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The Theory of Evolution Is Valid

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/30/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,890 times Debate No: 38273
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (24)
Votes (3)




I am challenging Dragonfang to this debate per his request. Please agree to everything below for accepting.

Full Resolution

The theory of evolution is valid.


Theory of Evolution: "The process by which species of organisms arise from earlier life forms and undergo change over time through natural selection."[1]

Valid: "Having some foundation; based on truth."[2]


1. The first round is for acceptance.
2. A forfeit or concession is not allowed.
3. No semantics, trolling, or lawyering.
4. All arguments and sources must be visible inside this debate.
5. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed without asking in the comments before you post your round 1 argument.

Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed in the middle of the debate.Voters, in the case of the breaking of any of these rules by either debater, all seven points in voting should be given to the other person.

Debate Structure

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Presenting all arguments (no rebuttals by con)
Round 3: Refutation of opponent's arguments (no new arguments)
Round 4: Defending your original arguments and conclusion (no new arguments)




I accept.

I wish my opponent luck.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank Dragonfang for accepting this debate.

I. The Nested Hierarchy of Species

Basically, the argument of the nested hierarchy of species is this - species that are more like each other will have more similar genetic composition than those who are less like each other. This has been observed from the prokaryote to the primate group. Here is an illustation of this:

"Most existing species can be organized rather easily in a nested hierarchical classification. This is evident in the use of the Linnaean classification scheme. Based on shared derived characters, closely related organisms can be placed in one group (such as a genus), several genera can be grouped together into one family, several families can be grouped together into an order, etc... Most importantly, the standard phylogenetic tree and nearly all less inclusive evolutionary phylogenies have statistically significant, high values of hierarchical structure."[1][2]

The empirical evidence for this idea is staggering. Consider this chart here:

"One widely used measure of cladistic hierarchical structure is the consistency index (CI)... As an example, a CI of 0.2 is expected from random data for 20 taxa. A value of 0.3 is, however, highly statistically significant. Most interesting for the present point is the fact that a CI of 0.1 for 20 taxa is also highly statistically significant, but it is too low—it is indicative of anti-cladistic structure. Klassen et al. took 75 CI values from published cladograms in 1989 (combined from three papers) and noted how they fared in terms of statistical significance. The cladograms used from 5 to 49 different taxa (i.e. different species). Three of the 75 cladograms fell within the 95% confidence limits for random data, which means that they were indistinguishable from random data. All the rest exhibited highly statistically significant values of CI. None exhibited significant low values; none displayed an anti-correlated, anti-hierarchical pattern... Seventy-five independent studies from different researchers, on different organisms and genes, with high values of CI (P < 0.01) is an incredible confirmation with an astronomical degree of combined statistical significance ."[1][3][4]

Overall, the cladistic hierarchical structure of every species on Earth pretty much proves evolution. In no other biological system could any sort of hierarchy exist. Other theories would result in a plethora of species that have no apparent relationship; in other words, its a more choatic system than what exists on Earth.

II. Past History

On it's most simple level, evolution can be shown in bacteria: "This process of natural selection resulting in evolution can be easily demonstrated over a 24 hour period in a laboratory Petri dish of bacteria living in a nutrient medium. When a lethal dose of antibiotic is added, there will be a mass die-off. However, a few of the bacteria usually are immune and survive. The next generation is mostly immune because they have inherited immunity from the survivors. That is the case with the purple bacteria in the Petri dishes shown below--the bacteria population has evolved." Natural selection is shown because those bacteria with traits that allow them to survive are still alive, and inevitably reproduce to allow for more immune bacteria[5]:

II.A. Vestigialality

Vestigal structures are, simply, just characteristics that serve little or no function in the current species, but once did serve a major purpose. They would prove evolution because if an animal has a charateristic that it no longer needs in the present, it obviously evolved. One example is that in some blind species, rudimentary eyes exist. "Many cave dwelling animals, such as the fish Astyanax mexicanus (the Mexican tetra) and the salamander species Typhlotriton spelaeus and Proteus anguinus, are blind yet have rudimentary, vestigial eyes The eyes of the Mexican tetra have a lens, a degenerate retina, a degenerate optic nerve, and a sclera, even though the tetra cannot see. The blind salamanders have eyes with retinas and lenses, yet the eyelids grow over the eye, sealing them from outside light."[1][6][10]

Another example is the ostrich wing. "For example, wings are very complex anatomical structures specifically adapted for powered flight, yet ostriches have flightless wings. The vestigial wings of ostriches may be used for relatively simple functions, such as balance during running and courtship displays—a situation akin to hammering tacks with a computer keyboard. The specific complexity of the ostrich wing indicates a function which it does not perform, and it performs functions incommensurate with its complexity." The ostrich wing is related to the wings of many other birds, but serves a little, non-flight function.[1]

II.B. Atavisms

An atavism is closely related to a vestigiality. "An atavism is the reappearance of a lost character specific to a remote evolutionary ancestor and not observed in the parents or recent ancestors of the organism displaying the atavistic character."[1]

This is another prediction of evolution that has been observed many times: "Many famous examples of atavisms exist, including (1) rare formation of extra toes (2nd and 4th digits) in horses, similar to what is seen in the archaic horses Mesohippus and Merychippus, (2) atavistic thigh muscles in Passeriform birds and sparrows, (3) hyoid muscles in dogs, (4) wings in earwigs (normally wingless), (5) atavistic fibulae in birds (the fibulae are normally extremely reduced), (6) extra toes in guinea pigs and salamanders, (6) the atavistic dew claw in many dog breeds, and (7) various atavisms in humans."[1][8]

