The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
17 Points

Theistic evolution over Darwinian evolution

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/26/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,526 times Debate No: 35005
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (4)




In the debate, I will be showing how Theistic evolution is the best explanation for the origin of species over Darwinian evolution while my opponent defends the other side which includes arguing for universal common ancestry. Explanatory and predictive power are essential in determining this. This is NOT however about providing a perfect explanation.

The Intelligent Designer has been discovered: Divine Intelligence


Theistic Evolution: it is a comprehensive model, which is considered to be the most scientifically consistent model that includes intelligence. The theory reveals the designer as being a God that is most likely from the Judeo-Christian religion where it is interested in having a relationship with humanity while it sustains all of reality in the process. When using the Genesis account in the bible, the theistic model shows who what, where, when, why and how the origins of species developed and came about through the guided hand of Divine Intelligence. It also seeks to address the many objections on design inferences in biology.

Darwinian Evolution: a philosophical extension to the scientific theory of evolution. It is the idea that evolution is an unguided process or a only natural process where there is no ultimate form of life that is the "target" of all this reproduction, mutation, and selection. In addition, it implies that there is Universal common ancestry between species.


The Beginning

Borde, Guth, Vilenken developed a theorem that proves inflationary models must contain singularities [1]. At this point, called the initial singularity, gravity, space-time curvature, density etc. becomes infinite or near infinite where the laws of physics break down and do not apply, which means the aforementioned first law of thermodynamics would not hold inside a singularity and matter may be created or destroyed.

They also authored the BGV theorem which proves that any universe that is on average in a state of cosmic expansion greater than 0 throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past, but must have a past space time boundary [2]. This theorem does not assume Einstein"s equations and holds even when we don't have a complete quantum theory of gravity of the early universe.

In fact, Even if we are just a tiny part of a so-called "multi-verse" with another version of space-time that follow different laws of nature, their theorem would still require an absolute beginning from this multi-verse as well. This is because the BGV theorem carries only one assumption: If the expansion rate of any universe is greater than 0, the universe began.

One more observation seems to compound the idea, that there must have been a beginning, would be the second law of thermodynamics. A universe that exists infinitively in the future will come to equilibrium (heat death). Therefore, if a universe was also past eternal, then it should have already been in a state of equilibrium.

The Finely-Tuned Universe

The fundamental laws and constants of nature fall under an extraordinarily narrow range of life permitting values ,within an infinite set, in which the right value was chosen every time. The slightest change in these values would prevent any kind of life from evolving or existing. Moreover, these perfectly fine-tuned laws and constants came into being right after the big bang, error free and without change throughout this process.[3]

Let me explain what I mean by "fine-tuned for life". I am talking about fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life of any kind requires under the general definition of scientists presently use [4]. In other words, If the constants were even altered just a little, You would not get chemistry or matter much less planets and stars that can serve as places where life might evolve (In science, the meaning of the term "life" is not fully established or defined)[5].

How do we know the values are fine-tuned? We know through math that most of the values in the parameters will not allow life to exist if these values were smaller or larger. This means we don't need to know what values don't produce life, just the relevant values of the constants that do produce a life permitting universe.


According to philosophy, there cannot be an infinite amount of time because Time is by definition a series of "moments". The nature of a moment is "a beginning of the future and an end of the past." The assumption of an absolutely first moment would consequently carry with it the implication of a period of which is terminated by, and prior to, that first moment, and the prior time would itself contain moments. Thus, if time was eternal in the past, we would have never have arrived at this point, which means there has to be an absolute first cause.

This has been evident when scientists try to map and implement the idea of infinite "sets" upon the real world and has "lead to severe calculational problems in the mathematical modeling of ensembles of universes or universe domains, blocking any meaningful application of probability calculus" [6]. Now, science has empirical evidence showing how the universe itself had a beginning starting with the Big Bang singularity.

However, "this was not just any old bang from a simple beginning, but a great expansion of exquisitely arranged magnitude containing galaxies, planets, stars and all other heavenly bodies" [7]. The other important aspect of this extraordinary order following the big bang was the creation of our habitable planet Earth. So the question before us is this, if there is even a cause at all, what force is ultimately responsible for all the known phenomena and complexity within the universe?

If a great order arose from an expansion, then it should be understood that the intervention of an intelligence was involved in every moment of this expansion.

Furthermore, we can probably infer that this intelligence created and sustains the universe and the earth with humanity in mind, but the other question becomes "why". What are the ultimate goal of this designer and the overall purpose of life?


1. Omni-present, Eternal, and Immaterial

The Law of Cause and Effect states that for every effect there must be a cause for it and the Law of Biogenesis states that life (as we know it) only arises from pre-existing life.

Both these physical laws together indicate that whatever is responsible for this complexity and all known phenomena must have been an eternal life force without Spacial and Temporal properties that programmed the first self-replicating DNA molecule along with the universe itself. It must be eternal and therefore changeless without the universe because it created time. Since it also created space, it must transcend space as well and must therefore be dimensionless/immaterial not physical.

Lastly, it must be a personal mind since DNA contains information and, according to information theory, information only comes from minds [8]. Thus, the properties of this cause would be omni-present, eternal, and immaterial as well as a personal force.

In the next round, I will provide the rest of the characterizations and measurements for this cause

[3] John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle" p. 288
[4] Paul Davies, "How bio-friendly is the universe?" International Journal of Astrobiology, vol. 2, no. 2 (2003): 115
[7] Paul Davies, "Super force" , 1984 p. 84


I'd like to thank my opponent for challenging me to this debate and look forward to an amicable exchange.

