The Instigator
WriterDave
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
ScottyDouglas
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Evolution: Pick One

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
WriterDave
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/26/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,162 times Debate No: 24458
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (30)
Votes (3)

 

WriterDave

Pro


ScottyDouglas recently published a post in the Religion forum regarding evolution and the flood. The following are the key propositions from that post, which I have copied and pasted here (spelling errors and all):


(1) A formerly wide spread of these (flood) myths can make one think that the actuality of the flood can be true.

(2) The geological evidences from the Biblical Flood are in agreement with geological facts seen in the field.

(3) The deposits fit well with the Genesis magnitude of a Great Flood but not so for naturalism in a uniform scheme.

(4) Typical unbelievers say that flood legends are not absolute proof but they are far better evidence then any that relates man and apes from a common ancestor.

(5) Lets remember that Carbon dating is far from accurate or fact.

(6)The sedimentary rock of the earth that contain fossils and is our supposed geologic history have been laid down by moving waters.

(7) The fossil record of species have never been apart of evidence for evolution.

(8) Micro evolution (...) is just variety within the same kind, so macro evolution is at best just a myth.

(9) The palaeontologist finds is just too intermittent and is full of missing links.

My challenge to Scotty is to pick one, just one of the above statements that he made, and defend it in this debate. He may present his opening argument in this opening round, and he may have the last word. Ordinarily I would insist on an artificial character count restriction to maintain fairness when an opponent has the first and last word, but in this case I don't think it's necessary.

Rules:

No semantics.

A separate page may be used for sources, but not for commentary or argumentation of any kind.

No round forfeitures.

ScottyDouglas

Con

Thanks Dave!

I accept your challenge.

I choose #8, Micro evolution is just variety within the same kind, so macro evolution is at best just a myth.

Definitions: Myth- any invented story, idea, or concept.

Micro evolution- Micro evolution refers to evolution that occurs at or below the level of species, such as a change in the gene frequency of a population of organisms or the process by which new species are created (speciation).

Macro evolution- Macro evolution refers to evolution that occurs above the level of species, such as the origin of new designs (feathers, vertebrates from invertebrates, jaws in fish), large scale events (extinction of dinosaurs), broad trends (increase in brain size in mammals), and major transitions (origin of higher-level phyla).

BOF- Burden of proof is upon both. Con is must shown that macro evolution is true and not a myth. Pro must show that macro evolution is in fact a modern myth.

I also agree to your rules and structure.

Thanks! I send it back To Dave-->
Debate Round No. 1
WriterDave

Pro

Con has defined myth as "any invented story, idea or concept." In the context of this debate, invented means something that is false. (That is not a complete definition, but a necessary condition.)


Preliminary Argument

First, but not foremost, I will present a very basic argument for macroevolution (hereafter MaE) itself.

Con, I take it, does not dispute that microevolution (hereafter MiE) has occurred, and does occur, all the time. However, the changes that occur in MiE are cumulative; they don't go away when further changes come along. We have observed these changes become so great over a number of generations that speciation has occurred in the wild, where members of what had been the same species became incapable of interbreeding.[1][2][3]

Therefore, there is a contradiction between the following four propositions:

(1) Stabilizing selection[4] has not occurred in all populations, in all physical respects, since the beginning of life.
(2) There is no genetic barrier which prevents the accumulation of so many MiE changes that MaE is achieved.
(3) The Earth is too young for MiE changes to have accumulated to macro scale.
(4) MaE has not occurred.

All four of the above propositions cannot be true; at least one must be false.

We know that (1) is true by witnessing the many instances of disruptive[5] and directional[6] selection in populations around the earth. We have every reason to believe that (2) is true, since no such mechanism has ever been identified. And we know from several methods, most directly the measuring of lead isotope ratios, that the age of the Earth is about 4.55 billion years.[7] This is more than enough time for MiE changes to accumulate to macro scale. So (3) is true.

Thus, proposition (4) must be false. MaE has occurred on Earth.

This is perhaps the most direct argument for MaE, but there is an even more compelling, and even more grand in scale, argument:


Common Descent

Common descent (hereafter CD) is the idea that all organisms on Earth are genealogically related. Cats are distant cousins of dogs, horses are distant cousins of dolphins, and we humans are very distant cousins of the bacteria inside our own bodies.

If CD is true, then MaE as Con has defined it has obviously happened on a massive scale.


