The Instigator
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0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

humans are no longer significantly evolving

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/5/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 535 times Debate No: 56115
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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we are not longer evolving signficantly as humans. true, people in africa and other poor, many religous fanatics die, but as a whole, we are adapting the environemnt to us, instead of it forcing us to adapt.

remember, evolution is where the weak die and the only those that live to copulate further their genes. changes in specific animals doesn't cause evolution... you can't cut your thumb off and get your kids thumbless. (i'm sure there's minor deviations esepecially from radioactivity that can be continued but as a whole you can't change your species from yourself)
this is the evolution i was taught at school. if this is right, there's no way evolution could be occuring given that even the weak are likely to breed.


Thanks for sending me this debate. I think the concept of evolution and humanity is a very potential idea to think about. I am looking forward to a friendly and interesting debate.

Evolution | I am first going to briefly explain that my opponent has a rather incomplete (not wrong but incomplete) knowledge about what evolution is and how is works.

The term itself can be used in five general contexts of which the Oxford Dictionaries' first one [1] is most relevant for this debate, as it referres to the biological definition of evolution:
1. The process by which different kinds of living organism are believed to have developed from earlier forms during the history of the earth.

The concept that this development into a new form is based on the "survival of the fittest" sources the publications and works of Charles Darwin. This is still relevant but not fully reliable. Wiki-Books provides a surprisingly good overview [2] and show that not only natural selection ("the weak die") but also Adaptation, Genetic drift, Gene flow, spontaneous Mutation and Speciation are Mechanisms that contribute to what we call "Evolution".

The example of the Blue Tits [3] a bird, that shows different mating preferences during the year, shows that partner choice is not only related to the physical strength or weakness of the partner, but rather a complex combination of many factor that all meant to grant the survival of the offspring.

I think we can now move on to my first main arguments:

Mating preferences | The great variety of humanities sexual preferences shows a extraordinary participation and potential in evolution

Humans are probably the species with the most complex kinds of mating preferences. We can find for example asexuality and monogamistic and polygamistic versions of heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or pan-sexuality (Transgender-relevant) [4 National Academy Press Chapter 1]. And these only show, how the pairings stay and protect and raise human offspring. The success of Mammals bases strongly on the evolutionary concept of raising and protecting your offspring for a long time.
A greater and increasing variety of pairing preferences statistically opens more options to find the optimal one for the individual offspring/ for humanity overall. This evolution.

Humans also show a great variety of preferences in terms of visual and personality characteristics. Concepts like sapio sexual [5] or demisexual [ 6] show that for humans not only physical strength is considered important for the success of the child, but also intelligence or reliability as parent.

Spoken in terms of evolution: the more options you try, the better the outcome. Humans therefore, more than any other animal species, show especially potential for evolution.

Collective Intelligence | The internet is part of a development that is called "collective intelligence". It means that a group collectively engages in an intelligent, coordinated and structured act [ 6 p. 3].

Although other mammals and especially primates have shown collective intelligence in teamwork with members of their social group, humans can develop a collective intelligence with people they never met, by communicating via written language on paper or (recently) live and digital by using the internet.
These developments have occurred rather late in human development. Especially the internet is absurdly young.
These new forms of communication and methods of building and guiding the own species intelligently are clear signs of evolution. To be precise: An evolution so revolutionary and drastic that Pro's core statement is not only weak but states the absolute opposite of the truth.
Debate Round No. 1


con argues that when mate selection occurs, evolution occurs by definition. to some extent, this is true. as that causes certain genes to pass and change etc. but i wouldn't say that aspect is significant. we aren't going to change into a different species, or even change overall all that much, as far as i can see for the foreseeable future.
again, true evolution involves animals dying out and being unable to propogate their genes. this isn't occurring with humans any more. humans even the weak ones are able to change their environment to fit them, instead of dying, and are do in fact propogate their genes.
i dont see it being likely that some humans will simply refuse to breed so much, that there will be a split in the species. it's too humogonous for that.

adapting to the internet and technology isn't really evolution. evolution again is where the weak die and can't propogate their genes. it's not like those who don't understand technology are dying, and only those with better cognitive functions are living etc. technology and the interet etc is just adapting to tools, not evolution. monkeys can learn new tricks with tools too, but it doesn't mean they are evolving. adapting isn't evolving.

my arguments are actually very well established scientifically. it doesn't seem as authoritative when i'm the one doing the arguing, but the theories are still valid. this is just a random quick example. there's stuff all over the internet backing up my thesis.


