Instigator / Pro

Young Earth is the Truth


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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Twelve hours
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I believe that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, I am a follower of Christ and take the bible as fact, so I believe that the Earth is 10,000 years or younger.

Round 1
I would first like to thank you for engaging in this debate. There is a lot of evidence for young Earth, such as soft tissue being found in a fossil that is supposedly 68 million years old. Secondly, carbon-14 is a radioactive element that is supposed to break down in a few thousand years, according to modern science. This element is found in diamonds and fossils, which means that fossils can not be millions of years old, because the carbon-14 would have changed into nitrogen-14, this does not make sense. Next, we have DNA in supposedly ancient bacteria, when scientists managed to "resurrect" whats known as Lazarus bacteria that was fated to be around 250 million years old. Scientists were shocked when they found that the DNA was extremely similar to modern DNA found in bacteria. If there really was 250 million years of evolution between this Lazarus bacteria and modern bacteria, the DNA should have drastic differences, this is based on the current knowledge of how mutation rates work in evolution, this is without any biblical evidence, which I could bring up, but I don't want this to be me explaining why the Bible is credible, because that is a different debate topic; but if you would like some biblical evidence, I would be happy to share.

Soft tissue in fossils source:
Carbon-14 in fossils/diamonds source:
DNA in "ancient" bacteria source:
Hello, I would like to thank my opponent for kicking off this debate. I will be arguing that it is impossible that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, and we know this is an impossibility due to the discoveries of modern science. To believe that the world is this young, one would have to reject the entire fields of astrophysics, cosmology, geology, biology, archaeology, and paleontology. In this round, I will first make an affirmative case, and go over just a sampling of the evidence for an old Earth. Then, I will respond to Pro’s first argument.

Prehistoric Humans

To start, we have ample evidence that humans have existed for far more than 10,000 years. Structures were found at the site of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey that date back 11,000 years. [1] Jericho was settled before then, and there is evidence for prehistoric warfare dating back 14,000 years. We have evidence of the Magdalenian culture in Europe dating back 18,000 years, which created the cave paintings at Altamira and Lascaux. Paintings which were not wiped away by any global flood. We have found pottery and tools older than that. [2]

Even going only by tools, there is a consistent trail of evidence suggesting that humankind had a presence in Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago, and other parts of the world after about 90,000 years ago. [3] There are numerous dating methods that archaeologists use to determine how old an object is, and cross-examine their hypotheses to make sure they are accurate. Creationists tend to question these dating methods because their findings contradict their worldview, so we can certainly dig into this. No pun intended.

The Fossil Record

Of course, we don’t only have tools and settlement sites. We also have an extensive fossil record showing that animal life has existed and evolved for hundreds of millions of years. There are skeletal remains of Homo neanderthalensis, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo erectus, and other human ancestors. [4] The dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago - they did not coexist alongside humans in a way you see only in Flintstones cartoons and creation science textbooks. The way species and fossils are distributed point to an old Earth. For example, the fossils of the wooly mammoth are distributed over a vast area, from Spain to Quebec. 10,000 years simply isn’t enough time for this species to migrate, spread out, reproduce, cross the no-longer-existent Bering land bridge, and still die out millennia before the start of recorded history. [5]

Evolution is a commonly misunderstood concept, so I am happy to discuss it.

The Geological Record

The field of geology is rich with examples of our Earth being quite an old one. Permafrost, petrified wood, the Naica megacrystals, stalactites, sedimentary varves, and continental drift all point to processes stretching back millions of years. [6] Geologists from disparate backgrounds all concur that, based on the very oldest rocks in Earth’s crust, our planet is about 4.54 billion years old. [7] If young-Earth creationism were true, God would be quite the tricky rascal for inserting fossils and minerals and radioactive isotopes so deliberately into the layers of sediment as to make it look like the Earth was billions of years old.

The Starlight Problem

Even the night sky spells trouble for creationism. It is a known fact that when we look up at the stars, we are seeing the stars as they were countless years ago, due to how long it takes for the light to reach us. Many of these stars are so far away that their light would take well over 10,000 years to reach us. The Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years away from us, so when we look up at it, we are seeing the Andromeda Galaxy as it was 2.5 million years ago. [8] If the Earth were as young as Pro claims, we wouldn’t see it at all.


