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The Contender
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This house believes that evolution is more defensible than Young Earth Creationism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/28/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,271 times Debate No: 36075
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)




This debate is rather simple, and based off of a forum post. The burden of proof is shared. The first round is for acceptance, though my opponent can reasonably set forth some definitions if they wish or present their case for creationism. All sources and similar must go into the debate (and not hte comments) for fairness - I personally will otherwise over-source and it will weaken the debate's fluidity. In sum, however, standard debating rules and customs apply, and I look forward to my opponent's arguments. Thank you.


Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to define some key terms.

General Theory of Evolution -
the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form. [1]

In other words, in this debate evolution will be referred to as, the naturalistic process that is alleged to have turned molecules into man over billions of years.

Creation - as described in the book of Genesis, God created the universe in six, approximately 24-hour days, roughly 6,000 years ago.

Operational (Observable) science - a systematic approach to understanding that uses observable, testable, repeatable, falsifiable experimentation to understand how nature commonly behaves.

This is what some like to call, 'here-and-now', science. This is the type of science that finds cures for sicknesses, sends mankind to the moon, and makes products of any kind that are useful to us. This type of science involves experimentation with observable, testable, repeatable, and falsifiable events.

Historical (Origins) science - interpreting evidence from past events based on a presupposed philosophical point of view.

Events that happened in the past are neither observable, testable, repeatable, or falsifiable. Thus, the full extent of the scientific method cannot be used for evolution or creation. Both evolution and creation are based on presupposed beliefs about how the universe began. Therefore, because we have different starting points (yours being billions of years of evolution, there being no God, naturalism, etc. Mine being the Bible), we reach different conclusions by interpreting the evidence to fit our framework of beliefs. You see, creationists and evolutions have the same evidence. The evidence is all the same, we just interpret the evidence differently.

This is not part of my argument. This is something that should be agreed upon before the debate starts. It is impossible to have a proper debate on evolution and creation without understanding the differences between operational and historical science. It is impossible to be able to defend each others position in the right way without understanding that the facts exist in the present, but our interpretations of these facts lead us to different conclusions, because we have two very different starting points.

You may now present your case, I wish you all the best. :)


[1] Kerkut, G.A. 'Implications of Evolution'

For more information on presuppositions, starting points, worldviews, observable and historical science, etc., read Evolution Exposed, Chapter 1: What is Science? Or visit these links below:

Debate Round No. 1


First, I shall redefine some terms with some clearer sources:

Evolution is best defined as the following:
"In the broadest sense, evolution is merely change, and so is all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve. Biological evolution ... is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions."[1]

However, this is incredibly wordy. It can be shortened to "evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next"[2], or "Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations."[3] My personal explanation is a formula: "Genetic Mutation + Natural Selection = Speciation" being the summary of evolution.

Secondly, I'm going to deny the distinction between "operational" and "historical" science as relevant. This was something proposed arbitrarily by AIG[4] and then thoroughly dismissed as ridiculous by all on the evolution field, theists[5] and secular alike. To quote Carol Cleland, "the claim that historical science is methodologically inferior to experimental science cannot be sustained."[6] In Sober's words regarding sex: "[o]nly by combining laws and history can one say why sex did evolve". While one may claim their is a distinction, to say one is worse than another, or one is unfalsifiable, or similar is all false. "Nomothetic and historical disciplines in evolutionary biology have much to learn from each other."[7], arguably, but "they complement each other"[7]. One is not more important than the other.

With that, I'll start my case.

The Case for Evolution

Evolution, as I've stated, relies on three major premises:

1) Natural Selection occurs
2) Genetic Mutation occurs
3) These two things lead to speciation.

This is how we establish macroevolution. Microevolution takes the form where (3) is "These two things lead to genetic change".

So I shall defend each premise in turn. However, I'll admit: I am not a great scientist. Science is unfortunately not my strong suit. To butcher a Star Trek meme: Dammit, I'm a philosopher not a biologist! However, a little lateral thinking allows us to justify these premises. So let's see how this goes.

Genetic Mutation: Proof by Common sense.

I could simply point out genetic mutation occurring from chemical weapons and irradiation like chlorine gas or gamma rays[11], or traditional hereditary mutations[12], or the examples of genetic mutation in flies[13] or sickle cell[14], or the positive examples like the Lederberg experiment[15] or Lenski experiment[16], or the endless list of genetic mutations that we observe in real life. However, I'll just point to common sense as well. What happens when we copy something perfectly, say, a letter? There is no differences. However, in reality, there are going to be mistakes: an additional letter here, missing letters there, a typo here, etcetera. These are the genetic mutations we see. Genetic mutation is quite straight forward, really: things change.

