The Instigator
SnoopyDaniels
Pro (for)
Losing
70 Points
The Contender
jjmd280
Con (against)
Winning
102 Points

Evolution, the theory that all life is the result of purely undirected processes, is probably false.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/18/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 8,067 times Debate No: 4135
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (123)
Votes (29)

 

SnoopyDaniels

Pro

Science is a methodological approach to understanding the properties and behaviors of the physical world. The scientific method relies on hypothesizing based on already known facts, making predictions based on this hypothesis, and testing the hypothesis via experimentation. The scientific "truth" is that scientific theory which best explains the phenomenon in question, where "best" is defined as "most adequate." Unfortunately, this can often be subjective. Nevertheless, when applicable cases arise, mathematics can be useful in determining the explanatory power of a particular theory.

Evolution is just such a case. Thanks to recent discoveries about the digital code contained in DNA and the protein products of that code, it is now possible to quantify the probabilities of such structures arising by chance. In a competition between Evolution and Intelligent Design (the hypothesis that the genetic information contained in DNA is the result of an intelligent cause, as opposed to an undirected one) Evolution fails the mathematical test completely. As humans, we know that intelligent agents can assemble digital code with relative ease. In other words, we already know that intelligence is causally adequate to explain the origin of biological information. Evolution is quite a different matter.

It has been postulated that the physics of chemistry are virtually "rigged" to produce life. Many scientists view this as a foregone conclusion. However, there is little scientific evidence to back this up. The idea that the laws of chemistry virtually guarantee life was pioneered by Dr. Dean Kenyon, who co-authored the book "Chemical Predestination." He has since renounced the idea, based on a lack of evidence. It is true that chemical attractions exist between the sugar and phosphorus of nucleotides, but no attraction exists between the nucleotide bases. It has also been pointed out that, if such an attraction existed, it would result in predictable repetitions in the DNA code, which would make life impossible, not probable.

Thus, evolutionists are left with pure chance as an explanation for the first living organism. Fortunately for us, it is possible to quantify, at least to a degree, such probabilities. For any DNA sequence of a given length there are a limited number of base pair combinations that will produce functional proteins. According to Dr. Stephen Meyer, who wrote a comprehensive article on the subject of the Cambrian Explosion entitled "The Origin of Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories" (link provided below) the ratio of functional to non-functional nucleotide base sequences coding for a relatively small 100 amino acid protein is an astonishing 1 in 10^65. For an average size protein 150 amino acids in length, the probability drops further to 1 in 10^77.

These probabilities are so low that abiogenesis begins to sound absurd. Still, the earth is extremely old, a fact around which evolutionists have formed their own kind of religion, wherein God is simply replaced by "time." Time, according to these temporal neophytes, makes even the most ridiculous impossibilities possible. There is a problem, though. According to evolutionists themselves, life was represented exclusively by single celled organisms for around 3.5 billion years of earth's history. Then, suddenly, around 500 million years ago, at least half of the current 40 animal phyla mysteriously appeared in the fossil record. There were virtually no fossil predecessors to any of these animals in older strata. Even the oldest estimate of the length of the Cambrian explosion puts it at a piddling 15 million years. In other words, the billions of years that evolutionists have been hiding behind for decades has vanished.

Still, 15 million years may seem like quite a bit of time, that is, until one actually explores the biomolecular implications of the explosion. The jump from single to multicelled organisms is not to be taken lightly. Multi-celled organisms require specialization of cells. In a sponge, one of the most simple multi-celled organisms, there are four basic cell types. Each cell type requires its own unique array of proteins in addition to the basic proteins required for all life. This means that in a period of 15 million years at the MOST, countless proteins, each representing a miraculous improbability of 1 in 10^65 power at least, would have had to arise RANDOMLY and CONCURRENTLY. This is simply beyond what any rational human being can be expected to believe.

Another incredible aspect of the Cambrian explosion, in addition to the jump from single to multi-celled organisms, is that of novel animal forms. Animals of radically different shape require cells of different shapes and sizes, as well as function. The shape of cells is determined by the arrangement of the cytoskeleton and its constituent parts, such as the centriole, and protein anchors in the plasma membrane. While many of these protein parts are coded for by DNA, their precise arrangement is not. Thus, the shape of the cell is not determined by DNA. (See citation 2) Instead, cells inherit their shape from their parent cell. The arrangement of protein anchors, for example, is simply the result of the pinching off of a portion of the plasma membrane of the parent cell during cytokinesis to form the plasma membrane of the daughter cell. The implications of this are enormous. If a cell's shape is not determined by DNA, or solely by DNA, then no matter how much time was available for a population's DNA to mutate, it would NEVER result in the novel animal forms that arose during the Cambrian Explosion.

Thus, not only is Evolution improbable relative to Intelligent Design (and, by extension, inferior) it is also biochemically IMPOSSIBLE. Considering the complexity and specificity of the information contained in the cell and the fact that intelligence is the only KNOWN cause of information, it is FAR more probable that, if evolution occurred at all, it was guided by intelligence. Ergo, Intelligent Design.

There are a number of objections I have encountered to the theory of Intelligent Design in the past few years. One of these is that Intelligent Design is too simple, and that its acceptance would bring an end to a whole field of biology. However, as Chet Raymo pointed out "If something can be explained simply, in a familiar way, then it is best to avoid more exotic explanations." Inventing exotic explanations is the province of UFO enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists the world over, and should have no place in science. But t his is precisely what has happened. Rather than using the most obvious explanation, intelligence, scientists have invented a wildly exotic explanation for life, one that attempts to explain away information itself.

