The Instigator
SX23
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
J.Kenyon
Pro (for)
Winning
52 Points

Evolution: The ramfications of multiple mutations And the necessity for Informatio.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/30/2010 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,241 times Debate No: 12866
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (47)
Votes (8)

 

SX23

Con

Despite the current beliefs on the Evolution theory, this one's is not as stable as we were lead to believe. The following arguments are quite logic and do no require any specific scientific knowledge apart from bases in anatomy and biology.
The basis of the theory clearly state a starting point from where a mutation occurs and cause radical or simples changes in the individual. Due to Darwin lack of recent knowledge into anatomy, specifically the way that organs interact with each others, his mistakes are quite easy to understand. What we have come to learn recently is that no "simple" physical mutation may occur without a disregard to specifics from the said mutations or another organ that might be linked.
As a quick example to help understand what I mean:
If having a third arm would help to one's species survival and that some day, an individual would have one, he would therefore need new nerves connection to his brain that would fit EXACTLY the new arm, (Which would need to be a separate mutation, as nerves and arms are quite separated in the DNA) And then he would need new entries into the brain to "acknowledge" the new arm, which would require a new mutation (As again, brain functions and arm's are quite separated) and from now on, he would also need new ligaments and et cetera. As one's could imagine, the probability for all those mutations to concur into one's body and to "fit" with each other, not to mention that even with billions of years of tries, the fact that one's mutation without the others would render the 1st mutation useless is even more detrimental to the probabilities. And those are quite slim. So slim that mathematically speaking, we do have an appellation for it: Impossible.

My second point is referring to information. Most of you would agree that this one's needs to be generated by an intelligent organism, both for the encoding mechanism and for the decoding one, along with the fact that plain matter cannot create information.
Then again, most of you would agree to the fact that the DNA possess information which is decoded by ribosomes. However, information cannot be created by matter, and such as, do need an intelligent source. As the sole source on Earth known to be able to do something that might approach some day the DNA complexity and information is the human, and that is impossible that humanity, time's paradoxes forbid, is the source to humanity, or evolution for that matter, we must conclude that a form of intelligence have preceded us. And no matter what is that source, in each case it involves exterior involvement in the creation of life, leading into a falsified, or at least incomplete evolution theory.
Cordially,
SX23.
J.Kenyon

Pro

I thank my opponent, SX23 for initiating this debate. Unfortunately, it appears my opponent does not properly understand several key facets of evolution. I'll do my best to clear this up as well as provide my own arguments in support of the resolution. Hopefully, by the end of the debate we can arrive at a consensus.

=========
REBUTTALS
=========

C1 - Irreducible Complexity

CON's first argument is based on biochemist Michael Behe's contention that certain organ systems are sufficiently well-matched, with mutually interacting parts performing specific functions in such a way that the removal of any one of the parts would cause the system to cease functioning.[1]

Supposedly irreducibly complex systems, such wings or arms, evolve through useful intermediates. This is called the Mullerian Two-Step, named after Nobel Prize winning geneticist H.J. Muller. A feathered animal with no wings may not be able to fly, but the feathers are good for other things, such as insulation or trapping insects. The same could be said of wings without feathers, however they could work for gliding from tree to tree. Each trait evolves independently for different purposes, but they may later become co-opted. The wings and the feathers used in conjunction make sustained flight possible.[2]

C2 - Abiogenesis

Herein lies the misunderstanding. CON argues that life cannot come from non-living things. This has nothing to do with the process of of evolution, which merely explains changes in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation after life has already been formed.[3] What my opponent alludes to is an unrelated topic called abiogenesis.[4]

=========
CASE PRO
=========

There is a staggering amount of evidence for evolution, but I will be focusing on two simple, but powerful examples that fit in perfectly with an evolutionary model, but pose serious explanatory problems for Young-Earth Creationists.

C1 - Vestigial Structures

Many animals have nonfunctioning evolutionary remnants. Snakes have vestigial pelvises. The pelvis is detached from the vertebrae and simply floats in the abdominal cavity, serving no purpose. This fits perfectly with the evolutionary belief that snakes descended from earlier, legged reptiles. Certain beetles have useless wings tucked beneath fused wing covers. Dandelions reproduce without pollination, yet retain both pollen and flower.[5] It's difficult to imagine why an omniscient creator would bother to make such useless structures, yet easy to understand from an evolutionary perspective.

C2 - Observed Instances of Speciation

Even at low concentration, copper is toxic to many plants. The Yellow Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus), however, produced offspring with a tolerance to the metal. When researched attempted to crossbreed the copper resistant flower with the non-copper resistant flower, the offspring was found to be inviable. The two plants were reproductively isolated; two separate species.[6]

There have been other cases as well, such as the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Researchers experimented with exposing different populations to different humidty and temperature conditions. After several generations of isolated breeding, the offspring of the separate populations were found to be sterile in many instances.[7]

== CONCLUSION ==

I've demonstrated my case. The evidence for evolution is unequivocal; it is a fact as well established as gravity. I wish my opponent luck in the ensuing rounds.

The resolution is AFFIRMED.

-- References --

1. http://www.exploreevolution.co.uk...

2. Theobald, Douglas, Ph.D. "The Mullerian Two-Step: Add a part, make it necessary." 2007. http://talkorigins.org...

3. http://dictionary.reference.com...

4. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

5. Theobald, Douglas, Ph.D. "29+ Evidences for Macroevolution" 2004. http://www.talkorigins.org...

6. Macnair, M. R. and P. Christie. "Reproductive isolation as a pleiotropic effect of copper tolerance in Mimulus guttatus." Heredity. 50:295-302. 1983.