There is very little in Pro's opening remarks that attempted to affirm the resolution. He spends most of his time trying to prove that a god must exist and be responsible for the creation of the universe, which in no way leads to the conclusion that this intelligence is responsible for guiding evolution. He claims:

"If a great order arose from an expansion, then it should be understood that the intervention of an intelligence was involved in every moment of this expansion:

Furthermore, we can probably infer that this intelligence created and sustains the universe and the earth with humanity in mind, but the other question becomes "why"."

This simply does not follow. There are many things that we order, yet can leave alone after we order it. Every video game ever made, for example, runs automatically without the creator(s) of the game's knowledge. Shigeru Miyamoto does not move all of the enemies around each time we fight them in Super Mario Brothers, despite the very well ordered nature of the game he created, he merely designed the system and then let it run without his further input.

There are virtually infinite possibilities that allow for an intelligent creator to exist in a hands off mode. Perhaps our universe is the product of a science experiment, and the entire span of our universe's history passes by before this intelligence can even comprehend its experiment is over, and might not discover we existed until much later, or perhaps even never.

So arguing "we can infer" the creator is involved in evolution because it created the universe is nothing more than an assertion. On what basis do we say this intelligence must be concerned *with us*? There is no such reason.

If my opponent wishes to affirm the resolution he will have to focus on why evolution itself is better explained by an intelligently guiding hand, not merely discuss the likelihood of such an entity existing. He needs to show it is *possible* for such a being to exist, but he can't stop there and do a victory lap.

Pro's sole point on the matter is to say DNA is information, and information theory says information can only come from the mind. This is incorrect on all levels. DNA isn't information, not in the traditional sense. By what measure is it to be considered information? We may use the terminology for the sake of brevity, but it isn't the same type of information one could write on a paper, or found in a computer hard drive. When we say DNA contains "information" we are really saying the various codons react to enzymes in such a way that a protein results from the interaction [1]. It is no more information than any other chemical reaction is information, or that dominoes set up contains the information that the next domino is to fall after it does.

Let's assume though that DNA is information. Where exactly has it been proven that all information must come from a mind? My opponent does list a source for his statement, but he has erred in giving us nothing more than a list of articles; the word "mind" does not even appear. Unless he means we should read each and every one of the dozen in order to find the claim, he has given us the wrong link.

Should some claim that information must come from a mind, they are demonstrably mistaken. We understand the completely natural processes behind evolution, and simple uninfluenced natural chemistry is all that is required to add or change the structure of a DNA molecule [2]. No hand required, no mind. So either DNA is not information, or my opponent's claim that information must come from a mind is wrong.

Without a reason to consider a mind a necessary component of evolution, Occum's Razor shaves it off. You cannot claim X is a necessary component of Y if Y can be fully explained without X, and my opponent gives no convincing point that we need X to explain Y.

I previously stated that addressing my opponent's proofs of god were unnecessary, and I stand by that statement. I am not here to disprove God's existence, nor do I even believe I could, yet proving a god exists doesn't get us any closer to showing this god or any intelligence was behind evolution. Still, I will correct a few of the inaccuracies he presented.

It seems requisite today to begin cosmological arguments by refuting Steady State theory. Why they insist on pointing out the universe as we know it had a starting point is puzzling. Virtually all atheists adhere to big bang cosmology; we're well aware that universe, again as we know it, began to exist. We differ in that the Big Bang was not a creation from absolute nothing. Space and time, the universe *as we know it*, had a beginning but existence? No, this argument relies on a significant misunderstanding of terminology. The scientific consensus on the matter is that, however the universe came about, there is no need for an intelligence behind it.

But didn't Vilenkin show you need intelligence to get something? Ask Vilenkin himself:

"Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God … So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist." [3]

Or, put more damningly by Steven Hawking, "This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary" [4].

Even the idea that it came from an absolute nothing is refuted by Vilenkin:

"[T]he state of “nothing” cannot be identified with absolute nothingness. The tunneling is described by the laws of quantum mechanics, and thus “nothing” should be subject to these laws. The laws of physics must have existed, even though there was no universe." [3]

My opponent also gives us the teleological argument. The universe is so well designed for life, slightly changing any of the variables means life can't exist, so a god must exist to set those variables, right?

Pro relies on a heavy version of carbon chauvinism, the idea that "life" is only the carbon based life we know of on this planet. True, change some of the variables a bit and "we" couldn't exist, but that doesn't mean "life" couldn't exist. There could be other combinations where life would be even more prevalent than it is here, here in this barren universe where only the smallest sliver of it is in any way hospitable for life. We look at this and think it was designed for us? This is nothing more than misplaced arrogance, resting upon the laurels of ignorance and firmly held. This is directed at the idea, not my opponent in general, for he is not the originator of this idea.

Pro attempts to deflect that we likely live in a multiverse, for if there are infinite or nearly infinite universe each with their own laws, the probability one would exist capable of supporting our type of life is nearly 100% without the need of a god. He claims that we don't know the probability of there being multiple universes. This in no way refutes the idea, it only argues that we can't know whether they exist. My opponent cannot make a statistical claim if he doesn't know the stats, just like you can't predict the probability of ever rolling five twelves if you don't know how many times you throw the dice. My opponent has not offered any proof the this is the only universe, and frankly the scientific consensus argues that there are such things, thus the "fine-tuned" argument amounts to absolutely nothing.

Thanks to my opponent again for offering this debate, I look forward to his next response.




[4] Der Spiegel, 17 October 1988

Debate Round No. 1


Absolute Mind

There are only two possible candidates we are aware of that could possibly be the cause or have the properties of an immaterial, omnipresent, eternal and conscious entity: either an abstract object (mathematics) or a human mind (consciousness).

The first candidate would be abstract objects. Abstract mathematical objects are not found under rocks or grown out of trees nor are they understood to be contingent upon human minds, but yet they can apply to virtually everything that exist. Moreover, these mathematical objects are demonstrable and produce a large amount of predictive power, which has been useful in making highly
accurate predictions in reality. Something that can generate many testable predictions is usually deemed not only scientific but a theory.