One semi-common example among humans is sketetal tails. While not common, they do exist, such as this one:

"As with other atavistic structures, human tails are most likely the result of either a somatic mutation, a germline mutation, or an environmental influence that reactivates an underlying developmental pathway which has been retained, if only partially, in the human genome In fact, the genes that control the development of tails in mice and other vertebrates have been identified (the Wnt-3a and Cdx1 genes). As predicted by common descent from the atavistic evidence, these tail genes have also been discovered in the human genome."[1][8][9]

II.C. Common Anatomies

Many of the structures that we have are present in a multitude of species. For example, the embryo of most complex animals is pretty much the same:

Or take the forelimb of the lion, bird, seal, and human. They all have the same basic strucutre in their limbs:

On a related example, take the wings of certain animals. They all have the same commom structure:

The fact that all of these structures are related hints at a common ancestor. There is no other way for that multitude of species to have all of those same characteristics.[7]

II.D. Relatedness

One prime way to see evolution in action is to find different species that had a recent common ancestor. This means that the species being studied would be relatively alike. "If evolution has occurred, there should be many anatomical similarities among varieties and species that have diverged from a common ancestor. Those species with the most recent common ancestor should share the most traits. For instance, the many anatomical similarities of wolves, dogs, and other members of the genus Canis are due to the fact that they are descended from the same ancient canine species and still share 99.8% of their genes. Wolves and dogs also share similarities with foxes, indicating a slightly more distant ancestor with them."[5]

An easy way to look at this is to compare amino acids. "Biologists have found that the more closely related two species are, the greater the similarity in amino acid sequences of their proteins. Such comparisons allow scientists to deduce evolutionary relationships between various organisms." Here is a chart showing how many different amino acids are between humans and a particular species:

It is pretty easy to see that the species that we should share a lineage with (like chimpanzees) have fewer amino acid differences than species that we last had a lineage with around a billion years ago (like yeast).[5]

Overall, all of this is proof of evolution because no other biological system could account of the common relatedness that many species share with each other.


There are a lot of proofs of evolution, cheif among them the nested hierarchical struture of species and the many results of this. Evolution is a very well tested scientific theory that has made predictions that have been proven time and time again. It is nothing short of a very valid theory.


[1]:;(Parts I-I and II-I & II)
[4]: Fisher, R. A. (1990) Statistical methods, experimental design, and scientific inference. Bennet, J. H. ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[6]: Jeffery, W. R. (2001) "Cavefish as a model system in evolutionary developmental biology." Dev Biol. 231: 1-12.
[8]: Hall, B. K. (1995) "Atavisms and atavistic mutations." Nature Genetics 10: 126-127.
[9]: Katoh, M. (2002) "Molecular cloning and expression of mouse Wnt14, and structural comparison between mouse Wnt14-Wnt3a gene cluster and human WNT14-WNT3A gene cluster." Int J Mol Med 9 :221-227.
[10]: Kos, M., Bulog, B., Szel, A., and Rohlich, P. (2001) "Immunocytochemical demonstration of visual pigments in the degenerate retinal and pineal photoreceptors of the blind cave salamander Proteus anguinus." Cell Tissue Res 303: 15-25.

NOTE: Sources 2-4, 6, and 8-10 were quoted from source 1.


I thank my opponent for a well-organized argument. However, I found it fundamentally flawed.

Judging by the resolution, the burden of proof would appear to lean on my opponent's side. Therefore, my opponent's argument should carry more weight in evaluating this argument. Although technically, I am not obligated to show that the theory of evolution is not valid, it would certainly help my case as Con and maintain the debate's format.

Regarding my views, I do not believe ID is scientific; it is a philosophical view as it deals with a metaphysical claim. I consider both ID and ToE (and creationism...) as equally pseudosciences as far as science is concerned. There are simply things we can't scientifically conclude with the current available data like what is before the big bang. What we can scientifically do in such situations is exercise our imagination and basically make things up. Fooling ourselves and pretending that we know something we don't is simply harmful.

1- Science and Empirical limits.

Although it is difficult to find a precise definition of science, I shall use Sir Karl Popper's criteria, as falsifiability is what separates science from pseudoscience.

One can sum up all this by saying that the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability. (1)

a. Evolution is not observed

It [The scientific method] is based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning, the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. -Science Daily (2)

Science highly relies on empirical evidence, observation, and testing. The claims of evolution do nothing of these.

It is important to distinguish genetic variation introduced by Mendelian genetics (also called, "micro-evolution"). So depending on the definition, I do believe in evolution, species do under go change in their genetic pool over time. However, the theory of evolution has huge flaws and gaps compromised by tiny favorable evidence that are insignificant compared to the claim. There is simply no evidence for us to validly conclude that evolution accounts for all of nature.

We simply have to wait for thousands of years (Labs can only speed this up by so much) to do science. Have we observed unicellular organisms joining together to form multicellular organisms? Why can’t we observe this? The weather patterns are different so they can't do it anymore? How can we know it happened or if it is even possible?

How did hearts evolve? Why was mutating a 1/x00,000 of a heart, a tiny randomly placed tumor, naturally selected? Did mutations between every generation work together to invent an organ? What was the heart pumping, did blood exist? What evolved first, the heart, the lungs, or the blood vessels? Did speciation create species with a different organ set? Can multicellular creatures survive without vital organs?

