The Instigator
Masons_State
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
Kawaiipockygirl
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Should Evolution be Taught in Public Schools?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Masons_State
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/20/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 625 times Debate No: 75583
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (4)

 

Masons_State

Pro

Hello! The purpose of this debate is to address the controversial topic of whether Evolution should be taught using taxpayer money in public schools. This specifically applies to the United States and our education system.

I would request that in this first round my opponent simply state their position and perhaps some general topics they will talk about.

As for me, I will argue that evolution should be taught because it has been shown to be supported by the overwhelming majority of relevant experts, ensuring that our children are well and accurately informed of scientific topics is crucial to our future as a society, and not teaching evolution would violate Separation of Church and State.

Rounds 2,3,4 are for argument/rebuttal of opponent.

Round 5 is simply conclusion.

Thank you for accepting and I hope we have a good debate.
*Note: Time to argue is 48 hours, character limit is 7k.
Kawaiipockygirl

Con

I myself am against Evolution being taught in public schools.

I will be talking about the equality of this topic being taught in school, for the same goes for Christianity and other religions. As well as on the topic that Evolution is not crucial for students to know in order to strive in our society. I will also bring up the factor about how Evolution can discriminate people as well as offend people.
Debate Round No. 1
Masons_State

Pro

One of the best ways to determine what should be taught in public schools is to find out the opinions of experts in relevant fields and the opinions of major, respected organizations. This is because these people combine to have thousands of years worth of experience and education, and they risk their reputations by taking a position in favor of evolution. These experts can be trusted because they have received the highest levels of education in these fields, and they have acquired significant amounts of hands-on experience. Even if the educational establishment were biased, many more individuals would notice that some things did not add up when they begin to do serious research if the theory was not sound. In addition, one must be confident in a theory in order to risk one's reputation, and by extension career, on supporting it. If evolution were disproved, the individual who did so would become an international sensation (and probably rich) as a result. Scientists have no motivation to so publicly support evolution except that they are so confident that it is true.

According to a People Press poll from 2009, only about 2% of scientists are Creationists, while about 97% believe in evolution over time (http://www.people-press.org...)

Pew Research found very similar numbers in 2014, with 98% of scientists reporting that they believed in evolution over time: (http://news.nationalgeographic.com...)

In addition, here is a list of organizations that also risk their reputations by specifically calling out Creationism as a false "science". [I ask that you all excuse the Wikipedia, it was the most comprehensive list I could find, and it is very easy to understand. You will notice that the entries are well sourced] (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

The only reason people and organizations would take such risk for so little potential reward is that they know it is actually no risk at all.

There is clearly no serious controversy here. This is crucial because we should only generally spend taxpayer money to teach things that are widely regarded as true by relevant experts. I would never want to risk people's hard earned money on a hunch. Given that the support for Creationism is so low amongst experts, it would be a terrible thing to spend taxpayer's money on such an unsupported claim. It is unfair to tax people in order to teach something that only about 2% of experts believe to be true. Why should we tax people in order to teach something that is so totally dismissed?

As a consequence of this consensus, evolution must be taught in schools in order to make sure that future generations are prepared for a competitive global job market and to advance our understanding of the natural world. In the era of standardized tests and competitive college admissions, there is not enough time to teach every idea that is scientifically backed. The last thing we should do is take valuable time away from teachers, and put more stress on students, by forcing them to teach unfounded ideas like Creationism. Time is a finite resource, so we must be careful in how we allocate it in schools. We can not simply "teach the controversy" whenever anybody has an idea. They must have significant support for their assertion before it can be taught.

The market for research jobs and for PhDs is already extremely competitive (http://www.theatlantic.com...).
Given that just about all well respected scientific organizations denounce teaching Creationism (see list above), people who have not had the best possible education in evolutionary theory will be at a severe disadvantage when searching for a job. This would likely lead fewer people to pursue jobs in scientific fields, thus slowing society's accumulation of scientific knowledge. I hope that it is clear why this was be a significant problem for our society in the long run. Americans would face a disadvantage when competing with researchers from other nations, and having fewer well educated people in STEM would slow societal progress.

