Challenge match: Okiecowboy vs Curiousrb: Religion has had a positive impact on earth and has provid

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posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 08:02 PM
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Greetings

First I would like to thank Curiousrb for this debate, and to the mods, and anyone that reads and supports this forum, a big thank you as well.

The topic of this debate is : Religion has had a positive impact on earth and has provided new ways of thinking and important morals


As the old saying goes " everyone needs something to believe in".

I am going to try and show how religion has been a benefit to mankind in the above ways,
What i am not going to do is, try and prove or disprove the existence of a higher power or that one religion is better than another.

Religion is defined as

1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

Dictionary

One of the first benefits of following a religion I would like to bring up is the health benefits, most religions have a "higher power" at the core of the religion, with that higher power having the power to cure, heal, improve wellness to some degree..
simply "having faith" that a higher power can improve you health, regardless of the truth..this can be thru a placebo effect..


In religious healing by the natural route, the placebo effect could account for some and perhaps all of the healing observed. Faith and prayer may produce positive expectancies, and religious ritual may be a powerful source of psychological conditioning. So long as one believes that the human mind is part of the natural world, molded by the same creator who is responsible for any other healing modality, it seems logical that one would seek to harness the powers of the mind as part of whatever healing occurs. On this understanding the placebo effect becomes simply one means by which faith can heal

source

Simply put, having faith in your religion, can provide positive effects to the well being of your person, regardless of the factual basis of your religion.

There is a second aspect of Religion and health I would like to bring up, World wide Religious groups in many areas, have provided hospitals and medical care for the area. Providing areas with medical care that may not recieve it otherwise..thus benefiting the people of the earth.

Next I would like to move on to the new ways of thinking religion has provided us with.
Such as education, In several parts of the world, in the past, education was carried out by the religious group of that area..for example

Since, in many places, the institutionalization of religious life preceded that of education, religious institutions contributed to the development of educational systems. In the West, the church spawned the early schools. In Thailand I understand that education was carried out in Buddhist monasteries

source
parents had the job of teaching the children, all they needed to know, as time passed and religions grew. that became the basis of more formal education systems.

to me one of the most beneficial new ways of thinking that religion has brought us, is regarding rituals and practices regarding death..
almost all cultures have some sort of ritual, regarding a body after death.
Imagine early man, fellow man dies and procedes to stink up the camp site or cave.. this a health issue that needed to be dealt with..enter religion and spirtual understanding..
.

Even prior to the advent of recorded history, scientists have been able to discern the use of death rituals and sacred funerary practices dating as far back as the Paleolithic Era. Using the archaeological record of artifacts found at ancient burial sites, it is clear that Neanderthals and similar groups carefully arranged the position and appearance of dead bodies, often bedecking the burial site with both utilitarian and decorative items, including beads, preserved foods, weaponry, and other related supplies for daily living.

source
having a ritual or practice dealt with as basic problem, stinky unhealthy bodies...be it burial, cremation, etc..regardless of the religion, something was being one, even without the understanding of the health reasons.

The third and final point I wish to bring up is the moral issue.

One of the basic background of all religions is a system of actions, or laws, rules etc. that provide the practioner a guidebook to live by. such as "thou shalt not kill", "renouncing the fruits of your labors", "follow the straight path" .

As man came to live with each other in larger groups, a set of rules were needed to insure a more stable system of living. by following the morals set forth in your religion, you could be held to a higher standard at the risk of some sort of failing in your belief, be it punishment by your higher powers, in this life or the next.
These basic rules have still have a holding today on everyone, such as when in court, swearing a oath to tell the truth, etc..
In fact the very threads of society are formed by the morals set forth in early religions. in example most nations law's are based on morals set forth in religion,as well as civil acts such as marriage.


