The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

Is atheistic macro evolution to improbable to be worth considering?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/22/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,523 times Debate No: 39310
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (16)
Votes (2)




The first round is for acceptance only, post any moderations or comments. I hope you'll accept, and that the other challenges I made about a week ago aren't suddenly accepted all at once. I look forward to this one, because I'm much more prepared for this one. I like debating you, because you're reasonable, and challenging.


I accept.

Thank you, Pro, for your kind words. I also enjoy our conversations, and look forward to what I'm sure will be an interesting debate.

Evolution, or "macro evolution" as creationists are fond of calling it, is a well established scientific fact which has withstood 150 years of experimentation and criticism. To put it in comparative terms, the theory of evolution is to biology what the theory of relativity is to physics. I realize that Pro probably sees this as still being a controversial topic, but the fact of the matter is that there hasn't been any real debate in the scientific community about whether or not evolution happens for a very, very long time. Amongst those who have actually studied it rather than just taken the word of a pastor about it, "Macro" Evolution is as widely accepted - even among educated Christians - as gravity. Exactly how evolution happens is the only place where there might still be some disagreement between scientists, but overall I fear that I would have too easy a time defending "macro" evolution (life producing life). I've already debated this topic before if Pro would like to review my debate history and find more information.

At any rate I propose that "atheistic macro evolution" be interpreted to mean "abiogenesis" - that is, life originating out of non-life without the guidance or assistance of a conscious mind/designer. This should make my position much more challenging, but interesting.

Resolved: Any hypothesis of atheistic abiogenesis is too improbable to be worth considering.

By this definition and resolution, Pro's job will be to show that because abiogenesis is so improbable, we have sufficient cause to dismiss the hypothesis that life could have originated without intelligent design. As Con, my job will be to contend that there is not sufficient evidence to reject the hypothesis of atheistic abiogenesis at this time.

All the best, Pro. State your case, good sir.
Debate Round No. 1


The main reason this idea has lasted so long, is simply because it's popular (and, in most cases, assumed). Much evidence has been brought against macro evolution, but mostly disregarded. The reason I keep saying macro evolution, rather than just evolution, is because I believe in micro evolution, which one would have to be very ignorant not to believe. According to the scientific method, "evolution is still a hypothesis, because of the massive amount of evidence against it. I'm sure you'll disagree, but there seems to be more evidence against it than for it.
Although many believe in theistic evolution, it's definitely stretching it to say that most "educated" Christians have. Development by micro evolution contradicts the Bible, while the Bible doesn't even imply creation by macro evolution, it implies otherwise. Because evolution was invented as an alternative to the Bible, theistic evolution is highly unlikely.
The chance that life could spontaneously develop and survive is surprisingly small, even if you expect it to be. The chance of the right materials for life forming, is 10, to the power of 40,000! Even then, what about the actual life? Many experiments in trying to make life, or even the materials for them have failed. The longest living cloned animal was Dolly the sheep, which lived almost 6yrs. The life expectancy of a sheep is 10-20 years, and we can be sure that it had the best of care.
Charles Darwin himself said that if organisms and the cell could be proven more complex than he thought, or could not be formed by numerous small steps, his theory would completely fall apart. Many organisms and organs would be completely useless, or even self-harmful without being completely functional. As he says part of this, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." He also said it would fall apart if no fossil evidence (of intermediate forms) is found, and very little has been. Most of this fossil evidence has been proven as hoaxes.
In the famous miller experiment that made amino acids, it was controlled environment with very specific circumstances. If the amino acids were exposed to oxygen (necessary for most life forms, by the way), they would have been destroyed. some of our oldest rocks show signs of being created in and oxygen-rich environment. If life were to start forming in the ocean, amino acids would be destroyed by hydrolysis. Not only that, but he made the wrong kind of amino acids for life, he made right-handed amino acids, while all amino acids used in life are left-handed. Only one percent of amino acid types are used in life.
Abiogenesis is not provable when attached to evolution; it would have had to happen so long ago that all evidence would have been destroyed.
The idea of abiogenesis is very interesting, and possible. Without an intelligent being to guide the process, it's nearly impossible.


Pro claims “much evidence has been brought against macro evolution”, but provides us with none of it at all. This suits me fine, however, since as I’ve said earlier, I believe this debate is better constructed if we focus strictly on abiogenesis rather than both abiogenesis and evolution. His only source was a creationist propaganda article which was written by an impassioned and articulate author, but was riddled with problems that I will address in this round and the next. First though, my priority is to address some misconceptions which were recited directly by Pro himself, and then build my case in favor of naturalistic abiogenesis.

Pro’s Misconceptions

Pro believes that evolution endures mainly because of its popularity, and this belief is quite obviously misinformed. If anything, one could much more accurately attribute religion’s survival to its popularity, though even there I think there are better reasons for the endurance of religion; it does successfully, if clumsily, fill some very real social/emotional needs. No one ever says “oh I believe in evolution because my grandma faithfully believed in it, and I love her very much, so I’m going to be a believer in evolution too.” No one says “I believe in evolution because without it, I just wouldn’t find hope or meaning.” No one says “I believe in evolution because I am afraid to die.” It simply doesn’t happen that way. I only hear people use this kind of emotional reasoning to explain their faith in God (and yes, I have heard all three of those reasons, and many more). I have not once heard anyone use that kind of reasoning to explain why they accept scientific principles. Have you?

But let’s forget for a moment about interactions that I’ve had with people, as this is only anecdotal evidence. Let’s instead look at the hard data. Please view the poll data referenced by CBS in the link provided below [1].

As you can see, creationism is by far the majority view, at 62% of the American population. An ever shrinking number still believe the creation myth in its literal form as described in Genesis, and thus that humans are less than 10,000 years old and were created in our present form. Still, that number remains high enough to be a substantial plurality of the population with 37%. Another 25% of the population believe God had a hand in guiding evolution (likely to be “educated Christians”, as I called them). Only 21% believe as I do, that humans evolved and no God was involved in that process. Admittedly that number has been growing rapidly, up from 13% in 2004 to 21% now. Even so, “Popular” just doesn’t strike me as the right word at all. Moreover, because the number of Christians who accept evolution outnumbers atheists who accept evolution, to define macro evolution as being “atheistic evolution” seems highly problematic. Naturalistic abiogenesis thus seems the better candidate for the kind of discussion Pro seems to want to have.

