The Instigator
Yraelz
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
Tatarize
Con (against)
Winning
42 Points

Resolved: Polygamy in the United States should be legal.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 11 votes the winner is...
Tatarize
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,348 times Debate No: 7337
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (31)
Votes (11)

 

Yraelz

Pro

Please don't take this debate if you are brand new to this site.
Please don't take this debate if you feel you might not have the time to complete it.
Please don't take this debate if you're not sure you can beat me.
Please don't take this debate if you're going to argue that there are objective truths and this is one of them under god the father above. (You will abhor my responses to said argument and I WILL beat you.)
Please take a good thirty minutes to consider if you really want to take this debate after you first learn of it's existence.

Having said all of that my position in this round is obviously for polygamy. My argument is that it is vastly more beneficial than our current system of single marriages.

Your turn, have fun. ~.^
Tatarize

Con

Polygamy should not be legal in the United States. While it is certainly true that as an institution there is nobody harmed when the process is conducted by consenting adults. However, often the institution of plural marriage is taken as polygyny with men marrying multiple women often the little girls in the town are divvied up by the older men. While this isn't necessarily the outcome of all plural marriage it would be giving sanction to this exact process. In practice one must realize that it would fail and lead to a number of terrible side effects.

Another obvious problem arising from this is that of harm to men. Men are more often the losers in plural societies. It is often said that all the good men are either married or gay, if the former were not a determent then successful, handsome, rich men could marry several women and as a result there will be several unsuccessful, ugly, poor men who will have significantly. Even mediocre men would have a significantly harder task of finding mates if successful men were more than happy to marry scores of attractive women. This leaves, at the bottom, a large number of men who are easy targets for compelling messages. In fact, this is the life blood of terrorism. Men who stand no chance at getting real women can be compelled to kill themselves in search for spiritual sexual relations. Further this, in turn leads to a number sexist policies where women are covered and treated more like property.

I fully understand that these examples are not indicative of the modern 21st century plural marriage you envision. And it very well might lead to women not being divorced by their husbands when they decide to marry their 20-something secretaries because they simply marry them too. However, the societal problems which arise when policies are implemented which damage large tracts of the population (especially those already prone to violence) are not worth this little experiment. There may nominally be benefits to women even those only in singular relationships. With more women moving further up the food chain (as it were, I understand the obvious underlying sexism of this terminology) there would be more available successful men still available who would otherwise be "good men who would have been married". However, the societal ills do not occur because women have better opportunity to be thought of as chattel, rather they arise from great swaths of single men at the bottom.

We have empirically tried polygamous societies in the past, and there's a reason they only still exist in the most religiously repressed societies, they are terrible. It may help if you want an army of men to go to war, but other than that it is simply a recipe for disaster.

The proposed argument of benefits therefore is a failure as the polygamous societies of yesteryear have been failures. Societies are better with single marriages.
Debate Round No. 1
Yraelz

Pro

Thanks for the debate Tatarize. May it be good.

Modern Polygamy (Paragraph One)
===============================
1. This point in response to my opponents first paragraph. My opponent makes two interesting claims:

a. While it is certainly true that as an institution there is nobody harmed when the process is conducted by consenting adults.

b. However, often the institution of plural marriage is taken as polygyny with men marrying multiple women often the little girls in the town are divvied up by the older men.

For myself, I dead agree with point a. There wouldn't be anybody harmed. I disagree with point b. My position is that polygamy should be legal. This doesn't mean that consent laws vanish, the right to divorce goes away, or that pedophilia is suddenly legal. Thus the entirety of point b is completely non-responsive to the topic. The fact that polygamy is suddenly legal does not necessitate any of those things.

The Harm to Men and Objectification (Paragraph Two)
===============================
1. My opponent argues first that the men are the ones to lose in a society such as this but I'll argue that this simply isn't true.
a. My first argument is that this actually encourages men to better themselves which benefits the society as a whole. Not only does it raise the man's confidence through bettering himself, which detracts from suicide rates/terrorism, but additionally it betters the society as a whole.
b. Secondly I'd argue that even if everything my opponent says about the harm to men is true then there would still be no impact. Such logic would just lead to an increase in prostitution not an increase in suicide rates.
c. Third. The impacts for legalizing polygamy just flat outweigh. There would, indeed, be less suicides/terrorism in a polygamous society as opposed to our current society; but I'll expand on this point more later.

