The theory of evolution has problems that cannot be resolved using current scientific understanding.
Debate Rounds (4)
The Pro will have the primary burden of proof in formulating and defending his case. Con's burden will be to deconstruct and refute Pro's case. Pro does not have the burden of proving the existence of an intelligent designer, since he has not proposed any alternative theory to explain the origin of life. He has merely said that the theory of evolution has problems that cannot be resolved using current scientific understanding.
R1 is for acceptance. Argumentation begins in R2.
Semantic or abusive arguments will not be counted.
New arguments brought in the last round will not be counted.
Abiogenesis: Non-living compounds somehow assemble to form simple, self-replicating structures. These structures then evolve to form primitive cells. The process is simply assumed to have occured, nobody has explained exactly how the process happened, and what the odds of it were. Even after the formation of a protocell, the evolution of each organelle is a major challenge, as I shall illustrate in my next point.
Macro-evolution: It is assumed that microevolutions accumulated over time and caused the creation of different species. However, this process, like the process of abiogenesis, is simply assumed to have occured. Nobody can explain exactly how it all happened, nor has anyone calculated the odds of such occurances. One example is the evolution of eye. It is believed that eyes first evolved as patches of photosensitive cells, which gave the organism some survival advantage. Later, a depression formed in the area, giving the the organism the ability to sense the direction of light. This depression increased with time, and gradually the eye took the form of a pinhole camera. Note that at each stage the mutation is fairly simple, and could have occured by chance. This theory is widely accepted today by scientists, but I find it lacking sense. The appearance of photosensitive cells is a fairly simple mutation, but does not give any survival advantage unless the cells can send signals to other parts of the organism and those other parts are capable of deriving information out of such signals. Thus for these primitive "eye-patches" to get selected, a complicated apparatus has to be evolved along with it in one full go, or else it will provide no survival benefit, and will not be selected for. Also, once the eye-spots have developed (along with the whole mechanism to derive useful information from it and to respond adequetely), the formation of depressions alone will not give any survival advantage unless the organism has programs that can derive additional information regarding the direction of light from the signals sent by the photocells. Thus, if one tries to explain macro-evolution as gradual accumulation of microevolutions, one cannot do that. For each "micro" change to be selected for, it must provide a survival advantage. When a new organ is evolved, it is first supposed to come into existence as a very simple structure (say a proto-organ), and then gradually develop its features. However, if an additional organ has to develop, (even if it is a simple proto-organ) it must also form pathways of communication with some other organs, and those other organs must also learn to understand the signals that this new organ gives, and how to respond to them. Only then will this new "organ"(or a primitive structure) give a survival advantage and be selected for. This process is rarely feasable, as we have seen in the above example. In short, the arising of a primtive organ or a modification in an existing organ could be explained as a chance mutation. However, if this new modification has to give a survival advantage, it must make changes in the entire system. Such changes are unlikely to occur in a single mutation, and must proceed thorugh a series of mutations (with each stage providing a survival advantage to be selected). However, none of the intermediary stages would give suffiecient survival advantage to be selected for. For example, the mere appearance of a patch of photocells does not give any survival advantage because the entire system still lacks a mechanism to receive signals from the eye-patch and also lacks the requisite programming to interpret those signals and responding to them.
Lack of probability theory: No version of the theory of evolution is able to calculate the odds of life arising out of non-living matter, and subsequently evolving into complex life forms. This amounts to saying that there is no mathematical proof that the proposed timeline of evolution contains enough time for evolution to occur. There will be enough time for evolution to occur if the odds are good, but if the odds are very high, even trillions of years might not suffice to produce the amount of complexity that we see today. I'm not saying evolution did not occur. I'm merely saying that the theory currently a lacks a mathematical basis in probability theory. Without any proper mathematical basis, the process is simply assumed to have occured, just because scientists cannot come up with a better explanation than natural selection.
The Cambrian explosion: the relatively rapid appearance, around 530 million years ago, of most major animal phyla, as demonstrated in the fossil record, accompanied by major diversification of organisms including animals, phytoplankton, and calcimicrobes. Before about 580 million years ago, most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells occasionally organized into colonies. Over the following 70 or 80 million years the rate of evolution accelerated by an order of magnitude (as defined in terms of the extinction and origination rate of species) and the diversity of life began to resemble that of today.
