The Instigator
GarretKadeDupre
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points
The Contender
TrueScotsman
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

Evolution Is Not A Valid Scientific Theory

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
GarretKadeDupre
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/24/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,584 times Debate No: 44536
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (5)

 

GarretKadeDupre

Pro

I will not be defining Evolution. My opponent, the honorable TrueScotsman, will provide any definition of Evolution in round 1 that he well pleases. Furthermore, his definition will be final as of the first round, and will be what is meant by all references to Evolution within this debate.

I will argue that Evolution (however Con defines it) does not meet the standards for what a valid scientific theory should be. For what a scientific theory should be, I'll be referencing the YouTube video at the right.




TrueScotsman

Con

I accept this challenge, and will be using the following definitions.

In defining these terms, both of these definitions come from the National Academy of Sciences.

Evolution: "Evolution consists of changes in the heritable traits of a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another. It is populations of organisms that evolve, not individual organisms."

I will also note that this extends to "Macroevolution" as defined below, as this I believe will more accurately highlight our differences.

Macroevolution: "Large-scale evolution occurring over geologic time that results in the formation of new species and broader taxonomic groups."

Source: http://www.nas.edu...;
Debate Round No. 1
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Thanks for accepting.

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to point out a problem with your presentation of definitions; to be more specific, the fact that you provided 2. I am only going to be arguing against the scientific validity of only one definition of Evolution, not multiple definitions of Evolution. Neither am I going to argue against the definition of any other word.

This is how you defined Evolution: “Evolution consists of changes in the heritable traits of a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another. It is populations of organisms that evolve, not individual organisms.

As I explained in the first round, this definition of Evolution is now final, and any further reference to Evolution in this debate will be defined as such.

Let's see if Evolution follows the Scientific Method as explained by the late Richard Feynman, Ph.D, in the video I provided.

The first step Doctor Feynman describes is guessing. He makes it clear that this guess should not be too vague, or so general, as to be unfalsifiable. Now your particular phrasing of your definition makes it difficult for me to find a guess or prediction in it, but I'm going to try anyways.

The first sentence of your definition is not useful for the purposes of this debate, for it actually references the word Evolution in trying to define it. A definition is useless if it refers to the word it is supposed to define.

In the second sentence, I can discern the following prediction that Evolution makes: Populations of organisms evolve, but not individual organisms.

Does this prediction live up to the standards that Doctor Feynman described? Remember, he said a guess should be “definite” and not “too vague”.

The answer is no. This prediction does not satisfy those criterion: it's very vague and indefinite. There is no definite way to falsify this prediction. To prove wrong a prediction like “populations of organisms evolve,” one would not only have to observe every single population of organisms that ever lived, one would have to wait until they observed every population of organisms that are going to live!

Until this is done, one may excuse away the lack of observable, evolving populations by claiming that an evolving population of organisms exists, but we just haven't found it yet. So this aspect of the guess is not falsifiable. Not only that, it's too vague, because without a definition of “evolve,” we have no idea what we are even looking for!

The 2nd prediction that Evolution makes is that “individual organisms do not evolve.” This also fails to meet the aforementioned guidelines. There's no clear way to falsify this one, either, other than waiting for a long time, observing a lot of individual organisms, and hoping that we see one evolve. This guess fails to meet the criterion because falsifying it requires proving a negative.

I eagerly await my opponent's rebuttals.

TrueScotsman

Con

Hello there,

I am a little confused after reading my opponent's remarks, but I will address that in my rebuttals. I also listed the second definition because I believed the first one I provided might not be satisfactory and could be one that even you agreed with. I agree to simply argue on the basis of the first definition given.

My Arguments will be following this format:

Argument 1 l What is a Theory?
Argument 2 l What Makes a Theory Valid?
Argument 3 l How is Evolution Then a Valid Theory?

