The Instigator
Skeptic8
Pro (for)
Losing
11 Points
The Contender
larztheloser
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

Evolution: True?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/6/2010 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,032 times Debate No: 13082
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (6)

 

Skeptic8

Pro

I'm new at Debate.org and I don't really know how to structure an opening argument no less how to make it sound good. So I was just interested in instigating a debate that I'm knowledgeable about and picking up all the details along the way. Thanks!

As for my position, I believe that evolution is one of the most well confirmed theories in science (as much as germ theory) and I am interested in hearing an opposing view on this. Hope to hear back!
larztheloser

Con

Hey Skepic8, I reasonably new here and don't really believe in any particular structure either, so for this debate I propose we just argue however we like. As for my position, I will take the view that evolution is a good theory but not well confirmed. It therefore relies on a great many assumptions that I'd be pleased to list shortly, however as with any argument, the person bringing the claim (PRO in this debate) should tell us on what basis the claim is bought. I do not support any particular alternative explanation, I'm just arguing that this particular one is not likely to be correct.

As to definitions, I would like to define evolution as being the theory that organisms change their inherited traits through successive generations. However, there are two forms of this evolution: micro and macro evolution. Micro evolution happens within a species, for instance, some people have evolved tongue-rolling capabilities. For this debate, I accept micro evolution. However, I deny macro-evolution, that is, that entirely new species come about because of changes in inherited traits alone.

Once again I would like to thank my opponent for this debate. I await his argument with trepidation.
Debate Round No. 1
Skeptic8

Pro

I thank my opponent for his acceptance of this challenge.

Instead of listing mounds of scientific research papers which, to the general population are unread and even if read, are not understood. I'm going to address what I think is the intellectual problem that people face when accepting the evolutionary theory. That intellectual problem was laid out in my opponent's second paragraph. It is the unwillingness to accept the extrapolation of what they call micro-evolution (changes within species) to macro-evolution (changes between species).

I'd also like to make the point that I prefer using a more scientific definition of evolution because its easier to break down.

3. Biology . change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift. ^1

Now taking this definition we can easily see how something like micro evolution occurs. A squirrel in a population has a simple genetic change (mutation) that allows him to have a more aerodynamic tail. This tail then allows him to adapt better than competing squirrels in his environment (natural selection). Therefore his likelihood of reproducing is increased and thus his genes are more likely to make it in subsequent generations. As time passes that aerodynamic tail beats its competitor and becomes the standard for squirrels in that area (change in the gene pool).

What I've just described is what most would call micro-evolution, so lets stretch the scenario out further and we will see how macro-evolution occurs. Lets say that all of these aerodynamic squirrels were separated from the normal population of squirrels. Now these squirrels can only breed amongst themselves. This is called allopatric speciation. In allopatric speciation a subgroup of a species is separated from its main population. Now if our subgroup (aerodynamic squirrels) undergoes a few more genetic changes i.e. a change that allows their legs to be a little longer because their environment requires lengthier legs. As a lot of time progresses more and more of these changes accumulate (i.e. the squirrels lose most of their fur because the climate calls for less fur) and eventually there will be a change that causes what is called sexual isolation. Sexual isolation is when an evolutionary change occurs that prevents the splintered population to mate with the original population. It can be a result chromosomal changes, for example, the horse and the donkey producing sterile offspring. It can also be a result of mechanical problems, for example, in some Drosophila crosses, the swelling of the female's vagina has been noted following insemination. This has the effect of consequently, preventing the fertilization of the ovule by sperm of a different species.

Once this sexual isolation occurs it may not be enough to see the speciation but you have just laid the groundwork for a completely new species. Over time this splintered squirrel population will continue to change and adapt to there environment until this new species becomes unrecognizable to the original squirrel population.

There you have it! Macro and micro evolution are no different from each other. They both follow the simple definition of evolution, changes in the gene pool as a result of mutation, natural selection or genetic drift. The ONLY difference between the two is the amount of time it takes. Micro can be seen in a few generations but what can be called macro just takes more than we can see as human beings. This is why although a powerful biological science, evolution is also a historical science which requires us to look back and figure out where these splinterings occurred, what changes occurred and how related or each species.

I thank my opponent again and am excited to hear his response!

^1 evolution. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved September 07, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com...
larztheloser

Con

My opponent has said that micro and macro evolution are alike. This is wrong - a micro change might be a tiny tail-stub appearing, but if a full-blown aerodynamic tail were to appear, that would be a macro change (change in species). There is no advantage to having a tail stub, unlike what my opponent would have you believe.

I have 13 contentions for you today:

1) Evolution does not account for the origin of life
Other theories provide a much more complete explanation of biology, and are thus better at explaining more phenomena[1]. Evolution relies on life coming from somewhere else. If so, then why not just have life come from somewhere else?[9][10] Therefore evolution is not the most scientific theory.

