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

Evolution based on Abiogenesis is more Rational than Creationism

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/19/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,451 times Debate No: 36517
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (12)
Votes (1)




Important Definitions:

Evolution - Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.

Abiogenesis - The supposed development of living organisms from nonliving matter. Also called autogenesis, spontaneous generation.

God - A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.

Creationism - the doctrine that matter and all things were created, substantially as they now exist, by an omnipotent Creator, and not gradually evolved or developed.

1) 10,000 characters will be allotted for each round of debate. All arguments and sources must be made within these 10,000 characters; nothing within in the comment section should be counted. Any glitch which would allow a debater to bypass this 10,000 character limit (including posting "pictures" of nothing but text a la Apeiron) is strictly prohibited.

2) Any tactic which could be reasonably seen as semantics is forbidden.

3) The burden of proof is shared.

Breaking any of these rules will result in an automatic loss (via voters awarding all 7 points to the other participant). By accepting this debate, my opponent accepts and agrees to these rules.

We will be debating to whether or not evolution after abiogenesis is more rational than Creationism based on accurate peer-reviewed evidence as well as logically sound arguments. I would prefer Con to accept the definitions and rules above before accepting the debate. I want a genuine believer to argue and show his/her best evidence and reasoning for an actual, observable, and provable account of Creationism. First round is for acceptance. I hope to have a stimulating and worthwhile debate with Con.


Acceptance of definitions:

Evolution - (Pro's definition is acceptable for Pro's purposes):
Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.

Note: Personally, I would have stopped at "Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations." The " a result of..." part is incomplete; and the "...resulting in the development of new species" part is an unproven truth claim. I understand that this is what Evolutionists claim, but I wanted to make clear (as a formality) that my acceptance of the definition is not a concession or acceptance of the unproven truth claim.

Abiogenesis - (Pro's definition is acceptable):
The supposed development of living organisms from nonliving matter. Also called autogenesis,spontaneous generation.

Note: This definition is much less biased, because it contains the qualifier, "supposed".

God - (Pro's definition is acceptable):
A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.

Creationism - (Pro's definition is acceptable):
The doctrine that matter and all things were created, substantially as they now exist, by an omnipotent Creator, and not gradually evolved or developed.

Acceptance of rules

I Accept!

Note: Pro wanted a "genuine believer". I am that. More specifically, I will be arguing from a traditional, Protestant Christian worldview.

Format (proposition)

Pro mentioned (in the comments section), "I hope [this does] not constitute too much to cover..."

I think we could keep the debate more manageable if we follow this structure:

- Round 1: Acceptance (done)
- Round 2: Opening arguments (no rebuttal)
- Round 3: Rebuttals
- Round 4: Cross-examinations (no new information)/closing arguments

Pro can choose to honor this proposition or not. Pro should state his intentions at the beginning of his Round 2 post.

I appreciate Pro's patience with me as we negotiated the terms and worked toward accepting the challenge. I look forward to a lively debate.
Debate Round No. 1


It seems I do not have enough characters to make the case for both abiogenesis and evolution in one round, so I must refuse Con's offer to a structured debate. I will present the case for evolution in my next round, and probably respond to many of Con's claims as well. I accept Con's minor change to the definition of evolution.

Abiogenesis Occurs when the Simplest Possible Life Form Emerges:

I must first point out that there is no one unambiguous definition of "living.” The current understand of life is a descriptive set of characteristics and traits outlined below:

1. Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.
2. Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells — the basic units of life.
3. Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components and decomposing organic matter. Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
4. Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
5. Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity, diet, and external factors.
6. Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun, and chemotaxis.
7. Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.

Any living organism may have all of these characteristics or only some of them. Abiogenesis occurs when the simplest possible life form emerges, a life form which had at least one of the characteristics of life. We humans are a higher animal species; we are definitely alive and are the product of billions of years of evolution. It is perfectly acceptable that there is no precise definition of “living” only that there is an evolutionary path from non-living compounds to living matter.

