The Instigator
beem0r
Pro (for)
Winning
37 Points
The Contender
astrosfan
Con (against)
Losing
31 Points

Suicide should be legal.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/31/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,038 times Debate No: 3457
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (48)
Votes (19)

 

beem0r

Pro

I would first like to wish my opponent good luck. Unfortunately, this topic seems to me a bit harder to argue from my opponent's stance than my own, but I have faith that he will find some way to do it.

Now, I will begin by defining some key terms.

Suicide: the action of killing oneself intentionally. (source: Oxford)
Legal: permitted by law. (source: Oxford)

Based on these definitions, which are the most context relevant and apparent ones, suicide would have to be specifically prohibited by law to not be legal. Anything that is not prohibited is permitted; anything that is not illegal is legal. If my opponent wishes to use different definitions, I ask that he provides good reason for why his make more sense in this context.

And so we come to the main point I will be upholding, at least for this round: there is no good reasoning by which suicide should be made illegal.

I shall now back up my assertion with some key facts. First, there is no way for the law to punish someone after they have committed suicide. Therefore, making it illegal is rather frivolous, and such ridiculous legislation throws shame upon the whole system. There is no way to punish people who commit suicide, so it is rather impossible to make it illegal in any meaningful way. Keep in mind here that we are not debating whether or not _attempted_ suicide should be legal, as that's a completely different beast. I would be ready to argue for its legality, but I do not seek to throw this debate on a meaningless tangent.

Next, there is no victim on whose behalf punishment might be given, even if it were possible. In the same way that scraping one's own knee isn't and shouldn't be illegal, neither should completely killing oneself. Laws are meant to protect us from unfair harm, but there is no unfairness in harm that is sought out.

Lastly, for now, a person should be in control of his or her own body. Just as a person can trash their own house without legal repercussions, so too should he or she be able to trash his or her own body, even to the point of death.

As a summary thus far:
Premise: There is no good basis for making legislation against suicide.
Warranting Statement 1: There is no punishment the government can give to a person after death.
Warranting Statement 2: There is no "victim," as the only person who directly loses out has consented to the deed.
Warranting Statement 3: A person should be allowed to do whatever they wish to their own body, as with their own property.

And with that, it's off to my opponent.
astrosfan

Con

I too would like to wish opponent luck.
But to get down to business first I will defend against my opponent's attacks and the give reasons why it should be illegal. Before this gets started it dose matter if my opponent proves that it is illogical for suicide to be illegal because his burden of proof requires that he proves why it should be
1.First my opponent claims that there is no why to punish those who commit suicide but if we look to history we can see that there some punishment for suicide included: loss of estate and defacing the body. So there ways to punish a person after the act of suicide. Finally on this point even if there was no way to punish people who have committed suicide this still gives no reason why it should be illegal
2.Then my opponent claims that suicides have no effects on other people but in reality on average suicides affect 6 people and with there being 32000 suicides a year this means that every year suicides will effect 192000 people just in the US. http://www.suicidology.org.... Thus suicide should be illegal in order to protect people from the emotional damage it has on people thus meeting what my opponent claims is the point of laws in order to protect people from harm.
3.Then my opponent claims that people should have the right to their body and use a example of trashing there room, but you can cross apply my #2 argument that because of the emotional damage. The example my opponent gives dose not apply because there are no effects of trashing your room while there are effect of committing suicide. Secondly there are economic effects of suicide as well; suicides cost 25 billion dollars every year. http://www.cdc.gov...
Now for some reasons why suicide should be illegal.
1.Most suicides are cause because of short low points in a person's life, so this means that not every suicide is committed by people who are a 100% percent sure they want the out come and by making suicide illegal we may be able to persuade people to do otherwise. By having suicide being illegal we can hope to save lives.
2.By making suicide illegal you reduce the chance that suicides will be used as an act of war. As we see in World War 2 with the kamikaze and now in the Middle East with suicide bombings that if these act were looked down upon that would not be used to do kill to thousands of people.
Debate Round No. 1
beem0r

Pro

I will not be fully addressing all the points here as I usually do, since my argument does not rely on all points being valid. I will mainly be defending my first warranting statement: that it is impossible for the government to punish the deceased after the deed is done. First, though, I will minorly address each of my opponent's other points.