A Digression on Science

CD (and MaE itself) is a scientific theory. (The word "theory" in this context does not mean "guess;" it means a body of propositions related to a particular field, such as relativity theory or music theory.) As such, it is not required to be established to an absolute certainty to be regarded as true. Stephen Jay Gould correctly defined a scientific fact as a theory that has been "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent."[8]

What's the catch? A scientific theory must be testable. This means that, based on a given theory, we must be able to make predictions about what is likely or unlikely to be true if the theory is correct. The scientific method works roughly like this:

1) Make observations.
2) Formulate hypotheses -- not from the imagination, but from induction from the observations.
3) Make predictions based on those hypotheses.
4) Confirm or deny the predictions.

If the predictions are denied, return to step 2. If they are confirmed, then the hypothesis is given a correspondingly higher degree of certainty.

For instance, we observed the planets moving in just such a manner around the sun. Based on those observations, Newton formulated the theory that bodies attract each other according to a certain formula relating to their masses. Based on this hypothesis, we predicted that an object falling on the Moon should take six times as long as on Earth -- and sure enough, that's what the Apollo astronauts discovered. If they had taken exactly as long, or twenty times as long, or if they had flown away from the Moon, Newton would be disconfirmed and we would be looking for a new theory to explain the observations of the planets.

This raises an important point. Con will no doubt try to present defeaters to MaE. However, aside from being true and logically valid, such defeaters must be contrary to predictions actually made by MaE. For instance, saying "we never see dogs giving birth to cats!" is not a defeater, since MaE does not predict that such a silly thing will occur.

Back to my own case: many predictions have been made based on CD, and these predictions have been confirmed. Here are just a few.


Evidence

(1) If CD is true, all living organisms should inherit the same basic structures which perform the functions necessary for life, namely replication, heritability, catalysis and metabolism. Sure enough, we see that out of hundreds of naturally occurring amino acids, all protein molecules are built from the same set of 22. Out of hundreds of naturally occurring polymers, all life uses only three. No life fails to use polynucleotides, polypeptides or polysaccharides, or fails to use DNA, or uses DNA without nucleic acids.[9]

There is no reason to expect this if all modern organisms, or their immediate ancestors, were created separately at the same time -- this is the notion of special creation (hereafter SC).

2) If CD is true, all species should fall into nested hierarchies. That is, we should be able to develop an objective classification scheme for all organisms. This is the case with languages; every linguist agrees, for example, that English descends from Proto-Germanic, and not from the Italic or Celtic languages.[10] Anyone who learned the phrase "kings play chess on funny green squares" in school will know that this is the case in biology as well. Here is a basic phylogenetic tree:

A basic phylogenetic tree.

(Note that "hypothetical" doesn't mean "we guess that it exists," but rather "we infer its existence.")

We see no life today that could not be classified into this tree, such as an organism that plants seeds and has a placenta, as we might expect under SC.[11]

3) If CD is true, vestiges should exist. Since a given feature of a species doesn't necessarily disappear when another species descends from it, there should be vestiges: anatomical or molecular structures that serve little or no purpose, but would serve a great purpose in another, perhaps closely related species. And sure enough, we see anatomical features such as ostrich wings, python pelvises, and the human coccyx, which is a skeletal structure that serves as the base of a tail we no longer have. We would not expect this given SC.[12]

4) If CD is true, the geographical distribution of species should be consistent with their genealogical relationships, since the Earth is dynamic and change occurs in space as well as time. What do we observe? All marsupials on the Earth are native to Australia, or to regions that were once connected to Australia. All alligators on Earth are native to eastern North America and eastern Asia, which again were once connected. We do not see cacti growing natively in Australia, for instance, or lions roaming the North American plains.[13]

5) If CD is true, transitional forms should appear in the fossil record. Given the rare circumstances under which it is possible for an organism to fossilize, we would not expect fossils of all or even most species which ever lived; but those that we do find should be consistent with the phylogenetic tree.[14] And sure enough, we have many transitional fossils. One of the most famous examples is Archaeopteryx, a species that lived millions of years ago and fits on the phylogenetic tree at the point where reptiles and birds would share a common ancestor.[15] There is no reason for this to be true under SC.

I could go on at great length, but hopefully this suffices to show that the evidence for CD is plentiful and compelling; so much so that, given awareness of the evidence, perversity is needed to deny CD, and thus to deny macroevolution.

Sources: http://www.debate.org...
ScottyDouglas

Con

PRO, Thank you for this debate.

[CLARIFICATION]- I defined myth as "an invented concept." In the context of this debate, invented does mean something that is false or not proved.

{Intro} (1) Also to note: My opponent is Pro and by that he is supporting my statement and I as Con disapprove. I add this because it is the other way around. I seek to clarify this so readers do not get that confused. (2) I state that my space is short so I do not drop anything, it will be addressed later.

