The Instigator
MrCarroll
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Grape
Pro (for)
Winning
23 Points

Evolution

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/24/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,792 times Debate No: 14924
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (36)
Votes (5)

 

MrCarroll

Con

I will be making the case that evolution has logical and scientific flaws, and my opponent will defend evolution. I hope for an exciting and educational debate.

Definitions

When I say evolution, I am not interested in anything less than macroevolution. I myself believe in microevolution as well as natural selection.

macroevolution –– The postulate that says all life formed from earlier organized non-life and through some form of mutation, natural selection, and enormous amounts of time. [1]

You may say it is not a postulate but a theory, however, in order to be a theory it must 1) be observable, 2) be capable of repeated experiments, 3) withstand a fasifiability test. [2]
The only type of evolution yet observed, has been microevolution –– "a change in gene frequency within a population." [3] This does not mean macroevolution has occurred.
Consider the peppered moth story, claimed to have been "evolution in action." [4] This is microevolution, a change of frequency within a population by natural selection. There is no information gain, and in the end a moth has turned into a moth. In the mean time, I will try to figure out how T-Rex turned into a chicken.

Flaws with macroevolution

I. Genetics
a. Evolution operates on chance. Random mutations, with the help of natural selection, must change animals from one form to another. While I do not deny natural selection, I do question how mutations can change a single-celled organism into a fish. In order this to occur, a huge amount of information-gain must occur within DNA. Let's look at mutation types:
1. Insertion of DNA segment
2. Deletion of DNA segment
3. Amplification of DNA segment
4. Inversion of a DNA segment
5. Translocation of a DNA segment
6. Point Mutation of a single nucleotide [5]
In the first five, information is only lost or transferred, and point mutations can only replace a single nucleotide. Scientists have yet to find a mutation that is both beneficial to the animal and adds information to its genome. If it exists, it is extremely rare. Information gain is crucial to evolution, yet there is no evidence that it can occur.

II. Irreducible complexity
There are many biological structures that are irreducibly complex, meaning they will lose function if one part of the structure is removed. The classic example is a mousetrap, remove one part and it is useless and no longer a mousetrap. These structures could not evolve because the non-functional intermediates would not exist long enough to change into a functional structure. For example, the flagellum of a cell had to be created on site because it could not function with such intermediates.

III. The chances of abiogenesis
Evolution contests that an ancient primordial soup during early earth gave rise to the first life forms. The chances that amino acid bases, proteins, enzymes, etc. would come together on the spot to create a reproducing cell are, well, I don't want to say the chances are impossible, but I would be lying if I said otherwise. Fred Hoyle stated, ""Two thousand different and very complex enzymes are required for a living organism to exist. And random shuffling processes could not form a single one of these even in 20 billion years." [6]

IV. Cambrian explosion
"Evolutionary biology's deepest paradox concerns this strange discontinuity. Why haven't new animal body plans continued to crawl out of the evolutionary cauldron during the past hundreds of millions of years? Why are the ancient body plans so stable?" [7]
The Cambrian Explosion refers to the sudden appearance of a host of complex organisms preceded by the Precambrian which contains simple one-celled organisms. We find every phyla represented today simultaneously in the Cambrian and all 38 of those phyla have not changed at all to this date. [8] Moreover, there were 50 phyla discovered in the Canadian, Chinese and other Cambrian sites. [9] Many species in the Cambrian that are found today show no differences. There has also been a decrease in diversity in these fossils, which is the opposite of what evolution would predict. Consider this quote from George Gaylord Simpson, "In spite of the examples, it remains true (as every paleontologist knows) that most new species, genera and families appear in the record suddenly, and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences." [10] This is not consistent with evolution. The main problem is that no new body plans appear in the rock layers above the Cambrian. How can evolution explain this?

V. More on the fossil record
We should find organisms in the fossil record to become increasingly complex, something crucial to evolution. There is no evidence for this in the fossil record.
Also, transitional fossils would be expected to much more widespread in the fossil record. There have not even been any creatures proven to actually be transitional fossils (Archaeopteryx is a bird, not a dinosaur). Even if these creatures are really transitional species, they are exceedingly rarer than what we would expect.

