The Instigator
MTGandP
Pro (for)
Winning
53 Points
The Contender
BishMasterJr
Con (against)
Losing
8 Points

The human effect on global warming is significant.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/17/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,574 times Debate No: 8325
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (10)

 

MTGandP

Pro

I'm not sure how well I worded the debate resolution, so I will explain further. This is a scientific debate about whether humans are driving global warming and whether it is a problem. And so as not to cause any confusion, I hereby discredit Al Gore. Any arguments that cite Al Gore as a source should be ignored.

Definitions
Human effect: Effect caused by unnatural human actions; this includes sources such as factories and power plants but excludes sources such as natural respiration.

Global warming: The trend of rapid global temperature increase since around 1975.

CO2: Carbon dioxide.

AGW: Anthropogenic global warming; global warming caused by human activities. I am making the case for the existence of AGW, while my opponent is trying to prove that AGW does not exist.

========================
Contention 1: Basic Scientific Argument
========================

The sun radiates electromagnetic waves onto the earth. They pass through the atmosphere, but are absorbed by the ground. When molecules on the ground absorb the electromagnetic radiation, they then re-emit it as infrared radiation. Infrared has a longer wavelength, so some atmospheric gases, called greenhouse gases – namely water vapor, CO2, and methane (CH4) – absorb it and turn it into thermal energy (a.k.a. heat). This traps heat, causing the earth's temperature to increase. Because of the greenhouse effect, the more greenhouse gases there are, the hotter it gets. This effect isn't much like a greenhouse, but I will nonetheless use the term.

For hundreds of thousands of years, CO2 levels remained in the 180 to 300 ppm (parts per million) range [1]. But as of 2007, CO2 levels were at 390 ppm [2]. The environment was relatively stable for hundreds of thousands of years, so why the sudden change? Human emissions can only be responsible. Humans have been emitting CO2 in vast quantities since the mid-70's: our cars emit it, our factories emit it, even our homes emit it.

========================
Contention 2: Scientific Consensus
========================

It is important to remember that science is not a democracy. But if nearly all scientists agree on something, it is probably correct. And nearly all scientists support AGW.

I: Scientific Societies
Many scientific societies have advocated for AGW. At this time, it is important to remember that scientific societies are not advocacy groups. But these societies found AGW so important that they felt they had to endorse it.

The national scientific societies of 21 countries have endorsed AGW:
Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Caribbean, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South, Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States [3].

The following societies have also endorsed AGW:
Network of African Science Academies, National Research Council, European Science Foundation, World Meteorological Organization, Federation of American Scientists, American Meteorological Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science [4].

This is far from a complete list, but is meant to give an idea of how many scientists support AGW. This list represents hundreds of thousands of scientists.

II: Peer-Reviewed Papers
Perhaps more important than the endorsement of scientific societies is peer-reviewed papers.

In 2004, Science magazine conducted a search for scientific papers on the topic of global warming [5]. They searched through all papers with the keywords "climate change", for a total of 928 scientific articles. Here is a quote from [5]:

{quote}
The 928 papers were divided into six categories... Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

Admittedly, authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.

This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies. Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect.

The scientific consensus might, of course, be wrong. If the history of science teaches anything, it is humility, and no one can be faulted for failing to act on what is not known. But our grandchildren will surely blame us if they find that we understood the reality of anthropogenic climate change and failed to do anything about it.

Many details about climate interactions are not well understood, and there are ample grounds for continued research to provide a better basis for understanding climate dynamics. The question of what to do about climate change is also still open. But there is a scientific consensus on the reality of AGW. Climate scientists have repeatedly tried to make this clear. It is time for the rest of us to listen.
{/quote}

========================
Contention 3: Risk Management
========================

Let's assume that it is equally likely that global warming is man-made and that it is natural. In these circumstances, what are the worst-case scenarios?

We assume that global warming is man-made, when it is actually natural. Worst-case scenario, our futile efforts cause an economic crash and we go into another great depression.

Now let's say we assume that global warming is natural, when it is actually man-made. The benefit here is that we don't spend any time worrying about how we're all going to die.

The bad news is, the human race is in a complete wreck. Expensive natural disasters have destroyed the economy. Millions are homeless and jobless, and thousands are dead. Not so good.

So when these two cases are equally likely, it is far riskier to assume that global warming is natural.

Actually, it's arguable that the economic crash caused by a shift in energy sources was actually inevitable, and even lessened. If we are forced to drive efficient cars and use renewable energy sources, it will be harmful to some big energy companies. But we would have run out of fossil fuels eventually. When we run out of fossil fuels, it will be heavily devastating. But if we make the shift now, because of global warming, we can make it slow enough so that big corporations have time to adapt. Additionally, "green" technologies are looking to be a sound investment. Developing them may fuel the economy more effectively than many current technologies. Assuming that global warming is man-made, far from ruining the economy, may actually help it.

