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The flood in the Christian Religion is a global flood and not a local flood.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/4/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,705 times Debate No: 69423
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (35)
Votes (2)




Welcome all who wish to debate me on this subject. If you want to debate, type "accept" for the first round.


I accept.

In order to avoid talking at cross-purposes I'd appreciate it if my opponent could tell me the following in Round 2:

(1) Which translation of the Bible he prefers to use for this debate. I'm good for anything in English and easily available online.

(2) What date he prefers for the flood. 2348 BC is popular but not universally accepted.

(3) The duration of the flood. The deluge lasts 40 days and 40 nights but then the water hangs out for 150 to 220 days depending on the interpretation.

(4) The depth of the flood. The Bible has it covering the tops of the mountains. Does this just cover Mt. Ararat (5137 m) or are you good with topping up Everest (8516 m) as well?

These are not points that I intend to contest unless my opponent proposes something truly absurd like a two inch deep flood. They are merely setting for the rest of the discussion.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting my debate and may the best debater win.


In this section of my debate I will address each of the questions presented to me.

Question 1
Actually I prefer to use the King James Version for my sources; however, if other transitions don't twist the scriptures, they can be used.

Question 2
As for when the flood occurred, I support the viewpoint of its occurrence at around 1656 B.C. Actually, if we track the genealogies, it is quite logical.

God created everything. Genesis 1-2 (0)
Adam became the father of Seth at 130. Genesis 5:3 (0 + 130 = 130)
Seth became the father of Enosh at 105. Genesis 5:6 (130 105 = 235)
Enosh became the father of Kenan at 90. Genesis 5:9 (235 90 = 325)
Cainan became the father of Mahalalel at 70. Genesis 5:12 (325 70 = 395)
Mahalalel became the father of Jared at 65. Genesis 5:15 (395 65 = 460)
Jared became the father of Enoch at 162. Genesis 5:18 (460 162 = 622)
Enoch became the father of Methuselah at 65. Genesis 5:21 (622 65 = 687)
Methuselah became the father of Lamech at 187. Genesis 5:25 (687 187 = 874)
Lamech became the father of Noah at 182. Genesis 5:28 (874 182 = 1056)
The Flood started when Noah was 600. Genesis 7:6 (1056 600 = 1656)

Question 3
I speculate that the waters took longer to recede from the continents than you presented. I believe that the total duration for the flood was 370 days.

Question 4
The depth of the flood has a slight amount of guessing to it. The flood wouldn't need to cover Mt. Everest. The flood itself created the mountains we see. At the end of the Flood, after thick sequences of sediments had accumulated, the Indian subcontinent evidently collided with Asia, crumpling the sediments into mountains. With this in mind the flood would really need to bee only 8000 feet high.


Argument 1

Biblical support

If we refer to ourselves as Christians, we all submit to a link of common grounds. On of the ideas we share is God is sovereign. He can't lie or make mistakes. He also inspired the Bible. Therefore the Bible is without lies or mistakes. In Genesis 7:17-24 it gives us a description of the flood.

"And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days." [1]

By this account we see the flood covering the Earth, not some little town in Brazil. It also covered the mountains. When water rises, it is quite even in the spread. If it was a local flood it would look something like this [2]. If we don't interpret the Word of God the way it is written, confusion almost always follows.

Argument 2

Global spread of fossils

If we consider the flood, what is the first thing that appears in our mind. Christians think of all the death and destruction that was a result of man's wickedness. All the dead thing didn't just sit around and rot. Quite a few of them were overtaken by the flood and quickly buried under the massive amounts of sediments being deposited. With this viewpoint in mind, we would expect to find millions of fossils spread across the Earth. And that's exactly what we find. Dr. Andrew Snelling from Answers in Genesis gives a report on this. He writes,

