The Instigator
medv4380
Pro (for)
Losing
21 Points
The Contender
Defro
Con (against)
Winning
31 Points

Homosexuality in Humans is Natural

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 13 votes the winner is...
Defro
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,153 times Debate No: 49755
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (77)
Votes (13)

 

medv4380

Pro

First round is for accepting the debate, stating the resolution, and definitions.

Resolution:
Homosexuality in Humans is Natural

Definitions:
Natural is that which does not conflict with natural law.
Natural Law has many possible definitions. However, for this debate, natural law will be defined as the evolutionary process.
Homosexuality is the state of being sexually attracted to the same sex.
Defro

Con

I accept.

Resolution:
I will be arguing accordingly to Pro's definition that homosexuality in humans supports the evolutionary process.
Debate Round No. 1
medv4380

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting the debate.

On the surface it may appear that by the virtue of choosing the definitions I have painted myself into a corner. After all the basis of evolution is propagate ones genes successfully for the next generation. Someone who is homosexual, and not bisexual, wouldn't be likely to have children if they adhered to their homosexual desires. Obviously this should create a selective pressure for micro-evolution, for creationists, or macro-evolution, for evolutionists, and thus should represent a small fraction of the population.

Lets take genetic disease, like cystic fibrosis, as an example. CF is in about 70,000 children and adults worldwide[1]. With a world population of nearly 7 billion CF represents about 0.001% of the world population. In the US it occurs in about 1 in 3400 births or 0.029%[4]. Contrasted with homosexuality that represents anywhere from 1% to 10% of the population[2]. Clearly, homosexuality isn't being weeded out by Natural Law, and for that reason it appears, on the surface, to violate Natural Law. However, this is only the case when you look at evolution as only affecting individual, and not a group, evolution.

Lets take ants as an example, specifically the siafu. Nearly all workers, and soldiers are sterile. None of them will ever breed, or pass on their individual genetic information. However, all of those sterile ants exist to to preserve the queen, and find that suicidal sausage fly that will fly into their horde to have its wings ripped off so that it can mate with their queen[3]. It is to the queens evolutionary advantage to have a large number of sterile children so that the group may live. This is called social evolution, and is a part of the evolutionary process.

So there is a case to be made were homosexuals who don't have children may actually be a natural part of the evolutionary process in spite of the fact that they would not, under normal conditions, breed. Looking back at the rate of homosexuality it is highly probably that most people have a homosexual relative either in their immediate, or extended, family. Lets take a probably situation a family might experience. In the unfortunate event that one of the sets of parents dies leaving behind orphaned children, what would be the best solution to ensure those children survive? If one of the dead parents had siblings who themselves had their own children to take care of they might be able to, but at the risk of their own direct children not be as likely to survive due to a lack of resources to care for all of them. You could leave the childrens fate up to chance where the State may, or maynot, be able to find adequate care. However, a more optimal solution would be for one of those parents to have a homosexual sibling who has no children of their own. The children would then be kept within the family, and not pose an excess burden on the survival of existing children.

It becomes the best interest of the Grandparents that a few of their children are homosexual to help ensure the survival of their Grandchildren. Thus homosexuality is in coherence with Natural Law, and not unnatural.

[1] http://www.cff.org...
[2] http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu...
[3] Holldobler, Bert; Wilson, Edward O. (1990). The Ants
[4] http://www.thoracic.org...
Defro

Con


BeforeI begin my argument, I would like to announce that I have nothing against homosexuals, I am simply playing devil's advocate. I would also like to remind Pro that his resolution claims that homosexuality supports evolution in humans, therefore arguments that are irrelevant to evolution are invalid.


================================================================================


Response to Pro's Anecdote on Ants

-The use of the ant species for comparison is invalid because the topic at hand concerns humans, and not ants. Furthermore, this example is irrelevant to the issue of homosexuality. In round 1, Pro defined homosexuality as "the state of being sexually attracted to the same sex." I doubt that the male ants that are sterile are homosexual, and if they are, Pro has the burden of proof. Sterility and homosexuality are two very separate things. Just because many male ants are sterile does not mean they are sexually attracted to each other. Therefore this anecdote is invalid.

