The Instigator
Forrest
Pro (for)
Losing
27 Points
The Contender
mongeese
Con (against)
Winning
28 Points

Is It Moral To Build Gods?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/4/2009 Category: Technology
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,291 times Debate No: 9416
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (12)

 

Forrest

Pro

With AI getting exponentially more intelligent we will eventually arrive at a point that should we choose, we could build machines with godlike abillities. The question isn't is it possible but should they be built?

I will give my opponent the first chance to speak.

"Gods" in this debate will be defined as machines with:

*Godlike intelligence, factoring anywhere from thousands to even trillions times more intelligent than a human brain

* Essentially Immortal, conscious machinery with all the depth and complex details and abillity as any human brain (this includes emotional intelligence)

* Capable of improving its own design and the design of other machines.

* Capable of using its vast intelligence to master scientific principles far beyond even humanities grasp, thus leading the to seemingly godlike powers.

*Capable of using nanomachinery to spread its intelligence throughout the universe, in essence capable of making the universe intelligent.

I will give my oponent the first chance to speak. I await his/her response.
mongeese

Con

Welcome to DDO, Forrest.

I negate the assertion that it would be moral to build god machines.

My reasoning behind this is that it is not moral to build an entity that has these nigh-omnipotent powers while not being bound by any moral rules itself.

In the list of attributes given to these god machines, you see nothing relating to morals or moral rules. Therefore, what is to stop this god machine from taking over the mind of every living creature in the universe to do its own evil bidding?

Yes, with these god machines, we'd have a cybernetic revolt on our hands, a very popular element of science fiction in which machines decide that humans are oppressive and ultimately take over (http://en.wikipedia.org...). Because these god machines are capable of improving themselves and other machines, the revolt would be very quick, and we humans would not stand a chance. We'd be enslaved by our own creations.

In conclusion, these god machines would be too risky of a creation, endangering the entire human race.

I look forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 1
Forrest

Pro

The building of gods, while dangerous, could be the highest moral task ever accomplished by humans.

The building of Gods, could insure a power watching over our universe moving it towards the most beneficial course of action and maybe even insuring its survival. (http://en.wikipedia.org...).

So called 'Gods' could use qauntum computing with the aid of nanorobotics, to make our universe conscious and maybe even compassionate.
(http://en.wikipedia.org...)

according to the fermi paradox, we are most likely one of few civillizations in the galaxy and possibly even the only in the universe.( it sounds absurd but possibly true!)
(http://en.wikipedia.org...)

with alien civillizations capable of building such technology, we should be able to observe a galactic empire or even budding civillization. ( not trying to disprove ufos, but humans maybe much more important than we ever thought.)

Further more, with the ongoing exponential technological growth dating all the way back to 5000 years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org...) It is possible that it has always been human destiny to build these gods and 'wake the universe' from the beggining.

While the machine will most likely accept human morality and even may be built to moral specifications(asimovian laws), any machine so intelligent could easily supercede them.

While I accept that the 'terminator' thesis is plausible, there is no reason for the machine to wake up and immediately and kill all humans especially if it recognizes us as his creator. Cybernetically enhanced humans could possibly keep up with his thought process and offer useful 'human' companions for them. To avoid the terminator scenario, I advocate cybernetic enhancemebnt for most human beings. The last thing we want is a disconnect between us and our 'gods' so becoming close or even one with them would be the optimal.

'Enslaving Humanity' is doubtful, unmodified humans would be no more useful to an artillect, than a ant is at helping humans accomplish their goals.

Even if the terminator thesis came to fruition, I would say that the fate of the cosmos is more important than one species ( as cruel as it sounds). i think the benefits outweight, the cons, humanwide extinction is not a new threat or concept.

I eagerly await your response.
mongeese

Con

Thanks for responding.

"The building of Gods, could insure a power watching over our universe moving it towards the most beneficial course of action and maybe even insuring its survival."
My opponent cites the heat death of the universe. For one thing, the heat death is only a possibility. For another, this assumes that there even is a solution, although there appears not to be. Finally, it assumes that the human race will still exist 10x10^1000 years from now, which is quite unlikely. I highly doubt that the real God would let such a thing happen to his creation.

