Instigator / Pro
26
1503
rating
78
debates
48.08%
won
Topic

Resolved: The Theory of Evolution is a sound theory of how life developed on Earth.

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
3
21
Sources points
12
14
Spelling and grammar points
6
7
Conduct points
5
4

With 7 votes and 20 points ahead, the winner is ...

Lazarous
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Science
Time for argument
Two weeks
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two months
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
15,000
Contender / Con
46
1538
rating
4
debates
75.0%
won
Description
~ 1,239 / 5,000

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

Rules:
1. No round forfeits
2. It should go without saying, but keep it respectful
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. The BoP is evenly shared.

Definitions

1. Theory: In science, a theory is "an explanation of some aspect of the natural world that has been substantiated through repeated experiments or testing" [1]

2. Evolution: At the most basic level, evolution is defined as “the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.”[2] Consequently, “genetic changes over many generations ultimately result in the emergence of new and different species from a single ancestral species” [3] As a result, “all known living, terrestrial organisms are genealogically related. All existing species originated gradually by biological, reproductive processes on a geological timescale” [4]

3. Sound: Based on strong scientific evidence

Sources
1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/just-a-theory-7-misused-science-words/
2. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-definition.html
3. Fairbanks, Daniel J. Evolving: The Human Effect and Why it Matters.
4. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

Round 1
Pro
Thank you, Lazarous, for accepting this debate. I’m looking forward to another exciting debate with you.
 
I am going to divide my arguments into two parts. In the first part, I will give an overview of evolution and what I believe to be the strongest lines of evidence for it. In the second part of my arguments, I will look at creationism and show how Young Earth Creationism is an utter failure.
 
PART 1: Evolution 
 
The Theory of Evolution is one of the most misunderstood theories in science, yet it is also the backbone of modern biology. Indeed, as Theodosius Dobzhansky stated, "Nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution." The Theory of Evolution explains not only the biodiversity of life but is vitally important in fields such as medicine and ecology.  
 
I. Misconceptions
 
I want to start off this debate by debunking common misconceptions about evolution.
 
1. Evolution is not true because it cannot explain the origins of life or the universe
 
Evolution is a theory on the biodiversity of life. It does not make any assertions to how life formed or how the universe came into being. This argument is an argument from ignorance. Just because we do not know yet how life got started or how the universe got here does not mean that evolution is false. This is like saying that the atomic theory of matter is false because we don't know the origins of the atom.
 
2. Evolution means atheism 
 
Again, this is false. The vast majority of Christians accept evolution and many great evolutionary biologists like Theodosius Dobzhansky and Francis Collins are committed Christians. Theodosius Dobzhansky was an orthodox Christian, Francis Collins is proudly an evangelical, and many prominent evangelicals like William Lane Craig and Biologos accepts evolution.
 
II. Evolution by Natural Selection is an Observable Fact
 
A. “Micro” Evolution

We have observed evolution by natural selection both in the lab and in nature. When we expose bacteria to antibiotics, chance mutations enable them to form resistance to the antibiotic causing them to become stronger. The end result is bacteria with the favorable traits necessary to resist antibiotics resulting in deadlier diseases.
 
This is well-known as “micro-evolution” or “the change in allele frequencies in the gene pool.” This is so well-observed and documented that no creationist will deny this.
 
B. Speciation
 
Speciation is the emergence of new species from an ancestral species. This is probably the most important prediction of evolution. If evolution were true, then we should observe the formation of new species. As it turns out, speciation has been observed so many times [1] that even creationists accept it [2], although they try to rationalize it by denying that speciation perfectly fits the definition of evolution or by simply moving the goalpost.  
 
You can think of speciation like language: As time goes on, new words are added, people spread out, words change meaning, and thus new languages are formed. This is how Latin turned into Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, and the rest of the romance languages from a single ancestral language. You can think of the minor changes in pronunciation and meaning to be “microevolution” and the emergence of new languages as “macroevolution.”
 
III. Genetics
 
A. Genetic Comparison
 
1. Human Evolution
 
In my opinion, genetics offers the most profound case for evolution. The closer related a specie is the more genetic material they have in common. Using genetic markers, we can trace with stupendous accuracy on how humans and other species migrated. When I got my DNA sequenced from ancestry.com, I was shocked to see just how accurate it was. Not only were they able to tell the region of Europe where I descend from, they were also able to pinpoint exactly where my family settled in the United States and they were even able to tell when they came!   
 
We can do this to trace human ancestry back to where humanity first evolved. Using mitochondria DNA, DNA that is passed on from mother to offspring, we can trace our maternal lineage back to Africa roughly 200,000 years ago [3].   
 
Using the same principles that determine paternity, we discovered that humans and chimpanzees are about 95-99% similar, which suggests that the two species are closely related [4]. What’s more, is that we can determine when humans and chimpanzees diverged. This is dated to about 7-8 million years ago [4]. Of course, as more genetic information becomes available and more studies are done, the more refined this date will become.
 
2. HIV-SIV
 
Using the same principles listed above, we can use evolution and genetics to learn when and how new diseases evolved and use that information to learn how to treat them. HIV is a perfect example. In the 1980’s, people were dying left and right of this new disease. Where did it come from and how did it evolve? Let’s find out!  
 
There are actually two main types of HIV: HIV 1 (most common) and HIV 2 (less common). Using genetics, we found that HIV evolved from SIV, a virus that infects non-human primates. Most likely, humans were butchering meat from an infected animal and that is how they initially came in contact. But there is a problem. Humans are naturally immune to SIV, so something had to happen. In his book Evolving: The Human Effect and Why it Matters, Dr. Fairbanks shows exactly how this happened [6]:
 
“The virus had to mutate into a form that could overcome natural immunity to SIV in humans. Mammals have a gene that encodes a protein called tetherin. This protein has evolved to confer resistance to retroviruses by tethering them to the inside of the cell they infect and preventing the virus from replicating. For SIV cpz to successfully infect a human, it had to overcome the suppressive effect of human tetherin.
 
