The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Intelligent Design is the most likely to be true hypothesis for the origin of life.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/31/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,349 times Debate No: 37178
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (26)
Votes (2)




1. DNA is a type of code.
2. Codes have only ever been known to form either directly or indirectly from a source of intelligence, ie. people.
3. We do not have a significant scientific understanding of how functional DNA can arise by natural means.
4. Therefore it is logical to conclude that an ID explanation for the origin of life is the hypothesis most likely to be true.

Rule: My opponent must attempt to show only how this argument is false. To discuss other arguments concerning Intelligent Design is prohibited. To enter this debate means to accept this rule.

I welcome anyone who will assume the role of opposition.

p.s. this is my first time using this website so if I mess up some of the particulars I apologize in advance.


Hello, this is also my first debate on this website! (sorry for the long response, I thought it through for a long time.)

1.DNA is a code, there a lots of things that could be interpreted as codes, codes is a very VAGUE word. A better word would be instructions, but many animals are known to give instructions.

2.A code is a very general term. Bees have a special dance to communicate with other hive member"s. Only they can understand it so bees use codes. Bees individually do not have a high intelligence, the only way this code could have evolved would be via connections between the motion and past experiences, so over time bees, may have been able to connect pathways to flowers, with dances. How would something like this evolve? Well to answer that, I hypothesize that since bees have the bare minimum necessary brain power to become Eusocial animals. If they have enough brain power to realize that it is more profitable and more likely for its DNA to expand by living in a group. So since it can do this, then it MUST be able to comprehend that the bee dancing, the directions to the flower field is actually just "flying in place" and turning to show that it is going forward all the time and that it used this exact path. Over millennia this code could have been improved on, so that bees could give more general directions, rather than hovering in place and turning to show the entire pathway. An analogy to understand this better would be like a treasure map. Paces being time in this case. When you read a Treasure map to find X you have to take so and so steps from a certain point, or you could hover in place in one direction and then turn after a minute has passed. Showing that you flew in this direction for a minute then turned left and went straight for 2 more minutes and then stopped at a flower patch.

3.DNA is VERY LIKELY to have been a mutated form of RNA. When life first existed on Earth, it was unicellular for millions and millions of years, giving copious time for simple RNA based bacteria move into a place where it is impossible to synthesize the nucleotide Uracil, but easy to synthesize Thiamine. (Uracil is in RNA, Thiamine is in DNA)

4.Therefore it is logical to see that life COULD arise without a hand.

5.Also in response to your statement "We do not have a significant understanding" what you"re doing to your argument is ruining it. You"re basing it on a "we do not have enough data situation", so it could swing BOTH ways. Ex: x+5=y, we don"t know what y could be so it could be 9. Well it could also be many other things!
Debate Round No. 1


Hello htet.htut3, thank you for accepting this debate. I hope it will be a positive first experience for both of us :)

1. In this instance by code I mean a sequence of physical characters that chemically and/or physically interact with a system to cause it to perform a function. The specific order of the characters is significant, with different sequences producing different results. Also there is a level of abstractness or potential for interchangeability involved. What I mean by this is that, with the case of DNA, it is not physically necessary that the codon CAA signify glutamine. It would be possible for CAA to denote any other of the amino acids if its respective tRNAs were modified. This indicates that the association between the codon and the amino acid is an abstract one, not one that follows from physical necessity. DNA and computer programming both are of this type of code.
Human and other animal languages, including the amazing bee dance, are of another type. They convey messages that flow from one intelligent source to another. The code is read, heard, seen, felt, etc., and then the message is consciously interpreted. Such is not the case with DNA or computer programming, as neither cells nor computers are conscious entities. Instead the code, via chemical and/or physical interactions, forces the system to respond in a certain way.
Therefore to offer a hypothesis on how the bee dance language emerged is not sufficient to explain how functional DNA could arise by natural means, as not only are they not the same but they aren't even of the same type.

2. Please offer published scientific findings that support your third statement.

3. My point is not that we do not have enough information. I am simply illustrating the fact that we have never known a natural process that creates functional codes of the type that DNA belongs to. Therefore it is illogical to assert that a natural process formed DNA.


