The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

The "deteriorating process" can explain all inferred instances of the "compounding process."

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/29/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,276 times Debate No: 19532
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




Before beginning this debate, it is important to know some definitions.

Degenerative process (Or deteriorating) - process of loss of genetic information [1]

Compounding process - process of gain of genetic information [2]

You will not see these definitions, or terms for that matter, in any textbook I know about. However, from the following I will show you where they come from.

Microevolution - changes in allele frequencies that occur over time within a population.

Wikipedia, can get a lot of material wrong, due to the nature of how it is constructed, which is viewer edits. I want the voter to keep in mind that this source cannot affect my sources as the Con will accept to this definition. Wikipedia has this definition in good wording as the people who seem to edit these evolution, or common descent, wikis seem to know the subject material often times.

Macroevolution - change that occurs on a sale of separated gene pools

Advocates of common descent wish to define the terms like the above two with only slight variations. However, from the observed event of speciation, I wish to show we should use different terms.

I make the following postulate from all observed cases of speciation.

Postulate: All instances of speciation are caused by the degeneration of biological information.

That is to say, with the definition earlier [1], all cases of speciation are caused by the degenerative process.

This postulate is what the debate is about. All instances of speciation are capable of being explained by the degenerative process which means the compounding process is not required.

Now it becomes apparent to define Biological information, a not so easy task.

Biological information is best generically defined by functions, not usefulness. [3]

It is best define by functions because usefulness changes from environment to environment.

It is also important to note that living things have two characteristics. Specificity and complexity. These characteristics cannot be compromised for more information. Specificity is pertaining to everything in the right place and complexity is the complexity of what is in place. These are broad definitions and may be refined later. They are only necessary to note in a few cases. Basically, the loss of these characteristics shows the loss of functions at smaller levels.

Now that I have explained the debate, the rules.

First round is acceptance. Fifth round only reestablishment and counter arguments. No new arguments may be presented. This is pretty standard.

Burden of proof is on the Con more so then Pro. It will be way easier to disprove, due to the necessity of only needing one case, then to prove the postulate. Occam's razor fits with this burden of proof.

Any disagreements must be mentioned in the comments section before accepting. You should generally agree with my definitions. Note that some debate may lie in the definition of biological information, but too much debate on it will distract from the concept.

Also, I beforehand apologize for spelling mistakes on my part. My keyboard seems to be unresponsive at times.


I would like to thank my opponent for instigating this debate; I am looking forward to a stimulating and intellectually challenging discussion.

I am assuming that Pro holds the opinion that species do in fact exist; and are not just a man-made product of a convenient organizational system to study organisms. That is to say, we agree that a given species is unique with definable traits that can be used to differentiate an organism from other organisms with some similar observable and measurable characteristics.

Acceptance of definitions
I accept the definitions Pro has established in round 1

Additional necessary definitions
Species—a basic unit for biological classification of organisms with similar DNA sequences and morphology that live within the same ecological niche and can reproduce (1).

Genetic information--the heritable biological information coded in the nucleotide sequences of DNA or RNA (2)

Gene-- a specific sequence of nucleotides in DNA or RNA that is located usually on a chromosome and that is the functional unit of inheritance controlling the transmission and expression of one or more traits by specifying the structure of a particular polypeptide and especially a protein or controlling the function of other genetic material (3).

Constructive criticism
Pro should have a reference section that is numerically organized to demonstrate where supported information has been obtained.


Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for accepting. Thank you for the constructive criticism. I was debating on how to do it and then after I posted I decided against it and never changed it.

Con's Assumptions

I agree that a given species is unique with definable traits that can be used to differentiate an organism from other organisms with some similar observable and measurable characteristics. Since this is the result of his assumption the assumption is not important, however it may be important to note that I disagree with the actual assumption. Man has invented the species term from distinguishable characteristics. There is nothing in biology that makes this species classification specifically.

Con's Definitions

I accept the Con's definitions. It is important to note that biological and genetic information by our definitions are basically the same except for genetic information is inherited and derived from nucleotide sequences.

Pro's Argument

Defense of Using Function as a Basis for Information

I feel it necessary to defend this because I feel voters/readers may disagree. Also elaboration may be necessary if not only for reiteration.

Information causes functions which, with other factors, determine usefulness. In some environments a function may be beneficial and in others harmful. Sine information does not change on location we should correlate it to something that also does not change on location. Functions do not change from location to location, environment to environment. Whether the function is beneficial, neutral or harmful does.

Invalid Pro Argument

By definition, a scientific claim must be able to be proven false. It may seem that the Pro’s case cannot be lost due to the following possibility.

  1. Con claims gain of new function.
  2. Pro claim loss of suppression of said function.

This proves illogical in that any function can be refuted. This makes the Pro’s case, if using this argument, not scientific. If however the function can be shown to exist in the past then it would become a logical refutation as it can become more scientifically supported that it was indeed suppressed.

Validating the Postulate

To show the burden of proof is on the Con, I must show that my postulate is probable. That is to say, I must show how it is true in a few cases. By doing this it then becomes the Con's job to disprove it in any one case. Only one case is needed to disprove the postulate. If the case presented can be explained by the degenerative process, the case is against the postulate is void.

Note that I hope postulate is the correct terminology.

