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The Theory of Evolution is not Scientifically Tenable


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Resolved: Science contradicts the theory of evolution at vital points, rendering evolution indefensible.

1. Opening Statements
2. Rebuttal and Questions
3. Defense
4. Closing Arguments and Summary

The burden of proof is shared. It is my burden of proof to show how the theory of evolution fails to be scientifically tenable, and it is Con’s burden of proof to demonstrate how evolution retains scientific integrity.

1. No round forfeits
2. It should go without saying, but keep it respectful
3. No new arguments in the final round

Round 1
I would like to thank Rational Madman for accepting this debate.

I will be using multiple lines of reasoning to demonstrate how evolution is not scientifically tenable. If evolution fails at any one of these points then the entire theory completely collapses.

I. Nothing Cannot Create Anything:The concept of the big bang directly defies the Law of conservation of mass-energy. This Law states that, “the total mass and energy in a system remain constant” [1]. Since the big bang model is claimed to be the origin of mass and energy, the big bang model is in direct violation of the Law of conservation of mass-energy. The big bang model is so far out in left field, when tested scientifically, that it quickly becomes clear that the big bang simply isn’t. Indeed a big bang would require a big banger (God).

II. The Impossibilities of Abiogenesis: Without the, for lack of a better word, ‘creation’ of the first living organism through random processes, the theory of evolution completely implodes. It is quite interesting to note that the theory of abiogenesis (that life came from nonlife) is in direct contradiction to the scientific Law of biogenesis (that life comes only from life) [2]. As if that isn’t clear enough evidence that evolution is not scientifically tenable, the plot thickens when we look into the actual chemistry behind even the simplest organism. Natural processes are utterly inadequate to explain the formation of life. As expressed by P. Louis and K. Ruiz-Mirazo [3]:
The origin of life on Earth is still a mystery, one of the greatest mysteries in science today … . Our ignorance about the origin of life is profound – not just some simple missing mechanistic detail … . This ignorance stems not only from our experimental difficulties with prebiotic chemistry but is also conceptual, as we are not yet able to conceive on paper how all these things came about.
Let’s consider some of the insurmountable odds abiogenesis faces:
  • The Protein Formation Problem: In water, hydrolysis breaks the amino acids down. In the peer reviewed journal, Journal of Creation, Alex Williams notes that, “the thermal properties of liquid water are so destructive on the molecular scale (briefly violating the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics) that life could never have originated merely from organic chemicals, water, and energy” [4]. It is clear that, abiogenesis could not happen in water. Since the amino acid joining process actually creates water, the very same problem persists when joining amino acids in an initially dry environment. As explained by Michael Behe, “The major problem in hooking amino acids together is that, chemically, it involves the removal of a molecule of water from each amino acid joined to the growing protein chain. Conversely, the presence of water strongly inhibits amino acids from forming proteins” [5]. Essentially the amino acid joining process creates water which subsequently stops the joining process, ending all possibility of getting even one complete protein.
  • The Even Less Likely RNA Theory:The alternate theory that RNA is responsible for the formation of the first proteins is rough with even deeper problems. As explained by Michael Behe, “Although a chemist can make nucleotides [the building blocks for RNA] with ease in a laboratory by synthesizing the components separately, purifying them, and then recombining the components to react with each other, undirected chemical reactions overwhelmingly produce undesired products and shapeless goop in the bottom of the test tube. Gerald Joyce and Leslie Orgel—two scientists who have worked long and hard on the origin of life problem—call RNA ‘the prebiotic chemist’s nightmare’” [6].
  • The Oxygen Problem:Experiments like the Miller experiment exclude free oxygen because amino acids are broken down by oxygen through the oxidation process. As explained by Mike Riddle, this presents a new problem, “If we were to grant evolutionists’ assumption of no oxygen in the original atmosphere another fatal problem arises. Since the ozone is made of oxygen it would not exist; and the ultraviolet rays from the sun would destroy any biological molecules. This presents a no-win situation for the evolution model. If there was oxygen, life could not start. If there was no oxygen life could not start” [7]. The plot thickens when it is noted that oxygen must have been present in the earth’s atmosphere. As John Morris explains, “It has become abundantly clear that earth’s atmosphere has always had free oxygen. Water vapor readily breaks down into hydrogen and oxygen. Furthermore, we find oxidized minerals in rocks of every supposed age” [8]. This creates a catch 22, since the Miller experiment, and subsequent similar experiments, would not even begin to work if oxygen was present in the atmosphere, or if water (the origin of atmospheric oxygen) was not present.
The law of probability states that, if the chance of an event happening is less than 1/10 to the 50th power it will never happen [9]. Sir Fred Hoyle, PhD, Astronomy, And Chandra Wickramasinghe, Professor of applied math and astronomy calculated that the probability of getting one single cell organism by naturalistic processes is 1/10 to the 40,000th power [10]. To put this in perspective, this would be like rolling double sixes 50,000 times in a row. The estimated number of atoms in the known universe comes in at only 10 to the 79th power [11]. The probability of a single cell coming about by natural causes is incomprehensively infinitesimal.
III. The Perpetual Decay of the Genome:The scientific study of mutations can only draw one conclusion; the rate at which deleterious mutations are accumulating in the genome will drive all living things to extinction. As Alex Williams explains in the peer reviewed journal, Journal of Creation [12]:
“We are unable to reproduce ourselves without making multiple genome copying errors every generation. As a result our genomes are decaying towards extinction from copy errors alone. However, they make up only 0.1% of the total mutation burden, so 99.9% of the burden must have come from other causes. When decay in copy fidelity is projected backwards in time it reaches perfection around 4,000 BC, and when projected forwards, extinction from copy errors alone occurs in thousands, not millions, of years.”
Now it must be understood that, for evolution to occur, the majority of retained mutations must be both (a) beneficial, and (b) add genetic information. If either of these characteristics is not present in a given mutation it will result in a simpler, or less healthy organism. Let’s examine these points:
  • Beneficial mutations? Royal Truman says, “Within any physical linkage unit, on average, thousands of deleterious mutations would accumulate before a beneficial mutation would arise” [13]. It is evident that beneficial mutations are quite rare and are crushed under the weight of numerous deleterious mutations.
  • Mutation increasing the Genome? Dr. Lee Spencer said, "In all the reading I’ve done in the life-science literature, I’ve never found a mutation that added information. All point mutations that have been studied in the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not to increase it" [14]. Without the common occurrence of mutations that increase the genome, evolution is dead on arrival.
Statistically speaking, there is an abundance of deleterious mutations, an odd couple of these deleterious mutations happen to have short term benefits; however, the mutations representing beneficial increases in information, required for evolution, seem to be missing. Even if only beneficial mutations were passed on from generation to generation, each subsequent generation would represent a simpler organism. This is a recipe for man to molecules devolution.