[WARRANT]- As anyone can research and seek, Macro evolution is not witnessed by the human eye. Meaning, it is not completely observed in nature. By only use of observance and not estimations, One can conclude that Macro evolution is nothing more than a modern invented concept.

[Preliminary Argument]-

Let's really look at this proposition by my opponent. He states that one of the following is in fact false.

(1) Stabilizing selection has not occurred in all populations, in all physical respects, since the beginning of life.

(2) There is no genetic barrier which prevents the accumulation of so many MiE changes that MaE is achieved.

(3) The Earth is too young for MiE changes to have accumulated to macro scale.

(4) MaE has not occurred.

We can agree that (1) is true as my opponent said, because we have witnessed these instances of selection in populations.

We do have a reason to believe that (2) is true. MiE and MaE have much discussion left in this topic. All the supporting information also leans toward other possibilities and leaving (2) as being incorrect. Here you are at assumption that two similar-appearing effects are caused by the same thing.

So is (3) true? My opponent states in proposition (3) that the Earth is too young for MiE to have accumulated enough changes to cause MaE. I am confused here. Is my opponent stating that MaE has never occurred yet on earth? Thus, proposition (4) can not be verified at all and is still just a proposed concept which in fact can be viewed as a myth. Until He rebuts this I must hold off from any further explanation. Let's move on...

Common Descent

My opponent suspects that if CD is true, then MaE has obviously happened on a massive scale. I ask why? When there are other explanations that fit the same evidence.

It appears that the "evidence" for Common Descent can also be used to support competing hypotheses like convergence and Common Design or I.D. theory. So in order for Common Descent to separate itself from Common Design/I.D. and convergence it needs to explain the differences.(Wobbling Stability)

To date the only "tests" we have assume Common Descent and then show what is thought to be confirming evidence. What is needed is to test that assumption. For example the only reason we "know" that mutations can allow for upright, bipedal walking is because humans have that ability and other primates do not. And they suspect we evolved from some non-human primate.

My opponent says, "It is not required to be established to an absolute certainty to be regarded as true."

Though no one has "seen" the sort of "evolution" required in the current naturalistic theories of evolution. When we take the time to research these claims, they always seem to unravel. Random mutation and natural selection have been observed an what it is capable of, and it's not anything like what is proposed by Naturalistic or Darwinist theories.

What's the catch? Rather than have "God" offered as an alternative theory to explain certain phenomena that can't be explained without recourse to mind. "God" here is simply being offered as an entity that possesses the property the physical forces and laws lack that the obvious design manifested by the code in dna requires according to the universal observation of mankind.

Aside from being false, there is no need to make a example contrary to predictions actually made by MaE because it is merely a belief and not empirical.

[Contentions]-

(1) Speciation only occurs at the species taxon level.

Macro Evolution is the mechanism by which an original taxon may morph enough to result in newly descendant phyla or classes. In order for large change to occur, many successive steps are required. The term macro evolution was coined with its definition including speciation. Speciation typically requires numerous mutations and modification to happen before a population is so distinguished from other populations within the species that a new subspecies is generated. This being so, any evolution that occurs is always micro evolution because change originates with the scrambling of genes and alleles at a molecular level. However, there are millions of organisms presently existing and accounted for that are unicellular or so primitive that they represent organisms in clades that are found in higher taxa. These species typically do not evolve in that they are essentially highly conserved. If evolution occurred at these higher taxa levels, then all such species within those clades would be extinct. Speciation is observable, but not at all with these primitive life forms. This conflicts with evolutionary gradualism which is a required prediction. Speciation at these higher taxa levels, or macro evolution, is one of the most classic arguments ever presented by Creationists, and no evolutionist has ever been able to dispose of the challenge.

Here’s a scientific problem to solve:

Species of Protista, schizomycophyta, myxomycophtya, eumycophyta, Lichenes, protozoa, Mesozoa, Euglenophyta, Pyrrophyta, Chrysophyta, Phaeophyta, Choanoflagellates, Sarcodina, Ciliophora, Mastigophora, Amoeba, Ctenophora, cnidaria, Myxozoa, Acoelomata, bacteria, are all examples of HIGH TAXA. Most of them are single-celled organisms. Species within these classifications do not evolve. Species within these classifications remain the same species.

Necessary Condition: Show occurrence of speciation for any of the sufficient condition above^?

2) Horizontal evolution/VERTICAL evolution.

