The Instigator
rush1170
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
bitterherbs
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

There Must Have Been a First Human

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
rush1170
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/13/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 755 times Debate No: 42300
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

rush1170

Pro

Go easy on me - first timer - I notice a lot of debates have rules, definitions of terms or formats, but I'm going to skip all that and just see how this things goes.

In internet discussions with others, I brought up what seems to be obvious, at least to me: There must have been a first human. I find that many disagree with that statement, but usually the discussion ends up with the other party(ies) referring to me as being stupid or uneducated. Debate.org seems much more opposition friendly with well constructed arguments that stay on-course with the topic, so I look forward to that continued trend.

There must have been a first human. There was a time when the world population of humans was zero and the current population of humans is significant. Therefore, there had to be a time when the human population went from zero to more than zero. Except in the case of multiple births (twins, etc), a birth is expected to result in a one new creature. Therefore, when the population of humans increased from zero to more than zero, it is expected that the population grew by one, although I will grant that it may have grown from zero to up to 8, in the case of an octuplet birth. However, for the sake of argument in the case of a multiple birth, let's assign the first viable human from the birth canal to be considered the first human.
bitterherbs

Con

This cannot be true because it would mean there was a person who was a human but his parents were not. Parents and children by definition must be of the same species. Keep in mind that human is a way we define some group of similar things in the world, and it, the term, has no affect on the world. In all likeliness there is no essential quality to being human, for example a person without arms is still human. A retarded person is still human. A dwarf is still human. A bald person is still human. If you have an artificial heart or veins you are still human. So becoming human is more of a gradual thing, it is like how you can add grains of salt and at some point it becomes a pile, but there is no grain of sand that makes it a pile.
Debate Round No. 1
rush1170

Pro

Thank you Con for joining what was briefly a conversation with myself :)
-------------------

I stated: There must have been a first human because there was once zero and now many.

You responded: "This cannot be true because it would mean there was a person who was a human but his parents were not. Parents and children by definition must be of the same species."

You also responded: "Keep in mind. . . .there is no essential quality to being human. . . .becoming human is a. . . gradual thing. . . .there is no grain of sand that makes it a pile" (Shortened for brevity, no intent to reduce context, consider my following comments against your full post).

You seem to give two reasons why there could not have been a first human. One reason it seems you are saying there could not have been a first human because the first human's parents were human. Another reason it seems you are saying that there is no way to recognize a human therefore there was no first human. Since neither reason has a logical (to me) connection to falsifying the premise, I have to guess that I didn't understand one or both reasons and therefore am not sure how to compose a sound rebuttal, but here goes:

If the first human's parents are required to be human then you're actually talking about three humans and haven't gone back to 'time zero' where there were no humans -or- you contend that humans have always existed.

Humans are one of the most, if not the most recognizable creature on the planet. Humans exhibit a profound cognitive distinction from all other creatures to have ever appeared or currently exist. If you go back to a time when humans were not recognizable, then you've gone back too far in the discussion - the time when there were zero humans. But to claim that there could not be a first human because 'there is no essential quality to being human' implies everything is human and nothing is human.

Humans haven't always existed. Humans are easily recognizable. There had to have been a first human.
bitterherbs

Con

I am saying it is a quirk of grammar, we have categories but the lines between them are fuzzy. They don't make sense in any other way. Also Humans are only the most recognizable because you are a human. I think clown fish are pretty recognizable.

Also your criteria for being human would imply that people with down syndrome are not human.

My argument is that strict categories don't make sense, because there is no reality to them. Nature cannot tell us what a human is, we decide what it is. Also if by human we mean human species, then no human could ever be born of a non human. the genetic differences between each generation are small enough to be insignificant. If you want to draw the line between two Identical animals and call one human and one not then be my guest, but it doesn't make any sense. In order to say there was a first human you must do this. Categories are fluid, and they can never really describe the world because each thing is different in itself.

My argument is essentially that There was no first human because if there were it would lead to a contradiction. Namely have parents of a different species.

If there is no single trait essential to being human, then there is also no way of determining what is human and what is not.

Also if the parents were human then you have to keep going and ask if its parents were human.

If there had to be a first human then there should be some way of determining which human it was.
Debate Round No. 2
rush1170

Pro

I'm having a hard time responding. You've not claimed that any of my assertions are wrong. In Round 2, you say that there was never a first human because using the term 'human' is putting humans into a strict category where strict categories don't make sense. You also say that the reason there was never a first human is because it's parents would have been non-human and that's a contradiction.

I can't tell if you assert there has never been zero humans or when humans did begin to exist, that they did so as a group of simultaneous births or a group became human after they were born, or there actually was a first human, but since if another human had been there to see that first human they would have no idea it was a human because it would look and act in a way that a human observer would dismiss it as non-human even though it was actually human.