A final remark before I begin my arguments. I am not a scientist, and my knowledge of biology and the other related fields of science are limited based upon my lack expertise. I will however attempt to demonstrate that it is reasonable for any person scientific or not, to accept this theory.

Argument #1 l What is a Theory?

Contrary to popular belief, a theory is not mere speculation, the usage of the word "theory" in scientific writings is much stronger than that. The definition for a theory that I will be working with is also provided from the National Academy of Sciences.

Theory: "A plausible or scientifically acceptable, well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena and predict the characteristics of as yet unobserved phenomena."[1]

In order to meet my burden, I must demonstrate that evolution meets this criteria as defined above. Which brings me to my second point, what makes a theory valid.

Argument #2 l What Makes a Theory Valid?

When we speak of a theory being valid, what do we mean? Simply, that a theory is well grounded and reasonable.[2] Theories and their contents are not infallible classifications, as aspects of the theory may be incorrect, and theories also differ in strength. Here are a list of criteria that can be used to deduce whether or not a theory is valid.
  • It makes falsifiable predictions with consistent accuracy across a broad area of scientific inquiry (such as mechanics).
  • It is well-supported by many independent strands of evidence, rather than a single foundation. This ensures that it is probably a good approximation, if not completely correct.
  • It is consistent with pre-existing theories and other experimental results. (Its predictions may differ slightly from pre-existing theories in cases where they are more accurate than before.)
  • It can be adapted and modified to account for new evidence as it is discovered, thus increasing its predictive capability over time.
  • It is among the most parsimonious explanations, sparing in proposed entities or explanations. (See Occam's razor. Since there is no generally accepted objective definition of parsimony, this is not a strict criterion, but some theories are much less economical than others.)[3]
Using what we have gleaned from our defining the word "theory," and by also establishing the criteria for what makes a theory valid, I will no demonstrate how evolution is a valid theory within my third and primary argument.

Argument #3 l How is Evolution Then a Valid Theory

Evolution is something that takes place over vast periods of time, and as such, most of the evolutionary processes have already happened. This in some ways limits the ability of scientists to make clear falsifiable predictions concerning evolution. However, scientists also have the ability to make retrodictions, to make "predictions" and inferences about the past, given the informatoin and data that we have.

An example of a retrodiction of this kind would be Darwin's prediction that humans arose in Africa, which he based of course on the likeness that we share with other primates. Numerous studies have been confirming Darwin's hypothesis on this matter in more recent years, and has been almost universally accepted in the field of biology. The study took genetic data along with a large sample of skulls to demonstrate that humans originated from one area, Africa.[4]

Evolution should also be supported by a large strand of evidence, I will list several below to meet this criteria.

Evidence #1

Lenski's extensive experiment is one of the most successful evolutionary experiments, and has provided us the ability to watch evolution happen. Remember, the first part of my definition was this, "Evolution consists of changes in the heritable traits of a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another." Based upon this definition, I all but have met my burden when I tell you that we observed changes in the heritable traits of a population of E. coli, which namely was the ability to metabolize nitrate.[5]

Evidence #2

Another piece of evidence is the fossil record. Simply the evidence is the fact that at certain times we have observed in the fossil record that species arise and often go extinct. Scientists even believe that billions of species, the vast majority have gone extinct, the question arises. Where did all these species come from? For example, dinosaurs did not show in the fossil record about 231.4 million years ago. Yet, life has existed on Earth for about 3.8 billion years. Did Dinosaurs just pop into existence 231.4 million years ago, or is the best explanation provided by my definition. That these dinosaurs evolved from previously existing life forms via natural selection over a period of billions of years.

Replace dinosaurs with any other major group of animals or even specific species and you run into the same problem. Where did all this diverity arise from, given that the evidence we have supports that it arose over a huge expanse of time? The Theory of Evolution can be the only one to provide a reasonable and substantiated response to this question.

