Naturalistic Evolution is more probable than Biblical Creationism
Resolution: Naturalistic Evolution is more probable than Biblical Creationism
(1) Debater must have typing experience and internet access.
(2) Place your arguments and sources inside the debate
(3) Structure the debate in a readable, coherent fashion.
(4) No semantics, trolling, or lawyering.
(5) Must insert one witty quote per round.
(1) Acceptance + Internet High Five
(2) Main Argument
(3) Rebuttal to opponent's main argument
(4) Response to rebuttal + closing arguments + voting issues (one paragraph)
"It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved." -Galileo Galilei
Naturalistic Evolution: unguided biological evolution, which is genetic change in populations that are inherited over several generations in response to purely natural forces and processes -- i.e. without the intervention of a deity
Biblical Creationism: the religious belief that God created life in the Genesis account of creation
Probable: supported by evidence strong enough to establish presumption but not proof
Burden of Proof:
The burden of proof will be shared. I, as Pro, must demonstrate Naturalistic Evolution to be more probable; my opponent, as Con, must demonstrate Biblical Creationism to be more probable. For the sake of this debate, we should stick exclusively with the biodiversity of life, not the formation of planets/stars/etc.
By accepting this debate you accept the rules, definitions, and BOP. I accept this debate which I have thusly created and challenge those of rhetorical wizardry to a verbal duel. With my hand elevated and ready for forearm pronation, I slap yours in a ritualistic manner. Good luck to whomever accepts, and may the Gods smile upon you during this debate.
Blood alone moves the wheels of history.
I thank acvavra for accepting this debate, and I wish him luck in the next round!
Rationality & Strong Evidence vs Weak Evidence
Before we delve into the science of evolutionary biology, it is important first to examine the broader processes that subsume science, naturalism, and logic. They are themselves rooted in the tradition of rationalism that had its traceable origins to the Milesian philosophers of Ancient Greece. There is an identification that must be made between the beginnings of rational thought and the beginnings of science; thus, science must be seen as part of a wider, progressive story about the development of human intellect and understanding. A major principle under rationality is the differentiation between strong and weak evidence. Strong evidence offers compelling grounds for rational belief includes hard evidence, direct and indirect observations, the ability to be independently verified, falsifiable, etc. Weak evidence includes anecdotal evidence, faith, dreams, hearsay, ad populum fallacy, etc. 
Strong evidence is what we have to prove in this debate concerning probability, given that the duly accepted definition is “supported by evidence strong enough to establish presumption but not proof.” Whoever provides more strong evidence and argument will increase the probability his side is correct. 
One of the basic assumptions of science is that of assuming natural causality. This means that in this debate, there is a battle between science that assumes naturale causality and creation theology which not only assumes supernatural causality, but asserts it as absolutely true. 
Evolution is a scientific theory. In this context, theory does not me a guess. It is a body of propositions related to a particular field, such as the germ theory of disease. Stephen Jay Gould defined a scientific fact as a theory that has been "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent." 
A scientific theory must be both testable and falsifiable. That is that, based on a theory, we must be able to make predictions about what is likely or unlikely to be true if the theory is correct and we must remain open to the possibility that the theory is wrong. When conflicting strong evidence is discovered, a scientific theory must be adjusted or abandoned. These make science the most reliable basis for empirical reality ever devised.
This is how the scientific method operates:
1) Make observations.
2) Formulate hypotheses based on observations.
3) Form predictions based on hypothesis.
4) Test the predictions in testable and empirical conditions.
5) Draw conclusions that confirm or deny the predictions.
6) Report falsifiable results in a peer review journal that opens scrutiny of the conclusions
Evidence for Evolution
In contrast to the lack of strong verifiable evidence for creationism’s unfalsifiable, supernatural claims; evolution has a wealth of strong evidence from the collective work in the fields of chemistry, biology, biochemisty, molecular biology, developmental biology, population biology, mammalogy, ornithology, botany, zoology, herpetology, ecology, genetics, ethology, biogeography, epidemiology, psychology, and population genetics.
a) Increasing diversity and complexity
Mark I. Vuletic writes, One of the crucial predictions of evolutionary theory is that one should find a general progression of increasingly diverse and complex life forms when one traces the fossil record through progressively higher strata of sedimentary rock. This is not to say that major extinctions cannot occur, or that simpler life forms cannot persist alongside more complex ones, but merely that the more complex ones should not appear before the less complex ones have appeared. The appearance of organisms in the fossil record should reflect the branching, treelike structure of evolution.
