The Instigator
JonMilne
Pro (for)
Winning
32 Points
The Contender
v3nesl
Con (against)
Losing
8 Points

Evolution is a legit scientific theory, whereas Intelligent Design is not

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
JonMilne
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/23/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,849 times Debate No: 35868
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
Votes (8)

 

JonMilne

Pro

This debate has been made impossible to accept, and if anyone wants to actually take on this debate, then these are the guidelines:

1. You must be knowledgeble about this topic
2. You must either have completed THREE serious debates on the main site, or be someone who I've been debating on the forums within the listed sources.
3. You should NOT have a history of continually forfeiting in your debates.

If you wish to partake in this debate, please drop me a line in the comments, and please also use the comments if you want to clarify the rules as well as add any other definitions for useful terms you believe we will use in this debate.

This debate is inspired by recent exchanges I have had on the forums (1)(2), in which there have been significant differences between what I have posited and what ID proponents have posited. Therefore, I would like to settle this on an actual main page debate. I will be arguing for evolution as an actual valid scientific theory, and against intelligent design as I consider it to be pseudo-science. Con will look to assert the opposite, that ID is an actual valid scientific theory, while evolution is a psedo-science.

Before we begin, I will provide a list of definitions for useful terms that will be part of this debate:

Evolution: the gradual change of a system.
Biological Evolution: the gradual change of organisms through genetic variation.
Intelligent Design: the idea that all life traces its origins back to an intentional act of creation by an intelligent designer.
Hypothesis: a theory that makes a prediction based on certain grounds.
Peer Review: the process of experts within a field checking over each other's work to check for errors from a position of expert knowledge.
Scientific Theory: a falsifiable model describing an aspect of the world based on a particular hypothesis, checked against the results of multiple carefully controlled tests.
Falsifiable: a statement that has a practical means (logical or experimental) of being proved false.
Scholarly Articles: pieces of writing by experts in a particular field, usually regarding a scientific theory or hypothesis, that have undergone the peer review process by the appropriate professional fields.

This debate will also require some rules:

Rules:

1. The first round is for acceptance only.
2. A forfeit or concession is not allowed.
3. No semantics, trolling, or lawyering.
4. All arguments must be visible inside this debate. Sources may be posted in an outside link.
-4a. Sources must be given for any arguments made. A failure to do so from one side should result in an automatic sources and conduct awarding of points to the other side.
5. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed without asking in the comments before you post your round 1 argument. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed in the middle of the debate.

And finally, we should clarify the debate structure.

Debate Structure:

Round 1: Acceptance only.
Round 2: Opening arguments and clash
Round 3 and 4: Clash
Round 5: Clash and closing arguments

I look forward to having this debate, with whomever chooses to accept it.


Sources:

(1) http://www.debate.org...
(2) http://www.debate.org...
v3nesl

Con

As I understand Jon's rules, round 1 is for acceptance only, so I accept. Can I clarify here that I understand his premise to be taken in toto: Evolution must be legit scientific theory AND ID must not be, and the same criteria must apply to both elements. I believe I can show right off that Jon's definition of evolution does not qualify as scientific theory, but I guess I'm supposed to wait for round two to make that case.
Debate Round No. 1
JonMilne

Pro

Thank you Con for accepting this debate.

Successful Predictions

The first staple of any valid science is that it must make specific predictions about what we should expect to find if the theory is true. On that basis, evolution has been the basis of several successful predictions (1)(2), including finding Precambrian fossils, finding that no two islands have the same species of flightless bird, and finding that organisms in heterogeneous and rapidly changing environments do indeed have higher mutation rates. Furthermore, these predictions have been shown to be testable (3). In contrast, Intelligent Design has been found to be consistently wrong with predictions it makes. One such example is Jonathan Wells' incorrect views about the biology of cancer (4), and his subsequent wrong hypothesis from those views about how centrioles produce a "polar ejection force", when actually a molecule called "chromokinesin" is what does it (5). Another example are the plainly wrong claims made against Junk DNA (6) as well as the wrong claim from the Discovery Institute that there wasn't any clear evolutionary precursors to the Cambrian fauna (7), among many, many other wrong predictions made by the intelligent design hypothesis.

Speciation

A species is defined as "an actually or potentially interbreeding population that does not interbreed with other such populations when there is opportunity to do so". (10) Under this definition, this helps to prove evolution as there are mass amounts of observed speciation (8)(9)(11), including flies and plants. A common ID advocate's rebuttal to this would be that, for example, "fruit flies are remaining as fruit flies", but as there are some 3,000 different species of fruit fly, it can simply be pointed out that dismissing that would be covering "wide range" and that there are quite clearly several different species of fruit flies that can't interbreed (12). It is directly analogous to the fact that, for example, while apes and gibbons are both monkeys, they're still very quite clearly different species of monkey as they can't interbreed, and there are clearly great differences between them, as there are with fruit flies (13). The same also applies to any accusations made against Richard Lenski's experiments, again considering just how many species of bacteria there are (14), and the fact that clearly Lenski's E.coli developed the ability to metabolise citrate (an experiment that was repeated by Lenski with the same results), an ability E.coli does not normally have (15). To use another analogy, it is like if us humans gained the ability to not only drink poison and survive, but to drink poison and actively live off it.

The Lenski results gave significant problems for the Intelligent Design hypothesis. Firstly, because the ability to metabolise citrate quite clearly came from evolutionary processes, and not by intelligent design; and it also threw a spanner ino the works of people like Michael Behe who had claimed in The Edge of Evolution that evolution couldn't happen in this proposed way because of the sheer improbability of such a sequence of mutations, where as Lenski's bacteria that were able to eat citrate managed to achieve a three mutation step to gain their current status in just twenty years. Furthermore, Lenski provided an environment for the bacteria to develop, and it was only expected that there would be marginal changes that would make it better for the bacteria to live in their environment, whereas the ability to absorb citrate by the bacteria was not an "intelligent" aim of the experiment and actually came as a shock to the researchers. Therefore, intelligent design flunks on this level too.

Explanatory Power and Practicality

If a theory is scientifically valid, it should be expected to explain things and have some practical use in modern society. Evolution has a mass amount of explanatory power (16), and can explain things like morality, music, personality, and even religion itself (17)(18)(19)(20), among other things. Intelligent Design's answer to all those basically amounts to "God did it" or alternatively that an "unspecified creator did it". and often appeals to William Dembski's filter are made wherein it asks to remove all possibilities for "regularity" and "chance" in favour of design. But this naturally fails on several grounds (21), not least because a highly ill-defined concept of specification and concepts of complexity and information that he uses are OPPOSITE to how he uses the terms in the literature, as well as falsely claiming limits on evolutionary algorithms (22). In design as well, there are also NUMEROUS examples of things which look FAR from even remotely considerable as "intelligently" designed, such as the non-functioning eyes of cave-fish and the longer-then-it-needs-to-be recurrent laryngeal nerve, both of which make sense when explained by evolution but sound nonsensical when posited to be the work of an intelligent creator (23). And there are many, MANY other examples of awful design (24) There's also the fact that since a lot of ID proponents reject evolution, they cannot account for why the Designer had to create so many species that would become extinct and what in turn was the purpose of the dinosaurs if, as the ID crowd claim, evolution is false and therefore the dinosaurs had descendents? In contrast, evolution explains this by pointing that if species are well adapted to their environment, then they will live long enough to reproduce and their species will live for a long time.