Glad to be back. This was really a quick answer, so thanks.

Scientific Evidence | If my opponent fails to provide specific evidence, than the mere claim that it is there, is only speculation and not evidence at all. Because "there's stuff all over the internet" backing up many theories, there are reliable and unreliable sources. PopSci is a journalistic summary of Science News, it's not as reliable as the MIT publication I provided you with [6] or the National Academy Press.
Furthermore, the given article only summaries the ideas of one genetic. And even the article states that this theory is controversial ("Our future may be uncertain") by promoting Steve Jones thesis as merely one possibility. My opponent might want to find actual publications by Steve Jones and include them as support.

Weak | The argument that weak humans are likely to breed, has not yet been supported by further explanation or examples. I currently also lack my opponents definition of a weak human. Physically weak, by being less able to lift as much or run as far? Mentally weak? Is a bipolar top-athlete with diabetes evolutionary weak or strong?
My opponents core argument therefore is currently the only thing that clearly shows weaknesses (from a rhetorical perception of weakness).

Adapting is Evolution | My opponent states that "adapting [...] isn't really evolution". This is wrong. Said Mr. Darwin noticed already that adaption is what happens, when you evolve [7] and that is simultaneously what ensures that evolution goes on. Adaption is result and mechanism and therefore a valid indicator for evolution.

Relevance of Genetic Mutation | Pro has difficulties to make clear, but most likely claims, that genetic mutation is the solely necessary element for evolution and that evolution has not occurred if the gene pool does not reflect that. This concept shows the following problems:

Genetic evolution is slow. The Hyracotherium, the most basic form of the horse, took more than 10my to genetically transform into to Orahippus and about 55my to become the horse we know today [8]. To say that humans don't evolve any more because there are not any recent changes in our DNA as species is like taking a screenshot from a movie and argue that this proves, that there is no movement in the movie at all.

Species die out. Humans die. One low performing individual that breeds does not equal that low performing individuals are getting evolutionary successful. There is a bigger picture. And recent human development like the extinction of the homo neanderthalensis only 200,000 years ago [9] (that is really recently if you think about the age of the earth) shows certainly a tendency to still let unsuccessful species go extinct.

However, I see that the claim that current human breeding techniques hinder classic evolution has more potential. That this is also not true is going to he shown by the next set of arguments:

Intelligence and Adaption | Humans have developed (already to some a sign of evolution) the incredible ability intelligently adapt to their environment or, where this is not possible, change the environment to adapt to the human. This is huge step in evolution because Humans don't have to wait for thousands of generations to adapt to a cold environment, they get some cloths, survive and then wait till genetics catch up.
Intelligence and Knowledge are Humanities most valuable and most unique tools in the evolutionary process because they are an evolutionary outcome that enables us to work faster than genetic evolution. While genetic evolution still works unnoticeably slow and silently in the background.

A few evolutionary benefits of Intelligence and Technological adaption:
- Humans can now choose to find a mating partner all over the world with relatively low effort (more choice better statistic chances)
- With modern medicine do we prolong the live span and chances of our best individuals as well
- With Collective Intelligence do we raise the overall performance and chances of our race, because we ensure that the most successful individuals do not only spread their genes but also their knowledge widely. We use all their resources.

Do intelligent humans have more children? Form a short point of view seems this the point of my contradiction. But the intelligent humans are those who ensure the mechanisms that keep themselves AND the lower performing ones alive. Doctors and Technicians and Professors might not breed more successful in terms of the amount, but they breed better in terms of performance, because their children are most likely to achieve the same educational standards, income and therefore are less dependent. And they spread their knowledge and expertise so not only their own children but everyone's child can benefit and increase their evolutionary value.

Do "stupid" people die earlier? They do. Interesting is, that education and live expectancy are probably linked, because the life span difference between someone with less than a high school degree and a graduates degree is over 10 years for male adults [10].

Cancer | Cancer is a good example that evolution is not perfect and that it sometimes makes compromises for the overall outcome. Mammals, especially because of the human, are currently the most successful class in the food chain. But they have the highest risk of dying from cancer [11], which is, unless caused by a virus, basically a spontaneous genetic mutation that kills the individual. A not at all beneficial genetic specialty. But cancer risk has survived and increased for millions of years, because it's not significantly hindering reproduction. Not only in humans.

