Evolution (Pro) vs Intelligent Design (Con)
In this debate, as Pro, I intend to argue that humans came about from Evolution by Natural Selection. My opponent, as Con, will intend to argue that humans came about from "Intelligent Design" or "Creationism."
Intelligent Design: certain features of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection
Creationism: the belief that living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, as in the biblical account, rather than by natural processes such as evolution
Evolution: the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth
Natural Selection: the process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring
It’s Christmas and I’m with my family so I’ll try to make this short, sorry.
In the 19th century, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck proposed his theory of the transmutation of species, the first fully formed theory of evolution. In 1858, Charles Darwin published a new evolutionary theory that was explained in Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859).
“Scientists have discovered a wealth of evidence concerning human evolution, and this evidence comes in many forms. Thousands of human fossils enable researchers and students to study the changes that occurred in brain and body size, locomotion, diet, and other aspects regarding the way of life of early human species over the past 6 million years. Millions of stone tools, figurines and paintings, footprints, and other traces of human behavior in the prehistoric record tell about where and how early humans lived and when certain technological innovations were invented. Study of human genetics show how closely related we are to other primates – in fact, how connected we are with all other organisms – and can indicate the prehistoric migrations of our species, Homo sapiens, all over the world. Advances in the dating of fossils and artifacts help determine the age of those remains, which contributes to the big picture of when different milestones in becoming human evolved.”
If you can find fossil evidence, or any kind of evidence to prove that God created life, it would be wonderful to make that evidence visible for us.
Evolution by Natural Selection, is a long process that takes millions of years to see significant change. This process is disrupted in human life today since we no longer live in a ‘state of nature.’ But in a ‘state of nature,’ you would agree that the human with bad eyesight, or bad athletic ability would be more likely to be killed by a predator. Since these human’s do not survive as well, they are usually killed, and unable to pass on those genes. Therefore the organisms better suited to their environment live, and pass on those genes. So as time progresses, frogs start to have longer and longer legs, lions with sharper teeth, etc. Over millions and millions of years these slight changes add up and you notice significant changes.
So I couldn’t write more but I’m really busy. Thank you very much, back to you Con!
Before I begin, I'd like to clarify that there is no burden of proof for either side here. According to Round 1 parameters, we are seeking the "best explanation" of life. This debate is therefore focused on an inference to the best explanation, not deductive proof.
Also, I will not be arguing within a specifically Christian/Biblical framework. I will simply be advocating a generalized Theistic Intelligent Design (I.D.)
My claim is that life in the observed universe is best (best = most probable, most complete, most satisfying, and least extravagant) explained by Intelligent Design. Alright, let's get started.
First, I agree with everything my opponent wrote in their opening argument, so I have no rebuttals to offer. I do not dispute the evidence of fossils showing slight changes in organisms over time. I do not dispute the fact that Natural Selection favors the survival of the fittest traits.
However..... Pro's argument falls far short of the topic at hand. When faced with the question "How is life in the universe best explained?" Pro answers that fossils indicate humans changed body sizes and diets, frogs got longer legs, and lions got sharper teeth. Basically, Pro says "life exists because living things change over time." Pro is essentially giving a circular response by assuming life already exists in their answer.
To truly address this topic, we must dive deeper. Before living things can begin changing/evolving, life must first rise from non-life. And in order for that to happen, life-permitting conditions must exist in the universe. It's not enough for Pro to point to fossils and say "see? They change!" Pro must ultimately explain how the evolutionary model accounts for life evolving from non-living compounds and how the universe contains life permitting conditions.
== Argument ==
Before starting my argument, we must first establish that the universe had a finite beginning. Both logic and scientific evidence has shown that the universe cannot be infinite. Logically, if an infinite sequence of past events needed to occur in order to arrive at this present moment, then we could never actually arrive at this present moment because it's impossible to complete an infinite sequence of events. Scientifically, the theorem developed by cosmologist and professor of evolutionary science Alexander Vilenkin mathematically proves that the universe "cannot have an eternal past" and therefore must have had a finite beginning .
Given that the universe had a beginning, there are only 3 possible explanations for the origins of the universe as we observe it: physical necessity, chance, or design (If Pro can think of a 4th, they are welcome to include it).
Physical necessity - There is no logical or empirical evidence to suggest the universe exists out of necessity. I fully realize that a simple lack of evidence is not a good reason to totally reject a proposal (Argument from Ignorance), but we are looking for the BEST explanation here, and I submit that an explanation for which there is no evidence is not the best.