Probabilities and Rationality:

If the chances of abiogenesis occurring in any one habitable planet in our universe was one in a hundred million, it would be not only probable but extremely likely. Estimates predict that the number of habitable planets in the milky way alone is 100 billion, while the total in our entire universe is 50 sextillion [1.]. When we consider the probabilities of abiogenesis taking place anywhere on a habitable planet in our universe then even a one in a hundred million chance would result in 500,000,000,000 (five hundred trillion) instances. Therefore, even an extremely low probability of abiogenesis taking place in any one habitable planet could result in highly frequent instances as the universe is unimaginably vast. However, I hope my opponent can agree that finding out an accurate probability of these types of events are ridiculous as there are many different theories regarding abiogenesis and none of them can be quantified precisely. The core of the errors in the probability calculations is a failure to assume that life evolved in steps, with each step governed by physical laws. For example, calculate the probability of a snowflake forming. If one supposes that each of the illions of water molecules randomly arrives at its position in a six-pointed snowflake, then there is no chance of a single snowflake forming in the history of the universe. In fact, snowflakes form as a consequence of rules that are part of the properties of water molecules. The probability is correctly calculated only from an understanding of the governing laws and the process. For these reasons, I will be discussing the evidence, tests, hypotheses, and theories instead of probabilities to support the justification and rationality of believing in abiogenesis as the primary source of life.

Theories and Supporting Evidence of Abiogenesis

There is no one “standard” model of the origin of life. Many accepted models draw from the outline described under the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis. This hypothesis postulates a reduced atmosphere when life began around 3.5 billion years ago. One of the main sources I will be using comes from the Wikipedia page for abiogenesis which contains around 176 different scientific references and several relevant hypotheses/theories [2.].

There is no "standard model" of the origin of life. Most currently accepted models draw at least some elements from the framework laid out by the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis. The Oparin-Haldane hypothesis poses that the early Earth’s atmosphere was chemically reducing and primarily consisted of methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), water (H2O), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2) or carbon monoxide (CO), and phosphate (PO43-), with molecular oxygen (O2) and ozone (O3) either rare or absent. In this atmosphere electrical activity, impact shocks, and ultraviolet light has the potential to catalyze the creation of the basic molecules (and monomers) of life.

The Miller-Urey experiment showed that this is possible under simulated conditions of the early earth [3.]. It confirmed the hypothesis that our Earth favored the synthesis of organic compounds from inorganic compounds. The experiment produces over 20 different amino acids all of which are seen naturally in living organisms to this day. It must also be noted that even if our Earth didn’t synthesize organic compounds (evidence says it does and that it is a highly favored reaction) many organic compounds may have come to earth via meteorites. Over 27,000 of these types of meteorites called chondrites [4.] have already been discovered and many are shown to be rich with organic molecules. One specific example is a very popular chondrite known as the Murchison meteorite [5.]; it has been thoroughly researched and shown to contain organic compounds.

Sidney W. Fox studied the spontaneous formation of peptide structures under conditions early Earth conditions. He demonstrated that amino acids could spontaneously form small peptides. These amino acids and peptides could then form proteinoid microspheres which have multiple properties that are similar to cells. The microspheres are able to asexually divide via binary fission, could form junctions with other microspheres, and developed a double membrane corresponding to that of a cell [6.].

The RNA world hypothesis says that the polymerization of nucleotides into RNA may be the result of self-replicating ribozymes [7.]. Selection pressures for catalytic efficiency and diversity may have resulted in ribozymes which catalyse peptidyl transfer (hence formation of small proteins), since oligopeptides complex with RNA to form better catalysts. The first ribosome may have been created by such a process, resulting in more prevalent protein synthesis. Synthesized proteins might then outcompete ribozymes in catalytic ability, and therefore become the dominant biopolymer, relegating nucleic acids to their modern use, predominantly as a carrier of genomic information.

Expert opinion says abiogenesis is inevitable.

Forty of the top scientists studying abiogenesis have collaborated on a book Origins, Abiogenesis and the Search for Life in the Universe, Michael Russell, etc... They conclude that abiogenesis is not merely likely, but inevitable. It seems all but impossible for abiogenesis to not occur in someplace at sometime it is all just a consequence of chemistry.