That's it so far :) I am excited to see the rebuttal and really thankful that your last answer came so soon, it was really convenient for me.
Debate Round No. 2


con criticizes my sources. my sources are not unreliable. and, your sources while overall are more reputable, do not specifically address the idea that we are or are not evolving. they are incidental points about other subjects, like cognifive function etc.
the only studies that i can find that say anything about us evolving is on a small scale. they almost concede that they have ot focus on the smaller scale, cause we don't die out and not pass on our genes any more for the most part.

con argues i need to define weak and give examples. defining weak in precise terms is irrelevant- the only point in saying the weak still sucessfully breed, is to say almost everyone breeds if they want to. there isn't a limit due to one's inability to adapt to nature. we as huamns adapt nature to us. weak is self apparent here cause it means those who cannot breed.

adaptation is one part of evolution. it's the precuser to it, not evolution itself. if you can't adapt, you die. if you die, those who don't die evolve. adaptation isn't evolution.

"Genetic evolution is slow. The Hyracotherium, the most basic form of the horse, took more than 10my to genetically transform into to Orahippus and about 55my to become the horse we know today [8]. To say that humans don't evolve any more because there are not any recent changes in our DNA as species is like taking a screenshot from a movie and argue that this proves, that there is no movement in the movie at all."

evolution isn't signficant any more. there may be small variations, such as discussed when someone chooses a more intelligent partner etc, or when a retard falls off a bridge. etc. but the species isn't changing into another one, or even changing at all to any significance. we won't change any time within the forseeable future, even noting that evolution is a slow process. realtive to that, we aren't changing. we change the environment into somehting favoring us, instead of otheriwse.

neanderthal may have died out. but they are not us. we are well established technologically and otherwise. if there is a change, it is far in the future, in far out scenarios, so my statement can still be maintained that we aren't evolving any more significantly, cause it implies at the relatively recent time being, and there's no proof even to an plausibly outter forecast that soemthing will cause us to evolve.

con gives some examples of people dying or not breeding as much etc. these are outliers. the human race or a segment of it is still not going to change into another one, or change all that much, within any foreseeable time frame.


Off-Topic | Let me shortly explain sourcing and sources, because you seem to have yet to fully understand that problem as well. I don't want to lecture you - well I want to, but not to annoy you, but to help you get better.

Sources are not there to directly prove that your exact theory is right. Scientifically spoken: if you find a source that states exactly what you are trying to state, you may don't need to write your essay at all. Because it has been done and you would only slitter into plagiarism.
A good argument has a theory, an example or explanation and support. If I argue, that Bread is healthy, is not necessary to find a study that states "bread is healthy" but I need to find argument like "bread contains carbohydrates" prove that with a source and then make the connection that "carbohydrates are good for you" (source?) and have then shown that bread is good for you.
That is like maths. If you want X and you have Y and Z you need to find Y and Z first. This is not even one of my theories, that is academic sourcing. Harvard spent quite a time on composing a guide [12] and if you enjoy debating you might want to have a look into it for your own enhancement and the other's convenience.

Short: there is nothing wrong with having sources that are not directly on the topic if they can support the arguments that support my theory. And throwing in a source without using it (the source) for an argument and just paraphrasing it, is only valid because this is a debate and not an academic paper. You don't need your own ideas for that, you can built a whole debate on someone elses ideological shoulders without breaking the rules of sportsmanship.

Rebuttals | The following part is focusing on rebuttals. I hope I'll not forget one.

"defining weak in precise terms is irrelevant" - the conclusion that, if everyone breeds, the weak also breed, is not bad. But that bases on four assumptions: 1. there are weak humans 2. we have done something that prevents weak humans from dying 3. if we stop doing this, weak humans would die again.
Defining weak is certainly relevant to this debate. Because we could then identify if these people are actually breeding successfully. If they are not, they are "dying".
Not all unsuccessful individuals fail to breed, but most not successful. Not all human individuals breed. I don't have children for example nor has my brother, while my sister has three. Currently my family is not able to fulfill the evolution's requirement of successful breeding, because that would require at least 6 children in total, and ideally nine, three from each sibling. So my mother and sister bread successful (two children to prolong the line and one to extend it).
If we could define my brother an me as weak humans, we might show that evolution is working. If we can prove that my brother and I are strong humans we can indicate that it is not working. Without a definition for weak, we are hamstrung.

