The Instigator
MagicAintReal
Con (against)
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The Contender
AtkinsonCameron
Pro (for)
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Creationism In Biology Curriculum

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/22/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 874 times Debate No: 79973
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (19)
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MagicAintReal

Con

*You are Pro*
*I am Con*

Resolution
Creationism should be a major part of the biology curriculum in US public schools.

Pro
Has the Burden of Proof and 4 sets of 10,000 characters to demonstrate that creationism should be a major part of the biology curriculum in US public schools.
Pro may refute Con as they choose.

Con
Has only 3 sets of 10,000 characters to refute Pro.

*No round rules and NO ACCEPTANCE ROUND; just start debating and use your characters as you wish.

*Definitions can be changed in the comments section, before posting your first argument, as long as both Pro and Con agree.

*The definitions below are agreed on by posting your first argument without changing them in comments.


Definitions (from Google definitions)

creationism - the belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, as in the biblical account, rather than by natural processes such as evolution.

major - significant, important

part - segment of something

biology - the study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behavior, origin, and distribution

curriculum - the subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college

US Public Schools - schools that are maintained at public expense for the education of the children of a community or district and that constitute a part of a system of free public education commonly including primary and secondary schools in the United States of America.

May the better argument win.
AtkinsonCameron

Pro

I would like to begin by thanking MagicAintReal for proposing an intriguing debate topic. I shall endeavor to conduct this debate in the highest form of civility and I wish MagicAintReal good luck. I am looking forward to his arguments.

C1 R1: The primary reason that Creationism is not taught in US public today is that its proponents have not succeeded in creating an argument for their position that is not permeated with religion. Consequently, Creationism has become an extension of religion (Christianity in America). Over the past century, the separation of church and state become much more important in the eyes of the American people. Most of them do not want their government "indoctrinating" their kids on a specific religion, especially when their kids are in the stage where their education will leave permanent effects on them. Because Creationism has always been linked to Christianity and its proponents have been unable to teach it without making it a religious issue, it has been banished from the US public school system.

However, Creationism can be taught in the public schools without advocating for a certain religion. For example, here is what I would write if I was assigned to develop a textbook to teach biology or another science to kids in the US public school system: "Two major theories exist for the foundation and development of our universe: the theory of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin in 1859 and the theory of Creationism. The theory of evolution states that the universe and all species of organisms arose and were developed through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increased their ability to survive and reproduce. The theory of Creationism states that the universe and everything in it was created by a supernatural being. However, it also incorporates some principles of evolution, specifically microevolution (changes in allele frequencies), to explain changes in the characteristics of species over times, but it does not accept the principle of macroevolution (evolution of separated gene pools). The theory of Creationism is primarily based on religious accounts of the universe while the theory of evolution is based primarily on the work and observations of Charles Darwin and scientists who came after him."

If you read the previous paragraph, you will see that there is no mention of a specific religion in it at all. Creationism can be taught in the US public schools as a scientific theory, open for question just like every other scientific theory regarding the foundation of the world should be. If one teaches Creationism as part of a religion, it limits the ability of students to challenge it on scientific grounds. Consequently, Creationism should be given equal time in the biology curriculum in US public schools only if it is presented solely as a scientific theory.

C2 R1: Evolution might be the generally accepted view of the foundation of the universe by the scientific community; however, every theory is subject to the scientific method. The foundational law of science lies in the scientific method. We can never know something for absolute certainty. There can always be variables that we don"t see at first. Other individuals will conduct experiments on our conclusions to determine if our conclusions hold up under different variables. Rochester University provides the following information on the scientific method: "The scientific method is the process by which scientists, collectively and over time, endeavor to construct an accurate (that is, reliable, consistent and non-arbitrary) representation of the world" (http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu...). The four steps of the scientific method (retrieved from the same source, Rochester University) are listed below:

1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

When the theory of evolution and the theory of Creationism are subjected to the scientific method, both theories have flaws in them that are explained by characteristics of the other theory. Consequently, it would be most beneficial to students in the US public school system to be taught both theories. The whole objective of science is to obtain the most complete picture of the universe. By not learning Creationism in the US public school system, students are not being given a complete picture of the universe.

Conclusion: Scientific theories are always open for challenge. In the fundamental stages of education, students must learn the use of the scientific method. It is hard to find a clearer cut subject than the comparison of evolution and creationism. The separation of church and state is an established principle in US society today. However, this principle should not be utilized to hinder an honest and scientific presentation of evolution and creationism in the public school system. Therefore, my arguments in this round for the inclusion of creationism in the biology curriculum for US school system specifically state that Creationism can be taught without the extensive mention of religion (Christianity or any other religion) and that teaching Creationism is required by the principles of the scientific method.
Debate Round No. 1
MagicAintReal

Con

Thanks Pro for accepting.

First, I reject the resolution that creationism should be a major part of the biology curriculum in US public schools.

Second, I need to be up front and mention that I am a high school teacher in (I can't mention the county) Maryland, USA, so this resolution directly associates me...I'm sayin' I'm obviously biased here.

However, I think my factual arguments are easily digested.

Now, on to Pro's arguments:

I agree with Pro that creationism doesn't need to be religious; this is not my contention with creationism in biology class at all.
I further agree that creationism can be taught without advocating for a certain religion.

