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Kiev Debates

(A Year-and-a-Half Later, or Round II)
"... We challenge all with intellectual integrity to search for the truth, to search for an answer that they can live with, and to be willing to always reexamine the evidence in light of all the information available. Certainly, the personal, practical importance of the question demands it!" Terry L. Miethe

There is a great variety of living organisms: plants, animals, mushrooms, viruses... Where do they come from? There are two views.

According to the first point of view, all present-day species - bacteria, mushrooms, green plants or animals are related to each other. They originate from one common ancestor - the first living being, which was formed by itself from inorganic substances. All the variety of species we know and their different structures appeared as a result of the evolution - a developmental process that took hundreds of millions years. In the course of this evolution, a differentiation of living organisms took place, in accordance with the currently existing classes, orders and species.

According to the other point of view, all that exists (and ever did) originated from the "main types" of living beings that were created supernaturally. The created species originally were organized in an amazing way and could vary, with some limitations.

On May 24, 2002, in Kiev, the second round of scientific debates was hosted by the International Solomon University and the Kiev Bible Institute and supported by Institute for Zoology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU), Christian Center for Science and Apologetics (Simferopol) and Creation Science Society (Moscow). The topic for discussion was: "Macroevolution and progressive evolution - are they real?". The first round of the debates "Creationism and Evolutionism: Coexistence of the Two Paradigms Phenomena" took place in Kiev on December, 2000.

At the debate the evolutionists presented following reports:

Empirical Foundations of the Macroevolution Theory
Puchkov P. V. (Kiev) - Candidate of Biological Sciences (Zoology Institute, NASU)
Dzeverin I. I. (Kiev) - Candidate of Biological Sciences (Zoology Institute, NASU)
Dovgal I. V. (Kiev) - Candidate of Biological Sciences (Zoology Institute, NASU)

How Cladistics Helps Creationists, and How Real Macroevolution Processes Work
Radchenko V. G. (Kiev) - Candidate of Biological Sciences (Zoology Institute, NASU)

Some Methodological Principles of Studying Evolution
Kornjushin A. V. (Kiev) - Candidate of Biological Sciences (Zoology Institute, NASU)

Comparing the Vertebrates Structure with Other Types of Animals
Zagorodnjuk I. V. (Kiev) - Candidate of Biological Sciences (Zoology Institute, NASU)
Koroleva D. S. (Kiev) - Candidate of Biological Sciences (Zoology Institute, NASU)

Some Comments on Some Questions
Akulenko N. (Kiev) - Candidate of Biological Sciences (Zoology Institute, NASU)

The creationists presented the following reports:

Spontaneous Macroevolution of the Increasing Complexity or Intelligent Design (What Does the Science Say?)
Olkhovski V. S. (Kiev) - Doctor of Science (Physics)

Life Matrix: a Non-Traditional Approach to the Traditional Issues
Khomenko A. S. (Moscow) - MSc (Biology), Moscow State University

Molecular Similarity of Pseudogenes: Evidence of Evolution?
Paul Gibson (Dnepropetrovsk) - Professor of Genetics, Selection and Biometrics

Theory of Predestinal Systems
Zhalko-Titarenko V. P. (Kiev) - Doctor of Medical Sciences, Microbiologist

The Geological Age of the Earth in the Light of the Contemporary Catastrophism: Is Macroevolution Real from the Contemporary Geology's Point of View?
Lalomov A. V. (Moscow) - Candidate of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences

Before the debates started, Dr. V. P. Turov, the chairman, suggested that the two parties briefly describe their positions and specify some definitions. In particular, microevolution was defined as variability within population, and macroevolution - as a process of formation of new species with an increasing degree of genetic complexity. This eliminated some part of the confusion about terminology and helped avoid deflections from the set frame of questions.

The round table discussion followed the presentation of the reports, and the representatives of both parties had another opportunity to speak.

The goals of the debates were declared as following:
  • To present the pros and cons on macroevolution.
  • To differentiate between the presented arguments according to: their support by science, logical validity, and correspondence to faith.
  • To define the common ground and the problem areas.

For a number of reasons, the course of the debates often deviated from the set framework. The macroevolution advocates tried to prove it using a model of intraspecific variability (microevolution). The creationism advocates also switched the subject to the questions of the origins of life. So, the chairman had to remind the main topic of the debates.

Also, very slow progress was made in finding common definitions of the challenging issues (although some of the participants doubted it from the very beginning of the debates). The debates in most cases resembled a "strike exchange", and sometimes the arguments of the opposite party were just ignored. At the end of the debates, the parties made some compromise and "figures exchange". The evolutionists admitted that they do not have ultimate and reliable scientific evidence of macroevolution, and the creationists recognized that the fossil patterns in the sequence of geological layers of the Earth have a number of features that are difficult to explain within the framework of the Flood geology.

But later on, in the informal setting, the possibility of compromise became clear. So in the future, one can expect that, even if the opponents' positions do not become closer to each other, they will be mutually understood, and the participants will recognize their own problem areas.

What made it different from the previous round of the debates is that this time, the creationists did not only criticize their opponents' position, but offered their own constructive model that explains the variety in living nature (A. S. Homenkov's report).

At the end of the debates, the creationists formed the opinion that the evolutionists had practically no reliable scientific evidence of the macroevolution with the increasing genetic complexity. The evolutionists suggested some facts that were expected to indicate new species allegedly appearing (in the family of bees and in the family of bears). It turned out that those facts have never been supported by the genetic analysis, and gave no proof at all of an increasing genetic complexity.

However, it is quite possible that the opponents were also fully confident of their victory, as they left the debates. After all, one could hardly expect immediate and essential changes in the participants' positions. Much more important is the fact that some visitors in the audience for the first time in their lives heard a reasonable scientific arguments for the creation. Now that they know the evidence suggested by the both parties, they can choose for themselves the position with a better foundation.

It was encouraging to have some reports of the first round of debates (that took place on December, 2000) published. The planning committee of the debates is also going to publish some reports presented at the current round of the debates, and carry on a tradition of holding such meetings. The next debates will probably take place in December, 2002, and the topic will be "The Catastrophic Reorganization of Biocenosises in the Earth History".

Very soon we are going to post on the Internet some reports presented by both parties. See the Web-site of the Creation Science Society: www.creation.webzone.ru

A. V. Lalomov
Candidate of Geological Sciences
Supervisor of the ARKTUR Laboratory for Science and Research 

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