1. DNA data suggests that microevolution as well as macroevolution can be altered at a genetic level, thus pointing out that tail development can be triggered or prevented through the alteration of a single gene (Miller, 1996a). a. According to current research findings, microevolution and macroevolution are both affected by gene expressions; thus, the evidence is well established. b. The development of the body parts of the Drosophila can definitely be altered through the use of induced mutation which has direct effects on the DNA (Hlodan, 2007). 2.
Paleontology data, specifically the fossils, provides a clear view of the evolutionary process as the relationship between current and ancestral forms of the lineage of creatures; the fossils provide insight into the transitional phases, portraying the changes in organ development in plain view (Miller, 1996b). a. Recent discussions in scientific literature support this claim, all pointing out that fossils serve as a tool for gathering insight regarding transitional evolutionary development. The occasional missing links or information gaps are understandable since not all fossils are easily found. b.
Transitional fossils are present which show direct or indirect relationships between related creatures. The important thing is that general resemblance is considered in establishing what a transitional fossil is (Isaak, 2006). B. Phillip E. Johnson 1. DNA data suggesting that evolution occurs and begins at the genetic scale is contradictory to established facts, as there have been studies pointing out that the only variation produced at the genetic level is of microevolution. Hence, there is no substantial change to prove that evolution in terms of organ development can be attained through the genetic level (Johnson, 1996).
a. Johnson made a direct reference to the supposedly irreducibly complex appendages of microorganisms to establish his point. However, the concept of these appendages being irreducibly complex is slowly being debunked by the scientific community. Thus, this argument is weak. b. The main point that refutes the concept of the flagella as irreducibly complex is based on the fact that proteins within the cells play a role in determining the variations in structure and features. Hence, even in flagella, evolution is evident (Le Page, 2008).
2. Paleontology data, specifically the fossils, provide an unclear outline of the process of evolution since the relationships between supposedly related fossils in terms of descent cannot be properly tested by any means (Johnson, 1996). a. No definite tests are done, but there are definite methods to assess the relationship between organisms through the information derived from fossils by specific tools, resulting in an increased understanding of lineages. Therefore, the point given is rather improperly defined. b.
Computer simulation technologies provide a way to derive relevant phylogenetic information and relationship from samples that are once thought to be inconclusive (Santini & Tyler, 2004). II. The debaters are from two very diverse knowledge areas, Miller was a biologist while Johnson practices law. With this point, there is an evident problem regarding the level of authority of Johnson to properly enter such a debate since his educational attainment is not in any way related to evolution. From the process of the debate, the tendency of Johnson to be a lawyer is well observed.
Unlike Miller who expressed the validity of his points by explaning the concepts underlying evolution, Johnson opted to cite books and people pertaining to evolution and from these, he gathered specific points beneficial to his stand. In the case of using Miller’s book for instance, Johnson specifically selected a certain set of words deemed as flaws and used them for argument. This way, Johnson seems to have utilized a simplified approach towards establishing his point and at certain points considerably out of context.
Another problem seen in Johnson’s approach is that in points wherein no given proof is yet established and only a general concept is provided, he argues that no such proof exists due to the fact that the creator is left out of question. The problem with this is that this point is quite irrelevant, as commonly stated, science and religion do not and should not be used in analysis at the same time. The debate on evolution and its validity is based on providing findings and should not be based upon concepts of religion.
It is evident that throughout the end of the debate, the attacks on the validity of evolution by Johnson are rather derived from religious basis, leaving Miller to simply defend key points of evolution through scientific concepts. Therefore, since the general discontent of Johnson in the theory of evolution relies on the undetermined aspects in support of the theory, it seems that he does not have a complete understanding of the concept of theory. In a theory, concepts and ideas are constantly being tested and elucidated to see if it indeed holds up. Hence, gaps in data and undertanding are expected.
III. The winner of the debate clearly is Miller. He was able to maintain the validity of the theory of evolution intact by properly explaining related concepts and providing proof and examples when needed. Throughout the debate he was able to answer all questions raised and at the same time expose the religion based goal of Johnson, whom in fact argued for the lack of test procedures to make proofs for evolution established. References Hlodan, O. (2007, March) Macroevolution: Evolution above the species level. BioScience, 57 (3), 222–225. Isaak, M. (2006, November 5) ClaimCC200: Transitional fossils.
The Talk Origins Archive. Retrieved April 9, 2009, from http://www. talkorigins. org/indexcc/CC/CC200. html. Johnson, P. E. (1996, November 19) Letter 2 – How did we get here?. NOVA Online – Odyssey of Life. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from http://www. pbs. org/wgbh/nova/odyssey/debate/deb02joh1119. html. Le Page, M. (2008, April 16) Evolution myths: The bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex. New Scientist Life. Retrieved April 9, 2009, from http://www. newscientist. com/article/dn13663-evolution-myths-the-bacterial-flagellum-is-irreducibly-complex. html. Miller, K. R.
(1996a, November 30) Letter 5 – How did we get there?. NOVA Online – Odyssey of Life. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from http://www. pbs. org/wgbh/nova/odyssey/debate/deb05mil1130. html. Miller, K. R. (1996b, November 23) Letter 3 – How did we get there?. NOVA Online – Odyssey of Life. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from http://www. pbs. org/wgbh/nova/odyssey/debate/deb03mil1123. html. Santini, F. & Tyler, J. C. (2004) Importance of even highly incomplete fossil taxa in reconstructing the phylogenetic relationships in tetraodontiformes. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 44 (5), 349–357.