The Instigator
jc496
Con (against)
Losing
53 Points
The Contender
Nicholas_Covington
Pro (for)
Winning
127 Points

It is unlikely that God exists

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/27/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 11,440 times Debate No: 11565
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (81)
Votes (31)

 

jc496

Con

Ordered Complexity

Seeing that you have already bested someone already on the matter of the existence of God, I would like to take up the argument that it is likely that God exists. First of all, I would like to say that I agree that a TV requires an explanation, in terms of "ordered complexity". We see that the parts of a television are ordered in order to carry out a certain function. The explanation is that someone, or some company built that machine, for a certain function, which is to entertain the watcher. We cannot assume, however, that the TV was formed by accident, that it formed naturally over millions of years. That would be a poor explanation. In the same way, humans fall under the category of ordered complexity. And, we must have an explanation. A logical explanation would be that someone created humans. A poor explanation would be that we were formed by evolution, evolving over millions of years.

An explanation outside of the creation

If I were to look at my computer, looked inside of it, analyzed all of the data, I would learn a lot about that computer. However, the explanation for the origin of the computer would not be inside of it. It would be outside of it, pointing to some outside intelligent being; the manufacturer. In the same way, the explanation of the existence of human beings would not be within our selves, but would point towards some outward being; God.

God and ordered complexity

I also object to the statement that God falls under the category of "ordered complexity". We, as humans, are subject to things, such as time, the laws of nature, etc. However, it is possible that some greater being would be outside of time; outside of the laws of nature. Infinitely complex, and incomprehensible. There is no explanation on why God was there. He just exists. Anyways, the fact that I cannot explain the origin of God, is nothing, compared to evolutionists and atheists not able to explain the existence of matter, energy, space, time, the laws of nature, etc. I say that God exists, and created the world around us. To me, that is the most logical explanation.
Nicholas_Covington

Pro

Hi JC, Just to let you know, the numbers in parentheses are references. I will post the references in the comment section shortly.

I agree that something of "ordered complexity" is highly unlikely to form by "accident". However, natural selection is a far cry from an "accident" or mere chance. Here's an example of natural selection: It was noticed that Populations of mice that live on dark, volcanic rock tend to be dark, simply because they blend in with their environment. Lightly colored mice are easily spotted against the dark backround by birds and other predators, and so they have a lower chance of survival. Since more dark colored mice survive, the next generation will have a higher percentage of dark colored mice because there are more dark mice making babies. Since the genetic variation which causes a dark colored coat will likely be passed on to most or all of the dark mices' offspring, more dark mice will exist. So the environment determines (or selects for) the characteristics of a species based on what characteristics allow a greater chance of survival.(1) So as you can see, this process is not chance. The genetic variations that allow individuals a better chance of survival and reproduction are the ones that become most common because individuals with good genetic variations are the ones surviving and reproducing.

Perhaps the colored mice example seems trivial. That's OK, because I was only using it as a simple example of how evolution works. There are many more examples of very complex, new traits evolving before scientists eyes in the laboratory and in the wild(2), not to mention plausible explanations of the evolution of the eye, to name one example.(3)

You seem to contradict yourself when you say that God does not fall under the category of "ordered complexity" but also that he is infinitely complex. Wouldn't the mind of God be extremely orderly as well as complex? If so, then he is a being of ordered complexity.

I suppose it is *possible* that such a being could exist without explanation. Then again, ordered complexity is extremely unlikely to exist without an explanation, therefore making God unlikely.

Now, you seem to think that the laws of nature, energy, space, etc. must have an explanation. I don't agree. These things don't seem to possess the characteristic of orderly complexity, and therefore they would not be unlikely to exist without an explanation.