The Postulate:
All instances of speciation are capable of being explained by the degenerative process which means the compounding process is not required.

Proof #1

Lactose intolerance is normally classified as a deficiency in that one cannot digest lactose. However, it seems the norm may be lactose intolerance and the abnormal to be lactose persistence. A majority of adults are actually lactose intolerant. All infants have the enzyme necessary to digest lactose. However, people with lactose intolerance lose the function due to either a genetic or environmental factor depending on the case. People with lactose persistence can digest lactose into their adult life. [1]

This can be explained by the removal of the suppression of the enzyme. Since the original function could be to suppress the enzyme after infancy, the removal of this function would be a biological information loss. This does not contradict Pro’s Invalid Argument. This is because it is shown that it this function to digest lactose was present in the past. This gives scientific evidence that there is a possibility that there was indeed the loss of a function.


Invalid Con Argument

By definition, it is possible to speciate with no change in function. Because the definition of species includes breeding within a certain population, a creation of a natural boundary would split a population disabling the opportunity to mate with organisms in the other population. Since no change in information occurs, it is invalid for the Con to use this type of speciation in an argument as follows.

  1. Con show’s population split.
  2. No loss of information and speciation, therefore compounding process.

Valid Con Argument

I will allow Con to show any gain of function whether it results in speciation or not. However, it is possible that the Con may use an argument that shows a new expressed function because of the result of environmental stimuli. It must be shown, if no speciation occurs, that the event was from a change in genetic information.

Focus of the Debate

I only give one proof at the moment because the majority of my time will be used disproving the Con’s arguments for a compounding process.Not necessarily disproving but showing the alternative and letting Occam’s Razor do the rest.

Implication of Postulate beyond the Debate

It should be noted that if said postulate is true, then the immediate implication is that the compounding process must be inferred. For example, one might look at the order of fossils and see the need for the compounding process.





Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful response, Defensor-of-Apollo.

Clarifying my assumption about the existence of species

Some folks argue that there is a biological essentialism, which creates specific relations between and among organisms and their environment that is necessary and sufficient to be classified as a member of a species; while others do not (1). I posited the assumption about the existence of species to preempt the possibility of Pro suggesting that any gain of function vis a vis new genes is not necessarily a basis for new biological information, but rather just a continuum of the protein group or morphological feature. So, I was essentially trying to prevent our scientific debate from morphing into a philosophical discussion on the ontological basis of organisms.

Disagreement with Pro's species assertion

I disagree with Pro's notion that an organism can form a species without evolving some naturally-selected new trait that provides an advantage. If an organism becomes isolated from the main group of the same species and nothing changes, then it is in fact still the same species. By definition, a new species is one that has diverged from a common ancestor allowing it to flourish within a new niche. Thus, a new trait must emerge in order for an organism to be classified as a different species.

Basic background: biological vs. genetic information

Biological information implies potential physiologic functionality or utility, whereas genetic information can only be valid if it is arranged in a very specific manner (2) and translated accordingly (3). Consequently, if genetic information is rearranged, it has the potential to establish new genetic information.

Moreover, an added layer of complexity is seen eukaryotes where nucleotide sequences called exons are translated into functional biologically active information (i.e., proteins), while others called intron are spliced out before the protein is translated from the transcribed RNA (4). So, the genetic information embedded within a gene is not always related to the biological information embedded within the protein's structure.

Rebuttal of Pro's proof #1

Pro suggests that lactase intolerance supports his postulate because it provides evidence for loss of genetic information. But in most adult humans, lactase is mainly regulated at the transcriptional level and thus its expression is only down regulated and not lost (5). So, the genetic and biological information is still there: the DNA is transcribed into RNA; the protein is just not made and thus its function is not activated.


Since Pro wants me to shoulder the burden of proof in this debate, I want to explicitly state my thesis: New genetic information can and does arise in the form of new genes and can give organisms a measurable characteristic that distinguishes it from other organisms.

Opening argument

The first example I will present is the jingwie gene that has been characterized in a group of African Drosophila species (6).

The molecular mechanisms involved in created this new genetic information are: 1) gene duplication, 2) retroposition, and 3) exon shuffling (7). Briefly, the hypothesis is that in an ancestral species there were two single copy genes called yellow-emperor and alcohol dehydrogenase. Yellow-emperor was duplicated into two genes: one called yellow emperor and the other called yande. Whereas yellow emperor maintained its original function, alcohol dehydrogenase transposed into the third intron of yande as a fused exon and recombined with the first three yande exons forming the jingwei gene. The novel gene product is a chimeric protein that binds more substrates than alcohol dehydrogenase and affects fly development (8)

The heart of this debate is about how new biological information can be gained by new genetic information. The jingwei gene satisfactorily addresses this issue.

I am looking forward to opponent's response.


Debate Round No. 2


Species Assertion

I would address this however I think it will begin to distract from the main points of the debate. It is important to note however that there are several different definitions for species. Our disagreement is a technicality and as long as Con shows a gain of biological information and not a no gain or loss, we will be fine.

