The Instigator
Pro (for)
8 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Evolution and Creationism can coexist for now.

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/5/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,045 times Debate No: 25000
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (25)
Votes (2)




This debate is open to anyone. N00b sniping is not a problem for me, all are welcome.

I’m posting this one because it seems all anyone wants to talk about is evolution and religion on this site. ;-P

First round is acceptance.

Second round is arguments.

Third round is counter-arguments and closing statement.

The debate topic is: Evolution and Creationism can coexist for now.

Clarification: I refer to evolution and creationism as explanations for how advanced organic life reached the level it is at now. Including every step along the way.

Definition of coexist from the Merriam Webster Dictionary:

1 : to exist together or at the same time;

2 : to live in peace with each other especially as a matter of policy.

BOP will be shared.

Pro will argue that they can coexist.

Con will argue that they cannot coexist.



I'm willing to accept, under the condition that the first definition for coexist (something that can exist together at the same time) be dropped as it isn't as specific to the resolution as the second definition. Using the first will likely lead to a semantical arguement rather than reasoning.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting the debate. I would like to note that my opponent accepted with conditions. I wish my opponent had noted his conditions in the comments section or by PM before accepting so we could mutually agree, however, as a good sport I accept my opponent’s conditions.

Good luck!

Important clarifications and definitions.

Definition of Science:

“Knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method and concerned with the physical world and its phenomena.”[1]

Scientific Theory:

According to the National Academy of Sciences, In science, [a theory means] a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses … In science, theories do not turn into facts through the accumulation of evidence. Rather, theories are the end points of science. They are understandings that develop from extensive observation, experimentation, and creative reflection. They incorporate a large body of scientific facts, laws, tested hypotheses, and logical inferences.[2] Furthermore, theories are just the best explanation available at the time; they can be disproven by new data such as the phlogiston theory and Einstein’s static universe theory. In short, a theory is the best explanation available at the time and is falsifiable by new data.

This definition is in contrast to the common usages of the word theory which are often confused in debates concerning evolution (“1. the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art <the theory and practice of medicine> . . . 3: a working hypothesis that is considered probable based on experimental evidence or factual or conceptual analysis and is accepted as a basis for experimentation”).[3]

Scientific hypothesis:

Within science, a hypothesis is an “unproved theory, proposition, supposition, etc., tentatively accepted to explain certain facts or to provide a basis for further experimentation.”[4]

The Scientific Method:

According to the Oxford English dictionary it is "a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses."


It is undisputed by Pro that evolution is a scientific theory. It is the best explanation available for how the complex life of today has evolved from the simpler life of the past (as evidenced by genetics, the study of the fossil record, and geology). I would like to note that Evolution is a huge concept involving many independent principles.

God or “the Gods”:

This is an open interpretation of God which includes any God both proposed or not proposed by any human (or non-human) religion in history including any God or Gods unforeseen or un-imagined as yet by any man or religion. Any entity that may have created the universe, the laws of physics, etc. “The existence of God” is a concept that could be described as a scientific hypothesis.


Within science, the best classification for the various arguments held by creationists is as a hypothesis, since it has yet to be supported by the amount of “extensive observation, experimentation, and creative reflection” required for a scientific theory.[5]

Creationism has many branches, not all of which are in conflict with the theory of evolution. Particularly the creationist hypotheses that “God created the universe”, “God sparked the transformation of monomers to complex polymers on earth (or God sparked abiogenesis)”, “God created the laws of physics which govern chemistry, biology and evolution”, “God, for some unknown reason at some point in the past, created the Earth in a condition which makes it seem like evolution is the most likely explanation for biodiversity (though in fact it was God that planted the fossils where they are and created genetics as a form of smokescreen).” Many of these branches (and other branches not mentioned) exist independently from each other so that even if one is knocked down, the others may stand.

These branches could be described simply as “God may have had a hand on something at some point in time.”

Evolution and Creationism can coexist even within the realm of science.

The existence of theories in science does not mean that hypotheses cannot be proposed simultaneously; otherwise the entirety of science would come to a standstill every time a new theory is proposed. The fact is that science marches on, and even the most highly regarded theories can be falsified by new experimentation and data. Furthermore theories can only explain what has been shown by experimentation and analysis; they cannot explain things that go beyond the realm of what has been experimented on.

