The Instigator
Deathmonkey7
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
Lupricona
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Evolution is better supported by evidence than creationism.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Deathmonkey7
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/24/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,274 times Debate No: 36981
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (2)

 

Deathmonkey7

Pro

1st round is for introduction, last round for closing arguments.

This debate is over the assertion that the theory of evolution (TOE) is supported by evidence greater than creationism.

I will be accepting the position of pro, and debating that all available evidence does support TOE over creationism. I will also have the burden of proof.

For this debate, con must accept that creationism is defined as the belief that all life was created in its present form and did not evolve.

Also a quick note: This is my first time creating a debate, so if I make any mistakes I apologize in advance. :P
Lupricona

Con

I would like to thank Pro for the opportunity to debate this topic.

I will be arguing that the evidence supports that life was created in it's present form (albeit small changes because of adaptation within a kind), and that life did not evovle from a single cell, nor is there any basis for Darwinian evolution.

I look forward to an engaging and thought-provoking discussion.
Debate Round No. 1
Deathmonkey7

Pro

I would like to thank Con for accepting the challenge and agree with their definition of their argument.

Now I would like to begin with my opening arguments.

What is the theory of evolution?

The theory of evolution (referred to as TOE from here on) is the theory that all life came from a common ancestor, and that life began on Earth billions of years ago (estimated to be 3.8bya) with simple life forms. (note: TOE is NOT an explanation of how the first life began). These simple life forms eventually evolved to the first single-celled organisms, which evolved into the first multi-cellular life, which evolved into more complex organisms such as those seen today. This process usually takes millions of years to produce major anatomical changes in an organism. The mechanism that achieves this is the mutation of DNA. DNA is known to mutate in some way, whether it be beneficial or harmful, with every generation, and that these mutations create traits in an organism not present in the previous generation. These mutations are usually nearly imperceptible.

What stops evolution from being entirely random?

DNA mutations are kept in check with a system known as natural selection. DNA mutations must be passed on to the next generation through genetics in order for a trait to survive. This both drives evolution, and restrains it. If an organism dies for any reason before it can procreate, then any new mutations it has perish with it. This ensures that harmful mutations that hinder the survival of an organism don't continue, while beneficial mutations will help the organism to thrive above its peers and ensure the passing of new mutations to the next generation.

What conditions might cause a species to evolve?

Evolution is driven by necessity. In most cases a DNA mutation won't create noticeably better results in an organism. This means that their chances of survival are practically equal to that of their peers and the genetic mutation has an equal chance of continuing or being lost. It is often the case that the species as a whole has to be in danger of extinction before a noticeable change can occur. This danger can come from a loss of food sources, climate change, predatory species evolving an advantage over prey and many other situations. It is in these situations that a small beneficial change can mean a big difference in the survival of a species and the genetic mutations they possess.

What is the evidence for TOE?

The evidence for TOE is quite numerous, and each new piece of evidence that is found only strengthens the theory. It is so evident, in fact, that TOE is the very foundation of the field of biology as we know it today. Below, I will list just some of the evidence for TOE, as I can't fit all of it into one round.


  • The fossil record: The fossil record is the most cited and the clearest evidence in favor of TOE. On rare occasion, when an organism dies the remains can be preserved in the form of minerals that take the form of the expired organism over tens of thousands to millions of years after its death. These are fossils. Fossils can be separated from the surrounding rock and sediment to give researchers a clear picture of the skeletal structure and sometimes the anatomy of ancient remains.(1) The overall collection of these fossils is known as the fossil record. Using various dating methods such as strata layering and radiometric dating, we know the approximate age of these fossils.(2) When the fossil record is arranged in chronological order (the oldest known fossil being 3.5 billion years old), we see a clear lineage of species from less complex to more complex as time goes on. We even have a large number of 'transitional' (between major species) fossils that show evolution in action, including those of the evolution of man from early apes.(3)

  • DNA comparison: Another strong line of evidence in support of TOE is the evidence present in DNA. According to the predictions of TOE, we should see much shared DNA between close evolutionary ancestors. Using DNA sequencing it is possible to compare the DNA between two species and we find that, in accordance to TOE predictions, close ancestors do share the majority of their DNA while distant ancestors share far less.(4)

  • Observed examples of natural selection: There have been many observed examples of natural selection. Here are a few examples:
  1. Sp. K172, a.k.a. nylon-eating bacteria: Sp. K172 is a strain of flavobacterium discovered in 1975 that has evolved to survive solely by digesting nylon through the use of enzymes not known to exist in any other strains of flavobacterium. This is especially intriguing considering nylon is a man-made material and is not known to have existed before its invention in 1935.(5)
  2. Tomcods: Between 1947 and 1976, General Electric dumped toxins known as polychlorinated biphenyls into the Hudson river. Even though the EPA forced GE to stop dumping the toxins in 1976, the toxin levels remained until 2009. Initially, the tomcod (a type of fish) population was devastated. However, the fish population slowly began to return. Researchers decided to investigate how the fish could survive despite toxin levels that should have killed them. They found that the tomcods had evolved a mutation in their genes that resisted the binding of the toxins to their cells. They also found that 99% of the tomcod population had inherited this mutation.(6)
  3. Lactose tolerance in humans: In most mammals, including humans, the production of enzymes required to break down milk shuts down resulting in an intolerance for milk. However, in some cultures where it is commonplace to drink milk and ingest other raw dairy products, it has been found that humans have developed a mutation of chromosome 2 that prevents the production of the enzyme from shutting down.(7)