Evidence #3

I am not a geneticist, nor do I have much expertise or knowledge in the field, but scientists regard genetic evidence among the strongest we have for evolution. With the genetic difference between us and Chimpanzee's only being at 1.2%,[6] it is difficult (if not impossible) to provide an alternate interpretation for why there would be so much in common among organisms on earth.

Conclusion

I have limited time today, so I could not go as in depth as I wanted to, and we can discuss the evidence in the rebuttal rounds a bit more. However, I want to conclude by saying that Evolution is the only possible explanation, given the spectrum of choices. The only alternative to evolution is the special creation by some kind of higher being, be it an alien or God. And that special creation of immutable or near immutable species is the explanation for the diversity of life. Not only is this an unscientific answer, but it also fails to address all the evidence particularly with regards to the fossil record.

Voters should vote Pro, that Evolution is a valid theory, and is indeed the only valid theory to explain the diversity of life as we see today.

Regards,
TrueScotsman


[1] http://www.nas.edu...
[2] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://news.nationalgeographic.com...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://humanorigins.si.edu...;
Debate Round No. 2
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Thanks for your rebuttals, and also for agreeing to argue based on the first definition you provided earlier for Evolution:

Evolution consists of changes in the heritable traits of a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another. It is populations of organisms that evolve, not individual organisms.

I noticed that you are not referencing the Richard Feynman video in your explanation of what a scientific theory is. I don't see why you're ignoring it, for I assure you that the Scientific Method has not changed since Feynman gave that lecture about half a century ago. I also made it clear at the beginning of the debate that it would be the reference for determining what a scientific theory should be.

In Con's first argument, he defines a scientific theory as the following:

"A plausible or scientifically acceptable, well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena and predict the characteristics of as yet unobserved phenomena.

Con says that he must show how Evolution must fit this definition to fulfill his burden; I disagree. Con's burden is to show how Evolution fits the guidelines explained in the Richard Feynman. Nevertheless, I will show how Evolution does not meet even Con's own definition of scientific theory.

Let's look at the definition of Evolution again:

Evolution consists of changes in the heritable traits of a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another. It is populations of organisms that evolve, not individual organisms.

Again, as I pointed out in the previous round, the first sentence of this definition is nonsense in the context of a definition of Evolution. You cannot reference the concept being defined in its definition!

So now, all we have for the complete definition of Evolution is the following:

It is populations of organisms that evolve, not individual organisms.

Is this a valid scientific theory according to Con's definition? (In the previous round, I already showed why it is not a valid theory according to Doctor Feynman. Con dropped those arguments by not responding to them.)

No, Evolution does not meet Con's own criterion! It fails to “explain a specific set of phenomena”. What specific set of phenomena could Evolution possibly explain? The answer is simple: none. The simple declaration that populations of organisms evolve, but not individual ones, does not explain anything. It's merely a vague, indefinite and unfalsifiable guess, as explained in the previous round.

Con has an entire section of his argument dedicated to explaining why he thinks Evolution is a valid theory, but since it isn't even a theory to begin with, those arguments fail to get off the ground. Nevertheless, I will bite. Let's look at Con's first piece of evidence.

#1: Lenski's E. coli experiment

This is a very interesting piece of evidence for Con to bring up! You will realize why in a minute. Remember how I complained about the invalidity of the 2nd guess of Evolution? Namely, that individuals do not evolve, and I remarked how it's not any good because falsifying it requires proving a negative? Well, this experiment actually met that burden!

Evolution predicted that individuals do not evolve. But clearly, at least one individual bacterium in Lenski's experiment evolved the ability to metabolize citrate! (1) (I'm confused as to why Con repeatedly says nitrate instead of citrate. Maybe I'm missing something here, or maybe it's just a typo.)

If you watched the Feynman video, you will remember what the doctor said about what it means for a theory's guess to not agree with experiments: It's wrong. In this case, Lenski's E. coli experiment has prematurely proven Evolution wrong!

