The Instigator
Traditionalist
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Spiral
Pro (for)
Winning
57 Points

The Theory of Evolution

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/4/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,564 times Debate No: 3517
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (51)
Votes (20)

 

Traditionalist

Con

Yes I know the good old fashion creation vs evolution debate.

I believe Evolution is an abundantly flawed theory and I think that there is overwhelming evidence of an intelligent designer. I will await my opponent's opening statement before I make my case

Thank you
Spiral

Pro

Without anything to argue against, I will just post the basics of what Darwinian Evolutionary theory is, and await my opponent.

Evolution by natural selection is a theory about the origin of adaptation, intricacy, and diversity among Earth's living creatures. It is "just" a theory. In the same sense, relativity as described by Albert Einstein is "just" a theory. The notion that Earth orbits around the sun rather than vice versa, offered by Copernicus is a theory. Continental drift is a theory. The existence, dynamics and structure of atoms, is Atomic theory. Electricity is a theoretical construct, relating to electrons; tiny units of charged mass that no one has ever seen. Each of these theories is an explanation that has been confirmed to such a degree, by observation and experiment, that knowledgeable experts accept it as fact. It is an explanatory statement that fits the evidence. They embrace such explanations confidently but conditionally; it as their best available view of reality, at least until some severely conflicting data or some better explanation might come along. ID is not that. The supporting evidence is copious, various, increasing, soundly interconnected, and easily available. No one needs to, nor should, accept evolution as a matter of faith.

The gist of the theory is that small, random, heritable differences among individuals result in different chances of survival and reproduction; success for some, death without offspring for others. This natural culling leads to significant changes in shape, size, strength, armament, colour, biochemistry, and behaviour etc. among descendants. Excess population growth drives the competitive struggle. Because less successful competitors produce fewer surviving offspring, the ineffective or negative variations tend to disappear. The useful variations tend to be perpetuated and gradually magnified throughout a population in a progression called anagenesis, where a single species is transformed. Accompanying that is another process, known as speciation. Genetic changes sometimes accumulate within an isolated segment of a species, but not throughout the whole, as that isolated population adapts to its local conditions. Gradually it goes its own way, claiming a new ecological niche. At a certain point it becomes irreversibly distinct; so different that its members can't interbreed with the rest. Two species now exist where formerly there was one (principle of divergence). It is an important part of evolutionary theory, explaining the overall diversity of life as well as the adaptation of individual species. The easiest example of natural selection in action is probably bacteria. By natural selection they acquire resistance to drugs that should kill them. They evolve. There's no better or more immediate evidence supporting the Darwinian Theory than this process of forced transformation among our inimical germs.

Base evidence: biogeography, palaeontology, embryology, and morphology. Biogeography is the study of the geographical distribution of living creatures; which species inhabit which parts of the planet and why. Palaeontology investigates extinct life-forms, as revealed in the fossil record. Embryology examines the revealing stages of development (echoing earlier stages of evolutionary history) that embryos pass through before birth or hatching, embryology also concerns the immature forms of animals that metamorphose, such as the larvae of insects. Morphology is the science of anatomical shape and design.

Biogeography: Considering biogeographical data, we notice clustering patterns among "closely allied" species, i.e. similar creatures sharing roughly the same body plan. They tend to be found on the same continent (several species of zebras in Africa) or within the same group of oceanic islands (dozens of species of honeycreepers in Hawaii), despite their species-by-species inclination for different habitats, food sources, or climate. Adjacent areas of South America, have flightless birds (the rheas, Rhea americana and Pterocnemia pennata), not ostriches as in Africa, or emus as found in Australia.

Palaeontology reveals a similar clustering pattern in the dimension of time. The vertical column of geologic strata, laid down by sedimentary processes over the ages, lightly strung with fossils, represents a tangible record showing which species lived when. Less ancient layers of rock lie atop more ancient ones (except where geologic forces have tipped or shuffled them), and similarly with the animal and plant fossils that the strata contain. Closely associated species tend to be found adjacent to one another in successive strata. One species endures for millions of years and then makes its final appearance in, say, the middle Eocene epoch; just above, a similar but not identical species replaces it. In North America, for example, a loosely horselike creature known as Hyracotherium was succeeded by Orohippus, then Epihippus, then Mesohippus, which in turn were succeeded by a range of horsey American animals. Some of them galloped across the Bering land bridge into Asia, then through to Europe and Africa. By five million years ago they had nearly all disappeared, leaving behind Dinohippus, which was succeeded by Equus, the modern genus of horse (My thanks to National Geographic).

Morphology: For example, the five-digit skeletal structure of the vertebrate hand appears not just in humans and apes and raccoons and bears but also, variously modified, in cats and bats and porpoises and lizards and turtles. The paired bones of our lower leg, the tibia and the fibula, are also represented by homologous bones in other mammals and in reptiles, and even in the long extinct, bird-reptile Archaeopteryx. What's the reason behind such varied recurrence of a few basic designs? Common descent, as shaped by natural selection, modifying the inherited basics for different circumstances. The mouse genome effort, according to Nature's editors, had revealed "about 30,000 genes, with 99% having direct counterparts in humans." The resemblance between our 30,000 human genes and those 30,000 mousy counterparts shows common ancestry.