How did instincts evolve? A beaver's dam building instincts are based on the sound of running water (3), not parental teaching. So how did birds learn how to weave and construct nests? How did spiders learn (and evolve) weaving webs? Did spiders first evolve the double strand technique, and then the triple strand triangle technique for fun and record them in their genetics, until they were found convenient for hunting? Did birds lose a significant amount of eggs learning how to build nests? Maybe all these animals were once highly intelligent thinkers, and then they de-evolved their intelligent because they didn't need it.

The scenarios that can arise to explain these are absurd, and more importunately, lacks any shred of evidence that evolution can, did, and will account for nature. All the ad hoc is in contradiction with the skeptical nature and critical thinking of science, which is what separates it from a dogmatic belief.

We can't appeal to the future; how do you know that the evidence will ever exist? What evidence do you have to support such a prediction?

*note* By using “Irreducible complexity", I am not saying that I find it hard to imagine. I am saying that it is (virtually) impossible.

b. Untestable and unfalsifiable

There is a very important characteristic of a scientific theory or hypothesis which differentiates it from, for example, an act of faith: a theory must be ``falsifiable'. This means that there must be some experiment or possible discovery that could prove the theory untrue. (4)

A scientific theory have the capability of being safely proven untrue, unlike a simple faith-based belief. History depends on testimony, we can't use the scientific method to prove or disprove a historical event, since by definition it is unrepeatable. Any alternative theory can have the same validity of evidence.

One famous claim of falsifiability is the "Rabbit fossil in the pre-Cambrian" by J.B.S. Haldane. However, that is a mischaracterization of the ToE. We are not arguing about different fossils existing in specific times. From the definition of ToE, evolution would be falsifiable if we could show that a hypothesized common ancestor could not modify into a rabbit, which is a philosophical question if anything.

Then there is Charles Darwin's criteria from chapter 6 of the origin of the species (By extension, Richard Dawkin's):

"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case."

So he asks for license to advance any scientific theory that is not demonstrated to be philosophically impossible. Right, not falsifiable.

That sure is a strange way to say: "All complex organs are formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications". Where is the science?

c. Lack of evidence

Science is different from deductive logic. It is based on probability and confirmation. We can justify the use of fallacies based on probability in our everyday lives.

One such fallacy science is dependent on is confirming the consequent, which goes like this:

1- If P, then Q.
2- Q.
3- Therefore, P.

The same as:

1- If the moon is made from cheese, we should see craters.
2- We see craters.
3- Therefore, the moon is made from cheese.


1- If the sun revolves around the earth, the sun would rise and set.
2- The sun rises and sets.
3- Therefore, the sun revolves around the earth.

Controlled tests minimizes the probability of other conditions interfering. As you can see from the two previous examples, any non-sense theory can "fit" a model. However this is not enough, a hypotheses must be shown to be more plausible than alternatives with the same prediction.

To be frank, the majority of "evidence" I witnessed regarding evolution are simply observations that are not evidence for evolution or even unrelated at all, unless in the instance where evolution is being assumed.

The evidence I often see presented isn't going to cut it. Especially with such claims like unicellular organisms forming into multicellular organisms, or that the complex biological systems and organs can randomly and efficiently form from scratch, needs to be supported. Otherwise, evolution is equally, if not less, plausible to alternative theories.

2. (Poor) Fossils Record

"The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persist as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils ….We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study." - Stephen J. Gould (5)

a. Failure of predictions

When you learn about evolution, you'd think that the fossil record would look like a gradual fetal development spread over hundreds of millions, and potentially billions, of years. However, if anything, it looks like the evolution of the automobile.

Where is the gradual growth? Growing/Losing teeth, growing eye socket, giraffe's neck getting taller, limbs changing?

Why are the fossils recognizably static throughout their life time? Why didn't the T.Rex grow longer arms in 3 million years of evolution? Why do species remain unchanged for millions of years to disappear and be replaced by different species?

Stephen and Niles Eldridge recognized these problems. However, the approach they took is simply giving the problem a name, "Punctured Equilibrium". Well... The problems still there. Sure, the ToE would have less success if Darwin named his book: "On the origin of species by means of surviving and producing offspring", but labeling it with a scientific name and making a contradictory ad hoc won't make a theory better.

Then, there is the Cambrian explosion. No trace of animal life other than unicellular organisms for three billion years. Suddenly, fully formed complex organisms with eyes and brains show up.

Instead, we get bizarre explanations, like a raccoon-sized mammal evolving into a blue whale. (6) Well, can you present evidence other than imagination constructed with lack of critical thinking?

b. Living fossils

Self-explanatory (7), not hard to imagine where I am going with this. So animals can go hundreds of millions of years with virtually no evolution?








Debate Round No. 2


I would like to thank Dragonfang for presenting his arguments.

RI. Science and Empirical Limits

RIA. Evolution Is Observed

Before I go in to showing how proofs of evolution are really applied, it is necessary to go back to the definition of the Theory of Evolution first. Here it is: "The process by which species of organisms arise from earlier life forms and undergo change over time through natural selection." Now, I will provide a definition of natural selection: "The process in nature by which, according to Darwin's theory of evolution, only the organisms best adapted to their environment tend to survive and transmit their genetic characteristics in increasing numbers to succeeding generations while those less adapted tend to be eliminated."[1][2]

So by accepting natural selection, my opponent has basically conceded the entire debate. Evolution is a lot more complicated than that, but on its most simple level, natural selection is evolution.

Next, my opponent asks a bunch of conceptual questions that really have no point. I will explain by going through two of them.