-Furthermore, there is generally only one sexually reproducing female in an ant colony, which can consist of several million ants. And that is the queen ant. The queen ant can lay thousands of eggs each day.
[1] [2] Female humans on the other hands, cannot produce as much offspring. This a very huge difference.Therefore this anecdote is invalid.

Response to Pro's Anecdote on Humans:

-Pro has provided an example in which homosexuality can result in the survival of certain individuals of the human population who were unfortunate enough to be orphans due to the deaths of their parents. In this example, Pro has clearly forgotten the main concepts of the theory of evolution. Allow me to explain.

-The theory of evolution is based off of the idea of Natural Selection [3] and mutations [4]. In Pro's example, Pro has ignored the concept of Natural Selection. Natural Selection states that over time, organisms become more and more fit and adaptable to their environment. This is because organisms of a species with undesireable traits that does not support their survival in the environment eventually die off, leaving those with traits that support their survival. For an example, if there was a species of bugs in a forest, and half of them are red and half of them are green. Because the red bugs are more noticeable to predators, they are more often eaten than the green bugs, who's colors blend in with the colors of the forest well. Therefore, the green bugs survive and reproduce more than the red bugs. Over a long time, there will be no more red bugs because they will have been all hunted to extinction by predators before they could reproduce. This will leave only green bugs in existance. Therefore, according to evolution undesirable traits are not to be passed on.

-If an organism were to die, it is possible that it died because it had some undesireable trait. This means that if it had children, they would also have those undesireable traits, and by increasing their rate of survival by having homesexual guardians, they are increasing the likelyhood of the children reaching adulthood and reproducing, which passes on the undesirable traits, which does not support evolution.

-Furthermore, this example is very impractical and rare. Pro mentioned briefly that the percentage of homosexuals in the US range from 1% - 10%. However, Pro has not accounted that the percentage goes down when specifying homosexuals with orphaned family members who happened to have both their parents die and who happen to be children and just happened to not have anyone else available to raise them.

*Therefore, Pro's example does not support evolution.




Sources:

1. http://lingolex.com...;
2. http://www.antark.net...;
3. http://www.globalchange.umich.edu...
4. http://evolution.berkeley.edu...



Debate Round No. 2
medv4380

Pro

Even though Con's description of natural selection is correct it is also incomplete in regards to the evolutionary process.

To fully understand the evolutionary process one must know what determines a trait to be a desirable trait, or not. This is simple because the only traits that are desirable are traits that help to ensure the survival of offspring[5]. Con's mistake with the evolutionary process is to assume that selection is in a straight line from parent to child, and excludes social evolution sometimes called kin selection.

The siafu comparison is apt for illustrating social evolution. Siafu workers are analogous to homosexual humans because both under normal circumstances will not breed, and both provide advantages for survival of the next generation. Queens and sausage flies are comparable to parents of homosexuals in that they're predisposed to have a percentage of their offspring that would not breed, but provide benefits for the survival of the group.

Now there is a concern as to how traits that enhance the fitness of the group pass to the next generation when the individual does not breed. This is explained by epigenetics. Epigenetics allows a parent to pass a gene, or trait, to more than one child, but only a few actually express it[6]. Without this kin selection wouldn't work because the traits would never pass to the next generation.

The claim that double orphans are rare is unfortunately false. It may appear at this moment in time in countries like the US, but this is hardly the case worldwide. Roughly 10% of the world's 1.9 billion children are orphans, and 10% of these are double orphans leaving 1% of the worlds children as double orphans [7][8][9]. That 1% is hardly spread evenly, and is concentrated in war torn, and diseased areas. Making it far greater than 1% for those areas. Events like the firebombing of Tokyo[10], Vietnam War[11], various tsunami's[12][13], and the 1918 pandemic flu have a tendency to leave a large amount of double orphans. Rare, in cons view, is highly subjective, and lacks the perspective of human history.