I’m not done with Darwin just yet though. I first have to settle one more issue which Pro raised. Yes, Charles Darwin did indeed provide some clear examples of things which would falsify his theory. For a Christian, this may sound like a weakness, or like doubt. When a Biblical verse is shown to be incorrect or contradictory, a Christian just moves the bar and says “oh, well that is figurative instead of literal”. Sophisticated theologians feel free to redefine, bend, and stretch the very definition of “God” into something that looks nothing like YHWH whenever the traditional conception is shown to be logically incoherent. Any nonsensical dogma can be explained away as one of God’s fascinating mysteries. Thus, Christians never have to admit to being wrong about… well, anything. Ever. Maybe this feels for you as if you are wrapped in the armor of truth, while your opponent is exposed, weak, and fallible. However, if you even briefly study the work of Sir Karl Popper – one of the great philosophers of the 20th century – you will come to understand why falsifiability is actually so very important in order for any idea to be taken seriously. Particularly his work on the problem of demarcation is relevant to this conversation about Darwin’s comments [2]. As for the lack of intermediate fossils, I would think a devotee of a God as long silent as the Christian one would be more familiar with the phrase “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. That having been said, hoaxes happen because desperate people want attention and fame, but those are discovered and exposed and do not impact the finding of legitimate fossils. There have been many genuine transitional fossils found. The fossil evidence isn’t even the most convincing line of evidence for evolution, but it is nevertheless overwhelming in scope [3].

Miller Experiment, Abiogenesis, and Probability

Miller proved that some of the amino acids needed for life could be synthesized in the kind of atmosphere that people in the 1950’s thought was similar to that of early Earth. Since then, it is true that geologists have adjusted their prediction of what ancient Earth’s atmosphere was like, and that our current best understanding of its composition would be more hostile to the formation of amino acids. It is also true that Miller produced both left handed and right handed amino acids in his experiment. None of this dooms naturalistic abiogenesis, however.

Amino acids survive the inhospitable vacuum of space, and to date only left handed amino acids, the kind needed for life (or at least our kind of life), have been found in comets and meteors [4]. This means that the building blocks for life literally could have come from anywhere. Moreover, entire ecosystems have been shown to exist extremely deep in Earth’s oceans, far too deep for any sunlight to penetrate, and they subsist on energy from thermal vents. The fact that life can not only exist near these toxic and superheated vents, but that life is actually sustained by them raises a lot of questions. We cannot as yet rule out the possibility that geothermal vents are in some way involved in the process abiogenesis [5].

As for probability, Ian Musgrave wrote an article in 1998 which identifies five problems with creationist calculations. I recommend reading his whole article if you really want to understand the material, but since I have to win this debate only on the merit of the contents of the 10,000 characters per round I’ll have to summarize [6]:

1) They calculate the probability of the formation of a "modern" protein, or even a complete bacterium with all "modern" proteins, by random events. This is not the abiogenesis theory at all. Self explanatory.

2) They assume that there is a fixed number of proteins, with fixed sequences for each protein, that are required for life. Certainly the sequence has portions that are fixed, but this is nonsense because there are also large regions of the sequence which will allow for almost any amino acid to be substituted.

3) They calculate the probability of sequential trials, rather than simultaneous trials. Abiogenesis isn’t a one shot deal. The probability for life to occur was happening in millions of liters of primordial soup across millions of years.

4) They misunderstand what is meant by a probability calculation. If you have a 1 in 200 chance of something happening, that doesn’t mean that you have to go through 200 trials before it will happen. It could still happen on the 1st trial, or it could happen on the 734th trial. Even something extremely unlikely like a 1 in 10400 chance could still occur within the first few million chances, but as I’ve already discussed, the 1 in 10400 suggested by my opponent is nonsense.

5) They seriously underestimate the number of functional enzymes/ribozymes present in a group of random sequences. While the random assembly of functional life is still expected to be a rare event, Musgrave is essentially arguing that there’s far more needles in the haystack than creationists are assuming.


The evolutionary fact of shared ancestry is itself consistent with the idea that life arising from non-life is rare. Why else, after all, would it be that all life on earth descends from a common ancestor if the generation of such ancestors were a common thing? So yes, I tend to agree that life arising out of non-living material is not a common or likely thing, nor could it happen in a single stage (which, again, is not what theorists are proposing). However, I also believe I have demonstrated that it is not nearly as improbable as Pro claims, and is therefore not so improbable as to be dismissed as impossible. Thank you for your time and attention. Back to you Pro.







Debate Round No. 2


Initially, I'd like to apologize for the delay.
In the first few paragraphs, you only mention people's nature, which is irrelevant to abiogenesis. The reason you don't hear people saying those things is because they don't know exactly why they believe what they believe. If they believe it because that's what they were taught, then knowing why they believe it would likely cause them to change their beliefs. 100% of humanity could believe in something that's wrong, The fact that they do doesn't prove anything. Although I wouldn't mind debating you on Biblical inconsistencies, that is also unrelated to abiogenesis.
If life could form by chance, then why aren't we able to create it from raw materials with our advanced technology and intelligent control?
Because you keep mentioning it, I'd like to know exactly what you mean by "educated Christians".
Although I do believe that amino acids may have been formed somewhere else, I have to question your source, because if the amino acids weren't destroyed upon entering our atmosphere, they probably would have been destroyed upon breaking it open for examination. Also, if amino acids formed elsewhere, they still had to have an origin.
I don't think Darwin's statement sounds like weakness or doubt, I think it sounds like good logic. Evolution was a lot more "possible" back then with our more limited biological knowledge.
I hardly find the minuscule amount of non-disproven transitional fossils as "overwhelming", especially since they've been protected from careful examination.
I apologize for my error about the Miller experiment: Miller only made right-handed and left-handed amino acids, which, without interference, will bond to each other and not form proteins for life. The Miller experiment was very uninformative, because of the extremely precise environment he had made. Although he made amino acids, he didn't make proteins, organelles, or cells. There are about 7000 (a number off of different kinds of proteins in a mammalian cell. My point is: even the spontaneous formation of a protein, which hasn't been replicated even in controlled conditions, would still be a very minuscule step towards functional life.
For a living cell to form and evolve, it must be able to digest whatever is around it or be able to move to seek food, AND be in a friendly environment. This hypothetical cell must also be able to reproduce perfectly and profusely; and it must have functioning intelligence, digestion, sensors, waste disposal, and possibly more. None of these can be defective, or the whole cell dies. Each of these systems are composed of subcomponents which are, themselves, very precise, and the malfunction/malconstruction of one of those subcomponents would disable the whole system.
As far as I know, all single-cell organisms eat only proteins, which would have had to have been a recent evolutionary change, so that the original cell wouldn't have needed protein. All of this considered, the first cell would have probably had to be more advanced than the single-cell organisms of today if they were to survive and evolve in the "primordial soup". Why would an organism suddenly disappear amongst inferior organisms? To argue for a sudden environmental change would raise the question of the probability that enough other organisms could have evolved on time for life survive. If one environmental change were to happen, it would be likely that they happen regularly, killing the majority of organisms. There would have to evolve one or more resistant race(s) every single time for life to continue existence.
In argument to your item number one, that should be a fairly accurate estimate, due to the fact that all organisms share these features, and we've seen no evidence that indicates the possibility of a deviation. As little as we actually know about the cell, it's ridiculous to guess how the original cell could have been composed, or that the consistencies we see are not necessary.
As for number two, my previous refutation applies here as well. We've seen no evidence otherwise.
As for three, I agree that there would have to be uncountable partial formations before life could form, but this probability statistic still applies to each formation. The chance of amino acids forming once is incredibly slim, but we're talking about it happening at least thousands of times. Food for thought: assuming that abiogenesis is true, isn't it possible that another organism could form and evolve more rapidly than us, eventually destroying us?
As for four, yes, that's true, but one in a million is still less likely to happen than one in one thousand, which is what governs the price of lottery tickets.
As for five, there's currently no way to know the different possibilities for life to form; see number one.
Although this is not an argument, I thought it is interesting how similar the widely-accepted theory of abiogenesis is to the widely-ridiculed spontaneous generation, which suggests that faith in abiogenesis exists due to popularity.