Natural Selection: More common sense

Again, I can point to Moths[17], Nylon eating bacteria[18], Fish[19], Cabbage[20], dogs, insects, viruses and many creatures for natural or artificial selection. It is again intuitive, however. The conker example is my favourite to use, however. Conkers which destroy each other until the strongest survive means that those which are weak, die, and those which are strong, live. Of course, this all depends on the situation, context, environment and other factors, but there is still the constant: survival of the fittest. We also see this in non-biological examples: business points out that poor products do not sell well while good products "reproduce" and become household products. In the English language, popular words are used a lot while unpopular words or metaphors die out and are replaced. Natural Selection is undeniable: it is the idea that, in general, things that are better suited to survive, survive.

Speciation: Proof from Apple.

No, this is not proof from the apple which you eat, but from the Apple corporation. Or, more specifically, the iPod. It's an ingenious little nifty device which I am sure we are all familiar with. Why is this relevant? Well, to requote Futuyma, "evolution is merely change, and so is all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve"[1]. Natural Selection is something we'd see in businesses, as well as biology.

In business, we generally accept the product life cycle[8] as a device to observe how a product or service, without mutation (or innovation) survives in the business environment. The iPod is no different[9]. However, with repeated extensions, the product is more likely to survive[10], and we see with the iPod that each successful adaptation to the new marketplace makes the product more and more diverse, different, and survives for longer and longer. In other words, using biological terms, the genetic mutation of the iPod, combined with the natural selection of its better models selling well, created a diversification and speciation of the product - or, popular innovation led the product to sell well.

An attack on Creationism

Now I've set out my case for evolution, I will begin to put the bones on my attack on creationism.

The Million Dollar Question

Imagine you are a creationist, or ID proponent. A huge organisation has decided to fund you a million dollars into an experiment to prove your scientific hypothesis. Not to attack evolution, but to prove creationism. What would you spend the money on? This question I think is incredibly valuable, as there is no experiment that comes to mind to prove or disprove the hypothesis, which makes it both unfalsifiable and unverifiable.

Is creaton objective?

Helen Longino dealt with the question "what makes science objective"? She states two characteristics[21]: (1) cultural diversity among the scientific community and (2) that scientific theory ultimately must bend to truth. The Young Earth hypothesis, unlike evolution, fulfils neither characteristic. It is not objective.

1 - Douglas Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology
2 - Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology
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7 - Elliot Sober, Philosophy of Biology
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21 - Helen Longino, Science as Social Knowledge


Defining Evolution

In a lot of ways you're at least more honest than a lot of the evolutionists I have debated with. Because you're at least willing to admit that “evolution” encompasses a lot more than just biological life. Most evolutionists lately seem to want to limit evolution to just things that concern biological life and leaves the origins of the universe or life out of it.

With that said, I don’t have real problem with your definitions for evolution except for two things:

It can be shortened to “evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next”

If this were truly all that you meant by evolution, then there would be no debate. All of us would be evolutionists by this definition. But unfortunately, this isn’t all that is meant as you admit earlier;

" embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions."

Here you simply beg the question by assuming that the changes you're talking about are information gaining. We will discuss that below.

Two Kinds of Science?

There are two kinds of science, operational science, and historical science. Whether you like it or not, these distinctions do exist.

Operational science deals with things in the present that we can see, test, and demonstrate. Historical science deals with things in the past so by definition, it is not something we can directly observe or test. All of our testing must be done in the present and from there, we can try to determine what happened in the past. But make no mistake about it, operational science is superior to historical science simply for the fact that it can be observed directly.

If historical science were truly on the same level of credibility as operational science, then it would be rather easy to solve a court case, wouldn’t it? If you think about it, all court cases are about something that happened in the past and now the jury looks at the facts of the case (operational science) and based on that, they try to interpret what they think happened in the past (historical science).

And unlike operational science, historical science is largely driven by the worldview (presupposed beliefs) of the researcher. E.g., if we see a world covered with fossils, then to the naturalist or atheist, this might be interpreted as evidence for long periods of time. But to the Biblical creationist, the fossils are evidence for the global flood. Who is right? Operational science can’t determine this alone, but it can be used to see which “theory” about the past makes the most sense of what we see in the present.