1. Beavers: By my opponent's source, running water causes beavers to create dams because they can't take the sound. That is an example of evolution. Sometime ago, beavers figured out that building a dam would silence the sound, and quickly started to expriment with dams. Eventually, dam building became standardized, like it is today. This is an example of evolution.[3]

2. Spiders: While building webs is now instinctive in all spiders, it certainly wasn't like that in the beginning. The knowledge wasn't always there. "The main reason spiders spin webs is to catch their dinner. When an insect, such as a fly, flies into a spider’s web, it gets stuck on the sticky threads." Spiders figured out that is was most efficient to build a web, which they naturally produce, to catch food, and so it started.[4]

I think you're beginning to see why the examples my opponent cited really prove my case, not his. Nothing is truly instinctive in the sense that it was always there. It came from somewhere far back in the evolutionary tree. I could keep posting examples of natural selection, as in source 5, but it seems a little redundant. If my opponent has any real objections, I'll answer them in the next round.

RIB. Testable and Falsifiable

Evolution is falsifiable. For example, evolution makes certain predictions that, if found false, would be a falsifing factor for evolution. "Several kinds of evidence could falsify evolution, such as the fossil record showing no change over time, confirmation that mutations are prevented from accumulating, or observations showing organisms being created supernaturally or spontaneously."[6][7]

Many of the predictions made by Darwin in his work On the Origin of Speicies have been falsified. In another capacity, Darwin wrote, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." Yes, this is the very quote my opponent used, and it doesn't really support his case too well.[8]

RIC. Evidence

There is a truly astounding amount of evidence in support of the theory of evolution. Going back to the bacteria example from round 2: "This process of natural selection resulting in evolution can be easily demonstrated over a 24 hour period in a laboratory Petri dish of bacteria living in a nutrient medium. When a lethal dose of antibiotic is added, there will be a mass die-off. However, a few of the bacteria usually are immune and survive. The next generation is mostly immune because they have inherited immunity from the survivors. That is the case with the purple bacteria in the Petri dishes shown below--the bacteria population has evolved." I suppose some other outside force forced it to have a mass die-off and create drug-resistent bacteria?[9]

Going back to my opponent's deductive logic:

1 - If P, then Q.
2 - Q.
3 - Therefore, P.

Rearranging this to fit the debate:

P1: Theory T predicts observation O.

P2: Observation O is observed
C: Therefore, theory T is probably true.

In an isolated system, having O observed would indeed be a direct confirmation of T, and that is exactly what the bacteria experiment implies - the bacteria is in equilibrium; an antibiotic is introduced, killing most of the bacteria, but some survive, and eventually reproduce.

Take this real-life example: "The Peppered Moth is another example of evolution in response to environmental change. There are two types of these moths, one species has a light colour while the other one is darker. When Britain begun industrialising, the soot from the factories would land on trees and so the darker moths then had an advantage over the light ones as they could easily hide from predators. Before the soot, both types of moths were eaten by predators however now that the darker ones were able to hide the lighter ones got eaten more often.The population of the darker moths rapidly increased while that of the lighter ones rapidly decreased until only the dark moths were left. All the lighter moths were less adapted to the environmental change and so they could no longer survive in that new environment."[10]

RII. Fossil Record

My opponent begins by taking a quote out of context. Here is what that quote was really supposed to mean: "So it would seem that Gould has no problems with the fossil record. But did he believe that transitional forms are lacking? Note that in the quote originally presented, the claim is made that they are rare, not absent. Also, as anyone who is familiar with Gould's writings will know, the text quoted reflects his recognition that, while there is a scarcity of transitional fossils between species, there is no such lack of transitional fossils between major groups."[11]

RIIA. Predictions

Here, my opponent first tries to argue that species that don't evolve are evidence against evolution. However, there is a better explanation. Oftentimes, this argument involves confusing different taxonomic categories with individual species. For instance, it is often said that there were coelacanths millions of years ago, and coelacanths today. What this neglects to mention is that "Coelacanth" is the informal name of an entire order of fish, Coelacanthiformes, not just a specific species. The current genus and the two species within it, for instance, are not known in the "millions of years ago" fossil record. The modern species may well be similar sorts of creatures to those that lived millions of years ago, but the are clearly not the same unchanged species (or even the same genus). Further, Evolution does not predict any one rate at which major changes will happen to a given lineage, and in fact it strongly suggests that the rate of change will vary widely with different species in different environments."[12]

Then my opponent tries to argue that there is no explanation for the Cambrian explosion, when, in fact, there are a plethora of answers.[13]

In one particularally strong argument, "We suspect that the elevated concentration of ions in seawater effectively lowered the evolutionary barrier for biomineralisation. Today, most organisms invest energy in creating biominerals because hard body parts are so ecologically and evolutionarily advantageous. But evolution couldn’t “forsesee” how useful biominerals would be when shape into the teeth, claws, and shells we know today. Instead, we think the ion influx promoted by the last stages in the formation of the Great Unconformity may have lowered the energy barrier to biomineralisation or caused biominerals to appear as metabolic byproducts. The usefulness of these new raw materials meant that natural selection could quickly take over."[14][15]

Finally, my opponent tries to argue that a whale could not evolve from a raccoon sized animal, but it's important to remember that all life evolved from protozoa - which is basically the smallest living thing in the world.

RIIB. Living Fossils

I covered this in the last section above.


[8]: Darwin, Charles (1859). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. p. 189

NOTE: Sources 6 and 8 were quoted from source 7.


