The Instigator
rougeagent21
Pro (for)
Losing
47 Points
The Contender
TheSkeptic
Con (against)
Winning
77 Points

Evolution cannot be proven scientifically

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/20/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,596 times Debate No: 6970
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (25)
Votes (20)

 

rougeagent21

Pro

I will allow my opponent to open. The burden is on you to prove how evolution can be scientifically proven. Sir, whenever you are ready.
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for challenging me to this debate of which I am quite fond of :).

>>>The burden is on you to prove how evolution can be scientifically proven.<<<
----> This is quite disingenuous. It is also YOUR burden to prove how evolution can't be scientifically proven. For not only are you PRO, but you instigated this debate (with no opening argument sadly).

=====Arguments=====

I will present several basic scientific evidences from varying fields to substantiate evolution:

1. Age of Earth

For us to evolve from simple single cell-organisms to now, it would take a lengthy time for life to exist. Thus, a pre-condition for evolution to be is true is for the age of the earth to be quite long.

Technically speaking, scientists can't determine the exact age of the earth. This is because the Earth's oldest rocks have been destroyed and recycled by plate tectonics. However, we can get accurate numbers by not only by assuming that the Earth and the rest of the solid bodies in the Solar System formed at the same time and are, therefore, of the same age[1], but also dating the oldest rocks we can find. For example, the oldest found rock outcrop is the Acasta Gneiss[2] which was discovered in 1989. By radiometric dating of zircon crystals, it is found to be 4.03-4.05 GA (billion of years). This places the age of the earth well in the range of a little over 4 billion years old - plenty of time for evolution to occur.

2. Speciation

One of the core tenets of evolution is that natural selection will eventually bring about speciation. Speciation is basically when different groups from species X split off into species Y, Z, etc. A good definition of species is given by the evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr[3], who states that a species is "an actually or potentially interbreeding population that does not interbreed with other such populations when there is opportunity to do so."

While there are different types of speciation, generally speaking speciation happens mostly under geographical isolation of subpopulations. Geographical isolation is simply when groups of a population are separated by natural borders, such as flash floods, earthquakes, etc[4]. This would then put different groups of the same species in different locations. When they are put in a different environment, their subsequent generations will have to adapt to it or die off.

A famous example of this is Darwin's finches. Even though the Galapagos Islands were off the shore of Ecuador, the animals found in the Galapagos Islands had striking differences from their cousins in Ecuador - this is due to evolution via geographical isolation. Some had beaks fitted to drinking nectar, while others had stout beaks for eating seeds of varying sizes[3].

The explanation is natural selection. Natural selection can be summarized as the nonrandom selection of random variables. Evolution is comprised of two parts: mutations and natural selection. Mutations happen frequently, there is no doubt about that. Something creationists fail to understand is that thought MUTATIONS are random, NATURAL SELECTION is not. This is because natural selection is a process.

3. Homology

If according to evolution we had common ancestors, then we should share physical similarities to our evolutionary "cousins". A very obvious and common example of homology is the forelimb of tetrapods[5]. Many different animals such as rabbits, birds, lizards, and frogs have differently shaped forelimbs because of how they adapted. The rabbit hops and sprints while the lizard crawls low on the ground. However, they all share the same set of bones - the humerus, the radius, and the ulna[5]. It's like a puzzle piece - evolution has just rearranged the bones for their respective adaptions. This is even found in the extinct transitional animal, Eusthenopteron[5].

=====Counterarguments=====

Giving sufficient evidence and examples, I await my opponent's rebuttal. While I realize some of my arguments will be attacked in obvious places (radiometric dating, etc.), his lack of an opening argument, my lengthy opening argument, and these character limits say that I will address them next round ;D.