Because desirable traits in evolution are traits that help ensure the survival of offspring it is advantageous for grandparents to have some homosexual children that will not breed to help ensure the survival of grandchildren.

[5] http://anthro.palomar.edu...
[6] http://learn.genetics.utah.edu...
[7] http://www.unicef.org...
[8] http://www.unicef.org...
[9] http://www.gapminder.org...
[10] Graveyard of the Fireflies, by Miyazaki
[11] http://www.smithsonianmag.com...
[12] http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
[13] http://www.alaskadispatch.com...
[14] http://www.flu.gov...
Defro

Con

Rebuttal:

"To fully understand the evolutionary process one must know what determines a trait to be a desirable trait, or not. This is simple because the only traits that are desirable are traits that help to ensure the survival of offspring[5]. Con's mistake with the evolutionary process is to assume that selection is in a straight line from parent to child, and excludes social evolution sometimes called kin selection."

-Con is being incredibly hypothetical. Furthermore, Con has committed a logical fallacy known as Cherry Picking, in which Con is pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position. [5] I did not in any way assume that selection is in a straight line from parent to child. I am an AP Biology student, so I am aware of kin selection. I would like to remind Con that while kin selection is not neccessarily in a straight line from parent to offspring, it is the only known example of kin selection in humans. Con's suggested theory of kin selection in which selection is not neccessarily from parent to child has not been found in humans.[6][7] To make such a controversial claim, Con must provide adequate sources. While Con has provided many sources, none of them supports Con's suggested theory of kin selection within humans.

-Furthermore, for your theory to work, you are assuming that homosexuality is inherited and genetic, which is also a very controversial claim lacking in evidence.


"The siafu comparison is apt for illustrating social evolution. Siafu workers are analogous to homosexual humans because both under normal circumstances will not breed, and both provide advantages for survival of the next generation. Queens and sausage flies are comparable to parents of homosexuals in that they're predisposed to have a percentage of their offspring that would not breed, but provide benefits for the survival of the group."

-As mentioned previously, the saifu workers are not analogous to homosexuals because they are sterile, whereas homosexual humans are generally fertile. There is a difference between not being able to reproduce and choosing not to reproduce. You cannot compare humans with ants.

-I see where you are getting at, but there is a huge flaw in your theory. If that is the goal of homosexuality, then wouldn't it be more efficient for Con's so-called understanding of "Epigenetics" to make people infertile rather than homosexuals? I request an answer.


"The claim that double orphans are rare is unfortunately false. It may appear at this moment in time in countries like the US, but this is hardly the case worldwide. Roughly 10% of the world's 1.9 billion children are orphans, and 10% of these are double orphans leaving 1% of the worlds children as double orphans [7][8][9]. That 1% is hardly spread evenly, and is concentrated in war torn, and diseased areas. Making it far greater than 1% for those areas. Events like the firebombing of Tokyo[10], Vietnam War[11], various tsunami's[12][13], and the 1918 pandemic flu have a tendency to leave a large amount of double orphans. Rare, in cons view, is highly subjective, and lacks the perspective of human history."

-Con has completely ignored half of my comment and used the other half to support his own comment. No where in the above quoted text has Con mentioned how many of these children has homosexual relatives who would take care of them.

======================================================================================

Addendum:

-I would like to remind Con that the purpose of evolution is also to produce as much offspring as possible in the future in accordance with our population's carrying capacity. [8]

-Con claims that homosexual members of mankind would aid in other childrens survival, so they are not unnatural because they do not fight against the principle that organisms are most concerned with propagating their own species.

-However, nevertheless, it would be more advantageous to the human species for them to be heterosexual rather than homosexual children because the assumption that heterosexual children will grow up to produce more children is more likely than the assumption that homosexual children will take care of others.



