Oh God, a debate!

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    • #16293
      hickchick1981
      Participant

      I’m a graduate student stuck in a class where we do debates. I don’t like debating with people any way, and on top of that — I had to sign up to debate a topic I don’t agree with.

      I have to pretend like I don’t think that evolution should be studied in the lab because it can never possibly emulate the natural world…I’ve worked over six years doing lab research. I’m all about labs. I can’t think of a single reason why anyone would say that selection experiments in labs are meaningless, and I can’t find any articles to support this lame point of view.

      Do any of you guys know of any studies that have been done in the last ten years where they found supportive evidence for why evolution should not be emulated in the lab?

      Thank you all!

      –S

    • #110449
      wbla3335
      Participant

      No.

    • #110450
      AstraSequi
      Participant

      I gather this is not a science class. 🙂

      Are you asked to argue that nobody should do the experiments because evolution experiments cannot emulate the natural world? This is not something you can argue for based on scientific information or papers – it can be easily shown to be false by experiment. And since all experiments have at least some artificial conditions, for consistency I think you would have to argue against the use of the experimental method in general.

      Also, are you arguing specifically about application to the natural world? Directed evolution often is not meant to emulate the natural world, and it produces clear benefits as a bioengineering technique.

      I understand that in formal debates, if you are assigned a position you do not agree with or think is indefensible, you should introduce into it nuances that are not in the literal text of the debating prompt, thus reframing the debate in more favourable terms – that would be my advice (just remember to spell out your exact position very clearly at the beginning).

      This is, of course, not done in science (and you’re never assigned a position in the first place anyways, as I’m sure you know) – but I could imagine arguing something like "we should be more aware of the limitations of selection experiments" instead. Or "we should not run selection experiments on specific kinds of animals," referring specifically to mammals, primates, animals above a certain intelligence, etc (not that anyone is doing this), and you can give reasons of feasibility and ethics. Or you could just argue for the opposing position, so long as you are confident enough and can add to the discussion beyond what they will say. 🙂

    • #110461
      JackBean
      Participant

      Yep, that’s the risk of debate classes.

    • #110469
      Darby
      Participant

      You could go with the approach that if the aim is to present convincing evidence to the public, studies on adaptation in bacteria just can’t connect. Don’t attack the process or the evidence, but the perception of the evidence…

    • #110497
      Jonl1408
      Participant

      The thing is Evolution can’t be proven… It has never been witnessed, only cases of adaptation have ever been witnessed.

    • #110505
      JackBean
      Participant

      You’re right, but existence of God has been proved so many times 🙄

    • #110507
      Jonl1408
      Participant

      I never said that. Neither can be proven, using evidence. I know that God exists, because I have a personal relationship with Him, not because the evidence proved his existence. Although there are millions of evidences for God’s existence.

    • #111120
      JackBean
      Participant

      You’re saying that. I have seen none.

    • #111173
      animartco
      Participant

      Surely if you don’t agree with a topic you oppose it. That is what debating is all about! A hint. Instead of trying to prove that your findings are significant in evolutionary terms, make them explain why they think they aren’t!

    • #111186
      AstraSequi
      Participant
      quote :

      Instead of trying to prove that your findings are significant in evolutionary terms, make them explain why they think they aren’t!

      That would be like saying "you can’t prove me wrong, therefore I’m right." This kind of argument is already used far too often. 🙂

    • #111193
      JorgeLobo
      Participant

      True astrasequi – but debate is not science. Taht’s why it is so silly for scientists to engage in debate on the subject of evolution.

    • #111225
      TheSunshineEmperor
      Participant

      If I understand, you’re being asked to argue for a position which is objectively untrue.

      There’s no intellectually honest way of doing this. Your only option is to lie. So lie. Lie profusely.

    • #111234
      AstraSequi
      Participant

      I would try to avoid that option. It might become a habit. 🙂

    • #111237
      TheSunshineEmperor
      Participant

      It’s a debate class. It’s a place where logic goes to die.

      Lying isn’t an option, it’s a prerequisite.

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