Let me start off by stating the Unversal Genetic Code (UGC), All cells on earth, from our white blood cells,to simple bacteria, to the cells in the xylem vessels of the trees, are capable ofof reading any piece of DNAfrom any life on earth. This alone stands a strong reason why we have a common ancestor from which all life desended. As you are not allowed to state reasons of religous belief, this topic might be hard for you without google, but I am ready to end it quickly. As you stated about Macro-Cells ETC. , you restrain from remembering that is the point of evolution, that we all originated from cells or a single celled organism. Whether it be a regular bateria, Paramecium, or even the simplest Plant Cell. We must not forget though about other proofs though, like our genetic commonalities. Human beings have approximately 96% of genes in common with chimpanzees, about 90% of genes in common with cats, 80% with cows, 75% with mice, and so on. This does not prove that we evolved from chimpanzees or cats, though, only that we shared a common ancestor in the past. And the amount of difference between our genomes corresponds to how long ago our genetic lines diverged. Which brings me to the fossil record which states, that the simplest fossils will be found in the oldest rocks, and it can also show a smooth and gradual transition from one form of life to another. Once again, as these are not complete proofs of evolution, they are strong facts. If you still don't think my rebuttle stands strong, please let me refer to words of Stephen Hawking:
"By contrast," Hawking says, "there are about 50,000 new books published in the English language each year, containing of the order of a hundred billion bits of information. Of course, the great majority of this information is garbage, and no use to any form of life. But, even so, the rate at which useful information can be added is millions, if not billions, higher than with DNA."
This means Hawking says that we have entered a new phase of evolution. "At first, evolution proceeded by natural selection, from random mutations. This Darwinian phase, lasted about three and a half billion years, and produced us, beings who developed language, to exchange information."
But what distinguishes us from our cave man ancestors is the knowledge that we have accumulated over the last ten thousand years, and particularly, Hawking points out, over the last three hundred.
"I think it is legitimate to take a broader view, and include externally transmitted information, as well as DNA, in the evolution of the human race," Hawking said.
In the last ten thousand years the human species has been in what Hawking calls, "an external transmission phase," where the internal record of information, handed down to succeeding generations in DNA, has not changed significantly. "But the external record, in books, and other long lasting forms of storage," Hawking says, "has grown enormously. Some people would use the term, evolution, only for the internally transmitted genetic material, and would object to it being applied to information handed down externally. But I think that is too narrow a view. We are more than just our genes."
The time scale for evolution, in the external transmission period, has collapsed to about 50 years, or less.Meanwhile, Hawking observes, our human brains "with which we process this information have evolved only on the Darwinian time scale, of hundreds of thousands of years. This is beginning to cause problems. In the 18th century, there was said to be a man who had read every book written. But nowadays, if you read one book a day, it would take you about 15,000 years to read through the books in a national Library. By which time, many more books would have been written."
But we are now entering a new phase, of what Hawking calls "self designed evolution," in which we will be able to change and improve our DNA. "At first," he continues "these changes will be confined to the repair of genetic defects, like cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy. These are controlled by single genes, and so are fairly easy to identify, and correct. Other qualities, such as intelligence, are probably controlled by a large number of genes. It will be much more difficult to find them, and work out the relations between them. Nevertheless, I am sure that during the next century, people will discover how to modify both intelligence, and instincts like aggression."
If the human race manages to redesign itself, to reduce or eliminate the risk of self-destruction, we will probably reach out to the stars and colonize other planets. But this will be done, Hawking believes, with intelligent machines based on mechanical and electronic components, rather than macromolecules, which could eventually replace DNA based life, just as DNA may have replaced an earlier form of life.
Con has put forth an excellent argument for the existence of a common ancestor, but he has not answered my objections against the theory of evolution by natural selection. Con was asked to refute my case, which Con hasn't done. My contention is that natural selection fails to explain the origin of all of the diversity we see in life. The existence of a Universal Genetic Code, in and of itself, does not prove that the natural selection hypothesis (believed to be the main cause of evolution in the modern theory) can explain the origin of species. In particular, the existence of UGC does not answer my objections raised against the validity of evolution by natural selection. It could be that life evolved from a common ancestor, but still the mechanism of evolution was something other than natural selection. Or another possibility could be that UGC was arranged by a creator. I'm not endorsing any alternative hypothesis, but merely saying that Con has not answered my objections against natural selection.
The resolution of this debate, as stated in R1, rests upon Con being able to refute my case, which he hasn't done. He must refute the four points that I have raised. Also, I would like to point out that Con had digressed from the topic of our debate when he started talking about the views of Stephen Hawking.
Quoting the first round:
"The Pro will have the primary burden of proof in formulating and defending his case. Con's burden will be to deconstruct and refute Pro's case."
Pro's case (stated in R2) clearly states that natural selection does not explain the origin of life. I have organized my case in terms of four points. Con has put forward his case (which was not required of him), but has not provided any argument directed against those four points. If Con cannot refute those points, then I'm afraid he'll have to admit defeat. Please note that as stated in R1, the resolution of this debate rests on Con being able to refute my case. Con was not required to put forward Con's own case, and therefore I did not have any burden to refuting it either.
kmingage forfeited this round.
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