Thus, Evolution does not meet Con's own standards for qualifying as valid. It neither “makes falsifiable predictions with consistent accuracy”, nor “is consistent with pre-existing theories and other experimental results [like the Lenski experiment]”.

#2: Fossils

Let's remind ourselves how Evolution is defined:

It is populations of organisms that evolve, not individual organisms.

Con says that Evolution is supported by “the fact that at certain times we have observed in the fossil record that species arise and often go extinct.” This statement is meaningless in the context of Evolution. Species is not an objective classification of organisms, and is merely an artifact of trying to artificially assign organisms to specific labels. Therefore, it cannot be used as evidence of Evolution.

I'm sure I caught some readers off-guard with that statement, so let me give a few examples of why the species label is subjective and warrant to change at any time, purely at the whims of those who assign the labels.

The generally understood definition of species is “a group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding.” Let's ignore, for a second, the fact that we cannot determine whether 2 fossils represent organisms that were capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding, for the obvious fact that they are dead.

Contrary to what you might have been led to believe, the species label is applied inconsistenly. For example, the Viceroy and the Red-Spotted Purple are classified as 2 different species of butterflies, yet they can (and do) interbreed and produce fertile offspring.(4) The Red-Spotted Purple will also breed with the White Admiral, another separate species.(2)(3)(5)


Another example is the labeling of the Eastern Meadowlark and the Western Meadowlark. All these birds look the same, and interbreed; yet, one population is given one species label, and the rest, a different label.

(8)

What does all this mean? Simply, the species label is subjective, and has no use when trying to find objective evidence to support Evolution. Since the species label can be applied to any population of organisms at whim, the claim that “species [in the fossil record] arise and go extinct” is meaningless.

This is illustrated rather comically in the conflict between the University of Berkely and the Audubon organization. In Berkely's “Evolution 101” course, it teaches that the Eastern & Western Meadowlark are 2 separate species specifically because they don't interbreed.(6) But according to the Audubon site, they actually do interbreed!(7) They can't both be right!

#3: DNA similarity

Con says the extreme genetic similarities between people and chimpanzees is difficult, if not impossible, to explain without Evolution. First of all, Evolution, as Con defined it, does not even try to explain how humans evolved from chimpanzees (which is what he seems to be implying happened.) Secondly, here's a very easy alternative explanation for why they have similar DNA: they look similar to people! That wasn't very difficult to explain, and certainly not impossible.

Before I turn it over to my opponent, I'd like to remind voters that Con has dropped all arguments I made in the 2nd round based on Feynman's guidelines.

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

(2) http://entnemdept.ufl.edu...

(3) https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu...

(4) http://images.peabody.yale.edu...

(5) http://catdir.loc.gov...

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

(7) http://birds.audubon.org...

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

TrueScotsman

Con

As I stated in my opening arguments, I will address my concerns with what he wrote in my rebuttals. He did not specify the structure of the debate, but merely seemed to impose such a constraint having read his writings past the first round.

I am following the standard format

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Arguments (no rebuttals)
Round 3 & 4: Rebuttals and Conclusions

This allows for both sides of the debate to adequately state their case, and provide rebuttals for the previous rounds. I also want to point out a few things before I carry on with my rebuttals.

First of all, I did not drop any of my opponent's argument, and to claim that I did when I clearly stated that I would address them in my rebuttals is very misleading.

Secondly, my opponent in the last round said that I "repeatedly," denoting my doing this multiple times, the word nitrate, when I meant citrate. I actually only made this typo once, so I am curious as to the intentions of my opponent for exaggerating this. I was in a rush to complete my argument as I had to leave for the day, and even told voters to vote Pro, when I completely had forgotten that I was Con. (Vote Con BTW!!)

Lastly, my opponent has objected that I did not use his video to define a theory. If you read what he wrote in the first round, then it is quite clear that I was not required to do any such thing. He said that HE would referencing the video, and did not make it clear that I also did and that this would be the only way the scientific method would be defined.