Pro imagines himself writing a biology textbook including creationism:
"Two major theories exist for the foundation and development of our universe: the theory of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin in 1859 and the theory of Creationism. The theory of evolution states that the universe and all species of organisms arose and were developed through the natural selection..."

My response:
I'm glad Pro isn't writing any biology textbooks for real.
The theory of evolution has nothing to do with our universe's origins, and neither does biology.

The "foundation and development of our universe" is a matter of cosmology, not biology.
The big bang theory explains the origins of our universe, while the theory of evolution only explains the biodiversity of life on earth.
The theory of evolution doesn't even explain the origins of life on earth; abiogenesis explains that.

Biology is the study of life on earth; biology is not the study of the origins of our universe or the origins of the first living cell.

So I would reject Pro's idea of a biology textbook, because it wouldn't contain much biology, and it would have incorrect descriptions of known scientific concepts.

Pro mentions my contention with creationism:
"The theory of Creationism states that the universe and everything in it was created by a supernatural being."

My response:
Science is the collection of observations and explanations of natural phenomena. By definition, supernatural is not natural, and therefore is unrelated to the study of natural phenomena.

Biology incorporates and studies natural explanations for the biodiversity of living organisms on earth.
By incorporating supernatural explanations, we are by definition out of the scope of biology and other observations/explanations of natural phenomena.

Also, without any MECHANISTIC explanation of HOW supernature accomplishes things, there's no reason to believe that anything supernatural is occurring.

I also need to reference the definition of creationism for this debate,
creationism - living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation rather than by natural processes such as evolution.

So, Pro says:
"However, [creationism] also incorporates some principles of evolution, specifically microevolution (changes in allele frequencies), to explain changes in the characteristics of species over times..."

My response:
This doesn't sound like "rather than by natural processes such as evolution" to me.
Pro is misusing creationism.
Microevolution is a natural process, which does not include divine acts, so creationism in this debate must not include microevolution or else we're not debating creationism (rather than by evolution) per this debate.

Let me get down to it.
Creationism is just not scientific, thus it is not a scientific theory.
There is no evidence or mechanistic explanation of anything supernatural or of supernature's isolated effects on natural phenomena, so creationism is irrelevant in any science subject, because science is the study of natural--not supernatural-- phenomena.

There is also no need to infer supernature when it comes to scientific explanations, because explanations seek to solve mysteries; supernature is not an explanation, rather it's an attempt to solve a mystery by appealing to another mystery, which is supernature itself.

Pro continues:
"Evolution might be the generally accepted view of the foundation of the universe by the scientific community."

My response:
Well, listen to this member of the scientific community; evolution is not the accepted view of the foundation of the universe.
Evolution only speaks to the biodiversity of life on earth; none of the textbooks I have ever used in biology have ever mentioned the origins of the universe ever, because that is a different discipline altogether called cosmology.

Pro adds:
"By not learning Creationism in the US public school system, students are not being given a complete picture of the universe."

My response:
We're only talking about biology curriculum. Though I would reject creationism being taught in any science class, this debate is only about the biology curriculum; in biology, we don't need a complete picture of the universe.

To conclude:
1. Pro's incorrect characterization of biology as the study of "the foundation of our universe" highlights the poor reasons provided to allow creationism in the biology curriculum.

2. While creationism attempts to explain the origins of the universe, biology does not.
While creationism lumps the universe and life into the same discipline, science has clearly divided these concepts into different disciplines.

3. Creationism requires supernature, which has not been demonstrated.
Being that science is the study of natural phenomena, supernature does not qualify for a science curriculum.

4. Remember that the resolution mentions "a major part of the biology curriculum."
If we're to go with what Pro has given us, then the origin of the universe, an incorrect characterization of the theory of evolution, and supernature would be allowed in a major part of the biology curriculum.

I reject that creationism should be a major part of the biology curriculum, because it is unscientific given its requirement for supernature and its inability to account for the biodiversity of life on earth.
AtkinsonCameron

Pro

I seem to have some slight misconceptions regarding the theory of evolution according to MagicAintReal. Consequently, I feel that I owe the readers an explanation on why I said that evolution has something to do with the origins of our universe. My high school teachers didn"t believe in the Big Bang Theory. They believed in the gradual evolution of matter and life forms. Therefore, I view evolution as a theory that addresses the foundations of the universe and the origins of life on earth. I never stated that biology was the study of the foundation of our universe as MagicAintReal said.

The discussion of the foundation of the universe is extremely important to a biology curriculum because it provides an explanation for how diverse life forms are on our planet. The primary point of comparison can be found in the fossil record, which is essential to the study of biology. According to evolutionary theories, the diverse life forms evolved over an extremely long period of time, gradually altering through the process of natural selection. The problem with this theory is that there are gaps in the fossil record where these evolutionary developments should be clearly evident. Furthermore, the scientific community has been able to produce very few fossils from the period before the creation of the Universe (using young-earth Creationism estimates: 8000 to 12000 years). The principal means of dating the fossils that the scientific community has discovered is carbon dating, which is unreliable at best. Creationism provides a reasonable explanation for these gaps and the diverse forms of life on earth.