The SIV cpz evolved by acquiring two anti-tetherin genenes called nef and vpu, one from each of the original monkey viruses that fused to form the chimpanzee virus. The nef gene mutated to overcome chimpanzee tetherin, but the vpu gene remained essentially insert. When the virus jumped to humans, human tetherin was so different that the nef gene could not overcome human tetherin. Instead, the vpu gene mutated to overcome human tetherin, allowing HIV-1 group M to infect humans.
 
A mutation in a second gene, called gag, was also required for the chimpanzee virus to jump to humans. Interestingly, a case in which HIV infected a chimpanzee is known, and the gag gene of this virus mutated back to the original form in the chimpanzee to successfully re-infect its ancestral host.”

B. ERVs
 
Endogenous retrovirus are viruses that incorporate themselves into our DNA. As I already pointed out, humans, bonobos, and chimps are 95-99% similar. This strongly suggests that we are closely related and share a recent common ancestor.
 
When we compare genetics, we can look at ERVs and use that to help us the dots. As it turns out, humans and chimps have thousands of ERVs in common [7]. So, either the ERV independently inserted itself into the same location thousands of times or we share a common ancestor who had it. The latter is far more likely.
 
IV. Fossil Record
 
A. Geological column
 
The geological column perfectly fits within the evolutionary framework. We never find a fossilized rabbit in the Precambrian layer and we never find a dinosaur fossil on top of a human fossil.
 
B. Transitional fossils
 
Where are all the transitional fossils? I’m glad you asked!
 
1. Archaeopteryx

Archaeopteryx is probably the first transitional fossil found. It was found only a few years after Darwin published The Origins of the Species. As noted by TalkOrigins, it has both bird and dinosaur like features that are hard to explain away [8].
 
The main bird traits are:
 
·      long external nostrils.
·      quadrate and quadratojugal (two jaw bones) not sutured together.
·      palatine bones that have three extensions.
·      all teeth lacking serrations.
·      large lateral furrows in top rear body of the vertebrae
 
And the reptilian features are:
  • no bill
  • teeth on premaxilla and maxilla bones
  • nasal opening far forward, separated from the eye by a large preorbital fenestra (hole)
  • neck attached to skull from the rear
  • center of cervical vertebrae that have simple concave articular facets
  • long bony tail; no pygostyle
  • ribs slender, without joints or uncinate processes, and not articulated with the sternum
  • sacrum that occupies six vertebrae
  • small thoracic girdle
  • metacarpals free (except third metacarpal), wrist hand joint flexible
  • claws on three unfused digits
  • pelvic girdle and femur joint shaped like those of archosaurs in many details
  • bones of pelvis unfused
and over 100 other differences from birds
V. Summary
 
Evolution has been vindicated time and time again. If my opponent wishes to overturn over 150 years of biology, then he is in for a tough ride. The mere fact that evolution has been observed numerous times is enough evidence to vote for pro and the genetic and fossil records are just the icing on the cake.
 
PART 2: Failures of Creationism
 
I identify three main predictions that the Bible makes in the first 5 chapters of Genesis. In the first chapter of Genesis, the Bible predicts the order in which the universe was created, the second key prediction is the age of the universe and the third key prediction is how long humans once lived. If any of these three are shown to be false, then the entire Genesis creation myth collapses. 
 
V. Order of Creation
 
In the Genesis Creation myth, God created the universe in 6 days. The days of creation are:
 
Day 1: Light and darkness
Day 2: Sky and sea
Day 3: Vegetation and land
Day 4: Stars, sun, and moon
Day 5: Sea animals and birds
Day 6: Humans and land animals
 
The order that the Book of Genesis proposes is inconsistent with what we know in science. How can day and night exist before the Sun? How can the vegetation survive without the Sun? Without the Sun, the Earth would have been at or just above absolute zero. 
 
Modern astronomy has witnessed the lifecycle of stars and solar systems. The way solar systems form is nothing like how it is described in the Bible. Stars form when clouds of gas collapse under its gravity. This is called a proto-star. When the star heats up enough it begins nuclear fusion. That’s when it is fully a star. Not only have we observed this process [9], but we have found young stars with planetary disks around them [10]. Even more impressive is that we discovered moon forming disks around new exoplanets [11]. Solar system formation is nothing like what’s described in the Bible.
 
VI. Age of the Universe
 
Creationist argue that the entire universe is less than 6,000 years old. A wealth of independent lines of evidence proves that the universe is billions of years old. Here I will give just two lines of evidence.
 
1. Distant starlight
 
Light travels at a speed of 299,792 kilometers per second. If an object is 1 light year away, it follows that the light from that object must have taken 1 year to reach the observer. The furthest distance we have seen is roughly 13 billion light-years away [12]. Logically it follows that the light took 13 billion years to reach us, thus the universe has to be at least 13 billion years old.
 
2. Radiometric dating
 
Radiometric dating is the most accurate way to tell the age of an object. We can test the accuracy of radiometric dating by cross-dating it with various isotopes as well as testing it on the age of known objects. This is incredibly useful in archeology. For example, researchers found an old Quran that dated back to the time of Muhammad [13].  When we apply these techniques to rocks and asteroids, we discovered that the Earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old [14], a far cry from 6,000 years old.
 
VII. Lifespan of Humans
 
As of today, the oldest person alive is 116 years old [14]. However, this is a baby compared to the antediluvian humans. In the Bible, the oldest person to die was Methuselah at 969. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that humans lived that long and all evidence points to the contrary.
 
From what we know, life expectancy from the paleolithic era up to early modern England was less than 40-years-old [15].        
 
VIII. Summary
 
The major predictions made in the Book of Genesis are a complete failure. The Theory of Evolution has been vindicated time and time again whereas Creationism can't even get off the ground. If you can't trust what was written in the very first chapter of the Bible, then you can't trust what's written in the rest. I think I made my point. 

I look forward to your reply. 
 
