The Instigator
Microsuck
Pro (for)
Winning
66 Points
The Contender
RationalMadman
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

Scientific Evidence Supports the Theory of Evolution

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 12 votes the winner is...
Microsuck
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/21/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,145 times Debate No: 25712
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (38)
Votes (12)

 

Microsuck

Pro

PLEASE DO NOT TROLL THIS DEBATE. DO NOT ACCEPT UNLESS YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT DEBATING THIS TOPIC!

Resolved
: Scientific evidence strongly supports the Theory of Evolution by common descent over the "theory" of Creationism.

Definitions:

No semantics please. These are the definitions that will be used throughout this debate.

Theory - A well supported, conceptual framework that encompasses a large body of scientific facts, inferences, data, and observations and explains them in a coherent way (Fairbans, 2012)


Evolution - At the most basic level, evolution is defined as “the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.” (Moran, 1993) Consequently, “genetic changes over many generations ultimately result in the emergence of new and different species from a single ancestral species”. (Fairbanks, 2012) As a result, “all known living, terrestrial organisms are genealogically related. All existing species originated gradually by biological, reproductive processes on a geological timescale”. (Douglas Theobald, 2012) Consequently, all modern organisms are the genetic descendants of one original species. All life on earth shares a common ancestor from the Phylogenetic Tree of Life.

Scientific evidence - "Scientific theories are validated by empirical testing against physical observations. Theories are not judged simply by their logical compatibility with the available data. Independent empirical testability is the hallmark of science—in science, an explanation must not only be compatible with the observed data, it must also be testable. By "testable" we mean that the hypothesis makes predictions about what observable evidence would be consistent and what would be incompatible with the hypothesis. Simple compatibility, in itself, is insufficient as scientific evidence, because all physical observations are consistent with an infinite number of unscientific conjectures. Furthermore, a scientific explanation must make risky predictions— the predictions should be necessary if the theory is correct, and few other theories should make the same necessary predictions." (Douglas Theobald, 2012)

Supports - The supporting evidence (see above) is consistent with the Theory of Evolution and makes evolution more probable than not.

Creationism - The view that God created life in its present form on earth within the passed 10,000 years.

Rules:

Structure

(1) Acceptance;

(2) Opening statements;
(3) Rebuttals;
(4) Rebuttals/Closing

Conduct

(1) Place your arguments and sources inside the debate

(2) Structure the debate in a readable, coherent fashion.
(3) No semantics,or trolling.
(4) Burden of proof is mine. My burden is to prove that scientific evidence supports the Theory of Evolution.

Additional information:

(1) This is not a debate on God's existence;
(2) This is not a debate on whether the Bible is God's word;
(3) This is not a debate on the age of the earth; and
(4) Please do not strawman the Theory of Evolution.


Bibliography

Douglas Theobald, P. (2012, April 16). 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution, 2.89. Retrieved July 18, 2012, from Talk.Origin Archive: http://www.talkorigins.org............

Fairbanks, Daniel J. Evolving: The Human Effect and Why it Matters. Ahmester: Prometheus Books, 2012. Print.

Moran, L. (1993, January 22). What is Evolution? . Retrieved July 17, 2012, from Talk.Origin Archive:http://www.talkorigins.org............

RationalMadman

Con

As an agnostic, it amuses me when evolutionists assert their theory is based on 'evidence'. It is after all a theory. I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Microsuck

Pro

It is clear my opponent is irratoinal and has no desire to have a rational discussion. A theory is A well supported, conceptual framework that encompasses a large body of scientific facts, inferences, data, and observations and explains them in a coherent way. Hence, "only a theory" is rather meaningless.

I. The Phylogenetic Tree of Life

One prediction that is made by evolution is that if evolution via common descent were true, then we should be able to place life in a hierarchy – a tree if you would. We should be able to develop an objective classification scheme for all organisms. We call this the Phylogenetic tree of life.

A basic Phylogenetic tree.

The above lists a basic Phylogenetic tree (Theobald, 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution - Part 1: The Unique Universal Phylogenetic Tree). Note that “hypothetical common ancestor” does not mean that we guess that it existed; rather it means that we infer that it existed.

This Tree of Life and the line of evidence can easily be falsified if we find an organism that cannot fit into any known taxonomy or hierarchy on such a tree.

The video to the right explains how Phylogenetic trees are constructed and why they offer such great proof for evolution.

