The Instigator
thomas.g
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
brian_eggleston
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

Microevolution does not accumulate to Macroevolution

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/28/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,215 times Debate No: 4246
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (10)

 

thomas.g

Pro

Knowing that some small changes can occur thru natural selection does not mean those can accumulate into large body plan changes.
brian_eggleston

Con

Hello Thomas and thank you for posting your first debate on this site – the very best of luck to you in this and any future debates.

The formalities out of the way then, I would like to address your argument as follows:

It does, indeed, seem incredible (in the literal sense of the word) that the seemingly fantastic diversity of flora and fauna that inhabits almost every crevice of our planet could have evolved through natural selection.

Indeed, when I was a schoolboy, I was taught the theory of evolution in science lessons and creationism at Sunday school. For a long time I questioned Darwinism and found it easier to make the leap of faith necessary to believe that the Earth and all its inhabitants were created by divine hand than to make the leap of imagination required to believe that life could spontaneously develop from chemical compounds and eventually evolve into human beings and all the other weird and wonderful creatures we share our world with.

However, as I grew older, I rejected the religious dogma I had been indoctrinated with as a small child and accepted the scientific evidence as being infinitely more plausible.

I offer the following analogy:

A group of Western explorers happen upon a hitherto undiscovered tribe living in a tropical jungle. The adventurers arrive in a helicopter and are equipped with a generator and lots of electronic equipment. They decide to film the tribe and replay the footage to them on a monitor. Now the tribe has no way of comprehending the mechanisms of the giant metal insect that the explorers arrived in or explaining the technology behind the images of themselves they viewed. However, they have witnessed these inventions in action with their own eyes and reconcile their experiences the only way they know how and put it down to the manifestation of some deity or mystical spirit.

This is what all humans used to do, until we became enlightened. As recently as the 15th century The Catholic Church put Galileo on trial for rejecting the traditional geocentric model of the universe yet even the most pious religious fanatics today wouldn't seriously argue that the universe revolves around the Earth.

I, therefore, urge voters to vote Con for a logical view of evolution, untainted by religious dogma.
Debate Round No. 1
thomas.g

Pro

You did not address the issue that small changes can add up to large body plan changes. This is the crux of the argument
brian_eggleston

Con

Just to recap…in the first round my opponent wrote:

"Knowing that some small changes can occur thru natural selection does not mean those can accumulate into large body plan changes."

And in the second round he wrote:

"You did not address the issue that small changes can add up to large body plan changes. This is the crux of the argument"

These statements appear to directly contradict one another. However, I will address the matter in general.

Small mutations, passed on, and accentuated, through the generations can lead to wholesale and fundamental changes in a species, though these genetic differences can prove to be either an advantage – in which case the creatures or plants will prosper, or they can be a disadvantage, in which case the unfortunate recipients of the mutated genes may suffer as a result.

Let us examine the human race, for instance. There have been several species of human that have had fundamental differences in their genetic makeup yet were, nevertheless, contemporaries of one another. For example, modern humans usurped Neanderthal Man, making them extinct 30,000 years ago while the recently discovered Homo floresiensis did not die out until around 10,000 years ago.

This proves that, given the right environment and sufficient time, microevolution can, and does, lead to macroevolution and I duly urge the judges to vote Con.
Debate Round No. 2
thomas.g

Pro

"" Small mutations, passed on, and accentuated, through the generations can lead to wholesale and fundamental changes in a species, ""

has never been proven
brian_eggleston

Con

No scientist will claim to be able to prove any theory absolutely, merely to suggest that his theory is the most likely explanation for the given phenomenon.

Since you live in Boston, presumably not far from the ocean, you might like to try the following experiment which illustrates my point:

It used to be believed that Earth is flat. However, some ancient philosopher noticed that when a sailing boat left the harbour, its mast was still visible after the hull had disappeared over the horizon.

Now if the Earth was flat, the hull and mast would gradually become smaller until they both disappeared out of sight together.

