The Instigator
drewMurrdotCom
Con (against)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
TheSkeptic
Pro (for)
Winning
77 Points

Evolution is a scientific fact.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/9/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,573 times Debate No: 9649
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (22)
Votes (14)

 

drewMurrdotCom

Con

First we must get a few things straight:

Evolution is referred to in its most common and general sense which refers to macro evolution: the theory that all life originated from a single celled organism.

Scientific Fact: The scientific method has been used to prove conclusively each aspect of the theory individually.

Finally, the Con asserts that evolution as defined above is not by any measure a scientific fact. The fact is that only a few individual aspects of the theory have been scientifically proven. The majority of the social advancement of the theory was perpetrated by overzealous scientist and journalists that disregarded the necessity of scientific evidence. Specifically the lack of evidence suggesting that anything can change from one species to another. The Con begs the Pro to offer any such evidence.

The scientific community's blind embrace of this unfounded theory has left the scientific community relying on more 'faith' than the most zealous of creationist.
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for creating this open debate, and I welcome him to this website! I hope you enjoy your stay here; I'm sure you'll find a lot of bright members to mingle with.

That said, I don't find your conclusions about evolution impressive. In fact, I find it to be quite the contrary - incredibly flawed and inaccurate. While I do admit I haven't heard the fully story of your arguments for anti-evolutionism, I can imagine what they would be. You gave some definitions, but I will have dispute that since they are a mis-characterizations of how science really works, and then tackle your main position.

My round will follow accordingly: I will first dispute/elaborate your definitions and then give a brief account for evolution since in turn I want to see where your criticisms lead us to.

=====================
Revision of definitions
=====================

My opponent's definitions are mediocre at best, and I feel that they leave out several important aspects that shouldn't be overlooked when we are debating about the scientific merits of evolution.

First, we have the definition of evolution. Drawing from the incredibly rich sources of TalkOrigins[1], I define evolution as the following: "In the broadest sense, evolution is merely change, and so is all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve. Biological evolution ... is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions."

Then, we come to his...frankly wrong definition of a scientific fact. A scientific fact is "an observation that has been confirmed repeatedly and is accepted as true (although its truth is never final)[2]." So it is NOT conclusively proven - to say that an empirical claim can be known to be certain is philosophically ridiculous, and would reveal the speaker's lack of knowledge about the roots and issues of epistemology. If we were to abide by this standard, then there can be no scientific knowledge since the burden is simply too heavy.

=====================
How evolution is a scientific fact
=====================

Assuming evolution is correct (which I make a case for in the following section), evolution is not only a theory but a scientific fact as well. How, you ask? Simple:

A fact is an observation, while a theory is an explanations. This is why "biologists consider the existence of biological evolution to be a fact. It can be demonstrated today and the historical evidence for its occurrence in the past is overwhelming. However, biologists readily admit that they are less certain of the exact mechanism of evolution; there are several theories of the mechanism of evolution.[3]"

For example, take gravity. A fact of gravity is observing an apple fall from a tree while a theory of gravity explains why that happened (curvature of space time, yada yada yada). If my opponent wants to contend that there aren't any demonstrations and evidence for the fact of evolution, then this brings us to the next section. If he agrees to this, however, then this debate goes to me since he would have effectively conceded this debate.

=====================
Brief defense of evolution
=====================

As far as I can tell, the only criticism my opponent places against evolution is that there is a "lack of evidence suggesting that anything can change from one species to another." This is unequivocally incorrect. Speciation is very well supported, documented, and explained.

Simply put, speciation is "a process whereby over time one species evolves into a different species (anagenesis) or whereby one species diverges to become two or more species (cladogenesis).[4]" The debate rages on about how much genetic drift plays a role in comparison to natural selection (though most biologists would agree natural selection is the majority of influence). I would argue that natural selection plays an overwhelming part of evolution, and that genetic drift is much less than expected. However, this is for another debate so on to the explanation of how speciation works.

Another debate rages on about how speciation works (in terms of it's mechanism). There is no doubt that it does occur, but the focus is on how. This link will give you access to the different theories involved[5]. As for current day observed examples (though we don't need them to support evolution, since there is inferred evidence), there are many well documented ones. Since there are so many, I will simply supply this link[6] to which you can refer to said observed examples.

