The Instigator
Freeman
Con (against)
Winning
107 Points
The Contender
twsurber
Pro (for)
Losing
25 Points

The God of classical theism is real.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/27/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 10,107 times Debate No: 10967
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (109)
Votes (23)

 

Freeman

Con

In all likelihood, the God of classical theism (i.e. an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent God) does not exist. The belief in such a being is, more importantly, primarily sustained through nothing more than a strange juxtaposition of terrible evidence melded with shoddy reasoning. In the course of this debate I will demonstrate that:

1. The presence of gratuitous evil makes the existence of a benevolent God unlikely.
2. The occurrence of reasonable unbelief in a theistic God makes the existence of such a being implausible.
3. God almost certainly does not exist because God would have to be a being of extremely improbable ordered complexity.

=====> Why I Am Not A Christian <======

Contention 1: The Evidential Argument From Evil

The occurrence of gratuitous evil, though logically compatible with God's existence, makes the existence of a benevolent God rather unlikely. For the sake of argument, I will concede that there is no a priori negation of God's existence by the presence of evil. Nonetheless, the problem of evil is much better viewed as an inductive rather than a deductive argument. As such, the pertinent question at hand is not: "Is the existence of God logically compatible with the existence of evil?" The real question before us, brothers and sisters, should be: "Given that there is all this needless suffering, what are the odds that there is a God that takes a special interest in human affairs?" In light of this supposition, the occurrence of evil renders the existence of God quite doubtful.

Moreover, God's existence becomes less and less plausible when one takes into account all of the needless suffering that is visited upon this Earth on a daily basis. Consider, for example, the natural evils that are rampant in the world. In the 20th century alone, smallpox killed over 500,000,000 people, many of them children. [1] Likewise, in the course of Earth's history over 99.9% of all the species that have ever lived have gone extinct. [2] Do these facts suggest that there is an omnibenevolent God that takes a special interest in life on Earth? Not at all: in truth, that is probably the last thing that should be inferred from such facts. None of this capriciousness, indifference, and cruelty makes any sense under the premise that there is a loving God that cares about humanity. All of this evidence is, however, sensible under the assumption that no such being exists. Therefore, reasonable people should employ Ockham's razor to dispose of the God hypothesis since it fits rather poorly with the occurrence of gratuitous and pervasive evil.

Contention 2: The Argument From Divine Hiddenness

If God wanted humanity to know that he existed, as many theists often propose, then he should have brought about a situation whereby everyone reasonably believed in him. As such, if God existed and God wanted us to know this, then reasonable non-belief should not occur. But reasonable non-belief does occur because God has refused to provide any compelling evidence that he exists, if he does exist. This, it would seem, entails a contradiction.

The philosopher Theodore Drange sets forth a formal version of the argument in the following syllogism:

1. If God exists, God:
(a) wants all humans to believe God exists before they die;
(b) can bring about a situation in which all humans believe God exists before they die;
(c) does not want anything that would conflict with and be at least as important as its desire for all humans to believe God exists before they die; and
(d) always acts in accordance with what it most wants.
2. If God exists, all humans would believe so before they die. (From 1)
3. But not all humans believe God exists before they die.
.: Therefore, God does not exist. (From 2 and 3) (Drange [3])

As can be plainly seen, the presence of reasonable unbelief presents a very real problem for the existence of God. The common religious response to this argument usually alludes to the notion that the ways of God are mysterious. However, this proposition flies in the face of the central doctrines surrounding theism. According to theism, God wants humans to have a relationship with him. Meanwhile, this God has also cloaked himself from the greatest tools and insights of modern science. Surely, any God that would bother to involve himself in the affairs of one primate species in a universe teeming with over 70 sextillion stars is not as inscrutable as all that. [4]

If, however, the argument from divine hiddenness is removed from its deductive form, then there are still serious problems that occur for the theist. For instance, intelligence and educational attainment run along a negative correlation with religious belief. [5] It would therefore not be untrue to say that if God existed, then God has set up a salvation scheme whereby the mentally unbalanced and poorly educated are those statistically most likely to accept the truth of that revelation. On the other hand, 93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences may be doomed for an eternity by their skeptical doubts. [6] Does this not strike you as odd, dear Christian? Furthermore, other problems for religion arise if theism is sought to be reconciled with the rest of reality.