Another objection that is frequently fielded is "But science can't touch God! It can't go touch the supernatural. Science deals with materialistic explanations only." This statement betrays a basic lack of understanding of Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design makes no reference to God, only to intelligence. God is, indeed, supernatural, but as each of us knows, intelligence is not at all supernatural. The real source of this objection is not scientific, but ideological. Intelligent Design has unmistakable theistic implications, and atheists don't like that. As a result, they attack Intelligent Design by saying that it's just "Re-heated Creationism" and "A covert attempt to get Creation back in the classroom. If one takes this stance toward ID, then one must take a similar stance toward Evolution. Evolution has atheistic implications, and could just as easily be a covert effort to get atheism taught in the classroom as fact. That is precisely what has happened.

1. http://www.discovery.org...
2. Harold, F.M. 2001. The way of the cell: molecules, organisms, and the order of life. Oxford University Press, New York
jjmd280

Con

I appreciate that my opponent directed this topic my way. I am honored. Besides religion, science that counters religion is my favorite topic. ;-) I know that this will be a spirited but respectful debate.

I have distilled my opponent's points to make reference easier.

1.Science is subjective.
2.Since man can write a computer program, ID can explain the origin of life.
3.Since a scientist turned creationist backpedals on his own abiogenesis theory, then evolution is bunk.
4.Probability says evolution (and abiogenesis) is impossible.
5.Cambrian Explosion at 15 million years was too short, no fossils from Precambrian, too many protein combos to account for, "Reasonable people" can't understand it, so it must be false.
6. Cell shape (protein anchors) are not solely specified by DNA, multicellular animals require specialized cell types, these types could never arise as a result of evolution.
7.Evolution is mindless- cells contain information, so ID is the only way it could have gotten there.
8.ID is simpler than evolution, which is in the realm of UFOs, and the New World Order. ID is obvious- why investigate when the answer is right there. Evolution is exotic.
9.ID should be accepted, since opposition to it is ideological, not scientific, since ID implies God, or a Higher Intelligence. If we teach evolution, we are teaching atheism.

Before I begin on the counterpoints, I have issue with the primary resolution.
The resolution that my opponent has written, besides using loaded wording- "the theory that all life is the result of PURELY UNDIRECTED processes", is patently false, and purposefully misleading.

I must clarify for my readers what evolution is. Evolution is the process by which species of organisms arise from earlier life forms and undergo change over time through natural selection. As I will show below, the key is natural selection- not an undirected process at all. Also, evolution as a process, is a fact - the theory of evolution describes this process - an important distinction.

On top of this, my opponent has lumped abiogenesis in with evolution. Evolution deals with life after it has already been established, not how it became established. Abiogenesis deals with the origin of life. The idea that these two theories are not to be confused with each other is fundamental to the correct understanding of evolution.

So, in order that we are on the same page, I must request that my opponent apply the correct scientific definition to the resolution - and furthermore, I will ignore the smoke screen he is attempting to put up with abiogenesis, and ask the reader to do the same.

Onto my arguments.

1.
First, my opponent says - "The scientific "truth" is that scientific theory which best explains the phenomenon in question, where "best" is defined as "most adequate." Unfortunately, this can often be subjective.

This statement is misleading. When Snoopy says that scientific theories are subjective, he intends to lead you to believe they can not be trusted- - but he neglects to say that all science, before it is accepted, goes through the process of peer review- nothing is published until a multitude of qualified individuals with nothing to gain test the theory. Why do they do this?- to rule out subjectivity, the very thing he accuses them of. Evolution is a theory and a fact because it has stood up to time. It answers a question, and is predictable and practical. Intelligent design doesn't.

2.
Not relevant to evolution.

3.
How does one man's erroneous theory disprove all of evolution? It doesn't. It disproves one of many theories of abiogenesis. Thus, no need to counter further.

4.
My opponent has a novel way of looking at evolution - via probability . He sets up the problem well - but falters when he applies it to evolution. Evolution just does not work in the manner suggested by my opponent.

Chance does play a part in evolution (for example, in the random mutations that can give rise to new traits), but evolution does not depend on chance to create organisms, proteins or other entities. Quite the opposite: natural selection, the principal known mechanism of evolution, harnesses nonrandom change by preserving "desirable" (adaptive) features and eliminating "undesirable" (nonadaptive) ones. As long as the forces of selection stay constant, natural selection can push evolution in one direction and produce sophisticated structures in surprisingly short times.

As an analogy, consider the 13-letter sequence "TOBEORNOTTOBE." Those hypothetical million monkeys, each pecking out one phrase a second, could take as long as 78,800 years to find it among the 2613 sequences of that length. But in the 1980s Richard Hardison of Glendale College wrote a computer program that generated phrases randomly while preserving the positions of individual letters that happened to be correctly placed (in effect, selecting for phrases more like Hamlet's, and accurately representing natural selection). On average, the program re-created the phrase in just 336 iterations, less than 90 seconds. Even more amazing, it could reconstruct Shakespeare's entire play in just four and a half days.
http://surge.ods.org...

Also = his calculation of odds ignores the fact that innumerable trials would have been occurring simultaneously, decreasing the validity of his argument that much more. It also implies that there is a set number of proteins, with set sequences for each protein, that are required for life. There is neither.
http://www.talkorigins.org...

5 and part of 6 -
Snoopy misrepresents the Cambrian explosion. The Cambrian explosion was the seemingly sudden appearance of a variety of evolved animals about 540 million years ago (Mya), but it was NOT the origin of complex life as we know it today. Almost none of the animal groups that people think of as groups, such as mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, and spiders, appeared in the Cambrian. The fish that appeared in the Cambrian was unlike any fish alive today. We must remember phylum is a broad class of creatures. Man belongs in Chordata - which denotes animals with backbones. There are MANY animals with backbones - from fish to bird to rat. The Cambrian was when life overcame a huge genetic hurdle - and flourished into many different body types.

http://www.americanscientist.org...
http://video.nytimes.com...