=====================
Conclusion
=====================

It becomes glaringly obvious that evolution, if true, is a scientific fact. Just like how gravity is both a fact and a theory, evolution can clearly be both a theory and a fact. The only argument my opponent can feasibly garner is to show that evolution is incorrect - which, of course, I have addressed.

That said, the reason why I didn't put a lengthy defense of evolution is because there are simply too many possible arguments against evolution that have been advocated by creationists. To counter each one is much too large for the character limits and my patience, so I will wait earnestly for my opponent's next round. Good luck to him!

---References---
1. http://www.talkorigins.org...
2. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
3. http://www.talkorigins.org...
4. http://www.biochem.northwestern.edu...
5. http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu...
6. http://www.talkorigins.org...
Debate Round No. 1
drewMurrdotCom

Con

First I would like to thank Mr. Skeptic for accepting my challenge, I would like to thank him for welcoming me to the site, for participating in this academic community, and for providing sources that will prove to be more supportive of my position than his.

In regards to your second paragraph, I cannot tell you how deeply saddened I am that I am unable to impress you. Also, it will not be necessary for you to imagine any additional arguments, the arguments that I present will prove to be sufficient. Now, on to the definitions.

=====================
Revision of definitions
=====================
Evolution:
My opponent has so graciously provided us with an alternative definition, and I will explain exactly why such an absurdly broad understanding of the term does not allow for critical study.
My opponent, as well as the scientific community, would like you to accept a wildly broad definition of evolution. He states, "In the broadest sense, evolution is merely change, and so is all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve." This definition is unrealistic. First, if evolution is ‘merely change', there is no room for discussion; certainly the negative cannot be so audacious to suggest that change doesn't exist. The reason my opponent, and the scientific community, promotes such an arbitrary definition of the theory, is because it completely removes their burden of proof. We clearly need a more precise definition. For this reason we will focus on evolution as the process by which all living creatures have evolved from a single organism. (changing species and kingdoms)

Scientific Fact:
I will concede to your definition in order to use my character limit on more valuable points.

The Arguments:

I will go about this explanation by answering the following questions; what is speciation and who wants to know? What does the evidence prove about speciation? What is missing?

What is speciation and who wants to know?

Speciation is the process of changing from one species to another but…

Remember how I told you that my opponent wanted to broaden the definition of evolution to such an extent that it removed his burden of proof? Well he, along with many members of the scientific community, will attempt to do the same thing with speciation. Keep in mind that the term 'species' has many interpretations and the Pro will try to stretch the definition of speciation so far that what he ends up proving is irrelevant to the argument. Don't take my word for it. Let's look at his sources and what they actually say. Fortunately I don't need to reference any additional sources, the ones he provided confirm everything I mentioned.

"A discussion of speciation requires a definition of what constitutes a species. This is a topic of considerable debate within the biological community…There are a variety of different species concept currently in use by biologists. These include folk, biological, morphological, genetic, paleontological, evolutionary, phylogenetic and biosystematic definitions."..." What a biologist will consider as a speciation event is, in part, dependent on which species definition that biologist accepts. The biological species concept has been very successful as a theoretical model for explaining species differences among vertebrates and some groups of arthropods. This can lead us to glibly assert its universal applicability, despite its irrelevance to many groups." [6]...I will go on to show many specific examples of this abuse of definition.

Before I get into the specific 'examples' of 'speciation' mentioned, let's look at what my opponent's sources actually concede about speciation.

This part is awesome.

"Part 5 describes a number of observed speciation events and several experiments which (in my opinion) failed to produce speciation." [6]

Did one of his sources just concede that the observed speciation events failed to produce speciation? Hummm...let's see if any of his other sources confirm this blatant lack of evidence...

"In fact, then, both biologists and paleontologists must infer what happens, and it is very difficult to sort out where fact ends and where interpretation begins." [5]

Yah that one was good, but wait until you read the next one.

"Notice that since biologists have not seen a speciation event that everyone would believe, biologists are driven to theory-heavy models of speciation, rather than a rich store of observational evidence." [5]

Holy S-word, did another one of my opponent's sources just say that biologists have never seen speciation? There is no rich store of observational data? Well that is just flabbergasting.

Ok ok, so my opponent's sources concede that they haven't actually seen speciation and there isn't actually any observational data....but hey, they have done some experiments! After all, you can't have a good theory without experiments. Let's take a look at the experiments.