The fact that religion develops a system of conduct to be followed by its members through its beliefs, traditions, writings and religious laws shows that it indeed it influences the conduct of society. As result, it influences that conduct of individual members in society be cause they draw thier valuefrom the society’s standards. This is exemplified by states that are religious or partly religious. These states write their laws and constitutions based on the religious belief of the religious institution regarded as the national faith. This paper highlights how religiosty influences morality of individuals in society and intends to determine the extent of influence./ex]
[url=http://academicwritingtips.org/component/k2/item/1069-effects-of-religion-on-individuals%E2%80%99-morality.html?tmpl=component&print=1]source[/ur l]


Morality is influenced by societal norms and edicts. These norms and edicts are to a great extent established and shaped on the basis of religoius beliefs and traditions. This happens because religions hold an important place in society that is highly valued in terms of ethics. Individuals in society, shape their character and act according to societal regulations, laws and norms. As a result, the conduct of individuals can be termed as the sum total of societal norms and edicts. These norms and edicts are in turn determined by society under the influence of religion. Therefore, conclusively; the morality of an individual is the product of religious influence. This influence is exerted through the laws and regulations of a society.


without the moral guide provided by religion, society would turn to chaos..

Thank you and I would like to turn the floor over to Curiousrb.




posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 10:21 PM
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No worries okiecowboy.
Happy to have the honour of being your first debate challenge!

While it is important and a justifiable statement saying ''everyone needs something to believe in'', religious beliefs cloud thoughts from opposing ideas, and lead to the refusal of accepting logical and proven theories - From evolution to the creation of the universe, religious beliefs often lead to becoming closed minded and unreasonable as seen throughout history.

Religion may act as a placebo affect in sickness or depressing times, however, there are many other options that have been proven to work in such a manner. Sugar pills are a ''famous'' example of the placebo affect, however even the placebo affect in medicine is thought of as dangerous practice. The results of a placebo like prescription including religious rituals can be considered unpredictable, unreliable and the effects are not universal. The conditions depend on the frame of mind people are in and the condition of their sickness, illness or disorder.




World wide Religious groups in many areas, have provided hospitals and medical care for the area

While you're a correct in this, there are also many more churches and religious groups that form to exploit for their own gain. Noting many classic, charity scams.

The bible claims that god commands followers to pay the church or be cursed. Then when you pay, you are promised a greater return of good fortune and protection. Clearly an aim to exploit the weak or unfortunate, when they already have so little to lose.

Mega-Chruch scam

Elizabeth Morgan scammed by Jehovah Witnesses

Randall W. Harding Scam

Just a few of many examples of the misfortune religion belief leads to. More and more we see religious trust being used for deceitful purposes.

So in all, what religious groups spend on providing for people, does not add up to how much they scam people out of money, hard earned or not.

Christians run 637 hospitals in America to portray a positive image and make billions of dollars in profit.


While religion has provided us with a little insight into law, a lot was derived from common knowledge.
For example out of the 10 commandments only four are relevant to today's modern society.

Thou shalt not kill
Thou shalt not commit adultery
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not bear false witness

If you want to talk about the ''morals'' we are provided by religion we are also taught

To WORSHIP god and one god only - Punishable by death if not followed
Capital punishment can be justified if a child cursed to or continued to disobey his parents
A woman who is found not to have been a virgin on the night of her wedding - can be punished by death
A betrothed woman who does not cry out while being raped - ridiculously, this is punishable by death

Not to mention, those who practiced science back in the golden day of religion met a horrible fate as they were considered ''witches''. Which leads me to my argument of the suppression of human advancement. This could be considered one of the largest negative impacts religion has had on man. In a time when people were scared to study the physical, chemical and biological workings of the universe, advancement suffered greatly.

A great example of how religion lead to unreasonable thoughts.

Not only human advancement, but religious groups are behind the picketing of homosexual marriages, soldiers funerals, and more recently and utterly disrespectful the plan by Westboro church to picket the funerals of the children and adults lost in the recent massacre at the Sandy Hook school.

A display of what not to teach our children and fellow human kind. All because of religious beliefs.

The death of Matthew Shepard. killed by two men for being gay. And sadly, that wasn't the end of the religious hate for Matthew.


Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, took his church's "God Hates F**s" message to the funeral of Matthew Shepard, held in Casper, Wyoming, on Saturday, October 17, 1998. Two of his picket signs read: "No Tears for Queers" and "F*g Matt in Hell."


If this is what it costs to have the nice side of religion, I am not willing to admit any ''net positive impact'' on earth made by religion. It has disrupted fairness in society right from the start, and clouded reason and logic.

In my next post I will talk more thoroughly the impact of religion on the advancement and more specifically scientific studies conducted by man.

For now I look forward to your reply. Great job on your first post!! And once again welcome okiecowboy!!



posted on Jan, 23 2013 @ 03:20 AM
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Thank you for your reply, I enjoyed it greatly.
you brought up some things I would like to touch on.



Religion may act as a placebo affect in sickness or depressing times, however, there are many other options that have been proven to work in such a manner. Sugar pills are a ''famous'' example of the placebo affect, however even the placebo affect in medicine is thought of as dangerous practice. The results of a placebo like prescription including religious rituals can be considered unpredictable, unreliable and the effects are not universal. The conditions depend on the frame of mind people are in and the condition of their sickness, illness or disorder.


Now this may hold true in the medical field, but in religion, all that is required is a belief in the belief. If praying or some other thing gives you comfort, then you will feel comfort by doing it. you may not be healed by medical standards but you will feel better.. what you belive in is not as important as the belief in something.

You could even start a religion based on Star wars, and if Obi-wan was the head of it, and praying to Obi-wan gives you comfort, you will feel better when you do it.



While you're a correct in this, there are also many more churches and religious groups that form to exploit for their own gain. Noting many classic, charity scams.

In the links you provided regarding the scams. I see that these are based on the christian faith.
In the christian faith, the laws regarding actions are listed in the bible...such as thou shall not steal.
now these scams are a form of theft, and that theft goes against the bible..so those commiting these scams are going against the very religion they claim to have..thus that makes them non believers...man would be at fault in this case, not religion..these are mere con men correct?

Next you point out several "morals". I can not help but notice that all these you list, come from the Bible..
The Bible is one book from one religion out of thousands, If you do not agree with that religion, perhaps you could search and find one with beliefs you could benefit from. religions run from one end to the other ie: bible says not to lie, and the The Qur'an says it is okay at times. source

You also bring up westboro baptist church, since they claim to be of the christian faith and follow the bible

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone


“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Bible
Again I say, they are not true followers of the religion they claim to follow, they are operating outside the law they have for themselves, thus not religious..

Worldwide there are Billions of followers of religions, in fact the numbers I find show only about 16% of the population not following a religion source.
only 16%! I think that if people were not getting a positive benefit from religion, in fact they would leave.

there has been conflicts, and disagreements between religions for years, but that does not negate the positive effects overall..

I have talked about the personal health benefits, and I have talked about the social benefits, regarding education and laws..
Now I want to talk briefly about the Global benfits









Religion has been the basis for some of the greatest works of art, temples of worship, and buildings and music,
Religion has inspired mankind, to do more, do better, and improve the world around us.

Sure it has it's faults and failings..but after all...we are only human



posted on Jan, 23 2013 @ 05:53 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply and you bring up some very valid points!

Going on to the placebo effect is an interesting choice as the effect has proof of it "working" and "not working".


We found little evidence in general that placebos had powerful clinical effects. Although placebos had no significant effects on objective or binary outcomes, they had possible small benefits in studies with continuous subjective outcomes and for the treatment of pain. Outside the setting of clinical trials, there is no justification for the use of placebos.


Source and experiment of Placebo effect

While this is for a clinical trial, I wouldn't imagine the anti bodies, immune system and neurological structure would change whether you are religious compared to if you are not.

Perhaps belief does provide you with comfort but it doesn't necessarily mean it will work as a placebo. Something that has no solid evidence supporting its' nature.

You are right that it makes you feel better, but many things can make you feel better that wont contribute to being cured of a disease.




man would be at fault in this case, not religion..these are mere con men correct?


