The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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This house would believe the dominant pardigm is flawed.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/16/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,084 times Debate No: 24748
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
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Resolution states: This house would believe evolution is flawed.
This house will be defined as individuals studying science
The dominant paradigm will be defined as the dominant paradigm of evolution, ie Darwin's Theory of Evolution
The weighing mechanism will be net benefits to the scientific community.

First round acceptance only.



I'm somewhat new to this website but I think I should be able to debate relatively well in favour of evolution. I prefer clarity above all else, so I will reiterate the statement in a way that makes sense to me...

Statement - Evolution is flawed

Pro believes that evolution is flawed, con (myself) believes that evolution is not flawed.

I look forward to your criticisms of evolution, although as a thing that has been regarded as scientific truth for over a century and is considered akin to the "theory" of gravity, I fear that they shall have to be somewhat transcendental i.e. nothing is certain so all theories are flawed! Good luck regardless.
Debate Round No. 1


Now that we have ironed out the details of the debate, let's jump in. Thank you Con for accepting this debate and remaining patient while we settle the confusion.

The dissenting view of evolution is much more productive for the scientific community, and here is why. I will offer two main points. The first will pertain to Evolution directly, and the second will be more broad and pertain to the scientific method as a whole.

1. Evolution
A. There are three requirements for natural section.
Those requirements are, a)variation, b)differential reproduction, and c)heredity.
Therefore natural selection cannot be responsible for variation or reproduction. How then, did we get variation and reproduction? This is an inherent flaw in the dominant paradigm of natural selection.

2. The scientific method
A. Nothing can be proven. This is a fundamental principle of science. Therefore all paradigms are inherently flawed. Therefore we should assume this paradigm is flawed.

B. The scientific method is essentially used to disprove a paradigm. The scientific method can be summarized as,
Form a hypothesis
Test Hypothesis
Revise or reject hypothesis
We know that all hypothesis/paradigms are flawed. If you cannot detect the flaws and revise or reject the hypothesis, then you have done nothing to contribute to the scientific community. Therefore assuming the paradigm/hypothesis is not flawed prevents any contribution to the scientific community.

3. Scientists who accept the dominant paradigm have never made significant contributions to the scientific community.
What did great scientists like Kepler, Einstein, and Darwin have in common? They were all skeptical of the dominant paradigm. Because of this they were able to make significant contributions to the scientific community.


I'll take the first couple of paragraphs to respond to what my opponent has claimed, and forthwith I shall enter some points of my own.

This, to be honest, strikes me as more of a question than a criticism of evolution. Variation occurred for several reasons, primarily because of adaptive radiation, where organisms isolated in different environments adapted to those environments through natural selection - this is why species on different islands/land masses etc. seem related but are obviously different - they have adapted to their conditions, fur for foxes in the Arctic, very little for desert foxes.

I think this point was brought up due to a need for an explanation of the variation itself. This occurs due to random mutations in the DNA of new organisms, which is why they are different from their parents. If these traits are selected for, the species becomes more and more likely to have these minor differences until the entire species becomes like this. When they are geographically isolated, populations obviously will variate in a different way and go down a different path so to speak.

Another mistake 1A makes is to place differential reproduction WITHIN natural selection - differential reproduction IS natural selection. It is frankly the fact that traits will be differentially reproduced in terms of their desirability.

Therefore there is no flaw in natural selection.

Things are proven every day, from medical facts to historical facts. In fact, if nothing was proven (in some sense of the word at least) our world would never work! What scientists mean is that they CAN be disproven - even if the likelihood of this is near zero. You are welcome to suggest that all paradigms are flawed, but if this means you choose not to accept them at least as relative truths then you should never go to a hospital again, as their medicine is "flawed." To use flawed in the sense that you are using it here is to stop searching for the truth. Also your argument that evolution is "flawed" would be "flawed" because it is an argument! This is just a word game.

On the contrary, most scientists would be horrified to see anyone set out to "disprove" something. The purpose of the scientific method is to avoid bias IN ANY WAY for or against the result. Trying to disprove something would infringe deeply upon scientific ethics.

Albert Einstein accepted that the dominant paradigms in mathematics were true, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to question higher paradigms. We accept such paradigms every day, and thus we may question higher ones. In order to be a "great" medical researcher, one must accept that cells exist and have certain structures.

Not sure that I can take Kepler, the guy who tried to summon demons to help him reach space seriously, Darwin accepted that cells existed etc. However, even if biology itself was defined ONLY by the idea of creationism, that being the only dominant paradigm, questioning it would not immediately make it a falsehood, just as questioning evolution does not immediately make it a falsehood. If this were truly the way of science, as I say, medical science would fall and we would be in very bad straits indeed. A concept must be considered to be a truth even if it may not be, and the fact of it being a truth does not preclude it being questioned, or, in terms of the scientific method, new experiments being conducted in regards to it - that's what happens in biology classrooms.