Conclusion: Evolution is in blatant violation of empirical science. Indeed, evolution defies the axioms of science at numerous points. As demonstrated above, many of the core tenants of evolution, such as the big bang and abiogenesis, are in direct violation of scientific Laws. After further investigation, we find that mutations (the alleged indispensable catalyst of evolution) are indeed the greatest enemy of evolution. Evolution is not founded in science; rather it is a fairy tale of wishful thinking.

  3. Luis, P.L. and Ruiz-Mirazo, K., Open questions on the origins of life: introduction to the special issue, Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres 40(4-5):353-355, 2010.
  4. Williams, Alex, “What life isn’t”The In-depth Journal of Creation 29:1 (2015): 108.
  5. Behe, Michael. Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press, New York, 2006, p169.
  6. Behe, ref. 5, p171.
  7. Riddle, Mike. “The New Answers Book 2.” Master Books, Green Forest, 2016, p66.
  8. Morris, John. Is the Big Bang Biblical? Master Books, Green Forest, 2003, p77.
  9. E. Borel, Probabilities and Life, [New York: Dover Publications, 1962, p28.
  10. F.Hoyle and C. Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), p176.
  12. Williams, Alex, “Human genome decay and the origin of life”The In-depth Journal of Creation 28:1 (2014): p91.
  13. Truman, Royal, “From ape to man via genetic meltdown: a theory in crisis” The In-depth Journal of Creation 18:2 (2002): p30.
  14. L. Spencer, Not by chance, The Judaica Press, Brooklyn, New York, 1997, p131-132, 138.

The tenability of evolution is so blatant once you understand how many years and samples there were (samples being groups of the same species in any given habitat) for a mutation to eventually be beneficial (even though most are detrimental) and that good luck to eventually pass on. We are talking about billiions of years at times when heat and radiation varied immensely, from the heat of dinosaur times to cold of the ice age so on and so forth.