[1] [2] http://www.evanwiggs.com...
[3] http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] New Scientist, November 19, 1981, pp 521-527
[7] Jeffrey S. Levinton, "The Big Bang of Animal Evolution," Scientific American, Vol. 267, November 1992, p. 84
[8] http://www.evanwiggs.com...
[9] [10] http://www.straight-talk.net...
Grape

Pro

This is a full affirmative argument. I will focus the rest of the debate on addressing Con's criticisms and adding in necessary details that he may request be expounded upon.

The Case for Evolution:

In light of the discoveries of the sciences of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics, the evolutionary theory provides the best possible explanation for the origin and development of life on Earth. [1] The Earth is estimated to have formed 4.4 billion years ago, and was absolutely antagonistic to life for the majority of the time since them. [2] Now the Earth flourishes with life and is the home of an advanced technological civilization. This momentous change was the resolute of eons of geologic and (as this discussion will stress) biological activity.

About 3.5 billion years ago, the first semblance of organic life began to develop. [3] It was initially comprised of simple organic compounds such as amino acids and nitrogenous bases. [4] These compounds have been observed to form naturally under the right conditions. [5] In the 1920's, British and Russian scientists hypothesized that the early-Earth atmosphere was reducing, producing perfect conditions for the formation of organic compounds. This hypothesis under laboratory conditions at the University of Chicago and the experiment produced a huge number of organic chemicals. Alternate theories positing that volcanic activity could have produced the right conditions have been tested and found plausible. [7]

The formation of more complex systems from these basics proceeds fairly logically. The building blocks of more complex organic compounds eventually arrange into proteins and nucleic acids. A 2009 experiment demonstrated that RNA, the basic genetic compound, can be synthesized abiotically from basic precursor molecules. Researches were also able to synthesize polymers by dripping solutions of amino acids and RNA nucleotides onto hot sand or clay. This did not require the assistance of enzymes or ribosomes. Some of these polymers could actually act as weak catalysts themselves, forming the basis for further cell infrastructural development. [8]

This of course leads to the question of how cells themselves formed. This is an easily answerable concern: vesicle self-assembly results from lipids, which have both hydrophobic and hydrophilic components, arranging into a membrane such that the hydrophobic ends are on the inside. These membranes have limited permeability and can create an internal environment quite chemically different from the external environment. The addition of the clay montmorillonite, a common volcanic ash, increases the rate of vesicle formation exponentially. Complex vesicles have been shown to 'reproduce', exhibit selective permeability, and carry out basic metabolic functions. [9]

Some RNAs, which play a major role in protein synthesis, also can carry out catalytic functions. These RNAs are called ribozymes, and can make copies of short pieces of other RNAs provided that they have the nucleotide building blocks. Natural selection on the molecular level has produced self-replicating ribozymes under laboratory conditions. This occurs because some RNA molecules are better suited to copying under certain conditions. Occasionally, a copying error occurs that makes the RNA even better suited to copying than its predecessors. [10]

Such RNA molecules could carry information about vesicles the carried them and be spread to daughter vesicles as the carriers divided. At first they would only have specified a few traits, but over time the traits would have become more and more complex and numerous. Once the need for self-replication could be fulfilled by proteins, the more stable DNA could replace RNA as the genetic code. Once self-replicating and self-regulating vesicles emerged, there was no stopping the rapid diversification and growth of cellular life. [11]

The transition from unicellular to multicellular life is readily visible in the diversity of life today. We see single celled organisms, small groups of cooperative cells, and cell colonies that become more and more interdependent until they become one organism. From this we can see the variety of all multicellular life, from the simplest hydra to the most complex vertebrates. [12]

I have a limited amount of room, so I have left out many important details in the history of life, focusing on the aspects I deemed most important. I can explain the existence of organelles, the eukaryote/prokaryote split, or specific events later on if necessary. It looks like Con's argument will demand discussion of the Cambrian explosion. In the interest of space, I will skip any discussion of genetics and the basics of microevolution (natural selection, descent with modification, etc.) and go right into macroevolution. If the macroevolution discussion depends on these topics then I will go back to them.

