The Instigator
Tatarize
Pro (for)
Winning
32 Points
The Contender
silverdevilboy
Con (against)
Losing
28 Points

Evolution

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/28/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,315 times Debate No: 5836
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (9)

 

Tatarize

Pro

To clarify things and set some parameters, we'll set aside R1 for discussion of rules and definitions.

Here's what I have:
1. The contender must be against evolution. He can believe whatever they want, but he must not believe in evolution. I want to convince people, and I don't need a Devil's Advocate.
2. The contender must also have some capacity to reason. He cannot make arguments like "The Bible says God exists, and it is the flawless word of God, ergo God is real."
3. The contender must not forfeit without a salient excuse. The same applies to me. If either debater forfeits without providing an explanation, that debater loses.
4. Acceptance of this debate is accepting these rules, unless a challenge is made in R1, in which case the rules will be discussed via private message.

Definitions:
Evolution-the process of change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms from one generation to the next

Thank you, and I look forward to this debate.
silverdevilboy

Con

Do I have to argue that Evolution is not the process whereby life came too be how it is now, or whether it is possible as a process. I would prefer the first.....but the second is doable. I'm a sceptic on this issue, while the religious point of view isn't my choice, evolution as a process for creating life is obviously flawed.

I think that's all that needed saying in this section, you can mention whether we're arguing about the validity of the process of evolution or about the usefulness of it in your argument if you have space.
Debate Round No. 1
Tatarize

Pro

Such questions would be better asked in comments, but the prologue seemed quite clear.

I'm a proponent of a very wide definition and understanding of evolution. Evolution is categorically the process by which life came to be as it is now. It explains the organization, structure, design, distribution, functionality and arrangement of all life on this planet. It's not only possible, probable, and likely, it's the only process by which we can get a robust understanding of life on this planet.

Evolution is a process by which simple mutation and reproduction serve to create a robust design for life by adding little bits of advantage via random mutation being selected for by non-random processes. Thomas Malthus proposed a novel economics theory which served as a starting point for Darwin when applied, not only to humans, but to all organisms on the planet. Given any organism such as, let's say crickets, if every organism which was to survive did survive and had as many offspring as possible the entire planet would in very short order be completely covered with crickets several feet thick. There must, necessarily, be a struggle for life and success in life and every organism which could exist cannot exist. Predation, failure to find a mate, starvation, defeat by other organisms and other factors must serve to regulate populations.

However, there must from time to time be and edge exerted by one of those organisms in the struggle for survival which gives it a leg up, providing an advantage which its brethren lacks, allowing that organism to survive more than its species mates and spread that advantage to all of it's progeny. This must similarly occur at the same time those same natural forces weed out any random flaws in the organisms by making them less fit. Ultimately this produces a non-random improving process, which by it's very nature will produce random variants better suited to its environment without the need for intervention to illicit such improvements.

Imagine if you have a thousand dice and you roll them all. What are the chances that you'll get all 6's? 6^1000
You could roll these dice over and over and again until you are dead and even then the odds are astoundingly slim that you'll ever get remotely close on any roll, much less succeed. Now, let's imagine that rather than rerolling all the dice you only rerolled the die with the lowest value. What are the chances that you'll get all 6's? Well, they are about 100% that you eventually get all sixes. In fact, you'll probably be finished rolling those dice in a couple days at most.

This is the difference between random chance and evolution, evolution banks the previous successes it had at making better organisms (even if it can't understand or know why that organism is better) and simply tries again and again.

Now, it isn't difficult to image that this process might work. In fact, it's hard to imagine that such a process could fail. On top of the fact that it should work from a sheer algorithmic point of view, it also works as a matter of practical fact. We see evolution occurring in the short term and in the long term. We have fossils of lizard-jaws becoming mammal jaws, dinosaurs becoming birds, fish becoming land-walkers, land-walkers becoming whales, and the diaspora of every living creature on this planet radiating out from simple forms to the more adapted and complex forms. We can see the microscopic parasites that we use to defeat with a novel adaptation of fungus have novel adaptations of their own to become immune. We have strains of viruses change and adapt to the human immune system revealing things about ourselves that we didn't even know.

