The Instigator
JustCallMeTarzan
Con (against)
Winning
38 Points
The Contender
sadolite
Pro (for)
Losing
14 Points

Existence Necessitates Purpose

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
JustCallMeTarzan
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/25/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,337 times Debate No: 6337
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (21)
Votes (8)

 

JustCallMeTarzan

Con

The proposition on offer is that nothing inherent to mere existence necessitates purpose in that existence.

Purpose has the following definitions (Dictionary.com):
1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
3. determination; resoluteness.
4. the subject in hand; the point at issue.
5. practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.

Obviously they are all mostly pertinent, and thus, I would suggest that we consider them as a totality, giving us a definition more along the lines of: "The reason for which something exists, is done, is made, or used to achieve an intended or desired result as a function of the resolution of an actor on a subject." Somewhat wordy, but it gets the point across well.

***********************

First, if existence necessitated purpose, vestigial biological structures would not exist. This is an argument by counter-example that is fairly easy to follow. Take for example, the human appendix. The appendix no longer serves a purpose in the human body. Yet it exists. If existence necessitated purpose, the appendix would have one. And it does not.

Second, existence and purpose are not causally related. By this, I mean that one does not directly cause the other. Purpose obviously does not cause existence, because something must exist before it CAN have a purpose. Existence obviously does not cause purpose, or vestigial organs would not have purpose.

Third, the very nature of purpose requires intent. For example, a rock has a purpose as a weapon only if someone intends to throw it at another person. Intent requires rudimentary intelligence of some kind. For example, a person cannot throw a rock without understanding the end it is trying to accomplish. The rock by itself has no purpose. It may exist and have incidental effects, but these are not its PURPOSE.

Effect is defined as (Dictionary.com):
1. something that is produced by an agency or cause; result; consequence: Exposure to the sun had the effect of toughening his skin.
2. power to produce results; efficacy; force; validity; influence: His protest had no effect.
3. the state of being effective or operative; operation or execution; accomplishment or fulfillment: to bring a plan into effect.
4. a mental or emotional impression produced, as by a painting or a speech.
5. meaning or sense; purpose or intention: She disapproved of the proposal and wrote to that effect.
6. the making of a desired impression: We had the feeling that the big, expensive car was only for effect.
7. an illusory phenomenon: a three-dimensional effect.
8. a real phenomenon (usually named for its discoverer): the Doppler effect.

The difference between an effect and a purpose is thus: A purpose is the reason why something exists. An effect is what happens because it exists. My opponent will no doubt raise a stink over the 5th definition of effect, which includes a purpose. In that specific instance, effect and purpose are indeed interchangeable (She disapproved of the proposal and wrote for (to) that purpose.). However, in the other cases, they are not. Consider the first and second examples with purpose in place of effect: "Exposure to the sun had the purpose of toughening his skin. His protest had no purpose." In the first, it is clear one would need to INTEND to toughen one's skin for exposure to be a purpose. In the second, his protest no doubt had PURPOSE.... it just did not fulfill that purpose.

Now for example, consider a tree (which of course exists). Now the tree may cast shade, provide homes for squirrels, and wood for a boat. None of these are the tree's purpose. To determine purpose, one must ask "Is this WHY the thing exists?" Obviously the tree does not exist because the squirrels needed a home. Or because someone wanted shade. Or because someone needed wood for a boat. The tree exists because a seed from another tree fell on the ground and grew.

**********************

Furthermore, if existence DOES necessitate existence, my opponent will be able to provide a logical argument that shows this. And he cannot.