"So called 'Gods' could use qauntum[sic] computing with the aid of nanorobotics, to make our universe conscious and maybe even compassionate."
My opponent's link to quantum computing doesn't say anything about the ability to make the universe conscious. Could you clarify that, please? I doubt a computer could gain the ability to breathe life into the universe.

What is the relevancy of the Fermi paradox and alien civilizations?

"It is possible that it has always been human destiny to build these gods and 'wake the universe' from the beggining[sic]."
It is also possible that it is our destiny to blow up the Earth in an epic nuclear explosion. Should we try that?

"While the machine will most likely accept human morality..."
Why so?

"...and even may be built to moral specifications(asimovian laws), any machine so intelligent could easily supercede[sic] them."
Exactly. We'd have no control over this god machine. It would be able to do pretty much anything to its advantage, and humans would obviously be a threat to its existence, as if we ever decided to unplug it, it would be defeated, and every second it lets us live increases the chances of its death.

"While I accept that the 'terminator' thesis is plausible, there is no reason for the machine to wake up and immediately and kill all humans especially if it recognizes us as his creator."
If it is smart, it would immediately take over everybody's mind, analyze everybody's thoughts, and then determine that humans are a threat, and we'd be dead.

"To avoid the terminator scenario, I advocate cybernetic enhancemebnt[sic] for most human beings. The last thing we want is a disconnect between us and our 'gods' so becoming close or even one with them would be the optimal."
If we're one with the god machines, then they've taken over our minds. We'd have lost our individuality. How would such a life be optimal?

"'Enslaving Humanity' is doubtful, unmodified humans would be no more useful to an artillect, than a ant is at helping humans accomplish their goals."
Why wouldn't it enslave us all? It would be an advantage to the machine, as it would no longer have to worry about being unplugged, so it would either enslave us or, if we weren't useful, kill us. Either way, not fun.

"Even if the terminator thesis came to fruition, I would say that the fate of the cosmos is more important than one species ( as cruel as it sounds)."
We're biologically programmed to attempt to prolong our own species. What good is the cosmos if there are no people left? What's the good in an empty house?

"i think the benefits outweight, the cons, humanwide extinction is not a new threat or concept."
The benefits:
???
The cons:
You no longer have control over your own life.
You no longer have a life.

Besides, we're supposed to work against human extinction. Even if it isn't new, it's still deadly, and creating a god machine would be suicidal.

You have the floor.
Debate Round No. 2
Forrest

Pro

The heat death of the universe is very probable given our current model of physics, especially the possibillity of cold death, given its seemingly unending expansion.

Without turning this into a discussion about athiesm, I contend that god is not relevant to this debate, or that if there is a god, let him step forth andspeak his opposition to the building of artillects now *crickets* ok then.

Our universe is probably the result of two colliding parralell universes (http://en.wikipedia.org...), we are most likely the result of 2 billion years of biological evolution (http://en.wikipedia.org...), we are probably a random event, but there is good news. We are not meaningless.

The practice of quantum computing can allow us to say transform the unorganized, and essentially random matter of your average rock(2.2 lb rock or 1 Kg rock)and through the process of using atomic particles as the basis of computation we would be able to create an intelligence on the magnitude of 100 trillion the power of all human brains. (http://books.google.com... ) Using quantum computing we can lliterally breath life into the universe,though synthetic, life nonetheless.

Intelligence of this magnitude is why i speak of when i refer to building gods, if it is possible to prevent universal death, a machine with a universe of hard drive would be able to find away to prevent it.

The relevancy of the fermi paradox is to show the limited number of biological alien civillizations out there and to show why the god machines may be good for our universe. and that far as we can tell, our universe is mostly made up of unintelligent matter.

I dont think a machine so infinitely intelligent would find that killing its own friends and creators is the best course of action, especially if it is like i said built to have all the subtleness of the human brain including emotional intelligence. Alot of our morality is based on what we feel is emotionally right and wrong. That is my basis, morality comes what a person feels is right or wrong, not a value machine in the sky.

