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Pro (for)
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Evolution must be a regular curriculum for Biology classes.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/22/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,286 times Debate No: 72137
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
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i am a Creationist. Evolution is a theory. By definition a theory is a supposition. A scientific theory is something that can be modified or rejected. Seeing how there are arguments and evidence against evolution, theory of evolution is far from being an universal truth. This means that evolution is something that a person must believe in, despite lack of unanimous evidence pointing towards one conclusion. If evolution is a belief, and creationism is a belief, why should one take precedence over another? I'm not saying that creationism is what should be taught at school, but I'm saying that since evolution is no different from other beliefs about the creation of this biosphere, evolution has no reason to be a part of biology class curriculum. I value your opinions, and would be delighted to hear them.


Before I present my arguments, I would like to thank Pro for the incredible opportunity to discuss the subject of evolution in a civilized and organized manner. The same cannot be said for many other debates in the site.

In the first round, I would like to do four things:
1. Discuss the criteria for inclusion in a regular curriculum for Biology classes.
2. Explain what the theory of evolution is.
3. Discuss the validity of it.
4. Clear up Pro’s misconception

The criteria for inclusion in a regular curriculum for Biology classes
Pro did not clearly state whether “biology classes” refers to the elementary/primary school level, middle/secondary school level, high school level, or university level courses. My discussion will mainly focus on biology classes at the primary, middle, or high school level, but not on the university level as the theory of evolution is foundational knowledge to be built upon.

For a piece of knowledge to be considered a “must include” in a regular science curriculum, it should possess three qualities:
1. Applicable even with variation in the class’s geographic and cultural background.
2. Be scientific, and correct (at least be very close to truth in a lot of cases, think newtonian mechanics).
3. Its difficulty should not be too advanced.

The theory of evolution deals with all organisms on earth, so it satisfies 1. It is a relatively simple concept to understand, as I will soon explain, so it satisfies 3. Due to a vast amount of evidence and a very high level of scientific consensus, it also satisfies 2.

While I do not assume it, I doubt that Pro will disagree on either 1 or 3. Rather, Pro does not believe in the scientific validity of the theory of evolution. So I believe point 2 will dictate the direction of this debate.

What is evolution?
In general, evolution refers to changes in a species due to modification in heritable traits. *Evolution does not deal with the origins of life* There are three essential elements to evolution, reproduction, mutation, and a natural selection mechanism.

Consider a generation of a solo hunting species (e.g. tigers and their ancestors). The generation will hunt for food in order to survive. Of course, within the generation, there are those who are faster, stronger, or more intelligent. These traits will aid hunting, thus increasing their chance of survivability. On the other hand, the weaker, slower, and dumber ones will have less chance of survival.

As the generation matures and reproduces, some of its weaker members will have died off, so the generation is now stronger on average than before. The generation now reproduces, and a new generation emerges. The new generation is born from the stronger ones of the old generation, so they will be stronger than the old generation as a whole (including the weak, dead ones).

Further more, due to errors made during the replication of dna, known as mutation, the new generation will be slightly different than their parents, just as you and I are different from our parents. Some rare mutations might be deadly, as is the case for the Niemann-Pick diseases for humans, while other mutations increases survivability. It is a very common misconception that mutations are always bad. Lactase persistence, for example, allows an adult to better digest lactose, thus gaining more energy for survival. Another example would be bacteria developing resistance against antibiotics.

As the new generation matures, members with “bad” mutations will die, and members with “good” mutations will continue to survive and reproduce. The next generation will then carry on these good mutations, and be even more fit to survive than the second generation. As time goes by, these beneficial mutations will propagate in the species, and results in changes observed in the whole species. This could be the elongation of the neck of giraffes, leopards developing better muscles for running, and us, humans becoming more intelligent. The species can also develop into two different species, if two routes of mutations are beneficial.

This, my friends, is evolution.

The level of support for evolution
As seen from above, the concept of evolution is a logical one. But of course, any scientific ideas requires evidence. And this can be seen from:
1. Fossils
2. Controlled experiments

I will now discuss the two of them.