Pro has raised, and I have already addressed, a number of topics that do not directly relate to abiogenesis. I responded to them largely in an effort to show why abiogenesis is the topic he actually seems to want to talk about, since “macro evolution” is not necessarily “atheist”. Even so, evolution is included in the title of a debate which I did admittedly agree to, so in case some voters assign heavy weight to our discussion of macro evolution in addition to abiogenesis, I will continue to discuss any comments that my opponent raises about evolution, but not any topics which do not directly relate to the resolution or my BOP. The only exception is a brief clarification of what I mean by “educated Christians”, as per Pro’s request. A Christian might reasonably be thought of as “well educated” if they have studied music, or mathematics, or computer repair, or anything else in depth, but such knowledge isn’t relevant in the context to which I am referring. A better but less concise description of my meaning may thus be given as “Christians who are educated in the topics relevant to an accurate understanding evolution, which primarily includes biological science, but also includes a working knowledge of more general scientific principles, philosophy, logic, theology, and probability”. Many Christians are educated in these things, and many are not – the same is true of atheists. Just to avoid any confusion, by no means do I think all atheists are adequately educated about these topics either.

Macro Evolution (Fossils)

Fossils are generally formed during extreme events that cause rapid burial/entombment, for example a volcanic eruption whose ash covers and preserves the specimen [7]. Many ancient species including intermediate fossils have been found, and the search continues. But even if every fossil in the Earth’s crust is found, the fossil record is expected to always stay incomplete, because not every species has been exposed to these kinds of events. This does not in any way disprove evolution. What would disprove evolution is if no intermediate forms at all were found, which of course is not the case, or if the fossils were found in the wrong order – like a Precambrian rabbit, for example [8]. This isn’t what happens. Instead our actual findings are entirely consistent with what evolutionary theory predicts.

Implications of Evolution

Pro wonders if naturalistic abiogenesis (and macro evolution) are true then couldn’t another organism evolve faster than us and destroy us? Short answer: of course. Our survival is by no means certain. Whatever the first primitive lifeform was, it is not correct to assume it was “more advanced”. It may have been more capable of reproducing under some conditions than modern single celled organisms, but not others. Iteration after iteration produces better adaptations, because random mutation provides a maximal pool of information, and natural selection crops that pool back so that only the sequences that are most useful and best adapted manage to reproduce.

Miller Experiment

Miller proved that under controlled conditions, and using 1950’s technology, left handed and right handed amino acids can form in a geologically insignificant (less than 50 years) amount of time in atmospheric conditions which we no longer think is an accurate representation of early Earth. I don’t quite understand why Pro thinks it is appropriate to draw any broader conclusions from his experiment than that. I have nowhere in this debate leaned on the Miller experiment as proof or even evidence for naturalistic abiogenesis. I have only explained why none of his findings undermine abiogenesis theories. If life took millions or maybe billions of years to form, and did so out of a population size of billions of liters of primordial soup, then why should we expect to observe life or even the complex proteins needed for it to form in a sample as small as - and a timescale as short as - Miller’s? That is like expecting to be able to observe millions of years’ worth of evolutionary development occurring in a laboratory over a ten-year period just because the researchers studying the specimens are wearing lab coats, have PhD’s, and are intelligent. Science simply doesn’t work like that.

Space Acid

Pro challenged my source, so I will provide the press release directly from NASA [9].

Pro raises questions about how these amino acids would survive terrestrial impact. These are good questions, and as far as I am aware, no one knows the answers definitively just yet. This is a recent discovery, 2009. When it comes to scientific possibilities, I would only caution my opponent and any readers inclined to think like him that you will very often be proven wrong about anything you say is impossible. Consider some of the extreme conditions that life – not just its building blocks of life, but actual “fragile” life itself can endure [10]. Life exists and reproduces in both extreme hot and cold. Deinococcus radiodurans, lives in conditions similar to those found in a nuclear reactor. For many years we’ve known that bacteria grow on spent fuel rods [11]. Could organic compounds, or may even frozen but functional alien cells survive space transit and terrestrial impact? Honestly, I don’t know. But I cannot rule it out.

Complexity of First Organisms

Most creationists seem to think that the first “life” would have been extremely complex. In essence, the jump seems to be simple chemicals -> bacteria. Pro at first sounds aware of this, but then seems confused because by his wording he seems to incorrectly speculate that the probability calculation of achieving each individual step ends up being the same as it would be to achieve a one-shot jump from simple chemicals to bacteria. Please clarify your position, Pro. According to the article I cited earlier by Ian Musgrave, a simplified theory of abiogenesis includes intermediate steps including simple chemicals -> polymers -> replicating polymers -> hypercycle -> protobiont -> bacteria. [6] Is this your thinking as well?