Chance - This is a viable option, but it's so astoundingly improbable that it cannot offer the best explanation. Roger Penrose of Oxford University calculated that the probability of the universe's low entropy condition developing by chance alone is 1:10^10(123).  This is an unbelievably inconceivable number - a probability so small that it certainly flirts with the definition of impossible. I look forward to Pro explaining why we should accept such improbability as the "best" solution to how life formed.
Design - Flipping Penrose's ratio around, there is therefore a 10^10(123) to 1 probability that the universe did NOT arise by chance, i.e., design is vastly more probable. But beyond probability, there are logical reasons to accept design as the best explanation for life: First, something cannot come from nothing, and nothing cannot cause something. Since we have already established that the universe (i.e., everything that exists) had a finite beginning, it means by definition that nothing must have existed before the universe. Therefore, if we accept the chance explanation, we must accept that nothing somehow caused everything by chance. However, since nothing cannot cause something, the most logical explanation is there must have been an intelligent cause. Next, all the scientific evidence we have available today indicates that life cannot come from non-life (abiogenesis). Many experiments have attempted to do it, and some have succeeded in forming basic proteins, but none have produced life. We do, however, know for a fact that life can produce other life, and that conscious beings can produce other conscious beings. As such, I submit that design is the better explanation for life's origins.
To conclude, Pro's argument about evolutionary change is spot on.... but it only explains how life changes after it is already alive and exists in a complex form. Pro must explain the whole story - how life begins to evolve without design in the first place - which must include how life rose from non-life and how the universe was created from nothing.
Looking forward to the next round.
I congratulate you on that excellent response Con. It is an argument that has made me think, thank you very much for that.
“To conclude, Pro's argument about evolutionary change is spot on.... but it only explains how life changes after it is already alive and exists in a complex form. Pro must explain the whole story - how life begins to evolve without design in the first place - which must include how life rose from non-life and how the universe was created from nothing.”
Okay well this debate is about evolution, not the Big Bang, so I don’t think I will be going into detail on that. Evolution is more about how life evolved, not the origin of life. Throughout your whole response, you say that I have to show the how life first came about. That’s a different topic, I’m attempting to explain that life evolved over time to the life forms there are today.
As reading through your response, it’s all about me having to prove that life was not created by an intelligent designer. Evolution is not about that; your entire argument is false. Prove to me that life did not evolve over time.
However, the points I brought up in Round 2 are completely legitimate within this topic. According to Pro's Round 1 definition of "Intelligent Design," I was challenged to show how life is "best explained" through I.D. I assumed this challenge also applied to Pro by showing how life is "best explained" through evolution. Thus, my point about seeking the best explanation. I am not asking my opponent to prove anything, I'm simply asking them to offer a complete explanation.
From my point of view, a complete explanation needs to account for the entire evolutionary process - from single celled bacteria to Beethoven. But before that, it must also explain how that bacteria transitioned from non-life through a process of chance + matter + time. Ultimately, Pro must therefore start at the beginning with how the universe came to be through an "undirected process."
Since my opponent is arguing against a position that claims "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth..." then I think it's only fair to ask Pro to give their own account of how the heavens and the earth were created. Evolution must be able to account for the whole process in order to be a complete theory.
If Pro wants to continue, I invite them to pick up where we left off with their rebuttals to my opening argument. Otherwise, thanks for this fun discussion.
Ok, I’ll take the challenge.
I’ll start at the Big Bang. This theory was first thought of when Edwin Hubble was looking through his telescope. He noticed that as time progressed, all of the galaxies were moving farther and farther away from one another. This is commonly referred to as Red Shift. If you scroll along the timeline, galaxies are moving farther and farther away from one another, so if you scroll back on the timeline, then all of matter had to have been, in one spot (not nothing). According to evidence, observation, mathematics and reason this has to have happened. This is the essence of the Big Bang Theory. Now the scientists researched it more and more. They found background radiation, The Big Bang theory not only predicts that this glow should appear, but also that it should be visible as microwaves. Much more evidence has risen as cosmologists continue to learn about the origin of the universe, in the future there will probably be much more evidence found to back up the Big Bang. I will not explore the other evidences for I have described the essence of it. There is no evidence to back-up that a divine being decided to create the universe, but there is to the Big Bang.
