The Instigator
Mellith
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
WrathofGod
Pro (for)
Winning
33 Points

God exists

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
WrathofGod
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/6/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,684 times Debate No: 13285
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (28)
Votes (7)

 

Mellith

Con

I would like to thank my opponent in advance for what should prove to be an interesting debate. The resolution is simple, does God exist? I would like to clarify the term "God" as the God of the Abrahamic religions Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. In this debate I would NOT like to debate the definition of God, just his existence. As con my belief is that God does not exist. It is preferable that this debate be one of philosophy using solely our ideas/beliefs and background information. I would like to step out on this first round and pick the up the debate during the second round. To help my opponent prepare their argument I have listed three of my contentions below.

C1) God is too cruel to exist

C2) Omni-potence and omni-presence do not support human free will

C3) The idea of an omni-potent, omni-present, and omni-benevolent God is illogical, irrational, and contradictory upon itself.
WrathofGod

Pro

===PRO CASE===
Contention 1) Self-Awareness, an argument from Rationalism.
I have always found it fascinating that the Abrahamic God alone names itself an existential proposition. In Exodus 3:13-14, "Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "

Rene Descartes once used his rampant skepticism to doubt all aspects of the natural world until he fell upon, in his mind, one indubitable truth, which he related in the maxim "Cogito ergo sum" or "I think, therefore I am". It became the impasse of skepticism that if a thinker is conscious of their own thought and can thus state their own existence that this self-awareness empirically proves the existence of that person.

The Hebrew God declared that his very name is the verb of being, AM, pronouncing a present state of existence. Almost a message in a bottle to later enlightenment thinkers such as Descartes that the mysterious and undetectable creator of the cosmos does exist, even by the standards of their new found rationalism.

Contention 2) Transitive Existence, an argument from Postmodernism.
The resolution doesn't provide a standard for measuring existence, which leaves a gaping hole from a postmodern view. See, postmodernism deconstructs anything we believe is objectively true to demonstrate that all truth is attached to subjectivity. Hot and Cold for instance have undeniable existence, even though "Cold" to an Eskimo is very different from "Cold" for an Floridian.

Carry this same argument to the existence of God, and you have a very potent and insightful line of thought. Consider the Christian Postmodernist Soren Kierkegaard said of his religion:

"In determining truth, the subjective acceptance is precisely the decisive factor; and an objective acceptance of Christianity is Paganism or thoughtlessness. In this way Christianity protests every form of objectivity. It desires that the subject should be infinitely concerned about himself. Devoutness inheres subjectivity, nobody ever becomes devout objectively." -From Kierkegaard's "Postscript"

Put succinctly, Kierkegaard is arguing that all truth is subjective truth, and he demands that a Christian not tread into the "paganism" of objectivity, but rather celebrate the subjective reality of God which produces devotion. By this logic, the PRO easily affirms the resolution, as God does indeed exist in the hearts and minds of almost 3 Billion people on Earth (adding up all Abrahamic faiths). Oddly, and perhaps ironically this might even bleed into the correspondence theory of truth, which is, reality as informed by a shared perception. More than half the humans on Earth perceive of this God, by both the postmodern and correspondence standards of truth God therefore exists.
Debate Round No. 1
Mellith

Con

In my opponent's first contention he first cited a biblical quote which explains to Moses his name and his essence. "I am who I am", I am the Lord of Abraham, Isaac, etc. In this passage, God's contention is that his essencewill forevermore become his name, his definition. Make no mistake, this passage was not about what Moses should say if the Israelites were to question the existence of God, it was the establishment of his name. Then my opponent moves on to cite Rene Descartes famous quote "I think, therefore I am". And on this I would like to ask my opponent to prove that God thinks.

