The Instigator
TheChristianScientist
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
palmertio0
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points

Is Evolution a Scientifically Viable Position on the Origin of the Universe and Life?

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
palmertio0
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/18/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 709 times Debate No: 81147
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (30)
Votes (2)

 

TheChristianScientist

Con

Let us start by defining exactly what we are talking about when we say "evolution."
There are six different kinds of evolution that I will define.
1. Cosmic Evolution: The origin of the universe.
You must explain how the universe came to be. (Note: "The Big Bang" is not a good response. If you argue that the universe began with the Big Bang, a position I agree with, you must still explain how this explosion was caused)
2. Chemical Evolution: The origin of the higher elements from hydrogen.
The elements of the periodic table would have needed to evolve, as well. While fusion in stars can explain a little bit, it is limited. Stars cannot fuse any element higher than iron. You must explain how all of the other elements could have evolved.
3. Stellar/Planetary Evolution: The origin of stars and planets.
The stars would need to evolve as well. Gravitational attraction of particles inside of nebulae cannot explain star origins, because when a gas cloud contracts, it generates heat, which causes the cloud to expand .
4. Biological Evolution: The origin of life.
You must explain how life could have originated from nonliving materials.
5. Macroevolution: The origin of "kinds."
You must explain how, assuming a simple organism did come from nonliving materials, this simple organism could have evolved into different kinds of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, plants, animals, and protists.
6. Microevolution: Genetic Variation within a "kind" (or family).
Microevolution, which shouldn't really count as evolution at all, is the only item on this list that has been observed. And while microevolution is a fact, it should never be confused with macroevolution. Microevolution is limited, and does not move beyond a "kind." So, microevolution plus time does not equal macroevolution.

My opponent needs to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that all six of these forms of evolution are both possible and probable. I will need to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that they are not possible, or at least not probable, as a scientific position on the origin of the universe and life.
palmertio0

Pro

I accept this debate. As agreed in the comments, I will not be required to prove the first and fourth arguments. These two are currently unexplained by science.

1: Cosmic Evolution
The Big Bang Theory (BBT for our purposes) is currently the best theory for cosmic evolution, or how the universe changed from when it began to how it is now. This infographic ( http://www.jpl.nasa.gov... ) summarizes the whole process, and a more in-depth explanation can be found here: http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu.... The theory does not, however, give evidence as to where the matter in the Big Bang itself actually came from. There is quite a bit wild speculation as to where matter comes from, such as our universe forming inside a black hole, another universe, spontaneously appearing, etc.

There is plenty of evidence for the BBT [1], namely the expansion of the universe seen through redshift [2], the ratio of light elements created in the Big Bang (aka Nucleosynthesis) [3], background radiation left over from the Big Bang [4] [5], and the general formation of galaxies [1].

2: Chemical Evolution
As stated in section 1, the Big Bang left large amounts of light elements, mostly hydrogen and helium [3]. Also covered in the BBT is the formation of stars. Large clumps of gas slowly gathered, eventually initiating nuclear fusion due to large amounts of gravity. As the star burns through its hydrogen and helium, it fuses heavier and heavier elements until it has formed a core of iron. Eventually, the star does not have enough fuel to support itself, and its immense gravity collapses the star into itself. Then, the star goes supernova. It ejects all of the matter it contains in a burst of radiation, different elements, and neutrons. The neutrons then collide with some of the atoms, fusing with them, and decay into a proton, an, electron, and a anti-neutrino. This is repeated enough times to form high-mass elements such as uranium. [6]

3. Stellar/Planetary Evolution
Stellar evolution is also a part of the BBT. Around 500,000 years after the Big Bang, small fluctuations in the density of the hydrogen and helium gas cloud began to form. These small fluctuations eventually created clumps of matter. [7] In these clumps of matter, smaller, even denser pockets began to appear. As gravity forced the gas closer and closer together at ever higher speeds, the temperature increased. Eventually, the gas entered the state of plasma. In this state, high-energy collisions occurred, fusing hydrogen and helium into heavier elements as explained in section 2. [6]

Planets form from the dust left over from supernovae. As stars begin to form in nebulae left from supernovae, they acquired large disks of gas around them. In these disks of gas, small particles of stardust slowly clumped together until they formed planets. [8]