  • Observed examples of speciation: Speciation is the rise of a whole new species. Here are a few examples of observed speciation:
  1. Madeira house mouse: An instance where a single species of mouse was inadvertently introduced to the island of Madeira. 500 years later it was discovered that the single species of mouse had diverged into 6 separate species of mouse, each with different numbers of chromosomes.(8)
  2. Shortfin mollies: In Mexico, a fish known as the shortfin molly is splitting into two distinct species due to predatory threats, each preferring a different environment.(9)
  3. Apple maggot fly: Sometime in the mid-1800s a new species of hawthorn fly evolved to specifically target apples, a non-native species to North America. Analysis of the new species' DNA reveals significant differences as compared to other hawthorn flies.(10)

  • Vestigial structures: One major point of interest is the study of vestigial structures. These are structures or organs in the body that are underdeveloped and serve little to no use to the current species, but served a greater purpose in ancestors. This is because over time the vestigial structure was no longer necessary or became a hindrance to the species. This results in it genes for it being selected against. Some examples of vestigial structures are:
  1. The human coccyx, which is the remnants of an ancestral tail. It still serves limited purpose, which explains why it hasn't disappeared entirely.
  2. The wings of flightless birds such as the emu and ostrich, whose ancestors were capable of flight.
  3. Hind leg bones in whales, remnants of when they were once land-dwelling mammals.(11)

Closing

Con may try to cast doubt on the TOE, but when considered together the evidence paints a clear picture. One that the science community overwhelmingly accepts. One that cannot be simply explained away. A picture of common ancestry through evolution.


Sources:

1. http://tinyurl.com...

2. http://tinyurl.com...

3. http://tinyurl.com...

4. http://tinyurl.com...

5. http://tinyurl.com...

6. http://tinyurl.com...

7. http://tinyurl.com...

8. http://tinyurl.com...

9. http://tinyurl.com...

10. http://tinyurl.com...

11. http://tinyurl.com...

Lupricona

Con

Introduction

Worldview

Science is just the observation and study of different things, and we should follow the evidence to where it leads, not let our pre-conceived notions determine the evidence.

If a person were asked to describe how a computer is created, without being able to talk about humans, he would have a hard time to do so. So, if the universe was created by God, then explaining it's origins would be near impossible to do without having Him in the model.

Now, I understand that my model of the origins of life needs a Creator, and my opponent's model does not need a Creator. I will try to present arguments that disprove the notion that life can be explained without God.

Misconceptions


Under the Ptolemaic model, everything revolved around Earth. When issues came up that seemed to contradict this theory, adjustments were made to keep the theory accurate- every planet would also have to revolve in smaller epicycles. (1)
Even though his model could still accurately depict the positions of the heavenly bodies, it was obviously later disproved by Copernicus and Galileo who weren't afraid to go against both the religious and the secular scientists of their days. (2)


People never thought that the earth was flat, but this myth was created in the 19th Century because of a misunderstanding of the reasons why Columbus went on a voyage. (3)

Making a Point

I brought these two examples into the discussion to make a point- scientific theories can still make accurate predictions but can still be wrong, and people are susceptible to believing in myths or generalizations that lead to believing people are unintelligent.

I will argue for two contentions:
1: The Neo-Darwinian theory might have some truth within in, but overall it is an incorrect theory.
2: People who believe in Creation are not an unintelligent lot that disregard science.

Rebuttals

Mutations and Natural Selection

Natural selection does what it implies- it selects only from information that is already there. It cannot create any new information, so New-Darwinians argue that mutations can change information and that will need to new information. However, mutations only lead to a loss of information. Yes, mutations can lead to new traits, but it is still a loss of information. (4) With no no information, no new kinds can evolve.

Lee Spetner "We see then that the mutation reduces the specificity of the ribosome protein and that means a loss of genetic information. ... Rather than saying the bacterium gained resistance to the antibiotic, it is more correct to say that is lost sensitivity to it. ... All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not increase it." (5)

If my opponent wants to rebut this argument, he must give evidence on a mutation actually giving new information.

Transitionary Fossils

Charles Darwin: "“Why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?" (6)

We should be seeing many transitional forms in the fossil record, however, there are a handful of disputable ones that have no scientifc concensus of agreement.

Not only this, but we should also stll be seeing many things in transitional forms today, which we see absolutely none of that. So, my opponent might argue for maybe one or two transitionary fossils, but it's an understatement to say that that would be far from being enough to explain away this issue.

DNA Comparison

If there was one Creator who designed all, there should be no issue of similar DNA. This does not prove either evolution or creation, it is a fact that is compatible with both theories.