Unfortunately, due to my character limit, I am unable to reference each of these experiments individually. [6] If any readers have time take a look at every single experiment and observation available to us, so that there can be no doubt about the conclusions (or lack thereof) that we find.

So, experiments exist, what do they prove? Well…they certainly prove conclusively that a primrose (flower) can turn into more primroses, flies can turn into more flies, and worms can turn into more worms, etc. But these proofs are absolutely irrelevant to the argument without providing an answer to the theory that all life has existed in the same kingdoms as we observe them in today, they may have adapted or changed within that kingdom to form many species, yet in no circumstances has any life ever mutated or ‘evolved' from one kingdom to the other.

Why are the experiments so broad? They use the broadest of all speciation definitions. Note my opponent's source, "So far the BSC has applied to all of the experiments discussed." [5] This is why the experts have conceded that speciation has not actually ever been observed, and cannot be observed without more specific studies that do not use the BSC standard.

So where are the other studies? Where are the studies using alternative definitions of speciation? Why are there no examples of animals going through speciation?

As I, and my opponents sources, have already asserted: These studies simply do not exist.

And finally we address the question:

What is missing?

Well many things, primarily: evidence.

As I have already explained, all the BSC evidence is basically BS. Evidence from other standards is required, evidence that can explicitly disprove the claim that all life originated in the biological kingdoms we observe today and have adapted within those kingdoms, but in no instances has any organism crossed over from one kingdom to the other. i.e. a plant has never become an animal, a whale has never become a monkey, etc.

I have a suggestion of how this evidence can be provided, and if my opponent wishes to perform this experiment I will gladly give him an extension on his rebuttal.

Experiment: Take a male flower, preferably the experimentally preferred primrose, and isolate it from the female primrose, then subject it to naked women. If the primrose develops a human penis, you will have observational data, by the strictest standards, that speciation exists.

In conclusion:
At the end of the day the most important words come from my opponent when his experts are forced to admit that "biologists have not seen a speciation event" [5] and that the experiments "failed to produce speciation." [6]

You may say that you believe in evolution, but you may not say that it is a scientific fact. If you choose to believe in evolution you must believe in it with the same amount of faith as the creationist, for the observations that you hold to so dearly are little more than the Shroud of Turin or the image of the Virgin
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for his lengthy and fast response. While I did initially state that his arguments unimpressed me, I did not mean that in full force. However, now I am well certified of it. He commits several acts of folly, such as quote-mining, making strawmans, and placing an incredibly heavy burden on the scientific community with an outlandish conclusion as a result.

=====================
Revision of definitions
=====================

My opponent's paragraph against my revision of evolution crumbles at the seams if he were to bother to READ THE DEFINITION IN IT'S ENTIRETY. If you were to read after the sentence my opponent quote, you will see it goes into great, concise detail about biological evolution (after all, there are different terms that include the word evolution, i.e. cosmological evolution). Since the definition I gave is as clear as daylight, refer back to my previous round for confirmation.

He accepts my definition of a scientific fact - great.

=====================
Brief defense of evolution -- Speciation
=====================

My opponent infers from the fact that because the definition of species is contentious, biologists have stretched the definition of species so far that it ends up being vague and irrelevant. I find this to be an incredibly astounding conclusion. There is no warrant for such a heavy claim, and since there's a couple of things to address I will break this down into three sub-sections:

1. Definition of species is contentious, too broad, and ambiguous?

My opponent makes the odd claim that since there doesn't seem to be an unanimous agreement on the definition of species, that evolutionists are bankrupt at any attempt at gathering evidence for speciation. NO. Not only does this presume there isn't an adequate definition of species (I could always argue for one, but I don't want to drag this debate into a slightly different topic), but it makes an unjustified leap from a theoretical lacking to a practical conclusion. In other words, just because biologists have yet to come across an agreed upon definition of species -- which happens in the theoretical level -- this does NOT preclude the events of evolution and more specifically speciation. Sure, we may come across a fine epistemological problem of how we can say speciation occurs if we have yet to settle the problem of what constitutes a species, but there are advancements that seem to demonstrate speciation EVEN THOUGH we don't have a clear cut definition yet.