2. Next my opponent argues this type of society objectifies women. Two responses.
a. First. Polygamous society doesn't objectify women or men any more than our current society. My opponent argues that somehow having multiple wives/husbands lead to further objectification. But my argument is that: if such a line of reasoning were true then we would already objectify women/men in our current society. The fact that we can now marry more people doesn't lead to heightened objectification. If one objectifies now then they'd objectify in a polygamous society. If one doesn't objectify now then they wouldn't objectify in a polygamous society.
b. Secondarily. Even if the objectification argument was true my response will be DIVORCE. Thus no impact.

The 20 year old secretaries (Paragraph Three)
======================================
1. My argument is that the impacts flat outweigh.
a. As my opponent indicates people get divorced in modern American society because in many cases they've found someone better. I'll argue that this really problematic. The benefit to marriage in many cases is that each person can focus on a separate part of maintaining the families livelihood. For instance one partner can focus on monetary income whilst the other can focus on taking care of the children. Problematic. When a divorce happens this can often leave one person without an income and perhaps without the abilities to attain an income (sacrificed higher education for the family). My argument is that people in such a position are uniquely worse off than a person who can't find someone to marry in the first place. Not only does the divorcee no longer have someone but also that person has little ability to provide for themselves and may be emotionally hurt.
b. If there is any potential for things such as terrorism and suicide to happen that potential comes most through a monogamous society. A polygamous society would solve for such problems by decreasing divorce rates. A man or women would be able to have both partners they desired instead of divorcing the lesser of the two.

Never worked before (Paragraph 4)
========================================
1. Not on a large scale in U.S.
2. The fact that it was tried by religious societies makes a non-secular society uniqually different.
3. Additionally I'd argue that the current laws in the U.S. check back any horrible things from happening.
4. As does divorce.
5. Additionally my opponent argues, "It may help if you want an army of men to go to war". Response: We're in two wars. ^.^
Tatarize

Con

The problem with polygamy where polygamy exists is that it is exactly the situation I described. Abuse laws, divorce, age of consent are all largely moot when it comes to practice. I never said that in theory there couldn't be an idealized world where man and women in the 21st century make logical coherent choices about marriage and family. Rather, in practice the institution has always been invoked by religious ideologues to support the the subjugation of women. Throughout history it has always been abused. What is it about your pipedream that suddenly changes this.

Next despite claims to the contrary my opponent is overlooking a number of very important dynamic shifts and underlying inequalities in the present situation. The claim that it would just make men try harder and that would in general be a public good ignores the underlying inequalities within the present system. If everybody were born equal and given equal opportunities perhaps the cream will rise to the top, however, our system is vastly different. Rather than rising from the bootstraps to become captains of industry, the best indicator of where you will end up in life is where you start in life. The men at the bottom will simply be unable to compete. They could try but the prospects are exceedingly slim.

Next make no mistake that multiple spouses changes the marriage dynamic as well. Women must compete for resources for themselves and their children and are in a much worse position to do so because the bargaining is slim and there are replacements ready made. Further you couldn't simply divorce properly in a plural marriage. How much should the woman get? Half the estate, N+1th of the number of spouses in the marriage, none? Could the man get full custody of the children due to having resources and additional spouses to care for them?

Technical issues aside, the men at the bottom are the losers, the children are the loses (save the little girls who could be given off to the older men), and the women are the losers. Polygamy ultimately harms everybody except the wealthy.

My opponent offers that polygamy would simply lead to more men soliciting prostitutes rather than going off to war, remaining single, or suicide. My opponent somehow doesn't think a marked rise prostitution is indicative of serious social problems. Rather than having the potential for a wife or a girlfriend men would be soliciting a prostitute for sex. This is clearly leading, even in your idealized presentation to the objectification of women. This assumes however that there would even be any prostitutes. Middle level men might simply marry any would-be prostitutes earlier on. It's clear that the political, social, and ethical ramifications of the change would be significant. We have men at the bottom without prospect, women fighting for their husbands time in a terrible position to do so, and children with very little prospect of either being a wife or a wifeless loser.

