The Instigator
MoonDragon613
Pro (for)
Losing
50 Points
The Contender
Tatarize
Con (against)
Winning
59 Points

God is responsible for the creation of humanity.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/14/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,177 times Debate No: 2638
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (10)
Votes (31)

 

MoonDragon613

Pro

Evolution by nature is haphazard. Judging from the lack of sentient life in the history of the Earth, intelligence does not seem to be a popular evolutionary trend. The existence of life itself and the tremendous fortune of Earth's placement that allowed life to exist are all startling coincidences which has led to the existence of humans in our present form. My position is that this is not an accident and is instead the work of another intelligent entity. To put it simply, without a divine entity's interference, the probability of our development into sentient beings able to appreciate his magnificence is virtually 0%.
Tatarize

Con

Evolution is quite haphazard, as anybody with a hip or a lower back can attest; these parts of one's body are generally better evolved for quadrupedal animals.

However, there is also a gradual trend as far as intelligent life goes. It is true that human-style intelligence seems rare, but intelligence in organisms seems to be quite common and trends toward the more intelligent over the less intelligent.

* Dolphins are one of the smartest organisms around they appear to have a complex language syntax and can relay messages between individuals of a pod. When a beacon was placed to make an odd noise as a pod was swimming by, one of the dolphins broke off from the group, looked at the beacon, made a number of clicks and howls and returned to the group. Later when another beacon was put close to the pod, no individual bothered to investigate.

* Crows are quite intelligent and use human and human devices to their own ends.

* Octopuses can open jars.
http://www.nbc30.com...

* Chimps use tools such as a straw to gather ants to eat.

* Deer commonly hang out near the cities because predators of deer avoid people and people don't hurt deer. They commonly can use the turnstiles and often cross the street at the crosswalk where humans are seen to cross.

* Moose populations are also moving closer to roads while giving birth in order to protect their young from predators.

Humans are special insofar as we have amazingly complex tool usage, language, and cooking (more important than you'd think). The first two, however, are amazingly closely linked and allow us the rather amazing ability not only solve problems through the use of tools but also convey these solutions to other humans. This may seem an amazingly large step but it isn't. It is the product of several minor haphazard steps.

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Life itself might be tremendous fortune, but we don't actually know what the bounds needed for life are. Life may actually be quite common in the universe. There's every reason to suppose it is just happenstance. If not here, somewhere else. It is no more amazing that we have evolved on a world where our evolution is likely than it is amazing that every lottery winner not only lived in a state which offered lottery but bought a ticket, not just the million dollar winners but even the five dollar winners.

--

The problem with this "solution" to these amazing "accidents" is that it isn't a solution at all. You offer that a great intelligence must have created our intelligence because intelligence seems a rare trait. If this were true, then where did this intelligence creating intelligence come from? A greater intelligence? And where did that one come from? An even greater intelligence?

The problem with this is it doesn't solve anything. You don't solve intelligence by positing intelligence. The solution for what intelligence is and why intelligence is must be built from the bottom upwards. It cannot be supported by the unsupported. Intelligence is not a solution to the problem of intelligence. Evolution however, builds gradually from the bottom and leads to slight improvement after slight improvement easily able to result in human intelligence as we see it today.

--

Another problem you seem to overlook is the haphazard nature of intelligence itself. It isn't that good. It isn't that robust. Our intelligence is often flawed, even when filtered through robust understandings of logic and vetting our ideas through the lens of science, we still make mistakes. Our intelligence isn't divinely given, it's far closer our poorly evolved lower backs, hips, knees than we'd like to think. Our intelligence, like evolution, is haphazard.

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The problems with your argument are thusly stated:

* Intelligence is a popular evolutionary trend, humans are just special in a tool use and language. Other animals like mice can solve mazes and even make causal inferences. Dolphins, Crows, Octopuses also demonstrate varying degrees.

* Life isn't fortunate.

* The problem of intelligence cannot be solved by proposing intelligence.

* Even if you were to somehow reach the conclusion of intelligence, you cannot as the topic requires demonstrate that that intelligence is God. For example, the Raelians believe that human life was created by a race of aliens. There are no objections raised to that possibility in your argument and yet it would result in failure of the topic.

* Intelligence is far from perfect. Our intelligence is as screwed up and haphazard as the things which evolution produces.

* You have given us no reason to conclude that God exists or is an acceptable conclusion to anything. Is there any independent evidence or are you grabbing a mythological figure out of a hat and contending it solves the problem? Couldn't I simply contend that goblins are responsible for intelligence?

* Your argument is depending on the fallacy of lack of imagination. You say that God must have done it because you don't see how evolution did it.