Now to the origin of life. According to astronomers, this universe holds more than 100 billion galaxies. In our galaxy alone, there are thought to be more than 8.8 billion Earth-like habitable planets. So assuming that each galaxy holds at least 8.8 billion habitable planets. If you do the math: 8,800,000,000X 100,000,000,000= 8,800,000,000,000,000,000,000!
There then, is an estimate of 8,800,000,000,000,000,000,000 habitable planets in the universe. This obviously is a very rough estimate; the big idea is there is a LOT of habitable planets. Over BILLIONS and BILLIONS of years the chances increase of life happening. Today we don’t know how life first started, but there are many different ideas.
Among these is the ‘Slimy Soup Theory’ According to this theory, life began in a pool of water on Earth. Life started in a pool that was rich with the kinds of chemicals needed to make life. Then maybe a bolt of lightning hit the pool, or something happened to create life. This seems improbable, but out of the 8,800,000,000,000,000,000,000 habitable planets and this chemical reaction could happen any second, over billions and billions of years, this could definitely happen. It’s like buying a ticket in a lottery every second for billions of years. Every second a winner is found, but the probability is extremely low. But after billions of years, it is probable this should happen.
This first organism probably grew through cell division. Since we know the early Earth was mostly ocean, the first organisms were in the ocean. The faster fish had a higher probability of surviving and passing on their genes to their offspring. Fossils show some fish able to flop from one pond to another if the pond they used to dwell in loses the resources available for life. The fish with longer fins were more likely to make it to the next pond faster and survive. Longer fins started to evolve to limbs and we see land animals. This process goes on and on until all creatures are present today (and Beethoven. Fossils show early ape skulls slowly becoming more and more human. As we continue to study this, more evidence is found to back it up. It is a hard concept to understand. Especially when you look at a bird, and then at a single celled organism and try to understand that a bird came from that single cell. Or a human was once a fish like creature. It is hard to understand, but why should it not? A concept as beautiful and complicated as life itself should have a complicated answer. Not as easy as a single divine being just decided to create it because it can.
"’In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...’ then I think it's only fair to ask Pro to give their own account of how the heavens and the earth were created. Evolution must be able to account for the whole process in order to be a complete theory.”
I have just done that, but I thought you weren’t going to go on the Bible.
“I will not be arguing within a specifically Christian/Biblical framework”
Yet you cite specific evidence from it. Since you mentioned it, I will argue it. According to Hebrew mythology, the Earth is only 6,000 years old. From when God created Adam and Eve, going through their entire ancestry to Jesus when Jesus died and then adding 2,014 years, it comes around to about 6,000 years. This is a fact, how can Hebrew mythology be correct if there is a 9,550 year old tree called, Old Tjikko. Explain to me from a Theistic mythological perspective on how the Earth is only 6,000 years old. I know you didn’t want to argue from only a Christian perspective, but you used it in your argument so I have to argue against it.
I am enjoying this debate and look forward to next round.
Pro did not cite any sources, so I cannot directly examine where their information came from. Nevertheless, I will try to respond as best I can.
== Rebuttals ==
1. The Big Bang: I do not dispute Big Bang happened, because it's compatible with both evolution and I.D. I agree that we observe galaxies moving away from each other, and I agree that indicates they were all contained in one spot initially. But this observation does not answer the original question of "first cause." Even if all the matter was once "in one spot," it still had to come from somewhere. Where did matter come from? What caused it to explode?
Pro says that the condensed matter before the Big Bang means there wasn't nothing before the universe. How can this be? If the universe is everything, then by definition, nothing must have existed before it. It's difficult to imagine anything prior to the universe's existence that is not quite nothing but also not quite something. I invite Pro to further explain their point on this.
I believe the following logic is sound:
"Nothing" = the absence of all things, literally "no thing."
The universe contains all things.
The universe cannot have an infinite past.
Therefore, the universe had a finite beginning.
Therefore, nothing existed prior to the universe's beginning.
Conclusion: Nothing created the universe
But how can this be possible? Nothing cannot create something, and something cannot create itself. The only logical explanation is that an intelligent cause outside of space/time/matter set things in motion. The Big Bang does not remotely discredit Intelligent Design.
2. Origin of Life: Assuming that the Big Bang was caused by chance from nothing, Pro moves on to the estimated number of habitable planets in the universe. They correctly call it a "very rough estimate.". The truth is that scientists simply do not know. Numbers like 8.8 billion are just mathematical simulations. They are not observed or verified results. In fact, as of last year only 3,548 possible "earth-like" planets have been found, "earth-like" being defined simply as having a similar radius, temperature, and mass to Earth.  That's a very liberal definition of earth-like, because some scientists estimate there are hundreds of variables needed to make a planet suitable for life.
