The Instigator
GarretKadeDupre
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
Sswdwm
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points

Evolution Is Falsified

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Post Voting Period
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after 10 votes the winner is...
GarretKadeDupre
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/12/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,557 times Debate No: 45751
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (20)
Votes (10)

 

GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Recently, Sswdwm made a post in the Science Forum with a challenge to anyone who wanted to falsify Evolution. He presented a list of examples of things that would falsify Evolution, and I've handpicked 3 of these to debate on.

My burden, in this debate, is to do at least one of the following:

1. Demonstrate a violation of the nested hierarchy.

2. Demonstrate a chronological violation using fossil evidence. For example, you cannot be born before your grandfather was born; similarly, no species can arise before their common ancestors first arise.

3. Demonstrate a genuine example of irreducible complexity, such that a structure of a feature could not have developed by the incremental process depicted by Evolution.
Sswdwm

Con

Thank you for the invitation to a debate GarretKadeDupre. Of course I will accept.

Just to lay out some early contentions - the debate topic is 'Evolution Is Falsified', which means Pro has the BoP for this debate. It is for Pro to demonstrate that Evolution is indeed falsified - my role for this debate will be primarily to rebut any arguments and evidence presented by Pro.

Good Luck!
Debate Round No. 1
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Thanks for accepting. On to my arguments.

Nested Hierarchy Violation

According to Berkeley's website, “Evolution predicts that living things will be related to one another in what scientists refer to as nested hierarchies—rather like nested boxes. Groups of related organisms share suites of similar characteristics and the number of shared traits increases with relatedness.”(1)

Berkeley provides this simplified, graphical example:

According to Winsconsin-Madison, “( … ) we don’t see overlap across groups ( … ) there are no fungi with vascular tissue, insects with four limbs or amphibians with vascular tissue…etc.”(2)

My argument is that the method of germ-cell formation violates the Nested Hierarchy. There are 2 basic types of germ-cell formation: epigenesis & preformation. For the Nested Hierarchy to be consistent (unviolated), it must show that creatures grouped closer together (based on other characteristics) share the same type of germ-cell formation.

But this is not the case. The types are distributed pretty randomly among animal clusters. This violates the Nested Hierarchy as illustrated in the following image:

Fossil Record Violation

Archaeopteryx was the first bird,(3) dated at 150 million years old in the fossil record. However, Protarchaeopteryx, whose name means “before Archaeopteryx”, appears afterArchaeopteryx in the fossil record. The finding of this creature means that Archaeopteryx is no longer the first bird.(4) The first bird is no longer the first bird, leading to a paradox. Perhaps the invention of time-travel will help us resolve this, but at the moment, it is a fossil record violation.

Irreducible Complexity

The eye could not have evolved in incremental, evolutionary steps, for half an eye does not convey sufficient benefit to warrant selection by Natural Selection. This is obvious to anyone with eyes.

Over to Con.


(1) http://evolution.berkeley.edu...

(2) http://www.botany.wisc.edu...

(3) http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu...

(4) http://www.nature.com...

Sswdwm

Con

1. Nested Hierarchy Violation

Let me explain this nested hierarchy & it’s implications for evolution a little for the readers.

This ‘family tree’ is one that is compiled from genetics. The closest related ones are nested together. Snakes & lizards share more DNA in common with each other than with any of the other 6 species, the same with crocodiles & birds, whales & camels and so on and so forth. That is how we build an evolutionary ‘family tree’.

Take birds for example, both birds and crocodiles have a more recent common ancestor with each other than with the any of the other 6 species on the cited tree. When we compare the phylogenetic traits of the crocodiles and birds, we find that birds have feathers, and crocodiles have no trace of feathers (not even vestigial ones). Here we can conclude that a common ancestor of all birds, is one that first developed feathers, and which lived after (and was a direct descendant of) the common ancestor of both birds and crocodiles (which was a reptile).

It also follows that the common ancestor of all birds, is not the common ancestor of any of the other 6 species (otherwise human’s would be descended from birds for example), therefore a prediction of the nested hierarchy is we would expect to never see feathered mammals, feathered snakes, lizards or if we trace this tree even further back, no feathered trees or fungi (with whom we share an even earlier common ancestor).

So what would be a clear violation?

Any trait that would require it would arise in at least 2 instances in the same way in two completely separate locations in the phylogenetic tree.

Therefore, any clear violation of this tree, such as any mammal having feathers, any reptile with opposable thumbs (which developed in the common ancestor of primates) or any primate with a fatty hump (of camels) would be clear examples of this – and would therefore falsify common decent (and hence evolution).

Now on to his argument:

“My argument is that the method of germ-cell formation violates the Nested Hierarchy. There are 2 basic types of germ-cell formation: epigenesis & preformation. For the Nested Hierarchy to be consistent (unviolated), it must show that creatures grouped closer together (based on other characteristics) share the same type of germ-cell formation.

But this is not the case. The types are distributed pretty randomly among animal clusters. This violates the Nested Hierarchy as illustrated in the following image:”

First of all, I would like Pro to present the original reference for where this table was generated, unless it really was Stephen Meyer who compiled it.