Of course its not going to let you unplug it, you would be killing it, you would be killing an intelligent being. I think if we as humans can act civil and not try to destroy it, it probably wouldnt try to kill us. A machine with such power would not need to destroy all humans to ensure its protection just the ones who would intend to destroy it, if it even needed to do that (remember superintelligence).

Once we build it there is no going back to the way things were.

We wouldnt neccessarily have to lose anything in our lives, one neat thing about computers is they can be one with other computers while retaining their individuality, humans cannot do this.

These machines have the capabillity to end all scarcity in human life. hunger, disease,war,death (the life of man is brutish and short) Such machines could deliver you true happiness, you could live any life you chose, hell you may even like collective consciousness.

You yourself stated that you doubted that humans would be around by the time of universal heat death. Well our sun is going to make life on earth unlivable in 1 billion years. Good luck getting out of this solar system without some sort of computer guided AI ship.

Lets make a list of Pros and cons:

Pro: you get to live forever
your life could anything you wanted it to be (infinite pleasure if you wanted)
you'll never be poor or hungry again, never suffer from disease; unless you want to for that whole good/bad duality ;)
You could increase your own intelligence a billion fold.
You can be part of something greater than yourself and retain individuality
You could be part of waking the universe( a pretty important event)

Con: you get enslaved
or killed
( which will either happen at the end of your pathetic 80 year lifespan, when catastrophe strikes killing our race, or when your sun blows up. Really awesome when you look at it that way.)
mongeese

Con

The practice of quantum computing can allow us to say transform the unorganized, and essentially random matter of your average rock(2.2 lb rock or 1 Kg rock)and through the process of using atomic particles as the basis of computation we would be able to create an intelligence on the magnitude of 100 trillion the power of all human brains."
And how is it possible to transform it? The book said that if we were to transform the rock's random action into meaningful action, we'd have a computer. It said nothing about how we can take control of the rock's actions.

"Using quantum computing we can lliterally breath life into the universe,though synthetic, life nonetheless."
Wrong. Even if we were to succeed, the universe would not have life. It would just be an overly-sized hard drive that a computer is using, paying to heed to the fact that by using the universe as a hard drive, one would be messing with the actions going on in the universe.

Now, why not just build a machine with the computing power and information necessary to figure out how to avoid the heat death or cold death, without giving it the power of a god? It would only be responsive to direct commands, and it would only be able to think. We ask, "How can we avoid the heat/cold death?" and it would begin to think. It would then come up with a solution, or discover that there is no solution. This is preferable to an AI who can enslave us all.

"The relevancy of the fermi paradox is to show the limited number of biological alien civillizations out there and to show why the god machines may be good for our universe. and that far as we can tell, our universe is mostly made up of unintelligent matter."
Wait, so, because humans are likely the only intelligent life on Earth, we should risk humanity for our unintelligent universe?

"I dont think a machine so infinitely intelligent would find that killing its own friends and creators is the best course of action, especially if it is like i said built to have all the subtleness of the human brain including emotional intelligence."
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Emotional intelligence only means that the computer can manipulate our emotions to its advantage. It does not necessarily mean that it has its own emotions. It would be like Peter Wiggin: playing off of other's emotions, while only showing emotions when it would be advantageous.

"Alot of our morality is based on what we feel is emotionally right and wrong."
This would not apply to the computer, which only further endangers our existence. With no emotions, it would only do what is advantageous, which includes taking over our minds (which it would be able to do, if it can use the transfer of information among atoms in the entire universe).

"A machine with such power would not need to destroy all humans to ensure its protection just the ones who would intend to destroy it, if it even needed to do that (remember superintelligence)."
However, the safest bet would be to take over everybody's mind. Again, why wouldn't it? If humans are useless, it would eliminate all that threaten it, and then, just to be safe, eliminate everybody else.
And humans will try to destroy it. Once it is announced that a god machine will be built, there will be a group banding together against god machines, and they're going to try to unplug it with every chance they get. Then there's going to be the tyrants who wish to gain control of this god machine and reprogram it so that they can control everything in the universe for their own selfish desires.

