The Instigator
Jesusrules
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Puck
Con (against)
Winning
44 Points

Evolution is not supported by science or evidence

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
Puck
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/21/2010 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,660 times Debate No: 12380
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (7)

 

Jesusrules

Pro

I thank my opponent for taking this argument. There are many items used to 'prove' evolution, and it would be impossible for me to cover them all in the amount of letters I can use, so I would like Puck to present what he believes strongly proves evolution and we'll debate against that.
Puck

Con

Thanks to, Jesusrules, for the challenge. Although some links may not be the most useful in terms of information, not all useful information is open to public access nor should any link I provide be counted as exhaustive in terms of coverage. Where able I will continue to link to information Pro can access.

Pro has correctly pointed out that there is a vast breadth of fields and knowledge used to support evolution e.g. palaeontology, geology, morphology. To cover them all is impossible here, to even cover one facet in great depth is. Evolution has many layers of support but perhaps the most important is at the fundamental genetic level where change initially occurs. How these changes play out may require greater focus in later rounds - we shall see.

Basic definitions:

Evolution is defined as the change in allele frequencies in a population. [1]

A population is a group of freely interbreeding individuals.

An allele is one form of a gene e.g. blood type.

A gene is a portion of an organism's genome that codes for a specific trait.

Fitness is the ability to survive to reproductive maturity.

Genetic variation arises through two processes, mutation and recombination. Mutation occurs when DNA is imperfectly copied during replication, leading to a difference between a parent's gene and that of its offspring (this is normal - only MZ twins or clones exhibit exact DNA in relation to another organism).

Types of mutation:

Substitution, Insertion, Deletion, Frameshift [2][3]

All these give rise to variation. Variation that is inheritable. Some of those heritable, variable traits may affect an organism's fitness. Those traits that may increase an organism's fitness will tend to be passed on to an organism's offspring and subsequent generations. Subsequent factors such as natural selection, genetic drift, migration etc., will influence how these traits spread in a population. That's outside the bounds of this round however.

All living species use the same system of heredity of DNA (RNA in some viruses) to encode genes that are passed to offspring which are then transcribed and translated into proteins. Biologists are able to *quantify* the genetic similarities among species to determine which species are more closely related to one another and which are more distantly related. The pattern of genetic relatedness (phylogenetics) between all species indicates a branching tree that implies divergence from a common ancestor. [4][5][6][7]

Occasionally two branches may fuse e.g. Mitochondria - organelles found in the cells of plants and animals. Mitochondria have their own genes, more similar to genes in bacteria than to genes on the chromosomes in the cell nucleus. From this we can conclude that one of our distant ancestors arose from a symbiosis of two different cell types. [8]

Gene duplication is another important mechanism for acquiring new genes and creating genetic novelty in organisms. Evidence suggests functional divergence of gene copies is a major factor promoting their retention in the genome itself. This duplicated gene is free to gather mutations and consequently broaden the phenotypic traits of the gene itself. Colour vision is a good example, where the single gene for colour vision has duplicated to allow for variations in the gene resulting in additional detection of specific wavelengths to occur.[9]

In a similar frame, pseudogenes, those genes that were once active in ancestors but have since become inactive over time, are strong evidence for evolution. In humans, for example, these include olfactory receptor genes, many of which have become inactivate in the human lineage. DNA changes in pseudogenes can't be subject to natural selection, and so pseudogenes change is purely time dependent as those dead genes accumulate mutations over time. The match between phylogenetic trees based on pseudogene DNA sequences (pure reflectance of passage of time) with phylogenetic trees based on organism's appearance is expected and found under an evolutionary scenario. [10]

Heritable traits vary, and those traits may spread through populations over time. Variation does not necessarily mean advantageous or disadvantageous traits, though they may be (or neither). Mutations over time give rise to allele frequency shifts in populations. It's really that simple. Some may affect fitness some may not. Some may interact in the process called natural selection, some may not. [11]

I may as well forestall common arguments at this point to save time:

1. No evidence for natural selection.

Meta analysis of 993 observed cases [12]

2. No new information.

Mutations may give rise to new information. [13]

3. No observed instances of beneficial mutations

To the contrary. [14][15][16]

4. No instances of observed speciation.

To the contrary. [17][18]

