The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Evolution Has No Supporting Proof, Only Evidence Against It.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/17/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,913 times Debate No: 76643
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (47)
Votes (1)




This is my first debate. I understand that the first round is acceptance. So let me give some definitions

Normally, people don't realize that evolution can be divided into two: Micro-evolution and Macro-evolution. ALL experiments Darwin did were all for microevolution. He never touch macroevolution, only assumed it.
So this debate will be focused on the only type of evolution that has controversy surrounding it: Macroevolution.

I accept that Micro.evolution is a well known fact, but my position is that Macro-evolution has no proof, and actually has overwhelming evidence against it.

So Macro.evolution: the change in allele frequencies that occur over time within a population.[1] This change is due to four different processes: mutation, selection (natural and artificial), gene flow, and genetic drift.

Macro-evolution: change that occurs at or above the level of species. Increase (not just variation) of genetic code, new genetic code is made.

Macroevolution basically says that ape like creatures evolved into men through the generations, dinosaurs into birds, and so on. All life on earth has a common ancestor
While microevolution says that foxes evolved into dogs, that zebras and horses have a common ancestor, all felines have a common ancestor, and so on.

If you have any doubts or questions about the definitions, say so in the comments.

If you want, we can touch the topic of abiogenesis, which if often brought up when talking about macroevolution. I have no problem with that.

I will be giving arguments against macroevolution, and will demonstrate why it is impossible for it to have happened on this planet.


I accept the debate.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

Let me start. Based on Michael Behe"s analysis, we know that it is probabilistically impossible for life on earth to have macro evolved up to the point of homo sapiens.

We know that Chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium is rare due to it requiring a double mutation. It is calculated that it occurs in approximately 1 out of every 10"20 Plasmodium parasites. A very sick person with this parasite will have approximately 10"12 parasites in his body. If a billion people were infected, then there would be 10 21 parasites total, meaning that PROBABLY, there would only be ONE Plasmodium cell with the double mutation required for chloroquine resistance. This is only for ONE double mutation. If we talk about 2 double mutations in one cell, the probability would be 1 in 10"40. Now read carefully. That number (10"40) exceeds the total amount of cells to have ever existed in the billions of years on Earth. Therefore, it is the limit of evolution of any life on Earth, mathematically. As the probability of JUST 2 double mutations is out of the question for our evolutionary timescale.

Source: The Edge of Evolution, M. Behe. Assuming standard evolutionary timescale, the maximum number of humans since the split with chimps from ape like ancestors is 10"12. Therefore, in the future when 10"20 humans have existed in total, a double mutation will only have been developed once. That is a span of about 7 million years in evolutionary timescale, where our ancestors supposedly evolved in many aspects, with many, many, many complex (double, triple quad, 8x, 16x and so on) mutations. Mathematically it is not possible.

It also makes things like the Bacterial Flagellum (which requires various MULTIPLE mutations to happen from ONE generation to the NEXT) way, way, WAY impossible. It can"t happen through various generations because unless it has all its parts at once it does not have a function and would not be naturally selected.

There is no known source for creating new genetic info, naturally. Repeating doesn"t count, because it is the same genetic info, just repeated. There is no NEW information. More? Yes. But nothing new. Things like Down syndrome are a great example, a chromosome is repeated and it doesn"t even help. A virus or parasite can add genetic info, but how did that virus get its genetic info? From another virus? And that other virus? How did viruses arise then? Using the parasite argument is just moving in circles because ultimately the parasite had to have gotten its genetic info by completely natural means. If macro evolution is true, there has to be a natural mechanism (like mutations) that can create new genetic info. There isn"t.

Even if there were, there is no proof they have happened. Any sort of evidence for macroevolution is based on logical fallacies or presupposed conclusions. Such as similarities between DNA, which only implies a common origin, not a common ancestor. This origin could either be an ancestor, or a designer. And note that the inference you would make (common origin) by comparing the DNA is based on statistical logic, since you conclude that it would be far too unlikely that organism A and organism B evolved separately on different parts of the world but just by chance happened to form very similar genomes. A coincidence that big is denied by simple statistical logic.

If macroevolution was proven, we would see a tree of life as Darwin predicted in his book. Yet we don"t, because everything starts at the Cambrian explosion era, and before that we have not even EVIDENCE (let alone proof) that all life had a common ancestor.

Furthermore, macroevolution is not the same thing as microevolution over long periods of time. Micro is just variation, but Macro is both variation and increase.

Let me give you a source that confirms that microevolution and macroevolution are not based on the same mechanisms:

In 1980 about 150 of the world's leading evolutionary theorists gathered at the University of Chicago for a conference entitled "Macroevolution." Their task: "to consider the mechanisms that underlie the origin of species" (Lewin, Science vol. 210, pp. 883-887). "The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution . . . the answer can be given as a clear, No."
So there is no need to try and use the "macro is the same as micro" argument.

Math is an absolute. We can trust it completely. Probabilistic logic is crucial for science, and if you deny probabilistic logic, then you can"t argue for macroevolution, as any sort of evidence for it is based on probabilistic logic as well. So you can either not give arguments for macroevolution, or you can try to give them (accepting use of statistical logic) and be forced to accept that it is contextually impossible for Earth.

What people consider to be evidence (notice I am saying evidence and not proof) for macroevolution, are based on logical fallacies or unjustified exclusive reason


Thanks Pro.

On a side note, the debate headline could end up screwing you over in the voting.

There is a fundamental misunderstanding of evolutionary theory; that micro-evolution is somehow a different process from macro-evolution, as if they are different theories altogether. This is a fallacy. Micro-evolution is macro-evolution.

Does Pro mean to imply that we evolved from unique, created animals, ie: the biblical account? Unless Pro elaborates on this point, then the debate becomes simply invalid – we had to come from somewhere, and if you concede that micro-evolution exists, then you concede that life has been evolving. Pro must stipulate at what point we must have evolved from then, if any.

Parts of Pro’s proof against micro/macro being separate are hardly proof at all, unless he wants to elaborate on what the University of Chicago conference revealed, and let’s not forget that 1980 was thirty-five years ago.

Micro-evolutionary mechanistic theories are the ways biologists explain the long-term processes of macro-evolution. Macro-evolution is easily provable and generally isn’t controversial – when you start toying with intelligent design, that’s when all these so-called problems start to arise, mostly based on weak or distorted evidence.

C1. The Fossil Record

If Pro wants to prove that micro is separate from macro he will have to begin by attacking the fossil record, which shows evolution on a grand scale. If we had to guess what the fossil record would look like using macro-evolutionary theory, we would indeed hypothesize a common ancestor, and therefore would expect to see the generational changes and slow introduction of different species as time ticked on. The answer to this theory is that yes, we resoundingly do see a slow progression in the complexity of life in the fossil record.

Here’s an example based in reality: If we were to presume that, for example, life evolved from Chordates some 500 plus Million years ago, we would expect to see fossils slowly evolving along a carefully dated timescale, bit by bit. In 505 Ma, some 30 million years after Pikaia, a simple worm-like fish ‘came on the scene’, we start to see fossils of creatures like the ostracoderms begin to appear, a slight evolution, jawless still, but vertebrate. By 480 Ma, we start to see the placodermi, prehistoric jawed fish with rudimentary scales.

