The Instigator
LaL36
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
imabench
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points

Is literature important?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
imabench
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/27/2011 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,250 times Debate No: 20088
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (4)

 

LaL36

Con

I feel very strongly that literature isn't important. Before I go into further detail why I would like to state what I am arguing about. Fictional literature, questions asked on fictional literature such as "What is the author trying to infer?"

Job: I hope all of you reading this have a job. Now, I would like to ask you a question. At any point of your jobs, do you read fictional books or are asked "What is the author trying to infer?" Now most of you are probably thinking a literature teacher and an author both need literature but both of those Jobs are ones that continue the chain of literature. Furthermore, I haven't found one other job where literature comes up.
Time: If literature were not taken as an obligatory class, think of all the time saved in English class.I am almost sure that students learn vocabulary in a vocabulary book in English. If they were to not take literature, there vocabulary would become much more sophisticated. Also, they work on writing, and I am talking about persuasive writing like what I am doing right now, writing conventions, powerful language, all of that will become much better because they aren't wasting their time knowing what the author is trying to infer and reading fictional books that they get no academic benefit from. Now, I am not saying that there shouldn't be any fictional books. They are entertaining and you learn some morals but it is not necessary for one's success. Take art. Art I believe is obligatory but in most schools is not taken every day. I could think of many reasons art is important. If you want to be any type of designer. If the police need to know how a criminal looks like someone could draw a picture of him. This may not be extremely important but it definitely has more importance than literature. I think literature should be taken as an elective maybe but not an obligatory class.
Culture: I have heard that literature exposes you to different cultures and I agree 100%. But wait, Social Studies does that so reading could be a more fun way to expose someone to different cultures but in fictional novels, it doesn't necessarily give facts about the country and its details that you learn in history/social studies.
Summary: Literature is not important because it does not come in any Jobs and wastes time.

imabench

Pro

Literature: Written works, esp. those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit: "a great work of literature".

Its a little difficult what the con's argument is, i cant tell if he wants to argue that literature shouldnt be an obligatory class, or if it shouldnt be taught because its unneccessary, however the Con's summary rests on the idea that "Literature is not important because it does not come in any Jobs and wastes time." so Ill focus on that

In jobs, one who is a writer or an author whose job is to write literature, so not only does literature become relevant in the jobs market, it actually has created entire industries. Take the Illiad, written by the great Homer, the Illiad inspired the creation of the movie "Troy", a film that grossed just under half a BILLION dollars, and employed hundreds of people. A single piece of literature caused all of this and without it all those jobs and a blockbuster hit would be lost. Many other movies have also been inspired by literature works. Great works of literature inspire great industries and create loads of jobs, think about how many people have worked in these films inspired by novels,

Harry Potter
Twilight (which I hate)
The Green Mile
Charlotte's Web
The Notebook
The Chronicles of Narnia (which the newest one i didnt care for)
Lord of the Flies
Of Mice and Men
The Rise of the Planet of the Apes (based on the older movie, based off the literary work)
2001 a Space Odyssey
3:10 to Yuma (one of my favorite movies)
Goodfellas
Scarface
The Lord of the Rings
The Shawshank Redemption

Point is, literature is valuable to jobs because they can create entire industries and franchises, but literature can also come into plays in the jobs market in many other ways. Anyone who has ever had to write out a Resume for a job certainly would have a better chance of being employed if their Resume displayed a rather extraordinary amount of intelligence and sophistication. Literature also includes poetry and song writing which to say has had little impact on society would be an utter lie.

Quick side note, i'm pretty sure the Bible is considered literature so if people didnt study literature then the Bible would be far less important in society, along with the Qur'an and the Torah, so there goes the religions of about 2 to 3 billion people...

