Is Intelligent Design Compelling?
1st Round - Opening arguments
2nd Round - Rebuttals
3rd Round Rebuttals
4th Round Rebuttals & Closing (No new arguments)
Criteria for opponent - Must be an Intelligent Design Proponent
What I intend to demonstrate in this debate is intelligent design is not scientific. It makes no logical predictions that can be tested within the realm of science. Nor is it falsifiable.
I also intend to show that Intelligent Design, regardless, is an unlikely explanation for the origin of life and/or the cosmos.
Good luck to Pro, I hope we can have a good debate
My opening statement:
I will be countering the opposition's arguments that Intelligent design is not scientific. I say this on the following basis: while the study of the Christian Bible (from here on, "the Bible will refer to this) does not necessarily produce predictions that can be tested, the prophecies within it provide predictions that we can view. If events contradictory to these predictions take place and remain set, the validity of the Bible's prophecies will be shown to be poor. Also, since studies can be carried out to determine the likelihood of there being an intelligent creator, the stance is scientific.
My second counterpoint is the following: while we cannot disprove the existence of a deity, we also cannot provide absolute proof that there is one. When it comes to the origins of the universe and our world, we have two options: somehow make a time machine and find out for sure, or go with the more likely scenario. As such, I will base my point on the assertion that intelligent design is the more likely scenario, which I will defend in the second round.
In asserting that intelligent design is actually the more likely scenario (as opposed to random chance being the origin of the world around us), I will dispute my opponent's stance that it is unlikely.
To clarify a certain point:
-I believe that short term adaptation and minor changes are things that organisms can achieve on their own, but will dispute the likelihood of single cell-to-complex organism evolution being mere happenstance.
I thank my opponent for providing that even if an intelligent creator did not created the universe, it still may have created life as we know it.
I would like to thank Pro for accepting this debate and proving his opening argument.
Issue of Falsifiability:
If I were to demonstrate, conclusively, beyond any doubt, that the life, species, the Earth and the universe all arose naturally. This still would not rule out an intelligent designer. It would still be possible to argue that the intelligent agent (IA) set the ball rolling at the beginning of the universe, or had a hand in directing processes which are undetectable. It’s for this reason that it’s essentially impossible to falsify Intelligent Design (ID).
Unless Pro makes positive claims about the attributes of the IA, and how it manifests, or had manifested in reality, I argue that it’s impossible to falsify a claim that is as broad and ambiguous as the one being made.
One has to ask, what is the different between a universe where the IA doesn’t manifest in reality, and a universe where an IA doesn’t exist. The answer is they are indistinguishable.
Claims of the Bible’s truth:
First, Pro would need to be able to verify the Bible, which he intends to use to demonstrate the existence of an IA, and it’s actions, is indeed divinely guided. Indeed within the bible itself we have numerous internal inconsistencies.
One of many examples of contradictions are the mention of both many and just one tongue on the Earth in the book of Genesis. 10:5, 10:20 and 10:31 attest to multiple languages and 11:1 attests to just one on Earth
Furthermore, one can argue that the Bible makes claims that have some true. The Bible itself is a collection of books written over approximately 1000 years, and it does not follow that just because certain claims have been true, that allthe claims made in it are indeed true.
For a reducto ad absurdum, one can take a Spiderman comic. Imagine if a surviving copy was found millennia from today. You will find real places were depicted in it along with real people, which could be archeologically verified. Does that make the extraordinary superhuman claims in it true, or even worth considering?
Thereby, unless one can demonstrate the Bible, or indeed any claimed holy scripture is divinely directed, which is a tall order, then one can conclude it offers very poor evidence for its own supernatural claims of an IA creating life. Therefore we should expect to find external, scientific verification.
If we take a priori that life had a cause, which is fair given the evidence of there being a time with no life. Then pro needs to demonstrate that ID is any more likely than any other unsupported assertions. There are two explanations for how life arose:
Unfortunately for Pro, #2 does not equate to ‘random chance’, or even give justice to what random chance could mean. Macro structures on the planet we can see today, such as hurricanes, volcanoes, glaciers could be regarded to have arisen without an IA. Of course all these complex features have numerous feedback mechanisms that explain how they occur without reauiring the direction of an IA, and if this is a case, why could life itself not have arisen by similar reasoned processed?
