The Theory of Evolution should be taught in Public Schools (in the United States)
Debate Rounds (5)
1) Rules and Acknowledgments
2) Opening Arguments
3) 1st Rebuttal
4) 2nd Rebuttal
5) Closing Arguments
1) My opponent and I both acknowledge that evolution is already taught in American public schools, and that this will have no bearing on our arguments.
1) Public School: (dictionary.com) A school that is maintained at public expense for the education of children.
2) The theory of evolution: A scientific theory iof the origin of species of plants and animals.
3) Teach: To impart knowledge of or skill in ; give instruction
Should: used in auxiliary function to express obligation, propriety, or expediency.
Theory: a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
The theory of evolution was first introduced by Charles Darwin in his book "The origin of species," in which he explains that new species are created over time through the process of natural selection, where organisms that have specific traits suited to their perspective environments survive and reproduce more, and therefore future offspring are even more likely to survive and reproduce. New traits are introduced when a random mutation occurs that benefits an organism, and this is passed down through this organisms offspring. Eventually, enough genetic mutations occur that the organism is different enough to classify it as a new species. In this debate I will provide several key factors as for why the Theory of Evolution should be taught in public schools.
I: Students have a right to learn the most accurate explanation possible.
Public schools teach a variety of subjects, history, math, English, foreign languages, and science, among others. My opponent has to agree that the most accurate information should be taught in every subject in a public school. The Theory of Evolution is by far the most agreed upon explanation for how we see so many different species today, and is the only explanation that has substantial amounts of evidence. Since schools are responsible for teaching the most accurate information possible, teaching evolution in public schools is necessary.
II: Teaching evolution does preserve free will, and does not mean indoctrinating students.
My definition of teach, which my opponent accepted, is Teach: to impart of or skill in; to give instruction. Teaching evolution is simply informing the students of the theory, not that they have to accept it if it goes against their religious or personal beliefs. Students in US public schools are not made to believe in evolution, they are simply informed of it so they can make rational and informed decisions, whilst knowing all the facts.
III: Teaching an alternative view of the origin of species (I.E. Religious) or not mentioning the subject at all is depriving students.
As stated in my first Contention, students have a right to learn the most accurate information possible. If schools are obligated to teach the most accurate math, history, and english, then they are obligated to teach the most accurate science. For example, if schools were to teach the biblical account of the creation of species, they would be going against the majority of scientific leaders. This would defeat the purpose of teaching science, and could lead to a similar trend in other subjects. Not teaching any theory at all would also be very detrimental, as students would only be exposed to the ideas of their parents and peers, which hurts creativity and free thinking. Teaching students about evolution is the most accurate and fair way to teach them about the origin of species.
In conclusion, Evolution should be taught in public schools because it is the most accurate and agreed upon theory of how organisms are so diverse. Teaching students the most accurate information possible is a standard in public education, and the science classes need to be held to the same standard. Teaching students about evolution does not inhibit free will or personal beliefs in any way, but encourages creativity and thinking by making the student wonder about new ideas.
I look forward to my opponents case.
My opponent's first point raised is that students have a right to learn the most accurate explanation possible. This is a point that I agree with. Then, he continues to say that "the theory of evolution is by far the most agreed upon explanation for how we see so many different species today, and is the only explanation that has substantial amounts of evidence.". this is an incorrect statement on so many levels. Evolution itself is not 'the most agreed upon explanation for how we see so many different species today' it is just one of several explanations, the main rival being creationism and a lesser one being the theory that we are in fact in a matrix, meaning an artificial, virtually constructed reality and actually there are no real species in the first place they are just programmed into the virtual reality. Also you cannot claim that the theory of evolution is accurate. This is because it is a theory. I defined a theory as a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact. My opponent agreed to this definition and then decided to ignore the part of it which refers to a theory's status beingconjectural and subject to experimentation and then being said to be IN CONTRAST WITH well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact. Evolution is not a fact, thus it cannot be claimed to be definitely accurate.
The second point raised was that teaching evolution does preserve free will, and does not mean indoctrinating students. The main issue with this is that if students are taught the theory of evolution without being taught all the other theories of species origin then how are they not being indoctrinated?
Indoctrinated: to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., especially to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view.
The final point raised was that teaching an alternative view of the origin of species or not mentioning the subject at all is depriving students. However, if the theory of evolution is not a fact, what is it depriving students of? Teaching should be based on concrete facts, definitely true content should be all that is taught. Evolution is not definitely true, hence it being a theory, so it would not actually be a fallacy to the way of teaching if one was to not teach evolution in a public school, where philosophy is barely a subject and if it is is to the most basic level compared with College/University standard of philosophy.
On a separate note, many people believe that evolution is a scientifically proven fact, and that creation is only a theory. This is simply not true. Evolution is not a proven fact, and certainly not a scientifically proven fact. Technically speaking, science can never "prove" anything as a "fact," rather it can only say with some degree of certainty if whatever is being examined is true or not. The scientific approach for examining facts and determining truth is done in five steps:
1) An observation is made
2) A hypothesis is formed
3) Data is gathered
4) The hypothesis is tested in light of the data
5) If the hypothesis passes the test, it becomes a theory.
