The Instigator
Eros
Pro (for)
Losing
11 Points
The Contender
Freeman
Con (against)
Winning
55 Points

There is sufficient evidence for the existence of super-ordinary actors on Earth.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/27/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,188 times Debate No: 9856
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (11)

 

Eros

Pro

There is sufficient evidence for the existence of super-ordinary actors on Earth.

It seems to me that the arguments between believers and non-believers comes down to arguments about the evidence. Thus first I do not wish to argue about spiritual existence nor about any cause for the evidence, but just about whether the particular evidence indicates extra-normal cause and in general what constitutes evidence and sufficiency of evidence. Thus I will be pointing at evidence that could be explain by non-spiritual cause, the refutation of which will require a plausible natural cause and that weight of the argument must exceed the weight of the extra-ordinary argument. As far as the ‘people are liars' or the hidden agenda argument, I like to apply the 10% rule, which says that even if you discount 90% of applicable evidence, I will hold that at least one person is telling the truth and will wish to have that truth explained.
Please forgive the leading dots being used for indentation.

DEFINITION
1.) To start then I hold that evidence falls into two classes, scientific and testimony,
………and that each class divides into two sets, historical and living.
a.) In general living scientific evidence refers to repeatable experiments by "anyone"
………which are held as impossible relative to this discussion
……………as such require the co-operation of the extra-ordinary system.
………That is, the sub-system can not ‘cause' the larger system to produce effects in a material causal sense.
……….This is not to say that the larger system isn't a natural system in its own rights,
…………….it is just we don't have known direct controls.
……….However any modern scientific knowledge may be used for argument.
b.) Historical scientific evidence constitutes such things as archeology and anthropology.
……….For instance, the Mayan temples with their curious bias reliefs,
……………sites such as on the Jordan River where the second wall of water stood,
…………………and the great historical efforts of man in the construction of monuments for spiritual purposes.
…….Also the sociological phenomena that around the world,
……..diverse and separate cultures often have similar belief structures even though isolated.
c.) Living testimony is sufficient evidence in a court of law for many convictions,
……..explain how it is insufficient for evidence of extra-ordinary events.
………….All individuals cannot be dismissed as delusional.
d.) Historic testimony refers to documentation by writing.
……..The oral traditions practiced by the ancient people was quite refined and evidence exists that it was reliable.

If you are going to cite the creation story from the Holy Bible as obvious myth, I would respond that as an explanation to ancient people who could never have grasped the reality of the development of a planet, it does reflect what we know now to be true about the development of our planet.

The first concession that I am looking for is that there is evidence of effects on this planet which have an extra-ordinary cause as a more reasonable explanation.

Eros for your correction.
Freeman

Con

I wish to thank Eros for creating this very interesting debate.

Given that my opponent's resolution is somewhat obscure I will reword it slightly in order to clarify its meaning.

=============
Proposed Rewording
=============

--> There is sufficient evidence for the existence of supernatural agents or supernatural forces on Earth.

I am quite confident that Eros will not object to this slight modification since he is very clearly referring to the supernatural. Moreover, this new wording helps clear up any confusion that may have accrued from the rather ambiguous term "super-ordinary actors". So, now that we have that taken care of I can move on to the substance of my argument.

=======
Case Con
=======

Contention 1: The Burden of Proof

My opponent is arguing in the affirmative that there is "sufficient evidence" for the existence of supernatural forces on Earth. Therefore, he has a burden to produce this evidence. [1] And since this evidence has never been produced in the past he has quite a heavy burden. Either he is sorely misguided in this goal, or he has been holding out on the rest of humanity. Hmm… I wonder which it could be.