Sources
6. Fairbanks Evolving: The Human Effect and Why it Matters
9. Carrasco-González, C., et al. “Observing the Onset of Outflow Collimation in a Massive Protostar.” Science, vol. 348, no. 6230, 2015, pp. 114–117., doi:10.1126/science.aaa7216.

Con
First of all, I would like to thank Virtuoso for challenging me to this debate. I expect this will be quite interesting. In similar fashion, I will start my debate by debunking several misconceptions about evolution:
 
Misconceptions:

Misconception 1: Any genetic change through mutations constitutes evidence for Darwinian evolution.
  • Oxford defines evolution as, “The process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth” [1]. As acknowledged through the use of the word ‘developed’ in the above definition, Darwinian evolution requires that mutations increase genetic information over time. The human genome has 3.2 billion base pairs [2] while single celled organisms have as few as 160 thousand [3]. In order for this single cell to evolve into a human, the genome would have to increase in length by a factor of 20,000. Furthermore, Darwinian evolution must also produce new completely original biological structures (lungs, eyes, flukes etc.). All changes that result in a loss in genetic information are deteriorating the organism; therefore, these sorts of changes are the opposite of Darwinian evolution.
Misconception 2: Darwinian evolution is the only explanation for bio-diversification.
  • Darwinian evolution is neither the only nor the most scientific explanation for the biodiversity observed in creatures today. Natural selection, speciation, and epigenetics are all examples of scientifically observed mechanisms that create biological variety through the sorting and loss of existing genetic information. The effects of these scientific forces are at best indifferent to Darwinian evolution, and frequently result in the loss of genetic information causing complex organisms to become simpler.
 
Introduction: Darwin tried to answer a fundamentally genetic question without any knowledge of genetics. Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859 and yet DNA wasn’t even discovered until the 1950’s, nearly 100 years later. Darwin admitted, “Our ignorance of the laws of variation is profound” [4]. Evolution succeeds or fails at the genetic level, and yet Darwin, by his own admission, was basing his theory on a profound ignorance of genetics. Darwinian evolution is based on the premise that mutations cause information to increase and develop over time, and yet, the field of genetics now overwhelmingly supports that the genome is very complex, highly functional, and consistently deteriorating.
 
 
I. The scientific demise of the Chimp-Man story:
  1. The Demise of ‘Junk DNA’: The evolutionary agenda has had profound effects on the assumptions made regarding DNA. John Mattrick claims, “the presence of non-protein-coding or so-called ‘junk DNA’ that comprises >90% of the human genome is evidence for the accumulation of evolutionary debris by blind Darwinian evolution, and argues against intelligent design, as an intelligent designer would presumably not fill the human genetic instruction set with meaningless information” [5]. Twenty-six years later the ENCODE Project Consortium analyzed the genome and concluded that, “These data enabled us to assign biochemical functions for 80% of the genome, in particular outside of the well-studied protein-coding regions” [6]. ENCODE Lead Analysis Coordinator Ewan Birney followed this release by claiming that, “It’s likely that 80 percent will go to 100 percent” [7]. Most if not all of the genome is functional; therefore, evolutionists were terribly wrong in declaring that most of the genome is ‘junk’.
  2. DNA Similarities Debunked: The ENCODE project found that approximately 50% of the functional non-coding (junk) DNA compared in the 23 different mammals studied was not conserved (not similar between species) [8]. It is now clear that a comprehensive DNA comparison between apes and humans is in order. Evolutionists typically claim that ape and human genetics are 96-98% similar; however, these stats only compare 2% of the genome. Conveniently, this 2% of the genome happens to be the most similar 2%. When the entire genome is compared the result is profoundly different. A study published by Dr. Jeffrey Tomkins in the peer reviewed journal, Answers Research Journal revealed that, “Genome-wide, only 70% of the chimpanzee DNA was similar to human under the most optimal sequence-slice conditions” [9]. This really should come as no surprise since in 2002 evolutionist Roy Britten indicated a genome-wide similarity of about 70% between chimpanzees and humans [10]. Human DNA is profoundly different from chimpanzee DNA; therefore, Darwinian evolution proves to be terribly wrong in its predictions once again.
  3. An Outrageous Number of Mutations: Considering that chimpanzee and human DNA is about 30% different and that there are about 3.2 billion base pairs in the human genome [2], there are approximately 960 million base pair differences between chimps and humans. Dr David Dewitt examined a sample size of 125 million of these base pair differences and found that, “there are about 40 million total separate mutation events that would separate the two species in the evolutionary view” [11]. Therefore, in order to account for the entire 30% of genetic disparity between chimps and humans roughly 307 million mutations would have to occur with the estimated 300,000 generations [11] since crimps and humans supposedly divided from their chimp like ancestors. This would require an average of 1,023 mutations to be locked in with each generation. This staggeringly large number of mutations being ‘locked in’ in such a small number of generations creates a problem known as “Haldane’s dilemma.”
  4. Haldan’s Dilemma explained: After extensively studying the rate at which mutations can be locked into a population, Dr John Sanford explains, “Haldane realized that even if there was an abundant and continuous supply of beneficial mutations, natural selection must be very limited in its ability to amplify such mutations to the point of where they are ‘fixed’ within a sizeable population. He calculated that for a mammalian population such as man, given an evolutionary population size of 10,000, only about 1,000 beneficial mutations could be selectively fixed within 6 million years…. That scenario would require roughly 1,000 independent beneficial fixations per generation. Haldane said this was impossible: he estimated that at best there should be only about 1 fixation every 300 generations. This problem has been extensively investigated by Walter ReMine, who has used an entirely independent mathematical formulation of the problem and has reached exactly the same conclusions [12]…. Our experiments strongly validate the work of Haldane and ReMine. We see that, depending on the specific settings, only a few hundred to a few thousand selective fixations can realistically occur during 300,000 human generations (about 6 million years)… [13]. We are very confident that our numerical simulation experiments are the best way to understand this problem, Between Haldane, ReMine, and our own work, the matter is clearly settled. This means the ape-to-man story is not even remotely feasible” [14]. This problem is also recognized by evolutionists Rick Durrett and Deena Schmidt who calculated the time it would take for two codependent mutations to become fixed in a human population at “>100 million years” [15].
 