I do not mean to say when will be objectified in the "Damn she's fine" kind of way, but rather they are treated as property. Even given my firm feminist leanings I'm nearly unable to in my arguments about these hypothetical refer to women as anything but a commodity because with polygamy that's what they become. A scarce commodity for the poor and another resource the rich will largely possess.

Moreover the ace in the hole of my argument is that it simply doesn't work as a system. That within polygamous societies the exact claims I've made are seen as everyday. Younger men are scorned and outcast. Women are bartered off and daughters traded among the older men. It simply fosters a non-functional society and a hugely unequal marriage dynamic. Claims that it simply hasn't been tried in the US and we have plenty of places to use young men as fodder are simply statements without justification.

In any argument where we are making evidentiary claims, empirical evidence needs to be given a good standing. There are many many polygamous societies and they frankly don't work. Suggesting that it hasn't been tried in a rich country is putting the cart before the horse. For a number of economic reasons countries don't get rich when their power dynamics are opposed to the accumulation of wealth. Family tends to bleed of fortunes and fortunes build companies. Though a lesser point equality within the marriage and many small family units is the dynamic that fosters equality, wealth, and prosperity.

Rather than an idealist dream where everybody has more freedom, we end up with a system that simply doesn't work. It fails and ends up creating stark differences. In Saudi Arabia the royal family is exceedingly wealthy. The money throughout the family is simply massive but the poverty and oppression of the masses is equally massive. And, rather than contributing to philanthropic enterprises to make the country better the money will all simply pour into the family and trickle down until all opportunity is lost.

The wealthiest men in our country leave a few billion to their families and then build this country for the good of this country. The Fords, the Rockefelle,r the Gates have all been wealthy and share that wealth rather than marrying an entire harem. Rather than suggesting that polygamy in America would be different, you should realize that Polygamy would make America different. The underlying ace holds. Polygamous societies do not prosper. They are unequal, they are unfair, they are unjust, and they are socially unstable.
Debate Round No. 2
Yraelz

Pro

Alright. Thank you Tatarize for a very interesting debate. I'm going to go paragraph by paragraph down your arguments with a summary at the end.

Laws Vanish (P 1)
=============
1. First extend the argument I make about how our secular society with a divide of church and state is uniquelly different from the attempts at polygamy in the past.
2. My opponent argues that things such as abuse laws, divorce, and age of consent are largely moot when it comes to practice. I respectfully disagree. There is no analysis as to why law would suddenly disappear. My argument is that in a state with such forward thinking women rights that this would just never happen. Ever.
3. Polygamy happens unlawfully in the status quo. At the very least, by legalizing it, we see a chance for these people to be protected by the law.

Men can't compete (P 2)
====================
1. My opponents arguments are defense at best. He argues that the underlying inequalities in the system simply make it impossible for men to ever rise above. But my argument still stands. It, at the very least makes them try harder. Which means that at least some men will have that ability to rise above. Which is better than the status quo.
2. Secondly my opponents ignores the argument I make saying they will be more confident for trying which decreases suicide.
3. The underlying social and economic problems exist with or without polygamy. The fact that they do is not a reason to vote polygamy down.

Technical issues (p 3)
================
1. Women already compete for resources for themselves in their children as do men!!!!
2. My argument is that it's worse RIGHT NOW because they get divorced and thus lose more resources. Perhaps never regaining the ability to fully sustain themselves.
3. The fact that polygamy exists means that one does not have to be divorced so their spouse can pursue someone "better". This means that they are not thrown out on the streets.
4. Thereby a polygamous society can best protect the very children and women my opponents is arguing for.
5. And yes, you're right Tatarize, it would probably be 1/nth of the property in a divorce. But my argument is that divorces would happen drastically less. An argument that you flat out concede. Thus while a few divorces would happen which would lead to bad situations, that:
a. already happens in the status quo (bad divorces where the divorcee gets screwed), and
b. It would happen less than the status quo. Thus polygamy is net advantageous.

Blanket claims (P 4)
===============
1. Extend every argument I've made so far. They all turn back every single one of these claims. There is absolutely no justification for why any of this would happen.