It is more productive for the scientific community to accept evolution in the same way that it is more productive for the scientific community to accept that math works, that volcanoes erupt, that gravity exists in some sense. Not accepting evolution might have results akin to not accepting that volcanoes erupt. If we didn't accept that volcanoes erupted, then we wouldn't be able to find out

A) Why they erupt
B) What the results of eruption are, both long term and short term
C) How to predict when they erupt

Note that point C has very direct implications in the real world. You may question evolution, but if your questioning fails to find a flaw in evolution then you are merely wasting your time. The same would be true of creationism if reationism was factual - say some mythological god, allah, or zeus came down to earth and said "yes, I created all of you!!!!" you might still question that, but such questionings would be in vain, as one would know.

However, since the scientific method is unbiased, there is no measure of how many experiments may be run, even if they all have the same results and we KNOW they will have the same results. Using the scientific method to "question" evolution, say by breeding mice, breeding only the fastest, to find if faster ones would results in the newer populations being faster, is not wrong, however, it slows things down because you already know the answer to the experiment - the mice DO become faster through the generations!

In fact, evolution may be observed through many things. One of them is immunity - when a disease ravages a population, the survivors are immune, their ancestors will have the disease as a minor cold, because they have the right DNA to ward off the disease. This is why smallpox so ravaged the Americas - because it had never existed there so the inhabitants were not immune to it, as the Europeans were.

Tragically, for the story of the humans race, this tale spins both ways. In terms of disease, bacteria strains that are resistant to antibiotics survive. Antibiotics only work for a time before new strains of antibiotic - resistant bacteria become common - this is because the antibiotics kill off all but the most antibiotic - resistant bacteria, and those ones reproduce.

Evolution is therefore necessarily accepted scientific theory. In the same light, you can question whether one plus one equals two, but it won't get you anywhere. You will go in, of course, unbiased, not assuming anything, in adding two ones. But those two ones will still add to two, and you will be going over ground trodden many, many times before.

I look forward to your response!
Debate Round No. 2


First I will defend my contentions, then address my opponents.

1A)Con has many flaws in his attack on this contention. I'll address them quickly.

Con states, "Variation occurred for several reasons, primarily because of adaptive radiation, where organisms isolated in different environments adapted to those environments through natural selection"
Variation is required for natural selection, and therefore variation came before natural selection. Con's statement is a circular argument. Natural selection cannot be responsible for the origin of variation. Natural selection actually reduces the amount of variation.

Con states, "Variation occurs due to random mutations in the DNA of new organisms, which is why they are different from their parents."
First, mutation is not responsible for differences between offspring and parents. The offspring contains genetic information from both parents, but no new genetic information. Mutations also happen very, very slowly. Much slower than natural selection reduces variation. Nearly 100% of all mutations are actually negative, and are quickly removed from the gene pool, rarely making it past the first generation. Therefore we can conclude that all the variation around us cannot possibly be a product of mutation. Can a birds ability to fly possibly be a product of the same process that causes cancer? That seems a little far fetched.

Con states, "Another mistake 1A makes is to place differential reproduction WITHIN natural selection - differential reproduction IS natural selection."
Con is now arguing with my source, not me. He also fails to answer how we have sexual reproduction via natural selection.

2A) Con states, "Things are proven every day"
This is false and contradicts the very principles that science is founded upon. Nothing can be or ever has been proven. There is substantial evidence for some thing, but they are not actually proven facts. He also makes the mistake of comparing applied science and theoretical science. In applied science decisions are made based on the best evidence available. You do not accept that something is fact, but rather that you must make the best possible decision with the evidence at hand.

2B) Scientists attempt to disprove things every day. Otherwise they would never make any new discoveries. The scientific process by it's very nature shows this. If you conduct research and do not find any flaws with the paradigm you are testing, you have made no scientific progress.

3. You are confusing mathematics with natural science. Mathematics is something humans have constructed themselves and is not a natural science. You have also created the strawman argument that I believe evolution through natural selection is falsehood. Rather, I have stated it is flawed. There is a significant difference.

Con states evolution should be accepted to be used as a building block for scientific research, much the same way we accept that 2 plus 2 equals 4. Evolution via natural selection has never been observed, unlike a volcanic eruption.


Hello again...

On the contrary, this is not far fetched at all - this is the very backbone of evolution, if you don't accept that random genetic mutations occur, you will not be able to accept evolution. As for whether mutations exist, it is both apparent and not controversial (1)(2) and for dictionary definition (3) that these mutations exist and cause evolution!

As for whether mutations cause both cancer and the ability of a bird to fly, this is not controversial either. What happens is that an accumulation of mutations that positively effect a bird's (or pre-bird's) disposal to survive and reproduce again occur. I shall foresee your question concerning 'why we don't have intermediate birds then' by replying that we do. We have non flying birds that used to fly and whose wings are adapting to different purposes. Just ask the ostriche, penguin, or chicken. They can't fly, the penguin's wings, in fact, are not good for anything BUT they have been adapted to being flippers, and one could even suppose that in several million years they WILL be flippers. We also have GLIDING creatures that may be able to fly in several million years!