* Your argument is rests on a very dubious claim. X is rare. Therefore X must be caused by Y. Why can't X just be rare?

----

I commend you for your argument. I've seen you argue elsewhere and I must say you were quite impressive. You steamrolled over your opponent quite adeptly; I am not they. You are wrong here and pretending that there aren't gaping holes in your argument won't save you. The rarity of humanity, as well as the rarity of intelligence suggest nothing of a greater intelligence to create our intelligence. That doesn't solve the problem at hand, it replaces the problem with a larger problem. And finally, there's no path from intelligence to God as required by the topic.

I await your reply. I'm quite certain it will be remarkably good. I only hope that my closing is equally as demolishing to that argument as this round was to your opening.
Debate Round No. 1
MoonDragon613

Pro

The fact that evolution took place is undeniable. I am not disputing that evolution took place. So arguments that evolution took place to advance living organisms on Earth to the point of humanity as it exists today is irrelevant. This is not an argument on Genesis or scripture. But what we call "Natural" selection, is in truth anything but "Natural".

Let me explain first why this is possible, addressing my opponent's "If this were true, then where did this intelligence creating intelligence come from?" That is on its face ridiculous. We humans are intelligent. During the last thousand years, we have caused tremendous changes in the eco-system, and more importantly, we have brought tremendous changes in the characteristics of animals. Through selective husbandry, we have bred animals for speed, strength, weight, and intelligence. If we accept opponent's arguments, then it is impossible for us to have created/bred intelligence in other organisms through intelligent and organized design, because then "where did that one come from?"

Now that being said, I first have to show of course that it is possible for our "evolution" to have taken place according to an intelligent design. Let me clarify, when I say "God" I do not mean the God of the bible or Koran or any specific holy text of any specific religion. I simply mean an entity(ies) tremendously superior to ourselves who have powers beyond our ability to comprehend. Just as the bacteria we manipulate cannot grasp the tools and devices through which we operate, if God operates on the evolutionary path of humanity and interferes to produce intelligent humans, why is it inconceivable we would not be able to detect the means by which they take action? That they operate through evolution is not inconsistent with the fact that they operate.

Of course the third part, the crux of my argument is to show that not only is it possible, it is likely that we have experienced intervention from God, resulting in the creation of humanity as it is today. Here I address first the statement "It isn't that good. It isn't that robust." Creation is a difficult task and we have no reason to believe that God would waste time making us perfect. That we are not perfect is not relevant. The genetic manipulations we carry out are not perfect either, but that does not mean we did not interfere in the development of bacteria. And once again, from the perspective of bacteria, we are Gods.
Multicellular life has existed on Earth for about 1 billion years. This indicates there is a high probability of intelligent design in our creation. First, "However, there is also a gradual trend as far as intelligent life goes. It is true that human-style intelligence seems rare, but intelligence in organisms seems to be quite common and trends toward the more intelligent over the less intelligent." There is no reason for evolution to proceed towards greater intelligence. Intelligence is just one of thousands of characteristics that promote survival and reproduction. Chimpanzees, which are highly intelligent, are no more successful than antelopes or lions or crocodiles. Dolphins, which are highly intelligent, are no more successful than sharks, or whales, or tuna. If intelligence is not particularly key to survival and reproduction, the fact that there is an evolutionary trend towards intelligence, which only started recently in the last several million years, is evidence that something took place to bring about this transformation. Evolution is DIVERGENT. The fact that crows, dolphins, and humans began developing intelligence at the same time even though they exist in environments that are completely unrelated is strong evidence of an outside force.

Secondly, operating on the postulate of continuous time, it is impossible for intelligence and humanity to have developed at the point it did about 3 million years ago. In fact, at any point in development, the probability of random development at that point is 0. Only when an outside force intervenes to choose that point does it become possible for that point to happen. Therefore humanity could not have developed at random.

And therefore God created humanity.
Tatarize

Con

I understand that you are not disputing evolution, you are making a variation of the fine-tune argument, as it pertains to biological systems. My argument was less about evolution and more about the generalized trend of evolution to properly and easily create human beings. Moreover, the anthropic principle applies, regardless of how rare humanity might be we exist. If we didn't exist something else would. Intelligence isn't remarkably rare as displayed by the swaths of different species which have intelligent as a characteristic.

If you note my objections:

* Intelligence is a popular evolutionary trend.
* Life isn't fortunate.
* The problem of intelligence cannot be solved by proposing intelligence.
* You cannot conclude God.
* Intelligence is imperfect (thus evolved).
* God is a red herring and not established prior to being invoked.
* Fallacy of lack of imagination.
* X is rare does not lead to the conclusion that X didn't happen.