While this may be so, the cause of this is religion. Religion allows these exploitations to happen. For people who have lost all and are forced to turn to a deity or religious practice.




Again I say, they (Westboro church) are not true followers of the religion they claim to follow, they are operating outside the law they have for themselves, thus not religious..


They are operating within their religions rules. Sodomy is forbidden in the christian religion and they are trying to promote that rule. As much as you and i disagree, they may be highly disrespectful, but because of religion, they are led to believe it IS the right thing to do. Only because the christian religion has clouded their ability to be reasonable and adapt to a modern world.

I will take a look at other religions as you asked, but the christian faith is important to recognize as it plays a big role in the western world and is the largest religion in the world. Being one of the most recognized religions, where people suffer greatly because of it. This just shows, how such a flawed religion can rise to be so large.

Source

As you mentioned the Quaran, it is also highly sexist.


The Quran in Sura 2:228 says: Wives have the same rights as the husbands have on them in accordance with the generally known principles. Of course, men are a degree above them in status



The Quran in Sura 4:11 says: The share of the male shall be twice that of a female



If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great


Just a few examples from here

Even in Hinduism, it is punishable by death to just encourage Mutiny.

Moving on to church suppression, Galileo Galilei is a classic example.

Galileo was an astronomer who proposed the idea that earth is not the center of the universe and he received an official from the church to not defend the validity of his work. An example of reasoning going out the _

And another, the catholic church placing his book ''De revolutionibus orbium coelestium '' on the list of prohibited books.

This is only one of many examples.

Hypatia, killed at christian hands for her work in the fields of science and math.


Hypatia story

While it has provided things such as wonderful architecture, it has slowed the progression of science and technology greatly. Only because some people were unable to handle logic challenging their beliefs.

The sheer hate and conflict religion has brought with it is too much for me to admit it has had a positive impact on earth.

For now i leave you with this picture depicting one of the many contradictions of religion



Haha, over to you Okie!





posted on Jan, 23 2013 @ 07:39 PM
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Ok for my Final post, I wish to expand on a few things.

Regarding the Placebo effect..

If nothing else, spiritual healing serves to offer hope to many people who otherwise might have nothing to hold on to. Does it work? Maybe. And if so, is it only really a placebo effect? Maybe. But to the ill, it represents another option in a world in which options are sometimes limited.


and


It should be noted that over half of the medical schools in the United States now offer at least one course on spiritual healing and alternative medicines.
source

The point is, evidence is not needed as to the truth of the matter...simply this...If people feel that religion is helping them...then it is...that is the proof, the context of the debate, was religion having a positive impact, not if it was real..

your own words



You are right that it makes you feel better, but many things can make you feel better that wont contribute to being cured of a disease




Religion may act as a placebo affect in sickness or depressing times


Again the debate is "religion has had a positive impact", and if people are feeling better due to the religous beliefs they have, I would call that a positive impact.

Excuse me sir, but your bias is showing..

In your first post, you mention the bible, and point out several things regarding the christian faith, in your second post you again bring up the christian religion



Sodomy is forbidden in the christian religion and they are trying to promote that rule. As much as you and i disagree, they may be highly disrespectful, but because of religion, they are led to believe it IS the right thing to do. Only because the christian religion has clouded their ability to be reasonable and adapt to a modern world.




the christian faith is important to recognize as it plays a big role in the western world and is the largest religion in the world. Being one of the most recognized religions, where people suffer greatly because of it. This just shows, how such a flawed religion can rise to be so large.


Now in this post you do mention a couple other religions as well, but it seems your main beef is with the christian faith, or at least the main couple of religions....there are well over 40,000 different religions to date as I pointed out in a early post..perhaps one of them would not make you feel this way.

But please remember this debate was not My God is better than your God or This faith is better than that one

It is about the positive impact it has had on the earth.