By 390 Ma, we see some fresh water lobe-finned fish begin to develop very, very, rudimentary legs, for example, the Sarcopterygii, which lived in freshwater shallows. By 375 Ma we see Tiktaalik fossils, fish who have evolved flipper-like fins. By 365 Ma we get the first properly ‘legged’ amphibians, for example, Acanthostega. Tetrapods have begun to take over.

I can continue in this fashion if Pro wants me to, but you get the idea. The theory predicted that we would see such a transition, and indeed, we have. There is overwhelming proof in the fossil record of such changes.

C2. “Leftovers”

I ask Pro to check out his own eyeball the next time he looks in the mirror. The plica semilunaris is a vestigial remnant from a third eyelid we long ago evolved out of – you mostly see it in birds and lizards. Indeed, there is only one species of primate left that uses it, the Calabar Angwantibo. Vestigial structures are rampant: whether it’s flightless birds, hind legs on whales, our own wisdom teeth – even in plants, for example, the sexual organs that remain unused in dandelions.

C3. Genome evidence

The fact that we can see patterns and connections between species in the genome should be more than enough proof to safely assume macro-evolution is a reality. We find enormous evidence for common ancestry in all creatures. Why? A few reasons. All of life contains in it the same biochemical organization, that is, genetic info in DNA, into RNA, through protein and RNA enzymes, then into proteins by ribosomes, etc. etc.

Also, the genetic code is almost universally identical among all of life. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about bacteria or mammals, they all share 23 universal proteins. This is definitive evidence. Indeed, statistical comparison conducted by biochemist Douglas Theobald showed that the many alternative hypotheses against the single ancestor idea were all significantly less probable.

From the National Geographic article – “The "best competing multiple ancestry hypothesis" has one species giving rise to bacteria and one giving rise to Archaea and eukaryotes, said Theobald, a biochemist at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

But, based on the new analysis, the odds of that are "just astronomically enormous," he said. "The number's so big, it's kind of silly to say it"—1 in 10 to the 2,680th power, or 1 followed by 2,680 zeros. Theobald also tested the creationist idea that humans arose in their current form and have no evolutionary ancestors. The statistical analysis showed that the independent origin of humans is "an absolutely horrible hypothesis," Theobald said, adding that the probability that humans were created separately from everything else is 1 in 10 to the 6,000th power.”


Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has either misunderstood my position, or is just getting off topic. I will refute his arguments and expose his use of logical fallacies.

Well first of all, Con is implying that if I reject macroevolution, that I must present an alternative theory, such as Biblical creation. However, this debate is not about comparing Neo Darwinism to alternative theories. In the initial round I mentioned the purpose of this debate is to refute macroevolution. Stating at what point we have evolved from, would be entering into alternative theories. You do not need to have an alternative theory in order to prove another theory wrong. All it takes is observation of the facts.

Con is failing to understand my argument, and is unjustly bypassing it, without supporting his claims. He has claimed that microevolution and macroevolution are the same process. I have already provided a very reliable source that clarifies that these two are run by different mechanisms.

But I think it would be better for me to explain it with an analogy:

Imagine the following list is a full genome: (each variable represents a gene)

1) Brown hair

2) Green eyes

3) Brown skin tone

4) Male

5) Tall

Obviously, I’m just using this for its extreme simplicity which will help me explain my point.

With Microevolution: I can change the variables in this list infinite times. But one thing will always remain the same: the amount of genes it has. It will always be 5. They can change of course, we can arrive at speciation this way, however, it stays at the same number of variables.

It does not increase in information, it only VARIES.

For a single celled organism to evolve into a human, it would not just take variation of genes, it would take many increases in the quantity of genetic information.

With Macroevolution: The list would not just vary, it would get more genes. It would need to increase the number of variables. So it would get more than 5 variables. However, there are no viable means by which an organism can introduce brand new genes, and has never been observed.

This is my explanation of why they are different mechanisms.

Microevolution consists of variation. 1 thing.

Macroevolution consists of variation and addition. 2 things.

Therefore macroevolution cannot be “microevolution over long periods of time” because you can change the variables in a genome as many times as you want. You can do it for a billion years, but if you have no addition of genes, you do not make the organism more complex, just different. It’s that simple and that is why 150 of the world’s leading scientists got together to resolve this issue, and all concluded that these 2 processes are indeed based on different mechanisms and cannot be achieved by the same mechanisms.

If my opponent is to argue that successful increases in genetic information do happen, he must provide proof for it.

Refuting Con´s Fossil Record Claim:

Interestingly, Con has claimed that the fossil record shows microevolution, which it does.

But that it also shows common ancestry between organisms beyond that level. There is great proof against this.

We don’t see extreme common ancestry in the fossil record. The Cambrian Explosion Era, presented practically all of the complex lifeforms in a geological instant, and before that era, there were only single celled organisms. This is definitely not transitional. If macroevolution were true, we would expect to see single celled organisms slowly increase in complexity up to the insanely complex creatures of today. However, we don’t see this. We do see microevolution throughout the fossil record, however, Darwin’s “Tree of Life” was apparently not a tree after all, more like non-unified branches. As evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould confessed: "We have reason to think that all major anatomical designs may have made their appearance at that time."

The reality of the fossil record could not be any farther from slow and gradual increases in complexity, as macroevolution would require.

Refuting “Leftovers”:

My opponent has correctly claimed that if macroevolution were true, we would expect to see vestigial parts (leftovers) in modern day creatures, such as humans.

Nevertheless, we don’t see any. This is major evidence against macroevolution. And if my opponent can successfully identify any part of a creature that has no function, then he should get the vote. Con mentioned the “plica semilunaris”, A part of the eye which he claims is a vestigial part. It’s not, it actually has a critical function for the health of the eye. It secretes the sticky substance that hardens into the crust we sometimes find around our eyes when we wake up. This substance surrounds any particles that find their way into the eye, making them less likely to scratch the eye, and making it easier for the tears and eyelids to remove the particles from the eye. If we didn’t have this organ, our eyes would be much more prone to painful injuries that would affect our sight, and also make us more susceptible to related infections.

Refuting his common ancestry claim:

Con has made a rather striking argument that apparently serves as proof for common ancestry between all organisms. Unfortunately for Con, this is not so. I was rather surprised he used this argument. It is, as I had initially predicted, an argument based on logical fallacy. And in this case, to a severe degree. Cons argument, put into simple terms, is basically saying the following: The probability of all organisms macro-evolving from uncommon decent is way less likely than that of them macro-evolving through common descent, therefore common descent has to be the way it happened. This sounds logical, but only for the context it SHOULD BE IN. The fallacy here, is that the argument is giving a set limited presupposed alternatives. It is either A) macroevolution by common descent, or B) macroevolution by uncommon descent. Of these two, the 2nd is a million times less probable than the 1st, I agree. But he is comparing macroevolution to macroevolution. He is saying if macroevolution happened, then common descent probably did too, and then trying to use common descent as proof for macroevolution. Pretty much that out of the types of theoretical macroevolution, common descent is the most probable. But that ignores the possibility that macroevolution is not true. So his statistical argument goes out the trash. He is doing the same with the SPECIFIC form of creationism he mentions and for his argument to be pertinent he would be presupposing I accepted said theory. So Con is presupposing the existence of macroevolution to try and argue for its existence. Also, he is claiming proof for common ancestry based on the similarities of different organism’s genomes.