II. Dual Coding Genes: It has been found that some genes code for multiple unrelated proteins. Evolutionist Sen-Yu Chung examined the implications of dual coding and found that, “Dual coding is a costly arrangement because it limits the flexibility of amino acid composition. A silent change in one frame [coding sequence for one protein] is almost always guaranteed to be amino acid changing in the other…. Here we show that although dual coding is nearly impossible by chance, a number of human transcripts contain overlapping coding regions” [16]. Since dual coding both (a) “limits the flexibility of amino acid composition”, and is (b) “nearly impossible by chance”, dual coding genes should not be created or favored for selection under evolution; therefore, why is dual coding abundant in nature?
 
III. Genetic Entropy (genetic decay) – The Strongest Argument Yet: I began my debate by bringing a frequently ignored but all two crucial distinction to light. Darwinian evolution claims that mutations must result in a net increase in information over time. Only through an increase in information can a single-celled organism ever hope to become a human. Evolution and Genetic Entropy are mutually exclusive. If the genome decays over time then Darwinian evolution is the product of wishful thinking.
  • Something for Nothing – The Darwinian Dream: Dr. Jerry Bergman studied a sample size of 453,732 mutations in search for a mutation possessing the ability to increase the genome. He found that a mere 4 in 10,000 of these mutations were “beneficial”, and after a review of these “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). [17]. Dr Bergman did not find a single mutation possessing the ability to increase the genome as required for Darwinian evolution. One of the largest studies by Adam Boyko PhD et al, found that 27-29% of amino-acid-changing mutations are neutral or nearly neutral, 30-42% are moderately deleterious, and nearly all the remainder (~36%) are highly deleterious or lethal [18]. This study was also unable to identify any mutations possessing the characteristics required for evolution. It is now clear that mutations capable of increasing the genome are quite rare (perhaps nonexistent), but, assuming they do exist, let’s see if natural selection is capable of weeding out all the garbage and stacking these quite rare mutations (possessing the ability to add genetic information to the genome) on each other from generation to generation.
 
Hail Natural Selection Our Savior?: Natural selection is not an all powerful force. It is now known that natural selection possesses multiple limitations that severely hamper its abilities to produce the results claimed by evolution:
  • Cost of Selection Limitation: Natural selection is highly limited on how many of a population it can kill off, since perpetual mass homicide will inevitably lead to extinction. John Sanford explains that, “For the human population, it becomes clear that that the maximum part of our population which can be ‘spent’ for all selection purposes is much less than 33%, and, according to Haldane, might realistically be in the range of 10%” [19]. Since 66-78% of all mutations are deleterious, natural selection can only hope to remove a maximum of half of these damaging mutations created each generation. The rare occurrences of mutations that add genetic information (as required by evolution) would be crushed under the massive load of deleterious mutations accumulating in the population each generation. Natural selection simply can’t remove the deleterious mutations fast enough to give evolution a chance.
  • The Package Deal Limitation: Mutations can’t be selected individually by natural selection; rather, each organism is an inseparable package deal. John Stanford studied this issue in depth and concluded that, “the number of all types of new mutations, including conversions, must be much more than 100 per person per generation. These mutations, which include many macro-mutations, must clearly change thousands of nucleotides per person per generation” [20]. Since 66-78% of mutations are deleterious, even if a human were to receive a beneficial information-increasing mutation, this mutation would have 66 to 78 deleterious mutations stacked on top of it before being passed on to the next generation. Indeed, any increase to the genome one mutation can hope to achieve would be easily overwhelmed by the vast number of deleterious mutations, even within a single generation.
Indeed, either of these limitations, in combination with the well established rate of occurrence of beneficial and deleterious mutations, establishes solid ground for concluding that evolution is impossible. In combination, these limitations turns evolution into nothing more than wishful thinking.
 
Conclusion: Darwin was completely ignorant of the scientific laws of genetic inherency, and yet he made predictions about how genetics work. Darwinian evolution predicts highly dysfunctional genomes developing to a more complex state, and yet, the scientific evidence supports that genetics are highly functional and in a state of perpetual decay. Indeed, the genetic science is yielding results completely opposite of those required to support Darwinian evolution. Science demonstrates that the genome is complex, efficient, and consistently deteriorating over time. The only reasonable conclusion is that Darwinian evolution is not scientifically tenable.
 
  1. https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/evolution
  2. https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/dna-sequencing-technologies-key-to-the-human-828/
  3. https://www.nature.com/news/2006/061009/full/news061009-10.html
  4. Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882. On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. London :John Murray, 1859.
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4685169/
  6. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature11247
  7. https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/encode-the-rough-guide-to-the-human-genome
  8. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature05874.pdf
  9. Tomkins, Jeffrey, “Comprehensive Analysis of Chimpanzee and Human Chromosomes Reveals Average DNA Similarity of 70%” Answers Research Journal 6:1 (2013): p63.
  10. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292215627_Divergence_between_samples_of_chimpanzee_and_human_DNA_sequences_is_5_counting_indels
  11. Dewitt, David, “What about the Similarity Between Human and Chimp DNA.” The New Answers Book 3, Master Books, Green Forest, (2016): p102.
  12. ReMine, Walter, “Cost theory and the cost of substitution – a clarification” The In-depth Journal of Creation 19:1 (2005): p113-125.
  13. https://76e3cb33-ff6d-43c4-be79-59e4727fae6c.filesusr.com/ugd/9d0974_b0a742f447ed479790e70515d9d94eb7.pdf
  14. Dr. Sanford, John, Genetic Entropy. FMS Publications, (2014) p175-176.
  15. https://www.genetics.org/content/180/3/1501
  16. https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030091
  17. Bergman, Jerry, “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, 2001).
  18. https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1000083
  19. Dr. Sanford ref. 12, p64.
  20. Dr. Sanford ref. 12, p38.