More information here. [1]

Genetic Mutation

Yes, things change. Mutations are changes in the DNA strand as we all know. But is this 'change' really proof for evolution, in the molecules-to-man sense?

No, because mutations always cause a loss of information, [2] the opposite needed for evolution. [3]

If you really want to define evolution as "any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next", or "a change in gene frequency", then the fly example, the sickle cell example, the E. coli experiments, and "the endless list of genetic mutations that we observe in real life", 'proves evolution'. However, it 'proves creation' as well, since varying the amounts of already-existing genes is what creation is all about. [4] However, each mutation in the "endless list" gains no new information. [5] For evolution to be true, you need new information to be gained. However the downward motion we see in mutations is perfectly consistent with creation.

Natural Selection

Remember operational science? Natural selection is a process that falls under that category, it's an observable fact. Creationists agree with evolutionists on a lot of the ideas associated with natural selection, except the idea that natural selection leads to molecules-to-man evolution. [6] If you provide evidence for that, I'll comment further.


Speciation is observable and fits into the category of operational science. Speciation has never been observed to turn one kind of animal into another. [7] Again, if you provide evidence that mutations, natural selection, or speciation leads to transpeciation, then I'll comment further. So far, you've stated three facts of which we both agree on. You've made no case whatsoever.

The Million Dollar Question

Notice the subtle question-begging epithet you've used by contrasting evolution with creationism. The “-ism” at the end of “creation” implies that creation is simply a belief, but evolution isn’t.

Also, you don't seem to understand why discrediting evolution actually is in favor for creation. Because either the universe is here by naturalistic means (God was not involved in any meaningful way) or the universe is not the result of naturalistic means. The law of the excluded middle exhausts any other possibility. So if we can show that it is impossible for the universe to have come into existence naturally, then it is powerful evidence that it was created supernaturally.

Another example would be with chemical evolution, specifically abiogenesis. Either life originated via natural means or it is not the case that it originated via natural means. Again, the law of the excluded middle exhausts all other possibilities. So, if atheistic abiogenesis can be disproven, then it follows that life did not originate naturally.

This question I think is incredibly valuable, as there is no experiment that comes to mind to prove or disprove the hypothesis, which makes it both unfalsifiable and unverifiable.

However, this isn’t to say that there aren’t experiments that we can do to show how the evidence is more consistent with biblical creation. E.g., because biblical creationists believe that God created original kinds of animals and everything is a winding down process, then we would expect to see that mutations generally lead to losses of genetic information. [8] This is certainly what we observe and is consistent with the creationist’s model. Also, since creationists believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old, we would expect that diamonds buried in rock layers that secular scientists claim are millions of years old, would still contain C14 in them. [9] And this is what we do find, and again, this is consistent with the creationist’s model and inconsistent with the evolutionist’s model since all of the C14 should be gone by the secular time-scale.

Is Creation Objective?

"Helen Longino dealt with the question “what makes science objective”?"

This is the fallacy of reification because science is a tool used by people, and it’s people who may or may not be objective. Someone can certainly use science properly or improperly, however.

"She states two characteristics: (1) cultural diversity among the scientific community"

How exactly does cultural diversity lead to objectiveness? It makes it sound like this person thinks there is no cultural diversity among biblical creationists.

"and (2) that scientific theory ultimately must bend to truth. The Young Earth hypothesis, unlike evolution, fulfils neither characteristic. It is not objective.”"

I find it ironic that you would agree that a scientific theory must “bend to truth”. Because not one evolutionist who accepts abiogenesis bases this off of the observable facts, but instead bases this belief off of his worldview. Talk about not bending to the facts!

What you will find is that all evidence is interpreted according to the worldview of the observer. That is all “theories” bend towards the worldview. The reason the evolutionists believe in abiogenesis is because their worldview doesn’t allow for another possibility.



Debate Round No. 2


What is Evolution

Evolution has multiple meanings. In the general sense, it is “merely change”, and change to improve. Evolution itself has never since creationism been an issue, simply because of its intuitive truth. Evolution includes literary movements evolving, art movements, economics, business, chemistry, physics, cosmology, as well as the issue of biology. While I could simply defend evolution in general, I am narrowing myself to the traditional, scientific biological evolution. The logical conclusion, however, of evolution occurring is dramatic speciation.

It is logically deduced from my equation, which is what I am defending: natural selection + genetic mutation = diversification and speciation. There are three possibly disputable premises:

1) Natural Selection does not occur.

2) Genetic Mutation does not occur. My opponent disputes whether information can be added.