Quoting my Opponents introduction statement: "people in africa and other poor, many religous fanatics die", I conclude that she does have an idea about what "weak" humans are, so I don't see why my Opponent did not take this chance to correct that morally questionable first statement into something more sound and less (potentially) offensive.
She actually made it worse ("there may be small variations, discussed when someone chooses a more intelligent partner etc, or when a retard falls off a bridge"). This is certainly a turn. Because it uses a certain perception about weakness that my opponent refused to define as something other than "irrelevant" and it approves my theory that intelligence is an evolutionary advantage. That's an indirect concession.

"[adaption is] the precuser to it, not evolution itself." - I have already shown why adaption is precursor and indicator for evolution and I distance myself from the phrasing that I'd have stated that they are evolution.
I have (other than my opponent) sourced on what I base that theory so there would be no need to repeat myself. If we have better adaption, what causes and proves that evolution has happened, we can prove evolution. You cannot prove an earthquake directly, but can prove that a tectonic plate is moving and that the surface appears shaking. That is sufficient reason to state that an earthquake has occurred. If we can show that humans adapt and have adapted than we can strongly believe that evolution has happened or is happening.

"neanderthal [...] are not us." There is a reason why we call it the homo neanderthalensis. He is "an extinct species of human in the genus Homo" (Wikipedia Evolving into a new genetic form usually means we get a new fancy Latin title. Before we were homo sapiens sapiens, we were homo sapiens, before that we might have been homo sapiens idaltu. New gene variation, new name. So who is "us"?

"Foreseeable future" - All three last arguments evolve around the concept of foreseeable future: "we won't change any time within the foreseeable future".
What is foreseeable future in terms of evolution? It's obviously not clear what you define as human (homo sapiens (sapiens?) or all subspecies of homo?) that makes "foreseeable" rather unclear as well.

But the main problem is that evolution is not predictable at all. You cannot look at a species and predict how they will look like in 5my. And earth historically would that be a very foreseeable future. Their environment and challenges might change and with them the evolutionary outcome. There is no such thing as a predictable or foreseeable future in terms of evolution, because we don't evolve intentionally or to the better in all points. How nature enables us to adapt to what environment is a prediction with two many possibilities and variables. Humans have therefore difficulties foreseeing evolution . They might find indicators but they cannot prove their theories in the long term. Because we might not be there anymore when the "world has changed" (Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings).

"if there is a change, it is far in the future, [...] my statement can still be maintained that we aren't evolving any more significantly"
Again, some indications for concession, that at least evolution is going on but not significantly. The problem here is the "any more". That would mean that humans have at any point during their evolutionary history evolved genetically significant and fast.
Well again, we run into problems, when it comes to "humans", because depending on how we define it, that statement is either wrong or partly wrong.
The homo sapiens sapiens has genetically not evolved significantly overall. Because if he did, he would not be the closed subspecies that he is. That does not bring us anywhere. We cannot talk about evolution with the screenshot of the subspecies homo sapiens sapiens. We need to at least talk about the Homini genus homo, to which the Encyclopedia of Life refers to as "Human" [13]. But nowhere in the last 200,000 years have humans evolved genetically significant apart from technological progress. There is a natural genetic difference between two humans from about 0,1% and 1,2% between a human and a chimpanzee [14]. How is that significant?

To my opponent is the technological progress no sign of evolution. But that only means that they would not have strongly evolved overall. Which conclusively means that the statement "humans are no longer significantly evolving" is wrong, because "not longer" and "significant" both fail to apply.

To me technological progress is a clear sign of evolution. And that only means that "humans are no longer significantly evolving" is wrong, because technological progress is nearly exponentially proceeding, which means that the "no longer evolving" part fails to apply.

Thanks |
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by schachdame 2 years ago
I totally forgot to thank you dairygirl4cu2c, because I am really reading into interesting publications for this debate. I totally forgot how much I liked biology and sociology.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ajab 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Okay so S provided an amazing argument, with great sources and great stability. The structure was good and I believe S wins. In contrast Pro had slightly bad grammar, and spelling, and did not provide a argument until at least round 3, overall not a bad debate but good job schachdame. I will of course be happy to give a more detailed argument in the comments if so asked.