If a theistic God exists, then that God:

1. set in motion a process of biological creation-- evolution via natural selection --which needs no guidance. [7]
2. created a universe through readily understandable physical laws. [8]
3. remains totally and utterly hidden from human perception.

In other words, if God existed then that God designed and maintains the universe in such a way so as to make it appear as if he didn't exist. Needless to say, the plausibility that God exists and is simultaneously a trickster seems very low by any objective standard available.

Contention 3: The Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit

If the traditional argument from design is followed to its logical end, then it leads to a self-defeating conclusion. Esteemed evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, presents this as one of his main arguments in his book, The God Delusion, and he calls it The Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit. [9] The thrust of the argument goes something like this:

Statistical improbability in cosmology (it is argued) must be accounted for by an explanation. In most religious circles the usual explanation is referred to as God or an ‘intelligent designer'. God, in this setting, is viewed as being the terminus for the problem of complexity. However, the God hypothesis only regresses the problem and does nothing to actually solve it. Any God capable of designing the universe would necessarily have to be enormously complex and thus more improbable than the universe itself.

Simply put, you can't explain away statistical improbability by postulating an explanation that is even more improbable than that which is trying to be explained. Evolution via natural selection is the only system we know of that can create complexity out of simplicity. Unfortunately, we do not possess a similarly powerful theory in physics to explain complexity, but the relatively weak theories we do have are of magnitudes better than the question begging God hypothesis. However improbable or ‘finely tuned' the universe may be, a God that could design or ‘fine tune' the universe would have to be even more complex and improbable than the universe itself. Ergo, God almost certainly does not exist.

::Conclusion::

If the foundations of my arguments are accepted, then the God hypothesis is untenable. And in the absence of any convincing arguments for God's existence the only reasonable position a person can take is unbelief. Nevertheless, I am more than open to the possibility that I may be wrong. If you have detected any errors in my reasoning please fell free to let me know. You may yet still have time to save me from the torments of hell.

::References + Definitions::

http://www.debate.org...
twsurber

Pro

Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us that the secret things belong to God. In essence, human beings are not entitled to know everything God knows. Isaiah 55:8 tells us that the ways & thoughts of God are not the same ways & thoughts of human beings. God may allow things to happen, including evil things, that we may never truly understand, nor are we meant to understand.

Suffering comes from sin. Sin is disobedience to God.

I accept offsetting arguments of a priori. Evolution and Creation are models that cannot be repeated in a test, therefore people are free to choose which they will accept.

How can one person define reasonable belief? Clearly, there are millions of people who do accept the God of the Bible. What criteria did they use? Clearly there are millions of people who do not accept the God of the Bible. What would it take to make them believe? What type of instrument could one use to measure reasonbility? Theologists will offer arguments such as Cosmological, Teleological, Ontological, as well as General and Special Revelation.

Throughout the Gospel, Jesus clearly explained that many people would not accept the truth. This has proven timeless to date. Many people whave chosen not to believe. God allowed human beings to have a free will. In the Bible, God indicated that he was not willing that any should perish, but that all should have eternal life. He also indicates that He knows many will reject the Bible.

From Drange, I would disagree with point #3. Simply because people refuse to believe that God exists, does not mean the He doesn't. It merely means they refused to accept that God existed. I have never been to Eritrea, does that mean I could refuse to believe that such a place existed? Even if I refused to believe Eritrea existed, does that make it any more or any less real?

Another point of argument that is difficult to accept is that of God's omniscience. The arguments posed by secularists are lacking the insight of God. Secularists only choose to see things through human cognition. They sell themselves far short because they are arguing from 2 levels below God's intelligence.

According to scripture, the earth continues by providence & preservation which was at the discretion and design of God. Just because human beings choose to reject signs and revelations of God does not mean that God has not revealed Himself. How many times have people ignored even common traffic warning signs?

I submit to you that through the Bible, general revelation, special revelation, providence, preservation, and the not so scientific arguments of cosmological, teleological, and ontological that God does indeed exist.