Contention 2: The Scientific Method

Science operates off of the scientific method in order to form accurate models of how things occur in reality. [2]-[3] And one of the things science does is make theories to explain various phenomena. Scientific theories are well supported by evidence and can make accurate predictions, as is the case with quantum theory. [4] Therefore, it is necessary for science to use evidence to validate its claims about the world. [5]-[6] However, to this date there has never been any piece of credible evidence put forward that would verify the existence of the supernatural. Indeed, all such arguments for the supernatural either rely on arguments from ignorance or are otherwise based on invalid logic. [7]

Contention 3: Occam's Razor

Occam's razor demands that we dispose of any unnecessary hypothesis. And it directs us to seek out explanations, which explain the most with the least need to make exceptions in their favor. [8] Since there is no credible evidence to verify the supernatural we can conclude that there is not sufficient reason to think that our world contains any supernatural agents. Everything we know about our world can be explained in naturalistic terms. It is, of course, true to say that there are gaps in our knowledge. However, these gaps do not indicate that mysterious supernatural elements are lurking at the bottom of the world's mysteries.

=======
Conclusion
=======

To this point my opponent has not produced any argument or evidence that would fulfill his burden of proof. Moreover, he has not identified which super-ordinary actors he claims to have evidence for. Therefore, the resolution is automatically negated up until this point. So, instead of attacking straw men I will allow my opponent to make his first real argument.

Definitions:

Supernatural:

1. Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.
2. Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.
3. Of or relating to a deity.
4. Of or relating to the immediate exercise of divine power; miraculous.
5. Of or relating to the miraculous.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

Sources:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[4] http://www.thebigview.com...
[5] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[6] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[7] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[8] http://www.iep.utm.edu...

Best,
Freeman
Debate Round No. 1
Eros

Pro

Thank you Sir Freeman for accepting the challenge
for I have been quite confused by the inability of the two poles
to communicate and agree to what should be plain and common to both,
that is the evidence existent.

As to the rewording of the resolution, it is accurate as an alternate statement, but I worry as to our agreement of its proposition. ‘Actors' I consider to be a condensation of ‘agents' and ‘forces' thus I readily accept your expansion. I am concerned as to the denotation you wish for ‘supernatural'. I chose ‘super-ordinary' or ‘extra-ordinary' because something that seemed "miraculous" to primitive people could be common place to people who had the technology readily available which manipulated the natural world in seemingly "miraculous" ways. In other words, the definition of ‘supernatural' is a moving target based on not only what is known at the time about natural forces, but also carries the connotations that ‘presently we know all there is to know about natural forces' and that anything that violates what we know as natural must be ‘spiritual'. Thus I chose ‘super-ordinary' to denote that the actor had capability that exceeded the capabilities of knowledge for the era. Therefore, by limiting the connotations I am hoping that the argument can be reduced down from any particular actor, to just whether or not the evidence indicates capabilities that were greater than the era would allow.

POINT
1.) If you are to require that we deal with examples of violations of natural forces,
then I must concede the argument as such is indeed impossible.

POSTULATE
1.) Anything and everything that occurs or manifests itself in the physical system may only do so by obeying the laws of the universe.

POINT
2.) And before we mention any such thing as a "deity" we should first agree to whether or not there is any ‘spiritual realm' existent.

In conclusion, I would want to keep the term "super-ordinary" and drop both "extra-ordinary" and "supernatural". I hold that super-ordinary contains supernatural.

In my definition of evidence I specifically provided four categories as each is significantly different and presents unique problems. I would suppose that we should come to specific agreement about each.

COUNTERPOINT
1.) In looking through the body of your text, I see you asking me only for scientific evidence
2.) and beginning your argument by admitting to "gaps in our knowledge" while insisting that they "can be explained in naturalistic terms."

DEFINITION
2.) If the actor is super-ordinary then by definition that actor is employing causes that we do not have knowledge of and thus duplication by experiment is impossible.

POINT
3.) So at the most that we can hope for is to note certain effects and argue about plausible causes.

DEFINITION
3.) As I see it, according to our present knowledge base, we have the potential for only three super-ordinary agents, agent to mean an entity with intellect. These agents if existent, would be from the spiritual realm, from some other planet, or from our future.