The second candidate would be human minds. Human minds are understood to have agent causality where a cause would be able to bring about new effects at will without any physical dimensions or determining conditions by virtue of its
agency. This is called "substance dualism" where there are two fundamental kinds of substance: mental and material. The mental would not have extension in the spacial and temporal constraints with the universe but occupy
an independent "realm" of existence distinct from that of the physical world:

However, abstract objects are not supposed to stand in causal relationships with reality by definition, and human minds are understood to be intrinsically connected to material substances that naturally possess physical constraints on knowledge and power. Thus, if it cannot be an abstract object or a human mind, then maybe it’s a combination of the two which would involve a mind where there would not be a brain or body attached.

An absolute mind would explain why you can get a temporal effect with a beginning from an eternal cause with unlimited properties. We should find, from more empirical observations, attributes of an all-knowing and all-powerful being exhibited within the universe.

3. Omni-potent and Omniscience

According to the BGV theorem, the expansion rate of the universe, which is called Eternal inflation, will continue to accelerate forever; this suggests that there's potentially an infinite degree of power being exerted to expand the universe. This is attributed to the cancellation effect between negative and positive energy, called the cosmological constant [9], which happens to be finely tuned to 120 decimal places making it the most well adjusted fine-tuning parameter of them all. Since this constant along with the rest were present from the very beginning of the universe, it follows logically that the cause for this beginning was responsible for the fine-tuning of the cosmological constant.

Moreover, if this cause is all-powerful, then it would have to be all-knowing as well to know the position and velocity of every particle in the universe, the potential outcome of all future interactions of these particles, and be able to control and anticipate each potential outcome from this future eternal inflation in an inconceivably precise and error-free manner. Thus, this cause must be omniscient and omnipotent as well.

4. Theism

Unlike, all the other gods (like Zeus, Apollo etc.) that have died out in the dust-bins of time, the belief of a Judeo-Christian God has endured throughout history and continues to sustain popularity within culture and society despite scientific inquiry being at a all
time high. Most importantly, with the Bible being the world’s greatest best seller of all time year after year, its popularity does not cover just a single region but expands into many different places around the globe [10].

However, according to development psychologists, there is a possible reason for this. We are naturally disposed, from an early age, to see purpose and meaning in everything, including the natural world. This tendency has been referred to as "implicit-theism", since it is the inclination to see purpose throughout our world [11]. This naturally disposes us to believe in a purpose-driven force in the universe: gods or a God.

Thus, there needs to be a distinction between whether people are actually responding and connecting to an outside force or projecting a Judeo Christian God concept and their spiritual experiences into existence. A cognitive scientist told me that in order to know whether this being is interested in human affairs, this agency must seek to “interact with human nervous systems in such a way as to orchestrate the necessary neural activity that coincides with emotional attachment to itself”.

This brought me to Andrew Newberg’s ongoing study in neuroscience that I stumbled upon. When researchers studied Judeo-Christian sects who were speaking in tongues by brain scanning them, there were decreased levels of activity in the frontal lobes while there was increased activity in the emotional centers of the brain [12]. Frontal lobes are an area in the brain that is responsible for self-control or will. This was significant because when they studied other religious practices, previous studies showed frontal lobes to be highly active suggesting that the participants created these experiences under their own power.

Thus, from my research, (eternal, omnipresent, immaterial, personal, omnipotent and omniscience) we can define the cause in this manner.The Divine intelligence takes the form of an absolute mind as the potential cause for all the known phenomena and is actively involved in human affairs.


As human beings, we generally view ourselves as mind-body composites. However, what if all of reality itself is maintained by a greater consciousness that Max Planck himself referred to as “the matrix of all matter”. This absolute mind would not have extension in the spacial and temporal constraints within the universe but occupy an independent "realm" of existence distinct from that of the physical while the material world would largely rely and depend upon this mind to operate accordingly. The interaction between this mind and the universe would be similar to the human mind’s interaction with the brain where it manifests in the physical world through the body.

Moreover, what if all of humanity was specially created for some greater purpose, and we possess an additional 6th Sense (spirit) among our other five senses (mind-body) that enables us to connect with this being in a special way in order to help us understand this ultimate purpose of life. This ultimate meaning of life would be to either accept a personal relationship with this designer or reject this purpose and find our own meaning in life. I will call this the God hypothesis.

Theistic Model

The theistic model is similar to the recently revived “hopeful monster” hypothesis, pioneered by Richard Goldschmidt, except it proposes consciousness as an additional mechanism to ensure there is a healthy dose of hopeful monsters for early macro evolutionary development as Alfred Wallace, the co-discoverer of natural selection, once proposed. The following studies within this model provide examples of how an intelligence would have carried out the evolutionary process and why invoking a Divine intelligence is necessary to explain the diversity of life on a biochemical and morphological level.

In addition, the Judeo-Christian God happens to match the description of my hypothesis exactly. This means we can use the Genesis account within the bible to see if this being actually uniquely engineered us in a certain way that enabled him to reveal certain truths about his character and his purpose for humanity through what is called, “Special Revelation”:

In the next round, I will show the model.







Well that was certainly an interesting second round from my opponent.

For the record, Pro posted his R2 less than a half an hour after I posted mine. It seems he did not even bother to read my response, and certainly he didn't respond to any of it. I am unsure of how he intends to respond to two full rebuttals in a single response. Hopefully Pro will try, I am a bit concerned because it seems he still has more to argue. Only time will tell it seems.

Anyway, let's move on to this whole new set of arguments, for the moment ignoring all my previous rebuttals.