If there is a completely good, all knowing, and all powerful being (God) then the world will not contain vast evil. A good being always removes as much evil as it can, that it knows about. An all powerful being could remove all evil. An all knowing being would know about all evils. Therefore God would remove all evil. But evil exists. Therefore, God does not. I don't claim this argument undoubtable,I only claim that its premises are more plausible than their contradictories, and that it is therefore a good argument which counts strongly against God.
Debate Round No. 1
jc496

Con

Natural Selection

I agree that natural selection does exist. However, all we can say about it , is that it selects. It does not create. Natural selection is like quality control. In a factory where cars are produced, the cars that cannot function as well as the other cars, are taken away. There may be some changes, but how long would it take for the cars to turn into airplanes? It wouldn't happen. It is true that the dark colored mice would have a better chance of surviving, and that the majority of mice offspring will be dark. However, that does not explain how they evolved from another animal. Micro evolution, variation among the kinds is proven by science. Macro evolution, when different kinds of animals evolve into others, is not proven by science. Darwin noticed that in the Galapagos islands, that finch beak sizes would change over time. That was a good observation. Darwin then decided that all finches had a common ancestor. That was a good inference; it was a bird. But then, in his book, The Origin of Species, he decided that finches and bananas share a common ancestor, by stating that all organisms share a common ancestor. That was a bad inference. Natural Selection cannot prove that evolution is true, much less that there is no God.

The Existence of Evil

You have stated that the existence of Evil proves that there is no God. The act that there is good and evil, proves that there is some sort of moral standard, or moral law. Th fact that there is a moral law leads to the belief that there is a moral law-giver, or God. Anyways, the existence of evil does not mean that there is no God. If God were to give humans free will, it would be only reasonable that there is evil. This problem leads to the belief of a judgment of our actions.

As for the statement that God needs an explanation, the fact that we cannot find an explanation, does not mean that God does not exist. A complex creation points to a creator. In the same way, the fact that my television exists, proves that an intelligent designer, or manufacturer also exists. Information must be created. That is why I believe that it is very likely that a God does exist.
Nicholas_Covington

Pro

You are somewhat correct in stating that natural selection is like quality control. And you are also correct that natural selection, ALL BY ITSELF, will not create anything new. But you forget about mutations, which are changes in the genetic code. Those provide the raw material for selection to act on. Selection and Mutation IN CONCERT are what creates new things. In my references to my opening statement I provided several observed examples of this happening, but Con ignored and did not respond to them.

You stated that macroevolution is not proven by science. This is blatantly false. Numerous fossils as well as information from genetics, biogeography,and anatomy show that all animals have a common ancestor and have evolved over millions of years(1). Macroevolution is proven because it is the best explanation for so many phenomena in nature and because it makes falsifiable predictions which have held up.

Good and evil proves a moral standard. Sure. But you call this a moral law and say that it needs a lawgiver. No. Just because you call something a law does not mean that it is like a congress-passed law and must be explained by a "law-giver". i.e. the law of identity: things are what they are and are not what they are not. This is called a "law" and yet it obviously doesn't need a law-giver. It is self-evident and we can intuit that it could never not be true.

You say that if God were to give us free will it would "only make sense" that there would be some evil. I disagree. The actions of human beings are determined by what they can do, their knowledge of the options available to them, and by their desires.Humans choose the option that they believe will best fulfill their desires. I find this view so sensible and intuitive thatI don't think it needs defending. If that view is correct, then God could have created humans with pure desires, thereby determining that their choices would always be good and evil would not exist. But all humans don't have pure desires, therefore God does not exist.