---References---
1. http://pubs.usgs.gov...
2. http://adsabs.harvard.edu...
3. http://users.rcn.com...
4. http://www.webref.org...
5. http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
rougeagent21

Pro

(The first video is used to attack my opponent's second contention, while the second is used to build my own. Please excuse the music :)

CONTENTION 1-Age of Earth

My opponent says that evolution would need A LOT of time to occur. This is supposedly met by the "Age of Earth." He claims we can get accurate numbers on how old the Earth is via radiometric dating. THIS METHOD IS FAULTY. Several tests have been done on lava flows of known dates. These year-old samples have been dated at three and a half million years old! This method relies on the decay of minerals, or their half-lives. There are two main problems with this. One, the decay rate is not constant. Two, the original amount of the mineral is IMPOSSIBLE to know. Sure, they assume that it decays at a constant rate, but they don even know how much there was to begin with! Radiometric dating is faulty, and cannot be used to date the Earth. Contention 1 falls.

http://hubcap.clemson.edu...:
http://www.cs.unc.edu... methods in general are inaccurate

CONTENTION 2- Speciation and Natural Selection

My opponent brings up speciation via natural selection. While this can explain the accumulation of various traits, it cannot explain how traits with no solitary advantage can be selected, and then assembled into new, functioning systems. This is impossible. His contention 2 falls.

CONTENTION 3-Homology

Yes, it is true, there are in fact other animals with similar bones to us. "Oh my gosh!" He says this can be used to further evolution. While there are similar bone characteristics, evolution can still not be proven due to its other faults. I will concede homology.

Since I am arguing that evolution is not scientifically provable, I need only show why evolution cannot be proven to win. I will, however, offer up the fact that life is so complex, that it could not have evolved. So the calculation goes that the probability of forming a given 300 amino acid long protein (say an enzyme like carboxypeptidase) randomly is (1/20)300 or 1 chance in 2.04 x 10390, which is astoundingly, mind-beggaringly improbable. This is then cranked up by adding on the probabilities of generating 400 or so similar enzymes until a figure is reached that is so huge that merely contemplating it causes your brain to dribble out your ears. This gives the impression that the formation of even the smallest organism seems totally impossible.

http://www.talkorigins.org...

For these reasons, I stand in absolute affirmation of the resolution. Thank you.
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for responding to this debate, and I hope we have a good one.

=====
Age of the Earth
=====

So my opponent's main contention against the age of the earth is that radiometric dating is "faulty". This is a common and laughable objection, and I'll be glad to tear it to shreds:

>>>This method relies on the decay of minerals, or their half-lives.<<<

From this statement I can tell already that the bulk, if not all, of my opponent's knowledge on radiometric dating comes from propaganda creationist sites. Already, he has his technical information wrong. Radiometric dating does NOT measure the decay of "minerals", but the amount of radioactive decay[1].

>>>One, the decay rate is not constant.<<<

Ridiculous, decay rates ARE constant. This is why geologists use radiometric dating. Geologists measure this by measuring the amount of radioactive parent element and the amount of stable daughter elements. Rocks and minerals are made up of crystals, which themselves are made up of several different chemical elements. While most are stable and don't change, some DO and are the ones geochronologists[2] use. Over time, in a constant and predictable rate, the original elements (parent element) in the crystals of the rock will change into a new element (daughter element). By measuring how much parent elements in comparison to the daughter elements in a rock, geologists can determine the age of the rock.

As said before, there are several elements that have naturally decaying isotopes. Therefore, there are different methods using things such as uranium, potassium, etc. The longer the half-life, the better since it gives a longer age-range.

>>>Two, the original amount of the mineral is IMPOSSIBLE to know.<<<

As stated before, if there is 100% parent elements, then that is the original amount.

=====
Speciation
=====

Since my opponent uses the video as his contention then I will refute it accordingly. I would also like to note that I find it disingenuous for my opponent to use someone else' video to as an argument in our debate. If you're just going to use someone's work to refute my entire arguments, then we shouldn't have a debate then. We should just throw links and videos at each other, but we don't do that here do we?

~Video 1
This video is currently unavailable. These type of situations can best be avoided when you TYPE YOUR OWN ARGUMENT. As such, my argument from speciation still stands.

~Video 2
This is a clip from the creationist propaganda movie Expelled. First, do you really count this as an argument? It shows a few scientists saying that they think the cell is highly complex (and probably implying that evolution can't happen because of that). Not only is that NOT an argument, but it's also a brilliant way to brainwash people by having a few scientists with credentials doubting evolution. What is funny that I recognize most of them: they are Creationists. I am willing to bet that the others I didn't recognize are likewise Creationists. Of course, if the retarded Bill Stein asked evolutionists he wouldn't get the right response he wanted for his impotent film. If you wanna have a battle over credentials and numbers, then the evolutionary community has MUCH more than those who are creationists.