Now, let me start by briefly explaining the science behind this

Germ Cells are those that give rise to the reproductive cells (sperm & egg cells) used to propagate the next generation, these differ from somatic cells (which are every other cell in a body – skin, blood, muscle, nerve etc) by this function. They are known to be specified by two different methods:

1.)Epigenesis – The generation of germ cells from existing pluripotent cells (i.e. other stem cells) by being triggered by external signals

2.)Preformation – The inhibition of the signals that would lead to epigenesis via a ‘Germ Plasm’

Therefore, we would have to explain why there seems to be a convergent evolution of the same function in various branches of the same lineage. It so happens to be a similar case of the multiple examples of the evolution of the eye (see my rebuttal to his example of irreducible complexity for a brief overview of this).

In a recent review by Crother and co-workers [1], how these systems had evolved was discussed, one thing to note is that the mechanism for preformation evolved in populations that specified their cells via epigenesis. The reason why is quite clear in the patchwork, the external signals from somatic tissue is still sent to the pluripotent cells, but are blocked by the germ plasm (much like pulling an umbrella when it starts raining, as opposed to turning the rain off). Furthermore the mechanisms for epigenesis are highly conserved (essentially do the same function, in exatly the same way, with the same parts) wheras it has been found that the mechanisms for preformation are nowhere near as highly conserved – a clear indication that preformation is a trait that has evolved independently in multiple branches.

Another example of this independent, convergent evolution is the evolution of whales, which one can see a remarkable resemblance between the hydrodynamic shapes, the positioning of the fins etc. Superficially they serve the identical function, but when upon close inspection of the anatomy one can easily see the difference on comparison from the ‘skeletons’ of sharks [2], which more closely resemble those of boneless and bony fish. An analogy of this that would work as an argument that would disprove evolution is an example of a whale with fins with the same/very similar anatomy to those of a shark. This would be an extraordinarily unlikely example of convergent evolution.

2. Fossil Record Violation

“Archaeopteryx was the first bird, dated at 150 million years old in the fossil record. However,Protarchaeopteryx, whose name means “before Archaeopteryx”, appears afterArchaeopteryx in the fossil record. The finding of this creature means that Archaeopteryx is no longer the first bird. The first bird is no longer the first bird, leading to a paradox. Perhaps the invention of time-travel will help us resolve this, but at the moment, it is a fossil record violation.”

You didn’t quite include the necessary information so I will do so

Archaeopteryx – Lived ~ 150.8-148.5 MYa

Protarchaeopteryx – Lived ~ 124.6 Mya

First of all, the classification of a ‘bird’ is an arbitrary one, a more accurate description of both these species’ are probably ‘feathered dinosaurs’. The naming is indeed an amusing contradiction; allegedly the pro- was in reference to the more primitive flight features of the Protarchaeopteryx when compared with the archaeopteryx. The Protarchaeopteryx was 1 meter tall, with symmetrical feathers and much less aerodynamic than its much earlier cousin, the Archaeopteryx (it was rather akin to a modern turkey in its size).

The best current explanation is that the feathered dinosaur species had branched earlier and the lineage that led to the Archaeopteryx evolved flight features much faster than the Protarchaeopteryx. The fossil record as it stands [9], shows the Archaeopteryx is descended from the Paraves branch [3] which lead to modern birds. Whereas the Protarchaeopteryx is actually descended from the now extinct Oviraptorosauria branch [4] (of which we have several specimens of several species), and consist of mostly flightless feathered dinosaurs.

As for an explanation why the Oviraptorosauria branch did not evolve the ability to fly; feathers serve multiple purposes even in today’s species. Besides their use for flight, they are also used for temperature regulation in species such as the osterich and for attracting mates such as the peacocks. Indeed, especially when there is a lack of predation and a rich source of food there is a tendency for birds to become flightless (so called de-evolution, or genetic decay). We have/had examples of this today on the pacific islands [5]. Flight is very energy expensive, and therefore a population will not evolve if it’s remotely unnecessary (and evidently goes into decay after it has evolved and is no longer needed).

If it could be demonstrated that the Protarchaeopteryx was a direct descendant of the Archaeopteryx, then you may have a case for falsifying evolution, as there is no known mechanism in evolution for ‘subtractive de-evolution’. That means, complex features do not disappear in evolution, they instead degenerate and become vestiges (such as the moles’ eyes, a whale or snake’s pelvis & hind limbs or our third eyelid for example).

3. Irreducible Complexity

Since you didn’t present any significant evidence to support this claim, it’s tempting to dismiss this without evidence.

But I won’t, remember that the evolution of the eye would have been an incremental progressive process [6]. This would have begun with no eye at all. The development of just a few light sensitive cells could have given an organism the ability to tell the difference between light & dark. An organism with this ability will, plausibly, have an advantage over its fellow species without this ability.

Now if we start surrounding these light sensitive cells with walls (or the beginnings of an eye socket), objects that come in from different directions would have been detectable

As we complete the socket, a layer of liquid, or something that resembles a lense allows one to make a sharp image. Alternatively, making the hole smaller still will also grant a sharp image but at the loss of sensitivity – we actually have a number of examples of this.