As for why we have sexual reproduction from natural selection, there is no reason to suppose that a creature able to sexually reproduce could not occur from natural selection, and in fact if you look at sexual selection, it has many advantages going all the way from less vulnerability to disease to a greater variance in genes available for natural selection. This page explains it better than I can, however (4).

As for the discrepancy of terms concerning natural selection and differential reproduction, it really depends how you prefer to interpret it. Is the fact that organisms with more ability to survive reproduce more considered natural selection, or do you become more specific? It is of no consequence to a debate concerning evolution.

There was no reply to most of my previous statement, including that if all arguments are flawed that pro's must be as well. I was referring to "proven" in the literal rather than technical sense of the world. I repeat, if we did not accept some things in our lives as proven to some extent, we could not believe that the earth is round, that the sun is at the center of the solar system. We could not believe that plastic is made up of polymers, we could not believe many things, but we must at some point accept some things to be true, otherwise, I repeat again, we would give up searching for the truth. As for applied and theoretical science, they are interconnected, and must be in order for medicine to work.

I'll restate this in terms of theoretical science AND evolution then - what if scientists working on medical research that directly resulted in a cure for a disease failed to accept that the disease had evolved to be resistant to the antibiotics they had previously been using. This on a purely theoretical level, by the way, they are not yet at the applied stages of their cure. They don't believe in evolution, millions of people lose their lives, this is what would happen if we looked at science the way the opposition would have us look at science.

We aren't speaking about the same thing here. I mean disprove in the sense of whilst the experiment is going on. This can lead to things such as 'cherry picking,' when some evidence is taken to be true and some is not. Other corrupt practices, such as exaggerating evidence, may also result from this.

I fear that the opposition does not answer many points here, but I shall mention what is answered. First of all, evolution via natural selection HAS been observed. One example of this is a scientific attempt to domesticate foxes in Siberia. Those foxes with traits most wanted by humans were bred, until by the 6th generation those foxes resulting from the breeding (i.e. with genes that were favourable to humans) became the population. Individuals saw this occur, and this was artificial selection, which is basically the same thing as natural selection. I'll give an example specific to natural selection then... And it turns out I'm too lazy to describe it, so I'll direct you here (5) and here (6).

And if you choose to say that evolution being observed is unlike a volcanic eruption being observed because on occurs over time and one does not - then you are incorrect, because a volcanic eruption occurs over time as well! In fact, by your reasoning I could say that I don't believe volcanic eruptions exist. That they are flawed!

Mathematics is a science, but since there are a million other things I could use as an example in this sense (i.e. that we must accept that forces exist to accept gravity, etc.) I won't press that point.

Lastly, your statement that evolution is flawed in the sense that all paradigms are flawed avoids the argument, which is whether it would be advantageous to believe that evolution is flawed. Scientists, once more by that reasoning, could believe that the idea that bacteria exist is a flawed paradigm, but they would be incorrect and it wouldn't get them anywhere, so it is not to their advantage to suggest that it is flawed. However, I am arguing here that to say that evolution is flawed is just as advantageous as to say that 2+2=4 is flawed or, to use a more relevant example, to say that the concept that cells exist is flawed.

And interesting debate, I'm still waiting for the opposition to mention the second law of thermodynamics, but otherwise very interesting indeed... The opposition puts up some excellent points, and I await their response.

Debate Round No. 3


fishinbub forfeited this round.


Due most likely to circumstances beyond his control, the opposition has forfeited this final round, therefore I shall, of course, not introduce any new points that cannot be replied to at this time.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Numidious 6 years ago
Thanks - you brought up some excellent points, and I hope to debate you in future as well.
Posted by fishinbub 6 years ago
I apologize for missing my last round. It's been a rough week/weekend. I appreciate the kind gesture. This has certainly been the most civil debate I have seen on this site. Thank you for remaining kind and professional. I hope to debate you again in the future.
Posted by Numidious 6 years ago
This makes more sense, and although it is an unusual point to debate that will make it all the more interesting. The scientific community, of course, involves all individuals engaged in the study of science.

I disagree with the concept that the voters should believe that evolution is flawed, however - surely the truth or fallacy of evolution would still be a defining point in this debate regardless.

I look forward to your argument.
Posted by fishinbub 6 years ago
Just to clarify before we start the debate, my intention is not to debate whether or not evolution is flawed. Maybe this clarification would help. The voters should believe evolution is flawed. Since the weighing mechanism is net benefits to t scientific communities, the arguments can be broken down this way.

Pro=it is more beneficial to the scientific community to believe evolution is flawed
Con=it is more beneficial to the scientific community to believe evolution is not flawed

Is that more clear? I apologize for the confusion.
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