The Instigator
Rob
Pro (for)
Winning
34 Points
The Contender
TheGreatDebate
Con (against)
Losing
21 Points

The theory of evolution is compatible with the existence of God

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/11/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,691 times Debate No: 255
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (15)
Votes (17)

 

Rob

Pro

I am not asserting that God exists; I am not even asserting that the theory of evolution is true, although I'll gladly argue that in another debate. Here, my argument is that the existence of a god does not contradict evolutionary biology, as creationists often imagine.

First, and most importantly, let's define "evolution". According to the RHAD, it's "Change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift." According to the AHD, it's "Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species."

With evolution properly defined in its scientific context, there seems to be no reason to believe that if God exists, evolution can't occur. All that is required for evolution is heredity (e.g., you inherit traits from your parents), variation and mutation (e.g., you differ from your parents in minor ways), and natural selection (e.g., people with traits that are helpful for reproduction tend to have more offspring than others, which means they pass on those traits more to the next generation and those traits become more common).

To avoid misunderstandings, we must also establish what evolution is not. For example, evolution is not abiogenesis ("life from non-life"), the separate theory that early life developed through chemical reactions between organic molecules. Evolution is not dependent upon abiogenesis, and abiogenesis is not an evolutionary process in the biological sense.
TheGreatDebate

Con

Hey Rob.

Ok, here is why Evolution is NOT compatible with the existence of God according to the Bible (Which you will most likely believe in if you believe in God).

In the book Genesis, is states the God created The Universe, the World, Sun, Moon, Stars, Plants, Animals, and People, all in SIX days. The theory of Evolution states millions and billions of years. But The Bible, the word of God Himself sasy it happened in SIX days.
Debate Round No. 1
Rob

Pro

TheGreatDebate, your response doesn't address the substance of this debate: my argument is "The theory of evolution is compatible with the existence of God", not "The theory of evolution is compatible with a particular literalistic interpretation of the Book of Genesis in the Bible". Most people who believe in God do not believe, for example, that plants existed before even stars did, as Genesis asserts.

However, I will nevertheless point out that even if one assumes that the world and life were created in six 24-hour days (though I can't imagine what sort of meaning a 24-hour day would have considering that the first "days" occurred before the existence of the Sun!), that does not require one to conclude that evolution did not occur, much less that evolution is not occurring today.

If God is capable of creating so much in a mere six days by "poofing" things out of nothingness, why would he not be equally capable of creating those things through a "sped-up" form of evolution? Considering that the scientific evidence strongly suggests evolutionary sequentialism throughout the fossil record, the idea that God used evolution to create the species (which is consistent with how we see God work his wonders in our daily life: through natural processes, albeit wondrous and beautiful ones) seems more in keeping with the idea that God is good, wise, etc. After all, if the "poof" method is true, then it seems that God is a deceiver, since why would the evidence suggest evolution if evolution weren't the truth? In contrast, evolutionary creation suggests that God is no deceiver, no trickster. And it is no less glorious for God to create things through the amazing natural laws he crafted, than it is for him to ad-hoc "poof" species out of thin air; in fact, it is more remarkable and praiseworthy if God was able to create life through such an elegant, simple process, rather than having to personally poof each arbitrary cow and turtle and seagull out of thin air like some schizophrenic gumball machine.

God works in mysterious ways, and it is pure arrogance to assume that he could not, or would not, use evolution as one of the tools in his Creation. Note that my argument is not that he _necessarily_ did so: to conclude that, one would have to look at the evidence, not just theology. Rather, my argument is that God _could_ have done so, and that fallible human beings should not leap to the assumption that he did not just because they find the "poof" story a bit snazzier or more dramatic.
TheGreatDebate

Con

Why would God make life evolve or whatever you want to call it happen over millions or billions of years, when he can create something in a day? Why would God make a any lifeform take mill-billions of years when it can happen "like that."

Here is why evolution is false. They have recently proved that the Reath is as young as 10,000 years old, not millions. In the Bible, it says that God created Man in his own image, and when he created him, he is the same as he is today.

That fossil thing that the evolutionists try to use to prove evolution, was challenged. They say that it is millions of years old, and to prove that it is millions of years old, THEY USE THE FOSSIL THING! They use it to prove itself!

There is no proof for evolution, and no proof or reason God would use it.
Debate Round No. 2
Rob

Pro

You ask me why God would create life over millions or billions of years when he could just as easily do it in a day. (Though I didn't make that claim in my above post, I'll respond anyway.)

My response: Why would God create life over the course of six days when he could just as easliy do it in a day?

If God is able to make everything instantly, then it seems equally arbitrary for God to wait multiple days, multiple weeks, multiple months, multiple years, multiple millennia. Either God did everything as quickly as he was able to (which should be instantaneously and all at once, since he's omnipotent), or he did not. If the former, then he should not have even taken a week to create the universe; and if the latter, then who are we to judge how long God should have taken, when we don't know his ultimate plan? God is eternal, so surely length of time matters little to him.

