The Instigator
yooneekorn
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Jonnykelly
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Evolution is a Law of Nature

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/11/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 496 times Debate No: 77560
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (0)

 

yooneekorn

Pro

The pro side will be arguing that evolution is empirically correct, and therefore a natural law. Con will be arguing against the premise.

Round 1: Acceptance of debate, definition of terms.
Round 2: Introductory arguments
Round 3: First rebuttals
Round 4: 2nd Rebuttals

Definition of terms:

Natural Selection: The process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring.
Prokaryote: single-celled organism that lacks a membrane-bound nucleus (karyon), mitochondria, or any other membrane-bound organelles.
Eukaryote: organism whose cells contain a nucleus and other organelles enclosed within membranes
Evolution: the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth.

Good luck to my opponent.
Jonnykelly

Con

I accept this debate, and will argue against my opponents resolution that Evolution is a Law of Nature.

The primary burden of proof is on my opponent to prove such a definitive assertion, and I need only disprove him or cause significant doubt in his assertions.

Bestwishes.
Debate Round No. 1
yooneekorn

Pro

Evolution is the process that has occured throughout all of the Earth's history. The first form of life is what resembles a prokaryote, a single-celled organism that uses carbon dioxide as a carbon source and oxidizes inorganic materials to extract energy. Later, prokaryotes evolve glycolysis, a collection of chemical reactions that free the energy of organic molecules such as glucose (sugar) and store it in the chemical bonds of ATP. Glycolysis (and ATP) continue to be used as a life source in almost all organisms, unchanged, to this day. Approximately 0.2 billion years after the first prokaryote, these cells evolved into bacterium, which performed photosynthesis. Next came eukaryotes, and eukaryotes began to sexually reproduce. Eventually, a very long series of events occured that introduced multicellular life, animals, plants, mammals.

What proves this process? Many factors do. In this argument, I will be naming three.

-Bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Bacteria colonies can only build up a resistance to antibiotics through evolution. It is important to note that in every colony of bacteria, there are a tiny few individuals which are naturally resistant to certain antibiotics. This is because of the random nature of mutations.

When an antibiotic is applied, the initial innoculation will kill most bacteria, leaving behind only those few cells which happen to have the mutations necessary to resist the antibiotics. In subsequent generations, the resistant bacteria reproduce, forming a new colony where every member is resistant to the antibiotic. This is natural selection in action. The antibiotic is "selecting" for organisms which are resistant, and killing any that are not.

Source: http://www.researchgate.net... (page 220)

-Genetic commonalities. Human beings have approximately 96% of genes in common with chimpanzees, about 90% of genes in common with cats, 80% with cows, 75% with mice, and so on. This does not prove that we evolved from chimpanzees or cats, though, only that we shared a common ancestor in the past, a distant relative. And the amount of difference between our genomes corresponds to how long ago our genetic lines diverged.

Sources: http://genome.cshlp.org...

http://www.sciencemag.org...

http://journals.plos.org...

-The fossil record. The fossil record shows that the simplest fossils will be found in the oldest rocks, and it can also show a smooth and gradual transition from one form of life to another.

http://evolutionfaq.com...

Now, these all prove effectively that evolution has happened. But another factor of evolution is how it happens, which is where the "theory" bit comes in: Natural Selection. Evolutionary biologists have written extensively about how natural selection could produce new species. For instance, in the model called allopatry, developed by Ernst Mayr of Harvard University, if a population of organisms were isolated from the rest of its species by geographical boundaries, it might be subjected to different selective pressures. Changes would accumulate in the isolated population. If those changes became so significant that the splinter group could not or routinely would not breed with the original stock, then the splinter group would be reproductively isolated and on its way toward becoming a new species.

Good luck to my opponent (I did not cite sources for the first paragraph, since it was purely anecdotal)
Jonnykelly

Con

My opponent"s resolution is the following:

Evolution [assumed to be "macro" evolution] is [a statement of certainty, a present tense linking verb] a Law of Nature [an accepted, extensively studied phenomenon that has been proven to happen].