7. Kilias, G., S. N. Alahiotis and M. Delecanos. "A multifactorial investigation of speciation theory using Drosophila melanogaster." Evolution. 34:730-737. 1980.
Debate Round No. 1
SX23

Con

"Quote"
C1 - Irreducible Complexity

CON's first argument is based on biochemist Michael Behe's contention that certain organ systems are sufficiently well-matched, with mutually interacting parts performing specific functions in such a way that the removal of any one of the parts would cause the system to cease functioning.[1]

Supposedly irreducibly complex systems, such wings or arms, evolve through useful intermediates. This is called the Mullerian Two-Step, named after Nobel Prize winning geneticist H.J. Muller. A feathered animal with no wings may not be able to fly, but the feathers are good for other things, such as insulation or trapping insects. The same could be said of wings without feathers, however they could work for gliding from tree to tree. Each trait evolves independently for different purposes, but they may later become co-opted. The wings and the feathers used in conjunction make sustained flight possible.[2]

"End Quote"

You do assume that mutations might come in a single handily matter. However you did fail to see the fact that despite a wing to serve a purpose with another characteristic, such as the feather, and serving sole purposes, such as your gliding, a wing without nerve connections would serve no purpose at all, as you would not be able to either move or feel it. As I already, I believe, clearly stated, this will lead to an important use of resource to maintain an "chunk" off the body, therefor depriving the individual survival's chances due to resource being wasted. The fact is, that despite how "simple" a mutation will appear, it will require another one, perhaps more (and a lot, especially on the molecular level) in most of the case, to be actually useful.
Let me give you an example for the mammal's reproduction process. To achieve it, you need three "majors" mutations. (That already includes hundreds of smaller one's). First of all, you need a mother being able to carry a baby. Then, and that is my point, you need breast's for the baby's nourishment. However, the baby must have a psychological pattern for the reflex to actually feed. Which concludes into two mutations, in separate individual, each one alone giving a death sentence, as you have a baby which is unable to feed or a mother which is unable to give to his babies, due to lack of breasts.

As for "vestigial" structures, my answer is simple: we did not found anything yet. Or are scientists arrogant to the point that they would assume to know all about life?
This has been proven false on some degree. As for the human, the appendix (along with some others) were thought to be one of those "vestigial" structures. However, we have recently found that the appendix has a role in immunity system.
And if I do understand your second example, you state that obtaining different characteristics with reproduction is impossible as it gives sterile infants. On the other hand, we have remarked some interesting mutation that did promote survival single handily, such as hemophilia, which makes you immune to malaria. However, in the process, information is lost and therefor they bleed out quite easily and as such, die easily. This does not, in overall, promote survival.
J.Kenyon

Pro

I'm glad CON has abandoned his argument from abiogenesis, unfortunately, he seems to have misunderstood the explanation I gave about useful intermediates and the examples of observed macroevolution taking place. I'll try to make my meaning more apparent. Hopefully by clarifying these issues, I can convince my opponent of my position.

=========
REBUTTALS
=========

C1- Irreducible Complexity

My opponent writes: "a wing without nerve connections would serve no purpose at all." Complex structures, such as limbs, do not suddenly emerge fully formed; they develop from earlier, simpler structures. Arms are believed to have evolved from fins, specifically from pectoral fins. The pectoral fin evolved through a repositioning of pre-existing pelvic fins through a mutation of its homeotic gene.[1] Pelvic fins, in turn, evolved from simpler pelvic flaps.

In the gradual process from pelvic flap to pectoral fin, the necessary bones, muscles, tendons were each developed gradually. Though it's impossible to be sure exactly how it happened, it probably occurred something like this: first came nerves that allowed the fish to receive sensory input from the appendage. Muscles were then adapted from other purposes to allow a limited manipulation of it. Cartilage formed within the structure, giving it greater rigidity. Eventually, the cartilage became bone. The sarcolemma of the muscle fibers became elongated, making them more effective. These later became tendons. With all this in place, the transition from pectoral fin to leg was rather simple, in fact, we have transitionary fossils showing it.[2] Tiktaalik roseae is a prehistoric fish with several traits found in reptiles, among these, tiny feet in the pectoral region.

This brings us to CON's second objection, the development of mammalian reproduction. CON names three important traits: live birth, mammary glands, and feeding instincts. CON claims that having any one of these, without the others, would cause the animal to die out quickly. This is must certainly not true. The platypus does not give birth to live offspring, yet it possesses mammary glands that its young feed off of.[3] Moreover, there is no reason to believe that live birth would necessitate breast feeding.

Of these three traits, it's believed that mammary glands came first. Endothermic reptiles, possibly with hair or fur -- precursors to modern mammals -- probably developed bare, vascularized patches of skin used to facilitate the incubation of their eggs. These warm blooded animals likely had various skin glands used to radiate heat and keep their fur soft and pliable. With the development of internal body heat, the risk of bacterial growth increased, so it seems logical that these glands adapted to produce antibacterial and antiviral secretions to protect the skin and the eggs. At some point, these secretions may have supplemented the nutrients contained in the developing embryo's yolk sack. Over time, they may have grown and become more specialized, allowing the hatchlings to nurse.[4]

Viviparity may or may not have developed in conjunction with breastfeeding. Regardless, we have a pretty good idea of how it happened. Chicken eggs typically spend one day in utero, followed by 21 days of external maturation. Platypus eggs, by contrast, spend 28 days in tract and only 10 in external incubation.[5] The evolution of live birth is simply a matter of eggs spending more time developing in the uterus.