We have the little steps of evolution and the big steps of evolution and the many strides in between. Beyond being a process which, by its very nature, should produce organisms of increasing complexity, it's the only viable explanation we have, and the only process for which we have overwhelming bounties of evidence.

Evolution is the process by which life adapted to life and to this world. In fact, we use it today to improve many of our own designs, we have evolved better race cars better wi-fi antenna, better processor rules, improved and novel technologies by adapting the process in computer simulator to create a simple fraction of what is possible in the real world given a few billion years.

Evolution isn't just a possibility it's a reality.
silverdevilboy

Con

So, from the very roots of life, when DNA, etc....did not exist, evolution managed to build everything up to what we are now, with our various devices to do various different things? I'm sorry, but that makes very little sense to me.

There are some very obvious examples in the world today of things that just do not work in parts.

The most-quoted one: the eye. There's a minor argument about light-sensitive patches to detect light....but the arguments stop there. the minimum mechanism required to detect the direction of light is rather complicated, involving either lenses, or multiple light-sensitive patches that only work in one direction. Neither of these could evolve gradually, step-by-step, they would have to be the result of a catastrophic mutation. Even assuming DNA is there to help evolution progress, the sheer number of alleles that would make up such a system would not move as a group without the same thing happening to either a lot of members of the species at once, or with the same extremely unlikely even occurring many many times. In this time, many other, simpler mutations could have occurred in different groups of the species, splitting off into other species, without evolving this directional proto-eye first. So why do we see almost every living creature today with exactly the same system built-in? It's not simple to evolve, it's purpose could be replicated in several ways, (bats do a wonderful job, for example....but still have eyes.)

Other examples of things that aren't evolvable step-by-step, are Camouflage: If you see something which is vaguely the same colour as its background, you can still pick it out without difficulty, so why does having partial camouflage help in survival? Also, the human kneecap. It protects the joint, yes, but what help would a small sliver of bone be, that caused it to evolve?

Further problems with evolution as a method of explaining life include how it started the process. Evolution as we know it is fundamentally based on the DNA code....so where did the DNA code come from? And when did cells start to recreate what was written in the code, and why?

Fundamentally, If I can find one thing that cannot be explained by evolution, then it cannot be the process whereby all life evolved.

The most obvious one is the evolution from reptiles to mammals. In this particular case, what on earth moved eggs to internal, live birth??

Other odd creatures that make no sense as only part of them are:

The angler fish. It has both a light and a 'bait' that it uses to lure fish into reach of its mouth. without the light, the bait is useless, without the bait, the light merely scares fish away.

The incubator bird. It uses either volcanic heat, solar heat, or the heat from rotting compost to warm its eggs. How do you evolve that? It can tell whether a nest is suitable or not whether it is 3 ft underground, or 50 ft across, and extending up to 10 ft above ground. The male can then keep the temperature of the nest at 91 F, using its beak as a thermometer. How did that evolve? It would have been useless unless its eggs needed a specific temperature, and then if its eggs needed a specific temperature, they would have died before evolution could give the bird a thermometer. Then, even more amazingly, the babies hatch fully formed, and dig their way out. How does the instinct to dig appear?? If it was necessary, they'd probably die.

Lastly, The Bombardier beetle. It has a defence mechanism involving firing boiling-hot noxious fumes out of two tubes at its attacker. It does this by mixing hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone, with an inhibitor chemical. It then squirts two catalysts at the mix, making it explode at will. Tell me, which part of this system could have evolved step-by-step?
Debate Round No. 2
Tatarize

Pro

The fact that something doesn't make sense to you does not imply that it doesn't make sense. From a basic root of life, and a gradual process of improvement over billions of years, evolution easily manages to build various things for various functions in a smooth, gradual, and effective way.