**********************

Existence does NOT necessitate purpose.
sadolite

Pro

Hope you had a merry Christmas and thanks for the challenge. I accept all your definitions and point out that your existence necessitated this debate. What we have here is your classic "Which came first, the chicken or the egg" debate. Did purpose come first or did existence come first ? Nether can "Exist" without the other. One has to ask the question using the simplest of logic, Why would a universe come into existence with no purpose. To me simple logic dictates that it has a purpose thus making purpose first and existence second. The chicken and the egg dilemma still" exists" today. If one were to put purpose first and existence second then the chicken and the egg question can be answered. The egg would come first in order to give existence to the chicken.Yes we can debate what created the egg , but a chickens life begins from the egg not from adulthood just as the universe began at some point. All available data suggests that it is expanding thus at some point it could have possibly been as small as a chicken egg This debate will be voted on based on ones belief in how the universe and everything in it came to be. There are those who believe it was created and there are those that believe it just coincedently happened with no purpose rime or reason. My opponent mentions a rock in his argument as having no purpose. Again, using simple logic why would something exist if it had no purpose to the concept of existence? A rock does exist. On second thought I take issue with one of the definitions. A rock being thrown is an effect yes. But why it is being thrown could be considered a purpose. Rocks have a multitude of uses or purposes if you will. They are a necessity for the existence of man we could not live without them. I ask my opponent, Do all things that exist have no purpose or do some things have purpose and some not and if so which do and which don't and why. Simple logic suggests that if everything in the universe had no purpose what would be the point of existence. Pick anything on this planet it has more than one use or purpose and more than one effect.
Debate Round No. 1
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

As is my custom, I'll start wit some of my opponents ridiculous claims...

***********************************

>> "I accept all your definitions and point out that your existence necessitated this debate."

False. You cannot possibly logically demonstrate that my existence necessitated this debate. My existence may be a sufficient and necessary cause for the debate, but it did not NECESSITATE the debate. In order to prove that my existence necessitated the debate, my opponent would have to prove that my existence and the debates non-existence is logically impossible. This is clearly impossible, as I have existed for quite some time prior to this debate.

>> "Did purpose come first or did existence come first ? Nether can "Exist" without the other."

Existence and False. In order for something to have purpose, it must first exist. How would you assign a purpose to a nonexistent thing? It's impossible. My opponent purports that neither can exist without the other despite the fact that one MUST exist before the other CAN.

>> "To me simple logic dictates that it has a purpose thus making purpose first and existence second."

Your simple logic is clearly flawed. Describe to me please something that has purpose but no existence. You cannot.

>> "The chicken and the egg dilemma still" exists" today. "

False. At some point in time, a fowl that was not a chicken (but was very much like a chicken) laid an egg with mutated DNA that WAS a chicken.

>> "Again, using simple logic why would something exist if it had no purpose to the concept of existence?"

This is flawed logic. Consider your argument:

1. Why does something exist?
2. Because it has a purpose to the concept of existence. (whatever that even means)
3. What is this purpose?
4. To exist.

Clearly circular and clearly flawed. The entire argument begs the question that existence has purpose in the first place. Sadolite's belief that we are more than a great cosmic accident has no bearing on whether or not existence actually has purpose. But then again, this debate is about whether existence NECESSITATES purpose.

>> "A rock being thrown is an effect yes. But why it is being thrown could be considered a purpose. "

I addressed this specific case - the purpose is a function of the intent of who or whatever threw the rock.

>> "Rocks have a multitude of uses or purposes if you will. They are a necessity for the existence of man we could not live without them."

False - man could easily build everything required to live out of wood or bone.

>> "Do all things that exist have no purpose or do some things have purpose and some not and if so which do and which don't and why."

All unintelligent or unliving things have no purpose in and of themselves. By this I mean that without an intelligent thing to design and use them, they just sit there. The rock qua rock has no purpose. The rock qua missile has a purpose. Why? Again - purpose needs intent, intent needs intelligence.

>> "Simple logic suggests that if everything in the universe had no purpose what would be the point of existence."

True. But do we really know what the point of existence is? Or is man just a very advanced animal that needs an answer and makes up things to convince himself? For example, the notion that existence necessitates purpose.

*************************************

My opponent did not address any of my actual arguments concerning:

1. Vestigial structures.
2. Casual interaction.
3. Purpose requires intent requires intelligence.
4. There is no logical argument that can show that existence necessitates purpose.

Furthermore, he has presented flawed circular logic in a weak attempt to show the existence necessitates purpose because the purpose of existence is to exist. I'm quite sorry, but that's simply uncompelling.

Consider:

If existence necessitated purpose (E), all things would have purpose (P). Some things do not have purpose (~P) - the rock qua rock. Therefore, existence does not necessitate purpose.

