Macro Evolution has been proved beyond reasonable doubt
http://www.debate.org...) and must admit, that even though I accept evolution, I think you won the debate because of his lack of convincing argument and data on Pro's side.
I also felt that the title and some of the other things wasn't properly set up. For example, I wont argue that macro evolution is a scientific fact. While in colloquial use, the word "fact" might describe the evolutionary theory well, doesn't change that the evolutionary theory is a theory in the scientific community. Also, since you seem to agree with micro-evolution, I excluded this from the challenge. I will therefore take the burden of proof myself, and argue, that Macro-evolution has been proved/supported beyond reasonable doubt.
I will ask, before making my case, you to give me a proper and clear-cut definition of macro-evolution and if you have anything you want to change regarding the challenge.
Also, I will ask to permission, that if my post gets too long, to post my sources in the comment section(of course also accepted that you do so :) ).
 Scientific theory being a very well supported and thoroughly tested hypothesis which is widely accepted due to its resistance to scrutiny.
I thank my opponent for offereing me this debate. SInce he has read my other debate. I will offer a bsic definition of macro-evolution as: A gradual change over time between species. The next round I will get right into the debate and I once again thank my opponent and look forward to his arguments.
His definition, according to his elaboration, seem to be the event of new species occuring. I could of course do it the easy way, and just show him the myriad observations of speciation through multiple methods that already exists, but my goal originally wasn't only to show him that macro evolution is possible. This is because, even though I show him these fine examples, they wont be showing to which extend macro-evolution is possible, and my goal is to show him why evolution is believed by most scientists today and why scientists usually do not make any distinction between micro and macro evolution.
A thing I'll point out is, that with this definition of macro-evolution, we will sometimes get difficult scenarios where we'll have a hard time recognizing whether or not it was a micro-evolutionary event, or a macro-evolutionary event and that is one of the reasons as to why scientists hardly ever make a distinction between the two.
But are micro evolution and macro evolution really different?
I've written this piece below, for this debate, and think it would be a good place to start
Bridging the gap between micro and macro-evolution
There is many who accepts micro-evolution, but not macro-evolution. This is not that surprising because of the abstract timeframes that many have difficult comprehension of.
However, I'll try to bridge the gap that many sees between "micro" and "macro".
First, we need a logical basis to stand on, and I think c0nc0rdance have given the best way to get around this.
We need to see, where do we agree and where do we disagree, and I'll be listing the main points up:
1. DNA is the basis of heredity
2. DNA changes over generations
3. DNA is responsible for the differences between organisms
4. The environment acts on the frequency of the changes
5. There is no physical limit to the amount of changes that can occur in DNA
If con disagrees with any of these points, I'd like to know which and why.
However, if we agree with all this, this leaves us with a logical basis for evolution which only needs a lot of time so a lot of changes can happen to account for the biodiversity we see today. However, admittedly, a logical basis is not evidence that it actually happened, it just shows that it is possible, not that it actually happened. So we need to dive into the evidence to see how plausible the logical argument fits with the real world.
Micro-evolutionary changes are merely the day to day change, or even the changes we can observe throughout a lifetime. Usually these terms is used by creationists who have the agenda to mislead people from accepting evolution, therefore they wont give a clearcut definition of micro-evolution, but simple seems to take everything that has been observed to be micro-evolutionary changes.
However, these micro-evolutionary changes, we can measure them! These changes have according to a couple of sources been measured, and we see that the mutation rates are averaging around 150-175 per diploid genome per generation(Variating between 91-238) . Another important thing we have, is both the human and chimp genome. There has been statistical analyses of different genes and gene groups in the human genome compared to the chimpanzee genome, and we have the fossil record evidence, both pointing to a split around 6(5-7)million years ago.
The importance of this is that all these statistical and fossil evidence can **** the hell off, if there is too big differences in the genome, for the time to have been able to produce these two distinct genus'. However, if all these fits together, it would be another piece of evidence, we can compile upon all the other evidences for evolution.