Even if we were 90% certain that global warming is natural, we should still take precautionary steps to prevent global warming. Even if the chance of mass destruction is only 10%, it's still 10%. We'd be playing Russian Roulette with the planet. And Russian Roulette never ends well.

***

I thank my soon-to-be opponent and look forward to a fun debate.

***

References

[1] http://www.newscientist.com...
[2] http://www.newscientist.com...
[3] http://logicalscience.com...
[4] http://www.aaas.org...
[5] http://www.sciencemag.org...
BishMasterJr

Con

From Contention 1

"For hundreds of thousands of years, CO2 levels remained in the 180 to 300 ppm (parts per million) range [1]. But as of 2007, CO2 levels were at 390 ppm [2]. The environment was relatively stable for hundreds of thousands of years, so why the sudden change? Human emissions can only be responsible."

I'm not going to try to tell anyone that CO2 levels aren't going up. Indeed they are. However, they do not really matter.

A. Warren Miller. A Skeptical Layman's Guide to Anthropogenic Global Warming. August 3, 2007
"When they first measured the [ice cores], their time resolution was pretty course, so the two lines looked to move together. However, with better laboratory procedure, the ice core analysts began to find something funny. It turns out that for any time they looked at in the ice core record, temperatures actually increased on average 800 years before CO2 started to increase. When event B occurs after event A, it is pretty hard to argue that even B caused event A."

So does CO2 even matter? Apparently not. If anything, the higher temperature later causes higher CO2 levels, NOT the other way around.

From Contention 2-II

"The 928 papers were divided into six categories... Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position."

None? Really... out of 928 papers searched, none were found? What kind of search was this? Until this question is answered, on how exactly the search was conducted, I see no reason why we should believe this outrageous claim. To try to say that a respectful and truthful search was done, and they could find a SINGLE article against the issue, seems unreasonable.

However, here are some mentions of articles that say otherwise... feel free to read them entirely. If you need more exact sources, I can provide them.

A. Climate Skeptics are Being Ignored. Denver Post - Dec. 26, 2006
"There are a number of very bright climatologists and meteorologists out there who believe that the century's warming trend is neither critical nor man made. For their audacity to take on the status quo, THEY HAVE BEEN CENSURED, EXCORIATED AND LABELED AS LACKEYS FOR THE OIL COMPANIES.

B. Thousands of Climate Scientists Dispute Global Warming Claims. James Inhofe (U.S. Sen. from Oklahoma) Senate Hearing - Jan 30, 2005.
"It seemed like some hysteria was setting in, because one by one, different scientists were coming out and saying, 'No, it is not anthropogenic gases that are causing climate change,' as we once thought might be the case. We had the Oregon Petition that came long. That was 17,800 scientists who made the statement, 'There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of greenhouse gas is causing or will in the foreseeable future cause catastrophic global warming.'"

C. Many Scientists Disagree with Anthropogenic Global Warming. Fred Singer (Research Prof. @ George Mason U.) and Dennis Avery (Sr. Fellow, Hudson Institute) - 2008
"In 2003, Bray and von Storch again surveyed climate scientists around the world. This time the survey found 44 percent disagreed with the statement, 'Climate change is mostly the result of man-made causes.' with more scientists answering 'strongly disagree' and 'strongly agree'. Only a third said that 'climate models can accurately predict the future of the climate,' while 18.3 were unsure and nearly half disagreed."

D. The Number of Scientists that Disagree with AGW is on the Increase. James Inhofe (see above) - Jan 30, 2007
You had 60 Canadian scientists who had recommended to the PM back in the 1990s that they sign onto the [Kyoto] Protocol, and they did. And then after they started studying over the next period of years, just recently came our and they said, "If back in the mid-1990s we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist because we would have concluded it was not necessary."

So... now we can understand why there weren't any sources for my side of the debate in that 928, they were being ignored. Furthermore, we now know that not only are there thousands upon thousands of climatologists that disagree with AGW, but that that number is on the rise because of new evidence. I can see nothing other than the observation now that the idea of a 'scientific consensus' has been blown out of the water.

In regards to her Third Contention...

I fail to see how this has anything to do with the resolution. While she does mention a few 'facts' in there, those statements have already been argued against in my previous posted articles. Please disregard this contention as it holds NO value to either side of the resolution we are here to debate. While the topic of the harms of Global Warming (if it was happening) would be a good discussion, that isn't what we are here for. We are here to debate whether or not AGW is happening, not the solutions of its effects.