Another issue that Creationism does provide a reasonable explanation for is DNA. I am not sure to what degree DNA is discussed in biology today as it is primarily a chemistry subject, but it does have one important bearing on biology. DNA is the basic building block for life. Assuming that the universe formed according to the position of the Big Bang Theory, life would have to begin to evolve. One of the first things that would have to evolve for life to exist is DNA. The DNA of a bacterium contains at least 3 million units arranged in a precise sequence. If just one of these units was out of order, the entire DNA structure wouldn"t work. According to several studies, DNA had less than 1 chance in 10 to the 40,000 power to evolve via natural process (http://www.scienceforums.net...). That means that the evolution of DNA had 1 in 1 with 40,000 zeros after it chance.
Scientists maintain that only DNA can reproduce DNA now. If the Big Bang created matter, what or who created DNA? Its evolution is highly unlikely, yet life would be impossible without it.

I apologize for the brevity of this post for this round. My area had the remnants of a tropical storm hit today and we lost power for most of the day. I managed to squeeze this post in between making up study in my college courses so that I wouldn"t forfeit the round. I will do my best to formulate a more complete reply to MagicAintReal"s Round 2 submission in my next post.
Debate Round No. 2
MagicAintReal

Con

Pro, no worries about the brevity of your post.
Also, losing power sucks, so my condolences.
Furthermore, I have made no round rules, so you may respond to any of my points at any time during the debate, and voters should not penalize you for such.

Firstly, I agree that the universe "evolves" but this is not to be confused with biological evolution, which explains the biodiversity of life on earth.
Darwin's theory of evolution ONLY addresses earthly life's diversity, as does biology.

It's a shame that Pro's teachers did not believe in the big bang theory, but I must stress here that the big bang is a matter of cosmology NOT biology; we shouldn't be talking about the big bang in a debate about biology.

Pro asserts:
"The discussion of the foundation of the universe is extremely important to a biology curriculum because it provides an explanation for how diverse life forms are on our planet. "

My response:
Nope.
Let me make an analogy.
If you're a statistician for baseball players, stats that accrue during baseball games are your subject area.
How the game got started, or how baseball was founded, or even the formation of the stadium in which the game is being played are all irrelevant to the changes in statistics during the game.

Statistics presupposes that a game has started, the sport of baseball already exists, and the stadium in which the statistics are changing already exists.
Well, biology presupposes that life, the earth, and the universe all exist.

Biology focuses on the changes during life, like statistics focus on the changes during the baseball game.
So, like the origins of baseball and stadiums are largely irrelevant to in-game-statistics, the origins of the universe and earthly life are largely irrelevant to in-life-changes.

Would you say that the origins of the stadium provide an explanation of the changes in statistics in a baseball game?

That should work as an analogy.

So then Pro takes a shot at evolution:
"The problem with [evolution] is that there are gaps in the fossil record where these evolutionary developments should be clearly evident."

My response:
Gaps in the fossil record are not indicative of a problem with evolution.
I shall supply another analogy.

Let's take the languages of Spanish, Italian, and French. We know they are three different languages, they exist today, and have existed in history. We also know that these three languages come from a COMMON language, Latin.

How do we know this?

When you look at the words, structure, syntax, phonemics, phonetics, and semantics of Latin, you find those exact same/similar characteristics in Spanish, French, and Italian, just like you find the exact same/similar genetic characteristics of apes in humans, homo habilis, and homo erectus.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

Not to misrepresent Pro, but I'm sure they believe that Spanish comes from Latin. So I could ask Pro:
What's the missing language between Latin and Spanish?
Do you know of Splatin?
Or maybe you've heard of Latinish?
Nope, no one has, and no one needs Splatin or Latinish (missing fossils) to explain that Spanish comes from Latin.
We have enough evidence WITHOUT a transitional language (transitional form) to explain Spanish is a descendant of Latin.
Just like we have enough genetic evidence WITHOUT other transitional fossils to demonstrate that humans come from apes.

You might even call Spanish a modern Latin language, like you might call humans modern apes.

Furthermore, when you keep demanding transitional forms, you create an infinite god of the gaps argument, because if we were to find Splatin somewhere in our history, we then would create a new gap between Latin and Splatin, and a second new gap between Splatin and Spanish.

What we have: Latin -->?-->Spanish
If we found a transitional language: Latin-->?-->Splatin-->?-->Spanish

Notice after finding "Splatin" (a missing language) two more gaps (question marks) are made.
If we find the next transitional languages, like Latsplatin and Splatpanish, there would be four new gaps and so on.
One could say, linguists have more gaps in the history of languages than ever before...
I'll bet you've never thought of language being evidence for evolution before, but it's such a good analogy.

So the next time you hear someone say, "Where are the transitional fossils from apes to humans?"
You can reply, "Where is Splatin?"

Pro then brings up:
"Furthermore, the scientific community has been able to produce very few fossils from the period before the creation of the Universe (using young-earth Creationism estimates: 8000 to 12000 years)."

My response:
Saying that the universe is only 12,000 years old is like saying that the distance between New York and Los Angeles is 10 feet. Either way, there are tons of fossils well over 12,000 years old.

We have fossils of primates from the basal Eocene epoch that are 55 million years old.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

We have great ape fossils of H. laietanus that are 10 million years old.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

We have a hominid species' fossils that are 4 million years old.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

All of these examples indicate that we have fossils older than Creationism's idea of the age of the universe.