So, on to the calculations. We know the mutation rates, as I've already listed. We also know the average generational length on chimpanzees and humans, which is around 30 and 15 respectively. However, if we have to figure this out, we have to calculate the mutational rates per haploid per year for each of the two species, and then add them to each other, and then compare it with the time and genomic differences between them.
We do that this way:
Chimp 75 mutations/15 years = 5 mutations/year
Humans 75 mutations/30 years= 2.5 mutations/year
which gives a rough estimate of 7.5 mutational differences per year.
Since there is around 40 million genomic differences between the chimp and human genome, we can say 40*10^6/7.5= 5.33 million years This is however only a rough estimate with rough number and leaving out such things as selective pressures and such things as BGC conversion and a lot more. However as we can see, it correlates well with both the fossil record and the other statistical molecular analyses. Is all this coincidences? And can't micro-evolution be the mechanism which over a whole lot of time accumulates enough differences to account for what we observe today?
I thank my opponent for responding and presenting his evidence in a very informative yet understandable manner.
One of the major issues my opponent brings up is that of ring species. Although this is one of the better arguments I have heard it falls apart but I will spend a majority of my time addressing it. Ring species shows a breakdown, which is consistent with the second law of thermodynamics which is contradictory to evolution. It is also similar in some respects to hybrids such as mules though mules are sterile and so cannot be considered a new species and are therefore the barrier to a new species being formed.  
Also, the fact that they still are all warblers or all salamanders in the other case shows that even though they have managed to change to an extent that they cannot interbreed, it does not show that they have changed to be something outside their order and speciation from one order to another has never been observed, since that is the case it is a logical leap to assume such. At each point along the change they can interbred even if the end points cannot interbred the fact that the intermediates can breed shows a commonality. At what point does the crossover to a new species occur? If they are two distinct species shouldn’t there be a point at which we can determine one species ends and the other begins? There seems to be a problem with the taxonomy. There is an alternate taxonomy model called baraminology. In many cases in fact the Biblical kind would not be species but would likely be closer to Family in many cases of which ring species does not overcome.  
For another illustration I could draw an example in blood type in humans, while this example is far from perfect it might help to explain it. Humans have different blood types that are only compatible with certain other blood types. These are genetic and are passed on by the parents. However, no matter the blood type a human could never be compatible with any animal. The point I am trying to make here is that there is a barrier to mutation if we think of blood type as a mutation. Although I admit that this analogy does not capture the idea perfectly.
For the source videos 4 and 5 some of the examples listed on the reason they wouldn’t mate was that they didn’t recognize the dance for instance, however, as long as they would still be able to produce fertile offspring if forced together they would still be the same species.
To respond to my opponent’s breakdown
My opponent goes on to present a correlation between changes in DNA over time and a change in species. However, this assumes that such changes are steady and continuous but that cannot be known for sure.
I would also like to add that reasonably sure doesn’t cut it in most scientific theories taught in school. Are we only reasonably sure the son will come up tomorrow (in the colloquial since I am aware the Earth rotating is the cause of this), can we be only reasonably sure if I drop a rock it will fall to the ground?
Finally, to close this round, how is the theory of evolution not a cum hoc fallacy (correlation equals causation)? 
These are the major points my opponent made, which I will respond to in the following chronology:
- How is evolution not a cum hoc fallacy- theory?
- Thermodynamics hinders evolution
- Baraminology explains it better, biblical kinds being at the level of order or family
How is evolution not a cum hoc fallacy-theory?
It's not only evolution, but all of science which works that way. I ask my opponent to please read this: http://en.wikipedia.org... and reconsider this "argument" according to the goal of this debate.
Also, you wrote following: "can we be only reasonably sure if I drop a rock it will fall to the ground?"