Macroevolution refers to evolutionary changes that occur above the species level. It can refer to speciation and to broad trends in life that may occur. [13] Macroevolution is the cumulative effect of microevolution occurring on a grand scale over a long period of time. To accept microevolution is necessarily to accept macroevolution: there differences between the two exist in degree and not in principle. Speciation simply occurs when reproductive barriers result from continued genetic isolation, there is no magic to it. Some species can reproduce with one another, but their internal genetic pools are almost entirely self-contained. [14]

The idea that evolution has occurred over time to produce the multitude of life on Earth is supported by an overwhelming body of evidence. Organisms have homologous structures, which are aspects of their physiology that are very similar to those of other species but differ greatly in function. This suggests that they share a common ancestor and were modified over time. They also have vestigial structures; structures that once served a function but no longer do. The similarities between different species are even stronger during embryonic development and on the chemical level. The uniformity of the chemical composition of life provides overwhelming evidence for common descent. [15]

It is not nearly possible to describe the theory of evolution entirely in 8000 characters. I could write 100 times this much and not be done, but that is a research project I have neither the knowledge nor the time to undertake. This explanation of evolution is beyond the level of analysis that most Creationist ever bother to go into, and I was able to support all of it using only a few chapters from a borrowed 101 level biology textbook and Google. The support for evolution is unbelievably immense, and as I will demonstrate in the following rounds there is a crushing rejoinder for every argument that could possibly be brought against it.

The science of biology and the practice of medicine are heavily based in evolutionary theory. To understand biology not just in terms of pure facts but also in terms of the mechanisms that govern the function of all life, one must have a rigorous understanding of evolution. The structure and function of all life is described and understood more deeply and thoroughly as a result of the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution is surely among the most important advances in the history of human thought. That some people continue to reject it in favor of a traditionalist worldview that is not grounded in facts or logic is a great shame.

Sources:

All are from Campbell's Biology, 9th Edition, by Reece et al. except for these two:

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[5] Chemistry: The Central Science, 8th Edition, by Brown et al.

I won't bother citing page numbers because it's not like you guys have those books. I'm just verifying that these books exist and that I didn't just make that up. If you prefer, pretend I'm so smart that I didn't need to look any of that up.
Debate Round No. 1
MrCarroll

Con

"Evolutionary theory provides the best possible explanation for the origin and development of life on Earth." Creationism arguably provides a better explanation.
"The Earth is estimated to have formed 4.4 billion years ago..." Evidence shows the earth may be much younger. The receding moon is huge evidence for this. It means the earth should be less than 750 m.y.a. max. [1]

"The first semblance of organic life began to develop." So what we have are amino acids and nitrogenous bases. That is not life and these are the only organic substances observed to have been generated from inorganic material. These experiments cannot show that life developed without intelligence either since there is a scientist behind all these experiments. The rest of this section is dedicated to hypothesis.

"The building blocks of more complex organic compounds eventually arrange into proteins and nucleic acids." Now we are becoming much more complicated. Let's take the simplest protein, ribonuclease, which is made of around 127 amino acids. There are also 20 different amino acid types. The chances of this protein forming by chance are 1 in 10 to the 152nd power. Good luck. [2]

Self-assembly vesicles sounds simple enough. Actually, the diagrams really dumb it down, and these membranes are pretty complicated. And inside, we have various bases and such. I'm not sure how these things evolve into cells. These "reproducing" vesicles are very complicated yet not anywhere as complicated as a real cell.

"Once self-replicating and self-regulating vesicles emerged, there was no stopping the rapid diversification and growth of cellular life." This still does not give a good account on information gain. The daughter vesicle won't be any more complicated than the mother vesicle.

"The transition from unicellular to multicellular life is readily visible in the diversity of life today." This is the cell colonization theory. The problem is, these aren't true multicellular organisms, but protists. A bunch of cells don't just come together and turn into a simple hydra much less a vertebrate.

"Macroevolution is the cumulative effect of microevolution occurring on a grand scale over a long period of time." This is incorrect because microevolution has shown no information gain in DNA. Microevolution has not gone far enough to perform any macroevolution.

"The idea that evolution has occurred... is supported by an overwhelming body of evidence." This "evidence" can be easily explained by creationism or intelligent design. Homologous structures either point to a common ancestor or common designer depending on how the evidence is interpreted. Humans use similar design structures in many different ways –– washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners, and dishwashers use a similar motor. One study looked for possible alternatives to the design structure of the arm in animals and humans and found none. Also, all these animals are made of the same thing, DNA. It makes sense that we see structural patterns. [3]
"They also have vestigial structures" Many vestigial structures are probably not truly vestigial. Even so, I would expect some structures losing their function over time. But there is no evidence of organs coming into being, something that would be expected of evolution. "Although we have evidence of degeneration from an earlier, more optimal design, we lack evidence of a move toward a new optimal design." [4]
"The similarities... are even stronger during embryonic development" The recapitulation theory is over simplified. All the specific examples break down under close examination. [5]
"The uniformity of the chemical composition of life provides overwhelming evidence for common descent." I'm not overwhelmed. Again, it's how the evidence is interpreted whether to a common ancestor or common creator. What other chemicals would we be made of anyway?