2) Evolution does not explain why mutations create new genetic information
Evolution has yet to show how a large range of really beneficial mutations can happen quickly. The vast majority of mutations observed in labs have only resulted in handicapped offspring[2][9].

3) Macro-evolution has never been observed, despite numerous repeated trials[1][2][12]

4) Evolution relies on some weird and frankly impossible mutations, that are not explained by science:[2][12][15]
* Scales changing to hair
* Breasts from, well, nothing!
* Feathers from, well, also nothing!
etc

5) Evolution would suggest that mutations happen steadily over a long period of time.
In fact, there are no transitional fossils at all for any species, despite multi-million dollar searches[9][10][3]. A special mention must be made for humans. Despite several supposed findings of human ancestors, all have since been shown to be frauds. The piltdown, nebraska, java and peking have all long been found out. The recent discovery of "Lucy" has recently been shown to be just a monkey. The neanderthal man has bones which are identical to modern humans with bone diseases like rickets[6][14]. This lack of fossils led Charles Darwin to write: "we cannot prove that a single species has changed"[12]

6) The theory does not explain why some species evolve faster than others[4]

7) ~500 million years ago, most of the world's species suddenly randomly appeared (Cambrian explosion). Even Richard Dawkins is forced to admit: "It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history."[5][11]

8) Evolution ignores those animals that could not have come into being with only one or two mutations but must have come fully formed, such as the angler fish[7] or the giraffe[8]. Their complexity is irreducible.

9) Evolution does not explain why males and females so often evolve in sync with one another when changes to the reproductive system of one species comes about[9]. It also fails to explain why we abandoned asexual for sexual reproduction.[11]

10) It's counter to Newton's second law of Thermodynamics - that entropy in an environment always increases[9][10][11]

11) It fails to explain why there is such parsimonious repetition of common design elements across species, which is virtually impossible with just random mutations.[15]

12) Scientists much wiser than me don't support it. A 2005 poll found that 60% of American medical doctors reject Darwinism[12].

13) The annual rate of extinction for species is far higher than the annual rate of diversification[15], yet evolution says more species have evolved over time than have been destroyed!

Evolution is a really haphazard theory, and even evolutionists can't agree on what it means[13]. It's not supported by science, which is the best indicator of truth we have. So what still stands in support of it? As Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his book : "the theory of evolution is not a complete, scientifically proven theory." And that's why I'm opposing the motion today. Vote CON.

(because I've run out of characters, I will list my sources in a comment)
Debate Round No. 2
Skeptic8

Pro

My opponent is absolutely correct. Evolution does not mean a "full-blown aerodynamic tail" will just appear. Which is why I'm a bit confused as to why he states the same thing in his argument #4 "scales changing to hair". I'd like for us to be consistent in this debate so let me explain how evolution works. Tiny genetic changes result from mutations. Such mutations in the genotypes of animals sometimes result in changes in the phenotype (physical expression) of the animal. An excellent example of these was the E. Coli experiment in which a mutation allowed a strain of E. Coli to consume citrate which was an ability previously unavailable to the bacteria. Such minute changes allowed the population to explode proving to be a change that was beneficial to its environment. So although a full blown aerodynamic tail may not simply appear, a minute change ex. the thinning of the fur on the tail, will INCREASE its aerodynamic quality by 0.1. Another change will increase it by 0.2 and so forth. Such incremental increases will increase the adaption of the animal thus making it more genetically represented in the subsequent generations. Now I will refute each argument with this in mind.

1. Evolution is not supposed to account for the origin of life. Origin of life is a separate science and evolution (changes in life) is not held responsible for the origin of it.

2. Evolution does not explain why mutations create new genetic information, genetics does. Duplications occur adding new strands of data to the genome. Point mutations change that data creating new amino acids. A new amino acid is new information. Such beneficial mutations don't have to happen quickly if we assume that we have 3.5 BILLION years to get this new data.

3. Macro evolution can't be observed unless you make the point that I make. Micro and macro are exactly the same, the changes that can be called "macro evolution" just take more time than can be observed by humans.

4. They seem impossible when you look in retrospect but when you look at them properly, small changes through long periods of time.

5. And here comes a very tired and boring argument that we hear day in and day out. Yes there have been frauds. There are frauds everywhere. This is an argument that I can't list out so instead I will simply say put your mind to use. Look through the fossil record, read the research and you will realize why evolutionist are so tired of hearing the "There are no transitional fossils" argument.

6. Yes it does, increased environmental pressure will result in increased evolutionary adaptation.

7. In Dawkins new book The Greatest Show on Earth, he talks about how tired he is of being misquoted. Donald Prothero describes the Cambrian Explosion as something more of a "Slow fuse". Suddenly appeared does not accurately describe the phenomenon. "Suddenly" means over the course of millions and millions of years in which environmental niches were created and need to be filled.

8. This is known as the problem of incipient stages. The two mutations did not need to come together, one mutation could occur for one purpose and then become co-opted for a second purpose when another mutation occurs.