Let me also use this section to address Pro’s jab about abiogenesis being essentially the same as the discredited belief in spontaneous generation. Please see above to see why that isn’t accurate; I say again that intermediate steps are needed. A better example of spontaneous generation is believing that a God turned clay directly into humans.


Returning to the (perhaps more likely) assumption that life originated here on Earth, Pro continues to generally misunderstand the nature of probability as it relates to abiogenesis, so I will try to give another example. The calculation of how likely it is in one trial for something to happen is not relevant to abiogenesis. Instead, what we need to contemplate is the probability that life will occur at least once in a large number of trials. Abiogenesis isn’t a one shot deal. The lotto is a helpful example here. Abiogenesis isn’t like having just one ticket, or a 1/1,000,000 chance of winning. Instead it is like having millions of tickets played across millions of lotteries, and only needing at least one of those tickets to hit.

The probabilities for a one-off trial are:

1/1,000,000 = success

999,999/1,000,000 = failure

However, if we are playing a million lotto tickets across a millions of puddles of primordial soup (or one puddle across a million years), then the formula to calculate the probability of one “ticket” hitting becomes:

1 – P(all failures)

1 – (999,999/1,000,000)^(1,000,000)


1 - .367879 = .632121 = 63% chance that at least one of the lotto tickets hits the jackpot.

Now, I am not claiming that there was a 63% chance that life would form on the Earth. Pro is right that no one knows for sure what the real probabilities are of protein sequences randomly assembling out of building blocks into functional codes and structures. We also cannot know definitively what length of time or how many liters of primordial soup would constitute “1 trial.” Trying to do so is mere speculation that neither side ought to engage in. But I hope I have been able to adequately illustrate the basic principle of probability which is most relevant to this situation, and to demonstrate that even extremely unlikely events can in fact become highly likely to occur at least once on a long enough timeline.






Debate Round No. 3


When you mentioned the fossil record, you mentioned a problem which I don't think exists: that fossils found in the "wrong" rock layers would disprove evolution. It is strong evidence against it, but doesn't disprove it. Yes, there are many fossils in the "wrong" rock-layers. The main problem with the fossil record is that it should be so continuous that you can't say "that was a rabbit", or, "that was a pterodactyl", every fossil should be a transitional form, because every creature was and is a transitional form. I would like to remind you that the intermediate fossils of today have been restricted from being closely examined, and may not be reliable. You also said that the absence of transitional fossils would disprove evolution; it would be strong evidence against it, but not disprove it. You said that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.", which I don't agree with, by the way. It doesn't take a natural catastrophe for an animal to get stuck in mud either.
If I were to believe in macro evolution, I'd expect to see organisms with all numbers of cells.
The cycle you mentioned ("simple chemicals -> polymers -> replicating polymers -> hypercycle -> protobiont -> bacteria") doesn't make sense because proteins, amino acids, or any other chemicals don't reproduce. Only life reproduces. chemicals would have to form into massive amounts of amino acids, so that massive amounts of proteins could form (and we've seen no evidence of nature producing proteins), so that there could be enough of the right kinds to form a cell (the possibility of this is also highly questionable). It then has to come alive. One right-handed amino acid would ruin the process. The final product must have exceptional ability to survive, including resistance to joining with other amino acids and proteins. The statistic applies to each time the building blocks of life start to form, which is still a very slim chance. That's my position.
To clarify, I believe that micro evolution exists today, but that creation by micro evolution would contradict the Bible. So I believe that micro evolution started when Dam and Eve were removed from the garden. I would also like to clarify that I called it atheistic macro evolution because that's the kind of evolution I wanted to debate. I believe that theistic evolution was a possible way we could have been created, but that macro evolution left unguided would be next to impossible. I do, however, see implications against theistic evolution.
Once again, we don't see evidence that a simpler living organism than the ones of today could exist. It's likely that an organism would have to be as complex as the ones of today just to survive.
I mentioned the Miller experiment because it is a widely recognized and respected experiment. I assumed that you would respect that experiment as much as many other experiments. I apologize for the assumptions, but my arguments still stand. Miller (or anyone else, as far as I know) never proved that proteins could be formed by natural causes, or that enough types could form and be arranged into a cell, or that when a perfect cell is formed, that it would be possible for it to come alive. At the very least, a cell would require the input of some sort of energy, probably electric (and the right amount of heat of course.), to come alive. If I could prove that the materials for a living cell can't come alive by natural means, this debate would (or at least, should be) over. Unfortunately, I can only repeat that life has never been formed from raw materials, that we know of. It's exceptionally more possible in a lab than in nature (which applies to my point about the Miller experiment as well). We should expect to see more products of life in a lab, than in nature. I repeat: Miller's experiment was in a controlled environment, which had the purpose of making amino acids. Nature doesn't have that purpose (or any other).
For the beginning stages of macro evolution, oxygen couldn't be present until it had to be, which could have been as soon as the cell was formed. If it wasn't, oxygen would have had to be around by the time animals worked their way from water to land (if it happened that way, and why the sudden change in environment, I've never heard an explanation for). Not only this, but the creatures that were evolving towards land life would have had to have methods for breathing both water and air, and not have impeding limbs (e.g. a dog-like creature with a large, useless tail). Admittedly, it is much more likely that this would work than for life to spontaneously form from raw materials. Also, the skin would have to be able work properly with or without water, which is something that doesn't really happen today. Even the hippopotamus needs wet it's skin frequently. These creatures, I would expect to make many fossils, due to the likelihood of dying and being buried by mud. We don't have such fossils.
The organisms that live in heat, cold and radioactivity are entire cells, built to live in such situations. Any other organism would die, and many of the individual components would be destroyed. The cell's structure works to keep alive, the individual components don't.
That's not a better example of spontaneous generation (Biblicaly, it's dust, not clay), because it involves an intelligent force, spontaneous generation and abiogenisis doesn't. As I said before, this isn't an argument against abiogenisis, so you needn't try to refute it.
In response to your lottery paragraph, I've already mentioned that the natural formation of amino acids and proteins is highly unlikely even once. Not only do proteins have to form, but thousand of different proteins have to form AND assemble properly. The chances for each try are much less than one in one million. I stick to the original statistic.
So far, I've only mentioned the formation of life, and not the building blocks for it. Without a God, the most reasonable answer is that the universe always existed, but this raises the problem of shrinking and expanding orbital distances, which would eventually turn the universe into a lump.