"The support for evolution is unbelievably immense, and as I will demonstrate in the following rounds there is a crushing rejoinder for every argument that could possibly be brought against it." I am still not convinced. I understand you cannot give us all the evidence for evolution, but the evidence you did give was unpersuasive and can just as easily be explained by Creationism.

"That some people continue to reject it in favor of a traditionalist worldview that is not grounded in facts or logic is a great shame." This debate is mainly to see if evolution is as great a theory as you say it is. All my arguments are certainly based on facts and logic; let me know if they are not. My worldview is not really traditionalist. Creationism is making exceptional progress as a theory, and I'm not yet aware of any arguments that have stumped the creationists. However, let's not get sidetracked. This is about evolution, and I think there is more evidence against it than for it. It is up to the reader to weigh this evidence.

[1] http://www.earthage.org...
[2] http://themeliosproject.com...
[3] [4] [5] Garner, Paul. The New Creationism, Evangelical Press 2009, Webster
Grape

Pro

I am addressing 16,000 characters of argument in 8,000 so I'll dive right in.

I. Genetics

Con grossly overestimates the actual difference between a bacterium and a fish. The majority of the differences are in how the cells organize and what genes they express. A given protein or enzyme is very small compared to the overall genome, and the information I provided about the origin of life points to the conclusion parts of the genetic code formed independently rather than in sequence. A bacterium does not evolve into a fish solely as a result of random mutations in the genetic code. Natural selection favoring cooperative activity between cells and increased specialization resulted in incremental advancement toward more advanced forms of life. This is a tough concept to explain because the physical differences between organisms belie the fact that much of them arise from differ means of expressing the same genes.

II. Irreducible Complexity

My opponent claims that many biological structures are irreducibly complex but cites only one: the flagellum. The reducibility of the flagellum is so firmly established that it found its way into my textbook. [1] Actual scientific study has demonstrated that 50% of the flagellum is not even necessary for its function and 19 of its 21 proteins are modified versions of proteins that preform other functions. The whole structure of the flagellum is descended from a pilus-liked tube. It is in no way irreducible and indeed seems to exist quite by accident. [2]

III. Abiogenesis

I have already discussed abiogenesis at great length, but I will make one important point here. The argument that Con presents is formally known as Hoyle's Fallacy. Ian Musgrave addresses this exact argument in his article Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and the Probability of Abiogenesis. Creationists assume that simple chemicals directly arrange themselves into full cells and calculate these odds. Abiogenesis actually advanced slowly through small, simple increments. They also underestimate the number of molecules and the amount of time at one. Just one kilogram of amino acids contains over a billion billion molecules. You could (and scientists have) generate macromolecules from this in mere weeks. [3]

IV. Cambrian Explosion

This argument is based on a common misunderstanding of evolution: that it trends toward complexity. It doesn't; it trends toward efficiency. If a large number of phyla originated around the same time, it's simply because that is when life reached a point that allowed rapid expansion. Nothing in the evolutionary theory suggests that life must keep getting more complex. If fish are shaped correctly for swimming they won't evolve propellers just because they're more complex; there has to be selective pressure. [4]

V. Fossil Record

Con again makes the mistake of assuming that evolution argues that life trends toward complexity. It trends toward efficiency when possible and is mostly ad hoc. That is why horses have legs, not wheels.

Now, the fact that there are some gaps in the fossil record is largely a product of the challenges of finding million year old bones. Still, there is considerable evidence of transitional species. The transitional species that indicate the evolution of whales from land mammals are well documented. They include the land mammal Pakicetus, a quadruped, its descendant Rodhocetus, an aquatic mammal with four smaller legs, its descendant Dorudon, a large aquatic mammal with flippers and stunted legs, and finally the modern whale with its flippers and vestigial limbs. [5]
Does it not bother you at all that whales have vestigial legs and that whale-like mammals with small legs have been found to have lived millions of year ago before?

