commit their crimes.

Now that you are aware that atheism was inherent in Stalinism and Maoism and that Stalin and Mao were destroying and eliminating religion because of it, how do intend to say that there atheism played no role?

State atheism has been mostly implemented in communist countries, such as the former Soviet Union, China, Communist Albania, Communist Afghanistan, North Korea, Communist Mongolia and Poland under communist rule also promoted state atheism and suppressed religion. Please explain how it is not an atrocity to force individuals to proclaim atheism.

Now that you know Stalin required individuals to proclaim atheism and stay away from churches do you still believe he would have done this if he himself were a theist? (http://en.wikipedia.org...).

Conclusion:
Atheist leaders forced their countrymen to publicly proclaim atheism and there are many accounts where persons were killed because they would not recant their faith. These atheist leaders specifically sought to eliminate religion because of their forms of atheistic communism. The fatally damning evidence that atheism can be a causal factor in atrocity is the very fact that it happens with such alarming regularity. As we speak Tibetans are persecuted and killed because of their faith in atheist run China. Atheist North Korea, under Kim Yong-il, has the most severe persecution of Christians. My Opponent has offered not evidence that Atheism cannot be a casual factor and has only made spurious and often irrelevant claims.

I hope you all have read this so you can vote appropriately – for PRO of course.

Thank You,
InquireTruth
mastajake

Con

mastajake forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
41 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bthr004 8 years ago
bthr004
"3. In April 2001, the Office for National Statistics reported that agnostics/atheists/no-religionists are 3.84 times more likely to be convicted and jailed for committing a crime than a Christian."

--Well yeah,... But a closer look at the Christians "off the hook" and you see that its primarily the Kennedys. (Politician factor).
Posted by mastajake 8 years ago
mastajake
This debate was hard, considering my lack of experience in my first rebuttals leading to helpless responses. But in the case of not making a case it was more so me having to refute his cases for after most of his proposals he would say something along the lines of " my questions still are left unanswered" or something like that leaving me to do not much but to refute his argumentative questions . Making it hard for me to bring up a case but i did bring up a significant case to him in a message. if those care to see my case i will show you. You just have to leave me a message asking and i will be glad to.

Cleaners i thank you guys very much for the advise and critical responses. I shall take these things into consideration.

Once again i thank you

~Mastajake
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
Joe: Voting as a Cleaner

Conduct - TIE - No personal attacks, and both opponents thanked each other. My fellow cleaners have pointed out that CON's forfeit should render PRO the conduct vote; I however disagree. We all get busy sometimes, and PRO allowed for CON to post his closing statements in the comments. Had PRO said "No", my thinking would be different.

English - PRO - I believe this is self-evident. CON had difficulties with capitalization, misplaced modifiers, and sentence fragments.

Argument - PRO - This was quite unfair, as CON's case was near impossible to win. I would have allowed CON to change the resolution, slightly, had he pointed out the unfairness of this debate. Also, CON did not provide much of a case.

Sources - TIE - Both debaters provided rather poor sources.
Posted by Kleptin 8 years ago
Kleptin
Kleptin- Voting as a Cleaner

NOTE: CON forfeited last round, but posted it up on comments.

Conduct- PRO. Although both debaters conducted themselves well, CON forfeited his last round and posted it below. However, this still shows bad form as allowing a round to be forfeit in the first place is still disrespectful, even though there are many, many things that will keep us from debate.

Spelling and Grammar- PRO. There are a slew of grammatical and spelling errors in CON's arguments. Uncapitalized characters, lack of proper punctuation, etc. PRO on the other hand, had much better spelling and grammar.

Argument- PRO. Initial trap by PRO was effective. CON began to argue off topic and ended up wasting his initial post. Further along, CON incorrectly labeled PRO's argument as fallacious.

Stalin was an atheist, Stalin was bads, therefore, atheists are bad.
A dog is an animal, a dog barks, therefore, all animals bark.

These are not logically coherent, CON is correct. However, this is a strawman argument in that PRO's point is that atheism *can be* the cause of atrocity. He refers not to atheism in general, but the atheism of Stalin as the cause of his atrocious behavior.