Defending my #2:
I claimed that it had no one else _directly_ loses out. Indirectly, it is conceivable that many people would suffer, but there are a myriad of valid decisions we make that may cause others to suffer as a side effect. For example, one might abandon a friendship he or she no longer values, one might sever ties with his or her family, move to japan, etc. The fact is that decisions sometimes cause other people to suffer. This is not valid reason by itself that something should be illegal (even if it were possible to punish the deceased).

Defending my #3:
Carry my same point over. The fact that emotional damage exists is not exclusive to suicide, nor is it enough to justify making something illegal (even if it were possible to punish the deceased).

Opponent's point #1:
Mistakes are not and should not be illegal. Nor should something be made illegal based on whether or not doing so saves lives. The law is (or should be) about what's fair, what preserves people's liberties to make their own decisions, etc. Not about what saves lives, regardless of the loss of liberty involved. Therefore, this does not justify making suicide illegal (even if it were possible to punish the deceased).

Opponent's point #2:
Suicide is already frowned upon. Other nations are not obligated to follow US laws, especially when committing acts of terrorism. To suggest that they would stop using this tactic because we don't like it is absurd. Therefore, this does not justify making suicide illegal (even if it were possible to punish the deceased).

And now, I will defend point 1, which is the bulk of what I intend to make my case using.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Defending my #1:
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My opponent has suggested 2 different possible ways to punish the deceased after he is found guilty of suicide. I will now address each suggested way.

a. "Loss of estate."

The only thing I can assume my opponent meant by this is that the government would seize the estate of the deceased, and therefore family would not inherit from him or her. It doesn't take very close observation to realize who this is really punishing: the relatives of the deceased. Not only is this unfair to them, it also does not punish the deceased, who would be the criminal in this case. There's a reason we don't lock up a murderer's family. The law is meant to punish criminals in order to administer justice, not punish innocent individuals for no reason. This is not a valid way to punish the deceased for the reasons mentioned above.

b. "Defacing the body."

First, let me say that this is a barbaric proposal, one that no modern western civilization would be willing to adopt. Second, let me be clear that this does not punish the deceased. In fact, it could only bring some suffering to those still alive. This is, of course, unless my opponent is attempting to use mythology as evidence to back up his position. Let us consider that the majority of people are either buried, where their bodies will eventually decay, or cremated, where their bodies are burnt to ashes. It is only under foreign, uncommon mythologies, perhaps that of Ancient Egypt (I say this because of mummies), that the state of a person's body after death matters. First, recognize that the USA is a secular nation. Our laws therefore must have a secular purpose. And defacing a body is no secular means of punishing the deceased. Second, if mythology is fair game, think of the ridiculous alternatives that could be used. We could perform rituals to summon spirits to haunt the deceased in the afterlife. The fact is, in the eyes of the law, neither of these are valid ways to punish the deceased.

The law, which is a secular body, has no means by which to punish a dead person. Therefore, there is no way to effectively make suicide illegal. For this reason, impossibility, I am against making suicide illegal. I urge anyone reading this to favor reason and adopt my position on the subject.
astrosfan