Evolution is not a scientific law, plain and simple. Both the definition of macroevolution and the definition of a Law in Nature forbid such a resolution from being true. This is demonstrated by the following premises and the conclusions they lead to.

P1. A Law is a phenomenon that is observed and recorded to happen consistently under certain circumstances.
P2. There are no human recordings beyond ~10,000 years ago.
C1. Macroevolution has not been consistently observed and recorded under consistent circumstances, and cannot therefore be considered a Law.
P3. A Law states that something HAPPENS, while a theory explains WHY something happens.
P4. Macroevolution is a [possible] explanation for WHY creatures are what they are today.
C2. Macroevolution is a theory since it explains WHY something happens, and thus cannot be considered a Law.

P1-4 are accepted facts is the scientific world, and these premises with simple logic provide us with C1 and C2. The conclusions hold true.

Further problems with my opponent"s resolution:

My opponent deliberately used the linking verb is in his resolution. This is a present tense, definitive, undoubted word used to describe pure fact. My opponent did not say that evolution will be scientific fact. My opponent did not say that evolution should be a scientific law. This is a false sense of knowledge. Until we as a race have witnessed a FULL PHENOMENON occur, we cannot be 100% sure that said phenomenon will happen as we think it will, or that it will happen at all. For instance, it is common accepted knowledge that the earth is made up of various kinds of atoms, as described in the atomic theory. However, we have not actually been able to completely observe an atom in vivid detail, so there is still a fractional, yet existent amount of doubt in said theory. In the same way, EVEN IF scientific evidence pointed to evolution being the reason for modern creatures being the way they are (it doesn"t), we can"t know for sure until we document a species changing into something completely new, i.e. a bird changing into a reptile.

Conclusion:

Simple scientific knowledge and vocabulary skills make it abundantly clear: Macroevolution is not a scientific law.

Sources:
http://www.differencebetween.net...
http://dictionary.reference.com...
http://www.britannica.com...
Debate Round No. 2
yooneekorn

Pro

(First Rebuttal)

"Evolution is a scientific law, plain and simple. Both the definition of macroevolution and the definition of a Law in Nature forbid such a resolution from being true. This is demonstrated by the following premises and the conclusions they lead to.

Basically, my opponent said: macroevolution is a theory because it explains why something happens, and a law is simply something that happens. Additionally, it cannot be observed directly/replicated.

First of all, the statement that distinguishes theories and laws by "what is there" and "why it is there" is oversimplified. A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation, and a scientific law is a statement based on repeated experimental observations that describes some aspects of the universe. What my opponent said as their definition was somewhat incorrect, since evolution is something that is observed, and is not an explanation of a law.

I.E. The theory of heliocentricity (that we revolve around the sun, which is the center of our solar system), by the definition of my opponent, a natural law. But it is a theory. Additionally, a law is something that is observed. A theory is how the observed something came about. Evolution is observable, just like heliocentricity. Well, natural selection is the theoretical factor, while evolution is a natural law.

Macroevolution is an explanation of how organisms are what they are today, not why. Natural selection is considerably "why" they are what they are today.

"macroevolution has not been consistently observed, recreated, and recorded upon consistent circumstances, and cannot therefore be considered a law."

Microevolution looks at changes within species over time--changes that may be preludes to speciation, the origin of new species. Macroevolution studies how taxonomic groups above the level of species change. Its evidence draws frequently from the fossil record and DNA comparisons to reconstruct how various organisms may be related.

The historical nature of macroevolutionary study involves inference from fossils and DNA rather than direct observation. Yet in the historical sciences (which include astronomy, geology and archaeology, as well as evolutionary biology), hypotheses can still be tested by checking whether they accord with physical evidence and whether they lead to verifiable predictions about future discoveries. For instance, evolution implies that between the earliest-known ancestors of humans (roughly five million years old) and the appearance of anatomically modern humans (about 100,000 years ago), one should find a succession of hominid creatures with features progressively less apelike and more modern, which is indeed what the fossil record shows. But one should not--and does not--find modern human fossils embedded in strata from the Jurassic period (144 million years ago). Evolutionary biology routinely makes predictions far more refined and precise than this, and researchers test them constantly.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...