As for cell shape-Snoopy is wrong- DNA is wholly responsible for cell shape.
Although, it is not the result of DNA mutation. It is the result of cell-signaling (communication between cells) and regulated gene expression in the DNA. This is why stem cells are such a hot topic. By regulating gene expression, a multitude of differing cell types can be generated from stem cells.
http://en.wikipedia.org... ( resorting to wiki article, which is backed with several supporting documents.)

One of the first things cells evolved were the proteins needed to adhere to other cells- if they did not have this, an amoeba would have a hard time finding food.

Evidence of multicellular life from about 590 and 560 Mya (preCambrian) appears in the Doushantuo Formation in China, among other places.
http://www.peripatus.gen.nz...
http://www.pnas.org...
There are transitional fossils within the Cambrian explosion fossils. For example, there are lobopods (basically worms with legs) which are intermediate between arthropods and worms.

As I am running out of room, I will break here and resume in R2 with my counter arguments.
The sheer volume of information and evidence of evolution is utterly overwhelming - which is why I used almost all my time researching. I wish sometimes I WAS an ID proponent, lot less research involved.
Eagerly awaiting R2
Debate Round No. 1
SnoopyDaniels

Pro

I'll try to provide a list of sources in my final argument. Problem is, I don't remember where I read half of this stuff. The article I posted by Stephen Meyer is excellent, though, and cites dozens and dozens of sources (including evolutionists) in its own right.

I'm sorry you disagree with the resolution, but the definition I introduce therein is a common and widely accepted one. I also made it clear in the VERY FIRST PARAGRAPH that by "undirected" I meant "not guided by intelligence." Natural
selection is not random, but I'm not questioning the role of natural selection, I am questioning the ability of RANDOM MUTATION to produce traits that natural selection can then act upon.

Parroting evolutionist propaganda does not constitute an argument. Evolution is not a fact. It is a fact that I have a guitar in my room. From this fact you might reasonably infer that I like music. However, the presence of a guitar in my room could just as easily be the result of a lack of storage space forcing my dad to keep it in my room. No matter how reasonable an inference may seem, it can never constitute fact, especially when other evidence demonstrates it to be untenable, which is the very issue we are debating here. Evolution may be true, but it cannot be fact.

I have not "lumped" abiogenesis in with evolution. Any comprehensible theory of the origin of life must include a theory of how life began. Indeed, one of the possible definitions of evolution IS abiogenesis. Furthermore, regardless of whether or not we include abiogenesis in our definition, the same problems that plague abiogenesis plague evolution, so your case would not be any easier. You have nothing to complain about.

Since you have so conveniently numbered your albeit failed attempt to boil down my arguments, I shall use the same system of numbering my responses.

1. First of all, I never said that scientific theories are subjective. What I DID say was that the process of determining which theory best explains a phenomenon CAN be subjective. Science is not a matter of trust. There is no reason for any of us to take scientific propositions at face value, and indeed, the whole discipline of science DEPENDS on skepticism and questioning current scientific assumptions. That is certainly what Darwin did, and what he is so revered for. The idea that we should somehow believe everything scientists tell us because of the peer review process is preposterous. Peer review is only as objective as the peers that do the reviewing, and the scope of their knowledge limited to what they've been taught and believe to be true. They are every bit as susceptible to bias and prone to error as you and I.

2. The fact that intelligence is the only source we've ever observed to produce information is INTENSELY relevant to evolution. Until he goes searching for more exotic and complex explanations, it is the duty of a scientist to exhaust simpler explanations. That's where the quote by Chet Raymos comes in. In other words, evolution is not necessary to
explain life, since we already know of a force that can produce the information required for life: intelligence.

3. Unfortunately, current theories of abiogenesis--and biology classrooms--still draw heavily from the work of Dean Kenyon. Besides, I never said that his erroneous theory DID disprove evolution, (there you go twisting my arguments again) only that one of the best theories of abiogenesis to date has been discredited by the very man who pioneered it.

4. True, natural selection is not random, and I never said it was. However, natural selection CAN'T SELECT ANYTHING until a COMPLETELY RANDOM PROCESS, mutation, produces something of reproductive value. This fact renders Hardison's experiment completely void because his program did something that natural selection cannot do, which is to select random mutations that represent progress toward a useful protein. Natural selection can only select for completed useful sequences, not sequences of DNA that an INTELLIGENT AGENT would recognize as progress
toward an evolutionary goal. Natural selection does nothing to overcome the mathematical hurtles presented by random mutation.

"It also implies that there is a set number of proteins, with set sequences for each protein, that are required for life. There is neither."

Both constraints do indeed exist. It is a demonstrable fact that a vast majority of DNA sequences do not result in successful protein synthesis, which means that there is a set number of useful sequences of any given length that will produce proteins. Even evolutionist scientists recognize this.

I'm having to delete arguments in order to make all of this fit, so I'll respond to the talkorigins article later if need be.

5. You are correct that the phyla in the Cambrian did not necessarily represent modern organisms. That's not the point. The point is that life went from being almost exclusively single celled to being enormously complex and diverse, relatively speaking. Consider a hypothetical but realistic Cambrian organism that has just four different types of cells. Let's be ridiculously conservative and assume that each cell required just five unique proteins of 150 amino acids in length. Since each of these proteins represents a conservative 1 in 10^77 power probability then the overall probability of this organism arising by random mutation would be 1 in 10^1540 power. To put that probability in perspective, scientists estimate that there are only 10^127 power atoms in the ENTIRE KNOWN UNIVERSE. In other words, you have a ten-fold better chance of picking one atom out of all the atoms in the universe than random mutation has of producing just 20 new functional proteins. Even if we incorporate the number of trials based on an extremely liberal but arbitrary figure representing the number of organisms on earth at the time, let's say 1,000,000,000,000,000, you still have only a 1 in 10^1525 probability, which is STILL more than ten times less probable than choosing a single atom from all the atoms in the universe.