Similarities in different genomes statistically imply a common origin. But that does not necessarily mean by macroevolution. My opponent jumps straight at one type of common origin: macroevolution. But ignores the fact that common origin can argue against macroevolution as well. It is a matter of perspective. Similarities across life can imply many different mutually-exclusive theories. However, like I have stated several times, this debate is not about disproving alternate theories. My opponent is supposed to provide proof of macroevolution. Proof requires an exclusive conclusion. This is a huge mistake on his part.

I have refuted the arguments he made, but he has not refuted my main argument at all (Michael Behe), unless Con can successfully refute it, it renders macroevolution on Earth statistically impossible. And he gives no reason or explanation to justify his claim that macro and micro evolution are based on the exact same process.

Side note: My headline shouldn’t affect voting, it is of reference, I described the exact debate topic in the in round 1. Or else the headline would be called "macroevolution".

Sources: (shrunk them to make space)



Thanks Pro.

I spent the round stating my arguments, not strictly refuting.

Pro is trying to bend the argument into a place where he will win. If you want to refute macroevolution, then logic stands: what is there to refute if there are no plausible alternative theories? Trying to disapprove this theory without mentioning where you think we evolved from is problematic in the same way it would be problematic to try and disapprove photosynthesis without talking about the sun. There is enormous evidence for macroevolution, and to depend on the odd hole, like genome theory (which is a relatively new field) to try and disapprove the entirety of macroevolution seems intellectually dishonest.

Let’s look at Pro’s definition of “Macroevolution”: “creatures evolved into men through the generations, dinosaurs into birds, and so on. All life on earth has a common ancestor.” If you want to discuss genetics, that’s fine, but all I have to do to prove that I’m right is show that macroevolution as you defined it did happen, and that is no problem at all.

First, a question for Pro: If genomes do not evolve on a large scale, then how do you explain the mass variance in genetics between different organisms? For example, some bacteria may only have a gene number of 1000, but in humans that number increases to 30,000-40,000: a more complex genome. We evolved, and our genome did as well.

I’m not a biologist and I’m beginning to reach the end of my expertise in this area, but I’ll try to keep explaining this. There is still a misunderstanding here. In microevolution the genome can evolve. Although the immensity of the evolutionary timeframe can make conceptualizing difficult, you must understand: Macro is not a different process. I’ll discuss this in further depth, there are multiple ways this can work:

Gene duplication is a commonly observed mechanism. There is no controversy.

Medical definition: “Gene duplication

A portion of the genetic material is duplicated or replicated resulting in multiple copies of that region.

Gene duplication may lead to mutation and certain disorders. For instance, duplications of oncogenes cause many types of cancer, such as in the case of P70-S6 Kinase 1 amplification and breast cancer. Gene duplication is also an important event in terms of evolution. Through duplication, many copies of genes in the genome can be produced. This would allow each gene to evolve independently to possess distinct functions. Such a set of evolutionarily related genes can be referred to as gene family.” (

Whole-Genome Duplication is a way to possibly increase gene numbers in big bursts. It’s caused by an error during meiosis: two gametes fuse, the result is a type of autopolyploid, specifically a tetraploid cell with a nucleus that contains four copies of each chromosome. This process has been observed in plants, (see: Hugo de Vries) and can result in successful autopolyploidy, producing speciation, as the surviving plant cannot reproduce with the older species. This is one plausible way gene expansion could have been created, as the extra gene can be used for evolution without harming the integrity of the organism. In this way, new genes are evolved.

Pro is right in saying that proof is limited for this concept, as one would anticipate it would be, by nature. How one could distinguish genes that evolved in this manner from the previously established genes would be almost impossible.

Individual/Group Gene Duplication: the “other” ways to explain gene number increases:

Unequal crossing-over is a recombination event initiated by similar nucleotide sequences that are not at identical places in a pair of homologous chromosomes. As shown in Figure 15.10A, the result of unequal crossing-over can be duplication of a segment of DNA in one of the recombination products.

Unequal sister chromatid exchange occurs by the same mechanism as unequal crossing-over, but involves a pair of chromatids from a single chromosome.

DNA amplification is sometimes used in this context to describe gene duplication in bacteria and other haploid organisms, in which duplications can arise by unequal recombination between the two daughter DNA molecules in a replication bubble.

Replication slippage could result in gene duplication if the genes are relatively short, although this process is more commonly associated with the duplication of very short sequences such as the repeat units in microsatellites.

Fossil Record

The fossil record contains a slow, carefully dated record of evolution over vast periods of time. Small, bit by bit evolution – micro, you might say, that when taken as a big picture is macro. Pro continues to chase the concept he wishes to see from overwhelming evidence, not taking the evidence and forming a concept.

The Cambrian Explosion did produce a great deal in a span of about 20-25 Million years, followed by another diversification period of some 70 Million years. This is where whole genome duplication could have come in. Macroevolution does not imply a perfect, gradual climb. That would be disregarding the way nature works. An exponential oxygen increase, formation of the Ozone, evolution of eyes, size, predation development – all having their respective effects. Keep in mind evolution is hardly all done in a quick Cambrian burst. It takes far longer to get even to mammals.


To say we don’t see any vestigial parts is just outrageous. You have an appendix that does nothing, you have wisdom teeth that routinely grow crooked and must be removed, you have male nipples, you have the plica semilunaris – which does not aid in creating mucus for the eye - that is just a fallacy, the Meibomian gland and the Conjunctiva creates the mucus. Flightless birds?

From Millodot: Dictionary of Optometry and Visual Science, 7th edition: “plica semilunaris

A crescent-shaped fold of conjunctiva located at the inner canthus lateral to the caruncle. It is a vestigial structure that represents the third eyelid or nictitating membrane of lower vertebrates.”


Common Ancestry

Pro spends a great deal of time playing with semi-semantical arguments that don’t present much honest proof. Of course I imply Macroevolution. That is my side. It’s your problem to pick apart why the theory doesn’t work and imply why this strange version of ‘microevolution’ is the answer. After all, they are essentially the very same process. I fail to see how similarities in the genome imply different ancestors; no matter what method you want to say caused the evolution, similarities are similarities, are they not? My theory fits rather neatly with the evidence, and you make no effort in this response to fit a better theory to the facts, and so my theory, as I see it, stands.


At this point I have ten minutes left, so I will mount a better response next round to Pro’s proof with Behe, a scientist who I don’t usually take seriously. For now I will refer you to this:


Debate Round No. 3


My opponent is ignoring the proof that I provided. Micro and Macro evolution are not the same. The fact that the Conference of Chicago happened 35 years ago is irrelevant, because it is still the most recent conference on the topic. And the consensus stays. But apart from the source I mentioned, I also gave a clear contrast of the 2. Microevolution is described only as change in frequency of genes, it doesn’t require gene addition or duplication.