Round 2
Pro
Forfeited
Con
“Micro-Evolution”:

Key Question for Pro:What do you mean by evolution? If, by evolution, Pro simply means change in any direction, then we can agree that the genetic evidence for a perpetually degrading genome fulfills this definition of evolution, and is, as Pro put it, an “Observable Fact”; however, Darwinian evolution insists that organisms are becoming more complex (a concept which contradicts genetic science). Clearly the term evolution must be clearly defined before we can banter over whether micro-evolution is an “Observable Fact”.

Speciation: Creationists never disputed that organisms change; however, Darwinian evolution claims that all living creatures developed from a common single celled ancestor. The critical question we must ask when examining examples of bio-diversification is: Do these changes make the organism more complex as required for Darwinian evolution, or are they deleterious? Contrary to Pro’s attempts to paint this distinction as ambiguous, this distinction is black and white. Either mutations produce a net increase in information over time and Darwinian evolution is true or mutations produce a net decrease in information over time and Darwinian evolution is false.

  • What Speciation Is and is Not:Pro falsely equates speciation to evolution. Speciation simply refers to which genetic traits are passed on or not passed on to the next generation. Dog breeders use speciation to narrow the gene pool in dog populations. Mutts generally possesses a much richer variety of genetic characteristics than their purebred counterparts and, therefore, can produce offspring with widely varied characteristics. Dog breeders use inbreeding and artificial selection to remove undesired genetic characteristics from a population. This produces breeds which can only produce certain characteristics (like floppy ears or stubby snouts for example) because these are the only genetic characteristics that breed possesses. If this had occurred in nature, it is likely we would consider Chihuahuas a different species from Great Danes (see picture here); however, these two ‘species’ clearly diversified through loss of genetic characteristics rather than the Darwinian claimed development of new information. This process is referred to as speciation; because, (through the process of removing different genetic characteristics in a given population) different populations of the same kind can express enough genetic separation to merit subcategorizing into species. Darwinian evolution requires that information be added over time; therefore, the scientifically proven process of speciation is the opposite of Darwinian evolution.
Key Question for Pro:Darwin contrived his theory around a faulty understanding of his observation of the speciation of finches; therefore, it would be most reasonable to say speciation was used to predict Darwinian evolution. How then, can Pro claim that Darwinian evolution was used to predict speciation?
Genetics:

Making an Ape Out of Man:
  • Mitochondrial Eve:The theory that mankind originated from a mitochondrial Eve about 200,000 years ago originates from research done in 1988 [1] and was calculated using faulty mutation rates which have since been proven to be completely wrong. As evolutionist Ann Gibbons stated in 1998, “Mitochondiral DNA appears to mutate much faster than expected, prompting new DNA forensic procedures and raising troubling questions about the dating of evolutionary events…. Researchers have calculated that “mitochondrial Eve” … lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago... Using the new clock, she would be a mere 6,000 years old” [2]. Alex Williams concurs with this conclusion saying, “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…. 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” [3]. Clearly mitochondrial DNA provided strong evidence against Darwinian evolution.
  • Ape-Man Differences:I cited two high quality peer reviewed journals in my opening statement which both put the human-chimp DNA similarities at 70%, a far cry from Pro’s claimed 95-99%. Pro’s sources studied a mere 2% of the genome whereas the ENCODE project encompassed analysis of 100% of the human genome. This project included “more than 30 research groups and more than 400 scientists” [4]. Clearly the alleged 95-99% similarity is simply an exercise in lying with statistics.
  • The Time Problem:I called Pro’s bluff on the supposed ability of chimp-human evolution to occur within 6 million years (or 8 million if Pro likes). As stated above, evolutionary time frames dictate that about 1,000 mutations must be fixed per generation to accomplish ape-man evolution. Realistically the mutation fixation rate is 1 mutation per 300 generations (this was verified by three independent studies cited above). At this rate, ape-man evolution would take nearly one-trillion years a far cry from Pro’s supposed 7-8 million years.
  • ERV’s – Another Evolutionary Prediction Bites the Dust:Science is now catching up with the ill founded assumption that 8% of the genome is the result of endogenous retroviruses inserting sequences of DNA into the genetic code. Shaun Doyle accounts how, “The term ‘endogenous retrovirus’ is a bit of a misnomer. There are numerous instances where small transposable elements thought to be endogenous retroviruses have been found to have functions, which invalidates the ‘random retrovirus insertion’ claim…. Moreover, researchers have recently identified an important function for a large proportion of the human genome that has been labeled as ERVs. They act as promoters, starting transcription at alternative starting points, which enables different RNA transcripts to be formed from the same DNA sequence” [5]. Once again, Darwinian evolution manifests its inability to produce accurate predictions.
HIV – SIV:
  • Virus Recombination:It is important to note that viruses have the ability to exchange genetic code. William Fleischmann explains that, “Recombination involves the exchange of genetic material between two related viruses during coinfection of a host cell.”[6]. Rather than creating information, this process simply allows a virus to borrow existing information from another organism.
  • Evolution or Devolution?:Dr Carl Wieland examined the mutations leading to the rise of HIV and concluded that the net effect of these mutations lead to, “only a horizontal or even a negative change in informational content, and therefore does not relate to the sort of evolution postulated generally. It certainly does not involve any increase in functional complexity” [7].
Key Question for Pro:The evidence supports that HIV is simpler than the sum of its original genetic parts. Can you provide evidence that the mutations affecting HIV actually added complexity as required for Darwinian evolution to be tenable?

  • Antibiotic Resistance at What Cost?:HIV expert Veronica Miller PhD experimented with the effect antibiotic resistance has on the fitness of HIV, “by ceasing all antiviral drug treatments to a patient. Without the drug, the few surviving original (‘wild’) types [of HIV] that had infected the patient could grow more easily. It turned out that they easily out-competed the vast numbers of resistant forms…. the wild types were also more dangerous—more efficient than the new strains.” [8]. The mutant antibiotic resistant strains of HIV are far inferior to the original wild strains demonstrating that these mutations are highly detrimental to the general health and fitness of the virus. Rather than supporting evolving to a higher state, these mutations represent genetic decay.
Key Question for Pro:Pleaseprovide your source backing the claim that antibiotic resistant diseases are “deadlier”? In 1346 the bubonic plague killed 60 percent of Europe’s population [9]. This has been unparalleled by any of Pro’s so called ‘deadlier’ diseases to date.