Con

Well first off you can group my opponent's 2 and 3 arguments about if suicide affects people. First emotional effects are grounds to make something illegal for example indecent espouser is illegal because of it emotional effects. Secondly suicides have more then just emotional affects; one thing like suicide bombings can kill many people and 2 with things like chain suicides where the death of one person hurts another enough for them to commit suicide and so on. Thus because of these side effects under the Social Contract Theory it would be the responsibility of the people to give up the right to suicide in order to keep social order.
On my #1 argument my opponent claims that the role of the law is to be fair and to protect people liberties, but; one even with definition of what the law is suppose to do suicide should still be illegal because the government would have to protect the rights of the people who are being affected. To make it simple, a person has the right to do what ever they want until the infringe on another's right so because the act of suicide would infringe on one's right to happiness it would be the job of the government to protect these right by making suicide illegal. 2 Under the Social Contract Theory the job of government is to keep order and if the people are required to give up their rights in order to keep peace. Thus because these suicide would cause a loss of order so it is the job of the people to give up this right in order to keep peace. Also because the fact that most suicides happen to people who are not 100% sure they want what they will get it is the responsibility of the government to protect these people.
On my #2 argument my opponent argues that other countries should not fallow US laws. Now I agree with is but this topic is not specific to the US thus this argument doesn't apply to this topic. This is a major reason to make suicide illegal because (Using the Middle East as an example) if it was said that instead of being rewarded for taking on life in the name of a higher being and there was a punishment people would not use this tactic.
On my opponent's #1 argument he claims that laws are secular, but this fact is completely false because what we believe is what we base our laws on and in many parts of the world the religion is the law. The reason that we have laws is in order to deter people from doing harmful things thus even if there is no actual punishment as long as the people believe that there will be a punishment the law will be able to deter people from committing these actions and would justify it being illegal. Now to defend the punishments
1.On the loss of estate my opponent only looks at this from a western view with no attention to the rest of the world. In place such as Japan one's estate has an amount of honor and by taking this away honor the dead is receiving punishment.
2.On the defacing the body my opponent still only look at the western side of the debate when the topic state nothing requiring the debate just be about the US. Because of this fact this allow for the secular side of the debate because other countries use religion to make laws. Using the example that my opponent gives about Egyptians in this culture defacing ones body effected them in the after life now one this was a direct effect on the person but if you don't buy that because of there culture even if there was no after life people would still believe that there would be an effect thus deterring people from these actions and because of that it would be able to protect people's rights so in order to protect these rights suicide should be illegal.
But in conclusion the fact that it might not be possible to punish some one who is already dead doesn't mean that suicide should be legal because of the fact that some people will believe that there is a punishment this ability to deter people from committing suicide should be the justification for having suicide be illegal.
Now in the end if you look at the pro and con's burdens we can see that I have meet my burden of refutation while my opponent has failed to meet his burden of proof, he has given no reason that would justify suicide be legal by him saying that just because there would be no way for a dead person to receive punishment does not justify people having the right to commit suicide.
Debate Round No. 2
beem0r

Pro

I will attempt to pull my opponent's points out of his last response and respond to each of them.

!!!!!!!!!!!!! Responding to the claims that:
"Negative Emotional Effects are Grounds enough to make something illegal."
"Committing suicide infringes on someone else's right to happiness."
!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let us suppose that I have a friend named Bob. We've been good friends for 15 years, he relies on me as a pillar of strength. As it is now, and as it should be, I can at any time completely sever our relationship. I can decide at any time that I never want to see him again, I can even insult him, telling him he's a horrible person, he's never going to get anywhere in life, he's meaningless to me, etc. He would not only have the emotional pain of not having me in his life anymore, but he would also have the pain of being openly insulted by me before I left. I can do all this, and still be within my rights. I have no obligation to be nice to him, I have no obligation to provide him with happiness. He has the right to seek happiness through our friendship, but I do not have to provide it if I do not wish to

Even if he decided to commit suicide after the emotional wounds I dealt him, it is not and should not be my legal burden.

I believe I have sufficiently shown through that analogy that causing emotional damage is not a valid criterion for making an action illegal.

!!!!!!!!!!!!! Responding to the claim that:
"Suicides can cause harm besides emotional damage, like killing other people (suicide bombings)"
"Suicide being illegal in the middle east would make less people do suicide bombings"
!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The act of killing another individual is already illegal. The act of destruction of property is already illegal. These are the harms the suicide bombers do. They do not care whether what they do is legal or illegal because they cannot be given a sentence after death by their government.

!!!!!!!!!!!!! Responding to the claim that:
Suicide causes a loss of order, and it is the government's job to protect order by taking away people's rights.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Suicide does not cause chaos or war. It is my opponent's burden to back up that they do. Sure, suicide bombings do, but it is because they are bombings, not because they are suicides. Suicides do not inherently cause chaos, therefore, even under the Social Contract Theory and even if it was possible to make it illegal, it should not be illegal on the grounds my opponent suggests.

!!!!!!!!!!!!! Responding to my opponent's direct quote:
"This is a major reason to make suicide illegal because (Using the Middle East as an example) if it was said that instead of being rewarded for taking on life in the name of a higher being and there was a punishment people would not use this tactic."
!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I already stated, their actions are already illegal. They do not care, because their religion grants them rewards (which they believe are legit) and they cannot be punished after death.