Observed Examples of Speciation

Creationists rely on the ability to create new species, especially with a short period of time. Creationists believe that there is no argument that we see changes within a kind, but nothing created outside of what can be reproduced within a kind.

Vestigial Structures

Vestigial structures, or "junk DNA", is an old argument that Darwinians previously used, but have since abandoned because all of the claimed "vestigial structures" are actually not useless and provide important functions.
The human coccyx contains no bones or muscles; it is the anchor for the muscles that hold the anus in place. It is quite important. (7)
Wings of flightless birds only prove a loss of information from birds that could once fly, not a gain of information.
The "Hind leg bones" in whales are not remnants from once land-dwelling mammals, but they are an important feature used for penis erection in males and vaginal contraction in females. (8)

Problems of Evolution (9)

  • Lack of a viable mechanism for producing high levels of complex and specified information.

  • The failure of the fossil record to provide support for Darwinian evolution.

  • The failure of molecular biology to provide evidence for a grand "tree of life."

  • Natural selection is an extremely inefficient method of spreading traits in populations unless a trait has an extremely high selection coefficient;

  • The problem that convergent evolution appears rampant -- at both the genetic and morphological levels, even though under Darwinian theory this is highly unlikely.

  • The failure of chemistry to explain the origin of the genetic code.

  • The failure of developmental biology to explain why vertebrate embryos diverge from the beginning of development.

  • A long history of inaccurate predictions inspired by neo-Darwinism regarding vestigial organs or so-called "junk" DNA.

Arguments for Creation (10)

I would say that there are numerous arguments for Creation, but there is one argument that I consider the strongest and most important- the worldwide flood from the days of Noah.

Polystrate fossils are trees that were fossilized and buried upright, and often traverse multiple layers of strata.

The fossils themselves prove a flood, as fossils are created because of rapid burials, which would be easily explained why we have so many of these fossils because of a worldwide flood.

In mountains all over the world, we find sea shells and other marine fossils. We see these on the Sierras, Swiss Alps, the Himalays, etc.

The worldwide flood would have caused rapid layers in the earth, which secular scientists falsely interpret as millions of years.

Conclusion

If evolutionists were as skeptical of the Darwinian theory as much as they were as skeptical about religion, they would agree that the Theory of Evolution is not something that would even hold up in a court of law. Many issues arise in evolution, and they create "epicycles of planets" to maintain this dying theory. We need our Galileo who is not afraid to go against the top religious and secular scientists who still cling to this religion.

"The Hindus were Spinozas 2,000 years before the birth of Spinoza, Darwinians centuries before the birth of Darwin, and evolutionists many centuries before the doctrine of evolution had been accepted by the Huxleys of our time, and before any word like 'evolution' existed in any language of the world." (11)

Evolution is a theory that comes from the Hindu religion, and it still exists as a religious belief today.


(1) http://www.polaris.iastate.edu...
(2) http://www.bethinking.org...
(3) http://europeanhistory.about.com...
(4) http://creation.com...
(5) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(6) http://www.icr.org...
(7) http://www.answersingenesis.org...
(8) http://creation.com...;

(9) http://www.evolutionnews.org...

10) http://www.earthage.org...

(11) http://www.ukapologetics.net...

Debate Round No. 2
Deathmonkey7

Pro

My opponent has written out a rather well thought out and seemingly sensible statement. However, even the most well thought out statement that attempts to disprove evolution falls flat as I will show.

Rebuttal
Below I will list each of Con's arguments followed by my rebuttal.

1. "...we should follow the evidence to where it leads, not let our pre-conceived notions determine the evidence."

Con suggests that we shouldn't let our pre-conceived notions determine the evidence. I wholeheartedly agree. However, I contend that it is the creationist view that life was created in its current form by a "creator" that I believe attempts to twist and contort our view of the evidence into their own views.

2. "If a person were asked to describe how a computer is created, without being able to talk about humans, he would have a hard time to do so."

This appears to be the same basic principle as the watchmaker argument.

The problem with this argument is that 1. Computers are inorganic, non-reproductive structures not capable of genetic mutation or natural selection. 2. The argument seems to insinuate that evolution must have an exact end result (computer) when evolution, if replayed from the beginning, would have almost zero possibility of returning the same list of species as today due to nearly infinite circumstances.

3. "...scientific theories can still make accurate predictions but can still be wrong."

My opponent lists events from nearly half a century ago to make this point. A time when little had to be done to explain a theory so long as it "worked". Modern science is great in that it is continually improving upon itself and that researchers today have much more at their disposal to explore the natural world. And in fact, since then very little in the way of peer reviewed, well accepted scientific theories have ever been proved false, but rather improved upon. Also, if evolution were disproved, it does not suggest a creator.

4. "...he must give evidence on a mutation actually giving new information."



New information is added to the genome of a species through a process known as "gene duplication". (1) This can occur in several different ways, usually the result of a mistake when DNA is being duplicated during meiosis. In gene duplication, a copy of certain sections of the chromosome is added within its own genome. While initially this only results in a copy of pre-existing genes, these copied genes are then capable mutating separately from the original genes, resulting in entirely new functions through neofunctionalization.(2)

5. "We should be seeing many transitional forms in the fossil record."