We start out with a false dichotomy:

"There are only two possible candidates we are aware of that could possibly be the cause or have the properties of an immaterial, omnipresent, eternal and conscious entity: either an abstract object (mathematics) or a human mind (consciousness)."

This is a surprising false dichotomy, especially since my opponent himself quoted a paper in R1 which gives an explanation that is neither of those things. It seems Pro merely lifted the portions out of context for the BVG theorem without understanding it. As BVG states, there was never a "lack of anything" but quantum tunneling, neither mathematics nor a mind, is a possible explanation for the creation of the universe. My opponent cannot cherry pick parts of a theory which suits him and ignores the rest.

It always surprises me when apologists offer minds as something that could potentially create something. There is no reason to believe that such is the case, he might has well have said toy horses are one of the options. Especially since this:

"Human minds are understood to have agent causality where a cause would be able to bring about new effects at will without any physical dimensions or determining conditions by virtue of its agency. This is called "substance dualism" where there are two fundamental kinds of substance: mental and material."

. . . is at best a baseless assertion and at worst demonstrably false. The brain is the clear generator of thought and feeling and decisions. Our consciousness is brain dependent, and we know this because of split brain patients that wind up having *two* awareness's [1]. If there was only a single substance for our consciousness, some non-physical entity, this wouldn't happen when we sever the corpus collosum.

"BGV theorem, the expansion rate of the universe, which is called Eternal inflation, will continue to accelerate forever; this suggests that there's potentially an infinite degree of power being exerted to expand the universe."

My opponent seems to forget the very first law of motion: Objects in motion stay in motion unless they are acted on by an outside force. Expansion is being accelerated, but not infinitely. That's due to dark energy, but it isn't infinite. The expansion rate is based on what is pushing outward vs. gravities inward pull. This is very complex stuff, but suffice to say it is not infinite as my opponent claims [2].

Contrary to my opponent's assertion, the Judeo-Christian god is *not* the longest running deity. Hinduism actually has historical roots that run longer than Judaism. I'm sure my opponent believes his religion has been around since the beginning, but this can't be assumed, especially when the historical record contradicts him [3]. Arguments from popularity fail anyway. Why he's even arguing this is beyond me, we agreed he wouldn't have to debate which god had a hand in evolution ahead of time in the comments section.

"We are naturally disposed, from an early age, to see purpose and meaning in everything, including the natural world."

Actually, that tendency is called "not wanting to get eaten by a predator because you assumed the rustling behind you was the wind". A side effect is that it also works for things people don't understand, they think it must be agency, just like the rustling behind them. This is shown by the fact that more logical thinking dissuades belief in god [4]. This tendency to seek agency is also not present in *all* people, which would contradict the God hypothesis.

As for the Newburg study, Pro claims that other similar studies have had a different result when studying non-Christians. Again, I feel like my opponent is not reading his own sources, the study he cited says explicitly "The present study is the first we are aware of that has evaluated changes in cerebral activity during the practice of glossolalia."

The rest of his argument is filled with nothing but perhaps, what ifs, and maybes. Really, almost the entire argument is nothing but that, read it for yourself and count the number of times Pro merely opines something as a possibility and then rests his argument upon it. There are many. For the most part, kenballer is engaging in little more than speculation, which is fine for armchair philosophical musings but entirely inappropriate for a debate format.

My opponent's R2 doesn't at all address the debate topic. He should restart this debate and try to make it about whether or not the Christian god exists, that seems what he is more interested in debating anyway. I'll be happy to continue regardless, but I've yet to see anything substantial that would try to argue that evolution was guided by an intelligence. I urge my opponent to address the actual topic, his "model" can wait until we've at least broken ground on the topic.

Thank you for your time.





Debate Round No. 2


The day-age interpretation is being used to describe the Genesis account where the “days” are actually referring to long periods of unspecified time and is only describing the numerical order in which each creation event was carried out. The first four days explain how God prepared the formation of the earth to be habitable and determined the initial conditions that would bring forth life, which is confirmed by science [13]:

The Genesis one Account

According to the day-age interpretation, the origins of species would look more like multiple trees of life where there are separate origins of life events having a community of primordial organisms for the 6 major species including humans of which they emerged from in different places and times [14][15].

God apparently intervened periodically over the course of history to create the animal kingdom and humanity by causing “systemic macro mutations” of hopeful monsters, which produced novel changes in body design and speciation within each creation event [16][17]. Then, based on empirical observations, God seems to continuously act upon random mutations to help each species adapt in response to changing conditions or environments. When species go extinct, he replaces them with new species within each of the 5 major animal species (fish, birds, rodents, carnivores, herbivores) [18][19].

Lastly, following the subsequent (Local) flood that wiped out Noah’s descendents all men are descended from Noah while women come from up to 4 different blood lines dating back from 50,000-40,000 within the African region [20].

Common Design

A. Although, the formal test seemed to conclusively favor the existence of a universal common ancestor; it did not require that the last universal common ancestor be a single organism, but allowed it to be a population of organisms with different genotypes that lived in different places and times. Indeed, Darwin himself allowed the possibility for the community of primordial organisms hypothesis to be true in his origins of species, "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one." (p 490), Origin of species.

B. This Theistic model of the diversity of life would explain the long term study done on isolated groups of prairie chickens showing how they do not go on and evolve into new species. Only after human intervention was enacted did these animals end up recovering as a species, which demonstrates how intelligence is required for even microevolution to occur in order to limit the expression of harmful mutated genes within organisms. The studies reflect what we see in the fossil record where species remain unchanged until their extinct.

C. Moreover, the Genesis account would explain why humans share the appearance of universal common ancestry, which I refer to as “universal common design”, between the animal kingdom with biochemical and morphological similarities with other primates. However, at the same time, the model considers the uniqueness of human beings’ capabilities that enable us to rule over the animal kingdom compared to even the most advanced primates (free-will, self-awareness, intention states, spiritual connection to God etc.). This also reflects the current makeup of the fossil record, archaeological, and genetics evidence on human evolution quite nicely.