You say that just because we can't explain God does not mean that he does not exist. True. But it does not erase the argument I've given that shows that the existence of God is initially improbable, and so one needs extremely strong evidence to show that God exists(2). You say that a complex creation points to a creator, but you don't seem to realize that you are using circular reasoning by calling the universe a "creation" when the very issue at hand is whether or not it was created! Maybe you didn't mean to use circular reasoning. Maybe you just meant that complexity requires an explanation. But if that is true then God would require an explanation because he is complex. But since God cannot have an explanation (God-by definition-cannot have been created or evolved) then he is unlikely to exist for the same reason that you think a complex universe is unlikely to exist without God.
Debate Round No. 2
jc496

Con

Mutations

You have stated that "mutations are the raw materials that selection acts on". I disagree. In my opinion, most, if not all genetic mutations, have negative consequences. For an example, it is noted that bacteria can become immune to antibiotics(1). However, when the antibiotic resistant bacteria is mixed back in with other bacteria, it quickly disappears. It cannot survive as well as other bacteria. Although it would be true that if the resistant bacteria would survive antibiotics while other bacteria wouldn't, the resistant bacteria would still be handicapped, and would not be able to survive long after that. For an example, let's say there was an armless man, in a population of people with arms. If people were to come and handcuff half the people there, the armless man could not be handcuffed, so he is neglected. It would be good for the moment, but later on, he would still be handicapped.
Also, a good example would be fruit flies. Fruit flies have a very short life span, so change from one generation to the next can be quickly observed. In fact, fruit fly generations have been studied longer than the presumed time that man has lived on the earth, which is a little over a million years, according to evolution. Scientists have used X rays to speed up the mutation rate of fruit flies. However, after years and years of research, and seeing 400 different kinds of mutations, fruit flies always remain fruit flies(2). Richard Goldschmidt himself fell into despair, realizing that the changes were so hopelessly small, and if a thousand mutations were combined in one specimen, there would still be no new species(3). Anyways, all of the mutations seen in fruit flies were negative. Four winged fruit flies, for an example, lost the ability to really fly, and can only survive in laboratories. Mutations, for the most part, are a loss of information, not an increase. You have left a link to an article stating that there was a mutation that allowed people to digest milk even through adulthood. So what? I doubt that this mutation would have enabled them to survive, and others to not. Despite the many theories, it would be better to find some real, observable, scientific evidence proving that mutations are always helpful in the long run..

Fossil Evidence

As for the " fossil evidence" for macro evolution, I would like to see some real evidence for that. Much of the "evidence" is flawed. For an example, the Cambrian Explosion, which turns Darwin's tree of life upside down, is never explained. Scientists also say that whales evolved from other animals. Scientists say that Pakicetus was a transition from whales to land-walking mammals. All that they found of Pakicetus was a bit of the skull. The legs and arms that scientists say Pakicetus had, were of pure imagination. Ambulocetus, another "transition" was said to be a whale-like animal. Yet, all the crucial pieces were missing. I will speak more about the flaws in the "fossil evidence" later.
Nicholas_Covington

Pro

You mentioned that antibiotic resistance in bacteria can have its drawbacks. My question: So what? Nearly any evolutionary change is going to be good in some environments and bad in others. The evolution of legs in early amphibians was beneficial for their new lifestyle of walking on land. But for a more aquatic lifestyle, legs would be useless.

You ignored all of the studies that I cited that showed that new species had been observed evolving and that beneficial "information increasing" evolution has been directly observed. I believe that if you do not answer these, you deserve to lose this debate.

You mentioned the Cambrian Explosion as unexplained. This is false(1). You said that all that was found of Pakicetus was a bit of a skull. This too is false, since more recent discoveries have turned up a near-complete skeleton of pakicetus(2). The article you cite in the comment section on Ambulocetus is full of error(3).

But in discussing evolution we have gone off on a tangent. You STILL have not sufficiently responded to my argument from evil or my argument from complexity against the existence of God.

Overall, you've railroaded a debate about God into the subject of evolution, which ISN'T what we were originally supposed to debate, and in debating evolution, you've shown that you haven't done any serious research since you're parroting arguments from jailbird "Doctor" Hovind and have not cited any peer-reviewed articles, recognized Biology textbooks or reputable educational websites in doing so. In short: you haven't even earned enough knowledge to discuss evolution intelligently. Sorry to be so harsh, but that is the truth.

References

1. http://www.talkorigins.org...