I am disappointed with my opponent dropping my arguments and attacking strawmen, but we'll get to that.

In a nut shell: The theory of evolution appeals to randomness, which means it have a very wide range of flexibility. If it can accommodate both observation A and observations Not-A, all of them are independent from the theory or it's evidence.
It is like playing a game of: "Heads, I win. Tails, you lose". Any evidence against or for evolution will be claimed to be evidence for evolution.

1- Nested Hiearchy

Philosophers have been classifying life with humans at the top since Aristotle. Anything that have a single common trait (like life) can be classified.

My opponent presents typology as an evidence for evolution. This is, as I said before, not evidence for or against evolution. The theory of evolution never predicted any hierarchy. In fact, it would be just as easy to claim that an unintelligent random process is responsible for creatures that are very different from their recent ancestors (You believe swimming raccoon-foxes became whales right?), or that an overlapping and confusing tree is evidence for species evolving.

Evolution does not predict or require nested hierarchy or any type of classification. If life started 5 times in this planet, the theory of evolution can effortlessly accommodate them. If there was a bird-like mammal, no problem, they can use the secret backup ad hoc known as convergent evolution again and it is effortlessly accommodated.

Quite interesting that my opponent presented a claim that cannot be proven or falsified. He ends with an argument from ignorance, like people haven't said that this is evidence for a common designer before.

2- Past History

My opponent begins with something that can be explained with simple mathematics. The least immune survive, those who are more immune live and produce.
I am not sure how my opponent attempts to imply that natural selection creates eyes, hearts, and species.

Again, my opponent needs to prove the theory of evolution, not adaption or variation.

A- Vestigality & B- Atavism

My opponent presents an argument from ignorance. The truth is, we can never prove any organ to be vestigial, and multiple organs claimed to be so have been found to have a purpose. Robert Wiedersheim had built the list of vestigial organs of almost 90 parts in humans, yet they were found to have a purpose. (1) In modern times, you can list what? About 4 questionable claims of vestigality?
Not only is this unprovable, it is irrelevant again. The opposite of this prediction cannot falsify evolution. This is something called "atrophy", which is not the theory of evolution.

I would like to ask my opponent this question: Why is the possibility that these organs are evolving are neglected? Isn't evolution a work-in-progress process?
Because there is no evidence that organ-evolving is even possible?
Why isn't there a list or at least one organ claimed to be evolving into something better?

My opponent attempts to incorporate abnormalities form genetic errors via. mutations like polydactyly and teratoma tumors, into evolution. Not to mention that the claims are too vague to make any conclusion or assumption.
I thought evolution was supposed to be progressive. Really, the same with radiation causing species to have extra legs, it is a copying error caused by mutation. Nowhere does it provide evidence that mutation can invent organs or that they are reverting to their ancestors a couple of million years ago.

And then there is the claim of human tails. My opponent presents a picture of a coccylyx and claims that it represents a literal skeletal bone.

  • 95% of the population has 7C, 12 T, 5 L and 5 S vertebrae.
  • 3% have 1 or 2 more vertebrae.
  • 2% have 1 less.


Judging from the previous data, it would appear to be a normal coccylyx. Even if there are genetic errors, what does this supposed to prove? What is the evidence for the assumption that this is a reminiscence from monkeys? (I thought apes are supposed to be our closest ancestor)

This is like a merchant who loses money with every trip, but assumes the net total would make him rich.

C- Common Anatomies

Embryo resemblance:
This was the most suprising for me. Not because it is true, but because it is very false.

My opponent employs Haeckel's drawings which are based on a fraud. My opponent's own source admits this. (3)

Haeckel's drawing

My opponent claims that the embryo of most complex animals are essentially the same. I will let the viewers judge. Here is a comparision of human embryo with different animals at different stages: (Very large picture)

At this stage, my opponent's source have lost validity by showing fake and cherry picked drawings of tailbud stages as evidence.

Similarity & Homology:

My opponent shows that animals are similar. Then he claims that it is evidence for evolution.

This observation further confirms that creatures are biochemically related. We live in the same planet, we drink water, creatures depend on each other to feed. That is it. So how is this evidence for the claims of the theory of evolution?

D- Relatedness

This is the same with the previous "evidence". Since evolution never predicted this, it cannot prove evolution, and it's absence cannot falsify evolution.

Does cytochrome c mean that humans evolved from rattle snakes? (4)

Here is a cytochrome b tree:

Cytochrome b phylogenetic tree: from Andrews et al., 1998; adapted to match layout and nomenclature in Lee, 1999 (see prevoius figure)

Does this mean cats and whales are primates?

Once more, this claim requires too many assumptions. Inclduing that the theory of evolution is possible.



Debate Round No. 3


I would like to thank Dragonfang for this debate.