Defense of Proof #1

There was indeed a loss of biological information which was meant to be the main focus. However, I would like to point out lactose tolerance came about more then once. [1]

Transcriptional functions may have been lost, which actually supports Pro's conclusion more then Con's, however there have been other methods of obtaining lactose tolerance. This very fact is supportive of the postulate. We know that the information for lactose digestion was present beforehand due to infants digesting milk. I assert the function is shut off in lactose intolerance individuals. This is indirectly supported by the fact of multiple ways to reach lactose tolerance. If indeed something must be gained, in this case specifically information for lactose digestion in adulthood, then there would only be one way to get it. That would be to gain that information. However, the evidence is strongly in favor that there are different micro level functions that you can loose, including transcriptional loss as Con stated, to reach lactose tolerance.

Con's Thesis

I want to state that my opponent's thesis does not necessarily need to be proven. What does need to dsproven is the postulate. However, proving his thesis would indeed disprove the postulate.

Rebuttal of Con's Opening Argument

From the information I am reading on this gene I pick up the general gesture that the formation of the gene wasn't observed. My argument will be based on the assumption that it wasn't. If somehow you can cite something that shows that this was observed then it will most likely void this rebuttal.

Con's argument goes as follows.

1. There is a jingwei gene.
2. It is assumed to have been derived from the compounding process.
3. Compounding process results in new functions as in the jingwei gene therefore postulate is false.

The problem starts in number two. Con is essentially assuming the compounding process exists which disproves the postulate. This assumption shouldn't be made as it is bad logic. This means the postulate still stands.

Postulate Proof #2

This proof is a thought experiment with numerous examples/citations in the end as observed evidence for his proof.

Species A has Population A in Location A. Location A is separated into two locations, each isolated from the other. This means Population A is separated into two populations, one in each location. Each location is different in some way. This means that certain existing traits are preferred differently on each location. Each population looses genetic diversity and diverges in two species.

It is important to note that genetic diversity decreases in these cases. Sometimes genes will be lost due to environmental pressures. Since genes will be selected against and lost this means a corresponding loss in function.

1. Darwin's Finches if we assume a common finch ancestor which I think we both do.





I want to acknowledge my opponent's valiant efforts, but unfortunately his argument did not adequately refute my evidence, nor did it provide proof for his postulate.

Main focus of the debate

The main focus of this debate is whether the genetic information leading to new biological function is lost or gained when generating a new trait within a given species.

Clarifying my role

My role is to disprove Pro's postulate by validating my thesis with logical and empirical evidence. Specifically, I must provide examples of how gains in genetic information lead to new species-specific biological functions.

Reaffirming that the jingwei gene disproves Pro's postulate

My opponent rebuts my opening argument by establishing a straw man, which oversimplifies and misrepresents my position. Pro's suggests that it is assumed [emphasis mine] that the jingwei gene has been derived by gained genetic information. This is not assumed but inferred logically from direct sequence expression and functional analysis, and is the simplest explanation available from the data collected by the authors of the paper cited in round 2. The proposed hypothesis is modeled from experimentally controlled data sets and not supposition, which is what my opponent implies with his proposed syllogism. More importantly, Pro has yet not come up with an explanation for how the jingwei gene could have arose from a loss of genetic information, which is what my opponent is tasked to do in this debate.

RNASE 1B gene validates my thesis

The second example that I will be presenting is the RNASE 1B gene characterized in Pygathrix nemaeus (1). The authors of this paper used sequence analysis and recombinant protein technology to detect positive selection of the RNASE 1B gene on the adaptive evolution in this monkey species. This was inferred from the Ka/Ks ratio calculation (2). Moreover, they showed that the RNASE 1B gene arose from a RNASE 1 gene that underwent gene duplication and nucleotide substitutions occurring in the coding regions, while the paralogous RNASE 1 copy had no sequence or evolutionary changes. So, here is more evidence of a new gene leading to a new biological function within a specific species, thus validating my thesis as true.

Further refuting of Pro's Proof #1

The postulate put forth by Pro is regarding the loss of biological information by way of degenerative loss of genetic information as it pertains to all speciation events. Pro's first example was lactose intolerance in humans, which is not a loss of biological information per se; it is just a down regulation of RNA expression. The article Pro provided clearly states that the genetic mutations occurred in the DNA involved in the regulation of the lactase expression and not in the lactase gene (3). So, the lactase biological and genetic information is still present, which is why lactose tolerance in adults was able to evolve differently in different populations. Moreover, Pro's lactose intolerance example is moot because it doesn't lead to speciation, and thus fails to provide support for his postulate.

Rebuttal of Pro's proof #2

Pro's second proof, which is a hypothetical thought experiment, is an example of allopatric speciation. This is a situation where there is reduction of gene flow that decreases the genetic frequency within the isolated population. While it is true that selective pressures and random genetic drift in this instance can lead to speciation, I fail to see how this proof specifically demonstrates that a loss of genetic information leads to all speciation. Further, in order for Pro's proof to validate his postulate, it would have to demonstrate that the new trait was caused by the loss of the genetic information from the ancestral species, and this was not done. Thus, my opponent's postulate has yet to be demonstratively proven. It should also be noted that speciation can occur with the same geographic location (4) or an adjacent geographic location (5), so Pro's proof 2, if true, would only provide evidence for one mechanism of speciation and not all.

Closing comments

I am well aware that there are many definitions for the word species; that is why I provided one for which we can agree. The assumption I put forth was done so we can establish an understanding for the basis of this debate. I am glad that my opponent has accepted my definition and assumption.