The ability to see has proven to be such a useful feature that it has arisen at least 11 times in history, and with different ‘design’ characteristics. A squid’s eye for example is a much better ‘designed’ eye than our own [7] – and consequently much more sensitive – and without any blind spot.

Check out Richard Dawkins’ video for an excellent demonstration of how this works in practice [8].


References:

1.) http://www.reproduction-online.org...

2.) http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu..., http://digitallibrary.amnh.org...

3.) http://en.wikipedia.org...

4.) http://en.wikipedia.org...

5.) http://www.jstor.org...

6.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

7.) http://www.d.umn.edu...

8.) https://www.youtube.com...

9.) http://dx.doi.org...

Debate Round No. 2
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Thanks for your rebuttals! Now, on to mine.


Nested Hierarchy Violation

Con refers to snakes, lizards, crocodiles, birds, whales & camels as “species,” but all are taxonomical categories greater than species. None are actually species of animals according to modern classifications (that I'm aware of). Just wanted to point that out.

Con argues that a clear violation of the Nested Hierarchy would be the presence of a trait arising out of the tree the same way in different locations. I already showed one! As my graphic illustrated, the same type of germ-cell formation arose the same way in different locations of the tree.

For more specific examples, Con points out that the presence of any feathered mammal, reptile with opposable thumbs, or primate with a fatty hump “would therefore falsify common decent (and hence evolution).” Awesome! Here's a primate with a fatty hump, the Celebes Crested Macaque:

Con requests the source for my Nested Hierarchy graphic. I actually cited the original source at the bottom right corner of the picture. For convenience, here is a direct link to it:

http://www.extavourlab.com...

Con has provided (what he considers as plausible) explanations for the individual arising of the same exact type of germ-cell formation in different groups of the Nested Hierarchy. However, none of his explanations actually refute my argument, which is that this constitutes a clear violation of the tree. Remember what my opponent said earlier:

So what would be a clear violation?

Any trait that would require it would arise in at least 2 instances in the same way in two completely separate locations in the phylogenetic tree.( … )preformation is a trait that has evolved independently in multiple branches.”

With that last statement, Con effectively concedes that the trait of preformation constitutes a violation of the Hierarchy. Labeling the violation as “Convergent Evolution” and providing a hypothesis to explain its origins does not change the fact that it is a clear violation.


Fossil Record Violation

Let's remember what my aim is here: to demonstrate a chronological violation using fossil evidence. I did this by showing that the Archaeopteryx (whose name means “first bird”) is older than the Protarchaeopteryx (“before first bird”) according to standard fossil dating.

Keep in mind how Con said, “you cannot be born before your grandfather was born; similarly, no species can arise before their common ancestors first arise.

The Protarchaeopetryx (“before first bird”) had, in Con's own words: “more primitive flight features” and was “much less aerodynamic” than the Archaeopteryx. Given this fossil evidence, the Protarchaeopetryx was the ancestor of the Archaeopteryx, yet it appears after Archaeopteryx in the fossil record!

Note that I have successfully satisfied my burden here. A bird that appears more primitive (according to fossil evidence) appears after a more advanced, and therefore descendant, bird (according to fossil evidence).

It's perfectly fine for Con to try to reconcile the chronological violation by hypothesizing that the two birds were from different lineages. What is not OK. is for Con to claim that I have not met my burden. I have, indeed, demonstrated a paradox using only fossil evidence, and that is all I have to do.


Irreducible Complexity

Con says it's tempting to dismiss my claim because it doesn't provide evidence. However, I'd like to point out that my burden appears to be proving a negative, which is a monstrous, and unfair, task. Given that, I think it's perfectly alright for me to call some trait irreducibly complex with an explanation why, and only have to posit more convincing arguments for my position than Con.

Con has cited a professional's hypothesis on the subject, but it's another thing to actually provide hard evidence.

So, as hard evidence that the eye is irreducibly complex, I present every single fossil ever uncovered: none of them demonstrate plausible transitional eye forms, but instead, only fully-formed eyes!

For example, the Anomalocaris is supposedly over 500 million years old, yet has a complex, stalked eye with 16,000 lenses: “rivalling the most acute compound eyes in modern arthropods.”(5) In contrast, the modern house fly only has about 4,000 lenses.(6) “[E]ven a conservative estimate of acuity in Anomalocaris suggests it had better resolution than most living arthropods.”(7)

That's hard evidence opposing Con's hypothesis: it's actually evidence that eyes have devolved from a complex ancestor!

Back to Con!


(5) http://www.nature.com...

(6) http://www.flapest.com...

(7) http://www.academia.edu...

Sswdwm

Con

Thanks for your counter-rebutal, here's mine
  1. 1. Nested Hierarchy Violation

In my first rebuttal I defined would constitute an example of a violation of the nested hierarchy that would refute evolution:

Any trait that would require it would arise in at least 2 instances in the same way in two completely separate locations in the phylogenetic tree.

Therefore, any clear violation of this tree, such as any mammal having feathers, any reptile with opposable thumbs (which developed in the common ancestor of primates) or any primate with a fatty hump (of camels) would be clear examples of this – and would therefore falsify common decent (and hence evolution).”