I. The Nested Hierarchy of Species

My opponent really makes no effort to try and refute this argument; instead, he just claims that other biological systems could also have a nested hierarchy. However, this is not true: "The nested hierarchical organization of species contrasts sharply with other possible biological patterns, such as the continuum of "the great chain of being" and the continuums predicted by Lamarck's theory of organic progression. Mere similarity between organisms is not enough to support macroevolution; the nested classification pattern produced by a branching evolutionary process, such as common descent, is much more specific than simple similarity. Real world examples that cannot be objectively classified in nested hierarchies are the elementary particles (which are described by quantum chromodynamics), the elements (whose organization is described by quantum mechanics and illustrated by the periodic table), the planets in our Solar System, books in a library, or specially designed objects like buildings, furniture, cars, etc."[1][2]

Nothing so organized as this could possibly have come out of any other biological system:


Evolution does require a nested hierarchy of species, and this is indeed observed: "Therefore, since common descent is a genealogical process, common descent should produce organisms that can be organized into objective nested hierarchies. Equivalently, we predict that, in general, cladistic analyses of organisms should produce phylogenies that have large, statistically significant values of hierarchical structure (in standard scientific practice, a result with "high statistical significance" is a result that has a 1% probability or less of occurring by chance [P < 0.01]). As a representation of universal common descent, the universal tree of life should have very high, very significant hierarchical structure and phylogenetic signal."[1]

II. Past History

My opponent is basically trying to claim that microevolution exists, but not macroevolution. Even though this debate considers both, this point is wrong on a number of levels because they basically are the same process. "Simply put, evolution is the result of changes in genetic code. The genes encode the basic characteristics a life form will have, and there is no known mechanism that would prevent small changes (microevolution) from ultimately resulting in macroevolution. While genes can vary significantly between different life forms, the basic mechanisms of operation and change in all genes are the same."[4]

Further, "Speciation is distinct from microevolution in that speciation usually requires an isolating factor to keep the new species distinct. The isolating factor need not be biological; a new mountain range or the changed course of a river can qualify. Other than that, speciation requires no processes other than microevolution. Some processes such as disruptive selection (natural selection that drives two states of the same feature further apart) and polyploidy (a mutation that creates copies of the entire genome), may be involved more often in speciation, but they are not substantively different from microevolution."[5]

So in other words, if my opponent believes in the processes of microevolution, he must believe in the processes of macroevolution. If not, then I ask him this simple question - what biological or logical barriers prevent the former from becoming the latter?

II.A. Atavisms

Having a true tail is not as common as my opponent thinks: "More than 100 cases of human tails have been reported in the medical literature. Less than one third of the well-documented cases are what are medically known as "pseudo-tails." Only 100 cases of true tails. That's it.[1]

Out of my opponent's already flawed argument, he tries to make the conclusion that it is not a mutation. But, in fact, it is: "Additionally, researchers have identified a mutant mouse that does not develop a tail, and this phenotype is due to a regulatory mutation that decreases the Wnt-3a gene dosage Thus, current evidence indicates that the genetic cause of tail loss in the evolution of apes was likely a simple regulatory mutation(s) that slightly decreased Wnt-3a gene dosage. Conversely, a mutation or environmental factor that increased dosage of the Wnt-3a gene would reduce apoptosis of the human tail during development and would result in its retention, as an atavism, in a newborn."[1][6]

Overall, "The vestigial tailbone in humans is homologous to the functional tail of other primates. Thus vestigial structures can be viewed as evidence for evolution: organisms having vestigial structures probably share a common ancestry with organisms in with organisms in which the homologous structure is functional."[7]

II.B. Common Anatomies

While Haeckel's original drawings were flawed, there is a common embryo form:


Even if there weren't any resemblances between the embryos, "All vertebrate embryos use these Hox genes to define their body plan. One surprising result of molecular approaches to development is that it seems that all multicellular animals, everything from worms to insects to mammals to jellyfish, use this same spatially organized array of homeobox-containing genes to define their layout. There are differences: vertebrates seem to have duplicated the array a few times, so that they have four copies of the set of Hox genes, while Drosophila (in which these genes were first identified) has a single cluster; mice and humans have 13 Hox genes in each cluster, while Drosophila has 9, and Hydra has 2. The universality of these genes in animal development has led to the concept of the zootype, or form that links all animals, rather than just the embryos of a single phylum."[9]:

So files have a lot of the same body structure as mice. "All animals examined so far have been found to have this same map of positional information encoded in their genome."[9]

II.D. Relatedness

All animals are technically related to one another, but some are more strongly related than others. "Matches in base sequence between species indicate a high degree of relatedness. For example, in the figure on the right you can see that more matches are made between a human and a chimp than between a human and a chicken. This indicates that the human and the chimp shared a more recent common ancestor than the human and the chicken and are closely related."[10]:

So yes, cats and whales are related to primates, but they are not primates themselves.

On the falsificationism claim, there have been cases where supposed relatedness was actually found to be false. Some of the cases in On the Origin of Species have been fraudulent.


The theory of evolution has been proven time and time again through reliable tests to be true. No other biological system could possibly produce the nested hierarchy of species that we see. In addition, evolution is true, but some of its predictions can be, and have been falsified over the years, making it a true valid scientific theory. It has stood the tests of time and extreme scrutiny, and is one of the most important theories ever hypothesized.


[2]: Futuyma, D. (1998) Evolutionary Biology. Third edition.
[6]: Greco, T. L., Takada, S., Newhouse, M. M., McMahon, J. A., McMahon, A. P., Camper, S. A. (1996) "Analysis of the vestigial tail mutation demonstrates that Wnt-3a gene dosage regulates mouse axial development." Genes Dev 10: 313-324.

NOTE: Sources 2 and 6 are quoted from source 1.


I thank Subutai for an interesting, competative, and informative debate.

D-1- Science and Empirical limits.

d-a. Evolution is not observed

My opponent begins with presenting the definitions of the theory of evolution and natural selection, and then commits the fallacy of equilivication; he changed what he means by "evolution" in the middle of the argument.

He announced that he is going to defend the theory of evolution, which is the claim that a single cell is the source of all life, and then started defending that the genetics are different between generations.