Pro then discusses the probability of life developing by chance (again, assuming that there actually are 8,800,000,000,000,000,000,000 earth-like planets). However, I return to the original probability for the universe to exist in the first place: 1 in 10^10(123). To truly grasp the impossibility of this number, that is 1 followed by more zeros than there are particles in the universe. In other words, if you tried to express this number by writing a zero on each particle in the universe, you would run out of atoms before running out of zeros.  I maintain that such an impossible probability cannot be the best explanation of life. As my opponent so perfectly said themselves - "Today we don't know how life first started."
3. Slimy Soup Theory: Is it any less logical to accept the possibility of a divine power than to believe that lightning struck a "slimy soup" and accidentally created life? No. In fact, I submit that it's more logical - because if all that life requires is a chemical soup and electricity then that would be a rather easy experiment to verify. And yet, all attempts have failed. The lottery example is only valid if there actually is a winning ticket.... and as of yet, science cannot demonstrate that a winning ticket exists. And again, if Penrose's calculations are even roughly accurate, then there aren't enough available tickets in the universe to beat the odds anyway.
4. Flopping Fish: I tried to find the species Pro is referring to, but since they did not site their source I cannot. In this specific example, I have several questions: How can a fossil show that a long-extinct species that has never been observed can jump clear from one pond to the next? Even if they could, it's difficult to imagine two distinct ponds with independent resource systems that are close enough together for a fish to jump between them. And even then, how could a fish who is unaware of the other pond's existence know to jump into it? And if it's a pond, how are those flopping fish genes propagated universally, since a pond, by definition, is an isolated body of water?
I don't dispute the fact that similar species undergo small changes - we obviously know that things like skull size, hair length, and bone density can change. But that only shows how organisms who are already alive and who already exist in a complex form change. It does not account for how life can emerge from non-life or how simple organisms can become unfathomably complex.
Finally, Pro says "a concept as beautiful and complicated as life itself should have a complicated answer."...... No, it shouldn't. At least, it does not follow that a complicated effect must have a complicated cause. For example, I think it's reasonable to say that a computer is a fairly complex machine. If you walk into your room and find your computer on, it's possible that the air pressure outside suddenly dropped, causing a large gust of wind that picked up dust, which blew through your window causing a static electric shock in your room that suddenly caused you're computer's power to boot on. Or, it's possible that your wife walked in and pushed the power button. Both are technically possible, but the latter is far more likely. This is the concept of Occam's Razor - complex ideas do not necessarily need complex explanations.
I did quote the Bible, but that sentence is not unique to Christianity - all Intelligent Design theories essentially claim that a god created the heavens and the earth in the beginning. I chose that quote simply because it's familiar to most people. I did not mean for it to indicate a support for young earth creationism (because I do not support it). I can see how that may have been confusing, my apologies.
I wish to keep my distance from the Bible because of the unnecessary stereotypes it brings in. Many people dismiss I.D. as ridiculous because they picture it as belief in a cosmic old man in a toga with a flowing white beard - and I agree such a belief is ridiculous. If god exists he almost certainly is not an old man with a beard. Rather, the concept of "god" is better understood as an all-powerful and all-intelligent force beyond the limits of space/time/matter. When considered in this way, god does not seem so far fetched.
== Conclusion ==
We are searching for the best explanation of life. Pro's explanation contains several phases of evolution:
1. Nothing evolves into everything (Universe explodes into existence)
2. Everything evolves into a few finely-tuned life supporting environments
3. Non-life evolves into life
4. Simple life evolves into complex life
5. Complex life evolves into more complex life
Pro can make a very strong case for #5, and can at least provide an explanation for #4. But that is where the theory stops. Pro has no answer for points 1, 2, or 3. So we see that as the evolution theory is applied farther and farther into the past, as indeed it must be, it becomes weaker and weaker. It must embrace both astronomical improbabilities and unnecessary extravagances (such as the existence of a multiverse or extraterrestrial panspermia) to explain the origins of life.
Conversely, the theory of Intelligent Design offers a satisfyingly complete explanation that's just as (if not more) probable and vastly less extravagant than evolution.
