NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. -- Adam Bright of Boulder, Colo., won the 20th annual Great American Think-Off Saturday night at New York Mills High School, outlasting three other semifinalists, including Marsh Muirhead of Bemidji, last year's winner.
"The Nature of Humankind: Inherently Good or Inherently Evil?" was this year's Think-Off question, reprising the first Think-Off when the same question was asked and, for the only time in event history, resulted in a draw.
The Think-Off is sponsored by the New York Mills Cultural Center.
Bright, arguing on the "evil" side of the question, prevailed in the finals over Marie Anderson of LaGrange, Ill. In the first round, Anderson won over Muirhead and Bright won over Ed DeLong of Virginia Beach, Va.
Bright, a graduate student in poetry at Syracuse University, argued the need for every human to practice "radical compassion" in order for humankind to be considered good.
The existence of good or evil, Bright argued, stems from the time we begin to act (or fail to act) to make the world a more just and equitable home for all. He said the evidence is pretty clear: we haven't acted, and the failure to act corroborates the assertion that we are evil.
Each of the finalists received a $500 cash award and travel and lodging costs to New York Mills.