Clearly there are many possible explanations from the origin of organic monomers, and polymers, leading to the modern evolution of the cell. The very limited list of hypotheses I posted above show one possible route leading to abiogenesis, for a full comprehensive list of possible routes to abiogenesis I would like to refer you to my previously sourced page referenced as #2. From a purely rational standpoint, we know that life is made of strictly chemicals and that chemicals have been on the Earth for quite a long time. Science has explained quite well many plausible naturalistic explanations which are much more reasonable than the Creationist explanation which in essence is “God did it.” Abiogenesis is the most rational theory we have to this day as it has the greatest explanatory power and mounds of evidence to support it. I thank Con for accepting the debate and revealing his position as a Protestand Christian. I am an agnostic atheist that awaits Con's opening arguments.

“You are the sum of you parts and our species, genes passed from parent to child for generations, and culture and ideas passed from human to human in all sorts of directions. This should be obvious, just as there wasn’t one moment that made you who you are…Life – your life, any life – is not merely a series of incidents. It is the accumulation of everything you experience. The beginning of life is just that, too. The transition from chemistry to biology was the accumulation of the things that life does – feeding, copying, reproducing, and so on. At some point in the earth’s history there were just chemicals, and a later point there was life. The most exciting question in science is how that transition happened.” – Adam Rutherford



Though Pro rejected restrictions on what can be presented and when, I will refrain from rebuttal in this round and only present opening arguments:

I will begin with a simple, purely rational argument (from contingency) [1] that the Universe requires a Creator:

P1: Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause).

P2: If the Universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God (as Creator).

P3: The Universe exists.

From P1 and P3, it logically follows that…

C1: The Universe has an explanation of its existence.

From P2 and C1, it logically follows that…

C2: The explanation of the existence of the Universe is God (as Creator).

Pro is free to deny any of the premises or conclusions, but he must provide sufficient warrant for his position(s). After all, we are debating which position is "more rational".

This opening may appear to be very light on the content side, but my primary interest here is to understand how Pro can even account for the Universe and then the proposed conditions necessary to support the hypothesis of abiogenesis.

Thanks again to Pro for the challenge and for his patience... I look forward to the coming rounds.

[1] J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, “Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview” (IVP, 2003)

Debate Round No. 2


I would like to point out that Con has not presented a shred of evidence to support his case, only a pseudo-rational argument. I also noticed Con did not affirm or deny the argument that God simply created humans rather than humans developing from evolution and abiogenesis. I know that the definition of Creationism that was accepted by both debaters does not explicitly state that humans were created, but it does state that things were created, and did not gradually evolve or develop. This ambiguous definition of “thing” is a big problem. I thought I would be arguing against common Creationist ideas which usually include things like humans being created rather than evolving, or an earth that is less than 10,000 years old. I truly hope that Con adopts these claims and can defend them, if not this whole debate is about origins of the universe rather than the origins and development of life (which is what I genuinely intended). Regardless, I will continue to extend my arguments and show in this round the mounds of scientific evidence that supports evolution (abiogenesis was supported in my last round). Although I am not quite sure what Creationist ideas Con seems to adopt, I will respond to Creationism as a whole and deal with their most general and common claims. I believe the more accurate and intended definition for Creationism should be: “the religious belief that life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being [8. ].” I hope Con does agree with this definition, if not then the debate becomes completely different.

The reason I state that Con's argument is pseudo-rational is because P1 is not always true, and P2 is a blatant assertion. In the realm of the quantum, there seems to be no explanation and no cause for various events. Virtual particles pop in and out of existence for no apparent reason, with no apparent cause. Radioactive decay occurs for no apparent reason, with no apparent cause. Therefore the universe may have come into existence without any apparent reason or any apparent cause, so P1 is not always true. P2 is a blatant assertion as it has no evidential basis. Con could have, but did not even elaborate or make any argument to demonstrate it's truth. In my argument outlined below, I will show why a universe with only naturalistic explanations is more likely to be true than a universe with supernatural explanations.