  • A Very Poor Choice of Examples:Darwinism dictates that, our ultimate common ancestor, the very first single celled organism, be self-sufficient. Being the first and only living thing, this cell can’t rely on byproducts of any other organisms to assist in its survival. Alex Williams notes that, “First life… must be able to sustain itself indefinitely – and only the ‘high-tech’ autotrophs can do that!” [10]. Molecular geneticist Otto Yang defined viruses as simply, “packaged RNA or DNA”. Viruses are inert unless they come into contact with a living cell therefore they do not take self-generating or self-sustaining actions [11], and are generally not even considered to be alive. Under Darwinian presuppositions, viruses would be a highly degenerate relative of the first single celled life form. This brings us to a crucial question:
Key Question for Pro:Considering that, under Darwinian presuppositions, viruses are degenerate descendents of the first complex single cell, how are viruses supposed to demonstrate that organisms build complexity and become fish, mammals, and humans over time? Clearly the degenerate virus is one of the worst possible examples an evolutionist could possibly use to argue that organisms can develop complexity.

Fossil Record:

Pro is terribly wrong in claiming that, “The geological column perfectly fits within the evolutionary framework.” Indeed, I will only be able to scratch the surface in covering how incorrect this statement is:
  • The Cambrian Explosion:Darwinian evolution holds that one type of life diversified over time giving rise to many life forms; however, the fossil record does not concur with Darwin in the slightest on this point. As Dr John Morris and Frank Sherwin account, “The Cambrian portion of the fossil record has preserved multitudes of invertebrate types that all appeared at the same time, each quite complex and quite different from the others. An honest look at when and where fossil types are found suggests that life began with a multitude of early life plans, not with a single plan that later branched out.” Dr Morris also notes that, “Cambrian trilobites abound, with eyes at least as proficient as those possessed by any animal living today.” [12]. Indeed, the fossil record preserves complex and unique organisms from the very beginning.
  • Living Fossils:There are numerous examples of species considered to have gone extinct millions of years ago later found to still be alive today. Randy Guliuzza gives a classic example saying, “National Geographic recalls how ‘the primitive-looking coelacanth…was thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But its discovery in 1938 by a South African museum curator on a local fishing trawler fascinated the world.’” [13]. Dr. Carl Werner filled an entire book with examples of living fossils and found that, “Examples of all the major groups of plants living today have been found in dinosaur layers, including flowering plants and trees (angiosperms), plants without fruits or flowers (conifers, cycads, and ginkgos); vascular spore-forming plants (ferns, horsetails, and club mosses), and simple moss (peat moss)” [14].
Archaeopteryx: Evolutionist Ernst Mayr explains how, “The earliest undisputed bird fossil is Archaeopteryx, found in the upper Jurassic (145 million years ago). There are two major proposals concerning the phylogeny of birds. According to the thecodont theory, birds originated from archosaurian reptiles more than 200 million years ago [i.e., birds evolved before Archaeopteryx]. According to the dinosaur theory, birds originated from theropod dinosaurs in the later Cretaceous (ca. 80-100 million years ago) [i.e., the origin of birds came long after Archaeopteryx]” [15]. Archaeopteryx is either insignificant, since birds had already fully evolved about 50 million years prior to archaeopteryx, or a massive problem, since archaeopteryx predates its earlier ancestors by about 50 million years. Evolutionists now consider Archaeopteryx to be a true bird [16]; therefore Pro’s claim that Archaeopteryx is a ‘missing link’ is a position no longer supported even by authorities on evolution.

150 Years of Science Overturns Evolution:Evolutionary geneticist Richard Lewontin said, “It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world [i.e., Darwinian evolution], but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated” [17]. Evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr said, “All of the atheists I know are highly religious; it just doesn’t mean believing in the Bible or God. Religion is the basic belief system of the person” [18].  Clearly Pro is falsely masquerading Darwinian evolution as science. These evolutionists understand what Pro seems to be missing; which is that, evolution is a 150 year old worldview that has never been proven by science.

Part 2: A series of irrelevant claims:The scientific viability of evolution is on trial here. I have no burden of proof to present or defend an alternative to evolution. The issues Pro brings up here do not scientifically vindicate Darwin’s theory.

  1. https://i.b5z.net/i/u/736324/i/IN_SEARCH_FOR_ADAM___EVE.pdf
  2. http://www.dnai.org/teacherguide/pdf/reference_romanovs.pdf
  3. Williams, Alex, “Human genome decay and the origin of life”The In-depth Journal of Creation 28:1 (2014): p91.
  4. https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/genomicresearch/encode
  5. Doyle, Shaun, “Large scale function for ‘endogenous retroviruses’” The In-depth Journal of Creation 22:3 (2018) p 16.
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK8439/
  7. Wieland, Carl. Has AIDS evolved? Creation 12:3 (1990) p29-32.
  8. Safrati, Jonathan. Refuting Evolution 2. Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, Georgia, 2011 P38.
  9. https://www.historytoday.com/archive/black-death-greatest-catastrophe-ever
  10. Williams, Alex, “What life isn’t”The In-depth Journal of Creation 29:1 (2015): 112.
  11. https://www.livescience.com/58018-are-viruses-alive.html
  12. Morris, John, Frank Sherwin. The Fossil Record: Unearthing Nature’s History of Life. Institute for Creation Research, Dallas, Texas, 2010. P44
  13. Guliuzza, Randy. Twenty Evolutionary Blunders: Danger and Difficulties of Darwinian Thinking. Institute for Creation Research, Dallas, Texas, 2017 P94.
  14. Werner, Carl. Lifing Fossils: Evolution: The Grand Experiment Vol. 2. New Leaf Press, Green Forest, Arkansas, 2009. p230.
  15. Mayr, Ernst. What Evolution Is. New York, Basic Books, (2001). p 65.
  16. P.J. Currie et al., eds., Feathered Dragons: Studies on the Transition from Dinosaurs to Birds, Indian University Press, Bloomington, Indiana 2004.
  17. Richard Lewontin, Billions and billions of demons (review of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, 1997), The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997.
  18. https://www.the-scientist.com/feature/ernst-mayr-darwins-disciple-50738


Round 3
Pro
Forfeited
Con
Since, regrettably Virtuoso was unable to complete his post last round, I will use the open mike to address a couple of issues Pro brought up of indirect relevance.

