The Instigator
LittleBallofHATE
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Samreay
Con (against)
Winning
29 Points

There is no scientific evidence to support evolution

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Samreay
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/17/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,354 times Debate No: 56729
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (5)

 

LittleBallofHATE

Pro

What I mean by evolution, is Darwin's theory of descent with modification or macroevolution, as it's commonly referred to. In other words, the theory that all life has a common ancestor.

Con must accept the burden of proof. He must prove that there is real scientific evidence for this theory.

Four rounds. Acceptance. Opening arguments. Rebuttals. Closing argument.

I look forward to this debate. Good luck.
Samreay

Con

I believe this should be a short debate, and so I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
LittleBallofHATE

Pro

In this round, I will simply provide a definition of evidence. Keep this in mind, when you make your argument.

noun: evidence

1.
the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

Keep in mind that I require scientific evidence. I will be using the scientific method to refute what you say. So make it good.

Thank you for accepting this debate, and have at it.
Samreay

Con

As con, I will argue that the statement "There is no scientific evidence for evolution", where evolution is meant to be common descent. As such, I am to show that there is indeed scientific evidence for common descent. In order to do so, I will briefly explain how evidence works in scientific methodology, and then apply that the the hypothesis of common descent.



On the nature of evidence

A scientific hypothesis is an explanation of a one or more phenomenon which makes testable predictions, and this hypothesis can be tested by checking to see if its predictions align with what we observe. The results of checking predictions to reality is known as evidence. For example, Einstein won his Nobel Prize for his work on the photoelectric effect[1], and his hypothesis predicted that the light reflected off metal had quantiased energy. The subsequent confirmation of this prediction experimentally acted as confirmatory evidence Einstein was correct, and would have falsified his theory if not found (falsification is critical[2]). So, parallelising this, I will show predictions of common descent that have been confirmed by evidence, fulfilling my burden of proof. Note that to fulfill my BoP, I do not need to show that common descent is certain due to the evidence, simply that ANY evidence of commen descent exists.




What is common descent

From Wikipedia: "In evolutionary biology, a group of organisms share common descent if they have a common ancestor. There is strong evidence that all living organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor, called the last universal ancestor or LUA (or last universal common ancestor, LUCA)."




Predictions and tests of common descent


Genetic predictions

A prediction of common descent is that all organisms share a similar genetic heritage, and that genetic similarities should increase the closer in the phylogenic tree two species are. Common descent would be falsified if phylogenically close species (ranked by other methods, such as transitional fossils) did not have this genetic similarity, and thus finding evidence of these genetic similarites is scientific evidence for common descent [4]. Furthermore, even Universal Comment Ancestry can be evaluated statistically, as shown in the citations supplied here [5][6][7]. Another genetic test would be that of retroviruses, that inject their DNA into the host's. Common descent would predict that descendent species would inherit this foreign and non-functioning DNA, and this prediction is of course confirmed many times over in the scientific field [8][9][10][11]. Unfortunately I am pressed for letters, so to move on.

Biological predictions

Common descent also predicts that evolutionary features found in ancestors should be passed onto descendent species. Vestigial features are a good example of this, where features from ancestors are found in descendents that would not be expected to be seen if common descent was not true. The famous example is the laryngeal nerve (especially in giraffes, as its poor evolution means they can only grunt), confirm this prediction resoundingly [12]. Another example would be the vestigal legs in whales [13].

Fossil predictions

Common descent of course predicts that a descendent species should not occur before its ancestor, giving rise to the famous "Precambrian rabbit" in which biologist J.B.S Haldane said a rabbit in the precambrian (before mammals evolved) would completely falsify evolution. Of course, the fossil record does not have a precambrian rabbit, and shows clear pathways of evolutionary development. It is hard to cite a single article for this, so I direct to the modern cetaceans on Wikipedia, which has an article littered with intermediate species and fossils found [14].


Conclusion

Common descent makes predictions that have been confirmed through scientific investigation. I want to keep going on the predictions, as there are thousands more, but enough books have been written on the topic already!


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://phylointelligence.com...
[5] http://www.nature.com...
[6] http://www.nature.com...
[7] http://news.nationalgeographic.com...
[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[9] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[10] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[11] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[12] Page 42 and 224 http://books.google.com.au...
[13] Page 69 http://www.amazon.com...
[14] http://en.wikipedia.org...;
Debate Round No. 2
LittleBallofHATE

Pro

LittleBallofHATE forfeited this round.
Samreay

Con

My opponent has not deigned to respond this round unfortunately; I was looking forward to what sort of rebutals could actually be formulated against the explanation of common ancestry I gave.

Now, whilst I could easily use this turn in order to continue illustrating the thousands of predictions and evidential confirmations of common ancestry, I believe I have already presented more than enough evidence to convince any reader of this debate. I hope LittleBallofHATE comes back into this debate, as I am genuinely curious how a (presumed) creationist can justify away the predictions of common ancestry.




A preemptive rebuttal that I comment on is the common "Common ancestry could have done it, but God could have done it too. Both scenarios are consistent with the evidence, so you can't claim common ancestory as having evidence but not creation!"

