The Instigator
TheSkeptic
Pro (for)
Winning
30 Points
The Contender
bthr004
Con (against)
Losing
29 Points

Macroevolution is a Scientifically Correct Explanation for the Diversity of Life on Earth.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/8/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,378 times Debate No: 5667
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (9)

 

TheSkeptic

Pro

I've started a couple of debates that cover subtopics of the Evolution vs. Creationism "controversy". It comes up often in such debates that Creationists will tote Microevolution is scientifically backed up, while Macroevolution isn't. They state that speciation isn't possible, and thus evolution can not be true. The intent of this debate is to show whether or not Macroevolution is grounded and proven with science.

*Contentions*

1. Transitional Fossils.

2. Comparative Anatomy.

That's all I will say for now, I'll let my opponent have the first say.
bthr004

Con

Thank you to my opponent for an interesting "angle" to a popular debate.

The resolution is certainly vague, in other words, I, as con, must not support the stance that "Macroevolution is a Scientifically Correct Explanation for the Diversity of Life on Earth."

I could do this in different ways, denying the "correctness" of macroevolution; I could deny that the theories supporting macroevolution do not go far enough to explain the diversity of life as concrete proof.

If it is alright with my opponent, I will now provide the definitions of macroevolution, as well as some other important terms to be used, as I see them. I will try to respect my opponents "angle" and remain in the boundaries of this particular charge, and not go to much into alternative theories.

MACROevolution: This is the study of changes at or above the level of species. It studies the changes of evolution is seperated gene pools.

>>Good of Macro= One of the more "practical" approaches to evolution. It often links basic enviornmental, social, and even domestic changes as the influence of evolution.

>> Bad of Macro= Despite efforts of the theory to be practically applied, it still has not been able to be proven with certainty. As with most scientific theories, macro has not been able to prove itself, or DIS prove its counters.

To further elaborate on the negatives of Macroevolution theory,...

Transitional Fossils have perhaps been the most researched and argued "evidence" claiming to prove macroevolution. This evidence is far from substantial. Transitional fossils are fossils believed to be of species progressing through time that are simultaneously evolving or even splitting from their original form. One of the most frusterating parts of proving that these fossils are really transitioning species,... are what is called GAPS. These gaps in archeoligical discoveries can be as much as a thousand or more years. This would be like trying to defend someones innocence of murder without a collaborating timeline or witness. I will further my points on this in later rounds.

Comparative Anatomy is simply the similarites between seperate species. This process has been very widely used for the obvious reasons of comparing and grouping. Whales were shown to be mammals through comparative anatomy. However, as I said before, if a theory can not prove with out doubt, one would at least hope it could DISprove a counter. In my own personal belief, I feel it is no coincidence that animals have similar anatomical parts, they were created by one God, thus my belief is not disproven with comparative anatomy in support of macro evolution. It as well, going back to the resolution,.. does not show to be scientifically correct, unless perhaps, we concede that there are multiple correct explanations for the diversity of life on Earth.

If we concede that there could be multiple correct answers,.. I would then have to contend the notion that Macroevolution is scientifically correct. In a nut shell,.. I dont feel it is correct. Certain aspects of it are impractical in the sense that we couldn't explain this type of evolution happening, it does little to disprove other theories, nor does it validate the idea that everything came from single, and/or created by a large bang. The fact is, to many random occurences.

One theory after another, in an effort motivated more and more by the blind desire to NOT find out how it happened, but rather how NOT intelligent the design really may have been.
Debate Round No. 1
TheSkeptic

Pro

My opponent's definition of Macroevolution is fine.

~Counterarguments~

1. Transitional Fossils

Transitional fossils are fossils that illustrate evolutionary change in a usually more illustrative form since technically every new species have a degree of evolutionary change. What we mean by "transitional fossils" is just really a human construct; a vivid image of evolutionary shift. With the advent of cladistics in paleontology, it has been much more accurate to diagram the ever growing "evolutionary tree" that shows evolutionary change and transition. "Transitional" can be used for those forms that do not have a significant number of unique derived traits that the derived relative does not possess as well. In other words, a transitional organism is morphologically close to the actual common ancestor it shares with its more derived relative. [1]