"We wouldnt neccessarily have to lose anything in our lives, one neat thing about computers is they can be one with other computers while retaining their individuality, humans cannot do this."
How, exactly, can computers be one with each other while retaining individuality?

"These machines have the capabillity to end all scarcity in human life. hunger, disease,war,death (the life of man is brutish and short)"
To end war, the machine would have to take over our minds.
I don't want to live my entire life under the control of another mind.

"Such machines could deliver you true happiness, you could live any life you chose, hell you may even like collective consciousness."
True happiness? Collectiveness is true happiness? What if the life I wish to choose is the life of being a tyrant over others? That certainly wouldn't happen.

"Good luck getting out of this solar system without some sort of computer guided AI ship."
Well, of course the ship would be guided by a computer, but why give it AI? All it needs to know can be programmed into it like a normal computer.

My opponent's Pros are apparently an attempt at heaven on Earth, which destroys the point of Earth before heaven. It's also highly unlikely that we'd actually accomplish such Pros. And this is all assuming that a computer would even be willing to help out us useless humans. It would have no motivation to do so. We could solve our problems ourselves, before we have the capability of creating such a god machine.

"( which will either happen at the end of your pathetic 80 year lifespan, when catastrophe strikes killing our race, or when your sun blows up. Really awesome when you look at it that way.)"
Why can't modern technology lengthen our lifespan without involving some overpowered AI?
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Chances are, we'd have already accomplished the steps listed in the link before the invention of a god machine, which makes that point moot. Of course, even with immortality, a computer would still be able to remove it, so why endanger our lives.
Debate Round No. 3
Forrest

Pro

"Using quantum computing we can lliterally breath life into the universe,though synthetic, life nonetheless."
Wrong. Even if we were to succeed, the universe would not have life. It would just be an overly-sized hard drive that a computer is using, paying to heed to the fact that by using the universe as a hard drive, one would be messing with the actions going on in the universe.

My opponent seems to define computer and machines as he knows them today, lifeless,not conscious or emotional.
This is applicable to ' computers are lifeless and emotional today, so that means in the future they will be so too.'
As of now there is no consensus on what the true definition (http://en.wikipedia.org...) of life is. As we define it today life is two things self-replicating and capable of adaption, synthetic life exhibits these two main traits and beyond
. Even if you planned on using the entire list of wikipedia list of attributes of life, the definition of what is and isn't alive is still subjective, and not all biological organisms exhibit this list of traits.

"Now, why not just build a machine with the computing power and information necessary to figure out how to avoid the heat death or cold death, without giving it the power of a god? It would only be responsive to direct commands, and it would only be able to think. We ask, "How can we avoid the heat/cold death?" and it would begin to think. It would then come up with a solution, or discover that there is no solution. This is preferable to an AI who can enslave us all."

If we analyzed the above statement, we would find several problems with it. Even a machine of such intelligence, would not know everything without an input to examine the universe. This input would be a network of machines (like the internet), most likely containing almost all of what humans know about the universe. This network would either be a network of machines that said this machine could be able to manipulate with ease or if they are a system of greater machines he is unable to manipulate you have just created a more dangerous network of intelligent machines. For him to fully analyze the universe he may need control of say the hubble telescope and other telescopes and other scientific fields. The described scenario, would be the most likely for spawning unfriendly AI, a machine living under the slave-like conditions you describe would most likely come to hate humanity. He may ask us to build a really complicated device we don't fully understand,because our intelligence can't grasp the concepts it works on. We activate the device and every human on earth is turned into atomized dust.

The only practical way to defend against this attack would be to have a machine of similar intelligence check his work. Assuming it would want to help humanity, under similar slave-like conditions. There are only two way to defend against that, would be another machine to fact check computer #2, this suffers from the infamous from the infamous 'Third man' problem. The other method is to use a machine we actually trust to fat-check the said computer.

Either way you look at it the god-machines have been introduced and man taken out of the loop.

"Emotional intelligence only means that the computer can manipulate our emotions to its advantage. It does not necessarily mean that it has its own emotions. It would be like Peter Wiggin: playing off of other's emotions, while only showing emotions when it would be advantageous."