1. Fossils
By determining the age and observing the similarity of fossils, we can see evidence for evolution. Species adapt, and via mutation, they branch, and change into more modern species. As it can be seen in source 1’s “figure 1” under “Mammalian Phylogenomics” (see reference), an evolutionary tree can be constructed.

2. Controlled Experiments
A more primitive form of evolutionary experiments is something we have been doing for a very long while — domestication and selective breeding. The mechanism of domestication is exactly the same as natural selection (i.e. evolution), but the selection mechanism is not produced by nature, but by humans. As seen in source 2, the domesticated banana indeed looks different from the undomesticated, “natural” banana.

Biologist Diane Dodd has also demonstrated speciation by placing fruit flies in two cages, one cage containing maltose food, and the other one containing starch food. After generations and generations of fruit flies, the fruit flies separated into maltose preferring flies and starch preferring flies. Such demonstrates how geographic isolation and natural selection can lead to speciation.

Scientific consensus
The theory of evolution is widely supported. For example, the evolution of humans has a 97% by scientists. The creationist Discovery Institute has encouraged scientists to voice their dissent from darwinism, and gathers around 700 signatures. On the other hand, the national center for science education’s “Project Steve”, calls for scientists named steve, stefan, stephanie, etc. to sign their support for evolution. Project Steve has near 1400 signatures. It should be stated that the list contained more biologists than DI’s list, and that “steves” only amount to roughly 1% of the total population.

Clearing up misconceptions
Pro has said “Evolution is a theory. By definition a theory is a supposition.” This is a common misconception regarding the word “theory”. As put by biologist professor Jaime Tanner, "Most people use the word 'theory' to mean an idea or hunch that someone has, but in science the word 'theory' refers to the way that we interpret facts."

Indeed, a scientific theory is a system of ideas that is falsifiable, and has withstood the numerous attempts to falsify it. Examples include the theory of relativity, the theory of gravity, the theory of evolution, etc. The layman use of the term “theory”, is really hypothesis.
2. dc2e804177daa25fba41c856b53cadf2_h.jpg

Debate Round No. 1


First of all, I would like to state that I am on the Con side. I will hereby assume that you have referred to the instigator when you mentioned the "Pro".
Also, I would like to express my delight to see that I can debate with someone with significant knowledge on the topic, and is willing to argue the case with seriousness.

In this round, I would like to respond to some of your arguments you made in round 1.

Criteria for inclusion in a regular curriculum for Biology classes
There is little to be said. Your assumptions I agree with. I am against the second point, and that will be my focus of the arguments I make.

What is evolution?
First of all, I do agree with concepts of variation, mutation, descend with modification, and many other elements of evolution. It is hardly logical to believe otherwise looking at different variations in phenotype of finch species in Galapagos Islands. There has been numerous scientific researches that prove those elements, and I believe that species can evolve differently in different environments. It is the notion that one species has turned into another because of these that I, along with many other scientists, am against. You are correct to say that evolution does not explicitly deal with origins of life. However, I believe that you will agree that evolution does support the theory that every species on Earth has origins in different species that existed before them, as that is the central theme of evolution. This is what I will be focusing on throughout my argument.

The levels of support for evolution
1. Fossils
I understand that so far, there has been no fossil evidence that contradicts evolution. You have mentioned fossil evidences that show species changing from ancient species to modern species. I am aware of ancient species such as Dorudon, Ambulocetus natans, and Pakicetus which are thought to be ancestors of modern whales.
As majority of scientists believe, evolution happened over long periods of time, hundreds of millions of years ago, even over billions. According to Darwin, evolution is a continuous change. If it took 52 million years for Pakicetus to change into whales, there must be fossil evidence that shows continuous evolution between species in between the transitional periods. Basically, there should be plenty of fossil evidence that shows mixture of characteristics between Dorudon and Ambulocetus natans, distributed throughout 10 million years of time. However, there isn't. The existing fossil evidences are just fragments of supposedly vast history of evolution.

2. Controlled Experiments
There has been evolution in certain phenotype of bananas or fruit flies due to difference in environments and geographic isolation. However, these changes represent microevolution, which is something I believe in. Microevolution is essentially a small evolution, changes in allele frequencies. Microevolution is well-supported by observation and experiments. What is not so well supported is macroevolution. Macroevolution is evolution that happens on species level. Changes in bananas or fruit flies due to different domestication or food availability supports microevolution, not macroevolution.