In other words, though the debate about the definition of species is large and complicated, it is confined. This means that most biologists will agree that bacteria and humans are different species - even if they are at conflict with the definition of species. I highly doubt that my opponent would be willing to say that the different animal kingdoms are of the same species or of some sort. There should have been a process for the gradual complexity of biological life on the planet earth - the difference between a plant and a cat is demonstrably obvious. So even though we don't have an unanimous decision of what constitutes a species, there are many examples that which we can point to and say "these are vastly different, some sort of process must have caused it". What is this process? Biological evolution - the process of change due to genetic mutations and the reproductive success of different groups of animals.

2. Snippets from my sources that my opponent mentions

"Part 5 describes a number of observed speciation events and several experiments which (in my opinion) failed to produce speciation."

----> My opponent states that this sentence from my article establishes that there is a large section dedicated to debunking several experiments that have purported to show speciation. NO - THIS IS A STRAWMAN. While it does present some cases of failed experiments, it does not discount all of them. To confirm this a brief scan of the section will prove that there are many given experiments from the author that have received no rejection. In fact, the failed experiments in which the BSC doesn't apply (which my opponent brings up) is covered in section 5.9 - everything beforehand is an EXTENSIVE LIST OF OTHERWISE VALID EXPERIMENTS.

"In fact, then, both biologists and paleontologists must infer what happens, and it is very difficult to sort out where fact ends and where interpretation begins."

----> This simply lamented at the difficulty of determining speciation due to the entanglement of results and interpretation. This is present in practically all fields of science, so I don't see your point in an attempt at exploiting this.

"Notice that since biologists have not seen a speciation event that everyone would believe, biologists are driven to theory-heavy models of speciation, rather than a rich store of observational evidence."

----> Holy S-word, did you notice that this quote refers to speciation events THAT EVERYONE WOULD BELIEVE? This is precisely the nature of the scientific community due to the fact of the debate over the definition of species. Are we really supposed to be surprised at this?

3. My opponent assumes I believe everything the author states

I find it peculiar my opponent finds it evidence against me when he shows something in my source that supposedly is contrary to my position. Even if this were so (which it isn't - otherwise TalkOrigins would be defeating their own purpose), this in no way precludes me to be responsible. I simply listed the sources as a reference to lists of speciation events - I am not responsible for what the author responds about it. So until my opponent can extract some evidence against my position, which he obviously can't do with my sources, he's at a loss here.

====================
Conclusion and a few remarks
====================

Seriously...did my opponent visit my sources, click Ctrl + F, and search for keywords such as "failed experiment" or something? He seems to be particularly adept at quote-mining, making strawmen, and in general being intellectually dodgy. He hasn't refuted my points, but rather pulled lines out of my sources as an attempt to.
Debate Round No. 2
drewMurrdotCom

Con

Lol. Thank you Mr. Skeptic for the laughs. Your first paragraph was funny, but I was rofl after I read the rest of your arguments. We will see that I have not created any 'acts of folly' as accused, my quotes (of your sources) are absolutely in context as I will defend, and as I will reiterate, you have yet to provide us with any valid evidence.

def. of evo:
Oh Mr. Skeptic, my 'definition' was not meant to be a comprehensive definition. I was simply narrowing down the field we need to focus on because, as I explained, your definition is too broad for debate. Yes I did read your definition in it's entirety. And if you will look a little closer you will find that your definition encompasses my definition. Notice, from your definition: "It(evolution) embraces everything from slight changes...to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions." My point is that you need not focus on the other aspects of your definition because the Neg is not arguing anything other than evolution as the 'successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, etc.' And you MUST prove this aspect of your definition. You may attempt to prove lesser points, but there is only one point of evolution in question and you can not provide the least shred of evidence that 'successive alterations led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions." Your evidence satisfies neither definition.

Evolution - Speciation

1. Definition of speciation contentious, too broad and ambiguous.
My opponent seems to misunderstand the situation here, I am not making any assumptions. Please refer back to the previous argument and direct quotations from the studies themselves.

My opponent actually makes my point astoundingly clear, please consider his statements:

"This means that most biologists will agree that bacteria and humans are different species - even if they are at conflict with the definition of species. I highly doubt that my opponent would be willing to say that the different animal kingdoms are of the same species or of some sort."

"the difference between a plant and a cat is demonstrably obvious."

