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Are Viruses Living?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/4/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,494 times Debate No: 80526
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (20)
Votes (2)




Before I claim my arguments I would first off like to establish some rules in order to ensure that this debate runs smoothly.

# 1 Make sure your argument (pro/con) is clear and define important terms if needed.
# 2 Paste a link to the source on the bottom of the page when doing assertions.
# 3 This is a pro/con debate only, arguing that virus is in a grey-zone when it comes to being alive is not allowed.

Finally, I would like to thank in advance whoever accept this debate. Lets begin.

Are Viruses Living?

The definition of life differ somewhat depending on if one choose to look at it from a philosophical or a scientific/biological point of view. In this debate I will focus on the current scientific/biological understanding of life where it is considered a characteristic of something that exhibits all or most of the following traits (1):

*Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state.
*Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells " the basic units of life.
*Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism).
*Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism.
*Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment.
*Response to stimuli.
*Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.

Viruses are complicated assemblies of molecules, including proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates and do not have any of the traits mentioned above (2). Virus are therefore not considered life.



I'd like to start by formally welcoming my opponent to the site. It's always a pleasure to see more people interested in debating join the site, and all the more so to see someone interested in microbiology and the definitions of life. Both are complex subjects, and thus worthy of such discussions.

I'd also like to thank Pancreas for offering this debate. It's a topic that interests me greatly, as virus research is a large part of what I do, and I appreciate the opportunity offered by having a formal debate on the topic.

That being said, let's move into arguments.

Let's be clear off the bat: the scientific community is divided on this subject. You will find researchers who support each view because viruses are said to be in a sort of gray area between life and non-life. While I find that there's a lot of value to this this discussion, however, my view is that viruses are most definitely life.

There are several definitions of life, to be sure. The list of possible definitions of life are highly diverse, and a large portion of those are covered in the very article Con cites.[1] My responses to Con's argument will focus on the reasons behind each of his chosen pieces of the definition of life. I will accept that many of these pieces are essential the life, but as written, I do find sources for disagreement. Those will be elucidated as I go through each point.

However, before I begin, it should be clarified that Con has not yet met his burden in this debate. So far, he's presented this list of traits that he deems essentail to life without support (and no, a single link to a Wikipedia page doesn't suffice), stated what composes the viruses, and then asserts that that composition excludes some of the traits on his list. He doesn't explain this point, merely pointing to yet another Wikipedia page and allowing it to do the argumentation for him (though it points out that "opinions differ" on this particular issue).

Also, while the burdens are equal in this debate, there should be a presumption towards the side that includes all forms of life that are currently accepted. As such, if there are any clear organisms (such as bacteria or fungi) that are excluded under either of our definitions for life, the decision on this debate should reflect that failure to be inclusive.

I will keep my responses to a minimum, and show where and how viruses meet Pro's definition of life, and how that is sufficient for them to be called life.

1. Homeostasis

This doesn't require much, since the internal environment is merely within the viral capsid. Since it's a closed system that only requires stability enough to keep the viral genome and protein coat intact, I would say that viruses manage this quite effectively. I don't know what Con thinks must exist for there to be homeostasis " it doesn't require complexity.

2. Organization

I am in direct opposition to the view that being composed of "cells" necessarily distinguishes one as life, and quite frankly, this is the most baffling portion of Pro's definition. Why is this means of organization necessary to treat something as life? Are not virions self-contained? What is it about the cellular compartment that makes something living?

My view is that life should not be defined on the basis of similarity to human beings. The idea that life must be composed of either a single or multiple cells (i.e. an entity enclosed by a membrane containing organelles and genetic material) functions entirely on the basis that we view ourselves as life, and only those things that are similar on a molecular level are also deserving of the label. Why is a protein coat insufficient? What about the many viruses surrounded by a membrane - why aren't they considered a cell? Why is the presence of organelles necessary? A virus clearly alters metabolic activity of the cells it infects, producing a broad variety of enzymes and ribozymes that completely overtake the metabolism of larger cells and use them for their own purposes. In fact, gigantic viruses the size of small bacteria are encapsidated with huge amounts of diverse enzymes that immediately go to work the moment they're released from the virus, turning the cell's metabolism into a viral factory. These viruses are considered to be a plausible link between viruses and cells, suggesting a continuum in life between the two.[2] I'd say this more than meets any reasonable definition of what a metabolism looks like.