Now, to respond to my opponent’s arguments. Pro has relied on Answers in Genesis as his source. Answers in Genesis, per their own site, is “an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ effectively”. [9] They are not a scientific organization, and as this statement hints, they are not interested in following the scientific evidence wherever it may lead, but in cherry-picking or misinterpreting evidence in a way that supports their position, and ignoring anything that might undermine it. This is reflected in the disingenuous and unscientific nature of these articles.

Soft Tissue

The soft tissues found in the fossils were not preserved in a soft and pliable state, but were rehydrated in the process of removing the minerals around the bone. In addition, the age of fossils is not determined merely by how well-preserved they are, but by numerous factors. Also, DNA was unable to be recovered from these fossils, or any dinosaur fossils. DNA is able to be recovered from samples far beyond 10,000 years old. If these fossils were as recent as creationists claim, recovering DNA should be a triviality. It also begs the question why these particular T. rex bones, found at the Hell Creek Formation, were embedded in rock that has been dated back to 63-66 million years ago. [10]


Next, the presence of Carbon-14 in diamonds and fossils. This is a simple misunderstanding of the science on AiG’s part. Carbon-14 is generated in the atmosphere via solar radiation, as well as in rocks due to radioactive decay. This spontaneous generation means the decayed Carbon-14 is replaced, and there is always going to be a little bit present. This is why scientists don’t use Carbon-14 dating for anything older than about 60,000 years. [11]

It should also be noted that even in the Answers in Genesis source that Pro cited, they admitted that diamonds date back to 55,000 years ago, which is odd, considering Pro’s argument is that the Earth is younger than 10,000 years.

“Lazarus” Bacteria

For the last point, about bacterial DNA, this is referring to a study published by Vreeland, Rosenzweig, and Power (2000). This study has been met with skepticism by other scientists and their methods criticized, and it has been suggested that the sample was contaminated. [12] At any rate, AiG again misunderstands the science. Assuming the samples are genuine, the 250-million-year figure only describes the age of the salt crystal deposit Vreeland et al. discovered them in - the bacteria themselves may be much younger even with no contamination. Saying the bacteria must be that old is like saying your newborn baby must be 100 years old because he lives in a 100-year-old house. However long these bacteria lived, they have been undergoing evolution for that period, like any organism. The fact that their DNA is kind of similar to some other species of bacteria is interesting, but doesn’t put a dent into the theory of evolution.

My opponent will be unsurprised to learn that I don’t take the Bible as a reliable source of factual evidence. Pro has said that he does not wish for this to turn into a debate about the credibility of the Bible or lack thereof, and that is fine by me. My opponent is free to respond to any of my points, or present any new arguments.


Round 2
Since Pro forfeited this round, I will wait until he gives his response.
Round 3
I want to say that you are very well spoken, I appreciate your commitment to this debate. 

(I also was sick this morning, didn’t mean to forfeit.)

The Issue with Prehistoric Humans

To start, our system of dating things, manmade or natural, has never ever been spot on. Which creates a problem with just about everything. When we are using an unreliable method of determining something and then stating our determinations as fact, that is not providing factual information, that is providing estimation. Even in your source it states, “This property presents monumental round-oval and rectangular megalithic structures erected by hunter-gatherers in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic age between 9,600 and 8,200 BCE” Even if that estimation is correct, that is a 1,400 thousand year time window in which these structures could have been created. Next, if this dating method is so skewed and not precise, how can we trust that these paintings were not made after any flood? You then say, “There are numerous dating methods that archaeologists use to determine how old an object is…Creationists tend to question these dating methods because their findings contradict their worldview” While this is a good point, the bible is true, and there is no question about that. So I, a creationist, am skeptical of these claims of millions/billions of years old. But these carbon dating methods are simply inaccurate, there is proof that some dinosaur bones have been dated to be only around 20,000 years old, while this does not support my claim that the Earth is only around 10,000-6,000 years old, it does support  my claim that carbon dating is not reliable.

