Disprove the Theory of Evolution
Burden of proof is on Pro to disprove the Theory of Evolution.
1) Pro will write his/her case in round 1
2) Pro will abstain from posting any arguments or rebuttals in round 4 in order to ensure an equal number of rounds for both sides to debate
I wish my future opponent good luck.
I accept in playing devil’s advocate.
Before I begin my case against evolution, I would like to say that it is a privilege to debate a member on DDO as eminent as Romanii. I also would like to say that I am, in reality, going to disagree with everything that I am going to argue below, but, in my opinion, playing devil’s advocate is a good way to improve debating skills.
I am going to start by clarifying what I mean by ‘evolution.’ The traditional definition of evolution goes something like this: “Evolution is a process that results in changes in the genetic material of a population over time.”  However, I am not arguing against this. No semi-reasonable person advocating any form of creationism, or intelligent design denies that natural selection can result in changes in genetic material of a population. Instead, I am going to argue against the current, well accepted, paradigm of Neo-Darwinism (I will refer to it as evolution), which claims that natural selection, acting on random, unguided mutations, adequately explains the unity and diversity of life.  I am going to take the (extreme, unpopular) position that modern biology disproves evolution. I will give three case that support my case: irreducible complexity, Junk DNA, and the Cambrian Explosion. Note that not all my following arguments need to succeed in order to disprove evolution; only one needs to. But, let’s begin!
The Problem of Irreducible Complexity
The first argument that I am going to put forward against evolution is from the existence of irreducible complex biological structures. Michael Behe, the founder of such a thesis defines an irreducible complex structure as: “A single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic, function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease working.” 
Premise 1 is by no means a controversial premise. If irreducible complex biological structures exist, then, obviously, evolution is false, as it posits that small, successive, incremental changes can explain complex biological structures. Unless my opponent wants to argue against this, Premise 1 shall be laid at rest.
Premise 2, however, is the controversial premise. If I was to show that this is true, then obviously, I have to give an example. The example I am going to give is the bacterial flagellum motor.
Evolution News and Views writes, when regarding to the flagellum motor that: “its mechanistic basis of flagella assembly is so breathtakingly elegant and mesmerizing that the sheer engineering brilliance of the flagella motor and, indeed, the magnitude of the challenge it brings to evolution cannot be properly appreciated.”
My opponent may argue that the Type Three Secretory System (T3SS) is a viable precursor towards the flagellum motor, but this is not true. The T3SS, in terms of proteins, only composes ¼ of the flagellum motor. This is extremely problematic, as Casey Luskin explains: “[this] does not help one account for how the fundamental function of the flagellum – its propulsion system- evolved.”  Mathematician William Dembski uses a humorous analogy to support this: “What’s needed is a complete evolutionary path and not merely a possible oasis on the way. To claim otherwise, is like saying we can set foot from Los Angeles to Tokyo because we’ve discovered the Hawaiian Islands” 
Luskin further elucidates why the view claiming exaptation plus the T3SS can account for the flagellum, as advocated by people like Ken Miller, is false. He writes that: “[Miller] wrongly characterizes irreducible complexity as focusing on the non-functionality of sub-parts. In contrast, Behe properly tests irreducible complexity by assessing the plausibility of the entire functional system to assemble in a step-wise fashion… Miller misconstrued the proper way of testing irreducible complexity, and his argument amounts to this: ‘if my laptop cord can also be used to power my toaster, then my laptop is no longer irreducibly complex.” 
In conclusion, unless my opponent can provide a viable, reasonable way of demonstrating how the flagella motor evolved, irreducible complex structures exist, leading to the inevitable conclusion of evolution being false.
The second argument that I am going to raise will an argument from recent developments from molecular biology, and in particular, research on the functionality of DNA, especially Junk DNA, which is essentially a part of a genome sequence not encoding protein sequences.
If evolution was true, then we would expect a large amount of the human genome to be filled with Junk DNA, through various processes such as copying errors.  As a matter of fact, evolutionary biologists and anti-creationists thought this was true, and acted as strong evidence against design. Rachel Nowak, for instance, writes in 1994: “The protein-coding portions of the genes account for only 3% of the DNA in the human genome; the other 97% encodes no proteins.”  Or according to Richard Dawkins: “Leaving pseudo genes aside, it is a remarkable fact that the greater part (95 percent in the case of humans) of the human genome may as well not be there, for all the difference it makes.” 
The Encyclopaedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) research project, launched by the National Human Genome Research Institute, however, shows that the prediction that large amounts of the human genome to be Junk DNA to be erroneous. ENCODE is a meticulous research programme, as Ewan Birney describes: “The Encode consortium’s 442 researchers, situated in 32 institutes around the world, used 300 years of computer time and five years in the lab to get their results.”