Pro needs to demonstrate not just the unlikelihood of a non-intelligent cause, but the impossibility of such. Since we do not have any reason to expect the existence of an IA was present when life first arose, and as such it’s much more reasonable to expect life to have arisen non-intelligently when we have no intelligent agent to perform this action.
Examples of Poor Design:
These do not rule out an intelligent agent of course, because if I could absolutely conclusively prove that these are true examples of bad design, it could be argued that these were just mistakes made by the IA. It does shed doubt of an omniscient IA however, or a perfect creator.
The human eye is built back-to-front . While it does do the job, it’s an example of design that no human engineer would dare to attempt. Blood vessels and nerves are placed directly over the retina which severely limits the total quantity of light that reaches them. Furthermore the entrance point where the nerves enter the eyeball inevitably leads to the blindspot all mammals have.
This example of design however, was done correctly in the case of squid and octopus. The blood vessels don’t enter the eye itself and are placed behind the light-sensitive retina, much more akin to how a camera is designed today.
The female birth canal in humans passes through the pelvis . Humans have a uniquely large brain in proportion to the rest of our bodies, and as such a large number of birth complications arise due to this poor design. This is understandable in the context of evolution with its obligation to use and reuse the same parts with modification. What would not have caused any complications for our mammalian ancestors are now beginning to tell.
In practice today, forceps and in 33% of cases in the US a caeserian section  are required to prevent trapping of the baby within the mother and subsequent death of both. A common problem where healthcare is limited and/or infections are common.
First I'd like to point out the more glaring of these- "Pro needs to demonstrate not just the unlikelihood of a non-intelligent cause, but the impossibility of such." The reason this is blatantly unfair can be shown in the following quotes:
"I also intend to show that Intelligent Design, regardless, is an unlikely explanation for the origin of life and/or the cosmos."
"In asserting that intelligent design is actually the more likely scenario (as opposed to random chance being the origin of the world around us), I will dispute my opponent's stance that it is unlikely."
These were from con, and me, respectively. As can be seen, con's position is that intelligent design is unlikely, and my position is that intelligent design is the more likely scenario; meaning I do not have to absolutely prove the case of intelligent design, as con is saying I do.
Secondly is the following demand: "First, Pro would need to be able to verify the Bible, which he intends to use to demonstrate the existence of an IA..."
What this means is that I have to prove the Bible to use it as evidence to help prove the Bible. This is a circular reasoning trap that con has set up.
Now, onto my counterpoints.
Issue of Falsifiability
Again, I would like to point something out- unless we somehow go back and see the beginning of the universe itself, we cannot absolutely prove or disprove the existence of an IA. If this falsifiability complex holds weight against ID, it holds equal weight against a non-ID standpoint. Basically, this is irrelevant. Con supports this by saying "One has to ask, what is the different between a universe where the IA doesn"t manifest in reality, and a universe where an IA doesn"t exist. The answer is they are indistinguishable." If they are indistinguishable, then the lack of falsifiability affects both.
Claims of the Bible's Truth
As for the claim on the language, I can't be sure without reading in the original language- but I notice that the author in english specifically uses "tongue" when speaking of multiples, and only uses the word "language" when speaking of one. With the difference in word choice, these words likely do not actually mean the same thing. The most likely conclusion is that "tongues" refers to different dialects, and/or accents.
As for the reducto et absurdum, well, it's an absurd comparison, as Spiderman makes no predictions as to things that will happen. If we started seeing people who could shoot webs out of their wrists, one could (almost) see this comparison as an apt one.
And here again, with "Thereby, unless one can demonstrate the Bible, or indeed any claimed holy scripture is divinely directed... then one can conclude it offers very poor evidence for its own supernatural claims of an IA creating life," con is trying to trap me. The lack of the ability to prove such a thing is discussed, and con places a requirement for such a thing. I will again assert: we cannot absolutely prove or disprove the existence of an IA, and since both I and my opponents referred to likelihood in our opening statements, this is what the debate should consider.