However, new data is constantly being discovered and the hypothesis re-tested. This data either supports the theory or disproves it, but never proves the theory as a fact (for future data could be gathered which disproves it). That is why science can never "prove" anything, only disprove things. If there is no way of testing or falsifying the hypothesis, the theory isn't accepted by the scientific community. George Gaylord Simpson, a notable scientist himself, has said, "it is inherent that statements which cannot be checked by observation are not really about anything, or at the very least they are not science.". Usually the event in question is repeated, and these five steps are used to determine its truthfulness. Events in history cannot be repeated, so they cannot be verified by the scientific method. This alone indicates that the theory of evolution, far from being a fact, is not even a valid scientific theory.
If the scientific method was the only way to prove things, you could not prove you went to work yesterday even though many facts suggest you did -- your work got done, your friends would remember, your boss would remember, and there is additional mileage on your car's odometer. For events in history, another method for establishing facts and determining truth must be used. This is what our courts of law use; it is called the Legal-historical method for proving things. This method of establishing truth is based upon the probability of an event happening after examining all the evidence found which does or does not support it.
In this case, which has a greater degree of probability: creation or evolution? There is a lot of empirical, and tangible evidence showing that creation is more probable than evolution.
My opponent first points out that I cannot claim evolution as a fact, because it is still a theory. And he agrees that what we teach our students should be based on facts , "definitley true content is all that should be taught," But my opponent later says that "Technically seaking, science can never "prove" anything as a "fact," rather it can only say with some degree of certainty if whatever is being examined is true or not. " Therfore, my opponent is advocating that we do not teach our students science, since the only thing that we can teach is fact. I simply said that students have a right to be taught the "most accurate" explanation possible. Since evolution is by far the explanation with the the most evidence to back it up, it should be taught in schools. My opponent also says that teaching I contradict myself by saying teaching evolution does not indoctrinate students, because we need to teach the other theories. I have no qualms about teaching students other theories regarding the origin of species, and therefore his point is invalid. We are debating whether or not evolution should be taught, and if other theories are taught it has no bearing on our case.
In conclusion, my opponents main argument against my case is that since evolution cannot be proven, we cannot teach it to students. This is illogical for two reasons. The first being that he contridicted himself saying that science can never prove anything as a fact, so by my opponents logic we cannot teach our students science. The second reason is that evolution is backed up with more evidence than any other species theory.
i await my opponenet rebuttal
He states that I have no points of my own. If he cared to register the point I made where I blatantly introduce the point as 'Evolution is not a proven fact, and certainly not a scientifically proven fact.' and then go on for about three paragraphs justifying and explaining my point to the best of my ability.
I did not say that we should not teach our students science. Scientific facts are based on what you could say is 99.99% accuracy based on actual observation and concrete evidence. The fact that we have a digestive system is undeniable by any degree and, thus, is taught. The reason that science is taught is that there is nothing to oppose it, so despite not being 100% certainly a fact, it is 100% not disproved to be fact as yet, thus is taught. Syllabuses in science always change if a supposed fact turns out to be false and thus is constantly maintaining accuracy with what the present status of the scientific community has decided is to be taught at the time. This is nothing to do with evolution which is a theory involving a degree of assumption that is too great to be claimed as certain.
I shall now quote one of my opponent's arguments word for word and then explain exactly why it is incorrect:
"Since evolution is by far the explanation with the the most evidence to back it up, it should be taught in schools."
Evolution is not, even by the slightest degree, the explanation regarding the origin of species with the most evidence to back it up. Also, even if it was this doesn't mean it should be taught in schools as it's still just a theory in the process of being considered certain enough to be fact. Evolutionists (commonly termed Darwinists or Darwinians) base their theory on fossil records, observation of natural selection and adaption within species and the fact that some species have extreme similarities in their DNA to other species. However, the leading rival to the theory of evolution, namely creationism, uses everything as its justification, now everything is far more evidence than a list of four.
To justify my statement I shall define creationism and everything, then I shall use the definitions to explain why everything is involved in the theory.
Creationism: The doctrine that matter and all things were created, substantially as they now exist, by an omnipotent Creator, and not gradually evolved or developed.
Everything: All that exists.
Creationism realizes that even to an atheist, everything comes from nothing, thus it was spontaneously created in an instant. So why can't all fossils, all relationships between animals, and everything else that makes the theory of evolution seem artificially accurate, be due to the created of all things by a predetermined being far beyond human imagination or explanation. The assumption that because we adapt, we evolve doesn't deny that all new species are predetermined by an ultimate creator, only that the creator may use natural selection as it's mechanism of creating. Additionally, you could have been created an instant ago, literally 100% possible, with false memories of everything and in a matrix where this debate has been happening but I am just a computerized entity that exists to oppose you in this current instant of the programming code of the virtual reality.
PsychoRific forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Not...a good debate...Pro fails to defend the evolutionary theory under a framework--to teach what is the most accurate explanation--by failing to provide any empirical evidence whatsoever to validate his claims. No direct challenge to the definition of a theory, which was, by its conjectural status, extended to evolutionary process was made, with a distortion of Con's arguments to include all science--Pro's criteria hinges on accuracy, not what is entirely factual. Conduct to Con for FF.
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