Human beings, debaters notwithstanding, rely upon human postulated science and the opinion of dead philosophers far more than is "reasonable". It should be noted that the same dead scientists and philosophers know whether or not they were correct. Some day, the readers of this debate will know for sure as well.
Debate Round No. 1
Freeman

Con

I thank twsurber for accepting my challenge. However, I must admit that I am rather disappointed with his last round. It suffers from a serious lack of effort.

=====> Why I Am Still Not A Christian <=====

:: Evolution and Creationism::

"Evolution and Creation are models that cannot be repeated in a test, therefore people are free to choose which they will accept." - twsurber

I'm not sure why my opponent is bringing up this point about creationism since I have already written that evolution does not logically discredit the existence of God. But now that he has brought up the subject, allow me to give some input.

We know for a fact that humans and all other animals are related in terms of their ancestry. Among other strands of evidence for evolution, all animals share the same genetic coding, DNA. And we can use this code to compare the genetic sequences of any two species of animal in order to determine how closely related they are. As it turns out, humans share 98 percent of their DNA with chimpanzees [1], and we share less with our more distant cousins, elephants. This process of comparative DNA testing can be done with any two species of animals. Moreover, all of this genetic evidence forms a beautiful hierarchical family tree. We (homo sapiens) are but one twig on that tree, and we are related with every other living organism on the planet, including bacteria and plants.

Contention 1: The Evidential Argument From Evil

My opponent's assertion that suffering is the result of sin is not only unfounded, it simply misses the point of this section. Even if I were to grant the rather dubious theological contentions that my opponent is assuming, then his assertion that suffering is the result of sin still cannot withstand scrutiny. We know for a fact that suffering could not have been caused by the sins of humans because suffering and death predate the emergence of Homo sapiens. For hundreds of millions of years, billions of different creatures have experienced the cruelness of life as they worked their way through the war of nature. [2] As stated earlier, all of this evidence points to the conclusion that there are probably no superintending forces that work on humanity's behalf.

Contention 2: The Argument From Divine Hiddenness

"Simply because people refuse to believe that God exists, does not mean the He doesn't. It merely means they refused to accept that God existed." - twsurber

I'm afraid that my opponent doesn't seem to understand the argument. Consequently, he went on to create a rather irrelevant analogy with the Country of Eritrea. The premise of the argument is not that God couldn't exist because people don't believe in Him. Obviously, that would be an absurd hypothesis. The argument contends that if God existed and wanted people to believe in him, then unbelief should not occur. And since unbelief does occur, then God probably doesn't exist.

Moreover, the argument has been formulated according to the rigors of logic. My opponent simply can't deny the conclusion if it follows logically from the premises. In order to show why the argument fails, he must show why one of the premises is unsound.

1. If God exists, God:
(a) wants all humans to believe God exists before they die;
(b) can bring about a situation in which all humans believe God exists before they die;
(c) does not want anything that would conflict with and be at least as important as its desire for all humans to believe God exists before they die; and
(d) always acts in accordance with what it most wants.
2. If God exists, all humans would believe so before they die. (From 1)
3. But not all humans believe God exists before they die.
.: Therefore, God does not exist. (From 2 and 3)

Contention 3: The Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit

This argument went completely unchallenged. How unfortunate…

::Conclusion::

I'm really at a loss for words at the end of this second round. My opponent has said almost nothing of relevance that pertains to this debate. Instead, he has simply decided to quote random Bible verses and advance illogical rebuttals to the arguments I have already put forth. Moreover, giving a list of arguments is not the same as actually making them. If twsurber thinks that one of the various cosmological or ontological arguments is valid, then he must argue that much in his next round, so that I give it a proper critique. Hopefully, the next round will be more promising.

::References::

1. http://www.scientificamerican.com...
2. Youtube video
twsurber

Pro

I initally misread the intent of the resolution and the intent of the debate.

In support of my opponent's argument, I offer the following and concede this point to the CON.

Scripture clearly indicates that not everyone will accept God. Failing to accept God is the same as rejecting Him. Thus I stipulate that not everyone will accept that God exists. This admission, for all intents and purposes, most likely concedes the win to my opponent in the eys of secular voters. Fortunately, this debate has no affect on my salvation.