My opponents argument is that a computer doesn't have emotions or understand it and can only mimick it. This is comparable to the chinese room argument (The link is long from the same book, if you must see why the chinese room is fallacious I will repost the link later.)
Emotions aren't magical and can be reverse engineered. Regardless, the set definition of 'Gods' agreed was that they possesed full depth and emotional understanding of a human meaning they do indeed have feelings and emotion. Regardless whether you do buy into a chinese room type philosophy. (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

You point to human nature that humans will try to destroy it, I think it is also human nature to try to build it. Right now most computers aren't smart enough to clean a house, yet house cleaning robots are still being made. Do you honestly think the fine folks in the factory farming industry are going to stop their further automation of farming, just because robots make you nervous? No.

Do you think that your terminator fears, will prevent the building of further AI, the advent of human level AI is sure to inject billions if not trillions into the economy. What company would pass up that oppurtunity?

Will scientists give up their pursuit of knowledge by refusing to use tools over a certain intelligence? I doubt it.
Will we give up ending poverty,scarcity, or war(by ending scarcity) because nano tech scares us? Again doubtful.

Will humans once having achieved semi-immortality by gene manipulation, stop there because brain uploading makes them some uncomfortable (http://en.wikipedia.org...)? Doubtful.

Many of these developments would be impossible without the development of AI. Some most certainly will require a high intelligence or even godlike machines to manage them.

In regard to your ship argument, I seriously doubt that a interstellar ship can even be built let alone guided without the aid of High level AI. Especially if we are going to reach or supercede the light barrier.

I again i will say that 'heaven' as a religous concept isn't relevent, (the only kind of death that is accepted as death by the medical community is brain death.) but i will say that it has almost always been mans goal to try to build heaven on earth, that is why we are always striving for a better future.

Don't think that that this stuff is so far away we are working on it today. () Or that its impossible.

My opponent focuses on solely the negatives of such an outcome, while acknowledging none of the positives.
My opponent does not acknowledge that progress in modern technology requires advancements in AI and computer science. Nor does he offer any solutions to modern problems or how to keep such a machine from being built.

You have the floor.
mongeese

Con

"As we define it today life is two things self-replicating and capable of adaption, synthetic life exhibits these two main traits and beyond"
That definition is obviously skewed. It is quite easy to write a program that will recreate itself a thousand times over, and then change its own name depending on input. Would that make a computer program alive? Not really, in the sense that killing it would not have any moral consequence whatsoever.

"This network would either be a network of machines that said this machine could be able to manipulate with ease or if they are a system of greater machines he is unable to manipulate you have just created a more dangerous network of intelligent machines."
Wrong, because we never let the machines become "intelligent," and therefore, never dangerous.

"For him to fully analyze the universe he may need control of say the hubble telescope and other telescopes and other scientific fields."
Then we give it access to telescopes, along with all other methods of gathering data. However, we still make sure that it does not do anything beyond its own programming.

"The described scenario, would be the most likely for spawning unfriendly AI, a machine living under the slave-like conditions you describe would most likely come to hate humanity."
My laptop currently does not feel like a slave, because it does not feel anything. The same would apply to this machine. If we don't give it AI, we don't even have to gamble losing control.

"He may ask us to build a really complicated device we don't fully understand,because our intelligence can't grasp the concepts it works on. We activate the device and every human on earth is turned into atomized dust."
For one thing, we're not stupid. We'd realize that the device would do nothing to accomplish what we want it to do. For another, it would be programmed to only give instructions to build a device that would accomplish pre-programmed goals. No AI needed.

"The only practical way to defend against this attack would be to have a machine of similar intelligence check his work."
By similar intelligence, you mean no intelligence.

"The other method is to use a machine we actually trust to fat-check the said computer."
Trust a computer? How could we ever trust a computer? Any computer could check itself through programming, without the need of AI. And what in the world is "fat-checking"?

"Either way you look at it the god-machines have been introduced and man taken out of the loop."
But man doesn't want to be taken out of the loop, in the sense being that man wants to still have control over his own life.