Con states that without IA, random chance is not the only thing remaining. I see two possibilities- the universe was made intentionally, or randomly. I don't see what else there could be.
Examples of Poor Design
To counter this point, my first point:
Some Things Would Not Work If Developed Gradually
Example 1- Eggs. Specifically, let's take a look at the chicken egg. Every step of the way in the development of the egg has to take place in a very small time frame, otherwise the fetus will die. There are also parts of the egg that would have to exist- otherwise, the fetus would die. These things could not happen gradually, like development without divine guidance requires. Well, it could- if the egg developed as is suddenly.
Example 2- Sexual Reproduction
It would take a lot to explain this concept fully, but basically, if we follow the concept of gradual evolution, we come to a point where non-hermaphroditic sexual reproduction has to develop. This means the following things would HAVE to occur: two individuals of the same species would have to mutate into opposite genders close enough, in time and space, to come together and mate. They would also have to both have the desire to mate with the other organism that just happened to develop into the opposite sex, a thing that would not have existed before this point. Again, this is possible... just extremely unlikely. More than extremely unlikely... astronomically so. Unless, there were an IA to drive this occurrence.
There are, of course, more examples of things in nature that could not develop gradually, but let's move on.
Prophecies of the Bible
At least in the Christian Bible, (and, consequentially, in Jewish writings) we see prophecies coming true. And I'm not referring to things like Jesus coming to Earth, I mean things you can't deny. Things we see happening recently, and into today. Here are just some of those. Random guessing, startlingly accurate educated guess, or divine inspiration? You can decide for yourself. The odds for any one of the prophecies made thousands of years ago coming true are low, yet the Bible provides a large number. Even if you only consider prophecies that were fulfilled post-Biblical times, there are quite a few (over a hundred). For example, thousands of years ago it was prophesied that the Jewish people would be scattered and persecuted, then returned to their homeland. The takeover of Israel by the Roman Empire resulted in the mass spreading of Judaism to many corners of the Earth. Scattering, check. WWII, the holocaust. The most well-known genocide attempt of the world. Millions of Jews killed in horrifying ways, for being Jewish, and this is not the only instance of persecution of the Jewish people by any means. Throughout history, we find the Jews being harassed, insulted, raped, tortured, killed, en masse. And then, right after the largest binge of Jewish-hating in history (persecution, check), Israel is re-established. We can see a clear, historically accurate flow between these three events, the first allowing the second, and the second giving way to the third. For those of you who didn't know, it was in 1948, recently in the scheme of things, that this prophecy was fulfilled. Can you claim that these three prophecies were lucky guesses? Sure, you can. But let's look at some more of the over one-hundred prophecies that have been fulfilled in modern times alone.
Biblical predictions also place Israel as being extremely successful and, despite being surrounded by bigger, scarier nations since its founding in 1948, it still stands. A twin coincidence of a small country surviving against larger foes, and a prophecy being fulfilled by this? Maybe, but if you take into account the predictions of Israel blooming, reviving its old currency, and more- well, I'll allow you to consider the evidence for yourself. We can also see prophecies that are lining up to occur, and more that seem very possible in the not-so-distant future. Prophecy=prediction, and seemingly accurate predictions, too.
Final Point- Faith Builds Framework for Science
Many scientists also hold a religious belief- and they often let that guide their work. They use it to help determine what we should see in the world around us. Faith inspires science and discovery, and therefore has at least a minor scientific nature to it- in that it gives some scientists an idea of what they want to look for. For lack of space, I cannot elaborate very much on this point.
Here are my sources:
The Bible, of course
The Daniel Project
The American Pageant-Twelfth Edition
AP Edition Biology-Seventh Edition
Sswdwm forfeited this round.
Sswdwm forfeited this round.
Con provided his opening statements and opening arguments. I provided counterpoints as well as my own arguments, which Con did not refute, therefore I should win by default.
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