I would also like to point out that Pro has set the rules of the debate such that Con holds the burden of proof. This implies that I must prove something. In this case, I will prove my thesis to disprove my opponent's postulate. While Pro can provide evidence in his argument, it should be specific to refuting my evidence. My opponent's evidence should not be for proving his postulate, since my opponent didn't want to share the burden of proof.


Debate Round No. 3


Clearing up the Burden of Proof

The Burden of Proof is actually shared. I must prove the postulate in at least one instance. It is IMPOSSIBLE to prove in all instances therefore Con's role is to show a case it doesn't work in at the very least one case. This is actually how any scientific theory works.

Proof 1 Still Stands

The article showed how lactose tolerance came to be in multiple ways which is unexplainable for the compounding process. However there are multiple ways to deteriorate to reach the same results such as; losing the function to shut off lactose digestion or losing the function of proper RNA transcription. For the compounding process, you must simply gain it.

The fact that it didn't result in speciation is rather irrelevant as it is inferred that multiple successive cases of the deteriorating process would result in speciation. This is seen in proof 2.

Proof 2 Still Stands

My opponent states: "While it is true that selective pressures and random genetic drift in this instance can lead to speciation . . ." In this statement my opponent admits the deteriorating process can lead to speciation. Thus my postulate has been supported as true in at least one case and now must be refuted in at least one case.

After that quote my opponent says that does not mean it will cause all cases of speciation. How am I supposed to prove anything scientifically that it works in all cases? Pull out every case of speciation in the book and explain it? In a five round debate? That is impossible and since it is supported as true in at least one case it then becomes the Con's job to disprove it in at least one case.

Also the loss of genetic diversity is the loss of genetic information which is demonstrably proven as you admitted.

I also don't see the importance of showing speciation in all instances of speciation. These different kinds of speciation are only man made classifications and pose no real threat. You must show why it can't.

Jingwei Gene

The problem with the Jingwei Gene is I see no reference saying that it was observed. There is no straw man. My refutation was based on the assumption that it wasn't. If Con cannot show this assumption to be false in round four then it will be successfully refuted as I cannot respond to it again if posted in round five, which is also not allowable by rules anyway.

If it wasn't observed I don't have to count for its existence at all. I am not saying all living organisms deteriorated from the same common ancestor but different groups deteriorated from a common ancestor. This gene could have been carried down from the original. I have shown ample plausible deniability of my opponents claim unless he can show the assumption to be false.

RNASE 1 is inferred

It is important to note, as I have mentioned earlier, that the mutation must be observed not inferred. It is important to make this distinction because I am not claiming that all genes had a deteriorating origin, as mentioned earlier in this post. From reading the article [1] it is clear that it was not observed but inferred, thus negated.

Round Four Opponent Proofs

I guess I thought it was a given from round one but my opponent must show an observable instance of his thesis or at least an observable instance to disprove my postulate. By the way, to disprove my postulate does not necessarily have to be proving a negative. You must show the compounding process exists from observable evidence. I am not going to be a stickler and require you to show speciation in this instance, as we both assume if our processes continued then they would result in speciation.

Science- systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation or experimentation [3]

As seen from the definition of science, and excluding inference from round one, we see observation is necessary.

Next Four Proofs

My opponent has injected an interesting challenge, showing the deteriorating process in all classifications of speciation. Although I see it as irrelevant, he wants to make that distinction and I may not have another chance as this is round four. Wikipedia makes 4 different distinctions which are allopatric, peripatric, parapatric, and sympatric. [2]

Proof 3 Allopatric Degenerative Speciation

Allopatric speciation is speciation that occurs from a population becoming isolated from each other. This means no interaction occurs within the populations. There are three main characteristics of this speciation that causes the isolated populations to undergo phenotype and genotype divergence which are a) different selective pressures, b) each go under genetic drift and c) different mutations arise in the populations. [2] Genetic drift is the change in allele frequencies. [4] My opponent will (probably) try to explain why these mutations are compounding in nature while I explain how they are actually degenerative.

I could list numerous examples of allopatric speciation. However, I will let Con list one that he believes to refute my postulate by showing the compounding process at work. Since the burden of proof is shared and I have proved the postulate, the burden of proof rests on him to refute it. If I picked on I could be accused of picking one easy to defend. He needs to find one that disagrees with me.

Proof 4 Peripatric Speciation

This is similar to allopatric speciation however the speciation occurs at bottlenecks and not necessarily completely isolated portions. [2]

Proof 5 Parapatric Speciation

Also similar to allopatric speciation, parapatric speciation occurs in an adjacent niche where the two populations may interact from time to time. [2]

Proof 6 Sympatric Speciation

Sympatric Speciation occurs when a parent population diverges into two populations in the same geographical location. [2]

29+ Evidences of Macroevolution [5]

This article is often cited in support of common descent. I will point to the observed instances of speciation or macroevolution and show how the degenerative process explains the event. I will explain many of these evidences in light of the degenerative process. I will combine this into one proof.