Saiphos equalis, or the common skink, a small snake-like reptile from southeastern Australia appears to be in the process of developing viviparity before our very eyes. Skinks living in the highland regions give birth oviparously, while skinks in the coastal region give birth viviparously. Even the viviparous skinks have not completely left behind their oviparous past -- baby skinks are born encased in a gelatinous membrane that they break out of within about 36 hours.[6]

=========
CASE PRO
=========

C1- Vestigial Structures

I'll be brief here, since my opponent's objection is a simple matter of misunderstanding. It is not that scientists cannot conceive of a purpose for structures such as the tiny femur bone found on whale skeletons completely hidden from external view; they did have a purpose sometime in the animal's evolutionary past. The issue is that they no longer serve that purpose, they remain merely as reminders of their former use. It does not require omniscience to see this; these remnants of hind limbs are immobile, bound by strong ligaments and with the hip joint fused into one piece.[7] In the rare instances (about 1 in 100,000) where they protrude visibly form the body, the drag they create in the water actually hinders the animal.[8]

C2 - Observed Instances of Speciation

Again my opponent's objection is merely a misunderstanding. He writes: "if I do understand your second example, you state that obtaining different characteristics with reproduction is impossible as it gives sterile infants." This is incorrect. In the study I cited, the copper resistant plants were perfectly capable of reproducing with other copper resistant plants; it was when attempts were made to crossbreed them with the non-resistant plants that problems arose. The same is true of the fruit fly example. Flies that were bred together for multiple generations under similar temperature and humidity conditions were able to breed with eachother, but were not able to interbreed with populations bred for multiple generations under different conditions.

== CONCLUSION ==

By explaining the development of limbs, viviparity, nursing, and other processes, I have dismantled my opponent's primary argument from irreducible complexity. In doing this, I have also given examples of transitionary fossils and instances of evolution taking place in the world today, thus strengthening the affirmative case. I eagerly await my opponent's reply.

Thank you, the resolution has been AFFIRMED.

-- References --

1. Young et al. "Cdx and Hox genes differentially regulate posterior axial growth in mammalian embryos." Dev. Cell 17 (4): 516–26. October 2009.

2. Shubin et al. "The pectoral fin of Tiktaalik roseae and the origin of the tetrapod limb. Nature 440(6): 764-771. 2006.

3. "Platypus." Environmental Protection Agency/Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. 2006. http://www.epa.qld.gov.au....

4. Blackburn et al. "The origins of lactation and the evolution of milk: a review with new hypotheses." Mammal Review 19: 1- 26. 1989.

5. Cromer, Erica. "Monotreme Reproductive Biology and Behavior." Iowa State University. 2004. http://www.biology.iastate.edu....

6. Stewart, et al. "Uterine and eggshell structure and histochemistry in a lizard with prolonged uterine egg retention." Journal of Morphology, n/a. doi: 10.1002/jmor.10877

7. Struthers, John, M.D. "On the Bones, Articulations, and Muscles of The Rudimentary Hind-Limb of the Greenland Right-Whale (Balaena mysticetus)." Journal of Anatomy and Physiology (London), Vol. 15, p. 141-321. 1881.

8. Wilford, John. "Whales' Hind Feet Show Up in Fossils." The New York Times. 1990. http://www.nytimes.com...
Debate Round No. 2
SX23

Con

"Quote"
In the gradual process from pelvic flap to pectoral fin, the necessary bones, muscles, tendons were each developed gradually. Though it's impossible to be sure exactly how it happened, it probably occurred something like this: first came nerves that allowed the fish to receive sensory input from the appendage. Muscles were then adapted from other purposes to allow a limited manipulation of it. Cartilage formed within the structure, giving it greater rigidity. Eventually, the cartilage became bone. The sarcolemma of the muscle fibers became elongated, making them more effective. These later became tendons. With all this in place, the transition from pectoral fin to leg was rather simple, in fact, we have transitionary fossils showing it.[2] Tiktaalik roseae is a prehistoric fish with several traits found in reptiles, among these, tiny feet in the pectoral region.
"End of Quote"

First of all, thank you for this quite interesting answer.

Of course, but as you apparently failed to see, my whole case is based on the fact that having a "chunk" of an arm is of no useful purpose, and as such, stating one of evolution rule's: "The mutation may enable the mutant organism to withstand particular environmental stresses better than wild-type organisms, or reproduce more quickly." However, having smaller increments do not increase chances of survival. As a matter of fact, if I may say something: 99% of proteins mutation do have a negative effect of the individual, due to a loss of information or useless duplicates that use energy to no real purpose. As per your theory, an individual will have a small increment, the first being nerves. However, as I stated, having nerves STILL requires other factors to be of use, or they are a characteristic that will be lost to the individual by the mere probabilities law's that were first stated: If a mutation has no real purpose other than using energy, and therefore hampering the specie's to reproduce with the mutation, and it is then lost.

As for the second point, stating mammalian reproduction, I was mentioning in the case of a "transition". As the evolution theory stated, reptilians came first and mutated through time to get to mammalians. However, if one reptilian have mammary glands that produce the necessary "food" through a mutation, he will not be able to pass on this characteristic, unless it had very precise survival goals, either it will just disappear through time, his only use being to drain energy. What I was referring to was the first mammal or transition between the two's. Having babies that develop in an exterior habitat without protection requires babies that have a mutation to live through it. Resulting again in multiple mutation that needs each other to bring a survival aspect.

For the mutation's odds to happen in concurrence, I believe I can share an interesting insight on the numbers:

"Quote"

The mathematical problem for evolution comes when you want a series of related mutations. The odds of getting two mutations that are related to one another is the product of the separate probabilities: one in 107 x 107, or 1014. That's a one followed by 14 zeros, a hundred trillion! Any two mutations might produce no more than a fly with a wavy edge on a bent wing. That's a long way from producing a truly new structure, and certainly a long way from changing a fly into some new kind of organism. You need more mutations for that. So, what are the odds of getting three mutations in a row? That's one in a billion trillion (1021). Suddenly, the ocean isn't big enough to hold enough bacteria to make it likely for you to find a bacterium with three simultaneous or sequential related mutations.

What about trying for four related mutations? One in 1028. Suddenly, the earth isn't big enough to hold enough organisms to make that very likely. And we're talking about only four mutations. It would take many more than that to change a fish into a philosopher, or even a fish into a frog.

Contrary to popular opinion, drug resistance in bacteria does not demonstrate evolution. It doesn't even demonstrate the production of favourable mutations. It does demonstrate natural selection (or a sort of artificial selection, in this case), but only selection among already existing variations within a kind. It also demonstrates that when the odds that a particular process will produce a given effect get too low, good scientists normally look for a better explanation, such as the plasmid explanation for resistance to multiple antibiotics.