To define micro evolution, it's the beneficial, and sometimes neutral changes in animals because of natural selection and cross-breeding. It does not encompass the addition of Genetic order/information, and does not cause one species to change into another.
It is even possible that God currently controls an evolutionary process, but I don't believe he does due mostly to the reasons I don't believe in creation by macro evolution.
Because I'm out of time, I'll have to submit my argument as it is, without references.


Thank you, Pro. Given your time constraints, I think that you did devote your best effort into constructing your arguments, which I do appreciate.


I’d like to begin the round with a quote from Karl Popper:

I blush when I have to make this confession; for when I was younger, I used to say very contemptuous things about evolutionary philosophies. When twenty-two years ago Canon Charles E. Raven, in his Science, Religion, and the Future, described the Darwinian controversy as "a storm in a Victorian teacup," I agreed, but criticized him for paying too much attention "to the vapors still emerging from the cup," by which I meant the hot air of the evolutionary philosophies (especially those which told us that there were inexorable laws of evolution). But now I have to confess that this cup of tea has become, after all, my cup of tea; and with it I have to eat humble pie. [Popper. 1972. Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 241]

The creationist camp, embarrassingly, still recites (and often, distorts) Popper’s arguments from before he changed his mind and admitted he was wrong [12]. When the time comes that my opponent finally realizes that he is mistaken, I hope that he finds the same integrity and humility that Popper (and I) have had to, and joins us in a slice.

If we found only one example of a rabbit in Precambrian sediment, granted, this alone might not doom evolution - but only because there might be other reasonable explanations. Maybe sediment layers were mixed together from storms, earthquakes, or other mixing effects, and it was for this reason that a rabbit fossil was found there. But if we saw a trend of rabbits discovered in Precambrian era sediment all over the world to the point where we could only conclude that mammals lived in the Precambrian era, long before the reptilian ancestors they evolved from, then clearly the modern theory of evolution would be put upside down and rendered false. Another possible event which could have falsified evolution (but didn’t) would have been if gene sequencing had shown human chromosome number two was not the result of a fusion of two corresponding chromosomes in found in other primates. What actually happened in 1993 is that the “fusion hypothesis” was confirmed by genetic sequencing. But if that prediction had turned out to be false, this would have pulled the entire theory of evolution into question [13]. Many times throughout its history, aspects of the theory which Darwin originally suggested have been proven false, and then revised. This is nothing out of the norm for science. As David Bailey notes [13], even if the modern theory of evolution were eventually to turn out to be disproven, that doesn’t mean it is so far off from reality as to be unhelpful. Disproven theories often model reality well enough to still serve as a guide. Examples of this include Newtonian physics and Maxwell’s electronic equations, which have been “falsified” for over a hundred years, and yet we still use them frequently because they are both simplistic and accurate enough for most applications.

There are millions of fossils which have been found, and millions more that will be found. However, think of the untold billions of creatures that have inhabited the Earth - most of them invertebrates which lack the kind of skeletal system which would more easily fossilize. The proportion of these creatures whose remains became fossilized is very, very small and is by no means anything close to evenly distributed. Therefore, the kind of complete and continuous fossil record that my opponent expects is entirely unrealistic. I’m waiting to hear why Pro feels justified in claiming that intermediate fossils are inaccessible and have not been carefully examined, because he has not at all backed up this claim. I can provide sources with pictures for many of these intermediate forms [14]. As far as I can tell, they’ve been fully cataloged and made as available to the public as it is safe to do with artifacts of that value.

Evolution, as Popper came to realize, is falsifiable - and scientific. The modern iteration of it has not been falsified. For its impeccable predictive value, the theory of evolution remains the foundation upon which biology rests. In truth, it is neither ‘theistic’ nor ‘atheist’ since it makes absolutely no claims about God’s existence or nonexistence, although like any scientific model, it does not assume that any supernatural force is required in order for it to work. For this reason, as I’ve said throughout the debate: assuming they are properly educated about what evolution actually is rather than what creationists falsely claim and distort it to be, then both rational theists and atheists will accept evolution. My opponent’s position is quite muddled and confused, as he accepts present day microevolution, and the Bible, while rejecting ancient microevolution and macroevolution of any kind. Friends, there IS NO “theory of microevolution”. There is the theory of evolution. Period.

Naturalistic Abiogenesis

Simplest Creatures: It is clearly not the case that within the set {life}, the element defined as “simplest modern life” must be equal to the element “simplest possible life” any more than “largest modern land animal” must be equivalent to “largest possible land animal”. Pro is wrong by obvious logic, but also by the testimony of more qualified biologists who can eliminate inert portions of a gene sequence and get something much simpler.

Conditional probability: Imagine a population of American students. If I ask you to find the probability that a randomly selected student can speak mandarin Chinese, you would expect that probability to be quite low, correct? Now suppose that I ask for the probability of a randomly selected student that speaks mandarin given that both parents speak mandarin. That probability goes up quite a bit, now doesn’t it. Let me relate that concept to abiogenesis. Imagine a pool of chemicals. The probability that those chemicals will react to from protein may be thought of as P(x). The probability that those chemicals will form protein given that they have already formed amino acids is now P(x given Y). That probability is considerably different. Since the process occurs in gradual and incremental steps, conditional probability is applicable to the formation of simple chemicals -> polymers -> replicating polymers -> hypercycle -> protobiont -> bacteria.

Miller: I don’t fail to respect Miller or his experiment whatsoever, you misunderstand. He was a scientist who expanded our understanding of the world. I simply refuse to go along with you in using his experiment to justify claims which it is unable to justify. Consider how ludicrous Pro’s statement is by comparing it to the claim that we are more likely to produce nuclear fusion in a lab than nature is. No. We aren’t. Fusion reaction occurs in nature ubiquitously, in countless stars across the universe. We don’t understand the process well enough yet to produce even one fusion power reactor in a lab. Pro’s claim that the controlled environment of a lab has a better chance of producing life than nature is similarly illogical.

Survivability of space acid: Pro claims that the adaptations of the organism as a whole allow it to survive extreme radioactivity, heat, cold, etc… and that its components could not survive these conditions. Unless he later backs this up with some kind of evidence, his comments are nothing more than the speculation of a layman. Either way, I used this as an example merely to illustrate the extreme conditions that life – and necessarily, its component building blocks in at least some form – can endure.