Vestigial characteristics are still another form of morphological evidence, illuminating to contemplate because they show that the living world is full of small, tolerable imperfections. Why do male mammals (including human males) have nipples? Some snakes (notably boa constrictors) carry the rudiments of a pelvis and tiny legs buried inside their sleek profiles. Certain species of flightless beetle have wings, sealed beneath wing covers that never open.

Evolution does not, cannot say what one species evolved in to another unless via direct observation, we infer from fossil records. What it does, is provide a theory of falsification. It tells us what to expect in the fossil records, and we find that. It tells us the characteristics of fossils that should be in an era of time, and we do. More importantly it tells us what we should not find, and we have not.
Debate Round No. 1
Traditionalist

Con

Traditionalist forfeited this round.
Spiral

Pro

Unfortunately still no case from Pro, so to make do, I will tackle generic ID claims. My apologies if they were not part of your argument.
ID claims:
1.It is not a testable theory, it is all speculation.
2.Argument of complexity/probability
3.Irreducible complexity
4.Age of the earth (new earth creationists)
5.Evolution is a theory of everything

1.Please see first post for evidence to the contrary, here is more; speciation and anagenesis.

Speciation:
Yes speciation occurs, and yes it is well documented, amongst both plants and animals. Insect populations are especially useful in studying speciation due to the speed of generations. It is both observable and testable (controlled separation of species). In animals, speciation is defined in populations in four ways: Peripatric: a small population isolated at the edge of a larger population, Parapatric: a continuously distributed population, Sympatric: within the range of the ancestral population, Allopatric: geographically isolated populations.
If allopatric speciation happens, we'd predict that populations of the same species in different geographic locations would be genetically different. There are abundant observations suggesting that this is often true. For example, many species exhibit regional "varieties" that is slightly different genetically and in appearance, as in the case of the Northern Spotted Owl and the Mexican Spotted Owl. Also, ring species are convincing examples of how genetic differences may arise through reduced gene flow and geographic distance. If the association between two species is very close, they may speciate in parallel. This is called co-speciation. It is especially likely to happen between parasites and their hosts.

And yes, there is genetic evidence for the speciation of humans and primates.
http://www.nature.com...

Speciation in Plants:
In terms of reproduction, plants have a lot more options than animals do. Many plants can reproduce sexually, by fertilising other individuals or themselves, and asexually, by creating clones of themselves through vegetative reproduction, while most animals only reproduce sexually. Similarly, in terms of speciation, plants have more options than animals do. Two modes of speciation are particularly common in plants:
Speciation by hybridization: Rieseberg reconstructed the phylogeny of several sunflower species, and found that several species had been formed by fertilisations between other species. Often the hybrid offspring of such fertilisations are sterile, but occasionally they are fertile and are reproductively isolated from their "parent" species. In the latter case, a new species is formed.
Speciation by ploidy changes: In terms of plant speciation, a ploidy change generally means multiplying the number of chromosomes the species has by some number. A species that has 18 chromosomes might produce a lineage that has 36 or 54 chromosomes. Ploidy changes are common in plants and often produce a species that is reproductively isolated and distinct from the "parent" species. Speciation in anemones is an example of a ploidy change.

Anagenesis:
Again we can directly observe changes in species; plants, animals all exert changes over time that we can observe; we document natural shifts in populations, we can see the changes in plants from chemicals, metals in the soil, documented changes between GM crops cross pollinating with natural variants. We have behavioural evolutionary changes in lizards; again, insects provide a wealth of observational records. Darwin's own Galapagos finches have been tracked, showing beak changes in the population due to weather patterns. Artificial selection used by breeders has wrought immense changes in plants and animals. From the ancestral wolf, humans selected forms as diverse Chihuahuas, St. Bernards, poodles, and bulldogs etc. Starting with wild cabbage, breeders have produced domestic cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, kale, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. Artificial selection is analogous to natural selection, except that humans, rather than the environment determine which variants leave offspring. If artificial selection can generate such a diversity of domesticated plants and animals, natural selection could evidently do much more over millions of years.

2.Argument of probability/complexity
That either an individual species is too complex, or that the chances of a change are too small. The underlying false premise of both these claims is that evolution is a random process. It is far from it. Natural selection in all its glory is far from a random process; it is a force that actively pressures selection of traits within a species; those traits that harm a species tend to disappear, those that provide an advantage spread through a population. The eye has separately developed around 40 different times across species. How does this occur? Simply because natural selection favours it. Each change is gradual; it is a building process of mutation and selective pressure.

3.Irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity is the statement that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler, precursors.
Unfortunately for ID, they have yet to find any that has not been explained by more knowledgeable experts.

