The Instigator
Alexander_The_Great
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
BennyW
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

Evolution is a scientific fact

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/19/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,512 times Debate No: 17129
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)

 

Alexander_The_Great

Pro

Evolution is a scientific fact .
The idea that humans and all animals evolved into what they are today. Most do not deny Microevolution, a small change in a species that allows them to adapt.
"House sparrows have adapted to the climate of North America, mosquitoes have evolved in response to global warming, and insects have evolved resistance to our pesticides. These are all examples of microevolution — evolution on a small scale."
(evolution.berkeley.edu)

I believe that most people do not agree with the idea of Macroevolution simply because, unlike microevolution, we can not observe Macroevolution first hand. or can we?
"Macroevolution is thought of as the compounded effects of microevolution. Thus, the distinction between micro- and macroevolution is not a fundamental one – the only difference between them is of time and scale."
(wikipedia.org)

ie; Australopithecus evolving into Man and Apes.
or the "tree of life" in the following link.
http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov...

Interesting side note, a poll on msnbc said that just 39% of Americans believe in evolution.
(firstread.msnbc.msn.com)

Pro will argue that Evolution is a scientific fact.
Con will argue Evolution is not a scientific fact.
Con can argue that both Microevolution and Macroevolution are both false, or one is true and one is not.
I wouldn't do it though, seeing as the only difference between the two is time and scale.
Fact-something that actually exists; reality; truth
-Dictionary.com
Scientific fact-any observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and accepted as true; any scientific observation that has not been refuted
-Dictionary.com
Evolution-change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.
-Dictionary.com

I want the person I'm debating with to be very passionate about this subject. I realize that Macro and Microevloution are terms coined by creationists, but the words are likely to come up during the debate so I might as well help clarify their definition.

-http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
BennyW

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for bringing this debate and accept his terms as he set them up. I would also like to thank my opponent for acknowledging the distinction between micro and macro evolution. I will not argue against micro evolution as I agree it is observable. My opponent has BOP, I only need to cast doubt on the theory of Evolution.

According to Charles Darwin, much of his inspiration for evolution came from observing finches with different size beaks, while this may be evidence for micro evolution. These birds were all part of the same species. It is also akin to saying someone with a larger nose is more evolved. We have seen the effects of micro evolution but it has never been observed on the macro level, every time changes occur they occur within the same species. A Chihuahua and a Great Dane are very different but still belong to the same species. Never has it been observed two animals from different species mating and creating fertile offspring. I await my opponent’s response.
Debate Round No. 1
Alexander_The_Great

Pro

I think the point my opponent was trying to make, is that macro evolution occurs when two animals from a different species mate to form another species. Like "A Chihuahua and a Great Dane", Or like a horse and a donkey, or a tiger and a lion.
So when a donkey and a horse mate they form a hybrid.
A.K.A. a honkey. That was a joke. Back to being serious.
Hybrids are not fertile as my opponent clearly stated.

But, this is not the case when it comes to macro evolution. Scientists do not claim that a change occurs on the "macro level" when two different species mate to form a new.

The change occurs NOT when one generation of two animals make a hybrid, but when over a long period of time, animals who have certain traits that allow them to survive in a given environment, are passed down to offspring, slowly changing one species to another.

"The Primary way that evolution occurs is through action of natural selection, that is, populations change in response to environmental pressures and they become adapted to new conditions and they change over time."

Evolution-change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.

So why is Macro Evolution a fact?

"That life on Earth during the past 3 billion years has evolved from single-celled organisms to complex and diverse creatures, including humans, is a fact. This fact is based on the recorded and published observations of thousands of scientist over the past 200+ years. It is evidence clearly written in the geological and biological record. The observation that evolution has occurred is now as clear and undeniable as the Earth circling the sun, or that matter is made of atoms, or that the Earth's continents move...Evolution stands as a fully documented observation, as real as the observation that the sun circles the Earth or that matter is composed of atoms. Today, evolution of life on Earth stands as a fact. "
http://chem.tufts.edu...

In other words, this is scientific fact.
"any observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and accepted as true; any scientific observation that has not been refuted "
Evolution has not been proven wrong and has substantial evidence to support it.

You might still be thinking "Well yeah but you still can't see the process of macro evolution happening."
Well,
"The primary function of science is to demonstrate the existence of phenomena that cannot be observed directly. Science is not needed to show us things we can see with our own eyes. Direct observation is not only unnecessary in science; direct observation is in fact usually impossible for the things that really matter. In fact, the most important discoveries of science have only be inferred via indirect observation. Familiar examples of unobservable scientific discoveries are atoms, electrons, viruses, bacteria, germs, radio-waves, X-rays, ultraviolet light, energy, entropy, enthalpy, solar fusion, genes, protein enzymes, and the DNA double-helix"

In evolution there is a theory to support how it works, just as there is a theory to support gravity. but no one ever says, "gravity, its just a theory."
"Evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered."