"Countless billions of plant and animal fossils are found in extensive "graveyards" where they had to be buried rapidly on a massive scale. Often the fine details of the creatures are exquisitely preserved.
For example, billions of straight-shelled, chambered nautiloids are found fossilized with other marine creatures in a 7 foot (2 m) thick layer within the Redwall Limestone of Grand Canyon. This fossil graveyard stretches for 180 miles (290 km) across northern Arizona and into southern Nevada, covering an area of at least 10,500 square miles (30,000 km). These squid-like fossils are all different sizes, from small, young nautiloids to their bigger, older relatives. To form such a vast fossil graveyard required 24 cubic miles (100 km) of lime sand and silt, flowing in a thick, soup-like slurry at more than 16 feet (5 m) per second (more than 11 mph [18 km/h]) to catastrophically overwhelm and bury this huge, living population of nautiloids. " [3]

In his article (which I highly advise further reading) he gives more examples of rapid burial of animals over continents. The only logical explanation for this is a global flood.

Argument 3

Sea creatures at sky level

A global flood wouldn't only effect land creatures. It would also catch marine animals in its catastrophic clutches. American journalist Malcolm Wilde Browne from the New York Times gives a rather interesting discovery. He writes,

"Scientists have found fossils of whales and other marine animals in mountain sediments in the Andes, indicating that the South American mountain chain rose very rapidly from the sea." [4]

Well, from this report we see marine creatures being deposited on a mountain from the sea. This is a clear indication of the flood throwing whales and other creatures in the most unlikely places. Unfortunately the New York Times doesn't attribute this evidence to creationism. If we present this evidence from a Creationistic viewpoint, a global flood is highly possible.

Argument 4

Global spread of sedimentary layers

To move out of the fossil evidence, lets talk about rocks. When rain floods a backyard mud and sand are lifted and transported over "large" areas. Now take this miniature flood and scale it to a global size. Obviously we can see the connection, and huge amounts of rock, mud, and any other substance was carried along with it. In the world we call home, this is what we find. Dr. Andrew Snelling again gives an article demonstrating this. He writes,

"Within this sandstone, we find grains of the mineral zircon, which is relatively easy to trace to its source because zircon usually contains radioactive uranium. By "dating" these zircon grains, using the uranium-lead (U-Pb) radioactive method, it has been postulated that the sand grains in the Navajo Sandstone came from the Appalachians of Pennsylvania and New York, and from former mountains further north in Canada. If this is true, the sand grains were transported at least 1,800 miles (3000 km) right across North America" [5]

If the flood was local we would maybe find sediments spreading over a few miles, but not close to two thousand.


So far we have seen the following arguments:

1. The Bible supports a global flood.
2. We see fossils covering the Earth.
3. We see marine animals on mountains.
4. There is a global spread of sedimentary layers.


All four of my arguments all support one obvious conclusion. A global flood occurred. Nevertheless, I only skimmed the surface for evidence concerning these arguments. Thousands of situations point to a flood that covered the earth. This finishes my first round and I am interested in seeing my opponent's arguments.



First I'd like to thank my opponent for instigating this debate. I look forward to a lively and interesting discussion.

(1) I'm good with the KJV.

(2) Your math with the begats is simple enough but you've counted forward from creation rather than backward from Christ's birth. Your date is actually 1656 AC (After Creation) not BC. If you accept Bishop Ussher's date for the creation of the world at 4004 BC [1] then you need only subtract your 1656 to arrive at 2348 BC. I doubt that doing the math with all the begats from the flood to Christ will change that greatly but let me know if you prefer a different date.

(3) 370 days is longer than I'd expected but it works for me.

(4) 8000 feet is less water than most consider for the flood but I can work with that. I prefer to work in metric, the math is so much simpler, so I'll discount the small change and let's call it 2400 m (7874 ft). Do you prefer to beach the ark in the mountains of Armenia rather than Mt. Ararat? Mt. Ararat will cause problems regardless as it's a stratovolcano made from about 1100 cubic km of lava [2]. You can't build it by tectonic uplift, it's eruptive. Erupting that much lava post-flood is fraught with problems including lack of geological evidence, the sort of major event that you'd expect to find mentioned in the Bible and closing the air space over Sumer and Mesopotamia.