Mutations are not the only cause of evolution, if you consider the severity of it. Sure, every tiny 'change' was in essence a mutation but what Pro is trying to say is that a massive mutation is usually detrimental. That's true, the issue is that it's only a minority that were needed to eventually be the beneficial mutations which passed on. A horn eventually forming on an animal and that 'horn material' based on Keratin, be it Ivory or whatever else, ended up benefitting that animal so much it mated much more and had far more successful offspring than the rest, it's not absurd to think that once in a while a beneficial mutation (which was rare but over billions of years of the planet existing and many samples, it's not unthinkable that enough beneficial mutations happened as a minority that eventually led to the splits between species and beings that we see now on Earth).

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ten·a·ble | \ ˈte-nə-bəl  \
Definition of tenable

capable of being held, maintained, or defended DEFENSIBLEREASONABLE
Round 2
Firstly I would like to point out that:

  • The rules of the debate state that round 1 is reserved for opening statements. Since Con launched straight into rebuttal, this is a violation of the debate rules. Voters please keep this in mind when voting on conduct.
  • Con completely dropped my first two arguments. Indeed, if only one of the three arguments presented in my opening statement hold true, evolution could not have happened, so Con must address all three points or he yields by default.
  • Con presented no citations supporting his rebuttal. He did cite his definition of tenable, and I accept his definition.
After examining Con’s rebuttal to my third point on the perpetual decay of the genome it seems that Con missed my point. He talks much about the limited number of mutations that are ‘beneficial’ and yet fails to address the fact that these ‘beneficial’ mutations are replacing or removing existing genetic information rather than tacking on additional information to the genome. Dr. Jerry Bergman reviewed the topic of beneficial mutations through a search via Biological Abstracts and Medline. He found 453,732 “mutation” hits. Only 186 mentioned the word “beneficial” (about 4 in 10,000). After a review of the 186 “beneficial” mutations it was found that these mutations were only beneficial in a very narrow sense, since they all involved a loss of function (loss of information) [1]. In summary, Dr. Jerry Bergman found that out of the 453,732 mutations studied, 186 are beneficial, and grand total of 0 of them represent an increase in genetic information. Without beneficial mutations that increase the genome, organisms will only become simpler over time.

Key Question for Con: Where are the beneficial mutations that increase genetic information?

Survival of the fittest does not equal arrival of the fittest. Natural selection is simply a filtration system that offers more physically fit organisms a higher probability of survival. Natural selection is subject to the old adage “garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, natural selection can only select the best from what it is given to work with, and is utterly incapable of make the fittest specimen fitter.

    1. Bergman, J. 2004. Research on the deterioration of the genome and Darwinism: why mutations result in degeneration of the genome. Intelligent design Conference, Biola University. April 22-23.
    I literally cannot defend the tenability of evolution without rebuking claims against its tenability.

    RNA isn't even necessary for evolution to be true, but RNA exists and is part of cells (and the theory that there first was just RNA and it changed to be part of a DNA structure and simply be an RNA part of it, is not absurd. 

    The mitochondria typical of mammalian cells respire O2 during the process of pyruvate breakdown and ATP synthesis, generating water and carbon dioxide as end products. The Krebs cycle and the electron transport chain in the inner mitochondrial membrane enable the cell to generate about 36 moles (mol) of ATP per mole of glucose, with the help of O2–respiring mitochondria. Such typical mitochondria also occur in plants and various groups of unicellular eukaryotes (protists) that, like mammals, are dependent on oxygen and specialized to life in oxic environments.

    In contrast, the mitochondria of many invertebrates (worms like Fasciola hepatica and mollusks like Mytilus edulis being well–studied cases) do not use O2 as the terminal acceptor during prolonged phases of the life cycle. These mitochondria allow the anaerobically growing cell to glean about 5 mol of ATP per mole of glucose, as opposed to about 36 with O2. The typical excreted end products are carbon dioxide, acetate, propionate, and succinate, which are generated mostly through the rearrangement of Krebs cycle reactions and the help of the mitochondrial electron transport chain. These organelles are commonly called anaerobic mitochondria.
    Mitochondria of yet another kind yield even less ATP per molecule of glucose. These are mitochondria of several distantly related unicellular eukaryotes (protists) that lack an electron transport chain altogether. They synthesize ATP from pyruvate breakdown via simple fermentations that typically involve the production of molecular hydrogen as a major metabolic end product. These mitochondria are called hydrogenosomes and allow the cell to gain about 4 mol of ATP per mole of glucose. Hydrogenosomes were discovered in 1973 in trichomonads, a group of unicellular eukaryotes. They were later found in chytridiomycete fungi that inhabit the rumen of cattle, as well as some ciliates, and they continue to be found in other groups. The enzymes of hydrogenosomes are not unique to these anaerobes. They are found also in the mitochondria, the cytosol, or even the plastids of other eukaryotes (Figure 1).