"EVEN IF scientific evidence pointed to evolution being the reason for modern creature being the way they are (it doesn't), we can't know for sure until we document a species changing into something completely new, i.e. a bird changing into a reptile."
My opponent claims that direct observation is the only way to prove evolution's solidity, but (as we have mentioned before) sound scientific evidence on the genetic level can also be the basis for a law. The human chromosome #2 has been proven to be created from the fusion of two shorter chromosomes. This happened very early; most likely when chimps formed a new species outside of our common ancestor- ensuing DNA sequencing further validates this claim. Special creation and intelligent design both cannot explain this phenomenon, yet evolution demonstrates it perfectly. Even though we have yet to see a species "morph" into another one, we don't need to observe "a bird changing into a reptile" or anything similar to be able to conclude that evolution is a law and not a theory.

http://www.pnas.org...
http://www.indiana.edu...

In conclusion, the evidence pointing towards macroevolution is in such accuracy and quantity that we must accept it as a fact.

Good luck to my opponent.
Jonnykelly

Con

I have never been so sure about a rebuttal, but my opponent is just dead wrong. His "evidence" makes absolutely no sense. For instance, my opponent attempts to use the theory of heliocentricity, saying that I would call it a law. That is regrettably incorrect. The theory of heliocentricity is a theory because it explains WHY we are in orbit around our sun, not just that we DO revolve around our sun.

"Macroevolution is an explanation of how organisms are what they are today, not why. Natural selection is considerably 'why' they are what they are today." WRONG. Darwin's Theory is not an encyclopedia of all known species. That would be a form of law. Darwin's theory explains [possibly] why those species are the way they are. THERE IS NO DEBATE IN THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY REGARDING THIS ISSUE.

"macroevolution has not been consistently observed, recreated, and recorded upon consistent circumstances, and cannot therefore be considered a law." Incorrect quotation.

"The historical nature of macroevolutionary study involves inference from fossils and DNA rather than direct observation." Precisely. This is why we cannot know for certain whether or not evolution will play out as we think it will, or even at all.

"The human chromosome #2 has been proven to be created from the fusion of two shorter chromosomes." Correct, but completely irrelevant.

"In conclusion, the evidence pointing towards macroevolution is in such accuracy and quantity that we must accept it as a fact." That's all well and fine for my opponent, but we are not debating whether or not macroevolution is FACT, we are debating whether or not macroevolution is LAW. My opponent seems to have trouble discerning the difference.

For the sake of my opponent, I will make this short and clear. Newton's laws (i.e. gravity) say that a phenomenon HAPPENS (objects are attracted to one another). They make no effort to explain why. Darwin's Theory does not say, "all species are different than they were." That would be law. Instead, Darwin says, "all species are different from what they were because of a gradual change and natural selection." (a little oversimplified, but you know what I mean). That is theory. Darwin says WHY something happens.

I would love to debate my opponent on whether or not macroevolution is fact, but that is not the debate he chose. If my opponent would like to debate fact rather than Law, he is welcome to forfeit this debate and start over. (At this point, I would like to point out that my opponent used Wikipedia as a source TWICE, without explanation or justification.)

My conclusion remains the same. There has been no credible evidence to refute it.

Sources:
http://www.nas.edu...
http://www.purdue.edu...
http://anthropology.umn.edu...

Quick note: I do not agree with the core messages of the above sources. I believe that evolution is a total hoax. I just use these sources to show my opponent that even the highest among the evolutionist scholars believe that evolution is a theory, not a law.
Debate Round No. 3
yooneekorn

Pro

I just wanted to point out that I used wikipedia for definitions, not anything else.