That being said, both your videos aren't arguments, so my speciation point still stands. Disappointing.

=====
Homology
=====

My opponent has already conceded this argument. The voters should take note of this.

=====
Improbability
=====

This is HILARIOUS. Not just because my opponent's argument is complete bogus, but because the website he links to is probably the best known and useful website on the Internet for destroying Creationist propaganda: TalkOrigins.org. It's funny, because my opponent's argument is directly copy-pasted from the website. And here we have to problems:

-TalkOrigins, the cite you copy-pasted from, lays out the "argument" you use and goes on to DEFEAT IT. So all it takes is a little reading down and you'll see it be broken apart
-If you were to do just a little reading of the title, you will see that it's talking about ABIOGENESIS. Abiogenesis is NOT Evolution. Evolution explains the diversity of life, while abiogenesis explains the origin of life.

So in a true twist of irony, I will be using my opponent's OWN source to defeat his OWN argument. Let the bashing begin:

1. The formation of biological polymers from monomers is a function of the laws of chemistry and biochemistry, which means that these process are NOT random like any other process (evaporation, etc.). So much for the random probability, eh?

2. These early "living" building blocks were much simpler than the ones you give as example. Most of these simple molecules (even simpler than preprotobacteria) can have subunits of only around 30-40. So much for random probability, eh?

3. Many of these early "living" molecules are capable of single self replication. So much for random probability, eh?.

The problem is that Creationists have an overtly simplified and impotent view of abiogenesis. They think it's from simple chemicals and STRAIGHT to early bacteria. This is obscurely false. There were many steps between, such as the formation of polymers and protobionts.

>>>This is then cranked up by adding on the probabilities of generating 400<<<

I'm not sure where creationists get this "400 proteins" mark. Perhaps they pulled it out their behind? Nonetheless, the claim that the amino acid sequence of 400 can't be changed for the organism to be alive is false. Plain outright false. As stated in TalkOrigins, the smallest genome of a living current organism is Mycobacterium genetalium - this is perhaps where the Creationists get this claim. However, not only is further inspection realizing this number can be reduced to 256[3], but realize these are MODERN organisms. The simple celled organisms 3.5 billion years ago were MUCH different and MUCH simpler. Sot his claim should be thrown out the window.

>>>...randomly is (1/20)300 or 1 chance in 2.04 x 10390, which is astoundingly, mind-beggaringly improbable.<<<

Now, if I haven't shown enough ways in which abiogenesis isn't THAT absurdly random, I'll finally end my rebuttal on this claim concerning statistics. It's so common for creationists to pull out big obtuse numbers and try to mind-freak opponent's. There are two major problems with this argument:

1. Let's say I wanna throw a coin and make it heads 4 times in a row (HHHH). The probability of this would be 1 out of 16. While this does tell me the total possible events that can take place, it does NOT tell me where it will happen. For instance, I can get HHHH in the FIRST try or the SECOND try or the LAST try. So a super high probability won't dictate that something happens in the end.

However, with gigantic numbers my opponent presents it's still very difficult for us to imagine something like that happening. This is true, but there lies a major fault in the argument:

2. The creationist assumes these are SEQUENTIAL trials. For one person, like me flipping a coin, it would be sequential. But if there were 16 people including me SIMULTANEOUSLY flipping a coin at the same time, how likely is it for one of us to get a HHHH? VERY LIKELY INDEED. Now go back to the abiogenesis scene. In the early ocean, BILLIONS and BILLIONS of simultaneous trials are being conducted, how likely is it for life to arise? Much more likely than you think.

And remember, life only needs to happen ONCE for abiogenesis to do it's job.

=====
Conclusion
=====

My opponent's argument suffers from horrible videos, copy-pasted arguments, and a poor understanding of radioactive decay (with backing evidence from an obscure website with only Creationist sources). Vote CON.