Who are these "they" you claim have proven that the Earth is 10,000 years old? Certainly not scientists, since no modern earth scientists accept that the Earth is so ridiculously young. Mind you, they could be wrong (silly fallible human scientists!), but it is nonetheless dishonest to imply that there is some sort of evidence for the Earth being so young, when in reality a particular interpretation of the Bible is the only "evidence" for such a claim. You're free to believe whatever you want, but don't try to misrepresent your religious beliefs as being something they're not.

Where in the Bible does it say that man as God created him was "the same as he is today"? Last I checked, people nowadays don't live for centuries, like the earliest Biblical humans did; that certainly suggests at least some differences, purely from a theological perspective. Heck, even without appealing to fossils, basic anthropology will tell you that people used to be much shorter. So change does indisputably occur; the only real question is the magnitude and nature of the change.

"They" (presumably you mean paleontologists) do not try to "USE THE FOSSIL THING!", as you put it, to date fossils. Rather, they most commonly use geological strata (layers of rock which consistently correspond to different chronological periods) and radiometric dating, which tests for the abundance of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes (forms of elements which decay at regular rates).

"There is no proof for evolution, and no proof or reason God would use it." - I'm not attempting to provide a proof or reason why God would use evolution to create. Why should I, when you haven't provided a proof or reason why God would use the "poof" method to create? We are mortals, and it is not our place to speculate wildly on what God would or wouldn't do, when both options are possibilities. Theologically and Biblically, there is no strong reason to accept either the "poof" method of traditional creationism, or the evolutionary method of modern science. The evidence provided by the natural world (i.e., by God's Creation itself!), therefore, not human theology and speculation, should determine which of these two options we ultimately accept.

Lastly, I would remind you that my aim in this debate was not to prove that evolution occurred or that evolutionary creationism is true; my goal was only to prove that such a thing is _possible_, that evolution and God are not inherently contradictory. I believe that this point has been effectively demonstrated, as even you seem to concede that God _could_ have used evolution to create--you just don't understand why he would. (Though I'm surprised that you'd think that if you personally don't understand something about God, that thing must be untrue...)
TheGreatDebate

Con

TheGreatDebate forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Rob

Pro

Rob forfeited this round.
TheGreatDebate

Con

TheGreatDebate forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Rob

Pro

Rob forfeited this round.
TheGreatDebate

Con

The theory of evolution goes against everything God is, because of this, they are not compatible. He did not use evolution, he used 6 24-hour days ("And there was evening and there was morning, the first day etc.) Evolution was not used and is not compatible.
Debate Round No. 5
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
Quite true. I've always felt that the whole evolution doesn't speak to abiogenesis line is rather dishonest. It seems to me you randomly create some small chemical and it's off to the races... as evolution kicks in.

It's easy to say that evolution didn't create some tiny molecule with some slight replicating ability, but really from then on it's only evolution. I don't this this event is much to speak of. I doubt it would be any more impressive than the Miller experiment, results... followed by a billion years of bootstrapping prior success into cells.
Posted by lowandwet 8 years ago
lowandwet
Be careful when attempting to make a distinction between abiogenesis and evolution. Abiogenesis relies on chemical evolution, and the distinction between chemicals and life is really just human semantics. Life is just a propagation of chemical reactions.
Posted by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
Again, the idea that God designedly created man via evolution is like designedly creating broken glass in a specific pattern with a baseball bat. You can create a pattern of broken glass, but that specific pattern isn't divinely inspired. I think "designedly created man" premise is at it's core a broadly accepted idea of modern religious thought and I believe evolution smashes it with a baseball bat.

Genesis doesn't have gaps. Genesis is a gap. It's a joke. There's no truth there at all. If you were to explain our origins the last thing you would ever use is Genesis. The Bible says that God created Land Animals before humans. Actually it only says that in Genesis 1, in Genesis 2 the order is reversed and God creates Adams and then the land animals who are named by Adam (and presented as life partners to him). This is wrong. We aren't going to fill in the gaps there, as it's pretty broad and pretty conclusive and completely absurd.

Declaring it poetry doesn't help the problem, it simply ruins the good name of poetry. There's nothing remotely poetic about it, and calling a metaphor is a rather silly equivocation. What two things is it comparing? A crazy nutty incorrect story with?
Posted by Retrospace 8 years ago
Retrospace
As far as the core debate goes, I highly believe that Evolution and The Existence of God, can go hand in hand.

As I"m sure many of you are aware, there are HUGE gaps in the creation story presented to us in Genesis. A few listed below.

-Dinosaurs! The creation and destruction of them.
-Australopithecus (Lucy) and other Pre-HomoSapien beings, whose skeletons have been found.

These gaps can be filled with evolution. The Bible says that God created Land Animals before he/she/it created Humans. As has been discussed in comments, the length of these six days is unknown.