Blanket 2 and Prostitution (P 5)
===================
1. Nope, I think prostitution is fine. If that's how one would like to make his/her money then let that person do so.
2. Once again extend all arguments made so far. The things that my opponents speaks of:
"men at the bottom fighting"
"women fighting for husbands time"
are all things that happen right now. Our society has a 50% divorce rate. My argument is that polygamy in essence already happens. People find someone they like better and thus have to divorce their current spouse. We already see all this competition my opponent is arguing polygamy would cause. A polygamous society would prevent the divorce from happening in many cases. Which I argued in the last round was a greater cause of suicide and my opponent never touched the point thereby conceding.

Commodity & Objectification (P 6)
============
1. Polygamy already happens illegally. If there is a chance that women are treated as a commodity/abused then allowing those women to be protected by the law can only decrease that chance.
2. Secondly, and more importantly, extend my argument where I say that objectification happens just as much now as it would under a polygamous society. People already objectify women, they divorce women to get better "objects". Those people would only continue to do so in a polygamous society but the people who don't objectify women wouldn't suddenly magically start to because they can now have multiple wives. (Same applies men to women).
3. Women can still choose who to marry. The objectifying D-bag or the really nice dude.
4. Women can divorce, thereby avoiding objectification.

Ace (p 7)
=========
1. The examples my opponent speaks of sound predominately third world.
2. Secondly they just don't respond to my arguments about how modern laws in the U.S. would avoid such harms.
3. There is simply no justification from my opponent as to why legalizing polygamy would suddenly make young men outscast. Daughters sold into marriages. Or a hugely unequal marriage dynamic. These claims just aren't true! Especially in modern United States. All of these things could happen now but don't. A polygamous society isn't suddenly going to reverse the laws in place. -.-

Empirics Good! (P 8)
=============
1. For sure they are. But the empirical examples given have nothing to do with the United States.
2. I'm not suggesting it hasn't been tried in a rich country. I'm suggesting it hasn't been tried in the United States, a country with a pretty solid law system.
3. Third an finally on this point, my opponent mentions that families bleed fortunes which turn into big companies. If this was really the case then having a multitude of heirs would only create more companies which would better benefit the economy.

Saudi Arabia (P 9)
===================
1. Flat out horrible example. Doesn't even have the same government type as the U.s.
2. Saudi Arabian poverty wasn't caused by polygamy..... monarchy, royal family.
3. The United States already has a massive rich poor gap under monogamy. Thus even if my opponents arguments about how Polygamy leads to massive poverty were true....then so does monogamy.

Great Families (P 10)
==============
1. My opponents argument is that the Fords, Rockefellers, and Gates all have massive wealth and don't marry Harems. They keep the money for themselves. That's what happens in a monogamous society. A polygamous society in no way makes that situation worse. In fact, if just one of those families marries an extra person then the wealth gets spread farther. Farther spreading of the wealth means less poverty which is just flat out beneficial.
2. My opponent also argues that polygamy would make America unstable but he includes no warrant as to why that would be the case and I think every point above from myself offers great insight on why it wouldn't be the case.

The Other Three Aces (The reason to vote PRO)
==============================
1. In the United States competition already happens between people. Objectification already happens between males and females. A husband will leave his wife because he's found another cooler "object". A husband may try to win back his wife after she's found someone more worthwhile. In all reality out society already contains every components of a polygamous society except for the lack of divorce. My major argument in this debate is that divorce is more problematic to the multitude than having multiple wives. I've argued that a person who has been divorced has a higher chance of committing suicide or resorting to the terrorist actions which my opponent speaks of. These points go completely dropped by my opponent and thus conceded in his last speech. Meaning at the end of the day we have two worlds.

In my opponents word objectification continues to happen as does competition. Yet people get divorced and many end up on the street with no way to fend for themselves. Suicide etc.....