---References---
1. http://facstaff.gpc.edu...
2.http://en.wikipedia.org...
3
Debate Round No. 2
rougeagent21

Pro

Wow, I thought people still used courtesy and basic manners on this site.

Alright, so I will address my opponent's defenses of his case, and then move on to discuss what he must do in order to win this debate. (Since my opponent is against using arguments from an outside source, I will cite no sources. I don't understand his logic since he did himself, but I guess he just mis-typed?)

--First contention--

PLEASE NOTE: He did not respond to my example of the lava flow. This has been tested many times with numerous methods, and ALL proved faulty.

When attacking his first contention, I brought up several points. The first of these is the method used. He says that it is not correct. For your information, there are several methods, which all give roughly the same answer. So, this particular method may not line up word-for-word with my opponent's, but it is commonly used.

Second, I said the decay rate is not constant. He disregards this completely as ridiculous. The fact of the matter is: Radiometric dating assumes that radioisotope decay rates are constant, but this assumption is not supported. All processes in nature vary according to different factors, and we should not expect radioactivity to be different.

Lastly, I said the original amount is impossible to know. He tries to counter with: "As stated before, if there is 100% parent elements, then that is the original amount." HOW DO WE KNOW? How can we possibly know how much there was originally? We cannot. Plain and simple, just the way i like it. ;)

--Second contention--
He begins his defense with attacks on my sources. (I guess your cp is broken, because the video works on all of the computers that I have looked at it on) Please note he does not address my written attack, only the videos. He says that the second video is "propaganda," just because someone with opposing views to his said it. (Way to keep an open mind ;) Just because someone else disagrees with you doesn't make it ridiculous! The video was simply there to back what I said with numerous opinions of other scientists. (NOT all of them were creationists) That being said, his second contention still falls.

--Third contention--
This has been addressed. It is quite obvious that, heaven forbid, there are other animals with similar bones. (Oh my! We must have evolved from them!)

--My case--
He describes this as "hilarious." How droll. He also says that the site I use is actually against my case. I know that how they interpret the data is contradictory to my own interpretation. This is irrelevant. What are relevant are the cold, hard facts. The data. Its what you do with the data that makes the difference. Ironic?

-His first attack-: "The formation of biological polymers from monomers is a function of the laws of chemistry and biochemistry, which means that these process are NOT random like any other process (evaporation, etc.)."

This misses the mark completely. We are not talking about evaporation, or any other similar functions. We are talking about the formation of new organelles, organs, and species. HE DOES NOT ADDRESS THIS.

-His second attack-: "These early "living" building blocks were much simpler than the ones you give as example. Most of these simple molecules (even simpler than preprotobacteria) can have subunits of only around 30-40."
30 or 40 what?
What evidence do we have of any "earlier living building blocks"? Of course they are not around today, so how do we know they even existed? WE CAN'T!

-His third attack-: "Many of these early "living" molecules are capable of single self replication."
Again, we don't even know they existed. Secondly, so what? Yes, they can self-replicate, as can almost every cell. We are not addressing this, but the formation of new organelles, organs, and species. Just because something replicates doesn't mean it will morph into something else.

He also attacks my statistics. "Let's say I wanna throw a coin and make it heads 4 times in a row (HHHH). The probability of this would be 1 out of 16. While this does tell me the total possible events that can take place, it does NOT tell me where it will happen. For instance, I can get HHHH in the FIRST try or the SECOND try or the LAST try. So a super high probability won't dictate that something happens in the end."
Even if this were plausible, it would take a horrendously long time. As I have shown, we don't know how old the Earth is. This debate is on scientific proof. If we don't have the facts, then you must vote PRO.

So, I have upheld my own problems with evolution, while effectively tearing down his. To win this debate my opponent must:

(1) Give undeniable scientific PROOF.
Non-controversial evidence, that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt, that evolution is the ONLY option. This what the debate pivots around. Because thus far I have denied all of my opponent's "evidence" then I have won the debate. WE MUST BASE THIS ON FACT, NOT WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED.