Horizontal evolution is not just micro evolution only, but it is all the variations and adaptations that take place within a species, genus, or family. What is important to note is that the variations are moving sideways, laterally. For example, there might be an infinite possible number of breeds of dogs, or hybrids of any particular life form. But a domestic dog is still just that. In this instance very little, if any, complexity is gained or lost. Variations occur, adaptations happen, even speciation takes place. But, there is no greater increase in information or complexity.

When you go up and down vertically, we are talking about increasing and decreasing complexity from primitive single-celled life forms to today’s modern complex species. The macro evolution argument is about showing evidence of the vertical evolution taking place. Bacteria continuously adapt into new strains, but all the changes are horizontal.

{TO CLOSE}-

Darwin's theory of evolution has so many flaws in it that to believe the theory is correct takes an immense amount of faith and this faith is nothing more than myth.

Thanks to my opponent.

=SOURCES=

http://www.grisda.org... http://www.mattox.com... http://plato.stanford.edu...http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu...http://jcs.biologists.org.... http://btc.montana.edu...http://www.nybiodiversity.org...http://creationwiki.org...

 

 

 

Debate Round No. 2
WriterDave

Pro

Con's case, part 1

Con states that MaE, as he defined it, being change above the species level (as opposed to speciation itself, which most people count as MaE and which has been observed in the wild) has not been directly observed. He concludes, "By only use of observance and not estimations, One can conclude that Macro evolution is nothing more than a modern invented concept (sic)."

However, in evaluating any scientific theory, there is no reason why we should limit ourselves to direct observation. No human has ever seen an atom, yet nobody disputes atomic theory. No one has observed a red dwarf star in the Virgo A galaxy, but we know they're there. In the same way, while human lifespans are too short to directly observe more than the most rudimentary MaE, we know, from the evidences already given, that it happens.


Preliminary Argument

In this argument I made a rather critical typographical error. Proposition (3) should read,

(3) The Earth is not too young for MiE changes to have accumulated to macro scale.

As for the other propositions, Con agrees that (1) is true. About (2) he is much more ambivalent; he agrees that we have reason to believe it's true, but then goes on to say that "(a)ll the supporting information" suggests that (2) is incorrect. Which is it? If Con means the latter, then he must specify what information suggests the existence of a genetic barrier which prevents the accumulation of a certain number of MiE changes in all organisms, no matter how much time passes. As it stands, we still have no reason to believe it.

As for (3), I will allow Con a chance to comment on the corrected version before commenting on its status, or that of the argument as a whole.


Common Descent

Con states, "My opponent suspects that if CD is true, then MaE has obviously happened on a massive scale. I ask why?" Because the common ancestor of all organisms would only have one taxonomic classification, from phylum on up, from which all other organisms have diverged.

Con asserts that the evidence for CD can be used to support competing hypotheses such as intelligent design (hereafter ID), defined as the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."[17] But Con does not explain how this is the case. How does ID predict all organisms on Earth using only three out of the hundreds of naturally occurring polymers? How does it predict nested hierarchies? How does it predict vestiges? How does it predict the biogeographical distribution of life? And so on. Con has given no answer. At this point, it seems that the most significant difference between CD and ID is that CD predicts the observed evidence, and ID does not.

Similarly, Con proposes that the observable evidence can be explained by "an entity that possesses the property the physical forces and laws lack that the obvious design manifested by the code in dna (sic)." Con has not shown, however, that physical forces lack the ability to create the observed characteristics of DNA.

Con mentions "wobbling stability," by which I assume he means gene populations oscillating. This is easily explained by environmental conditions oscillating.[18]

Con states that mutation and natural selection have been observed, but is "not anything like what is proposed by Naturalistic or Darwinist theories." He does not state what he means by this, however.


Another Digression on Science

An example of how the scientific method works was given in my last statement. Newton's theory of gravity predicts that, if an astronaut drops an object on the Moon, it will fall at one-sixth the rate that it falls on Earth. This is what we observed, and this gives another degree of certainty to Newtonian gravity -- not that it needed much additional confirmation by 1969, but again, had the object fallen at a different rate, or flown away from the Moon, Newton would be in trouble.

This raises another important point: we have predicted that an object dropped on the Moon should take six times as long to fall as on Earth since measuring the Earth-Moon mass ratio, which was accurately done around 1850.[19] But this prediction was not confirmed until the Apollo program. Does that mean that, for more than a century, Newtonian gravity was regarded as false? Of course not!

Thus, whether a scientific theory has been defeated depends on whether a prediction has been disconfirmed, not whether it is unconfirmed.

Disconfirmation of a scientific theory takes the following form:

(1) If theory T is true, then it makes prediction P.
(2) We observe that P is false.
(3) Therefore, theory T is disconfirmed.