First of all, we do have a plethora of such transitional fossils, such as the famous Archeopteryx. Adhering to the stated definition of transitional fossils, it retianed more qualities of theropod dinosaurs than it did of birds.. [2] Ambulocetus is known as the "walking whale", it had attributes of a crocodile and showed the transition of a land-mammal to a whale. [3] In fact, just a thorough examination of the evolution of the horse, the most updated and completed evolutionary lineage of any other animal, shows many clear examples of transitional fossils. [4]

A common annoying quip from creationists is the remark "What is the use of half a wing?". True, what IS the use of it? It would probably be nothing, and it fact most likely be a detriment. Why we don't find such animals though, is because they will most likely be SELECTED AGAINST by evolution. An animal that cannot reproduce successfully will eventually have it's genes in it's respective gene pool die out. However, as I have shown with the several examples of transitional forms, sometimes we do have an instance of a weird "hybrid" animal. I mean come on, a walking fish? [5] Can't get cooler than that.

2. Comparative Anatomy

My opponent makes no argument against the scientific validity of comparative anatomy, phylogenetics, cladistics, or any other area dealing with evolutionary relatedness. He however, resorts to quite a horrible argument.

First, no a scientific explanation or theory does not have to disprove all other explanations. What we decide to be the best theory is the one with the most evidence, and the one better at application. For example, Newtonian physics have been replaced with Relativity when concerning celestial bodies, since Relativity is so much more accurate at prediction than Newtonian physics. Does this mean Newtonian physics have been disproven? No.

My resolution and opening argument never stated Macroevolution is the ONLY viable scientific explanation for the diversity of life on earth. I merely stated that it is scientifically CORRECT.

Finally, your explanation that simply "God did it" is not only a crummy explanation, but not scientific. Science is in principle methodologically naturalistic. It deals with only natural phenomena that is observable, testable, repeatable, and predictable. God, being exempt from observation and being supernatural has no place in science.

~Conclusion~

I have shown quite thoroughly the evidence for transitional fossils. I gave many examples, and shown the ridiculous argument creationists use for what it is: complete moot. My opponent's argument against comparative anatomy shows no knowledge of the principles of science, and of what is "science".

---References---
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://en.wikipedia.org...
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
bthr004

Con

Please do not assume that I, a creationist, do not have a grip on any forms or principles of science. I am certified in embryo transfer, and work for one of only two private companies that offer cloning commercially. I specialize in operational consulting, helping producers utilize these things in their herds. I assure you, I have a great understanding, and I certainly understand observable, testable, and predictable natural phenomena.

As I said, Transitional Fossils do little to support the resolution. A resolution that is vague at best. Transitional fossils, as I said can have gaps 20,000, 80,000, even a million years between discovered fossils records. Pretty unsubstantial in terms of evidence proving a case. Just off the top of my head, Tibial Hemelia is defect that causes cattle to be born without rear legs. No records of this happening exist all that long ago, however in the recent couple of years several hundred cows birthed calves without rear legs. This is a traceable genetic defect that can be corrected, but I can certainly understand the excitement a palaeontologist 80,000 years from now might feel when discovering the fossil of this amazing transitional cow.

"My opponent makes no argument against the scientific validity of comparative anatomy, phylogenetics, cladistics, or any other area dealing with evolutionary relatedness."

-- You made no arguement for. In fact you have not made any arguement yet. You havent even bothered linking comparative anatomy to support your own resolution. I do not need to argue against these things. Comparative anatomy is a widely used process that is not necessarily "evolutionary related." As I said before, comparative anatomy does not disprove creationism,(not that creationism matters in this debate), it can be argued that it strengthens many peoples theories in contrast with evolution.

"First, no a scientific explanation or theory does not have to disprove all other explanations."

-- Ok,.. SOOO, If the answer doesn't prove others wrong, and at least as of yet, proved itself right, why is your resolution CORRECT??

"What we decide to be the best theory is the one with the most evidence, and the one better at application."

--Who is we,..? Why are you and the other we(s) the barometer of scientific correctness in regards to life as we know it?? I guess you are saying, I am wrong because you said so. Again, as of yet, you havent provided any such evidence or even applied.

"My resolution and opening argument never stated Macroevolution is the ONLY viable scientific explanation for the diversity of life on earth. I merely stated that it is scientifically CORRECT."