It is no problem, I enjoy our debate so far, and I am glad to have someone that is open-minded and willing to accept other ideas; a notion that is not common in our time.

1.I think I understand what you mean, but to be clear you mean that, It is hard to believe that a bunch of chemicals got together and "just happened" to make a cell. In response to this, I give you this video from TEDtalks.

There you go, straight from the people who research this kind of stuff.


Crystals are made naturally, they are complex, but they obey laws. What we consider to be life is made naturally, but they obey certain laws to be considered life. Take the virus, simple easy for us to manipulate, and easy for us to understand.
You wanted proof, here"s LOADS of it.
Debate Round No. 2


myrrh forfeited this round.


What do you mean by intelligent design?
Debate Round No. 3


So with the references you provided, the first and last ones are interesting but do not directly support your argument. One of the three NCBI links you gave doesn't offer the full text but only a summary. Of the two that do show the full text, neither gives a concise explanation of how functional DNA can arise by natural means which is what you are attempting to demonstrate. They are largely concerned with the reasons scientists believe that RNA preceded DNA in the early stages of evolution. I find their reasoning on this point to be solid and I agree with them. However while these articles offer some partial guesses, neither gives a full story of how working DNA can arise from abiotic matter. I highly doubt that further searching on your part will yield studies that do so, for if such findings existed they would be among the greatest scientific discoveries ever, and thus we surely would have already heard of them.

Now your response will probably be that while scientists don't understand how functional DNA can come about naturally yet, they are getting closer and will probably succeed at obtaining a full explanation at some point in the future. I would disagree, but neither of our opinions would really matter because they would amount to mere speculation. However my argument follows from our current situation- that scientists do not have a significant understanding of how functional DNA can be formed by anything other than already existent life. This is information that is known to be true and thus my argument stands.

When I say intelligent design I point to a source which has the type of intelligence capable of creating code of DNA's sophistication and complexity. The only entities known to have such intelligence are humans, but even this is a bit of a stretch as humans have yet to design and construct a functional DNA genome de novo. Anyways I can't suggest that people were responsible for the first appearance of DNA for obvious reasons, so I assert that any intelligence at least equal to that of humans is the hypothesis most likely to be true.


I was hoping that my TEDtalks video sway your view, as it shows how the beginnings of complex things can arise by chance. I have another article that explains how two of the nucleotides for RNA could have been formed in this link.

Also as I said before Crystals are moderately complex correct? You can tell they have a design because of their edges and no intelligence is involved there correct?
Anyways, your argument is basically this, a tasty fruit grows from a tree so other strange objects growing on trees must also be tasty! Which is wrong because a good majority of fruits are not suited to the human palate.
If we take that to your argument, we"re intelligent and only we make complex codes, so only other intelligent things can make complex codes. This is completely based on what we know, which is EXTREMELY limited right now. I think it would be foolish to come up with such theories on knowledge that is not adequately research upon, in which we fall into a stalemate as you said we would, I believe this is the end of the argument. In conclusion, my belief has changed into a definite choice into of a belief which is more on the fence. It is impossible to make a 100% proven argument until further research turns up answers. I hope that I also have changed your belief to a less conclusive one, as there is not enough evidence for either theory, however most of the research money is going into how life could have formed naturally.
Debate Round No. 4


There is a need for the term complex to be defined. From -

1. a. Consisting of interconnected or interwoven parts; composite.
b. Composed of two or more units:

2. Involved or intricate, as in structure; complicated.

When you say that the TEDtalks video showed how the beginnings of complex things can arise by chance, you aren"t incorrect but this is not the point of the video. Complex things arise by chance all the time. A puddle of mud can be very complex. Simply put because it is made out of lots of different kinds of stuff that are interconnected or interwoven it fits the definition well. The point of the video was to show how a select mixture of chemicals in a controlled environment can behave in ways that resemble the actions of living cells.

Taken from the article you provided-
"It will also mean that for the first time a plausible explanation exists for how an information-carrying biological molecule could have emerged through natural processes from chemicals on the primitive earth."