Now on to the rebuttals

Rebuttal #1 l Dismissal of the First Sentence

My opponent has dismissed the first sentence of my definition (a very important sentence) without addressing it because it has the word "evolution" contained in it. Note, that it doesn't say, "evolution is evolution," rather it makes the defintion is a statement, "Evolution consists of changes in the heritable traits of a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another." As this statement is clearly valid for the purposes of this debate, I forward this as a dropped argument.

In providing a statement that defines the term, it is perfectly agreeable to say "Evolution consists of..."

Rebuttals #2 l Presuppositions and Hypotheses

My opponent has unfortunately assumed that we are trying to recreate the theory of Evolution. Evolution is already an established theory, and it is not a "guess," so it not even relevant to formulate this particular argument against my definition. The phrase, "populations of organisms evolve," is an observation, not a prediction, a statement about what really happens in the evolution of life.

Populations evolve in many different ways, for instance and perhaps the most common way is from geographical isolation, where a portion of a species is isolated reproductively from the rest of the species. This is called allopatric speciation, where the seperate populations may evolve new distinct characteristics due to the change in environment. This was demonstrated in experiment when Lenki's E. coli had a population separated from the others, gain the ability of metabolizing citrate. Which would lead Feynman's test as being valid, which he after all did agree that Evolution was a valid theory.

Again, my opponent fails to recognize the kind of statement my definition is. It is not a "guess" or "prediction," it is an observation about how Evolution works. The phrase, "individual organisms do not evolve," is a statement about the nature of how evolution works, namely that it works through populations of organisms not individuals.

Moving on to your 3rd round.

Rebuttal #3 l Lenski's Experiment

It was actually the population called Ara-3 that evolved, and you have demonstrated your inability to understand my definition with this objection. Evolutionary change is brought about through populations evolving, not individuals. Of course that population is made up of individuals, but that is beside the point. Pro is simply trying to twist words and create a straw man argument in order to win this debate.

Rebuttal #4 l On the subject of Species

Another attempt that Pro makes to discredit evolution is by attempting to dismantle the distinctions between species. He attempts to accomplish this by pretending that scientists are not already aware of this issue, Darwin himself was aware of this issue and said so in On the Origin of Species.

"I was much struck how entirely vague and arbitrary is the distinction between species and varieties"[1]

While this is often true, scientists go into a great deal of trouble to determine these distinctions, especially since Darwin's time. Most of the time species are unable to interbreed, but there are specific instances where the genetic makeup of organisms allows for reproductive capabilities when these species come into contact.

This also is evidence for evolution, as it creates a new hybrid with unique genetic information and is a powerful tool for speciation. A popular example would be the Liger, which is the hybrid of a lion and tiger, two distinct species of the same genus, but are still capable of mating.

Pictured Below:


Often these distinctions are quite easy to make, and a child can understand the difference between a horse and a pig. My appeal to the fossil evidence is valid because of the fact that there are indeed clear distinctions that we can make between species, desipte that there are instances where it is more difficult. This difficulty would naturally arise if one understood that all life had a common ancestry. The species classificication is not a useless distinction, albiet difficult at times, and this is simply another instance of my opponent attempting to play semantic games to discredit the credible evidence for evolution.

Rebuttal #5 l Heritable Variations

Since Pro has repeatedly ignored and dismissed my first sentence, he doesn't appear to recognize that the DNA evidence is related to the first sentence of my definition. That heritable variations, meaning variations in genetic information passed along in reproduction, leave evidence. For instance, one can perform a DNA test to determine if someone is their parent, and this demonstrates that DNA reveals relationship. As we have 98.8% of our DNA in common with Chimpanzees, this doesn't just reveal that they, "look like us," but that they as a species are related to us. Specifically, that they have a common ancestry with us, that is further demonstrated by the fossil evidence for the emergence of bi-pedal primates.