So In my opinion God could have created dinosaurs with other land animals. Then created early humanoids. Saw the threat dino's had, and wiped them out. He perhaps also saw the flaws in early humanoids, and through trial and error, finally created the "perfect being". Aka homosapiens.

This does bring to mind a debate I would like to hold, if anyone wants to accept I'll post it today.
Posted by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
I could have lost this debate against Rob with flying colors. I actually believe that the theory of evolution isn't is not compatible with the existence of God... but not because I'm a crazy God freak... I'm a crazy evolution freak.

Outside of a pantheistic the theory of evolution is an absolute destruction of God-belief. The evidence takes us so far away from any traditional belief that without strong cognitive dissidence, it can't be held compatible.

For example, take a look at Pumpkinonwheels' comment he says "The point is, everything about us and the world around us is complex and ordered." -- "To me, evolution fits in perfectly with everything else God has done. In fact, I think it's more spiritually satisfying to think that God created this intricate system of evolution and that I am a part of it." -- This is just about the exact opposite of what you should take from a good understanding of evolution. You aren't special. There's no magical intricate system setup to create you. There's a haphazard system of death and destruction and lucky few who breed a little bit more. One chance happening in the cretaceous and you wouldn't exist. Embedded in this religious thinking is still the idea that in this complex and ordered world you're important... you're just the latest replicator in a long line of historically apt replicators. One chance happening in the Precambrian and every bit of those complicated nervous systems, respiratory systems, DNA, RNA... even mitosis are *poof* gone.

Evolution isn't chance. There is a result. But much like a randomly shuffled deck, there a good number of potential results and you have to have one of them... though in the absolutely vast majority of them you don't exist.

In short, religion tells people they are special. Evolution tells people they are just a lucky cog in a natural process. You might as well randomly sort a deck of cards and accuse the result of being stacked because it exists.
Posted by pumpkinonwheels 8 years ago
pumpkinonwheels
I am a Christian and I also believe the theory of evolution. I have long felt that there is no logical reason why God couldn't have chosen to use evolution as a means of creation. The world is so complicated as it is. Think of just the human body: we have complicated nervous systems, respiratory systems, cardiovascular systems, etc. Our cells themselves have mitochondria, lipids, endoplasmic reticulum, nuclei, RNA, DNA, undergo mitosis and meiosis, etc. The point is, everything about us and the world around us is complex and ordered.

To me, evolution fits in perfectly with everything else God has done. In fact, I think it's more spiritually satisfying to think that God created this intricate system of evolution and that I am a part of it. It makes me feel even more loved to think that God spent all that time on us. He has watched us grow and more importantly, let us grow. He loves me enough to think of how I was going to come about as a part of evolution billions and billions of years in advance. Everything must work perfectly in a system such as this, in order for the intended results to occur and seeing as God is omnipotent, He did it or at least could have very possibly done it.
Posted by goldspurs 8 years ago
goldspurs
I agree with the Pro on this one (even though I am a Christian). He provided a much stronger argument so far. While I do not believe evolution has been proven, I am open to the idea that this could of been God's design.
Posted by hattopic 8 years ago
hattopic
Superchico, I was going to respond to your arguments, but it seems Rob has already done it for me. However I notice that you didn't respond to the idea that the days referred to in the bible were non-consecutive.

Also, I'd like to point out that there are many Christians (and other religious peoples) that believe both in God, and in evolution. Faith is a very personal thing, so if you can accept those two ideas, then they're obviously not in-compatible.
Posted by superchico77 8 years ago
superchico77
Sorry I don't have time right now to respond to your arguements Rob, but I did see your one about the religious organizations, and no, I had an extensive discussion (1 hour) with a catholic minister (whatever they are called) and he said that they did not endorse nor deny it..
Posted by Rob 8 years ago
Rob
To respond to your points:
- The fact that evolution occurs does not make you an "accident," if God guided that evolution in order to ensure that you came about. You might as well argue that gravity makes life purposeless, since the theory of gravity suggests that the Earth can revolve around the Sun without God's direct intervention, without God "caring" that the Earth's orbit persists. Both arguments are equally absurd.

- Why would God have no reason to care about humans anymore than other life, just because we all evolved? Under the ex nihilo "poof" theory, God has just as little reason to care about humans, since all lifeforms were created by him. An unspecial "poof" origin (where God creates all life, including humans, by randomly materializing them out of thin air) is not any better than an unspecial evolutionary origin (where God creates all life, including humans, by having organisms diverge over the generations until they form distinct species).

- Again, I must point out that there is no reason why God wouldn't have a vested interested in humans just because they evolved. The fact that humans are like non-humans _in that respect_ doesn't mean that they aren't different from non-humans _in other respects_. It is no more demeaning for humans and animals both to have evolved than it is for humans and animals both to have skin. If you believe humans have things like a soul, reasoning abilities, etc. which other species lack, then the number of incidental similarities shouldn't matter.

Also, your argument here is not factual; many religious denominations, such as Catholics, accept evolutionary creation.
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