Creationist Web sites are legitimate and possibly reliable sources and thus may be used in debates
Debate Rounds (4)
Creationist Web Site= Web Site defending the idea that God created the universe.
Evolution= The idea that life isn't created, just originated by pure chance.
I'm standing firm on PRO. Rules= No insults in comments or debate.(Stares at Devient Genie and Sagey). Con, please present your case as to why Creationist web sites should not be permitted in a debate. 1st round is for acceptance. 2nd round is for arguments. 3rd round is for rebuttals. 4th round is for closing statements. The only other rule is respecting Freedom of/ from Religion. It is up to me to explain why I think Creationist sources should be allowed in use for a debate. I will use Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research as two examples of Creationist web sites. Who is my challenger?
My last reason for suggesting Creationist web sites may be used as reliable sources is to avoid indoctrination. People think that Evolution is a fact, and shouldn't be questioned. http://www.talkorigins.org... Suppose I were running to be president of the U.S. Imagine how upset people would be if I told them to accept me as their president, no questions asked. In addition to this, suppose I insulted people for not voting for me. You could see how upset people would be. However, Evolutionists do this a LOT.
Evolution, on the other hand, is a theory that can be derived from readily-available facts. It has been proven that humans possess DNA that contains all the encoding for proteins and growth that humans use to reproduce and grow from a single cell. For the purposes of this debate, I will be assuming that a source is not needed for the existence of DNA, as it is a well-known fact supported by direct observation, although I could go into the process of how RNA is copied from DNA and how proteins are assembled in cell ribosomes from this RNA if you need me to. It is also known that accidents happen in the duplication of DNA, which we call mutations. These change how the organism is built. These changes can either help or hinder their ability to find a mate and reproduce. Now, while the child of the possessor of the mutated gene and their mate might get that mutation, it is very likely that that gene will not get passed down to that child's children, especially if the gene is a recessive gene on only one chromosome in a pair, where it would not manifest itself. It takes plenty of luck for a superior gene to gain a firm foothold in the genome of a species because of this, and this, combined with wider gaps between generations with humans, results in evolution being imperceptibly slow for humans.
While human evolution can be difficult for one person to directly observe, we can observe bacteria, which tend to evolve much more quickly. Ever since antibiotics were invented, there have been new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is logically coherent with evolution. Bacteria get a lot more chances to mutate - the time between generations of bacteria can be as low as 20 minutes under ideal conditions. In addition, there are a lot more of them. It is often said that for every cell in your body, there are 10 bacteria in it as well (Don't worry, though - most of these are non-pathogenic and are essential to your bodily functions). Now, obviously, with all the splitting they do, they copy their DNA wrong, and with how many opportunities to screw up they have, it is actually quite likely that a mutation will accidentally make a bacteria more resistant to a specific antibiotic. As a result, they live through applications of antibiotics and continue to split again and again, while the bacteria without the mutation die from the antibiotic. This is an example of natural selection.
Now, to get to the point, in those last two paragraphs, I made a very strong case for evolution by using observable facts that anyone with the right equipment could confirm, then extrapolating on those facts. All of these facts converged on one point. This cannot be done with Creationism. There are many possible alternate explanations for important aspects of Creationism. This means that one Creationist source could use a different explanation for a certain phenomenon from the one that another source uses. Given this and the difficulty of objectively proving something that cannot be observed directly, I assert that Creationist web sites should not be treated as reliable sources.
Okay, here's my rebuttal:
Contention 1: People have no problem using web sites biased toward Evolution.
I feel that this is covered by my argument. Evolution is able to be observed and tested, therefore the information that you get from those sources will be fairly consistent, until new information is found. One recent example is the recent finding that our DNA is not 98% junk, where it was previously believed that the 2% of our DNA that coded for proteins was the only important part of our DNA. This was probably only found recently since it is easier to observe a strand of RNA building a protein than it is to observe what the other 98% does. Still, Evolution sources are based on observations and tests
Contention 2: There are many Creationist scientists.
Your list proves your contention, though it doesn't really help your argument. First, these scientists are a small minority - the general scientific consensus is that man evolved from more primitive lifeforms. Second, I saw a few mathematicians and material scientists on that list - to really count these people to support your argument, these people would have to be experts in primarily fields of biology.
Contention 3: Creationist web sites should be accepted as sources to avoid indoctrination.