Since I.D. offers a simple and complete explanation and evolution offers a complex incomplete one, I.D. is the better explanation of the two.
Silly me, I forgot to do citations. My bad.
“Rather, the concept of "god" is better understood as an all-powerful and all-intelligent force beyond the limits of space/time/matter. When considered in this way, god does not seem so far fetched.”
This is an opinion and does seem far-fetched in my opinion. There is no evidence to support your theory of an all-powerful being existing so why should you believe it?
If I came up to you and told you that leprechauns made the universe and knows every single fact ever, that they can transcend time and space and matter, knows the future, present and past, created everything, is infinite, you would think this crazy. The only reason a sane person would believe this would be through evidence of its existence. That is hopefully the only reason a sane person would believe this. Like fossil evidence, video sightings etc. But there is no evidence. So why should you believe this? Now go up to the top line and reread the sentence, except take out leprechauns and replace it will “God.” It’s the same. In this thought game you exchange two different words into the definition and they both still fit. When you read it as leprechauns, it seems crazy, yet when you substitute in God, it seems different yet it is the same. Why believe in God? I hope this game has dawned realization.
“But this observation does not answer the original question of "first cause." Even if all the matter was once "in one spot," it still had to come from somewhere. Where did matter come from? What caused it to explode?”
Brilliant question. There is substantial evidence that the Big Bang happened as we both agree it did, but why did it explode. There is no answer to that question yet. If you want to believe that God ‘set it off’ that is fine for I cannot prove otherwise right now. Since science has not figured out or found any evidence, then any kind of myth can fill the gap. Just remember that there is no evidence at all to prove your point and God can be easily substituted for; unicorn, leprechaun, Zeus, all of them can be substituted for your God and it would make just as much sense. So you kind of win here, until actual evidence comes out, you are entitled to believe whatever you want did it.
The rest of your response is the same until argument 2.
First paragraph doesn’t have any real arguments, just good information except for making clear that it was an estimate as I understand it was.
“Pro then discusses the probability of life developing by chance (again, assuming that there actually are 8,800,000,000,000,000,000,000 earth-like planets). However, I return to the original probability for the universe to exist in the first place: 1 in 10^10(123). To truly grasp the impossibility of this number, that is 1 followed by more zeros than there are particles in the universe. In other words, if you tried to express this number by writing a zero on each particle in the universe, you would run out of atoms before running out of zeros.  I maintain that such an impossible probability cannot be the best explanation of life. As my opponent so perfectly said themselves - "Today we don't know how life first started."
After careful examination, I realize that my opponent does not argue about the origin of life at all. My opponent tries to defeat natural origins of life, but defeats it by arguing about the Big Bang.
“However, I return to the original probability for the universe to exist in the first place: 1 in 10^10(123)”
So instead of arguing my point, my opponent actually argues the Big Bang again with their “probability” equation.
“I maintain that such an impossible probability cannot be the best explanation of life.”
But this is the probability of the Big Bang, not life. I hope that my opponent did not purposely try to deceive and evade this point. My opponent probably didn’t, but still. In your next response, please rebut the subject of the origin of life not with the Big Bang and explain, please.
Is it any less logical to accept the possibility of a divine power than to believe that lightning struck a "slimy soup" and accidentally created life?
Yes. Now the humongous number that I calculated was rough, but the idea is; that the universe is vast and holds billions, upon billions of planets, I hope you agree. Now as time progresses, though billions of years, a vast amount of time, the chance of this pool being created is on a planet is very probable. Then the chance of a thunderstorm occurring that strikes this pool is very low. But over billions upon billions of years and billions and billions of planets the chance of this happening is high. And it happened on one of those planets, and we call it Earth.
“It's difficult to imagine anything prior to the universe's existence that is not quite nothing but also not quite something.”
Sounds like your transcending time/space/matter God.
And I do not have I point on this. Mathematically all of matter would have had to be in one spot. It is a fact and I have no position on it.
“The lottery example is only valid if there actually is a winning ticket.... and as of yet, science cannot demonstrate that a winning ticket exists.”
In my analogy, winning ticket was; life being created. Sorry if that wasn’t clear earlier.
“Flopping Fish: I tried to find the species Pro is referring to, but since they did not site their source I cannot. In this specific example, I have several questions: How cans a fossil show that a long-extinct species that has never been observed can jump clear from one pond to the next? Even if they could, it's difficult to imagine two distinct ponds with independent resource systems that are close enough together for a fish to jump between them. And even then, how could a fish who is unaware of the other pond's existence know to jump into it? And if it's a pond, how are those flopping fish genes propagated universally, since a pond, by definition, is an isolated body of water?”