"End of Quote"

In result to these odds, I believe another quotation is needed:

"Quote"

Way back in 1967, a prestigious group of internationally known biologists and mathematicians gathered at the Wistar Institute to consider Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution Way back in 1967, a prestigious group of internationally known biologists and mathematicians gathered at the Wistar Institute to consider Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution.10 All present were evolutionists, and they agreed, as the preface clearly states, that no one would be questioning evolution itself. The only question was, could mutations serve as the basis—with natural selection—as a mechanism for evolutionary change? The answer of the mathematicians: no. Just plain no!

"End of Quote"

As for your last point, "observed instances of Speciation"
You will forgive me if I do not see the link between it and the actual matter, as no mutation of some sort are involved.
And as a last comment: I had though that origin of life was a matter in link with the theory of evolution. Therefore, having a supposition about how it appeared would be quite logic for the theory. As I was apparently mistaken, the point is another one to debate. However, if you want to pursue it here, feel free and be pleased to do so.

P.S: You will forgive me for not having cited any sources earlier on.
Here they are:

# 1 Novick, Richard, Plasmids, Scientific American, December 1980.
# 2 Moorehead, Paul A., and Martin M. Kaplan, Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, Wistar Symposium No. 5, Wistar Institute Press,Philadelphia, 1967.
# 3 Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Burnett Books, London, 1985.
# 4 http://www.answersingenesis.org...
# 5 Dobzhansky, Theodosius, F. Ayala, L. Stebbins, and J. Valentine, Evolution, W. H. Freeman and Co., San Francisco, 1977.
# 6 http://www.gate.net...
# 7 Ayala, Francisco, The Mechanisms of Evolution, Scientific American (and Scientific American book Evolution), September 1978.
# 8 Beadle, George W., The Ancestry of Corn, Scientific American, January 1980.
# 9 Ayala, Francisco, The Mechanisms of Evolution, Scientific American (and Scientific American book Evolution), September 1978.
J.Kenyon

Pro

My opponent brings up several new objections that are at best unpersuasive, and at their worst completely irrelevant. Before I address these, I'd like to make note of something. PRO has lifted large sections of his essay from this page: http://answersingenesis.org... Additionally, in a rather transparent effort to build ethos for his case, he copied every single reference from the article without so much as bothering to change the order or include numbered citations within his essay. Needless to say, I don't find this amusing and I don't think the voters will either.

=========
REBUTTALS
=========

Since my opponent has only one major contention divided into other, minor points, I'll address them each individually.

---> "The mutation [must] enable the mutant organism to withstand particular environmental stresses better than wild-type organisms, or reproduce more quickly."

This is not true. Many mutations are neutral, neither aiding nor hindering survival. These spread through populations by genetic drift.[1] While useless in and of themselves, when combined with other mutations, they may have a positive effect. I'll expand on this later.

---> "Having nerves STILL requires other factors to be of use..."

Obviously. In explaining the devleopment of limbs, the animal in question is assumed already to have some basic nervous system in place. These pre-esxisting structures can easily be adapted for other purposes. If my opponent wishes for me to explain in minute detail ever single step in the evolutionary process from single celled microogranism to complex vertebrate, I'm afraid I must disappoint him; it is simply impossible within the confines of 8,000 characters. Moreover, it would add nothing to the debate, I have already demonstrated that the argument from irreducible complexity is wholly unscientific. Finally, my opponent has not given any coherent, logical reason to believe why a nervous system *couldn't* have evolved by gradual increments in a naturalistic fashion. What is stated without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

---> "If one reptilian (sic) have (sic) mammary glands that produce the necessary 'food' through a mutation, he will not be able to pass on this characteristic, unless it had very precise survival goals."

I already explained the precise survival goal that early mamary glands may have served. I suggest my opponent re-read my argument. Moreover, as I explained earlier, even if mammary glands conferred no survival advantage, there is no reason to suppose they wouldn't be passed on through neutral evolution, or genetic drift.

---> "The odds of getting two mutations that are related to one another is the product of the separate probabilities: one in 107 x 107, or 1014."

To begin with, 107^2 is most assuredly *not* 1014, but 11,449. More importantly, this statistic is ridiculous and completely irrelevant. Obviously, the odds of having three simulataneous complementary mutations are slim, but this is not how evolution works. This argument relies on several absurd assumptions:

1. - Mutations must be beneficial to be passed on

This is absolutely false. Many mutations on their own produce no noticeable difference in an organism, however when paired with other mutations, they may cause drastic changes. These mutations do not not need to to be beneficial to be passed on, they can spread through a population by genetic drift. In some instances, organisms possessing favorable traits may even have mutations that hinder them, but by "hitch hiking" on the organism's good genes, these mutations can be passed on anyway.

1. - Mutations must occur sequentially or simultaneously

Again false. As I explained earlier, even mutations coferring no survival advantage can still spread through a population. Once a certain mutation becomes common, the odds of a complementary mutation occurring increase exponentially.

3. - Assumes that only one mutation occurs per generation

Off these three assumptions, this is perhaps the most baffling. An organism may have several mutations. Even if a majority of these mutations have no complementary mutations, a small number of them very well could. A simpler example of how this works is the birthday paradox.

In a room containing 23 people, the odds are slightly better than 50-50 that two of them will share a birthday. But if that were the case, doesn't it seem like you should meet more people who share your birthday? Not neccessarily. The odds of someone sharing YOUR birthday are much lower because it has to be on a SPECIFIC day. In a group of 23, the odds of any two people sharing a birthday are much higher because the match can occur on ANY day.[2]

This works the same way with mutations. While the chances of any one mutation having a complementary mutation are slim, given multiple mutations and multiple generations, the odds suddenly don't look so daunting.

---> "Drug resistance in bacteria does not demonstrate evolution."

