The Instigator
GarretKadeDupre
Pro (for)
Winning
35 Points
The Contender
FuzzyCatPotato
Con (against)
Losing
32 Points

The Roraima Pollen Evolutionary Paradox

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 17 votes the winner is...
GarretKadeDupre
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/26/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,556 times Debate No: 55433
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (17)

 

GarretKadeDupre

Pro

I will argue for the following resolution:

The finding of Precambrian (Roraima) Pollen undermines Evolutionary Theory.

First round is acceptance only!
FuzzyCatPotato

Con

I accept.

I ask my opponent to define "the Roraima Pollen Evolutionary Paradox" in detail and provide modern sources about it.

Additionally, I ask my opponent to provide a better theory for explaining the existence of "the Roraima Evolutionary Paradox" that is also consistent with the rest of reality.

Thank you, and I look forward to an interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 1
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Why does the finding of pollen in Roraima rock undermine Evolutionary Theory?

According to Evolutionary Theory, plants didn't evolve flowers until around 120 million years ago.(1) However, pollen has been found in Roraima rock.(2) This undermines Evolutionary Theory because Roraima rock is geochronologically dated to be at least 1.7 billion years old.(3) This is a paradox that even a child can understand, because it suggests that pollen existed over a billion years before the first flower existed.

This conundrum undermines Evolutionary Theory because it has gone almost half a century without being resolved, and is scarcely acknowledged in the Evolutionary literature.

I will now preemptively rebut the following likely objection from my opponent:

The finding of pollen was due to contamination, and it was a one-time occurrence that could be explained by human error!

Actually, the finding of the pollen was verified by multiple geologists on a later expedition:

This discovery of pollen and spores in a formation of supposed Precambrian age was so remarkable that a reconnaissance expedition of qualified geologists was organized to verify the facts of the case[...] the three palynologists made independent investigations of the new samples. Utmost care was taken to avoid any possibility of superficial contamination[...] Nevertheless, [pollen] microfossils of the same type as before were recovered.”(1)

My opponent cannot defeat my case by arguing that the radiometric dating of Roraima rock is incorrect. For if that were the case, Evolutionary Theory would still be undermined since it relies on the same radiometric dating to establish that the earth is “old enough to accommodate the evolution of complex organisms.”(4)

My opponent asked me to describe the paradox “in detail”, suggesting that I should explain the technical aspects of the problem. I decline, as I don't feel it's necessary, at least not until Con raises objections of a technical nature.

Con also asked me to provide “modern sources” about the paradox. I ask Con to define what he means by “modern” in this context. My first source is dated 1966. If Con doesn't think it's recent enough, he will have to explain why.

Last, but not least, Con requested that I posit an alternative theory to Evolution that can explain the existence of pollen in Precambrian rock without producing a paradox. I will decline, since it's not necessary to prove my resolution.

Here is a photo of Mount Roraima piercing through the clouds:


(1) http://paleobiology.si.edu...

(2) http://www.nature.com... (public-access copy: http://rpasmd.org...)

(3) http://gsabulletin.gsapubs.org...

(4) http://www.cas.org...

FuzzyCatPotato

Con


I thank my opponent for this debate.

---

REBUTTAL:

Let's get the logic of my opponent's argument.

A1: The modern evolutionary synthesis is correct.
A2: The oldest pollen on Earth has been dated using radiometry to be 135 Ma.
A3: The radiometric dating model is correct.
P1: If A2 and A3 are correct, then pollen did not exist on Earth before 135 Ma.
P2: If A2, A3, and P1 are correct, then pollen should not be found in a location older than 135 Ma.
P3: From testing, the Roraima Foundation has been dated using radiometry to be 1,700-1,800 Ma.
P4: From sampling, the Roraima Foundation contains pollen in its rocks.
P5: P2 and P4 form a contradiction; thus, A2 or A3 is false.
P6: If A3 is false, then A1 is false.
C: From P1-6, A1 is false.

Note: My opponent's first source actually puts plants at 135 Ma of age, not 120. Small discrepancy, anyways.

As you can probably tell, there are quite a few problems with my opponent's logic.

P1:
P1 doesn't follow from A2. While it is true that we do not currently know of any pollen-producing (angiosperm) plants before 135 Ma, this our current evolutionary history of plants is 100% correct, as angiosperms may have existed earlier that we do not know about.

P2:
P2 only follows if objections to both P1 and P2 are defeated.

Notably, it is possible for new objects to contaminate old objects. Pollen from modern plants may have entered into the sample.

My opponent quotes that, “Utmost care was taken to avoid any possibility of superficial contamination[.]”