And what were the results?
80% of the human genome was functional. According to researcher Tom Gingeras, “…It’s not ‘junk’…..’Almost every nucleotide is associated with a function of some sort or another, and we now know where they are, what binds to them, what their associations are, and more.”  However, it gets even worse for evolution. Lead researcher Ewan Birney explains that the ‘80%’ figure may increase: “It’s likely that 80 percent will go to 100 percent. We don’t really have any large chunks of redundant DNA. This metaphor of junk isn’t that useful. 
Such a result is devastating towards evolution, for this leaves no room for evidence for evolution such as from pseudo genes, copying errors, and Junk DNA itself. As a matter of fact, it completely falsifies and destroys a prediction of evolution, which in turn demonstrates that it is untrue.
In conclusion, in this round, I have provided two compelling reasons for why evolution is false. In the next round, I shall clarify my arguments, respond to my opponent’s rebuttals, and if space allows, bring up the Cambrian Explosion.
I thank Pro for his argument.
It takes quite a bit of debating skill to attack a theory as widely accepted as Evolution, especially when he actually supports the theory himself, so props to him for accepting this debate!
Pro puts forth two premises from which the conclusion can be drawn that the theory of evolution is false:
I. If irreducibly complex biological structures exist, then evolution is false
II. Irreducibly complex biological structures exist
Premise II is not debatable. According to the definition provided by Pro, such structures DO exist.
However, premise I can be proven false, as there are some very viable explanations for how such complex structures could exist, including biochemical scaffolding, which involves gene duplications and deletions rather than additive mutations .
We can see that alternative explanations exist with the bacterial flagellum example provided by Pro.
One of the most promising explanations goes as follows:
"...the vast majority of the components needed to make a flagellum might already have been present in bacteria before this structure appeared. It has also been shown that some of the components that make up a typical flagellum - the motor, the machinery for extruding the "propeller" and a primitive directional control system - can perform other useful functions in the cell, such as exporting proteins," .
Basically, the proteins that bacterial flagella are made of served other purposes before they became components of flagella.
This is generally the case with the alternative explanations of many of the irreducibly complex structures that supposedly disprove evolution.
With one of the premises refuted, the conclusion becomes invalid.
Pro argues that the fact that 80% of all DNA is functional shows that the theory of Evolution can't be true.
However, I question his logic as to why this is so.
Evolutionary theory does not necessarily require enormous amounts of DNA to be "junk".
In fact, organisms that don't have to waste energy producing junk DNA would have the evolutionary advantage, so this argument would actually go to support the theory of evolution...
True, evolutionists used to lord the supposed existence of junk DNA over Creationists' heads, but that is just a past misconception; it in no way implies that the current theory of Evolution REQUIRES that to be the case.
1) The existence of irreducibly complex structures does not disprove Evolution at all, as they have their own viable evolutionary explanations
2) The lack of junk DNA does not at all disprove Evolution; in fact, it supports it, if anything.
My opponent, through messaging, has, due to reasons that shall not be disclosed, requested that I do not write anything in this round, and that he will not write anything in Round 3. He also requested the cancellation of Rule Number 2:" Pro will abstain from posting any arguments or rebuttals in round 4 in order to ensure an equal number of rounds for both sides to debate." I grant both requests.
The format of the debate is now:
Round 2: Con rebuts (already done)
Round 2: Pro does nothing
Round 3: Con does nothing
Round 3: Pro defends previous arguments and brings up 'Cambrian Explosion' argument
Round 4: Con counters
Round 4: Pro defends 'Cambrian Explosion' argument only.
Romanii forfeited this round.
I thank Con for his succinct, yet rigorous response to my arguments.
In the first round, I put forward this following syllogism:
My opponent has issued a response to this.
There are several reasons wrong with his response. First, he misconstrues the notion of irreducible complexity. If an irreducibly complex biological structure, if it exists, cannot have been produced through evolution. This includes the notion of exaptation, which Con raises. Luskin elucidates: “Behe's definition of irreducible complexity was always intended to test a Darwinian explanation where some function is built up gradually over time -- a direct evolutionary pathway.”  Really, if he is taking the position that evolution can provide a path towards irreducible complexity, then he would be affirmed Premise One and denied Premise Two.
Second, Con must elucidate why potential pathways towards irreducibly complex systems are viable. Simply saying they are possible is not good enough, for Behe’s argument, as Luskin notes: “a direct Darwinian pathway is effectively falsified by the presence of irreducible complexity, not absolutely falsified. Perhaps indirect routes are possible (in the same way anything is possible), but possible does not mean plausible, or likely.” 