This crux of this debate will center on the statement “I refer to evolution and creationism as explanations for how advanced organic life reached the level it is at now. Including every step along the way.” Although evolution explains many steps on the way to current biodiversity on earth, it does not explain every single step.

The fact is that while evolution is an excellent explanation for much of the biological diversity seen today, evolution is not an explanation for ‘everything’ under the sun. Evolution does not explain the creation of the universe (a necessary “step along the way” for advanced organic life), nor the reason for the existence of the universe. Furthermore, evolution, though the most likely explanation, still does not explain the problem of abiogenesis fully (yet) given that experimentation has not yet successfully proven the totality of abiogenesis, for example the jump from abiogenetic monomers to complex polymers.[6] Finally, evolution does not explain the reason for the existence of the process of evolution itself. Why is it that life evolved to the point where it is now? Why do the laws of the universe allow for evolution to take place, and for life to reach the stage where human beings can exist and observe the universe?

Furthermore, the hypothesis of “God” has yet to be disproven scientifically.

For these reasons, at least some independent branches of creationism cannot be disproven by the mere existence of the theory and process of evolution at this time. Therefore, the conclusion is that both evolution and creationism can coexist or live in peace with each other for now, until such a time as the science behind evolution disproves every possible creationist based hypothesis. And even then, the falsifiability of scientific theories will allow for perhaps some future version of creationism to dethrone evolution. But –for now- both can coexist peacefully.

Thank you for reading my argument.

Please vote Pro!

[5] See above definitions for “hypothesis” and “theory”.



In accordance with the framework of the debate, I will use this round to focus on my argumentation on why Evolution and Creationism cannot coexist for now. None of these arguments were made with the purpose of negating or otherwise opposing my the arguments my opponent has made in round 2.

1.) As the resolution states "for now" I will not be trying to prove that the two cannot coexist in the distant past or any possible future, just in the present.
2.) As my opponent is making the claim in the debate, he will be required to provide either empirical or logical proof for the coexistance of science and creationism. Should his proof be flawed or insufficient to prove this claim, his stance has failed.
3.) As this debate is over Creationism and Evolutionary theory, I simply have to prove that the resolution is false, not the existance or non-existance of any god.
4.) I will also not be debating that Creationism or Evolution is false, simply that the two cannot "live in peace with each other especially as a matter of policy", as stated by the round's definition. As such, this isn't a debate over creationism, simply the coexistence of the two together.

The definition of Coexist states that the Theory of Evolution and Creationism must live in peace with each othere, therefor we must first define what peace is so we know what must be acheived. defines peace as "a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations", and so that is what the Pro will have to prove the two can live in in the round.

The Scientific Theory:
Contrary to normal definitions of theory, a scientific theory is put through intense scrutiny, and if any facets of the theory is found to be false, then the entire theory must be changed or thrown out entirely[1]. Because of this, scientific theories -such as the Theory of Evolution and the Kinetic Theory- are held as true simply because they cannot be proven false. This is just to clarify an argument that came up in a previous debate where the "theory" in scientific theory was taken to mean that it was simply hypothetical and not proven.

Creationism by God(s):
The belief behind creationism is that one or more omnipotent beings created everything natural in existence. However, creationism has a wide array of branches and theories. Unfortunately, this makes it nearly impossible to argue for all of the different forms, so I will simply focus on the aspect of creationism from the Christian god as it's the most accepted form in Western society[3]. My opponent has already addressed that Creationism is a hypothesis, so I will not providei the proof behind that as it's an agreed upon fact.

The Theory of Evolution:
The Theory of Evolution states that rather than being created by an omnipotent being, all life forms evolved from an earlier state to what they are now. This is a widely-held scientific fact[2], and it's in direct contradiction to Creationism because of it's nature, but I'll get more into that in the upcoming section.

Seven Days of Creation:
The majority of the days do not directly cause interference between the two, but when we approach the fifth and sixth days, we can see direct contradiction that leads to fighting between the two. On the fifth day, the Bible States that God created numbers of birds and sea creatures, and on the Sixth he created vast numbers of land animals, including Man, and from Man he created Woman[4].