3. Metabolism

I've partially responded to this above, as I view metabolism as inextricably linked to organization. However, to expand on my response, let's be clear that like all forms of life, viruses do require energy for the replication of their genomes and production of the necessary proteins. The fact that they do so with the help of other organisms doesn't affect the fact that they achieve this result.

4. Growth

I think it's safe to say that viruses both grow and develop. Since the genome has to be replicated, the construction of that genome within a host can be considered growth. As for development, as many viruses bud out of cells, pulling membrane components with them, they are essentially developing new surface proteins and means to avoid detection.[3] We could also look to the many ways in which viruses manage to update and upgrade their genomes and quickly evolve, I would say that their development is not in question.[4]

5. Adaptation

Addressed above. If they're able to substantially alter their genomes in a short period of time, then they are clearly adapting. You could say that viruses are actually more responsive to their environment than any other organism, with the capacity to respond rapidly to a broad variety of detrimental situations, including antivirals and vaccines.[5,6]

6. Response to stimuli

Again, addressed above. If they're capable of responding to the immune response of all manner of potential hosts, then they are clearly responding to stimuli. Many viruses go through latency, and transition to a lytic cycle upon external stimuli.[7]

7. Reproduction

While I agree that reproduction must occur for something to be called life, Con's definition appears, once again, to base reproduction on a few means that are unreasonable. Why is independent reproduction required?

Viruses clearly reproduce, at a very rapid rate, they simply need to parasitize a cell to do so. They're not alone in this. Bacteria are alive, yet Chlamydia, Rickettsia, Coxella, and Mycobacterium species are obligate intracellular parasites just like viruses. That's not to mention the many species of protozoa and fungi that also would fail to meet this definition.[8]

As long as reproduction occurs, I contend that that is sufficient to meet the basic, unbiased definition for life.


I've made it clear that Con's own definition for life either supports the view that viruses are living entities or simply isn't relevant to what is life. Moreover, I would argue that it's unnecessary for life to meet every single one of these. Meeting a substantial majority (at least 5) should be sufficient, as this still clearly differentiates life from non-life.

With that, I hand the debate back over to Con.

Debate Round No. 1


Having read through the comments I agree that framing the debate as "are viruses living?" implies that there is an already-established definition of "life", which there really isnt. So the lack of a solid definition will ultimately shape the debate towards a definition of life, which would get very difficult in three rounds. However, in my previous argument I mentioned that viruses lack certain traits to be considered alive according to a definition on Wikipedia, etc lack any form of energy, carbon metabolism, and cannot replicate or evolve.
It's however true that viruses has all these traits when there's a host cell, which I see as one of the major points in my debate Con viruses being alive. Viruses needs the machinery and processes of living cells to replicate, get new genes and "evolve".

Viruses are nothing more than RNA/DNA strands floating around in a protein coating, sometimes with enzymes.
If we take a look inside a cell, which we both would consider as alive, and pick any protein/string of DNA. Would one say that specific DNA-string or protein was alive? No, ofcourse not. One could say it's the building blocks of the life we know, but it's not alive itself.

Once the essence of the virus (DNA/RNA) gets inside the host cell the virus does not make more of itself, the host cell is the one that does that. The virus is completely inert and dependent on the most simplistic natural chemical processes. When a Virus enters a host cell it doesn't actually "do" anything. All the processes that are used to infect the cell, replicate the virus, and destroy the cell are just entirely mechanical and chemical functions of the cell itself not the virus. Viruses are just genetic data that floats around or gets inside a cell, nothing more.


Thanks to Con for expanding his argument, and I'll spend some time this round rebutting him.