I never suggested that you disagreed with evolution or were arguing for Genesis. You're argument is fine-tuned applied to biological system. It has the problems that the fine-tuned argument has as well as the problems of the argument from nature.

If all populations were unchecked any species would overwhelm the planet in a number of generations via a Malthusian crunch. Within species, natural selection, selects the most adapted individual of a species to bred more often in this necessary fight for survival. If small genetic changes between individuals allow for changes in the organism which better adapt it to the environment than the rest of the population, that trait becomes more frequent and assists the population as a whole to adapt to its environment. Selective breeding as noted by evolutionists since Darwin (his first chapters were on selective breeding) is able to elicit massive changes in a species depending on what traits humans want and allow the possessing organisms to breed. -- If you want a larger dog, you breed your largest dogs, generations down the road you get a big dog.

Nothing about my arguments prevents increased intelligence from being selected. The traits which cause the production of brains are able to be created via natural means, they could also be selected by human means. However, ultimately human intelligence isn't the product of selective pressure exerted by an intelligence, because at some point you can't explain intelligence via intelligence. Pointing out that humans can take the reigns over selection, no more proves your case than arguing for AI would prove the case. The ultimate source for intelligence needs to work from the ground up to produce intelligence such as evolution has been shown to do. Further, regardless how many steps back you go, you cannot make this leap from intelligence to God.

This creating intelligence would need to have evolved or have been created by some other ground-up process. As you cannot initially posit an intelligence to explain intelligence.

My point about perfection was not that our imperfections would be contrary to the theory of creation by a perfect God, rather to show you that the flaws in our intelligence are much like the flaws with our hips, lower backs, and knees which function far below optimal are indicative of the haphazard by evolution. Either that or your designing intelligence is kind of a moron.

The reason bacteria cannot detect us is because they have almost no senses. Had they the number of senses we have they would be able to detect us. Just as we can detect them without microscopes. We have no tools to directly see or feel or touch bacteria... but when we become ill the experience is inescapable. Regardless of the greatness of this intelligence, I'm weary of the concept that we cannot detect it in any way. Further, the completeness of evolutionary theory would makes such a presupposition superfluous. That said, I do not see how you can meet your burden of proof to establish God and establish that God is responsible for the creation of humanity.

Creation via evolution is not a difficult task at all, in fact, the task takes nothing but a replicator and time. Wasting time to make us perfect isn't the issue. Some parts of human anatomy are just badly done. For example, in the human eye we the nerves and blood which service the retina go forward toward the light rather than backwards toward the brain. As a consequence they have evolved to be as clear as possible and attach to a hole in the center of the eye. We have a blind spot, and a lot of effort and genes to make the eye function nearly as well as an eye designed by a third grader might function (with the nerves facing the correct direction like in the eye of a squid).

The existence of multicellular life starting in the Precambrian era no more makes intelligent design likely than it makes it likely I would win big in Vegas.

There is every reason for life to proceed towards greater intelligence. It is a rather common and useful adaptation. Some creatures get larger to protect themselves, some get faster, some get poisons, some get smarter. The divergence of nature shows that intelligence is an analogous trait across multiple species. Intelligence, like flight and venom is a common Good Trick of natural selection. With intelligence you can make causal links and understand the world and make predictions of what will happen next; this is a very useful trait and evolution a common path for evolution to take.

Intelligence is just another adaptation, which is exactly as you should expect. Dolphins easy kill sharks by ramming their gills and causing them to choke. That's pretty smart and certainly gives them an upper hand.

The trends towards intelligence have been remarkably consistent, it is simply that some animals, namely humans, began to specialize as far as intelligence goes. One of the best theories as to what gave us the opening to adapt in this manner is cooking. With fire and cooking, food is easier to eat and becomes far more available. Those with the better intelligence are better suited to the environment and life becomes far easier yet. Yes, something probably did kick start the massive trend toward intelligence (human brains are three times the size of chimp brains), most likely, fire.

The other species you mention seem to have different evolutionary paths. Crows and dolphins appear to have developed more or less prior to major advances in human intelligence. There's nothing to conclude that they are similarly advanced at a similar time.

It is certainly possible for humans to have advanced as they did. Even if we push the time of development forward or back we still arrive at a developed species. Certainly we could have developed earlier and had this discussion a million years ago, or developed later and had it next week. You are engaging in the sharp shooter fallacy.

A man blindfolds himself, walks a hundred yards away, turns around and shoots the side of a barn. He then draws a bullseye right where the bullet hit. He declares that he hit the bullseye from 100 yards while blindfolded. If we didn't evolve at the exact time we did... then it could have been later or sooner or a different species.