Probability of at least one: Pro merely reiterates that he sticks to his original statistic, and recites his reasons for declaring such a low probability of it happening on a single trial. He has absolutely no response whatsoever to my mathematically proven argument that even extremely unlikely events like this are likely to occur at least one time, given a large number of trials. For anyone who understands basic probability, this point alone should be sufficient to defeat his case.




Debate Round No. 4


I'm learning that, in general, evolutionists believe creationists to be naive, while creationists believe evolutionists to be "brainwashed" (which is a very poor term for "under the influence of mantra/propaganda"). Fossils of organisms without skeletal structures do form. I've seen many plant fossils, and a few jellyfish fossils. Even if these invertebrates were to never form fossils, vertebrates frequently do. To not expect to see many transitional forms is absurd, because if what you're saying is true, every fossil should be a transitional form. With as much time as evolution is expected to have had, there would be plenty of natural catastrophes to fossilize examples of nearly every species. Evolution has not been based upon strong evidence. If we were to see speciation gradually throughout fossils in rock layers, that would be strong evidence. The absence of this is strong evidence against evolution.

As Feduccia, a famous evolutionist, says, "Journals like Nature don't require specimens to be authenticated, and the specimens immediately end up back in China, so nobody can examine them. They may be miraculous discoveries, they may be missing links as they are claimed, but there is no way to authenticate any of this stuff. " He also says; "When you go to these fossil shows, it's difficult to tell which ones are faked and which ones are not. I have heard that there is a fake-fossil factory in northeastern China, in Liaoning Province, near the deposits where many of these recent alleged feathered dinosaurs were found." (1). I'd like to point out that the Chinese are known for doing anything they can to make a good buck. China was once known for counterfeiting extreme amounts of currency. They are now known for getting the most counterfeit products into America. Chinese are experts at counterfeiting. Many people, creationist and evolutionist, have decided that the Archaeopteryx is just a bird. It does seem a waste of time to question what it is before determining its reliability. When asked, "What about all the other evidence for feathered dinosaurs? ", Feduccia responds, "When we see actual feathers preserved on specimens, we need to carefully determine if we are looking at secondarily flightless birds that have retained feathers and only superficially resemble dinosaurs, or if the specimens are in fact related to dinosaurs. That's a difficult issue to deal with right now, given the existence of fake fossils." What he is saying is exactly what I was saying; the "missing link" fossils are not allowed to go under close examination, and it it is disputed about what the Archaeopteryx actually was..

We see evidence that animals more complex than those we know of could exist, but not creatures simpler than the simplest one-celled creatures The former is far more likely. An experiment in which simpler life was proved possible, or in which life was formed from raw materials, has never been publicized. If such an experiment existed, it certainly would have been publicized.

It seems to me that you are claiming that there is more chance of life forming in nature than in a lab. This is ridiculous, nature doesn't have a goal or knowledge (I assume we agree upon that), people do. Is there more chance of seismic activity producing a functional hard drive than of a specially designed machine with people to create, assemble, and test its quality?The example you provided was very poor; nuclear fusion is much simpler than life.

I didn't argue against your math for what I figured to be obvious reasons. First, it's much, much worse than a one in one million chance. You mentioned that number without any support. Secondly, there's currently no way to know how many "tickets" there would be. I believe it to be worth repeating that the materials for life alone may not be able to come alive without "divine intervention".

I mentioned out of place fossils without support, so I feel obligated to provide some now. In Uzbekistan, 86 hoof prints of horse trails were found in rock layers that should have been formed in the age of dinosaurs according to the common evolutionary idea. (2) There are many others on this website, and plenty of references to check if you doubt it. A Wollemi pine, which was supposed to be extinct 150 million years ago, is alive today near Sidney Australia. (3) A heavily worn, out of place fossil may not be evidence against evolution, but a pristine one would be very strong evidence against evolution. To determine the amount of wear on these out of place fossils would require me to personally evaluate them, because no-one seems to have analyzed this. Some out of place fossils that can't be easily disputed are bugs that are trapped in amber of petrified forests which were supposedly formed 100 million years before the insects evolved.

Many people, evolutionists included, have suggested that the commonly accepted theory of evolution does not provide enough time. The way I see it, the only way abiogenisis even comes close to making sense, is if you say that the universe has always existed in order to give evolution unlimited time. This raises the problems of change: contracting orbits that would cause moons, planets and stars to eventually merge; and changes in planetary environments that would severely restrict the time for life to exist; which brings us right back to the limited timeline. Therefore, the universe wouldn't be able to act as we think it does today, or it must have some correctional forces for abiogenesis to have enough time.

For amino acids to form, free oxygen must be absent. Oxygen exists even in water, which is what keeps fish alive, therefore, oxygen would have to suddenly make a drastic increase (I know of no reasonable cause for this) for most life forms to evolve. Also, how would you explain a sudden jump in number of cells from one to at least thousands? As I said before, I'd expect to see creatures with all numbers of cells. Back to the miller experiment, he created sugars and formaldehyde with the amino acids, which are not life friendly either. Sugars combine with amino acids to prevent the formation of proteins.

So you'd like me to explain how individual components of a cell couldn't survive where the cell could as a whole? Here I go. What I said applies mostly due to self repair abilities of living organisms. When our bodies die, a large part of our decay is oxidation. Oxygen is extremely reactive, which is what causes it to react with and destroy amino acids, cells, and proteins. Obviously, individual organelles can't survive in ANY environment for long. Heat denatures proteins. Cells that live in radioactive environments must have a remarkable ability to repair themselves, because radioactivity destroys molecules, which kills most cells. Cell walls are self-repairing, because of the molecular attraction of it's components. these parts individually, can not repair themselves.

Where does a cell get it's instruction of how to reproduce, repair, or grow? You probably already know that it's DNA. DNA exists in all known life forms, and is the only way that we know of which tells cells what to do. Within nearly infinite possible combinations, the right one for the cell would have to form out of chance, to tell the cell how to do everything.