Furthermore, evolution actually has practical use (25)(26) including in the development of pesticides for agriculture and antibiotics and vaccines for medicine against diseases. It also gets used in forensics (27) and was used to save the Kapako bird from extinction (28). In contrast, Intelligent Design and other anti-evolution beliefs have been found to have no practical use whatsoever.

I now turn to Con to present his counter-argument.

Sources:

1) http://www.talkorigins.org...
2) http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org...
3) http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
4) http://www.expelledexposed.com...
5) http://www.pandasthumb.org...
6) http://www.nature.com...
7) http://faculty.smu.edu...
8) http://www.talkorigins.org...
9) http://www.talkorigins.org...
10) http://users.rcn.com...
11) http://www.talkorigins.org...
12) http://www.talkorigins.org...;
13) http://en.wikipedia.org...
14) http://www.thelabrat.com...
15) http://www.newscientist.com...
16) http://understandingscience.ucc.ie...
17) http://www.talkorigins.org...
18) http://www.talkorigins.org...
19) http://www.talkorigins.org...
20) http://www.talkorigins.org...
21) http://www.talkorigins.org...
22) http://www.talkreason.org...
23) http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com...
24) http://www.talkorigins.org...
25) http://www.talkorigins.org...
26) http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
27) http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
28) Sutherland, William J., 2002. Science, sex and the kakapo. Nature 419: 265-266
v3nesl

Con

First, I want to give some background to explain the approach I will take here: We have been having a general evolution vs intelligent design debate on the forums, and Jon wanted to have a more formal debate. He proposed the narrow focus of arguing that evolution is valid science in ways that ID is not. I first declined, much preferring to debate whether life actually evolved, rather than whether such a claim is science or not. However, I did take the challenge, with it's narrow definition, and I think I should hold Jon to his subject and definitions. I'm not doing this just for the sport of debate, but because I think this is typical of the whole evolution approach: Evolutionists want to keep the wizard with his impossible powers safely behind a curtain of technical sounding jargon. They don't really want to deal with the stark essence of their claim: That life 'just happened', alone and unguided.

So then, Jon's challenge is two-fold: To show that evolution is 'a legit science theory' while also showing that Intelligent Design is not. We must begin with the definitions that Jon has provided. As a framework for what might be considered 'legit science theory' I would like to reference a well known lecture by the late physicist Richard Feynman, whose science pedigree is undisputed (1). This lecture is both entertaining and informative, and agrees with Jon's definition of 'Scientific Theory', but also expands on it in useful ways. Feynman notes that a new theory begins with a guess. Based upon observations someone makes a guess as to how things may work. We then make predictions based on this guess, and then find ways to test the accuracy of these predictions. Let's note right off that the purpose of these predictions is not to be useful, as Jon suggests. The purpose of these predictions is to provide a way to test the original guess (the 'hypothesis'). And in fact, we actually want to find predictions that can be proven wrong. As Feynman notes, scientific theory can never be proven right, it can only be proven wrong. So we try to find predictions which might fail, so we don't waste time on a bad guess. Let's take a nonsense scientific guess to illustrate: Let's guess that some of Despicable Me's minions (2) pull the sun around the earth every day, taking 24 hours to do so. Note that this is a fully useful bit of pseudo-science - you can predict sunrise tomorrow with good accuracy. So the hypothesis is useful and makes good predictions, yet is terribly wrong. But how do we know it's wrong? We must try to make predictions that we could falsify. So, for instance, if the minions are pulling the sun, they must be able to withstand the extreme temperatures that would entail. As it would be cruel to actually test this on a minion, let's all agree that this simple thought experiment shows our guess to be false.

But what if we actually saw minions through a telescope? This brings us to another requirement Feynman gives for a 'legit science theory': The hypothesis must not be too general, or too vague. If we saw minions pulling the sun, that would be an observation, not a hypothesis. So, similarly, Jon's definition of evolution as "the gradual change of a system" is too vague and general to be of any use as a hypothesis. His definition of 'Biological Evolution' isn't much better: "the gradual change of organisms through genetic variation". Again, this is just an observation - we all know children look a little different than their parents and grandchildren are more different. We all know that various breeds of dog have been derived through genetic variation. So such a definition cannot qualify as a hypothesis, as one of Feynman's 'new laws'. It's just an observation of what happens.

So let me make my own corrollary of Feynman's "too vague" requirement: You cannot use the observations you base your hypothesis on as the predictions to be tested. That's obviously circular reasoning. Note that in the case of my Minions theory, the prediction that the sun will rise tomorrow is really based on my observation that the sun appears to circle the earth at about 1/86400 Hz. You could substitute anything for 'minions pull the sun' and make the same predictions. And note that this applies to the serious science of Ptolemy's day as well as my nonsense example. So we have to be careful to find ways to test the unique aspect of any new law and not just restate observations. In the nonsense case, we must find a way to test for minions, not solar frequency. So, I'm jumping ahead here since Jon has not yet defined evolution as a scientifically viable hypothesis, but note that the observations that evolution is based on cannot be the testable predictions of evolution. Fossils cannot be the predictions evolution makes, the theory is based on fossil evidence. The species of birds on islands cannot be the testable predictions of evolution, Darwin based his seminal work on observations of birds in the Galapagos Islands. Such 'predictions' are really just extrapolations from the foundational observations.

I think that the legitimate value of evolution is as an organizational tool that helps scientists catalog their vast knowlege about the ecosystem. Such predictions as evolution makes are extrapolations from observed knowledge, not the result of a scientific theory. The unique essence of Darwin's claims have not be demonstrated. However, Jon didn't define evolution as having anything to do with Darwin's hypothesis anyway, so this is irrelevant. He simply defined evolution as gradual change, and I've noted that is merely the observation that we live in a dynamic universe, hardly a basis for a 'new law'. So I suppose the debate is over as Jon as not demonstrated that 'evolution is a legit scientific theory' (it's not even a legit hypothesis), but I'm a nice guy, I'm going to give him the opportunity to try to provide a better definition for evolution in a new round.