3. Scientific Consensus
There is little to be said here. Centuries ago, people thought that Earth was flat and stationary. Even before, most people believed that thunders are caused by supernatural beings. Consensus among scientists rarely mean much, as their beliefs are often proven wrong.

Clearing up misconceptions
I understand that commonly used definition of theory and definition of scientific theory are different. Scientific theory must be able to be proven through observation and experiments. As I stated earlier, most of evidence point towards microevolution, which makes macroevolution, the center of controversy, based on baseless conjectures only. My initial argument questions why evolution takes precedence over creationism when they are both equal in terms of validity.


I have so far enjoyed this debate, which has been nothing but informational, objective, civil, and fact-based. I hope to continue on this trend throughout rest of the rounds.


I must thank Con for pointing out my mistake of addressing Con as "Pro" in the first round. Again, I assure Con that the delight is shared. Now, onwards with the debate.

So far, it seems that the only remaining disagreement is on the validity of what Con calls "macroevolution". Since Con has given his/her approval over "microevolution" and "concepts of variation, mutation, descend with modification, and many other elements of evolution", it is safe to conclude that these elements — namely the mechanism of natural selection, and evolution as an explanation for smaller evolutionary changes, should be included in the regular curriculum for biology classes.

With a significant part of the topic resolved, what I will now do is to resolve the remaining part by demonstrating the validity of "macroevolution".

Macroevolution on the species level
Con has defined macroevolution as "evolution that happens on the species level", so I shall start examining the validity of evolution on the species scale.

Perhaps it might surprise Con that differences between species are actually pretty small. The picture below shows 16 very similar looking species of butterflies.
If one accepts the mechanism of evolution, and evolution in antibiotic resistant bacteria, the idea that evolution can cause changes on the species level should not be too counterintuitive. Hence, the significant and visible changes in the banana, and the biological changes in Dodd's flies should not be rashly dismissed as examples of "microevolution".

Furthermore, considering that evolution heavily relies on random DNA mutation, it would be illogical to think that numerous DNA mutations cannot produce pass the point of "microevolution", and develop larger scale changes in "macroevolution" if given enough time.

Of course, science is ultimately based on observations and evidence, so reasoning alone cannot suffice, I should also provide evidence of macroevolution on the species level. However, it seems that Con has perhaps unknowingly produced sufficient evidence himself.

As Con mentioned Darwin"s finches, I should remind Con that the finches have been classified as around 14 different species (source 5). Indeed, the different species are extremely similar looking to each other, other than variations in the beak. Since Con has accepted evolution in the finches, Con has essentially accepted evolution on the species level.

If Con remains unsatisfied with evolution on the species level, the image detailing the evolution of Chesapecten Scallops should provide additional evidence.
The collection of fossils are rather complete to show how the small changes add up in a macroevolution on the species level.

Macroevolution beyond the species level
Now that we have demonstrated the strong evidence for evolution on the species level, it is time to move up a level to the genus.

Certainly, evolution on the genus level involves larger changes compared to evolution on the species level. But are the changes so abrupt, to the point that it seems incomprehensible? Perhaps not. The source below shows the evolutionary history of modern whales (and their cousins):
It can be seen from Indohyus to Balaena, each iteration involves significant and consistent changes " the size gets bigger, the center of gravity lowers, the snout elongates, and the limbs shortens. These gradual physical changes, along with gradual changes in the DNA, are strong evidence for evolution on the genus level.

Even if one find it hard connect the huge headed balaena (modern whale) to the flat headed Dorudon (DNA analysis says otherwise), they should not have difficulty connecting Pakicetus to Ambulocetus, Rodhocetus, and Dorudon, which already suffices as evidence for macroevolution on the genus level.

Addressing the lack of Fossils between Dorudon and Ambulocetus
Con has asked a very common question regarding the evolution of whales, if macroevolution is true, surely "there should be plenty of fossil evidence that shows mixture of characteristics between Dorudon and Ambulocetus." The answer to this question, is that fossils are very rare finds. Fossils only form when certain conditions are met. Large fossils are even harder to come by.