I would like to give more detail on what is probably evolution's greatest problem, which is referred to by creationist as "irreducible complexity". (4) It is commonly accepted that an organism can't live without DNA. For a cell to get a new feature, multiple DNA strands would have to mutate perfectly, if one of them didn't, or did so improperly, the whole system (such as a flagellum or cilia) would fail to function, and would cause problems for the entire cell. Every single component of today's microorganisms must function for it to live for a significant amount of time. For one successfully reproductive cell to form, I would expect millions of other cells to have formed and died without reproduction. It would also be likely that so much mutation would happen that all organisms would mutate into extinction. We never see a good mutation, therefore, if they do happen, they are very rare. The chance of a cell forming once is very grim. When trying to breed an animal or plant to have certain features, there is a limit which prevents speciation. A corn cob can only get so big, a dog can only get so small, etc.

At first you accepted my distinction between micro and macro evolution. They are commonly accepted terms, although their definitions differ slightly. I define macro evolution to include all beneficial mutations which result in change from one species to another. Micro evolution I already defined, and I stick to that definition.

In reference to resource #13, some parts of abiogenesis are not falsifiable given our current knowledge. every idea leaves something to be assumed, e.g; can you prove that reasoning works?

Thank you for the debate, I have enjoyed it and learned much from it. I hope that it has been at least as thought-provoking for you as it has for me.



Thank you, Pro. I consider your round 4 and especially 5 arguments to be far better than your 2 and 3, and so I applaud your persistence. I believe that you’ve considerably improved on both your skill and your knowledge throughout the course of this debate. I congratulate you on putting forth a fine effort, but as you opponent, I am now duty bound to shatter the fragile pieces that are left of your position.


I’ll start by flipping pro’s first source. Pro, let’s allow Alan Feduccia to answer his final question of the interview:

Creationists have used the bird-dinosaur dispute to cast doubt on evolution entirely. How do you feel about that?
Creationists are going to distort whatever arguments come up, and they've put me in company with luminaries like Stephen Jay Gould, so it doesn't bother me a bit. Archaeopteryx is half reptile and half bird any way you cut the deck, and so it is a Rosetta stone for evolution, whether it is related to dinosaurs or not. These creationists are confusing an argument about minor details of evolution with the indisputable fact of evolution: Animals and plants have been changing. The corn in Mexico, originally the size of the head of a wheat plant, has no resemblance to modern-day corn. If that's not evolution in action, I do not know what is. [15]

Last round, Pro stated “To not expect to see many transitional forms is absurd, because if what you're saying is true, every fossil should be a transitional form. With as much time as evolution is expected to have had, there would be plenty of natural catastrophes to fossilize examples of nearly every species.” To that, I give this answer: imagine how many millions or perhaps billions of Archaeopteryx lived on Earth, over the course of untold thousands, or perhaps millions of years. Of all those Archaeopteryx, do you know how many of them fossilized, and of those, how many of those fossils humans have been able to discover? Only eleven [16]. I say again that this is an extremely rare event, both for fossilization to occur in the first place, and then for us to be able to find it. With these kind of odds, we are never going to find fossils for most of the species – even vertebrates – that have existed. That’s just how it is. But not to worry. As I’ve already sourced earlier in this debate [rd 2, source 3; rd 4 source 14], we have found plenty enough to support evolution. And as I said earlier in the debate, the fossil record is not even the strongest evidence for evolution. The fact that we are able to make accurate predictions about genetics, such as the fusion of chromosome 2 in humans, which I mentioned [rd 4, source 13], confirms the accuracy as well as the practicality of current theories. To address the “out of sequence” argument, I’ll first note that the examples provided by Pro’s source (like most creationist sites) are generally from the 80’s and 90’s. As the NCSE states at the end of a full discussion regarding the contentions of a different but very similar paper, “It is worth noting that new fossil discoveries and improved phylogenetic reconstructions in the 15 years since they wrote that paper, have resulted in a much improved fit between hypothesis and the hominid fossil record. This illustrates the danger in basing an argument on what we don't know, the core of the argument of Explore Evolution.”[17]

Clarifications About the Definition of Evolution

While I may broadly understand what you mean by micro and macro evolution, I am correct in pointing out that there is no such thing as a “theory of microevolution” or “theory of macroevolution”, and nowhere in the scientific literature will you find such things. The phrase “creation by macroevolution” is an incoherent idea. “Creation” implies a creator, so it is question-begging terminology in the first place. The naturalistic explanation for the origin of life is called abiogenesis, not macro evolution.


Pro argues from ignorance by saying that he does not know why sudden rise in oxygen could occur. This is rather obvious. Once they had spread worldwide, plants and algae could, over time, produce large enough amounts of oxygen from photosynthesis to change atmospheric composition.

Irreducible Complexity

I don’t have enough time to really indulge in the scathing refutation of irreducible complexity the way I would like to, but suffice it to say that Professor Behe’s “irreducible complexity” argument has been absolutely torn to shreds by both the scientific and legal communities. Please enjoy some excerpts from the ruling in the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial [18, 19].

  • "Professor Behe admitted in "Reply to My Critics" that there was a defect in his view of irreducible complexity because, while it purports to be a challenge to natural selection, it does not actually address "the task facing natural selection." and that "Professor Behe wrote that he hoped to "repair this defect in future work..." (Page 73)
  • "As expert testimony revealed, the qualification on what is meant by "irreducible complexity" renders it meaningless as a criticism of evolution. (3:40 (Miller)). In fact, the theory of evolution proffers exaptation as a well-recognized, well-documented explanation for how systems with multiple parts could have evolved through natural means." (Page 74)
  • "By defining irreducible complexity in the way that he has, Professor Behe attempts to exclude the phenomenon of exaptation by definitional fiat, ignoring as he does so abundant evidence which refutes his argument. Notably, the NAS has rejected Professor Behe’s claim for irreducible complexity..." (Page 75)
  • "...on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not "good enough." (23:19 (Behe))." (Page 78)

I don’t know what it would take for my opponent to consider the evidence for evolution to be “good enough”. Perhaps no amount of information is enough, because facts don’t cure blindness. My consolation is that they do, however, win debates and court battles.

Lab vs. Nature

Pro provides a very bad example of how unlikely seismic activity is to produce a hard drive and then accuses me of giving a bad example about our inability to produce fusion reactions in a lab (bad because they are so simple). If fusion is so simple, why can’t we do it? And if we can’t do something so “simple” as nuclear fusion, then why would we be able to replicate in a short human scientist’s lifespan something tremendously complex like abiogenesis, which may have taken millions or even billions of years for the process to fully take place?