Much of Con's Round 2 argument makes many of the same points over, so I will only address new claims.

VI. Age of the Earth

The age of the Earth has been determined to an accuracy of +/- 1%. Asteroids that formed at the same time as the Earth (at the beginning of the solar system) and have not been contaminated by geologic activity have been consistently found to be well over 4 billion years old using lead isochron dating. These methods are absolutely accepted by modern chemistry and physics; to deny them is to deny the science that brought you everything you have. Rocks on Earth have been found to be almost 4 billion years old, and contamination would most likely make them appear younger. [6]

Con's source lists twenty-two different ages of the Earth, many of which differ by orders of magnitude (a tad bit more than the +/- 1% arrived by scientists). Before responding to his argument I would like to know why he finds this dating method correct and the other twenty-one wrong.

VII. Creationism has Equal Explanatory Power

Irrelevant. This debate is not about which theory is better on balance, it's about whether evolution is valid. It is not my responsibility to refute every possible counterargument. The Flying Spaghetti Monster could have created life, but it is not my responsibility to devote limited space to refuting a theory when it is not part of the debate and my opponent has not offered an affirmative. If my opponent would like to debate about Creationism I will do that in a debate that is actually about Creationism, it is simply not possible to fit all this in one debate.

I will submit for now that evolution is more parsimonious than Creationism. Evolution only assumes the natural processes that have been observed to be true. Its ideas and premises have been determined by the most rigorous means of attaining knowledge that human civilization has ever developed. Creationism makes unneeded assumptions about a creator to explain phenomena that evolution needs to make no additional assumptions to account for.

Long Conclusion:

Many of my opponents arguments amount to little more than saying, "No, actually this," and referring to a source. Rather than restating myself over again and relisting my sources, I'm going to discuss Creationism and evolution directly for a moment so voters can compare the validity of two viewpoints.

I will do this by making a blatant appeal to authority, because it is entirely appropriate to do so right now. Here is a list of the organizations that formerly accept evolution:

http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org...

The people who have produced actual discoveries in science are the ones who accept evolution. The supports of evolution count among themselves inventers, teachers, professors, doctors, researchers, and even many theologians. How do we know that their methods of attaining the truth work? Because they have used them to produce discoveries that have improved the human condition.

What claim do Creation ‘scientists' have to be taken seriously? What has this school of thought produced for the world? Nothing. Their ‘science' has not been used to produce anything of marginal value. Their agenda is to use fake science to rationalize the mythology of ancient peoples. The people who are using science to do serious work that actually has some impact on society have rejected these ideas.

If my opponent will permit me to use the comment section to save space, I will produce 10 discoveries by evolutionists for every discovery my opponent presents by a Creationist.

Con's sources are not legitimate. The Creationists are a small fringe movement with an obvious agenda; they distort the truth for a living to tell uneducated people what they want to hear. The argument against evolution is an assault on natural science itself, the field of study that has created almost everything we have and discovered almost everything we know. I will agree with my opponent on one issue: it is up to the reader to weigh the evidence.

Sources:

[1, 2, 5] Campbell's Biology
[3] http://www.talkorigins.org...
[4] Campbell's Biology
[6] http://www.talkorigins.org...
Debate Round No. 2
MrCarroll

Con

MrCarroll forfeited this round.
Grape

Pro

Extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
MrCarroll

Con

I'm sorry about the forfeit, I have been too busy to post my argument.

I. Genetics
Consider that there 20,000 to 25,000 genes in the human and life began with around 300 genes. How on earth do scientists account for this massive amount of DNA gain. [1] Then consider that the water-flea has around 31,000 genes. [2] This mysterious mutation that must (1) add information to the genome and (2) be beneficial to the organism, has not even been observed. There is certainly no conceivable way a code of even 500 genes could form "independently" as you mentioned. And you say it is not a random process, but it is. What are the chances that such a beneficial mutation should occur? Most mutations are harmful or neutral. Seldom are they beneficial and never are they both beneficial and information gaining. Most mutations, beneficial or not, are caused by a loss or reshuffling of DNA which doesn't make any sense for evolution. If creatures are losing DNA far faster then they gain it, well, thats not what we would expect of evolution.

II. Irreducible Complexity
So you have half the structure in this tube, but then the rest of the proteins wouldn't have much of a purpose until it came together. You have demonstrated it is possible to develop the flagellum, however, half of the flagellum's proteins had to fall in to place pretty luckily in order to develop or else it wouldn't have mechanically worked.

