The Instigator
Burncastle
Pro (for)
Winning
16 Points
The Contender
AlexanderOc
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

The theory of Evolution is well supported by science

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Burncastle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/21/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 534 times Debate No: 56947
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

Burncastle

Pro

First round is for acceptance (and I would like to know if my opponent is a young earth creationist). I will take the BoP but if my opponent has arguments of his own, then I will gladly address them.

My first argument will be copy pasted from my previous debate on this subject (which my opponent forfeited), so don't be surprised if you see it somewhere else on this site.

Just so we're clear: I will not be proving that the theory of evolution is ABSOLUTELY true, but simply that it is (very) well supported by science.

I hope for a stimulating debate!
AlexanderOc

Con

I accept the challenge.

I'm not a young Earth creationist, I am actually an evolutionist. As such, I will have no constructs to deliver

During my research to prove Evolution in a previous debate, I found Evolution to be quite hard to support using only Internet resources. There was evidence supporting it yes, however it was questionable and couldn't objectively point directly to Evolution being true.

My opponent takes BoP and therefore must prove beyond a resonable doubt ( 95% sure) that The theory of Evolution is a well supported scientific theory.


Definitions shall be as follows.

The theory of Evolution: A process in which a common ancestor of all organsims genetically changes by means of Natural Selection, genetic drift, and descent with modification to seperate into the various species alive today.

Science: The study of the physical world: the study of the physical and natural world and phenomena, especially by using systematic observation and experiment

I look forward to a fun and informative debate. I think we will both benefit from seeing an evolutionist argue the other side!
Debate Round No. 1
Burncastle

Pro

I am a bit disappointed; I was hoping to have an opponent that does NOT believe in evolution, but I will do my best nonetheless. My opponent seems to agree with the fact that evolution is supported by science and simply questions whether Internet is a reliable source, which is not really the point of this debate.

My opponent also made that the evidence were 'questionable and couldn't objectively point directly to Evolution being true', but science does not deal in objective truths, it deals in theories and hypotheses.

The rest of this round is a copy paste from one of my previous debate:

1) Evidence from deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA):

Since I am not a geneticist, this will be pretty basic (and pretty much a bunch of paraphrases from sources I will list below). I believe it will also help everyone understand it better. Let's start with an introduction to DNA.

Our DNA is what defines us. It uses four basic building blocks (named A, T, C and G) in order to code our entire body. Humans have approximately 25000 genes in their DNA, each of which controls a specific aspect of our body (eye color, diseases, height, etc.). We share about 99,9% of our DNA with each other, leaving our differences in the remaining 0,1%. (http://eveloce.scienceblog.com......)

A couple of years back, scientists started the Human Genome Project, with which they wanted to sequence all of our DNA (this has now been completed). With the sequence now well known, scientists began to sequence the DNA of other mammals such as lions, elephants and pigs and they realized that not only do they also have 25000 genes, but most of these genes are identical to ours. Many primates are extremely similar to us, genetically speaking (http://humanorigins.si.edu......) (http://en.wikipedia.org......)

Another impressive fact is the ability for human genes to be passed to other animals. Fruit flies, for example, can accept some human genes in order to create weird (though viable) mutations. While this may not be a direct proof of evolution, it is exactly what you would expect if every life form shared a common ancestor.

Since DNA is an extremely complicated subject, I will leave at that for now.

2) Evidence from the fossil record:

This is much easier to grasp then DNA so I will spend more time on it. Let's begin with the evolution of humans:

    • Australopithecus afarensis lived around 3 million years ago. It's anatomy suggests that it is ancestral to modern humans (http://humanorigins.si.edu......)

    • Homo ergaster (which is sometimes considered part of homo erectus) is the next species in our evolutionary chain. It lived less than 2 million years ago and shared many feature with us (http://australianmuseum.net.au......)

    • Homo heidelbergensis lived less than 1 million years ago and was very similar to homo erectus except for the fact that he had a larger brain (http://anthro.palomar.edu......)

    • Homo sapiens is virtually identical to us and therefore is considered part of the same species (basically, we are homo sapiens). They have been around for about 200 000 years (http://humanorigins.si.edu......)