However, the larger passage reads:

"[A] reconnaissance expedition of qualified geologists was organized to verify the facts[.] ... During April, 1964, ... the locality was visited[.] ... They confirmed the salient facts as recorded by Dunsterville. .... New samples of unweathered rock were collected from the face of the undercut. .... Utmost care was taken to avoid any possibility of superficial contamination. The rock cleaves along finely laminated bedding planes which are coated with limonite. Every effort was made to avoid these planes and some of the pieces processed were the central nubs left after chipping away the external parts of large blocks of the rock[.]"

The contamination that they were preventing against was contamination resulting from transport damage and interaction with modern outside elements, NOT that of potential contamination in the past. In fact, the report itself mentions a position that lends support to my view that contamination is the likely cause:

"One group adopts the attitude that the radiometric dating of dolerites and a hornfels within the Roraima Formation as Precambrian is beyond dispute, hence the pollen (and spores) must have entered as secondary contamination. The improbability that pollen could withstand the baking process, which converted shale to hornfels, is adduced as further evidence that the pollen must be allochthonous [(moved from another location)]. The absence of macroscopic plant remains in the Roraima Formation is also noted, despite its assumed continental (?fluviatile) origin. It is admitted that entry of the pollen into its present site defies simple explanation, though some form of washing in by meteoric waters in the geological past via joints in the overlying sandstone seems the most probable cause."

P3:
This point is sound, if A3 and the research is sound.

P4:
My opponent must prove that this "pollen" must actually be pollen. False positives happen.

P5:
This statement is sound if all other objections are defeated.

P6:
Fundamentally, this statement does not have to follow from P6. As pointed out, it is possible that A2 is false, and that angiosperms evolved earlier. Furthermore, radiometric dating is NOT vital to evolutionary theory, as I will point out later. If, however, it is proven that A1 relies on both A3, and if all other objections raised are defeated, and it is proven that A2 MUST be correct, then P6 follows.

C:
This does not logically follow, for the reasons pointed out in P5.

---

Pro says: "My opponent asked me to describe the paradox “in detail”, suggesting that I should explain the technical aspects of the problem. I decline, as I don't feel it's necessary, at least not until Con raises objections of a technical nature."

I have raised some reasonably technical responses, and I encourage a technical rebuttal.

---

Pro says: "Con also asked me to provide “modern sources” about the paradox. I ask Con to define what he means by “modern” in this context. My first source is dated 1966. If Con doesn't think it's recent enough, he will have to explain why."

In 1966, modern radiometric dating was in its infancy. While the source provided from 1996 suffices, I think it's important to register that science changes, and we must with it.

---

Pro says: "Con requested that I posit an alternative theory to Evolution that can explain the existence of pollen in Precambrian rock without producing a paradox. I will decline, since it's not necessary to prove my resolution."

It's one thing to attack a scientific theory as incorrect. However, if you don't have a better theory, then we still accept evolution. It's kind of like driving a car: Even rattling to your job in a battered, decrepit piece of junk is better than not being able to get to work. Furthermore, this "paradox" (a) doesn't exist and (b) doesn't challenge evolution but rather the history of plant evolution OR radiometric dating, neither of which is essential for the theory of evolution.

---

CONTENTION ONE:

Pro says: "My opponent cannot defeat my case by arguing that the radiometric dating of Roraima rock is incorrect. For if that were the case, Evolutionary Theory would still be undermined since it relies on the same radiometric dating to establish that the earth is 'old enough to accommodate the evolution of complex organisms.' "

First off, I CAN argue that the dating is incorrect. It is entirely possible that these samples underwent factors that would change their dating significantly and give false readings, which would be rejected.

However, radiometric dating is NOT necessary to establish the age of the universe. While it is very useful in determining the age of the Earth, we have plenty of other methods of dating that place a minimum age of the Earth in the millions of years and the universe in the billions, while simultaneously blowing holes in the theory of Biblical Creationism that my opponent would conceivably support if they are opposed to evolution:

5,063 years - Currently unnamed tree [01]. Would have had to been alive since before the flood began.

11,750 years - King Clone creosote bush ring [02]. Dated both through known creosote growth rates and through carbon 14 dating.

160,000 years - Ice cores [03]. Using multiple dating methods, this ice sheet is too old both for the existence of the Earth and for a global flood. The only way to account for this level of ice core development within 6,000 years would be to have 27 layers of ice fall each year, every year, on the polar ice caps, which has not been documented ever and would need a mechanism.

8,550,000 years - Magnetic reversals [04]. Earch changes polarity once about every 50,000 to 800,000 years, and very very very rarely less requently than that. About 171 reversals are documented. 8.55 million is the MINIMUM.

13,000,000,000 years - SDSS 1306+0356 [05][06]. This quasar is 13 billion light-years away from earth; consequently, if the speed of light has not changed, then the universe must be a minimum of 13 billion years old.

As such, it is entirely feasible to believe in an old Earth and universe even if evolution, plant history, and radiometric dating are flawed.