3) The two combine to diversify species to the point of speciation. My opponent has not disputed this.

If all of these premises are accepted, then evolution must be accepted as fact. I’ll move on to defending the second and third premise further.

However, I first want to reiterate the meaningless distinction of “historical science”. My opponent claims historical science is bias because it is done by those with a ‘wordlview’. While this may be true for creationism – which I shall argue under objectivity – it needs to be justified with argument or evidence and not ad verecundium claims to a man without true credentials or even respect in his field. By contrast, both Cleland and Sober are extremely respected thinkers. Moreover, “historical science” is just as testable as “operational science”, because we test them both the same way. All theories hold auxillary assumptions, or epiphenomenal beliefs. This means that if we think a steam train is going, an epiphenomenal belief is that there will be a whistling sound. Similarly, “historical science” theories make the same assumptions. Take a discredited theory of abiogenesis (Cleland, 2001). A good example is the Miller-Urey experiments (Miller, 1953) which were touted as supporting the hypothesis that life on Earth began in a primordial soup, but really supports the auxiliary assumption that some of the building blocks of life (amino acids) can be produced by electrical discharges on a mixture of methane, hydrogen, ammonia, and H2O. In this context it is sobering to note that most scientists now believe that the origin of life on Earth is not compatible with the conditions of the Miller-Urey experiment. It is thought that Earth’s early atmosphere did not contain abundant methane or ammonia, and that life may have begun near a deep-sea volcanic vent (Orgel, 1998). We can see through this example why historical science is just as credible as operational science: they test in the same way – through questioning auxiliary assumptions.

Genetic Mutation – Additional information

This claim has problems both empirically and simply logically. With the empiricism first, we see genetic variety being added in the Lenski experiment (a.c), the Lederberg experiment (a.c.), in Fungi (Hughes & Friedman, 2003), bacteria (Knox, Moews, & Frere, 1996), (I.D.Prijambada, 1995) and more, hundreds more in fact. However, we also have a logical problem: most evolution in fact usually suffers from reversion. That means that if for example a DNA base turns from an A to a G, it is likely to revert back to an A. So “For any mutation that results in a loss of information, logically, the reverse mutation must result in its gain. So the claim that mutations destroy information but cannot create it not only defies the evidence, it also defies logic.” (Page, 2008). I’ll be interested to see the gymnastics needed to redefine information in order to nuance the monolith of evidence that justifies information being gained by genetic mutation.


We’ve seen speciation occur in the Lenski experiment (a.c.), as well as among bacteria (Dufresne & Hebert, 1994), Sphinx Moths (Le Roux & Rubinoff), and many others. Carr even proposes extremely rapid evolution mimicking saltation’s speed more than gradualism (Carr, 2000). Speciation is clearly justified.

Criticising Creationism

The million dollar question has hardly been answered. We firstly must acknowledge my opponent does not value historical science, but what else has he proposed? The “winding down process” is not justified except on a post hoc basis. What part of “God created the world 6000 years ago with life being no different as it is now” postulate animal life degrading? Moreover, the Carbon 14 claim is what is best described as a shot in the foot: even answers in genesis accepts this (Baumgardner, 2007). It brings up more questions against creationism than it answers: “Why do only some materials show evidence of this intrinsic radiocarbon? Why does some anthracite and diamond exist with no measurable intrinsic radiocarbon? Why is its presence in carbonates so much more variable than in other materials, e.g., wood and graphite?” (n.c.) this list goes on. Indeed, even though both claims are false, they neither justify a Young Earth Hypothesis of six thousand years (which is what we’re testing) nor, as false, disprove it. The Young Earth Hypothesis is unfalsifiable and bad science.


The addressal here just confuses me. The fallacy of reification is one of ambiguity, but I am anything but: I give two clear cut rules with source the long-term objectivity and trustworthiness of science. The fact that it is multicultural, and the fact that it ultimately bends to truth. Being multicultural, it means anyone coming in with differing outlooks – Christian or Atheist, Animist or Buddhist, Liberal or Conservative, Male or Female, Greek or Gentile – all are one in their acceptance of the evidence for evolution. By contrast, the creationist's background is universally religious fundamentalists with a narrow range of opinions, with the agenda to justify creationism (which is so obvious even to them that they publish books trying to make out we all are propagandists). Secondly, scientists ultimately bend to the truth. Though we may err in our beliefs, supporting Lamarckism or phrenology for some time, ultimately we are pursuing truth first and foremost and we change our minds to the straight and narrow. However, when creationists dare even make a testable statement (such as the disproven occurrence of the flood, or hydroplate theory), the hypothesis is tested, and clearly rejected. Yet, just as the other pseudosciences of astrology and homeopathy, its followers refuse to bow to evidence. They are contrary to science for creationism is not a rational enterprise. It does not “work”. And as such, I urge a vote PRO.