-- Your opening argument didn't say much of anything. Nor did your second round. I mean, are you saying its the most correct? Again, its pretty vague, your correct, I'm correct, heck, lets all be correct.

"Finally, your explanation that simply "God did it" is not only a crummy explanation, but not scientific."

-- I am not required to explain any resolution, just refute yours. I mentioned God as an example to my theory explaining the coincidence in comparative anatomy. Again, I refute, you defend.

"I have shown quite thoroughly the evidence for transitional fossils. I gave many examples, and shown the ridiculous argument creationists use for what it is: complete moot."

--Congratulations, now all ya have to do is show why macroevolution is scientifically correct,.. or in your words, one of perhaps several other correct scientific theories explaining diversity of Earth's life. My opponent evidently feels that there are multiple correct answers. We can all be winners. I offered a realistic and practical explanation with my Tibial Hemelia example.

"Finally, your explanation that simply "God did it" is not only a crummy explanation, but not scientific."

-- You got me, God is not science, however at least I have one answer. Yours evidently is one of many answers that all can simultaneously be the correct contributor to the same conclusion.

In closing,.. Voters, please note my opponent didn't bring new arguments to refute in round 2. My opponent has not put forth any case supporting his resolution at all. I am really only left to sarcasm. I have to go to the bathroom now,.. good bye.
Debate Round No. 2
TheSkeptic

Pro

~Counterarguments~

1. Transitional Fossils

Does my opponent really expect transitional fossils to pop up every couple thousand years? First of all, such a bountiful amount of fossils would be a paleontologist's wet dream. Fossils are very hard to form, and even harder to find. The fossil record isn't perfect, and is most likely will never be perfect. However we are making more accurate year after year with more findings that eventually paint a clearer picture of the evolution of the diversity of life on earth.

Even more ridiculous is the notion that a transitional fossil will even come along that early. Evolution takes a LONG time, it's not something that happens under a couple thousand years. And if my opponent want's to find TRANSITIONAL FOSSILS (in the context of the definition I gave earlier) then that will be an even more rare occurrence.

So as I have shown, transitional fossils do VERY MUCH to support Macroevolution. They show how speciation has occurred, and where critical stages where confronted and passed (like from land to water). My examples are valid, my definitions in accordance, and my opponent's argument refuted.

2. Comparative Anatomy

The burden of proof was on you to show it did not back up Macroevolution. Instead, you attacked it on more of a philosophical basis, rather than a scientific basis.

You argued that comparative anatomy can be used as "proof" for other explanations, such as God or an intelligent designer. True, they can feasibly thought to be so. But as I've stated: the scientific community judges theories on the evidence that backs them up. Your application for comparative anatomy to God makes a gigantic leap, showing no evidence for why God would made such details. I will explain further on since the rest of your rebuttals tend to stay in this area.

"Ok,.. SOOO, If the answer doesn't prove others wrong, and at least as of yet, proved itself right, why is your resolution CORRECT??"

--> With the explanation of a god or some outside creator, we can explain EVERYTHING IN THIS WORLD/UNIVERSE WITH SUCH. Why is the sky blue? Cause god made it so. Why can water be in 3 forms? Cause god made it so. Why is wood flammable? Cause god made it so.

This is obviously NOT how science works. We look at the facts, base a hypothesis, make tests and see if the theory works out. A theory is valued on the evidence behind it, it's implications, and it's predictive power.

"Who is we,..? Why are you and the other we(s) the barometer of scientific correctness in regards to life as we know it?? I guess you are saying, I am wrong because you said so. Again, as of yet, you havent provided any such evidence or even applied."

--> We meaning the SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY. I am surprised you don't know the simple concept of how theories are proven and supported. Simply because you can conjure of an explanation (God or intelligent designer) does NOT invalidate another theory, unless there is direct conflict in facts.

"Your opening argument didn't say much of anything. Nor did your second round. I mean, are you saying its the most correct? Again, its pretty vague, your correct, I'm correct, heck, lets all be correct."

--> My opening argument and the resolution shows that I support Macroevolution, or evolution in general, to be a scientifically supported explanation for the diversity of life. IT'S STRAIGHTFORWARD.