---

REFERENCES:

[01] http://www.rmtrr.org...
[02] http://www.nps.gov...
[03] http://www.talkorigins.org...
[04] Laurie R. Godfrey (1983). "Scientists Confront Creationism". W. W. Norton & Company, Canada. Pages 35-36. ISBN 0393301540.
[05] http://chandra.harvard.edu...
[06] http://www.spaceref.com...
Debate Round No. 2
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Con's attempt at constructing an outline of my logic fails because it's a strawman from the very beginning. He tries to attribute “A1: The modern evolutionary synthesis is correct” to me when I never said such a thing, and I think anyone who's reading is well aware by now that I do not assume the “modern evolutionary synthesis is correct.



Con said my “first source actually puts plants at 135 Ma of age, not 120”, but I specified that flowering plants are claimed to have evolved 135 million years ago, not all plants in general. So I didn't make any discrepancy at all. However, he was charitable towards me when he thought I had erred, so I've got to thank him for that.



Con says it's “true that we do not currently know of any pollen-producing (angiosperm) plants before 135 Ma, this our current evolutionary history of plants is 100% correct” but I can't make sense of this statement, so I request Con to correct his apparent typo.



Con claims that modern pollen may have contaminated the sample, but then admits that multiple samples were independently verified to contain pollen under the “utmost care” to avoid contamination. This prompts Con to admit that modern contamination was avoided, but “NOT that of potential contamination in the past.



This is a contradiction. Con blames modern pollen contamination, concedes this isn't plausible, then argues for “potentialpast contamination. A colorful analogy to describe Con's strategy would be flinging globs of mud at the wall and hoping some of it sticks.



Con quoted my paper saying “One group adopts the attitude that [the pollen was contamination.]” This group supports their belief by arguing:



1. The pollen couldn't have survived the metamorphic heating process that supposedly formed the rock.


2. There aren't any macroscopic plant remains.


3. “[S]ome form of washing in by meteoric waters in the geological past via joints in the overlying sandstone seems the most probable [source of contamination].



The first contention has since been proven wrong in a 2007 paper called Microfossils Preserved In Highly Metamorphosed Rocks, which concluded that “organic-walled microfossils may survive significant metamorphic heating”.(8)



The second contention is another example of flinging mud at the wall and hoping something sticks. For finding pollen microfossils in rocks absent of larger plant remains is neither unusual nor reason to assume contamination, as Berkley's Museum of Paleontology can attest: “Indeed, some very thick rock layers are made entirely of microfossils.”(5) In fact, according to London's Global University's Department of Earth Sciences,“spores and pollen are normally retrieved from their host sediments as disjunct entities, separate from the original parent plant”.(6) So finding pollen fossils without fossils of it's host plant is actually common.



The third contention is that meteoric water (a.k.a. rainwater) containing pollen was absorbed by the rock. This is yet another example of desperate mud flinging. The pollen fossils are within “dense impermeable rocks compressed by an overburden of hundreds of feet of the overlying Roraima sandstones[, and] are quartzitic, of low permeability, hence carriage of extraneous pollen through them by percolating water seems highly improbable.”(1)



My opponent's strategy of quoting my paper to find a solution for his case is bewildering, since it concludes with: “we offer no solution to the paradox”.



Con asserts that I must “prove that this "pollen" must actually be pollen. False positives happen.” I alreadyproved it was pollen by referencing my first source, where it explains that “three palynologists made independent investigations[...] Nevertheless, [pollen] microfossils of the same type as before were recovered.”(1) Palynologists are pollen-fossil experts. Apparently, Con questions the credibility of all 3 pollen-fossil experts on matters of pollen-fossils. This is absurd, and reveals the futility of Con's case.



Con says that “In 1966, modern radiometric dating was in its infancy.” This is completely irrelevant since I referenced a source from 2003 (source #3) for the radiometric dating of the Roraima rock.



When I declined to posit a competing theory to Evolution, Con retorted “then we still accept evolution.” Con's reasoning here is fallacious; he reasons as if lack of an alternate theory makes the current theory true. I'm also not sure who the word “we” refers to. Perhaps Con is making a prediction about the voting results. I guess “we” will have to wait and see if he's right.



Con says “radiometric dating is NOT necessary to establish the age of the universe.” This is a strawman, since I never argued otherwise. What I did argue was that Evolutionary Theory relies on radiometric dating to establish that the earth is “old enough to accommodate the evolution of complex organisms.” Without first showing that the earth is old enough to sustain the Theory of Evolution, Evolution would be an exercise in circular logic: Evolution is possible because the earth is old enough; the earth is old enough because Evolution is impossible otherwise.



[I]n the first edition of On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, Darwin made a crude estimate of Earth’s age, based on geology, of several hundred million years.”(7)



Con says “we have plenty of other methods of dating that place a minimum age of the Earth in the millions of years”, but this is irrelevant. Merely millions of years aren't sufficient; Con needs to establish billions. Since the billions of years are established via radiometric dating, Con is shooting himself in the foot when he says the following:



I CAN argue that the dating is incorrect. It is entirely possible that these samples underwent factors that would change their dating significantly and give false readings, which would be rejected.