III. Abiogenesis
Then why haven't scientists developed something living yet? It should be far easier in a controlled environment. The thing is, amino acids don't account for life. We need protein, amino acids, and whatever else to create even the simplest half-alive organisms. The simplest living organisms today are far too complex for abiogenesis, and we still need everything to come together, gradual or not, by chance into this first simple cell.

IV. Cambrian Explosion
Evolution must trend towards complexity, even if it obtained this complexity a long time ago. Cells don't just gather in clusters and turn into sea creatures. You say yourself it is very gradual and takes eons of time. The cambrian explosion is just the opposite. Suddenly we have every phylum. Since then, the fossil record doesn't even become more complex, but this should favor creationism, not evolution. I ask why then did the rapid information gain prior to the Cambrian Explosion stop? Why is our genome no longer becoming more complex but less complex?

V. Fossil Record
You use one example for transitional species, whales. What I find strange is that each creature looks extremely different than the last. You have mammal, giant otter, Dorudon, whale. Wouldn't this process be better accounted for? Where's the transition from Rhodocetus (giant otter) to Dorudon? And again, there is no information gain. These vestigial organs are an example of what could be structures becoming less complex, which doesn't bother me at all. I'm all for loss of genetic information.

VI. Age of Earth
Its interesting that you mention asteroids, because comets were also believed to have been formed during the beginning of the solar system. The thing is, comets can't last more than 100,000 years max. because they lose material each time they go near the sun. The typical comet age is 10,000 years, so to solve this, evolutionist made up something called an "Oort cloud." [3] Again, with radiometric dating you assume:
1. The rate of change has remained constant throughout the past.
2. The original conditions are known.
3. The process has not been altered by outside forces.
So its not an infallible process. Sure, contamination may not have changed the result of the asteroid, but what about the two other assumptions?

Referring to the source, I also believe the other twenty-one are more or less correct, but my two favorite are salty seas and the moon, which can be figured out by anyone. I explain the salinity of the sea. The average sodium input each year is 450 million tons, while the output is only 27% of that. Even with the most generous possible statistics, the age of the earth must be less than 62 million years old. [4] Or there's the oil pressure or the shrinking sun, the list goes on. I can't explain every piece of evidence for a young earth because there's a lot of it.

VII. Creationism Has Equal Explanatory Power
If its irrelevant then we should ignore it, but this is not the "Flying Spaghetti Monster." There is actually evidence for creationism. Just remember, both theories have their fair share of assumptions.

Conclusion:

While the majority of scientists believe evolution, this does not mean evolution is a flawless theory. Then you go on to make things up about creationism. Fake science? How on earth is it fake? Its not mythology, most people believe in a God that's real. In order for it to be mythology, you must show that it's not real. Many scientists who believe in God, have developed the more informative and complete theory for science they call creationism.

I don't care for your deal but if you really feel you must, I can accomplish your challenge. I don't know how that makes evolution more logical though. You see the things discovered by creationists are largely disregarded, for I won't deny that evolution holds the majority.

My sources are as legitimate as yours. You have evolutionist sources, I have creationist sources. Did you think that I began this debate without an opposing theory?
Creationism is obviously not a "small fringe movement" for there are now many Creation scientists and Creation museums being built. "They distort the truth for a living to tell uneducated people what they want to hear." I'd like to think I'm pretty well educated and know both theories more than the most people, and I can argue evolution does the same. People are told humans and chimps are 98% similar genetically (its actually closer to 95%) and believe we evolved from apes. What they aren't told is we are 36% similar to a hedge-bush and 90% similar to cats.
I don't know how creationism is an "assault on natural science." Science is, "any systematic knowledge-base or prescriptive practice that is capable of resulting in a correct prediction, or reliably-predictable type of outcome."[5] Creationists are simply trying to figure out how the universe works just as evolutionists are. They just hold different assumptions. Everyone's beliefs and ideas are based on some assumptions, but evolutionists try to ignore this. Some even believe there is nothing science cannot prove.

In the end, you can say that creationism is based on "magic" and that evolution is based only on observation. But you have not observed any of this, from the elusive mutation to transitional species. No one has observed any macro-evolution no matter how much they insist they have. Evolution may just be the biggest lie every made.