I'm not sure why my opponent brought this up, since I never mentioned anything about it. The emergence of drug resistant bacteria is indeed evolution. New information is created by mutations in the genome. There is strong lab evidence of this.[3]

=========
CASE PRO
=========

C1 - Vestigial Structures

CON has apparently dropped this argument, therefore PRO should win by default.

C2 - Ovserved Instances of Speciation

My opponent writes: "you will forgive me if I do not see the link...as no mutation of some sort are (sic) involved."

Of course mutations were involved! How else would copper resistance and reproductive isolation occur?

== CONCLUSION ==

My opponent's main objection involves ridiculously inflated statistics from an unreliable source. My main points remain virtually uncontested. I look forward to my opponent taking the time to write *his own* response in the next round.

The resolution is AFFIRMED.

-- References --

1. Suzuki, et al. "An Introduction to Genetic Analysis." 4th ed. W.H. Freeman. p. 704. 1989

2. http://discovermagazine.com...

3. http://www.newscientist.com...
Debate Round No. 3
SX23

Con

First of all, I would like to take a few moments to give a quick English vocabulary reminder.
I hope you appreciate the irony, as I am the one having a primary foreign language:

Quote:
--Verb (used with object)
1.
to repeat (a passage, phrase, etc.) from a book, speech, or the like, as by way of authority, illustration, etc.
2.
to repeat words from (a book, author, etc.).
3.
to cite, offer, or bring forward as evidence or support.

I believe I have clearly stated whereas I put a quote. And once again, they were to SUPPORT my argumentation, they were not to BE the argumentation.
This assertion : "He copied every single reference from the article without so much as bothering to change the order or include numbered citations within his essay. Needless to say, I don't find this amusing and I don't think the voters will either."
Is not only false, but can be considered as a personal attack. The required citations for my point are not only in three distinct location, their only link being that they refer to the same subject. The article itself containing more the 16000 characters. As for numbered citations, I was not aware that those were needed, but this is my first debate, and as such I believe that having a little indulgence towards those criteria would be appropriated. As for the amusing part, well whether the voters find amusing or not that you personally attack a newcomer to this site is of course their prerogative.

==================
Answers to specific points mentioned in the reply above:
==================

--------> The utility of mutations and their occurrence into generations:

You claim that many mutations are neutral, however, 70% of all mutations have a DIRECT negative effect on the individual, such as birth termination (death) or defects. The remainder is indeed either neutral or weakly beneficial.

In many cases the structure is of no direct harm, yet all structures DO require extra energy in terms of development, maintenance, and weight, and are also at risk in terms of disease (e.g., infection, cancer), providing some selective pressure for the removal of parts that do not contribute to an organism's fitness. A structure that is not harmful will take longer to be 'phased out' than one that is. In view to this, every single physical change, even with non-interfering result for the individual survival, is most likely to be wiped after a few thousand's generation. And the required time for a beneficial change is acknowledged to be much more:

If I may allow myself to quote one of your own sources:

"QUOTE"

Twenty years ago, evolutionary biologist Richard Lenski of Michigan State University in East Lansing, US, took a single Escherichia coli bacterium and used its descendants to found 12 laboratory populations.
The 12 have been growing ever since, gradually accumulating mutations and evolving for more than 44,000 generations, while Lenski watches what happens.

But sometime around the 31,500th generation, something dramatic happened in just ONE of the populations - the bacteria suddenly acquired the ability to metabolize citrate, a second nutrient in their culture medium that E. coli normally cannot use.

"End of quote"

This means that an organism as simple as a single bacteria do need, more or less, 31,500 thousand generations to evolve an actually useful trait. And that has been observed in only 1 of the 12 population. A simple mathematical calculus should resolve the number of generations required to took in average: 31,500 x 12= 378000. That means we have observed 378,000 generations in a single bacteria before we have something useful. The odds to have beneficial mutations, followed by multiple evolutionary mutations, especially with organism that are incredibly more complex than a bacteria, such as a mammalian, which requires a considerable amount of time with a lot more generations due to their said complexity, are then lowered to an impossibility point. (Not to mention reptilian forms, insects, and etc.)

-------->Observed Instances of Speciation:

You do use to wrong ends the word Speciation:

Definition: Speciation is the evolutionary process by which new biological species arise. In the case of the copper resistant plants, there is no new species involved. Only a genetic change that allow the plant to better resist certain circumstances.

--------> Vestigial structures:

I did not dropped the subject, and my answer on it remains the same: Even if we might consider that an organ has lost his "primary" function from one specie to another, the fact remains that the organ, even considered as "vestigial" do still have an use on the other specie, even if less severe in terms or requirement for survival. A perfectly good example of it would be the humans vermiform appendix. Even if the require role is not the same as the precedents one observed, it does still have one.

--------> My mistake:

I do have to acknowledge a severe mistake that made my source look as unreliable and fantasist. When I copied over several parts of the mathematical explanations that served my theory, I did not look over the exponential part:

"Quote"

The mathematical problem for evolution comes when you want a series of related mutations. The odds of getting two mutations that are related to one another is the product of the separate probabilities: one in 10^7 x 10^7, or 10^14. That's a one followed by 14 zeros, a hundred trillion! Any two mutations might produce no more than a fly with a wavy edge on a bent wing. That's a long way from producing a truly new structure, and certainly a long way from changing a fly into some new kind of organism. You need more mutations for that. So, what are the odds of getting three mutations in a row? That's one in a billion trillion (10^21). Suddenly, the ocean isn't big enough to hold enough bacteria to make it likely for you to find a bacterium with three simultaneous or sequential related mutations.

What about trying for four related mutations? One in 10^28. Suddenly, the earth isn't big enough to hold enough organisms to make that very likely. And we're talking about only four mutations. It would take many more than that to change a fish into a philosopher, or even a fish into a frog.

Contrary to popular opinion, drug resistance in bacteria demonstrate natural selection (or a sort of artificial selection, in this case), but only selection among already existing variations within a kind. It also demonstrates that when the odds that a particular process will produce a given effect get too low, good scientists normally look for a better explanation, such as the plasmid explanation for resistance to multiple antibiotics.

