The Instigator
KeithKroeger91
Pro (for)
Losing
14 Points
The Contender
sherlockmethod
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

The Bible's scientific accuracies.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/12/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,428 times Debate No: 9211
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (6)

 

KeithKroeger91

Pro

Here are the verses:

Isaiah 40:22-He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

Ecclesiastes 1:6-7

6 The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.

7 All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.

I am arguing that these are scientific accuracies spoken of in the Bible years before scientifically proven. My opponent will need to show otherwise.
sherlockmethod

Con

I thank my opponent for offering this debate to me and I will negate the resolution as the above statements are not scientifically accurate. Note: The scientific concepts here are elementary i.e. spherical earth, the water cycle, jet streams, etc so I will use a wiki for the most part.

Isaiah 40:22 – He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth

This statement is said to show how the early prophet knew the earth was a sphere. The claim originates in H. Morris's book "The Bible and Science" 1986. Generally, creationists have abandoned the "scientifically accurate" statement and changed it to "consistent with" science. [1]The claim has been parroted by Kent Hovind and Janet Porter. The problem here is that the cosmologies at the time Isaiah was written are consistent with a belief that the earth was a flat circle, not a flat square according to popular myth, but a circle. [4] The flat circle is consistent with the rest of the verse as the image Isaiah conveyed was that of a dwelling with the heavens serving as the domed roof and the flat circle of the earth as the floor i.e. like a tent. The earth is not a flat circle; therefore, this statement cannot be scientifically accurate.

He stretches out the heavens like a canopy.

This statement is said to convey the fact that the prophet knew the universe was expanding i.e. stretching. The expanding universe was not known until the 20th century so that would indeed be an accomplishment, but this verse taken as a whole with the previous conveys a dome that was stretched over the flat circle of the earth so as to be a roof, a protective cover God created so we can have a home, not a statement conveying a still expanding sky. The universe is still expanding and is not stretched over the earth remaining static. This statement is not scientifically accurate.

Isaiah 40 makes clear the image the prophet wished to convey – a tent; the very word used in the text. This theme is not presented here alone. Ps 19:4, 102:4.

Isaiah is referencing a tumultuous time for the Hebrews; a period marking the expansion of the Assyrian empire and the decline of Israel. (See NIV: Introduction to Isaiah) Isaiah 40 is themed on providing comfort during this time, showing that God has given them a home and they will prevail. No need to extrapolate meaning here, just read the whole chapter.
Isaiah 40:1
Comfort, comfort my people,
Says your God.

Isaiah 40:31
But those who hope in the Lord
Will renew their strength
They will soar on wings like eagles
They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not be faint.

Ecclesiastes:
A beautifully written book; the author is debated but could have been Solomon himself. The main theme is the meaninglessness of life without God. A short book and one I recommend for any lovers of ancient writing.

The wind/water cycle:
This verse is said to be the first mention of the jet stream, a phenomenon not known until the 1920's. [3]The jet stream does go round and round, unfortunately for Biblical literalists (I prefer the term selectivists), the jet stream goes from east to west, not north to south. [2] Creationists have taken the musings of the author, one describing everything as meaningless, not new, and threw the water cycle and the jet stream in the middle of it. Here is some context so we can enjoy these musings more fully:

4 Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
7 All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.
8 All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
These passages are not describing the wind or water cycle, they are simply presenting the concept that all things come and go and are meaningless without God. No wind God, no water God, no sun God, just God and the cycles of nature which he created. Attempts to extract jet streams and a scientific principle that explains precipitation, canopy interception, snowmelt, runoff, infiltration, subsurface flow, evaporation, sublimation, advection, condensation, and transpiration is erroneous. [5]

Conclusion:
The resolution cannot be confirmed. The passages my opponent presented either flatly contradict known science or need to be removed from the surrounding context so as to present a rudimentary observation that may fit within known scientific laws, if we ignore some parts, all the while claiming ancient ownership of a well researched and established scientific principle. Because such steps are needed in the verses that do not stand in direct opposition to science, we should reject the resolution so as to maintain the historical accuracy of scientific discoveries and keep the context of a book, whether divinely inspired or not, that holds significant sway in the modern world.