The Issue with The Fossil Record

I will get to the theory of the appearance of age in my later point, but right now I will stick to doing my best to refute your claims. If you look up the skull of Homo neanderthalensis, Homo heidelbergensis, and Homo erectus, you can definitely see some similarities to the human skull, in my opinion the skull of Homo erectus is the most similar. I am not saying that these fossils are not real, but I am saying that if the Bible listed every creature God created, that would be one long list. We may have had other creatures that were like humans, or we may have been subject to rapid change after the fall of man, and may have simply had different bone structure. This is a claim that needs speculation, just like how evolutionists use speculation in their theories. Next, humans and dinosaurs did in fact coexist, as you can see in one of my sources there is a photo of the fossilized footprints of a man that has been walked over by a dinosaur. Finally, you speak about wooly mammoths, God may have put them on different parts of the Earth, we do not know for sure.

Appearance of Age

When God created Adam and Eve, he created them with age, they were man and woman, not boy and girl. Just like how I believe that God created a chicken first, not an egg. So if he creates things with the appearance of age, why wouldn’t he do the same with the rest of his creation this way? As we read, all of his first creations were made in a week. When I say this I do not mean that the expanding universe, as obviously that is still happening. He created this Earth with age, as well as the universe. Which is why we can see stars, and why we have elements that are supposedly  millions of years old. However, Fossils would not be a part of this Earth as it was created because there was no death before the first sin, and animals came before man, so that is impossible. With a flood though, and the water receding into the trenches of the oceans, there would be a great deal of pressure which could cause rapid change and even rapid formation of layers which are believed to be millions of years old. In one of my sources listed below, we see that a single tree is cutting through multiple layers of rock, which indicates rapid mudslides or molten rock layers over a short period of time.

Finals Statements for This Round

I would like to address your statement about answers in Genesis, as a matter of fact they do not do their own scientific research, but instead provide the information which has already been researched in a place where anyone can understand it. You stated the Lazarus bacteria does not put a dent into the theory of evolution. So I can give some articles to read. Also, if you do want to have a separate debate feel free to start one on the credibility of the bible. 

Hope these can make a little dent!
Photo of human-dinosaur simultaneous existence.
Real evidence of carbon-14 being present in dinosaur bones.
More evidence for improper dating techniques.
Thank you for your response, Pro. And I appreciate your commitment to debating this topic as well.

Dating Methods

Pro questions the validity of scientific methods used to determine the age of things like fossils or rocks. I am not here to argue that these methods are absolutely perfect. But creationists tend to point to any slight gap in the data and declare that it’s unreliable, and therefore we shouldn’t listen to any of it.

I would like to know if there are any dating methods which Pro considers to be reliable, or if they are all tossed under the same “unreliable” umbrella. Some of them include stratigraphy, fluorine dating, radiometric dating, and thermoluminescence. I’ve linked some other examples too. [1] Radiometric dating, to focus on one example, is based on predictable physical laws of radioactive decay. Independent measurements using different radiometric techniques give consistent results which cannot be explained by chance or systematic error. It’s also consistent with other methods of dating. [2] The burden of proof rests on Pro to explain why rigorously tested dating methods are unreliable, and give evidence to support this claim.

Even if that estimation is correct, that is a 1,400 thousand [sic] year time window in which these structures could have been created. Next, if this dating method is so skewed and not precise, how can we trust that these paintings were not made after any flood?
My opponent seems to be confusing precision with accuracy. Just because there is a 1,400-year time window in which we believe Göbekli Tepe was constructed does not make this knowledge inaccurate. It is not an archaeologist’s job to tell us the exact year or the exact day of the week this structure was built, but to determine a time range based only on what they know as observable fact, not guesswork. 1,400 years is a long time, but we are talking about determining the age of artifacts over 10,000 years old with limited information. Many things have a large time window - for instance, is Pro willing to point to an exact date when the universe was created, or will he tell us that it was at some indeterminate point between 8000 and 4000 BC, a 4,000-year time window? And if Pro cannot point to an exact date, are we free to discard his opinions, as Pro discarded all archaeologists by the same logic? Pro is pulling the classic creationist tactic of making an isolated demand for rigor, and setting impossible standards for knowledge that they would not set for any other topic.

there is proof that some dinosaur bones have been dated to be only around 20,000 years old
It seems Pro has missed or ignored my argument about Carbon-14 in Round 1. I have already explained that Carbon-14 cannot accurately measure the age of anything older than about 50-60,000 years, therefore if you use it on dinosaur bones, you won’t get accurate results. The problem isn’t Carbon-14 dating, but a misapplication and misunderstanding of how it works.