"Evolution cannot be proven scientifically."
Affirmed.
TheSkeptic

Con

>>>Since my opponent is against using arguments from an outside source, I will cite no sources. I don't understand his logic since he did himself, but I guess he just mis-typed?<<<

I never stated I was against sources. I stated that I was against people who refute entire arguments of mine by using OTHER people's work (videos, articles, etc.). Using a source as a citation does not mean one posts just videos, copy-paste entire arguments, etc. It's okay to use video to supplement your argument, and perhaps you can copy-paste some statistics, a quote, or a formula. But not ENTIRE arguments. I just found it disingenuous.

=====
Age of the Earth
=====

>>>He did not respond to my example of the lava flow. This has been tested many times with numerous methods, and ALL proved faulty.<<<

I didn't because of two reasons. One, I had no character limits left. Two, the reason I decided to not refute it was because I HAD NO LINK/SOURCE to check it. If you use hard evidence (facts, statistics, etc.), then you need to attach a source so I can check it out.

>>>The first of these is the method used. He says that it is not correct. For your information, there are several methods, which all give roughly the same answer.<<<

I simply pointed out that you had your facts wrong (i.e. the BASICS of radiometric dating).

>>>The fact of the matter is: Radiometric dating assumes that radioisotope decay rates are constant, but this assumption is not supported.<<<

Uh, I beg to differ. For example, here is one of the more simpler formula for radioactive decay[1]. Further reading int he article will present more formulas, etc.:

P(now) = P(org) X 2[-age/half life]

* Pnow - The quantity of the parent isotope that remains now. This is measured directly.
* Porig - The quantity of the parent isotope that was originally present. This is computed from the current quantity of parent isotope plus the accumulated quantity of daughter isotope.
* halflife - The half-life of the parent isotope. Standard values are used, based on direct measurements. (Constancy of decay rate is covered in the Age of the Earth FAQ.)
* age - The value computed from the equation and the other three quantities, is the amount of time which has passed.

>>>All processes in nature vary according to different factors, and we should not expect radioactivity to be different.<<<

Many processes abide by scientific laws. Gravity, evaporation, etc. Radioactive decay is no different. This is a hilarious argument, because it's the exact claim that is posted on the TalkOrigins webstie (and then refuted accordingly). My opponent seriously doesn't know what he's doing.

>>>HOW DO WE KNOW? How can we possibly know how much there was originally? We cannot. Plain and simple, just the way i like it. ;)<<<

Parent elements are basically the original elements. So if you find chemical elements such as iron, and in the rock/mineral it's 100% iron, then TADA. That's how we know.

=====
Sepeciation
=====

You shouldn't on entire videos to press your arguments, especially in the case where you didn't make it and I might not be able to view it. The second video is a propaganda video, because not only does it have no arguments, but it adds the fallacy from personal incredulity along with the impression that "hey, we got some scientists to say evolution is wrong. So there, ha!".

>>>While this can explain the accumulation of various traits, it cannot explain how traits with no solitary advantage can be selected, and then assembled into new, functioning systems.<<<

Functioning systems are not a on-or-off thing. Parts of an animal don't just SPRING into existence by evolution. A commonly cited creationist argument is the argument from irreducible complexity. Basically, your argument is saying that if a "piece" is removed, then it can't work and function. This is false. While it may not serve it's original purpose, it can CHANGE the function of the organ or body part. Take the example of the mousetrap. Creationists say that if you remove one piece, it won't work as a mousetrap. True, but if you remove one piece, you can perhaps make a paper weight or a tie clip from it. Less/diff rent arrangement of pieces, and yet new different function. For example, the function of gliding was what preceded flying.

=====
Homology
=====

My opponent has already conceded this point, and yet he tries to play it off as nothing. So is it just a coincidence that animals who are evolutionary linked share the same homology to varying levels of degrees? By Occam's Razor, we can explain this phenomenon.

=====
Improbability
=====

>>>I know that how they interpret the data is contradictory to my own interpretation. This is irrelevant. What are relevant are the cold, hard facts. The data.<<<

And yet you don't have the open-mindedness to even read TalkOrigins arguments. Because if you glanced at it, you would realize that your abiogenesis-improbability argument is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.