4. Biological Evolution
The origin of life is indeed as mysterious as what caused the Big Bang. Again, some theories exist. In an experiment conducted by Stanley Miller in 1958, a flask was filled with methane, ammonia, hydrogen and water, all gases that existed in early Earth's atmosphere. When an electrical current was passed through this flask, five different amino acids formed. (Amino acids are the basic building blocks of proteins [10]). A recent reproduction of this experiment using more delicate instruments was able to form 23 amino acids. These experiments indicate that it was possible for organic compounds to form in primordial Earth. However, this does not explain how life itself formed, merely that the materials were available. One possible explanation is that these amino acids and other organic compounds became alive in deep-sea vents, where heat and other catalysts may have created the "spark" of life. [11] It is widely agreed that around 3.5 billion years ago, this "spark" somehow created one single cell. It seems that this is statistically much more likely than other forms of evolution in which separate original cells created the different dominions of life [12]. Also, all organisms share 23 seemingly universal proteins. These may have evolved separately (convergent evolution), but it seems much more likely that they evolved from one single cell. [13]

5. Macroevolution
You probably already know how evolution works, but I will include a quick summary. Evolution occurs due to natural selection. No two organisms are exactly alike, their genetic code which is encoded in their DNA is unique. [14] Due to this, some organisms have different traits. Those organisms with traits that make them more fit to survive in an environment are much more likely to reproduce. When said organisms reproduce, their offspring will have slightly different DNA than they do. This will, again only allow the fittest to survive. [15] After millenia of refinement, organisms will become in tune with their environment. As the original organisms were spread across different environments, they began to specialize to use the resources available to them. This led to the rise of different types of organisms. you can see exactly where each species can be traced according to genetic similarity to other species here: http://itol.embl.de.... Over millions of years, Slight variations eventually brought forth the species we see today.

6. Microevolution
As explained in section 5, microevolution is caused by slight variations in genetic code. These mutations are caused by DNA being incorrectly copied as cells divide [16]. Con is incorrect in saying that microevolution + time does not equal macroevolution. Over time, the mutations mentioned earlier will build up, and some individuals with certain mutations may survive by pure chance. This leads to genetic drift, which is changes in the genetic makeup of a species over time just by chance. [17] However, evolution can also happen after times of drastic change. If an organisms' environment changes rapidly, natural selection will also happen much more quickly as fewer organisms are able to survive in they new, altered environment. [18]

This is an overall summary of the different types of evolution and most of the processes surrounding them. Next time I will include more explicit proof, but I seem to have run out of time. Good luck to Con!

Sources:
[1] http://www.universetoday.com...
[2] http://www.pbs.org...
[3] http://w.astro.berkeley.edu...
[4] http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov...
[5] http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
[6] http://aether.lbl.gov...
[7] http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov...
[8] http://phys.org...
[9] http://www.pbs.org...
[10] http://www.biology.arizona.edu...
[11] http://blogs.discovermagazine.com...
[12] http://www.nature.com...
[13] http://news.nationalgeographic.com...
[14] http://www.nature.com...
[15] http://necsi.edu...
[16] http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
[17] http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
[18] http://necsi.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
TheChristianScientist

Con

TheChristianScientist forfeited this round.
palmertio0

Pro

Con's Argument:

I am extremely sorry for the delays, I have just been very busy over the past few days.
I thank Pro for accepting my debate, as well as for being very patient with me.
Side note: for the remainder of this debate, I will be focusing most of my attention on points 5 and 6, and not so much on the others, because 5 and 6 are the only ones that really deal with Darwin"s original theory.

1. As previously stated, you do not need to prove this, so I won't comment too much on it.

2. This explanation may explain some of the higher elements, but I find it extremely doubtful that all 118 elements arose completely by chance this way. Remember that you also need to explain how they are all probable, not just "technically possible."

3. There is a problem with this explanation of star origin. The basic idea: when the gas clouds collapse in on their own gravity and increase in temperature, they are supposed to form into one object that then begins fusion. However, if these gas clouds actually did contract and heat up, then this temperature increase would cause the gas cloud to expand, counteracting gravity. So, the fusion would never begin (2).

4. As previously agreed, you do not need to prove this. However, I will point out a few things with this one. First of all, most scientists now think that the early earth"s atmosphere was actually much closer to today"s than originally thought (3). This means that the Miller experiment did not prove anything. The other explanation is not very detailed, but again, I don"t find that this is very probable. Here is a calculation of the probability of a completely random origin of life:(3).

5.Thank you very much for the summary of evolution. The only evidence presented in your argument (genetic similarity) is not necessarily evidence for evolution. Admittedly, it could be evidence for common ancestry. But it could just as easily be evidence for common design. And since the majority of evolutionists are using evolution as evidence against a Creator, that is significant.

6. I still believe (and I"m not alone in this) that microevolution + time doesn"t equal macroevolution. However, if we just keep arguing back and forth about it, we aren"t going to get anywhere, so I"ll drop the issue for now.