It’s easy to point out the problems that religion causes in this modern age (violence, intolerance, willful ignorance). Obviously, because religion has been around so long, it must have been beneficial to some degree in the past, otherwise religion as a whole would have gone “extinct” due to competition from non-religious societies
source

Simple logic dictates that if Religion wasn't working for people, it would have died out long ago.

You bring up the age old clash between science and religion, and that is a valid point, I can not dispute what happened, but I can offer that other great minds of science did not feel the same way.



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.---Albert Einstein
source

In Closing

Religion, with all it's faults, has impacted the people of earth, with positive things, such as education, medical advancments, morals, and laws, great works of art...and most of all the comfort of knowing we are not alone, we are here for a reason, it has given people worldwide a source of great joy, it has given us holidays for celebrating. Simply having faith in our religion gives us these benefits, despite proof...only faith is needed.

The topic is Religion has had a positive impact on earth and provided us with new ways of thinking, and important morals..

I think I have shown, that even with all it's faults, religion has done just that!



I wish to thank Curiousrb for a great debate, and also thanks to the judges, mods, and readers

Shalom, and may the force be with you




edit on 1/23/2013 by kinglizard because: MOD EDIT: by request of author only to properly format image he posted. Nothing else was altered. KL



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 03:56 AM
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Yes I did say




Religion may act as a placebo affect in sickness or depressing times


And I would like to clarify the ''may'' in that sentence, As I have already discussed, the placebo effect has not been proven to work, therefore I cannot say that it will or wont work in the nature of religion, Hence the word ''may''.




You are right that it makes you feel better, but many things can make you feel better that wont contribute to being cured of a disease


I will admit I could have worded this better. A way to provide what I was meaning by the sentence is to restructure it.

You are right that for some people, prayer and religious rituals can make you feel better (not physically) emotionally, but prayer wont cure a virus.




In your first post, you mention the bible, and point out several things regarding the christian faith, in your second post you again bring up the christian religion


As I have already linked but for debate sake I will link again - World religion

Clearly, the christian religion is extremely important to focus on. It is the most popular religion with 33% of the world considering themselves christian, and second place is way behind at only 19.6% which again I briefly talked about. the Qua ran, which is associated with the Islamic religion.

I brought up valid points about the Qua ran - Looking at other religions. There is not enough time nor space for me to talk about the other apparent 400, but for your liking, I will talk about a few more.

Hinduism: Here are a few "teachings"


If a person of lower caste adopts the occupation of a higher caste, the king ought to deprive him of all his property and expel him from his kingdom. (Manusmriti, X: 96)



Women should never be allowed by their guardians to act independently. (Manusmriti, IX: 2)



The families of non-believers are destroyed sooner than later. (Manusmriti, MS III: 65)



When a woman, proud of her relations [or abilities] deceives her husband (with another man), then the king should [ensure that] she be torn apart by dogs in place much frequented by people. And the evil man should be burnt in a bed of red-hot iron. (Manusmriti, MS VIII: 371/372)


More here

Going back to the Quran


Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (Quran 2:191)



Unbelievers will be tormented forever with fire. When their skin is burned off, a fresh skin will be provided. (Quran 4:56)


More here

The reason I have ''beef'' mainly with these religions is because of the numerous amount of bad teachings, cruel laws and unethical promotion of hate, intolerance and discrimination.

I will not put all members of religious groups in this category as an individual is an individual.

However the fact that to have the other 4000 ''good'' religions, we must first have three that promote horrendous rules and practices does not spell beneficial to me. The three religions I wrote about - Christianity, Hinduism and Islam, are the three most popular religions in the world, accounting for 66% of religious beliefs in the human race. Providing a more than justifiable reason to focus solely on them in my argument.



I briefly want to talk about conflicts regarding religion.

The 1984 anti-Sikh genocide was four days of violence in northern India, particularly Delhi, during which armed mobs and police killed Sikhs, looted and set fire to Sikh homes, businesses and schools,attacked gurdwaras, and raped Sikh women in response to the assassination of then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.

The Palestinian Israel conflict can be viewed as an ethnic conflict, yet elements on both sides view it as a religious war as well. In 1929, religious tensions over the Wailing Wall led to the 1929 Palestine Riotsincluding the Hebron and Safed massacres.