You have to understand the difference between facts and theories. Facts are things like dropping a rock, watching it fall. Theory is WHY did that rock fall and why at that rate? In the beginning we had newtonian gravity to explain this phenomena, but newton was wrong, and a better model was proposed to explain it, relativity. Now, relativity is also a theory, and we can actually be quite confident that either quantum theory or relativity(or both) is wrong, because they are not compatible, but both of them explain each their facts in this universe, meaning, they both have evidence to support them. This, however doesn't mean that any of them haven't been supported beyond reasonable doubt.
So what we're looking for, is multiple correlated data, which all supports evolution and not other models.
Thermodynamics hinders evolution
We already agreed that it all was in the DNA, in point 1-2-3. So the hindrance should be found there. I'm curious as to where the hindrance specifically is, but I can list some of the mutations I know happens, and you can see where I fail.
- Duplications (gene, chromozome and genome)
- Frameshift mutations
Duplications and transposons can increase the genetic material to which subsitutions and frameshift mutations can act on, to create new variations that keep a population stabil and able to adapt into various environments.
Baraminology explains it better, biblical kinds being at the level of order or family
I will start out by pointing out that A) change in the original macro-evolutionary definition seems to have been occured, to change it from "between species" to "between families/orders"
But since the change has been made to be "family" or "order", I assume you accept that everything below family level is related? Meaning, humans, in the family hominidae is related to orangutans and everything in between.
But since you proposed "order" as the highest taxonomical rank, I will take you upon that, and challenge you to explain the following evidence that connects 2 orders.
Fossil evidence shows numorous transitional fossils as predicted by evolution, between whales and land mammals, more specifically, ungulates. We can see how there is very whale-like creatures that have legs, like rodhocetus, takracetus, gaviocetus, dorudon and even basilosaurus.
The most interesting for me though, have been pakicetus, which lived around 55 Ma. It was a hoofed animal, coincidentally with a distinct specialized middle ear which we today only find in cetaceans. This also fits with the molecular evidence which dates the divergence to be around 54 Ma. To add to this finding, it has been discovered that pakicetus had increased bone-density, which is a sign of semi-aquatic behavior. To top it off with, we have atavistic traits in whales today, which shows a link to artiodactyls. This is whales which through a mutation, reactivates old deactivated genes, so that old features show again. This has happened, and what was reactivated was legs, and not only any legs, but legs with hooves!
I'm curious, are these all coincidences? Can the biblical model explain this well? Or do you think it is most reasonable, based on these informations, to conclude that hoofed animals and cetaceans are related?
This, of course isn't the only, but I think one of the visually best examples.
Extra comments and questions
You wrote:"My opponent goes on to present a correlation between changes in DNA over time and a change in species. However, this assumes that such changes are steady and continuous but that cannot be known for sure."
No, I wasn't trying to present a correlation. What I was trying to test was whether or not enough time has been given, since the divergence time shown by difference pieces of evidence, to account for the amount of difference there is. The had been, and as an extra prize they correlated better than expected with the divergence time that had been calculated through other methods. It was simply to show that enough time had went, for those generational micro-evolutionary events, to be able to account for the macro-evolutionary event, which I think is nothing more than an accumulation of micro evolution.
You wrote: "The environment acts on the frequency of the changes: to a certain extent"
Elaboration would be nice.
You wrote: "For the source videos 4 and 5 some of the examples listed on the reason they wouldn’t mate was that they didn’t recognize the dance for instance, however, as long as they would still be able to produce fertile offspring if forced together they would still be the same species."
It is true that it was because they couldn't recognize eachothers dance. But as we both agree, genetic changes will keep happening, and as more time passes without them exchanging DNA because of a lack of recognition of eachothers dance, the more will they diverge and eventually, they wont be able to breed regardless of the dance.
Regarding the mule, actually, mules have been observed to be fertile : http://www.eyeondna.com...