Now, I have already detailed that the same superficial trait is not sufficient of this, because it would have to rule out convergent evolution. If you want to play the semantics game then by all means do so, but the readers will have to decide for themselves if they really think it really does fulfil what the debate topic entails “Evolution is Falsified”

Now an appropriate demonstration would have been to first describe the germ-cell traits, then explain how they arose, the respective morphology and structures of the violation, and argue how this refutes evolution. Pro has failed to do this, indeed it was Con who had to explain the structures in order for anyone to understand what Pro was talking about.

In my previous rebuttal, I stated that the epigenesis systems are highly conserved within species, but the preformation system is not. Which is evidence that the preformation pathway has indeed arisen in different ways in different branches of the evolutionary tree. Indeed this is to be expected, as would concergent evolutions of the eye, or convertant evolution of swimming traits between sharks and shales,

A sufficient argument would have detailed these structures and shown how they could not, or at least were unlikely to arise by convergent evolution. Indeed, because the epigenesis trait is so highly conserved between different species, it would be even more likely that if only minor changes/mutations are required to cause this change in function, then it’s much more likely those same small changes/mutations would arise in the germ cell specification system than in other examples. Pro’s own reference outlines a very straightforward path for convergent evolution of this trait [10] and therefore I cannot see how this system comes remotely close to fulfilling the requirement to falsify evolution.

The macroscopic example given by Pro, was given no further justification beyond the image. He provides no details of the anatomy, nor function of the two traits. In fact the ‘fatty hump’ Pro claims to be is actually the swelling of the backsides females, with the purpose of attracting mates. [11] Clearly it the anatomy and function of the camel’s and the crested black macaque are not even remotely close to being examples of a violation that would disprove evolution.

  1. 2. Fossil Record Violation

I’m not sure whether Pro is attempting to use semantics to demonstrate a genuine chronological violation of the fossil record. I already rebutted this in that the archaoptryx and protarchaeoptryx are not in the same lineages, but are instead in 2 cousin clades.

2 clades that diverged, one which eventually became today’s modern bird’s and another which consists of a number of extinct flightless feathered dinosaurs, the Oviraptorosauria clade.. The only chronological violation is in name and nothing more.

  1. 3. Irreducible Complexity

“Con says it's tempting to dismiss my claim because it doesn't provide evidence. However, I'd like to point out that my burden appears to be proving a negative, which is a monstrous, and unfair, task.”

It was Pro who put forth the conditions for the debate, and Pro who took the BoP. I agree this is not an easy task and have given innumerable other angles of attack that would be much easier to verify.

“So, as hard evidence that the eye is irreducibly complex, I present every single fossil ever uncovered: none of them demonstrate plausible transitional eye forms, but instead, only fully-formed eyes!

For example, the Anomalocaris is supposedly over 500 million years old, yet has a complex, stalked eye with 16,000 lenses: “rivalling the most acute compound eyes in modern arthropods.” In contrast, the modern house fly only has about 4,000 lenses.(6) “[E]ven a conservative estimate of acuity in Anomalocaris suggests it had better resolution than most living arthropods.”

That's hard evidence opposing Con's hypothesis: it's actually evidence that eyes have devolved from a complex ancestor!

I don’t think I actually need to address this as Pro has failed to demonstrate just how the eye is irreducibly complex beyond asserting. I will go 1 step further than this however.

It is proposed by Nilsonn and co-worker [12] that an eye with the structural features of a fully functioning eye with lenses would have required just 400,000 years (a pessimistic estimate) to evolve incrementally. Given that our first examples of eyes appeared during the lower Cambrian period (540 Mya) it is inconceivable that these intermediate stages would be found even if they did exist. Furthermore, the eye itself is a soft tissue structure and one that would have poorly mineralized. The development of the first well-fossilizing mineral skeletons are indeed the reason why we have such few examples of fossils before the Cambrian explosion. It is also perfectly conceivable that several of the examples of the eye evolved before the Cambrian period [13], but unseen in the fossil record due to their poor fossilization properties.

We do have a number of examples in today’s species of what some of the earlier stages would have looked like, for example the planarian flatforms possess an eyespot [14], a small layer of photoreceptive cells, akin to what we expect of the early eyes.

Back to Pro!

10.) http://www.extavourlab.com...

11.) http://pin.primate.wisc.edu...

12.) http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org...

13.) http://www.sciencedirect.com...

14.) http://www.geochembio.com...

Debate Round No. 3
GarretKadeDupre

Pro


Nested Hierarchy Violation

Remember my burden:

To demonstrate[a]ny trait that [arises] in at least 2 instances in the same way in two completely separate locations in the phylogenetic tree

By Con's own admission, a new type of germ-cell formation evolved multiple times. But don't take Con's word for it:

Remarkably, at several taxonomic levels, both epigenesis and preformation exist in different lineages, and consequently, [germ-cell formation type is] entirely different ( … ) in closely related species.(8)

So it's well-established that this trait arose “in at least 2 instancesin “two completely separate locations in the phylogenetic tree.This brings me to the next point:

Did multiple instances of the trait arise the same way? Yes. But don't take my word for it:

the theory [is] that the force driving the evolution of [germ-cell formation] is enhanced evolvability of the soma(8)

In summary: The trait of germ-cell preformation arises multiple times, the same way (selection for enhanced evolvability of the soma), in completely separate locations in the phylogenetic tree.