The degree to which a theory is established as fact can be measured as the number and degree of such attempts at disconfirmation it has survived. Eventually it goes from "mere hypothesis" to "established fact." This is the case with CD and MaE.

So we see that Con's statement that "there is no need to make a example contrary to predictions actually made by MaE because it is merely a belief and not empirical," aside from blatantly committing the fallacy of question-begging, is a contradiction in terms. The fact that a theory makes testable predictions at all is what makes it empirical. If it made no testable predictions, it would not be empirical; it would be a matter of blind faith.

With this in mind we turn back to . . .


Evidences

In my previous statement, I listed five major predictions made by CD: (1) that all living organisms have inherited the same basic structures for replication, heritability, catalysis and metabolism, (2) that all species should fall into nested hierarchies, (3) that vestiges should exist, (4) that the geographical distribution of species should be consistent with their genealogical relationships, and (5) that transitional forms should appear in the fossil record.

All five of these predictions have been confirmed, and Con did not dispute a single one of them. CD's survival of all these opportunities for disconfirmation at a very basic level establishes CD to at least a prima facie extent; to the point where disconfirmation is needed, and Con has not identified any falsified predictions made by CD itself. Therefore, at this point in the debate, CD stands.


Con's case, part 2

Con contends that speciation is not observed in all primitive life-forms, and mentions several high taxa of prokaryotes in particular. MaE (or even MiE) does not predict such speciation in all current organisms; evolution predicts that stabilizing selection will occur when it is to a population's advantage to remain as it is. The point of MaE is that disruptive and directional evolution has occurred.[20]

In discussing "horizontal" and "vertical" evolution, Con asserts that MaE predicts an increase in complexity from prokaryotes to modern complex species. More properly, CD predicts this -- and that only if you assume that the common ancestor was a primitive life form. But it is not good enough to simply assert that such complexity never increases; Con must show this.

Read charitably, Con's attempts to disconfirm evolution via his two assertions can be read as follows:

(1) MaE predicts cross-taxa evolution among all current primitive life forms.
(2) We observe that such evolution never happens.
(3) Therefore, MaE is disconfirmed.

(1) CD predicts an increase in complexity from the common ancestor to today.
(2) We observe that such an increase has never happened.
(3) Therefore, CD is disconfirmed.

With respect to the first argument, 1 is false; MaE allows for stabilizing selection. With respect to both arguments, Con bears the burden of proving premise 2. It's not my job, any more than I must travel to every planetoid in the universe with the size and mass of the Moon and drop an object there, else Newtonian gravity is disconfirmed.


At present, the case for MaE stands. I remind Con that, by long standing DDO tradition, new arguments are not permitted in the final round.
ScottyDouglas

Con

[INTRO]- I thank Pro for this debate, it is interesting.

Pro stated that I said that I opposed speciation connected to MaE. Actually, yes I do because we have not witnessed speciation lead to MaE yet. It is known that MiE takes place and it has speciation. Were jumping into predicting from assumptions and there is no doubt about that. As Pro said, "there is no reason to limit ourselves to just direct observations," but lets predict billions of years? Let's not forget that a myth as defined is a 'invented concept, story, or idea'. The story we get from MaE is without a doubt a myth and my opponent clearly says this.

[Pro's argument]-

I understand the error by my opponent and accept it as that. I thank him for more clarification.
(1) True
(2) There is no way of knowing that both MiE and MaE use the same mechanism. And this evidence leans towards I.D. as well.
(3) My opponent has shown no evidence that the earth is old. The I.D. and creationist models show that the earth is too young for MaE to occur.
(4) This leaves us in faith that MaE is occurred. By the same evidence my opponent shown here also ties into I.D. and creationism eccept old earth. Therefore it is reasonable to believe MaE has not and will not occur.

How would new genes come into the gene pool for current species to evolve? Does MaE involve species breeding with species? Why should I have to prove that accumulations in MiE do not occur or do not cause MaE? I have already said they do and we have never seen MaE take place. My opponent must show that MaE has took place by accumulating MiE which has not yet been done by science. It can only ever be MiE taking place! We have not and will not ever see MaE take place that is why it is still a myth.

My opponent asserts that a Concept 'such as MaE' should be a given. That because it has never been disproved that it could not of happened that it DID but I do not think intelligence works this way. By this logic anyone with any theory can justify himself as fact because his theory can not be tested nor disproved. Even if there is tons of evidence in his way it does not mean it is a fact. It is funny that a massive evolution that is thought to have took place has left us with no live transitional life forms. The idea of MaE is a possibility but has not been verified to date. I remind readers that just because MaE is a possibility is not enough to claim it as 'fact' and therefore is a modern myth.