Sources:

5. http://en.wikipedia.org...(fallacy)
6. http://www.princeton.edu...
7. http://en.wikipedia.org...
8. http://www.princeton.edu...


Debate Round No. 3
medv4380

Pro

I'm finding my opponents flipping of Pro to Con a bit hard to parse. Some parts could be construed to be speaking in the 3rd person, and other reference to me, Pro. If my opponent is not admitting to making a logical fallacy it may be in his best interest to clarify in the final round. If Con is attempting to accuse me of ignoring evidence Con will have to be more explicit because I could make the same accusation against Con given that Con is a biology student could be considered willful, but I will leave it up to the voters to conclude if it is acceptable ignorance, or a willful suppression fallacy.

Since my opponent is a biology student, and has admitted that kin selection is in humans I would like to remind everyone of what kin selection is.
"Kin Selection refers to apparent strategies in evolution that favor the reproductive success of an organism's relatives even at a cost to their own survival, or reproduction."[15]
My opponent is, most likely, correct in claiming that there is only one trait in humans that is subjected to kin selection. However that trait is so broad that it easily encompases my argument. That trait is altruism[16], and what is adoption if not an altruistic act.

I would like to reiterate my claim about inheritance that my opponent is misrepresenting. I am not claiming homosexuality is genetic per say. I am claiming that it is epigenetic, and I provided a source in case he was unfamiliar since it wasn't until 2008 that a consensus definition of epigenetics even existed[17]. That wasn't even going to be done until the discovery of the transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of longevity traits from grandparent to grandchild in 2007[18].

It wouldn't even be that controversial to claim homosexuality to be epigenetic. To quote from a study on epigenetic models.
"Our model predicts that sperm from the fathers with one or more [homosexual] daughters will differ from those with only heterosexual daughters by carrying unique (or statistically differentiated) epi-marks that influence the later stages of the androgen signaling pathway of the brain, or their expression is restricted to a subset of brain tissue, including sexually dimorphic nuclei that influence sexual orientation"[19]

My opponents objection to my siafu comparison now appears to hinge on homosexuals choosing not to procreate with the opposite sex vs siafu not choosing. Claiming homosexual have a choice is a bold unsupported claim. A simple check of the most current evidence shows an interesting correlation. Gay women have a asymetrical brains like straight men, and gay men have symmetrical brains like straight women[20]. It appears the evidence suggests that sexuality isn't exactly a choice. I might agree that it is a choice if we were debating bisexuality, but we're not.

Con hasn't been clear about what specifically he objects to with the occurrence of adoption, and insists that it is somehow "rare". The evidence shows that the occurrence of double orphans is hardly rare, and that we are just one natural or man made disaster away from being overwhelmed. Now Con appears to be claiming that homosexual relatives wouldn't adopt. Lets look at the evidence. The Administration for Children & Families shows that adoption by family is the prefered option for adoption in the US[21]. If con is attempting to claim that homosexuals wouldn't adopt. Then Con would have to explain why the homosexual community continues to fight to have, and keep their adoption rights[22]. If adoption didn't fulfil a biological, or psychological need then they wouldn't be fighting to keep it.

In regards to the question to why aren't homosexuals just sterile it becomes simple logic. If someone were born heterosexual, but barren much of my argument would still apply to them. However, they have the cost of potentially occupying an otherwise fertile partner. A better question would be why aren't they asexual like Sir Isaac Newton[23]. That is easily addressed by looking at the difficulties single parents have in our societies. Of the three possible options homosexual adoption by a relative ensures the highest rate of success, and doesn't lock up any individuals intended for procreation.

Con is wrong about the purpose of evolution. If evolution solely optimized for quantity multiple births would represent the majority of natural births, and women would have more than two breasts. As it stands over 95% of all births are singles for humans[24]. This is because humans are optimized for quality of children over quantity[25]. Because humans are optimized for quality any loss is devastating when compared to a species that is optimized for quantity, like rats. If having a homosexual child helps as insurance the survival of the grandchildren against natural, and manmade disasters then they are a natural, and essential part of the evolutionary process.