--

While it is true that a consequence of evolution is the requirement that each product be useful to its possessor in gradual steps from the less complex to the more complex, it isn't true that these steps are hard to make. You suggest that the eye has a "minor argument about light-sensitive patches" however that's not a minor argument that's the explanation. The evolution of the eye is well known and well understood and light sensitive patches of skin are simply nerves and pigment which do occur quite easily and commonly. Even without our eyes it's common to feel sunlight on your neck. You suggest that the minimum mechanism required for detection of the direction of light is rather complicated; it is not. The minimum requirement is a slight pocketing. Light sensitive skin in a pocket gives basic directionality, further pocketing helps more, a pin hole opening is fantastic, any slightly denser material in front of the hole will cause a slight lensing effect. The eye is easily produced from gradual steps each being useful to it's possessor and each being trivially produced by little random changes and maintained by the struggle of life. The eye is actually one of the easier structure and best understood structures to evolve.

Although, each step must be useful it doesn't hold that each step is the best step. The mammalian eye is flawed in a number of ways due to the gradual mindlessness of evolution. In mammals the ganglia are backwards and the blood and nerves which serve the eyes erupt from the light side of the cells and run across the visual centers, they enter the eye in the middle, which causes us to have a blind spot which we compensate for by hallucinating. This would be like running all the wiring for a video camera across the lens and having a gaping hole where they all connect to the camera. And worst of all, it doesn't have to be that way. Squid eyes are constructed properly without need for a large series of adaptations to work around a problem that a three year old would have avoided.

DNA doesn't help the evolution process, it's a product of evolution itself and serves as a library of different proteins and enzymes. Most evolution occurs in the expression of genes rather than creation of new novel genes from scratch. It's believed that the lens of the mammalian eye is actually just a different expression of a gene which already existed elsewhere. Similarly genes are copied and tweaked by evolution. Those changes which help are passed on to the rest of the species when the organisms possessing them utilize their slight edge in the struggle for survival over several generations. Most difficulty understanding how DNA has the flexibility to create structures is naivete about developmental biology and genetics. -- Which isn't limited to simply the non-biologists, it often surprises the biologists themselves.

You seem to suggest that such changes would need to "move as a group" or have the "same thing happening to a lot of members of the species at once" -- I must single this statement out as overly wrong. Such slight edges need only occur in one organism at any one time and pass to the rest of the species in successive generations. Somehow you seem to forget that mutations can be passed to ones children. The eye however has evolved about 20 times, on roughly similar paths.

Most vertebrates have the same evolved eye with slightly different configurations, from the same ancestral vertebrate fish. Insects similarly have compound eyes which too shares an ancestral link with our eye triggered by the same hox gene (called eyeless) for eye production. Your suggestions here seem to be that because common ancestors exist and most creatures get their eyes from this common ancestor that something magical is happening. Most animals have teeth, bones, legs, etc which are also modified versions of the same common ancestor's form, are these too impossible?

"If you see something which is vaguely the same colour as its background, you can still pick it out without difficulty, so why does having partial camouflage help in survival?"

Because if being the same color as the background causes you to die 1% less often than the other members of your species that is a massive edge in the struggle for survival. It isn't that you can still pick it out, but rather that you could pick it out much more easily if it weren't the same color as it's surroundings. Slight edges in the struggle for survival make massive differences for members of those species.

"Also, the human kneecap. It protects the joint, yes, but what help would a small sliver of bone be, that caused it to evolve?"

http://www.ejbjs.org...
The patella didn't evolve as a bone it evolved as a tendon and ossified in the common ancestor of the placental mammals (marsupials have a non-ossified patella). It serves the same purpose as other tendons but expressing the gene for bone makes the cap able to protect the joint. We can see that this is the evolutionary route taken because developmentally the ossification (boning) of the tendon occurs between 2 and 6. Babies don't have the bone, it forms later. This is what we should expect for a process which builds gradual changes on to previous designs. There is no small sliver of worthless bone that develops into a robust kneecap, there's tendon that gets hard.