Pro then takes a shot at carbon dating:
"The principal means of dating the fossils that the scientific community has discovered is carbon dating, which is unreliable at best."

My response:
Carbon dating is very reliable within its range of 25,000 to 50,000 years.
Thus carbon dating is not the "principle means" of dating fossils that are millions of years old, rather potassium-argon dating suffices for such dating.

Potassium 40 is an isotope of potassium that decays to argon at a fixed half-life of like 1.5 billion years, so its decay in the geological strata where we find these ancient fossils can adequately account for fossils of millions of years old.

Carbon 14 dating is very reliable when we have plant fossils, because the ratio of carbon 14 to carbon 12 in the atmosphere at any given point matches the ratio of carbon 14 to carbon 12 in any living plant; all plants absorb the carbon 14 from the atmosphere.

Plants cannot absorb carbon 14 if they are dead, and plants are fossilized while alive; they then die. This means that at the time of the fossilization of a plant, the plant has the exact amount of carbon 14 that was in the atmosphere at the time of the plant's death.
We can count the half life of decayed carbon 14 back to stable carbon 12 and determine the age of that plant.
Since all plants absorb carbon 14 from the atmosphere while living, carbon dating of fossilized plants is reliable.

Pro mentions DNA.
I will say that DNA is a large part of biology, way more so than it is in chemistry (although I have taught chemistry lessons using DNA as an example of a complex molecule), and it is very important to evolution.
DNA's origins are less important when talking about biology, because again, biology presupposes DNA's existence.

But I am a science guy, so I will briefly demonstrate how organic compounds, like amino acids, RNA, and DNA can come from inorganic compounds.

In chemistry, a compound is organic if it is covalently bonded to carbon.
There are many inorganic compounds that contain carbon, just not covalently bonded, so the difference between inorganic carbon compounds and organic carbon compounds is not that significant.

The Miller-Urey experiment in the 50's demonstrated that with an atmosphere, water salinity, electricity, and inorganic compounds likely of an earlier earth, inorganic compounds will produce organic amino acid compounds.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

"Sixty years after the seminal Miller-Urey experiment that abiotically produced a mixture of racemized amino acids, we provide a definite proof that this primordial soup, when properly cooked, was edible for primitive organisms."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

Also, these amino acids that were produced can fold onto each other and become biologically active like RNA.

"The sequence of the amino acid chain causes the polypeptide to fold into a shape that is biologically active. The amino acid sequences of proteins are encoded in the genes."
http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov...

I honestly don't care that several studies show that "DNA had less than 1 chance in 10 to the 40,000 power to evolve via natural process."
I respond to evidence that demonstrates that life can come from non-life, and I welcome anyone to check my citations to learn about this fact called abiogenesis, though it has little to do with a biology curriculum.

To conclude:
1. Pro, please understand that biology is a very specific discipline that focuses on the biodiversity of life on earth.
Invoking the big bang and the origins of life to explain the biodiversity of life on earth is simply as irrelevant as invoking the origins of a stadium or baseball itself to explain in-game-statistics.

2. Gaps in the fossil record between Ape and Human are like the gap between Latin and Spanish, or the gap between Latin and French...the gaps do not indicate a lack of common descent.

3. Carbon (my tattoo avatar) dating is reliable, in fact I argue some of the most reliable radiometric dating, but it is not used for the millions of years old fossils. Potassium argon dating is used instead, and potassium 40's half life allows for such.

4. DNA is important to biology, but its origins are less so...even still, I have provided data for that as well.

Creationism should not be a major part of the biology curriculum, because evolution correctly explains the biodiversity of life on earth, and evolution needs no help from supernature (creationism) to do so.
AtkinsonCameron

Pro

Before I respond to MagicAintReal"s round 3 post, I would like to respond to a point he/she made in round 2 that I was unable to respond to due to time constraints. In his summary at the end of round 2, MagicAintReal states: "Creationism requires supernature, which has not been demonstrated." The supernatural influence upon the universe and life in general can only be speculated on in the same way that we can speculate on the origin of the universe through the Big Bang Theory. I know this is a little off subject, but every theory about the origin of the universe comes from deductive reasoning, not inductive reasoning. Consequently, a theory of origin must be built deductively on what we can observe and there are many possible variations. For example, how do we know that the Big Bang occurred naturally or was it started by a supernatural force? Going back to my last post in the previous round, we have grounds (the complexity of DNA and the minimal likelihood of its evolution into many diverse life forms) for deductive reasoning to suppose that a supernatural force was at work.

Because biological theories on the diversity of life all result from deductive reasoning, a biology curriculum could and should teach creationism"s reasoning, if not its explanation, for the diversity of life on our planet. Science is totally about learning the truth about our world. However, if we only teach one theory about the diversity of life on our planet, we hinder our pursuit of the truth by insulating that theory from challenges. Challenges do not make the truth weaker. Instead, they redirect our research and studies to find a more perfect understanding of the truth.