According Paleontologist Dr Prothero (see source 4), our fossil records possess only 5% of today"s known species, if we consider that on the evolutionary time scale, the fraction of fossils we possess is a very tiny fraction of all species that once lived. So ultimately, the assumption that we should possess plenty of fossils in between Dorudon and Ambulocetus is wishful thinking.

If we possess a very complete fossil record, and still fail to find species in between them, then macroevolution might very well be falsified. But even with such an incomplete fossil record, we are able to identify gradual changes in physical appearance and DNA instead of finding fossils with no visible connections, surely this strengthens the case for macroevolution instead of diminishing it.

Response to the importance of Scientific Consensus
Citing the flat-earth belief and the supernatural explanation of thunder, Con has been critical of the importance of scientific consensus. I must point out that the public consensus is very different from the scientific consensus. And often, it is wiser to take the opinion of educated experts. Of course, if we are talking about the frontier of science, then the scientific consensus can be volatile and is less valuable. But for a theory as old and well established as evolution, scientific consensus on the subject is almost as trustworthy as the scientific consensus on the existence of gravity.

However, reliance on expertise is useful only when we are unable to grasp the deeper details of the science, which I believe is not the case with both of us. Hence my main focus is on the validity of macroevolution, with the scientific consensus argument as support.

This has been a very thought provoking debate so far, and I have learnt much from conducting research that I normally wouldn"t do. I must again thank Con for his degree of politeness and passion on the subject that kept this debate going.
Debate Round No. 2


Once again, I was amazed at the level of research, thinking, and professionalism that the Pro has demonstrated throughout the debate. And now to continue with our debate:

As I have mentioned before, I am a Creationist. That means that I am against the idea that different species can form from one common ancestor. However, I must apologize for my lack of explanation of my views toward macroevolution. Rereading my arguments for the second round, I realize that I implied that I am against every idea of macroevolution. My most sincere apologies for that implication.

Evolution is a theory that encompasses a range of topics. Only a small portion of it is controversial. I do not believe that all parts of macroevolution is false. What you have said about finches and Dodd's flies I agree with. I do agree with the notion that species complex, or species flock, has arisen from common ancestor. I have forgotten to mention them in my previous argument.

Macroevolution, however, does not involve only the species complex. Macroevolution, as you know, is closely related with common ancestors between two species that are not part of same species complex. This topic is the focus of this discussion.

Science, as you have mentioned, is based on observation and experimentation. The experiments and observations you have mentioned prove macroevolution within species complex. However, this does not support the idea that macroevolution could have caused the creation of all species on Earth today. According to evolution, every living organism evolved from an ancestor; that has never been observed. Jefferey H. Schwartz said, " was and still is the case that, with the exception of Dobzhansky's claim about a new species of fruit fly, the formation of a new species, by any mechanism, has never been observed." Scientific Theory is something that is confirmed through observation. If this specific component of evolution has not been observed, then how can it be called the theory of evolution?

You have mentioned that since we do not have complete, or even nearly complete, collection of fossilized remains of past organisms, it is logical that we cannot find transitional fossils. If so, then how can scientists assume that the fragments of vast history are all pieces of evolution of species, not remnants of separate species?

Scientific Consensus
You are right to say that scientific consensus tend to be more accurate when dealing with well-established theories. However, in ancient Greece, geocentrism was the theory that every scientist believed. Of course, now we know it is not true. Scientific consensus can be completely overthrown when new ideas are proved. Therefore, consensus among the scientific community cannot be justification for any theory, no matter how well-established it is.

That would conclude my third round. My apologies for not making this round the best I can; the time had not allowed me to be more thorough. Thank you once again for your well thought-out arguments and your politeness. I am quite enjoying this debate, which has been more professional and thoughtful than I ever hoped it would be.


Please don’t worry con, I understand that there are other things in life that should be prioritized over this. I am already grateful for the time and dedication you put into our debate. Now onwards with the debate.