The other argument by the Con that literature "wastes time" but literature introduces us to a number of books that some of which is actually appealing to readers. I enjoyed reading Hamlet because of my Danish ancestry, I also enjoyed Of mice and men because it occurred during the Great Depression which my Great Grandfather always told me stories of. Literature can offer windows into the far or distant past that could directly relate to you and your relatives so that you may indeed learn valuable information about very relevant topics. Surely learning about life in the past cannot be considered "a waste of time"

To summarize, Literature is important because it does indeed come into play in jobs and literature being "a waste of time" is really a matter of opinion...
Debate Round No. 1
LaL36

Con

First of all, I would like to thank my opponent for taking the time to respond and I wish him luck. My opponent mentioned that one way literature is important is because it made movies. First of all I mentioned that being an author all it does is continue the chain of literature. He also mentioned many examples of movies that were based on books. Think of all hit movies that weren't based on books. The Godfather, Jaws, Rocky, and many more. And I don't think that one could say that movies like the ones my opponent previously listed couldn't have been made without literature. Another thing I would like to mention is that aside from the fact that literature makes movies and people make money, that doesn't answer the big question "Is literature important". I'm a guy who loves movies and honestly, I read a little bit too if I have free time, but never would I say this is necessary. From my opponents argument, I fail to see the difference between watching movies and reading besides for the book is more descriptive of course.
Writing a resume: I do not see how reading a book like Harry Potter will help someone write a resume.

Religious Books: I agree with you that they are definitely literature. But, this doesn't prove that literature is important rather the opposite. One who reads religious books such as Torah, Koran, Bible etc. has all the morals they need and me, as a religious Jew, feel that what is written in the Torah is more important than the way it is written and how sophisticated the vocabulay is in it. If you are a religious Christian who reads the Bible I am sure you would agree with me.

Wastes time: You mentioned that many books are appealing, I agree. Video games are appealing that isn't taken as an obligatory class. Ping pong is appealing there isn't an obligatory class on ping pong so once again using work time when you could work on more vocabulary, math etc. to do something that is "appealing" is, to me, a wasted of time. Also you mentioned that you liked Hamlet because of your danish ancestry. I don't know if you read for fun or at he intention of learning about the danish people. If it was the second one then you could learn that in history textbooks. You menioned you also enjoyed Mice and Men because of the Great Depression which you could also learn from history textbooks.
Sidenotes: 1)The only jobs you mentioned were ones that just continue the chain of literature no other jobs and I mentioned previously that I ratify that literature comes up in these jobs. 2) You didn't answer how does asking questions like "What is the author trying to infer important".
imabench

Pro

"I don't think that one could say that movies like the ones my opponent previously listed couldn't have been made without literature" - That is a complete opinion that is not based on any factual evidence whatsoever, many of the movies i listed above were based directly off of literary works and without those works these movies would never have come to fruition.

"Another thing I would like to mention is that aside from the fact that literature makes movies and people make money, that doesn't answer the big question "Is literature important" " - That all depends on what your definition of "important" is...

Important - of much or great significance or consequence
http://dictionary.reference.com...

Since Literature has directly conceived many movies that have gone on to set box office records, win awards, and sometimes just bring attention to a long overlooked part of the world in need of attention. Precious for example brought about attention to the difficulty of growing up in the ghetto of Harlem... These movies are very significant and consequential, and since they are based entirely off of literary works then those literary works themselves would have inspired such significance, making them important.

" I fail to see the difference between watching movies and reading besides for the book is more descriptive of course." - The difference is that the literary work inspired the making of the movie in the first place....

"I agree with you that they are definitely literature. But, this doesn't prove that literature is important "
- If my definition of important is accurate then I think that 3 works of Literature that has inspired the beliefs of over 2 billion people would qualify as significant.

"what is written in the Torah is more important than the way it is written and how sophisticated the vocabulay is in it"
- Another opinion really. The way the Torah is written could be just as important with the message it carries because the language of it has far more meaning in itself. Words can broadcast one message but literature allows for phrases to be interpreted in many different ways.

I would like to also introduce that the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are all also pieces of literature that are very important.

The Pro has conceded that literature can indeed be appealing which only helps my argument about how literature is not a waste of time. However literature is still taught in schools because it has more academic merit then say ping pong...