6. While it is true that body plan is produced during ontogeny by chemical relays, these relays depend heavily
on the womb or egg in which it develops. For example, the position of the head in relation to the body of a fruit fly depends on chemical exchanged between the corresponding part of the fly's body and the tissue of the surrounding egg sack. This is to say that, in order for an organism to develop its characteristic body plan, it requires an organism of the same shape and genetic makeup. DNA can produce tubulin subunits and centrisomes all day long, but it will
never dictate the arrangement of either, and it is that arrangement that dictates the shape of the cell.

It is interesting that you refer to controlled gene expression. Where did the proteins that regulate the genes
that produce the proteins that regulate the genes come from? The protein inhibitor can't exist exist without the DNA to manufacture it and a cell can't survive producing useless proteins in excess. So far the only explanation you and your
fellow evolutionists have been able to offer is "It was a very slow process that began with simpler organisms and gradually progressed to more complex ones."

Similar explanations are offered for the gradual evolution of other complex biological structures and organisms. The terms "functional pathway" and "cooption" are thrown around frequently, but evolutionists have yet to present ONE SINGLE SOLITARY step by step process by which, for example, a land mammal could evolve into a whale. One would
think, though, that before a theory can be considered viable, it would have to explain these kinds of problems in detail. One would also think that with all of the in-depth hard-hitting research that evolutionists apparently do (as opposed to the lazy ID proponents) that they would have come up with a more satisfactory and thorough answer than "
jjmd280

Con

Evolution has been around as a fact for 148 years, in basic form since 6 th C BC – all I CAN do is "parrot" the information. If I had a new, novel approach, I wouldn't be here on Debate.org. I'd be picking up my Nobel prize.

In order to be clear, I will continue my arguments from R1, then I will address my opponents R2.

7.Evolution is mindless- cells contain information, so ID is the only way it could have gotten there.

Correct – evolution is completely mindless. There is no goal. It is a product of genetic mutation and natural selection. The mutations are random, usually resulting from outside influence, such as radiation, chemical exposure, viruses, or hypermutation, a the process that affects only immune cells,in which we achieve immunity to pathogens. (This is not passed in the genes to offspring.) But natural selection, the "action" of evolution, is not random.
An example – ID loves talking about the eye, so I'll begin there. Let's say, that there is a species of worm that is eyeless. As a result of some outside influence, say radiation, a mutation in its genes occurs. Now this is not apparent in Worm A, but when it reproduces with another worm, the offspring all exhibit the mutation – a light sensitive cell near its head, Also remember that the population of worms around Worm A are also subject to mutation from the same influence, but as mutations are random, other genes are affected, producing other random mutations – for example, most mutations are neutral – the offspring show no change from the parents; and some are detrimental, some worms now glow in the dark, some have two heads, and some are born inside out. (This is MY story, work with me here.) I must note that a majority of mutations are actually harmful – it is a rare mutation that is beneficial. So, all the worms that got the short end of the evolutionary stick are doomed. The receivers of the neutral mutations have exactly the same chance of success as their parents did. But those rare ones with eye spots – they are better equipped to find food now, since they can sense light, dark and movement. They are better able to evade predators, and they can better find the algae they feed on, by following the light. They breed with each other, their genes are passed along, their population grows, and as they compete with the eyeless worms, they push them to extinction. Viola – Random mutation and natural section equal evolution.
The above is a simplistic representation, I know, but shows my point. The information in a cell is selected for, it requires no outside intelligence, unless you consider the Sun intelligent.

Snoopy - I am questioning the ability of RANDOM MUTATION to produce traits that natural selection can then act upon.
For your answer, see above.

8 ID is simpler than evolution, which is in the realm of UFOs, and the New World Order. ID is obvious- why investigate when the answer is right there. Evolution is exotic.

This is nonsense. Evolution explains without a designer. Why make up a designer when there is no need for one?
To quote Chet Raymo -
"Let's get this straight once and for all: Evolution by natural selection is not a theory. It is a fact! Scientists are not slavishly attached to Darwinism because of some anti-religious prejudice or desire to evade God's moral law, as the fundamentalist preachers insist, but because it is a logical necessity."
Mr Raymo's use of Occam's razor is correct, but there is another aspect of it – If a current scientific theory adequately explains something, it is foolish to trash it and make up something else. ID explains nothing – saying something intelligent did it begs the question – what something? Where did that something come from? We can observe and test evolution. You can't do either in ID. I will delve deeper into why ID is bogus later.

9.ID should be accepted, since opposition to it is ideological, not scientific, since ID implies God, or a Higher Intelligence. If we teach evolution, we are teaching atheism.

You can accept it all you want, it does not mean it is true. Where, praytell, is God denied in Evolutionary Theory? He isn't. We could just as well say God is the cause of abiogenesis, then allow evolution to take over. This is what many Christians do. Opposition to evolution is scientific – because ID is not scientific. ID is not falsifiable. A good scientist would reject or revise the evolutionary theory based on the facts that are progressively presented. In fact, evolutionary theory has been revised many times over and will continue to be revised in the future as the facts demand. This is not, as it might first appear, a weakness, but in fact an example of the scientific process at work. Science accepts nothing as 100% proven and is always ready to change its mind when new information is discovered.
Evolution and God are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Many religious people reject evolution because they believe it denies God, and particularly his role in the creation of life. In fact science is agnostic and evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life. It simply posits that life can and has changed over time. The evidence that supports evolution is inconsistent with the literal interpretation of many creation stories, implying these stories need to be understood allegorically. But something can be allegorical and still be true.