Common descent-
The scientific data indicates that MiE is a genuine product, but it does not constitute MaE- that is a morphological change that is within the taxonomic ranks. It is very reasonable for others as creationists to interpret this data as diversification sometime after the flood. This type of change can be accommodated by both evolutionist and creationist alike. As far as the terms in the origins debate this is neutral. The definitions and classifications we give for our taxonomic ranks are subjective and possibly incorrect classification.

There is a fine line between adaptation and MaE. The definition of adapt is; to adjust or modify fittingly, though the definition of evolution is; any formation or growth. These are not the same thing and are in fact alot different. This is saying that adaptation happens to modify and could lead to MaE but equally does not have to lead to MaE. This is a coin toss.

Nobody knows for certain as why the fossils are found in patterns - was it because of the naturalistic model of long ages or was it by equally natural causes by a flood? The other alternatives my opponent seeks answers for have been provided for years and are as equally scientifically proven. Between hundreds of scientific descriptions of fossils, diverse chronological patterns, even evolutionist own dating methods, all this does not match our record more accurately than creationism.

If such transitional fossils really existed, there should be billions of them in number and variety but that is not what is seen. In the origin of species, Darwin explained, "If my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking most closely all of the species of the same group together must assuredly have existed." Though there is no such record and the MaE models are fit to adjust to the new found evidence. Not to look for a alternative but just a theory adjustment. Evolutionist have been digging and searching for almost two hundred years. Despite lots of money and effort they have yet to find a adequate fossil. The fossil record shows on every occasion that living things did not evolve from primitive to complex but instead emerged in a perfect state.

I.D. claims that only intelligent causes can adequately explain our information-rich biology in life and that these causes are detectable.

[Con's argument]-

The I.D. argument is the best explanation of our complex bodies and our superior intelligence. MaE requires billions of years of life from that hundreds of other questions evolve. What caused the Big Bang? Why did it explode? How did space and dimensions exist? We could go on and on..but these basic questions have not been answered. Thus, like any true scientific theory, intelligent design theory begins with empirical observations from our natural world. Even Richard Dawkins said, "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose,"

Intelligent design directly challenges MaE and other naturalistic approaches to our origin. The specified complexity is a very reliable empirical marker of intelligence in the same way that fingerprints are a reliable empirical marker of a person's identification.

The best known design argument is by William Paley. According to Paley, "If one finds a watch in a field (and thus lacks all knowledge of how the watch arose), the adaptation of the watches parts to telling time ensures that it is the product of an intelligence. So too, according to Paley, the marvelous adaptations of means to ends in organisms ensures that organisms are the product of intelligence".

It is logically possible that a God created this world and provided no evidence for it. Though there can be for those that look plenty of reasons why the this world is designed.

(C1) Speciation only occurs at the species taxon level- My opponent basically ignored my entire argument and problem. He instead converts that MaE stops any given time it needs to.

(C2) Horizontal/Vertical evolution- In this contention I was hinting to there being dramatic crosses in the fossil record from genetics of life forms. As for the complexity always increases there are many examples for say different as- parasitic protozoa that lack vaccuoles, Cestodes lack guts and have reduced sense organs and Mycobacterium Leprae which has lost somewhere in the order of 2000 genes.

{TO CLOSE}- We can not rely on scientific methods alone. To this point the data is consistent with the I.D. and Creationist models. Studies have never falsified the creationist or I.D. models though Evolutionist models are ever changing.

SOURCES
http://www.ideacenter.org... http://www.arn.org... http://dmnp.chemnetbase.com... http://www.truth-seeker.info... http://elibrary.unm.edu... http://www.ucg.org...
Debate Round No. 3
WriterDave

Pro

Con's case, part 1

Con's incredulity that we can construct a timeline for the deep past by present observations is just that: incredulity. It is no basis for an argument. I have explained that things that are not directly observable can nonetheless be inferred and established as scientific fact, such as atoms and red dwarfs in the Virgo A galaxy. Con has not refuted this.


Preliminary Argument

With regard to proposition (2), Con states "(t)here is no way of knowing that both MiE and MaE use the same mechanism." That has nothing to do with proposition (2), which states the absence of a genetic barrier that prevents MiE changes from accumulating to macro scale. Nor does Con explain why the absence of such a barrier provides support to ID; indeed, such a barrier is often regarded as the "holy grail" of old earth creationists!

