Evolution is not the best scientific model for the origin of species
Debate Rounds (4)
-Evolution: the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth.
-Scientific Model: a physical, conceptual, or mathematical representation of a real phenomenon that may be used to explain and predict the behaviour of real objects or systems and are used in a variety of scientific disciplines, ranging from physics and chemistry to ecology and the Earth sciences. (http://www.britannica.com...)
-Species: a category of biological classification ranking immediately below the genus or subgenus, comprising related organisms or populations potentially capable of interbreeding. (http://www.merriam-webster.com... http://evolution.berkeley.edu...)
-Origin of Species: the underlying cause for the creation of Earth's various species, including humans.
No semantic arguments by either side should be accepted. It should be accepted that knowledge is generally reliable. Specifically, epistemological arguments are not acceptable.
It is Pro's BoP to present a scientific model that encompasses the known observable data and has been able to predict scientific discoveries rivaling that of evolution.
It is Con's BoP to show that evolution meets the criteria for scientific model and has been able to predict far more discoveries than those presented by Pro's model.
There will be 4 rounds, each with a 10,000 character limit.
Round 1 - definitions and acceptance
Round 2 - opening arguments (no rebuttals)
Round 3 - rebuttals to opening arguments and further arguments
Round 4 - responses to round 3, no new arguments
If these rules are broken, voters should award conduct points appropriately.
Votes will use a 7 point system, and voters will require 2500 elo.
I) Opening Pleasantries
As I tend to respect people by default, I am greatful for Mike_10-4 accepting this debate. I wasn't sure if anyone would take it. As this is my first encounter with Mike_10-4, I took the liberty of looking up some of his debates. He is newer to DDO than I am, but he's definitely of a good caliber, and I'm looking forward to a "Great Debate". =D
I liked your profile picture, so I had to quote it.
II) Introduction to Opening Arguments
It is not possible to prove absolutely that evolution is the best model, but if a better model is known, it should be almost trivial to show that evolution is not the best. This is not a debate over whether or not the Theory of Evolution is a good model; it is a debate over whether or not there is a better model. Therefore, I framed this debate such that Pro has an easier task and the BoP. I will take on the BoP to show that whatever model Pro proposes is not better than evolution.
III) Further Definitions for the Benefit of Voters
That said, I should have fleshed out the idea of "better" in round 1, so I will flesh out the idea further for the sake of voters. If Pro disagrees with it or would like to add to it, I request we come to an agreement in comments quickly so his round 2 can include the amended and agreed upon idea.
As defined, a scientific model is used to describe the behavior of real objects. The best scientific model for determining the origin of species should be able to account for the observations made about DNA, fossils, and the various properties of animals including locality, behavior, capabilities, etc.
IV) Opening Arguments
I will attempt to provide ways in evolution meets the idea of "best" scientific model by addressing various observations of physical objects which evolution is able to account for. In this round I will focus on two specific predictions: the unity of genetic code and the location and age of fossils.
A) The Unity of Genetic Code
It is common knowledge that the idea of evolution was formulated by Charles Darwin before the discovery of DNA. The theory predicted small changes over time. So before DNA was discovered, it was predicted that there would be small changes over time to whatever caused animals to take the form that they do. After DNA was discovered, it was shown that such a model of life could be produced. Such a model is called a phylogenetic tree. Although there are various reasons evolutionists cannot agree to the specifics of phylogenetic trees, there are multiple reasonable models. One of the most comprehensive images I could find came from talkorigins which gives some details about how to resolve differences in phylogenetic trees .
Although talkorigins contains more details about phylogenetic trees , the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) summarizes the various observable causes to changes in gene structure and how to resolve these many causes into a phylogenetic tree . There are a number of observable shifts in DNA structure between similar organisms. One of the most well known is the difference between chimpanzees and humans. Evolution predicted that humans share a common ancestor with the great apes. When it was discovered that humans had 2 fewer chromosomes than great apes (one fewer pair), evolution made two predictions: humans have a chromosome that is the product of fusing two chromosomes of great apes together and consequently telemeres (which typically only appear at the ends of chromosomes) would appear in the center of a human chromosome that matches two great ape chromosomes. Both of these predictions were found to be true .