"you liked Hamlet because of your danish ancestry. I don't know if you read for fun or at he intention of learning about the danish people. If it was the second one then you could learn that in history textbooks"

1) I liked it for both reasons, 2) History textbooks only record events and when they happened, they never go into vivid detail of how the events transpired or the exchange made between people that is recorded in literature. Literature creates a far greater window through time that people can use to really see what happened in the past. In Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" you can actually see how superstitious the Romans were, how they lived their lives, how they interpreted events, and how they made decisions that would change history itself.

"You menioned you also enjoyed Mice and Men because of the Great Depression which you could also learn from history textbooks" - History textbooks dont tell you everything with all the details.... Find one school circulated history book that goes into great detail the events that took place in the life of Odysseus following the Trojan War that "The Odyssey" written by Homer does not compare to. Literature goes into far more detail about events than history books ever do...

As for your side notes:
1) Jobs that require extensive knowledge of Literature:
Politicians, Governors, Senators, Representatives, etc = literature includes the writing within the Constitution that is open to interpretation
Lawyers, Judges= literature includes state and federal laws of civil and criminal courts which a lawyer would need to know extensively about
Teachers = A literature teacher would certainly need to know extensively about literature in order to teach it.

2) "what is the author trying to infer" is a useful question asked to people for trying to find the deeper meaning in any situation, and this is the textbook example for trying to find subtle examples within text. In Romeo and Juliet for example if a reader is asked what is the author trying to infer behind Juliet's words "O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name;" then they would look for messages within the text. in the phrase "deny thy father and refuse thy name" what the author is inferring is that Juliet wishes for Romeo to forsake his last name (Montague) because Juliet (a Capulet) come from sparring families and his last name is the biggest reason why they cannot be a happy open couple. Their last names are keeping them apart and Juliet wants to put Romeo's love for her to the test by wishing for him to choose between his own ancestors and herself to learn if their love for each other is as strong as she believes it to be.
Debate Round No. 2
LaL36

Con

"many of the movies i listed above were based directly off of literary works and without those works these movies would never have come to fruition."

My point wasn't to say that Harry Potter would have been made without literature. I'm saying that movies as good as Harry Potter would still exist.

"That all depends on what your definition of "important" is..." I don't mean money. I am saying that has it actually contributed to society aside from money.

"Precious for example brought about attention to the difficulty of growing up in the ghetto of Harlem..."

Couldn't it be possible that person could've just made a movie on it? If someone feels that the world should know about the diffficulty of growing up in Harlem, He could produce a film with no need for the book.

"The difference is that the literary work inspired the making of the movie in the first place...."

That doesn't explain the difference at all.

"The way the Torah is written could be just as important with the message it carries because the language of it has far more meaning in itself."

Okay, so someone who reads the Torah, Bible, Koran etc. How do they need other literature?

"I would like to also introduce that the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are all also pieces of literature that are very important."

My appologies, I meant fictional literature. I am talking about stories that never happened. Even a book on someone's reflections I feel isn't very necessary but it serves a much bigger purpose than fictional literature.

"it has more academic merit then say ping pong..."

such as....

"they never go into vivid detail"

Again, is this necessary?

"how the events transpired or the exchange made between people that is recorded in literature."

I would say that history books do say how it is transpired because my history teacher always said "these are the three main things you need to know about the history of anything: 1)What happened 2)When it happened 3) HOW it happened. For the exchange it made between could be found in non-fictional literature more than fictional.

"you can actually see how superstitious the Romans were... how they interpreted events"

And the fact that the Roman habit of interpreting natural phenomena as signs from the beyond isn't enough for you to see how superstitious they were?

"how they lived their lives"

The fact that Romans enjoyed the spectacle isn't enough for you to see or the fact that they would take a trip to temples every day?

"how they made decisions that would change history itself."

The fact that the Romans created writing stuff down isn't enough?

"literature includes the writing"

How does fictional literature help writing for a polititian, governor, etc.?