Let's explore the evolution from sea to land:

This aspect of evolution is extremely important; not only does it contain one of the most convincing “transitional fossil”, but it also allowed us to make an accurate prediction. Given what we knew about evolution back in 2000, scientists began to search for the fossil of an animal, around 350 million years old, which would indicate the transition from sea to land. After many failed attempt, they finally found what they were looking for in 2004 (in Canada); Tiktaalik. This animal is a perfect transitional fossil; it retains many characteristics of fish AND has many features that are specific to tetrapods. (http://www.sciencedaily.com......)
(http://en.wikipedia.org......)
(https://www.youtube.com......)

If my opponent wishes, I can present the evolution of birds in the next round, or perhaps the evolution of cats and dogs, or maybe he would prefer the evolution of mammals. Take your pick.

Personally, the aspect of the fossil record that I find the most convincing (and the primary reason why I accept evolution as true) is the absence of currently living species in old layers; for example, we never found the fossil of a dog that was 100 million years nor have we ever found “rabbits in the Precambrian”. (http://en.wikipedia.org......) In other words, the fact that evolution is so easily falsifiable and yet has NOT been falsified is pretty convincing to me (although it obviously is not sufficient on its own to be considered scientific).


I await my opponent's answer!
AlexanderOc

Con

I must apologize to my opponent. I was not aware he preferred a debate with a thiest. I will do my best to cross-examine with all the ferocity a well-informed thiest might provide.


"Science does not deal in objective truths, it deals in theories and hypotheses." This is true, however science also deals with observable evidence on which to draw these theories and hypotheses. Previous research done by myself has shown a lacking in observable evidence. It does exist, however not in quantities to show beyond a 95% burden of proof.

1) Evidence from deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA):
My opponent points out similarities between organisms and how those correlations suggest a common ancestor.
I have one issue with this argument.

1. Correlation ≠ Causation

While what Pro says is true, it is only suggestive. Much like most arguments for Evolution. We think " If Evolution were true, how would things be?" and upon finding something that correlates we pipe that as evidence. The issue with this comes when you realise this cannot only be applied to Evolution.

For an example, let's look from a theist's point of view.
"If a Deity existed, how would things be?" Would not a deity have people create houses of worship to praise him? If so then churches and a God correlate. However, an atheist would argue my point. " Simply because churches would make sense if a deity existed, that does not necassarily prove his existence."

Simply because we share similarities with other creatures does not completely support Evolution. What's to stop a Christian from suggesting that god created all beings from a similar genetic mold? Both are suggestive.



2) Evidence from the fossil record:

Here Pro successfully shows the progression of humans through various fossils that supports Evolution. I will not argue this point. There does seem to be a progression of traits before Homo Sapiens.

However there is an issue with his next argument!

My opponent is absolutely correct in saying that Evolution is easily falsifiable. All it would take is a single fossil found in the wrong continent/layer of rock and this theory would crumble. If Evolution can't account for a misplaced species, then its credibility would fall apart.

Here are some examples of a few situations Evolution has trouble explaining;

http://www.allaboutscience.org...

Let's begin with the obvious one.
The cambrian explosion is a phenomenon in the fossil record that carries an enigma of sorts.
There was a period dubbed "pre-cambrian" in which there was very little complex life. There simple organsims that wandered the planet. Then, a quirk!
All of the sudden, the fossil record shows many forms of very complex organisms taking over the globe. The question here is where did all of these complex organisms come from in such a brief period of time? Evolution has some issues explaining this away. Without an apparent transition, we got all of these intricate animals.

http://www.icr.org...

Here one of those misplaced fossils I spoke of.
The Hurdia is an aquatic animal that was originally marked as a Cambrian fossil after some testing. Later though, it was dicovered that this fossil actually belonged to the Ordovician time period. A small contradiction yes, however a significant one. Why would an apparently Cambrian organism be found so much later in history?

That concludes my side of round 2.
I do have to address one last thing before I wrap this up. Upon trying to research some of Pro's source, I found them to be generic links. By that I mean they led to the homepage of the website that it was leading to. This wouldn't be such a problem if Pro didn't list sources from general websites such as Wikipedia, Youtube, and science daily where it can be difficult to find the specific information he is referring to. I'm not sure if this is on his end or mine, if it is the former, please be more specific with your sources to avoid confusion.

Other than that, I'm expecting a fully fleshed-out rebuttal! I'm playing devil's advocate here and need solid reason to justify my support for Evolution. Don't let me down!
Debate Round No. 2
Burncastle

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response and I want him to know that I do not mind the fact that he is not a theist.

