The Instigator
Bill-Rabara
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
johnnyvbassist
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Biological Theory of Evolution Should Be Taught in All Public Schools

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Bill-Rabara
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/17/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,377 times Debate No: 37832
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

Bill-Rabara

Pro

Modern Theory of Evolution is a well founded explanation of both the history of and current diversity of life on earth. The theory is accepted by virtually all scientists in relevant fields such as biology and genetics, archaeology, paleontology, geology, etc. Unfortunately, the theory has been under constant attack from some religious people that feel that their faith based views of life must supersede science if the latter conflicts with the former. The scientific view is supported by copious amounts of empirical observations that form the firm evidential foundations that support evolution. Therefore, evolution needs to be taught in public schools along side other scientific theories. In stark contrast, Creationist type explanations are religious in nature. And religious explanations have nothing to do with science. Religion is and should be not ever be taught in public school. Therefore, creationism type explanations of life should not be taught in public school.
johnnyvbassist

Con

I accept. Not because I believe that evoution should be withheld as a thoery, but rather that it is a theory that cannot be taught as a scienctific fact. I will counter my opponents erroneous statements in the next round.
Debate Round No. 1
Bill-Rabara

Pro

My opponent claims that evolution "...is a theory that cannot be taught as a scientific fact.". Given the topic of debate, we can extract the following implicit argument from my opponent's aforementioned statement:

P1 Evolution is a scientific theory but not a scientific fact
P2 Only scientific facts should be taught in public schools
C. Therefore, evolution should not be taught in public schools

The first premise is contentious. Most scientists regard Evolution as both a theory and a fact including renowned biologists Jerry Coyne, Steven Jay Gould, and Ken Miller (http://en.wikipedia.org...). Of course, there are also scientists and philosophers that do not consider Evolution as fact. However, the disagreement of whether, or to what degree, Evolutionary Theory should be considered a fact does not signify that the theory is losing scientific support. Somewhere between 95% and 100% of scientists accept the central tenets of Evolution (http://www.patheos.com...). The disagreement about calling Evolution a fact or not is a semantic one. Dictionary.com for example, defines scientific fact as

Noun1. scientific fact - an observation that has been confirmed repeatedly and is accepted as true (although its truth is never final)

But philosophers and other sources define fact differently. Hence, the disagreement.

For sake of argument, lets accept Evolution as theory but not fact. Even that the case, the second premise is demonstrably absurd. Consider the following list (non-exhaustive) of scientific theories not universally regarded as fact :

Cell theory, germ theory, theory of relativity, quantum theory, atomic theory, big bang theory.

Those theories are currently taught in public schools. If my opponent thinks that Evolutionary Theory should not be taught in public school because it is not scientific fact then, to be consistent, he should also advocate the removal of all of the above listed scientific theories from public classrooms. Science is indeed about discovery of facts. Yet science is also concerned with making inferences based upon discovered facts and observations. And when such inferences survive intense scrutinization, rigorous analysis, and repeated testing they can become theory. Theories change as new evidence is gathered and collated. No scientific theory, including evolution is proven beyond all doubt. This is not how science operates. If my opponent thinks that all scientific theories should not be taught in public schools then that is fodder for a different debate. If my opponent contends only Evolution should be singled out as not deserving its place alongside other science related curriculum, then I await the argument.

In summation, I have clearly showed that Evolution is a scientific theory with a high degree of support within all scientific communities. Evolution is not some crank theory promoted by a handful of Biologists. Whether my opponent rejects part or all of Evolution is entirely irrelevant. Accepting that science should be taught in public schools, we can then conclude that Evolution should be taught in public schools.
johnnyvbassist

Con

My entire argument is based on one principle, theories should be taught as theories and facts should be taught as fact. I am a creationist and happen to believe God as a "fact." However, if we base our argument on Pro's given definition, then I can not say that God/creationism is a fact. Thankfully, Pro has accepted that we are merely discussing Biological Evolution as a well-regarded theory. I also do not disagree with micro evolution as it is a observable repeatable fact. I simply do not hold Macro evolution to be fact.