The criteria for inclusion in a regular curriculum for Biology classes
Con has stated that “evolution is a theory that encompasses a range of topics”, and “only a small portion of it is controversial.” Looking at the criteria for inclusion we discussed and agreed to, there are three points:
1. Applicable even with variation in the class’s geographic and cultural background.
2. Be scientific, and correct (at least be very close to truth in a lot of cases, think newtonian mechanics).
3. Its difficulty should not be too advanced.

In round 2, Con has agreed to the suggested criteria, but disagrees that evolution fits criteria 2. However, Con has now given his approval over a very large part of evolution, stating “only a small portion of it is controversial.” This fits criteria 2, as evolution is “at least very close to truth in a lot of cases.”

Newtonian mechanics, which is widely taught in high school physics, is not controversial, it is wrong. But it is close to truth in low speed conditions (relative to light, which can still be very very fast), which is the case in almost every scenario on earth. If the teacher states where the theory fails, then there is no problem in teaching it. Even if Con’s skepticism on evolution is indeed correct, the theory should still be taught, but the teacher should state where the controversy is. However, by saying this, I am not conceding to Con’s criticism of evolution. While the minute details of evolution are controversial, the controversy is not in the concerns Con raised.

Hence, by agreeing to all three criteria, there is little doubt that evolution must be included in a regular curriculum for biology classes.

Macroevolution and the species complex
While I appreciate Con’s clarifying of his arguments, and his extended approval of macroevolution to the species complexes, I do not find his arguments strengthened.

In addition to macroevolution in species complexes, I have also given evidence to macroevolution within the species level but outside the species complex (the Chesapecten Scallops, see source 1), and macroevolution within the genus (the whale evolution, see source 2). As I have stated, the fossils there show clear and gradual change, which is strong evidence for evolution that Con has not yet replied to.

Con has also quoted Jeffrey H. Schwartz, a professor on humanities (anthropology, to be exact), that the formation of a new species has never been observed. This is not a valid claim. An emergence of a new species of mosquito, Culex pipiens f. molestus, have been documented in london underground. In addition, the apple maggot Rhagoletis pomonella is currently undergoing speciation. So ultimately, Schwartz’s view is an unfounded claim based on lack of research.

How we connect species to species
Con has asked the question, “how can scientists assume that the fragments of vast history are all pieces of evolution of species, not remnants of separate species?” By observing both the physical appearance and the dna of the fossils, we can see a gradual change. As one can see from the previous examples, the changes are continuous. For example, we observe the dna of several connected fossils (from oldest to youngest in age):
1st fossil: AAAAAAR32;
2nd fossil:ABAAAA
3rd fossil: ABCAAA
4th fossil: ABCDAA

Scientists do indeed compare genetic information like that, but I do realize that the notations are extremely unrigorous, but this as an example will suffice. In actuality, the nitrogen bases (ATCG) or amino acid sequences will be used instead.

We could see gradual changes in the dna, and each generation retains genetic information of the last. Of course, there is no proof with deductive, mathematical certainty that 4 evolved from 1. If we take it far enough, we could say aliens obtained the 1st species, and modified their dna, and place them back on earth. But knowing that species reproduce under pressure from natural selection, the most reasonable conclusion would be that they are interconnected.

No scientific theory is definite. Science is not tautological like mathematics. But for the reasonable, such gradual change, not just seen across one set of fossils, but across multiple, despite the lack of a complete record, is extremely strong evidence for evolution.

Last Common Ancestor
Con has mentioned his dissent from the idea that every living organism evolved from an ancestor. I must mention that, strictly speaking, the last common ancestor is not part of the theory of evolution. Evolution is simply the change in heritable traits of a biological population over time, under the pressure of natural selection. The last common ancestor, in fact, cannot be deduced just from the theory of evolution, as the theory did not state the number of starting points. However, it is the fossils and living creature dna analysis, that show evidence for the last common ancestor. By constructing phylogenetic tree, scientist are able to connect life on earth to a single common ancestor.

Even if Con is right, and that we have multiple initial lifeforms, this does not falsify the theory of evolution one bit.