I'm sure it will come as a huge surprise to my opponent that I am not a Christian and will be arguing this debate from the perspective that the global flood, as described in the Bible, never happened. I leave it to the individual to decide for themselves if the flood myth has any basis in a local flood or not.

My Opponent's Arguments:

(1) Biblical Support: I concede that the description of the flood in the Bible, wherein " the mountains were covered" by water certainly sounds like a global flood if taken literally. I dispute the Bible's historical accuracy, so let's move on to see what evidence there is to support or contradict the flood story.

(2) Global Spread of Fossils: If there had been a global flood then we would expect to find all manner of animals and plants all jumbled together in death. We would expect to find trilobites, plesiosaurs and dolphins all in the same strata. Labyrinthodonts, velociraptors and horses should all sharing a common grave. Forests of fallen oak and maple should be intermixed with giant Lepidodendron and Lycopods. The fossil record shows us the opposite of this. Trilobites, labyrinthodonts and the giant club mosses and scale trees are exclusively found in the Paleozoic, dinosaurs are never found much outside of the Mesozoic, horses, dolphins, oaks and maples are all found only in the Cenozoic. That you never find these different creatures jumbled together in the fossil record is evidence against a global flood.

Answers in Genesis: Answers in Genesis (AiG) is self-described as an apologetics ministry [3]. As such, they should not be relied upon for scientific information any more than you would go to Goddard Space Flight Center for spiritual advice. Their attempts at science are entirely contrary to the scientific method as they begin with a conclusion, which is clearly spelled out in their statement of faith [4], and work backward from there. Let's examine that first quote from AiG:

"Often the fine details of the creatures are exquisitely preserved."

Preservation of fine details is rare. Usually only the hard parts such as shells or bones are preserved. Finding fine details preserved is exceptional [5].

"To form such a vast fossil graveyard required 24 cubic miles (100 km) of lime sand and silt, flowing in a thick, soup-like slurry at more than 16 feet (5 m) per second (more than 11 mph [18 km/h]) to catastrophically overwhelm and bury this huge, living population of nautiloids."

What is described above is essentially 100 cubic km of concrete flowing at a fast run. As you might well imagine, no fine details will be preserved. Submarine turbidite flows are similar to this, though smaller scale and the few fossils that they produce are "disarticulated" and "fragmented" [6]. Submarine debris flows also produce characteristic structures such as flute casts and scour marks [7]. These are not observed in the Redwall Limestone, nor are they observed in the majority of sedimentary rocks. The Redwall Limestone is the result of thousands of years of coral reef growth in shallow, undisturbed waters resulting in many exceptionally well-preserved fossils [8]. A stark contrast to AiG's debris flow.

Sea Creatures at Sky Level: The finding of marine fossils at high altitude merely demonstrates tectonic uplift of the fossils from seabed to mountain top. It indicates that the Andes rose from the ocean floor, but does not indicate that it did so rapidly. To operate plate tectonics over a few thousand years rather than hundreds of millions of years is as inadvisable as driving your car at a large fraction of the speed of light and likely to produce similar results.

Global Spread of Sedimentary Layers: A fine example of why you shouldn't trust AiG's science. On the one hand AiG decries radiometric dating as inaccurate and incorrect [9]. On the other hand, they're eager to use radiometric ages from zircons to establish sedimentary provenance that they say proves a global flood. This is more than just a little disingenuous of them. AiG completely omits the fact that the two papers they cite [10, 11] date the zircons between 250 Ma and 3015 Ma.

Even if we allow AiG to use tools that it claims are broken they prove nothing more than large drainage basins can accumulate sediments from wide areas. If we were to go to New Orleans today, dredge up some sediment and check the detrital zircon ages to determine provenance we'd find exactly the same results. No flood was needed, we all know that the Mississippi's drainage basin is huge. And that's exactly what the authors of the original papers were saying of the drainage basins that fed the rivers that produced the Navajo Sandstone.

And now for something completely different.

