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Is it reasonable to question the theory of evolution?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 2/7/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 395 times Debate No: 86188
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)




For this debate, I will not necessarily be trying to prove evolution is false, nor will I be trying to prove there is a god. For this debate, I will simply be trying to prove that it is reasonable to question the theory of evolution. The burden of proof is on me. My opponent will attempt to prove that my arguments are not reason enough to question evolution.

(Theory of) Evolution - the belief that the species of life on earth came about gradually over time through mutations with the aid of natural selection, and that all species share a common biological ancestor. When not used in a biological sense, evolution can also refer simply to a gradual change over time.

Natural Selection - the idea that the species most adapted to their habitats are the most likely to survive, and visa-versa.

Reasonable - appropriate, fair, and/or sensible

Round Structure:
Round One: Acceptance, questions, and opening statements only
Round Two: Opening arguments only
Round Three: Rebuttals
Round Four: Summary and closing statements (no new arguments)

- Follow round structure
- No semantics debating, kritiks, or trolling
- No ad hominem attacks
- No forfeiture. If a situation occurs where one must forfeit, it is imperative that the situation be made know to the other side. The debate structure may be changed if this happens.


Hello. I accept your challenge!
Debate Round No. 1


ATTENTION: The round structure has been changed. I thought of the round structure I originally set without this particular debate in mind. Because the BOP is on me, my opponent would have nothing to argue, I would have nothing to rebut, and the debate would end with my opponent rebutting my arguments without a chance for me to argue against his side. I messaged my opponent, and this is how the new round structure will go:

- Round 2: I will make my arguments and my opponent will rebut them
- Round 3: I will offer counter-rebuttals and my opponent will defend his/her side
- Round 4: We will make our summaries as originally planned

First, I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. Remember, I am not necessarily trying to disprove evolution. I am just trying to prove that it is reasonable to question the theory of evolution.

Opening Statement: While the theory of evolution may seem solid at first, questionable science and gaping holes prove it's not as rock-solid as many believe.

1. Complexity of Life
There's no denying that life is wonderfully complex. Everything from tiny, single-celled bacteria to the enormous blue whale shows an incredible complexity of life that continues to astonish scientists. For example, spiders produce an incredibly strong sticky substance known as silk. Researchers are looking to make armor for it, because by its weight, spider silk is stronger than Kevlar. [1]

Let's get on a smaller scale and talk about DNA. Using only four building blocks known as nucleotides, an incredibly thin strand holds all of the essential information about a particular species. DNA is only three nanometers (3x10^-9 meters) wide[2], but scientists at Harvard were able to store roughly 700 terabytes of information into just a single gram of DNA.[3] Because it is able to store so much information in so little space, DNA is far beyond any storage system we as humans have designed.

Another amazing thing is our own body's ability to heal itself. Blood is typically a liquid, but it possesses the ability to clot and form a gel-like substance. Again, this happens through a complicated process known as coagulation.[4] Scientists have been working on a "healing" plastic that works in a very similar way to the way blood clots.[5]

There are many other things I would like to talk about that show life's incredibly complexity, but I simply do not have the time. However, consider this: Is it reasonable to conclude that incredibly complex yet incredibly effective systems came about by random chance, yet humans, the most intelligent beings on the planet, are astounded by their complexity?

2. Some things shouldn't have evolved
The Gastric Brooding frog is a species of frog thought to be extinct, though its embryos have been cloned. However, while it was still existent, many biologists noted its incredibly unique and unparalleled reproductive system. The frog used its stomach for a womb. While the baby tadpoles are growing up in the mother's belly, the mother does not eat. The mother's stomach bloats so much, the lungs collapse and the frog breathes through its skin. When it is time for the baby frogs to be born, the mother vomits them out.[6]

What makes this so remarkable is how incredibly far this is from any other reproductive system. "It just seemed to many zoologists absolutely impossible... There were frequently insinuations that somehow we were wrong."[6]In order to evolve such a system, an organism would have to make drastic changes. Something of this sort could not evolve slowly or gradually. Evolutionist Michael J. Tyler says, "The habit is totally effective or it fails completely." However, in The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin says, "Natural selection acts only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a . . . leap."

Now take a look at sexual reproduction as a whole. Most evolutionists believe that life originated with single-celled bacteria. Bacteria reproduce through a process known as asexual reproduction, which does not involve other partners.[7] However, sexual reproduction does involve two partners, and is a relatively complex system. Bacteria can reproduce rapidly, but sexual reproduction is notably slower and more time-taking. It doesn't stand to reason that organisms that can reproduce very well with no help from other organisms would evolve a much more complicated system, as sexual reproduction doesn't seem to have any special advantages whatsoever.