Con argues that instances of the trait did not arise the same way: “the preformation pathway has indeed arisen in different ways in different branches of the evolutionary tree.(emphasis mine)

However, I just pointed out that the driving force behind the evolution of germ-cell formation types (in general) is the same. It follows from this that the driving force behind the evolution of each instance of a new germ-cell formation, preformation, is also the same.

Now Con is cornered because I've satisfied my burden here. So what move does he make now? He plays the “Convergent Evolutioncard: He makes the ad hoc argument that I must alsodemonstrate my examples are not a result of Convergent Evolution.

This is not a valid rebuttal.

First of all, the term “Convergent Evolutionwasn't mentioned in my burden at the start of this debate.

Secondly, and most importantly, forcing me to demonstrate that my examples are not a result of “Convergent Evolutionmakes my task not just practically impossible, but logically impossible: “Convergent Evolutionis, by definition, the presence of the same trait arising in multiple locations of the Nested Hierarchy.

Another argument from Con also withers away under close scrutiny:

the readers will have to decide for themselves if they really think it really does fulfil [sic]what the debate topic entails “Evolution is Falsified”

This is an appeal to emotion. My burden is not to demonstrate that Evolution is actually falsified. My burden is only to meet any one of Con's challenges as explicitly presentedin the first round. It is possible to vote for me while still subscribing to the Theory of Evolution.

Now let's talk about monkey-butts.

Con said I'd complete his challenge if I showed “any primate with a fatty hump ( … ).” I showed the Crested Macaque, which is a primate that has a fatty hump. In other words, the females have big butts and I cannot lie, this is something Con can't deny.

I see a few ways Con could try to weasel his way out of this. He could argue that the butt of the female monkey is actually not that fatty (offensive to the monkey), or that the monkey butt actually consists of a pair of humps, and not just one. I see no luck with the first venture, and the second one just doesn't make mathematical sense. If a primate has 2 fatty humps, it is also true that it has 1 fatty hump.

But instead, he plays the ad hoc card: he says that I don't just have to show a primate with a fatty hump, I also have to show that it's not just superficially similar to a camel's fatty hump! Sorry Con, I reject this additional, ad hoc burden of proof. You said a primate with a fatty hump would constitute a “clear violation, and I provided it.

The second rebuttal Con tries is to put the words “fatty hump” in quotes and refer to it as “the swelling of the backsides females, with the purpose of attracting mates.I fail to see how these properties make the monkey's butt any less fatty or humpy.

As if the monkey's butt wasn't enough, check out the embedded video for another example of a primate with fatty humps.



Fossil Record Violation

Con dismisses my entire argument on this point as a “chronological violation ( … ) in name and nothing more.This ignores most of my argument.

My main point was that a more advanced bird is dated older, according to the fossil evidence, than a more primitive bird. This is a chronological violation because according to Evolution, simpler creatures are the ancestors of more advanced creatures. Following this logic, the more primitive bird is the ancestor of the more advanced one, even though this ancestor appears after it's descendant in the fossil record.

If hypothesizing that the birds are of different lineages which evolved flight at different rates (Convergent Evolution) is a legitimate means of refuting this violation, than no chronological violation can even be conceived of that can't be refuted with sufficient hypothesizing. In other words, my task is logically impossible.

By playing the Convergent Evolution card, my opponent effectively concedes that this particular challenge was not presented in good faith. Fortunately for me, I have recourse: since I only have to fulfill 1 out of the 3 challenges to win this debate, it's not necessary for me to win this particular one.


Irreducible Complexity

Con wrongly claims I did nothing to support the idea that the eye is irreducibly complex other than asserting; actually, I argued that half an eye would not convey sufficient benefit to be selected for by Natural Selection, and so a full eye could not evolve from part of an eye.

Con has said nothing in respect to this point.

To support his claim that the eye could have evolved incrementally in 400,000 years, he cites a pay-per-view journal of which I am only allowed to view the abstract. As such, I am unable to argue against the logic which led the authors to their conclusion, and this argument boils down to a blind appeal to authority.

Con goes on to say something very interesting:

Given that our first examples of eyes appeared during the lower Cambrian period (540 Mya) it is inconceivable that these intermediate stages would be found even if they did exist.

I call this quote “interestingbecause Con shoots himself in the foot when he implies that intermediate stages of eye evolution may not even exist:

it is inconceivable that these intermediate stages would be found even if they did exist.(emphasis mine)

My opponent's claim is that the eye evolved incrementally from a light-sensitive path of cells, yet displays doubt that intermediate stages of eye evolution actually exist! If the eye does not evolve in stages, it either did not evolve (which supports my argument that it originated fully-formed and irreducibly complex) or it evolved without any intermediates, meaning that a light-sensitive patch of cells gave rise to a fully formed eye in a giant leap of evolution that would put the supposed Punctuated Equilibrium of the Cambrian Explosion to shame!