Lastly, I believe it is actually unconstitutional NOT to teach Evolution. The objections to Evolution being taught in public schools are essentially always based on religious views. The First Amendment clearly states that the government "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". If we begin to allow people to censor schools because scientific evidence might conflict with their interpretation of their religion, then we have allowed religion to dictate what is taught by the government funded schools. The government is essentially being dictated by religious views at that point, and I believe this violates the Separation of Church and State that the Supreme Court has upheld on numerous occasions.

These are my general lines of argument, and I look forward to seeing what lines my opponent has. I would again ask that counter-arguments be kept to rounds 3 and 4, and that we simply make our own arguments in this round.
Thank you.
Kawaiipockygirl

Con

Kawaiipockygirl forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Masons_State

Pro

It is quite unfortunate that my opponent did not post during this past round. I am hoping that they will return for the next several rounds.

On that note, I will take this time to respond to some of the criticisms that have been brought up in the comments to this debate. This will allow me to clarify and expand upon my views.

One of the key criticisms is that I seem to be arguing that Evolution must be true simply because the majority of scientist believe it. That is not what I was trying to imply. The significance of the consensus that I reference above is that such a consensus has come about due to the immense amount of evidence in favor of evolutionary theory. This is also why I have brought up the idea that these scientists risk their reputations by backing the theory, and that anybody who actually disproved it would become famous. There is no incentive to believe in a theory that has a questionable basis. The consensus has emerged because there is significant evidence in favor of evolution, and, despite repeated attempts to discredit the theory, it holds solid.

I had planned to introduce more evidence to show that evolution is true and well supported in this round and the next. I did not get into as much evidence last round because I was anticipating that my opponent would challenge me to produce evidence this round anyway.

Unlike earlier scientists, who did make some significant mistakes, modern scientists follow a more advanced version of the scientific method. This method has been improved with time, and it has been altered to account for mistakes made in the past (https://explorable.com...). The introduction of things like peer reviewed journals, especially given that they are often available publicly online, has also opened hypotheses up to much broader criticism. Evolution, ever since National Selection as a means to generational change was proposed by Darin, has been controversial. It has certainly faced much greater criticism that most other theories, and yet it holds strong. Given that the theory has been prodded and challenged for 160+ years, I do not see a comparison to an assumption from the 1700s that was never challenged as a legitimate analogous case. If evolution had not been so thoroughly questioned, by scientific and non-scientific minds alike, then perhaps this analogy would hold more water.

In short, evolution as faced much stricter scrutiny than previous scientific ideas that may have been less accurate. However, I must also point out that there is another significant flaw in the claim that we should teach Intelligent Design (ID) hypotheses simply because some past scientific hypotheses were proven wrong. I must simply ask: Why do we believe that those archaic theories are, in fact, wrong? The only reason is because of more modern scientific consensus. There is currently a scientific consensus, that is solidly based in research, that the Earth is round. However, if we introduce the teaching of alternative ideas that are not backed by research simply because scientific consensus' have been wrong hundreds of years ago, then why should we not teach that the Earth may be flat? Some people still (somehow) believe that the Earth is flat. If the fact that some previous consensus' have been wrong means that we should teach even unsupported alternative hypotheses, then it would follow that we should spend taxpayer money teaching the "controversy" of whether the Earth is round or not. After all, a consensus may be wrong!
I hope that nobody actually believes that we should teach every possible alternative idea simply because a consensus was wrong in the past. I will also point out that past consensus' were only "proven" wrong by newer consensus'. The only reason for this advance was, in fact, a scientific consensus based on new evidence, so why should one take other consensus' seriously, but not a consensus on evolution? That is an inconsistent position! Again, does it follow that we must spend time and money teaching every unsupported challenge to consensus?

If we do want to continue our scientific progress into the future, and yes, even challenge ideas that are now widely accepted, we must teach evolution. After all, no idea can be challenged, and no consensus possibly changed, unless people are taught the most modern scientific ideas in order to challenge them.