2. J. G. M. Thewissen, E. M. Williams, L. J. Roe & S. T. Hussain, "Skeletons of terrestrial cetaceans and the relationship ofwhales to artiodactyls" Nature Vol. 413 (2001). Accessed at:
http://www.thisviewoflife.org...

3. http://aigbusted.blogspot.com...
Debate Round No. 3
jc496

Con

Addressing Accusations

I understand what you have said about my switching the topic of this debate into some sort of debate about evolution. That was not my original intent, but I find that I was a bit carried away. I object to your accusation that I'm just parroting things that Kent Hovind has said. I liked his view of natural selection as quality control. I also learned about Pakicetus and Ambulocetus from him. However, I did not use that many of his arguments in this debate. Also, you have said that I have not obtained enough knowledge to debate on the matter, by not citing any "recognized biology textbooks", or "reputable" educational websites. I take it that all of these "recognized" or "reputable" sources, as you define them, are all under the perspective that evolution is true. I have cited sources from the creationist perspective. What is wrong with that? If you find any flaws, bring them to light.That is what a debate is for. I am under the impression that any source I happen to cite, you will write off as outdated, or false, simply because of the creationist perspective.

Ordered Complexity

As you have stated previously, "Wouldn't the mind of God be extremely orderly as well as complex? If so, then he is a being of ordered complexity." Why do you say that the mind of a God would be "orderly"? The dictionary definition of orderly would be "arranged or disposed in a neat, tidy manner or in a regular sequence"(1). You seem to be saying that the mind of God would be arranged in a "neat" manner, or in a regular sequence. I would disagree. You have said that my statement, that the mind of God would be infinitely complex, but is not orderly complex, is a contradiction. That is not true. An orderly complex mind would be possible to understand, and possible to comprehend. A television would fall under the category of ordered complexity. We can understand a television, its parts, and its function. However, the mind of God, if he exists, would not fall under that category. I think it is you, who are making the contradictions.

The Problem of Evil

I presume that you would understand that a "good" God would also be just; perfect. As you have stated, "An all powerful being could remove all evil. An all knowing being would know about all evils." I would agree. However, the point is how he is doing so. It is quite difficult to get into this matter, without getting into specific religions. But, I think that an all powerful being could get rid of all evil by administering perfect justice. A perfect, all knowing God, would be infinitely righteous/holy. Now, anyone who transgresses before such a God, would be subject to a perfect judgment. One can escape a perfect judgment, by being perfectly righteous. Now, that being impossible, is the reason why redemption might be offered. I wish I had more space to argue about some of the articles you have cited. I will try next round.

(As for your last statement, you don't have to be sorry)
Nicholas_Covington

Pro

I don't know how you got the impression that I would "write off" all creationist material as false simply because it is creationist. I cited articles explaining just why those creationist articles were false. When I say that something is "reputable" I mean that it comes from the kind of source that a majority of practicing scientists would trust. Peer-reviewed articles fall under this category, and so do textbooks that are used by accredited universities. Websites may not fall under this category because people who have never done experiments and no qualifications can make websites, and there is no assurance that what they write will be true or well-researched. A majority of scientists would not simply trust something off any old website because they know that quacks and cranks exist who write without knowing what they are talking about.

When I say that the mind of God would be "orderly" I suppose that's more of a metaphor than anything else. I'm saying that an intelligent and coherent mind would have to work in a regular way and that it would have to consistently process information in a regular way.

You say that "An orderly complex mind would be possible to understand, and possible to comprehend". How do justify adding that to my definition? By your definition, who is it that must be able to understand something before we can say it possesses ordered complexity? Is it you personally? Well, what if you had been born with an IQ of 60 and did not have the ability to understand how a TV worked. Would it then not possess ordered complexity just because you didn't understand it?