In my world objectification and competition also exists on the same level. But we avoid divorces and accept our already polygamous society for what it is. Thus I thank my opponent for this debate. GL!
Tatarize

Con

My opponent argues throughout that magically for some reason Polygamy in the United States should be legal because in the United States we'd make everything right. We'd do it properly. And sure, polygamy will lead to a plethora of social ills, but we already have social ills. As if there's nothing that can make social ills worse? Social problems aren't pass/fail, there are matters of degree. Causing massive social problems is a perfectly acceptable, yea desirable reason to keep something, illegal. Despite my opponents repeated assertions, he gave us no reason to suppose that the US is somehow magically able to make polygamy work. His pipedreams about forward thinking women and men rising the occasion, perhaps we might be able to have his society become as fair as a monogamous society? If enough men properly compete and nobody will *really* be left out. Pfft.

Pipedreams are no reasons to legalize evils.

--

One of the largest sticking points in the debate has been whether polygamy from all the previous societies which tried polygamy would work out the same as my opponents doe-eyed idea of what polygamy would be like. Sadly however, we can't analyze the veracity of this claim because he never once bothered to explain why and how his version of polygamy would be different.

His argument on this point seems to boil down to, sure other polygamy has been bad and should be kept illegal, but in the US we'd do something amazing and make it work out blissfully. My opponent never actually made a positive argument for polygamy. He made some good efforts to combat my noted evils though, with an undue amount of arm waving to say "We'd do it better!" -- That doesn't seem to satisfy the burden of proof.

What's more he makes clearly contradictory claims. Our laws won't go away and you will still be protected with the full force of the American government, but we need to legalize polygamy so that we can police polygamy. Why not simply police polygamy? It's already against the law. "Polygamy happens unlawfully in the status quo. At the very least, by legalizing it, we see a chance for these people to be protected by the law." -- By that same logic we should simply get rid of age of consent laws that my opponent supposes will still protect individuals. Because if somethings harmful and illegal we really need to legalize it.

I'm not sure if my opponent's argument is actually that pipedream of forward thinking women and men rising to the occasions but if it is, he hasn't spent ten minutes talking to real people. Ten minute chats with real people are some of the greatest arguments against pipedream thinking. Men will rise to the occasion be more confident while the women all marry millionaires and these men never get remotely less confident even though they have no reasonable prospects of ever getting married. In many countries in the Middle East these left over men are the fuel for suicide bombers and they aren't completely uneducated most of them are pretty average income.

Again, there are plenty empirical examples of polygamy. We can reasonably ask if my opponent's arguments hold weight. Do the women become forward thinking? Do the men rise to the occasion? No and No. The women become significantly more oppressed and most men have little to no prospect of marriage. The underlying social and economic problems will be made worse by introducing polygamy. The fact that things are bad doesn't mean that things can't become worse.

For example, women already compete for resources within marriage, but with more women and less resources there is a much more scarce supply and thus a much more scarce resource needing competition. The current system right now is not worse. They get divorced and walk away with half and legal and social protections for themselves and their children. 1/nth of the property in the divorce isn't acceptable. What if the wife was the first wife and legally could have gotten divorced earlier in the marriage before the addition of several more wives? Doesn't that system encourage a first wife to promptly divorce if he is going to marry another? Your legal share is going to drop from 1/2 to 1/3 unless you divorce right now. This is why most polygamous societies either don't allow divorce or don't allow the woman anything in a divorce. The technical issues are fixable with a significant amount more work prior to marriage, but it's certainly something to look out for. I feel it's a minor point.

Just because social ills are happening now, doesn't mean that social ills can't be made worse. Sure, men at the bottom are fighting, but making the bottom considerably larger isn't going to make that worse. Women fighting for their husband's time is going to be worse when there's less time and more women. And certainly, polygamy already happens illegally, but you don't make it right by legalizing. It's illegal but some people are already doing it, so let's make it legal and these problems will increase tenfold. Because, that solves the problem. People already objectify women, so contributing to a system which will cause further problems in that regard is okay. Divorce doesn't make women not a commodity, it simply means that she's now a freed commodity rather than a previously tied down commodity.

The idea that it might take a while for the US to shift the dynamics and become a more unjust and unfair society doesn't mean it won't happen. Certainly it wouldn't happen overnight. It would take a couple generations. We couldn't undo everything monogamy has helped to build in the modern world. Just as you could legalize slavery or child prostitution and it would still take a while for our society to become significantly worse.