If you want to attack creationism, don't do it here, do it in a new debate and I'll defend the theory.

Sorry again, for forfeiting the last round, and thanks for the debate.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://earthsky.org...
[3] http://www.christiananswers.net...
[4] http://creation.com...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Grape

Pro

Going right in to the debate once more:

I. Genetics

Con's argument is a repetition of what we have heard ad nauseum. I have already explained that genetic sequences millions of base pairs long don't form as single units; they are comprised of a large number of pieces that assemble together. Only under very unusual circumstances would one single mutation cause an observable benefit to an organism just by itself, evolution is a long and incremental process. See my previous explanation.

II. Irreducible Complexity

Con's response to this point amounts to a nonargument. I already said that over 90% of the proteins involved in the flagellum serve some other purpose. [1] He has practically conceded that, "[y]ou have demonstrated it is possible to develop the flagellum," and is just giving his opinion that he feels it is unlikely. Well, apparently it wasn't all that unlikely because all the evidence shows that it happened.

III. Abiogenesis

Once again, I already went over this topic in great detail. I wrote several paragraphs about it in Round 1. Virtually all of Con's objections were plainly and clearly answered. I have accounted for the formation of macromolecules and basic life forms. Once again this is virtually a nonresponse.

However, I will address the question of why this has not been replicated in laboratory conditions. I will remind everyone of the fact that in nature this took place over the entire planet and took millions of years, and scientists do not have that much time or space in their labs. However, there are numerous projects attempting this very task that are currently underway. [2]

IV. The Cambrian Explosion

In the face of actual evidence, Con is once again reduced to bare assertion.

"Cells don't just gather in clusters and turn into sea creatures."

Says who? I provided actual scientific sources and logically explained them to argue that this is exactly what happened. Mere incredulity is no argument. The Cambrian Explosion did take an extremely long time; it was just short in the scale of geological time. [3] The most logical assumption is that life reached a point where more diversification became possible. Because evolution doesn't necessarily trend toward complexity, there is no reason to assume that life should get more complex. This is another point I was quite clear about explaining in the previous round.

V. Fossil Record

Con reverts to stating his opinion again. The ancestors of the whale don't look similar enough to him, so they can't be related. The similarities in body structure are clearly documented, and anyone can see how much these species look alike just be using Google. I could break the transitions down even further but I see no point because Con would just continue to rationalize them away. It is apparent to anyone who cares to look that the species are quite physically similar and they existed sequentially in time. To conclude that this is a coincidence and that they did not evolve is willful ignorance.

VI. Age of the Earth

In the previous round I asked Con why he favored one method of dating over the other twenty-one on the Creationist website he referenced. His response was that:

"I also believe the other twenty-one are more or less correct"

We ought to find that a little suspect because some of the methods put the age of the Earth at a few thousand years and others put it at hundreds of millions of years old. Con's suggested methods of dating are not consistent within five orders of magnitude and he insists that they are equally valid. It is only logical that because his methods of dating differ by so much that almost all of them are wrong. The radiometric methods used by real scientists differ by less than 1%, or negative two orders of magnitude.

The method of dating used by scientists if seven orders of magnitude (or one million times) more precise than the Creationist methods. I'm not even going to bother defending radiometric dating because it makes a bare minimum of assumptions and Con's alternatives are absolutely terrible.

Asserting that the Earth is too young is an absolutely frivolous argument against evolution. Absolutely no one who is a serious scholar of geology is going to agree with that. I can't imagine how much of the beauty of nature is lost on people who hike up a mountain, look down at the ancient rocks, and proclaim, "This mountain looks to be about five thousand years old!"

VII. Creationism Has Equal Explanatory Power

My opponent basically drops this argument. We can both agree that it is irrelevant to a debate about evolution.

Conclusion:

The objections to evolution are based on nothing. Creationists start with their gut rejection of evolution, which is based on a history of the world invented by desert nomads who had no conception of redox reactions, heredity, or the germ theory of disease, and proceed to attempt to rationalize it using pseudoscience. They have started with a conclusion and done everything possible to affirm it, but even in spite of this their evidence is weak and poorly presented because the claim they try to support is simply so absurd.