Proof 7

Number One: Fundamental Unity of Life

This uses the similarity of all living organisms, specifically the genetic code and the material of it to show that it is probable that all life had a common ancestor. This poses no problem to the postulate as reversing degeneration would produce a similar effect. Thus the fundamental unity of life occurs from degeneration from previous species. The origin of these species is outside of the postulate. This is analogous to the theory of common descent trying to explain gravity. The two don’t negate one another; therefore, no explanation need be invented.

I will not attempt to explain any of these proofs if they don’t negate the postulate. Actually, I see no conflict between the evidence listed and the postulate. Many can be explained rather easily with the postulate, which I won’t bore you with trivial matters. Others infer the compounding process while others are simply outside of the dominion of explanation of the postulate. If Con disagrees, he may say so, point to where, and I will respond in round five.

Final Words

It seems the scientific community doesn’t disagree with me. No observed instance of information gain can be documented. If there is one, it would destroy my postulate. However the scientific community infers the compounding process either from fossils, embryos, extrapolation of trivial macroevolution, or other similar effect.

So far, Con has been showing inferred gains of information. He must show an observed instance to disprove the postulate as the we point is saying the compounding process must be inferred.








I truly appreciate the time and effort my opponent has put into this debate. I also appreciate that the burden of proof is now equally shared; better late than never. Now, Pro too will have to show that the evidence supporting his position is observed, which thus far hasn't been the case.

Pro's jingwei gene assumption is baseless

Pro is assuming that the jingwei gene is not observable and thus false evidence. Pro seems to be denying the methodology that enabled researchers to analyze the jinqwei nucleotide sequences and the experimental evidence that established phylogenetic comparisons, which were adequately discussed in the referenced paper (1). Further, the jingwei gene is also not only observable--it has been isolated and characterized (1), but also has an observable novel function (2). Moreover, the authors of the aforementioned referenced paper examined nucleotide sequences between different coding regions of homologous genes in related species and showed that the genetic changes have been subject to positive selection.

My opponent is also starting to back-pedal on an accepted agreement that unique species-specific traits exist by suggesting that jingwei gene could have been carried down from the original ancestor. Even with this breach of contract, this suggestion is highly unlikely and goes against the principle of Occam's razor. As mentioned in round 2, the jingwei gene has sequence homology with the alcohol dehydrogenase gene, which is a highly conserved gene seen in many different organisms (3) and the yellow emperor gene, which is expressed in the testis (2). So, the fact that the jingwei gene is expressed in the testis and can function as a alcohol dehydrogenase in addition to its newly evolved function (3) strongly suggest that the jingwei gene is derived from these two genes. Moreover, this is the simplest explanation for how this new genetic information can arise from a common gene and a tissue specific gene within particular taxa.

In round 2, I showed how the new genetic information generated in the jingwei gene arose from gene duplication, which is the opposite of a deletion or loss of genetic information (4). I also demonstrated that its chimeric nature provides a foundation for the evolution of genetic novelty (i.e., a species specific trait). Furthermore, Pro failed to provide any evidence for how this instance of a ‘compounding process' can be explained by the ‘deteriorating process'. Thus, the jingwei gene still stands as proof for validating my thesis.

Reaffirming that the RNASE 1B gene supports my thesis

Like the jingwei gene, the RNASE 1B gene has observable genetic information and has a novel observable function that has undergone intense scientific examination, which was generated by gene duplication (5). The authors of this study established that seven of the nine amino acid substitutions of the duplicate RNASE 1 gene led to increased negative charge of the protein, which predicts that there is an altered pH for RNASE 1B. To test this, the authors conducted over-expression experiments and biological chemical analysis. The data confirmed that RNASE 1B does in fact have a lowered optimal pH value, which correlates with a leaf-eating digestive system of the colobine monkey. This clearly establishes that the RNASE 1B gene and its gene product are observable and have an adaptive biological function that has been generated by a gain--not a loss--of genetic information. The RNASE 1B example still stands as evidence for validating my thesis

Pro's proof 1 does not support his position

My opponent proffered the first proof to establish that a lack of biological information is equivalent to a loss of genetic information. This is categorically false. The decrease in enzymatic function of lactose in human adults with lactose intolerance is not due to a loss of genetic information, no matter how much my opponent wants this to be true. The lactose gene is still present in lactose intolerance. Further, there are degrees of lactose intolerance suggesting that the biological function of the lactose enzyme is not fully inactivated in all people with this condition (6). But more to the point: Pro has yet to empirically demonstrate the observable, specific nucleotides that are lost in lactose intolerance, and I don't have to show that lactose intolerance is generated by a gain of genetic information; it is not my evidence. Thus, Pro's proof 1 is still refuted.

Pro's proof 2 is still refuted

Pro suggests I conceded that his second proof is evidence for his postulate. My opponent is either being intellectually dishonest or just completely disregarding what I actually wrote. The point I made was that I agree that the isolation of populations can lead to speciation through random (i.e., genetic drift) and non-random (i.e., naturally selection) events. I did not explicitly state nor suggest that any new biological function has to come about through deterioration of the genetic information. Moreover, my opponent has not provided a scintilla of scientific evidence that allopatric speciation strictly stems from loss of genetic information. Thus, Pro' proof 2 is still refuted.