Since the readings have not been rejected, Con's argument fails.



Con talks of “blowing holes in the theory of Biblical Creationism”, but this is both a red herring and a strawman, because even though I do subscribe to Biblical Creationism, I have not argued for it in this debate.



Con concludes with “it is entirely feasible to believe in an old Earth and universe even if evolution, plant history, and radiometric dating are flawed.” This is yet another strawman because I never argued that the earth is young.



For your viewing pleasure, here is a photo of Con's favorite fish:




(5) http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu...


(6) http://www.ucl.ac.uk...


(7) http://www.csicop.org...


(8) http://vsgc.odu.edu...

FuzzyCatPotato

Con

Rebuttals:

---

Pro, R3: "Con's ... outline of my logic fails because it's a strawman[.] ... I think anyone ... reading is ... aware ... that I do not assume the 'modern evolutionary synthesis is correct.' "

You use evolutionary history to attempt to prove evolution wrong, and are attempting to prove evolution wrong from contradiction. As such, you make this assumption to attempt to disprove it, which is why your conclusion is "From P1-6, A1 is false." No straw man.

---

Pro, R3: "I specified that flowering plants are claimed to have evolved 135 million years ago, not all plants in general." (Sorry meant "angiosperms", not "plants".)
Pro, R2: "[P]lants didn't evolve flowers until around 120 million years ago."
Source: "[A]ngiosperms (flowering plants) also became part of the flora at this time, about 135 million years ago."

---

Pro, R3: "I request Con to correct his apparent typo."

"Our current evolutionary history of plants is not necessarily 100% correct."

---

Pro, R3: "Con ... admits that ... samples were ... under the “utmost care” to avoid contamination. ... Con ... admit[s] ... modern contamination was avoided, but “NOT ... potential contamination in the past.” This is a contradiction. Con blames modern pollen contamination, concedes this isn't plausible, then argues for “potential” past contamination."

Contamination during transport and contamination during the near past are not identical. Past contamination is possible even if modern isn't.

---

Pro, R3: " '[O]rganic-walled microfossils may survive significant metamorphic heating'. "

The paper notes this untrue if oxygen is present. Please prove any access to oxygen and that the conditions the pollen underwent fit the experiment's specifications.

---

Pro, R3: " 'Indeed, some ... rock layers are made entirely of microfossils.' "

This source talks about ALL micro-fossils, which are mostly bacteria and protists, not plants. It does not support finding merely pollen.

---

Pro, R3: " '[S]pores and pollen are normally retrieved from their host sediments ... separate from the original parent plant'."

This absence is anomalous within this specific context because the rock sampled is believed to have come from a river, and would thus likely have full plant fossils; it does not.

---

Pro, R3: " '[C]arriage of ... pollen through [Roraima rock] by percolating water seems highly improbable.' "

1. Improbable, NOT impossible. Seeing as the world is a big place, it's rather likely that in at least a few places, pollen would get into the metamorphosing rock. Moreover, an argument from improbability is fallacious. 2. Pollen is rather small, being microfossils and all. It's not hard for it to get through effectively ANY cracks in the Roraima rock. 3. As Glenn Morton, petroleum geophysicist, states, "There is a veritible rain of pollen on everything. It is caught in rain water and transported down into the crevices in the rocks. So regardless of finding modern pollen in surficial rocks, it may not have been there from time immemorial [but] ... a modern contaminant. .... Wind and water disperse the pollen quite effectively. A palynologist friend of mine has written that he finds modern pine pollen in his cretaceous preparations all the time."[1] My opponent must show conclusively that NO pollen could have gotten in.

2. Glenn Morton sets three criteria for determining modern against fossilized pollen: 1. The first criteria is color. As organic matter ages, it becomes darker. This is especially true as the rock is buried and the temperature rises. If the pollen is clear or very light yellow then they are modern introduced forms. .... 2. One must demonstrate that the [sample] ... is not so thermally mature (cooked) that nothing organic could have survived. .... 3. The pollen grains should be flattened."[1] My opponent has met only the second criteria, and has not proven that the others are met.

3. Glenn Morton points out that: "There is a general absence of evidence for flowering plants below the middle Cretaceous. It is a responsibility and challenge to the creationists to develop a model of earth history which explains the absence." My opponent has failed to do this. [1]

---

Pro, R3: "[Q]uoting my paper ... is bewildering, since it concludes with: 'we offer no solution to the paradox'."

I never claimed that the paper has a solution, but merely problems that you must address.

---

Pro, R3: " '[Pollen] microfossils of the same type as before were recovered.' "

Accepted.