All you have contended is that GOD did it, or an INTELLIGENT DESIGNER. Sure, they are explanations, but they are not SCIENTIFICALLY BACKED UP explanations, at least you haven't shown them to be in this debate.

And once again, just because there are OTHER EXPLANATIONS does not INVALIDATE ANOTHER ONE, unless there's a direct conflict of facts. Scientifically, Macroevolution IS the only one, but GOD can still be an explanation, though not a SCIENTIFIC one.

"I am not required to explain any resolution, just refute yours. I mentioned God as an example to my theory explaining the coincidence in comparative anatomy."

--> I've already said God isn't part of science.

"Congratulations, now all ya have to do is show why macroevolution is scientifically correct,.. or in your words, one of perhaps several other correct scientific theories explaining diversity of Earth's life. My opponent evidently feels that there are multiple correct answers."

--> Macroevolution is the correct scientific explanation. Your explanation is God, who is not part of science, ergo is not a valid explanation in the context of this debate.

"You got me, God is not science, however at least I have one answer. Yours evidently is one of many answers that all can simultaneously be the correct contributor to the same conclusion."

--> SCIENCE. It's all about SCIENCE. The facts point to Macroevolution, not God.

~Conclusion~

I have refuted all my opponent's arguments. His underlying argument is that there are other correct explanation for the diversity of life, which happens to be God. However, I have clearly shown that God is NOT a scientific explanation, and thus Macroevolution stands.
bthr004

Con

No evidence exist the "mutations" are the reason for evolution of any sort.

Something as simple as say a bovine that prefers to graze on a steep slope and slips, eventually killing herself, she does not reproduce, but a cow that prefers to eat in a gentle sloping meadow does not risk physical injury and succeeds in concieving offspring. The lush meadows provide excellent nutrients, and the lesser risk of injury promotes better nutrient conversion in the body and she is able to pass on natural anti bodies to things such as allergies, or pink eye, from her milk to her calf. Her calf is now in better health and is more likely to pass that on to her offspring.
Now take that x's several head of cattle, or every other species and simple chain of events, or happenings have far more to do with "evolution" or progress than the stupid idea of freak mutations. This is why for thousands of year religion has been able to dismiss even sillier sounding theories of science or evolution!

In the last fifty years the black Angus cattle in the United States have been as tall as 66 inches, where in their native Scotland black Angus have measured 54 inches. These are obvious physical differences due to several EXPLAINABLE influences.

Macroevolution does not explain, nor is it tested. Macroevolution theory could never be accurately "tested" to prove itslef. Macroevolution is a theory, theory based on coincidence. AS my opponent pointed out a theory is valued by evidence, it implications, and its predictive power derived from testing.

Since my opponent did not bother to link "transitional" fossils to his resolution in the first round, I had nothing to refute, nor did I have any said burden of proof on me.

As I said before, my opponents case for macorevolution is to vague, he starts in the middle if you will. In the beginning did we have walking whales? Where does life on Earth begin? If you can explain the ACTUAL beginning, the beginning of life, than perhaps you could ACTUALLY link the THEORY of macroevolution to the diversity of life as we know it today.

My answer is God. God created the Universe, the Earth, and everything thats on it, any "evolving" a species has done since the beginning is as common as my above example of the grazing cows, only over the course of millions of years, when, perhaps they had wings, and were 20 feet tall.

"With the explanation of a god or some outside creator, we can explain EVERYTHING IN THIS WORLD/UNIVERSE WITH SUCH. Why is the sky blue? Cause god made it so. Why can water be in 3 forms? Cause god made it so. Why is wood flammable? Cause god made it so."

--> Because of a "BIG BANG." Hmmm...

"All you have contended is that GOD did it, or an INTELLIGENT DESIGNER. Sure, they are explanations, but they are not SCIENTIFICALLY BACKED UP explanations, at least you haven't shown them to be in this debate."

Ok,.. I feel the second law of Thermodynamics proves the existence of God. I really did not want to go off in a different direction. Here goes.