I don't know what you are arguing?

There was a first human because there used to be zero and now there are many and human population increases one individual at a time. The required next step from zero humans is one, the First Human.

Thank you for the debate!
bitterherbs

Con

I think that species differentiation doesn't make sense to do over time. There were apes that were more and more human like, but you could never point to one and say that it was human but it's parents weren't. There would have to be some necessary trait to show the difference, but the parents would also have this trait to an extent.

this all or none argument you keep making simply is an ignoring of the points that I am making. Is it too crazy to think that language that we use to describe the present doesn't work when describing large periods of time.

A species literally means that you can breed with the other members. Every thing has been able to breed with generations before and after it, so you could never say one is human and one was not. It is too gradual of a change.

This is the same with race. There wasn't a first white person, people who lived in the north gradually became whiter.

Also My refutation was that your proposition leads to a contradiction, and is therefore necessarily false.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by rush1170 3 years ago
rush1170
@bitterherbs - I thought your very final statement: "Also My refutation was that your proposition leads to a contradiction, and is therefore necessarily false" was a good rebuttal. It's true. If there were a first human, it would have necessarily have been birthed by a pair of non-humans. I find this situation to be quite a problem.

On one hand, humans are birthed one at a time, started with a population of zero, and has a current population of more than zero. These three statements are all facts. It's also a fact that a pair of non-humans cannot birth a human.

1) Humans had a population of zero.
2) Humans are birthed one at a time.
3) Humans have a population of more than zero.
4) Non-humans cannot birth a human.

These are all facts as far as we can tell. However, for humans to exist, at least one statement must be false. If #1 is false, then humans have existed infinitely. #2 cannot be false. #3 cannot be false. If #4 is false, then a pair of non-humans can birth a human.

So, between #1 (humans have always existed) and #4 (non-humans can birth humans), we have to decide which of the two is most likely to be false based on all the collective human knowledge of everything. We've not been around long enough to observe either, so we can only guess the most likely false statement.

My guess is that #4 is the most likely false statement between those two. What is your guess?
Posted by rush1170 3 years ago
rush1170
I hear you - I don't want that debate either. My comments posted were to answer someone else who asked me my 'take' on ToE, that's all.
Posted by bitterherbs 3 years ago
bitterherbs
To rush1170. Being an atheist I start all of my arguments with the assumption that there is no ID. Sorry everybody doesn't want to just debate about God and creationism.
Posted by rush1170 3 years ago
rush1170
The ToE establishes a premise that there cannot be Intelligent Design (ID) before it starts it's journey of investigation. However, the existence or non-existence of ID is not knowable. Therefore, I do not subscribe carte blanche to the ToE. There are questions that arise when discussing how creatures have changed over time that are not knowable, but I've found that full-subscribers to the ToE most always offer a conjectured answer, a dismissal of the question, or just tell me to go read more books on the subject. Often those questions merely indicate a potential for the existence of an ID'er. Sometimes the existence of an ID'er is a more plausible explanation of the answer to the question. However, since the ToE establishes the premise that there is no ID'er with certainty when certainty cannot exist, it has a potential for getting some stuff wrong for no other reason than it declared a premise as fact when it's impossible to know.
Posted by infinityland 3 years ago
infinityland
i would like to accept this debate, but before i do so i would like to ask aquestion; do you believe in the theory of evolution? as this is what i would structure my debate around
Posted by infinityland 3 years ago
infinityland
i would like to accept this debate, but before i do so i would like to ask aquestion; do you believe in the theory of evolution? as this is what i would structure my debate arounf
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by SeventhProfessor 3 years ago
SeventhProfessor
rush1170bitterherbsTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ignred most of Pro's arguments, and the ones he did Pro was able to discredit.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 3 years ago
Ore_Ele
rush1170bitterherbsTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Unfortunately, Con did not get into an actual argument until the very last round, when Pro could not respond. As such, the arguments hold for Pro. But Con is ultimately correct that there is no "first" human because the definition for human is not so cut and dry. There is a hazy border, because the borders for different species are based around things living in modern time, where we are all far enough apart (genetically) that we can put up foggy species boundaries and still say "this is human" and "this is not," but macro evolution moves so slowly that you cannot see the difference between a single generate. Just like you can't see the difference between light with a wave length of 510 nm and 510.001 nm. You physically cannot see the difference in each step, but over time, you'll eventually get a different color, but you can never point to one step as the "first" color.
Vote Placed by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
rush1170bitterherbsTied
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Reasons for voting decision: It's not really clear whether or not Con actually argued against Pro's point. It seems he attacked the definition of "human," rather than the argument. So Pro wins.