POINT
4.) That the super-ordinary actors are beyond our ability to compel them to act.

To reiterate the problem of scientific evidence by repeatable experiment. As stated in part (a.) of the definition, evidence by repeatable experimentation is outside of our capability relative to our discussion.

Now I would like to present examples of evidence in the other three sub-categories of Definition 1.

www.mesoweb.com/features/fabric/media/28.jpg
www.earthmatrix.com/series26/pakel_01.html

Evidence that would qualify under part D1.b.) is a bias relief from a Mayan tomb that indicates advanced technology. The discovery made by Prof. Marle Green Roberston in the Temple of Inscription. The image is artistic and meant to decorate. It was done in an era before scientific drawings, but the super-ordinary interpretation should be allowed as there is a substantiating cultural document known as the Popol Vuh, sacred to the Mayans with the interesting statement "Men came from the stars, knowing everything, and they examined the four corners of the sky and the Earth"
POSTULATE
2.) Occam's Razor demands simplicity in our explanations by not postulating unnecessary entities.
POINT
5.) Thus we must accept the image and statement at face value.

Similar evidence – www.crystalins.com/ancientaircraft.html

For testimony as evidence – http://mattweiner.net...

Evidence that would qualify under part D1.c.) contains not only the individuals who claim spiritual experiences but also the many videos of paranormal events now on the web. However, I would rather move on to the more traditional battleground of historical documents.

Evidence that would qualify under part D1.d.) is Genesis 1 with its account of the Earth's development. The order of events described there follow the order that we are taught today.
POINT
6.) I hold that a super-ordinary agent providing the information to ancient, primitive people as the simplest explanation.

CONCLUSION

The Points 1-4 respond to the demand for experimental evidence to which I expect no response.

Now I have provide two particular examples of evidence with the simplest explanation being super-ordinary.
Points 5 and 6 demand a response.

Eros for your correction.
Freeman

Con

I wish to thank Eros for his quick response. Many things in your last round are orthogonal to the issue at hand, so forgive me if I ignore some of them.

It is quite clear that all of the assertions put forth by Eros either rely on invalid inductive arguments or Base rate fallacies. [1] He uses weak evidence to make probability judgments without taking into account the importance of verified empirical statistics. However, these arguments still need to be dealt with on their own merits.

*Case Con: Rebuttals*

=========
Contention 1: Ancient civilizations were given information/technology from supernatural powers.
=========

"Evidence that would qualify under part D1.b.) is a bias relief from a Mayan tomb that indicates advanced technology..."

Even if I were to grant the primary claims of this argument the conclusion would not follow. Therefore, it is a non sequitur. [2] You simply can't logically deduce a supernatural explanation from a set of natural phenomena. [3]-[4] And since valid conclusions cannot be drawn from an invalid argument this entire resolution is utterly hopeless. [5] Moreover, supernatural explanations are not only unnecessary; they are unwarranted by virtue of the existence of more plausible natural explanations.

Secondly, you need to be specific when you make claims like this. What "advanced technology" are you referring to? Up until this point you don't even have a real argument.

=========
Contention 2: Personal experiences can validate paranormal activity.
=========

"Evidence that would qualify under part D1.c.) contains not only the individuals who claim spiritual experiences but also the many videos of paranormal events now on the web."

Videos of supposed parnormal events on the Internet do not qualify as evidence for the supernatural. Moreover, people who claim to have spiritual experiences are not to be trusted unless they can produce evidence for these claims. Although you have not argued this, it is important that I point out some things regarding logical fallacies. The sheer number of people that make extraordinary claims does not indicate the existence of the supernatural. [6]

=========
Contention 3: The book of Genesis must have been the product of a supernatural intelligence.
=========

"Evidence that would qualify under part D1.d.) is Genesis 1 with its account of the Earth's development. The order of events described there follow the order that we are taught today."