"End of Quote"

As you will probably notice, it is 10^7 x 10^7 that gives 10^14. You could review the original source before assuming that a slight copy-over mistake makes it unreliable. Due to the (revised) mathematical answers stated above, the insights giving by the probabilities impossibility is quite clear. Also, several exterior sources to the one I cited do acknowledge 1966's mathematical result:

http://www.sciencemag.org...
http://www.icr.org...
http://openlibrary.org....

You can now rest assured (Unless you discredit three different sources) that a symposium (Academic Conference) has been held in 1966 with this very precise question: Could mutations serve as the basis—with natural selection—as a mechanism for evolutionary change?
The answer of the mathematicians: No. Just plain No!

==================
Sources:
==================
They are the same as the one cited earlier on, with one exception :
-http://www.newscientist.com......
J.Kenyon

Pro

My opponent claims that the quotes he included were only to support his arguments, however, this hardly seems to be the case; he lifted four entire paragraphs! However, he still did not include the entire article that he "quoted" and therefore cannot legitimately claim to have used all of its sources.

CON apparently has no grasp of the meaning of the word "species," which I will define later in C2 of my affirmative case. He has done little to answer my argument against his probability claim other than to repeat his prior statements. Indeed, he has brought up very little of substance, therefore I intend to keep this round very brief.

=========
REBUTTALS
=========

---> "70% of all mutations have a DIRECT negative effect on the individual."

Yes, and bad mutations much less likely to be passed on. l fail to see how this is at all relevant.

---> "In many cases the structure is of no direct harm, yet all structures DO require extra energy..."

This is a contradiction in terms; if a mutation causes harm, direct or indirect, then it isn't neutral.

---> "An organism as simple as a single bacteria needs...31,500 thousand generations to evolve [a] useful trait."

It took 20 years to develop the ability to metabolize citrate. Given that the earth is 4.54 billion years old,[1] and life has existed for at least 3.5 billion years,[2] does evolution really seem so improbable?

Moreover, there is no reason to arbitrarily distinguish between the 12 populations. Suppose Lenski had simply combined them into one large population? Remember that we are only dealing with a small lab population; bacterial colonies are large and abundant in nature.

---> "The odds to have beneficial mutations, followed by multiple evolutionary mutations, especially with organism that are incredibly more complex than a bacteria, such as a mammalian, which requires a considerable amount of time with a lot more generations due to their said complexity, are then lowered to an impossibility point."

Here my opponent raises an important point. Ever since the development of sexual reproduction, evolution has progressed much more quickly.[3] This is because many favorable genetic combinations can be rapidly assimilated into one phenotype. Say animal A has a trait that allows it to run faster, while animal B has a trait that causes it to digest food more efficiently. Animal C has a mutation that strengthens its immune system, and animal D evolves better eyesight. All four traits are likely to be passed on because of the survival advantages they confer. As each favorable trait becomes more prevalent throughout a population, there's a good chance that some animal will come to possess all four of them, thanks to sexual reproduction.

---> Probability of multiple beneficial mutations

My opponent has not listed three independent sources verfying his claim, but three different articles citing the same original source. CON is merely repeating himself -- I have already fully refuted his probability claims and feel no need to do so a second time. In addition to all of my earlier objections, I also pointed out in this round that sexual reproduction greatly increases the rate at which evolution takes place. My opponent's argument truly holds no water.

=========
CASE PRO
=========

C1 - Vestigial Structures

The human appendix still retains some use, therefore it is not truly a vestigial structure. I pointed out that whale femurs can actually hinder the animal, and CON has made no attempt to refute this. Moreover, we have fossil evidence PROVING that the femur is an evolutionary remnant. Early whales had small feet and flippers that could also be used as forelimbs.[4] These animals were very similar to modern seals or walruses.

CON has also ignored the other examples I have given, such as the pelvises found in snakes, useless wings sealed beneath fused wing covers in certain beetles, and the flowers and pollen of the dandelion. There are literally thousands more similar examples, but it is useless to belabor the point.

C2 - Observed instances of speciation

Species: Taxonomic groups, usually defined by inability to interbreed and produce viable offspring. Species are reproductively isolated from each other. Genes in one species cannot combine with genes from another species and produce a successfully reproducing vehicle.[5]

The copper resistant monkey flowers were indeed a new species. Not only did they have a new, favorable trait, but they were reprodutively isolated from the non-resistant plants, as I stated quite clearly in my opening round.

== CONCLUSION ==

My core contentions remain unrefuted. Unless CON can pull together some powerful evidence in his last round, I strongly urge you to vote PRO.

The resolution is AFFIRMED.

-- References --

1. http://pubs.usgs.gov...

2. Schopf, J.W., Kudryavtsev, A.B., Agresti, D.G., Wdowiak, T.J., Czaja, A.D. "Laser--Raman imagery of Earth's earliest fossils." Nature 416: 73–6 . 2002

3. Colegrave, N. . "Sex releases the speed limit on evolution." Nature 420: 664-666. 2002

4. http://www.nytimes.com...

5. http://web.missouri.edu...
Debate Round No. 4
SX23

Con

First of all, I merely took two paragraphs from the original source. I then separated them to give an easier reading. They do also refer to mathematics and therefor support my claims, and do not MAKE my claims.

As for your first rebuttal:
---> "70% of all mutations have a DIRECT negative effect on the individual."

Yes, and bad mutations much less likely to be passed on. l fail to see how this is at all relevant.

---> "In many cases the structure is of no direct harm, yet all structures DO require extra energy..."

I stated DIRECT impacts. As for secondary impacts, we lower the odds to less than 0.001% to have an impact free mutation with beneficial aspects only. This is quite low and remains with the other problems generated by the mutation, such as the need for support provided by other mutations.