DNA evolved from RNA. Further we find that we can create the basic nucleotides of DNA via random chemicals in a jar type experiments. Also, small strains of DNA have crystalline properties and allow for non-facilitated replication. There's a number of good starting points for abiogenesis the question we really need to answer is which served as our starting point.

"The most obvious one is the evolution from reptiles to mammals. In this particular case, what on earth moved eggs to internal, live birth?"

Internal gestation is a gradual process, take a look at marsupials or monotremes. Some mammals lay eggs like the platypus, whereas the marsupials have gestation pouches hatching internally then birthing into a pouch for gestation. From there it's a small jump to full gestation internally.

Bioluminescence develops in a number of species and doesn't need to serve as bait, it works perfectly well for a number of purposes.

Birds themselves incubate their eggs, strategies to keep the eggs warmer allows for more and more additional time to forage.

The Bombardier beetle's chemicals are similar to those of less noxious related beetles to serve the same purpose. There's every reason to suppose that the formula used evolved from similar less noxious substances. Also, the individual components are pretty nasty on their own.

---

In all of your "questions" the answer is the same. How did it evolve? Gradually in conjunction with the other factors. Also these are all arguments from ignorance. Evolution can't work because I don't know how *THIS* could have formed. How can evolution be true of some small minutia of method is failed to be grasped by you? That's certainly some crazy sort of hubris. Also, you never responded once to all the positive evidence for evolution or to my very well made point about the necessity of improvement given the struggle for survival. Beyond the fact that evolution serves as a well rounded and robust explanation for all the species on the planets it also is necessitated by the simple factors of the struggle for existence and heredity. If you are rerolling the die with the lowest value, your total value is going to increase.

http://www.talkorigins.org...
silverdevilboy

Con

silverdevilboy forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Tatarize 7 years ago
Tatarize
"I would prefer the first.....but the second is doable."
-- Ellipsis do not replace commas.

"The most-quoted one: the eye."
-- That's not a sentence!

"There's a minor argument about light-sensitive patches to detect light....but the arguments stop there."
-- Ellipsis again

"Other examples of things that aren't evolvable step-by-step, are Camouflage: If you..."
-- Camouflage should not be capitalized there.

"Also, the human kneecap."
-- There no verb!

Not to be too critical, but he has spell check and some punctuation. My grammar was better.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
I mirror KRF and Tarzan's sentiments, all points to PRO except spelling&grammar.
Posted by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
Bias != rocket science.

I'm going to place my wager on time hashing this debate to a win for me.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Essentially same as KRF.... how the deuce Con is willing, I'll never know...
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
Conduct - Pro - Con forfeited.

Spelling and Grammar - Tie - Both sides were very well written; which is nice for a change.

Convincing Arguments - Pro - Con's debate was rife with rhetorical questions. This is a debate, and he should have offered answers to those questions backed with good sources. Furthermore, Con forfeited, leaving Pro's rebuttal unanswered. The fact that Con still got 14 points is evidence of that fact that the anonymous voting system on this site leaves something to be desired.

Reliable Sources - Pro - Con offered no sources to back his argument.
Posted by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
Really, he got two votes... lol
Posted by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
6 hours left. Me thinks we have a forfeit on our hands. Sad too, I put a lot of work into that and was looking forward to the fruitless flailing of arms.
Posted by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
Figure the other debate had a taker and it's an easy win. I'll do the same.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by Tatarize 6 years ago
Tatarize
TatarizesilverdevilboyTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
TatarizesilverdevilboyTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by resolutionsmasher 7 years ago
resolutionsmasher
TatarizesilverdevilboyTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by zach12 7 years ago
zach12
TatarizesilverdevilboyTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by CollegeKidPCT 7 years ago
CollegeKidPCT
TatarizesilverdevilboyTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
TatarizesilverdevilboyTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Vote Placed by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
TatarizesilverdevilboyTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Vote Placed by Renzzy 8 years ago
Renzzy
TatarizesilverdevilboyTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
TatarizesilverdevilboyTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60