I must say, for me at least, ambiguity is one of the most annoying methods salesmen can use.

My opponent also makes the claim that natural selection is equivalent to the theory of evolution. However, when you select something, by definition, you choose from something pre-existing.

Rather, the theory of evolution needs "Natural invention". Therefore, my opponent needed to demonstrate that random mutations or any alternative mechanisms are capable of creating multi- cellularity, organs, biological systems, and so forth. My opponent showed no such thing.

My opponent then pretends that he have the ability to easily answer my questions in favor of evolution, and to do that he first attempts demeans the questions by claiming that they have no point.

My opponent only solidifies my argument; he makes extraordinary and vague claims that it happened without presenting a mechanism or evidence. The more these claims are examined, the more absurd they appear, and the less sense they make. They would roughly expand like this:

  • 1- Beavers were once intelligent creatures. Unfortunately, their hearing somehow evolved to not tolerate the sound of running water.
  • 2- The intelligent and uncannily determined beavers refused to succumb to the pesky sound of water and refused to escape. Thus, they decided to block the sound of water. Thus, they "Figured out" that placing countless twigs with mud is strong enough to resist and silence the stream of water.
  • 3- The beavers continuously developed their engineering skills, and their descendants managed to perfect the dam building project with the knowledge their ancestors taught until the sound of water no longer hurt. They utilized their intelligence to build tunnels and chambers within the dam. As an unexpected bonus, the dam actually turned out to be useful; they could block predators and store food.
  • 4- As generations passed, an unintelligent beaver hot-wired with instincts containing all of it's ancestors knowledge of dam-building was born. How? No clue is given.
  • 5- The descendants of this special beaver were naturally selected due to their automated and systematic dam building. The original intelligent beavers were unable to match up with the new beavers due to the slow learning process required for children. They were completely wiped out as their intelligence was unable to adapt, or that they forgot how to use their intelligence.

The intelligent spiders suffer from the same problems as the beaver. My opponent never answered my question which is "How". He simply presents statements like they are facts: "And so it started". Science is supposed to attack bad explanations and challenge them. Apparently, this is different with evolution.

Many scenarios can be made, and none of them look remotely sound. It would appear obvious that no such evidence exists to support the scientific possibility of my opponent's hypothesieses.

Therefore my origin claims stands as they have not been proven false:

1- The answers compatible with the ToE to my questions are absurd, silly, and astronomically imaginative.

2- The said answers lack any sort of evidence whatsoever, making them mere conjectures and imaginations.

Then, the theory of evolution would be irrational. Therefore, invalid.

d-b. Untestable and unfalsifiable

My opponent proposes more ways to falsify evolution. However, my argument stands as those themselves cannot falsify evolution.

1- Fossil record showing no change over time:

Did "Punctured equilibrium" or "Stasis" falsify evolution? That option is long gone. As stated before, the theory of evolution can easily accommodate any observation effortlessly. Therefore, it has no explanatory power, and can't be falsified.

2- confirmation that mutations are prevented from accumulating:

This assumes that mutations are capable of producing the claims made by the theory of evolution. The existence of such mutations causing the effects claimed by the ToE has not been demonstrated to exist. Which begs the question: How can that which does not exist accumulate?

3- observations showing organisms being created supernaturally or spontaneously.

The claim that organisms were created supernaturally or spontaneously would also be proven to be less plausible, if not falsified, if the claims made by the theory of evolution were at least demonstrated once. This criteria is meaningless, unless it is assumed that the theory of evolution is valid. Which would defeat the purpose of this debate, and is not the case judging from the presented evidence.

I doubt that my opponent read the argument I presented regarding the quote by Darwin. Therefore, that argument is dropped by my opponent.

To further demonstrate my point, I would like to ask this question: "Can you demonstrate that our existence Could Not Possibly be the result of aliens creating us with false memories a week ago?

Again, it is impossible to disprove conjectures. The burden of proof is not fulfilled.

d-c. Lack of evidence

My opponent goes with the same issue as the beginning. An equivocation fallacy.

Apparently, our debate is not about the idea that the species have evolved one from another. It is no longer mutations or other mechanisms creating incredibly complex designs. The bar was dropped to arguing that generations are different from each other, not sure about you, but that is not particularly jaw dropping.

My opponent argues that peppered moth is evidence for the theory of evolution. I do not care whether the moths rest on trees or whether they were glued for the picture, or whether bats eat moths, or whether birds see in UV vision. Species selectively killing, dying, and reproducing is not the theory of evolution.

It would seem that my opponent have forfeited the defense of the idea that the decendants of a single cell accounts for all the species that existed. That is due to the lack of evidence. This is simple: If the evidence for evolution is not found yet, then it is not science yet.

D-2. (Poor) Fossils Record

I did not take the quote out of context, or even interrupt it for that matter. I simply copied the longest quote I could find to minimize any misinterpretation from readers. If Stephen found no problems in the fossil record, why would he introduce punctured equilibrium?

d-a. Failure of predictions

My opponent claims that the Coelacanth claimed to be found could possibly be confused with another fossil without any evidence. My opponent further confirms that the theory of evolution is not falsifiable since we haven't waited long enough for certain species to evolve.

My opponent also blatantly expresses the problem with the theory of evolution. For every problem there are "Plethora of answers" and ad hocs ready to defend it at any cost. Unfortunately, none of these answers have any evidence at all. Therefore, the best answer is: "The theory of evolution is false".