Another interesting aspect of Con's quote is that when he mentions first examples of eyes in the lower Cambrian, he seems to be referring to “highly advanced compound eyes, each with over 3,000 large ommatidial lenses and a specialized ‘bright zone’ ( … ) The eyes are more complex than those known from contemporaneous trilobites and are as advanced as those of many living forms.(9)(emphasis mine)

So all the fossils we've ever found to date provide zero evidence of evolving eyes, given that the oldest fossil eyes we have are “as advanced as those of many living forms.”Con's best rebuttal here is to claim that we haven't found transitional eye fossils because they aren't fossilized easily. This is easily refuted:

The fossil record has ( … ) been inadequate in providing insight into the early evolution of eyes during the initial radiation of many animal groups known as the Cambrian explosion. This is surprising because Cambrian Burgess-Shale-type deposits are replete with exquisitely preserved animals, especially arthropods, that possess eyes.(9)

Note that I deleted the phrase “until nowfrom the above quote. This is because the paper considers the fossils it discusses as “insight into the early evolution of eyes, but that is a non-sequitur because the same paper describes these eyes as “as advanced as those of many living forms.Eyes as advanced as modern eyes cannot possibly provide insight into the supposed evolution of modern eyes.

Con commits the same fallacy by using the eyes of a modern flatworm as evidence of the evolution of modern eyes.

For those interested in what a real Planarian Flatworm looks like, check out the 2nd embedded video that I had the pleasure of recording myself!

Before I hand over the round to my opponent, here are some final remarks regarding the irreducible complexity of the human eye:

A flat patch of light-sensitive cells (such as those of the Flatworm) cannot evolve into a spherical eye-ball (such as those of Humans) because there is no benefit of a non-spherical eye over a flat eye: both convey a level of spatial awareness to an organism, but an eye that is only semi-spherical would offer a very distorted sense of direction, while a completely flat patch of light-sensitive cells would not distort a perception of the source of light at all.

Thus, to make a leap from flat eyes to spherical eyes would require overriding Natural Selection's pressure to select against a half-formed, distorting eye.

Good luck in the final round, Con. I'd like to remind the voters that I only have to satisfy 1 out of the 3 challenges to win this debate.



(8) http://www.reproduction-online.org...

(9) http://www.nature.com...

Sswdwm

Con

1. Nested Set Violation

"Did multiple instances of the trait arise the same way? Yes. But don't take my word for it:

"the theory [is] that the force driving the evolution of [germ-cell formation] is enhanced evolvability of the soma"(8)

In summary: The trait of germ-cell preformation arises multiple times, the same way (selection for enhanced evolvability of the soma), in completely separate locations in the phylogenetic tree."

I will concede this much. But when I said same way, I was referring to the macrostructure, or anatomical features of the trait. Indeed the multiple possible valid examples has clearly illustrated that much.

Now, as a matter of fact, let's get to his justification for the 'in the same way' phrase:

"However, I just pointed out that the driving force behind the evolution of germ-cell formation types (in general) is the same. It follows from this that the driving force behind the evolution of each instance of a new germ-cell formation, preformation, is also the same."

The justification given clearly has ASSUMED evolution to be true in order to falsify it. Thereby is a fallacious argument, and invalid excuse for sticking with this trait without describing its anatomical or macro structural features which would have been plenty enough to satisfy (or nit) that criteria set.

"This is an appeal to emotion. My burden is not to demonstrate that Evolution is actually falsified. My burden is only to meet any one of Con's challenges as explicitly presentedin the first round. It is possible to vote for me while still subscribing to the Theory of Evolution."

The title of the debate was "Evolution is Falsified". The title is the first principle governs the format of the debate, sets the BoP etc.

"Now let's talk about monkey-butts.

Con said I'd complete his challenge if I showed "any primate with a fatty hump ( " )." I showed the Crested Macaque, which is a primate that has a fatty hump. In other words, the females have big butts and I cannot lie, this is something Con can't deny."

I lol'd

"I see a few ways Con could try to weasel his way out of this. He could argue that the butt of the female monkey is actually not that fatty (offensive to the monkey), or that the monkey butt actually consists of a pair of humps, and not just one. I see no luck with the first venture, and the second one just doesn't make mathematical sense. If a primate has 2 fatty humps, it is also true that it has 1 fatty hump."

You have not demonstrated that these humps are indeed fatty. Thereby you have failed at fulfilling your BoP at demonstrating this point.

"As if the monkey's butt wasn't enough, check out the embedded video for another example of a primate with fatty humps."

I lol'd again. Again we are toying around with the 'in the same way' clause. Which you haven't even attempted to address semantically, let alone anatomically, etc.

2. Fossil Record Violation

"Con dismisses my entire argument on this point as a "chronological violation ( " ) in name and nothing more." This ignores most of my argument.

My main point was that a more advanced bird is dated older, according to the fossil evidence, than a more primitive bird. This is a chronological violation because according to Evolution, simpler creatures are the ancestors of more advanced creatures. Following this logic, the more primitive bird is the ancestor of the more advanced one, even though this ancestor appears after it's descendant in the fossil record."

You have completely ignored the point I made that these species are not in direct lineage ( or even on first cousin-ship terms) with each other. Thereby this chronological violation you attempt to point out is a false one. Second of all, only the archaeopteryx is considered in the genus of birds.

"If hypothesizing that the birds are of different lineages which evolved flight at different rates (Convergent Evolution) is a legitimate means of refuting this violation, than no chronological violation can even be conceived of that can't be refuted with sufficient hypothesizing. In other words, my task is logically impossible."