B) Location and Age of Fossils
Evolution predicts that small changes to DNA accumulating over time explain the diversity among organisms. However, many of these organisms are now extinct. These extinct species are commonly known as transitional species, and fossils of transitional species are called transitional fossils. Evolution predicts that transitional fossils will be found in locations on earth around the location of their ancestors and descendants on a phylogenetic tree and in rocks whose radiometric dates are at least close to chronological order as predicted by the phylogenetic tree. These predictions have been used to discover transitional fossils .
Geology provides humans with an understanding of the history of Earth's geography. A commonly held idea if that the continents now observed on Earth were once together. There is a history of separating and joining of continents supported by a number of sources including the radiometric dating of rocks, correlation of rock layers on two separate continents, observable effects caused by Earth's magnetic field, and more. This is geology and outside the scope of evolution. I don't intend to debate this theory, but I will provide references if Pro has any contentions with it.
Given the history of continents separating and joining, evolution predicts that fossils of land bound animals that are newer than a continent formed will only be found on that continent. For example, most modern marsupials only naturally occur in Australia. Of those that appear in the fossil record after Australia was formed, only appear in Australia. To be explicit, there are marsupial fossils found on other continents, but not fossils for the marsupials that only naturally occur in Australia that only left fossils after Australia was formed. This is strong evidence that these species began to exist after the continent was formed, and this observation was predicted by evolutionists before such observations were made. I'm sure Pro would have a hard time finding any counter examples to this prediction when he gives his first rebuttal in round 3.
I'm looking forward to seeing what model Pro plans to propose in round 2. Good luck Pro.
Thanks for the “Opening Pleasantries.” Perhaps, one day we may have that “Grate Debate.”
Pro will respectively decline any “amendments,” only to use the definitions, of this debate, defined by Con in Round 1.
In Round 1, the definition of, “Evolution: the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth.” Since Con did not define “earlier forms,” Pro will treat this phrase inclusively pertaining to other forms of life, the classical scope of evolutionist relative to “the history of the earth.”
The debate title: “Evolution is not the best scientific model for the origin of species.”
According to the definition of “Evolution” in Round 1, Pro will demonstrate the Constructal Law is a better “model.” That is, the Constructal Law is the best scientific model for the origin of species, which includes the evolution of both inanimate and animate systems, because, all life is based on inanimate elements and systems.
On a side note, after reading Con's profile, and seeing that he is a man of faith, let's say Pro is both a scientist and also believes in God. Since God created everything, which includes the Laws of Nature; therefore, the Laws of Nature are the handwriting of God and the scientific method is a way to read God's handwriting.
On the other hand, for those of faith, including preachers and prophets, should be careful when studying man's written scripture about God. We must remember man is fallible, and those who study or write such scriptures may misinterpret of what God wants; therefore, God gets--and, in some cases, God help us all.
A scientist reading the handwriting of God will come to understand morality, the foundation of most faith based systems, is the fingerprint of God. Morality is an outgrowth of life's Unalienable Rights, which is an outgrowth of the Constructal Law, which is an outgrowth of the Laws of Thermodynamics.
Shortly after the Big Bang the Laws of Thermodynamics started the evolution of the universe. The First Law of thermodynamics, which gives a relationship between changes in energy, volume, temperature, and pressure for expansion. Symbolically, the law can be stated as: dE + PdV = TdS, where the symbols of said equation are found in the following link:
The Second Law of thermodynamics, in part, governs the direction of flow. That is, flow moves from high to low temperatures, flow moves from high to low pressures, later in time, the flow from high to low resistance for electrons; throughout nature, symmetries are found in: the flow from high to low elevation for water, the flow of life taking a path from high to low resistance in the pursuit for food, etc.