1.http://creationwiki.org...
2.http://en.wikipedia.org...
3.http://www.creationists.org...
4.http://en.wikipedia.org...
5."The Nature of Science". James Trefil
Debate Round No. 1
KeithKroeger91

Pro

"The flat circle is consistent with the rest of the verse as the image Isaiah conveyed was that of a dwelling with the heavens serving as the domed roof and the flat circle of the earth as the floor i.e. like a tent. The earth is not a flat circle; therefore, this statement cannot be scientifically accurate."

No, he is not talking about a "domed roof" a domed roof implies that it is finite or has limited space. In this verse Isaiah was speaking to how the heavens appeared to him. The vast number of stars is as a covering of our earth. So how do we know Isaiah was not talking about a domed roof as my opponent says he is? Well lets take a look at the verse.

"He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in."

Notice the word "stretches" The Hebrew verb translated "stretches" is in the present tense, meaning that God is still stretching the heavens. If Isaiah was speaking of a "domed roof" then he would have used the verb is its past tense form. If the earth has a domed roof then God would be unable to continue stretching the Heavens.

http://www.tomorrowsworld.org...

"The universe is still expanding and is not stretched over the earth remaining static. This statement is not scientifically accurate."

Refuted above.

"Isaiah 40 makes clear the image the prophet wished to convey – a tent; the very word used in the text. This theme is not presented here alone. Ps 19:4, 102:4."

In Psalms 19:4 other translations of the Bible speaks of the sun being surrounded by a tabernacle. The chapter goes on comparing the sun with a bridegroom. Is the sun really like a bridegroom? Or is it poetic language? You forget that much of the book of Psalms is written poetically and isn't meant to be taken literally. I don't see the correlation between Psalms 102:4 with a dome.

"Isaiah 40 is themed on providing comfort during this time, showing that God has given them a home and they will prevail. No need to extrapolate meaning here, just read the whole chapter"

Irrelevant.

Just because some of the verses in Isaiah 40 have to with comfort doesn‘t mean that the verse speaking of a spherical earth is inaccurate.

"This verse is said to be the first mention of the jet stream, a phenomenon not known until the 1920's. [3]The jet stream does go round and round, unfortunately for Biblical literalists (I prefer the term selectivists), the jet stream goes from east to west, not north to south."

The bible is referring to the global winds of earth. Winds often come from the north go south and begin to turn in a south western direction to the equator the wind picks up the heated air and takes it to the north pole then the wind takes the cool air from the North Pole and takes it to the equator and the process goes on.

http://kids.earth.nasa.gov...
sherlockmethod

Con

I thank my opponent for his response.

1) The stretching heavens. My opponent wishes to rebut by offering that Isaiah is not speaking about a domed room and claims refutation by use of a sup-par Creationist website. In addition, he offers the position that the Hebrew word for "stretches" is present tense; therefore, God is still stretching the heavens and this shows an ancient understanding of the expanding universe. If Isaiah wished to convey that the stretching stopped then the past tense would have been used. Pro is incorrect on this point.

1a) The Hebrew word for "stretches":

As much as I enjoy translation arguments, my opponent offered little to rebut. Translations are not done in a word to word fashion ignoring the full content of the phrase needed for translation, and when speaking of tenses one must understand that present tense occurs in many forms. My opponent offered a source that does not provide one, not one, citation. The author, Jeffrey Fall is a writer for "Tomorrow's World" a magazine dedicated to the New Church of God and is apparently a Dr., but no where can I find what, exactly, he studied for his Doctorate. If my opponent knows, I ask that he share it with the rest of us. Mr/Dr Fall simply states the Hebrew word is in the present sense so must mean Isaiah knew the heavens to still be expanding, but offers no proof, nothing. Mr./Dr Fall uses a nice trick here, and the trick is dependant on a general misunderstanding of tenses in languages. We do not have the simple past, present, future tenses, but have many. [1] In order to determine which is being used we must look at the whole of the context, not translate the word in a vacuum.