II. Evidence from our bodies

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” -- Theodosius Dobzhansky.

A. Remnants of the past

Our bodies yield much evidence for evolution. I will explore several key points from our body that presents evidence for common descent: 1) Vestigial structures; 2) Atavisms; 3) HERVs; and 4) Pseudogenes.

A-1. Vestigial structures

Contrary to Creationists claims, a vestigial structure is not a structure that is functionless. Indeed, a vestigial structure is a reduced and rudimentary structure compared to the same complex structure in other organisms. Vestigial characters, if functional, perform relatively simple, minor, or inessential functions using structures that were clearly designed (or evolved) for another complex purpose (Theobald, 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution - Part 2: Past History).

Example 1: Goosebumps

Goosebumps are vestiges of a time when our ancestors had hair covering their entire body. The function of the goosebump is to raise hairs to make better insulating the animal when the air is cold, or to make the animal look larger and more menacing when frightened (Fairbanks).

Example 2: The ostrich wing

"The wing of the ostrich resembles those of the gyrfalcon and the hawk. Who does not know how the speed of the gyrfalcon and hawk in flight exceeds that of other birds? The ostrich certainly has wings like theirs but not their speed of flight. Truly, it has not the capacity to be lifted from the ground and gives only the impression of spreading its wings as if to fly; however, it never supports itself above the earth in flight.

It is exactly the same with all those hypocrites who pretend to live a life of piety, giving the impression of holiness without the reality of holy behaviour."

The Aberdeen Bestiary http://www.abdn.ac.uk...;
Folio 41v , c. AD 1200
— on the ostrich, its vestiges a symbol of hypocrisy since the 2nd century A.D.

The ostrich wing is a vestigial structure as the wing is useless for flight.

No organism can have a vestigial structure that was not previously functional in one of its ancestors. Thus, for each species, the standard Phylogenetic tree (listed above) prohibits what types of structures we cannot see. For example, we will never see a man with vestigial wings used to fly.

A-2. Atavisms

Atavisms are a slam dunk for common descent. Atavisms offer powerful evidence of how anatomy evolves. Unlike a vestigial structure, an atavism is a lost ancestral structure that occasionally reappears in a few individuals (Fairbanks). I will list below two common forms of atavisms.

Example 1: Humans with tails

The most striking (at least to me) atavism is the formation of humans with a true tail. Occasionally, human infants are born with a small tail that persists into adulthood if it is not surgically removed. More than 100 cases of human tails have been reported. Less than 1/3 of these are “pseudo-tails” [1] (Dao and Netsky)

Atavism

This picture above shows an x-ray of a human tail (Theobald, 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution - Part 2: Past History).

III. Evidence from the genome

A pseudoegene is a gene that is disabled. It is one that has lost its entire function via a disabling mutation. There are numerous such pseudogenes in humans and I am going to explore a couple of them in this debate.

A. PseudogenesA-1. CMAH

Malaria is one of the most horrific human diseases. However, at one point in our evolutionary history, humans enjoyed immunity to malaria. What happened for humans to gain and lose resistance to malaria?

Malaria is caused by a microorganism known as Plasmodium falciparum. It cannot be transmitted from person to person but must be carried via a mosquitoes and acquired and transmitted when a mosquito bites a person.

Chimpanzees suffer from a less severe form of malaria caused by a microorganism called Plasmodium reichenowi. What happened is the following: The human parasite evolved from the chimp parasite by jumping hosts from humans to chimpanzees.

Plasmodium reichenowi recognizes a substance on a gene called CMAH. Our genome carries this gene and we have it in the same strand of DNA as chimpanzees do. However, the only difference is it is disabled – a pseudogene if you will. No-one has the original non-mutated version.

The mutation that disabled the CMAH gene had a distinct advantage of those that did not – they became resistant to malaria. [2]

So, what happened? Why did we lose our resistance to malaria? The answer lies in the evolution of malaria itself. Mutations in a gene called EBA-175 allowed those parasites that carried the same mutation to recognize another substance which is abundant on human red blood cells about five to ten thousand years ago. The results: Plasmodium falciparum evolved as a new species. We are highly susceptible to this new form of malaria and the new version of malaria is much worse than the old one. (Fairbanks)

Conclusion

The evidence that I have given you in this debate is not even the tip of the iceberg. Many books have been written on the evidence for evolution and I can easily write hundreds of pages on evolution.