One conflict is the span of time as the Theory of Evolution states that it takes millions of years rather than days to create new life, but as many Biblical scholars believe that the days were most likely metaphorical and simply represented time periods I will ignore that argument. Instead, I will address the direct creation of life. The creationist argument here is that first God directly created marine and air life, and then directly created all land life. However, the Theory of Evolution states that life originally evolved in water, and then eventually migrated onto land as the marine ecosystems became competitive[5]. This leads to a direct point of conflict between the two theories, and as such they do not live in peace.

The second conflict that occurs is the creation of Mankind, specifically. The Bible states that during the Sixth day that Man was created at the same time as the other land animals. However, the belief in the Theory of Evolution is that first Land animals evolved, then humans began to evolve as they split from the common ancestor we hold with the apes[6]. This second difference is another point of contention between evolutionists and creationists, and shows that the two cannot live in harmony.

Because of these differences that cause contention between the two theories, it has been proven that the two theories cannot live in harmony, and so cannot coexist. I thank my opponent for the debate and anxiously await rebuttals.

Works Cited:
4.) (Genesis 1:20-31)
Debate Round No. 2


I want to thank my opponent for participating in this debate and for posting his round.

I extend all of my unaddressed arguments from the previous round.

My opponent’s arguments

1. My opponent is incorrect, “for now” means that they can coexist for the moment, it is not a reference to the fact that both evolution and creationism deal with matters of the past. It means simply that evolution has not yet disproven all of the branches of creationism, but that perhaps it might at some point in the future. Example: “for now” creationism has not been entirely disproven by the theory of evolution alone.

2. BOP is shared. It was stated in round 1. My opponent agreed to the terms and cannot shift the burden to me now.

3. I agree that my opponent does not have to disprove the existence of God.

4. I agree that my opponent does not have to prove creationism is false.

In the case of 3 and 4 it makes no impact on the resolution.

My opponent agreed to the debate, it is irrelevant that it is impossible for him to win.

Biblical creationism

My opponent has made an excellent case against creationism based on a strict interpretation of the bible being able to coexist with the theory of evolution. However, I would like to note that I did not limit this debate to creationism based on a strict interpretation of the bible. My opponent has failed to address:

(1) non-Christian religions and their versions of creationism,

(2) versions of creationism that might have occurred that are beyond the explanations provided by any known religion;

and even

(3) potential non-human[1] versions of creationism in my last round;

(4) To that I would add Christian religions that are not based on a strict interpretation of the bible, but that basically say some variation of “God did whatever science cannot prove otherwise.”

That creationism might not be able to coexist with science is not the subject of this debate (even though some of the forms of creationism mentioned in my last round can clearly coexist with science, for example “god may have had a hand on something at some point in time”). This is a debate about whether creationism and evolution can coexist. It is a debate that involves science, but it does not turn on creationism’s ability to be able to coexist with all of science.

That being said, in science, parts of a complex theory or hypothesis can be removed without the entire theory or hypothesis being disproven. An example is the theory of evolution itself, which has gone through many revisions since the days of Darwin. For example the simple evolutionary tree used by Darwin and in early studies of evolution has given way to a much more complex picture when confronted with horizontal gene transfer,[2] hybridization between species that were not nearest neighbors on the tree before hybridization takes place, convergent evolution, and conserved sequences.

That parts of the “theory of evolution” might be invalidated by later science doesn’t mean that the entirety of evolution is wrong. It follows then that if parts of the hypothesis of creationism might be invalidated by science, it doesn’t mean that the entire concept has been disproven. Separate branches of creationism can still survive and not be in conflict with evolution.

To help illustrate this discussion, observe the following diagram:

The above diagram shows some possible variations on the interaction between creationism and evolution as explanations for how life came to be. The black line represents time. The black dots represent points in time. The period of time covered by evolution is shown in blue. The periods of time covered by various versions of creationism is shown in red (the reddish color).

Line A shows the period of history that is covered by the theory of evolution.

Line B represents those versions of creationism that deal more with the creation of the universe rather than trying to explain how life evolved on Earth, and could be considered not based on a strict interpretation of the bible. This includes non-Christian religions, Christian religions that do not use a strict interpretation of the bible, and any potential non-human religion. To this would be added any version of God that might pre-date time and the universe themselves that may have set the universe in motion.