Which is explainable by evolution. Because it is a very fluid change, meaning, it isn't being fertile or not. In the beginning its merely genetic isolation, so that they don't interbreed but they can. This can be because of geographic difficulties. Then as time goes by they begin to favor their own geographically near "individuals", like in the "fly dance scenario". Then as time goes by, they will only begin to be able to have fertile offspring 90% of the time, and as more time goes by and more change happens, that number will dive downwards to a very low number, untill they simply have diverged too far to be able to interbreed at all, meaning, they wont be able to get any offspring at all.
I thank my opponent for his time and for his interesting thoughts, I hope he will enjoy mine too! ^^
I thank my opponent for responding and giving well thought out arguments
In regard to Baraminology he states “Meaning, humans, in the family hominidae is related to orangutans and everything in between.” No not necessarily, it is not family or order in all cases this being one such case where it is more like species than order. It must be assessed on a case by case basis, in some cases it is indeed closer to species while in others it is closer to order.
My opponent challenged my use of cum hoc as a valid description of how evolution is understood. As far as causation is concerned, it appears you would need something to compare it to. Also it appears as if causation can be observed in controlled groups, something not possible with macro-evolution. However, is your point that causation can never be known with 100% certainty?
“You have to understand the difference between facts and theories.” Certainly, the fact is that we have many different types of animals. The theory is that they had a common ancestor.
“We already agreed that it all was in the DNA, in point 1-2-3. So the hindrance should be found there.” It can be observed that DNA breaks down over time. Also, the fact that from the moment we are born we start to die it shows our bodies are in a constant state of decay. How this would affect evolution is that according to evolution each newer species seems to be more complex or at least more intelligent for the most part than previous and that the mutations have been beneficial on each successive form. As for what you have listed, they are negative mutations or at the very least benign and actually demonstrate my point. Some of them are quite damaging.
Just because there some whales can have mutations that appear to be legs does not mean that it is vestigial from them evolving from land mammals. Humans can have an extra finger, does that mean we evolved from an animal with six digits on each hand? There is an old Chinese woman with a horn on her head, does this mean that she is evolved from a horned animal?  Also, a similarity to something else does not automatically show a connection. Also, your sources mention a link between whales and Hippopotami via an extinct mammal. Yet it even the articles admit that since it has been extinct for a long time and there is no access to its DNA this cannot be known for certain.
“Elaboration would be nice.” I think environment plays a more indirect role. Yes there are certain adaptations such a snowshoe hare for example has a winter coat that it sheds in the summer.  It can have even more long term effects than this. However, if an animal is presented with an environment where it cannot survive at all there is no chance for it to adapt, for instance a fish out of water.
“Regarding the mule, actually, mules have been observed to be fertile.” While it is true that a mule can reproduce in rare circumstances, it would be even more unlikely for the offspring to reproduce so the line would end eventually.
Cum Hoc use
My opponent asked if I implied tha causation can never be 100% known, and that is true. The challenge in this debate is to prove evolution *beyond reasonable doubt*, not to prove it to be the actual *Truth* as I can't do that with anything.
No, I don't have to compare it to anything, besides the evidence, if it explains the evidence properly, then it can be accepted as a theory that has been proven beyond reasonable doubt, however if a lot of evidence is in conflict, then it of course wouldn't be accepted as such. No other model is needed, besides, I'm already comparing it to your biblical explanation you have proposed of a "Kind".
Also, your claim that the likely causation shown by multiple correlated data of macro-evolution cannot be observed or shown. However, this was exactly what I did in round 2 where I showed that we can take the causation of micro-evolution, and apply it to the macro-evolution between chimps and humans. And you never responded to my evidence, other than moving the goalpost to family/order, and now you're moving it back again to species level for the species I already demonstrated good reason to be related.
Humans - Orangutans biblical-kind is on species level.
To add to my previous evidence in round 2, I'll go into the fossil record, genetic and molecular evidence to show relationship between chimps and humans.
Cytochrome C has 10^93 different ways in which the amino sequence can be arranged, for a fully functional Cytochrome C. Common descent, meaning evolution, predicts a highly similar sequence between chimps and humans in this highly conserved gene, and as expected the chimp and human Cytochrome C amino acid sequence is 100% identical. The chance of this would be 1:10^93.