I can accept this, since it always helps to have opposing viewpoints. I'm not sure whether to say that this helps your argument or not. Opposing viewpoints often serve to strengthen the other side, when there are refutations to parts that are more weakly founded. I don't think I would be on this site if I disagreed with that - if I thought things should be one sided and other viewpoints should be censored, why would I debate things with others?
However, I don't like your generalization about supporters of Evolution insulting those who disagree with them. When Evolution is taught in schools, we teach what we know and can observe, and what information can be extrapolated from that.
I also feel the need to respond to your refutation (even though I do agree that it is a bit unfair that you won't get the same opportunity to be able to respond to mine and respond to anything else next round) just because I can explain that in a very detailed fashion. To understand how such variety is formed, you have to understand the nature of these copying errors that create mutations. I'll focus on the ones you cited, which are crossing over and additional chromosomes.
You probably know that humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, meaning we have 46 pieces of DNA. These mostly remain contiguous throughout the copying process (unless something goes wrong, which is perfectly fine in most cases). In the process of meiosis, which is how sex cells (sperm and egg) reproduce, the rules are a bit different. Each haploid (sex) cell gets only half of your chromosomes. In males, whether the X or Y chromosome goes to a specific sperm determines the sex of a baby, should that sperm cell succeed in fertilizing an egg. Two paired chromatids, which individually are line-shaped, bond together at the 'pinched' point in the chromosome. Now, sometimes things don't work right with this (as always seems to be the case with DNA). Sometimes the two chromosomes switch parts. Using your example of ATHEISTS as a pair of identical chromatids (which is something that usually wouldn't occur), one possible mutation would be:
ATHEISTS + ATHEISTS -> ATHEIISTS + ATHESTS
So now one has more length to work with. Now, say you have a difference in one of those chromatids - say one is ATHENSTX, where two genes are different:
ATHEISTS + ATHENSTX -> ATHENISTS + ATHESTX
You might get a little more or a little less DNA at the end, some genes can be dropped from a chromatid but added to another, or an important gene could end up split down the middle, which would cause serious damage. Other things might happen across generations, too. If the offspring gets and passes down the ATHENISTS chromatid, the A will mutate into a U. The basis of evolution is very small, minute changes. You can't expect dramatic changes overnight. Also worth pointing out is that we didn't take ATHEISTS and make the word HASTIEST - genes don't work like that. Chromosomes are the units that are 'scrambled', and they occasionally mix and match with other chromosomes. You might be able to get HASTIEST on that generation, but that would have such an incredible unlikelihood in addition to the already unlikely chance of it crossing over at all that it isn't even worth noting. Dramatic relocation of genes would most likely result in a miscarriage, anyway. There are also disorders caused by inter-chromosome crossing over, but I won't get into those.
Additional chromosomes are a lot easier to explain. Cells don't always divide the chromatids evenly. They generally get it all right, but that doesn't stop some haploid cells from getting something extra every now and then. This is how down syndrome happens - if you've ever heard of trisomy 21, this is down syndrome. Trisomy 21 means that there are three copies of chromosome 21. In fact, you can observe World Down Syndrome Day two weeks from now on March 21, which goes with the numbers 3 and 21 (This is something I learned while looking things up. It is said that you learn something new every day.) Now, while down syndrome is a disadvantage under natural selection, sometimes a chromosomal addition is an advantage, or is just benign and is lucky enough to become a prevalent part of the genome. Really, new species are most reliably created by having a small population of a species move to a different environment and having them remain separate for a while. They change on different paths then. Eventually they'll be so different that they can't breed between each other.
That should adequately explain how adding information works with DNA. It just mutates itself in, like everything in evolution.
My opinion of Creationist sites being more unreliable lies mainly not in the conclusion itself, but the nature of the conclusion as something that can't really be tested. While I do appreciate the fact that some people accept different theories, as without this we would still believe that Earth is flat and that the sun revolves around us, we should be able to weigh the arguments provided with any theories. By this, I do not mean that we should start teaching every theory that exists, but we should instead accept the theory with the most proving power as the best answer for now, and be open to debating any theory as compared to the current mainstream one instead of dismissing it. It could be said that natural selection applies to theories in this way - the best one naturally is the best at explaining things. I'm not against using creationist sources in debates because they are creationist sources, I'm against it because the sources themselves often lack anything that can be tested. I feel it is appropriate to cite Occam's Razor - Creationism might be a simpler way to explain things, but Evolution has greater ability to explain things.
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