Behe himself writes: “Even if a system is irreducibly complex (and thus cannot have been produced directly), however, one cannot definitively rule out the possibility of an indirect, circuitous route. As the complexity of an interacting system increases, though, the likelihood of such an indirect route drops precipitously. And as the number of unexplained, irreducibly complex biological systems increases, our confidence that Darwin's criterion of failure has been met skyrockets toward the maximum that science allows.” 
Third, Con’s explanation for the evolution of the bacterial flagellum merely is a restatement of the argument that it could have evolved from the T3SS, through exaptation as advocated by people like Kenneth Miller, without mentioning the T3SS itself.  I have already provided a critique of this argument in Round One, when I justify Premise 2 of my syllogism.
Con seems to have completely ignored the justification of Premise 2 of the syllogism I provided. In that justification, I have already more or less already raised my second and third criticism this round. In conclusion, my opponent’s arguments against irreducible complexity have not at all stood up to scrutiny.
Con also has criticized my argument for the non-existence of Junk DNA showing that evolution is false. Rather than affirm that most of the genome is mostly Junk DNA, he argues that evolution is perfectly compatible with large (or all) amounts of the human genome having a function. He writes:
Evolutionary theory does not necessarily require enormous amounts of DNA to be "junk".
However, such a view is somewhat misguided. Junk DNA, which also encompasses pseudogenes, is a direct prediction of evolution. Coyne elucidates: “…when a trait is no longer used, or becomes reduced, the genes that make it don’t instantly disappear from the genome: evolution stops their action by inactivating them, not by snipping them out of the DNA. From this we can make a prediction. We expect to find, in the genomes of many species, silenced or ‘dead’ genes.”
Second, finding that most of the human genome is functional probabilistically supports design, rather than evolution. According to Fanale Raza: “From a creation model standpoint, the response to this question appears to have two facets. One relates to the functional usefulness of junk DNA sequence elements designed by the Creator. The other acknowledges that some sequences of junk DNA truly are garbage originating through natural process.” Given that evidence suggests that most of the human genome is functional, this would support a design hypothesis.
The third argument that I am going to raise against evolution is from its supposed incompatibility with the Cambrian Explosion, which shall be defined, for the purposes of this debate, as the process when nearly all animal phyla first appear in the fossil record, occurring approximately 550 million years ago.
According to Gish: “In the Cambrian geological strata there exists a sudden, great outbursts of fossils on a highly developed level of complexity.”  However, there is a problem. There virtually no clear evolutionary precursors to ancestors of many the Cambrian phyla! Charles Marshall expands on this: “While the fossil record of the well-skeletonized animal phyla is pretty good, we have virtually no fossils that are unambiguously assignable to the basal stem groups [putative ancestors] of these phyla, the first branches that lie between the last common ancestor of all bilaterians and the last common ancestor of the living representatives of each of the phyla.” 
It gets worse for the ‘evolutionist.’ The Cambrian explosion occurred in an extraordinarily short space of time! Carroll, for instance, argues that the explosion approx. 5-10 million years to occur. Bowring et.al argue that it is unlikely that the explosion took more than 10 million years to occur.  The suddenness of the Cambrian explosion is at odds with Darwinian phyletic gradualism, as the below diagram shows:
The rise of such complexity, demands an explanation of how the biological information relevant to the species, has been generated, in (relative to geological time) an extraordinary short space of time. Unless my opponent can give a cogent exposition of how this is so, through evolutionary processes, we can only assume that evolution, in the Neo-Darwinian sense, has been utterly falsified, due to the sheer impossibility of a large amount of biological information arising in such a short period of time. Of course, my opponent will likely have explanations; he may argue that Hox genes can explain the Cambrian Explosion, or that the Cambrian Explosion was not a real event, but before I can say any more, I can only wait for my opponent’s response.
Finally, contrary to what Neo-Darwinian evolutionary biology predicts, the Cambrian explosion shows a pattern of “disparity precedes diversity,” meaning that virtually all the phyla were present in the Cambrian period, but display little variation between them. This is unexpected, if one were to affirm that evolution was true. Jim Gibson explains: “This pattern is not merely different from what evolutionary biology predicts, it is the exact opposite of the expected pattern. It should take many small changes to add up to a large difference in the new type of animal, but small differences appear in the fossil record after the large differences…Evolutionary interpretations must explain why no new phyla have been produced since the Cambrian fossils were preserved. This pattern contradicts the expectations of evolutionary theory.” 
,  http://www.evolutionnews.org...
 Michael Behe, Darwin's Black Box, p. 40
 Jerry Coyne,Why Evolution is True, p.71
 ,  http://www.darwinsdilemma.org...
Romanii forfeited this round.
My opponent has forfeited, hence did not respond to the Cambrian Explosion argument, nor my rebuttals to his response of the Junk DNA or Irreducible Complexity. Due to this, we can only assume that I have fulfilled my burden of proof.Vote Pro.
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||0||6|