---

Pro, R3: "[S]ource from 2003 ... for the radiometric dating of the Roraima rock."

Accepted.

---

Pro, R3: "I declined to posit a competing theory to Evolution ... Con's reasoning ... is fallacious ... as if lack of an alternate ... makes the current theory true. I'm also not sure who the word 'we' refers to."

1. "We", the scientific community and humanity at large, accept whatever available theory has the most explanatory power. Even if evolution is flawed in one instance, that does not significantly undermine the theory. If my opponent wants to prove evolution (or at least the evolutionary history of plants) incorrect, my opponent needs an alternate theory to explain the pollen in this location, which my opponent entirely fails to do.

2. Furthermore, the evolutionary history of plants is not vital to evolution. If the evolutionary history of angiosperms had to change to account for their existence 1,700 Ma, this would not prove that evolution does or did not occur. Evolution has independent support from observation in both the evolution of nylon-eating bacteria [2] and the long-term E. Coli experiment, with the evolution of one colony's ability to "eat" citric acid [3][4].

---

Pro, R3: "Evolution ... relies on radiometric dating to establish that the earth is 'old enough [for] ... the evolution of complex organisms.' Without ... showing that the earth is old enough ... Evolution would be an exercise in circular logic[.]"

1. Radiometric dating is key to determining the exact age of the earth, but other calculations allow plenty of time for evolution.

2. Rather few people claim that evolution proves the age of the earth, and neither do I. I am correct in calling it a straw man -- a term you are over-fond of throwing around.

---

Pro, R3: " 'Darwin made a crude estimate of Earth’s age ... of several hundred million years.' "

This is unimportant.

---

Pro, R3: "[M]illions of years aren't sufficient; Con needs ... billions."

You have not proven that billions of years are necessary, but merely "enough" time for evolution to occur, which is unquantified.

---

Pro, R3: "This is ... [a] strawman because I never argued that the earth is young."

1. If Roraima pollen is actually proven to be a paradox, my opponent must either: (a) accept evolution as the best theory available (and lose), or (b) offer an alternative.

2. Because my opponent affirms the resolution, which requires an alternative, and states both that "I think anyone ... reading is ... aware ... that I do not assume the 'modern evolutionary synthesis is correct'," and that "I do subscribe to Biblical Creationism," we can assume that my opponent would support Biblical Creationism as an alternative, which means that my arguments are relevant and disprove my opponent's theory, leaving us, again, with evolution.

---

Problems with the Pro position:

1. Pro has not disproven the possibility of contamination. Thus, Pro's argument is flawed.

2. Pro has not proven that the natural history of plants is necessary to the theory of evolution. Thus, Pro's argument is flawed.

3. Pro has not disproven radiometric dating of the Earth. Thus, Pro's argument is flawed.

4. Pro has not proven that evolution requires billions of years. Thus, Pro's argument is flawed.

5. Pro has not provided an alternate theory. Thus, Con is still the default.

---

References:

[1] http://www2.asa3.org...
[2] http://www.nmsr.org...
[3] http://myxo.css.msu.edu...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

When I tried to point out I actually didn't make a mistake, I ended up making a typo. “flowering plants are claimed to have evolved 135 million years ago” should say 120 million.

Con helps my case by saying “evolutionary history of plants is not necessarily 100% correct.



Con quoted my paper saying 1 group of scientists argued pollen couldn't have survived the heating process, so the pollen must've been contamination. I showed Con a more recent paper that disproved this with an experiment. Con says the paper admitted the presence of oxygen during the heating can reduce the chance of pollen surviving, and now Con demands I prove there was no oxygen present when the pollen was fossilized in the Roraima rock.



Specifically, he said “Please prove any access to oxygen and that the conditions the pollen underwent fit the experiment's specifications” but I think he meant “disprove any access to oxygen”.


I'm going to decline. Con's point relied on an unsupported, sweeping assertion by an anonymous group of people unreferenced in the quoted paper. Because of the sweeping nature of the assertion, I only need to find one example to the contrary to void it, and I already have.



I showed it's common for pollen to be found in the absence of other plant remains. Con says that this doesn't apply here because the Roraima rock came from a river, and “would thus likely have full plant fossils”. I'm convinced Con is making this up.


I quoted an expert who was at the scene in 1966 saying contamination of rainwater pollen is “highly improbable” because the rock was compressed under so much weight and had such low permeability. Con replies, “an argument from improbability is fallacious” but this is ironic since Con is using the Appeal to Possibility:


When a conclusion is assumed not because it is probably true, but because it is possible that it is true, no matter how improbable.”(9)



Con says “Pollen is rather small[...] It's not hard for it to get through effectively ANY cracks in the Roraima rock” but this contradicts my expert's opinion, so it's fair to dismiss Con's layman opinion.