We have seen many transitional forms in the fossil record, I only listed human, but here are a few more:
Archaeopteryx: A transitional fossil between reptiles and early birds. Archaeopteryx had characteristics of both orders such as teeth, a long, bony tail, and claws like a reptile while having feathers, a wishbone, and wings like a bird. (3)
Tiktaalik: Tiktaalik is a species seen as a transition between fish and early amphibians. Tiktaalik is the first known fossil to have a functioning wrist joint, while having fins in the configuration of four limbs with sturdy bones for it to prop itself up on. (4)
Eupodophis: An early fossilized snake that is considered a transitional form between ancient lizards and modern snakes. It has the elongated body of a snake, but has two vestigial legs. (5)

Here's a list of more transitional fossils: http://tinyurl.com...

6. "...we should also stll be seeing many things in transitional forms today."

This is a logical fallacy, there is no way to know what species today are "transitional" as we have no idea what they would be transitioning to. Transitional fossils are only known as transitional because we know what species there are today.

7. "If there was one Creator who designed all, there should be no issue of similar DNA."

Fair enough.

8. "...all of the claimed "vestigial structures" are actually not useless and provide important functions."

As I said before, these vestigial structures do have some functionality left, which is why they still exist. However, they are clearly not "designed" to serve the function they currently have. Also, evolution does not necessarily always mean the increase of information.

9. "Problems of Evolution"

"Lack of a viable mechanism for producing high levels of complex and specified information."

I have already refuted this.

"The failure of the fossil record to provide support for Darwinian evolution."

I have already refuted this.

"The failure of molecular biology to provide evidence for a grand "tree of life.""

I have already refuted this. Evidence is in fossil record and comparative DNA testing.

"Natural selection is an extremely inefficient method of spreading traits in populations unless a trait has an extremely high selection coefficient;"

An inefficiency doesn't suggest an impossibility. This is why it often takes millions of years for significant changes.

"The problem that convergent evolution appears rampant -- at both the genetic and morphological levels, even though under Darwinian theory this is highly unlikely."

Not necessarily. If a trait is highly successful while being relatively simple, it stands to reason that it could evolve in multiple ancestral branches.

"The failure of chemistry to explain the origin of the genetic code."

This isn't a problem with evolution, this is problem with the origin of life.

"The failure of developmental biology to explain why vertebrate embryos diverge from the beginning of development."

The developing stages of an embryo are not suggested to be proof of evolution or otherwise related to evolution.

"A long history of inaccurate predictions inspired by neo-Darwinism regarding vestigial organs or so-called "junk" DNA."

The linked source incorrectly quotes a few sources (as well as itself strangely, it being a blog) as showing proof that "Junk DNA" is not junk at all. In reality, these sources are speaking of discoveries that some junk DNA was found to possibly have some sort of function. ENCODE project found that 80% of human DNA is functional. This means that 20% is still "junk DNA" (6)

10. "...the worldwide flood from the days of Noah."

There is no known evidence of the worldwide flood, which is an impossibility as there isn't enough water on the planet to cover all of the land unless it was flat.

"Polystrate fossils are trees that were fossilized and buried upright, and often traverse multiple layers of strata."

There are very few upright petrified forests known to exist. Those known to exist that do traverse multiple layers like those at Yellowstone do so because they were in an area with heavy volcanic activity that repeatedly and quickly covered the area with multiple blankets of volcanic ash and mud flow. (7)

"The fossils themselves prove a flood, as fossils are created because of rapid burials...."

Rivers flood all the time. And it's not only flooding that can create fossils. Mud flows, volcanic activity, and other natural phenomena can cause the formation of fossils.

"In mountains all over the world, we find sea shells and other marine fossils."

This is because of plate tectonics. As Pangaea broke apart and other plates began to fuse together, they pushed up at the fault line and caused mountains. These areas that were once underwater were now some of the highest mountain ranges in the world. (8)

"The worldwide flood would have caused rapid layers in the earth."

The worldwide flood wouldn't have created any new sediment, it would have only pushed around and mixed sediment that was already on top, this would have created a single unique layer to the flood, which has never been found. (9)


Sources:

1. http://tinyurl.com...

2. http://tinyurl.com...

3. http://tinyurl.com...

4. http://tinyurl.com...

5. http://tinyurl.com...

6. http://tinyurl.com...

7. http://tinyurl.com...

8. http://tinyurl.com...

9. http://tinyurl.com...

Lupricona

Con

Intro

My opponent immediately asserts that my attempt to disprove evolutions falls flat. I argue that this unwarranted fallacy of assertion shows that Pro is resorting to weak statements to make his case. Whether the summation of my arguments are sound or not rests within the minds of the voters.

My analogy of the creation of the universe to that of the creation of computers is exactly that, an analogy. I admitted that my analogy only worked if there truly is a Creator; the point was to express the rationality behind involving a Creator to creation.