This is false. What it posited was a hypothesis (scientific word for guess) for how two of the four nucleotides could have emerged through natural processes. Whether or not the described process is probable or even possible still seems up for debate, as Dr. Shapiro pointed out that one of the starting materials needed is very unlikely to have been found in a pure state on the early earth as it is "quickly destroyed by other chemicals". Dr. Sutherland"s response seems very weak. He says that cyano-acetylene (the starting material in question) is the fastest consumed chemical in his reaction. This is only another illustration of the chemical"s high reactivity rate and doesn"t undo the problem of finding it in a pure form in nature. He also defends by pointing out that it has been detected on Titan, so there"s "no reason" it wouldn"t be present on the early earth. This is completely ridiculous as Titan"s and Earth"s atmospheric and surface conditions are extremely different, not to mention that the average surface temperature on Titan is W22;179.2 "C. Lower temperatures result in decreased rates of chemical reactions, so it would make sense that cyano-acetylene would be more likely found on Titan than on Earth as it is far more difficult for nearby chemicals to react with it.

This doesn"t address though the bigger falsehood present in this quote by the authors of this article. They said "information-carrying". The study gives no indication of how these nucleotides could have arranged themselves in a way that is "informational". Strings of letters can written out at random, but they do not contain information in the conventional sense until something of intelligence, ie. people, arranges them in a certain way that gives them meaning. The RNA and DNA in living organisms are not randomly assembled, their sequences are arranged in such a way that they achieve a purpose which ultimately is the propagation of more copies of themselves. Now some of the articles you referenced earlier mentioned how random RNA libraries were able to produce sequences that were able to perform a limited number of relatively simple tasks present in living cells. However these achievements are analogous to producing a few short words when you string out random sequences of letters. Creating an isolated word here or there using this method is possible, but to get multiple words to form next to each other in a way that makes sense gets exponentially more and more improbable. These kind of accomplishments are miniscule when considering that the information present in the genomes of bacteria are akin to a ten volume encyclopedia if not more so. A living cell consists of thousands of different kinds of chemical reactions all happening simultaneously and harmoniously, all working together for a common cause. The random RNA library method may be able to produce isolated strands with certain small scale functionality, but to get sequences in parallel that work together gets exponentially more difficult to achieve the higher you try to go with it, just like the case with random letter generation. And understand that the more improbable the situation gets the larger the libraries you need, which makes any proposed scenario for creating such RNA pools in the first place less and less likely to be possible.

"Also as I said before Crystals are moderately complex correct? You can tell they have a design because of their edges and no intelligence is involved there correct?"

Crystals are less complex than mud as they are more uniform in composition. They are however more organized, but this analogy fails anyways as there are known natural causes that produce crystal formations. Also crystals carry out no conceivable function on their own unless intelligent beings are utilizing them.

"Anyways, your argument is basically this, a tasty fruit grows from a tree so other strange objects growing on trees must also be tasty! Which is wrong because a good majority of fruits are not suited to the human palate."

straw man fallacy

In the end of your argument you say that we do not know enough to make any definite conclusions. You should note though that my central argument simply states that the intelligent design hypothesis is the hypothesis most likely to be true, which is not a definite conclusion. You have not successfully undermined my premises nor shown how my reasoning is illogical.

That being said I appreciate your acceptance and participation in this debate, and I found the articles you shared to be very interesting and informative.