Now take a look at the eye. The eye is a very astonishing feature of any organism. It uses a special gel called the vitreous and special nerves to interpret light in order to see.[8] However, the first organisms had no eyes. Again, it doesn't stand to reason that organisms would evolve a complex organism to interpret light, when they had no idea such a thing existed.

Again, there are many other things I would like to talk about, such as how there are aquatic mammals when supposedly mammals evolved to live on land. However, I have a limited amount of time (and characters).

3. Questionable Fossil Record
Many evolutionists will tell you that the fossil record is substantial evidence towards evolution. However, it really may be quite the opposite. If evolution were true, then we should see fossils of animals gradually appearing throughout all of Earth's history. However, the fossils tell a very different story.

Almost all of the fossils of animals living today we have discovered come from a very short time period known as the Cambrian Explosion.[9] However, this suggests the sudden appearance of species, not the gradual appearance as the theory of evolution proposes. If many species of life appeared suddenly, and evolution was a fact, would it not stand to reason that life could evolve relatively rapidly?

However, for all the species of life today, there is a substantial lack of "missing links". A living species that is the direct link between two species has never been found. However, there is no reason why there should be none living today according to the theory of evolution.

It is also worth noting that the supposed "missing links" to humans are really not conclusive. When it comes to the fossils found that supposedly link apes to humans, the majority of fossils found are only teeth or other bone fragments. While these are interesting, they are far from conclusive. One cannot prove the existence of a species from a few small bone fragments. Complete skulls, let alone complete skeletons, are very rare.

A huge uproar was created at the discovery of a fossil known as "Ida" that supposedly was the missing link to humans. However, I found multiple sources showing how this media buzz was unfounded and that Ida was not the missing link.[10][11]

That's all I have time and room for. I look forward to seeing your rebuttals.



Let it be known that I am in full agreement with the changes to this debate's format as outlined by my opponent. I thank Conspiracyrisk for debating with me!

Before I begin, I want to clarify my position in this debate. I will attempt to demonstrate that my opponent's arguments lack sufficient reason to doubt evolution. I am not arguing that the Theory of Evolution should never be questioned. That said, let's have some fun!

I will now respond to my opponent's arguments in the order they were presented.

1). Complexity of life

My opponent discusses various complex, seemingly impossible details of life that we see in animal species around the world. Pro then asks if it is reasonable to believe that these "incredibly complex yet incredibly effective systems" came about through chance. The only reason that these systems are still alive today is because they are incredibly effective. This is how natural selection works. Any species whose system is ineffective at keeping itself alive and is not suited to live in Earth's environment will eventually die out.

One of the fundamentals of evolution is the ongoing transition from simple to complex. Life has been around close to 4 billion years [2]. To give this some practical meaning, it only took 20 million years for the Sinonyx, a land mammal, to evolve into the Dorudon, a fully aquatic mammal which closely resembled the modern whale [5]. If this complex change can happen in just 20 million years, imagine how much life can change in billions of years. Given that amount of time, I believe it is perfectly reasonable to expect the level of complexity that we observe today.

2). Some things shouldn't have evolved

Evolution is a theory, meaning it is the best possible explanation for the diversity of life we see today. There will always be a few cases that we cannot immediately explain. But for the vast majority of life on Earth, there are evolutionary reasons that explain their physical, psychological and biological characteristics which is why over 99% of scientists accept that evolution is true [1].

In the case of the reproductive system of the Gastric Brooding frog, while quite bizarre, there are surely evolutionary reasons to explain this habit. While we may not currently be able to pinpoint a specific cause, we can conclude that some sort of change in the environment caused the female frogs to begin holding their babies inside their stomach. Most frogs spawn their babies in a pond, leaving them vulnerable. Perhaps other animals had begun preying on the mother"s eggs upon spawning them, forcing the mother to keep its eggs in a safer place until the babies had matured to tadpoles. Just because we do not currently understand exactly what caused the Gastric Brooding frog to adapt this peculiar habit does not mean evolution is any less reliable.

My opponent writes that it is nonsensical that asexual organisms (which reproduce relatively fast) would evolve into sexual organisms (which reproduce slower), writing "...sexual reproduction does not seem to have any special advantages whatsoever." There are plenty of advantages to sexual reproduction over asexual reproduction. With sexual reproduction, you allow the offspring to inherit a greater variety of traits, since two parties are contributing their genetic information. This allows for the inheritance of new traits which may be beneficial to survival. Rather than resulting in a genetic duplicate through asexual reproduction, sexual reproduction allows for greater variation, which makes the species more prepared to evolve. Varying offspring also betters the species" chance of survival since certain offspring may have better defenses against diseases than others, allowing those with better defenses to pass on their genes. Under asexual reproduction, a disease could wipe out an entire species since they all contain the same biological weaknesses [3].