I will, however, continue the discussion.

Opponent's C-1: I nonconcur that billions of species have suffered for hundreds of millions of years on the basis that science cannot prove the that the earth is that old. It is taken from an assumed hypothesis of "all things constant". Further, where did life originate if not from God? Science relies on testing and inference from imperfect human beings whereas, according to Scripture, God is omniscient.

Opponent's C-2: According to Scripture, God gave human beings a free will to choose. God, being omnipotent, has the ability to force belief, but rather allows human beings the oppotunity to believe or disbelieve.
1a. Concur, God would like everyone to believe before they die.
1b. Concur, God can, but doesn't force cooperation.
1c. Concur
1d. split. God wants our devotion by willingness
2. Nonconcur. According to Scripture, God does exist. According to Scripture, humans have the free will to choose.
3. Concur. According to Scripture, not all humans will believe that God exists before they die.
.: Nonconcur. According to Scripture, God exists.

Opponent's C-3: I dropped this argument because I found it to be without merit. I do not value the opinion of Richard Dawkins because he is not omniscient. No human being can say with any certainty that evolution is accurate. I do, hoever, value the opinion of God. According to Scripture, God is omniscient, and therefore is the only credible source. This begs the next question, who will you entrust your soul to? An imperfect human being such as Richard Dawkins? Or the God of the Bible who offers the gift of salvation to all who will choose to accept it?

I will not attempt to defend the cosmological, teleological, and ontological arguments. I merely wanted to mention their existence as beloved "scientific" explanations that sometimes accepted. Rather, I base all of my faith in the watershed doctrine of the Holy Bible.

My single contention is thus: I accept that the Bible is absolute truth. The Bible verifies God's existence. If the Bible is rejected by any human being, then that human being is also rejecting the existence of God.

While I apologize to the commenters and my opponent for the lack of a "quality" argument in secular terms, I trust I have provided a Biblical argument that is.
Debate Round No. 2
Freeman

Con

Let me begin by thanking my opponent for his willingness to put his beliefs on the line. However, twsurber, I would like you to appreciate how odd it is that you must cling to spurious ‘mysteries' and circular arguments in order to keep yourself from tumbling into unbelief.

Before I launch into my main arguments in this essay, allow me to make one minor digression. It isn't directly related to the resolution, but it is an interesting diversion nonetheless.

::Do we have the freedom to choose our beliefs ?::

My antagonist has alluded to the notion that people have the freedom to choose their beliefs. However, such a freedom is simply non-existent or incredibly negligible if it does exist. Simply put, people don't have direct control over their own beliefs anymore than they have control over their genetic makeup. This may sound like a rather odd claim, but hear me out.

If you believe that humans can choose their beliefs, then you must do the following. Convince yourself that you are at the beach right now. As you are reading this, convince yourself that you are actually on a beach in Malibu. Can you do it? I didn't think so. Of course, you can pretend you're at the beach, but in order to believe you are at the beach you must be convinced that you aren't simply trying to delude yourself. If humans even have any freedom to choose their beliefs, then this freedom is almost certainly minimal. Surely, people cannot believe in propositions that they take to be untrue.

=====> Why I Am Still Not A Christian <=====

Contention 1: The Evidential Argument From Evil

Unfortunately, the primary claims of my argument have gone uncontested. In this section I have argued that the assumption that a benevolent God does not exist is a much better and far more reasonable fit for the data than the proposition that such a being exists. In fact, the evidence of nature's indifference to life on Earth surrounds us. To take just one more example, every year approximately 15,000,000 children die of hunger. [1] That averages out to about 41,095 deaths each day, 1,712 each hour, and 28 each minute. God's ways are, indeed, unfathomable.

On a side note, the evidence of the Earth's antiquity is abundant and conclusive. Over the past hundred years, scientists have measured the age of the Earth through dozens of different methods, including radiometric dating, and those methods all point to the approximate age of 4.6 billion years. [2] The notion that the Earth is young is equally as preposterous as the belief that the Earth is flat. It is simply an accident of history that a belief in a young Earth is not synonymous with mental illness. That is, in essence, how detached such a proposition is from the facts. Had Christianity not become ascendant, we would be treating people who believe the Earth is young in the same way we treat people who believe they are in contact with extra terrestrials from an alternate dimension.