You also assume that sexual reproduction slows the process of mutation. However, this has been proven false on numerous occasions, for a very specific reason:
It is the advantage of complementation (also known as hybrid vigor, heterosis or MASKING OF MUTATIONS) that happens to occur during sexual reproduction, lowering the odds to pass one on by half on each individuals.
This is not what I would call helpful to the odds.

Time Parameters for the Evolution:

As for the bacteria, we OBSERVED 378,000 generations in a laboratory stance with factors that enhanced the growth of mutations. It is reasonable to assume that a simple animal would need at least a dozen times this number, only due to differences in the length of the DNA strains. A hundred time this number would make 3,780,000 generations before having an actually useful trait. In other words, more or less 4 millions generation. Now, if we look at the fact that most of the animals needs around 5 years to achieve a generation, (And even then I'm being generous) we pass to 18,900,000 years to achieve a SINGLE useful trait. As the passage to one family to another requires at least a thousand (And more, in most of the cases) useful mutations, we go up to 18,900,000,000 years. We've already passed Earth existence (4,500,000,000)... Don't seem that probable to me. Of course, we could continue on with every families (Not even species!) on Earth, and we will go further the creation of our solar system.
And just a small side-note, simple animal forms are believed to be of existence since (only) 600 millions years (1). Now, with luck, it would indeed be possible to slightly lower the year requirement without getting too much off the probability laws. Now, let's compare 18,900,000,000 years (For one new family!) to the best estimates of animal life: 600,000,000 years. I let you compare those odds, and if you have the slightest knowledge in mathematics, you would understand that it's an instance of what we call something impossible.

Probabilities of multiple beneficial mutations:
My three source do assert that they're was a symposium in 1966. Now, if you want other sources that describes the results: http://www.evolutionnews.org... (3 and 4)
I fear this one is quite credible, as it originates for a pro-evolution site.

If you want a description of the symposium:

(3)""""One of the best known mathematical forays into evolution was the 1966 Wistar Symposium, held in Philadelphia, where mathematicians and other scientists from related fields congregated to assess whether Neo-Darwinism is mathematically feasible. The conference was chaired by Nobel Laureate Sir Peter Medawar. The general consensus of many meeting participants was that Neo-Darwinism was simply not mathematically tenable. """"

(4)"""" "We (The participants) do not know any general principle which would explain how to match blueprints viewed as typographic objects and the things they are supposed to control. The only example we have of such a situation (apart from the evolution of life itself) is the attempt to build self-adapting programs by workers in the field of artificial intelligence. Their experience is quite conclusive to most of the observers: without some built-in matching, nothing interesting can occur. Thus, to conclude, we believe that there is a considerable gap in the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, and we believe this gap to be of such a nature that it cannot be bridged within the current conception of biology." """"

To see some of the mathematical calculus that lead to some of those conclusions, please refer to my anterior posts or the resume stated at the end.

Vestigial structures:

The human appendix was a mere example. It was long tough to be one of those vestigial structures. However, with studies versed into the subject, we discovered it wasn't. Now, my rebuttal to your argument will be in the form of a very simple question on which I would like a DIRECT (such as yes or no) answer:

Is it possible, that due to the current knowledge, that those "vestigial" structures have a primary or secondary purpose of which we have not discovered yet, such in the long believed case of the human appendix?

The cooper "resistant" plants: First of all, they do make a cryptic species complex 2-(In biology, a cryptic species complex is a group of species which satisfy the biological definition of species—that is, they are reproductively isolated from each other—but whose morphology is very similar (in some cases virtually identical), and are not completely dissociated from their original specie. The consideration on if it's really a speciation instance or just a diversification example is still under debate.

For those reasons, PRO's arguments can be considered as weak due to their bases on questionable and easy refutable data.

Quick resume and Conclusion:

Despite a few personal attacks and lack of research into the sources from PRO's part, leading into false accusations, this was a debate which I would qualify to be quite entertaining and rather interesting.
As for a quick resume for those who lack the time/will to read the whole argumentation:
My arguments are based on the fact that mutation do need several factors in order to be truly beneficial, such as support provided by other mutations or they will draw energy and make them literally useless, having multiple mutations, on the mathematical side, can be resumed through this:

The mathematical problem for evolution comes when you want a series of related mutations. The odds of getting two mutations that are related to one another is the product of the separate probabilities: one in 10^7 x 10^7, or 10^14. That's a one followed by 14 zeros, a hundred trillion! Any two mutations might produce no more than a fly with a wavy edge on a bent wing. That's a long way from producing a truly new structure, and certainly a long way from changing a fly into some new kind of organism. You need more mutations for that. So, what are the odds of getting three mutations in a row? That's one in a billion trillion (10^21). Suddenly, the ocean isn't big enough to hold enough bacteria to make it likely for you to find a bacterium with three simultaneous or sequential related mutations.
What about trying for four related mutations? One in 10^28. Suddenly, the earth isn't big enough to hold enough organisms to make that very likely. And we're talking about only four mutations. It would take many more than that to change a fish into a philosopher, or even a fish into a frog.

The time parameters for evolution and probabilities can be resumed through the calculus based up above in my thread.

Sources:
1-http://en.wikipedia.org...
2-http://en.wikipedia.org...
J.Kenyon

Pro

And so we reach the end of the debate. Since my prior illustrations regarding probability seem to have fallen on deaf ears, I'll make one final attempt to convince my opponent of his error. Again, CON has decided merely to repeat his prior points without bothering to respond to my thorough rebuttals. Therefore, apart from a few short rebuttals and a last illustration regarding probability, I intend to use this round mainly as a summarization of the main points of the debate.

=========
REBUTTALS
=========

---> "As for secondary impacts, we lower the odds to less than 0.001% to have an impact free mutation with beneficial aspects only."

It's telling that CON hasn't bothered to source this, the reason being that it's blatantly false. Studies done with fruit flies (Drosophilia melanogaster) show that of the remaining 30% of mutations that aren't harmful, all are either neutral or weakly beneficial.[1] Studies done with yeast have shown that only a paltry 7% of mutations are actually harmful.[2] Moreover, my opponent has completely missed the mark: the fact that there are *any* beneficial mutations is sufficient to validate the evolutionary model. Harmful mutations will not be passed on; neutral and beneficial mutations will.