In addition, Jeffrey Fall does not tell the readers the Hebrew word is referencing. The word used in this phrase is "natah". [3 at 120] Next, we look at the definition. [4] Several are offered but which one works here? The text clearly states "like a tent" so the use of natah is in reference to this tent, and must mean "pitch". In other words, God pitched a tent. The use of this verb throughout Isaiah [5] is listed here. [5] Please note every use is either in the past or the present perfect (as close as we can get to present perfect concepts with Hebrew). "Stretched" or "stretched out still" The stretching has stopped and the referenced object is still stretched, not stretching. Repeating an unverified claim does not verify it. With no citations and no credible source concerning the Hebrew translation from my opponent, the reference to the tense used is not credible. Not until modern times has this verse been used to support the still expanding universe. Early church historians did no such thing. (Basil the Great and Theodoret of Cyr are good examples) [2]

1b) The domed roof:

My opponent states, "No, he is not talking about a "domed roof" a domed roof implies that it is finite or has limited space."

Pro's analysis depends on the present tense phrase from Jeffrey Fall, refuted above, and I must remind my opponent that in order for God to "sit above", the universe could not have been thought infinite as God must be above the universe in a literal sense.
2) I chose my words correctly when I referenced the biblical literalists as selectivists. My opponent wishes to refute a similar reference in Psalms by examining the Book as a whole, claiming Psalms is poetic, but when confronted with the whole of Isaiah he dismisses it as irrelevant! Which is it, Pro? Both Psalms and Isaiah are using imagery to convey a message. Does my opponent really wish to take the "grasshopper" reference literally? I am not familiar with 6 legged humans so I conclude this phrase is meant to be a simile, and the verse itself is a metaphor; one showing the earth to a flat disc with a domed roof, a roof God pitched like a tent. I see no clearer means of reading this passage.

Trade Winds and Ecclesiastes:
My opponent does not support the jet stream argument and does not mention the poetic nature of the book which falls in line with his selective reading of the Bible. I am shocked as this is the scientific discovery attributed to this verse by creation pseudo scientists. I linked a reference. He claims the observance of the blowing wind in Ecclesiastes message showed us the global wind patterns, not the jet stream. I have seen this claim but it is not as common. The reason, of course, is that wind patterns were known at the time, the writers of the Bible did not discover them, and certainly did not do so thousands of years before anyone else.

Is the writer talking about the trade winds? He said the wind blows from north to south and then turns around. So what? The Holy Bible did not discover the consistency of winds, they were already known. Ancient sailors made use of the winds and were able to determine the consistent nature of the trade winds. "When there was wind, the direction it came from was of crucial importance. Ancient sailing craft, whether Egyptian, Phoenician, Etruscan, Greek or Roman, were all equipped with squaresails…[If] he has to sail into a head wind, he must resort to tacking, proceeding toward his destination by a series of zigzags." If heading north then the sailor would use the ESE or WNW winds, [7] too easy – they already knew. The problem for early sailors was the location and use of the trade winds, not their existence. [6] I see no reference to the Hadley Cell or the Coriolis Effect in the Bible either. No discoveries can be extrapolated from this text as the consistency of winds was known at the time, and my opponent has abandoned the jet stream argument.

My opponent did not address my rebuttal to the water cycle, nor did he address the cosmologies at the time of Isaiah concerning the flat circle of the earth.

Conclusion:
My opponent's position has been refuted. He simply restates that Isaiah is speaking of a spherical earth. Nothing more; I have provided ample material to refute my opponent's claims and spent considerable time to provide internet sources so my opponent can review them. I reserve the right to respond to any claims in my final round, if my opponent offers them.

1.http://www.englishpage.com...
2.http://books.google.com...
3.http://books.google.com...
4.http://www.biblestudytools.com...
5.http://www.biblestudytools.com...
6.http://earthguide.ucsd.edu...
7.http://books.google.com...
Debate Round No. 2
KeithKroeger91

Pro

"My opponent offered a source that does not provide one, not one, citation. The author, Jeffrey Fall is a writer for "Tomorrow's World" a magazine dedicated to the New Church of God and is apparently a Dr., but no where can I find what, exactly, he studied for his Doctorate."

You are misguiding the voters, attempting to discredit the source. No where in his article does he say that he is a Dr.

"As much as I enjoy translation arguments, my opponent offered little to rebut. Translations are not done in a word to word fashion ignoring the full content of the phrase needed for translation, and when speaking of tenses one must understand that present tense occurs in many forms."

You misunderstood the argument. The argument is that the Hebrew verb which was translated "STRETCHES" is in the present tense. The argument is that was that the English word it self is in the present tense. I realize that it was worded kind of funny but if you read closely it means that the word "stretches" is in the present tense.

