Evolution v. Creation
Resolved: Scientific evidence strongly supports the Theory of Evolution by common descent over the "theory" of Creationism.
No semantics please. These are the definitions that will be used throughout this debate.
Theory - A well supported, conceptual framework that encompasses a large body of scientific facts, inferences, data, and observations and explains them in a coherent way (Fairbans, 2012)
Evolution - Genetic changes over many generations ultimately result in the emergence of new and different species from a single ancestral species”. (Fairbanks, 2012)
Scientific evidence - "Scientific theories are validated by empirical testing against physical observations. Theories are not judged simply by their logical compatibility with the available data. Independent empirical testability is the hallmark of science—in science, an explanation must not only be compatible with the observed data, it must also be testable. By "testable" we mean that the hypothesis makes predictions about what observable evidence would be consistent and what would be incompatible with the hypothesis. Simple compatibility, in itself, is insufficient as scientific evidence, because all physical observations are consistent with an infinite number of unscientific conjectures. Furthermore, a scientific explanation must make risky predictions— the predictions should be necessary if the theory is correct, and few other theories should make the same necessary predictions." (Douglas Theobald, 2012)
The logic of such is seen in this syllogism:
Premise 1: Theory T predicts observation O.
Premise 2: Observation O is observed
Conclusion: Therefore, theory T is probably true.
Premise 1: Theory T predicts observation O.
Premise 2: Observation O is NOT observed
Conclusion: Therefore, theory T is probably false.
Supports - The supporting evidence (see above) is consistent with the Theory of Evolution and makes evolution more probable than not.
Creationism - My opponent can define this term.
(2) Opening statements;
(1) Debater must have typing experience, internet access, and should have sufficent knowledge of the Theory of Evolution.
(2) Place your arguments and sources inside the debate
(3) Structure the debate in a readable, coherent fashion.
(4) No semantics,or trolling.
(5) Burden of proof is shared. My burden is to prove that scientific evidence supports the ToE and your job is to show that it doesn't.
(1) This is not a debate on God's existence;
(2) This is not a debate on whether the Bible is God's word;
(3) This is not a debate on the age of the earth.
Good luck and thank you for this debate.
Douglas Theobald, P. (2012, April 16). 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution, 2.89. Retrieved July 18, 2012, from Talk.Origin Archive: http://www.talkorigins.org...
Fairbanks, Daniel J. Evolving: The Human Effect and Why it Matters. Ahmester: Prometheus Books, 2012. Print.
First off, thanks to my opponent for sending me this challenge, I look forward to a very mature, educated debate.
Next up, when reading over the "Rules" portion of my opponent's opening statements, specifically under "Structure" I couldn't help but notice that round 2 was titled "Opening Statements" and round 3 "Rebuttals" Now, I'm sure its just a misunderstanding but what I inferred was that I cannot address any of your statements in the next round, and I should just brush them off until round 3? This seems a bit odd that next round I cannot address any of your statements, if you could clear that up at the beginning of the next round that would be greatly appreciated.
Now we have cleared that up I thank my opponent for the definitions, although as many notice my opponent has left me up to define Creationism. So, in the simplest form of definition from a generic dictionary website, Creationism is defined as the following;
(1) the doctrine that matter and all things were created, substantially as they now exist, by an omnipotent Creator,
and not gradually evolved or developed.
Now, in the "rules" section of my opponents debate Pro has also included this statement;
"This is not a debate on God's existence"
That is fair enough, this indeed is not a debate on the existence of God. But, as you can see with creationism comes an omnipotent creator, inferring God. Now once again this is not a debate on if God exists or not, but with creationism comes an outside force, a being bigger and more powerful than us, whether you call it God or not it doesn't matter, because that is not part of the debate. So, in this debate we will have to conclude that there is an outside force or there is an omnipotent Creator for the sake of Creationism, because you cant have creationism without a creator. Whether you call this Creator God or not it does not matter, but for my side of the debate I have to conclude that a creator exists, or else there is no point on debating this subject. And like you said in the rules, that is not debatable. I just wanted to inform my opponent and the audience that I will be referring to a Creator when talking about Creationism, I have no choice.