Lastly, I will address whether evolution should not be taught because it may be "offensive" and that the vast majority of the world is religious. First off, as I clearly say in round 1, this is about the US, not the entire world (at least in this debate...). I wanted the debate to work this way due to unique Constitutional issues in the US. Second, many religious people do not find that evolution contradicts their religious views. Third, some people will find anything offensive, so in order not to offend anybody, we would have to simply not teach anything. Last, whether scientific research confirms or contradicts your interpretation of your religion is irrelevant to whether it is true. We simply can not allow the religious views of some people to censor what we teach in public schools, especially because, like being offended, some people might have religious objections to nearly anything taught. Will we simply not teach anything that contradicts any interpretation of any religion, even if there is strong evidence that it is true? This would also violate Separation of Church and State because it would realistically give religion control over what is taught in taxpayer funded schools.

*As a direct response to a comment from NothingSpecial99, it should be noted that fevers are NOT in fact infectious diseases, but rather a bodily reaction to various circumstances, including infectious diseases. The fever itself, however, is not a disease.
Kawaiipockygirl

Con

Kawaiipockygirl forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Masons_State

Pro

It seems this debate is over.
Kawaiipockygirl

Con

Kawaiipockygirl forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Kawaiipockygirl

Con

Kawaiipockygirl forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Masons_State 1 year ago
Masons_State
In this last round I intended to post this link and talk about it some in order to provide evidence for evolution: http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
Unfortunately, I forgot. However, I will talk about this some next round.
Posted by Masons_State 1 year ago
Masons_State
Unfortunately, it appears that my opponent, who has not completed any debates on this site, may have left.

As a result, I will spend next round responding to some of the comments below, especially NothingSpecial99's. Although that is not quite my argument, I can see how that could use some clarification and further explanation.

I also appreciate that as feedback, as I am new to debating and it is good to know how other people might perceive my arguments.
Posted by emporer1 1 year ago
emporer1
It is offensive that the 84 percent of the world that is religious has to send their kids to schools where their religions are taught to be wrong and evolution is taught to be right. I believe in evolution partially. The part of evolution that I find unproven and that contradicts religious beliefs is the part about apes becoming people. That is bogus. Lobe fined lung fish being the stepping stone between fish and amphibian that I believe. As a religious person who went to public school with majority religious people I think that it should either not be taught, or the schools should have to teach all the creation stories (which we all know won't happen).
Posted by NothingSpecial99 2 years ago
NothingSpecial99
This is a question that I'll like Pro or anyone else to answer. Pro makes the argument that if evolution is not taught in schools, the progress of science is at risk. My question is, what breakthroughs have been made that required a belief in microbes to microbiologists evolution to have been made?

Pro also seems to make the argument that since there is a consensus in the scientific community about evolution then evolution is true. I don't recall the majority decides what is true. The distance between Earth and the Sun isn't a consensus because it is a fact that you can observe. Despite the open-mindness of the scientific community Pro tries to display, history has taught that multiple times scientists challenged that status quo but were rejected, discredited, and scoffed at by the majority despite having experimental evidence to back their claims.

For example, Alexander Gordon in 1795 proposed that fevers were infectious diseases and he was able to cure them but was rejected by the scientific community. Despite numerous 'skeptics' of the consensus, Alexander Gordon was not vindicated until 125 years later when he was vindicated.

As a biblical creationist, there are valid arguments against evolution which can be seen in my debate here:
http://www.debate.org...

Here is where I stand:
I'm not against evolution being taught in schools but if teachers themselves want to teach components of the ID movement or creationism, they should be allowed to. For example, Rodney LeVake, a Christian biology teacher was demoted when he taught problems with evolution. When he tried to appeal to the court, they rejected even when they admitted that his claims had scientific merit. It really would not help our case if staunch evolutionists were required to teach our side of the debate.
Posted by drouel 2 years ago
drouel
i may have missed the entire bus on this, but haven't scientists provided enough proof on evolution? as opposed to the no proof provided by ID or Creationism, uh, believers, bible writers (but not the actual man himself)?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
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Vote Placed by Lexus 1 year ago
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Vote Placed by PatriotPerson 1 year ago
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Vote Placed by Chaosism 1 year ago
Chaosism
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit by Con.