>>>. We are not talking about evaporation, or any other similar functions. We are talking about the formation of new organelles, organs, and species. HE DOES NOT ADDRESS THIS.<<<

What a red herring. If you went back to what my first "attack" was directed towards, it was his statement about the supposed randomness of polymers/proteins/amino acids/etc. forming. He takes my quote of context when he doesn't realize that it is his ARGUMENT that is irrelevant to the debate (evolution, if you forgot).

>>>What evidence do we have of any "earlier living building blocks"? Of course they are not around today, so how do we know they even existed? WE CAN'T!<<<

Fossils of early prokaryotes were found to be 3 billion years old[2]. Similarly so, the conditions for life back then and the new arrival of life would mean small chains of only 30-40.

>>>We are not addressing this, but the formation of new organelles, organs, and species. Just because something replicates doesn't mean it will morph into something else.<<<

AGAIN, A RED HERRING. This was a rebuttal your abiogenesis-improbability argument. YOU are the one out of context.

>>>Even if this were plausible, it would take a horrendously long time. As I have shown, we don't know how old the Earth is. This debate is on scientific proof. If we don't have the facts, then you must vote PRO.<<<

I've stated that the Earth's early oceans were filled with BILLIONS and BILLIONS of simultaneous "trials". And no, you haven't disproved Earth's age.

=====
Conclusion
=====

My opponent's argument has been utterly horrendous. His argument against radioactive decay reveals his lack of knowledge in chemistry, and I have given one of the formula's for the constant rate of decay. His second argument against speciation relies on the refuted argument of irreducible complexity. His third argument against homology is nonexistent, and he laughs it off despite not knowing the implications of homology. His fourth argument is completely irrelevant (though I refuted it) because it described ABIOGENESIS. NOT EVOLUTION.

My opponent has not only been disingenuous with his videos, but has shown his failure at researching. When you cite an argument that becomes abruptly defeated from the website you cited, then you need to scroll down Google a few more pages.

VOTE CON.

---References---
1. http://www.gizlen.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by rougeagent21 5 years ago
rougeagent21
Ah, not true. Consider this:
You are taking a test in English. You are using a pen. You circle "E" as the answer to number 4. You hand the paper in. The teacher looks at your test to grade it. She marks you correct for answering "E" on number "4." How does she know that you marked E?
Posted by grayron 5 years ago
grayron
Evolution can be proven or disproven looking at living things in the future but not looking in the past. The past can only be made up of theories unless a time machine is invented.
Posted by RedDawnJensen 5 years ago
RedDawnJensen
I couldnt help but notice that this debate was totally veering off of the subject, evolution, which does not have to do with the age of the earth at all.
Answer yes or no in your head to these questions:
1. animals, plants, and other forms of life contain DNA which is used to reproduce.
2. offspring inherit a combination of the DNA of their parents
3. some traits are controlled by DNA, such as color, habits, body shape, etc, no matter how small they may be.
4. some life forms traits give them a better chance of reproducing.
5. life forms with a better chance of reproducing have a better chance of having young with similar traits.
6. some life forms traits give them a lesser chance of reproducing.
7. life forms with a lesser chance of reproducing have a lesser chance of having young with similar traits.
8. sometimes, DNA mutates, which sometimes alters a trait for better or for worse (usually worse, I will admit), no matter how small a difference it may make.

If you agree with the above, then you agree that evolution is a natural law.
Posted by TheSkeptic 5 years ago
TheSkeptic
KRFournier, do note that I did still defeat his argument against abiogenesis. Or refute if you don't think I defeated them.
Posted by leethal 5 years ago
leethal
"It seems strange to me to support a theory that extrapolates backwards to abiogenesis, then expect the opponent to just accept abiogenesis on good faith. However, I do understand why you prefer to make the distinction."

Say you're standing in your front yard and you get hit in the back with a ball. You pick the ball up and study it for a while to determine its mass, volume, etc. You then assess the mark it left on your back, thus finding the pressure with which it hit you, hence the force and momentum, then using the mass of the ball you find an approximate velocity which it must have been travelling when it hit you. You also know from your orientation when you were hit and the place where the mark was left on your back, an approximate angle the ball came from. All this information allows you to extrapolate back to the approximate time, place and initial conditions of the ball. Once you reach the approximate place of trajectory, you find nobody there; they have vanished.