Refuting “Leftovers”…. Again.

My opponent is starting to show a growing lack of knowledge about the points he is trying to make. “You have an appendix that does nothing”.

Very misinformed. Scientific American and National Geographic both have recently published new research and admitted that the appendix is not vestigial. Appendix Rescued From Biology's Junk Heap” It has many very important functions:





5) Immunological

Without going into too much detail, one thing it does is act like a quarantine for the digestive bacteria in your intestines to hide in when the intestine is in the cleaning process, if they had nowhere to hide, they would get obliterated, and would take too long to repopulate, which would leave the person prone to sickness. It also acts like a filter for other types of bacteria.

Wisdom Teeth: They are due to a problem of genetic deterioration, not macroevolution. The average jaw size has become smaller, probably due to human diet, which is a problem for wisdom teeth, but they are not vestigial organs, in fact, there is proof that previous humans did not have a problem with wisdom teeth, because they had bigger jaws. Lots of people today have no problem with wisdom teeth, people with bigger jaws fit them just fine

Plica semilunaris: if you go ahead and read The conjunctiva; Tasman and Jaeger, Ref. 17, vol. 2, ch. 2. You will realize that it is not functionless. It does help with producing mucus, but if you want to deny that, it doesn’t matter, because it also enables unrestricted movement for the eyeball when abducted. Without going into too much detail: When the eye is abducted the plica partially unfolds as the conjunctiva stretches so that movement is unimpeded. Damaging this part, limits your eye’s rotation.

Your only evidence of the contrary is an outdated dictionary definition… the appendix is also defined as a vestigial organ, yet research has proven otherwise…. Science discovers new things. Definitions get outdated.

If you think male nipples are vestigial by evolution you apparently misunderstand evolution. Are you suggesting that before only female humans existed? Or that men used to breastfeed? By your theory, the origin of separate genders happened before humans (in reptiles) so nipples can’t have anything to do with evolution. They are part of the process by which the embryo forms, and are relevant to embryology not evolution.

Refuting common ancestry:

I’m rather surprised Con tried to use this illustration in his favor. As you can see in the above picture, the fossil record leaps from MICROSCOPIC single celled organisms (Proterozoic era) into practically all the major complex anatomical lifeforms of today (found in Cambrian era), with absolutely no transition. The duration of the era is irrelevant, as no transition is shown throughout it.

Is it a coincidence?? that…. where evidence of macroevolution transition most needed ….. it is completely missing?? The evidence is clear, the fossil record fails to show macroevolution, instead refutes it.

Gene duplication:

This is where it gets interesting.

Can genes duplicate? Certainly. You mentioned 5 forms of gene duplication, but they might have been in vain because you missed the point.

I stated that there is no valid form of increasing genetic info for macroevolution. I stand by my statement and you will see why.

You mentioned that genomes with more genes are more evolved genomes… interesting. Let’s see:

Humans have 22,000 genes

Rice has 50,000….

In fact, the most complex genome is not human, it is of a bacteria called Epulopiscium fishelsoni. It has 25 times the DNA of humans, why? Because it has gone through gene duplication 85,000 times.

Yet, it has not helped the bacteria at all, it gives it no new function, just clutters its DNA with extra genes it doesn’t need, it already has them. Duplicated 85,000 times and hasn’t caused anything? Interesting. Duplication is usually fatal, and when it’s not, it definitely doesn’t help. Down Syndrome is an example.

If I duplicate a software programs code, such as iTunes, it will not work anymore, because the new code will not be recognized and could ruin the program. (or organism).

I noticed you referred to gene duplication as a synonym of evolution. Gene duplication is not enough for macroevolution to take place.

You see, if macroevolution happened, we should find that the number of chromosomes and/or the mass of DNA per cell would increase as you move up the Tree of Life (as you implied). But that’s not what we find, instead, genome complexity is random. Let me demonstrate:

Chromosomes in… Humans(46) Dogs(78) Butterfly(268) Shrimp(92) Ciliated protozoa, a microscopic organism(30,000,000)

Similarities between human DNA and that of:





Mice: 75%

Fruit fly:60%

Similarities don’t necessarily mean a common ancestor. Did you know that Word and PowerPoint share thousands of lines of the exact same code? Does that mean they are both derivatives of another program? No, they both have a common origin because they were designed similarly, but it’s not a common ancestor (or program in this case). Nonetheless, apart from the flawed logic of your argument, it is worth noting that your argument is merely inferential, not empirical nor experimental, so even if it was valid it couldn’t be proof.

But let me be clear here. Gene duplications don’t cause macroevolution because of the following:

The indefinite regress problem: You could say that B explains A, and C explains B, and so on, but you can’t do that forever, it won’t explain new genes. If you started with one cell you can duplicate it all you want, but it never contained all of the genes that humans have. Duplicating the existing ones doesn’t explain new ones. So it doesn’t account for new genes.

The Conservation Problem: Genes are very similar in many unrelated organisms, both ‘simple’ and complex, modern and ancient. Most genes are ‘evolutionarily conserved’. These facts argue strongly against gene duplication as a mechanism of evolution, because they indicate that most genes were optimally functional from the beginning.

If my opponent is to argue for macroevolution via gene duplication, he would first have to address those problems.

Despite his arguments

Con has given many arguments, but I have successfully demonstrated they are flawed. But hypothetically, even if all of Con’s arguments were true, they wouldn’t matter, because my main argument from the beginning of this debate, which is yet to be addressed, “overwrites” all of Con’s, simply because Con is arguing for what is plausible. But Behe’s argument is experimental (scientifically confirmed in 2014) and is solid proof that macroevolution didn’t happen as the mutation rates are so low that it would require a planet older than the universe to account for the complexity of life through macroevolution. So, at best, even IF Con’s arguments were true, we could say macroevolution is plausible, but didn’t happen on Earth.

But from the link you gave, I suppose you will try to refute Behe’s argument with Ken Miller’s response to it?

So I think I know what you are going to say on the matter. But I will wait for your response before addressing it.

(Shrunken URL sources from Scientific American, NatGeo, Wiki, etc)

Pennisi, ref. 1, p. 2460



Thanks Pro.

Pro continues to talk about this mythical ‘Chicago Conference’ as if one conference held 30 years ago somehow overrides any evidence I might bring up – without mentioning what proofs the conference actually brought up itself.


I’d like to thank Pro on correcting the appendix – you’re right, it’s recently been found to have some kind of a purpose – although that notion is still not guaranteed. We agree with wisdom teeth – evolutionary remnants from when we had bigger jaws, and we find proof in human descendants - fossils 100 Million years old. How you wiggle out of calling that macroevolution would make any politician blush. The definition of the Plica semilunaris was modern. It certainly serves some small function: that might be why we still have it, however, its original purpose is very clear. The semilunar fold is an evolutionary remnant.

