2019 Question Announced!
Essays Due April 1
Finalists Announced May 1
Great Debate June 8, 2019
Watch the 2018 Great American Think-Off Here:READ MORE
Anthony Berryhill of Austin, TX! Runner-up Armchair Philosopher, Mark Bland of Virginia Beach, VA, out-argued Rudy San Miguel of New Orleans, LA to advance to the final round of debate, wherein Anthony Berryhill took the prize! Before debating Bland, Berryhill first...READ MORE
The four finalists for the 2018 Great American Think-Off are (in alphabetical order): Tonya Abari of Nashville, TN; Anthony Berryhill of Austin, TX; Mark Bland of Virginia Beach, VA; and Rudy San Miguel of New Orleans, LA. Berryhill won the debate on June 9, while...READ MORE
From the Great American Think-Off! Read All 10 Honorable Mention Essays Below, OR you can: [button...READ MORE
THIS Friday & Saturday, June 8-9!
Obama Foundation Fellow!
Kick-Off Friday June 8 @ Sculpture Park
Debate Saturday June 9 @ NYM School
2018 Finalists Announced
Attend the Debate June 9, 2018
Vote for America’s Greatest Thinker
Buy Tickets Now!
April 1 @ Midnight The deadline for applications to the Arts Retreat Program at the Cultural Center is midnight on Easter, Sunday! Learn more about the retreat here: ...READ MORE
Essays Due April 1
Finalist Announced May 1
Great Debate June 9
Read Honorable Mention Essays here.
“Has the 2016 election changed our perception of truth?”
Five say YES, Five say NO.
Read the Winning Essays here.
Pamela Lewis (Greatest Thinker)
Nancy Krier (2nd Place)
Kris Pauna (Finalist)
David Shapiro (Finalist)
Think-Off Question Answered:
YES–2016 election changed our perception of truth
New Yorker name Greatest Thinker in New York Mills
25th annual Great American Think-Off
Saturday, June 10, 2017
Weekend Festivities Friday, Saturday
Get tickets online now!
The Great American Think-Off essay contest finalists will come to New York Mills to debate each other before a live audience on Saturday June 10, 2017. These four deftly and expertly, from their computer desks or chaise lounges, answered the 25th annual...READ MORE
Submit a 750 word essay by April 1, 2017. There is no fee to submit essay. Four finalists will be selected to receive $500 plus a trip to New York Mills, MN for the live debate on June 10, 2017.READ MORE
“Has the 2016 election changed our perception of truth?”
Essay deadline April 1
Finalists announced May 1
Debate Saturday, June 10
After 25 years of debating controversial philosophies, the Cultural Center is turning to the general public for question ideas for the Great American Think-Off's 25th Anniversary in 2017. Question ideas and suggestions can be submitted to email@example.com or...READ MORE
2016 America's Greatest Thinker Named In the 24th annual Great American Think-Off, Sam Dennison of San Francisco, California successfully argued that income inequality does indeed threaten democracy. Silver medalist Alex Liuzzi also gave a convincing argument, but the...READ MORE
Sam Dennison AGREES Income Inequality Threatens Democracy Note: Sam was the winner of the 2016 debate, earning the gold medal and title of America's Greatest Thinker. Exactly ten years ago, Sam was selected as a finalist in the 2006 Great American Think Off, arguing...READ MORE
Ten essayists were recognized as Honorable Mentions for the quality of their essays for this year's Great American Think-Off, in addition to the four finalists who debated in New York Mills on June 11th, 2016. The 2016 Think-Off topic was “Income Inequality Threatens...READ MORE
The 2016 Great American Think-Off live debate is this Saturday, June 11th at 7pm! CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS NOW! Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. (No discounts apply.) Attend the live debate and cast your vote to help select America's Greatest Thinker,...READ MORE
The Cultural Center would like to congratulate the 2016 Great American Think-Off Honorable Mentions. The Committee chose 10 outstanding essays to acknowledge--five arguments for and five arguments against--the proposition: Income Inequality Threatens Democracy....READ MORE
The Cultural Center in New York Mills proudly announces the four finalists for the 2016 Great American Think-Off! These four individuals will travel to New York Mills this June to go head-to-head in three rounds of debate to settle this year's topic: Income Inequality...READ MORE