Conclusion of First Round of Rebuttals

It is disappointing to see where this debate has gotten, instead of discussing the validity of the Theory of Evolution, we are now squabling over definitions. If I had known this would have been my opponent's tactic to win the debate, I would have never have accepted, as I wished to discuss the science behind the theory of evolution.

I hope that in the last round my opponent will drop this tactic and begin discussing the substance of my remarks.

Regards,
TrueScotsman

[1] On the Origin of Species Pg. 48

Debate Round No. 3
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Con said he didn't drop my arguments about Feynman's guidelines. Actually, he did. I showed how Evolution didn't live up to Feynman's crierion, and instead of arguing that they did, he brought in his own source, completely ignoring doctor Feynman's lecture.

I apologize for implying Con made the "nitrate" typo multiple times! I suck at math. And reading... :\

Rebuttal #1: Dismissal of the First Sentence

Con argues the first sentence of his definition of Evolution. However, I stand by my decision. Con may think this is abusive semantics, but if that were the case, he should have reworded it in a previous round so as to get semantics out of the way.

For the sake of argumentation I may discuss it later.

Rebuttal #2: Presuppositions and Hypotheses

Con says that Evolution is so well established that it doesn't need to make any guesses. Never minding Feynman's lecture, which Con has ignored, Con's own standards for a theory require that it make predictions:

[...] predict the characteristics [...]

It makes falsifiable predictions[…] Its predictions may differ[…] its predictive capability [...]

If Evolution doesn't make any predictions, then how can it have any predictive capability, and how are we going to determine whether these non-existent predictions are falsifiable or not?

Con says that “The phrase, "populations of organisms evolve," is an observation, not a prediction”. In that case, I must ask Con what the use of his Evolution is! If it's just an observation, with no predictive capability, what's the point? Isn't the whole point of a scientific theory to make useful predictions?

The next argument Con makes concerns allopatric speciation, and I'm dismissing it for reasons I already explained in the previous round: speciation cannot be used as objective evidence because it relies on the subjective, and inconsistenly applies, species label.

Con says Lenski's E. coligain[ed] the ability of metabolizing citrate” but this is false. E. coli already had the enzymatic capacity to metabolize citrate before it suffered a loss of function mutation.(1) Con tried to use this to show that this makes his Evolution valid according to Feynman's lecture, but obviously, Con is incorrect on this point.

Further, Con tries to say that “[Doctor Feynman] after all did agree that Evolution was a valid theory”, but I don't see how this is possible, since Feynman died decades ago and would have had no chance to read Con's definition of Evolution.

Rebuttal #3: Lenski's Experiment

Con claims I've demonstrated an inability to understand his definition. Is this true? I said that the Lenski Experiment shows that individuals do, in fact, evolve, in contrast to Con's definition of Evolution which states that populations of organisms evolve, but not individuals. Con responded thusly:

Evolutionary change is brought about through populations evolving, not individuals. Of course that population is made up of individuals, but that is beside the point.

So do individuals evolve, or do they not? This statement tries to simultaneously claim that populations evolve, not individuals, but also that the evolving populations are made up of individuals! Obviously, if individuals don't evolve, the population of them can't either, so Con's statement is internally inconsistent.

Furthermore, if a population of E. coli evolved, as Con claims, than is it not also true that at least one individual E. coli evolved as well? Obviously, the answer is yes, which falsifies the claim of Evolution that individuals don't evolve.

Remember (if you watched the video) what Doctor Feynman said about a guess if it doesn't agree with experiments? It's wrong!

Also, Con's own standards for a scientific theory require that Evolutionis consistent with [...] experimental results.” So by Con's own standards, Evolution is not a valid scientific theory!

I really do not appreciate the following accusation from my opponent:

Pro is simply trying to twist words and create a straw man argument in order to win this debate.

I request that he refrain from making such personal attacks in his next turn.

