Here are the topics debated since the Think-Off began in New York Mills, Minn., along with the audiences' decision of which side had the more persuasive argument. The Think-Off is a forum for ordinary Americans to debate philosophical ideas in a civil atmosphere, prompting some to compare the northwestern Minnesota town to ancient Athens.
1993: The nature of humankind: Inherently good or inherently evil? Tie.
1994: Does life have meaning? Yes.
1995: Money or morality -- which does society value more? Money.
1996: Does God exist? Yes.
1997: Is the death penalty ethical in a civilized society? No.
1998: Is honesty always the best policy? No.
1999: Which is more dangerous -- science or religion? Science.
2000: Is democracy fair? Yes.
2001: Should assisted suicide be legal? Yes.
2002: Is the pen mightier than the sword? No.
2003: Do we reap what we sow? Yes.
2004: Should same-sex marriages be prohibited? No.
2005: Competition or cooperation, which benefits society more? Cooperation.
2006: Which is more valuable to society, safety or freedom? Safety.
2007: Which should you trust more -- your head or your heart? Heart.
2008: Does immigration strengthen or threaten the United States? Threaten.
2009: Is it ever wrong to do the right thing? No.
2010: Do the wealthy have an obligation to help the poor? No.
2011: Does poetry matter? Yes.