Simply saying that none of the arguments are the United States. Is a red herring. I am talking about systemic problems and then the United States is only the United States because it was built as a wealth accumulating society without large families. Sure, Taiwan might not be able to do child prostitution correctly, but the United States could do it right! We'd have them scholarships to college before they are fifteen! Pipedreams and arm waving about how we're different so we should do this, is exactly backwards. It isn't that the United States is different and therefore polygamy would work, rather the United States is different because we don't allow polygamy!
Debate Round No. 3
31 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Tatarize 7 years ago
Tatarize
The same debate? Pah, can we switch places and let me be pro or something. Identical debates seem a little odd.

Charles, No. You would lose to Yraelz. I base this on the careful observation that your avatar is a picture of Rush Limbaugh. Therefore, you are clearly an idiot and idiots such at debating. I'm sure you could have pointed out how "The Bible says X" in your argument or something equally silly.
Posted by charles15 7 years ago
charles15
You both had terrible arguments so i didnt even bother to vote

I could definitely take on Yraelz in this debate and win!!!
Posted by Yraelz 7 years ago
Yraelz
Plus it doesn't look like I'm doing that bad yet.....
Posted by Yraelz 7 years ago
Yraelz
I don't mind the debate being focused on polygyny and chattel Tatarize. It's actually what I want. This was a resolution similar to what I was beaten on at a recent tournament under the same logic.

Anyways I'm going to think about this for a little while. Would you mind having the same debate with me again in a few weeks time?
Posted by Crust89 7 years ago
Crust89
"Polygamy is vastly more beneficial than our current system of single marriages", is your entire case? Did you just decide that providing a case or any analysis whatsoever, for this debate, isn't important? Marcus would be very, very upset with you, if you tried to run this.

"Con also had an edge in the mechanics of debate"
Shame on you, Yraelz, SHAME! I will berate you when I come home. Mark my words.
Posted by Tatarize 7 years ago
Tatarize
Yraelz failed to frame it properly. He should have tried to force the debate away from polygamy is polygyny. There's generally few things which could be more different than women marrying multiple men. Also, there's something to the argument that it wouldn't be a primary thing. There's no reason to suppose that everybody is going to be marrying dozens of women just because they have the money to do so. One could see marrying the other women rather than divorcing the first wife. If polygamy was restricted to that it could work out here and there in some cases where less traditional marriage doesn't work as well.

Rather than that, I framed the debate as polygny and women as chattel. So long as marriage is conducted with all consenting adults where the hell does the government get off preventing it. If as a rational adult in sound mind and body I want to marry a women who happens to already be married and her husband is accepting and it seems to genuinely work then it doesn't much matter.

Most of the legal stuff is simply because the government treats married people different than single people. If you dropped most of those and treated people properly and equal, ignored marriages when it comes to the best interests of the child, then marriages would be pretty much just writing your name down on a sheet of paper.

I'm not sure if any of those arguments would suffice, but from my point of view Yraelz was on the defensive the entire time and the entire debate was framed in such a way that he loses. He's proposing something societies have tried over and over again that really doesn't work. If you could work out the legal issues and everybody in a marriage does all the legal stuff up front, then there's no real issue with letting both husbands in to see her when she's ill. If consenting adults aren't hurting anybody, who cares if they have less money to funnel off to charity?
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
A good debate on a good topic, but I think Con very much had the better of it. The argument that it hasn't worked is much more convincing to me than the claim that we have now entered a brave new world where miracles are likely to happen. The notion that laws prevent abuse is demonstrably false. Con also had an edge in the mechanics of debate, language and such.
Posted by Yraelz 7 years ago
Yraelz
That's cool, at least they can stay with the objectifying d-bag now if they do so choose to when he decides he wants another. ^.^ LAWL!

And yeah, you're right. Take your time with that argument.
Posted by s0m31john 7 years ago
s0m31john
"3. Women can still choose who to marry. The objectifying D-bag or the really nice dude."

Based on experience and considering women are heartless monsters I would say most would pick the objectifying D-bag.
Posted by Tatarize 7 years ago
Tatarize
Though, I seem to recall a couple day wait on your last argument.
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Vote Placed by Tatarize 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Yraelz 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
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Vote Placed by oceanix 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by s0m31john 7 years ago
s0m31john
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