During his second contention my opponent cites Kierkegaard and his theory of "subjective truth" and in support of this subjective truth my opponent uses an example based on PHYSICAL feeling. First, Kierkegaard did not want us to commit to extreme subjectivism i.e., having the contention that something is true because we BELIEVE it to be. Kierkegaard's subjectivism theory is based on the theory that we cannot be convinced of something's truth if we are objective, if we are truly objective then we walk the line, never crossing to either side. At the end of his contention, my opponent states that "God exist in the hearts and minds of almost 3 Billion people on Earth" First, I would like to point out the logical fallacy my opponent has committed here; if God exists for 3 billion people merely because they believe in the existence of God then does that not also mean that there are hundreds of other 'truths'? Does Jesus not say "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6)? According to this there is only ONE truth, but my opponent has nearly 4 billion people unaccounted for. Based on the above passage, does it not mean that no matter what those 4 billion people believe, what they believe is false? Well of course, if God is the only truth, then how could everybody Else's beliefs be truths? this in itself cancels my opponent's second contention.

Now I would like to introduce one of my contentions. It has been stated multiple times in the Bible that God loves us lowly humans. Before I say anything else about this subject I would like to ask my opponent a question: does this mean God CARES about us?
WrathofGod

Pro

=="I would like to ask my opponent to prove that God thinks."==

I would like to ask my opponent to prove that she thinks. We have no way of knowing, nor can she prove it except by pointing to the statements she has made. In the same way, I am implying that the Abrahamic God has made a statement of self-existence, and thus by Descartes' existentialism we must affirm the resolution. God exists, because God made a self-actualized declaration of existence.

==Kierkegaard and Subjectivity==

Actually Kierkegaard was more one-sided than you may realize. He argued that all truth is ultimately subjective truth, even if it appears objective. He actually argues that objective truth is impossible, that it is outside of mankind's epistemological ability. Further, my opponent relies on a nuanced interpretation of Jesus' words as quoted above. Many Christians (note that she only quotes Christian scripture though we are debating a Deity straddling three faiths) interpret "Jesus is Truth" as "Jesus is truth incarnate, because in him there is no deceit" (1 Peter 1:22). Actually, even Kierkegaard believed this, "Paganism never gets nearer the truth than Pilate: What is truth? And with that crucifies it."

My argument put succinctly is that existence is a subjective thing itself. Can we objectively prove the existence of currency? No, because it is an idea, all economics is. Worth is subjectively decided in the minds of mankind and we symbolize it with metal and paper. But currency does exist, subjectively in the minds of people that use it. Convince enough of them that it is worthless and you have a depression. Thus the existence of even a basic thing like economics is dependent on a subjective existentialism.

=="does this mean God CARES about us?"==

This assumption is irrelevant to the debate. Existence is not dependent on temperament, and there is no monolithic Christian, Muslim, or Judaic view of God's affection toward mankind. Look at Jonathon Edward's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". Look at the concept of Jihad. Look at how God told Jews to slaughter Philistine infants. Each of these contrasts a cuddly view of God.

I'm not required to defend a loving God, and the fact that you note God's affection implies God's existence. You have conceded.

==Conclusion==
Voters, I am trying to have an old discussion in a new way. I'm asking you to not vote how you personally believe (otherwise what is voting more than taking a poll?), instead I am asking you to consider the arguments, and determine which of us is the superior debater for the round.

This resolution is two words. The first is defined rather narrowly, the second is completely undefined, and as the Pro I have explored that concept of existence and made a worth while argument that God does exist both through Descartes' self-actualized rationalism, and by the subjectivity of postmodernism. This is worth your vote, because it allows for both religion and atheism in balance.
Debate Round No. 2
Mellith

Con

My opponent would like to use the various holy books as evidence that God exists. "God exists because it was declared that he exists in several texts." We should then be able to apply this corollary to people such as C.E. Jean-Baptiste Litre. After all, we have several historical accounts of his existence, his life, and his inventions based on the evidence of written accounts, quotes, etc. how could he NOT exist?