Pro's proof 3,4,5 and 6 fail to meet the burden of proof

First of all, Pro's proof 3 is redundant because it is just describing his proof 2, which is a hypothetical thought experiment that doesn't involve actual traits or genetic information; and that alone invalidates it as proof for his postulate. Moreover, while my opponent states he "could list numerous examples of allopatric speciation" that support his position, he conveniently doesn't. Pro wants me to pick one so he can refute it, but my role isn't to prove his postulate. My role is only to rebut his presented evidence, which I am successfully doing.

And Pro's proof 4, 5, and 6 just describe different modes for how speciation can occur. These proofs fail to provide any observable material evidence that new biological information arose from the ‘deteriorating process'. Thus, all of these proofs fail to meet the condition that Pro established for the burden of proof, and as such does not provide support for his postulate.

Pro's proof 7 is just an unfounded opinion

Pro feels there is no need to explain how this opinion on the "fundamental unity of life even applies to his postulate. From my perspective, this demonstrates that Pro's position stems from a belief that his postulate is inherently true, rather than a logically derived conclusion from validate premises.

Closing comments

My opponent has provided numerous proofs, which he believes is evidence that speciation occurs through the loss of genetic information. But none of these proofs give any clues as to what genetic information is being lost or how lost genetic information can give rise to new biologic functions without having any newly gained genetic information; nor are any of my opponents proofs observable evidence that can be linked or correlated to a new species-specific trait.
I am looking forward to Pro's closing argument.


Debate Round No. 4


I would like to apologize for my overall poor structure and clarity. I am accustomed to informal, open-ended, debates on a generic forum.

Clarity of Observation

By observation I mean watch come into existence. This jingwei gene, for example, is definitely an actual gene. No debate. However, what is not observed is the fact that it came from a mutation. I am merely pointing out that it is an unfounded assumption. If this assumption is made, then he argument becomes circular and only accomplishes what sting theory has done, to show no internal logical inconsistencies.

Thus by observing a mutation I mean mutation in action. Identify a living population without the gene and then identify a new "breed" of the species with the new gene.

No Breach of Contract

What I was suggesting is that an alternate model exists then the common ancestor one and was only a supplement for the information not required to prove the postulate. Sorry for straying off topic.

Jingwei Gene

Adding upon the need or this gene being observed in the making, this gene does not need to be able to be explained with the deteriorating process as the act of mutation was not observed.

It is unfortunate for the debate as a whole that my opponent is in his last round and thus showing that it is observed in the act would fail to give me a chance to respond appropriately for the new information.


Inference extended. The fact that this was mutating at all, as in jingwei, is an inference. Thinking otherwise without proof is circular reasoning. By showing that it could have been resulted from the compounding process would be equivalent to me saying it doesn't have to arrived into existence by mutations, thus negated.

Proof 1 Stands

Loos of biological functions loss of genetic by definition.

Genetic information - the heritable biological information coded in the nucleotide sequences of DNA or RNA

Thus showing a decrease of biological information would mean a decrease of genetic information must correlate as a result.

This means that it is observed there is a loss of information. This also means there are multiple ways to loose the same biological information by a loss of different genetic information.

Proof 2

"The point I made was that I agree that the isolation of populations can lead to speciation through random (i.e., genetic drift) and non-random (i.e., naturally selection) events."

This is the degenerative process as shown. Loosing the genetic diversity is loosing genetic information as some sequences that code for this information could be lost from the gene pool completely. Thus you agree the process occurs. This means the burden of proof is now shifted upon you.

Proofs 3-6

I could let you pick the event because you agreed the process could resin speciation at some level. Thus shared burden of proof is upon you to show the compounding process. I gave you the freedom to pick a case which you fail today, unfortunately. It is also important to mention that you thought I had to account for these types of speciation, which I explained why in the previous round, why not. If you deny that then that means you must account for al of these types of speciation as well. Which is impossible because you may not institute any new arguments in round five as rules. Likewise, I cannot list mine here as I cannot by rules.

Replacing Proof 7

Proof seven was intended to show the implication of the postulate bed the debate. In this post this is not a new argument, just a supplement to the information if this postulate is true.

If true, then that mans the compounding process is inferred. It has never been scientifically demonstrated. This means for advocates of common descent, that they must draw back and realize the theory isn't as strong as once thought, if this inference is made. For creationists, it shows that observational science does not disagree with their view.


There are four things to vote for in this debate: conduct, spelling and grammar, convincing arguments, and most reliable sources.

Conduct -

It is of my opinion that me and my opponent e ha TIED conduct in this debate. I have given no harsh words and likewise can be said of Con. I urge you to vote TIED in this factor.

Spelling and Grammar-


Convincing Arguments-

I have succeeded, with confession of Con, that the deteriorating process exists. He has failed to show an instance of the compounding process that can be observed without assuming that my opponent is right. Thus the postulate has been shown to exist in one area and not disproven. PRO

Sources -

I have made no objections to my opponents sources and he has made no objections to mine. TIED

Final Words

If I were to do this debate again I would prepare before the debate more so then I did and word m first post more carefully so the debate is not over what we are debating as it as sort of drifted in that direction unfortunately. Fun debate Con. I urge voters not to vote necessarily for who they agree with, but for the actual debate.


I would like to thank my opponent for an exhilarating and fun debate.