Scientific Consensus
Con has further expressed his distrust of the scientific consensus by using “geocentrism” in ancient Greece as an example. The scientific method was scarcely employed during ancient Greece, and thinkers at the time were philosophers, not scientists. Two of the biggest proponents of geocentrism, Aristotle and plato mainly base their arguments from a philosophical standpoint. Furthermore, not all philosophers believed geocentrism at that time, Aristarchus and Seleucus are good examples of heliocentric philosophers. Of course, scientific consensus have changed over time. But it didn’t change without good reason. When it shifted from newtonian mechanics to einsteinian relativity, it was because the development of better telescopes lead them to new evidence that contradicted newton. As the evidence continue to pile up, relativity replaced newtonian mechanics. It can therefore be said, that scientific consensus is a good overview of the amount of evidence of a particular theory.

Again, I thank Con for his time. I cannot wish the debate to be more civil, informative, and engaging.
Debate Round No. 3


I would like to thank the Pro for understanding the insufficiency of my argument in round 3. In this round, I would like to respond to the pro's arguments, and conclude my debate.

The criteria for inclusion in a regular curriculum for Biology classes
In your previous argument you have stated, "Even if Con's skepticism on evolution is indeed correct, the theory should still be taught, but the teacher should state where the controversy is." Looking at Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (I'm using California as an example), you can see that the school imposes the views that evolution is correct, but there is no requirement that states that teachers must also teach that there are controversies. Of course, this is understandable. Standards/regular curriculum cannot include every controversy, since it may make the class unnecessarily hard. However, this is giving theory of evolution precedence over Creationism, which is exactly what I stated was wrong in my first argument. To clarify, I am against the inclusion of evolution into biology classes, because it does not state the controversies clearly enough.

Biological evolution accounts for the diversity of species developed through gradual
processes over many generations. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know both genetic variation and environmental factors are causes of
evolution and diversity of organisms.
b. Students know the reasoning used by Charles Darwin in reaching his conclusion
that natural selection is the mechanism of evolution.
c. Students know how independent lines of evidence from geology, fossils, and
comparative anatomy provide the bases for the theory of evolution.
d. Students know how to construct a simple branching diagram to classify living
groups of organisms by shared derived characteristics and how to expand the
diagram to include fossil organisms.
e. Students know that extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes
and the adaptive characteristics of a species are insufficient for its survival.

4. Evidence from rocks allows us to understand the evolution of life on Earth. As a
basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know Earth processes today are similar to those that occurred in the past
and slow geologic processes have large cumulative effects over long periods of
b. Students know the history of life on Earth has been disrupted by major catastrophic
events, such as major volcanic eruptions or the impacts of asteroids.
c. Students know that the rock cycle includes the formation of new sediment and
rocks and that rocks are often found in layers, with the oldest generally on the
d. Students know that evidence from geologic layers and radioactive dating indicates
Earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old and that life on this planet has existed
for more than 3 billion years.
e. Students know fossils provide evidence of how life and environmental conditions
have changed.
f. Students know how movements of Earth's continental and oceanic plates through
time, with associated changes in climate and geographic connections, have affected
the past and present distribution of organisms.
g. Students know how to explain significant developments and extinctions of plant
and animal life on the geologic time scale.

f. Students know how to use comparative embryology, DNA or protein sequence
comparisons, and other independent sources of data to create a branching diagram
(cladogram) that shows probable evolutionary relationships.
g. Students know how several independent molecular clocks, calibrated against each
other and combined with evidence from the fossil record, can help to estimate
how long ago various groups of organisms diverged evolutionarily from one

How we Connect to Species
I was not able to find the information you discussed here in your list of sources. It would be most helpful if you will clarify the sources in your next argument.

You have mentioned that DNA evolves slowly from older species to younger species. Then how do you explain the disagreements between morphological evolution and molecular evolution?

Discordance between morphological and molecular evidence
Certain species that do not share common ancestor have very similar alleles. This is inconsistent with the theory of molecular evolution. Neutral evolution would explain this, but neutral evolution states that most molecular evolution happens due to mutation and chance. The simplified version of DNA sequence that you have presented is clearly based on natural selection as well, seeing how there is a pattern to the evolution. If neutral evolution was true, then the DNA in fossil records would be much more random.