In the same sense, I would like to propose that the holy texts are works of literature; exaggeration, fiction fused with non-fiction, etc. I will provide only one basis of evidence for this, if my opponent wishes to then he can argue it: According to Matthew, Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great (Matthew 2:1). According to Luke, Jesus was born during the first census in Israel, while Quirinius was governor of Syria (Luke 2:2). This is impossible because Herod died in March of 4 BC and the census took place in 6 and 7 AD, about 10 years after Herod's death. Based on this evidence, obviously, one of these saints must be wrong. If one fact is wrong, how can we know how many other false facts are within the Bible?

"existence is a subjective thing"
My opponent fails to distinguish between the physical and esoteric. If I hold a dollar in front of your face, can you say that the dollar does not exist? If I find an indigenous population somewhere deep in the Amazon which had never seen or used currency then effectively currency does not exist for them. But if I show them a dollar, they cannot say that the dollar does not exist. The idea of the existence of God cannot depend upon a physically used subject such as currency because God cannot be thought of as such. Rather, why not my opponent use the example of justice or some other philosophical ideal?

My opponent refuses to answer my question of "does a loving God CARE about us" and I assure you, it is every bit relevant to this debate. He says that because I note God's affection, I concede. Based on that, it is not possible to argue this debate; the Pro must note God's theoretical in-existence and Con must note God's theoretical existence. So let me tell you, when I say that God cares about us, I base this on the theories presented by the Holy scriptures, not out of personal belief. Now, someone who loves us would also want to protect us from harm, and, according to the Holy texts, God has, up to a point. "Allah is the Protector of those who have faith" (2.257.) "Say to them: 'Yahweh bless you and protect you'" (6:23-24) Now, from what I can see, God has not been protecting us very well. One could say that he does this in an attempt to give us free will but if He is omnipotent then God should be able to create a perfect world in which we ARE free. But he hasn't, unless there is some ulterior motive that we are unaware of, we must assume that God is UNABLE to create such a world thus proving that an omnipotent being does not exist, disproving the existence of God.
WrathofGod

Pro

=C.E. Jean-Baptiste Litre=
The difference is that Litre was confessed as a fraud by his creator. God of the Abrahamic faiths is confessed as existing by all those who have encountered Him, and many have gone to their deaths not recanting. Kenneth Woolner would not have died in devotion to his make believe character.

The point here is that you can't prove that you think, so how can you ask me to prove that God thinks? You have failed to engage the Descartes existentialism argument, so it carries.

=Holy Texts=
You are ill instructed about the nature of "Holy Texts".

You just grouped three separate faith's Holy Writ, composed over 6,000 years, on three continents, in 4 languages, by over 40 authors, into one modern genre-- fiction. This oversight is breathtaking.

Considering the Bible alone you have literature that belongs in several genres, including types no longer extant. They do not fall into our modern breakdowns of fiction and non-fiction, because they have elements of both, and neither. They must be examined according to the genre they were written in. http://helpmewithbiblestudy.org...

The scriptures all describe various historic episodes (with shocking accuracy), this isn't needed to prove that these writings are also correct about God's existence, but it does negate your attempt to pour white-out on the largest body of pre and ancient writings man has ever known. I hope the judges penalize this horrible and offensive oversight.

Further your point about the birth of Jesus is moot, http://www.comereason.org..., or at least impotent to invalidate the worlds largest religion. Even if you had been right, biographical oversight does not a fraud make. Even the encyclopedia makes mistakes. The fact that an error would be painstakingly recopied over 2,000 years actually argues in favor of the Bible's credible preservation.

=Physical and Esoteric=
Your example has the symbol of currency being shown, not value itself. This is a straw-man fallacy.

Further, you're categorically mistaking the nature of God as described in the Abrahamic faiths, which is, intangible and incorporeal. You want me to put God in a bottle and hold it to your face, but that's like asking me to put love in a bottle. Shaking your fist at empty bottles won't disprove an intangible thing.