Calling all Americans to participate in this annual civil disagreement of powerful ideas. This year's topic is especially relevant in our current political climate as we approach the presidential election. Click here to submit your essay today! Deadline is April 1st....READ MORE
More Ways to Win in 2016 Great American Think-Off America's everyday philosophers have a new incentive to share their thoughts with the nation this year. The Great American Think-Off, a philosophy contest held annually in the small rural town of New York Mills,...READ MORE
Topic for the 2016 Great American Think-Off: "Income Inequality Threatens Democracy" After much discussion, and appropriately, some healthy debate, the Great American Think-Off committee has decided on this year's topic for the annual debate: "Income Inequality...READ MORE
Think-Off Finalist Marsh Muirhead interviewed by Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion live from Bemidji, November 2015 Click the link below to see Marsh Muirhead talk with Garrison Keillor about his past experiences with the Great American Think-Off,...READ MORE
The 23rd Annual Great American Think-Off was held on Saturday, June 13th, 2015 at the James Mann Center for the Performing Arts in New York Mills. The first round featured David Lapakko and David Eckel both arguing for the side of "Technology Frees Us". Lapakko...READ MORE
America’s Greatest Thinker named for 2015 The Cultural Center in New York Mills is pleased to announce that David Lapakko of Richfield, MN, asserting that Technology Frees Us, was voted America’s Greatest Thinker on Saturday, June 13th by a crowd of 300 at the New...READ MORE
The Cultural Center's Great American Think-Off committee is pleased to announce that the four finalists for the 23rd annual debate have been selected to answer this year's question, "Does Technology Free Us or Trap Us?". Arguing that technology traps us will be Paul...READ MORE
Tickets available now Buy your tickets now to get seats at this year's debate slated to begin at 7:00 pm on Saturday, June 13, 2015. The event will be held at the James Mann Center for the Performing Arts at the New York Mills Schools. Cost for advance tickets...READ MORE
MPR features Evan Johnson's documentary about the Think-Off A documentary about the lost art of civil debate. Hundreds of participants from around the country submit essays answering a big philosophical question, and the finalists appear in the "Great American...READ MORE
Click on the poster image to print out a 8.5 x 11 poster of the 2015 Think-Off. Or send a link to your friends via email or on your Facebook page. Share the poster with your philosopher friends and...READ MORE
Wondering about what the Think-Off is? The Great American Think-Off is an exhibition of civil disagreement between powerful ideas that connect to your life at the gut level. The Cultural Center, located in the rural farm and manufacturing town of New York Mills,...READ MORE
Does Technology Free Us or Trap Us? Submit your 2015 essay no later than April 1, 2015 Winners will be notified no later than May 1, 2015 The 2015 debate will be held in New York Mills on Saturday, June 13 NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. – The 2015 Great American Think-Off has...READ MORE
Love motivates us more by Jennifer Nelson I couldn’t believe. I didn’t even realize I was bleeding. Adrenaline is a surprisingly strong force. As I shakily stumbled away from my demolished vehicle, I had no idea I was even injured, let alone that my injuries would be...READ MORE
Enthusiastic audience chooses "America's Greatest Thinker" Jennifer Nelson of Morris, Minnesota won the annual Great American Think-Off philosophy contest on Saturday, June 14 before an enthusiastic crowd of 375 persons in New York Mills, Minnesota. Jennifer won the...READ MORE
Final four debaters for 2014 Great American Think-Off will debate on June 14th Tickets on sale at the Center (call 218-385-3339) or online at Brown Paper Tickets (click here) “Love or fear: which motivates us more?” will be debated at the 22nd annual Great American...READ MORE
There is still time to submit your essay and participate “Love or fear: which motivates us more?” is the 2014 question posed by the Great American Think-Off and everyone still has time to submit her or his essay (no more than 750 words) until April 15. This annual...READ MORE
Love or fear: which motivates us more? The 2014 Great American Think-OffTM releases its 22nd annual philosophy question: “love or fear: which motivates us more?” Submit a short essay making your best argument about this question and participate in this annual...READ MORE