    To say that beings couldn't evolve from this doesn't explain why an internal part of cells is an actual structure itself like a cell that is made of RNA. The idea that it evolved is not necessary for evolution to be scientifically tenable, even if another path combined RNA structures with DNA structures to have cells contain mitochondria and for viruses to exist would still prove it scientifically tenable. My opening argument had to be a rebuttal because the only way to defend tenabillity is to assess the attack upon it. Things default to being tenable, why would you hold the theory impossible or completely unfeasible as a default?

    The entirety of this debate comes down not to science, I will not take the bait and explore every nitty bitty detail of evolution theory. This is what Pro wants me to do, because it is the best way to make me waste energy and character count while the real attack lies in the idea that 'it's just too outrageous that enough beneficial mutations would occur'. That is what Pro's case comes down to. That there isn't enough time and realistic 'space' to mate with other similar beings to constantly push out a new offshoot without genetic decay due to incest and such, this is disproven by the idea that at first they would indeed be able to mate with the old species but that the climate and even social aspects of the other species lead to the isolation of the new offshoot after a couple of generations and cousins or secound-cousins begin to mate, minimising incest. Its not absurd at all that over time they with their freaky new thing (a horn-like structure, a fin, lung-like organ etc) and pass it on among their new niche that dominates a nearby but somewhat different area, that may be higher altitude, less or more in canopy shade and such to enable them to dominate it. Rinse this and repeat over and over again and it's not absurd to see how microevolution among breeds of species leads to speciation in rare occasions where the offshoot are enough in their early population but socially or physiologically pressured to leave their old 'tribe' and mate among themselves elsewhere, however distant enough in 1 generation to avoid incest that would lead to the decary in genes.

    Round 3
    The Absurdity of Abiogenesis Via RNA: Although technical, Con’s quotation does not establish a claim or defense, and, therefore, is quite irrelevant to the debate. The theory that RNA would be able to fulfill many of the functions of the single cell organism is founded on conjecture not science. In the peer reviewed journal, Journal of Creation, Chemist Jonathan Sarfati, PhD lays out a summary of six dubious postulates this theory makes which contradict the experimental evidence [1]:

    1. “A pool of exclusively ‘right-handed’ ribose molecules could be produced, separated from a jumble of other sugars, and remain stable long enough; the bases could be produced in large quantities; and a high concentration of phosphate (PO43-) would be in solution rather than precipitated out.
    2. Ribose could combine with the bases and phosphate to produce β-D-ribonucleotides.
    3. These β-D-ribonucleotides could spontaneously produce RNA polymers of the proper form.
    4. That if such polymers form, they could replicate themselves.
    5. That such self-replicating RNA molecules would have all the functions needed to sustain an organism.
    6. That such an RNA organism could give rise to a modern organism with protein catalysts, coded on the reproducing material, and the means to decode them.”
    None of the essential assumptions line up with empirical science, and the failure of any one of them is sufficient to debunk the entire abiogenesis via RNA theory. Gerald Joyce, Ph.D. puts it like this, “The most reasonable assumption is that life did not start with RNA …. The transition to an RNA world, like the origins of life in general, is fraught with uncertainty and is plagued by a lack of experimental data” [1]. This theory does not hold up to science.
    This is a Scientific Debate Not a Philosophical Debate: The debate is over “The theory of evolution is not scientifically tenable.” Rebuking claims against your position is, after all, what debating is all about. Thus far Con has presented a great deal of speculation and very little science. Con persists with his ‘reasonable to think’ argument, and yet, this argument is purely speculative. I clearly demonstrated how a scientifically informed position on mutations crushes the ‘reasonable to think’ philosophy. I understand and recognize evolution as a philosophy; therefore Con’s explanations on how it is theorized evolution should work, if it were true, have no bearing in this debate.