A Brash Claim: Dobzansky very foolishly made the absolute claim that “Nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution.” I think it is fair to say that I have already proven Dobzansky to be spectacularly wrong, but, for good measure, here is another compelling example of how false Dobzansky’s claim is:
  • Soft Tissue: In 2005 Mary Schweitzer discovered soft tissue in a T-Rex bone traditionally dated to be 65 million years old. Mary Schweitzer et al said, “Soft tissues are preserved within hindlimb elements of Tyrannosaurus rex” [1]. Observable science demonstrates that soft tissue lasts perhaps thousands of years not millions. Kevin Anderson PhD explained that, “Matthew Collins, directs a lab that specializes in analysis of archaeological samples. His lab experimentally determined how quickly proteins, such as collagen, will degrade even under ideal conditions. From this data, the letter concludes that the warmer climate of the Hell Creek Formation (where the T. rex was found) would accelerate collagen degradation, resulting in only 1% remaining after less than 15,000 years” [2]. According to Mary Schweitzer, “The present state of knowledge holds that microbial attack, enzymatic degradation, cellular necrosis and other processes contribute to total degradation of recognizable materials in days to years” [3]. Clearly the biology here does not make sense in light of the claims of Darwinian evolution.
There are many things in biology that do not make sense in light of evolution. The implications evolution has on the actual practice of science are small to nil. Evolutionist Conrad Johnson PhD noted that research scientists, “rarely deal directly with macroevolutionary theory, be it biological or physical. For example, in my 25 years of neuroscience teaching and research I have only VERY rarely had to deal with natural selection, origins, macroevolution, etc. My professional work in science stems from rigorous training in biology, chemistry, physics, and math, not from world views about evolution. I suspect that such is the case for most scientists in academia, industry, and elsewhere” [4]. Evolution is also widely questioned by scientists. For example, over five hundred scientists signed a statement saying, “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged” [5]. Contrary to Pro’s claims, the scientific tenability of Darwinism is widely questioned by scientists.

Order of Creation: We are debating the scientific tenability of Darwinian evolution. Establishing an alternative is outside of the scope of this debate. Clearly Pro’s claims here are straying far outside of the scope of this debate.

Star Formation and the Age of the Universe: The resolution is, “The Theory of Evolution is a sound theory of how life developed on Earth.” This debate is clearly not about the universe; therefore, only that which pertains to planet earth can possibly have relevance to this debate.
 
Pro’s Oversold Confidence in Radiometric Dating and the Age of the Earth:An old earth does not establish Darwinian evolution as scientifically feasible. However, since a young earth would render Darwinian evolution impossible let’s explore radiometric dating:

1) Carbon Dating: It is quite interesting that Pro should bring up the topic of carbon dating the Quran since Radiocarbon dating supports a young age for the earth. Radiocarbon has a relatively short half life, and all specimens dating older than 100,000 years should not contain any detectable amounts of radiocarbon [6]. And yet, we actually find radiocarbon in abundance in numerous places. Here are a couple examples:
  • Coal: Coal is traditionally dated to be around 360 to 250 million years old. John R. Baumgardner, PhD tested ten different coal samples collected from a variety of coal fields and found significant amounts of carbon 14 in all ten samples [7].
  • Wood:Andrew Snelling PhD found significant amounts of radiocarbon in wood dated to be 47.5 million years old [8].
  • Diamonds: Natural diamonds are believed by evolutionists to be billions of years old. John Baumgardner, PhD, part of the RATE research group, tested six diamond samples from South Africa, Botswana, and Guinea and found significant amounts of carbon 14 present in all six diamonds [9]. These are just a few examples.
  • Dinosaurs: Hugh Miller et al. tested 24 samples from 10 dinosaurs and found significant amounts of carbon 14 in all 24 samples [10]. All 24 samples dated less than 40,000 years old.
2) Potassium-Argon (K-Ar) Dating:K-Ar dating is considered to be among the most reliable dating methods available. Andrew Snelling PhD gives several examples of how ‘accurate’ K-Ar dating has proven to be [11]:
  • Mt. Etna Basalt, Sicily:two rock formations were tested here. The first formation is known to have formed around 122 B.C. but yielded an age of 170,000-330,000 years. The second was formed in 1972 but was dated at 210,000-490,000 years. Not only were the results astronomically erroneous, but the younger rock dated the oldest. Therefore, K-Ar dating even failed to date these two deposits in the correct relative order.
  • Mt. St. Helens, Washington:Rock formations formed in 1986 yielded a date of 2.8 million years.
  • Hualalai basalt, Hawaii:Rock formations from 1800-1801 were tested at 1.32-1.76 million years.
  • Mt. Ngauruhoe, New Zealand:Rocks formed in 1954 tested at up to 3.5 million years.
  • Kilauea Iki basalt, Hawaii:Formations formed in 1959 tested at 1.7-15.3 million years.
These five independent examples clearly demonstrate that Potassium-argon dating fails to provide reliable results in rocks where the age is known. It is insanity to religiously trust dating methods that fail to accurately date rocks of known age.