I am okay with the theory of Biological Evolution being taught in Public schools as a theory, but not as fact. Same with intelligent design. Both these theories should be taught as philosophies with scientific support, not as science with philosophical implications. If the latter is done, then teachers will simply point at whatever science they find reliable and ignore the rest. The student should be given the opportunity to do some personal study and make a self-educated choice in the sphere.

That being said, Pro makes a good point about theories. In his list of examples he shows that sometimes unproven theories are best regarded as fact, for the sake of education. I agree there, except for one principle. Students must be encouraged to learn more on their own. Students should be taught that "gravity is a mere theory, and if that bothers you seek to disprove it." Same with Biological evolution. This is how we "evolve" as an educated society. Students should not be taught to just accept everything their teacher states, and seek to find out information for themselves. This is when scientific discoveries happen. Biological evolution could easily be a theory that students' would never seek to contest.

Since my opponent agrees that, "For sake of argument, lets accept Evolution as theory but not fact." I will now state my problems with a couple of my opponent's statements.

"The theory is accepted by virtually all scientists in relevant fields such as biology and genetics, archaeology, palaeontology, geology, etc."
This statement is ignorant and is a very hasty generalisation. "Virtually all?"
(http://www.creationbiology.org...)
(http://creation.com...)
(http://creation.com...)
(http://creation.com...)
(http://hernanmuscio.tripod.com...)
(http://chalcedon.edu...)
(http://en.wikipedia.org...)

Whether you agree with the above resources or not, you have made a sweeping and bold statement that is simply inaccurate. You are incorrect. "Virtually all" of scientists have their own unique view and there are varying scientific theories about the origin of life.

Now one can argue that creationism and Biological evolution do not have to be held in tension because Biological evolution does not have to do with how the world began, but rather how the world operates. I hope my opponent would accept this statement. Evolution and the Big Bang theories are separate theories.

In regards to this theory being taught in public school (assuming that this means before college) there arises a problem. Since there are no experiments that can show one species becoming another, there cannot be any hands-on teaching about this theory (yet you can drop a ball and talk about the theory of gravity). This does not dismiss the theory of evolution but does mean it would be harder to teach, especially to younger ages.

Another problem that arises is one that my opponent brought up in the first round. Students that hold to a religion that conflicts with the theory of evolution will not be comfortable submitting to the theory if it is taught as fact or 98% chance true. Again, it is the responsibility of the student to choose what to believe, however we all know that in public schools the "different" kids get bullied and made fun of. Adolescents who have these beliefs should not be disqualified, or be treated differently. (https://answers.ed.gov...)

I am okay with Biological Evolution being taught as a theory in public schools. If that is all my opponent wishes me to say then I suppose we have tied this debate because I do not have a disagreement with him. I just want that theory to be given no more bias then creationism or even a physicalist view (http://www.debate.org...)

I will conclude with my biggest problems with Biological Evolution and a summary statement in the third round.
Debate Round No. 2
Bill-Rabara

Pro

LWell, quite an interesting reply. Let's examine the following statements made by my opponent"

"i am okay with Biological Evolution being taught as a theory in public schools. If that is all my opponent wishes me to say then I suppose we have tied this debate because I do not have a disagreement with him. I just want that theory to be given no more bias then creationism or even a physicalist view"

My opponent has admitted that Evolution should be taught in public schools but in doing so he claims a tie. This is entirely inappropriate and illogical. The topic of debate is whether evolution should be taught in public schools and he has been persuaded from being against to being in favor of that position. The rest of his statements are totally irrelevant to this debate -- 'red herrings'.