R2 -

Evolution is indeed a fact. Evolution has been observed. Please see links–
http://www.talkorigins.org...
http://www.newscientist.com...
Quote from article -
Lenski's experiment is also yet another poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists, notes Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago. "The thing I like most is it says you can get these complex traits evolving by a combination of unlikely events," he says. "That's just what creationists say can't happen."

"Evolution may be true, but it cannot be fact."
What?!
A fact is defined as something that is true, something that actually exists, or something having objective reality that can be verified according to an established standard of evaluation.
Evolution meets this definition. Only the theory (the explanation) is open for debate.

Snoopy -
In other words, evolution is not necessary to explain life, since we already know of a force that can produce the information required for life: intelligence.
Intelligence is not a force in its own right- it is an attribute of a conscience . There is no proof of such a conscience – so your point is moot.

So why is ID not science? Several reasons.

A scientific hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable. ID is neither. It offers no testable predictions at all - it makes no checkable claims about how to identify design, who the designer is, what the designer's goals and motives are, what the mechanism of design is, or when and where the design takes place. In fact, it makes no positive claims whatsoever, other than the hopelessly vague assertion that some intelligent being played a role in the diversification of life.
A scientific hypothesis must be naturalistic - ID is not. An intelligent designer would be supernatural.
A scientific hypothesis is almost always fertile, suggesting new areas to study and expand our knowledge and giving rise to new hypotheses in turn. ID does not do this; it is scientifically sterile. It explains observed facts in an ad hoc way but suggests no surprising consequences, nowhere to focus our efforts on next, and cannot be used to derive further predictions.

Science cannot explain everything at present – but we should never use the unscientific to explain what we do not know. The Theory of evolution is far from complete - more answers are revealed all the time. But to say "an Intelligence designed it" begs the question - Where do you go from there?
Stifling, to say the least.
Debate Round No. 2
SnoopyDaniels

Pro

"all I CAN do is "parrot" the information. If I had a new, novel approach, I wouldn't be here on Debate.org. I'd be picking up my Nobel prize."

Fair enough, but you could still avoid sneaking pure propaganda such as "Evolution is a fact" into your arguments.

7. I believe I addressed this argument already as well. Of course natural selection isn't random. But in your thought experiment, you completely ignore the mathematical improbabilities of random mutations producing the proteins required for a light sensitive cell in the first place. Until the completely random process of mutation produces something useful, which is mathematically impossible, natural selection has nothing to act upon. Until you address this question I might as well not waste my time responding to your arguments.

8. "This is nonsense. Evolution explains without a designer. Why make up a designer when there is no need for one?"

Who's talking about "making up" a designer? The evidence IMPLIES a designer.

"If a current scientific theory adequately explains something, it is foolish to trash it and make up something else."

That's the whole point! Evolution DOESN'T adequately explain life as we know it because it does not explain information. This is a huge weakness, because, unlike Darwin, we know that information is the very BASIC STUFF OF LIFE. How can you possibly say that evolution is adequate to explain life when it can't even explain the very basic feature of all living organisms? If our audience takes nothing else away from this debate, remember that last point.

"ID explains nothing – saying something intelligent did it begs the question – what something? Where did that something come from? We can observe and test evolution. You can't do either in ID. I will delve deeper into why ID is bogus later."

Just exactly how are chance and time any better explanations than intelligence? At least intelligence can account for the information in cells, which is more than evolution can do. All evolutionists say is that "there is so much time that there is no need to explain it." Talk about intellectual laziness.

I find it very interesting that Francis Crick, one of the two scientists who first discovered DNA, actually suggested Intelligent Design as an explanation. He believed that aliens seeded life on earth, but at least he realized that something other than blind chance was required to explain the specified complexity of the DNA molecule.

9. "ID should be accepted, since opposition to it is ideological, not scientific, since ID implies God, or a Higher Intelligence. If we teach evolution, we are teaching atheism."

To illustrate how completely convoluted your "summary" is, let me quote what I ACTUALLY said.

"Another objection that is frequently fielded is "But science can't touch God! It can't go touch the supernatural. Science deals with materialistic explanations only."...The real source of this objection is not scientific, but ideological. Intelligent Design has unmistakable theistic implications, and atheists don't like that. As a result, they attack Intelligent Design by saying that it's just "Re-heated Creationism" and "A covert attempt to get Creation back in the classroom. If one takes this stance toward ID, then one must take a similar stance toward Evolution. Evolution has atheistic implications, and could just as easily be a covert effort to get atheism taught in the classroom as fact. That is precisely what has happened."

I was responding to an argument against ID, not trying to prove ID based on the fact that it faces ideological opposition. Why don't you actually read my argument and try to respond to it instead of misrepresenting it in order to knock it down?

----------------------

"Evolution is indeed a fact. Evolution has been observed. Please see links-"

The idea that speciation proves evolution is a common misconception among evolutionists, and one that the scientific community has done nothing to curtail. What talkorigins is talking about is microevolution. Unlike macroevolution, microevolution does not require the addition of new information. Natural selection selects, from an assortment of already existing traits, those characteristics that provide them reproductive advantage in a given environment. This process results in a reduction in information, not an addition, and as such does not face the difficulties I presented earlier. I'm not arguing against speciation, I'm arguing against evoluiton. The processes involved in speciation are completely different than those required for evolution.

The second article seems impressive on the surface. However, considering the number of ways that DNA can be shared between bacteria, through the fertility factor, plasmids, and viral infusion, it is FAR more likely that this "new" adaptation came about as the result of one of these latter processes. The ability to metabolize citrate already exists in the world of bacteria, and there's no way to guarantee that this "evolutionary change" was not the result of contamination. Even if we COULD be sure, this example does not prove that bacteria can evolve slowly into a non-bacteria. It is an astounding, breathtaking logical leap to say that because a bacteria can develope the ability to metabolize citrate, a land mamal can evolve into a whale.