Thus, the theistic model accepts that speciation (or macroevolution) has occurred and can potentially still occur as long as it’s within each of the 6 major species where speciation would not overlap between them and an intelligent designer would be required. In addition, it means that all currently living organisms all have a common design/blueprint from a universal common (or cosmic) designer rather than a universal common descent from a universal common ancestor.


The studies seem to suggest that life needs to be guided by an intelligence in order to achieve success. However, there are many scientists that have pointed out alleged flaws within this design inference. For example, they claim that the placement of the optic nerve in the human eye is flawed because it would result in a small blind spot in our visual field. If these were truly flaws in design then this would certainly challenge the theory that an all-powerful omniscient designer or divine intelligence was and still is at work in biology as well. ID theorists provide two explanations for this: the appearance of morphological and biochemical suboptimal design and the design decay argument.

1. The appearance of suboptimal design (morphological)

As Michael Denton explains, "the difference in the placement of the optic nerve in the human eye in comparison with cephalopod eyes is because of the need for the greater supply of oxygen for high-acuity vision in warm-blooded animals.....
Rather than being a case of maladaptation, the inverted retina is probably an essential element in the overall design of the vertebrate visual system"[21]. In addition, Contrary to what evolutionists have previously expressed about the "bad design" of the giant panda’s thumb, a new study analyzed it and showed that the radial sesamoid bone (its "thumb") is actually "one of the most extraordinary manipulation systems" among mammals [22].

2. The appearance of suboptimal design (biochemical)

We already know that useful mutations are responsible for survival/reproduction and adaptations within a species resulting in variations of different species we see today.

However, vast majority of the neutral mutations, also called non-coding regions of the cell, were claimed by scientists to be “Junk” DNA left over from the evolutionary model for years. Now, we know from the human genome project that large amounts of this so-called “Junk” DNA revealed that most, if not all, of the non-coding regions of the DNA are required and play a vital role for the proper functioning of the DNA [23].

3. Design decay argument

Harmful mutations that cause an animal to be ill or weak actually still provide a vital role in producing easy prey for predators, which can prevent overpopulation and stabilize each given population. Nevertheless, part of the design research is to find out whether diseases like cancer arose as the result of the degradation of well-functioning original designs rather than actions that can be directly attributed to the designer. Indeed, most ID theorists view harmful mutations as inevitable consequences of design decay from the second law of thermodynamics.

In summary, ID theorists have pointed out several other examples in nature that what appeared at first to be left over design flaws have, with greater understanding, turned out not to be flaws at all [24]. Thus, these supposed flaws were apparently only flaws in our understanding, and we should try to look at the organism as a whole even if it may exhibit some features that may be perplexing.

In the next round, I will respond to CON's objection and explain very clearly again what the debate is actually supposed to be about.









[21] Wirth A, Cavallacci G,
Genovesi-Ebert F. 1984. The advantages of an inverted retina. A physiological
approach to a teleological question. Dev. Ophthalmol. 9: 20-28.

[22] Endo, H., Yamagiwa, D.,
Hayashi, Y. H., Koie, H., Yamaya, Y., and Kimura, J. 1999. Nature 397:



I am happy to do this debate, and have enjoyed myself thus far, however my opponent seems to believe I haven't appropriately argued the debate. Perhaps he thought I would give a full accounting of unguided evolution, rather than poking holes in his explanation. It appears he has overlooked the fact that he himself has already established evolution as a real thing for me. His model already includes mutations, speciation, and all of the features of modern biological evolution. He simply has tried to overlay this already complete theory with god or divine intelligence. Instead of giving reasons why his theory has more explanatory power, he has merely offered alternate explanations to ones we already have, ones that still work quite well without invoking any additional entities.

Perhaps an analogy would be best here. Imagine you pick up a ball and throw it. Like you'd expect, it flies away for a little bit before rolling on the ground and eventually coming to a stop. Now you could cite the laws of physics, but a much better option is Sprites. All motion is guided by Sprites. Without them, objects would always move randomly. They like order and rules, so they keep to the ones they created for themselves. They are quite shy, which is why you never see them. This explains why when we observe quantum events, they seem random. Because they are! We're just scaring off the Sprites by looking too closely. Motion requires intelligence to move in an orderly fashion.

What I've done here is taken an already well-understood phenomenon (motion) and inserted an additional and unneeded element, then explained how that elements could fit in. I then blankly assert motion requires Sprites without explaining *why* they are necessary.

There's no way to either confirm or deny the existence of these Sprites. Like divine intelligence, Sprites cannot be studied, meaning any time someone pokes a hole in my Sprite theory, I can simply retcon how Sprites work to incorporate this new information I didn't know about earlier:

"Oh, quantum particles move probabilistically and not truly random? Well the Sprites didn't go away entirely, they just went further away so you didn't see them. They can still affect matter from that distance, just not as well, which is why it's only partly ordered."

This is, in essence, what my opponent has done. We already understand evolution. We are able to test and make predictions, accurate predictions, which is why it is one of the most successful theories to date. All he has done is explain how it might actually work a different way, without giving any significant reason why we should believe it to be that way, at least no more reason than I've given for my Sprites.

Unfortunately for Pro, it is even worse for his theory than for my Sprites. My Sprites are unfalsifiable, and lots of his claims are. For example, the bold claim that evolution requires intelligence guiding the process to work. Is this true? Demonstrably, the answer is no. Exhibit A is the Youtube video "Evolved Virtual Creatures" [1]. I've made it a tinyurl to prevent embedding, I invite you to watch at your leisure.