Criteria of proof

Pro suggests that in order for the burden of proof to be met, one has to observe the mutations in action. This is an enormous burden to establish for both of us, since the genetic information we are discussing occurred in the distant past. Neither one of us has provided evidence to reach this stringent threshold. If this ridiculous condition was explicitly stated in round 1, I would have never have accepted this debate.

For those unable to follow the burden of proof: In round 1, it was suggested that the burden of proof is more on Con than Pro. In round 2, the burden of proof was place squarely on Con. In round 4, the burden of proof was established as shared, presumably because Pro was unable to parry my evidence. Thus, this rigid rule does in fact apply to both of us.

Evidence establishing my thesis as true

My thesis in this debate was: "New genetic information can and does arise in the form of new genes and can give organisms a measurable characteristic that distinguishes it from other organisms."

The evidence I put forth was the jingwei gene, which is present in two African Drosophilia species and the RNASE 1B gene, which is present in the leaf-eating monkey. I explained the molecular mechanisms involved in generating the new genetic material, referenced reports and scientific sources that demonstrated that these genes have species specific novel functions, and I presented specific evidence for how it was determined that the new information came from other genetic information.

To refute this information, my opponent first deflected my evidence as false using specious logic, which over-simplified and mischaracterized my position. Pro next claimed that since the mutation in the genes was not directly observed he doesn't have to account for its existence, and thus doesn't have to provide an alternate explanation for how these genes could have arose through the loss of genetic information. In round 5, my opponent concedes that the jingwei gene is an actual gene, which implies that it has a function, but again never provides an explanation to refute the one I provided.

Pro believes the mutations scientists are deducing from phylogenetic comparisons of paralogous genetic sequences within genus and applying the principle of Occam's Razor to the data to build a testable model is not valid. So, in my opponent's mind, he only has to provide a baseless alternate "model" suggesting that the genes could have been "carry down from the original' ancestor. Yet he doesn't even show any evidence of where such a claim can be logically inferred. What is unfortunate for my opponent is that he failed to comprehend the evidence I put forth in the previous rounds to support my thesis; it still stands.

Pro's evidence for proving his postulate

Pro's has provided several proofs to prove his postulate that "All instances of speciation are capable of being explained by the degenerative process which means the compounding process is not required." Yet he never once put forth any instance of speciation or trait that he could explain through the degenerative process.

His first proof relies on the assumption that biological functions are linearly derived from genetic information. But this was refuted in round 2, when I demonstrated that the loss of biological function stems from a down-regulation of protein expression, not a loss of genetic information. Pro was never able to demonstrate that the mutation was caused by a loss of genetic information. He just assumes that loss of function is loss of genetic information, but this is what has to be proved.

Pro's proof 2 is a thought experiment that describes his proof 3. In this case, Pro relies on the assumption that a decrease in gene flow variation is synonymous with loss of genetic information. And again he doesn't provide any examples, even thought he does state that he "could list numerous examples". Instead he wants me to pick one he could disprove, but these are his proofs and my only role is to refute his evidence; not provide it for him.

My opponent's next three proofs were just textbook explanations for modes of speciation, not explanations for how speciation can occur by genetic loss. And his last proof wasn't evidence at all, but rather a subjective opinion that had no genetic basis for how the conclusion applies to his postulate.

Closing comments

The title of any debate should indicate the scope of what is going to be deliberated. The title of this debate reads: "The ‘deteriorating process' can explain all inferred instances of the ‘compounding process'; where the ‘deteriorating process' is defined as the loss of genetic information and the ‘compounding process' is defined as the gain of genetic information. To me, this suggests that the debate will be steeped in molecular genetics. Further, the instigator took the Pro position, which from the perspective as the Con means he will provide the evidence that I must refute. This was not the case, burden of proof shifted throughout the entire debate, and the evidence I present was ignored because it didn't meet Pro's unreasonable definition of proof, which was established after the debate had begun.

In round 3, my opponent rightfully defines science as the systematic pursuit of knowledge of the physical world though observation or experimentation. Observation here suggests that the phenomena being studied can be measured and the experimentation suggests properly controlled methods that can be used to answer a hypothesis. The evidence I present came from the observations and experimentation of which the definition is referring, and as such, stands as valid; thus proving my thesis as true and disproving Pro's postulate.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Defensor-of-Apollo 4 years ago
Save it for a debate.
Posted by Tin_Man 4 years ago
I also need to say that your concept of how debates actually work needs to be improved. You may not realize it, but you've rigged the debate in your favor due to your ridiculous requirements.

First, if you're presenting proof, and Con refutes, that means by definition that the burden of proof is on Pro, not Con.

Second, your "job" makes no sense if you consider that genetic function is BOTH gained and lost as a means of creating genetic variance. When you present an argument that a certain trait is due to loss of function, like lactose intolerance (which isn't a speciating event), you aren't wrong. Lactose intolerance IS due to loss of function. However, Con's inability to argue against the true statement you made doesn't indicate that your argument is universally true, as you claim.

Here's an analogy. I argue that every disease can be cured with Tylenol, and you take con. I say that I will present to you arguments that you must refute, and if you cannot disprove even a single claim, then it must true that every disease can be cured with Tylenol. My claims are:

1) Tylenol helps with headaches. You admit that this is true.
2) Tylenol helps with colds. You admit that this is also true.
3) Tylenol helps with toothaches. You admit that this too is true.
4) Tylenol helps with arthritis. You find that you cannot disprove this, so it is true is well.