With respect to the eye, the early organisms would not have known to develop eyes. No animal ever knows how their species is going to evolve. The eye only came about due to mutations that allowed organisms to gradually begin detecting light. During the very early stages, the "eye" would have only been able to detect whether there was light or not, allowing the organism to tell day from night. Many years later, the eye likely began forming a concave shape, which would allow the organism to tell which direction light was coming from. The following video gives a good representation of what this process looked like.

"A predator who can see its prey from a distance, or a prey animal that can see the shadow of a predator approaching, has a clear survival advantage over those who can't. Even a slight improvement in image quality provides a significant survival advantage, allowing for the step-by-step evolution of increasingly complex eyes" [4]. Over a long period of time, these mutations would improve odds of survival for the organism and thus allow their genes to be passed down. Organisms lacking this genetic advantage eventually died.

3). Questionable fossil record

Fossils are not the only method that scientists use to demonstrate evolution as a fact, but they are a good way of visually showing changes in a species. While we have plenty of fossils, there are sometimes "gaps." My opponent writes "If evolution were true, then we should see fossils of animals gradually appearing throughout all of Earth's history." This is a logical statement, and here are some reasons that certain fossils appear to be missing from time.

A common notion is that since there have been so many different forms of life on Earth, we should be finding fossils everywhere. In reality, fossil formation is neither common nor easy. The animal usually needs to die near a body of water and become buried by sediments. "Fossils are relatively rare because of all of the elements that have to fall into place before an organism can become a fossil. Fossilization usually can only happen to hard parts of the organism's body, so that is another obstacle in the way of making fossils" [6]. This is why most fossils are bones and teeth. Speaking of bones and teeth, these characteristics were rare (if not nonexistent) in lifeforms before the Cambrian Explosion, which my opponent brings up. Most life prior to the Cambrian Explosion did not have hard parts like shells and skeletons, thus most species before this time would have likely decomposed rather than become fossilized [7]. Therefore, it makes sense that we should see a surge in the amount of fossils during this time period (hence the explosion) since life now has hard parts that are easier to become fossilized.

My opponent introduces the common rebuttal to evolution, the "missing link." The problem with saying that there is a missing link is that people will never be satisfied by what science has to offer. If creationists are presented with a fossil which fills the chronological gap between a younger fossil and an older fossil, they will likely say "well now there are two gaps, where is the missing link between these gaps?" It seems that the only way to satisfy these people would be to find every single generation of a species in fossil form, which is impossible. We do not need to find every fossil in order to point out the transitions. Currently, we have found plenty of fossils and bones that we no longer need to look for the supposed "missing link."

Lastly, my opponent writes that the evidence which shows that we shared a common ancestor with chimpanzees is lackluster (humans are considered one of the five great apes, by the way). While most scientists would disagree, there are other ways we can logically conclude that we are related to chimpanzees other than studying fossils. We can consider the 98.8% DNA similarity [8]. We can observe the incredible similarity in appearance and bone structure. We can note the way chimpanzees smile and laugh like humans do. The evidence that humans had a common ancestor with chimpanzees is substantial.

I look forward to my opponent's response!

Debate Round No. 2


Conspiracyrisk forfeited this round.


That's unfortunate. Extend previous arguments.
Debate Round No. 3


Conspiracyrisk forfeited this round.


Extend previous arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Conspiracyrisk 8 months ago
But of course. I am very well aware of this. I do not consider myself to be a blind believer.
Posted by missmedic 8 months ago
does rational thinking require the adherence to beliefs at all? Does productive science, ethics, or a satisfied life require any attachment to a belief of any kind? Can we predict future events, act on data, theories, and facts without resorting to the ownership of belief? one need not own beliefs of any kind to establish scientific facts, observe and enjoy nature, or live a productive, moral, and useful life.
Beliefs and faiths do not establish "truths" or facts. It does not matter how many people believe or for how many centuries they have believed it. It does not matter how reverent or important people think of them, if it does not agree with evidence, then it simply cannot have any validity to the outside world. All things we know about the world, we can express without referring to a belief. Even at its most benign level, beliefs can act as barriers to further understanding.
Posted by Conspiracyrisk 8 months ago
Of course. I don't consider myself above questioning my own beliefs. I have done the research myself, and I truly stand for what I believe in.
Posted by missmedic 8 months ago
If it is reasonable to question the theory of evolution, is it reasonable to question your own beliefs.
But be careful questions and scrutiny are like cancer to religions.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 8 months ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited half the debate.
Vote Placed by Peepette 8 months ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: FF of two rounds shows lost of interest on the part of PRO. Conduct point to CON.