Whether or not thi is actually my opponents position, I do not know, but if it is, or indeed of any reader may have encountered this response before, it falls apart once you realise the difference between being confirmed by the evidence, and being consistent with the evidence.

Every unfalsifiable theory ever postulated has the vice of being consistent with any evidence. With creationism, God could have made it appear that organisms have common ancestors if he wanted to, but he also could have made it seem like they don't. With gravity, the replacement "angels are just pushing mass around to trick us" hypothesis is consistent with mass being proportional to gravitational field - but it would be just as consistent if this were not the case. Or to be even more absurd, consider if I claim I am a martian communicating with Mars via an antenna in my head. Even if you surgically inspected my head and found only brain, I can make my hypothesis unfalsifiable by claiming that the circuitry is organic and indistinguishable from my brain. Thus, finding no mechanical antenna and only human brain in my skull is consistent with me being a martian from Mars. But would we actually take the lack of finding a mechanical antenna to be evidence towards me being a martian? I doubt it.

You see, the problem is that consistency means absolutely nothing when you are talking about unfalsifiable theories. We have to go beyond it, and get to confirmation. Evidence is confirmatory if is 1) true, 2) risky and 3) surprising. 1) should be obvious, but what I mean by risky is that the hypothesis has to make a prediction. And the more the hypothesis depends on that prediction to be true (ie if it is a core tennet and finding that the prediction does not match reality makes the whole hypothesis crumble), the greater the weight of the evidence. The evidence also has to be surprising - that is we wouldn't expect to find it if the hypothesis were not true. For example, I could claim that eating meat makes children grow taller. Whilst this certainly makes a prediction that can be tested, we would already (due to our knowledge of basic biology) already expect children to grow, whether or not the hypothesis is correct or not.

Anyway, that is a very brief introduction into the difference between scientific confirmation and empirical consistency, and I hope it was interesting to at least one viewer.





I shall now go back to waiting on Pro for his next post.
Debate Round No. 3
LittleBallofHATE

Pro

I would like to apologize for missing the last round. I've been pretty busy with a real life emergency.

Instead of trying to refute what my opponent has said, I will just give you something to think about.

The meta-information challenge

We need to get past the na"ve idea that we understand the genome because we know the sequence of a linear string of DNA. In fact, all we know is the first dimension out of at least four in which the genome operates (1: the one-dimensional, linear string of letters; 2: the two-dimensional interactions of one part of the string with another, directly or through RNA and protein proxies; 3: the three-dimensional spatial structure of the DNA within the nucleus; and 4: changes to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd dimensions over time). There is a tremendous amount of information packed into that genome that we have not figured out, including multiple simultaneously-overlapping codes.48 When discussing whether or not mutations can create new information, evolutionists routinely bring up an overly-simplistic view of mutation and then claim to have solved the problem while waving their hand over the real issue: the antagonism between ultra-complexity and random mutation.

If a four-dimensional genome is hard enough to grasp, there is also a huge amount of "meta-information" in the genome. This is information about the information! This is the information that tells the cell how to maintain the information, how to fix it if it breaks, how to copy it, how to interpret what is there, how to use it, when to use it, and how to pass it on to the next generation. This is all coded in that linear string of letters and life could not exist without it. In fact, life was designed from a top-down perspective, apparently with the meta-information coming first. According to a brilliant paper by Alex Williams,49 for life to exist, organisms require a hierarchy of

Perfectly pure, single-molecule-specific biochemistry,
specially structured molecules,
functionally integrated molecular machines,
comprehensively regulated, information-driven metabolic functions, and
inversely-causal meta-information.

None of these levels can be obtained through natural processes, none can be predicted from the level below, and each is dependent on the level above. Meta-information is the top level of biological complexity and cannot be explained by naturalistic mechanisms, yet life cannot exist without it.50 Putting all other arguments for and against the rise of biological information aside, where did the meta-information, upon which all life depends, come from?

As you can see, life is much more complicated than you think. From the hierarchy, listed earlier, it is clear that life could not have arisen by naturalistic means. It's a flat out impossibility. Evolutionists claim to have a lot of evidence that proves their theory. The reality is that it's all an illusion.

If you're interested in more about this, here's the link for the full article. http://creation.com...

P.S.

Something else to ponder. Do you have any idea just how complex a cell is? Here is a short article, along with an eight minute video. I strongly encourage you to watch it. I don't see how anyone can watch it and still believe that biology is a product of random mutation. And even if you don't believe in the Christian God, it is clearly evident that life had a designer. Nothing else fits the facts. Here's that link. Please take a few moments to watch the video. http://ocrampal.com...

I don't expect to win this debate. Quite frankly, I believe that debates, especially about religion or evolution, are a joke. There are many more atheists than Theists, and most of them vote the party line, regardless of how well one side or the other debates. I'll be happy if I can just get just one person to think differently about this subject. Thank you.