The subjective existence argument is superior to your rebuttals because you misidentify God, are ignorant of other things having subjective existence, and desperately want this debate to be about if God is nice.

=Problem of Evil=

I'm not here to discuss variant theologies in the Abrahamic faiths, and your question of whether God is good requires exactly that. Each camp answers this question their own way, by seeing God's mission and intention differently. But all of them are united in declaring God's existence, even if He isn't nice.
Debate Round No. 3
Mellith

Con

ALL truth is subjective truth, and things which appear objective are actually subjective, an appropriate summary of Kierkegaard's words (according to my opponent). Fantasies and imagination are both images or ideas that the mind creates. Both are objects of the self and are therefore subjective. Because the two are products of the mind, it exists subjectively. Now, the definition of subjective: taking place within the mind and modified by individual bias. Subjective reality? In that sense, fantasies and imagination can be considered subjective reality. If we consider fantasy to be reality, and reality to be whatever, then we have thus moved onto hyper-reality; the state in which reality and fantasy cannot be distinguished. Based on this, who is to say that what we consider 'real' is actually real?

"They do not fall into our modern breakdowns of fiction and non-fiction, because they have elements of both, and neither." A false statement; but I concede that fiction is not the best word choice; it would be more fair to call these books dubious sources. From book to book; the writings are riddled with contradictions, even when comparing chapters of the same book one finds contradictions riddled throughout.

My opponent has time and time again REFUSED to address the issue of a blatantly self-contradicting God. God is supposedly a caring and loving father but others would claim that "The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you" (J. Edwards). This can be dismissed as human error, true. But that then begs the question: If God loves us then why can he not create a perfect world for us? The main argument against this is that He wants humans to experience free-will. If God omnipotent (which he supposedly is) then why has he not created a perfect world in which we CAN exercise this free will? Either he "abhors you" or he cannot. Either way; we now have direct contradictions of God's omnipotence and love. God cannot love us and be omnipotent at the same time, yet the so called Holy Books claim that he is both. Either my opponent must admit the nonentity of God or admit the fallacy of the Holy Texts, his only 'evidence' of God

"The point here is that you can't prove that you think, so how can you ask me to prove that God thinks?" Based on Descartes' maxim, I can prove to myself that I exist, but I cannot prove my existence to anyone else. I think in my head, and that acts as proof of my self-existence; if I try to relate these thoughts to another, no matter how well I present these thoughts, I can be brushed aside as a figment of the subconscious. Like wise, my opponent can prove to himself that he exists, but cannot prove the same to anyone else. Following this circle of logic, God cannot prove to anyone that He exists. Based on this, my opponent has negated any possible proof of the existence of God.

In my last words I would implore voters to look upon this debate with
WrathofGod

Pro

=="Fantasies and imagination are both images or ideas that the mind creates."==

All reality is ultimately subjective, because you only experience it through your personal five senses. This was the root of Descartes skepticism: what if we live in The Matrix and we don't even know it? To quote Morpheus:

"What is real? How do you define real? If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain."

Descartes concluded that he had to assume that nothing was "real", because he had no way of testing it objectively. However he found one thing he could not doubt: that he himself was thinking, because he was able to declare it. "I think, therefore I am" or extrapolated, "Because I am able to perceive my own existence, even if this existence is an illusion, the fact that I am still perceiving it means that at some point I fall upon the hard truth that I (whatever "I" am) exist".

God has declared existence in recorded history. All things being equal we must grant God the benefit of the doubt since He has been so direct in his proclamation, and so intentionally seems to satisfy Descartes skeptical criterion.