"literature includes state and federal laws of civil and criminal courts which a lawyer would need to know extensively about"

They need to know law, not literature. Knowing what the author is trying to tell us is not going to help anyone become a lawyer or a judge.

"A literature teacher"

Okay I will say it a third time and quote what I previously stated twice. "Now most of you are probably thinking a literature teacher and an author both need literature but both of those Jobs are ones that continue the chain of literature. Furthermore, I haven't found one other job where literature comes up." Oh, and because I am quoting from my first argument I would like for you to answer this "At any point of your jobs, do you read fictional books or are asked "What is the author trying to infer?" I really mean any Job (ASIDE FROM AUTHOR OR LITERATURE TEACHER!!!!).

Sidenote 2)
You didn't answer it at all. You only provided an example. When does it come up in life? Give me an example for support. Someone who claimed that literature is important for writing (for politicians) should know that good persuasive writing should have support.





imabench

Pro

1) It doesnt matter if movies just as good would still exist, it is an undeniable fact though that without these literature works certain blockbuster hits would never have seen the big screen, and that is a contribution to society nonetheless.

2) Apart from making money these literature based movies have been directly responsible to many jobs created and cultural classics as well...

3) Yeah but which would you honestly go to see, a documentary or a moving, emotional, literature based tale of growing up in such wretched conditions? Literature opens up a human window into parts of the world where the person can see a first person view of what goes on there, documentaries only show the conditions of the area in question but you are still observing them, not living them.

4) Thats just your opinion, there could be many ways that literature differs from movies based off them (one of which you actually mentioned, the level of detail), you cannot just dismiss them unless you have proof that literature does NOT inspire movies based off the literature...

5) "Okay, so someone who reads the Torah, Bible, Koran etc. How do they need other literature?"
If they want to learn about anything other than religion than "other" literature would come in handy

6) "My appologies, I meant fictional literature. I am talking about stories that never happened."
I know your new here but you cannot change the resolution halfway through the debate. Fictional literature and real-life literature still count as important literature...

7) If you really want me to explain how reading classics like "Of Mice and Men" or "To Kill a Mocking Bird" have more academic merit than playing ping pong then I have severely underestimated how seriously you take this site since you ask the stupidest questions to try to reinforce your arguments....

8) "Is this necessary" (more lame questions) yes its necessary if you want to learn more about the time period in question.

9) So you've read history books about how the end of each and every last great work of literature has ended? tell me, in which chapter of your US History Textbook told how "Of Mice and Men" ended?

10) nope :)

11) see answer to #10

12) "How does fictional literature help writing for a polititian, governor, etc.?"
The Constitution and laws of the US isnt fictional literature....

13) They need to know both the laws themselves and the literature of the laws so that the laws themselves can be interpreted and possibly twisted by lawyers and judges to protect clients or to justofy a court ruling...

14) " I really mean any Job (ASIDE FROM AUTHOR OR LITERATURE TEACHER!!!!)."
I like how you only go on a rant about me mentioning Literature teachers yet completely ignore how I have already shown that literature is needed for careers as Governors, Representatives, Senators, Lawyers, Judges, Poets, Authors, Song writers, screenwriters, historians, etc...

Sidenote: "When does it come up in life?"
If history gives you the actual undeniable truth, then literature in its equivalence gives the spiritual truth, the insight to find truth within your own lives. Literature can help you cope with death of a loved one or even of yourself better than any history book. History books cant teach you a thing about love or the nature of feelings but certain works of Literature certainly do. Literature teaches people about how to cope with the natures of pain, suffering, emotions, differences among people, etc more than any of your beloved history books ever could....
Debate Round No. 3
LaL36