My opponent also comments on how my analogy to the Ptolemaic model of the universe is not a fair comparison to the Darwinian model because of increased knowledge and peer-reviewd science. The point of my analogy was to demonstrate the importance of scientists to never cling to assert only one theory and reject all others, because there is always the possibility of being wrong, which has been demonstrably shown in the past. I also argue that it is quite arrogant of modern scientists to dismiss the many failed assumptions of past scientists- again, clinging to one theory is not an intellectualy valid concept.

Rebuttals

New Information

My opponent argues that gene duplication is an adequate example for new information in mutations. However, this is not a valid claim. What is actually taking place is duplication-degeneration-complementation. "DDC explains the preservation of duplicate genes by a neutral mechanism in which each paralogue [duplicated gene] accumulates loss-of-function mutations (degeneration) that are complemented by the other copy." (1)

To illustrate an example: Imagine a tv that has both picture and sound. At some point, the tv loses the ability to produce sound, so the consumer goes out and buys another tv. After some point, this tv loses the ability to show pictures. When putting these two televisions next to each other, they can, together, show picture and sound.

Gene duplication is not adding new functions, it is reproducing functions of the original that were lost over time.

While my opponent will use his next round to find another method of gaining information, he must realize that if new information and functions are processes that happen all the time, then this could be validated by finding numerous transitional forms in the fossil record. Which leads us to the next rebuttal:

Transitional Forms

Pro: "We have seen many transitional forms in the fossil record".

No. Scientists have observed a handful of disputable ones that never acquire a scientific concensus for actually being a transitional form.

Achaeopteryx: It's a bird. It's a perching bird. Also, birds have been found dated before the archaeopteryx, so it cannot be it's own grandfather. (2)
Tiktaalik: Footprints were found that predated tiktaalic that were purely amphibian. Again, tikaalik cannot be it's own grandfather. (3)
Eupodophis: This fossil appears in the record earlier than legless snakes, so again, it cannot be it's own grandfather. Legless snakes just show that there was a loss of information to snakes with legs and snakes without. (4)

My opponent gave a list to even more disputed tranistional forms, and I do not feel the need to disprove every one of them, because my opponent has missed the point. There should be a very numerous amount of transitional forms, however, we have a very limited amount of disputable ones.

National Geographic: "Illuminating but spotty, the fossil record is like a film of evolution from which 999 out of 1,000 frames have been lost." (5)

It's much more easier, and so much more likely, to believe that there is a reason we only find one frame for each creature- they were created in that "frame." However, the evolutionist believes in a missing 999 frames. This is faith. This is believing in something despite the evidence showing otherwise. But the Creationist need not invoke faith in this issue. We see one "frame". This validates our claim while the evolutionist is disregarding the overwhelming evidence.

Pro (in regards to present day transitional forms): "This is a logical fallacy, there is no way to know what species today are "transitional" as we have no idea what they would be transitioning to."

False. We can look in the past to see what animals have evolved into others (like fish to amphibians). We should still be seeing half fish and half amphibian creatures. My opponent will argue that evolution is completely random, but he needs to realize that it was not just one creature that evovled over time into a new creature- it was groups of creatures at a time. If they all randomly evolved together into the same forms, we should still be seeing this process today.

Pro: "As I said before, these vestigial structures do have some functionality left, which is why they still exist. However, they are clearly not "designed" to serve the function they currently have. Also, evolution does not necessarily always mean the increase of information."

This is exactly my point. The majority of "Evolution" is a decrease of information over time. Also, "junk DNA" is not an argument for evolution. It shows that mutations take away information, so we should be seeing DNA that has junk parts to it. It is quite ironic that my opponent is arguing that both the increase and decrease of information proves evolution. No, anything that shows a lost of information just increases my case and hurts evolutionary theory.

Pro: "An inefficiency doesn't suggest an impossibility. This is why it often takes millions of years for significant changes."

Being theoretically possible is highly dissimilar to being realistically probable. If millions of years have passed, and as 99 percent of evolution is a decrease of information, we should not be seeing the ammount of evolved life we see today.

Noahs' Flood Rebuttals

I agree with my opponent that the fossils are on the mountains because of fault lines causing high mountains. This event was caused by the global flood. And yes, the earth was flat at one point, so there is enough water to cover the earth. And as already provided by the link in my previous argument (6), the polystrate fossils (trees) do not have roots with them, meaning they were dislodged from their normal position and moved around. And we see these fossils all around the world, not something volcanic activity alone could explain. I agree that the flood wouldn't have created new sediment, but disagree that it would have created only a single unique layer.

File:Nsp.gif

(I don't know if this gif will work, but it's a very basic image of how the flood would move layers of the earth)


" A large portion of the geologic record is now recognized to be composed of turbidites, series of individual layers that formed together in cycles in fast-flowing water." (7)

Conclusion

Honestly, my strongest argument against Darwinian Evolution is the lack of transitional fossils. My opponent may want to try to argue the possibility of beneficial mutations, but if that is true, then we would see many transitional fossils. There are only a handful of disputed ones, or a lack of 999 frames of missing links. I argue that they are not there, and so my opponent must subsistute the lack of evidence for faith to justify his beliefs. It is no different than religion, but Creationism is a more justified stance on the world as we can observe it today.