48) Itzkovitz, S., Hodis, E. and Segal, E., Overlapping codes within protein-coding sequences, Genome Research 20:1582"1589, 2010.
49) Williams, A., Life"s irreducible structure"Part 1: Autopoiesis, Journal of Creation 21(2):109"115, 2007.
50) Williams, A., Meta-information: an impossible conundrum for evolution, 2007.
Samreay

Con

Good to see the debate kick back off.

Now, it seems my opponent has implicitly conceded the argument, stating that he will not try and refute what I said. I am glad I presented such an airtight argument.


To briefly address the two points my opponent brings up, we have unfortanately a lot of claims and absolutely no real science.

Rather than quoting pro, I simply direct users to the heading of "The meta-information challenge" at http://creation.com... from which pro has simply copied and pasted his argument. I would like to point out to Pro that I would have really liked to see some original content instead of just a copy and paste from the scientifically discredited Creation.com domain. The title of the page, "Can mutations create new information?" has the answer of an obvious yes, and to support this I simply refer to the Kitzmiller v Dover trial results, page 86 http://en.wikisource.org...;

In addition, Dr. Miller refuted Pandas’ claim that evolution cannot account for new genetic information and pointed to more than three dozen peer-reviewed scientific publications showing the origin of new genetic information by evolutionary processes. (1:133-36 (Miller); P-245). In summary, Dr. Miller testified that Pandas misrepresents molecular biology and genetic principles, as well as the current state of scientific knowledge in those areas in order to teach readers that common descent and natural selection are not scientifically sound.


The second point my opponent raises, which again has nothing to do with common ancestry, is about the complexity of a modern cell. I will no dispute that, modern cells are very complex. The problem with where this line of argument is going is that people unfamiliar with evolution often think that a modern cell is the result of abiogensesis. In reality, the modern cell has had billions of years of evolution, and as we go back in time cells become simpler and less complex. So yes, modern cells are complex, and yes, this is entirely expected if evolution were true.


Conclusion

I have provided unambiguous and solid reasons why there is scientific support for common ancestry / evolution. All my points remain uncontested. I would earnestly invite pro not to be so shut off to evolution - the majority of Christians around the world, indeed the entire Catholic church, recognises that not only is evolution true, but it does not conflict with Christianity. There is no scientific controversy about evolution, and it remains one of the most useful and best support scientific theories ever formulated. Christian scientists, atheist scientists, buddhist, hindu, muslim scientists, all accept evolution. And it is not because there is a conspiracy amoung scientists to (for some reason) deceive the public, it is because, honestly, it is where absolutely all of the evidence points.

Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Samreay 3 years ago
Samreay
Haha thanks Siladheil. Glad someone reads the stuff I write :D
Posted by Siladheil 3 years ago
Siladheil
Con, after reading your initial augument. I'd like to thank you for showing me exactly how to frame my debates for all future debates that I may have. It was put together in an easy to read and understand format. I wish I had seen your argument before I embarked on my first debate!
Posted by Samreay 3 years ago
Samreay
Yeah I was going to request clarification on what exactly the debate topic was too.

The title implies evolution. The opening sentence implies common descent. The second sentence implies universal descent.

All three are separate issues, but I feel confidence in my ability to show evidence for all of them within the word limit if needed to.
Posted by schachdame 3 years ago
schachdame
Pro's attitude is a major critique point here. His way of addressing the opponent is rather arrogant and hasty by trend: A definition for evidence should have been given in the first round, to enable the opponent to decline or accept based on that. Also, references could have been helpful to make clear what this definition is based on. Conduct is obviously endangered here.
Posted by Samreay 3 years ago
Samreay
Well I await your first comment. I am assuming it'll be fairly short, given I have the BoP and all.
Posted by LittleBallofHATE 3 years ago
LittleBallofHATE
Character limit is 10,000 characters. I'll be brief. I encourage you to do the same. I just wanted to make sure we both had the space to argue, if needed. And this won't be easy.LOL
Posted by Samreay 3 years ago
Samreay
What is the character limit btw? I am in exam period (exam tomorrow), but may take this up provided the limit is fairly low (as I cant spend hours writing).
Posted by Samreay 3 years ago
Samreay
Should be an easy debate for con. Will follow with relish.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by alyfish126 3 years ago
alyfish126
LittleBallofHATESamreayTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: FF and lack of effort. Con had fundamentally stronger arguments. Con used more sources, more reliable ones, and had more variety of sources.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 3 years ago
FuzzyCatPotato
LittleBallofHATESamreayTied
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Reasons for voting decision: More or less ff. Pro ff'd a round, didn't rebut, and copy-pasted their argument.
Vote Placed by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
LittleBallofHATESamreayTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro didn't even make a prima facie case and didn't even try to refute any of Con's arguments. In fact, he admitted this latter point. His arguments mostly argued against abiogenesis and not against Universal Common Ancestry. Conduct to Con because Pro forfeited a round.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 3 years ago
dsjpk5
LittleBallofHATESamreayTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff a round. Pro conceded to Con's arguments, so are presumed true. Con had more sources.
Vote Placed by Cold-Mind 3 years ago
Cold-Mind
LittleBallofHATESamreayTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Con provided arguments and supported them.