Con states that I have shown no evidence for (3). Recall, however, that in my first statement I said that the measuring of lead isotope ratios pointed to an age of the Earth of about 4.55 billion years, and provided a source to a US Geological Survey article that explained how such measurements work and their results.[21]

Con asks how new genes can come into existence. An explanation of the mechanisms involved is beyond the scope of this statement, but we have observed new genes coming into existence.[22][23] Con asks if MaE involves "species breeding with species," by which I assume he means with other species. The answer is no; MaE occurs when genetic populations change over time.

In summary: Con accepts proposition (1). He has been unable to refute (2); we have never found a genetic barrier that prevents MiE changes from accumulating beyond a given extent. He has not disputed or even addressed the evidence for (3); he merely pretends I gave none. Thus, since all four propositions cannot be true, (4) must be false. MaE has occurred.


Common Descent (and some final science)

Con complains that the way science works, "anyone with any theory can justify himself as fact because his theory can not be tested nor disproved." (sic) This is contrary to what I have explained in my first two statements. A scientific theory is by definition testable; if a theory cannot be tested, then it can be disregarded. (Although Con does not have the burden to prove creationism or ID in this debate, it is worth noting that he has presented testable predictions for neither.) A theory becomes fact when it can be tested, has been tested, and has survived so many tests that to deny it is perverse.

I have shown that CD can be tested, has been tested, and has survived enough tests to be established prima facie. Con continues to ignore most of the evidence that I have presented.

He asserts that under MaE we would expect to see "live" transitional forms. Given that 99% of all species who have ever lived are now extinct, I don't see why MaE would predict this. However, to satisfy Con, I would point to the lungfish. It's a fish, and it has lungs. (And it can walk.)[24]

Con suggests that the patterns in which we find fossils might have been caused by a flood. However, the fossil record is not sorted hydrologically; buoyant ammonites, for instance, are only found in lower strata, and dense turtles in upper strata. Creationism cannot explain the fossil patterns.

Con suggests that, under MaE, we should find "billions" of transitional fossils. Fossilization, however, is extremely rare; consider, for instance, that passenger pigeons, once numbering in the billions, only went extinct 200 years ago; but you won't find their fossils anywhere. Fossilization only happens in habitats where preservation happens very quickly, such as tar pits and river deltas, and it requires the animal to be durable enough to preserve. Moreover, fossils are routinely destroyed by geological processes -- heat, pressure, erosion, etc. -- before they are ever discovered. Thus, if we did find "billions" of transitional fossils, geological science would be turned on its head!

Con states that "(d)espite lots of money and effort (evolutionists) have yet to find a adequate fossil." However I mentioned one such fossil, Archaeopteryx, and Con did not find any inadequacy with that, nor with the other fossils mentioned in the source I provided for this argument.[25]

Con states, "I.D. claims that only intelligent causes can adequately explain our information-rich biology in life and that these causes are detectable." But is this a scientific claim, or a statement of faith? More on this below.

In any case, Con still does not address the evidence for CD that I presented in my first statement. Except for the jabs that I addressed above, he ignores transitional fossils. He completely ignores the inheritance of basic structures for replication, nested hierarchies, vestiges, and biogeographical distribution. The case for CD stands firm.

Con's case, part 2

With respect to the two arguments against MaE that Con presented, I pointed out that (a) MaE does not predict cross-taxa evolution among all current primitive life forms, (b) Con has not shown that such evolution never happens, and (c) Con has not shown that increases in complexity has never happened.

This remains the case in Con's last statement. He accuses me of ignoring his first argument, but I have addressed it by showing that the first premise is false and the second is unsupported. In support of his second argument, he gives an example of an organism that has lost genetic material, but this is not the same as showing that life never gains complexity. Moreover, if by complexity Con simply means genetic material, then I have already shown that novel genetic material coming into existence has been directly observed.[26]

Con complains that evolution does not explain what caused the Big Bang, why it "exploded" (in fact, it was an expansion), and how space and dimensions exist. These are cosmological questions. MaE is a biological theory, and has no obligation to explain things outside of its purview, any more than gravity must explain why nobody has green hair.

Con states that ID "begins with empirical observations from our natural world." But that is only the first step of the scientific method, which I outlined above. The second and third steps are to form a hypothesis, and to make testable predictions based on that hypothesis. What testable predictions does ID make?

Testability means potential falsification; if we found a mammalian fossil in the Precambrian strata, for instance, then Common Descent would be falsified. What yet-undiscovered fact about the world can we look at and say, "If we discover that this is wrong, then ID is falsified?" What will creationists accept as potential falsification? No answer is forthcoming.