In his/her round 3 post, MagicAintReal makes a baseball analogy, asking if the origins of a baseball stadium provide an explanation of the statistics in a baseball game. My answer is yes. Look at the New York Mets. When they moved from Shea Stadium to Citi Field a couple of years ago, they immediately had a problem with their offense. The team"s home run numbers went down and every visiting team also experienced a significant drop in home run numbers at Citi Field. Why? There were a number of reasons. First, the Mets built the fences too far from the plate. Second, the Mets also forgot to take into account the wind currents above the stadium. Unlike the Yankees who purposely built the new Yankee Stadium to take advantage of a wind current, the Mets ignored it completely. Consequently, the wind current did not favor their hitters. After a full season of low home run numbers, the Mets had to move the fences in and install wind breaks on the top of the stadium. Despite their best efforts, they still struggle with the wind currents.

Foundations are important for any scientific study because they have significant implications upon future characteristics and behaviors. Given the topic of this debate, it is not my purpose to engage in debating the merits of evolution versus creationism. What I am trying to show is that there are legitimate questions in current theories regarding the diversity of life on our planet that relate back to origins. Some of these questions have alternate explanations under the Creationism theory. In the search for the truth, students must be exposed to both so that they can weigh the question in their own minds.

MagicAintReal also attempted to use a language analogy to show how the gaps in the fossil record do not count as a question against evolution. The difference between the evolution of a language and the evolution of life is that we have writings through history that allow us to trace a definite evolution in each language. We can trace how Latin was integrated with English, French, Italian, and French. We do not have enough evidence to trace the evolution of life forms from a select group of original creatures. The gaps in the fossil records do not show the changes that macroevolution claims. For example, we do not have a clear fossil record of the transition from dinosaurs to whales (http://www.smithsonianmag.com...). Darwin himself even speculated that whales could have evolved from bears (see passage in reference above). If so, where are the fossils of transitory life forms showing that? Where are the fossils of transitory life forms showing other evolutions through history? The gaps in the fossil record are the lack of transitory life forms that would tell us that macroevolution did occur. We have evidence in the fossil record of microevolution, but not of macroevolution. Until we find more clear evidence in the fossil record of transitory life forms, the theory of macroevolution must continue to be questioned and researched in the field of biology.

Until we gain more evidence of transitory life forms in the fossil record, we must teach alternative theories in the public school curriculum because we have not obtained positive proof of macroevolution. Macroevolution can only be classified as an extrapolation of the proven theory of microevolution. However, since we have not found fossils indicating transitory life, we must only consider macroevolution a hypothesis or theory open for question and comparison.
MagicAintReal also uses the process of abiogenesis to counter my argument that DNA was very unlikely to evolve naturally. There are two aspects to this argument that I would like to address. First, life has already started. We have identified definite species. Each definite species group possesses a distinct DNA structure that differentiates it from other species groups. For another species group to evolve from that species group, the DNA structure would have to be "reconfigured" through mutations. The likelihood of this occurring successfully is extremely low as I pointed out in the previous round. Consequently, DNA is extremely relevant in the evolutionary process and presents one of the major challenges to it.

Second, most of the experiments done on abiogenesis have been done in labs. Sure, they have shown that it is possible for life to originate from non-living matter, but how? The combinations of these organic compounds had to be directed by the scientists conducting experiments (http://www.algemeiner.com...#). Consider that for a moment. Use the laboratory as a mini-universe for a minute. The environment is extremely controlled. The scientists represent "supernatural" powers within the universe as they "create" the situation for these life forms to develop. On the other hand, we have yet to find evidence of abiogenesis occurring naturally in the world around us. If it could take place naturally, shouldn"t we be able to find evidence of it occurring naturally in our world? We know that it can happen within a laboratory under controlled circumstances and human (supernatural) direction. However, can it occur in the hard world we live in? If we cannot find evidence for that in our world, what basis do we have to suppose that it occurred billions of years ago? If anything, the "supernatural" influence of humans in the laboratory makes it more likely that there was supernatural influence at the origins of life

In conclusion for this round, I would like to say that creationism does not have to be taught as a more correct theory than evolutionism. However, it should be included in the biology curriculum as a possible alternative to some of the questions regarding evolutionism on which we have reasonable doubts. We cannot insulate a theory. It is counterproductive to science. We must constantly challenge on theories to develop a more correct understanding of the workings of our universe. Therefore, creationism must be included in the biology curriculum even if, for no other reason, it serves to guide and drive research and study to strengthen the conclusions we have already arrived at.
Debate Round No. 3
MagicAintReal

Con

Thanks for the response Pro.

My analogies are fine.

With the baseball analogy, I said that the ORIGINS of the stadium, not the stadium itself, were largely irrelevant to in-game-statistics.
The origins of the stadium would be a bunch of construction workers with tools and raw materials. This is a stadium's origin, and if this is a statistician's focus for in-game-statistics, then they are missing the point of in-game-statistics.

I assumed that the majority of a baseball statistician's focus was players throwing, catching, and hitting the ball during the game, not construction workers digging, filling, and constructing during the formation of the stadium.

Pro's example of Mets' stadium and the fences being too far are therefore not about the origins of the stadium, rather the stadium's current form. Yes, the origin is not the current form; they are different.
Also, the idea of wind affecting the game's statistics is not an example of the origins of the stadium either, rather it points to natural meteorological fluctuations that may influence a game's happenings.

So, the universe's origins are largely irrelevant to biology like the stadium's ORIGINS are largely irrelevant to in-game-statistics.