Thus, had God wished to supply humanity with decisive evidence refuting evolution, He could have done so easily by depositing, preserving, and later exposing to paleontologists numerous mammalian fossils in the oldest rock strata (no difficult feat for the omnipotent creator of the universe).
Yet, when we examine the fossil record, we find a distribution that matches the predictions of evolution, not one of the countless distributions that would not. Creationist spokesmen are forced to seize upon any ad hoc explanation they can think of to explain this; for instance, that Noah's Flood somehow sorted the fossils into exactly the pattern expected by evolution, or that God, for some strange reason, decided to create life over the course of aeons in a sequence matching the predictions of evolution (in either case, God presumably did not care that the resultant fossil patterns would cause us to be deceived). Surely it is more sensible simply to conclude that evolution has occurred. 
b) Transitional Forms
Mark continues, A second prediction of evolution is that the fossil record should yield transitional forms. Evolution does not require the fossil record to yield transitional forms as plentiful as the stars, since the conditions of fossilization are severe, and some organisms fossilize less easily than others, but one would reasonably become suspicious if, after more than a century of work, paleontologists had not discovered any transitional forms at all. A complete absence of transitional forms, in fact, is precisely what creationists should expect. Paleontology, however, has yielded plentiful transitional forms, of which a mere handful is listed here:
c) Patterns in Genetic Material
Mark continues, Had God created life through means other than evolution, He could have used the faintest whisper of His boundless power to endow each kind of creature with a different form of genetic material, or a completely different genetic code. But all life forms on Earth use DNA and RNA as genetic material, with a code that admits of only very rare and insignificant alterations, which is what one would expect had all life evolved from a common ancestor.
There is, furthermore, a high degree of correspondence between molecular phylogenies and evolutionary expectations, even for nonfunctional changes in DNA. Especially puzzling for creationism is the question of why these evolutionary expectations are borne out in the case of similar species living in similar climates on different continents: creationists should expect the DNA of such creatures to closely match, if DNA was designed for functionality. However, we find instead that these species often have DNA more closely resembling that of different species in adjacent environments than that of the similar species in distant locales. The appearance of the similar species is the result of convergent evolution: the species have managed to adapt in similar ways to their environments, but they remain genetically closer to the different species near them, with whom they share a more recent common ancestor. The manner in which such genetic correlations match evolutionary expectations is independent confirmation of evolution that would serve absolutely no purpose but deception in a world in which all life was created directly by God. 
All of the aforementioned reasons demonstrate the high probability of naturalistic evolution. Thank you.
 Julian Baggini, Atheism: a Very Short Introduction, pages 13-23
 Steven Jay Gould, Evolution as Fact and Theory, 1981
 Mark I. Vuletic, In Defense of Evolution, 2003
The instructions for how to build, operate, and repair living cells represent a vast amount of information (estimated at 12 billion bits). Information is a mental, non-material concept. It can never arise from a natural process and is always the result of an intelligence. Just as a newspaper story transcends the ink on the paper, life's DNA itself (like the ink) is not the information, it is simply a physical representation or housing of the information (the story). Modifying the DNA via mutation can never produce new genetic information to drive upward evolution, just as spilling coffee on the newspaper, thereby modifying the distribution of the ink, will never improve the story.
Key references: Genetic Entropy (Sanford), In the Beginning was Information (Gitt).
2. Formation of Life Dead chemicals cannot become alive on their own. The cell is a miniature factory with many active processes, not a simple blob of "protoplasm" as believed in Darwin's day. Lightening striking a mud puddle or some "warm little pond" will never produce life. This is another view of the core issue of information as the simplest living cell requires a vast amount of information to be present. The "Law of Biogenesis" states that life comes only from prior life. Spontaneous generation has long been shown to be impossible (by Louis Pasteur in 1859). Numerous efforts to bring life from non-life (including the famous Miller-Urey experiment) have not succeeded. The probability of life forming from non-life has been likened to the probability of a tornado going through a junkyard and spontaneously assembling a working 747 airplane. The idea that life on earth may have been seeded from outer space just moves the problem elsewhere.