Con cites Paley's watchmaker argument, but does not explain how the existence of a "divine watchmaker" rules out the fact of MaE; indeed, most evolutionists in the US are theists! He states that the existence of God is logically possible, but neither science nor the readers of this debate are interested in what is merely logically possible, but in what is established by the evidence.


Conclusion

Arguments: I have shown that MaE and CD are confirmed by the evidence. My arguments have been undamaged, and in the case of CD mostly untouched, by Con's efforts. Con has not come close to meeting his own burden of proof.

Sources: Most of my sources have been scientific studies, while all of Con's sources have been websites; many of these were partisan websites such as CreationWiki or ARN.

Spelling/Grammar: While I made a critical typo in my round 2 statement, this is an exception for me; Con has made far too many spelling and/or grammatical errors to ignore.

Conduct: As of this statement, neither of us have committed a gross breach of conduct.

I thank the readers for their attention. I thank ScottyDouglas for the debate, and hope that it will have proven educational for him.

Sources: http://www.debate.org...
ScottyDouglas

Con

ScottyDouglas forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MouthWash 4 years ago
MouthWash
Just noticed that it should be Western North America, not Eastern.
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
Not a problem, WD. Is there any thing else you want me to analyze in the debate for you?
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
This was enjoyable to read.
Posted by WriterDave 4 years ago
WriterDave
While Scotty did forfeit the debate by not posting a final round, I am grateful to all who have voted so far for giving an RFD that goes above and beyond that. Please continue to do so.
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
WD wins the arguments hands down. WD has shown that MaE and CD are confirmed by the evidence. Moreover, his arguments have not been refuted and have been "attacked" by misrepresentation of the scientific data. Moreover, Con did not show that MaE and CD are just "myths". Also, his forfeiture of the final round speaks volumes in terms of how he does not want to face the evidence.
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
For sources, I give WD the source point as his sources came from reputable scientific sources rather than a ton of creationism nonsense. For the record, SD, don't use sites like http://creationwiki.org... as they are totally unreliable :D WriterDave uses tons of reputable sources.

==Continued==
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
This was a clear victory for pro right from the very beginning.

CONDUCT: Con loses the conduct point for misrepresenting the scientific position time and time again throughout this debate. He loses conduct for the forfeit as well.

S/G: Con did not have very good spelling/grammar. For example, let's take a look at this paragraph:

What's the catch? Rather than have "God" offered as an alternative theory to explain certain phenomena that can't be explained without recourse to mind. "God" here is simply being offered as an entity that possesses the property the physical forces and laws lack that the obvious design manifested by the code in dna requires according to the universal observation of mankind.

dna should be DNA all caps as it is an acronym. Also:

"Random mutation and natural selection have been observed an what it is capable of, and it's not anything like what is proposed by Naturalistic or Darwinist theories."

This should read: "Random mutations and natural selection have been observed at what is capable of, and it's not anything like what is proposed by Naturalistic or Darwinist theories."

Final example:

"(4) This leaves us in faith that MaE is occurred. By the same evidence my opponent shown here also ties into I.D. and creationism eccept old earth. Therefore it is reasonable to believe MaE has not and will not occur."

This should say "By the same evidence my opponent shown here also ties into I.D. and creationism except old earth."

I finally give pro grammar point as it is hard to follow Scotty's sources.

==Continued==
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
SD, we are all waiting on an answer.
Posted by WriterDave 4 years ago
WriterDave
MS, watched the video. Interesting stuff; I didn't know that Haldane had coined a unit.

Scotty, if you watched the video, and if MS is incorrect that you missed the point of the video, then what was the point of the video?
Posted by ScottyDouglas 4 years ago
ScottyDouglas
No I did not. You apply assumption beofre you watched it. I did not.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
WriterDaveScottyDouglasTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: ScottyDouglas forfeited. Also, his spelling and grammar was not up to par with WriterDave's. WriterDave also used better sources, plus ScottyDouglas's arguments were horrible (watchmaker, The Big Bang).
Vote Placed by bluesteel 4 years ago
bluesteel
WriterDaveScottyDouglasTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit. Pro had better sources and grammar. Con never refutes why we all have DNA or vestigial organs. Con's arguments boil down to the enlightened "I've never SEEN an ape turn into a human." His only real attack on evolution was that there aren't enough fossils, but Pro easily handles that. Fossilization is rare. Con doesn't even defend design, such as explaining how a flood explains why certain animals are found in only certain places. Did Noah throw them out of the boat at different times?
Vote Placed by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
WriterDaveScottyDouglasTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Landslide. Analysis in comments.