Furthermore, I maintain that my language analogy is valid. (Latin-->Spanish :: Ape-->human)
But first...

Pro thinks:
"[Creationism] should be included in the biology curriculum as a possible alternative"

My response:
Let me deal with this possible alternative claim...
Here's a small, but true story:

I was hanging out with the social studies department at lunch the other day, and I asked some of them:
"Do you guys ever get students who claim that the version of history you are teaching is flawed?"
Some of the teachers said no, but two of the teachers said yes, and their stories are interesting.

Both teachers mentioned that several of their students, in the students' culture, were taught that the holocaust didn't happen.
So when World War 2 came up in the curriculum, the students were vocal about their complaints, and they thought that it was unfair that the history books didn't represent their version of no holocaust during World War 2.

Pro, is a no holocaust world war 2 another possible alternative?

Please follow me here.
Having a biology teacher teach creationism is like having a history teacher teach World War 2 without the holocaust...
I further argue, denying evolution is akin to denying the holocaust...

...and here's why:
-Chromosome 2

Our second chromosome is a fusion of two ancestral ape chromosomes.
Humans have one fewer pair of chromosomes than the great apes...because two ape chromosomes fused to make our 2nd chromosome.
http://genome.cshlp.org...

Single chromosomes typically have two ends and a center.

Telomere - Centromere - Telomere

Telomeres (the red ones) - - - - - Centromeres (the green ones)
Image result for telomeres---Image result for centromeres
But humans' 2nd chromosome looks like the chromosome on the right:

Which is Telomere - Centromere - Telomere - Telomere - Centromere - Telomere
This shows fusion.

How do we know what fused?

Base pairs on the ends of each chromosome are unique to that chromosome.

We found the base pairs of ancestral ape chromosomes on our 2nd chromosome.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

So Pro needs to understand that my language analogy still stands.
Just like "we have writings through history that allow us to trace a definite evolution in each language," we have genetics through history that allow us to trace a definite evolution in organisms. We also have fossils which indicate the same thing.

Well, the fact that our 2nd chromosome is a fusion of two ancestral ape chromosomes, ape to human is much like Latin to Spanish. We don't really need the intermediary language or fossil to show that Spanish descended from Latin, or that humans descended from apes respectively.

Evolution just states that organisms that live long enough to reproduce typically pass on their genetic characteristics that helped them live long enough to reproduce.
As organisms migrate to different environments, different genetic characteristics lead to "living long enough" to reproduce.

Those that live long enough to reproduce pass on their genes more successfully than those who do not live long enough to reproduce in the different environment.

Genetic changes over time lead to different species from a parent species. This is macroevolution.
The new species would have remnants of the parent species in their genetics.
Our 2nd chromosome is clear evidence that apes are our ancestors; we are in fact modern apes.

This fusion of chromosomes is exactly what you would expect if evolution were true, and it demonstrates how changes over time lead to different organisms completely.

Due to its mechanistic explanation and subsequent demonstrations of the biodiversity of life on earth, and that human chromosome 2 is a fusion of two ape chromosomes, which satisfies macroevolution, evolution is true.

Pro claims:
"if we only teach one theory about the diversity of life on our planet, we hinder our pursuit of the truth by insulating that theory from challenges."

My response:
We're teaching facts about the diversity of life on earth, and if there are legitimate challenges to these facts, we acknowledge them. Do any real research on evolution, and you will find actual challenges to preconceived concepts of evolution that merit another look. Creationism does not merit any looks due to its invocation of supernature, and its lack of empirical evidence.

Then Pro continues:
"We have evidence in the fossil record of microevolution, but not of macroevolution. Until we find more clear evidence in the fossil record of transitory life forms, the theory of macroevolution must continue to be questioned and researched in the field of biology."

My response:
This micro-macro thing is not a real issue.
Look, saying that you believe in microevolution, but not macroevolution is like saying that you believe that I can walk to the end of my driveway, but given enough time and resources, you don't believe that I could walk to the end of the city, or the state.

Macroevolution is at or above the species level.

So here are animals who have been directly observed speciating:

The hawthorn fly has speciated to the apple maggot fly.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

The three-spine stickleback fish has speciated to different fresh water and salt water fish.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

The myrtle warbler bird and black-fronted warbler bird have speciated to Audubon's warbler bird.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

So BOTH microevolution and macroevolution are proven...no more macro-micro arguments please.

Pro baldly asserts:
"Until we gain more evidence of transitory life forms in the fossil record, we must teach alternative theories in the public school curriculum because we have not obtained positive proof of macroevolution."

My response:
So the fact that our 2nd chromosome is a fusion of two ape chromosomes, the fact that we have great ape transitory fossils of H. laietanus, the fact that we have hominid transitory fossils showing ancestry, and the fact that we've directly observed macroevolution (speciation) in maggot flies, fish, and birds, we don't have positive proof of evolution?

Pro, really?
Where is this level of evidence for creationism?
Why should we teach an unscientific theory in a biology class when we already have a theory that's demonstrable, replicable, and able to be used to make accurate predictions of the biodiversity of life on earth?
Why should creationism, an unscientific theory, be a MAJOR part of the curriculum?

Pro indicates:
"For another species group to evolve from that species group, the DNA structure would have to be "reconfigured" through mutations. The likelihood of this occurring successfully is extremely low as I pointed out in the previous round."