!!!!!!!!!!!!! Responding to my opponent's direct quote:
"On the loss of estate my opponent only looks at this from a western view with no attention to the rest of the world. In place such as Japan one's estate has an amount of honor and by taking this away honor the dead is receiving punishment."
!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm not the one "Only looking at that argument from one perspective." My opponent is suggesting that we look at the issue specifically from a traditional Japanese point of view.
Also, this sidesteps the fact that other, innocent people are punished by not being allowed to inherit from their lost love one. This takes a difficult time in these family members' lives and makes it even worse. Deplorable, to say the least.

!!!!!!!!!!!!! Responding to my opponent's direct quote:
On the defacing the body my opponent still only look at the western side of the debate when the topic state nothing requiring the debate just be about the US. Because of this fact this allow for the secular side of the debate because other countries use religion to make laws. Using the example that my opponent gives about Egyptians in this culture defacing ones body effected them in the after life now one this was a direct effect on the person but if you don't buy that because of there culture even if there was no after life people would still believe that there would be an effect thus deterring people from these actions and because of that it would be able to protect people's rights so in order to protect these rights suicide should be illegal.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are few cultures who value how their bodies are preserved after death. We're not in ancient Egypt, no one is. The majority of people get their own bodies disintegrated, or allow their bodies to rot in the ground. Once again, it is my opponent looking at things from one specific perspective, not me. This is the beauty of secularism: secular ideas apply to EVERYONE.

Also, defacing a person's body after they die is a sick act, a barbarism I would not want my own country to endorse. Nor should they endorse such action.

!!!!!!!!!!!!! Responding to my opponent's direct quote:
"Now in the end if you look at the pro and con's burdens we can see that I have meet my burden of refutation while my opponent has failed to meet his burden of proof, he has given no reason that would justify suicide be legal by him saying that just because there would be no way for a dead person to receive punishment does not justify people having the right to commit suicide."
!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have shown that there is no justifiable way to make it illegal. MY opponent's advocacy is much like saying "Murder should be illegal, but let's not punish murderers." A punishment is the means by which every single thing that is illegal is made illegal.

Also, let's examine the case that somehow, people are dumb enough to not commit suicide just based on a law without a punishment. This would allow the genes that contribute to suicidal tendencies to thrive, breeding a population filled with more unstable individuals, more medication, etc. The fact is, preventing suicides may seem noble, but it is not one-sidedly so. Even so, the law would be unable to prevent people from committing suicide. People respond to incentives, and there is no incentive here.

I have addressed all my opponents points.
I have clearly shown why suicide should be legal. Anything is legal by nature, a law must make it illegal. Since a law prohibiting suicide would be impractical or impossible to implement, would not work, has no secular value etc., suicide should be legal.

And that'll be it from me. I urge the voters and judge(s) to drop any arguments my opponent brings up for the first time next round, as I will not have a chance to rebut them.
astrosfan

Con

First off on my opponent's first attack as I stated before that there are examples (indecent espouser) of how in our society we have laws to protect against emotional damage so because of the emotional damage of suicide it is the job of the government to protect people from this damage. The problem with the example my opponent give is that there is a huge difference between leaving a friend and committing suicide one because in the example if you were to insult your friend he would hold an amount of anger towards you meaning it wouldn't be as hard of emotional damage and 2 people value life over friendship because if you just leave there chance to see you again but in the cause of suicide there is no chance of meeting again meaning it has a harder emotional effect then that of leaving a friend meaning the government has the responsibility to protect people from this damage. Thus the analogy that my opponent gives is not a valid example so it should be thrown out of the round.

Next my opponent claims that suicide bombers don't care if it was illegal of not to commit suicide, but as I stated before because of how religion effects our laws we can not over look it use in how punishment could deter acts of suicide. So if in a country where religion has a strong influence on laws if it was illegal to commit suicide that would mean that the religion looked down upon this act meaning that people would be less likely to use this tactic to do damage. Thus this law of suicide being illegal would protect people from the damages of suicide bombing and would justify suicide being illegal.

Then my opponent claims that suicides don't cause chaos, but look to in my last round when I talk about chain suicides because one suicide leads to more this means that it is causing chaos in this society and it would be the job of the government to protect the people from this danger. Thus under the Social Contract Theory it is the government's job to protect these people

On my opponent's next attack, I'm giving an example of a society where this would be a form of punishment, but even if this is not a global prospective this punishment would still be a way to punish the people in that society thus justifying the act of having suicide being illegal.