You are all too correct Mr. Skeptic and thank you for your insight. Bacteria and Humans are different species, the different animal kingdoms are different species, and yes a plant and a cat are demonstrably different. We will use your standard of observable difference.

The problem is that NONE of your evidence demonstrates any of the above mentioned changes.

Actually, as I pointed out, your 'speciation' is so trivial even your sources deny that they actually prove anything. Please, look at the observations, there are no observations of plants turning into cats, no observations of bacteria turning into humans, no observations of animals changing kingdom. There are simply worms turning into more worms, one primrose turning into another primrose, corn turning into corn, etc etc.

Mr. Skeptic has described for us what an observation of speciation SHOULD look like, and provided us with a standard by which we can judge the validity of an observation, unfortunately NONE of the evidence comes remotely close to meeting this standard.

2. Quotations from the sources:

"Part 5 describes a number of observed speciation events and several experiments which (in my opinion) failed to produce speciation."

Him:Strawman

My opponent is either wrong or lying, Part 5 and all of part 5 (not just 5.9) is the section dedicated to experiments and my opponents source clearly asserts that all the experiments in part 5 turned out a complete bust, once again my opponents sources concede. Read it for yourself.

"In fact, then, both biologists and paleontologists must infer what happens, and it is very difficult to sort out where fact ends and where interpretation begins."

Him: "This is present in practically all fields of science, so I don't see your point in an attempt at exploiting this."

Sorry, Mr. Skeptic, if you are attempting to PROVE something is a FACT, you shouldn't admit this, 'it is very difficult to sort out where fact ends and where interpretation begins.'

"Notice that since biologists have not seen a speciation event that everyone would believe, biologists are driven to theory-heavy models of speciation, rather than a rich store of observational evidence."

The group 'everyone' in context, is the community of biologists who are studying speciation, not creationists, The quote, IN CONTEXT, asserts that even the biologists IN THE FIELD OF SPECIATION are forced to rely on theory based models because they have NOT SEEN A SPECIATION EVENT.

3. I assume my opponent believes his sources.

You may not 'believe' your own sources (seriously?). But you clearly thought they were reliable enough to be considered in the debate. I am sorry that they don't agree with you, but it is too late to un-post them now.

Conclusion and few remarks:

I have not done a single evidence search nor posted any additional evidence in this debate, and for good reason. The foundation of this debate is not about the evidence but about the absolute lack thereof. My use of the evidence was more accurate and more insightful than my opponents (even though he provided all the sources). My initial argument remains the same, if my opponent wishes to assert that evolution includes the "successive alterations led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions." then he better be able to back it up, and as suspected, he hasn't be able to provide any evidence to suggest the progression from species to species and he certainly hasn't provided any evidence to show changes from one family to another or from one kingdom to another. The fact is that this evidence simply does not exist, and certainly hasn't been presented by my opponent, therefore Evolution can NOT be considered a FACT.
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response and this debate. Despite his scoffs at my arguments, which is mutual since I feel the same way about his, this debate has been interesting in at least taking a first into the issue of speciation. However, ultimately I'm dismayed at his efforts - the least he can do is read my sources correctly. It seems my initial sentiments were dead on.

=====================
Revision of the definition of evolution
=====================

Come what may, it seems that we both agree that my definition is adequate since mine encompasses his (whether or not the evidence fits the definition is for the next sections). However, I want to point out that the reason why I decided to go with this definition BECAUSE it was much more comprehensive. I don't want to leave anything out of a definition of evolution for my opponent to exploit, or for a discourse to potentially be pushed off it's original trajectory simply because of a faulty or inadequate definition.

Regardless, let's examine his dispute of evolution's evidence:

=====================
Defense of evolution -- Speciation -- Definition of speciation contentious, too broad and ambiguous.
=====================

My opponent's argument here is so comical that I'm almost at a loss of words - is he really saying that adequate evidence of evolution will only be suitable when confirmed events of speciation occurs between, for example, A PLANT TO A CAT? He states that " there are no observations of plants turning into cats, no observations of bacteria turning into humans, no observations of animals changing kingdom", with the obvious hint that these are to be real evidence for evolution whilst "worms turning into more worms" is not.

"Mr. Skeptic has described for us what an observation of speciation SHOULD look like, and provided us with a standard by which we can judge the validity of an observation, unfortunately NONE of the evidence comes remotely close to meeting this standard."