"science also deals with observable evidence on which to draw these theories and hypotheses" Agreed. The theory of evolution was first proposed by Darwin after he observed birds (finches) being adapted to their environment. We observe speciation in the lab (two populations that diverge so much that they can not interbreed); we obviously observe mutation through generations (we are not the exact mix of our parents) and we found fossils. Evolution is well supported by observation.

"It does exist, however not in quantities to show beyond a 95% burden of proof" Attributing a number to the burden of proof is useless; there is no way to establish what amount of evidence constitutes "95%".


1) DNA

"We think " If Evolution were true, how would things be?" and upon finding something that correlates we pipe that as evidence" Yes, if a theory manages to produce accurate predictions (which it did in the case of Tiktaalik), then it is considered evidence supporting that theory.

""If a Deity existed, how would things be?" Would not a deity have people create houses of worship to praise him? If so then churches and a God correlate." Well that is a self-fulfilling prophecy, meaning that people actively worked towards that goal. In the case of DNA, scientists did not "create" DNA, they discovered it. When DNA was discovered, it could very well have destroyed the idea of common descent (if DNA was different in every living things), but it confirmed it. The fact that the theory of evolution was already in place when DNA was discovered is the reason why the analogy with theists fails.

"Simply because we share similarities with other creatures does not completely support Evolution" I'm not sure what my opponent means by "not completely supports", but I will say that it does support evolution, because the existence of similarities (on the DNA level) is considered an accurate prediction, therefore increasing its scientific validity.

"What's to stop a Christian from suggesting that god created all beings from a similar genetic mold?" Nothing stops them from doing that; if God can do anything, then everything "fits" with the idea of God and discussing his existence becomes meaningless. The difference is, the God hypothesis can not make any predictions and has no explanatory power.


2) Fossil record

"The Cambrian explosion is a phenomenon in the fossil record that carries an enigma of sorts." The Cambrian explosion is a great mystery in biology, but not because the time window is too small (it was actually around 20 million years long); the mystery lies in the CAUSE of the Cambrian explosion. In other words, biologists are currently exploring the different hypotheses that would explain the origin of this event. http://biologos.org...


"The Hurdia is an aquatic animal that was originally marked as a Cambrian fossil after some testing. Later though, it was dicovered that this fossil actually belonged to the Ordovician time period" I will start by contesting the validity of the source provided by my opponent. The Institute for Creation Research is NOT a scientific authority and I will point out that the page he referenced is trying to argue that the Flood explains this problem (I will assume that my opponent does not believe that the Flood is a historical event). I would also point out that finding a fossil in two successive periods does NOT contradict evolution; it is possible for a species to remain static for prolonged periods of time if it is well adapted to its environment and if the environment does not change.



On the issue of incomplete sources, I must admit that I have the same problem my opponent has; I am unable to go to the specific pages I wanted. This is an error on my part and, although I do not know how to correct it (I copied the whole link and it just took a part out), I will try to avoid it in the future. Please inform me if the same happens with the link I provided is this round.

I await my opponent's response!




AlexanderOc

Con

Pro has made some irrefutable points. I do apologize for the bias website, that was unintentional and didn't outright appear christian until Pro pointed out the issues.

I must apologize again for conceding so early, however my opponent is obviously well informed on Evolution and can support it very well. Attempting to rebut any further would only boil down to nitpicking which would serve my case no better.

Had fun.

Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 3
Burncastle

Pro

I thank my opponent for this debate, I hope he enjoyed it as much as I did!
AlexanderOc

Con

I did as well! Gave me even more reason to defend Evolution.

Concession extended.
Debate Round No. 4
Burncastle

Pro

Burncastle forfeited this round.
AlexanderOc

Con

Concession extended. Remember to award Pro the conduct point for my concession.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Burncastle 2 years ago
Burncastle
I think I found the problem with my sources: putting them between parentheses screws up the link.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
FuzzyCatPotato
BurncastleAlexanderOcTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Concess.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
BurncastleAlexanderOcTied
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff. Con conceded several times. Con admitted to having a questionable source.
Vote Placed by Ajab 2 years ago
Ajab
BurncastleAlexanderOcTied
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: An honorable concession from Con, in my books he gets the Conduct points. Burncastle gets the argumentation points because of the concession and points well made. He used sources properly and connected the dots.