Now, just because you don't know who threw the ball or why (as we don't know what started the evolution of life), you DO know a lot about what happened AFTER it was thrown (i.e. after life had begun). Although the two events are related, you needn't necessarily know anything about the initial event to evaluate facts about what happened afterwards.
Posted by leethal 5 years ago
leethal
"It seems strange to me to support a theory that extrapolates backwards to abiogenesis, then expect the opponent to just accept abiogenesis on good faith. However, I do understand why you prefer to make the distinction."

Say you're standing in your front yard and you get hit in the back with a ball. You pick the ball up and study it for a while to determine its mass, volume, etc. You then assess the mark it left on your back, thus finding the pressure with which it hit you, hence the force and momentum, then using the mass of the ball you find an approximate velocity which it must have been travelling when it hit you. You also know from your orientation when you were hit and the place where the mark was left on your back, an approximate angle the ball came from. All this information allows you to extrapolate back to the approximate time, place and initial conditions of the ball. Once you reach the approximate place of trajectory, you find nobody there; they have vanished.

Now, just because you don't know who threw the ball or why (as we don't know what started the evolution of life), you DO know a lot about what happened AFTER it was thrown (i.e. after life had begun). Although the two events are related, you needn't necessarily know anything about the initial event to evaluate facts about what happened afterwards.
Posted by KRFournier 5 years ago
KRFournier
It seems strange to me to support a theory that extrapolates backwards to abiogenesis, then expect the opponent to just accept abiogenesis on good faith. However, I do understand why you prefer to make the distinction.

Would it stand to reason that evolution implies one of two theories on abiogenesis: either life spontaneously formed from non-life or life was planted on earth?
Posted by leethal 5 years ago
leethal
"I've seen many debates on this topic in which evolution is distinguished from abiogenesis. Doesn't evolution imply abiogenesis? This seems to me to be arguing semantics."

No KR, it's not just arguing semantics as there's a very good reason for making the distinction. Scientists KNOW evolution happened and is happening, and have very solid explanations for it based upon very solid evidence. Abiogenisis, on the other hand, is unproven; there are a few theories out there but nothing near conclusive. So rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater, a clear distinction is made between evolution (which we KNOW) and abiogenisis (which we speculate). That's my take on it anyway; they are two seperate areas of study, so abiogenisis has no place in an evolution debate.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
While it is true the arguments Pro makes are ridiculous, Con should not say that in the debate. Just refute them. In the comments they can be identified as ridiculous.

For radiometric dating to be wrong, more than a dozen isotope pairs had to have different changes in decay rates that all coincidentally give the same answer, C14 had to have decayed a hundred times faster while U235 decayed a million times faster. Also we need four tree rings per year and 10 or more snow season per year (ice core dating). The rate at which the earth cools must have accelerating by a factor of hundred of thousands. This goes on and on with dozens of physical phenomena. In other words, dozens of clocks must not only be broken, they have to all be broken in such a way that they nonetheless always show the same time. Of the hundreds of thousands of applications of radiometric dating, there are a dozen or so bad measurements that Creationists cite. They are all analyzed on talkorigins. Tape measures and wristwatches also sometimes yield bad measurements when used inappropriately, that doesn't disprove their utility.

"Proven" does not mean "proven beyond any imaginable doubt." It means "proved by reasonable standards of evidence." It think most people acknowledge "God the Trickster": that the world was actually created last Tuesday with all the evidence and memories in place. It cannot be absolutely "proven" that didn't happen. However, proven consistent with all the know laws of nature suffices.

The whole point of the theory of evolution by natural selection is that it isn't random. Therefore arguments from randomness only demonstrate that Creationists do not understand what the theory is.

The deal with videos and references is that you have to make the argument in your own words, then give reliable, in this case ultimately peer-reviewed scientific references, to support the arguments.

Con argued well. Pro just made assertions without any scientific backup whatsoever.
Posted by KRFournier 5 years ago
KRFournier
I've seen many debates on this topic in which evolution is distinguished from abiogenesis. Doesn't evolution imply abiogenesis? This seems to me to be arguing semantics.
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