" Several are offered but which one works here? The text clearly states "like a tent" so the use of natah is in reference to this tent, and must mean "pitch". In other words, God pitched a tent. The use of this verb throughout Isaiah [5] is listed here. [5] Please note every use is either in the past or the present perfect (as close as we can get to present perfect concepts with Hebrew). 'Stretched' or 'stretched out still' "

I am sorry but your entire argument is based off of the word "tent" that supposedly means "dome".
But here is the FACT, the word used describing the stretching of the universe is in the present tense. Just that one single word in the verse describing a presently expanding universe questions your whole "dome" idea.
Dome's don't expand.
Even the old KJV translates the Hebrew verb into the old English "stretcheth".(which is still in the present tense) This was written in that version hundreds of years before proven scientifically in 1929.
It is either a solid dome or a ever expanding universe, it cannot be both.
http://webster.commnet.edu...
http://www.shpltd.co.uk...

" Translations are not done in a word to word fashion ignoring the full content of the phrase needed for translation"

Exactly, that is why the English word is in the present tense. They translated the word from the original context and came up with "stretches".

"My opponent wishes to refute a similar reference in Psalms by examining the Book as a whole, claiming Psalms is poetic, but when confronted with the whole of Isaiah he dismisses it as irrelevant! Which is it, Pro? Both Psalms and Isaiah are using imagery to convey a message. Does my opponent really wish to take the "grasshopper" reference literally? I am not familiar with 6 legged humans so I conclude this phrase is meant to be a simile, and the verse itself is a metaphor"

The book of Psalms is very poetic. Isaiah does have it's moments of poetry but isn't nearly as poetic as Psalms is.
The fact is that when a word is used like "tent" or "tabernacle" for the sun it gives you some room to see it as poetry but when there is something as specific as "the circle of the earth" there really is no way you can interpret that as something anything else other then a circle. If it was meant to be literal why didn't he just say it was a dome? You say it is a metaphor for "dome" but the translation as shown above certainly does not suggest that.

"The reason, of course, is that wind patterns were known at the time, the writers of the Bible did not discover them, and certainly did not do so thousands of years before anyone else."

Actually your wrong. George Hadley was the first to explain the Global wind pattern in 1753. He basically described (except longer) what I said about the north to south wind movements from the pole to the equator.

http://www.scienceclarified.com...
http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov...

"Ancient sailors made use of the winds and were able to determine the consistent nature of the trade winds"

The ancient sailors knew how to sail their ships in the general location but the ancient sailors did not know the Global wind patterns.

"opponent has abandoned the jet stream argument."

I never supported it.

"I see no reference to the Hadley Cell or the Coriolis Effect in the Bible either."

Hmm.. Hadley suggests North to south wind movement.. sooo does the bible?

"The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course."
Ecclesiastes 1:6

"My opponent did not address my rebuttal to the water cycle"

Unfortunately you had no rebuttal. I would have loved to address it though. The bible implies that the water recycles it self. What does the water do? It RECYCLES it self.. Scientifically accurate? Yes.

All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.

-Ecclesiastes 1:7

It is clear that this verse is talking about a recycling motion of water. Of course the Bible didn't get into specific details. The Bible was NOT written as a science book. But you can see it gives a basic understanding of the recycling motion of water.

"nor did he address the cosmologies at the time of Isaiah concerning the flat circle of the earth."

No need to when I have already disproved your interpretation of the verse. The bible does speak of a spherical earth. There is no other alternative. It is either flat or circle, you tried to show that the metaphor that the bible is speaking of a flat circle using the word "tent" representing a "dome" I showed that the word "Stretches" implies that the universe was always expanding. Therefore your interpretation of the word "tent" fails.
sherlockmethod

Con

My opponent sent this debate to me and he failed to meet his burden. He restated his argument but could not support it. I will address two points my opponent raised in his final round and conclude. Other than these two points, Pro's last round was little more than an attempt to misstate the evidence I provided. I reserved the right to respond to any claims put forth in the last round, I need only address two.