Con

3) What one would rather see is irrelevant if fictional literature has contributed to society. Also, I think movies do the same thing that literature does. Entertainment and morals. 4)"there could be many ways that literature differs from movies based off them" such as... 6) How does fictional literature come in handy? 8) Do you need to know more about the time period? 9) I don't think I understand your point. I think you're saying without literature I wouldn't know the ending of books such as Mice and Men. 10) Why not you can see how superstious they were 12) Exactly my point so fictional literature wouldn't come up in a job like that. 13) How does fictional literature come up? The reason why I am stressing with fictional literature is because that is what is usually read in schools. sidenote: You know what teaches you to deal with pain? Pain! Not stories of pain. If you continue to read about pain and never experience it you will never know how to deal with it. Experiencing those scenarios will help you deal with it not reading about stories about them.
imabench

Pro

1) dropped

2) dropped

3) "What one would rather see is irrelevant if fictional literature has contributed to society" but it cannot be denied that literature did indeed contribute to society

4) Literature differs from movies because in literature you can learn what characters are actually thinking, you can better understand the detail of people, the surroundings, subtle messages told within the story not explicitly brought out in the movie. You can also better understand the background of each character, any character flaws, etc that can be easily overlooked when watching movies.

5) dropped

6) Fictional literature can still contain elements of the real world and human emotion within them despite the fact that it is indeed fictional, therefore fictional literature can be useful because it can still bring realization about events in your own life and possibly offer a path to how to react to such events in the best fashion.

7) dropped

8) I want to, yes , si, *nods head*, do you need me to be any more clear?

9) You have through this entire debate dismissed literature completely by arguing that anything you want to know about the time period or history within the literature novel could easily be replaced with what you can read in your beloved history books. So I asked you that if history books cover the time period just as well as any literature book, then why is it that in every history book in circulation in schools does it not give the conclusion to literature works like you claim they do.

" You menioned you also enjoyed Mice and Men because of the Great Depression which you could also learn from history textbooks."

So answer this question even though I know you cant, in which history book did you read did it tell about the Great Depression better than in Mice and Men and also told about how it ended?

10) Knowing the simple fact that they were superstitious compared to seeing a first hand account of just how superstitious they were adds impact to the fact. Knowing someone is happy that their are pregnant for example does not compare to seeing the actual person face to face and noticing how they are always smiling, glowing, thrilled, etc. there's a difference between knowing the fact and seeing the details firsthand.

11) dropped

12) Fictional literature could offer insight and ideas for politicians and lawyers to try to apply laws to different parts of people's lives. Fictional literature can be just as inspirational or creative as actual literature.

13) Fictional literature can be inspirational, offer new creative ways to solve problems, etc. ever have a problem where one insane friend of yours offered a crazy hair-brained solution to it that you thought would never work......... but then it did? same thing could apply to fictional literature and lawmakers....

Sidenote: "Experiencing those scenarios will help you deal with it not reading about stories about them."
Now isnt that the most opinionated statement ever uttered in this entire debate.... tell me Pro, you probably have never read the book "Desert Flower" but ill break it down for you to the basics. Its about a Somali girl dealing with her genital mutilation by her father who runs away from her home searching for truth.

Now when you said "experience helps you deal with it, not reading about it", tell me Pro, when was the last time you had to deal with your genitals being mutilated? Would reading about genital mutilation still have an impact on how you would deal with? Experiencing it first hand would be far more emotional but reading about it would still have an impact on your perception over the matter, and that cannot be denied...
Debate Round No. 4
LaL36

Con

10) By reading a book you still are actually seeing the person "Happy that they are pregnant" 12) Many books of fictional literature doesn't mentione law. So I don't see how fictional literature could help them "Apply laws" Sidenote: You should probably know by now that I am the Con. You did make a good point but in my opinion this is spritual benefit not academic benefit which I feel is not the school's job to teach kids spiritual stuff. I would like to thank my opponet for participating in my first debate here. One more thing: My opponent mentioned a few times that lawyers would benefit from literature. Guess what, I'm a lawyer and I don't feel literature helped.