To Pro’s link concerning Potassium-Argon radiometric dating from, this seems to be a similar misunderstanding. Potassium-Argon dating is not considered reliable for anything under 10,000 years old - the site points this out in a mocking tone, but this was known well before Dr. Steven Austin performed his study for the Institute for Creation Research. Any real scientist would say that he likely deliberately used the wrong dating technique to try and discredit all radiometric dating, but creationist groups hailed this as a “breakthrough”. [3]


Pro grants me that the fossils of hominid species like Homo erectus are authentic. However, Pro describes them as nonhuman animals. While they aren’t human in the sense of Homo sapiens, some of them were human-like in many respects. Neanderthals had tools, fire, clothes, art, musical instruments, and, some claim, held religious beliefs. [4] They coexisted with Homo sapiens, and even interbred with them. A modern person can have as much as 4% Neanderthal DNA. [5] All of this suggests they weren’t “creatures”, but an intelligent race of people who were closely related to, but not quite, modern humans.

Pro linked to photos of what appear to be overlapping human and dinosaur footprints. This site, the Paluxy River basin, is famous for producing many such footprints, which have been thoroughly investigated and found unconvincing. Some are dinosaur tracks with a bit of weathering on the side, some tried to pass off animal prints with claws as “human” tracks, and analysis suggests some were carved in at a later date. [6] Those who promote these tracks seem unwilling to provide the data and details that would be necessary to confirm their authenticity. Even Answers in Genesis cautions against trusting them. Quoting their website:

“Creation scientists from various organizations have investigated the Paluxy River fossils. Given the ambiguity of the evidence and the fact that much of what may have once been present is no longer available for study, we do not believe those claims of coexisting human and dinosaur prints are wholly supportable. Dr. John Morris in 1986 reported similar conclusions, deciding ‘it would now be improper for creationists to continue to use the Paluxy data as evidence against evolution’ unless further research brings new facts to light.” [7]

Appearance of Age

Pro states that if there is any data to suggest the universe is over 10,000 years old, it is because God created the universe to appear old. He makes an analogy to Adam and Eve being created as adults, which is a decent analogy, but it only goes so far. There are intuitive reasons why God would want the first man and woman to start off as grown-ups, but why place dinosaur fossils in lower layers of sediment than human remains, and arrange their radioactive isotopes in such a way that they appear to be over 65 million years old? Why create physical properties of stars and the speed of light which, when humans learned to measure such things, made the notion of Earth being created on October 22nd, 4004 BC look ridiculous?

I understand that this debate isn’t really about God, but these seem like obvious questions to ask, to me at least. God is said to have created the entire universe purely for His Glory, and God’s glory is supposed to be clearly and obviously perceived throughout all the world, leaving the nonbelievers without any excuse. (Romans 1:20-21) Does this not contradict God creating a universe which appears and behaves as if it is billions of years old, thereby undermining the cause of the fundamentalist Christians who follow him? Perhaps the answer is simply that God works in mysterious ways.

With a flood though, and the water receding into the trenches of the oceans, there would be a great deal of pressure which could cause rapid change and even rapid formation of layers which are believed to be millions of years old.
As it stands, this is simply speculation on Pro’s part, not backed up by a source. It is not obvious to me that this wouldn’t violate the laws of physics. Besides, a major flood leaves distinctive features, such as large ripple marks and braided river channels, visible in places like the Channeled Scablands [8], but not the entire world. Unless, of course, it was a magic flood with properties unlike any other flood, but that leads back to my previous line of questioning. Earth’s features can be explained more consistently and with more detail by geological processes like plate tectonics and glaciation.

Thank you for the links, but unfortunately, I am still a believer in evolution. Feel free to argue against it if you wish. I wouldn’t mind having another separate debate about the Bible, perhaps afterward.

Round 4
Dang man! You are really good at this! I am still learning about this written debate stuff, I just turned 15 so I am kind of new at this.