(1)
(2) http://www.imdb.com...
Debate Round No. 2
JonMilne

Pro

So let's start with the obvious stuff for Round 3. Firstly, Con gives the mystifying claim that he wants to debate "whether life actually evolved" and not about whether such a claim is scientific. But surely if the theory of evolution actually is scientific, then does it not follow that our answer to the question of "whether life evolved" is, well, "yes"? There is nothing "narrow" about this debate. Furthermore, proceeding to use this actual sentence as a smear against "evolutionists" is breath-takingly ironic:

"Evolutionists want to keep the wizard with his impossible powers safely behind a curtain of technical sounding jargon. They don't really want to deal with the stark essence of their claim: That life 'just happened', alone and unguided."

The reason why this is ironic is that as much as Con wants to harp all he wants about the complexities, unknowns, or difficulties, real or imagined, with evolutionary theory, it ultimately does not matter, because every argument of this sort he applies against evolution bounces back to him and applies with even greater force to the idea of a creator/designer.

If the premise proposed by Intelligent Design is valid (that H. Sapiens had to have been Designed, on the grounds that "life can only spring from life"), the DESIGNER of H. sapiens MUST itself, have been a LIVING THING. Because if you grant that the Designer WASN'T a living thing, you"ve just NEGATED the life-only-springs-from-life premise which is your JUSTIFICATION for INVOKING a Designer in the first place. And since the life-only-springs-from-life premise requires that the Designer MUST have been a living thing, it equally requires that the Designer, ITSELF, MUST NECESSARILY have been Designed by SOME OTHER DESIGNER. And this Designer-designer in turn, MUST NECESSARILY have been Designed by a Designer^3" who, in turn, MUST NECESSARILY have been Designed by a Designer^4"

In short: The life-only-springs-from-life premise, IF said premise is actually valid, ABSOLUTELY REQUIRES an infinite regress of Designers designing Designers designing Designers designing yada yada yada, worlds without end, amen.

One way out is to declare that the Designer of humankind is, in fact, NOT a living thing, but if you go that route, kiss your life-only-springs-from-life premise goodbye. Another escape route is to declare that your Designer doesn"t NEED to have sprung from any other life; but this response, like the previous one, just plain old DESTROYS the life-only-springs-from-life premise you"re touting as your justification for invoking a Designer.

Definitions

Now let us address the way Con behaved in the last round. Con essentially didn't address a single thing I wrote in my R2, and while he does present "sources" during his argument, none of them talk about whether evolution or intelligent design are scientifically valid, and half of the sources Con uses are useless (in a debate such as this, linking to an article about a movie is not relavent nor necessary since I hardly think people are somehow unaware of what that movie is), and he otherwise presents no evidence for what he has to say. Con also devotes the entirety of his R2 to declaring evolution as false, which does nothing to prove his other position of ID being true, because even if evolution is false there is nothing to suggest it therefore defaults to ID as being valid.

Con instead chooses to focus solely on definitions and states how much he disagrees with them and how this apparently constitutes a falsification of the evidence I provided in my R2. There's just one problem with this: by agreeing to take on on this debate, Con agreed to the set out definitions. For him to now start quarrelling over definitions is rather late, not to mention a violation of Rule 3 in this debate which specifically says not to engage in semantics or lawyering.

Still, I will hold my hands up and say that it probably would have helped if I had also provided a definition for Common Descent in my intro for this debate. Luckily, this is easily fixable:

Common Descent - In evolutionary biology, a group of organisms have common descent if they have a common ancestor. There is strong quantitative support for the theory that all living organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor. (1)

I believe this goes some way to removing the so-called "vagueness" Con talks about. However, this is the least of Con's issues.

Con not only confuses the definition of evolution with the hypothesis for biological evolution, but he also confuses the concept of systems evolving in general with biological evolution, which is in fact the entire reason why two definitions covering general evolution and biological evolution were inserted in this debate in the first place. This therefore makes us ask one important question: Have we actually observed what the above definition of biological evolution describes? Why yes, we have (2), and if Con concedes this, then we have therefore observed biological evolution.

Con's conflation of definitions and hypotheses gets worse when he also absurdly dismisses the many examples of genetic variation I provided by only focusing on phylogenic changes. But evolutionary theory quite clearly hypothesises that processes that provide the cause for this have the capability, with enough time given, to affect all life forms (3)(4).

Finally on definitions, Con doesn't seem to be able to grasp the difference between the hypothesis "all forms of life can be covered for by this set of processes" with the definition "this set of processes is defined as _______". Clearly, we're talking about different things here.

Predictions

Now we move on to the aspect that was quite a major feature of my R2. Con insists that because of the supposed issues with the definitions, we can't possibly make valid predictions from it. What Con doesn't realise is that the way the theory of evolution is defined has absolute nada to do with the predictions it makes. Since Con is so fond of minions, then an analogy that fits the situation is that it's like if we came up with a hypothesis that states "if minions pull the sun, we should expect to see minions and the pulling mechanism if we search around the circumference of the sun with telescopes of sufficient power". With biological evolution being defined as it is, this is what would go in the first clause of the example with the minions, and the test conditions would replace the telescopes nonsense.

Furthermore, Con makes the absolutely astonishing claim that hypotheses can't be made on things already observed. If that's truly the case, then because that is the entirety of the experiences people have in science, then Con must surely be saying that no hypothesis can ever be made in science ever. If Con doesn't hold to this view, then he must concede that when biologists are saying things like "If Biological Evolution is true, we should expect to find ______ and we shall look for ________ in tests that are carefully controlled" and then get it right, that evolutionary theory does in fact make valid predictions of the sort that make it a scientific theory and a legit one to boot. (5) Also, if we can't make hypotheses about things we have observed, then by Con's very own prior (to the debate) statements about the observational evidence of ID, ID can't be true either.

With this sorted, there's also the fact that Con makes the massive mistake of talking about fossils, as the predictions I talked about in my R2 discussed not just predicting fossils, but predicting things about the fossils.

Back to Con.

Sources:

1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
2) http://anthro.palomar.edu...;
3) http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
4) http://evolution.berkeley.edu...;
5) http://www.newscientist.com...;
v3nesl

Con

Ok, I guess for this round I'll spend more going point-by-point with Jon. First, Jon claims that "if the theory of evolution actually is scientific, then does it not follow that our answer to the question of "whether life evolved" is, well, "yes"? The answer actually is "no", but I guess Jon didn't mean to be as technical as I read him, so I'll spend a little more time addressing the actual issues.

But I have to address another technical debate point with his third paragraph: If the problems with evolution apply equally to ID and vice versa, then I have won the debate. Jon's challenge is to show that evolution is science in ways that ID is not. If both are defective, his premise fails. And ID is not the theory of the creator, it is the theory that there was/is a creator. Big difference - the identity of the creator is not specified. ID is an attempt to deal only with the scientific aspects of creationism - no religious considerations are necessary.