3) Radiometric Dating Crosscheck:The RATE project rated a number of samples using potassium-argon (K-Ar), rubidium-strontium (Rb-Sr), samarium-neodymium (Sm-Nd), and lead-lead (Pb-Pb) dating methods from two independent sites. All four of these methods are considered highly reliable; therefore, all four methods should yield the same age. Samples from the first site ranged from 1.5 million years for K-Ar to 2.9 million years for Sm-Nd. Samples from the second site ranged from 665 million years for K-Ar to 1.4 million years for Pb-Pb [12]. The most so called ‘reliable’ radiometric dating methods don’t even agree with each other. In each case, the oldest dating method results were approximately twice the age of the youngest.

4) Helium Leakage Rates: Radiometric dating methods assume that historic radiometric decay rates have always been the same; however, this claim is unsubstantiated and even scientifically falsified. The radiometric decay of uranium and thorium produces lots of helium. Helium is a noble gas (meaning it does not combine with other atoms); therefore, helium is left to diffuse out of the rock. The Precambrian layer contains zirconium silicate crystals which contain both uranium and large amounts of helium [13]. As Dr Andrew Snelling et al succinctly stated, “The helium leakage rate has been determined in several experiments [14, 15, 16]. All measurements are in agreement. Helium diffuses so rapidly that all the helium in these zircon crystals should have leaked out in less than 100,000 years. The fact that so much helium is still there means they cannot be 1.5 billion year old, as uranium-lead dating suggests” [17]. The only logical conclusion is that radiometric decay rates were much faster sometime in the not-so-far past.

Radiometric Dating Concluded:Pro claimed that “we can test the accuracy of radiometric dating by cross-dating it with various isotopes.” Clearly, radiometric dating fails Pro’s litmus test. Evolutionary scientist William D. Stanfield PhD recognized that, “It is obvious that radiometric techniques may not be the absolute dating methods they are claimed to be. Age estimates on a given geological stratum by different radiometric methods are often quite different (sometimes by hundreds of millions of years)…. The uncertainties inherent in radiometric dating are disturbing to geologists and evolutionists” [18].
 
Lifespan of Humans: Once again, Pro’s claim here has no relevance to the debate.

Conclusion: If the earth is young then Darwinian evolution simply could not have happened, but, an old earth does not solve Pro’s problems. Pro claims that the earth is 4.6 billion years old  and yet according to Haldane’s dilemma, it would take nearly 1 trillion years [19] just for ape and human evolution, and this assumes a steady supply of beneficial mutations, which as I have demonstrated is not even a remotely realistic assumption. That means Pro’s 4.6 billion year old date is far too short to give Darwinian evolution a chance. After considering that genetics overwhelmingly supports that the genome is in a perpetual state of decay, the earth could be infinitely old and Darwinian evolution would not have a chance.

  1. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/307/5717/1952
  2. Anderson, Kevin. Echoes of the Jurassic: Discoveries of Dinosaur Soft-Tissue. CRS Books, (2017) p8. https://www.bx.psu.edu/miller_lab/dist/buckley.pdf
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6651395_Soft_tissue_and_cellular_preservation_in_vetebrate_skeletal_elements_from_the_Cretaceous_to_the_present
  4. https://www.trueorigin.org/biologymyth.php
  5. https://evolutionnews.org/2006/02/over_500_scientists_proclaim_t/
  6. Bergman, John. Carbon-14 Evidence for a Recent Global Flood and a Young Earth. Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society, 2005 p587-630
  7. Bergman, John. Carbon-14 Evidence for a Recent Global Flood and a Young Earth. Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society, 2005 p587-630
  8. Snelling Andrew, “Conflicting ‘ages’ of Territorial basalt and contained fossilized wood, crinum, Central Queensland, Australia” The In-depth Journal of Creation 14:2 (2000): p99-122.
  9. Baumgardner, J., 14C evidence for a recent global flood and a young earth; in ref. 6, ch. 8. 5th International Conference on Creationism, 2003.
  10. https://researchopenworld.com/the-search-for-solutions-to-mysterious-anomalies-in-the-geologic-column/
  11. Andrew Snelling, “Excess Argon: The ‘Achilles’ Heel’ of Potassium-Argon and Argon Argon Dating of Volcanic Rocks,” Impact, 1999.
  12. S.A. Austin, Do radioisotope clocks need repair? Testing the assumptions of isochron dating using K-Ar, Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, and Pb-Pb isotopes, in Vardiman et al., Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, P 325–392, 2005.
  13. R.V. Gentry, G.L Glish, and E.H. McBay, “Differential Helium Retention in Zirons: Implications for Nuclear Waste Containment,” Geophysical Research Letter 9, no. 10 (1982: p. 1129-1130.
  14. S.W. Reiners, K.A. Farley, and H.J. Hicks, “He Diffusion and (U-Th)/He Thermochronometry of Zircon: Initial Results from Fish Canyon Tuff and Gold Butte, Nevada,” Tectonophysics 349, no. 1-4 (2002): p. 297-308;
  15. D. Russell Humphreys et al., “Helium Diffusion Rates Support Accelerated Nuclear Decay,” in proceeding of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, R.L. Ivey Jr., ed. (Pittsburg, PA: Creation Science Fellowship, 2003), p. 175-196;
  16. D. Russell Humphreys, “Young Helium Diffusion Age of Zircons Supports Accelerated Nuclear Decay,” in Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth Creationist Research Initiative, L. Vardiman, A.A. Snelling, and E.F. Chaffin, eds. (El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research, and Chino Valley, AZ: Creation Research Society, 2005), p. 25-100.
  17. Snelling, Andrew et al. “What Are Some of the Best Evidences in Science for a Young Creation” The New Answers Book 4 (2015): p. 123.
  18. William D. Stanfield, PhD., The Science of Evolution, Macmillan, New York, P 82-84, 1977.
  19. calculation based on 6,000 years (the number of years it takes for 1 mutation to fix in a population - see source 11 and 15) multiplied by 153.5 million (the number of base pair differences between apes and humans divided by two (since both theoretical species can evolve simultaneously) - see source 2 and 11 in my opening argument


Round 4
Pro
I’d like to make a public apology to my opponent for my forfeitures. Things haven’t been going well for me recently and could not finish this debate. Please vote con. 
Con
I hope things start going better for you Virtuoso. I believe that wraps this one up.