The Constructal Law states: Given freedom, for a finite-sized flow system to persist in time (to live), its configuration must evolve in such a way that provides easier access to the currents that flow through it.
The Constructal Law governs evolution in physics, biology, technology, and social organizations. This Law explains how everything that moves--whether animate or inanimate--naturally evolve in ways that facilitate such movement in the study of flow dynamics. Flow analysis is rich in “scientific models” in many fields when studying the motion and currents of flow relative to resistance.
Flow at the biological level, is a manifestation of life's primitive working function or bio-program which maintains, once alive, “Life” must have the freedom (“Liberty”) of flow or movement, in “the pursuit (energy to overcome resistance) of” survival; otherwise, there is no life. Since we have life, survival is a form of positive-feedback the mechanism of adaptation, procreation, “Happiness” for us humans, etc. Hence, Thomas Jefferson's celebrated polished version of this bio-program, which he labeled Unalienable Rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Life's Unalienable Rights is a dynamic interface with nature or a bio-program, where all “Life” has a craving to sustain, improve and prolong itself, with the desire to increase freedom (“Liberty”), while decreasing the energy (taking the path of least resistance) in “the pursuit of” an objective, and in the process, exploring new levels of positive-feedback (“Happiness” for us humans). This bio-program is the foundation for the “Natural Selection” process; the machinery of evolution for life, social systems, technology, free-markets, etc.
On a side note, 80 some years after Jefferson, Darwin came on the stage and fell in love with Herbert Spencer's “survival of the fittest” paradigm. Relative to Spencer's paradigm, life's bio-program represents, more accurately, a model for “life having the freedom in the pursuit of positive-feedback.” Too bad Darwin did not expand on Jefferson's work, which may have morphed into the paradigm of “survival of the happiest.” Perhaps, the first part of the last century would have been a happier time, if the mentality of the political powerbrokers embracing Social Darwinism viewed social evolution as “survival of the happiest,” instead of “survival of the fittest.”
On that note of “survival of the happiest,” the Absolute Values of morality is Right (moral, positive-feedback, “Happiness”) or Wrong (immoral, negative-feedback, unhappiness). The objective of morality is doing Right keeping a group alive. That is, when two or more humans form a group, the group becomes alive. The life of the group is sustained through goodwill and kindness leads to a mutual moral respect for embracing the Unalienable Rights (“Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”) of the members within the group. Goodwill is a Conservative force that promotes order, stability, and harmony through the pursuit of group-wide positive-feedback. Over time, group-wide positive-feedback is the genesis of traditions, social values, beliefs, language, etc., the norms of society. These norms are tried and tested, and conservatively pass down from one generation to the next establishing its culture. A moral order guides an individual in the prudent exercise of judgment relative to those norms, going with the social flow minimizing civil resistance. The individual in a civil society strives, albeit imperfectly, to be virtuous; that is, restrained, ethical, and honorable, respecting and embracing the Unalienable Rights of others relative to those tested norms.
The objective of morality is to keep a group alive, is the evolution of traditions, social values, beliefs (aka faith based systems), language, etc., the norms of society. The empirical evidence of the diversity of language, beliefs, and social norms throughout history and today demonstrates the universal absolute moral thread that runs through the tapestry of humanity in the evolution of civil societies.
Of course morality is a man-made word simply referring to the values of Right or Wrong. These values generate mutual positive- or negative-feedback, relative to the Unalienable Rights of another. Mutual positive-feedback, in group creation, is found throughout the spectrum of life in the beneficial formation in schools of fish, flocks of birds, packs of wolves, tribes of humans, and in addition, inter-species relationships, such as those between humans and their pets.
