The Instigator
TheRussian
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points
The Contender
reeltalk
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Evolution

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
TheRussian
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/19/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 411 times Debate No: 85200
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

TheRussian

Pro

I will be arguing for the legitimacy of the Theory of Evolution. I have sole BoP to prove Evolution. First round is for acceptance.
Debate Round No. 1
TheRussian

Pro

I will begin presenting basic evidence for the Theory of Evolution and may add more points as the debate goes on, but will not add any new points in the last Round.

1) Vestigial Organs:
Vestigial organs can be defined as "organs or structures remaining or surviving in a degenerate, atrophied, or imperfect condition or form." Examples of such organs are the eyeballs of the blind cave fish Astyanax Mexicanus and hind-leg bones on whales. These structures are clearly unnecessary for the survival of the organism and point towards the idea that the organism had an ancestor that DID use the organs.
http://www.livescience.com...

2) Fossil Record:
Evidence of gradual change over time can be seen fossils, such as those of ape skulls and equine legs. (Shown in links below).
http://www.theistic-evolution.com...
http://www.amnh.org...
http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org...

3) DNA similarity:
Essentially, we are very genetically similar to organisms like us, and this difference in DNA gradually increases as we go back in time or farther and farther away from organisms like ourselves (logical). We have 98% DNA similarity with chimpanzees, 92% similarity with a mouse, 44% similarity with a fruit fly etc. This pattern suggests that humans and organisms very similar to us (apes) share a common ancestor and that all of the organisms in the world share a universal, ancient, common ancestor.
https://www.koshland-science-museum.org...

4) Embryology:
There are many strange similarities between embryos of different organisms that show (temporarily) characteristics of foreign organisms. Some examples in the human embryo are underdeveloped gills, webbed fingers and toes as well as a tail.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

That is all for now. I am also curious as to why my opponent does NOT accept the Theory of Evolution. Is there any particular reason for such a conviction?
reeltalk

Con

Before I begin, I would like to define some terms for the reader regarding the type of evolution that is being discussed:
- microevolution refers to species adapting to their environment (this is a scientific fact)
- macroevolution refers to common ancestry and is the topic of this debate
I will counter my opponent by attempting to provide arguments against the points that he has raised. As I am more of a visual learner, the sources that I will provide will be videos more so than text

1) Vestigial Organs:
As my opponent has already defined what a vestigial organ is, I'll just cut to the chase. Several of these so-called "useless" organs have actually been discovered to have a noticeable function in the human body. These include the appendix, tailbone, the whale's hind legs, and wisdom teeth. The links below address these body parts:
https://www.youtube.com...
https://www.youtube.com...
My overall counter argument to vestigial structures is that one cannot assume a common ancestry simply because an organ or tissue seems to be useless. It does not prove anything. This is simply an interpretation of what is seen.

2) Fossil Record:
Fossils need to be taken with a grain of salt. Similarly to vestigial organs, it is how we interpret the fossils. Just because something looks similar does not mean that it shared a common ancestor. Along with fossils goes with the process of calculating age. There are also examples of finds that contradict the idea that creatures are separated by time periods. I am not convinced by the numbers resulted by carbon dating or any of the others because they are too vague and one has to make several assumptions as well. These links below better explain the point that I am trying to make:
https://www.youtube.com...
https://www.youtube.com...

3) DNA similarity:
We may be 98% similar to chimps, but that means MILLIONS of nucleotides are out of sequence! This percentage is not necessarily evidence for macroevolution for this reason. Once again, it is an assumption.
https://www.youtube.com...

4) Embryology:
Unfortunately, embryology is still used as evidence for macroevolution. Did you know that there was a whole scam regarding a man named Enrst Haeckel? He actually tweeked the drawings to make it convincing that embryos are similar. In truth, embryos of different organisms do not look that much alike at all.

https://www.youtube.com...
https://www.youtube.com...

Here are some other links that I have found regarding this topic in general:
https://www.youtube.com...
https://www.youtube.com...

To conclude, I believe that the "evidence" that has been provided is more philosophical than scientific. I have taken the con because ironically, evolution requires too much faith.
Debate Round No. 2
TheRussian

Pro

I won't be able to answer this Round as a result of time constraints. I will be sure to answer in the next Round. I am sorry for the inconvenience.
reeltalk

Con

@ TheRussian, "No worries!"

I urge the reader to not take this round into account as there were time issues for my opponent. For this reason, I will not use this round to add any further points as it would be unfair.
Debate Round No. 3
TheRussian

Pro

Question: If my opponent admits micro-evolution (small changes over small periods of time) to be fact, what is keeping him from believing that large changes can happen over large periods of time?

1) Vestigial organs:
a. Appendix: Personally, I think this "function" of the appendix mentioned in the video (a "safe house" for "good bacteria") is slightly misleading. From what I've read, the organ is truly critical only in situations where the person is infected with cholera or dysentery, which is a strangely specific (and rarely needed) role to have an entire organ dedicated to. Also, it seems that the appendix doesn't have to be MADE for this role. It is a sac of flesh to the side of the intestine where bacteria would naturally gather and grow anyways. If the organ is vestigial, then it could still perform this role by just being there.
http://www.nbcnews.com...
b. Tailbone: Both videos presented valid arguments for the usefulness of this organ which I will not contest.
c. Whale's hind legs: The first video presents a very vague, but scientifically supported argument that I will not contest.
d. Wisdom teeth: These are not mentioned in either video.