Your explanation of male nipples (it’s hard not to giggle a bit when I write this) betrays your ignorance to biology. Sexual differentiation occurs at about 6 weeks – until then human fetuses are female. Males are formed when the Y chromosome is added. This is evolutionary – before the Y chromosome – when we were cold blooded reptiles, we were devoid of sex chromosomes. The Y chromosome evolved along with the X chromosome some 166 Million years ago.

How can we tell this? We’ve mapped the genome of platypus: “The platypus has an extraordinary sex chromosome complex, in which five X and five Y chromosomes pair in a translocation chain of alternating X and Y chromosomes. We used physical mapping to identify genes on the pairing regions between adjacent X and Y chromosomes. Most significantly, comparative mapping shows that, contrary to earlier reports, there is no homology between the platypus and therian X chromosomes. Orthologs of genes in the conserved region of the human X (including SOX3, the gene from which SRY evolved) all map to platypus chromosome 6, which therefore represents the ancestral autosome from which the therian X and Y pair derived. Rather, the platypus X chromosomes have substantial homology with the bird Z chromosome (including DMRT1) and to segments syntenic with this region in the human genome. Thus, platypus sex chromosomes have strong homology with bird, but not to therian sex chromosomes, implying that the therian X and Y chromosomes (and the SRY gene) evolved from an autosomal pair after the divergence of monotremes only 166 million years ago. Therefore, the therian X and Y are more than 145 million years younger than previously thought.”

The diagram of homologous structures remains unrefuted.

Common Ancestry

Actually, as you can see from the diagram, multi-cellular organisms evolved in 543 Ma, and it took 100 Million years to get to the “Age of Invertebrates”, and another 300 Million to get to man. There are countless carefully dated fossils that show a gradual climb. The Cambrian burst was unique for numerous reasons I listed before, “An exponential oxygen increase, formation of the Ozone, evolution of eyes, size, predation development”.

There are numerous pre-Cambrian fossils that make the record much more complete, and we are finding more all the time – this is a newer field. “Late Precambrian fossil discoveries also now include representatives of sponges, cnidarians (the group that includes modern jellyfish, corals and anemones), mollusks and various wormlike groups. Some of the new fossil discoveries, in fact, appear to be more primitive precursors of the later Cambrian body plans. The discovery of such precursors shows that the Cambrian organisms did not appear from thin air.8 Further discoveries will no doubt reveal more clearly the relationship of Precambrian organisms with the creatures found in the Burgess Shale and Chengjiang deposits.” Rather than list an exhaustive list I will refer you to this graph:

Gene Duplication

This was once called the c-value paradox. It has since been solved. Genome complexity is not random. Almost nothing in nature is random. “Some genes may encode multiple proteins and gene regulation may be more important than gene number, which means that constructing a complex organism does not require a large number of genes any more than it requires a large genome...The net result is that vertebrate immunity is more flexible, but that this is achieved not through the addition of tens of thousands of new genes, but through the evolution of a system that can recombine existing genes.”

There was probably a burst of genes during the Cambrian explosion era, most likely by one of the methods I listed earlier. Genes evolved by natural selection, indeed the number is not indicative of the complexity of the creature. I don’t see how showing how similar we are to other organisms helps your case in the slightest.

This is not an apt comparison: the creation of Word or PowerPoint is top-down, ie: it required a complex creature to create Word. Evolution is bottom-up. It explains each process bit by bit. If we use your logic, then the top-down approach will inevitably leave us asking the question: who created the creator – leading to an infinite loop and ultimately leading us nowhere at all. Natural selection provides the cure to this problem. You are not operating under the assumption that natural selection took place.

Single cell DNA: ”…information had to be added to the DNA of a single-celled organism. The DNA did not have that information to begin with. DNA grows in a very slow, but measurable way. Usually this is in the form of either (1) junk, harmless additional nucleotides, (2) deleterious, harmful additional nucleotides (which either kill the orgamism or render it unable to reproduce), (3) beneficial additional nucleotides, which (rarely) code for new, helpful traits, and (4) the wholesale duplication of genes or portions of DNA, usually through unplanned chemical processes.”


I have once again left little room for this analysis, I’ll adapt that article a bit: Behe claims the K76T mutation is impossible because it is so deleterious that it could never arise in the population. This has been completely refuted.

“…Behe was dead wrong about it being “strongly deleterious.” In fact, it seems to have no effect on transport activity at all. A neutral mutation like this can easily propagate through a population, and field studies of the parasite confirm that is exactly what has happened. In fact, a 2003 study recommended against using the K76T mutation to test for chloroquine resistance since that same mutation was also found in 96% of patients who responded well to chloroquine. Clearly, K76T wouldn’t have become so widespread if it were indeed “strongly deleterious,” as Behe states it must be. This is a critical point, since Behe’s probability arguments depend on this incorrect claim.”

“Chloroquine resistance arose in just a decade and a half, and is now common in the gene pool of this widespread parasite. Introduce a new drug for which the odds of evolving resistance are also 1 in 1020, and we can expect that it will take just about as long, 15 years, to evolve resistance to the second drug. Once you get that first CCC established in a population, the odds of developing a second one are not CCC squared. Rather, they are still 1 in 1020. Behe gets his super-long odds by pretending that both CCCs have to arise at once, in the same cell, purely by chance.”


Debate Round No. 4


I have provided enough proof that macroevolution can’t be achieved by microevolution processes. I did mention what the Conference of Chicago consisted of, check my post in round 2. Yet Con has not given any evidence to the contrary, just denial.

Wisdom teeth are not functionless, but do suffer from deterioration. Previously people's diets were more rigorous with the resulting exercise of the jaw muscles producing greater jaw size and strength. Now we eat tender/prepared/softer foods (western diet) which is likely the cause. Even today in non-western societies, a greater percentage still have plenty of room. Note that this is a microevolutionary deterioration. (change is jaw size) it in no way requires gene addition or macroevolution.


Sorry but you’re completely wrong on this part. Fetuses do NOT all begin as females and then “add” the Y chromosome in for males. At the moment of conception it is determined if the fetus is XX or XY:

-In the first weeks of life, a fetus has no anatomic or hormonal sex, and only a karyotype (genes) distinguishes male from female-

It does not have male or female genitals. After 6 weeks, the Y chromosome (in boys) gets stimulated, and the male genitalia develop.

The definition of female is not “lacks male genitals”.

My opponent has failed to provide proof of vestigial organs through macroevolution. I have shown they all have functions.

Homology between platypus and birds? You keep arguing that similarities are proof for macroevolution. I’ve already discussed that they can imply multiple theories, even as proof against macroevolution. We share 90% DNA with cats (and 60% with flies), yet by your theory the last common ancestor we shared with them was millions of years ago (which was much less similar in DNA). So, by your theory, during a period of time, each species independently evolved a common genome through UNcommon ancestry. Therefore genome similarities are contradictory for your case. Even from your point of view, they don’t necessarily imply common ancestry. Also, your argument is only an inferential argument, not empirical, experimental or observable, therefore, even if it were valid, can’t be proof.