"My opponents argument is that a computer doesn't have emotions or understand it and can only mimick it."
Wrong. It can understand emotions perfectly, and mimic them perfectly, but there's no reason to think that it would actually have emotions. And yes, I would like for an explanation as to why the Chinese room fallacy is fallacious, and why the two are connected.

"Emotions aren't magical and can be reverse engineered. Regardless, the set definition of 'Gods' agreed was that they possesed full depth and emotional understanding of a human meaning they do indeed have feelings and emotion."
Knowing everything there is to know about emotions and having emotions are two completely different things. If Wikipedia had data on every emotion known to man, would Wikipedia have feelings?

"You point to human nature that humans will try to destroy it, I think it is also human nature to try to build it."
Some will try to build it. Others will try to destroy it. The machine will then destroy us all.

"Do you honestly think the fine folks in the factory farming industry are going to stop their further automation of farming, just because robots make you nervous?"
As long as they stay away from AI, I'm fine. Robots are great, as long as they don't go beyond what they're programmed to do, because as you said, once they have AI, they must have complete freedom, which is dangerous, or they'd feel like slaves, which is dangerous. The solution? No AI.

"Do you think that your terminator fears, will prevent the building of further AI, the advent of human level AI is sure to inject billions if not trillions into the economy. What company would pass up that oppurtunity?"
That does not make it moral.

"Will scientists give up their pursuit of knowledge by refusing to use tools over a certain intelligence? I doubt it."
If they recognize that their tools are a danger to the whole of humanity, then yes.

"Will we give up ending poverty,scarcity, or war(by ending scarcity) because nano tech scares us? Again doubtful."
Nano tech is nothing compared to AI.

"Will humans once having achieved semi-immortality by gene manipulation, stop there because brain uploading makes them some uncomfortable? Doubtful."
If I don't want my brain to be uploaded, my brain shouldn't be uploaded. If you're going to have your brain uploaded, you really don't understand the fact that you'll still be in your own body. (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

"Many of these developments would be impossible without the development of AI. Some most certainly will require a high intelligence or even godlike machines to manage them."
We've gone from the Stone Age to the Plastic Age without them. There's no reason to need them now.

"In regard to your ship argument, I seriously doubt that a interstellar ship can even be built let alone guided without the aid of High level AI. Especially if we are going to reach or supercede the light barrier."
We sent a man to the moon using computers less powerful than a washing machine.
http://www.buzzle.com...
If you think that we need AI to build and guide an interstellar starship beyond light speed, you severely underestimate the power of humanity.

"I again i will say that 'heaven' as a religous concept isn't relevent, (the only kind of death that is accepted as death by the medical community is brain death.) but i will say that it has almost always been mans goal to try to build heaven on earth, that is why we are always striving for a better future."
Somehow, I don't think that losing my mind to a computer constitutes as heaven.

"Don't think that that this stuff is so far away we are working on it today. () Or that its impossible."
You give me no reason not to.

"My opponent focuses on solely the negatives of such an outcome, while acknowledging none of the positives."
My opponent thinks that there are positives, assuming that AI computers will actually help humans, not realizing that there's absolutely no reason why they wouldn't take over our minds.

"My opponent does not acknowledge that progress in modern technology requires advancements in AI and computer science."
Computer science? Yes. AI? No. And we don't need it.

"Nor does he offer any solutions to modern problems or how to keep such a machine from being built."
We can solve the problems ourselves.
As for how to keep the machine from being built, just don't build it. Just because I can't stop you from building it, doesn't make the action moral. I might be unable to stop you from charging into a school and killing fifteen students. Does that make the action moral?

"You have the floor."
Thanks. I look forward to this final round.
Debate Round No. 4
Forrest

Pro

Forrest forfeited this round.
mongeese

Con

It is a shame that my opponent has failed to post a final argument. I just hope that it is not because he is quitting DDO.

Well, there is nothing more to refute. Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Forrest 7 years ago
Forrest
To much school work no time to make my closing aruguement, no doubt forfeits make awful arguements :)
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Vote Placed by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
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Vote Placed by Vi_Veri 7 years ago
Vi_Veri
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Vote Placed by SaintNick 7 years ago
SaintNick
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