Formal definition of the second law of thermodynamics is "In any closed system, a process proceeds in a direction such that the unavailable energy (the entropy) increases." In other words, in any closed system, the amount of disorder always increases with time. Things progress naturally from order to disorder, or from an available energy state to one where energy is more unavailable. A good example: a hot cup of coffee cools off in an insulated room. The total amount energy in the room remains the same (which satisfies the first law of thermodynamics). Energy is not lost, it is simply transferred (in the form of heat) from the hot coffee to the cool air, warming up the air slightly. When the coffee is hot, there is available energy because of the temperature difference between the coffee and the air. As the coffee cools down, the available energy is slowly turned to unavailable energy. At last, when the coffee is room temperature, there is no temperature difference between the coffee and the air, i.e. the energy is all in an unavailable state. The closed system (consisting of the room and the coffee) has suffered what is technically called a "heat death." The system is "dead" because no further work can be done since there is no more available energy. The second law says that the reverse cannot happen! Room temperature coffee will not get hot all by itself, because this would require turning unavailable energy into available energy.

Now consider the entire universe as one giant closed system. Stars are hot, just like the cup of coffee, and are cooling down, losing energy into space. The hot stars in cooler space represent a state of available energy, just like the hot coffee in the room. However, the second law of thermodynamics requires that this available energy is constantly changing to unavailable energy. In another analogy, the entire universe is winding down like a giant wind-up clock, ticking down and losing available energy. Since energy is continually changing from available to unavailable energy, someone had to give it available energy in the beginning! (I.e. someone had to wind up the clock of the universe at the beginning.) Who or what could have produced energy in an available state in the first place? Only someone or something not bound by the second law of thermodynamics. Only the creator of the second law of thermodynamics could violate the second law of thermodynamics, and create energy in a state of availability in the first place.

As time goes forward (assuming things continue as they are), the available energy in the universe will eventually turn into unavailable energy. At this point, the universe will be said to have suffered a heat death, just like the coffee in the room. The present universe, as we know it, cannot last forever. Furthermore, imagine going backwards in time. Since the energy of the universe is constantly changing from a state of availability to one of less availability, the further back in time one goes, the more available the energy of the universe. Using the clock analogy again, the further back in time, the more wound up the clock. Far enough back in time, the clock was completely wound up. The universe therefore cannot be infinitely old. One can only conclude that the universe had a beginning, and that beginning had to have been caused by someone or something operating outside of the known laws of thermodynamics.

Is this scientific proof for the existence of a Creator God? I think so. Evolutionary theories of the universe cannot counteract the above arguments for the existence of God.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
I like how people try to pretend that an ideology as utterly stupid as creationism can have nuance.

"I'm not a creationist, I support intelligent design!" :seppuku:
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
*Sigh*

I don't even want to get into a debate about abiogenesis and the big bang in a comment sections; sorry I'm not like the others.

All I can say is that if your really think they are "inherently unscientific in nature", your credentials that you listed in this debate don't do you justice.
Posted by bthr004 8 years ago
bthr004
" but we have shown that it is very much POSSIBLE to have life coming from nonliving components."

-- when, where, who??

Abiogenesis. The big bang, blah blah. It sounds just as mystical as the counter. Inherently unscientific in nature. Something from nothing for no reason is unscientific.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
Yes.
Posted by bthr004 8 years ago
bthr004
skeptic:

Without intelligent forces influencing these components in some way?
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
There isn't a strong agreement amongst the scientific community about the abiogenesis of planet Earth, but we have shown that it is very much POSSIBLE to have life coming from nonliving components.
Posted by phatso86 8 years ago
phatso86
i do not think there has been evidence of a "pre-biotic soup"
which should lead to the first living beings

...then again man has created life out of simple molecules

ahhh......... i guess i'm just ranting
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
"I'd also be interested in taking this up if more details of the resolution were provided."

--> Such as?

@Dnick94

--> Yeah, but creationists like to argue that there is a fundamental difference between macro and micro, and that only micro is true but not macro. Obviously because macrevolution would conflict with their interpretation of Genesis.
Posted by Dnick94 8 years ago
Dnick94
Is macroevolution like evolution evolution that occurs at or above the level of species, such as extinction and speciation, and microevolution, which is smaller evolutionary changes, such as adaptations, within a species or population. I'm kind of confused. Aren't they both evolution?
Posted by symphonyofdissent 8 years ago
symphonyofdissent
I'd also be interested in taking this up if more details of the resolution were provided.
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