I look forward to my opponent's rebuttals.



(1) http://www.answersingenesis.org...
(2) http://creation.com...
(3) http://creation.com...
(4) http://creation.com...
(5) http://creation.com...
(6) http://www.earthage.org...
(7) http://www.rae.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Deathmonkey7

Pro

I would like to point out to my opponent and to the voters that "creation.com" and "answersingenesis.org" are hardly unbiased sources of information. They use misleading arguments and half-truths in an attempt to push their agenda. Below I will show that the arguments mined from these websites are faulty at best.

Rebuttal

Con states, "The point of my analogy was to demonstrate the importance of scientists to never cling to assert only one theory and reject all others, because there is always the possibility of being wrong, which has been demonstrably shown in the past." Science is built around evidence and knowledge. It is also built around the idea that it is always possible to find evidence contrary to current understanding. I was only pointing out the low probability of evolution being debunked because of the massive evidence that points to it and continues to be found for it. Researchers are always looking for other possible explanations for a theory. However, one of the most important cornerstones of scientific research is peer review. Peer review requires that the hypothesis be observable and repeatable. While many scientists look into alternative hypothesis to evolution, none have ever passed the test of peer review as there is no observational evidence to the contrary.

New Information

My opponent says that gene duplication is not adding new functions, but rather reproducing old functions that were lost over time. He cites a source "answersingenesis.org". This website has no scientific relevance and makes outlandish claims without citing any of its own sources for the claims. The cited source relays the analogy of the television that was repeated by my opponent. This analogy of the DDC model is inaccurate.
A more accurate analogy of the DDC model is thus:

You have a TV that works perfectly fine. You decide to buy a second TV because two is better than one, these two televisions are compatible with each other and it's possible for them to work in tandem. There are three possible outcomes of your new televisions. 1. After a while your second TV stops working, but the first continues to work perfectly. 2. After a while your second TV loses its picture, and your original TV loses its sound, still resulting in the same capabilities altogether, but spread across two TVs. 3. After a while first TV gets an update to allow you to watch Netflix, but you lose your sound. The second TV doesn't gain the ability to watch Netflix and also loses its picture but still has sound.

Therefore, worst case scenario is that you preserve all capabilities, but it is also possible that you now overall have gained the ability to watch Netflix, and have lost only the functions you don't need from the second TV. (1)


Transitional Forms

Archaeopteryx: My opponent says that birds were found that date to before archaeopteryx and provides a source from "creation.com", the website only refers to a find by Dr. James Jenson. The website states that Jenson classified this fossil as that of a bird. This is only partially true. While Dr. Jenson did initially identify it as that of a bird, he later reclassified it as a theropod dinosaur upon further inspection.(2)
Tiktaalik: My opponent refers to footprints that have been dated to 380 million years ago. It is true that these footprints are dated to be older than Tiktaalik. However, this doesn't mean that Tiktaalik isn't a transitional fossil. It simply means that Tiktaalik may be a branch from the first species that did become the tetrapods.
Eupodophis: I didn't see any fossils that were from the listed source that were older than Eupodophis.

And again, you claim there aren't many transitional fossils. The website I originally sourced only had a select few of the transitional fossils. Here is a more complete list: http://tinyurl.com...

We still don't have a complete list of transitional fossils, this much is true. It requires extreme circumstances to make a fossil, and even then, the older the fossils are the less likely they are to have survived until now. And there are many fossils that we just plain haven't found yet. This doesn't suggest that they don't exist.

"We should still be seeing half fish and half amphibian creatures."

If that is how you define transitional forms today, then you are in for a shock. Here are some creatures that bear a striking resemblance to the parameters you put forth:
The northern snakehead fish: This fish is capable of breathing air and surviving out of water for up to four days. It crawls across land using its fins to seek out other water sources(3)
Mudskipper: The mudskipper is an amphibious fish that has both gills and the amphibian ability to breath air through its skin. It crawls on land with its front fins. (4)

These are only a couple of many known species to exhibit behavior like this.

Noah's Flood

My opponent continues to argue for the worldwide flood despite there being no evidence for it, and in fact, there being much evidence to the contrary.
He states that the mountains being formed at the fault lines is somehow a result of the flood, but provides no mechanism for this. He then states that the world was once flat, and again, provides no evidence of any kind. My opponent then states that the polystrate fossils do not have any roots, and that this is evidence that they were dislodged. He then states that volcanic activity alone couldn't explain this. However this is already covered in the source I provided in my last argument. It states as follows:

"Their upright position was usually interpreted as a sign they were buried in their growth position by volcanic ash. This was called into question though after the eruption of Mount St Helens in 1980. Uprooted trees floating in Spirit Lake were found to settle root first as they became water logged, at first floating vertically with the roots down and then settling in what could be mistaken as growth position on the lake bottom. This too has been suggested as the mode of preservation for the Fossil Forest of the Yellowstone." (5)

While this is only an explanation for Yellowstone, it does clearly demonstrate that the flood is not the only possible explanation for this.
My opponent also states that he disagrees that the flood would have created a single layer. Let's assume for a moment that it would have created multiple layers. There is still much evidence in the strata layers that the flood cannot account for. For instance: The discovery of river channels, glacial deposits, burrows, footprints, and meteor/meteorite craters. (6)

Furthermore, the flood does not account for the clear appearance of older fossils being found in lower layers of strata while more 'modern' fossils are found in upper layers or strata.