Once again, thank you to my opponent who seems fully prepared for what has potential to be a truly amazing debate. Good luck to my opponent and thanks to the audience for reading. I look forward to hearing your opening arguments.
Thank you for accepting this debate and I wish my opponent the best of luck. I agree with my opponent that the corollary of creationism is that God exists. However, we will leave it at that.
EVIDENCE FROM OUR BODIES
In a famous paper published in 1973, Theodosius Dobzhansky stated, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.” (Dobzhansky, 1973) In this section, and throughout the debate, we will see that his words are as true today as they were back when they were first written.
VESTIGES AND ATAVISMS
Some of the most interesting lines of evidence for evolution lies in vestigial structures and atavisms. First, we need to define our terms.
A vestigial structure is defined as an anatomical structure in which the original function is absent or reduced. (Fairbanks, 2012) Before I continue, I wish to make this clarification: a structure does not have to be functionless in order to be a vestige. As Phil Senter wrote in the Journal of Zoology: “[A] structure is considered vestigial if, in comparison with its homolog in at least three successive outgroups, it is reduced to one-third or less its size relative to adjacent structures and if at least distally it has lost the specialized morphology present in three outgroups.” (Senter, 2010)
On the other hand, an atavism is the reappearance of a lost character specific to a remote evolutionary ancestor and NOT observed in the parents or recent ancestors of the organism. (Theobald, 2012)
There are many such cases of vestigial structures such as remnants of sightless eyes – often buried under the skin – in cave fish and marsupial moles, small hind limb bones in whales and some snakes, dew claws on dogs, and a splint bone in horses. (Fairbanks, 2012) These are very interesting from a Creationist perspective. Why would God go through all that trouble and create sightless eyes? However, this makes perfect sense “in the light of evolution.”
In humans, goose bumps are a remnant of the past. Goose bumps form on your skin when tiny arrector pili muscles in the skin contract. The function of the goose bump is to raise hairs to better insulate the animal when the air is cold, or to make the animal look larger and more menacing when frightened. Although they do rise, they do very little for that purpose! (Fairbanks, 2012)
There are also many good cases of atavisms such as humans born with tails and living whales with legs! (Theobald, 2012) Why would whales even have the gene to make legs if they were specially created, let alone are sometimes born with them?
EVIDENCE IN THE GENOME
HUMAN CHROMOSOME 2 AROSE FROM A FUSION OF TWO ANCESTRAL CHROMOSOMES
All great apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes, but humans have only 23. Therefore, if we share a common ancestor with the great apes, there ought to be a fusion between two chromosomes. The second chromosome in humans is actually a fusion between two ancestral chromosomes. What is more impressive is that the fusion is right where we would expect it to be had two ancestral chromosomes fused with each other head-to-head at their telomeres.
A pseudogene is a segment of DNA resembling a gene but lacking genetic function. In other words, it is a segment of DNA that is disabled. (Fairbanks, 2012)
“Humans do not have tails, but do we have “what it takes” for a tail? Hens don’t have teeth, but they have the genes for it. With atavism, it is as if our genomes serve as archives of our evolutionary past.” (Jill U. Adams, 2009)
If creationism as my opponent believes it to be is true, then why do chickens retain the gene for making teeth and humans the gene to synthetically produce Vitamin C?
Some pseudogenes are actually beneficial. As Daniel J. Fairbanks notes in his book (Fairbanks, 2012)
Malaria is one of the most horrific human diseases. However, at one point in our evolutionary history, humans enjoyed immunity to malaria. What happened for humans to gain and lose resistance to malaria?
Malaria is caused by a microorganism known as Plasmodium falciparum. It cannot be transmitted from person to person but must be carried via a mosquitoes and acquired and transmitted when a mosquito bites a person.
Chimpanzees suffer from a less severe form of malaria caused by a microorganism called Plasmodium reichenowi. What happened is the following: The human parasite evolved from the chimp parasite by jumping hosts from humans to chimpanzees.
Plasmodium reichenowi recognizes a substance on a gene called CMAH. Our genome carries this gene and we have it in the same strand of DNA as chimpanzees do. However, the only difference is it is disabled – a pseudogene if you will. No-one has the original non-mutated version.