My response:
Yeah, reconfigured DNA like our 2nd chromosome? It's literally two ape chromosomes fused...come on!
Or reconfigured like the millions of examples of polyploidy?

"Polyploidy, the multiplication of entire sets of chromosomes beyond the normal set of two, has occurred extensively, independently, and is often repeated in many groups of fish, from the sharks to the higher teleosts."
http://link.springer.com...

I guess the likelihood aint so low, huh?

Pro surmises:
"Second, most of the experiments done on abiogenesis have been done in labs. Sure, they have shown that it is possible for life to originate from non-living matter, but how? The combinations of these organic compounds had to be directed by the scientists conducting experiments."

My response:
Pro didn't bother to check my sources on abiogenesis.
The replication of the Miller-Urey experiment yielded more amino acids and a more likely earlier earth's atmosphere was used.

"We report here the detection and quantification of primary amine-containing compounds in the original sample residues, which were produced via spark discharge using a gaseous mixture of H2S, CH4, NH3, and CO2. A total of 23 amino acids and 4 amines, including 7 organosulfur compounds, were detected in these samples."
http://www.pnas.org...

They used an electric charge.
Lightning occurs without life and on planets with atmospheres.
They used hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide.
These compounds and their concentrations in the atmosphere appear without life and on planets with atmospheres.

Why is it such a leap to say that likely conditions can yield organic compounds?
This does not require "supernatural powers."

Regardless, this all points to the idea that biology doesn't really need an alternate theory to explain things.
Especially an unscientific one like creationism.

I reject the resolution.

Though irrelevant, pro says:
"How do we know that the Big Bang occurred naturally or was it started by a supernatural force?"

My response:
http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov...


AtkinsonCameron

Pro

Responding to Con"s use of the baseball stadium analogy, the origins of a stadium do have an effect on a game"s statistics. Why? The origins of a stadium begin with planning. As I pointed out my rebuttal of the baseball stadium analogy, the Yankees purposely planned their stadium to be a hitter"s park. They purposely planned for the right field porch to be closer than normal. They measured the wind currents and estimated what would be the best design for their stadium. Of course a statistician does not consider the origins of a stadium when he is recording statistics. He can only record what he sees. However, the origins of a stadium have a profound effect on what he will see because they will affect how the game is played. Take the stadium where the San Francisco Giants play. The high right field wall turns how many home runs into doubles or triples? The origins of the stadium (i.e., the height of that wall) affect the statistics that can be recorded during games played there.

In the same way, the origins of the universe are extremely important to the study of biology. For one, theories about the origins of the universe provide pertinent details that are necessary for explaining the fossil record, which is a major part of tracing how life developed. In fact, you cannot trace the fossil record without relating it to time and, as we extend the study of time for the earth backwards, we must draw closer to a beginning for life. Since biology is the study of living organisms, we must include an explanation for the beginning of life in a biology curriculum. Consequently, origins play a very important role in biological studies.

Con also uses a story to refute my argument that Creationism should be included in the biology curriculum as a possible alternative. He compares it to someone denying the Holocaust took place in World War 2. Con, with all due respect, that was a low blow! You attempted to marginalize my argument without even questioning it scientifically. I can understand someone questioning the viability of the Creationism theory. However, you did not even attempt to do that. You simply brushed it aside as if it belongs in an insane asylum.

Allow me to remind you of the fundamental principle of the scientific method. Alternatives to a theory should be welcomed and studied thoroughly because they will either show the fallacies of that theory or strengthen it by creating scenarios for experiments that will prove the truth of that theory. With all due respect, you seem to have forgotten the fundamental principle of science, which is something that everyone studies science can agree on: to discover the truth about the world we live. The only way we can discover the truth is if we are constantly probing, experimenting, and challenging ourselves regarding the truth of our theories. This is the fundamental crux of my argument and whoever votes on this debate should pay attention to this section. Creationism should be taught in biology as a possible explanation for the diversity of life on our planet if, for no other reason, it provides a fairly reasonable challenge to evolution, which can strengthen or disprove the theory of evolution.

Section Separation For a Reference Source

In counter to his chromosome fusion explanation, here is an alternative explanation and a little history on it. In 1991, researchers discovered a fusion-like DNA sequence. However, it was much smaller than a normal chromosome and it was degenerate. Because it contained a different signature, researchers speculated that it was a fused telomere. By 2002, they had fully sequenced the bases of DNA surrounding the fusion sequence. The completed research revealed that it was something called a pseudogene because there was no function for. Furthermore, research also showed that the genes surrounding the fusion site didn"t exist on an ape 2A or 2B chromosomes " the supposed origin location. This is known as a lack of syteny. Alternative research showed that the supposed fusion site was a key part of the DDX11L2 gene, fully explaining its function.

This would have been the first documented case of a natural gene fusion. Scientists have yet to find any other and this one was not proven to be true. Consequently, Con"s argument of telomere fusion is only a theory at best (a hypothesis in my opinion since scientists have yet to find evidence for it). To check my reference, please visit the link below. It provides a very thorough explanation from Doctor Jeffrey Tomkins.

http://www.icr.org...