Now, with my last 2,772 characters, I shall present a one new contention of my own.

_____________________________________________
Neg Contention 1: The Earth Hasn't Been Warming at All
_____________________________________________

Here, I will show to the readers that in fact, the Earth hasn't been warming at all. And furthermore that land data that has been used to argue for AGW or any form of GW is false, and cannot be trusted.

A. Weather Satellites Have NOT shown warming for the last 10 years. Nationals Post - March 4, 2008
"We have documented shortcomings of surface data, affected by urban hear islands and by poor distribution of land based observing centers [To be discussed later my Bishmaster]. Date from the oceans are also subject to uncertainties. The only true global observations come from weather satellites, and these have not shown any warming trends since 1998.

B. NASA his Inflated Surface Temperature Trends. Patriot-News - March 4, 2008.
"NASA has acknowledged is accidentally inflated its official record of surface temperatures in the US beginning with the year 2000. They now show 1998 falling to second place behind 1934 as the warmest year, followed by 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, and 1953.

C. Generally Speaking, Surface Temperature Readings are Haphazardly Collected. Christopher Horner (Sr. Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute) - 2007
"Further, to claim 'global warming' with any degree of accuracy one must be referring to an increase in the measured global mean surface temperature -- a quantity that has never actually been measured. Surface temperature is not measured globally but rather haphazardly, wherever measuring stations have already been placed. As noted, coincidentally enough the number of measuring stations changed drastically immediately prior to the "hottest decade on record." This is why one scientist says, 'global mean surface temperature means as much to him as global mean telephone number.'"

D. The Urban Heat Island Effect Artificially Inflates Data. Fred Singer & Dennis Avery (see above)
"The temperature station in Orland, California, has been in the same location for more than 100 years and shows no evidence of being affected by nearby development. It shows a declining temperature trend from 1880 to 2007. But the temperature station in nearby Marysville, California has been surrounded by development in the form of as asphalt driveway, the base of a large cell tower, and air conditioning units in nearby buildings. This station shows a warming trend. As watts' team finds more and more stations like this one, it is becoming clear that U.S. temperature record shows more warming that has actually occurred."

So even if CO2 did cause Global Warming, even if Scientists did agree that it could cause it. It doesn't matter, because the temperature of
Debate Round No. 1
MTGandP

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I am glad to have an opponent who is actually knowledgeable on the subject.

===========
Contention 1
===========

"So does CO2 even matter? Apparently not. If anything, the higher temperature later causes higher CO2 levels, NOT the other way around."
My opponent has touched on something very important here. It is partially true that in general, CO2 lags behind temperature. But that does not make CO2 unimportant. CO2 is still a source of potential warming due to the greenhouse effect.

In natural cycles, warming cycles usually take about 5000 years. For the first 800 years, temperature leads CO2. For the final 4200 years, temperature and CO2 are closely correlated. So all that is clear here is that for the first 800 years, temperature is the leading force.

The predicted cause of this is that a cycle in earth's orbit caused the first 800 years of warming. This led to a rise in CO2 levels as oceans warmed and released CO2. This CO2 amplified the warming effect, and as more CO2 was released, the earth continued warming. This positive feedback is responsible for the other 4200 years of warming.

===========
Contention 2
===========

My first part stands unrefuted. My opponent appears to agree with the importance of scientific societies.

II:
"Really... out of 928 papers searched, none were found? What kind of search was this?"
Not a comprehensive one, obviously. It was meant as an illustration of the vast majority of scientists in support of AGW.

A. Exact source, please.

This is a quote from a newspaper article. Newspaper articles are not for the purpose of science; they are designed for entertainment. They have a tendency to exaggerate and warp reality to make things look more interesting and controversial. More to the point, this newspaper has no evidence. As for "THEY HAVE BEEN CENSURED, EXCORIATED AND LABELED AS LACKEYS FOR THE OIL COMPANIES", some climatologists are "lackeys for the oil companies", while considerably many others are not. There are simply a lot MORE climatologists in support of AGW than not.

B. The Oregon Petition states "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." This is a highly exaggerated version of global warming. Global warming is not the implication that there will be "catastrophic heating". According to Merriam-Webster, global warming is "an increase in the earth's atmospheric and oceanic temperatures widely predicted to occur due to an increase in the greenhouse effect resulting especially from pollution".