You also say that God could get rid of evil by administering perfect justice. I guess I agree, but if God exists, then why isn't he doing so? And why didn't God create all people with prefect desires so that they would always choose good actions?
Debate Round No. 4
jc496

Con

The existence of evil

Well, according to certain religions, such as Christianity, it is believed that we originally had perfect desires, until sin comes in, but that's a different matter. You asked that if God exists, why he isn't administering perfect justice. I suppose that might be to give mankind a second chance. After all, perfect justice can be quite frightening, if you think about it.

Ordered Complexity

As for your question, if someone did not understand how a television works, if it would remain under ordered complexity. My answer would be that it still would. However, I think you've missed my point. You are assuming that God, if he exists, would pertain to a regular sequence or regular way of processing information. I would disagree. What I meant by God being incomprehensible, was that he would not be like us; his mind would not follow a regular process, or sequence, as ours do. I don't think that the argument for ordered complexity would hold true, when trying to prove that there is no God.

Closing Comments

I would like to thank my opponent for accepting my challenge for this debate. This being my first, I've had fun, and learned a lot from this experience. To sum up, I believe that there is a God, who created mankind. I believe that all logic points toward it. I understand that it would be difficult for an atheist to accept that, just as it would be for a christian to accept atheism. However, I believe that the only way to get anywhere, would be to push back all bias, and to see which side really makes sense. Again, I thank my opponent for accepting this debate, and anyone who's taken the time to look through it. Thank you.
Nicholas_Covington

Pro

"[According to Christianity] we originally had perfect desires, until sin comes in…"

But if our actions are determined by our desires, knowledge, and abilities, as I have argued, then human beings would not sin because their desires would be good and therefore so would their choices.

I also disagree with JC's assertion that the mind of God would not have to process information in a regular way. He doesn't really defend this assertion. It seems incomprehensible to me that a rational and coherent mind (as God's would be, if he is sane, rational, and so on) would not work in a regular way. Computers, calculators, humans, and every other rational thing we know of does so by working in a regular way. Things that don't work in a regular way, are, to my knowledge, always disorderly. So JC's assertion doesn't really stand up.

Overall, I don't think JC defeated my argument from evil or my argument from ordered complexity against the existence of God. Furthermore, I think his arguments against evolution were weak, cited poor sources, and were soundly refuted by material I cited in the comments. This debate has been a slam dunk for my side.

I hope my opponent and all those reading our debate have enjoyed this, and I thank him for the opportunity. [END]
Debate Round No. 5
81 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by jc496 5 years ago
jc496
Oh snap... been a year already... good fun :)
Posted by Doulos1202 6 years ago
Doulos1202
natural selection being a loss of information does not answer the question where does information fome from?
Posted by Shtookah 6 years ago
Shtookah
How do you know its a he?? O.o?!?!?!

(Alien sound)
Posted by LD_Freak 6 years ago
LD_Freak
Excuse me, I agree with con's first point. BTW, God cannot be proven to exist, and neither can you prove his nonexistence.
Posted by LD_Freak 6 years ago
LD_Freak
I found this a good, valid debate on the origin of man. I agree with Pro's first point. If we evolved over millions of years into what we are now, why didn't any of the other animals evolve to become sentient? Is it possible that, out of millions of species on earth, over millions of years, only one actually became sentient?
Posted by skepthinker 6 years ago
skepthinker
@Galiban
Thank you for you response Galiban. I think we have many points to debate and discuss, but I think we do the comments section injustice by carrying it on here. I have sent you debate challenge on the topic and I hope you accept.
Posted by Galiban 6 years ago
Galiban
@Skepthinker,
To your concluding thoughts, I will not respond as they were resting on previous arguments that hopefully were addressed below.
I realize I was far more brief than you were.
I may be far more productive to focus on one point.
Also I was not addressing evolution in the original post, but the creation of everything as a concept from a naturalistic worldview (I realize the foundation is evolution but evolution in no way negates design arguments)