Two questions that I'm sure my opponent is eagerly awaiting. Where did the water come from and where did it go to? I'm hoping my opponent has something really interesting because all previous attempts that I've seen result in the destruction of all life, including Noah and the menagerie, and I don't mean by flood.

Global Sediment Layers: As my opponent has suggested, a global flood should produce a global sediment layer. The sediments produced by a global flood should be distinctive though. We're talking about an extremely high-energy erosional environment but a relatively short-term event (geologically speaking). The sediment should be extremely poorly sorted (grain-sizes will include everything swept downhill by the flood waters from clay to boulders) and highly immature (lots of rock fragments, no chance for chemical weathering to degrade lithic fragments or chemically susceptible minerals). This stuff should look like the mother of all mass-wasting events [12].

This is not what we observe. Sedimentary rocks range from poorly sorted to well-sorted and immature to very mature. The Navajo Sandstone that AiG speaks of is made of an very well sorted, highly mature sediment, utterly unlike what we would expect of a catastrophic flood. More importantly, it is an eolian (windblown) sand formed in a desert [13]. Likewise, the Redwall Limestone is nearly pure limestone (99%) and was formed in a sheltered environment that allowed a high degree of preservation of fossils [8].

More importantly, this sedimentary layer isn't global. Welcome to the Canadian shield. Rocks and trees for as far as the eye can see but precious little of it sedimentary. Largely igneous and metamorphic rock. What happened? Canadians couldn't afford flood sediment? The same is true on all continents as shown below in blue.

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This problem becomes worse when we consider the oceans. Flood sediments should be preserved best here, protected from reworking by weather. We find continental sediments of any sort only very close to the continents. The rest is fine clays and oozes, utterly unlike what we expect from a global flood.

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Greenland and Antarctica both have extensive ice caps. Ice floats and these glacial caps should have floated free by any global flood. The GRIP ice cores date back over 100,000 years [14] and the Vostok ice cores over 800,000 years [15]. Clearly these ice caps didn't float free during the flood.

I feel that I have rebutted by opponents points adequately and have demonstrated that much of the evidence argues against a global flood. Nearly out of characters so more next round.


Debate Round No. 2


I am entirely glad that someone had accepted to debate me. However, there is a slight amount of confusion concerning your interpretation of the topic. What we are debating is, "The flood in the Christian Religion is a global flood and not a local flood." In your text you chose to take an evolutionary perspective to this. Although I do not condemn you, you did stray from the topic. You debated whether or not the flood actually occurred. As for your effort in your text, I'm sorry but it doesn't count. Thankfully we have two more round to make up for this. I hope you decide to continue debating me.


I've attempted to get in touch with my opponent to resolve the confusion that he describes but with no luck. As I only have a few hours left until I forfeit I will post this round now.

Any side in a debate is free to take any perspective that they feel will be effective so long as it does not violate previously agreed upon conditions. No conditions are stated in either the resolution or either of the previous rounds. In fact, none have been stated yet. All that has been stated is that I have somehow strayed from topic with no further clarification of the topic or how I have wandered off of it.

I don't believe that my line of reasoning strays from the debate topic as my opponent suggests and will leave it for the voters to decide which arguments count. I'm sorry if my opponent is not having the debate that he anticipated but I feel that I have done my level best to address the issue.

Origin and Fate of the Waters

In the last round I asked my opponent where the flood waters came from and where they went. A local flood does not have this problem but for a global flood 2400 m deep it becomes an impossibility. All models that I have ever seen kill all life on Earth. Dropping the water from space releases energies that dwarf the global thermonuclear arsenals by several orders of magnitude and is likely capable of vaporizing the Earth's crust and a decent portion of the mantle. Dropping it from orbital ice rings is only half as bad but still sufficient to resurface the Earth. Holding the water in the atmosphere as a "vapor canopy" produces atmospheric pressures and temperatures more suitable to Venus than Earth. Storing the water underground in an appeal to the 'fountains of the deep' is mechanically unstable. Rock is notoriously bad at floating on water. Storing the water as in magma underground is even worse since you have to erupt more magma than water, producing a lava ocean, and all the water exits as superheated steam at about 700 C. Getting rid of the water is even worse.