Dating Methods

You asked what dating methods I find reliable and I really only have one that we can have a precise and sure understanding. This is taking whatever we find in the world and comparing to what the Bible says is going on at the time. For example, the Merneptah Stele, which is considered to be the oldest mention of Israel, we know how old it is because the Bible says when the events listed on the Merneptah Stele happened. Again, you do have a point about a larger time window, as some room for speculation is better than calling an exact answer which we aren’t sure is true. Again I say that current dating methods are not reliable because of the inconsistency of the dating, also if Potassium-Argon dating for example is inaccurate on anything under 10,000 years, how can we verify anything. We know this is over 10,000 years old because it was dated that way through Potassium-Argon dating, and we know that Potassium-Argon dating is unreliable on anything under 10,000 years, how are we sure that we are getting correct information? If we don’t know the age of something, it could be 1,000 years old or 1 million. How in the world are we supposed to know if the data we are getting is correct? It is just as good as a guess at that point.


Do not have too much to say here, but first, I don’t know all of God's creations, and he may have created other things that were closer to humans, again, I don’t know and do not want to speculate, because no one knows all the mysteries of God's creations. I thank you for filling me in about the Paluxy River Basin. I was ignorant to any claims of false fossils that came from that site, I remember seeing a fossil similar to that when I visited the Creation Museum located in Kentucky. So I thought it would be a good source, but anyways thank you for filling me in.

Appearance of Age

Thank you for admitting that my analogy has some logic behind it, I do not know all of the information, and I will even go as far as to say that I would recommend you speak to someone more educated on the topic, but I do not know why dinosaur bones are lower in sediment than humans. What I do know is how flooding works, I get irrigation in my backyard maybe once every two weeks, and if there is a lot of loose dirt or sand etc. it’s going to get picked up and spread very easily. So in a global flood a whole lot of sediment, loose dirt and rocks are going to get picked up, and eventually, they will settle, on top of living things, and that amount of water going away at once is a massive change in pressure. You are correct when you say God works in mysterious ways, but when we trust the Bible, (which we can) we can trust that God is a wise, all knowing, and all loving being. So if we were able to understand every move he makes, what makes him any better than us? He allows himself to be comprehensible in some ways, but in others, our human minds just can’t understand him. Back to the point, anything that leads us away from God, is the product of Satan, like sin. Next, this was not a magic flood, but it was quite special. We have not had a worldwide flood and will not have another one as God promised that he wouldn’t make another one. So we are not sure of every effect that could happen from a worldwide flood. Also, I do believe in plate tectonics and such, I just do not believe it all happened over millions of years.

I would add another argument but at the moment I am very busy and do not have time. Maybe next round.


Thank you, Pro. For someone who just turned 15 and is still learning about this, you’re doing a fine job.

Dating Methods

Pro states that the only reliable dating method is use of the Bible, because the Bible is completely infallible. Of course, I disagree with this. But I won’t get into it, as we agreed not to. I will say that while there is a reference to Israel on the Merneptah Stele which is widely considered to be authentic, all this tells us is that Israel existed as a land and a people in the 1200s BC. It doesn’t tell us that all the stories we find in the Hebrew Bible are true.

While comparison to an ancient document like the Bible is fine, I prefer more objective dating methods that people other than Biblical literalist Christians can accept.

current dating methods are not reliable because of the inconsistency of the dating, also if Potassium-Argon dating for example is inaccurate on anything under 10,000 years, how can we verify anything. We know this is over 10,000 years old because it was dated that way through Potassium-Argon dating, and we know that Potassium-Argon dating is unreliable on anything under 10,000 years, how are we sure that we are getting correct information?
These supposedly unreliable results are due to the limitations of the physical world itself. Not proof that the data itself is so flawed it might as well just be random. Like I said, radiometric dating produces consistent, reproducible results that concur with other dating methods. [1] It is certainly not "just as good as a guess". Potassium-Argon dating is not used for objects under 10,000 years because at that age, not enough argon would have accumulated to be statistically significant. [2] We know that we are getting correct information in the same way that we know there is a reference to Israel on the Merneptah Stele: observation, investigation, hypothesis, experimentation, scrutiny, peer review. To say that because of known limitations, we suddenly can’t trust any dating methods at all, is silly. It’s like if you turned on the weather channel and the meteorologist said that there’s a 60% chance of rain on Wednesday, and you responded “Only 60%?! Why so unsure? Why not 100% sure? And why can’t they tell me if it will rain next Wednesday? Or the next? Or all the Wednesdays for the next 10 years? All this uncertainty makes me think this is all just weatherist propaganda.”