Section End

Con also refutes my argument regarding macroevolution versus microevolution. Please look at this definition from Google: "Macroevolution is evolution on a scale of separated gene pools. Macroevolutionary studies focus on change that occurs at or above the level of species, in contrast with microevolution, which refers to smaller evolutionary changes (typically described as changes in allele frequencies) within a species or population." The evolutions that Con described are microevolutions that are consistent with Darwin"s observations of finches in the Galapagos Islands. These finches made minor changes due to changes in the environment and the subsequent effects on their food source. However, they did not become drastically different animals. The three examples that Con listed are examples of microevolution. In no case did any of his examples become a drastically different animal than what they were before.

In conclusion, the theory of Creationism must be taught and studied via deductive logic. We have the Biblical account of the Creation as well as several other religions" accounts. However, since no one was around to observe the Creation or the process of evolution, we must build our scientific theories deductively in order to arrive at possible explanations. If we begin developing our theories inductively, we will bias our research and greatly hinder our pursuit of the truth. Because Creationism occurred through supernatural processes, the strongest proofs for it are the inexplicable aspects of biology (i.e., DNA, the formation of the eye (Darwin even questioned his own theory and acknowledged that he couldn"t explain the eye through natural processes), and the fossil record) and the holes in the theory of evolution.

However, as I said at the beginning of the debate, Creationism and evolutionism don"t have to be used as giant billy clubs against each other. The whole goal of science is to learn the truth and Creationism can serve as a good devil"s advocate to further the study of evolution and vice versa. Consequently, Creationism should be taught in the public school system.

I would like to thank Con for a very interesting debate. I learned a lot and I hope I contributed some pieces of knowledge that someone will find interesting. Best wishes to Con and may the best argument win!
Debate Round No. 4
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MagicAintReal 1 year ago
MagicAintReal
You said "2002, they had fully sequenced the bases of DNA surrounding the fusion sequence...Scientists have yet to find any other and this one was not proven to be true."

My VERY FIRST citation demonstrated the fusion in 2012. Scientists have yet to find any other after 2002? Go ahead, actually read it this time.
http://genome.cshlp.org...

To me, if you had read the citation, your claim that scientists haven't found anything since 2002 is dishonest.

Yeah, no hard feelings, I just thought it was intentionally dishonest.
Posted by AtkinsonCameron 1 year ago
AtkinsonCameron
I was not dishonest about chromosome 2. I just provided an alternative opinion on it with a viable source to back it up. I didn't try to interpret your explanation and I just referenced your argument and then presented my argument. As far as I know, that doesn't qualify as dishonesty under the scientific method. That is called making a legitimate challenge with the scientific method.

My point on origins was that they have significant effects on the current form (i.e., the turf field in Toronto's ballpark. it has been changed multiple times and has even been completely redesigned to eliminate the odd bounces off the seams, but they still occur). The current form may differ from the original but it retains many of the characteristics of the original form.

Anyway, no hard feelings on this point of difference. I enjoyed the debate. Thanks for proposing it.
Posted by MagicAintReal 1 year ago
MagicAintReal
Pro, you were dishonest about chromosome 2, and you didn't bother to check my citation on it...boo.
Otherwise, good debate...oh and origins are not the current form even if you tell me there was a plan, the origin is not the current form.
One could plan a particular aspect of the stadium and not see that aspect until way after the origin. The current form is not the formation itself...please understand that.
Posted by AtkinsonCameron 1 year ago
AtkinsonCameron
Ok, Thanks. Just making sure of that. I can accept your definition of that then.
Posted by MagicAintReal 1 year ago
MagicAintReal
I think under my definition, as long as there are divine acts, rather than natural ones, you're fine...it doesn't have to be the bible under my definitions.
Posted by AtkinsonCameron 1 year ago
AtkinsonCameron
I would like to make one small alteration to your definition of Creationism.

Your definition (retrieved from Google via Wikipedia) reads: "creationism - the belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, as in the biblical account, rather than by natural processes such as evolution."

I would like to alter that because other religions other than Christianity (Hinduism, Islam, and the Bah"'" Faith) also espouse versions of Creationism. In the case of the Bah"'" Faith and Hinduism, there is no divine being. Another thing I would like to change about that definition is that no one knows how the world was founded for sure. Consequently, every belief about the development of the universe properly can be termed a scientific hypothesis or theory since they are open for approval or disapproval by the scientific method.

Therefore, my proposed definition of creationism is as follows: "creationism - the scientific theory or hypothesis that the universe and living organisms originate from the acts of supernatural forces such as divine acts (listed in the Biblical account) rather than by natural processes such as evolution."

I will hold posting my first response and give MagicAintReal a chance to review that.
Posted by AtkinsonCameron 1 year ago
AtkinsonCameron
Ok, thanks and best wishes for the debate. :)
Posted by MagicAintReal 1 year ago
MagicAintReal
Ok go ahead, there's no acceptance round so debate away.
Posted by AtkinsonCameron 1 year ago
AtkinsonCameron
Hmm, I will have to change that then as I have been getting messages from other people. Yes, I will definitely accept this debate.
Posted by MagicAintReal 1 year ago
MagicAintReal
@AtkinsonCameron
Your messages are disabled. If you want to accept the debate I'll change the debate settings, but I need to know you're definitely accepting. So please respond to this.
No votes have been placed for this debate.