More can be found here: Religious war
and here: Religious conflict

To conclude, I agree there are benefits to the presence of religion, but I also strongly believe they are weighed out by the negatives that comes with religion - Discrimination, hate crimes, intolerance, unreasoning, conflict, suppression of scientific study and many more.

Therefor not. We have not ''net benefit'' from religion.

Thanks for your time



posted on Jan, 27 2013 @ 03:30 PM
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Judgments:





Thanks to both fighters for choosing a classic debate topic and making good points on both sides.

Curiousrb layed out a good strategy- giving examples of religious abuse throughout history. The argument read well from start to finish. Some of the highlights (or lowlights) were scams, persecution, and questionable excerpts.

Okiecowboy's best arguments were lines like this:

"Religion has been the basis for some of the greatest works of art, temples of worship, and buildings and music,
Religion has inspired mankind, to do more, do better, and improve the world around us. "

Some of the exchanges seemed to sidetrack from the larger topic- for example the placebo effect and Westboro baptist. Okiecowboy may have benefited from avoiding such discussion and choosing to focus more and elaborate on how big a part of our culture religious is. If Okie's argument had been more consistently framed around the idea from the last post- the logical conclusion that religion must be playing a beneficial role because it remains popular- then I think his position would have been more convincing. None of our advancements are independent of religion.

But,

In my opinion, Curiousrb wins this debate. I believe Curiousrb's debate was a bit more substantive.




Religious debates are always a good read, merely for the fact that they always diverge into statistics and opinions.

Let's see how this one turns out:

okiecowboy opens strong, citing the health benefits, contributions to society, and the moral advances of society are all due to religious beliefs.

curiousrb counters with a vicious attack on Christianity, citing a few excellent sources supporting his position. He claims religion deters people from thinking rationally.

Tie, for round 1.

okie stays on the offensive, stating that only 16% of the world's population doesn't adhere to a religion, and goes on to show the benefits of religion worldwide, from outstanding architecture to inspirational motivation.

curious stumbles a bit by reminiscing the placebo effect covered earlier, and makes the mistake of agreeing with his opponent that men make con men, but then tries to blame religion. He briefly addresses two other religions, then goes back onto the attack on Christianity. There could have been more balance on his stance.

okiecowboy, for round 2.

okie is consistently offensive once again, and directs attention back to the topic with this quote,

the debate is "religion has had a positive impact", and if people are feeling better due to the religous beliefs they have, I would call that a positive impact.
and edges ahead with the reminder:

remember this debate was not My God is better than your God or This faith is better than that one
. The best line he used that shows overwhelming support for his position is:

Simple logic dictates that if Religion wasn't working for people, it would have died out long ago.
I would have to agree.

curious finally starts to get his act together, providing some sound statistics for us to peruse, but I fear it was too little, too late. Perhaps a suggestion would be to start with statistics, and refer to them as needed. The last round was his best, with a way better balance than the previous two, talking generally about the conflicts and wars that religion promotes. It's almost as if once the pressure was off, he became settled, and if would've used his final post as his opening post, the debate I'm sure would have been much different, as it would have allowed him to be on the offensive.

okiecowboy for round 3, and the debate.


This Debate is a tie, waiting to be broken...



posted on Jan, 27 2013 @ 03:32 PM
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Tie-Breaker:





Congrats to both okiecowboy and curiousrb for an outstanding debate. I thought curiousrb won the first round and was able to effectively counter okiecowboy’s opening statement. Beginning in round two, it seemed like both participants lost site of the topic and spent a lot of time arguing about the effectiveness of the placebo effect. In the closing statement, curiousrb seemed to dial the discussion back on topic and made some good points.

Though his position contradicts my own personal belief on this subject, I believe curiousrb made the more convincing argument in this debate. The winner is curiousrb.




Curiousb wins his first debate! Congratulations!

Okiecowboy has is first debate! Congratulations!






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