    There is No Bait: I am not asking Con to explore every little detail of evolution. The perpetual decay of the genome (genetic entropy) is an enormous insurmountable and thoroughly validated process. Referring to genetic entropy as an itty bitty detail is like telling a business man that losing a little bit of money on every transaction is an itty bitty detail. This tiny detail is the difference between success and failure in business and in evolution. Indeed, the theory of evolution is losing money on every transaction and has gone scientifically bankrupt quite some time ago.

    Con’s Exercise of Comprehensive Irrelevance: Con failed to answer my question and failed to counter my arguments. I fail to see how Con hopes to win a scientific debate without approaching the matter scientifically.

    1.       Sarfati, Jonathan, “Self-replicating enzymes?” The In-depth Journal of Creation 11:1 (1997): 4-6.

    Evolution is tenable over many generations. Every single thing Pro has said in this debate revolves around the idea that it can't happen often enough to be tenable, but it can if there were millions of years and many generations and climates to force and enable some mutations to be beneficial enough to result in an off-shoot from a species.
    Round 4
    Before I summarize my case I would like to remind the voters that:

    • Con was in clear violation of the rules in round one. The rules clearly stated that round one was reserved for opening statements, not rebuttals. Please vote Pro on conduct.
    • Con failed to present even one relevant scientific source in support of his position. I ask you to vote Pro on sources.
    • Con dropped my first two arguments. If any one of my three opening arguments proves true then the theory of evolution is not scientifically tenable. Con handed this debate over to me from round one by failing to address two of my three arguments. Please vote Pro on arguments.
    Considering that Con’s latest argument has already been addressed in my earlier arguments, he really couldn’t have made my closing argument any easier. Let’s review:
    • Beneficial Mutations:I offered evidence supporting that beneficial mutations are extremely uncommon. Dr. Jerry Bergman’s study found that out of 453,732 mutations only 186 were ‘beneficial’ (less than 4 in 10,000) [1].
    • Mutations that Increase the Genome:It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that, for organisms to evolve from a single cell into a human, a very great deal of genetic information must be added to the genome. Therefore, we can easily realize that beneficial mutations that replace or reduce the genome will not provide the sort of mutations required for evolution. Dr. Jerry Bergman’s study revealed that out of 453,732 mutations 0 mutations caused an increase to the genome as required for evolution [1]. I never claimed that the sort of mutation required for evolution to occur was nonexistent; however, it is clearly extraordinarily rare at best.
    • Survival of the Least Damaged:To be generous, let’s assume that 1 in every 500,000 mutations possess the characteristics required for evolution to occur. Can natural selection filter out the 499,999 deleterious mutations? The answer is a resounding no. As Royal Truman explained, “Within any physical linkage unit, on average, thousands of deleterious mutations would accumulate before a beneficial mutation would arise” [2]. If natural selection were to select for the 1 beneficial mutation it would have to kill off the remaining 99.9998% (this would eliminate the 499,999 non evolutionary mutations) of each generation, extinction would occur within a very few generations in any population size. A certain population size must be maintained in order to avoid extinction; therefore, if extinction is to be avoided, numerous deleterious mutations must be passed on to the next generation for every one beneficial mutation. This will result in a perpetual genetic meltdown. Evolution’s miraculous (1 in 500,000) mutation can only hope to offer a very slight slow in the perpetual genetic melt down of the genome. As Dr. John Stanford put it, “Based upon numerous independent lines of evidence, we are forced to conclude that the problem of human genomic degeneration is real. While selection is essential for slowing down degeneration, no form of selection can actually halt it…. The extinction of the human genome appears to be just as certain and deterministic as the death of organisms, the extinction of stars, and the heat death of the universe” [3].
    Since Con did not use any science to support his philosophical position, Con’s position never really got off the ground. Indeed, Con’s ‘reasonable to think’ argument, demonstrates a lack of willingness to examine the scientific evidence. It was considered ‘reasonable to think’ that the world was flat before scientific evidence to the contrary became really available. Indeed, evidence has a way of demolishing the tenability of conjecture that was hitherto ‘reasonable to think’.
    1. Bergman, J. 2004. Research on the deterioration of the genome and Darwinism: why mutations result in degeneration of the genome. Intelligent design Conference, Biola University. April 22-23.
    2. Truman, Royal, “From ape to man via genetic meltdown: a theory in crisis” The In-depth Journal of Creation 18:2 (2002): p30
    3. Dr. Sanford, John, Genetic Entropy. FMS Publications, 2014, P 89.