I now claim that because you couldn't disprove any of my claims, it follows that Tylenol must cure all diseases. Does that make sense to you?

No, the burden of proof is on YOU. To win this debate, it is your responsibility to show that any case where genetic information was apparently gained is false. The widely-accepted mechanisms of genetic variance that all biology students (such as myself) work with in college is that genetic information is gained and lost. We have our proof. You need to find proof that beats ours.
Posted by Tin_Man 4 years ago
My point was that if you're working in an entirely closed system, then no information can be gained OR lost. By your definition, if the information can't be lost due to being in a closed system, then you can't prove or disprove your postulate. Without a provable postulate, this isn't a scientific debate.

When you're talking about the gain or loss of "genetic information", then your system has to be something which can be genetically different, proving that information was gained or lost. You can use the genetic strand itself, or the cell, or the organism, or even a population of diverging organisms.

In the case of the plasmids, the bacteria is the system. The bacteria plus the plasmid can be considered a "closed system" if you wish, to ensure that nothing else interferes. That's fine. But to determine whether a speciation event is the result from gain or loss, you have to observe the bacterium itself, and only by itself, since it is the independent living organism. There is absolutely no justification for including the plasmid floating freely in the environment as part of the speciation system, since it may or may not ever be involved. The bacterium itself has to allow information to travel in or out of its system in order for your postulate to be provable.
Posted by Defensor-of-Apollo 4 years ago
There was no semantics, a scientific statement is assumed to be in a closed system if necessary. Consider the second law of thermodynamics. Also if he agrees with me it definitely isn't semantics and like I said earlier, it s implied and you shouldn't use semantics to say otherwise.
Posted by Defensor-of-Apollo 4 years ago
I was having major issues with font, sorry.
Posted by Tin_Man 4 years ago
Okay, but again, using function isn't particularly useful. Look back at my example about immunity. Binding proteins have a function, but certain pathogens can use binding sites against the cell (like HIV). Losing that binding site makes the cell weaker, because it loses the function of the site. However, it also means that the cell gains functional immunity against the pathogen.

And if you're going to start redefining systems when it defeats your argument, then there's no way to win. Your postulate is that no information can be "gained". I present a situation where information can be gained, and you react by including the information gained in the system, and challenging me to find another example not included in your system.

Science works in closed systems, but those systems are clearly defined and useful. If you choose to define the system as the entire universe, then no, there is no information gained. But by that standard, there is also no information lost. You have to define your system more clearly, and when we're talking about speciation events, then it is generally assumed that your "closed system" is the genetic information of one average, representative organism of a speciating population.

What you're arguing is semantics, not science. It's not a winnable debate for either of you.
Posted by Defensor-of-Apollo 4 years ago
Well for your first question I obviously defined information in the post. I figured you must have missed it something.

Biological information is best defined by functions not usefulness. Thee are of course generic functions that are caused by specific functions. The mo specific the better. However generic is easier to observe.

Deactivated genes by definition were once active. In the overall system no information gain occurred.

In the instance of plasmids it must be made clear that science deals with closed systems. The bacteria in your example is an open system when it interacts with the plasmid but it is closed if you include the plasmid. In the closed system, there is no gain of biological information.

Hope that helps. Sorry if you were wanting to accept, somebody else has.
Posted by Tin_Man 4 years ago
I said I was confused by the terms you insist on using. Telling me to read the post that initially confused me doesn't make sense.
Posted by Defensor-of-Apollo 4 years ago
Biological information is defined in the first round. I think if you read biological information it would answer most of your questions. My first round is not an argument but an explanation of the debate topic.

Human influence can obviously speciate yes.

Wikipedia is looked on this sit commonly as a bad source. That is what I was explaining. And yes it isn't cut and dry and part of it could be due to species not being cut and dry.
Posted by Tin_Man 4 years ago
I'm confused by your "definitions."

When you talk about gains and loss of genetic information, how are you defining "information"? Are you talking about actual nucleotides that disappear from DNA strand? Are you talking about genotype? Phenotypic expression?

After all, we have genes physically in our body that aren't active, but could be. Are those considered "deteriorated"? What happens if they are turned back on?

What do you consider a "loss" of information? Gain of an immunity against a disease can be the result of a loss of a binding protein on the outside of the target cell. Whether this was a "loss" of a protein or a "gain" of immunity is subjective.

Are you excluding bacteria? They can exchange genetic information directly through a process called transformation by absorbing genetic strands called plasmids from the environment. Since this is a natural process and can result in speciation, wouldn't this be considered a "gain" of genetic information?

Are you excluding all human-influenced evolutionary processes? This is common in farming.

And for what it's worth, it's not that Wikipedia is necessarily wrong (I didn't read the articles). But differentiating between "microevolution" and "macroevolution" is not usually cut and dry. It's a rather artificial distinction when you haven't identified exactly what constitutes a species. The concept of "species" is something that we use for ease, but we have yet to find a definition that actually works universally. Until we do that, we can't truly debate under the rules you've established. Macroevolution is simply defined as multiple instances of microevolution.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's effectively refutes Pro's claims.