Gene Duplication:

I strongly suggest that readers look back on Cons response to this. In my previous post, I exposed the 2 main problems with this.

Con has ignored them and not addressed them at all. He did not even explain how organisms can get new genes. Instead, he only said:

” The DNA did not have that information to begin with. DNA grows in a very slow way. In the form of harmful additions, positive additions, etc”

This says nothing. You are claiming, only claiming. No evidence, no sustent. Seems to me like a careless copy and paste. It was very clear that you needed to explain HOW. How do new genes arise? If you wanted to mention gene duplication again, you also had to address the 2 main problems with it. You didn’t. Gene duplication is just going in circles, it doesn’t explain new genes. You have yet to give an answer explaining any viable method for the origin of new genes.

Your “bottom up” design comment is based on circular reasoning, it assumes macroevolution happened.

And a creator can’t have a creator (or beginning) if he is outside of the dimension of time (and space), but that is off topic.

Cambrian Explosion:

I did not say there were no pre-cambrian fossils, but that they do not account for the transition of the Cambrian Explosion. There’s a reason this era is called an explosion. This is the view held my most scientists:

Even Richard Dawkins, practically the most famous macroevolutionary activist today agrees.

The beginning of the Cambrian period, some 545 million

years ago, saw the sudden appearance in the fossil record of almost all the main types of animals (phyla) that still dominate the biota today. To be sure, there are fossils in older strata, but they are either very small or their relationships to the living fauna are highly contentious

“…the branches, large as well as small, are cryptogenetic (cannot be traced into ancestors)…”


Finally, I had waited too many rounds for you to discuss Behe’s argument. I see you did mention the critique of Miller.

Let me begin:

Apparently you have misunderstood. Behe never said that. Behe never argued for the K76T mutation being impossible. In fact, it had happened before Behe did experiments with it. His objective was demonstrating the limits of evolution, by testing its mutation probability and function requirements.

Con claimed:Behe was dead wrong about it being “strongly deleterious.” In fact, it seems to have no effect on transport activity at all.

Miller´s critique of Behe’s experiment has been analyzed and shown to be very erroneous and misleading.

“the very paper to which Miller is referring -- shows that one variant of PfCRT (dubbed "D39") with a particular mutation (N75E) has no chloroquine transport activity. When the K76T mutation is added to it to make a double mutant (variant D32), it gains such activity

Summers did not even try to test whether the K76T mutation is deleterious. The word doesn't even appear in their paper.”

To test if a certain mutation were itself "strongly deleterious" takes particular conditions. That mutation would at least have to be examined: 1) alone on the background of the wild-type sequence (that is, with no other mutations present, and 2) in the relevant organism.

What Miller did was test the K76T mutation on frog eggs. NOT on malaria.

“Whether a mutation has "no effect on transport activity" in frog eggs says nothing at all about whether it would be deleterious to malaria.”

Why do you think Miller didn’t test it on malaria?

Summers et al. did test a PfCRT variant ("D38") that had only the K76T mutation. It did not transport chloroquine, showing that multiple mutations are needed.

"Summers et al: A minimum of two mutations sufficed for (low) CQ transport activity, and as few as four conferred full activity. ..."

"The authors did also test five PfCRT variants (encoded on plasmids) in malaria cells in the lab to see how they would affect the cells' survival in the presence of chloroquine. But all had multiple mutations -- not K76T alone"

You also seem to be misunderstanding this part:

“Once you get that first CCC established in a population, the odds of developing a second one are not CCC squared…”

That is either completely misunderstanding or willingly evading the central argument.

It probably could not develop in a stepwise manner (since the first mutation is deleterious to the malaria.) but that´s irrelevant.

The next quote should clarify:

The critics were wrong from the outset. Behe's argument in The Edge of Evolution didn't dependon whether chloroquine resistance arose in a stepwise manner, or only after multiple mutations accumulated

The argument was based on the probabilities of a “2 or nothing” scenario.

Side note: The headline of this debate is merely referential. I made it very clear that the debate was not about evolution but about macroevolution only.

Unfortunately, my opponent has waited until the end of the debate to actually discuss my main argument that I posted from the beginning, since this is my last post I won’t be able to keep refuting any invalid claims he might make next, which is why I gave my main argument from the beginning, but my opponent had waited until the end to address it.

Throughout the debate it is evident that my opponent has failed to give proof for macroevolution. All attempts were exposed as either incoherent, fundamentally flawed, incorrect, outdated or fallacious. In exchange i presented experimental evidence that macroevolution could not have happened on Earth.


The Edge of Evolution. Michael Behe. 2007



Thanks Pro.

Okay let’s go through some vestigial organs because Pro did not show they all had functions. First off, wisdom teeth; which Pro does concedes came from an earlier time (although he does not concede that this period of time could have been all that long). The PAX9 gene is a new gene found in a few select humans groups, like the Tasmanian Aboriginals, that stops the growth of Wisdom teeth. We can trace that tooth back in the fossil record some 2 million plus years. Look at the skulls of Homo Erectus, who have no problem fitting wisdom teeth in, and indeed would have used them for a more-plant-based diet. If that’s not macro-evolution I don’t know what is.

Next, male nipples. Pro raises a ruckus over a minute stipulation over the exact moment of gender selection. I won’t get caught up in this strawman argument; I know we are conceived male or female – that’s not what I was referring to; we develop in the womb as a female fetus for 6 weeks until the Y Chromosome kicks in, which is why occasionally women are born with Androgen insensitivity syndrome, what happens when the Y chromosome is impaired. I even said that, “Sexual differentiation occurs at about 6 weeks – until then human fetuses are female.” Although I miswrote the term ‘added’, I should have said ‘kicked in’ or something. We can trace the development of sex chromosomes.

Next, the vestiges Pro forgot: the semilunar fold, flightless birds, homologous structures, sexual organs that remain unused in dandelions, hind legs on whales, etc. I won’t bring up other specific examples because it is the last round, but there are countless examples.

I’m having difficulty understanding the meaning of Pro’s paragraph. We had a common ancestor, yes, and we all descended from this common ancestor, yes, but you lose me with the rest of this argument. Don’t put words in my mouth. We descended from an original ancestor because we all (everything) share 23 proteins. If you mean a common ancestor for mammals, that is a different matter. We are almost the same as chimps because we are very similar, that much is obvious. Our shared common ancestor (possibly Sahelanthropus, some 7 million years ago) is what makes us so similar. Us and mice shared a common ancestor some 80 Million years ago.

For creatures like a fly, of course we are not that similar. Our shared ancestor is farther away than a common ancestor with Chimps.

“He did not even explain how organisms can get new genes.” That’s just uncalled for. I listed several proposed methods of gene development, (Gene duplication, Whole-Genome Duplication, Individual/Group Gene Duplication, etc.). You never addressed the latter two. I did address those problems:

The indefinite regress problem: “Usually this is in the form of either (1) junk, harmless additional nucleotides, (2) deleterious, harmful additional nucleotides (which either kill the orgamism or render it unable to reproduce), (3) beneficial additional nucleotides, which (rarely) code for new, helpful traits, and (4) the wholesale duplication of genes or portions of DNA, usually through unplanned chemical processes.”