The video demonstrates unguided evolution through Natural Selection. A computer simulation generates random changes to simple structures and then selects whichever structure achieves the goal the best. From that develops a plethora of structures remarkably similar to what we find in nature (horses, crabs, etc.). Even the behavior develops into familiar strategies.

My opponent may wish to argue that this required an intelligence, humans built the program after all. What is important to note is that none of the programmers intended for any of these structures to arise, they simply built the world. This would be akin to an intelligence creating the universe and then letting it run without interference. Pro's burden is not whether a god created the universe, but whether an intelligence guided evolution throughout all of its steps. This shows that intelligence is not needed for random mutations to produce beneficial changes under selective pressure, also known as Darwinian Evolution.

Moving onto the actual content of kenballer's R3, we have his interpretation of Genesis. Interesting that he relies on this for an account of his theory, yet contradicts it when it is inconvenient. For example he calls Noah's flood a local flood, despite Genesis saying the flood covered the mountains by 15 cubits [2]. He claims the order in the Genesis account has been verified by science, yet his source isn't using the scientific method at all. Rather than observing and testing nature, the author reads Genesis and then tries to interpret it so that it fits with our understanding. It's "here's the conclusion, what evidence can we find to support it". It's the opposite of science. How do we know this? Because this interpretation only came about when we found out the reality of a young earth was untenable. No one thought the sun was already created, or that it didn't refer to actual heaven, until our understanding made that interpretation untenable. Lastly, the author uses a simplified translation to make his case, the New American Standard Bible. Looking at the KJV, it is clear Genesis says Yahweh is creating the things during the days, since it doesn't leave out "and it was so" like the NASB. The author is clearly biased, arguing the clouds covered the earth and didn't let light in, yet the plants that require photosynthesis already existed throughout the previous "age". I could go on about how the author's interpretation doesn't jive with reality, but I think I've made my point.

Per common design, my opponent quotes Darwin, but recall we aren't debating the veracity of Origin of Species, we're just using Darwin's name to describe unguided evolution. Darwin set us on the right path, but there is a lot he got wrong. To the actual point Pro made, he offers nothing but conjecture: Sure it *looks* like we all evolved from a common ancestor but *maybe* we didn't. This is the best he comes up with.

While kenballer gives many sources (questionable as they may be) they are strikingly remiss from his argument about the Prairie Chicken, where apparently intelligence is needed for evolution to work. In reality, the Prairie Chicken was only endangered because humans suddenly swooped in and took over most of their habitat [3]. Evolution doesn't work so fast that a species can adapt to a completely new environment in a few short decades. Without human intervention, most environments change slowly over time.

My opponent states the fossil record shows species remaining unchanged until their extinction. This is entirely false, we have a rich record of changes to populations over time for many genera (plural of genus).

As my opponent notes, pointing out design flaws would entirely undermine his position. Well, a design is something geared toward a specific end. My opponent argues one of these ends is to seek a relationship with god; while we are physically able to attempt to connect to some supernatural being our physiology is hardly adapted to that end. We have to spend the majority of our time gathering resources, taking care of family, healing from injury, etc. This is not a necessity, there is no reason why our design (especially from an omnipotent perspective) must be that which needs constant attention in order to have a shot at survival. We're looking at it from a modern 1st world perspective, for most of human history, most people spent the majority of their day making sure they didn't starve. Also, our minds are adapted for group cohesion and ego preservation [4], not truth seeking. The existence of confirmation bias alone refutes the idea that we are designed to seek a transcendent truth.

I look forward to the final round.


Debate Round No. 3


Now, let me clarify what this debate is actually about. I made it very clear in round 1 that this debate will be about me showing how theistic evolution is a better explanation than Darwinian evolution and therefore the best explanation for the Origin of species. My opponent was supposed to argue and demonstrate with evidence that the origin of species could be done with mainly or purely natural forces. This included showing how universal common ancestry is true because this theory clearly rejects the idea that humans are specially created and there is greater purpose in life.

CON's Sprite example:

The studies I mentioned in round 3 did not just show how a particular intelligence could have created diversity and complexity, but they showed how natural selection could not have been the only or main mechanism for change. This is why invoking a "divine" intelligence is required to explain how the diversity of life originated in all situations. Even when it comes to the Prairie chicken study regarding microevolution, human intervention did not impede but restored growth of the small prairie population by introducing diversity from a larger population. What Con referenced was simply a news website that has nothing to do with my study or even the topic of discussion.

In addition, when it comes to Common design versus common ancestry, Darwinian process failed to show a monphylectic tree of life. There are not millions of intermdiate fossils. Just read the study on gradualism and saltation. This is why Stephen Gould rejected gradulism and created Punctuated equilibrium to accurately reflect the fossil record. However, even puntuated equilbrium could not account for this fossil record without intelligence regarding my prairie study.

CON also claims that my theory is not testable or falsiable. I am about to show how it is......


Working hypothesis: If the Universal Common Design hypothesis is true, then there should be more examples of important functions from the “alleged” bad morphological designs (like the human appendix), and the rest of the non-coding regions of the DNA should reveal real differences between apes and humans. The null hypothesis is that the Universal Common Descent hypothesis is true. This can be falsified by finding examples inside the fossil record of crossover speciation within each of the five major animal groups.

If the Design Decay hypothesis is true, then research should reveal cancer and similar genetic disorders that don’t lead to survival and reproduction as examples of design decay from originally good designs as a result of second law of thermodynamics by way of
harmful mutations. Does cancer originate in higher structural features of the cell rather than in its DNA?


My hypothesis, as a whole, is based on an assumption that substance-dualism is valid and true. This means if someone were able to explain the mind on the basis of brain-action "alone" by finding a region in the brain that causes mental events of intentionality, will, emotions and so on, there is no question this would falsify my theory completely.