----> You are incredibly adept at strawmen. I never stated that an observation of speciation should look like a plant turning into a cat, I said the difference between these two would intuitively call for a distinction, of which we can call "species".

My opponent's accusation betrays such a cardinal misapprehension of evolution that I can see why he'd scoff at evolution - he doesn't even know how it works properly! Simply put, for one to observe a speciation event of such a big jump as to go from one animal kingdom (a plant) to another (a cat) would probably happen under only two conditions: either reproduction and effectively artificial evolution would be sped up to a monstrous magnitude or a really long experiment would be held under controlled environments. Obviously, either of these are incredibly impractical as of now. So how do we prove speciation? By looking at SMALL events, smaller jumps. Is my opponent foolish enough to say there aren't different species of flowers? Because there certainly are, and there are experiments to demonstrate such a speciation event (refer to sources).

The difference between a speciation event between two different species of flowers is fundamentally the same as the long gap between a flower and a cat - the only difference is TIME. This is such a common methodology in science that it's disheartening to see my opponent doesn't even realize this; scientists often conduct experiments on magnitudes much smaller than what they are seeking to prove/demonstrate/etc. Take physics in which the particle accelerators are used- they obviously can't match with the energy of the cosmos, but they represent the same conditions in a smaller scale. For my opponent to demand such an experiment demonstrates that he is at fault here, not me.

=====================
Defense of evolution -- Speciation -- Snippets from my sources that my opponent mentions
=====================

So not only does my opponent make a critical error in adjudicating what constitutes a proper scientific experiment, he still refuses to admit or recognize that he has misrepresented my sources. For the purpose of organization, I will cite the original quote from my opponent and reply to his response:

"Part 5 describes a number of observed speciation events and several experiments which (in my opinion) failed to produce speciation."

----> My opponent is willing to say that all of Part 5 is dedicated to experiments that "turned out a complete bust". Oh really? Then I'll recommend my audience to do the same...READ IT. The best way to disprove my opponent is to have the audience demonstrate it to themselves, so I encourage the reader to just do a brief scan over section 5. Furthermore, if I one were to apply common sense to this issue then he must wonder: why would TalkOrigins, a prominent pro-evolution website, feature an article which ARGUES AGAINST THEM? Why would their FAQ page on Observed Instances of Speciation conclude there aren't observed instances? This is self-defeating, and obviously not the case.

"In fact, then, both biologists and paleontologists must infer what happens, and it is very difficult to sort out where fact ends and where interpretation begins."

----> Seriously, you REALLY love to quote mine. If you read the sentence before the one you have quoted, you'll notice that I explained this by saying "this [quote] simply lamented at the difficulty of determining speciation due to the entanglement of results and interpretation." Did I or the speaker ever said it was IMPOSSIBLE? No, just difficult. This problem of fact vs. interpretation is present in so many fields (historians, archaeologists, sociologists/psychologists, etc.).

"Notice that since biologists have not seen a speciation event that everyone would believe, biologists are driven to theory-heavy models of speciation, rather than a rich store of observational evidence."

----> I'm starting to think that every argument you are making is born from a misconstruction. If you read it carefully, it obviously states that "biologists have no seen a speciation event that EVERYONE WOULD BELIEVE (emphasis added)." This just demonstrates that there are debates about what species mean, NOT that there are no observed instances of speciation. You argue that since there's a debate about speciation, evolution is incorrect? This is incredibly naive.

=====================
Brief defense of evolution -- Speciation -- Assumption that one must believe everything in their source
=====================

"You may not 'believe' your own sources (seriously?). But you clearly thought they were reliable enough to be considered in the debate. I am sorry that they don't agree with you, but it is too late to un-post them now."

----> This is such a common academic issue that I'm aghast at how my opponent could be confounded on this is issue. If you cite a source for the purpose of giving a list of examples, then only THAT would apply. If parts of the source say something about it, it's not necessarily my responsibility to hold the same view.

This is so common sense, just take this concept to other forms of academia. When I cite an idea from Kant's book that I agree with, am I committed to everything else he believes? If I agree with a part of Locke, do I have to defend everything else? The obvious answer is NO.

====================
Conclusion and a few remarks
====================

My opponent's argument has been one of the most intellectually undignified ones I've ever seen. Except for his ludicrous claim that speciation can only be proven with large gaps such as a plant to a cat, everything else is born from a seemingly purposeful strawman, quote-mining, etc.