Sources- Tied. Both parties offered good, relevant sources to accompany their arguments.

General notes: This was quite an unfair debate. CON is obviously a new debater and could not recognize that the resolution could lead to a rigged debate. This debate was heavily weighted on PRO's side. It was a shame CON could not be better with the other categories to make up for the "Argument" points.

*If you would like your debate to be reviewed by The Cleaners, please go to Forums, debate.org, and post in any of The Cleaner threads*
Posted by mastajake 8 years ago
mastajake
ok so my final rebuttal got swamped by the other comments so i just reposted and for those of you that wanted clarification from my opponent that he allowed me to do this, he did so in the comments you just have to go down a bit.

Thank you

Mastajake
Posted by mastajake 8 years ago
mastajake
Ok so I wasn't able to respond in the correct amount of time given dues to unfortunate circumstances on my side (extra hours at school and work being priority).
My opponent said it was permissible for me to finish my debate in the comments. He also said that he would clarify it in the comments for those that need or want it.

Now immediately to debate

My opponent argues, "Hitler was most certainly not a theist."

- he goes as far to say most certainly

You will find it in Mein Kampf: "Therefore, I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord's Work."
Hitler said it again at a Nazi Christmas celebration in 1926: "Christ was the greatest early fighter in the battle against the world enemy, the Jews ... The work that Christ started but could not finish, I -- Adolf Hitler -- will conclude."
In a Reichstag speech in 1938, Hitler again echoed the religious origins of his crusade. "I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews, I am fighting for the Lord's work."
Hitler regarded himself as a Catholic until he died. "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so," he told Gerhard Engel, one of his generals, in 1941.
These quotes sound undeniably ‘theistic' to me Inquirytruth.

"Your whole analogy thing does not make any sense. Especially since someone under the influence of elicit drugs IS technically intoxicated an thus not sober. Technically."

continued..
Posted by mastajake 8 years ago
mastajake
-it is not my analogy. I specifically say before I quote the analogy "I am going to be quoting someone else"( http://stevencarrwork.blogspot.com......) And you have no need to get technical with the sobriety statement you get the point or so I think you do.

-it says in your own reference "religion is a tool utilised by the ruling classes whereby the masses can shortly relieve their suffering via the act of experiencing religious emotions. It is in the interest of the ruling classes to instil in the masses the religious conviction that their current suffering will lead to eventual happiness. Therefore as long as the public believes in religion, they will not attempt to make any genuine effort to understand and overcome the real source of their suffering, which in Marx's opinion was their non-Communist economic system. It is often thought that it was in the sense that what Marx advocated, that religion is used to control people, and that it was the "opium of the people". That this is and was the main reason that certain communist regimes past and present curtail religious freedom and ban religion altogether because they consider it a suppressive, subversive set of guidelines, and thereby attached the charge of sedition to certain religions."

continued....
Posted by mastajake 8 years ago
mastajake
- This back what I said before they (Stalin and Mao) utilize religion as a tool of control ( being dictators and communist they strived for control in any way they could get the masses) not because of atheistic influences to do so. Atrocities were influenced not by atheism but by their dogmatic Marxism.

-Atheism is simply the lack of belief or a statement of non-existence, there are no creeds, commands doctrines for it to be "causal" at all.
I rest my case and I have made my response valid. There are no irrelevances to what I said here. Pure fact.
I hope you all see that this decision is easy and vote ‘Atheism is NOT a causal factor in atrocity ‘ being the con side.
Thank you for those that acknowledge this comment as a debate
Thank you,
MastaJake
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
InquireTruth:

You are absolutely correct. I read the first two rounds days ago, and must have forgotten that you did indeed cite specific page numbers. I apologize and have corrected my vote accordingly. I still find The Irrational Atheist to be biased and radical, though you did use your sources correctly as I falsely claimed before. My apologies once again.
Posted by mastajake 8 years ago
mastajake
for those that read the comments my final debate is among them they are just lower on the page. i explain why i was unable to debate in normal time down below . but any way please check it out my opponent approved of it as well if that is a concern. so please read my final rebuttal.

Jake
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Vote Placed by rollenfolife 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Dylan331007 8 years ago
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