No, it's not. And I gave you the references that show that these two species belong to 2 separate clades, as well as the other members of their respective clades which we have fossil evidence for. Thereby demonstrating we have positive evidence beyond that of a hypothesis, but instead is a tested one, a theory.

Furthermore this is not an example of convergent evolution, since the feathered trait came from their common ancestor which I have already provided the reference and rebuttal for.

"By playing the Convergent Evolution card, my opponent effectively concedes that this particular challenge was not presented in good faith. Fortunately for me, I have recourse: since I only have to fulfill 1 out of the 3 challenges to win this debate, it's not necessary for me to win this particular one."

My opponent has accused me of playing the "Appeal to emotion" card. I will accuse him of the same. Please note it was Gade who issued the challenge, and Gade who selected his own criteria, and therefore has only himself to blade if he didn't like the ones he selected.

3. Irreducible Complexity

"Con wrongly claims I did nothing to support the idea that the eye is irreducibly complex other than asserting; actually, I argued that half an eye would not convey sufficient benefit to be selected for by Natural Selection, and so a full eye could not evolve from part of an eye.

Con has said nothing in respect to this point.

To support his claim that the eye could have evolved incrementally in 400,000 years, he cites a pay-per-view journal of which I am only allowed to view the abstract. As such, I am unable to argue against the logic which led the authors to their conclusion, and this argument boils down to a blind appeal to authority."

If you wanted the paper you could have just asked me directly and I would have provided it, although I am glad you took the time to try and look at it however. Also I have already rebutted the stages of the evolution of the eye n my first rebuttal, and given demonstrations of species living today which show some of these primitive examples of eyes in even today's species. Even if we ignored the paper you were not able access, you have still failed to demonstrate it's irreducible complexity.

Irreducible complexity is define as follows
"A system in which the removal of any one of its core components will cause the system to lose its function. Such a system that cannot have been generated by an integrative bottom-up process"

Pro needed to demonstrate the eye was irreducibly complex first. And the closes he has come to doing so is 'what good is half an eye' which I have already comprehensively rebutted in the first round

""it is inconceivable that these intermediate stages would be found even if they did exist."(emphasis mine)

My opponent's claim is that the eye evolved incrementally from a light-sensitive path of cells, yet displays doubt that intermediate stages of eye evolution actually exist!"

I can understand why you might have been confused by that sentence. I will clarify by saying I was referring to the fossils that would demonstrate the intermediate stages of the eye as it evolved in the species.

5. Closing Statement

Thank you very much to Gade for inviting me to this.... Colourful debate. And I thank the readers for persisting. I hope we can do this again (in a slightly more elegant format) sometime.

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 4
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sswdwm 3 years ago
Sswdwm
Thanks for the RFDs, the feedback is appreciated
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Thanks for the RFD
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
bluesteel
RFD

Pro "demonstrated a violation of the nested hierarchy."

Pro's other arguments were laughable. Monkey butts = camel humps... There are no intermediate eyes because they are not in fossils (since soft tissue doesn't fossilize). The first bird isn't the first bird because another bird's Latin name means first bird.

Pro had one real argument in the round about epigensis and preformation. Con did not do enough to refute it (to the point where I had to do independent research to figure out how a biologist would answer Pro's objection [see: http://www.reproduction-online.org...]). Con just says "it all co-evolved." But that seems pretty extreme to simply assert that it co-evolved over and over again. The whole point of "Darwin's Doubt" is how ridiculous it would be for a trait to constantly evolve independently. A creator is a more simple explanation. Con needed to explain why natural selection would favor the continual re-emergence of epigenesis. As the article I cited explains, it's because epigenesis provides enhanced evolvability of the soma. Although that's only one theory. The point is Con never said, "natural selection must have favored it's re-emergence, the common ancestor of each nest must have had both or preformation."

Con did refute the other silly Pro points quite well. Con simply didn't explain his answer to nested hierarchy well enough to win the debate, especially since the burden was quite low - simply to "demonstrate" a violation, not to definitively prove one. I hope Con sticks around. He's clearly a smart guy and would benefit from learning to explain his arguments more clearly to a lay audience.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Thanks for such a great RFD!
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
Conduct and Spelling was great on both sides. As was sourcing.

Arguments is where this debate is really decided... Con made a lot of ground breaking refutations, especially in explaining how the birds weren't from the same family to began with, explaining why they contradict. My biggest problem with both sides was this weird sense of agreement in an idea the Evolution was a highly intelligent process capable of immense planning. This is seen in Pro's Bird argument were he assume Evolution makes things more complex and better time after time... Which is flawed in that Evolution has the same chances of completely screwing up, since it's random.

This same issue helped him in his argument about the human Eye... Con tried refuting it as being completely possible to form an eye... Using this thought out strategy that, while an intelligent human can conceive, a mindless process isn't going to preform. This issue simply left the case refuted in my mind. He explained what HE would do, what not what Evolution would do... He simply didn't convince me that a concept of rather random mutations and selections would have done that...

I didn't like how Pro brought up that he only had to prove one thing. It seemed rude and snobbish, but he is right.