Alright, then, on to some real substance with paragraph four. This is a common complaint, but it is really an emotional one, not a logical one and certainly not a scientific objection. I'm amused that the same naturalists who readily accept multiverses or an infinitely expanding big bang will present this objection. But first, another clarification: By his own definition, ID is the claim that life must have been designed, by an unspecified intelligent designer. There is nothing in there about "life can only spring from life". I guess that's a reasonable corollary, but it's a completely unnecessary one, and it's bad thinking to muddy the waters unnecessarily. So, Jon says that if life was designed, then the designer was designed. Well, what if that's true, how does that negate the premise that life must be designed? If the only door out of a room just leads to another room with door(s), that's still the way you must exit your room. I can hook a Camcorder to my TV, point it at the TV, and get what appears to be an infinite series of images. The images do not cease to be images just because they are images of images. So this is an emotional objection, not a logical one. And it's really just bad logic anyway: The scientific basis of ID is that, because we know the laws of nature, we can infer how natural things might have gotten to a given state. If we find a house made out of stacked playing cards we can infer that someone built it, because it is extremely unlikely to have occurred at random. We cannot therefore infer that the person who stacked the cards must himself have been stacked. A human isn't comprised of 52 flat cards.

So, the thing to understand here is that we can infer the causes of natural things because of our understanding of natural laws. We can make guesses as to unseen causes, and rule out things that could not have resulted in what we observe, because of what we do know, not because of what we don't know. We IDers are not proposing some general law of created things, we are just making an inference from the form of life, so this is really a straw man that Jon has set up.

Ok, on to my "behavior", under "definitions". First, I did address two 'single things' Jon posted, but hey, anybody wants to spank me... ok, never mind. Jon says I did nothing to prove my position of ID being correct. I don't have to, Jon, it's your job to prove evolution is valid AND id is not. If you fail to prove the former, the latter is irrelevant to this debate. Again, as I said, I'm glad to have the generic evolution vs ID debate, but you specifically and adamantly rejected that option. (ok, I'll try to not bring that up again)

But I'm going to consider that by providing a definition for "Common Descent" you have provided a testable hypothesis. "all living organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor" - that's the kind of claim that can (in principle) be falsified. It's not vague, it's not merely observed, it's a claim that may be true or false.

So, we're going to move on talk about how we might test the specific claims of this hypothesis, right? Oh, no, no, no. Jon moves on to the blatant sophistry of claiming that because we have observed his original general observation of 'Biological Evolution' we have therefore observed the specific claim that all extant organisms are descended from a common ancestor.

So, Jon, here's the question: How do we test that all extant species did in fact descend from one common ancestor? If there was one common ancestor, might there be two similar ones? Ten? A million? How do we test this? We must answer this question, then do the experiments if we want this to fit the definition you provided: "a falsifiable model describing an aspect of the world based on a particular hypothesis, checked against the results of multiple carefully controlled tests" (emphasis mine) If you can provide all this, then it's time to move on see if ID fails these same requirements. As a reminder, the purpose of predictions in this case is not to win some sort of contest, it's to provide well defined consequences of the hypothesis that can be tested.

On to your first paragraph under "Predictions" - I honestly don't understand what you're saying there, just can't quite get your point.

But then in the next paragraph, you didn't understand me. I didn't say a hypothesis can't be formed from things already observed - that's exactly how they're formed. To quote myself "Based on observations someone makes a guess...". What I said is that you can't use those same observations as the testable predictions of your hypothesis. So, you cannot, for instance, say "notice how similar the features in various species are, maybe they all descended from the same parent" and then offer as proof of this hypothesis "I predict that any two species you show me will show similar features". What you must do is find a way to falsifiably test the specific claim that they all indeed have the same parent.

I probably won't get back to this until after the weekend, so let me make a few positive points about why I think ID is largely equivalent to evolution as a scientific hypothesis:
1) Both are based on the same data, it's just interpreted differently. Both see the similarity in species and propose a different cause for that similarity.
2) Both must engage in a sort of forensics to make their case. Neither creationists nor evolutionists can observe the actual events they claim.

And here are two ways I believe ID is superior:
1) ID does not rule out Jon's too-broad-to-be-testable definition of Biological Evolution as "the gradual change of organisms through genetic variation". ID does not argue that life was created exactly as it is today, just that it could not have formed and flourished spontaneously.
2) ID is based on a proven method, evolution is not. Design is a well-known concept. Though hard to quantify, the ability of design to produce sophisticated systems and machines is beyond dispute. Evolutionists, on the other hand, after much work, have failed to demonstrate that any significant new features, much less species, can emerge from unguided environmental noise. They will complain that our timeframes are too short, but the fact remains that the hypothesis is based on a speculative method.

I suppose the evolutionist may claim that I cannot falsify his hypothesis, and I suppose he may be right. His hypothesis probably is simply not falsifiable - the mutations of the past have come and gone without permanent record. We cannot falsify the virtually infinite series of small changes alleged to have occurred because there can be no record of them. But this fact cuts both ways: What cannot be falsified (i.e. tested) cannot be confirmed either, and remains speculation, not a scientific theory. Maybe someday there will be a theory of natural origins. I don't think so myself, but I do know that there isn't one now, only the guess. The guess is as refined and adorned as a royal princess but is still just a guess.
Debate Round No. 3
JonMilne

Pro

In the process of establishing this debate, a set of rules had to be made. One of those rules was quite clearly when this debate was set up, and Con has now violated it. To quote:

-4a. Sources must be given for any arguments made. A failure to do so from one side should result in an automatic sources and conduct awarding of points to the other side.

Con in his R3 failed to provide any sources whatsoever for his position. He was made fully aware of these rules and yet, after practically mocking them in his R2 with irrelevant sources, he has now gone ahead and violated the rules. As a result, the voter must award me points for Sources and Conduct, as per the rules.

Con fails to address why finding the theory of evolution to be scientifcally valid would somehow not mean that life evolved, so his view is irrelevant. Con then misreads me, claiming that I said that the problems with evolution and ID applied "equally". I'm curious, what precisely did Con think "with even greater force" meant? Evidently, that's quite far from "equal". That certainly does not win Con the debate, especially when the vast majority of my points from R2 remain completely unanswered and I have provided evidence in abundance for the view that evolution is scientific. Furthermore, where is evidence for the claim that there is a creator? Con still hasn't provided any? Likewise for the so-called "scientific aspects of creationism". Where's Con's sources? Plus, saying that a "creator did it" provides no explanation, whereas if Con could actually tell us about the creator and how they work, that would be useful.

Con dismisses the "complaint" about the infinite regress of Designers by making appeals to the fact we accept multiverses and Big Bangs. This is an Argument from Incredulity as well as appealing to aspects that are not relevant to this debate, never mind the fact that if this was a debate about the wider sciences, evidence could be provided for the Big Bang that evidently can't be provided for Design or a Designer. As to how it negates the premise, it's simple: for one thing, we're still not seeing any actual evidence of a Designer in contrast to the way that we do in fact have evidence of a Universal Common Ancestor (1), and furthermore, this nature stuff is total garbage (2). Why can't things just be random? How do we know that ID advocates aren't just seeing patterns that they want to see because they can't appreciate the natural world without such self-made projections?