[1] http://www.talkorigins.org...
[2] http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
[3] http://www.nature.com...
[4]http://upload.wikimedia.org...
[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[6] http://biologia.savba.sk...
[7] http://www.nature.com...
[8] http://www.dnasolutions.com.au...
[9]http://genome.cshlp.org...
[10] http://papers.gersteinlab.org...
[11] http://www.gate.net...
[12] http://www.pnas.org...
[13] http://www.sciencedaily.com...
[14] http://pandasthumb.org...
[15] http://www.pnas.org...
[16]http://www.newscientist.com...
[17]http://www.talkorigins.org...
[18]http://www.talkorigins.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Jesusrules

Pro

Thank you for responding. I like to get to the point, so I didn't make it too long.

First of all I would like to talk about what is said about pseudogenes. An article[1] in Discover magazine, Hirotsune's team at Saitama Medical School in Japan entered a fruit fly gene into a mouse embryo that would disrupt the pseudogene for makorin1 which is a gene that controls kidney and bone development. When the mouse was born, it had severe kidney and bone deformities and died within days. However, the makorin1 gene hadn't changed!
Pseudo genes are not evolutionary leftovers, but serve a very important role.

Second you talked about two branches fusing to form something like mitochondria in cells. However, animal cells rely on mitochondrion to make adenosine triphosphate or ATP. Without ATP a cell cannot live. Any biology textbook states this. Cells without mitochondria would only make 6% of what they would use[3], so without them cells would have a hard time. However, mitochondria would have had to of entered eukaryotes the moment they existed, or there would be eukaryotes that do not have mitochondrion, but there isn't.[4] Yet, that is illogical.

Third, there are mechanisms to fix mutations in gene duplication. The polymerase works during gene duplication to proofread and fix any errors in DNA[2](The source was the most straightforward one I could find). Mutations like color blindness do not go on for countless generations, but is eventually fixed. The way genes are duplicated is actually an amazing process and really make sure there are no errors, though some get through, they fixed over time.
Mutations aren't really a good leg for evolution. They can be fixed quickly over generations and also beneficial mutations occur far less than bad ones.

Lastly, I believe the biggest problem with evolution is the lack of transitional forms. It was even stated in Charles Darwin's book The Origin of Species. We have not found a single transitional form. Also evolution requires trillions of morphological changes, but every single kind of animal has the same anatomy. You never see a dog or cat or monkey with anything new.

[1]http://discovermagazine.com...
[2]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu...
[4] http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu... (see mitochondria)
Puck

Con

Pro recites 3 arguments I make (there were more - he has dropped the rest I presume) - his rebuttals are not the smoking gun that takes down the mass evidence towards evolution however.

Pro jumps in at pseudogenes and unfortunately makes the same errors repeated commonly by creationists, fuelled by a misunderstanding of what pseudogenes are (more commonly called junk DNA) and what biologists posit about them.

Let's be clear from the outset. Biologists *do not* argue that all pseudogenes serve no purpose. This is far from the case. We can see Pro's case is based upon this very assumption - find a purpose and you somehow destroy the notion of pseudogenes. Not at all. A pseudogene is a gene that has been duplicated (see R1) and one of the copies becomes degraded by mutation to the point of being non-functional with regard to *protein coding*. The additional copy may take on a new function (neofunctionalisation), or the two copies may split the original function (subfunctionalisation). There is a large difference between non coding and non functional. [1][2]

Gene regulation, chromosomal structural maintenance, splicing, etc., all involve sequences other than protein-coding exons; it is still a minority however. [3][4]

So let's get more explicit - Pro's argument basis is that there is a universal function for non-coding DNA which somehow disproves evolution (it doesn't even if it were true - that's irrelevant here though). Apart for the error of his argument itself (above) we can see there are multiple issues for those that try to formulate such a claim.

Take for example the onion, Allium cepa, a plant with a genome size of about 17 pg (picograms). Homo sapiens, has a genome size of around 3.5 pg. Clearly a universal function for non-coding DNA clear is difficult with such genomic discrepancies (not to mention the fallacy of composition). [5][6]

Let's look even deeper; Pro's example.

The evolution of and functional purpose of the Makorin1-p1 pseudogene in mice. You will note the lack of hysteria at having evolution supposedly unravel before them. [7][8]

Argument two of Pro is that an animal living cell cannot function without mitochondria, therefore no animal living cell could have existed without mitochondria, therefore evolution is false (non sequitur but again, irrelevant).