This claim is so specious that it can be dismissed out of hand. However, I will point out a few things before I go any farther. The development of our Earth is no way congruous with the account of creation given in Genesis. Our universe has evolved slowly over billions of years. [7]-[8] Likewise, the development and emergence of living organisms have also taken billions of years. Humans and all other species of animals exist on a continuum with the rest of the animal kingdom. [9]-[10]-[11] The fact of the matter is that there is not a single verse in the book of Genesis that couldn't have been written by a denizen of the ancient world.

=========
Contention 4: Occam's razor validates supernatural explanations.
=========

"I hold that a super-ordinary agent providing the information to ancient, primitive people as the simplest explanation."

My opponent seems to have a slightly skewed understanding of what constitutes simplicity in an explanation. Consequently, he has failed to understand the implausibility of his own views. Supernatural forces are in no way a simple explanation for anything because they violate the principle of parsimony. [12] All we know about are natural explanations. Therefore, to postulate supernatural forces would require us to invoke unverified phenomena. Indeed, if we were to postulate supernatural explanations for any event we would have to square the laws of biology, chemistry, physics, history and a basic understanding of probabilistic reasoning with a torrent of unprovable and unverified phenomena. Therefore, supernatural elements are not simple explanations because their veracity has not been established.

========
Conclusion
========

My opponent's assertions haven't gotten past the initial stages of reliance on fallacious reasoning. On top of this, he doesn't even have an actual argument. He claims that the Mayans had advanced technology without explaining what this supposed technology was. Moreover, he still hasn't even defined what supernatural actors he claims exist. Therefore, the resolution before us remains firmly negated.

---References---

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[3] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[4] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[7] http://www.talkorigins.org...
[8] http://books.google.com...
[9] http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
[10] http://www.talkorigins.org...
[11] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[12] http://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
Eros

Pro

In a response in his debate, feverish made this declaration
"Reliable historical works do not contain descriptions of supernatural events."
He is saying that if an ancient event is described as supernatural by the observer
then de facto the document is unreliable. This is a mindset that prevents actual debate.

Thank you Sir Freeman;
I had to look up the word "orthogonal". Its particular reference here remained obscure.
I will try to limit my responses to matters of communication.

First concerning general matters.

Under your conclusion:
COUNTERPOINT
"…hasn't even defined what supernatural actors he claims exist."
POINT
A.) I did provide a Nominal Definition for super-ordinary actors and did not provide a Real Definition because the debate concerned the evidence, not the actors.

Under your 4.
COUNTERPOINT
"All we know about are natural explanations."
POINT
AA.) If this statement was a truth, then this debate would be completely unintelligible to us. In this debate I was making no attempt to establish the "veracity" of a Supernatural Theory, as presently we only have various theses concerning the Super-ordinary Actors available. What I am promoting is that there is certain evidence lacking conventional scientific explanation that would be better explained by one of these theses.

Under your 2.
COUNTERPOINT
"The sheer number of people that make extraordinary claims does not indicate the existence of the supernatural."
POINT
BB.) I suppose if there was a crowd of people outside your window yelling "Fire" that this does not indicate its existence. Even though proof may be obscure, the indication is available.
I make this point because again we are not debating the existence of the supernatural, but rather the existence of the evidence.

Now as to the particular points pertinent to our debate.

COUNTERPOINT
"He claims that the Mayans had advanced technology without explaining…"
POINT
1.) I made no claim that the Mayans had advanced technology. I was claiming that they had witnessed such. I was not asking for nor providing a supernatural explanation. I provided the quote which clearly shows what the Mayans thought and the reference web sites were explicit as to the technological interpretation of the image that they call an ancient astronaut. I was making no deduction, merely indicating the Mayans testimony of what they witnessed. I promoted the simplistic explanation that from my viewpoint as a modern educated individual, it isn't necessary to declare that the testimony can not be taken at face value. If one is to discount their claim to what they witnessed then the explanation does become more complex. Therefore, if you are claiming that there is some other explanation that explains their error and uses lower order actors, then by all means please enlighten us with this more simplistic explanation.