Since Con wants to now use analogies regarding cards, I'll use yet another analogy against him: Take two 52-card decks. Thoroughly shuffle them together, and deal out all the cards in the thoroughly shuffled double-deck, face up. You’ll get a sequence of 104 cards, right? As it happens, that card-sequence you just dealt out is one of 104 1.03*10^166 different card-sequences, which means the particular card-sequence you got is, therefore a 1/(1.03*10^166) longshot. But ID-pushers assure us that anything whose probability is less than 1/(10^150) is so improbable that it cannot have arisen by chance, and that means any such stupendously-improbable thing must, therefore, be considered a product of Design!

This is, of course, rubbish. It’s also a prime example of the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. Yes, the particular double-deck card-sequence you dealt out is, indeed, a 1/(1.03*10^166) longshot, and so what? As improbable as that card-sequence may be, it happened. You did deal that card-sequence out. And any line of "reasoning" which ends with “therefore, your card-sequence must have been the product of Design” is utter garbage.

Similarly, regardless of how improbable the specific sequernce of events which led up to Homo sapiens may be, that sequence of events happened. And the mere fact that said sequence of events did happen, is no more evidence of a Designer’s intervention with respect to H. Sapiens, than the mere fact that you dealt out a specific card-sequence is evidence of a Designer’s intervention with respect to that card-sequence.

Moving on, Con claims he doesn't have to prove ID is correct. Uh, actually, yes he does. From the intro in R1 again:

I will be arguing for evolution as an actual valid scientific theory, and against intelligent design as I consider it to be pseudo-science. Con will look to assert the opposite, that ID is an actual valid scientific theory, while evolution is a psedo-science.

If he doesn't prove his claim that ID is correct, then the most he can hope for is a draw, because if I somehow didn't manage to prove evolution scientific but proved ID to be unscientific, I've proved one of my premises, and so would Con. Because of Con's refusal to cite sources in R3, a draw is now the best he can hope for, unless my spelling and grammar somehow suffers.

Next we get to the part where it's quite clear Con hasn't read any of my sources to date. Con spends much of his remaining post for R3 complaining that I've somehow not provided a testable hypothesis for my claims on Common Descent and Evolution and Biological Evolution. I'm curious, did Con's eyes glaze over during my R2 where I presented a good three examples which contained a plethora of successful predictions that have been made by evolutionary scientists about what we should expect to find if the theory is true? How precisely can Con not consider these to be prime examples of having a testable hypothesis for determining whether evolution and common ancestry is scientifically valid? But beyond this, there are plenty ways to test for it, and a whole bunch of stuff is pointing towards it being scientifically valid (3): the biochemistry and genetic code, the nature of artificial selection (eg: dogs, cats), what we learn from paleontology, the similarities in our anatomies with other species, geographical distribution. We've made predictions on this kind of stuff, and we turned out to be right.

My point about Con's minion example is that the processes we'd use when we assume biological evolution is correct are more reliable than Con's method. Con also fundamentally misunderstands how making predictions works in evolutionary science (4)(5). It's not just a matter of merely "looking" at some species and remarking how similar they are, it's then getting into detail about exactly how similar they are like with the eusocial systems of rats and termites(6), as well as also making successful predictions about specific fossils and the features they will have in common with existing animals like pigs, as well as parts of our body we share in common with animals, like the intermaxillary bone (7). This is quite clearly evidence in common descent in spades, and further attempts to claim that somehow it isn't is just being willfully dishonest. As Con has already failed to provide evidence in one of his rounds, his next move will prove extremely telling of his ability to handle the evidence as well as understand the arguments. As he conflates hypotheses and definitions, it demonstrates he doesn't understand the scientific method and that he has no place dismissing any hypothesis as invalid.

As for the nonsense on "interpretation", the facts evolution finds is considered evidence for it because it quite clearly fits it and doesn't for other "theories" (8). As for why Con thinks ID is "superior", yet again no sources/evidence is provided. This undermines his claim.


Sources

1) http://bioweb.cs.earlham.edu...
2) http://www.talkorigins.org...
3) http://www.nullens.org...
4) http://www.talkorigins.org...
5) http://www.talkorigins.org...
6) http://www.newscientist.com...
7) http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org...
8) http://www.talkorigins.org...
v3nesl

Con

First, one small clarification: I did not intend any joke by referencing the Despicable Me movie, I provided the link in case anyone was not familiar with this bit of high culture. And on the other side of the coin, I don't think it's legitimate to claim that one's links provide arguments. If Pro believes that proper evidence for evolution has been found and/or demonstrated, I think he should present it explicitly within the text of the debate.

As I pointed out, prediction is not proof; it is, in skillful hands, merely a tool to work towards proof. The phrase 'correlation is not causation' is appropriate here: For many years people knew that going outside when it was cold and damp was likely to make you sick. They could correctly predict this. But we now know, of course, that a 'cold' comes from a virus and is not directly related to the cold or the damp.

Pro attemps to equate my example of a house built of playing cards with the 'Texas Sharpshooter fallacy'. But there is a major difference. The card shuffle is a combination of simple actions, so indeed, one outcome out of many is guaranteed. The house of cards, by contrast, requires great skill. It is not merely shuffling cards, but laying them on edge, often two or more at a time, without disturbing the structure already built. It is, for all practical purposes, simply impossible for a house of cards to occur at random. No gust of wind through a window, no hurricane, no tornado can build a house of cards. Long time periods won't help - the statistical certainty is that, given enough time, it will be flat on the ground. That's the natural selection of playing cards. Long periods of time only make this failure certain, and will eventually destroy the cards themselves. A billion years won't help you built a house of cards, only good eye-hand coordination will.

Life shows this same sort of fragility. Organisms die all the time, whole species go extinct. Life is not the Rock of Gibralter but a house of cards. Life is built of the simple elements of earth, but stacked in forms that do not occur elsewhere in nature. I submit that life is like the house of cards - no mathematical games of statistics can explain it. Our common sense tells us that it is simply impossible that it happened at random. Some might try to claim I am addressing abiogenesis and not evolution, but that would be sophistry - Darwin's premise of the eye, for instance, is that just such a building, layer by layer, small unguided change by small unguided change, is possible.

So, has anyone shown that it is, even in principle, possible? You've got to be brutally honest with yourself here if you have already accepted evolution: The answer is simply "no". What the overwhelming preponderance of data has shown is that the DNA provides a statistically bounded range of 'descent with modification'. Richard Lenski has watched over 50,000 generations of e. coli without seeing anything to suggest the e coli will ever be anything but e. coli (1). 50,000 generations of homo sapiens, to put this in context, would require some 1 million years. This is exactly the sort of accelerated testing used in other fields of study, such as medicine, to determine what outcomes are likely over longer periods of time.