Last common ancestor
You have said, "I must mention that, strictly speaking, the last common ancestor is not part of the theory of evolution." However, as you can see from Biology class curriculum I have included earlier in the argument, evolution curriculum does deal with last common ancestor. The topic of the debate is not whether evolution is true or not, but whether evolution must be a regular curriculum in biology classes.
As for your argument about DNA evidence, I was not able to find the source that you used. I would be most delighted if you will post the link for me in your next argument.

Scientific Consensus
You have mentioned that ancient Greeks were not scientists by today's standards. I do agree that Greek methods of approaching matter were heavily based on philosophy. Yet, it shows the susceptibility of "intellectual community" to false but convincing conclusion.

Also, in your first round, you have mentioned that since 97% of scientists agree with evolution, evolution is well supported. However, as you said, evidence will continue to pile up. Evolution may one day be disproved. Because such cases were numerous throughout the history of science, scientific consensus does not prove evolution, nor support it. It merely states that many scientists support evolution.

Evolution is a theory that encompasses many topics and has many controversies. My initial topic of debate, "Should evolution be a part of regular curriculum for schools", and my stance, are based on the fact that evolution curriculum implies that evolution is a proven fact, and ignores all controversies. Many elements of evolution can be explained by Creationism, which is no more a faith than evolution, since evolution cannot sufficiently explain beginning of life.

This will be my concluding round. To conclude, I would like to express my gratitude one final time for the Pro's willingness to debate the topic with significant knowledge and politeness. I enjoyed this debate, and I hope that this had been a learning and fun experience for both the Pro and the Con.


As all good things come to an end, we have came to the concluding round of this satisfying debate. In this round, I will first offer rebuttal to Con’s arguments, then provide an overview of the debate and present my final remarks.

The criteria for inclusion in a regular curriculum for Biology classes

Con has continuously updated and clarified his arguments throughout the debate, and I am grateful for that. In his concluding round, he clarified that he is “against the inclusion of evolution in biology class, because it does not state the controversies clearly enough.” In his earlier rounds, he stated that “only a small portion of it is controversial.” I shall offer four points against his argument.

Firstly, as 97% of scientists approve of evolution. Con can argue that evolution is wrong, but to call evolution controversial with a 97% scientific consensus is unjustified. Indeed, evolution is not controversial, at least not on the areas Con mentioned. The theory itself, the mechanism of it, is well justified and well documented. Rather, the true controversy lies in the application of the theory to the specifics. For example, are the apple maggots speciation a result of cross species breeding?

Secondly, almost every piece of scientific knowledge is controversial in some minute detail. In high school organic chemistry, students learn that there is a energy barrier to bond rotations. Many forces have been identified as reasons behind the energy barrier, but no iron-clad conclusions have made yet. Should we not teach such an essential and necessary principle to understand stereochemistry? Surely, the whole should not be abandoned just because a very small part is not certain or well-taught enough.

Thirdly, if Con finds that the controversies are not stated clearly enough, what he should do is to amend and include the controversies in the curriculum, and not throw out the mass majority of basic, essential, easy to grasp concepts in biology.

Lastly, Con has specifically stated that the controversy lies in the idea of the “last common ancestor”, and is not happy about its consideration as a fact. To rebutt my point about the last common ancestor as something strictly separate from evolution, he insisted that it was included in the biology curriculum he posted. However, for readers who have carefully read the curriculum, it was in no where included.

Final Rebuttals to anti-evolutionary arguments

Con has raised a new argument in his concluding round, stating that the discordance between morphological and molecular evidence as inconsistencies with the theory of molecular evolution, and offered neutral evolution as an alternative.

Perhaps unbeknownst to Con, the full name for neutral evolution is the neutral theory of molecular evolution. Neutral evolution is an element of molecular evolution, and not an alternative. And in addition, mutation and chance is essential in all forms of molecular evolution, not just neutral evolution.