COUNTERPOINT
"This claim is so specious…"
POINT
2.) What I provided was that the book of Genesis 1 contains information an ancient person couldn't have dreamed up. I did this by noting that the order of development follows what we know now to be true. Freeman states "…no way congruous…" because "…billions of years" is used scientifically whereas the bible uses the poetic translation ‘day' for a general period of time. He does not offer any alternate explanation how his "denizen" could have known that there was an order to the development.

In conclusion, Freeman's refutation amounts to heuristic generalizations of why we cannot think in a certain way. He dismisses the particulars without offering any alternate explanation.

Eros for your correction.
Freeman

Con

This debate has surely been interesting and I would like to thank Eros for creating it. However, I still take issue with much of what you have written.

For example, you wrote the following:

"In this debate I was making no attempt to establish the "veracity" of a Supernatural Theory... What I am promoting is that there is certain evidence lacking conventional scientific explanation that would be better explained by one of these theses."

You have unknowingly admitted to the fact that all of your arguments consist of nothing more than appeals to ignorance. [1] You simply want to explain whatever hasn't been understood scientifically with paranormal explanations. Consequently, your approach is booth unscientific and poorly rooted in logic.

*Case Con: Rebuttals*

=========
Contention 1: Ancient civilizations were given information/technology from supernatural powers.
=========

"I made no claim that the Mayans had advanced technology. I was claiming that they had witnessed such."

People's claim to have witnessed supernatural events cannot be taken seriously unless their claims are backed up by sufficient evidence. Moreover, citing the ancient Mayans as an authority to establish the existence of the supernatural is a fallacious appeal to an unqualified authority. [2] The testimony of others cannot be used to validate the existence of the supernatural because the probability that they are mistaken is always greater than the probability that the laws of nature have been abrogated. [3]-[4] Therefore, the possibility that they were either deluded or lying is always a simpler explanation than a supernatural one.

Consider for a moment the sheer number of different religions there have been in the world. [5] They simply can't all be correct. Therefore, no matter how you look at it most of the people on the planet are deluded. For example, many of the people in these religions claim to have witnessed miracles. Millions of people believe that Sathya sai baba, the south Indian guru, is a living God. He has been claimed, by his followers, to have raised the dead, materialize objects and he even claims to have been born of a virgin- which isn't all that unique in the history of religion or in history generally. [6] Perhaps you should organize your life around his teachings because there are literally tens of thousands of living eyewitnesses who regard him as a living God and believe in his "miracles". It should therefore be obvious that hearsay is insufficient evidence to validate the truth of miracles.

=========
Contention 2: Personal experiences can validate paranormal activity.
=========

Eros has dropped his assertions regarding spiritual experiences. Likewise, he has not responded to my criticism regarding the veracity of Internet videos claiming to demonstrate paranormal activity. Allow my previous rebuttals to carry over.

=========
Contention 3: The book of Genesis must have been the product of a supernatural intelligence.
=========

"What I provided was that the book of Genesis 1 contains information an ancient person couldn't have dreamed up…. He does not offer any alternate explanation how his "denizen" could have known that there was an order to the development."

Quite frankly, I don't even know what you're talking about. The authors of Genesis didn't write even a single sentence that is salient with our modern understanding of cosmology. They couldn't even keep their own story straight. There are two contradictory stories of creation in the book of Genesis. [7] In order to compensate for these facts you simply try to cloak the Bible's words behind a barricade of metaphor and poetry. I've seen this all before and I'm just as unimpressed by it now as I was when I was five. Anyone without an education and an active imagination could have created Genesis. There is nothing profound about it in the slightest.