So I think it's time to drop the fanciful fantasy that life could arise and refine itself spontaneously. It was fanciful to start with, and even the advanced science and technology of the late 20th century failed to demonstrate that it was even possible, much less prove that it did happen this way. Which is to say, evolution is NOT 'legit science' it's just a rather confused jumble of data and non-specific claims.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 4
JonMilne

Pro

As this debate comes to a close, I will first provide a summary of all of the things Con has failed to address that I have brought to the table in order to demonstrate my position as valid, in order from my R2 to R4:

What Con Hasn't Addressed
  • An inability to explain how it is that evolution manages to constantly make successful predictions.
  • The sheer scale of wrong predictions made by the Intelligent Design hypothesis.
  • The quite clearly observed examples of speciation.
  • The problems the Lenski experiment gave to Intelligent Design.
  • The fact that evolution is able to explain a hell of a lot of things, and in addition to the examples I gave in R2 I can also add instincts, language, and consciousness (1)(2)(3).
  • The debunking of Dembski's "filter".
  • The mass amounts of "poor" design.
  • The fact that if evolution isn't valid, then Intelligent Design can't explain the creation of so many species that went extinct and left no descendants, whereas evolution can.
  • The fact that the theory of evolution has lead to it being put to practical use in many occasions while Intelligent Design has not.
  • The fact that he hasn't presented any sources so far that actually support his "Intelligent Design superior to Evolution" premise, as he's presented nothing so far but a movie page, a scientific lecture that doesn't address either evolution or intelligent design, and a source about the Lenski experiments that explicitly says that it was evidence for evolutionary theory.
  • The fact that by agreeing to take on this debate, he'd therefore agreed to the proposed definitions and that it was thus poor form to start complaining about them.
  • How it is he managed to confuse definitions with hypotheses.
  • My rebuttal to what he spewed about phylogenic changes.
  • The fact that we don't just predict that fossils exist, but actual details ABOUT the fossils. (4)
  • The failure to defend his bizarre position that even if the theory of evolution is scientifically valid, it apparently doesn't mean that life evolved.
  • The failure to grasp what "with even greater force" means when talking about the problems Con projected onto evolution, not realising that ID was considerably MORE subject to and deserving of such criticisms.
  • The lack of evidence provided for a Designer/Creator as well as Con's assertion that there are "scientific aspects of creationism".
  • The fact that there is in fact evidence for a Universal Common Ancestor (5).
  • The fact that Con didn't even get that he was supposed to provide evidence for Intelligent Design and against Evolution, as per the debate guidelines set out in R1.
  • The mass amounts of evidence I provided within the Source 3 link from R4 about how evolution is in fact testable, which I'll add to with this article that dismisses the "untestable" nonsense further by explaining about peppered moths (6).
  • Again, the predictions about just how similar animals are to one another (the parts about eusocial systems, pigs, and the intermaxillary bone us humans share with other mammals).
  • A failure to defend his nonsense about "interpretation".


Add in the fact that Con failed to provide any sources at all in Round 3, (which in turn means that voters must at the very least give me the points for "Sources" and "Conduct" as per debate rules), and we have a well and truly staggering amount of things that Con has skipped over that is well and truly devastating to his case. Now let us proceed to:

Con's Round 4

Con starts off by claiming you can't use links as arguments. True, but you can summarise the contents within the link in the context of specific arguments you want to make, and the information I've given in this debate does in fact exist in the links I've provided.

Con also says that "prediction is not proof". Again, correct, but it IS evidence. Because Con is ignorant about how science works, he quite clearly doesn't grasp the difference, namely that "All scientific statements and concepts are open to re-evaluation as new data is acquired and novel technologies emerge. Proof, then, is solely the realm of logic and mathematics (and whiskey)" (7). In other words, we're open to the possibility that a theory like evolution may be wrong, but in the mean time it is quite clearly the case that beyond reasonable doubt, evolution is scientifically valid, and it will extraordinary evidence to overturn it.

Con's analogy equating "Intelligent Design" to a House of Cards is laughable for two reasons: 1. As Con himself admits, the House of Cards is fragile, but there's no logical reason why an Intelligent Designer would make things so fragile or indeed without purpose if all it can do afterwards is just fall down, especially when it comes to the aforementioned examples I gave above of extinctions and how under Intelligent Design and anti-evolutionist thinking, those extinct animals didn't have any descendants. And 2. Con is still conflating human engineered inventions with nature. This was another point I made to Con earlier in this debate. Since the only examples we have of design are in fact of human design, I asked Con whether this meant the Designer was a human, but he gave no answer. Con again appeals to common sense, which doesn't work because, as pointed out:

"Though science formally cannot establish absolute truth, it can provide overwhelming evidence in favor of certain ideas. Usually these ideas are quite unobvious, and often they clash with common sense. Common sense tells us that the earth is flat, that the Sun truly rises and sets, that the surface of the Earth is not spinning at over 1000 miles per hour, that bowling balls fall faster than marbles, that particles don't curve around corners like waves around a floating dock, that the continents don't move, and that objects heavier-than-air can't have sustained flight unless they can flap wings. However, science has been used to demonstrate that all these common sense ideas are wrong." (7)

Again, there are numerous examples of things that show very poor or even dowmright nasty "Design" if indeed they are the work of an Intelligent Designer, as well as the plain fact that ultimately arguments for design just amount to Arguments from Incredulity (8). Con also dismisses without evidence the fact that numerous small changes across a timeline end up creating a big change in later ancestors far later in the timeline, even though I've been providing evidence for it during the entire debate. Also, Con falls into exactly the trap I predicted he'd fall in when he says, when referring to Lenski's experiments, that " Richard Lenski has watched over 50,000 generations of e. coli without seeing anything to suggest the e coli will ever be anything but e. coli". As I pointed out before, this is disingenuous, especially considering that there are many different strains of e.coli (9) and not all of them are closely related. As I said before, it's like if us humans gained the ability to not only drink poison but to live off it, which is analogously equivalent to what happened in Lenski's experiment. Furthermore, we've got plenty observational evidence of evolution happening in specific terms (10), contrary to Con's claims about it being a "jumble of data and non-specific claims".

Conclusion

Mixed with his failure to understand science and his breaching of rules in R3, I have proved my position. Vote Pro.

Sources

1) http://www.talkorigins.org...
2) http://www.talkorigins.org...
3) http://www.talkorigins.org...
v3nesl

Con

My heart sank when I read Pro's first bullet point under "what con hasn't addresses":
"An inability to explain how it is that evolution manages to constantly make successful predictions."

This was the first thing I addressed, and continued to do so. Again, accurate predictions may be made by simply extrapolating from the observations the hypothesis is based on, and don't constitute the direct "if and only if" consequences of the hypothesis that can be used to verify the hypothesis. I must say, Jon, if you challenge somebody to a debate I think you have an ethical obligation to listen to the other side. You've asked for my thoughts, so at least try to understand them.