Using the incorrect method of gathering data doesn't reflect on the data, but on the person conducting the research. To take the analogy further, let's say you try to create your own weather balloon because you don't trust these meteorologists, so you tie a toaster to a few birthday balloons and send it up. Then, when the toaster crashes, you declare that because this experiment failed, weather balloons are all unreliable. This, in essence, is what Dr. Austin did in his study.

There is nothing wrong with scrutiny, the problem is selective scrutiny. And this level of selective scrutiny is only applied when there is an ulterior motive behind it. For example, Pro still hasn’t provided us with a date for the creation of the universe, leaving himself with 4,000 years of wiggle room. No trivial matter in a 10,000-year-old universe. If Pro wishes to criticize imprecise dating methods, maybe he should check his own first. I will leave you with some words by Dr. Roger Wiens, a Christian geologist:

“We have covered a lot of convincing evidence that the Earth was created a very long time ago. The agreement of many different dating methods, both radiometric and non-radiometric, over hundreds of thousands of samples, is very convincing. Yet, some Christians question whether we can believe something so far back in the past. My answer is that it is similar to believing in other things of the past. It only differs in degree. Why do you believe Abraham Lincoln ever lived? Because it would take an extremely elaborate scheme to make up his existence, including forgeries, fake photos, and many other things, and besides, there is no good reason to simply have made him up. Well, the situation is very similar for the dating of rocks, only we have rock records rather than historical records.” [3]


I will add that Neanderthals went extinct about 40,000 years ago and H. erectus 100,000 years ago. However, this leads back into our discussion of the reliability of dating methods. I will say that there are no historical records of either species, and going by the Biblical literalist perspective, they must have survived the Flood, unless they were considered humans.

An overlapping human and dinosaur footprint is an impressive image on its own, so perhaps the folks at the Creation Museum were willing to ignore the dubious authenticity to display something with a pure “wow” factor. Creationists are often willing to pounce on sensationalist stories like “human handprint discovered in dinosaur-age rock” or “Noah’s Ark discovered in Turkey” without applying proper skepticism, because such stories are more exciting than careful documentation and research. If you think I am generalizing, I am actually paraphrasing an article by Ken Ham, one of the most famous young-Earth creationists. [4]

Appearance of Age

I understand what you’re saying, that the coming and going of a global flood might theoretically result in a colossal amount of pressure - I just don’t see how pressure would age dirt millions of years on the atomic level. Again, it's speculation.

I remain unsatisfied with the idea that God created the world to appear old. It seems extraordinarily deceitful, and I am not reassured by appeals to God’s mysteriousness. At any rate, getting into the weeds of theology this late in the debate would not be very productive. All I will say is that this is an unfalsifiable idea which does not actually provide any evidence in favor of the creationist side. It is only a way to explain why the evidence seems to be stacked up against them. One of Pro’s Answers in Genesis articles in Round 1 talks about “rescuing devices” used by “evolutionists”, which are “only conjectures to make the data fit their worldview”. Yes, that’s a nice way to put it. This argument is a rescuing device.

Next round, I will make my concluding statement. Also, happy New Year!

Round 5
My opponent forfeited the last round, so I will keep this brief.

I have argued that, according to the records of prehistory, fossils, rocks, and stars accepted by every major branch of science, there is ample evidence that the universe is far more than 10,000 years old. Pro has responded by questioning the accuracy of dating methods such as radiometric dating, but could not provide any evidence or sources backing up the claim that they are flawed. He has claimed that the Book of Genesis’s Flood might have created modern-day landforms, but again did not provide evidence. He cited a dinosaur footprint of questionable authenticity, and other creationist sources which misunderstand the Carbon-14 dating method. I have explained why each of these were wrong. The only argument I was unable to rebut is that God created the universe to appear old, which is unfalsifiable, has troubling implications about God, and does not actually help Pro's case.

Thank you for a good debate, Pro. Vote Con.