---> "You also assume that sexual reproduction slows the process of mutation."

On the contrary, I stated quite clearly that sexual reproduction greatly increases the rate of evolution and gave a clear explanation why this is true.

---> "Now, if we look at the fact that most of the animals needs around 5 years to achieve a generation, we pass to 18,900,000 years to achieve a SINGLE useful trait."

Without bothering to check CON's math, it's easy to see why this is false. A great deal of evolutionary change took place with very simple life forms. Many modern organisms share several traits, to a greater or lesser extent depending on how closely they are related. Once certain shared characteristics had been developed, the process of differentiation could proceed much more quickly. CON also incorrectly assumes that there is no evolutionary overlap in the development of new traits. It is not as if, say, eyes, ears, and mouths all developed separately, starting with the eyes and then proceeding to the ears, and finally on to the mouth. All three structures likely evolved more or less simultaneously.

---> Probabilities of multiple beneficial mutations

Yes, CON's three sources assert that there was a symposium of mathematicians in 1966. Without access to their report, I can't offer any specific criticisms of their methods, however, I have already refuted CON's numerous assertions regarding probability ad nauseum and it is unnecessary to do so again.

In spite of this, for my opponent's benefit, I will offer one final explanation to help him understand the process. Let's say the odds of having a beneficial mutation are slim -- as rare as winning the lottery. Given enough people, however, we *know* one of them will win. Because of natural selection and recombination, every organism in the population will soon have a genetic "copy" of the lottery winnings. When it comes time for the next lottery, everybody entered will already be a previous winner, there the chances that someone will win twice and thus have *two* beneficial mutations are very good.[3]

=========
CASE PRO
=========

C1 - Vestigial structures

I have explained at length how and why these structures are useless evolutionary relics. I have offered fossil evidence of the gradual transition. The simple answer to my opponents question is *yes,* we do know for a fact that these structures serve no purpose; it is painfully obvious even to the casual observer.

C2 - Observed instances of speciation

Whether or not the Yellow Monkey Flower descendants represent a "cryptic species" or not is irrelevant. The point is to show that significant changes (macroevolution), caused by beneficial mutations can and do occur regularly.

== CONCLUSION ==

I have given a great deal of evidence and logical support to my case while CON seems to be content to plagiarize others arguments and repeat himself endlessly without bothering to respond to my criticisms. For this reason,

The resolution has been strongly AFFIRMED. Thank you for reading, and vote PRO!

-- References --

1. Sawyer, S.A., Parsch, J., Zhang, Z., Hartl, D.L. "Prevalence of positive selection among nearly neutral amino acid replacements in Drosophila." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 104 (16): 6504–10. 2007.

2. Doniger, S.W., Kim, H.S., Swain, D., et al. "A catalog of neutral and deleterious polymorphism in yeast." PLoS Genet. 4 (8): e1000183. August 2008.

3. http://www.talkorigins.org...
Debate Round No. 5
47 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by popculturepooka 6 years ago
popculturepooka
"And I tough debate.org community was unbiased..."

You lost, bro. If anything, my bias "should" lie on your side...

"Yeah, but Pop is one of those wussy theistic evolutionists."

Lolwut.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
N00bs generally just vote based on who they agree with, but the long term members are pretty even handed.
Posted by Kinesis 6 years ago
Kinesis
Yeah, but Pop is one of those wussy theistic evolutionists. And...DDO is unbiased? Seriously?
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
What do you mean by that, Zets?
Posted by Zetsubou 6 years ago
Zetsubou
Christian apologists...
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
DDO is unbiased. Popculturepooka is DDO's leading Christian apologist. Would you like me to ask InquireTruth and KRFournier to vote on it? Would that make you happy?
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
"And I tough[t] debate.org community was unbiased..."

Giving you even 1 point would be intellectually indefensible.
Posted by SX23 6 years ago
SX23
And I tough debate.org community was unbiased...
Posted by SX23 6 years ago
SX23
Oh, and your source, talktoorigins.com, do only talk about small scale adaptation, such as a change in a gene's allele. On that, the odds are indeed quite high-- 30%. However, I am referring to a full gene mutation's. The odd on it are 1 on 10e17. (Refers to my anterior sources). And despite what you may think or argue, having change on the alleles will not affect the general function of the gene, and in all cases, you need a new gene or major redefinitions of already existing one's to pass from one specie through another, not to mention families.
Posted by SX23 6 years ago
SX23
I sort of lacked scientific rigour when I first post the calculus:
I believe rewritten this way would make my point, as PRO manifestly didn't understood what I meant:

The genome is an organism's complete set of DNA. Genomes vary widely in size: the smallest known genome for a free-living organism (a bacterium) contains about 600,000 DNA base pairs, while human and mouse genomes have some 3 billion. Except for mature red blood cells, all human cells contain a complete genome.
(http://www.ornl.gov...)
Now, let's compare to the human number of DNA pairs in contrast with bacteria: (3,000,000,000/600,000)= 5,000 times more complex. Now, let's give that 5,000 to our lovely generations number: 1,890,000,000. 1 billion and 890 millions. Now, most of mammalians needs a generation length of, more or less, 2 to 10 years in average. So let's go with a safe number and say 5 years. 9,450,000,000. Around 10 billions years. Our solar system is younger. AND animal life exists from only a mere 600,000,000 years. So, we have the fastest beneficial mutation recorded, with which if we extrapolate, gives 9,450,000,000 years. Now, did you notice the fact that I didn't take in account 2 mutations? Did you tough I've forgot it? Well, nope. Sadly for you, assuming with need at least a thousand mutations to pass from one family to another, we just went to 945,000,000,000. 945 billions years to pass from one animal family to another. Now, do you want me to continue with the others family? Or is the required 945 billions years not enough?
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