The Conservation Problem: This is a non-problem. As I pointed out before, operating under the presupposition that natural selection takes place, it’s easy to see how certain genes can rise and fall, or can even be carried over and given a new purpose. Common genes show common ancestors. Genetic drift may also contribute to a lack of genetic variation. The Founder Effect also contributes – an observable theory that shows that new populations don’t give wide variations in genes.

My ‘bottom up’ design comment makes no assumptions, and assumptions that are observed are projected, I’d say you have to elaborate but you no longer can, ahah. “a creator can’t have a creator (or beginning) if he is outside of the dimension of time (and space)” – Another classic paradox. Either he exists in time and space or he does not. If something exists outside the realm of time and space and has no evidence for its existence then how can you make any kind of assumption that it does exist, unless we play semantics and redefine what ‘exists’ means, and by the time we get to that point what isn’t possible. If he does exist outside time and space explain all the stories of god working miracles, creating the world, etc.

Cambrian Explosion
“Even Richard Dawkins, practically the most famous macroevolutionary activist today agrees.”
This isn’t even a quote. It’s just conjecture. I think it’s safe to say Dawkins certainly would never agree to support your position. As Dawkins said, “This great phylum of worms includes the parasitic flukes and tapeworms, which are of great medical importance. My favourites, however, are the free-living tubellarian worms, of which there are more than four thousand species; that’s about as numerous as all the mammal species put together…They are common, both in water and on land, and presumably have been common for a very long time. You’d expect, therefore, to see a rich fossil history. Unfortunately, there is almost nothing. Apart from a handful of ambiguous trace fossils, not a single fossil flatworm has ever been found. The Platyhelminthes, to a worm, are ‘already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history.’ But in this case, ‘the very first time they appear’ is not the Cambrian but today. Do you see what this means, or at least ought to mean for creationists? Creationists believe that flatworms were created in the same week as all other creatures.

They have therefore had exactly the same time in which to fossilise as all other animals. During all the centuries when all those bony or shelly animals were depositing happily alongside them, but without leaving any significant trace of their presence in the rocks. What, then, is so special about gaps in the record of these animals that do fossilise, given that the past history of the flatworms amounts to one big gap: even though the flatworms, by the creationists’ own account, have been living for the same length of time? If the gap before the Cambrian Explosion is used as evidence that most animals suddenly sprang into existence in the Cambrian, exactly the same ‘logic’ should be used to prove that the flatworms sprang into existence yesterday. Yet this contradicts the creationist’s belief that flatworms were created during the same creative week as everything else. You cannot have it both ways. This argument, at a stroke, completely destroys the creationist case that the Precambrian gap in the fossil record weakens the evidence for evolution.”

Behe has been so slaughtered for this paper. If Miller will not do, you can check out a vast list of responses here –

Pro continues to act as if Behe was uncontested. I first posted a response to Behe back in the first round I wrote rebuttals in. I followed that up with a deeper dissection. Pro also acts as if the work of a single unanimously mistrusted scientist somehow refutes the evidences I presented in the genome, in the fossil record, in our own bodies, in homologues structures, in carefully dated specific fossils, etc.

Pro continued to bring up a mysterious Chicago conference from 1980 that he never backed up with a theory, a discredited scientist, and the odd hole in genomic theory. What’s the difference between us? I have carefully dated fossils to back up Macroevolution and he has some gene theory. What is more likely? That the genetic field has some developments to go…or that the entire fossil record and evolutionary theory must be completely re-evaluated?


Debate Round No. 5
47 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
RFD (Pt. 1):

A couple of things before I start on this.

1) Burdens.

I bring this up practically every debate I judge because they matter quite a bit. What are the burdens of each debater? This seems pretty clear to me because the resolution is very clear, yet neither debater seems to have this clearly laid out in their heads.

Pro, your burden in this debate is entirely defensive: counter any claims that Con makes that showcase any kind of proof for macroevolution. If Con provides 1 piece of evidence for evolution, he wins the debate. That's all there is to it. It's not Con's burden to prove evolution true, all he had to do was provide any evidence that supports macroevolution to win this thing. So all of your points about a reduced likelihood of it happening don't matter. You're not fighting the theory " you're fighting any proof of the theory.

Con, your burden is to provide any supporting proof for macroevolution. Any single piece of proof that manages to make its way through the debate would have been sufficient to win this. That means you're not countering alternative theories. Your entire case is offense, and then either defending that offense or adding to it. Anything Pro puts on the flow against evolution is meaningless to the debate. Unless Pro somehow managed to completely disprove any possibility for macroevolution (spoiler: he didn't), he remains vulnerable with whatever offense he puts out there.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
(Pt. 2)

Let's be clear from the outset that I disagree with the burdens that are set in this debate. I'm forced to accept them because Con doesn't rebut those burdens. I'll bring up one of those burdens in more detail later, but to briefly mention it here, I don't see why it was Con's burden to show a mechanism by which new genes can be introduced. Nor, for that matter, do I understand why Con must necessarily present evidence that exclusively supports macroevolution in order to meet the resolution. If his evidence had precluded all other known theories, I'd say that should function as proof. Hence further burdens, like those implied by the statement "there is no proof they have happened" (as though Con must somehow prove that a specific mode of transition is the sole possible mode against all potential known and unknown theories). Again, though, Con never gives any substantive counters to these, and so I'm forced to accept that he carries these burdens throughout.

2) Macro vs. Micro

Honestly, this debate could have all hinged on the difference between these two if Con had spent any time here. I'm often lost in Pro's explanation of the differences. He starts off by saying that microevolution can explain how foxes became dogs, but macroevolution explains how apes become humans... and immediately I'm lost. Many apes and humans are in the same family. Foxes and dogs are in the same family. They essentially have the same phylogenetic distance from one another " in fact, if anything, apes are closer to humans than foxes are to dogs. So why are these functioning as the standards for the difference between macro and microevolution? Horses and zebras are in the same genus, all felines are in the same family, and the relationship between birds and dinosaurs isn't clear yet. So I have no clue where the dividing line is between these examples.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
(Pt. 3)

It's only made less clear in R2, where Pro describes a difference between macro and microevolution that I've never heard of and that isn't clearly sourced. Maybe the conference that Pro cites bases itself on this standard of whether or not genes are added, but that wasn't a clear standard set in R1, and it really should have been. This is the basic standard you're saying Con has to meet in order to win the debate. It's redefining the burdens, and making it that much harder for Con to meet them. And I have no clue how to reconcile this with the differentiation you provided in R1, which seems to stand in stark contrast to it (or does a fox have more genes than a dog?). I felt like this was rather important to the debate, and it certainly didn't help to have the differences be so uncertain.