Yes we evolved, yes we are evolving; along with the rest of life—how we use our knowledge of evolution directly impacts the future of life on earth.



[1] “Pseudo-tails” are not true tails; they are simply lesions of various types coincidentally found in the caudal region of newborns.

[2] Neanderthals apparently had this same CMAH pseudogene meaning that the disabling mutation occurred before the splitting of the two lineages.

Bibliography

Dao, A. H. and M. G Netsky. "Human tails and pseudotails." Human Pathology (1984): 449-453. Pub Med. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov......;.

Fairbanks, Daniel J. Evolving: The Human Effect and Why it Matters. Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2012. Print.

Theobald, Douglas. 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution - Part 1: The Unique Universal Phylogenetic Tree. 16 April 2012. 16 August 2012. <http://www.talkorigins.org......;.

—. 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution - Part 1: The Unique Universal Phylogenetic Tree. 16 April 2012. Document. 16 August 2012. <http://www.talkorigins.org......;.

—. 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution - Part 2: Past History. 16 April 2012. 17 August 2012. <" target="blank">http://www.talkorigins.org......;.

RationalMadman

Con

Instead of rebutting all your point I would prefer to propose the case that evolution isn't a scentific fact. It's only atheory and therefore evidence can't support it if it's only a theory.

Evolutionists strongly agree that evolution is a fact, just as gravity is a fact. There is no question that evolution occurred. And since evolution is as certain as gravity, those who do not assent must not be rational, or they must have ulterior motives. If there are scientific questions about evolution (and there are), they merely relate to the question of how evolution occurred, not whether evolution occurred. Those who point out that the scientific evidence does not bode well for evolution must understand that such evidence can in no way call the fact of evolution into doubt. The scientific evidence can only bear on questions of how evolution occurred.

Now this logic might be reasonable if the scientific problems with evolution were minor compared to the supporting evidence. We certainly do not doubt the fact of gravity even though we do not understand the details of how it works. But then again, the evidence for gravity is rather strong. In the case of evolution, it is the other way around. In the case of evolution, it is the problems which are rather strong.

We don't understand how life could have first evolved, we don't understand how multicellular organisms could have evolved from unicellular organisms, we don't understand how identical unconstrained DNA sequences could be conserved in distant species, we don't understand how shocking differences could have evolved in otherwise similar species, we don't understand how consciousness could have evolved, we don't understand how adaptive mechanisms could have evolved, we don't understand how a thousand and one complex structures, superior to our best military machines, could have evolved, we don't understand how ..., well you get the idea.

Another problem is that reconstructions of the evolutionary tree are not stable. Was the ancestor of multicellular organisms a choanoflagellate? Or was it a placozoan, or a ctenophore, or even a sponge larva? Different methods lead to different reconstructions. And of course the move to multicellular organisms required more complex designs. Not surprisingly, the details of early animal evolution are still hotly debated.

While evolutionists can provide plenty of guesses about how multicellular organisms could have evolved from unicellular organisms, the fact is evolutionists have no idea how they actually evolved. And if evolutionists have no idea how they evolved, can we really be sure that they did evolve? Evolutionists scoff at such skepticism. It is unwarranted, they say, because evolution is a fact. It seems that rather than the scientific evidence putting to rest problems with the fact of evolution, it is the fact of evolution that is putting to rest problems with the scientific evidence.

In conclusion,

If professors or teachers at any grade level are going to teach evolution, they should make sure their students are aware that it is a theory and not a fact. If a student who had never been taught evolution before had been sitting in that class, they would forever think evolution is a fact and those who believe otherwise are nutcases.

Not only do professors need to be wary of what they're teaching, but students must also be cautious. Students, never take anything a professor says at face value. I encourage you to research things for yourself and make an informed opinion. You never know when someone could be teaching you theory and not fact.

That is all for my round two debate.



Evolution is a theory not a fact. Evidence can't be certain if it's only a theory.
Debate Round No. 2
Microsuck

Pro

My opponent has proved himself to be atroll that has no desire for a rational discussion on the evidence for evolution. I have already defined what a theory is so to say that it is "only a theory" is absolutely absurd! Indeed, a theory is a well supported, conceptual framework, that encompasses a large body of scientific facts, inferences, ata, and observations and explains them in a coherent way. So in contrast, evolution is both a fact and a theory. It is a theory in the sense that the various facts, tested hypothesis bearing on evolution can be broadly explained as a manifestation of the same overall process. However, it is a fact because many of its compontents (i.e., natural selection, speciation, mutations, genetic drift, genetic erosion, adaptations etc) are so well observed and documented that they cannot be reasonably disputed [1]. Indeed, the atomic theory of the nature of matter is still referred to as a theory and the germ theory of disease is still referred to as the germ theory.