Rebuttal #4: On the Subject of Species

Is that the name of a famous book? No? Oh well, moving on. :P

Con says I try to dismantle the species distinction by “pretending that scientists are not already aware of this issue”. Well first of all, I don't appreciate the implied accusation of dishonesty.

Secondly, whether or not scientists are aware of the issue is completely irrelevant. My point is that assigning of the species label is subjective, and for this reason cannot be used as evidence for Con's Evolution. Con quotes Darwin, and actually reinforces my point:

entirely vague and arbitrary is the distinction between species and varieties

I enjoyed your Liger photo! Here is a photo of a Rubidus, a cross between the aforementioned Viceroy and Red-Spotted Purple butterflies:

I'm going to dismiss the rest of your arguments on this point, because they rely on the species label which we (Charles Darwin, Con, and I) have already agreed is entirely vague and arbitrary.

Sigh, Con attacks me again: “this is simply another instance of my opponent attempting to play semantic games

Again, not appreciated.

Rebuttal #5: Heritable Variations

I'm going to pretend, for a moment here, that Con's first sentence of his definition was actually “Changes in the heritable traits of a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another.

Let me begin by pointing out that this part of Evolution does not make any predictions, either. If I twist the words around a bit, I might be able to form some sort of guess, like “heritable traits of a population of organisms change as successive generations replace one another.

How would this be falsified? Find an example of a heritable trait in a population not changing through successive generations? Ok, what about blue eyes? My grandma had blue eyes, so that heritable trait didn't change. There we go, Evolution is again proven invalid, for it's no longer “well-supported by many independent strands of evidence” as his standards require, but actually falsified by the evidence!

Con says we can use DNA testing to determine whether or not a kid is the child of 2 other people. I agree. However, Con extrapolates wildly from this premise, claiming that DNA testing can determine if a chimpanzee is related to the entire human population! This is very illogical.

First of all, DNA testing would be useless in the parenthood case if we did not already know for a fact that humans can give birth to kids. But, we've observed this countless times before, so it's a given.

In the case of DNA testing a chimpanzee and a person, we do not know for a fact that humans can give birth to chimpanzees, or vice-versa, or that there is (or ever was) some creature that could give birth to both humans and chimpanzees, so DNA testing cannot determine a relationship between humans and chimpanzees!

If Con has ever observed a human birthing a chimp, or vice-versa, or any creature birthing both a chimp and a human, I retract my statement. Until this is observed, a relationship between humans and chimps cannot be assumed. DNA similarities between humans and chimps does cannot determine a relationship if it is not first shown that humans and chimps can even be related in the first place!

Con says the fossil record has evidence of an emergence of bi-pedal primates. This does not prove a relationship between humans and chimps. Con seems to be forgetting that the only reason we trust DNA parenthood testing in the first place is because we've already seen that humans are related to each other, because they give birth to each other!

Conclusion of Rebuttals

Con says “It is disappointing to see where this debate has gotten” and I have to agree. I thought we would be discussing the validity of his definition of Evolution instead of accusing me of semantic games and dishonesty.

Good luck to Con in his final turn.

(1) http://www.lehigh.edu...

TrueScotsman

Con

I'm going to dismiss the rest of my oppoent's argument, in keeping with his strategy.

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
" I don't hear about how most of that 98% is regulatory or non-functional DNA, and therefore how appearance similarities simply don't account for it."