9. It does explain both, the first can be explained by sexual selection. Males choose for females and females in turn choose for complimentary males and vice versa. Asexual reproduction was actually dropped because of its inability to achieve as much genetic variation as sexual reproduction.

10. Another tired argument. The second law of thermodynamics only applies to CLOSED systems. The earth is an open system that receives energy constantly from the sun.

11. It does explain it, its called convergent evolution. Environmental pressures that were similar resulted in similar adaptations for different species.

12. I'll work on this on my next rebuttal.

13. Thats not what evolution says at all. It is widely known that at least 99% of all species have gone extinct.
larztheloser

Con

OK, time to do some counter-rebuttal on each of my 13 points:

1) Does my opponent accept that evolution is not the most complete biological theory and thus my argument is correct? I don't understand?
2) My opponent says new amino acids can just form out of nothing after a mutation. I'd like to see his source for that. In any event I think my two sources are superior.
3) In theory you should be able to see macro evolution in fast-reproducing and high-pressured laboratory conditions. In a very famous Swedish bacteria experiment, after many repeated trials, they found no evidence of macro evolution.
4) It is impossible for a scale to change to a hair. What small changes lead to that? They're completely different chemical make-ups! At the very least, it wouldn't happen within a few million years.
5) My opponent accepts that he can't "list out" this argument, and tells you the voters to do the hard work for him. In debating, that's called cheating.
6) My opponent fails to explain this argument fully. Why has the shark not evolved since the dinosaurs? Surely it has been under lots of environmental pressure over that time!
7) Once again, my opponent quotes no source. You can't evolve species from nothing, species don't just appear a few million years apart. Both of these reasons mean the Cambrian explosion is fatal to the evolution theory.
8) My opponent clearly did not read my source. If the giraffe's neck had formed slowly over time, its head would explode. Think of the bombardier beetle - if something was only half-formed there, the beetle would commit suicide rather than attack its attacker. There is no evolutionary advantage to an animal that dies very quickly.
9) My opponent's explanation for why females and males evolve in sync is flawed. He only explains why bestiality is wrong. He does not explain why evolution occurs twice at just the right moment. Asexual reproduction might not have so much variation as sexual reproduction, but it is far more efficient. Surely when resources were competed for, then, the asexual reproducers would have beaten/killed the sexual reproducers?
10) The second law of thermodynamics DOES only apply to closed systems, but closed systems MAY receive energy from their surroundings (http://en.wikipedia.org...) ie the Sun. An open system is different because it also receives matter from its surroundings, which we pretty much don't.
11) Convergent evolution is still not as likely as my opponent would have you believe. Although the best outcome might in theory be the same (although I'd hardly say the common form of the ear is optimal) the odds against a set of 100 minor mutations (a very small number) creating such a common element in two species is 10^60 (http://www.iscid.org...) - I would have liked to write that number out were it not for my word limit! It's a very big number. Why do we so often defy the odds?
12) My opponent thinks he has another rebuttal. He doesn't.
13) If extinction is happening more than evolution, then it follows that the number of species in the world is steadily declining. Evolution says that, over time, the number of species in the world has been steadily increasing. There is a discrepancy here, one my opponent dismisses by saying "That's not what evolution says at all!" Errm ... yes. Yes it is what evolution says.

When you give your vote, vote for the better argument. My opponent presented no argument of his own, only assertions and blind examples. I gave you 13 solid arguments. My opponent, to his credit, did try to rebut some of them, but ultimately his case has failed as I've shown above. My opponent has barely used any sources to substantiate his claim. That's why I'm encouraging a strong con vote today. Vote con to beat back this pseudoscience. Listen to reason, not evolutionist propaganda. The motion has clearly fallen. I'm proud to have been opposing it.
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
larztheloser
This is annoying because my interests are far too wide-ranging for me to choose. If you think of one I'll do it, until then I'll continue the debate on the other page.

For those interested, the debate continues here: http://www.debate.org...
Posted by Skeptic8 6 years ago
Skeptic8
We can do both, we will continue this debate and we can start a debate on a religious issue. Which one are you interested?
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
larztheloser
Your choice. Either that or any of the other things we disagree on. Or a religious issue, I like those debates. (-;
Posted by Skeptic8 6 years ago
Skeptic8
I will do you want to do it as a continuation of this debate or a fresh debate
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
larztheloser
All gud. Feel free to challenge me if you ever feel like it in the future.
Posted by Skeptic8 6 years ago
Skeptic8
Damn I really am new to this
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
larztheloser
I quote from my opponent: "12. I'll work on this on my next rebuttal."

You have another rebuttal???
Posted by Kinesis 6 years ago
Kinesis
lol, fair enough.
Posted by Kinesis 6 years ago
Kinesis
Oh, right, my mistake. Everyone knows that's actually what evolution is anyway.
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