My opponent confuses evolution with abiogenesis. Evolution has no bearing on how life first evolved. As Berkely College notes:

Evolutionary theory deals mainly with how life changedafter its origin. Science does try to investigate how life started (e.g., whether or not it happened near a deep-sea vent, which organic molecules came first, etc.), but these considerations are not the central focus of evolutionary theory. Regardless of how life started, afterwards it branched and diversified, and most studies of evolution are focused on those processes. [2]

Hence, my opponent essentially straw manned the entire theory!

In conclusion, my opponent has not responded to any of my arguments. Moreover, he has simply brought up points on evolution that is irrelavent and totally misses the point on what a theory means!

Vote Pro!

References

1. Fairbanks, D. Evolving: The Human Effect and Why it Matters. Ahmerst: Prometheus Books, 2012. Print.
2. Understanding Evolution. 2012. University of California Museum of Paleontology. 22 August 2008. Retrieved 26 Sep 2012 from http://evolution.berkeley.edu...

RationalMadman

Con

What I'm saying is that it is just an assumption. A fact is evidence but it can't support an assumption because an assumption is not fully truth with 100% certainty.

Evolution is actually maybe the most probabe explanation but there is no evidence to make it 100% truth, it's only a theory.
Debate Round No. 3
Microsuck

Pro

My opponent has not refuted any of my points and I already refuted the idea that evolution is only a theory. Hence, my opponent has lost this debate because he has not met his burden of proof.

VOTE PRO!
RationalMadman

Con

Ok microsuck, I thought we were debating evolution being evidently proven. Actually it's true that evidence suports it. that's undebatable and just stupid.
Debate Round No. 4
38 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by devient.genie 4 years ago
devient.genie
To all those in attendance today..Let me clear my throat :)

GAMEOVER 10:26--The Theory of Evolution is just like the Theory of Gravity, testable, repeatable, falsifiable, and fits known empirical evidence. Advocating intellectual honesty, is the single most corrosive thing for religious dogma :)

DevientGenie 11:56--Lets look at some basic differences. Cristian Leaders Institute-- "We use the term home discipleship to accent the point that when the home is strong and supported in walking with god, the church prospers". Science-- We use the term empirical to accent the point that when evidence is strong, and supported by years of testing, mankind prospers :)

Bigotry 11:14--Atheist is a bogus word. There is No word for someone who does Not believe in astrology or horoscopes, there is Not a name for someone who doesnt believe leprechauns are at the end of rainbows, there is Not a name for a person who does not believe there is a tea pot orbiting the andromeda galaxy. Why is there a name for someone who does Not believe the reason for everything is a homophobe :)

GrowUp 16:1--The best words for "nonbelievers" in leprechauns at the end of rainbows, are sane and logical, the same words should be used for those who are nonbelievers that the reason for everything rested on the 7th day and can convict you of thought crimes :)

Despicable 9:38--What is a surefire way to slow down the growth of human conciousness on society as a whole? You admonish scientific, mathematically sound evidence, instead favoring one of thousands of religious texts from thousands of years ago as a better way of viewing reality and you are guaranteed divisiveness which leads to violence :)

Delusional 9:16--44% of Americans believe god literally gave the land of israel to the jews. Awwww, he's also a real estate broker how cute :)