4.Age of the earth (new earth creationists)
Evolution cannot work because the age of the earth is around 6, 000 -10, 000 years old. This age is usually taken by working out the "begat" lineage of the bible, and a literal view of the biblical genesis.
Scientists have settled on the age of the earth of about 4.6 billion years. This is based upon experiments, that compare the ratios in rock samples of parent elements to daughter elements (some of which would have been from radioactive decay of the parent, some of which may have been present in the sample at the time of formation). Radioactive decay occurs at a constant rate, the age of a rock can be determined from the ratio of the parent element to the daughter element. Concerns about this dating method are exactly the same that creationists still raise: changes to the rock may have caused loss or gain of either the parent or daughter element, this would lead to a false date (too old if parent element were lost, too young if daughter element were lost). Two methods that have been designed that account for this possibility: isochron dating and the uranium-thorium-lead discordia/concordia method (so three independent age calculations for one sample). These methods have internal checks for possible loss/gain of elements to the rock. Whilst these values do not calculate an age for the Earth, they do ascertain a lower limit (the Earth must be at least as old as any formation on it). This lower limit is at least in agreement with the independently derived figure of 4.6 billion years for the Earth's actual age.

5.Evolution is a theory of everything
Common rhetoric claims that evolution seeks to explain how life/universe began, planets formed etc. Evolutionary theory is not a cosmological theory. It does not postulate about the origin of the universe, nor the origin of life itself. Once we have self replicating RNA strands, then natural selection can begin to operate.

Again, I leave it up to my opponent to make a case for the intelligent designer.
Debate Round No. 2
Traditionalist

Con

Traditionalist forfeited this round.
Spiral

Pro

Well this is rather disappointing...guess the god of intelligent design is a bit harder to prove than thought.
Debate Round No. 3
Traditionalist

Con

Traditionalist forfeited this round.
Spiral

Pro

Another forfeit....oh well, Con has conceeded his position, apparently there is no proof of an intelligent designer.
Debate Round No. 4
51 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Spiral 8 years ago
Spiral
Running the evolution of the eye debate right now, sethgecko13.

http://www.debate.org...
Posted by sethgecko13 8 years ago
sethgecko13
Ironduke -

- Evolution doesn't attempt to address the point of existence. All it says is that we have sufficient evidence to conclude that species change over time as a result of certain variables. What you're talking about is a philosophical concept that has little to do with biological science.

- Evolution says NOTHING about the origins of the universe. The Big Bang Theory is an entirely separate theory. Not only that – but you're misrepresenting what the Big Bang Theory states; it does not say that matter was created from nothing. Read up:

http://www.sciam.com...

- I don't know what you're trying to claim about Abiogenesis (spontaneous generation) – but research on it continues to this day:

http://www.talkorigins.org...

- Humans are the dominant species only because of our intellectual capacity; an intellectual capacity that is also observable in many primates (which is what keeps them from being prey animals). If we weren't able to wield sophisticated tools and organize in groups to create shelter and hunt – we would be at a distinct disadvantage (and – in many situations where humans are isolated away from tools and shelter – they do die as prey frequently does at the hands of predators).

http://www.pigeon.psy.tufts.edu...

- I have no idea what you're talking about when you say ‘more than one type of mind' – but there are many types of mind that have evolved throughout the centuries. Human beings in many cases are VERY different neurologically; and many of the problems we face today are the result of humanity transitioning to an era of abundance from an era of scarcity (IE what foods we find palatable, the fact that we find monogamy difficult, the differences between the sexes, our various fear responses, etc.)

...cont'd...
Posted by sethgecko13 8 years ago
sethgecko13
Ironduke -

...cont'd...

- Eyes are perfectly possible as the product of evolution – and Darwin knew this. The claim you're making is one of the many falsehoods creationists trot out to try to discredit Darwin (just like the outright lie that he recanted evolution on his deathbead). This page conclusively debunks the claim you're trying to make:

http://www.talkorigins.org...

- Evolution absolutely has a way of evolving a conscience (as explained eloquently by Spiral). What we call our "conscience" is simply a collection of behaviors beneficial to the survival of the species that we as various societies agreed to (which is why these behaviors are relative and vary from culture to culture; because they're not absolute).
Posted by HellKat 8 years ago
HellKat
Oh I overlooked that, whoopsay. Why don't you like saying God?
Posted by leethal 8 years ago
leethal
Uh oh, looks like you're going to hell publicforum.
Posted by PublicForumG-d 8 years ago
PublicForumG-d
Its not just the Christian G-d its any god.

And crap. I didnt mean to type His name :(
Posted by PublicForumG-d 8 years ago
PublicForumG-d
Nuh uh - he said Christian God.
Posted by HellKat 8 years ago
HellKat
I may be mistaken, but i thought that was what he said...
Posted by PublicForumG-d 8 years ago
PublicForumG-d
Um...Ironduke, you're mistaken.

Creationism is the belief in being created by a G-d. The difference btween ID and Creationsim is that in Creationism it was G-d while in ID it was just "something".
Posted by Ironduke 8 years ago
Ironduke
Alrighty, Sounds liek a plan. Anytime. I await your conveniance.
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