Fortunately for us that is not the case. Firstly, prokaryote cells are distinct from eukaryotes in that they lack membrane internal features such as a nucleus in addition to other features of which mitochondria may be one i.e. we have functioning cells that do not require mitochondria, so that's not the immediate issue.[9]

Secondly, the most probable and most evidentiary line as to the inclusion of mitochondria and animal DNA is endosymbiosis. Upon both heterotrophic and photosynthetic eukaryotes having evolved, the former repeatedly assimilated the latter (autotrophs). This still occurs today (many animals engulf alga). Chloroplasts by engulfing photosynthetic eukaryotes gain mitochondrial DNA (secondary endosymbiosis). Endosymbiotes now, cannot be cultured away from their host (hence Pro's argument I presume). [10][11]

An example: cryptomonads are the evolutionary result of a non-photosynthetic eukaryotic by engulfing a red alga by endocytosis. [12]

Pro's third argument is that mutations simply cannot occur, that the checks made upon transcription result in error free results. This is simply false. For Pro's case to be true, no population shifts would ever occur, no changes in the genome would result and all the evidence contrary has been made up.

Mutations occur, they can result in speciation. [13][14][15]

In Pro's world these either do not exist or he must account for them in another manner. See R1 for the link to evidence of natural selection as well.

See R1 sources for the basis of mutations (4 types). An in depth explanation is here. [16]

Yes, when transcribing, errors may be fixed and there are mechanisms for that purpose. It is not infallible however and errors occur.

Pro's final argument is unrelated to any of mine. I'll address it quickly anyway.

Transitional forms is something of a misnomer. All species are regarded as ‘transitional' i.e. they have the genetic freedom to diverge and have diverged from ancestral forms. Nothing about evolution says when they will, nor if they do at what speed it will occur.

If you wish for morphological evidence of change, look to the natural selection reference in R1. There are many others documented, here are a few more examples. [17][18][19][20][21]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]http://www.genomicron.evolverzone.com...
[3]http://www.ndsu.edu...
[4]http://www.genomicron.evolverzone.com...
[5]http://www.springerlink.com...
[6]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org...
[8] http://www.genetics.org...
[9]http://library.thinkquest.org...
[10]http://www.dls.ym.edu.tw...
[11]http://www.dls.ym.edu.tw...
[12] http://tolweb.org...
[13]http://www.gate.net...
[14]http://www.gate.net...
[15]http://www.weizmann.ac.il...(69)TokurikiTawfikScience2009.pdf
[16]http://www.nature.com...
[17]http://www.newscientist.com...
[18]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[19]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[20]http://homepages.ed.ac.uk...
[21]http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
Jesusrules

Pro

Jesusrules forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Jesusrules

Pro

Jesusrules forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Puck 6 years ago
Puck
Haha, yeah. Though I'm not sure I've seen a non barrel one here. :P
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
What was that about fish in a barrel? :P
Posted by Puck 6 years ago
Puck
Two rounds of musical Youtube though!
Posted by belle 6 years ago
belle
why should that be a barrier? it wasn't in the first round :P
Posted by Kinesis 6 years ago
Kinesis
Translation: I don't understand most of Puck's last round so I won't be able to finish.
Posted by Jesusrules 6 years ago
Jesusrules
I'm going to be out of town so I won't be able finish.
Posted by Awed 6 years ago
Awed
Jesusrules, you seriously need to retake biology. The picture that you used as a source shows a fix in the pairing of thymine and adenine. That's not a fix for a substitution, frameshift, insertion, or deletion.

And if I remember correctly from AP Bio, color blindness is a sex-linked recessive trait, so when 2 carriers of the color blindness gene mate, there's like a 75% chance their offspring don't have the trait for color blindness. It doesn't just get "fixed". It disappears.
Posted by Kinesis 6 years ago
Kinesis
Oh look, he ignored most of your round Puck. How shocking. :O
Posted by Puck 6 years ago
Puck
lol yeah ... that's kinda the burden though.
Posted by popculturepooka 6 years ago
popculturepooka
o_O

So many sources....lol
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Atheism 6 years ago
Atheism
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Shestakov
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Scyrone
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belle
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