"Lenski's experiment is also yet another poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists"

It's also a slap in the face of logic.

"What?!
A fact is defined as something that is true, something that actually exists, or something having objective reality that can be verified according to an established standard of evaluation.
Evolution meets this definition. Only the theory (the explanation) is open for debate."

First of all, how can evolution be a fact and a theory at the same time? The theory of evolution states, among other things, that all life evolved from single celled organisms by way of random mutation and natural selection. If that theory is still open for debate, then, by definition, it cannot also be fact.

There is nothing contradictory in saying something can be true and yet not a fact. If may be true, for example, that God exists, but it will never be fact in the strict sense because there is no way to objectively verify that proposition. Since evolution supposedly took place over billions of years, and is, therefore, a historical sience, we will never be able to prove it beyond doubt. We can only make guesses, and some some perfectly excellent and reasonable guesses at that, but we will never be able to prove it absolutely.

"Intelligence is not a force in its own right- it is an attribute of a conscience . There is no proof of such a conscience – so your point is moot."

Intelligence exists all around us. There are approximately 8 billion of them on the earth at this very moment. Why does intelligence suddenly become magical and enigmatic when brought up in the context of intelligent design?

As to whether or not ID is a science, each and every one of your assertions are completely false. ID DOES make testable predictions, and far more risky ones than evolution has ever made (by the way, can you offer a single prediction made by evolutionists in the last 100 years?). For example, ID scientists have predicted that junk DNA will be found to have crucial functions. Evolutionists predicted that, since evolution is a sloppy, random process, there would be a great deal of worthless DNA throughout biological systems. Therefore, not only do you have an example of a prediction, but of a suggested area of study that evolution would have totally ignored. How embarrassing. When it comes to being scientifically sterile, evolution has a corner on the market. It has not produced one useful innovation, has failed to provide any detailed explanation of how organisms might gradually evolve these complex systems, and has appealed to BLIND CHANCE to explain the most fundamental characteristi
jjmd280

Con

Overall, this has been a challenging but enjoyable debate. I would like to thank SnoopyDaniels (SD) for directing it my way. Although I am no expert in evolution, I do know that it is a fact, as do 99% of biologists. The problem that seems to plague SD is he cannot understand how the first information came about in cells. This question is not an aspect of evolution, and saying evolution is wrong because it does not explain the origin of life is akin to claiming an umbrella is useless because it doesn't predict hurricanes.

But, I will answer some of the abiogenesis issues.
His mathematical probability fallacy – SD states a number (1 in 10^65 ) that is the likelihood of an amino acid forming on its own. Then states later "Until the completely random process of mutation produces something useful, which is mathematically impossible, natural selection has nothing to act upon." He gives a number; very small odds, yes – then, since is is so small, he calls it impossible. The math is wrong, as I have shown in my previous argument – but honestly, this infinitesimal probability did exist, and was taken advantage of. (Thank goodness for us it was) The only thing that his math shows is the the first life on earth had to be a whole lot simpler than a modern day cell. It does nothing to disprove that simple cell, though. Granted, the first reproducing life was improbable, to say the least, but nowhere near impossible. A small chance is still a chance.

SD wants me to answer the infinite regress question. (Where did the first information in cells come from?) But when faced with the same question concerning his Intelligent Designer, he does not answer. Why? Because now it becomes a product of his faith. But, SD, I need not rely on faith. These videos explain abiogenesis much better than I could. I implore you to watch them if you have the time. They directly answer your questions.

SD - Who's talking about "making up" a designer? The evidence IMPLIES a designer.
By asserting that data must have an intelligent source to be considered information, and by assuming gene sequences are information fitting that definition, SD defines into existence an intelligent source for the genome without going to the trouble of checking whether one was actually there. This is circular reasoning. Start with the answer, you can always find a question to match. (Man was intelligently designed. How was man created?) But start with a question, you need not limit yourself to one answer. AND, if later, those answers are found to be errant, you can revise, rethink, or throw them out. This is the beauty of science, and the Achilles' heel of Intelligent Design is presupposition.

If we use a semantic definition for information, we cannot assume that data found in nature is information. We cannot know a priori that it had an intelligent source. We cannot make the data have semantic meaning or intelligent purpose by simply defining it so.

SD- -If our audience takes nothing else away from this debate, remember that last point.

Yes, please remember that point. But as I have said time again, evolution is not meant to explain life, just to show how we got here from there. To take a scientific term and add your own theories to it (abiogenesis) is contemptible. Evolution is a fact, has been observed, and the only difference between micro and macro is time. To evolutionary scientists, the macro and micro are irrelevant. Evolution is also a theory – we use the theory to explain how evolution works. For example – we know gravity is a fact – but the theory of gravity is the science behind it. The fact is the "what", and the theory is the "how".

SD-
Just exactly how are chance and time any better explanations than intelligence? OR
How is evolution better than ID?

1.Well, because it can be tested, ID can't.
2.Because it doesn't answer the question before even posing it.
3.Because it contributes practically to the world.
a. Development of antibiotics.
b. Agriculture and animal husbandry.
c. In computer science, genetic algorithms, that is, a programming technique that allows the program to consider a range of possible alternatives and then evaluate them all based on their relative fitness to the problem at hand, is becoming more and more relevant. Evolutionary computing has been used to solve problems in mathematics, molecular biology, robotics, chemistry, and astrophysics.
d. Stem cell research.
e. Bioinformatics, a multi-billion-dollar industry, consists largely of the comparison of genetic sequences. Descent with modification is one of its most basic assumptions.

More - http://www.talkorigins.org...