Nothing about the rarity or the perceived rarity makes humanity impossible to evolve. Further, difficulty in evolving does not require an intelligence to help it along. Further, even if there is an intelligence helping it along, it's impossible to conclude any sort of deity.

You have come no where close to meeting the burden of proof. I, nor anybody else, should be convinced from your argument that God is responsible for the creation of humanity. Your argument is flawed in many ways and fails to form a logical compelling argument towards any conclusion much less the aforementioned required conclusion of this topic.
Debate Round No. 2
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
The very first time I heard the word "evolution," Stephen Jay Gould explained to me in person what it meant.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
That's a counter argument I wish I had made.
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
Evolution is about survivability. If a mutation or adaptation doesn't negatively effect a species, it doesn't get eliminated. If a mutation of adaptation profoundly helps a species, that species might seen a huge rate of growth, but that doesn't mean that they'll survive.

Ecology is about balance. Sometimes being well suited to an environment means that you're actually destroying the environment you're in. This can cause a population of animals to blossom, and then suddenly collapse as the environment is no longer able to sustain such a large population of that species.

The type of intelligence we possess, plus the use of technology doesn't necessarily mean we're evolutionarily supperior. We're clever enough to know that we need to maintain a certain level of a deer population in Iowa, and we use a state run department to help maintain it, but we're not clever enough to understand that maybe six billion people, is a few billion people too many. That maybe we're over populating our environment in the same fashion as we try to prevent white tail deer from doing.

Intelligence doesn't necessarily promote survivability in a long term setting. I significantly doubt that any God is behind our intelligence, and more likely accept that the inadequacies of our mind is behind superstition, which has led to there "being a god". We try to avoid thinking as much as possible, and I'm sure tens of millions of years ago belief was born in the mind of one of our small mammalian ancestors was on the verge of a panic attack because the sun was setting, and suddenly belief was born in that it knew the sun would return the next morning.

Assuming that there is nothing special about us as a species, or worse yet, that there's nothing permanent about us as a species is a very hard thing to do.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
I have seen little bias on Kleptin's part.

Creativity wise, MoonDragon was and always has been remarkably impressive. I'm often astounded that people don't realize how good of debater he is. If I didn't know the above argument backwards and forwards and point out (what I believe to be) every error in the argument, I'd be sunk. I think he'd stand a remarkably good chance at defeating any lesser debater.

I thought the selective breeding by humans for intelligence argument was extremely clever. Though we don't really select for intelligence (perhaps in dogs), we certainly could, it simply cannot ultimately be the origin of intelligence. The speculation is rather superfluous compared to evolution.

Still, Bravo. If anything in my argument flew over your head or doesn't quite fit together feel free to ask (though my clarification should not be taken into account for voting).
Posted by polka-dots323 9 years ago
polka-dots323
I find it hilarious that Kleptin always seems to vote according to his opinion not on who did a better job. He also always believes that he is always correct and everyone else is wrong. Not to be mean, I just wanted to point that out. But good debate. :)
Posted by MoonDragon613 9 years ago
MoonDragon613
lol, I'll pass. For now. I'll settle for points for creativity while I try to digest that argument myself =P.
Posted by Kleptin 9 years ago
Kleptin
@Moondragon

The presupposes the significance of the number 5.

Send me a challenge :D?
Posted by Kleptin 9 years ago
Kleptin
Hands down. Con did not just clearly win this debate, con objectively won this debate. Not only has he debunked every single one of Pro's points, but it was Pro's duty as the one making the claim to fulfill the burden of proof. He did not do. The only time he came close was in the argument of probability, which was responded to.

I found that both debaters were quite elegant and wrote very well. But in terms of argument strength and content, there is no possible way to declare Pro the winner.

Unless of course, you click the wrong box. That happened to me once or twice.

It is disappointing because Pro did have the harder argument.
Posted by mrmazoo 9 years ago
mrmazoo
Con clearly won this debate.
Posted by MoonDragon613 9 years ago
MoonDragon613
(fyi, I do not believe I was quite sober in posting the latter sections of my second argument. Another way to explain this is imagine if you were to randomly select a number out of all existing numbers. It would be impossible for you to select the number 5 because of the non-uniform distribution of continuous numbers. Therefore an outside entity has to actually pick the number 5 for the number 5 to have been picked. The same theory can be applied to the point of evolution. The defining mutation where we recognize a difference between the first member of the homo family, since mutation is random in nature, must have been selected by an outside form because such cannot be randomly selected. Therefore God must have selected it.)

(still recovering from last night actually...)
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