There really isn't anything to say but that, vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 3
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tjordan 6 years ago
tjordan
While Con did use many tactics like straw man, the topic of this debate is "evolution is a scientific fact". All Pro did was talk about the use of straw man by Con. Pro did not provide evidence that evolution is a scientific fact. By making a possive statement, Evolution is a scientific fact, he must do so.
Posted by thereal_yeti 7 years ago
thereal_yeti
(though there was no mention of creationism, I have got to say this)

I also find it odd, how creationists standard of proof for evolution involves spontonous growth (Such as the penis example),HUGE changes from one generation to the next, and seeing change within OUR very small life span, Which NO scientist claims happens

But there standard of evidence when it comes to god/creation is ridiculously LOW, such as,"Ohh look at the purdy trees and the purdy animals, there MUST'VE been a designer!"

If they demand such high stanards of proof for evolution, why is it so ridiculously low for god?

(Put shortly) because their world view is driving by emotion, and NOT by evidence.
Posted by thereal_yeti 7 years ago
thereal_yeti
I actually kind've gasped and whispered under my breath "you got to be ****ing kidding me!"

When con said that one way to proove evolution would be to put a male primerose in a room with a human female, and watch it magically grow a human penis...
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Perhaps that is so, though I am suspicious given that the section of the article he cited can be scanned very briefly. Either way, it doesn't bother me much since I find a large part of the point of having a conduct point idealistically incorrect. s

And how do you respond to that crap, haha? Do you actually give a critique, or just give up after awhile.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Skeptic, I certainly agree that the contentions you cited were false, but I don't think it is certain that they were deliberately contrived maliciously. It could just be a combination of inexperience and haste, edged on by ideological belief. Piling on accusations moves the debate away from the arguments. I think its worth pointing out because I struggle with this temptation myself. I have a correspondent who sends me "9/11 truther" stuff, and it's really a struggle for me not to over react. The stuff is really nuts, but it wouldn't be productive to say so. It's just counterproductive, giving the opponent an opportunity to claim that your accusation prove you are close-minded.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
@Roy:

The fine line of being offensive or "unconductive" is contentious. Sure, that quote may be harsh in tone but it's neither excessive nor false - his arguments were intellectually undignified for the sole reason that they were full of seemingly intentional quote-mines, strawmen, etc. If his arguments were just bad (from the likes of Godsands for example), I wouldn't say they were intellectually undignified. But quoting out of context and being called out on it multiple times without bothering to take a brief SCAN of the section he supposedly read is disingenuous.
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
Con's arguments were terrible.

He should read Richard Dawkins new book.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Pro loses conduct for "My opponent's argument has been one of the most intellectually undignified ones I've ever seen. " It ought to suffice to win all of the intellectual arguments, which Pro did handily, without being insulting. It's more effective to just point out the fallacies, without an insulting characterization of them. I'll admit that it's tough.
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
No Con they were not. You used the debate about when speciation occurs and turned it into if speciation occurs. Scientists are not debating the if but the when. Because all life originates from a parent population debates occur as to when a creature is a variant of a species or a new species all together. Anytime you see Dobzansky or Mayr you need to understand that these were some important figures in the making of the evolutionary synthesis, combining the work of geneticists and naturalists in the study of life. No side in this debate supports your position that speciation does not occur.
Even Darwin hit on this debate (prior to genetics) and the importance of species is vital as nature appears to act on isolated gene pools. When certain aspects of creatures (asexual reproduction) prevent common definitions of species from applying, scientists must determine a better one so as to better understand the development of life on this planet. When an issue is this vital, debate will rage, thankfully, but taking the debate out of its context to support pseudo science is dishonest.
Posted by drewMurrdotCom 7 years ago
drewMurrdotCom
quotes were in context - no exceptions
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter vote bomb. It's clear that TheSkeptic won the debate. Con set an entire debate on numerous fallacies, and failed to prove how "The majority of the social advancement of the theory was perpetrated by overzealous scientist and journalists that disregarded the necessity of scientific evidence" while not only confounding the workings of evolution but--quite comically--spent a good chunk on the debate about the sources TheSkeptic posted. Not even close, unfortunately, for Con.
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