3) Painful Read

I don't know either of your backgrounds, but Pro is 18 and Con stated directly that he's not a biologist, so I won't harp on this too long. I am a biologist, and, as the title of this says, this was a painful read. I feel like there were a lot of points made here that were based on faulty assumptions, particularly when it comes to how new traits develop, how genes move, what functions multiple copies of a gene can have, and numerous other points. I'm doing my damnedest to leave my knowledge on these subjects out of the debate, but neither of you made that easy. Know your arguments, and support them with primary evidence, not just scientific opinion or your own. There are too many points here where my cursory knowledge of evolution (I honestly don't know that much about it, and I've barely spent any time researching it) is turning on warning alarms inside of my head, and that's not good on a subject where proof is literally everything.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
(Pt. 4)

But let's look at the arguments.

As I insinuated above, all of Pro's analysis functions as defense. The most he could possibly manage to do is eliminate the possibility of macroevolution as a whole, which would net him the debate, but that doesn't make this offense. It means that the burden of proof is on his opponent and not him. That's fine, and I know Pro wants me and other voters to vote on his R2 argumentation on the basis that most of it is dropped.

But I don't. And the reason I don't is pretty basic: I don't see how any assessment of likelihood, no matter how low, proves that a given theory is impossible. Pro provided enough evidence in this debate to show that macroevolution is extremely improbable, but not that it is impossible. The chances of any individual coming into the world are astronomical, far lower than anything Pro cites, and yet you and I exist despite that probability. I know Con didn't make this argument, but I'm not just going to accept this argument as more potent than it is on its face. The logic that Pro has somehow disproved macroevolution is extremely difficult to accept given this evidence.

So, while this argument should have received a response, it's fundamentally doing little for Pro. Since he didn't meet that level of absolute mitigation, all it functions as is a reason not to accept macroevolution. That's fine, but that's not the subject of the debate. Unless Con actually uses mathematical reasoning and engages with this directly, it's fundamentally pointless to the debate. So while I accept Behe's argument (mainly due to a major lapse on Con's part), it leaves me in the same place I started in this debate.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
(Pt. 5)

The rest of Pro's opening argument is preemption. He argues that there's no way to create new genetic information naturally. While I disagree with this on numerous levels (the virus/parasite argument that Pro himself alludes to is actually a pretty good one), this point pretty much stands throughout the debate. The arguments on duplication that Con makes never go anywhere because, unless they meet the standard for new genetic information or provide something akin to new genetic information in terms of functionality, they don't meet the standards set by Pro. They actually can provide additional functionality, though Con doesn't make that argument, so I'm forced to conclude that he has failed in this burden on genetics.

This disconnect between Con's arguments and his established burdens persistently plague his arguments. The fossil record doesn't respond to Pro's argument regarding common descent not implying macroevolution. I'm still lost on what common descent DOES imply, if not macroevolution, but since Con isn't really challenging Pro's assertion that he must provide exclusive proof for macroevolution, I can't do much with this.

But it goes deeper than that, since Con just mishandles many of Pro's arguments, particularly his sources.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
(Pt. 6)

Whether the University of Chicago conference revealed anything is basically irrelevant to the debate. Pro states quite regularly that their conclusions should guide how we should perceive micro and macroevolution, but a) Pro never actually provides any of the reasoning that led to those conclusions, merely asserting a source of difference that seems to redefine the two words, b) it seems like an appeal to authority that just doesn't do anything beyond make me question why they came to that conclusion, and c) the only thing this would function to do is put some distance between the two terms, yet I'm already having a devil of a time separating them given Con's R1 analysis and later clarification. One of these problems should have come up somewhere. None of them did. All Con does is state how old the conference is and insinuate that things must have changed since then without any support. So Con's doing too little to knock this down, and as such he's allowing Pro to walk all over him when it comes to separating the two types of evolution.

The same holds true for Behe. As I said above, this doesn't end up doing much in the way of harm to Con from my perspective, but many could very easily view this as a take-out to macroevolution as a whole, and as such vote against him on this basis alone. When your only response to Behe that didn't come too late (I don't count much of what you said in R5) is a critique of a single argument he made on a single mutation that doesn't have any clear link to whether his overall point is correct. There's a limited argument presented on the numbers, but I can't figure out how they apply to the arguments from Behe that Pro pointed out in R1. Con's basically letting the vast majority of this argument slide, and if anyone buys it wholesale, it's an automatic win for Pro.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
(Pt. 7)

Now, vestigial parts. I left this out previously because it might be the most important thing in this debate. None of Pro's initial arguments countered it, though he might have argued that the burdens he set required more than just a show of vestigial parts existing. Yet Pro seems to insinuate in R3 that macroevolution would have supporting proof if vestigial parts exist. This also seemed to be an unnecessary burden, though this is one Pro heaped on himself.

So I start looking at the examples... and we go off the rails. It seems to me that both of you are using the same definition for vestigial, yet neither of you appear to know that you're using the wrong definition. Vestigial =/= functionless. Vestigiality means, and I'm quoting: "genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function in a given species, but have been retained through evolution." Note the "most". If a structure has lost most of its activity in the transition between species, then it is vestigial. Now, there is an argument to be made about whether a structure has actually "lost" an activity or set of activities rather than being independently gained, but that's where I expected the debate to take place, not over whether these structures had any function whatsoever.

Again, this puts Con in a more difficult spot, having to prove that every single potentially vestigial structure is completely functionless. It means most of Con's examples just don't hold any water. The plica semiluminaris has apparent structure, albeit less than others. As do wisdom teeth an the appendix. I'm honestly not sure what's going on with male nipples, since Con seems to be insinuating that they lost functionality at some point along the course of our evolution, but I can't figure out when they had functions or what those functions were along the evolutionary timescale. Not sure how that fits into this.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
(Pt. 8)

The rest of Con's examples don't get touched by Pro, so this could be important. Con doesn't spend much time on any of these, so I'm hesitant to give him credit for arguments he barely made. I really can't give credit for flightless birds when Con doesn't even take the time to make comparisons. The homologous structures point really needed more than just an image for proof and explanation. Both of the remaining examples were only mentioned once in R2 without any analysis, either. If Con found these examples so persuasive, he probably should have spent more time on them, and if he had, this would probably be where I would have pulled the trigger.

But proof requires something more substantive. Much as I think Pro put himself in a very vulnerable position for what is practically a laundry list of vestigial structures, making an actual list over the course of your arguments isn't itself proof, especially when most of them aren't clearly sourced (seriously, in text citations would help a lot next time, from both of you " don't make me dig through all your sources every time I want to find the support for a single point).


While I'm not particularly convinced by Pro's argument (if anything, I'm more skeptical than I was before), I can't find the arguments I need to see coming from Con. Too much of this debate is focused on distractions from the topic and wonky definitions, and with the burdens Con allowed himself to carry, he couldn't risk either of them. But he did. He often got lost in both. Pro's argument may not have done much for me, either, but then he doesn't have to accomplish anything. As such, I vote Pro.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
That's fine, it's just not likely to change how this debate looks.
Posted by carloandreaguilar 3 years ago
I agree, I'm just pointing out there's a false link in the last debate round in case you didn't notice. It's a 2001 link and Behes book came out in 2007, the experiment was confirmed in 2014. The link is not relevant.
I'm guessing it is alright to point that out?
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Total points awarded:30 
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