WAKEUP 16:4--Never fear learning and education, such fear is contagious and harmful to children :)
Posted by JorgeLucas 4 years ago
JorgeLucas
GODisreal...please never reproduce
Posted by GODisreal 4 years ago
GODisreal
Well Microsuck, unfortunately that's how they try to pull it off. You don't believe in Evolution, you are stupid; You are right, but you sounded ridiculous. Please! Is that all you have, that guy is right, he is ridiculous, but I'm also right? Cause that's evolution for you, It defies science, but still goes on cause it doesn't involve God.
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
GODisreal, you have absolutely no idea how ridiculus you just sounded!
Posted by GODisreal 4 years ago
GODisreal
Microevolution implies nothing less than microevolution. The barrier is not very clear yet, but we know we get the same kind. We get big dogs and little dogs, expect variation. What's variation? Suppose we have a blue shirt, a red shirt, and green shirt, and we have three pants with matching colors for each of the shirts. We can variate m by wearing a blue shirt and a red pair of pants, or a green shirt with red pant. We can do this over a period of millions of years, but we wont ever get a yellow dress. Same thing with animals, they can make small changes, but a dog will not change into a horse in millions of years. Evolution is a religion. Pastors? Teachers. Bibles? Textbooks. Churches? Museums and classrooms. It's a belief that contradicts science, you have to believe things not observable. You wrote "we would expect" Exactly! you can't prove it, you expect it to be true because you belief that there is no God. You say vestigial structures have lost their original use? how do you know that it had another use? You say "they are expected to gain some other use" They already have a use! I would like you to preform the pelvic thrust without you tailbone.
Posted by Magic8000 4 years ago
Magic8000
Microevolution implies Macro since we would expect with time the more micro meaning more change in the species, unless of course you show a mechanism that would prevent it.
Posted by Magic8000 4 years ago
Magic8000
Your asking me to define species when you haven't defined variation! Creationist have defined it from species to entire kingdoms.

If Microevolution cannot add up to Macro there must be some type of barrier preventing it! I asked you do show it you didn't! There isn't one. If a monkey gave birth to a human it would prove evolution false because they are on different tree lines.

Microevolution implies Macro since we would expect with time the more micro meaning more change in the species
Posted by Magic8000 4 years ago
Magic8000
@Godisreal

You do know there are may theists who accept the theory of evolution? Its not an atheist thing, Darwin himself was more of a deist then became agnostic because of the death of his grandma (I think). Nothing about evolution. I asked you to give me 1 evolutionary biologist who defines evolution and includes "steller" and 'cosmic". You didn't. Biologists didn't just come with it takes millions of years because of creationist, NO they gathered up the evidence and then said it. How is evolution is a religion? There are no pastors,preists,bishops or Imams in it. It doesn't tell you how to live. How do you define "religion".

BTW Yes a vestigial organ has lost its original use. Its expected to get some other use. The fact that these organs still do something does not mean that they still do what they used to do when they were more prominent.

" "An organ serving for two purposes, may become rudimentary or utterly aborted for one, even the more important purpose, and remain perfectly efficient for the other." and "Any change in function, which can be effected by insensibly small steps, is within the power of natural selection; so that an organ rendered, during changed habits of life, useless or injurious for one purpose, might easily be modified and used for another purpose. Or an organ might be retained for one alone of its former functions." (On the origin of species Chapter 13 in 1st edition, 14 in the 6th)

Here's the definition of species http://science.yourdictionary.com...
Posted by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
Also, rofl at the monkey analogy
Posted by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
@GODisreal:

http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com...

What biological or logical barriers prevent the former [microevolution] becoming the latter [macroevolution]?
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by JorgeLucas 4 years ago
JorgeLucas
MicrosuckRationalMadmanTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: One of these days, people will understand the difference between a theory and a guess. Today is not that day.
Vote Placed by Aaronroy 4 years ago
Aaronroy
MicrosuckRationalMadmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Round 2, con made theoretical semantic fallacy. The rest of the debate is pretty obvious. Pro destroyed.
Vote Placed by MouthWash 4 years ago
MouthWash
MicrosuckRationalMadmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Epic.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
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Reasons for voting decision: Con didn't really present a case. Nothing in science is ever proved beyond all possible doubt. Newton's Laws fail at speeds approaching light speed. Pro made a solid case for evolution with good references. Pro loses conduct for saying "My opponent has proved himself to be atroll" That's a gratuitous insult. Stick to the facts and logic of the debate arguments.
Vote Placed by Chicken 4 years ago
Chicken
MicrosuckRationalMadmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Chicken
Vote Placed by Magic8000 4 years ago
Magic8000
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Reasons for voting decision: Con just didn't even try.
Vote Placed by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
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Reasons for voting decision: On all counts, a decisive victory for Pro.
Vote Placed by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
MicrosuckRationalMadmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: So.....I haerd yuo liek mudkipz?
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
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Reasons for voting decision: Basically con made a concession.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
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Reasons for voting decision: CON was an idiot.