SD - Intelligence exists all around us. There are approximately 8 billion of them on the earth at this very moment. Why does intelligence suddenly become magical and enigmatic when brought up in the context of intelligent design?

Ridiculous example. Intelligence becomes magical and enigmatic when brought up in the context of intelligent design because it answers nothing. So you say there is an intelligence – the intelligences we know of are corpreal. Where does this Ider reside? What is he?

In science – we try to figure out how stuff is made, we don't make stuff up.

It has long been known that some noncoding DNA has important functions. (This was known even before the phrase "junk DNA" was coined.) However, there is good evidence that much DNA has no function:
Sections of DNA can be cut out or replaced with randomized sequences with no apparent effect on the organism
Some sections of DNA are corrupted copies of functional coding DNA, but mutations in them, such as stop codons early in the sequence, show that they cannot have retained the same function as the coding copy.
The fugu fish has a genome that is about one third as large as its close relatives.
Mutations in functional regions of DNA show evidence of selection -- nonsilent changes occur less often that one would expect by chance. In other sections of DNA, there is no evidence that any changes are selected against.

Evolution has predicted that insect wings evolved from gills, with an intermediate stage of skimming on the water surface. Since the primitive surface-skimming condition is widespread among stoneflies, J. H. Marden predicted that stoneflies would likely retain other primitive traits, too. This prediction led to the discovery in stoneflies of functional hemocyanin, used for oxygen transport in other arthropods but never before found in insects.
Evolution predicted that organisms in heterogeneous and rapidly changing environments should have higher mutation rates. This has been found in the case of bacteria infecting the lungs of chronic cystic fibrosis patients.
With predictions such as these and others, evolution can be, and has been, put to practical use in areas such as drug discovery and avoidance of resistant pests.

And there I will draw to a close.
On first glance, the conclusion of an intelligent designer seems sound, but on closer inspection, including reading of the primary scientific-ID literature, some important points are not addressed, glossed over, or worse: misunderstood. Of course, this is the very reason why these papers are not published in mainstream scientific literature. It's not that the conclusion of an intelligent designer that is too radical for the data set; it's that the scientific basis of the work is not very well argued. It's so poorly argued in fact, that I have a hard time taking it seriously.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
123 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by KroneckerDelta 1 year ago
KroneckerDelta
Why is this debate so long? I can already tell by Pro's opening comments that they are not going to debate evolution, rather abiogenesis which has nothing to do with evolution. I'd love to vote, but there's no way I can justify wasting my time reading this debate.

Furthermore, Pro's acceptance of ID is a clear concession that evolution is correct. The only nuisance is that ID drives evolution, either way, people that believe in ID also believe in evolution just with an intent in mind (basically they agree in natural selection, just that god naturally selects things).
Posted by TheSkeptic 5 years ago
TheSkeptic
"It's one thing to go to a low-grade university that churns out printable .pdf diplomas, take a test, and regurgitate information. It's another to actually participate in a program where you are expected to understand the material so it can be used as a building block for a lifelong career dedicated to research."

Diploma Mills = DR. DINO!
Posted by TheSkeptic 5 years ago
TheSkeptic
The probability calculations supplied by creationists are flawed in understanding and method. It always amazes me when I hear creationists tell me the probability of the Big Bang or of how life started. Not only do they give a false probability prediction, where do they get such factors? Ask any statistician, to assert the probability of event X happening you need to know all the factors that will lead to it.

Creationists must be on the forefront of abiogenesis I guess.
Posted by Kleptin 5 years ago
Kleptin
And about credentials:

It's one thing to go to a low-grade university that churns out printable .pdf diplomas, take a test, and regurgitate information. It's another to actually participate in a program where you are expected to understand the material so it can be used as a building block for a lifelong career dedicated to research.

I have no doubt you got several blue ribbon-stickers for whatever passes as an examination wherever you go. The fact remains that you don't understand the material.
Posted by Kleptin 5 years ago
Kleptin
I wonder why you keep asserting that the probability of a sequence being functional is extraordinarily low. Have you so much as cracked open a book on Microbiology? Can you even explain what tRNA is?

Maybe after you answer that, we can go somewhere.
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
Snoopy, another nonfunctional example of evidence for common descent is given by retrogenes. Retrogenes are molecular remnants of a past parasitic viral infection. Occasionally, copies of a retrovirus genome are found in its host's genome, and these retroviral gene copies are
called retrogenes. Retroviruses (like the AIDS virus or HTLV1, which causes a form of leukemia) make a DNA copy of their own viral genome and insert it into their host's genome. If this happens to a germ line cell (i.e. the sperm or egg cells) the retroviral DNA will be inherited by descendants of the host. Again, this process is rare and fairly random, so finding retrogenes in identical chromosomal positions of two different species very strongly indicates common ancestry.

Next assertion -
Intelligent Design predicts that instead of gradualism, the fossil record would exhibit abruptness and saltation. The truth of this prediction is plain to be seen in the fact that evolutionists have come up with half a dozen theories to account for the lack of transitional fossil evidence.

Paleontologists are also often asked whether the fossil record supports rapid or slow change. In other words, is the pace of change "gradual" or "punctuated"? The answer is yes -- yes to both. To begin with, in Darwin's time the word "gradual" meant "step-like," much as rows of seats are set in a theater, and the word was used that way as often as it was to suggest "slow and steady" change. We see both kinds of change in the fossil record -- both extremes and many gradations in between. It is pointless to argue about words, but valuable to quantify and compare the rates of change when we can. However, neither rate of change is a challenge to Darwin's ideas, because he used the word gradual in both senses.

PARTIAL list of Transitional fossils - http://www.holysmoke.org...
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
I'm afraid you missed the point about junk DNA.