Thank you, and I welcome my opponents final response.

[15] http://www.princeton.edu...
[16] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[17] http://genesdev.cshlp.org...
[18] http://www.pbs.org...
[19] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...
[20] http://www.washingtonpost.com...
[21] https://www.childwelfare.gov...
[22] http://abcnews.go.com...
[23] http://www.nndb.com...
[24] http://www.cdc.gov...
[25] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
Defro

Con

Oops. Forgive me. I participate in more than one debate at once, so I tend to get confused as to whether I am Pro or Con.

I see what Pro is trying to say, and I must admit, it seems plausible. However, note that while Pro has shown that it is possible, Pro has not proven that it is 100% certain. This is just a theory, therefore Pro has not met his burden of proof.

If this was a likely theory, scientists would have already reported it by now.

Debate Round No. 4
77 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
All of those points show a misunderstanding of my RFD, but I've already said what I'm willing to say here. If our conversation is any indication, then it's pretty obvious that nothing I say will explain it. So feel free to misrepresent my vote all you want, it's not going to change anything.
Posted by medv4380 2 years ago
medv4380
@Wylted there is nothing to learn from someone who has the burden set at impossible, and is ether deliberately trolling, or unwilling to read. Each one of the "concerns" was actually brought up in my arguments. It's also more than a little rude of him to vote based on what he thinks would have been a good argument against me, and not the arguments that were actually brought up.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Whiteflame is a pretty good voter, and debator. It would be more advantageous for you to try to learn from him than to just merely b!tch.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Alright, I'm done trying to explain this to you. You've spent the last couple of posts impugning my character in an attempt to make my vote sound unreasonable, despite the fact that you still refuse to address my most basic concern with your case.

So I'm leaving off at this point. I'm happy to discuss my decisions with people who are going to be polite and professional in response. You've done neither, and frankly, I'm not sure you've taken the time to even fully read the original decision if you think my analysis is rooted in my views on adoption (which you're also wrong about).
Posted by medv4380 2 years ago
medv4380
@whiteflame Let me make this clear for you. I proved homosexuality can provide an advantage. Your rhetoric about wealthy aristocrats adopting children as a counter is beyond flawed as a counter to any of my argument, and clearly is rooted in some adoption issues of your own.

The only redundancy is in comparing them to sterile, and asexual people. Which is a point I covered. Think what you want, but you're only deceiving yourself.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Let me try to say this as plainly as I can.

You have to prove in this debate that there's an evolutionary advantage to homosexuality in the human population. That's how you set up the debate, that's what you had to prove.

Proving that homosexuals serve a redundant, if beneficial, function in the population is not enough to say that there was a powerful natural selective force driving their existence within the human population. It's not sufficient to argue that just having a plausible benefit that already existed within our species and is simply being expanded (perhaps unnecessarily) proves that evolution happened. There had to be some specific pressures acting upon humanity to move us in that direction in order for you to win your point.

And you just don't get there. There are plenty of evolutionary redundancies, yes, but their mere presence in the population doesn't suddenly prove that they are the result of evolution. So long as redundancy is found, it calls your point into question, and I don't think you ever get out of that hole.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
You're misunderstanding. I'm not questioning whether kin selection occurs. I'm saying that it doesn't matter if it does if you cannot provide a strong reason why it would take place in the first place.

Unique does matter in this instance, or at the very least, purposeful. You have to provide a basis for homosexuality becoming part of the human race and being retained strongly. In order to support that in this case, you would have to look at the issue (orphans), say that there are currently things in place that ameliorate the problem (people outside the family who would adopt, people inside the family who would adopt), and that those things do a poor job in the absence of homosexuals in the population. It's that last bit that I'm not seeing enough on. I understand that people outside the family are less beneficial, and I buy that. I don't buy that there's some huge harm to enough members of any given family that homosexuals suddenly become a very essential parental force for familial orphans. You have to do more to convince your audience that they play that role.
Posted by medv4380 2 years ago
medv4380
@whiteflame I sited many sources showing that Evolution does work on that scale. That is what Kin Selection is. Con used an unsourced claim to say Kin selection doesn't apply, and I countered that with yet another source that says it does to humans. Which was also another point dropped.