="Based on Descartes' maxim, I can prove to myself that I exist, but I cannot prove my existence to anyone else. God cannot prove to anyone that He exists."=

You nailed it. You cannot be sure that anybody exists, except yourself. But you also give the benefit of the doubt to anybody else in your life who claims self-awareness. God has claimed this, I'm asking you (not unreasonably) to continue in your pattern and grant that God exists, at least in your mind. You accept that I exist for no other reason than I have said that I do, so accept that God exists on the same grounds. Otherwise be prepared to reject the existence of everything and everyone you know, a very lonely life. Why not just add one more person instead of deleting all people your mind perceives of?

=Subjective Existence=

Further via postmodernism we discover that even our objective realities are rooted in subjectivity. Time, for instance, is not something any of us can objectively point at. It is relative to the person, their galactic location, and their personal detection of its passage. Time, by your logic, can be said not to exist "for real" because it has no objective base applying to all people everywhere. But there's the rub. Time does exist, and you wouldn't be so naive to contend it doesn't, even realizing that it can only exist subjectively. There are many things such as this that exist subjectively in our reality, God is easily one of these. Also this is practical because it allows for an Atheist and Theist to shake hands on the subjective existence of God.

=God is mean=
Omnipotence means power to do all things possible. God cannot create a square circle, its not possible. God cannot, create good without allowing bad. He is still omnipotent.
http://www.youtube.com...
Debate Round No. 4
Mellith

Con

"Descartes concluded that he had to assume that nothing was "real", because he had no way of testing it objectively. However he found one thing he could not doubt: that he himself was thinking, because he was able to declare it." And in just the same way, it is impossible to objectively prove that God is "real". What you fail to understand is that every time you make the Descartes argument, you negate any hope of proving that God is real. "I think, therefore I am"; if you base your argument off of this statement then I cannot prove my existence to you, you cannot prove your existence to me, and God cannot prove His based on the writings of several authors in several books, which are severely flawed (self-contradictions).
*a lonely life*
You made several errors here; first you assume that I believe in your existence. If I were to say "you're just a part of my subconscious" then you couldn't prove your existence no matter how hard you tried. As part of my subconscious you do not exist as an entity. Second, you state "Otherwise be prepared to reject the existence of everything and everyone you know, a very lonely life. Why not just add one more person instead of deleting all people your mind perceives of?" You suggest that because we do not like something, we should reject it, ignore what is true, and live. You tell us to IGNORE truth, or even, substitute truth with a BELIEF, a belief of the existence of others. If I believe that 2 plus 2=5, but each time, I put 2 fruits in a pot, then another two, take them out, and count them as four; do I continue to believe that 2 plus 2=5, or do I reevaluate and know, based on EVIDENCE, that 2 plus 2=4?

*Subjective existence*
Time is a unit of measurement, just as distance, mass, and volume are units of measurement. Measurement is not subjective (remember, subjective means that it is based on an opinion, it's not an opinion if everybody believes it), everybody believes in the concept of time, whether it be in nanoseconds, minutes, days, months, seasons, or years; the idea of time is followed by all societies and civilizations. Whereas God is a concept of a being. 3 billion people believe in God, 4 billion do not. THIS, is subjective; the existence of God is an opinion, but two such opinions cannot both be right, one must be false and the other must be true and you have yet to prove that God is true.

* God is contradictory* It is possible for God to create good without bad, he has done it already. God created Lucifer (the omniscient God created the insurgent) who became Satan. Had God not created Lucifer and proceeded directly to creating Adam and Eve, there would have been no evil. God had the opportunity to do so, either He is not omniscient and was unaware that Lucifer would revolt or He is not omnipotent. Second, "all things possible" would suggest that humans also have potential of omnipotence (contradiction to Holy Texts). If omnipotence means anything, then based on the last round God is not omni
WrathofGod

Pro

Because my opponent cannot reply to anything I post here, I will dedicate this space to a few conclusions and direct my comments to the voters.