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

Con

I thank my opponent for responding

“So when a donkey and a horse mate they form a hybrid.
A.K.A. a honkey. That was a joke. Back to being serious.”

I feel that as a white person I should be offended by that. However I understand the joke, now to the actual debate.

“The change occurs NOT when one generation of two animals make a hybrid, but when over a long period of time, animals who have certain traits that allow them to survive in a given environment, are passed down to offspring, slowly changing one species to another.
Where is the evidence for this? When has a change of species actually been observed? I know the idea is not that it jumps from one species to another without a transition, but why don’t we even see transitions, something that can breed with both species perhaps?

“In other words, this is scientific fact.
'any observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and accepted as true; any scientific observation that has not been refuted '”

When has it been proved true? Also, just because something cannot be refuted does not make it true either.

“The primary function of science is to demonstrate the existence of phenomena that cannot be observed directly.

There is plenty in science we can observe, for instance gravity is directly observable. Lets take atoms for example, it was hypothesized that matter was composed of smaller parts but we didn’t understand what those parts were. We still don’t fully understand as more details are being discovers. However, with a powerful enough microscope we can observe some of the effects of atoms. Most of the other things you mentioned, we can see the effect from them even if we cannot see the phenomena directly. Therefore, since evolution has never been directly observed, it is not on the same level of scientific fact as gravity. The scientific method involves repetitive observable occurrences. [1]


Also, when searching for the missing link there have been a number of fabrications, such as the Piltdown man [2] or Nebraska man, which was created solely from a single tooth. [3] It shows that they were so desperate to prove their theory true that they lied about the evidence.

“Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them.
True, because facts are facts, even if the theory is completely wrong, there are still facts that are correct that we just haven’t figured out yet. Therefore there is no reason to believe the theory of evolution as it is currently understood is correct.
Darwin’s original theory has changed over time, evolved if you will. How do we know what we think we know now is correct? In 100 years the theory of evolution will likely be completely different than it is now. At one time the Ptolemaic idea that the Earth was the center of the universe was considered a scientific fact, but it is not really a fact since we now know it to be false.

My opponent has failed to show how the theory of evolution, satisfactorily explains the variety of species and yet the lack of a smooth transition. I look forward to the next round.

1 http://www.answersingenesis.org...

2 http://www.sniggle.net...]

3 http://www.darwinismrefuted.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Alexander_The_Great

Pro

Pro: "The change occurs NOT when one generation of two animals make a hybrid, but when over a long period of time, animals who have certain traits that allow them to survive in a given environment, are passed down to offspring, slowly changing one species to another."
Con: "Where is the evidence for this? When has a change of species actually been observed? I know the idea is not that it jumps from one species to another without a transition, but why don't we even see transitions, something that can breed with both species perhaps?"
Pro: Again, you don't need to directly observe something to know that it exists. It has not been observed because the change happens over the course of a million years or so. Part of the evidence for Macro evolution, is Micro evolution, something which my opponent and I both agree occurs.

On the outside parts of the Californian mountains, lives a variety of salamanders of the same species. The mountains form a large circle around a portion of southern California. The salamander is able to mate with nearby groups of salamanders, but we see that on the opposite side, salamanders are not able to mate with one another. The farther away one type of salamander is to another, the more diverse they are. They act as a completely different species.
This is one of many pieces of evidence to support the idea of macro evolution. It shows how a species over time can adapt to have traits that are so different it takes the appearance of a different species.
(youtube.com/speciation)

Another way Macro Evolution is considered a scientific fact, is the evidence of pre historic fossils found by man.

We know animals evolve into different species because of these fossils.
Archaeologists have found up to 20 different types of human like ancestors.
Like Australopithecus

We are able to know how they walked, what they looked like, what they ate, what age they were when they died, all of this from looking at an ancient pre human skull.
And we know from this, that we are directly related to most of these species.
You don't need to be a scientist to see the direct correlation between homo sapiens and the pre human fossils.

Even though I didn't see the change happen, I know it happened.

Let me use an analogy,
If I find an apple directly under an apple tree I can infer that the apple came from the tree. If I were to compare the apple to the other apples I would notice the similarities between the apples.
Just because I didn't see the apple fall from the tree, doesn't mean it didn't happen.

I know that man came from these fossils because of the similarities between them and the fact the species change over time.

Pro: "In other words, this is scientific fact.
'any observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and accepted as true; any scientific observation that has not been refuted '"
Con: "When has it been proved true? Also, just because something cannot be refuted does not make it true either."
Pro: Not proved true, accepted as true.
It doesn't matter if there is a possibility that it is not true.
That's the definition of "scientific fact." You agreed to use this definition before we started this debate.

