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Non-random mutations drive evolution

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,394 times Debate No: 73679
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




My position is that non-random mutations drive evolution, and that these mutations can be considered predictable, given enough information. My opponent will debate that random mutations are the driving force in evolution, and that mutations are completely predictable. I would prefer scientific support of your position.


It's difficult, if not impossible, to argue for something based in non-evidence with evidence, don't you think? The scientific theory of random mutation based evolution is founded on a lack of evidence suggesting otherwise. I can't verywell reach into my non-evidence and display that to you. The only real argument to be made against your position is the nullification of your "facts".
That leaves me to start with the underlying argument of intelligent design, as the opposite of random, being non-random, is dependent on the precision of choice.
To that argument, I implore you recognize the reality of fact versus belief, and belief is nullified in the face of science and fact.
If you stray away from intelligent design yet argue that evolution is non-random, you have no grounds for argument as there's no evidence to suggest anything other than random mutation. There's been an argument made that the effects of the mutation aren't random, and as the DNA is scattered across the dominant species do to environmental benefits, but then the effect is given reason, not the mutation itself. For instance, to reiterate [Neil Degrasse Tyson: Cosmos], if there are brown bears in the antarctic, and along one of their family lines, there's a genetic mutation and the brown bear is born with White fur, being what we now call a polar bear, the polar bear will better blend in with their stark white environment and be able to hunt their prey better than the less camouflaged brown bear.
In this, the mutation is random, being a misspelled DNA code within the family line, an error that can not be predicted through any kind of study taking causation correlation into consideration. This bear existing alone does not count as evolution, evolution happens when the White bear is better able to feed his family than the brown bear, and the white bear has more white bear children, and that trend continues until the polar bear becomes a species of the bear family. This is not random, but this is not mutation, the is the passing on the genes, gene's that originated randomly.
The understanding of evolution is random mutation of DNA that spreads over time to create a species. This change in special dominance within the environment over time is the non-random evolutionary part of the process, but the mutation itself is random as the topic is "non-random mutation."
Debate Round No. 1


I am not arguing for Intelligent design, nor do I believe in that.

That being said, there should be SOME way to prove that mutations are random, and so far, I haven't seen it. I have seen plenty of studies showing very obvious NON randomness in mutation. Here are two. In both cases, the mutation fit the need of the environment perfectly, and were repeated in experiments. Especially in the experiment with the extra tails, in which ALL of the tests the organisms grew extra tails, with the same exact genetic mutation.
"To determine how the bacteria had gained their tails, Dr. Xavier and his colleagues sequenced the DNA of 24 lines of hyperswarmers. In 24 out of 24 cases, they discovered that they have gained a mutation in the same gene, called FleN."
"In the new study, published online today in Public Library of Science Biology5, Doebeli and colleague Matthew Herron, also at UBC, went back to the frozen samples from three of their test tubes and sequenced 17 gene samples from various stages of the experiment. The DNA showed that in some cases identical mutations appeared independently in all three test tubes: despite the random nature of mutations, the same changes in the environment favoured the same genetic solutions"


It's important to remember that I'm negating an assertion. I'm not saying “this is true.” I'm negating the idea that the other thing is true. And, in science, something is not true until it's been proven, and that has not been proven. I'll say it again, I can't look at the lack of proof and yell out “Look at the objectivity of this non-fact,” because there's no objectivity to be had. It's a lack of knowledge masquerading as knowledge, and the only way to argue a lack of knowledge is, as I am doing, to negate the assertion of a falsifiable “fact.” Remember, Janesix holds the assertion, not me. The claims made are, in fact, easily falsifiable with a more intricate understanding of them, and the intricacies show, with all but certainty, that evolutionary mutation, referring to mutations themselves, are, in fact, random.
Genes are not an omnipotent force capable of anything and everything. Everything is limited to it's own capabilities, and genes, themselves, range in the amount of capabilities given. Plant and animal life are made up of vast numbers of genes, each with finite possibilities. Cichlid fish, palm trees, and finches all face diverse genetic mutations among their own genetic family despite living in the same place.[1] These mutations prosper in their environment and become an evolution of the plant as these new species multiply.
Even multitudes of the bacteria faced differing mutations within the FleN gene, a gene only capable of causing mutations within the tails and movement behaviors of the bacteria.[2][3] In terms of human biology, the gene reviewed by Dr. Xavier only effects the bacteria's limbs, and the only limb the bacteria has is a tail. That is the limit of that gene. So, the only effects it can have is the length and number of limbs, and the way those limbs correspond with the bacteria's chemotactic motility – the way the bacteria interacts with it's food chain. So, looking at the possibilities in mutation: size and number of limbs, and it's reaction to chemicals – to see similar outcomes should be expected with such a limited number of them.[2] But that doesn't make them any less random.
When the mutated bacteria – “hyperswarmers” – were moved into an environment better suited for ordinary bacteria, they “practically went extinct.”[2] This is mutation vs environment. The mutation creating the hyperswarmers made them move faster and hunt food more. In the orginal environment, filled with sugar and not having harmful substances, they thrived. The mutation was useful in their environment, but, when placed into an environment with harmful substances, the ordinary bacteria, having walls of protection, thrived where the unprotected, food dependent, mutated bacteria died out. These mutations were still present in both environments, the evolution came in at a later date as the less capable species of bacteria died out.
All mutations were capable of happening in all environments, and they happened at random. The mutations that survived had survived because of the environment. If you put a species into the same environment over and over again, you're going to see similar traits of evolution across many genes, not just the FleN gene, but when you put them into an environment hostile to their genetic code, you'll see a different bacteria thrive, and you'll see similarities among their evolutionary patterns. This is because genes are only capable of so much, but no mutation is more likely to happen than another, one is just more likely to thrive.