The Oregon Petition was an attempt at misrepresentation. The article it was attached to was disguised as a reprint of a peer-reviewed article entitled "Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide". It used out-of-date information and, according to Raymond Pierrehumbart, an atmospheric scientist, was filled with "half-truths". [3]

Even so, 17800 scientists is not so many. [5] has a list of scientific societies supporting AGW, which represents hundreds of thousands of scientists. I have not counted, but I would guess that my own list represents at least 100,000 scientists. The AAAS alone has over 42,000.

C: Source please. I cannot say much about this.

D: I may be misunderstanding this point, but it seems negligible.

"her"
For the record, I am male.

"We are here to debate whether or not AGW is happening, not the solutions of its effects."
You're right. Sorry about that. I had written that argument a while ago, and I just pasted it in here without thinking about it much. However, since it is irrelevant, I ask that the voters discard it.

"Now, with my last 2,772 characters, I shall present a one new contention of my own."
Is that 2772 after typing "last ", after typing "2772", or after finishing that sentence?

=======
Rebuttal
=======

"We have documented shortcomings of surface data, affected by urban heat islands and by poor distribution of land based observing centers."
Surface data is not infallible. But it is better than my opponent is giving it credit for. The effect of urban heat islands is negligible on the readings of surface thermometers [6]. Even so, NASA GISS tries to account for potential biases [9].

"[Satellites] have not shown any warming trends since 1998."
This is patently untrue. My opponent is engaging in dishonest behavior by making this claim (either that or he has never looked at a temperature graph), and this should be taken into account when voting on conduct.

I ask the voters to look at [7]. They may notice that, although temperature was hottest in 1998, temperature on average is still on the rise. During 1998, a large El Ni´┐Żo caused a short and intense warming. Even though it was hotter then than it is now, this does not mean that global warming has stopped. The past five or ten years have been much hotter than the previous five or ten years, and the next five or ten years will likely be even hotter. For an even better illustration, look at [11] (a). The long-term trend is significant warming.

"'NASA has acknowledged is accidentally inflated its official record of surface temperatures in the US beginning with the year 2000. They now show 1998 falling to second place behind 1934 as the warmest year, followed by 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, and 1953.'"
a) These records are only in the US. To get an accurate picture, the entire globe must be surveyed. A more reliable picture of world temperature can be found at [10].
b) The warm years during the 1930s in the US were caused by the dust bowl. When American farmers did not properly rotate their crops, soil became useless and dry. This kicked up a huge amount of dust, trapping heat in the atmosphere. So this warming cannot be attributed to natural causes.

"Surface temperature is not measured globally but rather haphazardly, wherever measuring stations have already been placed."
Stations are not exactly haphazard. They are placed all around the globe. Maybe they aren't very evenly distributed, but if not, it's not very difficult to account for biases.

"The Urban Heat Island Effect Artificially Inflates Data."
In addition to what I've already stated on this topic, take a look at [11]. If the UHI effect is prominent, then (b) should show distortions in more urbanized areas (Japan, US, Europe, etc. as seen in [12]). But it doesn't. We can conclude that the UHI effect has a negligible effect.

"It doesn't matter, because the temperature of"
My opponent's sentence was cut off. I presume there was a character limit. I hope that my opponent will continue this paragraph in round 2, in addition to his rebuttals to my points.

[1] http://www.realclimate.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.sciencemag.org...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov...
[7] http://data.giss.nasa.gov...
[8] youtube..com//watch?v=y15UGhhRd6M&feature=channel_page
[9] http://data.giss.nasa.gov...
[10] http://upload.wikimedia.org...
[11] http://data.giss.nasa.gov...
[12] http://www.grist.org...
[13] http://en.wikipedia.org...
BishMasterJr

Con

BishMasterJr forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
MTGandP

Pro

My opponent has forfeited this round. Extend arguments.

I request to my opponent that if he is unable to complete the debate, he please say so within this debate. The extra communication is useful, and I don't have to wait another 72 hours for the round to end.
BishMasterJr

Con

BishMasterJr forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
MTGandP

Pro

Please extend arguments.

Vote PRO!
BishMasterJr

Con

BishMasterJr forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
MTGandP

Pro

Vote PRO!
BishMasterJr

Con

BishMasterJr forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
Defaulted PRO due to multiple forfeits.
Posted by MTGandP 8 years ago
MTGandP
"Your profile is set to not accept PMs."
Fixed.
Posted by Flare_Corran 8 years ago
Flare_Corran
Your profile is set to not accept PMs.
Posted by MTGandP 8 years ago
MTGandP
"Two and Three can be blown apart in only two words."
Really? Wow. Could you PM me those two words?
Posted by Flare_Corran 8 years ago
Flare_Corran
If I had time, I'd take this.
Two and Three can be blown apart in only two words.
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BishMasterJr
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