To support his claim pollen was absorbed by the Roraima rock, Con quotes geophysicist Morton saying the following:



There is a veritible rain of rain of pollen on everything.[...] it may not have been there from time immemorial [but] … 
a modern contaminant. .... […] A palynologist friend of mine has written that he finds modern pine pollen in his
cretaceous preparations all the time.


Con's source shows Morton is discussing “Hakatai shale in Grand Canyon”, not the hornfel rock from Mount
Roraima
where the pollen was found.
Shale is known to have extremely high permeability with porosity up to
70%!(10) This shale was never subject to
extreme heating and cooling processes, like the Roraima hornfel was. The hornfel is made of
dense impermeable rocks[...]”.

So, Morton's quote on shale is not applicable to hornfel.

The last of Morton's quotes that I'll deal with is the following:

A palynologist friend of mine has written that he finds modern pine pollen in his cretaceous preparations all the time.

That's interesting, but if Con wanted to use this as evidence, he should have cited an accredited journal,
not anecdotal evidence on a poorly-designed website.


Also, using that quote as Con did is an exercise in circular logic, since Morton's “palynologist friend” must
assume Evolutionary Theory is true to claim that the pollen is “
modern” and that the rocks are indeed of
cretaceous” age.

Con says that “My opponent must show conclusively that NO pollen could have gotten in.” This is absurd,
considering all the evidence I've provided already; I provided
relevant expert testimony describing the pollen rock as
dense, impermeable, and compressed by hundreds of feet of of overlying rock. This rock the pollen is
in was literally being sat on by a mountain.


The pollen is not contamination.

Con says Morton provides 3 criteria for distinguishing fossilized pollen from modern contamination, but if one reads
his source it is actually Morton's anonymous
“friend” of questionable credibility. Again, these quotes are not coming
from a peer-reviewed journal.


So, Morton's friend's criteria for distinguishing fossil pollen from contaminated pollen are:

1. Color: If the pollen is clear or very light yellow then they are modern introduced forms.
2. One must demonstrate that the [sample] ... is not so thermally mature (cooked) that nothing organic could have
survived.

3. The pollen grains should be flattened.

Con saved me some trouble by conceding that criterion #2 is already met. So, let's take a look at a photo(1) of the
pollen to see if satisfies criteria #1 and #3 by being
dark and flattened (unfortunately, the photo is only available
in black-and-white but I don't think this really matters):






You be the judge and decide if the pollen looks dark and flattened!

Con says that “It is a responsibility and challenge to the creationists to develop a model of earth history which
explains the absence [of evidence for flowering plants below the middle Cretaceous].
” I think it's appropriate to call
this challenge laughable. How can a Biblical Creationist, who doesn't subscribe to the Geologic Timescale, be
expected to create a theory that relies on the Geologic Timescale? Con is effectively demanding that I formulate
an alternate theory to Evolution but on the condition that I use the
Evolutionary Geologic Timescale!

This is just another red herring that I didn't have to address anyway.

Another red herring of his which I will not address is “my opponent needs an alternate theory to explain the pollen in
this location”
.

Con says that “the evolutionary history of plants is not vital to evolution[...] f the evolutionary history of angiosperms
had to change to account for their existence [1.7 BILLION YEARS AGO], this would not prove that evolution does
or did not occur.


Con is trying to say that, even if I'm correct in that the pollen is not a contamination, it doesn't matter because it
doesn't undermine Evolution's credibility.


This is silly.

If Evolutionary Theory is allowed a get-out-of-jail-free card on such a massive issue...

(adjusting the evolutionary history of flowers by several orders of magnitude, which has immense implications for the
evolution of herbivorous animals and by extension, the evolution of the entire ecosystem)


...then one must conclude that Evolution is unfalsifiable, for no matter how wildly it's predictions contradict reality,
it's credibility won't be considered undermined.


Con says Evolution is supported by observations of the evolution of nylon-eating bacteria and citrate-eating bacteria,
failing to realize that both nylon & citrate digestion were innate to the bacteria before their supposed “evolution.”


In the nylon case, the ability was already innate but preserved as a cryptic gene. A cryptic gene is a gene in a
non-functional state that can be rendered functional when the environment demands it. “
After the cells
accumulated the required genetic alteration
to make a cryptic region active, cells grew in the nylon oligomer
medium.
”(11)(emphasis mine)

Con misrepresents the citrate case by falsely claiming they evolved the ability to “eat citric acid.” The E. coli could
already do that!(12)


Con tells me “You have not proven that billions of years are necessary, but merely "enough" time for evolution to
occur, which is unquantified.
” According to Evolutionary Theory itself, evolution has been going on for ~4 billion
years,
so yes, it is quantified.

Thanks for a fascinating debate.

(9) http://www.logicallyfallacious.com...

(10) http://petrowiki.org...

(11) http://www.isnature.org...

(12) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

FuzzyCatPotato

Con

I apologize, but I could not fit the response into 8,000 characters, as 12,000 was the bare minimum.