No- You seem to think that because small amount of DNA that was regarded as superfluous has been discovered to have a function, that this weakens my stance on ID. It does not.
Who discovered that SOME DNA was not junk? Evolutionary biologists. In other words, they made a prediction, tested it, and discovered it to be wrong on some accounts. They practiced SCIENCE. and after they did and revised, ID took it and ran. And of course they did, ID doesn't do it's own research.
But this does NOT mean that all this supposed "junk DNA" has a purpose. If all "junk DNA" have functions, then how come no creationist or intelligent design proponent has been able to predict what these functions are?

ID makes several errors in regard to this.
* Unwarranted Generalization(uses have been found for only few junk DNA)
* Suppressed Evidence (of the non-necessity of junk DNA)
* Denying the Antecedent (the necessity of junk DNA would not disprove evolution, or strengthen ID)

//In addition, the first article I cited demonstrates that there are vast, previously unknown differences between human and ape non-coding DNA.//

VAST differences? It does not say that! Way to misrepresent, Snoopy - it says verbatim -
Out of the 3 billion genetic letters that spell out the human genome, Yale scientists have found A HANDFUL that may have contributed to the evolutionary changes in human limbs that enabled us to manipulate tools and walk upright.
The most rapidly evolving sequence they identified, termed HACNS1, is highly conserved among vertebrate species but has accumulated variations in 16 BASE PAIRS since the divergence of humans and chimpanzees some 6 million years ago.

Why is ID not science? Because it misrepresents facts, such as a "handful" and "16 base pairs" equaling VAST differences, among other things.
Posted by SnoopyDaniels 5 years ago
SnoopyDaniels
Nobody is shrouding the truth about ID. ID proponents are simply trying to be scientifically responsible about what they can and cannot demonstrate based on the evidence. The fact that many of them are theists should not invalidate their stated position, and in the mind of any objective individual, it does not. At any rate, ID does not demand theism. As I pointed out, Crick, one of the scientists who first discovered the structure of DNA, thought that life had been seeded on earth by extraterrestrials. That is an Intelligent Design stance, but certainly not a Creationist one.

I'm afraid you missed the point about junk DNA. ID does not preclude the possibility of junk DNA out of hand, but its proponents do not ASSUME that any poorly understood portion of DNA is junk, as evolutionists clearly did. As ID predicted, that portion of DNA thought to serve no purpose is rapidly shrinking, as evidenced by the two links below:

http://opa.yale.edu...
http://www.washingtonpost.com...

To say that the similarity in junk DNA between species demonstrates their common ancestry is erroneous. There are commonalities in mammalian biological function across species. One would expect, even with an intelligent designer, that the DNA required to support these functions would be more similar than different. The similarity in junk DNA neither affirms nor denies either approach to the history of life. In addition, the first article I cited demonstrates that there are vast, previously unknown differences between human and ape non-coding DNA.

"I never went for the phrase Junk DNA anyway - I think it is deceiving and non-scientific. It assumes an absolute, which science mustn't do."

Unfortunately evolutionists DID do it, and evolutionary theory was directly to blame. ID proponents knew better. This certainly weakens your claim that ID isn't scientific.
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
My point about credentials wasn't meant as a slam. Kleptin acted like I was somehow less qualified than anyone else in this conversation.
I don't care why you said it - it was unwarranted and unnecessary. Attack Keleptin's qualifications if you wish to make a point about something he said. Leave me out of it. Clear?

ID and Creationism to you are the same thing, unless you are willing to say aliens or another type of intelligence are responsible. No need to shroud the truth.

1. Junk DNA -
Allow me to correct this misconception. There is junk DNA. Sections of DNA can be cut out or replaced with randomized sequences with no effect on the organism.
But it has long been known that some noncoding DNA has important functions. (This was known even before the phrase "junk DNA" was coined.) However, there is good evidence that much DNA has no function.
What's interesting is the similarities of junk DNA between species - and how much it supports common ancestors...
While all homologies support the idea of common descent, some biochemical homologies such as those in junk DNA provide especially strong evidence, since their very nature makes it exceedingly unlikely that they would exist for any functional reason. Common descent offers a meaningful explanation for these homologies.

I never went for the phrase Junk DNA anyway - I think it is deceiving and non-scientific. It assumes an absolute, which science mustn't do.
Posted by SnoopyDaniels 5 years ago
SnoopyDaniels
My point about credentials wasn't meant as a slam. Kleptin acted like I was somehow less qualified than anyone else in this conversation.

I agree that the probability issue has been beat dead, so let's move on to some of your questions, one at a time.

Whether or not Creationism has ever made a true prediction is irrelevant because we're not talking about Creationism, we're talking about Intelligent Design. I know that's what you meant to ask, so I'll answer it in that way. Yes, Intelligent Design makes many predictions that have turned out to be true. I already brought them up earlier, but you chose to ignore them, so I'll repeat them.

1. Intelligent Design predicts that "junk" DNA is actually not junk and will be demonstrated to accomplish a number of useful, if not crucial functions. The more research that is done on DNA the more scientists have begun to recognize that "junk" DNA isn't junk after all.
http://www.evolutionnews.org...

2. Intelligent Design predicts that instead of gradualism, the fossil record would exhibit abruptness and saltation. The truth of this prediction is plain to be seen in the fact that evolutionists have come up with half a dozen theories to account for the lack of transitional fossil evidence.

3. Intelligent Design predicts that the type-3 secretory system, which Ken Miller used to try to refute Behe's irreducible complexity argument, is actually a degraded form of the bacterial flagellum rather than ancestral to it. There is research being done to ascertain just that.

This is an article by William Dembski explaining the testability of Intelligent Design versus the testability of Evolution.
http://www.arn.org...

Here's a link to a debate on ID versus Evolution between two highly credentialed scientists.
http://video.google.com...;
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