The Origin of the Universe is Unknown:
Nobody truly knows the origin of the universe, and anyone who states they do should immediately be treated with tough skepticism. Theists like Con are glad to announce and proclaim that God is the creator of the universe. However no person can actually provide any proof of this claim. If God is the creator of the universe then who created God? If one can claim that God had no creator and he is eternal, then it is equally valid to claim that the universe had no creator and is eternal. According to Occam’s razor [9. ], since the universe is much simpler than a God, then the eternal universe explanation is more likely to be true. In reality, nobody knows the true origin of the universe as nobody has ever demonstrated any compelling proof. Therefore we cannot make any definitive proclamation on the issue only reasonable speculations of which is more likely or more rational:
1) The universe and the Big Bang could have been created by completely naturalistic causes.
2) The Big Bang could have been created by uncaused causes. Uncaused causes seem to occur all the time through spontaneous quantum phenomena such as radioactive decay [10.] and quantum fluctuations [11.].
3) The universe could have always existed.
4) God always existed, and created the universe.
Again, it is better to adopt the universe explanations (1,2, or 3) as the universe is less complex then God and therefore more likely to be correct. It is up to Con to prove that (4) is more likely than all other possibilities.

The Evidence for Evolution is Overwhelming:
Evolution is a scientific theory as it passes all of the criterion for one. Con accepts biologic evolution as: “Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations.” It is common knowledge that the genetic composition of a population does indeed change with each generation for pretty much every species. It is easily testable by comparing DNA sequences of a mother, a father, and their child in us humans it is commonly called DNA profiling [12. ]. This is how Maury knows with a very high level of certainty whether the guy on his show is the father of a child or not. All species use the same biological method of processing genetic information known as DNA. Since all living organisms on this planet (animals and plants alike) have some form of DNA it is highly likely that all organisms developed from a common ancestor (this supports theories of abiogenesis). Evolution along with natural selection predicts and explains how certain features become prevalent in an organism, and how they developed to be in the context of their environment and function. This can be explained through a completely naturalistic and gradual process. Creationism, and creation science in general has quite a lot of negative hearsay and is not accepted by the scientific community because it has absolutely no compelling evidence, and is religiously motivated. Below is a very short list of peer-reviewed scientific evidence that supports evolution:

1. Evolution reproduced in the lab or documented in nature:

a. Two strains of fruit flies lost the ability to interbreed and produce fertile offspring in the lab over a 4-year span ... i.e. they became two new species. (Easily repeated experiment.)

b. A new plant species (a type of firewood), created by a doubling of the chromosome count from the original stock (Mosquin, 1967).

c. Multiple species of the house mouse unique to the Faeroe Islands occurred within 250 years of introduction of a foundation species on the island.

d. Formation of 5 new species of cichlid fishes that have formed in a single lake within 4,000 years of introduction of a parent species.

2. Fossil evidence - (too much to list) The way fossils appear in the layers of rock always corresponds to relative development ... more primitive creatures in lower (older) layers. Absolute dating of fossils using radiometry. Constant discovery of new transitional forms. E.g. reptile-birds, reptile-mammals, legged whales, legged sea cows.

3. Genetic evidence - the fact that humans have a huge number of genes (as much as 96%) in common with other great apes ... and (as much as 50%) with wheat plants. The pattern of genetic evidence follows the tell-tale patterns of ancestral relationships (more genes in common between recently related species, and fading the further back in time).

4. Molecular evidence - These are commonalities in DNA ... which is separate from genetic commonalities ... much of our DNA does not code for genes at all. But random mutations (basically 'typos') enter into DNA at a known rate over the centuries. This is called the 'molecular clock' and again gives excellent evidence of when humans diverged from other apes (about 6 million years ago, according to this molecular clock), and this corresponds perfectly with when these fossils first appear in the fossil record (using radiometric dating).

5. Evidence from proteins - the exact structure of the insulin molecule; the proteins responsible for color vision. The specific proteins found in human color vision are exactly the same as those found in Old World primates. These proteins are absent in New World primates , and from all other mammals. In fact among the New World primates, only the howler monkey has color vision ... but these use slightly different proteins, coded on different locations and chromosomes, than humans and the Old World primates. This is yet more evidence of a closer link between humans and the Old World primates.

6. Vestigial and atavistic organs - E.g. Leg and pelvic bones in whales, dolphins, and some snakes; unused eyes in blind cave fish, unused wings in flightless birds and insects; flowers in non-fertilizing plants (like dandelions); in humans, wisdom teeth, tailbones, appendix, the plantaris muscle in the calf (useless in humans, used for grasping with the feet in primates).

7. Embryology - E.g. Legs on dolphin embryos; tails and gill folds on human embryos; snake embryos with legs; marsupial eggshell and carnuncle.