On my opponent's next argument cross apply what I stated above that this is only an example and that even if this only applies to a few place the idea of this punishment would still justify suicide being illegal.

Also extend my argument that even if the punishment don't effects the people as long as the people believe that it will effect them because of religious views we can see that it will still deter people from committing the act of suicide thus because of these laws ability to deter people from doing illegal things it's punishments are still valid. And because my opponent has no opposition to this argument you can end the debate over weather the punishments affect the dead because of it ability to deter people from breaking the law.

Now in my opponent's next argument he proves his own down fall when he states "I have shown that there is no justifiable way to make it illegal". When he says there is no reason to make it illegal he has failed to meet his burden of proof because suicide is already illegal. it is not the pro's job to show why suicide should not be made illegal because it already is, it is the pro's job to show justification of making suicide legal and because none of my opponent's arguments do so you vote con because the failure of the pro to meet it burdens. Secondly even if you buy that you couldn't punish a person who committed suicide this doesn't justify it not being illegal because there would be no difference between suicide being legal or illegal so there would no down side of the status quo meaning you still vote con on this topic.

On my opponent's last argument one you shouldn't flow this argument because it was brought up in his last speech and it is abusive to bring in new arguments up in the final round because there is no time to debate it, and two he provides no proof that suicide is genetic and it is completely immoral to think that because these people could die that the government should do nothing to stop them from doing so.

So to wrap the debate up as the judge you should vote con for the fallowing reasons
1.Emotional damage is ground for making some thing illegal
2.Under the Social Contract Theory it is the government's job to protect people from the real damage of suicides
3.There are ways to have punishment that effect the dead and that as long as the people believe that the will be effected the punishment is still valid
4.My opponent has failed to meet his burden of proof and has not justified making suicide legal
5.My opponent has been abusive and has brought up new arguments in his final speech
So for all of these reasons I urge you to vote con
Debate Round No. 3
48 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
Eh, whatever. That's why 1-judge was an awesome idea. At least it saves me the time and effort to lose later.
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
Oh wow, sorry man. =/ Ugh..
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
I showed that it was not enough that superstition would maybe make some people not commit suicide, since there is no secular justification for any postmortem punishment. Therefore, my opponent's claim is, as he earlier attacked me for, not suited to the whole world. These punishments are not valid in the majority of the world. I also showed that they were unfair to the family members of the deceased and/or brutal and barbaric.

And Johnicle, there has not been an official judging yet. Unless I'm still in the dark about it too.
Posted by Johnicle 9 years ago
Johnicle
okay, maybe I'm missing something obvious, but has there been an official judge decision?
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
Ah, didn't notice you Ragnar Rahl. I played it very briefly, haven't seen it lately though, perhaps I will pick it up.
Posted by astrosfan 9 years ago
astrosfan
i said in my last speech "long as the people believe that it will effect them because of religious views we can see that it will still deter people from committing the act of suicide" thus even without direct effect the punishment is still valid
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
Also note that I showed that suicide illegalization does not actually save lives, since there is no punishment for it. My opponent claims in his last round that "suicide is already illegal," but no one has never been punished for committing this crime. There is therefore no meaningful incentive that would prevent people from committing suicide.
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
Note that I said should.
Also note that my opponent did not bring up seatbelt laws.
Posted by Danielle 9 years ago
Danielle
Beem0r,

"Nor should something be made illegal based on whether or not doing so saves lives. The law is (or should be) about what's fair, what preserves people's liberties to make their own decisions, etc. Not about what saves lives, regardless of the loss of liberty involved."

What about seatbelt laws?

I could give many other examples, but you get the jist :P

Anyway good job to both of you...
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
There are not criteria by which things are decided to be legal. As I said in the debate, things are legal automatically, unless legislation is made to illegalize them. I have shown that such legislation is ridiculous, ineffective, unfair, meaningless, nonsecular and therefore not fitting to the entire world, etc. That is all I can do. Showing that there should not be legislation illegalizing suicide is fulfilling my burden of proof, since it is otherwise legal.
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Vote Placed by Logical-Master 8 years ago
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