Also, life's Unalienable Rights became the foundation to the US Constitutional design of governance, which sparked a social experiment within a short period of 200-years, changed the world like no other society in recorded history, through the evolutionary fruits of technology, food production, and medicine, the stables of human existence throughout the world today. A compelling example of what happens when our Unalienable Rights are free to flow, having minimal resistance, within the awesome machinery of nature.
As Con stated, “-Scientific Model: a physical, conceptual, or mathematical representation of a real phenomenon that may be used to explain and predict the behavior of real objects or systems and are used in a variety of scientific disciplines, ranging from physics and chemistry to ecology and the Earth sciences.”
The Constructal Law is a new “Scientific Model,” having physical, conceptual, and mathematical representation of real phenomenon to explain and predict the behavior of flow relative to resistance in real objects and systems used in a variety of scientific disciplines ranging from physics, biology, technology and social organizations.
Again, for those of faith, the evolution of morality, the fingerprint of God, is an outgrowth from life's Unalienable Rights, which is an outgrowth of the Constructal Law, which is an outgrowth of the Laws of Thermodynamics; part of the Laws of Nature, the handwriting of God.
In closing, Pro's “BoP” presented a scientific model (the Constructal Law) that encompasses the known observable data and has been able to predict scientific discoveries rivaling both Darwinian (“survival of the fittest”), and traditional evolution view of living systems “developed and diversified from earlier forms” of life. The Constructal Law includes the development of morality, etc, including animate and inanimate which transcends the classical definition in Round 1. Therefore, this debate's definition of “Evolution is not the best scientific model for the origin of species,” it is the Constructal Law, the handwriting of God.
Pro has proposed Constructal Law as being better suited than evolution for describing the origin of species. In the opening statement, Pro focused his argument not on the origin of species but on morality. I'm having trouble finding any good web references to Constructal Law, but there's always Wikipedia . As I have a lack of sources and Pro failed to properly address the topic of the debate, my rebuttal is notably short.
The formulation of Constructal Law is as follows: "For a finite-size (flow) system to persist in time (to live), its configuration must evolve such that it provides easier access to the imposed currents that flow through it" .
One of the biggest criticisms of Constructal Law is its vague formulation . This formulation must be interpreted. It neither defines flow nor easier access. Consequently, it isn't testable. To further complicate testing the law, it's author claims, "It says nothing about minimum, optimum, end design, or destiny" .
For example, how does the law apply to a river of flowing water? All possible outcomes may be predicted. If the river gets longer, then there is more flow, because the river holds more water. If it gets shorter, it is easier for the water to get from the source to the destination, because it requires less distance to do so. In reality, a river will both become longer and shorter based on its current construction and a list of influencing factors .
This issue becomes even more obfuscated on the issue of the origin of species. The interpreter of the Constructal Law must define what physical entity is flowing. Let us assume evolution took place and began with a single organism. If one were to go back in time without knowledge of the future diversity of species, what would the law predict? Arguably, one could predict that the increase of life is flowing, thus the single celled organism will eventually maximize its volume over the surface of the earth. The eventual diversity of species is not predicted. This is because information is a metaphysical construct, and not a physical one. To clarify, there is a physical medium for information, but the information itself is metaphysical. A clear example of this comes from cryptology. An encoded message contains information, but only an intelligent interpreter can access that information. The encoded message is physical, but the information itself is not. Unless the Constructal Law applies to metaphysical objects, it does not apply to the information required to produce new forms of life, thus the law does not include a prediction of speciation. Instead, the law requires the theory of evolution to exist independently in order to explain the origin of species. If the law requires the theory of evolution, then it does not provide a better predictive model for the origin of species.
I never heard of Constructal Law before this debate, so I'm glad Pro brought it up. I do not claim to know the law enough to say it does not address my criticisms, but in terms of this debate, they have not been addressed so far. Pro's sources have shown that there is a reputable scientist who promotes this law. I will remind Pro that to base his argument on the word of an expert is an appeal to authority fallacy. He must also be able to show that his expert witness has valid arguments pertinent to the topic of the debate.