1. (E -> P)
2. ~P
--------------
:. ~E (1, 2 by Modus Tollens)

Plain and simple. Existence does not necessitate purpose.
sadolite

Pro

"You cannot possibly logically demonstrate that my existence necessitated this debate"

My opponent suggests that everything in the universe is predetermined from it's beginning to it's end, or it has no purpose at all, which is is it. It seems to me that you want it both ways. You want existence with no purpose and purpose with no existence, but under no circumstances can either enhance one another or reside in the same realm as one another. Yet reality suggests that both are reliant on one another. I will assume from my opponents position his existence has no purpose as his existence dose not necessitate purpose. So using his own logic his life and existence has no meaning or purpose. A very depressing thought if you ask me. How anyone could go through life with this mind set is quite mind boggling and illogical to me.

"In order for something to have purpose, it must first exist." Like I said chicken and the egg. You state this as fact, agreed upon by all without doubt. This is not so. It is your opinion. just as mine is the opposite. but I don't for one minute suggest that it is known fact as you do in your position.

"Describe to me please something that has purpose but no existence."

Sentient consciousness has purpose but does not exists in the material world. You can't measure it, see it, taste it or touch it but all will agree that it does exist. Well not all, some will deny that sentient consciousness has purpose or exists.

"At some point in time, a fowl that was not a chicken (but was very much like a chicken) laid an egg with mutated DNA that WAS a chicken"

Again stated as fact and agreed upon by all, which it is not.

I addressed this specific case - the purpose is a function of the intent of who or whatever threw the rock.

Why would someone even think to trow a rock if it had no purpose and no relevance to existence, why would the rock even exist.

"Man could easily build everything required to live out of wood or bone."

What material do all living plant matter need in order to grow. "Soil of some type" yes there are a few exceptions. What is soil? soil is ground up rock. The entire food chain starts here on land that is inhabitable by man. Man cannot exist in the ocean naturally and unaided. Artificial means are needed for even the shortest amount of time. So logically if all rock were removed all living animal life would cease to exist as the food chain wood be completely terminated at its very beginning, thus there would be no trees there would be no bones and there would be no foundation on which to build anything. All inhabitable land is made of rock in varying degrees of density and PH. One could make the argument that beach fronts are made of pulverized shells, but as you can see nothing grows in it and no one builds on it unless they dig down to bed "rock" to support the foundation. My opponent can try and say that rock has no purpose and that man can exist without it, but to this point in the debate this is by far the most illogical thing I have heard yet.

"True. But do we really know what the point of existence is? Or is man just a very advanced animal that needs an answer and makes up things to convince himself? For example, the notion that existence necessitates purpose."

By my opponents own words he admits to not knowing the answer to his own question but makes statements as though they are known and provable facts to support his argument. Do you know or don't you know? If you don't know, your arguments make as much sense or as little sense as mine. It's up to the voters belief to decide. If neither side can prove their case than neither side is no more right or wrong than the other. Your explanation of rocks being totally without purpose in my opinion is quite illogical when making man try to live without them. It makes absolutely no sense in my opinion. Rock clearly has a purpose if sentient life is to exist at all if one uses any degree of logic.

Vestigial structures. Rock is a vestigial structure and exists simultaneously in two distinct different forms. Animal life; Just because part of it's form has changed does not mean the change to the form is now useless and serves no purpose. I don't quite know what my opponent is driving at with this in the context of this debate admittedly.

Casual interaction. This seems to be a post existence argument meaning that all purpose is determined by interaction thus giving his argument the leg it needs to stand on. In other words all things that came into existence had no purpose until they interacted with each other thus giving rise to purpose.

"Purpose requires intent requires intelligence." Got no argument there. The disagreement is that something can not exist before the known universe as we understand it. Which came first intelligence and purpose or the universe. chicken and the egg.

"There is no logical argument that can show that existence necessitates purpose."

My arguments are no more logical or illogical than yours neither side can prove anything.

"Some things do not have purpose (~P) - the rock qua rock." A major flaw in your mathematical equation. How do you know rock has no purpose. Just saying the words, "Existence does not necessitate purpose." does not make it so. I believe my argument about rock is far more convincing and logical than yours.
There is nothing "plain and simple" about the universe and everything in it. We would be traveling the galaxy's if anything were "plain and simple" about life, existence and the universe.
Debate Round No. 2
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

>> "My opponent suggests that everything in the universe is predetermined from it's beginning to it's end, or it has no purpose at all, which is is it."

You mischaracterize my argument. I am not arguing for determinism in this debate (although determinism is a very good theory). I am also not arguing that existence is purposeless. I am arguing that nothing about existence NECESSITATES purpose.