Pro: "The primary function of science is to demonstrate the existence of phenomena that cannot be observed directly."
Con: "There is plenty in science we can observe, for instance gravity is directly observable.(that statement is false.) Lets take atoms for example, it was hypothesized that matter was composed of smaller parts but we didn't understand what those parts were. We still don't fully understand as more details are being discovers. However, with a powerful enough microscope we can observe some of the effects of atoms. Most of the other things you mentioned, we can see the effect from them even if we cannot see the phenomena directly. Therefore, since evolution has never been directly observed, it is not on the same level of scientific fact as gravity. The scientific method involves repetitive observable occurrences. [1]"
Pro: That is not the point I was trying to make.
I know "there is plenty in science we can observe."
And it is arguable that we can't see gravity, but instead the effects it has on matter. That makes my opponent's argument invalid.
We have seen evolution directly, just not "on the macro level."
But, going with the apple analogy, you don't need to see something happen to know it happened.
I don't need to tell you a tree has been around for a thousand years because I wasn't there from the beginning. But I know the tree has been around because of the number of rings it has inside.

Con: "Also, when searching for the missing link there have been a number of fabrications, such as the Piltdown man [2] or Nebraska man, which was created solely from a single tooth. [3] It shows that they were so desperate to prove their theory true that they lied about the evidence."

Pro: The six people suspected of forging the Piltdown man, do not account for the thousands of scientists who have found legitimate discoveries of fossil remains.

Pro: "Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them."
Con: "True, because facts are facts, even if the theory is completely wrong, there are still facts that are correct that we just haven't figured out yet. Therefore there is no reason to believe the theory of evolution as it is currently understood is correct.
Darwin's original theory has changed over time, evolved if you will. How do we know what we think we know now is correct? In 100 years the theory of evolution will likely be completely different than it is now. At one time the Ptolemaic idea that the Earth was the center of the universe was considered a scientific fact, but it is not really a fact since we now know it to be false."

Pro: If Darwin's theory of evolution changes, it does not change the fact of evolution.
How do we know that gravity is true? There were many theories explaining it, that changed over time. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's but apples didn't suspend themselves in air.
The thing is, the theory of evolution can be changed around a bit, but the process of evolution will remain as a fact.

It Is a fact that humans and animals change over time in order to adapt to their environment. And the fact that Pre human skulls have been discovered is conclusive evidence to prove that Macro evolution is a scientific fact.

My opponent argued with the definition of scientific fact, which he agreed to use in the debate.

Some of his sentences were very confusing, like,
"I know the idea is not that it jumps from one species to another without a transition, but why don't we even see transitions, something that can breed with both species perhaps?"
And
"My opponent has failed to show how the theory of evolution, satisfactorily explains the variety of species and yet the lack of a smooth transition"

My opponent's argument about evolution not being on the same level as gravity, is an invalid one.

And my opponent also thought that evolution took place when two animals of a different species mate to form a new.
Like "A Chihuahua and a Great Dane"

Evolution is a scientific fact.
The theories on how evolution happens may change over time, but the facts remain the same.
The fact that Micro evolution is true, leads scientists to believe that these changes can make a certain species evolve into another. Scientists accept this as fact.
We also know evolution is a fact because of fossil remains. You don't have to be a scientists to see the similarities between humans and pre human ancestors like, Australopithecus.

I thank my opponent for the debate. He had some good points but they are not good enough to disprove a fact.
BennyW

Con

I thank my opponent for his responses and will address them in this round.
Part of the evidence for Macro evolution, is Micro evolution, something which my opponent and I both agree occurs.
Just because we observe micro evolution it does not automatically follow that macro evolution is a necessary outcome of it. For instance, take travelling at a certain speed, just because something can move a certain speed it does not follow that it can ravel at faster speeds indefinitely, in fact most scientists use the speed of light as a barrier to the fastest anything can possibly move. So there are barriers to things and the barriers to evolution is species.

As far as the salamanders are concerned, there could be any number of reasons that they are similar yet not compatible. Drawing conclusions without actual evidence is not real science.

“If I find an apple directly under an apple tree I can infer that the apple came from the tree. If I were to compare the apple to the other apples I would notice the similarities between the apples.
Just because I didn't see the apple fall from the tree, doesn't mean it didn't happen.”
You could infer that but you couldn’t prove it definitively, it is possible that the apple came from another similar tree and something or someone moved the apple to this tree. Now that is a more complicated and unlikely explanation but it cannot be ruled out, therefore you cannot say that you know that it is a fact that the apple came from that particular tree.

“It doesn't matter if there is a possibility that it is not true.
That's the definition of "scientific fact." You agreed to use this definition before we started this debate.”