Closing

I believe that I have made my case fairly well for the evidence of evolution, while my opponent has failed to give even a shred of legitimate evidence for creationism. I've shown that we can see the lineage of ancient creatures from bacteria to man with the fossil record. I've shown that we have, and do continue to see, evolution in action. I've shown the mechanisms at play that makes it work. I've shown that we can find ancestors with our very DNA.

The science community remains dedicated to finding the truth of our world and the universe. They study all possibilities and all evidence. The fact that there is no scientific consensus that creation ever happened is a testament to the failure of both researchers and creationists alike to finding any evidence of its existence. Evolution, it seems, is here to stay.

I would like to thank my opponent for debating this topic with me, it has been a great debate. Vote Pro.

Sources:

1. http://tinyurl.com...
2. http://tinyurl.com...
3. http://tinyurl.com...
4. http://tinyurl.com...
5. http://tinyurl.com...
6. http://tinyurl.com...
Lupricona

Con

Opening

My opponent says that 'creation.com' and 'answersingenesis.org' use misleading arguments and half-truths. What he is saying, essentially, is that since they are Christian scientists, he will cover his ears and yell "lalala can't heart you" because he marginalizes those he disagrees with. This is an ignorant argument. It doesn't matter who is doing the research, the facts do not change. My opponent argues that those who call themselves Christians, who have earned their degrees in science, are intentionally lying to prove that the God who is against lying exists. This is irrational. Christians have a higher standard for truth, while secular scientists need to hold to these values- they could be persuaded to publish things for the sake of money, which we have seen many times over in the name of evolution. (1) It is more logical to believe that Christian scientists would strive to be more reliable, than the Darwinian scientists who have already proven to blatantly misrepresent evidence to make extra money.

Pro also argues that peer review is an important aspect to scientific articles. I agree. Creation scientists also present peer-reviewed material.

Rebuttals

New Information

Quote from Pro's link:

"Under the classical model for the evolution of duplicate genes, one member of the duplicated pair usually degenerates within a few million years by accumulating deleterious mutations, while the other duplicate retains the original function. This model further predicts that on rare occasions, one duplicate may acquire a new adaptive function, resulting in the preservation of both members of the pair, one with the new function and the other retaining the old" (emphasis mine)

This is exactly my point. We observe that mutations can only duplicate original functions. This article goes on to say it "predicts that on rare occasions..." This is my point exactly. There is no observational evidence of new information being added. My opponent merely gives an example of him substituting faith for evidence- since the evidence is not found, we still must believe it must be possible. Creationists need not invoke faith on this issue.

Transitional Forms

My opponent missed the point in trying to refute the supposed transitional forms. There were earlier species that were fully formed before these supposed missing links, meaning that they could not be transitional forms later. He argues that there is a more complete list, which is still quite lacking in quantity, and still lacking in scientific concensus. He also still ignores the major account of having 999 out of 1000 missing links, althouth he uses the fallacy of assertion to claim that we will some day find these missing links. This is faith at it's highest level, asserting that it is true, regardless of all the evidence against it.

Half Fish Half Amphibians

My opponent shows examples of certain f that can use their gills to crawl to land. This does not show that they are transitional fossils, as we have no previous fossils to show stages of development that lead up to this ability. They could just have easily been created in this form. With no evidence to support the theory that they devoloped into this stage, the evidence is in the favor of Creationism, where again, the Darwinian is needing to invoke faith that the evidence is just "missing' again.

Noah's Flood (2)

As the flood was forming many layers rapidly, many things would be fossilized quickly, glacial deposits left, burrows, etc. The fossils would be distributed by the simpler things being near the bottom and the more advanced creatures surviving to the higher layers. There is actually evidence of the flood, in direct opposition to there being no evidence for Darwinian evolution. Again, the Creationist can use the observational evidence to validate their claims, while the evolutionist must just invoke the faith that there never was a global flood, so that their interpretation of the geological layers and the fossil record are not in vain.

Closing

The secular scientific community remains dedicated to holding onto their worldview despite the observational evidence. It is a dying theory that will hopefuly dissipate as more rational and honest scientists rise to the occasion. There will be a time when people will realize that the truth of the matter is that Darwinian Evolution relies only on faith despite evidence, while Creationism is completely compatible with the evidence that is left of the antiquity of the world (even though the popular conception is the other way around.)

I thank my opponent for this debate, and I plead that Pro and the readers allow themelves to be as skeptical of Darwinian Evolution as they are Creationism.