htet.htut3 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Before these genetic mechanisms for limiting changes by mutation were installed in most species, mutations had no limitation on how much change they could generate in any particular species.
With no restrictions on mutations of around a couple of billion til a round a couple of million years ago, mutational changes were running wild, unchecked.
With many changes, likely many bad for the species and some good enough to push phenotype alterations towards defining another species. From nocturnal shrew like creatures 75 million years ago, to Apes and Humans.
Genes have developed their own Intelligence and thus formed barriers to prevent flagrant, large changes in the DNA structure.
Thus limiting all modern creatures from gaining any further quick macroevolutionary changes.
Science will not be able to observe macroevolution because, essentially, genetics has put the brakes on it.
To get a species to evolve as fast as they evolved millions of years ago, we have to neutralize these genetic brakes, (cut the brake cables).
LOL! :-D~
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Actually I should have used the proper term Phenotype Change or visible, observable change instead of macro-evolutionary change (had a brain block) in describing changes the external characteristics of a species. Because the finches are still finches, but with observably different beaks and the peppered moth is still a peppered moth of a different color, due to trigger proteins.
Macro-evolutionary changes have been slowed down in most species by the genetically limiting of genetic expression in modern gene pools.
Most creatures have genetic mechanisms installed that limit how much genetic expression (change) is allowed. It is believed that lowering of this genetic safeguard in a variety of ape, led to the development of humans. We don't have the same level of limitation of genetic expression as apes, which is believed to be an explanation of why humans suffer more genetic expression and rogue genetic diseases like cancers.

Because, Technically and Macro-Evolutionary, we are still Apes with only a few minor changes in attributes.
Externally, we have developed bipedalism, bigger heads, brains and lack hair, which just about covers the major aspects. We are just apes that look different.
All the other aspects are simply a result of the bigger, more complex brain which has mutated a few extra structures that produced the difference in abilities.
So Macro-evolution really doesn't apply to humans from apes, because it is not a species change.
It is merely a phenotype change.
We do appear different, but we are still Apes by genetics and by the majority of our mental functions.
We just use the same faculties, differently, because of the mutated brain bits.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
The evidence for Evolution exists mainly in the micro-evolution stages, we have proof of mutation and genetic material addition to a gene pool by such processes as chromosome Doubling for example. It is believed this is the process that created the Gyri attached to our IPL lobes, which assist us in mathematical, language and other functions that define us as humans.

We also have the evidence for many other things such as genetic triggers or proteins that can cause visible (macro-evolutionary) changes in a single generation, such as the peppered moths and the Galapagos Island finches that Darwin observed and devised much of his theory from.
Yes, the peppered moth and Darwin's finches have been confirmed as genuine evidence for Evolution by recent genetic research.
Darwin has been completely vindicated, and his theory is much stronger than when he devised it.
Darwin knew nothing about genetics, scientists thought genetics could beat Darwin, but, instead. genetics has vindicated Darwin completely.
What a Brilliant scientist he was! :-D~
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
That was not my Point.
Gravity may be observed as being consistent by all observers on Earth.
So it is considered as factual that things fall when dropped and from observation this applies to everything that is dropped except for hydrogen and helium gas filled containers and bubbles.
Though, what I'm talking about is the Theory of Gravity, which is the EXPLANATION of why things fall.
Truthfully, nobody in Science knows what causes Gravity, so the Theory of Gravity has really no substance nor sound EXPLANATION for this one fact, that objects fall or are attracted to massive objects, because the gravitational attraction between smaller objects is too weak to measure accurately.

Evolution has far more observable Biological phenomenon to explain and it explains them far better than the Theory Of Gravity explains Gravity.
Posted by Pelagius 3 years ago

Yours is an outlandish claim:

Gravity requires no explanation because it is observed directly. Direct observation is its proof, and there can be no more positive proof than that, especially when such observations are uniform for all observers. There can bee numerous competing explanations for gravity, and they can be all false, yet the fact of gravity remains.

Evolution on the large scale that Darwin proposed has never been observed"ever, at any time. This is a very serious weakness in the theory, despite all the authoritative bluster in the world to the contrary. Arguments for its acceptance usually come in the form of "the evidence is overwhelming" or "the vast majority of scientists accept evolution". When the best evidence is assembled however, the evidence is underwhelming. Here is one of the better examples:

This lists 15 evolutionary "gems", presumable some of the best evidence around.

1-5 from the fossil record shows evidence of decent with variation but does not present evidence for the causal mechanism.

6-15 show example of small scale or micro-evolution on the scale of dog breeding. This is the sort of small scale evidence Darwin used, but it still hasn"t been demonstrated that this type of change multiplied a million times can convert a fish"s fin in into an amphibian"s leg, or a dinosaurs front leg into a birds wing.