Truly Catastrophic Plate Tectonics

AiG's latest attempt to solve this problem is referred to as "Catastrophic Plate Tectonics" [16]. It tries to do in about one year what regular plate tectonics does in a few hundred million years. The results are unarguably catastrophic.

First they use a computer simulation to show that runaway subduction occurring "at rates of feet-per-second" to close an old ocean basin, pull apart a supercontinent and form new, warm, shallow oceanic crust. The shallower oceans can't accommodate all the water which either vaporizes and falls as rain or floods the land as a series of tsunamis. The new ocean floor then cools and sinks, allowing the water to return.

A few minor problems:

- Oceanic plates are about 100 km thick and a few thousand km on a side [17]. Pushing them through water at feet per second is implausible. Pushing them through solid rock at those speeds is utterly ridiculous.

- The stresses produced would not only pull the supercontinent apart but would pull the continents into tiny bits of gravel. Friction at plate boundaries produced by continental drift moving at the speed your fingernails grow causes melting [18]. At feet per second we'd expect a blazing wall of plasma along every plate boundary.

- Sea-floor spreading governs the rate at which the underlying mantle ascends and the degree to which it melts. Under modern conditions that's limited to about 25% partial melting of the mantle source, producing ordinary ocean floor basalt [19]. During Earth's earlier, hotter geological history as much as 50% partial melting occurred, giving rise to komatiites. Komatiites are lavas we haven't seen on Earth in 2.5 billion years. AiG's catastrophic rates would cause 100% melting, producing volcanic equivalents of mantle peridotites and dunnites, rocks for which geologists have no names because they don't exist.

- All the super-heated steam that's going to fall as rain has to shed a whole lot of energy and since water vapor is such an excellent greenhouse gas [20] precious little will be lost to space. The only place for it to go is into the atmosphere, leading to rapid and catastrophic temperature rise and the inevitable steaming alive of all aboard the ark.

- Producing an ocean roughly the size of the Atlantic requires a whole lot of lava. About 4000 km wide by 15,000 km long and at least 10 km deep. The gas released by that much lava will render the atmosphere unbreathable. The heat will boil the ocean entirely. The hydrothermal action would release massive amounts of metals into the waters. Given the weird composition of the lava, most of the metal would be iron and nickel. This fluid would more closely resemble the run-off from mine tailings ponds than ocean water. The end result would be turning the world's oceans and all its sea-life into the nastiest mine-waste gumbo imaginable before finally evaporating it completely.

Local Branch of the Global Flood

" And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth." Genesis 8:11

Where did this olive leaf come from? The surface of the Earth has been covered in semi-saline water (or mine effluent) for nearly a year at a depth roughly equivalent to that at the mid-Atlantic ridge. Any tree would have been crushed, drowned, deprived of sunlight and buried by the global sediment layer. Any olive seed would be attempting to sprout in salted sea-floor muck or mine-waste.

Thus, we are forced to conclude that either the Bible is wrong or that the flood was a good deal less than global.

Rain Falls. Everything Dies.

While the land animals may be cozy in the ark, the rest of the world's creatures have been left to weather the storm. All aquatic life will be faced with either too much or too little salt as the ocean waters and the flood waters mix. Anything dwelling on the bottom will also be buried in untold hundreds of feet of sediment. This will lead to the extinction of most life that can't survive living beneath 2400 m of semi-saline water for a year or so. A few seeds and spores might survive but all they'll find are the inhospitable salt wastes left when the flood waters recede. The most notable extinction is the bulk of the plants that produce the majority of the world's oxygen [21].