My opponent defends the claim that a raccoon-like fox is the ancestor of whale, justifying it with another highly implausible and evident-less claim. So if we believe this, we are ought to believe this? That claim is nothing but a completely fictional scenario.

I asked my opponent for evidence of such claim, my opponent provided none. The claim is false anyway since whales existed before the raccoon-sized claimed ancestor. (1) I find it interesting that my opponent would blindly believe claims equivalent in evidence to fairytales. This leads me to question the validity of believing in evolution.


Debate Round No. 4
24 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheOncomingStorm 2 years ago
@Subutai: Sorry, I got off topic. I'll concede your comment.
Posted by Subutai 2 years ago
@TheOncomingStorm: Evolutionism and creationism are obviously two entirely different theories. The evidence I presented clearly put the former ahead of the latter - no other biological theory could account for the hierarchy of species, and natural selection can be observed everywhere in nature. I didn't just prove that evolution was a cohesive theory, but a valid one.
Posted by TheOncomingStorm 2 years ago
I think the pro focuses too much on testing evolution for coherence. A statement can be cohesive, but two different theories can be cohesive and contradictory to each other, which means at least one of them isn't true. So coherence test for truth can only falsify, it cannot prove. In this case it's possible that evolution gives us common features with other creatures, or God made it all that way. Both of them work so coherence proves nothing.
Posted by v3nesl 3 years ago
My thanks to Dragonfang for putting the effort into his argument. I always find the evolution argument slippery at best: "The theory is valid", for instance, which is not the same as correct. Dragonfang does a great job showing how sloppy the pro-evolution argument is. I personally go so far as to call evolution nonsense and junk science, but dragon does a great job presenting reasons to at least not take it on faith.
Posted by smoothpoints 3 years ago
Excellent debate so far, it somewhat reminds me of one I had some time ago:
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Funny 1 retroman000, we cannot really state that Evolution should have occurred, because we have so little knowledge of the underlying mechanisms that create evolutionary change that we cannot predict it that accurately and thus state that evolution is wrong because it did not occur in that instance.
Once science has the underlying mechanisms and foundation causes worked out, maybe never, we may be able to make such predictions, but, again, because it didn't happen still is not evidence against it, because there may be an environmental factor or timing factor that wasn't taken into account.
You evidently have never understood Science, Have You?
By your statement, I can prove God doesn't exist because it didn't save President Kennedy, when it should have. The analogy is the same.
Both completely Irrational, uneducated and uninformed.
Posted by retroman000 3 years ago
"Also evolution is not falsifiable through empirical science."
It most certainly is. All we'd have to do is observe evolution commonly not occurring when it should.
Posted by Dragonfang 3 years ago
Actually Pro can pull a super-semantic with the word "validated".
Validated by who? So if someone claims that the ToE is valid then Pro wins? Thus we would not be discussing evolution at all.

Also evolution is not falsifiable through empirical science. Thus the theory kept reviving so that the term "Neo-Darwinism" was coined after Mandalian genetics.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Hmmm, One could argue that Evolution has been scientifically Validated. That is harder to play semantics with the word Validated than the adjective Valid.
1: Check or prove the validity or accuracy of (something).
2: Demonstrate or support the truth or value of: "her feelings are validated".

Because both apply to Evolution as true.
It's is possibly the most validated theory in science.
Many scientists in the last 159 years have tried to disprove and defeat Evolution, but, to their dismay, they ended up validating it even more. When Genetics was discovered, scientists thought, wow, we now have something to defeat Darwin with.
They were wrong, it only validated Evolution and made it stronger as a Theory.
Though in a debate, it may be more prudent to go for a Vague topic, because my suggestion is more accurate and harder to argue against.
Vagueness gives more scope for argument.
Regardless of the fact that Evolution has been completely Validated by science.
Posted by Dragonfang 3 years ago
If I wanted to imploy semantics... Wouldn't it make sense to not request a less vague definition?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by drafterman 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: "Con's arguments were rooted in a misunderstanding of evolution, biology, zoology, and science in general. His opposition to evolution appears to be rooted in ignorance, rather than actual objections. Pro did a thorough job of dismantling the arguments and supporting them with relevant sources."
Vote Placed by MysticEgg 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Wow, nice debate, guys. I admit seeing so many straw men dismantled by Pro was fun! My opinion* wasn't changed at all, although Con did give some good insight as to how people (Creationists or otherwise) can straw man a valid theory. Conduct was fine. Spelling and grammar were fine. Arguments go to Pro for many reasons. First, Pro destroyed every relevant claim Con made, plus some of the irrelevant ones. Second, he didn't use equivocation (false claim), unless Con re-defined evolution, so he's lucky that I didn't take that as a forfeit, indeed! Lastly, Con employed a salesman trick to list useless questions that would confuse the target - and in this case also limit character space as a response. Lastly, sources to Pro, too, as he used more reliable ones. Good debate, guys! *opinion on truths are not relevant, admittedly.
Vote Placed by JonMilne 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources is a no-brainer, as Con actually used sources that went against him as well as quote-mining, and Pro provided considerably more sources than Con, generally providing a source for every claim that he made. Argumentation: Pro successfully debunked a lot of Con's claims, especially Con's claim that Evolution isn't falsifiable, as well as Con's extreme misunderstandings about how common ancestry works (the claim Con made that Pro was trying to call cats and whales primates for example, which of course Pro wasn't doing) as well as also demonstrating how the numerous genetic and physical similarities between animals were quite simply far too numerous to be brushed away as mere coincidence and demonstrates quite clearly that the animals share a common ancestor.