Are we seriously expected to believe that the reason their work never finds its way into major journals is just the result of a conspiracy? Just look at the websites I linked to and the websites Con linked to. The quality of work of the evolutionists is markedly better: it is more thoroughly explained, more effectively presented, exhaustively sited, and backed by mountains of evidence. The problem is that people don't know bad science when they see it, but explaining how to tell the difference is beyond the scope of this debate and probably something you'd be better off asking a university professor (that is, if you think they've learned anything in the course of getting their PhD and doing scientific research).

I have rigorously explained evolution and addressed all of con's objections with well documented and widely accepted scientific evidence. The alternative methods that he has proposed are erroneous and there is no reason to assume his sources are reliable. The Creationists are not on par with the evolutionists and they never will be because Creationism is a fake science invented to justify a worldview that didn't make sense in ancient times when it was made up by goat herds. Humanity has progressed since the time of ancient Israel and it is unfortunate that some people have chosen to stay behind.

Sources:

[1] Campbell's Biology
[2] http://www.ecltech.org...
[3] Campbell's Biology
Debate Round No. 4
36 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MaitreyaRocket 3 years ago
MaitreyaRocket
"I understand you cannot give us all the evidence for evolution, but the evidence you did give was unpersuasive and can just as easily be explained by Creationism."

The fact is evidence was presented by the Pro & not the Con. Creationism, aka "god did it", is not an explanation for anything . Magic has no place in a scientific debate.
Posted by MaitreyaRocket 3 years ago
MaitreyaRocket
The con premise is flawed from the beginning . Evolution is population mechanics. It explains the diversity of life. The idea that it speaks to origins is a straw man & shows an ignorance of the theory.
Try reading up on abiogenesis & try again.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 3 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
"Creationism is making exceptional progress as a theory"

What is the theory?
Posted by Grape 3 years ago
Grape
MrCarrol, in the next rounds can you try to organize your rebuttals instead of just responding to quotes? It's very hard to pick through your response and organize my argument.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 3 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
"He has no affirmative whatsoever, he cannot possibility demand that I disprove every other theory and defend my own."

True, I was just noting that he could falsify evolution by making a case for another theory which was simply better, but that is really doubtful to happen.
Posted by writinggirl123 3 years ago
writinggirl123
great debate...... two thumbs up!!!!
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 3 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
"A lot of these objections are just stock arguments that have been dealt with thousands of times. "

The probability argument is just sad there is no other way to describe it, every time it is presented in a debate it gets destroyed. There are some issues with evolutionary theory, but that sure isn't one.
Posted by Grape 3 years ago
Grape
I think that evolution does meet those criteria but there is simply not enough space to defend the science of evolution and address creationism at the same time if he's not required to make a constructive case. Otherwise he can load me down with every imaginable explanation. This is about whether or not evolution works, not whether it works better or worse than anything else. Con is loading a heavier and heavier burden of proof on to me. I will debate naturalism vs. theism, but that's not this debate.

He has no affirmative whatsoever, he cannot possibility demand that I disprove every other theory and defend my own.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 3 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
"The point of these debate is whether the evidence points toward evolution, the fact that it could point toward some other random theory is beside the point."

Note you can falsify a theory by presenting a theory which has the same or greater explanatory power and has less presuppositions or unknowns - but that rarely, if ever happens.
Posted by Grape 3 years ago
Grape
"I understand you cannot give us all the evidence for evolution, but the evidence you did give was unpersuasive and can just as easily be explained by Creationism."

That argument has no power to contradict evolution. Just replace "Creationism" with "the Flying Spaghetti Monster" or "Grape with a time machine and super-advanced bioengineering technology" and you will see why it fails. You'd have to establish your theory is actually true, which is beyond the scope of the debate. The point of these debate is whether the evidence points toward evolution, the fact that it could point toward some other random theory is beside the point.

I will debate you on naturalism vs. theism afterward if you are interested but this debate is about the validity of evolution. You cannot give me the burden of proof to disprove every imaginable alternative.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 2 years ago
Man-is-good
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Vote Placed by socialpinko 3 years ago
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Vote Placed by Freeman 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I'm countering the vote of 200machao. Pro clearly won. Con even forfeited a round.
Vote Placed by 200machao 3 years ago
200machao
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Reasons for voting decision: voting to tie debate
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: You have evolutionist sources, I have creationist sources. Did you think that I began this debate without an opposing theory?" - The first sentence is sad, it equalizes peer reviewed science with crack-pots. The second is ignorant, creation is not a theory, if you assert that it is then you don't understand the word theory.