A famous scientist named Wilder Penfield conducted studies that attempted to demonstrate this but was unable to find through electrical stimulation a place in the cerebral cortex responsible for these mental properties. He concluded that substance dualism was most likely true as a result.Now, these studies are outdated and neuroscience is relatively new, so scientists may be able to falsify dualism through these experiments in the future:

However, there is, apparently, the consensus belief amongst scientists now that the brain alone can explain free-will and decision-making according to recent updated studies on neuroscience where they found strong correlations between mental and brain events during MRI scans.

The problem here is they are confusing the concept of the correlation of two events with the concept of the identity of two events. It simply does not follow from the fact that two events are correlated that they are identical. Correlation does not prove causation. There is the fact that movements of bodily limbs like arms and legs are correlated with events in the motor cortex of the brain. No one believes, however, that movements of arms and legs are identical with their causal antecedents in the brain. Thus, it is just as obvious that there is no good reason to believe that psychological events are identical with brain events simply because the two are correlated.

Besides, this could easily be interpreted the other way around where the mind is using the brain as an instrument for thought and expression which would only reinforce mind-body dualism. According to David Deustch, Explanations that are "hard to vary" are considered bad explanations and therefore bad science since they are harder to falsify.
This is why Penfield's experiments should be emphasized for future tests and research in order to truly demonstrate whether this theory is false.

Con's previous objections

1. Francis crick, the co-discoverer of DNA, has shown how the information stored in DNA is a special kind of information called "specified complexity" or "information content" is linked to the chemical processes that enable life to exist. The design argument from information content in DNA, therefore, does not depend upon analogical reasoning since it does not depend upon assessments of degree of similarity. The argument does not depend upon the similarity of DNA to a computer program or human language, but upon the presence of an identical feature (as just defined) in both DNA and all other designed systems, languages, or artifacts described in information theory. While a computer program may be similar to DNA in many respects, and dissimilar in others, it exhibits a precise identity to DNA in its ability to store information content:

2. Q
uantum events actually do not take place in "absolute" nothingness, but out of a larger quantum field, which is part of physical reality, that enables particles to come in and out of existence. Without this field there would be no quantum events. This is why it’s not accurate to say that a particular quantum outcome is "uncaused" nor is it consistent with the data implying the beginning of reality (unless CON wants to prove there was a quantum field).

3. In regards to Andrew Newberg's study, I specifically said that his research is ongoing. I know that the study is based on a small sampling size but it does not change the fact that its evidence of a outside force potentially interacting with the mind. I mentioned this study to show why this cause is actively involved in human affairs as well.

4. Power is the rate at which energy is transferred, used, or transformed, and its not the synonymous term of energy. So I agree with CON, the cosmological constant or vacuum energy is not an infinite amount of energy.

5. Its very simple. If there's not evidence for even one other overlapping universe, how can CON base his argument on something that is not there in the first place? The fact is its an unfalsifiable hypothesis that has no place in science. Therefore, I am not required ,as CON claims, to provide an argument against the multi-verse anymore than I would with the tooth fairy. In addition, if CON wants to say that the fine-tuning constants could have happened by physical necessity, where God simply determined the conditions and allow it to run by itself. He needs to prove this as well in order to damage the theory . Right now, neither are the case. Besides, The debate is not about me proving the existence of a christian god anyhow.
All the other objections Con made about the fine-tuning and the finite universe have already been addressed in round 1.

Resolution Affirmed, Vote Pro



I would like to thank kenballer for participating in this debate, I've had an enjoyable time. That being said, I am genuinely confused by his last round. Very little seems to actually address what I've said. Perhaps it is merely a misunderstanding, but that is the danger one runs into if you spend 75% of the debate on your opening response, without responding to any criticisms until the last quarter. Even if everything said directly applies to what I've argued accurately, he has still missed out on a lot of criticisms. I can't blame him since he had to go over three rounds in one, but again this was due to the fact he needed three rounds just to establish his theory.

First he attempts to respond to my Spite example. He claims his sources in R3 do more than merely assert an intelligence is responsible, but show how one is needed. Is that true? Let's see.

Source 14 (S14) attempts to debunk a particular explanation for abiogenesis. Even if true, and I doubt it is, that doesn't show natural abiogenesis can't happen, which is claim Pro made.

S15 is cited by my opponent as showing that life isn't monophyletic. What was the conclusion of that source? Just read the last line:

"These results provide powerful statistical evidence corroborating the monophyly of all known life."

Yes, Pro cited a source which directly says the opposite of what he was claiming.

S16 from R3 merely shows how intelligence can affect evolution. No one is arguing intelligence can't do that, the question is whether or not intelligence is required. Human beings can build a freezer and make liquid water solid. No one believes that you need intelligence to make ice.

For S17, this merely establishes the likelihood of large sweeping evolutionary changes. This in no way helps Pro, since a variety of proponents of Darwinian evolution actually support this theory, with both Stephen Jay Gould [1] supporting the idea and Richard Dawkins has also examined and incorporated the same evidence with little issue [2].

S18 is the Prairie Chicken study, but he cited it in the wrong location. He cited the study, which describes humans incorporating other Prairie Chickens into the dwindling population as evidence that God replaces extinct species with different animals. The sources isn't even in the same round as when he argued Prairie Chickens were saved because an intelligence intervened. Even if he had sourced correctly, again no one is arguing intelligence can't affect evolution. It doesn't help Pro's case at all.

S19 merely shows the difficulty with inbreeding, that doesn't demonstrate intelligence replaces species or that evolution can't happen without intelligence. S20 merely asserts there was a local flood and humans all evolved from Noah (right after posting the difficulties with inbreeding), despite the fact that humans where as high as Scandinavia at the time of this alleged "local flood which covered all the mountains" [3]. S21 through S24 seek to debunk design flaws, and his newest source in R5 doesn't mention the need of an intelligence at all.