The only way to get from this evidence to Darwin"s grand theory of microbe to man via natural selection is to make inferences from data that reaches far beyond any human experience.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Newton's theory has really no good explanation of why things fall. His hypothesis is actually quite weak in comparison to Evolution.
Darwin had little idea of how Evolution worked, he just, like Newton, observed natural phenomenon and drew his conclusions from them. Neither used experimentation to devise their theories.
Experimentation came later as people/scientists devised ways to test both Newton's and Darwin's theories and see if they are true.
Nobody knows the cause of Gravity, nor if all objects in the universe have gravity.
Genetics arrived in Science and scientists tried to use it to defeat Evolution, but failed, instead it made Evolution a much stronger Theory.
The theory of Evolution has more explanations and facts under it than The Theory of Gravity, so it is in fact a much stronger Theory than is that for Gravity.
There are too many unknowns in The Theory of Gravity, big unknowns, so the theory isn't at all conclusive.
The Theory of Evolution has many questions already answered, yet there is still a very long way to go, but it is more conclusive than Gravity.
There is no other theory for life on Earth that can possibly challenge the theory of Evolution.
There are theories regarding the fabric of time and space, string theory, universal resonance theories that may possibly challenge current concepts in the Theory of Gravity.
Some believe Gravity may be a product of Higgs-Boson particle properties.
Posted by myrrh 3 years ago
gah what, this is weird. it's supposed to be -179.2 degrees Celsius. there.
Posted by myrrh 3 years ago
I'm sorry for the weird fluke in my last argument where my apostrophes were replaced with quotations, I copied and pasted it from Word. Also the temperature for Titan was supposed to come out as W22;179.2 "C.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
I spent 2 years studying theology, even read the entire bible from Genesis to Revelations twice, finally realized it was a complete waste of time, felt ashamed of myself for doing it.
And you try and convince me that the God of the Bible doesn't use Magic.
You are only fooling yourself, certainly not I?
Creating a world from nothing wrongly, (Magic), Turning Lot's wife into Salt (Magic), Parting the Red Sea to let Moses's Lie through (Magic), Global Flood (Could not happen without Magic). Feeding multitudes on a small amount of bread and fish (Magic), Walking on water (Magic), Raising the Dead (Magic).
Oh you make us Laugh! LOL! Haven't you ever read the Bible properly?
The Bible has been proven to be totally inaccurate both Scientifically and Historically.
Just take a look at:
Under the Scientific Absurdities and Historical Inaccuracies section.
Also at the top of the page is proof of the many contradictions that make the Bible appear Stupid to most rational people: This is what destroyed my faith in it, on the second complete reading, I started to notice many absurd discrepancies and conflicting teachings.
Also many historians and anthropologists now believe that all of Moses's deeds, are in fact nothing but Lies. There was no such exodus of thousands of slaves. It was all made up in somebody's mind, since it is extremely doubtful that any of the writing came from himself. Something I noted while reading the book of Exodus. Nobody, except an idiot writes about themselves from a partly disinterested third party as much of Exodus's tales about Moses are inscribed.
The God of the Bible, DEFINITELY relies on Magic, no ifs, buts nor maybes, No natural forces can perform such acts as those in the Old Testament and from Jesus.
The bible is no more accurate Geologically, Scientifically and Archaeologically than Tolkien's " The Lord Of The Rings".
Your concepts are being totally Misled!
Posted by simpleman 3 years ago
Sir Isaac Newton did not consult experimentation to examine gravity to establish it's veracity or existence. Nature itself implied it's existence. The fact that he went on to investigate it was not motivated by a need to see if it was so, but why it was so.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's final round went unchallenged so therefore stands due to Con's forfeiture, moreover I found Pro sufficiently gave rebuttals to Con's arguments.
Vote Placed by DeFool 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Offsetting forfeitures, PRO relies on appeals to ignorance ( I am simply illustrating the fact that we have never known a natural process that creates functional codes of the type that DNA belongs to. Therefore it is illogical to assert that a natural process formed DNA.) This was pointed out by CON. However, the language used by CON was often confusing and imprecise.