Line C represents a version of creationism based on a biblical interpretation.

Line D represents a possible situation in which God has been involved on multiple parts of the development of the universe, up to and including the manipulation of the evolution of life on Earth.

The argument that I make is that in certain cases, creationism and evolution do not overlap, as shown in line B of the diagram, where creationism is mostly concerned with events that happened before the beginning of life on Earth. That might have set the stage for life to take place. In those cases creationism and evolution can clearly coexist. Since they are not trying to explain the same phenomena. One is concerned with the development of life, and the other is concerned with the existence of the universe.

Included in line B are those versions of creationism that say that God may have set events in motion before life existed, such as creating the laws of physics, that makes it possible for evolution to take place.

In most of the versions of creationism represented by line B, there is no conflict with evolution, and therefore creationism and evolution can coexist in those cases. As long as one version of creationism is able to coexist with the theory of evolution, I have proved my case.

Other versions of creationism

My opponent has also not addressed the possibility that God may have simply faked the evolutionary record and all evidence of evolution for some unknown reason. In that case, although creationism and evolution might overlap, such as in lines C and D, there would be no conflict with evolution, since it would be impossible to tell if evolution is even real. In that case, even strict-biblical creationism could coexist with the theory of evolution.


Creationism and evolution, in some cases, cover different spans of time and/or branches of science entirely. In those cases, there is no conflict between them at all since they do not overlap (see Line B of the diagram above). It’s also possible for evolution and creationism to overlap without being in conflict as noted in the above examples. Regardless, as long as some version of creationism can coexist with evolution, the resolution is valid. My opponent has yet to make an argument against any version of creationism that isn't based on a strict interpretation of the bible, and as such concedes that the resolution is valid.

It is possible to believe in evolution and creationism simultaneously without contradiction. They can both coexist or live “in peace with each other” at least for now. The simple creationist statement "God may have had a hand on something at some point" is not in conflict with evolution.

Therefore, the resolution is proven.

Thank you for reading, please vote Pro!

[1] By non-human I mean possible animal or alien religions (you never know, maybe there’s something to those whale songs… maybe ET has a temple, maybe there is some alien species that has had more direct contact with God than the human race). I'm being serious.

[2] “HGT is one of two keys to understanding cellular evolution. The phenomenon has long been known, but the HGT we thought we knew is not the HGT that genomics reveals. Only a decade ago HGT was generally considered a relatively benign force, which had sporadic and restricted evolutionary impact. However, the HGT that genomics reveals is not of this nature. It would seem to have the capacity to affect the entire genome, and given enough time could, therefore, completely erase an organismal genealogical trace. This is an evolutionary force to be reckoned with, comparable in power and consequence to classical vertical evolutionary mechanisms.”



It has come to my attention that I'm arguing something different from my opponent. While he is arguing that one does not neccesarily disprove the other, I'm arguing that the two cannot coexist as theories. Therefore, I fully concede this debate, and ask that the viewers award all points to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 3
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheOrator 4 years ago
The three comments in question bring into question the fulfillment of your evidence of which you provided none! Clearly I have won this rudimentary exchange!

(In case you didn't know, I'm not actually calling you a fool, it's something the character in my profile pic does)
Posted by abstractposters 4 years ago
Posted by WMdebate 4 years ago
Cool posters btw.
Posted by abstractposters 4 years ago
I won this debate consisting of only this comment and the prior three!
Posted by WMdebate 4 years ago
you guys should debate it.
Posted by TheOrator 4 years ago
A concession is a voluntary loss :P I highly doubt that it varies, but if you have proof I'd be glad to see it.
Posted by abstractposters 4 years ago
A concession is an essence which varies from culture to culture.
Posted by WMdebate 4 years ago
Well, I respect your point of view abstractposters. Though shouldn't I get a vote just for the full concession?
Posted by abstractposters 4 years ago
I was reading along keeping my vote in mind and realized I am biased over the matter. Now I will not be voting. Perhaps as soon as you said 'can' I consider your debate to be testing God. God may have already cancelled peace-time.
Posted by WMdebate 4 years ago
Woot! Although I would have liked more of a fight... but I guess a win is a win :-).
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by popculturepooka 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by frozen_eclipse 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: concessions.....i glad there was a concession because this would have been very hard to vote on