Contention 2: The Argument From Divine Hiddenness

For quick reference, I have put up the argument one last time.

1. If God exists, God:
(a) wants all humans to believe God exists before they die;
(b) can bring about a situation in which all humans believe God exists before they die;
(c) does not want anything that would conflict with and be at least as important as its desire for all humans to believe God exists before they die; and
(d) always acts in accordance with what it most wants.
2. If God exists, all humans would believe so before they die. (From 1)
3. But not all humans believe God exists before they die.
.: Therefore, God does not exist. (From 2 and 3)

I must admit to being genuinely frustrated at this point. My opponent's response to the argument isn't rooted in any kind of logic.

"2. Nonconcur. According to Scripture, God does exist. According to Scripture, humans have the free will to choose." -twsurber

The argument doesn't have anything to do with free will. If God exists and wants all humans to believe this before they die he could appear before the world in order to demonstrate his existence. According to the Bible itself, God did this with Moses on Mt Sinai and he also revealed himself to other people through Jesus. So, even from a biblical perspective, God could bring about a situation whereby everyone believed in him without compromising their free will.

".: Nonconcur. According to Scripture, God exists." -twsurber

Appeals to authority are not a rational basis to reject the conclusion of a syllogism. As of this point, the argument remains completely intact.

Contention 3: The Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit

My opponent has conceded this argument in my favor by failing to respond to it twice in a row. Simply accusing an argument of being without merit is not a rational objection to any argument.

=====> ‘Why I Am A Christian' - twsurber <=====

Contention 1: ‘The Bible Proves God Exists'

"My single contention is thus: I accept that the Bible is absolute truth. The Bible verifies God's existence. If the Bible is rejected by any human being, then that human being is also rejecting the existence of God."

I appreciate the thoughtfulness behind my opponent's beautifully circular argument. However, I don't find it compelling, and I don't think the voters should find it compelling either.

::Conclusion::

I've given three powerful arguments that demonstrate that God probably doesn't exist. Unfortunately, my antagonist hasn't given a serious objection to any of them. Every single issue my opponent has with my arguments is either scientifically or philosophically lacking. Moreover, the only argument he did give in favor of God's existence is patently fallacious. Quite obviously, the motion has been defeated.

::References::

1. http://library.thinkquest.org...
2. http://www.talkorigins.org...
twsurber

Pro

I would like to thank my for the Malibu Beach beach, it is in fact one of my very favorite beaches that I have had the opportunity to visit. Unfortunately, as I look out the window, as I am typing no less, and 3 inches of snow, I am convinced that I am not at Malibu Beach.

I am somewhat mystified by my opponent's lack of confidence that he hasn't the free will to choose what he believes. He has stated more than once that he is not a Christian. That is a choice. He could choose to be one, yet he has chosen not to be. Many opportunities in life are a choice. On his very profile, my opponent indicates that he supports Barack Obama. Did he have the free will to choose Obama? Or was Obama assigned to him? Or did he choose Obama based on a comparison of available options? Why wasn't I assigned to Obama? Because we have the free will to choose. I appreciate many of Obama's ideas, however, Alan Keyes' platform better represents what I have CHOSEN to believe with own free will.

Re-examining my opponent's arguments.
1.evil
a. God does not cause evil. God allows evil. Extended, to say that God causes evil is an admission to God's existence.
b To do good or to do evil is choice. A person can be choose to nice or they can choose to be cruel.
c. God COULD make everything pleasant all the time, and FORCE everyone to believe in Him. God has not done this, He has allowed us the freedom to choose.

2. Human Reasoning
a. My opponent fails to look at the argument through what John Calvin referred to as the spectacles of faith. My opponent has restricted his vision through the eyes of human comprehension based upon human discoveries in the less than perfect field of science.
b. To the contrary, my opponent has provided nothing compelling for me to disbelieve. He has only provided examples limited to human ingenuity.

