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New York man wins Great American Think-Off

NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. -- Adam Bright of Syracuse, N.Y., 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 Great American Think-Off question, reprising the first Think-Off when the same question was asked and, for the only time in Think-Off history, resulted in a draw. Think-Off organizers decided to revisit the nature of humankind issue again this year, seeking a clearer answer. We are asking everyman and everywoman to offer their thoughtful replies to this essential problem.

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.

The first four contestants to debate this same question 20 years ago included Katie McCannon, a 15 year old sophomore from Wichita, Kansas who, along with Jennifer Stites, a former tribal police officer from Eagle Butte, South Dakota, argued that the nature of humankind was essentially evil. The two contestants countering with the assertion that humankind was good were Charles Eldredge, a research engineer from Fessenden, North Dakota and Jeff Ethen, a Catholic priest from Clitherall, Minnesota.