Furthermore, this particular controversy is of no importance to the debate. To clarify, DNA are information for the synthesis of proteins, which directs an organism’s function and structures. Proteins are a sequence of amino acids, and every three DNA nucleotide codes for one of twenty amino acids. However, multiple combinations of DNA can code for the same amino acid. As such, there are more than one way of “writing” the protein, and these are known as alleles. Consider this analogy: An organism is the content of an essay, the proteins are the words, and the amino acids are the letters. What different alleles ultimately changes is only the font of the essay (in most cases), the content — the organism itself is unchanged. So ultimately, this is irrelevant to what is discussed in biology classes — evolution between the species. This is in fact confirmed by the proposer of neutral evolution Motoo Kimura, that phenotypic (observable) evolution is controlled by natural selection.

As stated by Con, the simplified DNA I provided should be much more chaotic, but such nitpicking at an grossly simplified example I called “extremely unrigorous” in notation shows little. The example is used just for better illustration of slow and gradual change of DNA.

*I apologize to Con for forgetting to post my source for that, I will do so this round. However, I must urge Con not to cite academic articles in which only the abstract is free to view, while the whole paper costs $6 to rent.

Final Rebuttal to the distrust of scientific consensus

Con has stated that ancient greek philosophers “shows the susceptibility of the "intellectual community" to false but convincing conclusion.” This is irrelevant to the scientific consensus, as the philosophers are not experts in science/geography. There is little difference to saying that the literature intellectual community can be misled with false scientific hypothesis.

Certainly, countless scientific theories have been falsified. But in each instance, the scientific consensus swayed as the evidence piled up. Every scientific theory in existence can be falsified, should we not teach any of them? No. As long as conclusive evidence is not demonstrated against them, the theory is where the evidence points to, and the knowledge that should be passed on and improved upon if later falsified.

Overview and Conclusion

At the start of the debate, three criteria for inclusion are stated, and the only one Con thinks evolution failed is: “Be scientific, and correct (at least be very close to truth in a lot of cases, think newtonian mechanics).” Con has lately affirmed a very large part of evolution, so it is agreed by both sides that evolution has met all criteria for inclusion in biology classes.

Con has specifically stated his distrust of what he called “macroevolution”, which he initially defined on the species level. I have demonstrated that species level evolution did happen, which Con agreed to. I have also demonstrated genus level evolution with the whale example, something Con disagreed with but offered no rebuttals.

Con later cited a anthropology professor that speciation has never been observed. This is shown false with the London mosquito example, again no rebuttals were offered.

During his concluding round, Con clarified that he is against the teaching of creationism because controversies are not clearly stated. The numerous, un-rebutted evidences I have provided shows that the concerns of Con are no controversies. Even if they are, it is unreasonable to abandon the whole for a minute problem.

Finally, Con offered a real, but irrelevant controversy — neutral evolution, but has inaccurately used it as evidence against molecular evolution. The proposer of the neutral evolution has also affirmed natural selection as the force behind high school, phenotypic evolution.

Throughout this debate, evolution has been demonstrated to be theory and fact, and is mutually agreed to fit all criteria for inclusion in the regular biology curriculum. Thus, the topic is resolved in favor of Pro — Evolution must be a regular curriculum for Biology classes.

  2.;(see xi - introduction)
  3.;(see p116)

I must thank Con once more for his time and effort. I throughouly enjoyed the civil and polite atmosphere.

This concludes the debate. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by DizzyKnight 1 year ago
That's it i guess! Cheers Con!
Posted by DizzyKnight 1 year ago
Again I must apologize for the formatting of my sources. They should be numbered 1-5.
Posted by missmedic 1 year ago
Here are a few Scientific Disciplines that evolution is need to have an understand of, there are biology, geology, and astronomy, this understanding comes through reason.
Creationism is supernatural knowledge that can only be acquired through faith.
The Oxford Concise English Dictionary, gives two distinct meanings for faith:
"1) complete trust or confidence, and 2) strong belief in a religion based on spiritual conviction rather than proof." A scientist's "faith" is built on experimental proof. The two meanings of the word "faith," therefore, are not only different, they are exact opposites.
Posted by Theunkown 1 year ago
" If evolution is a belief, and creationism is a belief, why should one take precedence over another? "
If you dont believe one should be given priority since both are just 'beliefs', then why in the world are you a creationist?
Posted by DizzyKnight 1 year ago
My apologies to Pro regarding the link for source 2. Here's the corrected link:
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