So, maybe evolution is technically possible. But that doesn"t mean it happened. I"m not going to do the math for the probability of evolution (too many numbers), so I will let someone else do it. Henry M. Morris calculates, in an article for the Institute for Creation Research calculates that "the chance that any kind of a 200-component integrated functioning organism could be developed by mutation and natural selection just once, anywhere in the world, in all the assumed expanse of geologic time, is less than one chance out of a billion trillion (4)." See source 5 for more calculations and arguments.

(1) https://answersingenesis.org......
(2)https://astrobiology.nasa.gov......
(3)https://answersingenesis.org......
(4)http://www.icr.org......
(5)https://dennisdjones.wordpress.com......

Pro's Argument:

2. Yes, it is very probable that all 118 elements arose from supernovae. If our sun exploded, 1.989 x 10^30 kg of matter would be available to form new elements. Even if only 1 x 10^-15 of that mass was turned into, for example, gold, there would still be 1.989 " 10^15 kg of gold produced. If you repeat this process over the course of several star's lifespans, heavy elements will form.

3. Your sources are, of course, biased as they come from creationist websites. However, despite the bias, they contain several informational errors. Your first source suggests that a star would never have been able to begin fusion without a shock wave from a supernova. [2] However, this is incorrect. The shock waves DO NOT begin stellar fusion, rather they cause slight instabilities in nebulae which may help "jumpstart" the formation of stars. [3]

What you said about the pressure of the gas counteracting gravity is only partly true. What you say is true only in the case of brown dwarfs. Brown dwarfs do not achieve a large enough mass to begin fusion, as the outward pressure of the gas balances with gravity. They become much like extremely large gas giants. [4] However, normal stars such as the sun are able to achieve fusion. As shown by Sir James Jeans in his equations, there is a certain mass and radius at which gravity will be so immense it will counteract the gas' outward push. [5]

4-6. The probability for life to form randomly may be ridiculously small, but Fermi's paradox and Drake's equation say that life can form randomly. [6] A very interesting video on the topic here: https://www.youtube.com...

I again state that your sources are extremely biased. I would like to be given a source from a reputable non-religious university or other research institution that evolution is impossible. The spirit of science allows for the challenging of conventional ideas and theories. In fact, that is why evolution is a theory. Maybe one day in the future, new instruments will disprove evolution, but at this time there is too much evidence supporting evolution for it to be ignored. A compendium of a great amount of this evidence can be found here: http://www.talkorigins.org.... I will present some of the major points of this collection.

Intermediate/Transitional Forms:
There is marked evidence in the fossil record of intermediate forms of animals. These intermediate forms show how some species slowly evolved into other ones as their skeletons slowly changed over time. Most poignant of these is the ape to human transition. There are large collections of ape skulls which when ordered chronologically show slow changes in overall shape and teeth. Creationism does not account for these transitional forms

Vestigial Parts:
As species change over time, they may come to no longer need certain organs or other body parts. This is quite similar to the transitional forms mentioned above. For example, I own a boa constrictor. I can feel two tiny "nails" under the one the scales at the back of its body. These are what is left of its ancestors' legs. A vestigial organ in humans in the appendix.

Endogenous Retroviruses:
Retroviruses are viruses that copy their genetic code into a species genome, allowing said virus to reproduce. If the retrovirus inserts its DNA into an embryo, then the organism will be able to hand down the now endogenous retrovirus DNA. This DNA then lies dormant. If two species share the exact same retrovirus DNA in the exact same position in their genome, it is highly likely that they share a common ancestry. This also rules out common design, as endogenous retroviruses are acquired randomly only in certain circumstances over long periods of time. It is almost impossible that two separate species created at the same time both acquire the same retrovirus DNA in exactly the same location in their genome.

On the microevolution issue, the collection I cited above does include a small section with citations to books showing that microevolution does lead to macroevolution: http://www.talkorigins.org...

Sources:
[1] http://www.space.com...
[2] https://answersingenesis.org...
[3] http://abyss.uoregon.edu...
[4] http://www.space.com...
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org... (Had to use the wikipedia article, don't have access to his paper)
[6] https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
TheChristianScientist

Con

TheChristianScientist forfeited this round.
palmertio0

Pro

Extend. (See comments for more information)
Debate Round No. 3
TheChristianScientist