The fish I was referring to is called a tetrapod. Archeologists have found ancient fossils of it. The rest is based off inference. We know that this fish hopped from pond to pond, so we can infer that it did so for resources and gained an evolutionary advantage. The fish with longer fins, and able to survive out of water longer had a better chance of making it to the next pond. Eventually we can infer they chose to stay on land for advantages such as food or such. This evolutionary process, proven through evidence, continues until the creatures we are today. You can answer all of your questions that you are confused on, on your own.
“It does not account for how life can emerge from non-life or how simple organisms can become unfathomably complex.”
If you understand the evolutionary process, then you would understand how simple organisms can become complex. An example is sperm. It attaches onto the egg, and that egg eventually becomes a complex human being. A simple organism such as a sperm can become unfathomably complex as you will.
1.Nothing evolves into everything (Universe explodes into existence)
I will answer 1, 2, and 3.
On number one, you seem to be referring to the Big Bang, but the Big Bang did not evolve. There is evidence that it happened, and that it exploded, it did not evolve. And there wasn’t nothing, matter was a very tiny spec, but not nothing. This question is incorrect.
On number 2 I assume you are referring to biomes, or ecosystems. I think that is what you meant so I will reply accordingly. If life was put in the desert with temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Then life would evolve to suit that environment. That is the beauty of life, or natural selection, life will evolve to suit its environment, and has been proven time and time again.
On number 3, I’m confused on this one also. I assume you are referring to the slimy soup theory. If you remember the definition in the beginning it was about organisms evolving from simper organisms. It has nothing to do with the first living thing. Assuming this is a fallacy, Theory of Evolution is a separate theory from Slimy Soup Theory. So this question is incorrect also.
“It must embrace both astronomical improbabilities and unnecessary extravagances (such as the existence of a multiverse or extraterrestrial panspermia) to explain the origins of life.”
Evolution is not about the origin of life. I defined it in the beginning. I went out of my way to take on the challenge and do that. The multiverse has nothing to do with evolution either.
“Conversely, the theory of Intelligent Design offers a satisfyingly complete explanation that's just as (if not more) probable and vastly less extravagant than evolution.
I hope we are not trying to determine who explains it better, for that is basically an opinion. If we were trying to explain it better I would go with the leprechaun theory so we don’t have to deal with the confusing truth. So if you’re stating that God makes more sense, that’s an opinion, I could say leprechauns make the most sense, but neither leprechauns nor your God have any evidence or proof.
I know I mentioned this in the first round, but I meant who makes more sense based off evidence, sorry if this was misleading.
Since this is my last response, this conclusion summarizes my entire argument.
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Carl Sagan
(Rest in comments)
Pro accused me of holding a position for which there is no evidence. Yet I brought up the Big Bang and non-life to life transition to show thar Pro is doing the same thing. Evolution has evidence to prove that living things change in slight ways over time, and I do not dispute that. But that is not an explanation for the origins of life. When asked how evolution accounts for life arising in the first place, Pro is forced to shrug shoulders and admit "we dont know." There is no evidence that the Slimy Soup Theory is true. There is no evidence that life can accidentally arise after billions of years other than it "seems" like it "should" be possible. If I am guilty of accepting an origin theory without evidence, then my opponent is as well.
But I am not guilty. There is evidence for god. Not the least of which is that we know it's mathematically impossible for the universe to have an infinite past. Even if the matter was "all in one spot" it must have been created at some finite point. This is strong evidence for the existence of an infinite power outside of space/time. Furthermore, the improbability that the universe (and therefore life) formed and evolved by chance is a number with more zeros than there are atoms in the universe. Any reasonable person would have to admit the impossibility of this option, which demands that we must consider design. Saying "god did it" is not the same as saying Zeus or Leprechauns did, because we can climb to the top of Mt. Olympus and see that Zeus is not there, and we can observe the end of a rainbow and see there is no pot of gold.
In regards to "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," Carl Sagan would do well to remember that raw chance and evolution is actually the extraordinary claim, given that the vast majority of humanity has and still does accept Intelligent Design. Perhaps thats why he was, by his own admission, not an atheist.
Thanks to Pro for a good debate. I apologize if it did not take the direction they wanted it to, but I hope it was fun and interesting nonetheless.