Con's opening statement in Round 2, “It is not possible to prove absolutely that evolution is the best model, but if a better model is known, it should be almost trivial to show that evolution is not the best. This is not a debate over whether or not the Theory of Evolution is a good model; it is a debate over whether or not there is a better model.”
“Almost trivial” is relative, and a function of shared knowledge with common background on the subject at hand. Pro has presented a better model, a new model relative to the traditional “Theory of Evolution.” This model unifies the reoccurring patterns found throughout nature that have long puzzled even the most devoted proponents of Darwin's theory of evolution--and gives fuel to its critics. The Constructal Law serves both proponents and opponents over the notion of “intelligent design,” where the traditional “Theory of Evolution,” serves mostly opponents. For example, the following YouTube video short gives an overview of the Constructal Law:
Addressing the concerns Con made in Round 3, throughout nature, there is pattern symmetry that reappears in the form of branching. In a flash, a lightning bolt creates a brilliant structure of roots and branches in order to quickly discharge electricity by the flow of electrons seeking the path of least resistance. Over many years river basins have evolved a similar treelike architecture with smaller streams feeding into a main channel, economically moving the flow of water. This symmetry continues in cardiovascular systems feeding oxygen-rich blood flowing through the aorta, which then branches into arteries and capillaries, thereby reaching every section of the body as effectively as possible.
Treelike structures are but one manifestation of the Constructal Law. A more complex example is the design of animals. Governed by the Constructal Law, all animals have evolved to cover a greater distance per unit of energy, thus increasing their flow of mass across the landscape. This accounts for the scaling patterns across the animal kingdom. For example, a shark slicing through water, with a rabbit hopping across the field, to a hawk gliding through the air. All animals scale with striking similarity and predictability in everything from their respiratory requirements to the size of organs to speed of locomotion and frequency of stride.
Environmental and genetic factors matter, but the Constructal Law elegantly predicts the structural constraints that reduce the pool of potential outcomes. In the same way that soil erosion is the mechanism by which the designs of rivers might come into form, Natural Selection is a mechanism by which flow efficiency in biological life is increased.
Amazingly, the Constructal Law even extends into other facets of life, shaping everything from traffic patterns to hierarchical flowcharts in corporations, the sciences, information systems, academia, political bodies, even the evolution of morality; as the moral order guides an individual in the prudent exercise of judgment relative to social norms, going with the social flow, minimizing civil resistance.
The Constructal Law governs the symmetry of finite-size systems in evolution driven by flow dynamics relative to resistance. This Law is revolutionary because it is a law of physics--and not just of biology, hydrology, geology, geophysics, or engineering. It governs any system, anytime, anywhere, encompassing inanimate (rivers, lightning bolts, etc), animate (trees, animals, etc), and engineered phenomena (technology, food production, medicine, etc), as well as the evolving flows of social constructs such as knowledge, language, and culture. All designs arise and evolve according to the same law.
Con concluded in Round 3, “Pro's sources have shown that there is a reputable scientist who promotes this law. I will remind Pro that to base his argument on the word of an expert is an appeal to authority fallacy. He must also be able to show that his expert witness has valid arguments pertinent to the topic of the debate.”
Con made a good point about Adrian Bejan (that “reputable scientist”) who promotes the Constructal Law. This Law is relatively new (the late 1990s) where the community of evolutionist is in the natural scientific phase of verification. This phase could take many years to move the community one way or the other. As it did for Albert Einstein at the turn of last century, claiming Newtonian Physics was incorrect; he too at one point, was the only “reputable scientist who promotes this law” [Special Relativity, his 1905 paper “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”]. Note, another historic paper on flow, that is, “Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies.”