Peace.

imabench

Pro

1) Con has forfeited that literature is important because it plays a key role in the movie making industry
2) Con forfeits that many blockbuster movies exist today because of literature
3) Con has forfeited how literature can provide more insight or a deeper look into areas of conflict than a regular documentary
4) Con has forfeited that literature has many key differences then the movies they are based off of
5) Con has forfeited that literature such as the Bible, The Torah, the Constitution, etc are indeed important
6) Con has forfeited that learning literature has academic merit
7) Con has forfeited how literature works provide a far greater amount of detail of specific events then any regular history book ever could
8) Con has forfeited that literature plays a part in many jobs
9) Con has forfeited that literature can provide spiritual truths to readers that history and science books cannot
10) Con has forfeited that simply knowing the fact about something through a history book and seeing it firsthand in a literature book have a great difference in impact
11) Con has forfeited how literature is not a waste of time

"Guess what, I'm a lawyer and I don't feel literature helped. "
Guess what, you lost the debate.....

I thank the Con for an interesting debate and the voters for reading :)
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by 9spaceking 2 months ago
9spaceking
I can't believe imabench didn't troll this one...
Posted by imabench 2 years ago
imabench
"Con's specific arguments were not refuted."
1) which ones did i miss?
2) he dropped almost every argument i made
Posted by wiploc 2 years ago
wiploc
I'm not disputing your vote, Roy, only disagreeing with what you see as the scope of the resolution. If somebody who reads the debate wants to vote for Pro because he thinks Pro established that literature has non-job-related importance, then I think that's legit. I don't think it is outside the scope of the resolution.
Posted by RoyLatham 2 years ago
RoyLatham
wiploc, Consider, "Advances in modern medicine are important." Of course they are important, because millions of people would have died without them. So, does it follow that there should be a required course in modern medicine for graduation from high school? I think clearly not. How about agriculture? Wars have been fought over food shortages.

I think the case for teaching literature is a good one, but it's subtle. It has to do with having a common body of stories as a basis for communicating within society. I don't think Con made the case. (1) and (2) are good arguments that Con did not overcome. (3) can be overcome, but Con just alluded to the counter arguments rather than making the case.
Posted by wiploc 2 years ago
wiploc
Roy wrote:
: Con's opening argument made it clear the resolution meant "important for most people pursing a
: career."

I think his claim is this: Resolved: Literature isn't important enough to warrant a required class.

He has three sub-arguments:

1. Knowing literature doesn't help your career (aside from careers like teaching literature).

2. If you didn't have to take literature, you could take some more beneficial class, like composition, which might teach them to make sentences and paragraphs, and to know the difference between "infer" and "imply."

3. Knowing literature doesn't significantly help our cultural knowledge, because we learned most of that stuff in Social Studies.

Con should be able to win by giving any good reason that literature class is important enough to require students to take it.

Con could have won by mentioning _Uncle Tom's Cabin_, by "The little lady who caused the big war." Or by mentioning that there might not be any Christians if the bible wasn't of high literary quality. Or by pointing to culture-changing literary astonishments, like _Common Sense_ by Thomas Paine (which won adherents for the rebel cause), "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazurus (which persuaded people that allowing immigration was a good thing, or that thing by that guy that comes down to us as, "No taxation without representation" (which undermined British energy to pursue the war by creating the indelible realization that the colonists had right on their side).
Posted by RoyLatham 2 years ago
RoyLatham
Literature is important for cultural literacy. Common knowledge of literature facilitates communication in a society. Literature also teaches useful concepts that are difficult to teach solely by non-fiction.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 2 years ago
RoyLatham
LaL36imabenchTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I think the Pro position is correct, but Pro didn't make the case. Con's opening argument made it clear the resolution meant "important for most people pursing a career." Pro's argument was too narrow. Of course literature is important for screenwriters, but that's like arguing that cooking is important for chefs. True, but it doesn't imply general importance. Con's specific arguments were not refuted.
Vote Placed by wiploc 2 years ago
wiploc
LaL36imabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro was more convincing. Pro gets the S
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 2 years ago
InVinoVeritas
LaL36imabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: "LaL36 the lawyer"'s case really dies down toward the end.
Vote Placed by vmpire321 2 years ago
vmpire321
LaL36imabenchTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: CON conceded and dropped a lot of PRO's points.