The Armenian Death March

Having beached the ark and waited for the flood waters to recede, Noah now opens the doors. The sight that greets him is much like what you would expect if you removed all the water from a great ocean basin. Lifeless muck stretches for as far as the eye can see. No plant grows and the only water is befouled by salt. He now disembarks the animals, of which there are either two or seven of each. Most are not native to Armenia and have a bit of a walk ahead of them, over mountains, rivers and oceans without food or water. Speaking of food, amongst the animals released are the lion, the tiger, the wolverine and the honey badger. You don't need to be an ecologist to see that this situation is going to be very bloody and very brief.

Population Bottlenecks

If a global flood had occurred, species recovering from just two (or seven) ancestors should show profound signs of a population bottleneck and horrible inbreeding occurring about 4400 years ago. Bottlenecks of this sort are observed in a few rare species that have tiptoed along the edge of extinction [22]. They are not seen in the overwhelming majority of land mammals.

Damned Foreigners

During the 24th century BC:

- Mesopotamia had discovered the wheel, pottery and beer [23].

- The Egyptians had built the sphinx and the great pyramids at Giza [24].

- The Minoans were exporting copper, gold, pottery and jewelry from Crete [25].

- The Longshan culture in China was establishing the beginnings of the silk road, exporting lapis lazuli, jade, turquoise and silk as far away as Persia, Egypt and India [26].

- The Indus Valley Civilization had established numerous cities on the border between what is now India and Pakistan. They had advanced trade and agriculture and had invented metallurgy in a society that rivaled the Mesopotamians [27].

Every one of these civilizations failed to be extinguished by a global flood at this time.


I have demonstrated that a global flood suffers from the following problems:
- Contradictory biblical information.
- Lack of a source or sink for the flood waters.
- Lack of a global sedimentary layer.
- Ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica that ought to have floated away.
- Extinction of most life not on the arc.
- Ecosystem collapse immediately following disembarkation from the ark.
- Lack of a population bottleneck.
- The presence of several major civilizations during the time of the flood, none of which were destroyed.

These difficulties with a global flood are insurmountable, leaving a local flood as the only plausible explanation for the Biblical flood story.


Debate Round No. 3


Unfortunately, this debate has had a sight confusion concerning the topic. I fully accept responsibility for this error and draw this debate to a close. This debate will not be voted on. However a rematch will be made, continuing this debate.


Owing to some confusion surrounding this debate, my opponent and I have agreed to call this debate a draw.

Kindly do not vote on it.

We will be having a rematch on this topic to more fairly determine the merits of the arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
35 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Voice_Of_The_People 2 years ago
You have been challenged.
Posted by Voice_Of_The_People 2 years ago
Also, just add your argument from round 3 in the new debate.
Posted by Paleophyte 2 years ago
Drop me a note. We should get this hashed out properly this time.
Posted by Voice_Of_The_People 2 years ago
if the side of a local flood is not your taste
Posted by Voice_Of_The_People 2 years ago
We could change the topic to a global flood vs. the flood is a myth.
Posted by Paleophyte 2 years ago
Playing Devil's Advocate is one thing. Arguing an indefensible position is another.

As far as I can see the only way to effectively defeat the resolution is to demonstrate that the global flood didn't happen, leaving only the local flood as an alternative. That's pretty much what I was doing.

I could provide archeological evidence for any number of local floods but tying them to the flood narrative would be weak at best.
Posted by Paleophyte 2 years ago
Sure. Drop a quick comment into the final round about a rematch and not voting on this one and I'll do likewise.
Posted by Voice_Of_The_People 2 years ago
I debate others often (not on this site) and I have to take sides that's the utter opposite of me.
Posted by Paleophyte 2 years ago
I was only arguing that the global flood never occurred. It would have been utterly perverse of me to have argued that a local flood hadn't occurred and couldn't possibly be the origin of the flood story. It's origin is so far lost to history that I'd never be able to demonstrate that.

I'll try and make that more clear in the redo.
Posted by Voice_Of_The_People 2 years ago
so do you accept my offer of a new debate for more rebuttal rounds?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by NathanDuclos 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I have to say, even though I draw on the debate, very well argued for con, nice style.
Vote Placed by Envisage 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I voted =-p