So let me jump down to where Pro complains that I provide a source that "explicitly says that it was evidence for evolutionary theory". This comment brings into stark focus the difference in our approach. Pro merely wants to argue that status quo science favors evolution. It's an argument from authority for him, and this is why the number of references is all important to him. I'm interested in knowing what happened in the past, how we got here, which is quite a different thing. This is why I look at and reference the data from from the Lenski experiment, rather than simply placing a reference in the pro or con column.

I must say, I'm rather jealous of Pro: He has a shill and I don't. Let me quote a comment from 'toxicmaniac' to show that Pro is not alone in his approach: "Cons blatant lack of knowledge on the scientific method, lack of actual sources and blatant strawmanning what evolution actually is makes this a painfully one-sided debate" There's one claim toxicmaniac, remarkably, doesn't make:

He doesn't claim I'm wrong.

So, this goes beyond scientism (1), beyond the belief that empirical science is the ultimate authority: This is a belief that something called science can replace truth. You no longer need to be right, you just have to do the method right. And no, I don't think I'm unfairly going beyond what Pro or toxic have written. This is what the evolution camp does repeatedly: They hide the essential absurdity of their technical claims behind the claim that they are the superior scientists.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain", the Wizard of Oz shouted (I won't provide a reference). He didn't want it to be exposed that he was just a guy from Kansas himself. And when he fails Dorothy, she finds out she had the power herself all along.

This is my goal here: I want to help the uncertain find the courage to trust their own two eyes. The wonderful thing about the ecosystem is that the data is available to us all. The evidence for ID is the ecosystem itself. I wouldn't necessarily advise anyone to read ID apologetics, or evolution apologetics. I'd suggest just learning all you can about nature. Of course, you have to spit out all the gratuitous references to evolution from so many sources, but you'll soon realize you can do so without losing any actual information. It's part of realizing what a hollow theory evolution is - much of the time it's not really saying anything, it's the equivalent of "peace be upon Him" to the Muslim. Yes, the species have diversified, and genetics is a fascinating field, but it is an adaptive and not creative technology.

Like the Greeks or Romans of old, we live in a day of remarkable intelligence and advancement. But they also lived with a whole pantheon of strange gods. How can such things go together, how can humans be so smart and so wrong at the same time? Well, that's a whole other topic, but I suggest we live in the same sort of conditions today. Yes, the elites can be that badly wrong, kids, it happens every generation in one way or another. We can't be so naive as to not see that evolution is our modern creation myth, and has replaced all the gods of our fathers. But as Paul observed in the heydey of the Romans: "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles." We've taken the ancient idolatry to even greater levels of absurdity: We've assigned magical powers to nature itself.

Ok, that's my closing argument, fwiw. I guess I'll spend what remains of my 8000 characters going through points I haven't directly addressed yet:

"Wrong predictions made by ID" - Again, I don't think Pro understands the role of prediction in the method. Evolutionists have made many mistakes due to their presuppositions, such as apparently useless vestigial organs or the concept of 'junk DNA'. The usefulness of scientific theory is quite different from it's correctness. For instance, early quantum physicists knew that modeling the electron as an orbit was bogus, as real orbits decay. But it was a useful placeholder until they could learn more.

"Speciation" - When Darwin wrote "Origin of Species" he simply meant 'origin of all the different kinds of animals' He did not have a highly technical definition in mind (2). So, to then go and define species in narrow terms of reproductive failure, hoping that the amateur will confuse this with an "Origin of Species" kind of definition, is just typical of the 'hiding behind the curtain' that I have alluded to.

"Evolution can explain ... instincts, language, and consciousness" This is breathtaking, actually, and proof positive that Pro has an entirely different idea of science than a physicist like Richard Feynman would have. Where has anyone demonstrated that an animal without consciousness developed it through a series of mutations? How exactly would you test for that, Jon? Just saying it exposes what an absurd claim this is. All Pro can possibly mean, if he is sane, is that he has a corollary hypothesis of consciousness that seems to him to work with the overall hypothesis of common descent.

"The mass amounts of poor design" - Would these be the very features alleged to have been selected by millions of years of evolution? So features that have shown their utility over many, many years?

"The creation of so many species that went extinct" ("left no descendants" would be kind of redundant, eh?) - I can only guess that Pro has some strange notion that an intelligent designer wouldn't create a temporary species? I figure we're all temporary, unless you want to accept eternal life.

"Intelligent Design not useful" - Now this one is profoundly wrong. Whenever a scientist of any stripe tries to determine the purpose of any aspect of the human body, for instance, he is using the intelligent design model. "Purpose" can only come from design, or rather, a design comes from an intended purpose. There is no purpose in evolution, only random mutations which survive to reproduce, or not. So if you say that the purpose of the immune system is to ward of infection, you have become a proponent of ID. And you might as well be, because it's going to take way too long to describe how each of the infinite number of mutations that went into developing an immune system got selected. Remember, each mutation had to confer some advantage unrelated to its final purpose. Innumerable mutations would have to occur for each step in the mammalian immune system, and each mutation had to be selected before it combined with innumerable other mutations to confer its final benefit.

And the last one I'll have room for: "A scientific lecture that doesn't address either evolution or intelligent design" Yikes. Pro, your claim is that "Evolution is a legit scientific theory". Are you now admitting you don't even care what "legit scientific theory" is? Because that's what the lecture addresses. One of the great scientists explains how the scientific theory works. Ok, out of characters (50+ left).

1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
2) https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by JonMilne 3 years ago
JonMilne
v3nesl didn't provide any evidence for his position and didn't address a whole lot of stuff. He was humiliated in this debate, and it was hilarious.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Con's case was presented in a fascinating way, in a way I've never seen before. Awesome debate, at least from Con.... lol

I think an opponent to match Con's skill lever would be bladerunner070
Posted by Sagey 4 years ago
Sagey
No: You cannot replace "Evolutionist" with "Quantum Physicist" and be just as true.

Simply on the basis of numbers of facts that each Theory explains.
Quantum Physics explains very little so far, it's a fledgeling science with few facts under it's belt for their theories to explain.

However: Biology has thousands of Facts, which are explained by The Theory of Evolution.
Thus, the Theory of Evolution is most likely the Strongest theory in science, ever, because it has thousands of facts under it's belt.

Intelligent Design cannot rationally (scientifically) explain any of the Facts explained by Evolution, thus it cannot become a Theory.
A scientific Theory must explain rationally at least one verified fact or phenomenon.
This is way too hard for Intelligent Design (creationism) to achieve.
Intelligent Design will forever remain only an Argument, not a Theory.
An Argument can never challenge a Theory.
Posted by JonMilne 4 years ago
JonMilne
"The argument for evolution is simply "Are you going to believe me, or your own stinking eyes?" " v3nesl

No, the argument for evolution is "Are you going to believe the empirical, observable, repeatable evidence that we actually have for my theory, or what you're projecting onto the world while pretending that it's common sense?"