The mutation that disabled the CMAH gene had a distinct advantage of those that did not – they became resistant to malaria.
So, what happened? Why did we lose our resistance to malaria? The answer lies in the evolution of malaria itself. Mutations in a gene called EBA-175 allowed those parasites that carried the same mutation to recognize another substance which is abundant on human red blood cells about five to ten thousand years ago. The results: Plasmodium falciparum evolved as a new species. We are highly susceptible to this new form of malaria and the new version of malaria is much worse than the old one.
That is all the time I have for today, I will expand and post other arguments in the next round.
Dobzhansky, T. (1973, March). Nothing in Biology Makes Sense except in the Light of Evolution. The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 35, No. 3, 35(3), 125-129.
Fairbanks, D. J. (2012). Evolving: The Human Effect and Why it Matters. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books.
Jill U. Adams, P. &. (2009). Atavism: Embryology, Development and Evolution. Retrieved from Nature: http://www.nature.com...
Senter, P. (2010). Vestigial skeletal structures in dinosaurs. Journal of Zoology, 280(1), 60-71.
Theobald, D. L. (2012). 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent. Retrieved from The Talk.Origins Archive: http://www.talkorigins.org...
Thank you Pro for an interesting opening statement.
I will be "dividing" these debate in two parts, one of them contending my opponents arguments and the other me establishing my own. I will start with the contentions.
VESTIGAL STRUCTURES- They do not exist
My opponent refers to vestigial structures in his section titled "VESTIGES AND ATAVISMS" I will be arguing these so called "Vestiges"
As defined by my opponent, a vestigial structure is an anatomical structure in which the original function is absent or reduced. Then, a point brought up my most evolutionists is brought up, if creationism was indeed true, why would these exist in organisms today? If there was a creator he/she would not have made these because they are useless. Well the fact of the matter is, these "vestigial structures" do not exist.
I would like to put this quote out there: "Just because we do not understand a purpose, does not mean that one does not exist" This can be applied to the so called "vestigial structure" My opponent refers to sightless eyes found underneath the skin of cave fish and marsupial moles. Now, just because us humans do not understand the purpose of these eyes, does not mean they do not serve one. My opponent also brings up this point, and I quote "Why would whales even have the gene to make legs if they were specially created, let alone are sometimes born with them." This is a perfect example to my quote, "Just because we do not understand a purpose, doesn't not mean that one does not exist" for many decades most scientists pondered this so called vestigial structure as to why whales contain the gene to make legs. Most thought this was useless and a perfect point to the evolution theory simply because we did not understand the purpose, we thought there was not one. Later to find out that whales never had legs. The structures that were once claimed to be vestigial legs, are now known to actually be necessary for reproduction. They anchor these muscles. This structure is only found in the male, and anchor the muscles attached to the penis. -From the book Vestigial Organs are fully functional by Jerry Bergman Ph.D. and George Howe Ph.D on page 71.
Examples like these can be found all over the place, as to solutions to my opponent's arguments for goose bumps on humans, and human body hair. I will not go in to detail about all of them because of space requirements, but you can read them for yourself and other so called vestigial organs in the book Vestigial Organs are Fully Functional by Jerry Bergman Ph.D. and George Howe Ph.D. Found here http://www.angelfire.com...
Once again this has been defined by my opponent above, so I will not go in to detail about what a pseudogene actually is. So, one that note, scientists classify psuedogenes in to three parts; Unitary Pseudogenes, Duplicated Pseudogenes, and Processed Pseudogenes. These are all classified and defined in detail here: http://www.reasons.org...
Now, my opponent like with vestigial structures argues the unimportance of these genes and how they show remnants for ancestors in the past because they are disabled. My opponent falsely claims that these are dysfunctional and include remnants of shared ancestry. Dr. Fazale Rana writes this statement in the book, "Who was Adam? "
"scientists have determined that a number of processed pseudogenes generate mRNA transcripts that are translated into functional proteins. In other words, it is incorrect to claim that processed pseudogenes are non functional. From a design/creation standpoint our processed pseudogenes among humans and the great apes reflect common design, not shared ancestry."