Darwin's macroevolution is a LAW and not a theory, as my opponent strongly believes. "A Law is a phenomenon that is observed and recorded to happen consistently under certain circumstances." First of all, observing a species evolving into another isn't necessary for scientists to conclude that macroevolution is a law. To bring back some evidence from previous rounds:

- Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is only possible because of evolution. Bacteria that are originally resistant to an antibiotic will live, while the other ones die. They then reproduce more bacteria colonies; ones that are fully resistant to the antibiotic. This, using my opponent's definition, is "a phenomenon that is observed and recorded to happen consistently under certain circumstances"- a LAW.

http://evolution.berkeley.edu...

- Humans share approximately 96% of our genes with chimps, 90% with cats, 80% with cows, 75% with mice, etc. This proves not that we branched off from any of these species, but that we all branched off from a common ancestor.

http://genome.cshlp.org...
http://www.sciencemag.org...
http://journals.plos.org...

- The layers of fossils show that fossils deeper in the earth are of simpler life forms, while fossils near the surface are modern and complex life forms. This proves that earlier creatures evolved into the species alive today.

www.agiweb.org/news/evolution/fossilrecord.html

Secondly, my opponent didn't understand my point about heliocentricity. Heliocentricity is a THEORY, but by the definition of my opponent, a law. He claims that any "phenomenon that is observed and recorded to happen consistently under certain circumstances" is a law. Since NASA can capture high quality images/ tapes that prove that we revolve around the sun, then heliocentricity HAS BEEN OBSERVED. If it has been observed, then it should be a LAW. Yet it's still the "Theory of Heliocentricity" and not the "Law of Heliocentricity". So that means that even if something is observed, it can still just be a theory; science relies on pieces of evidence like the ones that prove macroevolution, not observations.

http://www.merriam-webster.com...
http://astro.unl.edu...
http://t.space.com...

Darwin's theory is Natural Selection. It explains why and how evolution happened. But macroevolution itself only states that species changed over the course of many millennia.

The human chromosome #2 was made from the fusion of TWO CHIMP CHROMOSOMES, which should indicate that we once had a common ancestor. My partner consents that my evidence is sound.

http://www.pnas.org...
http://www.indiana.edu...

"we are not debating whether macroevolution is a FACT" Laws are things that are always true and will always happen. Facts are things that are always true and will always happen. Otherwise, the "fact" isn't a fact anymore. So yes, we are partly debating whether macroevolution is a FACT, because if it is real and will always happen, then it is a law.

In conclusion, macroevolution is a law, while Natural Selection is a theory.

Good luck to my opponent.
Jonnykelly

Con

Seeing as my opponent has neglected to bring any new evidence or logic to the table, I will not provide any new arguments of my own.

It is known within the scientific community that Darwin's Theory is just that: a theory. Darwin's Theory is a possible explanation as to WHY creatures today are the way they are. Darwin did not say, "all creatures are different." That would have been law.

My opponent has neglected every opportunity to prove without a doubt that macroevolution is law. Instead he repeatedly confuses the words 'fact' and 'law'.

In Conclusion, both the definitions of macroevolution and 'Law of Nature' forbid macroevolution from being law.

Sources:
None
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by yooneekorn 1 year ago
yooneekorn
Fine. I'm a two- headed extraterrestrial 👽.
Posted by Jonnykelly 1 year ago
Jonnykelly
I don't think that you're a prokaryote, being that you can type and interact with humans.
Posted by yooneekorn 1 year ago
yooneekorn
Not all creatures. Some creatures are hermaphroditic. Aliens can be hermaphroditic. Prokaryotes don't have genders. I could be a prokaryote. You could be a prokaryote.
Posted by Jonnykelly 1 year ago
Jonnykelly
All creatures have genders. Balance of probability tells me that you are male.
Posted by yooneekorn 1 year ago
yooneekorn
Johnnykelly calls me "him"... Since when did aliens have genders???
Posted by Jonnykelly 1 year ago
Jonnykelly
Apologies for some of the formatting errors. For some reason, my computer kept changing ' to " and cleared all of my bold/italic print.
Posted by Jonnykelly 1 year ago
Jonnykelly
I expect any and all voters to be civil and as unbiased as possible. Same goes for moderators. This is a touchy debate topic, but that's no excuse for lack of proper etiquette.
No votes have been placed for this debate.