I debunked the common sense nonsense in Round 5 I do believe, where I posted a quote on the subject.
Posted by Wnope 4 years ago
Wnope
So you can see a million years into the past and compare that morphological change to the type you see in twenty years?

Interesting.
Posted by v3nesl 4 years ago
v3nesl
"Replace "evolutionist" with "quantum physicists" and it's just as true." - Wnope

Ok, so you got me, you've demonstrated that there really are bad analogies.

QM describes a world you can't see, you see, so "believe me or your own eyes" doesn't apply.

But, you do confirm that in your view, one must have full faith in the evolutionist, and none in your own powers of observation or experiment. Life is like the atom to you, a magical world that must be left only to the experts. Why, if you were to have an opinion of your very own, God knows what damage might be done!
Posted by Wnope 4 years ago
Wnope
Replace "evolutionist" with "quantum physicists" and it's just as true.
Posted by v3nesl 4 years ago
v3nesl
What is it with evolutionists and analogy? All analogies have both similarities and differences, OBVIOUSLY. Analogy is how the human mind works; the human brain is a massively parallel pattern matching device.

I think I know why evolutionists don't like analogy: The argument for evolution is simply "Are you going to believe me, or your own stinking eyes?" So, people must be convinced to abandon any comparisons to what they already know. "Sure, you think you can see how nature works, but you really can't. "
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Fallacies littered CON's presentation. Besides the Continuum Fallacy and the Appeals to Ignorance, I also located numerous examples of False Analogies. The following two are notable.

"If we find a house made out of stacked playing cards we can infer that someone built it, because it is extremely unlikely to have occurred at random."

(This is an absurd correlation, for many reasons. Playing cards and houses are almost never created by a single person, so this analogy could be interpreted as evidence of polytheism. Only an incompetent designer would have constructed a house of stacked playing cards. Etc. )

PRO catches this fallacious argument: "As it happens, that card-sequence you just dealt out is one of 104 1.03*10^166 different card-sequences, which means the particular card-sequence you got is, therefore a 1/(1.03*10^166) longshot."

Arguing that "mudholes are perfectly shaped for the mud they contain" is another example.

"Let's take a nonsense scientific guess to illustrate: Let's guess that some of Despicable Me's minions (2) pull the sun around the earth every day,"

(CON agrees that this is also a False Analogy, stating that it is a "a nonsense scientific guess.")

In order for an analogy to work, we must argue that two things are very similar. An example of an analogy might be: "computers, like cellphones have shrunk in size as technology has improved."

On the other hand, we can never draw an analogy between a thing that is known to exist, and something of...disputed existence.

For example, we can never argue that "horses, like unicorns, cannot fly."
Posted by v3nesl 4 years ago
v3nesl
Yes, I agree that randomness can be a deliberate part of design. From an engineering perspective it is better thought of as noise, as another type of input. (We must be careful to avoid thinking of random as uncaused.)

As to the strangeness of design existing in humans but being excluded from our origins - I think that's a major argument for ID. And I think there is an unrealized assumption of purpose in many evolutionists thinking - as if life is somehow supposed to be selected for.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by Bullish 4 years ago
Bullish
JonMilnev3neslTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: CON accepted the debate and the rules stated in round 1 then proceeds to quibble over them in round 2. Arguments: PRO has provided factual evidence on evolution, for example the predictions. CON on the other hand, appealed to ignorance the whole debate. Other than his weak criticisms of evolution, he provided zero evidence for ID. He also uses a host of fallacies like the Texas Sharpshooter, "improbable" fallacy, and shows a severe lack of understanding of science. Sources: CON gave no viable sources that support his argument. PRO had too many.
Vote Placed by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
JonMilnev3neslTied
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO could have presented a much more concise case; all that was required was to demonstrate that the definition of "scientific theory" allowed for the inclusion of evolutionary theory. A simple task, that was confused somewhat by what I perceived as an attempt at either overkill or excessive base-covering. I would have liked to see the argument sharpened. CON responds by the use of what I understood to be a fallacy, holding "evolution" up to an unreasonable standard, while allowing great latitude to ID requirements for proof. Additionally, CON seems to have relied upon other fallacies as well, many of these unforgivable: Continuum Fallacy ("Feynman's "too vague" requirement: You cannot use the observations you base your hypothesis on...") This was falsely stated as being imprecise, yet it was not presented this way by PRO. Appeals to Ignorance are common in Creationism, and were present here as well. More in comments.
Vote Placed by gordonjames 4 years ago
gordonjames
JonMilnev3neslTied
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Reasons for voting decision: bad conduct by both, but I think con was less bad. I looked through way to many of pro's sources only to search for the source of his point, Argument was hard to decide. Con dropped an argument so point to pro. This was a hard one for me to decide as my attitude changed due to the unfriendly tone of some of the debate.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
JonMilnev3neslTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Both debaters made personal insults, offsetting for the conduct point. Don't ever attribute ignorance or mis understanding to an opponent. Attack the opponents arguments. Pro gave evidence of useful and non-trivial predictions made by the theory of evolution. The lab observation of e coli to metabolize citrate is compelling, and was not seriously addressed by Con. The utility and verifiability proves that the theory is well enough defined to be a valid scientific theory. Con gave no useful predictions of ID nor evidence to support the theory. think con was arguing that ID could completely subsume scientific evolution while adding the possibility of "magical" (i.e. not in accord with fixed laws of nature) intervention. If that's what Con was saying, only the scientific part of the ID composite theory is verifiable and falsifiable, the designer part is not.
Vote Placed by Wnope 4 years ago
Wnope
JonMilnev3neslTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: It is easily possible that two people can debate ID versus Evolution and I would say that pro-ID position is the winner. The matter is not whether or not I believe on side is correct. However, Con was disastrous beyond belief. Not only did he shunt aside all empirical evidence brought forward, but he even said he felt no need to prove his own side correct. If at least, Con had had some rhetorical skill is his ramblings, I could give him conduct point. Instead, he accuses people of "Scientism."
Vote Placed by JustinAMoffatt 4 years ago
JustinAMoffatt
JonMilnev3neslTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter ModusTollens. Contact me if RFD improves.
Vote Placed by thg 4 years ago
thg
JonMilnev3neslTied
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Total points awarded:20 
Reasons for voting decision: While I agree MORE with PRO's initial premise, I was somewhat torn...because I believe both sides presented some provocative points...and I believe both sides failed to be ultimately persuasive (I'll try to add some comments in the comment section). Both sides would strengthen their position if they left out some of the sarcasm. I believe CON was right to question PRO's initial framing of parameters for the debate...but, in this case, CON should not have accepted the debate as it was initially framed. As it stands, I believe PRO stood on more solid ground because of better use of sources (even though I agree with CON's implication that not all those sources were relevant or persuasive.
Vote Placed by ModusTollens 4 years ago
ModusTollens
JonMilnev3neslTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had a better understanding of the concept of both observation and prediction, as the terms apply to scientific theory.