If my opponent wishes to engage in another debate concerning the pedagogy of science, the evidential support or merits of evolution, the driving mechanisms of evolution, endosymbiotic theory, whether creationism should be taught in religion class, or anything else related to evolution than I suggest he start another debate. However, a word of warning: Please do not misrepresent my positions or statements anymore. I clearly stated the level of support for evolution in percentages. Also you say you want Evolution to be given no more bias than creationism. Science class teaches science and Evolution is one of the most tested and accepted theories in science. Religion isn't taught in public school, but if it was I would be in favor of it including Creationism.
johnnyvbassist

Con

I have not been persuaded. In the first round of acceptance I stated that. "I accept. Not because I believe that evolution should be withheld as a theory." It is Pro who then proceeded to say, "For sake of argument, lets accept Evolution as theory but not fact." In other, words my thesis was one that disagreed with Pro's because I felt it needed to be qualified.

Pro's thesis:Biological Theory of Evolution Should Be Taught in All Public Schools
Con's thesis:Biological Evolution should be taught only as a theory in All Public Schools

The distinction is subtle, but important. Pro may say, "It doesn't matter how it is taught, the issue is should it be taught." My position is that if it is not taught as a theory, then it should not be taught at all. Otherwise, it is propaganda, and not genuine education.

"Evolution is one of the most tested and accepted theories in science."
It is correct that it is accepted, but tested is incorrect. Again, on the micro evolution scale I have consented it to be scientific fact. However, we cannot truly test macro evolution because it would take several thousands (or millions) of years to observe. This is why it is a theory. Again, there is scientific evidence to support it (http://evolution.berkeley.edu...) there is also evidence that contradicts it. (http://www.icr.org...) Therefore, it has been contested, but not tested using the traditional scientific method. (http://www.sciencebob.com...)

"Religion isn't taught in public school, but if it was I would be in favor of it including Creationism."
2 things.
(1) Religious movements are taught in history classes. There are not classes designed to teach religious ideologies, but religion is included in history and philosophy.
(2) Creationism is not dependent on religion. This word has culturally been made to refer only to a Christian's conception of the biblical creation account. However, I believe a more proper definition is the one given to intelligent design.
Religion: "the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods."
Intelligent design (what I mean by creationism): "the theory that life, or the universe, cannot have arisen by chance and was designed and created by some intelligent entity."
I do believe that the biblical account should be given some weight due to biblical account and how old the literature is (http://en.wikipedia.org...) Therefore, why shouldn't this theory be given just as much credit in public schools? However, we should not propagate religion in schools, but religion is to big to ignore it.

Again, I first proposed the evolution should be taught as theory and not as fact. My opponent agreed and then claimed that I had been persuaded. This is not true. It is confusing because of the ambiguity in your thesis. However, you have argued your side and I have argued mine.

Pro's thesis: Biological Theory of Evolution Should Be Taught in All Public Schools
Con's thesis: Biological Evolution should be taught as theory in all public schools.

I would like to thank Pro for his time and the readers for theirs as well. Happy voting :).

More sources for fun.
http://www.icr.org...
http://www.godandscience.org...
http://www.famousscientists.org...
http://www.ucg.org...
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com...
http://www.overcomeproblems.com...
http://www.ldolphin.org...



https://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Biochemistry92 3 years ago
Biochemistry92
First thing, all scientific evidence you have purportedly mentioned is not fact, (wink wink nudge nudge) scientists do not outright ever say they are fact as that is pretentious and erroneous in the manner of bordering relying on absolute domination in argument for ones personal use. Evolution in particular is well indisputably, no Scientist worth their merit would dare argue against it as the evidence is probably the most overwhelming thing in Science. Second John the bassist apparently regards God as fact, this of course requires the burden of proof to be held. So by my count there is no bassist (pun) for him to really deny evolution as fact based on his over reaching assumption of god being real. Hypocrites are always fun to lecture.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
Bill-RabarajohnnyvbassistTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Okay this was a really problematic debate for a number of reasons. For one, the debate was essentially won by Pro in R2. The resolution says quite clearly that the THEORY of evolution should be taught in schools. Cons argument is that it's just a theory and should be taught as such--great. That's literally the Pro position of the resolution. If the debate had been about if I should accept evolution as fact maybe I would have to think harder about my ballot, but this is a clear decision.