(1) http://www.nwcreation.net...
(2)
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
What:
We've found Transitional Fossils for The Devolution of Humans back to Apes, they are called Creationists.
:-D~
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
Ragnar, I think there shouldn't be resistance to voting on debates in which the evidence is overwhelming. It's like a trial. The defendant is presumed innocent, but the bullet matches his gun, the DNA evidence shows he did it, and a bus load of clergymen on vacation saw him do it. The evidence is overwhelming. So should a juror then take the position that they cannot vote because the evidence is so lopsided? Nah. Guilty as charged.

On a scientific issue that is well-settled, the defender of the established position has to point to the evidence and make the arguments, not just claim it's settled. If he does that, and there is no effective counter argument, he ought to win. It's an example of Sagan's "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Some things that seem settled in the mind of the public are actually not, and a debate can reveal that. The public thinks there is hope for creationism; there really isn't.

As to reading long debates, I'm with you on that being a problem. DDO upped the limits to 10,000 characters. Arrgh.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
I admit I have too much bias in pro's favor to even read this properly, hence no vote from me.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
BTW: It must also be considered that Evolution is a Scientific Theory, which makes it higher than a Scientific Fact.
A Scientific Theory explains the Scientific Fact(s).
As far as Biology and Palaeontology go, they have between them many hundreds of FACTS.
Evolution adequately explains all these Facts and provides adequate connections between many Facts.
So, this makes it a very Powerful Theory, because it encompasses hundreds of Facts.
If Creationism could explain even a dozen of these hundreds of Facts, it would be doing well, but it cannot.
Thus it is not even anywhere near the same ballpark as Evolution, because it explains so little of what Evolution explains.
Besides, Creationism involves the completely unscientific quantity called Magic.
Which renders it impossible for it to ever be a Scientific Concept.
Thus it cannot even exist in Science as a challenge to Evolution.
Creation fails on every single angle. It will never be any threat to anything Scientific.
Certainly not something as strong as Evolution.
No wonder Evolution supporters can only laugh at Creationists. LOL :-D
They are just funny, and make Christianity look ridiculous.
They are the best advertizing for Atheism on the planet.
At the very kindest I can be: Creationists are just completely IRRATIONAL.
Posted by Deathmonkey7 3 years ago
Deathmonkey7
Thanks Roy. I posted the transitional fossil list from Wikipedia in the last round.
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
BTW, Wikipedia has a list of about 200 transitional fossils http://en.wikipedia.org... with references for each.

It's interesting to track some real scientific controversies and see how they were resolved. Steady State v. Big Bang Theory was debated for about 40 years before being resolved in favor of the Big Bang. Peer reviewed science was published on both sides. "Nature v. nurture" has plenty of peer reviewed science on both sides. Creationism is one of the few with virtually no published peer-reviewed literature. All it would take is to document a new species coming into exist without an evolutionary ancestor.

The DDO text formatter gets rid of bullets and autonumbering. After pasting from Word, you have to go back and fix them.
Posted by MysticEgg 3 years ago
MysticEgg
"The secular scientific community [about 97%] remains dedicated to holding onto their worldview despite the observational evidence." Whenever someone states something like this; I dare them to publish it in a scientific journal, and "put their money where their mouth is". But, to paraphrase Creationist Ray Comfort:
"They won't...they've got no evidence for it"
Posted by Mrparkers 3 years ago
Mrparkers
Unfortunately, this is a biased topic. One side simply just has more evidence than the other side, which I believe was demonstrated in this debate. Keeping in mind the resolution, I voted with the side that had more evidence for the claims made. The main reason I voted Pro was because Con claimed that the strongest argument was Noah's Flood, and as Pro pointed out, Con didn't provide evidence for this, but merely conclusions which Con claimed could have been a result of the flood.

When you start with a Conclusion and try to find evidence to support this pre-determined opinion, you will more often than not be wrong.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Given the length of the cases presented, it may be difficult to get many non-biased votes.
Posted by Deathmonkey7 3 years ago
Deathmonkey7
Great argument! I'll try and have a rebuttal up soon.
Unfortunately life takes precedence. ;P
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
Deathmonkey7LupriconaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Very well argued by Pro, who patiently disposed of each of the items on the standard list of creationist arguments. Most telling is creationist idea that mutation does not add information; creationists have a basic misunderstanding of what comprises information. In genuine scientific controversies (like the Big Bang v. Steady State universe or the global warming controversy) there is plenty of peer-reviewed literature on both sides, and once something is disproved it is abandoned by scientists. The lack of peer-reviewed Creationist papers is extremely telling, and some of Con's references were no more than reading assignments to creationist sites, not even supporting data. Con did not respond to Pro's examples of new species other than with an unscientific claim about "kinds."
Vote Placed by Mrparkers 3 years ago
Mrparkers
Deathmonkey7LupriconaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The biggest voting point to me was the Flood argument by Con. Instead of actually providing evidence that the flood actually happened (good luck with that), Con instead resorted to an argument resembling "Here is the state of things, the flood could have caused it to be this way". If you intend to make a bold claim such as "Water covered the earth and a man in the bronze age who lived to be 600 years old was able to accumulate two of every single animal and keep them all alive for a year on a wooden boat", then you'd better have some evidence for that.