=========
Contention 4: Occam's razor validates supernatural explanations.
=========

"In conclusion, Freeman's refutation amounts to heuristic generalizations of why we cannot think in a certain way."

Certain ways of thinking are indeed fallacious, as you have helped demonstrate throughout this debate. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid fallacious reasoning if you want to be considered rational. Moreover, you have completely dropped my arguments regarding the principle of parsimony. Indeed, you seem to have misunderstood what constitutes simplicity in a very fundamental way.

========
Conclusion
========

My opponent has not provided a shred of evidence whatsoever in favor of the resolution. He merely claims that supernatural explanations are warranted to fill our missing gaps of knowledge. In doing this he relies on nothing more than appeals to ignorance. This is an unscientific way of trying to understand the world. Moreover, he has dropped my central argument regarding ontological parsimony. I've explained why supernatural explanations are unwarranted and he has had virtually nothing to say in response. Furthermore, instead of giving "sufficient evidence" for the supernatural, Eros has given no evidence and has propelled his arguments on nothing more than fallacies. For these reasons and many more I strongly encourage everyone to stand in opposition to this resolution. (Vote Con)

---References---

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[3] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://www.religioustolerance.org...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com...

Good Luck
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by animea 7 years ago
animea
Pro needs to spend more time establishing the actual evidence. Pro showed virtually no solid evidence to support there claim, and this sort of claim requires allot of evidence.
Posted by Conor 7 years ago
Conor
Good debate, but Eros got massacred.
Posted by Eros 7 years ago
Eros
Sir Freeman; Yes, I was able to determine the meaning of the word, but I couldn't apply it to the debate.
In thinking about debates in general, what do you think about the following.
In the tradition of debates, the extensive requirement for reference I think was born in the era before internet, where listing the physical reference was essential for the opponent to have access to the same information even when that information was only general knowledge. Now where general information is readily available at a few keystrokes, it has become more reasonable to only list reference when a particular slant is being taken on the knowledge, the information is obscure, or the opponent failed to grasp the intended concept.
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
To Eros:

Orthogonal-

http://www.google.com...
Posted by Eros 7 years ago
Eros
Yeah, I did consider as a fourth super-ordinary actor the "Secret Organization", but for ancient history the members would have originated on some other planet and the Masons are too recent. That the theory can gain traction is based on negatives, where it is believed the SO is only
self-serving and will harm those only because they are in their way to success and power. The sad part is that people believe based on their experiences. They must have had bad experiences which brings them to believe the worst is the most probable.
The reason scientific evidence is accepted as valid by the layperson without experience is the claim that "anyone" can repeat the experiment. Of course this isn't true. The experiments will be repeated only by select individuals. However, spiritual evidence isn't accepted by those without experience because the requirements for the select membership to the experience is stated up front.
Secondary to this is the argument between Scientific Theory and Spiritual Theory where Scientific Theory is quite developed and actionable, where as Spiritual Theory is underdeveloped and is limited in actionable features.
Yeah, showing intent to cause harm is difficult, but in todays culture it seems that the defamers only gain as the refutation is ignored. The only hope is to increase the quality of education and culture and thus the quality of society.
Posted by dogparktom 7 years ago
dogparktom
I lost the lawsuit. http://www.assassinationscience.com... But, I surly had a lot of fun. Conspiracy theory, as a thought-pattern, can be quite interesting.
Posted by dogparktom 7 years ago
dogparktom
This is a very interesting debate.

In a class ("Science or Pseudo-Science") that I took in 2000, I once asked an atheist/professor of philosophy/friend IF HE RECOGNIZED ANY KIND OF EVIDENCE AS HAVING PROBATIVE VALUE TO PROVE THE EXISTENCE OF A SUPER-ORDINARY REALM. His answer was NO.

Of course, I then concluded that a discussion on religion with him would be a waste of time.

He is a well-known conspiracy theorist who I subsequently sued for defamation. http://groups.yahoo.com...
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