While my opponent does seem to disprove the "vestigiality" of two organs that are commonly regarded as vestigial, I do not think this is anywhere near enough to prove that no organs are vestigial and that this principle cannot be used as evidence of evolution. If certain organisms have underdeveloped organs that other organisms have (and use) in their "full form", then it seems to suggest a connection between the two. This can only be considered, of course, if the other evidence (discussed below) is also present.

2) Fossil Record:
"I am not convinced by the numbers resulted by carbon dating"
Why not?

The first video speaks of a site where human footprints were found alongside dinosaur footprints. I have indeed heard of this, but I find it to not carry any particular significance. If such phenomena were found in other places and this wasn't the only such find in the world, then it would be worth considering as evidence to counter modern scientific theory. However, I don't think that the entire modern scientific worldview can be overthrown with a single set of tracks, the like of which has not been found anywhere else.

These tracks have been widely disputed and have been determined to not be human tracks. "However, the most thorough analyses indicate that the alleged human tracks here are elongate, metatarsal dinosaur tracks--made by dinosaurs that, at least at times, impressed their soles and heels as they walked"
http://www.paleo.cc...

The second link did not work for me and just led me to the Youtube home page.

I think a gradual, noticeable change in bones can indeed be used to support the Theory of Evolution, especially when confirmed with DNA analysis. My opponent did not address the ape skulls or "horse leg" fossils that I mentioned.

3) DNA similarity:
It is not just the similarity between us and chimps. It is that evolution suggested by fossils can be traced and confirmed with DNA analysis, showing ancestry between various species. With such analysis, an evolutionary tree can be drawn because we know how similar/different one organism is from another and how close/far the two organisms are on the evolutionary tree.

The video my opponent shows is one that describes how improbable it is for a cell to form from non-life by natural means. I request a more credible source for the information given by the video. I have read such claims before, and it seems that calculations such as these are very difficult to carry out accurately. The video doesn't specify the size or complexity of the cell to be formed, which is critical to the probability as the first cells were no where near complex. I would also like to note that the video addresses abiogenesis, not evolution.

4) Embryology:
The first video my opponent presents claims that similarities in embryos are not really evidences for evolution, as the embryos are not really very similar. I believe this to be a slightly skewed argument because while the embryos may not look similar, it is clear that they share many structures (such as the ones I mentioned in my previous argument) that are not present in the fully grown organism. Structures that are present in fully grown organisms of OTHER species.

The second video my opponent presents addresses an extremely wide variety of evidences for evolution, none of which is discussed very deeply.
a. Wells (the guy in the video) mentions the invalidity of the Miller-Urey experiment. I will not contest this, but will point out that this is (again), arguing about abiogenesis rather than evolution.
b. Wells then mentions Darwin's "tree of life" and that it is unrealistic. This may be so. The Theory of Evolution does not depend solely on Darwin's words as he was wrong in certain things and lacked knowledge about others. Most modern "trees of life" do not show "all organisms descended from a common ancestor at the root", so I find this argument a bit irrelevant.
c. The video talks about homologous limbs and that this could be evidence for a "common creator" rather than a "common ancestor". This really isn't an argument, so there's not much that can be said as a counter.
d. The next point is Haeckel's embryo drawings, which were already discussed in the paragraph about the first video.
e. Wells then says that Archaeopteryx is NOT a "missing link" between reptiles and birds as scientists originally thought. I will not argue against this claim, but will note that the existence of Archaeopteryx was predicted by evolution. (Discussed further in Argument 5 below).
f. Wells says that the story about the peppered moths of Britain is faulty because the moths do not (as the story says) land on tree trunks. He does not elaborate on this, and does not really expand the argument. Because of this, the argument is relatively weak. Alright, the moths didn't land on tree trunks, they could've landed on other things? I don't think this point alone can disprove the validity of this example of natural selection.
g. Wells mentions that "Darwin's finches" of the Galapagos islands cannot be considered as evidence for evolution because their beak sizes and shapes "oscillate" and do not have direction. He also mentions that this oscillation occurs with changes in climate and diet. Is that not evolution? Physical changes to adapt to the changing environment? (Yes, this is "micro-evolution").
h. The "four-winged fruit fly" is discussed and Wells says that this is a "dead animal" that is not a "forerunner of a new race of insects". I do not contest this. This seems like a very random, oddly specific example to be used. This does not seem like an "icon of evolution".

The point mentioned afterwards is not really an argument against evolution.

The third video in this section discusses the compatibility of Evolution with Christianity, which is sort of irrelevant to the debate. The two are indeed, absolutely incompatible.

The fourth video is "Richard Dawkins admits to Intelligent Design", which is a slightly misleading title. Dawkins says that another civilization could've seeded life onto our planet, but does not mention any sort of "God" figure the way we think of it. Again, this is discussing abiogenesis, not Evolution.

5) Predictions:
One way a theory can be proven is when accurate predictions can be made with the theory. If accurate predictions can be made, then it must hold some value. The Theory of Evolution has made many accurate predictions, including the existence of a "transitional whale" and an "embryonic intermaxillary bone" in humans, which later becomes part of our upper jaw.
http://chem.tufts.edu...

I await my opponent's response.
reeltalk

Con

I will have to forfeit this round, I apologize for the inconvenience.
Debate Round No. 4
TheRussian

Pro

No problem. Extend.
reeltalk

Con

reeltalk forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 9 months ago
dsjpk5
TheRussianreeltalkTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ff more than Pro, so conduct to Pro.
Vote Placed by iTruthSeeker 9 months ago
iTruthSeeker
TheRussianreeltalkTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: I thoroughly enjoyed this debate! I agreed with Con both before and after regarding evolution.. However, conduct and convincing arguments go to Pro because of Cons forfeit.