Now I have written my rebuttal to my opponent's key points, with the remaining space I would like to write an argument for myself.
The Mathematical Impossibility Of Evolution
Mathematics from: Dr. Henry Morris found here- http://www.icr.org...
According to the most-widely accepted theory of evolution today, the sole mechanism for producing evolution is that of random mutation combined with natural selection. Mutations are random changes in genetic systems. Natural selection is considered by evolutionists to be a sort of sieve, which retains the "good" mutations and allows the others to pass away. So we will be taking this basic concept, and adding mathematics to it to shows its impossibility. Consider a very simple putative organism composed of only 200 integrated and functioning parts, and the problem of deriving that organism by this type of process. The system presumably must have started with only one part and then gradually built itself up over many generations into its 200-part organization. The developing organism, at each successive stage, must itself be integrated and functioning in its environment in order to survive until the next stage. Each successive stage, of course, becomes statistically less likely than the preceding one, since it is far easier for a complex system to break down than to build itself up. A four-component integrated system can more easily "mutate" (that is, somehow suddenly change) into a three-component system (or even a four-component non-functioning system) than into a five-component integrated system. If, at any step in the chain, the system mutates "downward," then it is either destroyed altogether or else moves backward, in an evolutionary sense. Therefore, the successful production of a 200-component functioning organism requires, at least, 200 successive, successful such "mutations," each of which is highly unlikely. But let us give the evolutionist the benefit of every consideration. Assume that, at each mutational step, there is equally as much chance for it to be good as bad. Thus, the probability for the success of each mutation is assumed to be one out of two, or one-half. Elementary statistical theory shows that the probability of 200 successive mutations being successful is then (½)^200, or one chance out of 10^60. The number 10^60, if written out, would be "one" followed by sixty "zeros." In other words, the chance that a 200-component organism could be formed by mutation and natural selection is less than one chance out of a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion! Lest anyone think that a 200-part system is complex then note that even a one celled animal or plant may have millions of molecular parts. The evolutionist might react by saying that even though any one such mutating organism might not be successful, surely some around the world would be, especially in the 10 billion years (or 10^18 seconds) of assumed earth history. Therefore, let us imagine that every one of the earth's 10^14 square feet of surface harbors a billion (i.e., 109) mutating systems and that each mutation requires one-half second (actually it would take far more time than this). Each system can thus go through its 200 mutations in 100 seconds and then, if it is unsuccessful, start over for a new try. In 10^18 seconds, there can, therefore, be 10^18/10^2, or 10^16, trials by each mutating system. Multiplying all these numbers together, there would be a total possible number of attempts to develop a 200-component system equal to 10^14 (10^9) (10^16), or 10^39 attempts. Since the probability against the success of any one of them is 10^60, it is obvious that the probability that just one of these 10^39 attempts might be successful is only one out of 10^60/10^39, or 10^21. So, by simply mathematical scenarios while giving evolutionists the benefit of the doubt it can be proved that these mutations are highly, highly unlikely if not impossible.
 Vestigial Organs are fully functional by Jerry Bergman Ph.D. and George Howe Ph.D (P.71)
"Who was Adam? " By Dr. Fazale Rana
 http://www.icr.org... -By Dr. Henry Morris
DoubtingDave forfeited this round.
My opponent has forfeited.
Two things could have been responsible for my opponen's forfeit. He has either;
1) Not been able to post an argument due to the three day time limit or
2) Forfeited the arguments to me because I have beaten him.
So, I will continue my arguments from the previous round, and if my opponent forfeits again it only leads me to conclude I have one the debate.
Its your move Pro.
I am sorry for forfeiting the debate. My internet has been down and I request to start a new debate on the same topic.
I would like to start a new debate on this topic, but that does not justify my opponent's forfeit. I put a lot of time, research, and effort in to my rebuttal to my opponent's argument, which was never replied to.
My opponent claims he has been having Internet problem's and since I do not know him personally I cannot argue if that is true or not.
I hope the audience considers all factors when voting, and I thank my instigator for the round he did offer.
Thanks again everyone.
My opponent has forfeited to me, Vote Con.
Thanks to everyone for sticking around and reading a short debate!