You're bar of "unique" is absurd because many parts of evolution show redundancies. If "unique" is your bar then your not arguing evolution.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
You proved a benefit that applies to large swaths of other people who aren't homosexual. If it's not unique, then why does the need exist to ensure that homosexuals exist in the population? If there are untold numbers of people who could fulfill the same roles you say only homosexuals can fill effectively, then why would there be any reason for mutations to accrue or epigenetic factors to build up in order to ensure their continued survival as a subpopulation?

Evolution doesn't work based on that kind of net beneficial scale. There has to be a substantive need for that population to exist in order for natural selection not to ween them out of the population. Since this entire debate was centered on whether or not homosexuals comprise an evolutionary benefit to society so strong that it could be retained solely for that reason, you have to do more than just prove that there's a possible benefit to society at large.
Posted by medv4380 2 years ago
medv4380
@whiteflame This debate wasn't to prove that there was a "unique" evolutionary benefit. If you think that I proved that there is a benefit, even if it's not unique, then I proved my point. Uniqueness is not apart of the debate.
13 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Dennybug 2 years ago
Dennybug
medv4380DefroTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con was able to expand on his arguments more and also provide better reasoning for as well. he did a fine job at reasonably explaining his arguments. Spelling and grammar goes to con as well since pro made a few grammatical errors
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
medv4380DefroTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
Vote Placed by Justinian 2 years ago
Justinian
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had better points and was able to spot more holes in Pro's arguments.
Vote Placed by Aircraftfreak1 2 years ago
Aircraftfreak1
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had better in-depth arguments
Vote Placed by MoralityProfessor 2 years ago
MoralityProfessor
medv4380DefroTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I don't think Pro met his burden of proof in establishing that homosexuality in humans supports the evolutionary process, so arguments to Con. However, Con's lack of response in the final round lost him conduct points and though his position (Con's) was solid, some of Pro's contentions were left unanswered, so I also gave Pro source points. The contentions weren't significant enough to lose arguments, however. Pro loses S&G due to lack of proper formatting.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
medv4380DefroTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The debate was very tight and could have gone either way until the last round where Con did not give concluding remarks. I do not believe Pro 100% effectively defended the argument for evolution and homosexuality, but like I stated previously Con did not make a final argument which can be considered a concession of sorts. However, Pro did show that homosexuality is natural which was the proposition of the debate, and so Pro gets points. I am sharing other points as I think both debaters did well on those aspects.
Vote Placed by zmikecuber 2 years ago
zmikecuber
medv4380DefroTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made some convincing arguments that it was very possible for homosexuality to exist in accord with evolution, however, he didn't adequately show that homosexuality IS in accord with evolution. Con pointed this out. So I don't think Pro met his burden. Arguments to Con. Conduct was tied, but I'm giving S/G to Con since it was slightly better and his formatting/reader-friendliness was far superior. Sources were tied as well.
Vote Placed by Jakeross6 2 years ago
Jakeross6
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro adequately showed that Homosexuality is a naturally occurring thing in humans.
Vote Placed by TheOncomingStorm 2 years ago
TheOncomingStorm
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Reasons for voting decision: Con definitely had much better S&G. His sentences were, in general, more properly punctuated and easier to read. I felt like pro kind of bit off more than he could chew with this one. Even though the last round was disappointing at the least, I wasn't convinced that pro beat con to begin with (due to the logical fallacies and lack of support for certain claims), so I have to award arguments to con.
Vote Placed by Hello83433 2 years ago
Hello83433
medv4380DefroTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had longer and more thorough arguments in response to Pros claims, which half were not supported. Spelling and grammar to Con because of formatting his arguments.