Instead, I've posted a public link to Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com...

My apologies.

Wonderful debate, I thank my opponent.
Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 2 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
havent seen the movie lol
Posted by alyfish126 2 years ago
alyfish126
Google image search "mount roraima" that place looks straight outta pixars "Up"
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 2 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
thanks for voting!
Posted by Geogeer 2 years ago
Geogeer
I'm sorry for not having the time to write a longer RFD, but I just quickly perused Whiteflame's and find similarity there.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 2 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
thanks for voting dinosaur hands
Posted by ESocialBookworm 2 years ago
ESocialBookworm
RFD: Although Pro asked that we ignore the length of Con"s argument, conduct goes to Pro because Con should not have exceeded the word limit and even if he did, he should have found a way to cut down how many words he had. This would have "levelled the playing field." Pro had the BOP but IMO, Con was able to refute his arguments very well. For instance,
Also, Pro makes several contradictions when rebutting con, such as, ""modern contamination was avoided, but "NOT that of potential contamination in the past,"" and then, "Con blames modern pollen contamination, concedes this isn't plausible, then argues for "potential" past contamination."
Con made the point that the pollen found could have been from contamination. Pro ignores this point later on in the debate.
Pro also didn"t offer an expert opinion on the size of pollen, whereas Con was able to point out the ease of contamination with his Glenn Morton evidence.
Also, Pro made the assertion that his 1996 paper was not outdated but Con was able to refute that science changes and there are new discoveries every day. Con was also able to say that the dating could have been incorrect.
All in all, I don"t think Pro was able to meet the BOP. However, great job to both debaters on a fantastic debate.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Np, interesting debate.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 2 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Thanks for putting so much effort into your RFD whiteflame!
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
RFD:

I'll start with the arguments that I viewed as least important (or connected) to the debate, move into arguments that I feel play a lesser role in the decision, and then delve into the main issue that decided it for me.

Before I do, while I think there was a lot of good scientific analysis in this debate, I think what was really lacking was a discussion of burdens. Con tried to set Pro's burdens at multiple points in the debate, but many of these were unreasonable and did not link to the resolution. I'll get to those as I go through the arguments, but a brief look back at the resolution would have been very helpful:

"The finding of Precambrian (Roraima) Pollen undermines Evolutionary Theory."

From my perspective, Pro had two major burdens in the debate. He had to prove that the Precambrian (Roraima) Pollen is highly likely to represent an instance where pollen existed far before it should have. I don't buy Con's argument that Pro has to show that there is absolutely no chance that more recent pollen could have contaminated the site, though he does have to prove that the most likely reason for the pollen's existence is that it was in the rock between 1.7 billion years ago and a couple hundred million years ago. He also had to prove that the existence of this pollen is sufficient to undermine Evolutionary Theory.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
The "alternate theory" argument.

I understand where Con is coming from here, but it is not Con's burden in this debate to present an alternate theory. I think this is an attempt to reframe the debate that doesn't work for Con, since it would require that the resolution state "disproves" instead of "undermines."

The bacteria arguments

Again, I think this is trying to expand Pro's burden unfairly. Much as I agree that these bacterial changes may, in fact, support evolution (though I think Pro brings some good rebuttal), it is not Pro's burden to establish that ALL of evolutionary theory is damaged by the presence of this pollen, just that the pollen undermines evolution in some way. This argument, I realize, comes off of an argument that speaks to plant evolution being framed differently than evolution in general, which I'll get to later on, but this extension doesn't seem sensible to me.