That's an interesting argument, and one I've never encountered before.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
Admittedly, Garret made it quite clear what his intentions were by posting that video in the first round. Semantics are a part of any argument, really, and if you had wanted to engage in scientific debate, it looked to me like he gave you some opportunities. But that's also the reality of debate. You could have spent some time establishing the terms of the round before you accepted, but they don't all go the way you want them to. I've run into some strange ones over my career, but they didn't make me want to just take my ball and go home.
Posted by TrueScotsman 3 years ago
TrueScotsman
I didn't want to waste any more time on this debate, in fact I think I may just shut down this account. I accepted this debate to debate the theory of Evolution, not waste time squabbling over definitions. I have better things to do with my time.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
I'm just not hearing what I need to out of Con to give him the win, and I'm actively looking for it by the end of the debate. His arguments about the bacterial experiment only matter if he can establish that the transition to citrate usage creates a new population with separate individuals. This didn't seem too hard, but I don't see it. The species conversation could have been made much simpler if it had been established that the choices of some people to define species a certain way doesn't change the central definition of a species, but I'm simply not seeing enough on it. Lastly, and most sadly, the genetic argumentation simply isn't there. I don't hear about how most of that 98% is regulatory or non-functional DNA, and therefore how appearance similarities simply don't account for it.

So now I'm left with who wins based on definition alone. Much as Pro's stance in the round may be faulty, I don't see the direct response necessary from Con to counteract them. What he calls a response is really a separate definition without an explanation of fault in Feynman's stance. And since Pro puts direct response on Con's definitions (even if it is incomplete), he outweighs here when it comes to definitional analysis.

And that leaves me wondering how that definition can be used to evaluate the round. I don't have enough provable information from Con, and holes in his argumentation are pointed out and not filled. I'm left with the knowledge that evolution is overly vague in our perception of the theory. I don't agree, at all, but that's the prevailing argument in the round.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
After "My grandma had blue eyes", I was supposed to say "And I got blue eyes from her" ugh. Maybe you can see in my picture, though... lol...
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
awesome
Posted by TrueScotsman 3 years ago
TrueScotsman
I'm going to be gone for the weekend, once I get back into town I will consider this challenge.

Regards,
TrueScotsman
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 3 years ago
InVinoVeritas
GarretKadeDupreTrueScotsmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro wins, but conduct to Con, because Pro used cheap semantic tactics.
Vote Placed by zmikecuber 3 years ago
zmikecuber
GarretKadeDupreTrueScotsmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct is tied. While Con did make some rather negative remarks, this whole debate seemed to be a semantics debate. Despite that, I can understand that the terms "valid" and "theory" would need alot of defining, so I can understand both sides. Arguments are also tied, because of the confusion in definitions. Pro didn't explicitly state that his opponent should use the video. The only thing I can vote on is the S/G. I saw a few made on Con's side, and didn't notice any on Pro's, so I'm giving it to Pro. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about this topic to really vote on arguments, so I'm going to refrain from that.
Vote Placed by medic0506 3 years ago
medic0506
GarretKadeDupreTrueScotsmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This debate is a good example of why all definitions that might come into play, should be clearly defined prior to acceptance. Though Pro did indeed agree to debate whatever definition Con provided, he ultimately was able to show that it was so vague and meaningless as to be unscientific, in any meaningful sense of the word. To say that populations evolve, but individuals don't, is indeed an absurd claim, as Pro pointed out. Con even shows the opposite by referring to fossils which exhibit individuals, not populations. Pro also brought up the refutation for the concept of species, which Con could not adequately answer for. Those are ultimately the two winning points for Pro, and the fact that Con essentially gave up in the final round didn't help his case any at all.
Vote Placed by Buckethead31594 3 years ago
Buckethead31594
GarretKadeDupreTrueScotsmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I sympathize with Con; it would be difficult for anybody to have known that Pro would *only* be arguing semantics. For that, I will give him conduct points. He did not concede the final round of the debate, like some may think- for he had no reason to argue against a definition. Yet, he could have ended on a better note. S/G and sources are shared. I will have to give the arguments to Pro, as convincing as they were, even though it would seem that Pro had an unfair advantage over Con. Next time, I would encourage Pro to tailor the resolution appropriately.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
GarretKadeDupreTrueScotsmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments. Pro gets conduct as well because of that last round. Con, just because you feel some of your arguments aren't being addressed doesn't mean you can pull a stunt like that. It only hurt you argumentation-wise.