[a.c. refers to already cited]


Carr, G. D. (2000). A new chromosome race of Calycadenia pauciflora

Cleland. (2001). Historical science, experimental science, and the scienti@257;c method.

Dufresne, F., & Hebert, P. (1994). Hybridization and origins of polyploidy. Proceedings: Biological Sciences.

Hughes, A. L., & Friedman, R. (2003). Parallel evolution by gene duplication in the genomes of two unicellular fungi.

I.D.Prijambada. (1995). Emergence of nylon oligomer degradation enzymes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO through experimental evolution.

Knox, J. R., Moews, P. C., & Frere, J. M. (1996). Molecular evolution of bacterial beta-lactam resistance.

Le Roux, J. J., & Rubinoff, D. (n.d.). Evidence of Repeated and Independent Saltational Evolution in a Peculiar Genus of Sphinx Moths

Miller. (1953). A production of amino acids under possible primitive Earth.

Orgel. (1998). The origin of life—A review of facts and speculations.

Page, M. L. (2008, April 16).



Founder forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I believe this may have simply been a glitch in the system. If so, I'll await my opponent's final round and shall simply ignore this one. Good luck to my opponent.


Founder forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Sagey 4 years ago
Yes indeed, Kerkut was Wrong, and a bit of an idiot to boot.
Even if evolution really considered origins (which it doesn't) those primordial pools and mud slides all contained carbon, which is the basis of organic life forms. So the origins would also have likely been organic.
There is a lot of carbon in the universe and in abundance billions of years ago on earth.

Evolution is primarily and wholly concerned with biological processes, such as adaptation, mutation, genetic transference and inheritance of genetic traits.
So far the Theory of Evolution has grown to explain thousands of biological Facts adequately.
Making it possibly the strongest Scientific Theory in existence.
There is no other theory anywhere near as strong as Evolutionary Theory.
It cannot possibly ever be challenged by an Irrational, delusional concept that cannot ever be a Scientific Theory like Young Earth Creationism.
Such a challenge, itself is extremely Irrational.
Proving that: Young Earth Creationist Fundamentalists are by far the Least Intelligent (rational) humans on planet Earth.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
Can we actually put our citations in the debate, and not all of them off-site? I am using more sources than you are yet managing to fit it into the debate, which included cutting out almost a thousand characters of my last argument. Please follow the rules and more importantly general etiquette. Thank you.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
Founder, to be clear, I will dispute all your definitions except creationism (which, even then, excludes an Old Earth Creation but is not too important for this debate). However, kerkut is not a prominent anything except his book which you referenced being accused by creation sources. He published the book with the express purpose to "evaluate the assumptions behind evolution and whether their evidence is sufficient". In 1950 the evidence may have been dubious for him. However, modern advances put his questions to rest, and published newer editions saying the issues were strengthened. As he stated, ". The answer will be found in future experimental work". And they have been.

However, all this is avoided by citing modern thinkers parallel to a modern understanding of the issue, not those which are sixty years old.
Posted by Founder 5 years ago
Actually, 'Rational Thinker', if you would look at the citation for the definition given; you would see that was actually defined by prominent evolutionist, Kerkut.

Evolution can be defined in many ways. For example, evolution can be defined simply as, 'change over time'. However, change over time is an observable fact. Creationists and evolutions agree that there is change over time. Change in biological populations over successive generations, or in other words, variations within a kind of animal (ex. the dog kind, cat kind, reptile kind, etc.) is not what we are debating.

We are debating molecules-to-man evolution. So sit tight, and maybe by the end of this debate you'll see the difference.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 5 years ago
However, Pro, if you wish to carry a bigger burden than you need to just to prove a point...So be it.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 5 years ago
Con is using a faulty definition of Evolution. Evolution does not speak on biological abiogenesis. "Answersingenesis" doesn't know what they are talking about. Wikipedia's definition is much more accurate:

"Evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations." -

Pro, I would challenge Con on his false definition.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the forfeit, arguments because CON just didn't know what he was talking about, and sources because PRO's sources were more reliable and backed up his points better.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Ff