Thank you very much for the discussion sir!
Posted by Galiban 6 years ago
Galiban
@skepthinker.
--"Now, moving away from technicalities of logic and observation, lets look at the case more generally"--
--"The only way that an outside force to create them would be if one assumes that they are or must be created (a priori assumption not derived from the context or situation)."--
All of your statements here belie the fact there is a claim in history from the creator or from his people.
The burden of proof still rests on an atheistic viewpoint due to these reasons (the but comes after):
If the universe were created by an Intelligent Designer then we would expect to see;
-Cosmos Beginning (science has confirmed this)
-Stable Universal Laws (empiricism confirms this)
-Patterns to everything (empiricism confirms this)
-Unnatural Laws would exist, laws that govern an existence transcendent to our own (conceptual -Mathematics propose this)
-Metaphysical concepts would exist - common ground between creator and the created (rational thinking confirms this).

You combine the above facts or even ignore those facts you must still deal with the claims of a creator in all of history. To divorce all of those claims from the circumstances of existence is to do damage to a fully formed rationale.

Example
Supernaturalism proponents will recognize
10 out 10 possibilities.
Naturalistic will recognize
6 out of 10 possibilities.

The naturalistic viewpoint will always potentially be in error. The Supernaturalist will look at all possibilities thus if those possibilities however implausible turn out to be true the naturalist will never know.
Common sense should indicate that anything possible should be looked at.
In light of a claim of a creator supernaturalism becomes equally plausible.
Posted by Galiban 6 years ago
Galiban
As to the logical fallacy:

I stated that to invalidate the premise 1 you need only provide a list of uncaused things. I found in your response you pointing to energy?
You state I have a presupposition in that all things are caused. I stated to you the burden of proof rests on you to prove that all things are not uncaused when most everything we can point to around us has a cause for its being.
You have an immediate problem with your position and the burden of proof rests on you.

Take energy, all forms except the originating form of energy has a cause for its existence. We just do not know the source of the original form of energy. That is where Cosmology comes in for that original source. You stand on very shaky ground if you want to go with energy.

As to the logical flow:
You ignored the previous concepts in the rationale and then rejected it outright. That seems you missed the previous concept. I quote you below:
---""However, if we hold to the same reasoning and logic we would also have to say:

Premise 1: God is perfect (seemingly) or close to, complex, and organized (he is of a set form and not random chaos may or may not exist at a time).
Premise 2: Such things in experience are best explained by a creator.
Conclusion: The explanation for the existence of God is Alpha-God as the creator. (Repeat Ad Infinitum)

If, however, you assume the existence of God was without cause despite the qualities, couldn't we have the easier explanation of our world as simply existing without cause with the same logic? ""---

Premise 1: Nothing in the Natural realm is anywhere near likely to be uncaused. (burden of proof is on the contrary position)
Premise 2: God is not defined as natural.
Conclusion: therefore he is not under the same constraints.

Perhaps that was not clearly being linked to your previous post resulting in your erred response. Hopefully this is more clear.
Posted by Galiban 6 years ago
Galiban
@skepthinker,
Concerning evolution.
I feel you do concede to the necessity of a pattern that governs even the evolutionary model. The continued "guardrails" which you cite to show a non random model points to the conceptual evidence of every human minding needing to see a control and explanation for the obvious pattern.
However pointing to a possible governing but unproven channel of guardrails within an evolutionary model does not do anything to validate that process.
I will not argue evolution as most here do not have a clear enough understanding of it.
You show this by pointing to the fact.
Intelligent Design and Biblical authority have a model that is exactly as you explained it is is entirely plausible.
It is called super Micro Evolution or Super Evolution.
It is natural selection placing the guardrails of environmental pressure to change each of the species to their current forms within 4,000 years.

None of these models has a plausible empirical revelatory process yet and each remains in the realm of speculative science which is not real science.
All models of ID and Evolution have made predictions and have been found to be accurate.

So I will not pursue that one further as it is largely irrelevant.
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