Now, having witnessed this phenomenon for yourself, go home and dig out a ball and a little model ship (if you don't have one make one out of matchbox or something).

Now place your eyes level with the "horizon" of the ball and move the boat away from you. You will see that the hull disappears before the mast and, therefore, conclude (but not prove) that the Earth is, in fact, round.

Similarly, the theory that the species evolve through small increments or changes has, and never will be proven, nevertheless most scientists accept it as correct.

Charles Darwin wrote in the "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life," 1859, p. 162.:

"…Natural selection acts only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a great and sudden leap, but must advance by short and sure, though slow steps."

However, he conceded:

"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."

Ibid. p. 158.

My opponent might have quoted the above and adopted Michael Behe's theory in "Darwin's Black Box," 1996 where he stated:

"Such a complex organ would be known as an "irreducibly complex system". An irreducibly complex system is one composed of multiple parts, all of which are necessary for the system to function. If even one part is missing, the entire system will fail to function. Every individual part is integral."

However, Behe is mistaken in this assertion. Consider a species of bird whose habitat is in the water margins. If one bird mutates and grows an extra long beak which allows it to dig further down into the mud and catch more food, it will have the advantage over the bird that mutates a short beak that inhibits its feeding, causing it to starve. Thus the birds with longer beaks will prosper in that particular environment and pass on their genes to the subsequent generations.

The Theory of Evolution is only a theory, but it's more plausible than God created the world all its creatures in 7 days and that the universe revolves around the Earth (which, by the way, is flat)!

Vote Con for common sense over blind faith.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by SnoopyDaniels 9 years ago
SnoopyDaniels
What's up with people getting on here and typing in a sentence for their argument?
Posted by Spiral 9 years ago
Spiral
haha apologies, I read your comment wrong, you were discussing flat earth theory. There is still a flat earth society btw ;)
Posted by Spiral 9 years ago
Spiral
errr no. The catholic church prescribed to a geocentric world view (earth as the centre of the universe, sun revolves around the earth) until after Galileo and Copernicus. Galileo died under inquisitional house arrest.
Posted by Crust89 9 years ago
Crust89
What does religion have to do with this debate? thomas never once said anything about religion but yet Brian somehow bases that as one of his arguments. Sorry, but I threw out Brian's entire first round and his faith arguments. The "earth is round" analogy almost works except for the fact that there is a simple way to completely prove that the world is round. Erotosthenes did it in 250 BCE and also accurately measured the circumference of the earth. Since when didn't the catholic church not agree with the world being round? I thought it was common knowledge, even back then.
Posted by Spiral 9 years ago
Spiral
Good to see ignorance is still burning strong throughout the world. In today's modern era of flow of information, there really is no excuse to come here and say "there is no evidence". There is evidence, it is plentiful, well documented and coherent. Try looking outside of whatever narrow theistic world view you prescribe to and actually read something worthwhile.
Posted by bthr004 9 years ago
bthr004
no evidence exist the mutations are the reason for evolution of any sort.
Something as simple as say a bovine that prefers to graze on a steep slope and slips, eventually killing herself, she does not reproduce, but a cow that prefers to eat in a gentle sloping meadow does not risk physical injury and succeeds in concieving offspring. The lush meadows provide excellent nutrients, and the lesser risk of injury promotes better nutrient conversion in the body and she is able to pass on natural anti bodies to things such as allergies, or pink eye, from her milk to her calf. Her calf is now in better health and is more likely to pass that on to her offspring.
Now take that x's several head of cattle, or every other species and simple chain of events, or happenings have far more to do with "evolution" or progress than the stupid idea of freak mutations. This is why for thousands of year religion has been able to dismiss even sillier sounding theories of science or evolution!
Posted by Spiral 9 years ago
Spiral
*laughs* Easy win for whoever takes this. Plenty of naturally observed instances and clinical trials of speciation.
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