"Researchers have reported cases of cichlid fish, palm trees and finches adapting to different ecological niches and splitting into different species despite living in the same place"


In 24 out of 24 cases, they discovered that they have gained a mutation in the same gene, called FleN.”

'In this case, it could be that there are only a few solutions in the evolutionary space,' Dr. Xavier said.”

In a video showing the 3-D structure of one of these biofilms, the ordinary bacteria win, and the hyperswarmers have practically gone extinct.”


“ … indicating that this ORF was involved in regulating the number of flagella and chemotactic motility in P. aeruginosa.”

Debate Round No. 2


You don't get the same "random" mutation in every single case, if it is truly random. No, you get the same mutation 24 out of 24 times, which clearly shows the mutation was not random. Organisms obviously have a mechanism for adapting exactly what they need for their environment. Out of millions of possible mutations, if not billions, how do organisms usually find the exact mutation they need to adapt?

The two articles I provided show that mutations can be predictable, given enough information. In the first case, it is easy to predict that the next experiment will produce the EXTRA TAILS> Why THAT particular mutation, time and time again? Because the organism need it to survive.


To answer that, I only need to quote your link.
“In this case, it could be that there are only a few solutions in the evolutionary space,” Dr. Xavier said.
I've already explained the science behind this. I'll emphasize an underlying point however. The article focused on one gene, possibly the most limited gene of the organism. Who knows what other changes were made genetically that effect the outcome. You don't, and I don't. They probably weren't worth mentioning to us, as we aren't smart enough, not being scientists, to see any correlation in the vastness of the oucomes. The article shows only a common trait in a single gene efecting only two components, second controlling the first. It's not that all the family lines mutated, it's that the one's who didn't, died out in the mutation vs environment effect I've so vigurously explained. The mutations are randomly given from a set of possibilities.[1]

"A process of selection in which each item of a set has an equal probability of being chosen."
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by imnotacop 1 year ago
Oh. I'm sorry! I thought this was on a different debate!

Yes, I do agree with the side I argued.

This is such an old debate that I figured I was responding to one that was still in voting period. Again, I'm sorry.
Posted by imnotacop 1 year ago
I'd be happy to debate this with you if you want btw. ^_^
Posted by imnotacop 1 year ago
Well, I do actually think he's guilty of attempted murder do to his intent to commit murder.

If I were the attorney and not the defending attorney (which I play the role of a defending attorney in this debate), I'd be working his charges down to attempted murder based on intent vs action difference.

That being said, this should have no effect on the debate itself, being outside of intended format.
Posted by Quadrunner 1 year ago
Hey cool! This is the same theory I lean towards. I didn't know anyone else thought it was debatable yet.
Posted by imnotacop 2 years ago
Non of this should be considered in the debate vote btw guys. ^_^ It's entirely detached.
Posted by imnotacop 2 years ago
Yeah. It was fun. I realize you have to stand your ground, it being a debate, but I'm curious what effect I had on your position. ^_^

You definitely taught me the concept of there being limited options in evolution. I feel like it's a sorta obvious thing that I never literally knew. You know?
Posted by janesix 2 years ago
Thank you for the debate, imnotacop.
Posted by janesix 2 years ago
Yes, sorry for the confusion. I will see if I can edit that.
Posted by Beondel 2 years ago
"My opponent will debate that random mutations are the driving force in evolution, and that mutations are completely predictable"

Do you mean 'are not completely predictable' ?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Chaosism 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: The Burden of Proof was not met by Pro.