To answer my opponent's question, I find it absolutely odd that 93% of the so-called "educated" dismiss God and the Bible and will choose to spend their eternity in the Lake of Fire for their unbelief. According to Scripture, (John 3:18)Failure to believe condemns a person to the Lake of Fire. God will not allow the mentally impaired to perish. Why? They do not possess the faculties to make such a choice.

While Freeman and I are presently opponents, ultimately I truly hope for and will cheer for Freeman to accept Jesus as his savior before it is too late.

According to Scripture, God's preservation and providence account for the continuity of the earth. Statistical improbability yet again reverts to limiting oneself to reliance upon a flawed system, which is a choice by the way. The answers you seek are in Scripture. Yet, you have chosen to reinvent the wheel by a less accurate method, science.

Perhaps my opponent's self admitted frustration lies in the fact that he cannot convince me that Scripture is wrong. My frustration with my opponent is that he has limited himself to arguing with human reasoning and logic; but refuses to venture into the supernatural realm.

Because we live in a society of continually progressive moral decay, I am supremely confident that the voters with similar notions to my opponent will vote as such. Unfortunately, I am equally confident that if they do not begin thinking outside of the box that Satan has entrapped them, they will join the 93% of modern academia in the lake of Fire. At which point it will too late to see that not only were they incorrect in their hypothesis, but also that the PRO should have won this debate. Thanks!
Debate Round No. 3
109 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
"Is there such a thing as cold, I ask Freeman?"

I suppose so. What's your point?
Posted by startrekfan1324 6 years ago
startrekfan1324
1. The presence of gratuitous evil makes the existence of a benevolent God unlikely.

Is there such a thing as cold, I ask Freeman?
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
"Oh my goodness, that guy in the video is such an idiot. If I could debate about that video, I would be extremely happy."

Sure, Ill defend the views of Neil degrasse Tyson any day. Just come up with a resolution that you think would be appropriate and I'll try to come up with a quick debate.
Posted by rougeagent21 6 years ago
rougeagent21
Oh my goodness, that guy in the video is such an idiot. If I could debate about that video, I would be extremely happy.
Posted by Kinesis 7 years ago
Kinesis
Darn it, twsurber's account was closed down without him reversing his vote-bombs against me.
Posted by J.Kenyon 7 years ago
J.Kenyon
I think unbelief is a conscious choice...it's a decision not to be blinded by emotion, fear, and ignorance. Seeking the truth is a choice that come people refuse to make; and some, even with the truth right in front of them, will choose not to believe it. When it comes to God, twsurber IS choosing to believe that he is on that each in Malibu, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
Posted by HazelMystic 7 years ago
HazelMystic
I was a part of a Church of Christ, so I know what it's like to be hardcore into the bible. I learned early on that it was a pile of BS. Forgive me for being blunt, but the kind of hatred that book can inspire demands contempt. When I was younger I started to ask questions, only to get contradictory answers. Even within the Christian faith there is disagreement with interpretation and how to apply the bibles principles... It seems as though God isn't very effective at ensuring his autobiography is published so ALL people can obey... Honestly though; if you don't want to hear the truth, fine. But do NOT use your views as an excuse to use fear mongering to force others to do as you see fit.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 7 years ago
GeoLaureate8
@Freeman

"Perhaps you shouldn't be so deliberately provocative."

I'm not. I really want someone to address that verse. I'm tired of people claiming the Bible is the "word of God," "holy," "divinely inspired," etc. Yet, everyone runs away from the verses that expose Yahweh's fecal fetish. Notice how twsurber didn't respond to it. They know it exposes Yahweh to be the not-so-perfect, unholy God that he is.
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
@twsurber

I actually never choose not to be Christian. I simply can't believe in God anymore than you can believe that you're currently on a beach in Malibu.

You should read The God Gene, by Dean Hamer. He explains how religious faith can be tied to genetics. It's important that you understand that unbelief isn't a conscious choice.
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
Freeman v. Ryft

I'll second that.

@Geo

Perhaps you shouldn't be so deliberately provocative.

@Mongeese

I wish apologician would come back also. We should start a petition and get lots of DDO members to sign it.
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Vote Placed by True2GaGa 7 years ago
True2GaGa
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Vote Placed by Ryft 7 years ago
Ryft
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Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 7 years ago
Ore_Ele
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