This could however be explained by a common designer, I'm well aware of. But a common designer would make another prediction according to my understanding. A common designer would explain this due to use of common design in his creation. However, this would mean that all those which are commonly designed by this common designer, should have the same amount of similarity by this argumentation. However, this is not what we see. If we take a look at homologene alignment scores, we can see that the similarity falls according to the relationship predicted by evolution, and not a universal design among life, as a common designer would predict.
numorous of transitional fossils have been recognized in the human lineage. The best in-between transitional fossil being australopethicus Afarensis.
Australopithecus Afarensis, is a very amazing specie. This is because of it being a great intermediate between chimps and humans. For example, if we take a look at the feet, we can see, that they’re not quite human, because of the big toe deviating more than that of modern humans, but less than that of chimps
At the same time if we take a look at the pelvis and legs we’ll see the same thing.
If we then take and focus at the head, we’ll see similar patterns, for example, dentals & jaws:
and brain size
Sizes of the brain and skull of the chimpanzee (top), Australopithecus afarensis (middle), and modern humans (bottom).
As it can clearly be seen. Afarensis, is a perfect intermediate.
There is multiple ways to make phylogenetic trees in genetics, in addition to the more common method which also show our close relationship to chimps and all the other apes I'm going to go into ERV's. ERV's are ancient virus' which had inserted itself into a reproductive cell, and became deactivated, causing it to be brought into the genome of future generations.
We can see how these ERV's has been inserted in the exact same locations. The chance of this being random in a 3.2 billion long genome is 1:3.2 billion^2 meaning 1:1.02400 × 10^19. Some have argued that they target specific sites on the genome, but even minimizing this to 0.1% of the genome still gives a figure of 1:1.02400 × 10^13. And this is just for 1 ERV, do not be fooled, we have more than 1 which we can make phylogenetic trees from, to show the relationship between us and the other apes.
Are these, along with my 2nd round correlations, all just coincidences? I think these conclusively all together show that we are related, and that micro-evolutionary events could be the sufficient mechanism for macro-evolutionary events, just given more time.
Break down of DNA
Could you refer to some sort of study? Because the only long term study I know, based on E.Coli over 50.000 generations show no such thing, and in fact did show multiple beneficial mutations.
You wrote:"As for what you have listed, they are negative mutations or at the very least benign and actually demonstrate my point. Some of them are quite damaging."
This is completely false, whether they are negative, neutral or positive depends on a lot of things, and you cannot just classify them all as neutral or negative, because we've seen positive mutations too. Both for duplications, substitutions and frameshift mutations. So I'm still looking for whatever you're claiming of a mechanism which stops evolution.
Atavism and the Horn Lady
The horn lady didn't have a horn, it is a tumor which looks like a horn. And there's another big difference, you're born with atavistic traits, she wasn't born with a horn. Besides, this was just one of the pieces of evidence. You didn't seem to comment on any of the transitional fossils nor anything else? And you did seem to have lots of charecters remaining to spend them on rebuttals.
True, we don't have DNA from it, but I wasn't using DNA to show it's relatedness with whales. So would you mind actually responding to that ? :)
So again you take another step back in an argument?
Another piece of evidence that is quite surprising is that according to genetic studies, whales are closer related to artiodactyls than any other animal group.. hmm.. another coincidence?
Elaboration given upon enviromental selection
So you would be okay to believe that an land animal adapted to run better in shallow waters? But what stops it from getting even better? What stops it from starting to swim instead because thats more efficient? What stops it from evolving into slightly deeper waters? Actually, nothing according to all the evidence, we can see exactly this happening in the fossil record through pakicetus which was slightly adapted to water, then to ambulocetus which was more adapted to takricetus and so on.
I apologize if I've come off arrogant this time. I've just been slightly bothered with the lack of confrontation of my evidence and the moving of goalposts.