Con

TheChristianScientist forfeited this round.
palmertio0

Pro

Extend. (Vote Pro!)
Debate Round No. 4
TheChristianScientist

Con

TheChristianScientist forfeited this round.
palmertio0

Pro

Extend. Vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 5
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by palmertio0 1 year ago
palmertio0
Sorry to see you go. Will you please just post 'Extend' or something like that so we this debate can be out of our news feeds?
Posted by TheChristianScientist 1 year ago
TheChristianScientist
Sorry about that. I didn't intend to post that multiple times. It's just the mobile device I am using.
Posted by TheChristianScientist 1 year ago
TheChristianScientist
I'm sorry, but due to scheduling over the next couple of weeks, I will not be able to continue this debate. I will most likely challenge palmertio0 to another debate along a similar topic in the future, but I am unfortunately unable to continue this one.
Posted by TheChristianScientist 1 year ago
TheChristianScientist
I'm sorry, but due to scheduling over the next couple of weeks, I will not be able to continue this debate. I will most likely challenge palmertio0 to another debate along a similar topic in the future, but I am unfortunately unable to continue this one.
Posted by TheChristianScientist 1 year ago
TheChristianScientist
I'm sorry, but due to scheduling over the next couple of weeks, I will not be able to continue this debate. I will most likely challenge palmertio0 to another debate along a similar topic in the future, but I am unfortunately unable to continue this one.
Posted by TheChristianScientist 1 year ago
TheChristianScientist
I'm sorry, but due to scheduling over the next couple of weeks, I will not be able to continue this debate. I will most likely challenge palmertio0 to another debate along a similar topic in the future, but I am unfortunately unable to continue this one.
Posted by TheChristianScientist 1 year ago
TheChristianScientist
5.Thank you very much for the summary of evolution. The only evidence presented in your argument (genetic similarity) is not necessarily evidence for evolution. Admittedly, it could be evidence for common ancestry. But it could just as easily be evidence for common design. And since the majority of evolutionists are using evolution as evidence against a Creator, that is significant.

6. I still believe (and I"m not alone in this) that microevolution + time doesn"t equal macroevolution. However, if we just keep arguing back and forth about it, we aren"t going to get anywhere, so I"ll drop the issue for now.

So, maybe evolution is technically possible. But that doesn"t mean it happened. I"m not going to do the math for the probability of evolution (too many numbers), so I will let someone else do it. Henry M. Morris calculates, in an article for the Institute for Creation Research calculates that "the chance that any kind of a 200-component integrated functioning organism could be developed by mutation and natural selection just once, anywhere in the world, in all the assumed expanse of geologic time, is less than one chance out of a billion trillion (4)." See source 5 for more calculations and arguments.

(1) https://answersingenesis.org...
(2)https://astrobiology.nasa.gov...
(3)https://answersingenesis.org...
(4)http://www.icr.org...
(5)https://dennisdjones.wordpress.com...
Posted by TheChristianScientist 1 year ago
TheChristianScientist
I am extremely sorry for the delays, I have just been very busy over the past few days.
I thank Pro for accepting my debate, as well as for being very patient with me.
Side note: for the remainder of this debate, I will be focusing most of my attention on points 5 and 6, and not so much on the others, because 5 and 6 are the only ones that really deal with Darwin"s original theory.

1. As previously stated, you do not need to prove this, so I won't comment too much on it.

2. This explanation may explain some of the higher elements, but I find it extremely doubtful that all 118 elements arose completely by chance this way. Remember that you also need to explain how they are all probable, not just "technically possible."

3. There is a problem with this explanation of star origin. The basic idea: when the gas clouds collapse in on their own gravity and increase in temperature, they are supposed to form into one object that then begins fusion. However, if these gas clouds actually did contract and heat up, then this temperature increase would cause the gas cloud to expand, counteracting gravity. So, the fusion would never begin (2).

4. As previously agreed, you do not need to prove this. However, I will point out a few things with this one. First of all, most scientists now think that the early earth"s atmosphere was actually much closer to today"s than originally thought (3). This means that the Miller experiment did not prove anything. The other explanation is not very detailed, but again, I don"t find that this is very probable. Here is a calculation of the probability of a completely random origin of life:(3).

(Don't copy this part.) The rest of my arguments will be in the next comment, as I have run out of space.
Posted by palmertio0 1 year ago
palmertio0
Con, could you please post your argument by tomorrow afternoon so I have time for my counter-argument?
Posted by boognish 1 year ago
boognish
If you have evidence that the theory of evolution is wrong, here is how your life could play out:
1. Publish a paper outlining your evidence.
2. Have paper peer reviewed.
3. Collect Nobel Prize.
4. Go down in history as one of the most significant scientists of all time.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 12 months ago
U.n
TheChristianScientistpalmertio0Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited four turns. Pro was the only one to cite sources.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 year ago
dsjpk5
TheChristianScientistpalmertio0Tied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ff many times, so conduct to Pro.