8. Biogeography - The current and past distribution of species on the planet. E.g. almost all marsupials and almost no placental mammals are native to Australia ... the result of speciation in a geographically isolated area.

9. Homology - E.g. the same bones in the same relative positions in primate hands, bat wings, bird wings, mammals, whale and penguin flippers, pterosaur wings, horse legs, the forelimbs of moles, and webbed amphibian legs.

10. Bacteriology, virology, immunology, pest-control - I.e. the way that bacteria evolve in response to antibiotics (we can compare strains of tuberculosis today, with samples of older epidemics and can see the specific structures), or viruses (like HIV) respond to antivirals, or insects evolving in response to pesticides.

This list can go on well into the hundreds but I do have a character limit to uphold. As I have demonstrated, evolutionary theory has heavy evidential artillery on it's side, while Creationism has nothing but assertions. For a bigger list (the evidence is always growing so it will never be a complete list) of evolutionary evidence with references, please check out the following link [13.]. I look forward to Con's response, and hope that this debate stays focused on the origin and development of life.



leonardlewis4 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Unfortunately, my opponent has forfeighted round 3. I would not like to burden the readers with any more arguments so I will extend my arguments. Con has not given any relevant Creationist argument or evidence regarding the origins of life or it's gradual development. Con has not rebuted any of the arguments that I made so far. The resolution stands, evolution based on abiogenesis is more rational than creationism.


leonardlewis4 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Orangatang 5 years ago
Are you here? I hope your not too busy, however I think the debate is already ruined...
Posted by Orangatang 5 years ago
Oh, I'll be making the first arguments, first round is for acceptance only. So you should just write I accept for round 1, then round 2 through 4 we'll duke it out.
Posted by leonardlewis4 5 years ago
Yep. I'll make my round 1 post sometime tonight or in the morning.

Posted by Orangatang 5 years ago
Changed, sorry for the long wait finally ready to get this show on the road.
Posted by leonardlewis4 5 years ago
I guess I missed this (in the last paragraph of your round 1 post):

"We will be debating to whether or not evolution after abiogenesis is probable and more rational than Creationism..."

You probably want to remove "probable and" for the same reason the other clause was removed.

Other than that, I'm ready to accept today.
Posted by Orangatang 5 years ago
I am removing the clause now.
Posted by leonardlewis4 5 years ago
Almost ready... :)

| RE: "It must be noted that if God is not likely to exist [then] Creationism holds no basis for justification."

First, if that is really the standard, it would apply equally to both sides of the debate. In other words, we would also add something like, "It must also be noted that if it is not likely that 'everything came from nothing' then Evolution based on Abiogenesis holds no basis for justification." But then I wouldn't be the only one subject to arbitrary standards for judging the likelihood of my presuppositions, would I? :)

Anyway, the real point is this... I think that clause is an artifact from when the Resolution still contained the "probability problem". We should remove any such "not likely" language that refers back to obsolete constituents from the former Resolution.

We must be clear and consistent in both the Resolution and the terms/rules of the debate that we are arguing the rationality of our respective worldviews. I think we have accomplished that goal with respect to the Resolution. IMO, we must clean up the terms accordingly and remove the referenced clause.
Posted by dj21 5 years ago
I for one am very much looking forward to this. An actual debate between two very articulate participants... should be great. And I am finally eligible to vote, so you can know at least one person will be voting. Nothing worse than a great debate with no voters!
Posted by Orangatang 5 years ago
The debate looks ready now, I hope abiogenesis, evolution, and creationism do not constitute too much to cover them with the available space.
Posted by leonardlewis4 5 years ago
I agree with your reassessment of the Resolution. Suggestion follows:

Resolved: Evolution based on Abiogenesis is more Rational than Creationism

That rewording will deal with the "probability" problem and also rule out the position of "theistic evolution" as a consideration (by us or the voters).

I would define Creationism as follows:

Creationism - the doctrine that matter and all things were created, substantially as they now exist, by an omnipotent Creator, and not gradually evolved or developed.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by WilliamofOckham 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: This was a very bad debate. Pro's case was very well organized and was backed up with a considerable amount of evidence. Con's, on the other hand, rested entirely on philosophical speculation that was torn apart by pro's rebuttal. Con then proceeded to forfeit the last two rounds.