==Appeal to Voters==

I realize that this is an old debate, and that nothing I have said here can compare with thousands of years of rich dialog and complicated insight. However I decided to take this debate because I believed I could present an argument that challenged the paradigm of the normal conversation. The endless stalemate in this discussion usually surrounds a categorical misunderstanding of God (that He is tangible and naturally observable) by Atheists, and a categorical misunderstanding of existence (that subjective existence is somehow non-existence) by Theists. I came to this debate hoping to bridge the gap.

For Atheists, I have presented a view that does not impose objective existence on their deity free worldview. In return I have asked that they grant me God's subjective existence, realizing this in no way yields ground from their camp. As we shake hands and leave the conference room, the Atheist representative might ask me why I am so comfortable with the agreement, since it looks like I have taken huge losses. To this I would remind them that all understanding of reality seems at its core subjective, so granting me subjective existence of my God isn't offensive to me since I realize subjective existence of anything is really all I can hope for anyway.

For Theists, I have presented a view that does not relegate God to the "imaginary friend" category. I have contended for an enlightened view of reality and submitted that objective knowledge may be outside our human epistemological ability. And I'm not the first Christian to feel that way. Kierkegaard saw knowledge like a dancer who can leap very high, but can never escape her terrestrial nature and fly away. In the same way a person may leap very high into objectivity, but cannot escape the gravity of their subjective nature, and will always return to the ground of their perspective. This view of truth allows a Theist to have a monk's devotion to God, rather than an indifferent recognition of God as real.

At first subjectivism seems to defy absolute truth, but we must remember that the Abrahamic faiths never award humanity the ability to discern absolute truth anyway. Usually man is seen as an inferior being, and truly objective understanding is reserved for God alone. "The Lord comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth." (Ps 96:13). God is considered in these faiths to be the only true judge; his throne is placed upon the Archimedean Point of objectivity.

I urge voters not to use this debate as an opportunity to express their world view. Voting as one believes and not in recognition of superior argumentation diminishes the vote to nothing more than a poll of popular opinion. Please vote for the better and clearer arguments, even if they did not persuade you fully
Debate Round No. 5
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Btang02 6 years ago
Btang02
Believing in god is like believing in a goat that created the universe just like god apparently did. Since both cant be disproved. Before you claim or state that god exists, you must prove it not just give proof of the other guy being wrong.
Posted by WrathofGod 6 years ago
WrathofGod
@Ann- What sort of resolution would you propose for truth? I'm interested.
Posted by popculturepooka 6 years ago
popculturepooka
Lol, yeah, I'm not a fan of Kierkegaard...at all.
Posted by popculturepooka 6 years ago
popculturepooka
"WrathofGod should debate popculturepooka on existentialist Christianity :P"

Now THAT would be a good debate! Unfortunately, when I find the time to starting formally debating I have about 3 debates I'm supposed to do before that.
Posted by annhasle 6 years ago
annhasle
@ Freeman Oh, that's too bad. Mine was going to be on Subjective/Objective Truth. I believed there to be Subjective AND Objective truths... And he believed in just Objective. We had a long PM, and he said he would draft up a proposal. He never did, though. <shrugs>

@Cody I don't think he'd like to debate about truth... But if he does, I'm up for it! :D
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
@ Cody I was thinking the same thing and scrolled down but you had wrote it first... I don't agree with the guy, much like IT, but the style is definitely there. I was supposed to debate IT though and it never happened... Too bad.

Hey, me too.

We had a long conversation about gay marriage here: http://www.debate.org...

And I went on to write up a proposal, but he was palpably reluctant to accept.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Debate this dude.
Posted by annhasle 6 years ago
annhasle
@ Cody I was thinking the same thing and scrolled down but you had wrote it first... I don't agree with the guy, much like IT, but the style is definitely there. I was supposed to debate IT though and it never happened... Too bad.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Lol. I guess it's a win, Ann. If you've ever read any of IT's debates, you'll know what I mean. He's rather eloquent, much as this guy is.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
WrathofGod should debate popculturepooka on existentialist Christianity :P
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