Not only did Pro's R3 and R5 sources not demonstrate that intelligence is required for evolution, none of them even purported to demonstrate that conclusion.

Next we get to Pro's Predictions heading. He attempts to say that UCD can't be true, but his own source says it is true [4]. He hopes to show Design Decay hypothesis, yet that is reliant on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which states:

"In a closed system . . . "

And we can stop there. Earth is not a closed system. We are getting constant energy from the sun. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics simply doesn't apply, regardless of whether a god exists or not.

His other method of falsification is to falsify Substance Dualism, which he claims can be done by proving another theory. So I will say my theory of Hitler's death was by alien death ray, which can be falsified by proving Hitler died another way.

My opponent does not understand falsification.

Regardless, Substance Dualism (SD) has been falsified. I explained in the previous round how split-brain patients make SD untenable, in that it was is demonstrated in such patients that when one side of the brain experiences something, the other has no idea what the first side experienced. This could not occur if some "mental non-physical material" was controlling the brain, as SD asserts. Pro did not respond to these criticisms. He claims his hypothesis is based on the assumption of SD, but ignores my criticisms of it, thus his entire argument has not passed for the purposes of this debate. Right here he virtually concedes the debate.

Also, Penfield's experiment is ludicrous. If we shock a computer system, we don't expect it to run Microsoft word, you think shocking the brain (a much more complicated system) is going to turn a better result? Everything else in regard to SD is refuting argument I haven't even made.

Under the heading Con's previous objections, kenballer argues for DNA being information. What he does not do, is demonstrate that information theory claims information must come from an intelligence. He simply posts a Wikipedia article that does not argue that claim or even mention it. The only reference to intelligence is that intelligence agencies like the CIA use information and AI. He hasn't even bothered to correct his source I pointed out in the first round, he just links to Wikipedia of all places.

Then he argues something about quantum events. Quantum events caused the universe to exist, he says. This is exactly what I've said, I never said it was uncaused. I'm only citing the very paper he brought into this debate, and repeating the conclusions it came to. I don't have to prove there was a quantum field, my opponent already argued for one.

The Newberg study's newness has nothing to do with my criticism. Pro claims the study demonstrates an outside force is behind Christians speaking in tongues, because other studies had different results. My criticism is that there were no other studies. No like Newberg's. He was studying a completely different thing than all studies previously, by his own admission. Pro is arguing "This new study that has never been done before shows different results from every other study like it that came before, for which there are none, therefore I am right."

Pro asks me for the evidence of a multiverse. Why is he asking for evidence he already provided? I'm only going off of BVG theory which he himself offered as the basis for his cosmological argument. Not to mention I am not the one making the claim. Pro is arguing the chance of life developing is very small, but he needs for there to only be one universe for that to happen. He can't show that, therefore his teleological argument falls flatter than a quantum pancake, just like I told him the last time we debated this topic.

Pro has not really offered any sources that show an intelligence is required for evolution. He has offered ones that show it isn't necessary, ironically enough, and relies on a severe misunderstanding of both evolution, science, and philosophy. He spent most of the debate trying to describe his theory, and only spent one round responding to a few arguments, many of which I didn't even make.

Since he has given incorrect sources, as well as ones that say the exact opposite of what he claims, I urge you to vote Con for sources. Since he has not really offered any evidence for his position, nothing that gives his theory more explanatory power, and especially since the basis for his argument which is Substance Dualism was effectively rebuffed, I urge you to vote Con for arguments.

[1] The Return of Hopeful Monsters (1977)

[2] Climbing Mount Improbable (1996)

[3] Europe's First Farmers – T. Douglas Price


Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HonestDiscussioner 5 years ago
That works. I will accept this tonight.
Posted by kenballer 5 years ago
Are you satisfied with the changes?
Posted by kenballer 5 years ago
Alright, Its done and the changes are made
Posted by HonestDiscussioner 5 years ago
Well you have to prove such a thing is possible. I certainly don't agree that it does. How about we compromise and make it four rounds?
Posted by kenballer 5 years ago
Well that is essentially the debate we would be having but I would still need your approvable about whether I would be required to prove that this kind of designer even exists in the first place.
Posted by kenballer 5 years ago
so how about it
Posted by HonestDiscussioner 5 years ago
How about we just take that particular burden off of you completely. Make the debate about whether a divine intelligence is behind evolution. If you can prove that, but you can't prove the nature of this divine intelligence, you still win the debate, or at least the "better arguments" points. Sound fair?
Posted by kenballer 5 years ago
oooh yikes, I don't know I guess but I would need you to accept and assume that the Designer is the Christian God from the get go of the debate. This was the main reason I made it 5 rounds
Posted by HonestDiscussioner 5 years ago
I'm interested, but can we have fewer rounds and a shorter voting period? Perhaps 3 rounds and 30 days for voting?
Posted by kenballer 5 years ago
Sorry I thought you were not interested. I will change it
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by ModusTollens 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not seem to listen to Con's arguments, and Pro made extraordinarily fallacious leaps in reasoning.
Vote Placed by Skeptikitten 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro wasted two rounds on the existence of a god and not on his initial premise which was theistic evolution. He also did not meet his Burden of Proof in showing that the theistic model was in any way more supported by evidence or necessary than the natural model. Which, by the way, is the only one that can actually be called a theory in science since theistic evolution is nonscientific, being untestable and non-falsifiable. Conduct to Con, as Pro ignored most of Con's rebuttals but rather seemed to dish up a pre-prepared response for Round 2.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter Red debaters unjustified Vote.
Vote Placed by RedDebater 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: He provided a better explanation for his defense.