Even if the probability of the necessary prerequisites of life forming into a functional cell are much lower than 1 in a million (which I agree, they probably are), the number of trials might also be fairly be thought of as much higher than 1 million. If conditions on Earth lasted billions of years, and there were hundreds of millions of liters worth of primordial soup, then the number of trials could be thought of as being just as astronomical as the unlikelihood of abiogenesis. My point, once again, was precisely to show that extremely unlikely events become likely to occur at least once with an extremely large number of trials. I specifically stated that I do not make any claims about the accuracy of my numbers, and that I am only illustrating a basic idea in probability which is relevant to this discussion. Pro remains unable to refute my claim that the probability principle of “at least once” rather than “one shot only” is correct to apply to a discussion of abiogenesis. His only answer to this point is to try to distract away from it.


I’d like to remind voters that my burden in this debate is not to disprove God, nor to prove evolution. I merely must demonstrate that naturalistic (“atheist” only in that they don’t rely on there being a God) theories of evolution and abiogenesis are not so improbable as to be dismissed. I believe I have done this. I also ask that you consider my sources to be better than Pro’s – not least because I’ve turned his useful sources to my own case, and shown good reason to ignore his weak and biased creationist sources. While I did use Wikipedia and gave it proper attribution where appropriate, I also used the original sourcing whenever possible, so I ask that less experienced voters please not penalize me for using what is actually a proper method of sourcing simply because they see Wikipedia.

Thank you for your time and attention.






Debate Round No. 5
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 2 years ago
One instance where the judge commented on the defense's deception in that case, just in case you were curious:

"Finally, although Buckingham, Bonsell, and other defense witnesses denied
the reports in the news media and contradicted the great weight of the evidence
about what transpired at the June 2004 Board meetings, the record reflects that
these witnesses either testified inconsistently, or lied outright under oath on several
occasions, and are accordingly not credible on these points." page 105

And by the way, it isn't that I think creationists are naive. I think their followers are naive. The creationist leaders themselves I consider to be liars, hypocrites, con men, and detestable villains.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 2 years ago
Creationists are known for cherry picking quotes to find criticisms by evolutionists and make it sound like they are saying things that they are really not (i.e. some variant of "I think this whole evolution thing might not be real, this seems bogus"), as well as attacking outdated aspects of the theory which have already been updated, and using arguments that are not based in evidence or sound logic/philosophy but merely sound convincing to laymen. In the court case I cited, the creationist's case was exposed as being so bare and falsified that the judge ended up chastizing them for outright deception, and for wasting the time, money, and resources of everyone involved.

As for you and I, I think overall it was a good debate. If I do happen to win (and I think I should), it will be due more to the strength of my position rather than my skill level. I don't believe I would have been able to play the creationist's hand any better than you had. It strikes me as being sort of like trying to bluff one's way out of a busted flush draw and being up against the full house of evolution.
Posted by abyteofbrain 2 years ago
His point still applies though; these fossils can't be carefully examined. I agree, most websites offering scientific data in a non-argument army fashion do so from an evolutionist perspective. Most info from creationist sites is purely argumentative, and thus not broadly informative.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 2 years ago
Ah yes, indeed you did use an evolutionist site... at least until I flipped that source right back to my side, where it belongs. I also exposed Behe's own admissions under oath, discrediting his position. Are you accusing the court reporter of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania of being biased? After all, that IS what I used to counter Behe and irreducible complexity. Or are you challenging one of my other sources: NASA? Forbes? Duke? Stanford?

To be fair, yes, I did use sources such as the National Center for Science Education which openly and unapologeitcally advocate teaching evolution. Can you tell me of any serious and credible scientific outlet/insititution/organization that does not explicityly support evolution and condemn teaching creationism? I think you'll be hard pressed to find one.
Posted by abyteofbrain 2 years ago
Your sources are just as biased as mine, if not more so, because I used some evolutionist sites.
Posted by abyteofbrain 2 years ago
Thank you, I am also here to improve my skills and knowledge, not to win debates.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 2 years ago
The viability of the Christian world view or even the accuracy of Biblical accounts have not yet been considered in any of our debates, so it may be premature to make that kind of declaration. "Never say never" so they say. But in any case, while I am aware the culture war is no joke and I consider winning it to be imperative, my primary goal on is not so much to win converts as to improve my own writing ability. What you do with the information I provide is purely your own business, but that having been said I respect that you take the time to ponder difficult questions. Very few as extreme right as yourself - or the left for that matter - seem to take the time to do this, especially as politely as you do.
Posted by abyteofbrain 2 years ago
Weather out of stubbornness, protection from God, or good evidence, probably the middle one, I'll never cease being a Christian, although it is possible to convince me of theistic evolution.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 2 years ago
In that case, a discussion about origins (abiogenesis) does indeed seem to be the most appropriate conversation for us to be having at this time. I look forward reading to your next argument.
Posted by abyteofbrain 2 years ago
I was afraid that might be confusing. What I meant was that creation by micro evolution would contradict the Bible, but micro evolution exists today, after the curse.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I am giving the conduct to Pro for what I felt were cheap jabs and marks. I'm not sure if these two have a back story, but Con came right out of the box patronizing Con. We should be able to have debates and conversations about evolution without referring to the other side as creationists and their sources as propaganda. Regardless, much of this debate drifted away from actual statistics. Arguments go to Con because Con was able to address and show how it is likely. Pro typically just went to another point, rather than defending points. As for sources, Con did mischaracterize some sources, (like that 62% of Americans believe in the creation theory, when the link said that 62% believe that God was involved in some way, only 37% believe in a 10,000 year old earth according to the cited poll) but used a good number in support of his argument while Pro did very little with sources and just posted his arguments.
Vote Placed by Enji 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: For a debate on the probability of evolution/abiogenesis, there was surprisingly little discussion of the probability of evolution or abiogenesis. Pro presents a probability for abiogenesis (10^-40,000) in R1 which Con correctly criticises since abiogenesis doesn't propose the spontaneous generation of a modern cell but rather the progression of simpler precursors to modern cells which would be significantly more probable - however, Con never argues for a better supported probability. Where Con wins arguments is his argument that the probability of success doesn't reflect the probability of a single success in a large number of trails, and even very unlikely outcomes can become more probable than not with large numbers of trials (P_success = 1 - P_allfail), and Con argues that in the millions of years prior to life on Earth there would be many chances for abiogenesis to occur. Pro fails to argue against this, simply referring back to the original incorrect probability.