Key reference: Why Abiogenesis is Impossible, Jerry Bergman, CRS Quarterly, Volume 36, March 2000
3. Design of Living Things Design is apparent in the living world. Even Richard Dawkins in his anti-creation book The Blind Watchmaker admits "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." The amazing defense mechanism of the Bombardier Beetle is a classic example of design in nature, seemingly impossible to explain as the result of accumulating small beneficial changes over time, because if the mechanism doesn't work perfectly, "boom" - no more beetle! This is also another view of the core issue of information, as the design of living things is the result of processing the information in the DNA (following the blueprint) to produce a working organism.
Key reference: The three-part video series Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution describes many more examples like that of the Bombardier Beetle
4. Irreducible Complexity The idea that "nothing works until everything works." The classic example is a mousetrap, which is irreducibly complex in that if one of its several pieces is missing or not in the right place, it will not function as a mousetrap and no mice will be caught. The systems, features, and processes of life are irreducibly complex. What good is a circulatory system without a heart? An eye without a brain to interpret the signals? What good is a half-formed wing? Doesn't matching male and female reproductive machinery need to exist at the same time, fully-functioning if any reproduction is to take place? Remember, natural selection has no foresight, and works to eliminate anything not providing an immediate benefit.
Key reference: Darwin's Black Box (Behe)
5. Second Law of Thermodynamics The Second Law of Thermodynamics refers to the universal tendency for things, on their own, to "mix" with their surrounding environment over time, becoming less ordered and eventually reaching a steady-state. A glass of hot water becomes room temperature, buildings decay into rubble, and the stars will eventually burn out leading to the "heat death" of the universe. However, the evolutionary scenario proposes that over time things, on their own, became more ordered and structured. Somehow the energy of a "Big Bang" structured itself into stars, galaxies, planets, and living things, contrary to the Second Law. It is sometimes said that the energy of the Sun was enough to overcome this tendency and allow for the formation of life on earth. However, application of energy alone is not enough to overcome this tendency; the energy must be channeled by a machine. A human must repair a building to keep it from decaying. Likewise, it is the machinery of photosynthesis which harnesses the energy of the Sun, allowing life to exist, and photosynthesis is itself a complex chemical process. The maturing of an acorn into a tree, or a zygote (the first cell resulting from fertilization) into a mature human being does not violate the Second Law as these processes are guided by the information already present in the acorn or zygote.
Key reference: The Second Law of Thermodynamics (answersingenesis.org)
6. Abstract: If an animal mates with another animal not of its exact species, the result will be a sterile creature (e.g. a horse mating with a donkey produces a sterile mule). If animals of a given species mate and produce an abnormal offspring (i.e. a mutant), it also is sterile. Therefore, how could the macro evolutionary process advance? How could a "mutant" (i.e. advances in form) reproduce? It would first have to be fertile itself. It would have to find a sexually compatible mate who was also fertile during its relatively miniscule life span on the overall evolutionary time scale. Thirdly, their offspring would also have to be fertile and be able to continue the advance. So if single celled animals formed in the primordial soup and they were asexual (not have either male or female characteristics, but reproducing by themselves, how would they advance to a hermaphroditic state (having both male and female sexual organs) and then to the higher orders of animals which almost always have distinct male and female reproductive organs? All in-between states are sterile.
The Details: Evolution can only explain asexual or self-fertilizing hermaphroditic reproduction. Yet we have tens of thousands of the higher orders of species with perfectly matched sexually sets of males and females. And any deviations from a normal union and offspring is sterile (not capable of reproduction). Why? How could evolutionary processes possibly explain what we see all around us today?
In short, the theory of evolution states that lower life evolved over eons into higher life forms. Many lower life forms (generally single cells or plants) are asexual, which is what one would expect if the theory of evolution had any validity. If the evolutionary process was to continue however, we would expect the continuation of asexual characteristics or possibly hermaphroditic characteristics (i.e. having both sets of sexual reproductive organs). Moreover, an evolving hermaphroditic creature should be able to self-fertilize itself. Without asexual characteristics or self-fertilizing hermaphroditic characteristics, how possibly could a mutant entity reproduce? The chance of such a mutant finding an exact complementary mate within its lifespan would be extremely remote given the infrequency of mutations, and especially fertile mutations.
I'm out of room for more evidence.
Witty Quote(You forgot yours Wallstreetatheist)
History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.
- Abba Eban
I am camping in Blackwater falls, so I can't post. Sorry.
Wallstreetatheist forfeited this round.