Great debate from both sides, and wow... A lot of people voted while I was reading.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
The book Darwin's Doubt, by Stephen Meyer.
Posted by Sswdwm 3 years ago
Sswdwm
Out of interest where did you first learn about germ cell generation? Because it's a really ambiguous example and not one many anti-evolutions have heard about
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Oh ok, you explained it with your first sentence.. lol. Thanks.
Posted by Sswdwm 3 years ago
Sswdwm
Oh um, it just allows it to generate differently.... I don't think I can explain it without assuming evolution as the whole reason that reformation developed the way it did is because attempting to change the system in a direct way would have made the species sterile.

Let's say you need to refurbish a freeway ('s about to collapse), and it's a big, big job;

You can either remove the old freeway and start over and cause massive inconvenience to commuters or you can build a new section around the old defunct section and then divert traffic off the old onto the new one.

At the end of it people will wonder why the f is the old section of freeway still there - left to ruin, it only makes sense if you know why the new one is there in the first place
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
So I was right about epigenesis! I don't understand your explanation of preformation, though. Are you saying that if, in preformation, the germ-cell wasn't protected from outside signals to become a germ-cell, it would turn into a different kind of germ-cell?

If a germ cell is already a germ cell from the start in preformation (it's preformed as a germ cell) then why would it matter if the cell gets told to turn into a germ cell? Since it's already a germ cell...

I don't agree with your last statement, but I'm sure you knew that :P
10 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Skepticalone 3 years ago
Skepticalone
GarretKadeDupreSswdwmTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: This was an interesting debate! Overall, I feel Con had better arguments. Nested heirarchy was Pro's best argument and the toughest to determine. Con easily held off Pro on chronological violations and IC. Con had some issues with S&G so Pro collects the point. Conduct and sources are tied.
Vote Placed by zmikecuber 3 years ago
zmikecuber
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Reasons for voting decision: This was very close. That being said, I think Pro's arguments were clearer, and he was able to show a violation in the nested hierarchy. Thus, he fulfilled his BoP.
Vote Placed by bluesteel 3 years ago
bluesteel
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by mrsatan 3 years ago
mrsatan
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Reasons for voting decision: Both sides sourced their arguments and I saw no major conduct offenses, I did notice a few spelling errors in Cons arguments, but not enough to warrant points to Pro, so no points on all three categories. As for arguments, Con successfully refuted Pros contention concerning the Archaeopteryx and Proarchaeopteryx, as it's really more a misnomer than a paradox. Cons explanation of how an eye could form from a bottom-up process is adequate to refute Pros contention of irreducible complexity. As to Pros contentions concerning the nested hierarchy, Pro admits that the camel/primate hump similarity is a superficial one, and so I don't see how it's proving anything. I find Pros first contention, of germ cell formation, to be the most difficult to judge. I'm left unsure as to whether or not this is a plausible line of attack on evolution. As such, I award arguments to Con, as he has successfully kept me in doubt of the resolution.
Vote Placed by Wylted 3 years ago
Wylted
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro fulfilled the BOP he set in the beginning of the debate. I felt that pro successfully showed a violation of nested hierarchy. Everything but arguments was even.
Vote Placed by PotBelliedGeek 3 years ago
PotBelliedGeek
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Reasons for voting decision: This debate was centered around three main arguments. As for pro's contention on the formation of germ cells, con did not refute this argument effectively. As for the supposed violation of the fossil record chronology, pro did not succeed in arguing his point, but rather misunderstood cons rebuttal. The second argument goes to con. As for the third argument, I feel like pro did a better job asserting irriduceable complexity than con did of refuting it. All in all, arguments go to pro. Pro loses conduct points for inserting the music video into an academic debate, making it seem as if this debate was not taken seriously. Con loses sources for citing Wikipedia in a scientific discussion, therefore losing credibility for his argument. Neither side made a serious S&G error, as far a I can recall, so they tied there. Personally I agree with con on the matter, but this has in no way influenced my vote.
Vote Placed by NiqashMotawadi3 3 years ago
NiqashMotawadi3
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments all failed. For irreducible complexity, he doesn't even understand the argument and made creationist responses such as "The eye could not have evolved in incremental, evolutionary steps, for half an eye does not convey sufficient benefit to warrant selection by Natural Selection. This is obvious to anyone with eyes.", when Con clearly showed that the most likely explanation is that the eye evolved gradually as we could see that when we look at different species. Pro also started trolling when it came to the nest hierarchies and didn't present the evidence Con asked for but gave out responses like "monkey butts" and humps and other stuff I found irrelevant. Moreover, Pro only managed to offer a chronological confusion, not a chronological violation in the fossil record, which is normally expected as the fossil record contains thousands of species, but we don't have a definite violation that makes us rethink evolution. In short, Con had a better performance.
Vote Placed by Defro 3 years ago
Defro
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments were more convincing. Both Pro and Con provided good sources. Couldn't catch any spelling/grammar errors.
Vote Placed by CynicalDiogenes 3 years ago
CynicalDiogenes
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had better arguments, especiaallly with the monkkey's butt....:) However, con had much more detailed sources.On the whole, it was a really interesting and colourful debate.Keep it up guys!