In Round 2, Con took the typical path of getting into the weeds of DNA mechanics trying to decipher the bleeding edge in research, cherry-picking a segment from the vast amount of literature with such conclusions as stated by Con, “... there are various reasons evolutionist cannot agree to the specifics of phylogenetic trees, there are multiple reasonable models.” And so on. Evolutionist working at the level of deciphering DNA and its associated atomic and quantum mechanics, have a lot of work ahead to formulize evolution at the DNA-scale to match the completeness of evolution found in the Constructal Law at the finite-size-scale. In other words, as evolutionist struggle with a unify theory at the DNA level, the Constructal Law achieved unification of evolution at the finite-size level for both animate and inanimate systems.
Therefore, the Constructal Law is the best model for the origin of species. The emergence of biological organisms was a wondrous event, but it was not the magic moment when life suddenly appeared. It was not the start of evolution but a plot twist in the larger story of mass and energy flows being shaped by the Constructal Law. Life--flow, with freely morphing configuration--was there from the start. Treating life as flow, the Constructal Law collapses the false distinctions between the animate and the inanimate, providing a single, universal Law that accounts for all design and evolution in nature.
I am unable to give a rebuttal to Pro's claims, because there is nothing to rebut. The only claim I see Pro making is that constructal theory predicts all of nature, and even then Pro doesn't describe how. Even the youtube video (which is full of time filler) doesn't give an explanation to rebut.
On the other hand, I have given several predictions made by the theory of evolution that were proven true when later put to the test. At best, constructal law retroactively predicts what we observe. It does not make testable future predictions that can be used to make new discoveries as the theory of evolution. In fact, constructal law appears to depend on evolution as the mechanism for the origin of species. Constructal law appears to use evolution to describe phenomena the same way evolution uses geology to describe phenomena. That doesn't make it a better model for the origin of species any more than evolution is a better model than anything for any topic in geology.
Again, I thank Con for bringing an important subject to the debating floor.
Con brought up a good point about “Pro expects myself [Con] and the voters to be well acquainted with the Constructal Law.” Pro does not expect anyone of the voters to be “well acquainted” with the Constructal Law, nor does Pro expect anyone of the voters to be “well acquainted” with “phylogenetic trees” or “telomeres,” etc, from Con's Round 2 presentation. However, for those who want to learn more about the Constructal Law, please see the following:
Knowing voters may not be “well acquainted,” we must work within the debate's Round 1 definitions. Con gave the traditional definition of evolution in Round 1, becoming the anchor to the debate's title, “Evolution is not the best scientific model for the origin of species.” Clearly Con's definition of “evolution” is not the best “model,” for the reason that it excludes the prerequisites or the initial conditions for life. You cannot have the “origin” of any “species” without the initial conditions.
Clearly, the moment after the Big Bang, the initial condition for life did not exist. It took a long time for the flow dynamics of energy through space and time, governed by the Laws of Thermodynamics and the Constructal Law to bring about the right conditions, aka “the origin,” for life's debut of any “specie;” hence, the “origin of species.” In other words, you cannot have the “origin of species” without the elements of the Periodic Table, and the right environment for the transitional flow dynamics from inanimate to animate.
Con started with “fossils,” advancing to “Charles Darwin before the discovery of DNA,” then on to “phylogenetic trees,” etc. Pro started with the beginning of time (Big Bang), where evolution is a function of time. Pro tried to logically demonstrate, written in an easy style, how flow-dynamics from the Big Bang to Morality is governed by the Constructal Law. Con's presentation of life's evolutionary flow from “fossils” building “Phylogenetic trees” to “telomeres,” only represents a narrow window of time within the spectrum of evolution governed by the Constructal law. Therefore, the Constructal Law is the best model for the origin of species.
In closing, Pro wish Con, a long and healthy “Life,” with ample freedom (“Liberty”), in the moral “pursuit of Happiness;” in other words, “survival of the happiest.”
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to prove that Constructural Law applies to living beings. Furthermore, if it does, it's entirely possible that evolution can encompass Constructural Law. What is natural selection, but the process of adding efficiency?
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