1.I did not mislead anyone concerning Mr./Dr. Fall. When I am offered a source, I read it, and I research the author. Jeffrey Fall is indeed presented as a Dr. and voters should consider how my opponent could not have known; he presented the source! I would like to know his qualifications as any respectable theologian would not have presented such a dishonest argument. I fully rebutted the present tense argument with little more than net research (I did not even need to go into my library to deal with Mr./Dr. Fall). I made every effort to use net sources so my opponent could review them, but he only dismissed them. Here are three different sources showing Jeffrey Fall using a Dr. title [1] [2] [3] He does not use the title in his writings, but does in his speeches and I do not know why. Do not accuse me of misleading anyone.
2.My opponent claims I did not reference the water cycle; I refer voters to my R1 response as I addressed it clearly – my opponent chose to ignore it.

All other points were addressed.

Conclusion:

Biblical literalism is new movement for the most part. I provided sources showing that early scholars did not feel the need to find science in the writings of the Old Testament and there is a plethora of material from current authors and religious scholars concerning the errors of creationism and creation science from a theological standpoint. As with Genesis, Isaiah's main point addressed the battle between monotheism and polytheism. The theology in Isaiah is the same as that in Genesis, which makes sense as both appear to have been written around the same time. The Hebrew people were in dire straits with the influences of polytheism all around them, beset upon all sides if you will, and Isaiah addressed this despair starting in chapter 40. He spoke with a level of clarity and inspiration many would do well to find today before setting words to a speech, or letters to paper. He showed how the world was their home, a dwelling God made for them and the thought that God's people had nowhere to go was replaced with affirmations showing they had everywhere to go and they must be strong to get there. Commonly referred to as the "wings of an eagle" sermon, Isaiah is as true today as when it was written, but not so for its science. Attempts to twist and pervert one line, at the behest of all others, to find two scientific concepts, is simply erroneous. The image of a dwelling, a tent, is imperative for the whole of the chapter and playing loose with translations and exogenesis so as to fire another volley in the culture war between conservative Christians and science is simply dishonest. I urge voters to negate the resolution concerning Isaiah.

Very briefly, as my points about Isaiah relate to Ecclesiastes, finding the complications associated with the water cycle and Hadley cells in a poem can be little more than purposeful dishonesty or simply wishful thinking. Ecclesiastes simply took rudimentary observations from nature and life and showed how we see nothing new under the sun and that all is meaningless without God. Some knowledge of the trade winds was evident at that time, the major discoveries, Hadley cells, concerning the winds were not known until well after Ecclesiastes was written. Extrapolating a verse outside of the surrounding context of the poem to find such evidence is, again, dishonest. Jet streams, which my opponent, very oddly, never supported, the water cycle, and Hadley's cells were not known at the time and those verses do not relay such knowledge as I have shown. I urge voters to negate the resolution on this point also.

Finally, I would like to add this point. When I describe some Biblical texts as metaphors or show how an event is symbolic, I am in no way reducing it. E.H.W. Meyerstein said it so well, "Myth is my tongue, which means not that I cheat, but stagger in a light too great to bear." Isaiah and Ecclesiastes are not wrong; they are as right as they ought to be. The themes still apply to this day, but the observations about the physical world around the authors have been more thoroughly explored and these ancient writings can, in no honest way, be said to foreshadow discoveries made centuries later. Leave the spherical earth, the expanding universe, the Hadley's cells, and the water cycle to the scientists that discovered them and let the book of Ecclesiastes and the words of Isaiah inspire us to walk into a light instead of just staggering.

Very Truly Yours,
SherlockMethod.
1.http://www.cogwriter.com...
2.http://www.cogwriter.com...
3.http://ambassadorwatch.blogspot.com...
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
It's always nice to be the first vote in a debate. I hope this will spur on other members to vote as well.

C: Tie
S & G: Tie - Con's grammar was superior but Pro had no errors that interfered with my understanding.
A: Con - Pro made a valiant effort to support his points but could not withstand Con's barrage of contradicting and logically sound interpretations.
S: Con - His sources were successful in solidifying his position.
Posted by KeithKroeger91 7 years ago
KeithKroeger91
Can voters give RFD? please ;D
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
And to you.
Posted by KeithKroeger91 7 years ago
KeithKroeger91
Good luck with the debate. ;D
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
Pro is saying the statements are scientifically accurate and the Bible revealed them first, this from previous discussion. I am familiar with this position and have heard it numerous times.
Posted by MTGandP 7 years ago
MTGandP
I don't quite get this. Is Pro saying that those statements are scientifically accurate, or that the people who wrote the Bible knew that they were scientifically accurate?
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
I have an article to write for the website and will handle this one.
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