You wrote that animals become more complex or smarter. This is a misunderstanding, evolution has no direction and just selects according to the most well adapted, this could be the one with a smaller brain or a less complex being, but it could also be a more complex being. Whether or not complexity can arise is another question. I'll give some references which shows that it can in the comments.
My references will be posted in the comment section.
Good luck with the next response :]
BennyW forfeited this round.
Relax forfeited this round.
I apologize for the forfeit last round but since my opponent forfeited as well I will ask the voters to ignore it and vote based solely on arguments and evidence presented.
“My opponent asked if I implied that causation can never be 100% known, and that is true. The challenge in this debate is to prove evolution *beyond reasonable doubt*, not to prove it to be the actual *Truth* as I can't do that with anything.”
True and this debate is about reasonable doubt and not absolute proof. I was just pointing out that different levels of proof seem to apply to different things.
To address the link between Orangutans and humans, it is quite possible that the species brought up is merely a mutation of one of the other species and not a new species itself or it possibly is a different species but again though this would be making an assumption any way you look at it.
“However, this was exactly what I did in round 2 where I showed that we can take the causation of micro-evolution, and apply it to the macro-evolution between chimps and humans.”
Your evidence does not prove a connection but merely assumes it. I also touch on this more in the following paragraph.
“A common designer would explain this due to use of common design in his creation. However, this would mean that all those which are commonly designed by this common designer, should have the same amount of similarity by this argumentation.”
It could but also doesn’t mean it will. Take for instance car manufacturing. A Honda Civic is very different from the Honda Odyssey although the civic looks even more like the Accord. They are even more different from any of the Honda motorcycles. They all have a common manufacturer. However, they have commonalities, mostly do to what is street legal but the point is that the same thing applies. Animals have similar components even if they are vastly different and some are more different that others.
Break down of DNA
A tooth showed DNA decay over time.  Consequently the rate of decay would not allow for the time required by evolution and still have the DNA be available to be observed in the specimen. If they cannot do it for mummies that have been dead for not much more than 300 years they wouldn’t be able to do it for fossils that have been dead for ostensibly much longer. 
“This is completely false, whether they are negative, neutral or positive depends on a lot of things”
Here are just a few things that go horribly wrong this some of these mutations:
Duplication can be a catalyst for cancer. 
Frameshift mutation plays a part in a number of diseases including Tay-Sachs Disease. 
Also, to add, Down Syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome. Yet another example of a genetic mutation that is not beneficial for evolution.
“The horn lady didn't have a horn, it is a tumor which looks like a horn. And there's another big difference, you're born with atavistic traits, she wasn't born with a horn.”
While the horned lady was not born with the tumor, the six fingers example still stands as it is present at birth, therefore by your assertion, it is a residual evolutionary trait but I know of any primate with six digits on their hand.
“True, we don't have DNA from it, but I wasn't using DNA to show it's relatedness with whales.”
The answer is very similar to ones I have given to the other similar questions you asked about related species. Assuming anything other than what we can observe is just that, an assumption.
"Elaboration given upon environmental selection"
If an animal that survived in the water has to now survive on land, it will die off before such a mutation would be able to occur. If an animal ate a fruit that grew on certain tree but then the tree died off in the area the animal would not be able to form a new digestive system before it died out.
“So again you take another step back in an argument?”
I honestly don’t know what you mean.
Your source video states that natural selection is not in fact a random process. If it is not random then it is calculated and intentional which would mean there would have to be an intelligent force behind it. Yes, idea of God or some sort of intelligent force behind it all is a complicated idea but so is the idea that complex organisms originated first from non-life up through single celled organisms merely by mutations that happened to occur.
In conclusion, to assert that evolution as a theory should be given as much credence as other theories, even though it does not meet the same level of scrutiny is neglectful. It is based largely on assumption and conjecture. By using the scientific method what we could come up with is at best a hypothesis with no known conclusion or an unprovable conclusion. Thanks again to my opponent for this debate.
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