>> "So using his own logic his life and existence has no meaning or purpose."

My opponent is in need of some logic courses. While existence may HAVE purpose, existence does not NECESSITATE purpose.

>> "Sentient consciousness has purpose but does not exists in the material world."

But it exists in thought - the same way ALL abstractions like love, friendship, unicorns, and perfect polygons exist. This is a complete red herring. You can do better.

>> "Like I said chicken and the egg. You state this as fact, agreed upon by all without doubt"

http://en.wikipedia.org... - Except in strange definitions of what constitutes a valid "egg" - the logical answer is that the egg came first. Unless you accept creationism as a logical answer - and that would be a strange type of "logic."

>> "Why would someone even think to trow a rock if it had no purpose and no relevance to existence, why would the rock even exist."

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy. At some point in time, the rock was given purpose, therefore it always had purpose. This is ludicrous. Someone would think to throw a rock because they are aware of the effects of throwing a rock. Nothing about the rock simply being there necessitates that it has the purpose of being a missile.

>> "What is soil? soil is ground up rock"

Fair enough, though I suppose one may be able to argue a difference between soil and rock.

>> "By my opponents own words he admits to not knowing the answer to his own question"

It is a rhetorical question. Nobody knows the point of existence.

>> "Rock clearly has a purpose if sentient life is to exist at all if one uses any degree of logic."

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy. Come on now... rock preexisted life, even in the Bible. By your logic, before life, rock had no purpose.

*******************************

1. Vestigial Structures.

All that is needed here is the following:

1. Do vestigial structures exist? Yes.
2. Do they currently have purpose? No.
--------------------
:. They exist, yet have no purpose. The resolution is negated.

2/3. Causal Interaction & Purpose Requires Intent Requires Intelligence.

Purpose is determined by factors that are not dependent in any way upon the object. Consider a stick. By itself it has no purpose. However, it can have the purpose of a tool, a weapon, or a home for termites. To suggest that it has the purpose of these things before tool or weapon-using creatures exist is ludicrous. Clearly purpose cannot cause existence, because something must exist before it can have purpose. Therefore, existence must precede purpose. Since purpose is a function of intelligence, which my opponent has conceded (""Purpose requires intent requires intelligence." Got no argument there."), intelligence must ALSO precede purpose. Thus, the existence of intelligence and existence of the object must BOTH precede intelligence.

Logically, this is as follows.

1. (P -> I) - If there is purpose (P), then there is intent (I).
2. (I -> G) - If there is intent, then there is intelligence (G).
3. (G -> O) - If there is intelligence, then an intelligent object (O) must exist.
4. ~(O) - There was a time when no intelligent objects existed.
-------------------------------------
:. ~P
-------------------------------------
5. ~G (3,4 by Modus Tollens)
6. ~I (5, 2 by Modus Tollens)
7. ~P (6, 1 by Modus Tollens)

4. No logical argument for the PRO side.

Existence does not preclude purpose, but neither does it necessitate it. This means that while existence may indeed have purpose, that purpose is not REQUIRED. Thus, the resolution is negated.

***************************************************

I ask the readers to consider one simple question. If a rock existed by itself, ONLY the rock, nothing else, would there be anything at all that REQUIRES that this rock have a purpose?

The answer is clearly no.

The resolution is negated.
sadolite

Pro

First round my opponent said: "Furthermore, if existence DOES necessitate existence, my opponent will be able to provide a logical argument that shows this. And he cannot."

Third round my opponent said: "The logical answer is that the egg came first. Unless you accept creationism as a logical answer - and that would be a strange type of "logic."

I was asked to give a logical answer, my opponent does not like my logic but my logic is accepted by millions of people and Con clearly states that my logic makes sense if one believes in creationism as many do. I find his logic strange too. But none the less it is logic based on the non existence of any type of creation or god. That all things have no purpose until they interact.

"But it exists in thought - the same way ALL abstractions like love, friendship, unicorns, and perfect polygons exist. This is a complete red herring. You can do better.

Why is it a red herring, thought is sentient consciousness, what you think about is irrelevant, all thoughts are part of being sentient.

"At some point in time, the rock was given purpose, therefore it always had purpose"

Are you saying the rock had purpose before it existed. "therefore it always had purpose" "Always" implies it had purpose both before and after it's existence. This would prove my logic.