Con's "we don't know" arguments

These are pretty weak, and they come up a couple of times. The first time, Con states that pollen may have been produced before angiosperms existed, but this is just a big uncertainty without much in the way of support. I really don't see enough arguments supporting this statement to bring it anywhere in the debate. The idea that age of evolution of plants may be different from what we believe currently is similarly an unwarranted statement without evidence. Sure, there's the possibility that current estimations are wrong, but it is unreasonable to assume that this is likelier than current theory. This introduces another possibility that Pro is wrong, but it's so unlikely that it hardly factors into the debate.
17 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by AdamKG 2 years ago
AdamKG
GarretKadeDupreFuzzyCatPotatoTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: This was probably the most interesting scientific debate I have read on DDO so far. Both sides debated excellently. Con loses on conduct for violating the word count rule on the final round. Pro wins overall for having a more convincing argument. Pro successfully proves that this paradox does bring some minor issues to plant evolutionary history that are real. Being a loyal believer in evolutionary science this does astonish me. Both sides used credible sources.
Vote Placed by Samreay 2 years ago
Samreay
GarretKadeDupreFuzzyCatPotatoTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Con loses conduct by linking to offsite. Both sides made good use of credible references. Arguments go to con, as con links to credible sources explain how pollen contamination can occur in deep rock and why this contamination was possible. Given possibility, the paradox is logically refuted. Pro tried to argue that it wasn't probable, but needed to show it wasn't possible instead.
Vote Placed by Geogeer 2 years ago
Geogeer
GarretKadeDupreFuzzyCatPotatoTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con loses conduct by linking his final round offsite. I have fully discounted his final round. While I'm tempted to call this a full forfeit on the part of con for blatantly ignoring the rules, I won't. I find that Pro held the resolution that it undermines evolution. It does not disprove, but it does cast dispersions until such time that it can be fully explained. The argument of density of rock and additional supporting material was sufficient to carry this minimal resolution. Added: I had time to look through the sources (which I didn't at the time of my original vote). They were of generally equivalent quality except for one that con relies on heavily for his argument..."A palynologist friend of mine has written that he finds modern pine pollen in his cretaceous preparations all the time." Given the weight that Con attempts to use this source for I find it of far lesser relative quality than other sources being used.
Vote Placed by joepbr 2 years ago
joepbr
GarretKadeDupreFuzzyCatPotatoTied
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: I thought that Con's attempt of cheating the character limit was such a terrible conduct violation that I decided to give not 1 but 2 conduct points to Pro. However, arguments go to Con. Pro has the burden of proof to show that this paradox exists and can put into question the entire evolutionary theory, That's a huge burden to put on some tiny pollen grains. The principle of Occam's razor dictates that the simplest sound explanation is the one that must be true. Disregarding the whole theory of evolution as a result of this paradox would be the single most complex explanation possible, and therefore, should only be considered if every other simpler explanations were entirely disproved. Con presents a wide range of valid alternative explanations, and Pro's objection to each of them are questionable at best and fallacious at worst. Therefore the resolution was properly refuted.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
GarretKadeDupreFuzzyCatPotatoTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: I didn't read con's final round at all and consider it a violation to try to game the word count. As I see it Pro didn't have a huge burden of proof. The key word in the resolution is --undermines---, which has a wide range of interpretation. Upon looking at the various definitions, I took it to mean --weaken--. I believe pro did an excellent job of showing the paradox slightly weakens evolutionary theory. I'd also like to advise the debators to no be afraid to get into semantics a little. My belief is con and pro had 2 different interpretations of the word --undermines--, and were arguing different things based on that interpretation.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
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Reasons for voting decision: Presenting an argument over the limit is cheating, and therefore I give conduct to PRO. I am too lazy to read the debate in detail so I am only doing this as to not skew the outcome in either direction.
Vote Placed by MysticEgg 2 years ago
MysticEgg
GarretKadeDupreFuzzyCatPotatoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct was violated by both debaters, so I'm going to keep this tied. Spelling and grammar errors from both parties, so that will also be tied. Arguments go to Con, because he successfully defended against Pro's arguments and demonstrated how it wasn't a paradox and, therefore, didn't undermine the theory. While some of Pro's points were interesting, Con raises good shields against all of them. Con also gave sufficient examples of scenarios whereby the "paradox" is negated. Sources go to Con, too, because while both used sources, Pro quote mined out of his on at least one occasion, violating the point and - thereby - forfeiting it to Con. Still, this was an excellent debate from both parties; very well done!
Vote Placed by Saska 2 years ago
Saska
GarretKadeDupreFuzzyCatPotatoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Both sides had conduct issues so that ends in a draw. Spelling and grammar was good on both sides (Con seemed to have an issue with formatting in the first couple rounds, but it's obvious that his spelling and grammar were still proper). Both sides made use of multiple sources to support their arguments. I award Con points to the argument because he succeeded in showing the many potential problems with Pro's claims, as well as showing that even if Pro was right about his initial claim, that does nothing to nullify the entire theory of evolution. Great debate by both sides... I learned a ton. Thanks to both debaters!
Vote Placed by Cold-Mind 2 years ago
Cold-Mind
GarretKadeDupreFuzzyCatPotatoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Both made conduct mistakes and brought up good arguments. Con's sources appear to be a bit more convincing.
Vote Placed by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
GarretKadeDupreFuzzyCatPotatoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: CONDUCT is tied. Both debaters showed poor conduct at some point. With Pro it was his caustic-toned commentary and use of the red herring fish as an insult, and with Con it was the use of 12,00 characters in the final round. ARGUMENTS go to Con because of the final round defense of his contentions. He showed the possibility of contamination with the busted shale. He showed that his claims of relevancy of access to oxygen were relevant, and he showed that Pro's assessment of the coloration and shape of the pollen was questionable given that the picture was 2-D and black and white. Lastly, I agree with Con in that the evolutionary timeline of pollen-producing plants could be off from the usual estimates, but that doesn't undermine evolution as a whole. It would simply mean we'd need to re-evaluate our perceptions of the evolution of plants. Good debate both of you, you gave my brain a work-out today.