If there is a possibility that it is not true, then you cannot claim it as a fact, a fact is something you know for sure. Online sources define fact in in several ways “A thing that is indisputably the case” Another definition relevant to our discussion is “The truth about events as opposed to interpretation “. [1] What scientists do is merely interpret. Merriam Webster defines fact as “something that is actual” or “a piece of information presented as having objective reality. [2] None of what my opponent has said demonstrates objectivity and rather demonstrates speculation.

“And it is arguable that we can't see gravity, but instead the effects it has on matter. That makes my opponent's argument invalid.
We see something fall, sure we don’t see gravity itself but it is actually observable as opposed to macro evolution. My point was though that there are things in science that can be directly observed so your claim that science is not about direct observations is at least in part false.

“I don't need to tell you a tree has been around for a thousand years because I wasn't there from the beginning. But I know the tree has been around because of the number of rings it has inside.
That is because we have directly observed the fact that every year a tree makes a new ring and so we figured out that we can use these rings to determine the age of said tree.

“Pro: The six people suspected of forging the Piltdown man, do not account for the thousands of scientists who have found legitimate discoveries of fossil remains.
OK, my opponent has not sourced that claim, not to be difficult, but simply because my opponent has the BOP on that. It is likely that they have found fossils that they have determined are prehistoric man, however, as I have been arguing, their method for determining this may have been faulty. Also, I have shown that it was not an isolated incident. Scientists do have a tendency to come up with false fossils weather intentionally or not. I will give another example of this later in this round.

“The thing is, the theory of evolution can be changed around a bit, but the process of evolution will remain as a fact.
How could you possibly know that? Like I said, Ptolemy thought the Universe was Geocentric. Unlike gravity, for which although the theory behind it has changed but its effects remain the same, when we discovered that the Earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around, it completely threw out the old theory rather than merely improving it as has been done with gravity.

And the fact that Pre human skulls have been discovered is conclusive evidence to prove that Macro evolution is a scientific fact.
How can you see that it was a transition of humans from just the skull? Scientists have been known to mix and math fossils, remember the Brontosaurus? [3] They later found out that the fossils they combined were wrong and that in fact there was no such dinosaur. These skulls my opponent described could just be a different species or in fact a human with an odd shaped skull.

“And my opponent also thought that evolution took place when two animals of a different species mate to form a new species.
Like 'A Chihuahua and a Great Dane'”
I said nothing of the sort. What I did say is that a Chihuahua and a Great Dane were the same species and were an example of micro evolution.

“The fact that Micro evolution is true, leads scientists to believe that these changes can make a certain species evolve into another. Scientists accept this as fact. That is a logical jump and assuming that just because micro evolution is true then macro evolution must therefore be true is just that, an assumption and therefore not logically sound.

You don't have to be a scientists to see the similarities between humans and pre human ancestors like, Australopithecus.
OK but similarity does not equal correlation. This is a variation on the cum hoc fallacy. That’s all evolution is, an elaborate form of the cum hoc fallacy. [4]

I thank my opponent for initiating this debate.

In closing my opponent has failed to show how macro evolution is firmly grounded in science rather than speculation and assumption. I also wish this debate had more rounds as I don’t think there was enough to fully debate this topic. That being said vote con.

1 http://www.google.com...

2 http://mw1.merriam-webster.com...

3 http://www.unmuseum.org...

4 http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by drmigit2 6 years ago
drmigit2
i posted my comment before the debate began, nice try tho :P
Posted by BennyW 6 years ago
BennyW
Thanks,
Cliff.Stamp said essentially the same thing about fact vs, theory and I trust his judgement.
Posted by Alexander_The_Great 6 years ago
Alexander_The_Great
I dont think drmigit2 read my argument. Or Benny's.

Btw, good debate Benny. =)
Posted by BennyW 6 years ago
BennyW
Adam_the_Analyst, what in my sentences did you not understand?
Posted by drmigit2 6 years ago
drmigit2
well, its not a scientific fact, its a scientific theory, almost nothing in science is a fact.
Posted by Alexander_The_Great 6 years ago
Alexander_The_Great
Another thing, i didnt mean to post the video
Posted by Adam_The_Analyst 6 years ago
Adam_The_Analyst
lol yea this is gonna be a struggle for Benny, even if he's smart or whatever.
Posted by MilitantAtheist 6 years ago
MilitantAtheist
Good debate topic, been thinking about this myself.
I already agree with pro though!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Adam_The_Analyst 6 years ago
Adam_The_Analyst
Alexander_The_GreatBennyWTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Con agreed that a 'scientific fact' is what they would be debating about. Then he went on to say, in Round 3, that "you cannot claim it as a fact", but you can claim it as a scientific fact, which is what Pro was trying(and successfully) proved. I could not understand the majority of cons sentences and had to re-read them multiple times. si
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Alexander_The_GreatBennyWTied
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Total points awarded:12 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro could not fully justify evolution and quoting someone who says it is a fact doesn't help. Con casted enough doubt to provide a weak win. It is by the way a theory, not a fact.