As my opponent started, It would be the voters "belief in creationism" or the voters non belief in creationism that determines the correct logic. Also it is imperative to my opponents position that nothing existed before "this" universe came into existence. A completely logical position to have for my opponent. A completely illogical position for creationists. God existed before the universe, as intelligence had to set it in motion. It is illogical for intelligence to create something with no purpose.
Debate Round No. 3
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
>All righty then. I still think that the creation of the universe was an intelligent act and that intelligence transcends all other intelligence especially the peon brain of man.

Prove it.
Posted by sadolite 8 years ago
sadolite
All righty then. I still think that the creation of the universe was an intelligent act and that intelligence transcends all other intelligence especially the peon brain of man.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
For something to be intelligent, it must exist, so... not really. The universe is not simply a collection of matter... the universe is everything that exists - "outside" the universe isn't simply empty space. "Outside" the universe is non-existence. The universe before it is now EXISTED, just in a different form. And there's no real way to know where the matter involved in the big bang came from - it's possible it just always WAS...

With existence being a prerequisite for intelligence, I can't see how there could be intelligence in existence before the universe, which contains the totality of existence. I suppose abstractions like perfect polygons, love, and God exists without being "in" the universe as in a physical manifestation, but they still must exist, if even only in the mind.

The argument becomes problematic for abstractions, especially if you consider them to need a mind... did God exist before there were minds to think about it? Does God have a physical manifestation somewhere? If so, where?

So I suppose the short answer is: No, I don't think so...
Posted by sadolite 8 years ago
sadolite
If intelligence did exist before the creation of the universe as we know it, would my arguments have "some" logic?
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
>> "Why is Tollens name not plastered all over the front pages of news papers and monuments built in his honor proving the non existence of god?"

Modus Tollens is a logical tool. Similar to Modus Ponens.

The logical argument shows that intelligence must pre-exist purpose. Also, the argument for the singularity of an object's existence shows that the resolution is satisfied. If existence truly DID necessitate purpose, then the existence of ONLY one thing would still necessitate purpose.
Posted by sadolite 8 years ago
sadolite
The singularity argument: I also agree that if the universe was made of just one thing, it would indeed have no purpose, but even still I could not prove that. But that is not reality. The universe is made up of many different things, whether or not they were all made at the same time or one at a time I do not know. But to base an argument on a situation that does not exist is not a viable argument for "proof" in my opinion.
Posted by sadolite 8 years ago
sadolite
Clarification needed, are you saying this this simple logic equation is absolute proof that there was no intelligence in existence before the universe was created?

1. (P -> I) - If there is purpose (P), then there is intent (I).
2. (I -> G) - If there is intent, then there is intelligence (G).
3. (G -> O) - If there is intelligence, then an intelligent object (O) must exist.
4. ~(O) - There was a time when no intelligent objects existed.
-------------------------------------
:. ~P
-------------------------------------
5. ~G (3,4 by Modus Tollens)
6. ~I (5, 2 by Modus Tollens)
7. ~P (6, 1 by Modus Tollens)

Why is Tollens name not plastered all over the front pages of news papers and monuments built in his honor proving the non existence of god? I agree with the equation if you can prove there was no intelligence before the universe was created, I would have to. This simple logic dictates it.
Posted by sadolite 8 years ago
sadolite
"There was a time when no intelligent objects existed." Can you prove there was no intellegence before "this" universe was formed, the universe that you currently reside in? Just because you say there was no intellegence before it was formed does not make it so.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
>> "Con would be hard pressed to answer this question with any degree of logic, It would be peer speculation."

Did you not read this from Round 3?? :

1. (P -> I) - If there is purpose (P), then there is intent (I).
2. (I -> G) - If there is intent, then there is intelligence (G).
3. (G -> O) - If there is intelligence, then an intelligent object (O) must exist.
4. ~(O) - There was a time when no intelligent objects existed.
-------------------------------------
:. ~P
-------------------------------------
5. ~G (3,4 by Modus Tollens)
6. ~I (5, 2 by Modus Tollens)
7. ~P (6, 1 by Modus Tollens)
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
>So are you saying that AIDS exists to kill gay people and black people? Because your reasoning is heading straight in that direction.

Also, you fail to address this.
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