First, though, let's be clear that Con has basically dropped his own definition of life. He's agreed that there isn't a solid definition of life, merely stating that, according to the Wikipedia definition, viruses aren't alive. By doing so, he's not addressing any of my critiques of that definition, and thus is accepting the flaws in that definition. He's also accepting that only 5 traits are unnecessary to be called life. So all I have to do is prove that viruses cover at least 5 of those traits. I think I already have, since Con's responses encompass entirely separate issues, but let's get into them.

He starts by mentioning that a virus only has these traits when it's in a host cell. Several responses.

First, this isn't true. A homeostasis of sorts exists in virions, and they are most certainly organized " Con's not responsive to either of those. Con admits that many viruses have enzymes, which by itself proves that they are capable of metabolism, since nothing is required for metabolism beyond basic chemical processes. The only way Con can state that they don't have metabolism is to presume that they don't have a life to maintain, which presumes his conclusion in an attempt to prove it. I can agree that growth requires a cell, as does reproduction, but adaptation and response to stimuli are directly accomplished by the virus, as I've shown in the previous round. That's 5 traits.

Second, Con gives no clear reason why this requirement sets viruses apart from life. I made this argument last round, pointing to a number of other organisms that are most certainly life that are incapable of growing and reproducing in the absence of a cell. And those were only intracellular parasites like the virus. Any parasite could be viewed in much the same light. As I mentioned at the start of last round, Con cannot exclude organisms that are clearly life with his definition, otherwise he's failed to define life sufficiently. His expressed views this round on what constitutes life clearly exclude many bacteria, fungi and protists, so unless he plans to prove that they, too, are not life, he's failing in his burdens.

Third, I don't see why dependency on another form of life makes something non-life. There is literally no living entity on this planet that doesn't require other life to survive. Even photosynthetic organisms require a broad variety of nutrients that only certain bacteria can deliver.[] Every single trait of life would be transient and quickly disappear from the planet if not for the interconnected nature of organisms. If anything, I'd say that the viral dependence on other life (as well the dependence of other life on viruses [ actually does more to prove that viruses are life than anything else.

Con continues by arguing that "[v]iruses are nothing more than RNA/DNA strands floating around in a protein coating, sometimes with enzymes" and then proceeds to compare it to a "protein/string of DNA", but he skips over an important step. He says that a cell is something "we both would consider as alive", yet he doesn't explain why the cell is alive, but not the virus. Beyond the ability to independently survive and replicate (and note that very few cells can do that), there's very little that distinguishes them. They can both have membranes, they can both include lipids and complex molecules, they are both self-contained structures containing genetic components. Why is the cell alive, but not the virus? Con has yet to explain the difference beyond an assertion that independence somehow makes life life.

But to address his question, no, a specific DNA-string or protein is not alive. Those may embody some of the aspects of life that Con described in his opening round, but certainly not enough, as neither of them can grow, adapt, or engage in homeostasis (since they don't have any environment to control). Both are organized, DNA can reproduce with the right enzymes, and proteins can engage in a metabolism of sorts and respond to certain stimuli, but 3 out of 7 is not enough. Even prions, which can "replicate" in a sense,[] would not be life under this definition since it would only meet 4 out of the 7. Viruses are more complex than any random nucleic acid or protein.

The last part of Con's argument is just baffling. He says that the virus doesn't make any more of itself, the host makes more of it. That's confounding because many viruses encode the necessary RNA polymerases and reverse transcriptases necessary for their replication.[,] These don't exist in the vast majority of RNA virus hosts. They use the host as a means to make more of these necessary enzymes, but it's viral proteins that are so often the workhorses that pump out more virus. If Con's correct, then how do these viruses replicate and express protein? If the cell is doing all of the replication processes, then why doesn't any random nucleic acid that gets inside a cell replicate to an enormous degree and destroy the cell? Even for DNA viruses, replication doesn't always involve host polymerases.[]

Moreover, viruses are not inert. As this webpage on the basic science of viruses states, viruses are only inert outside of the cell. They are very active inside the cell, and are therefore anything but inert.[] Con seems to be ignoring the fact that all viruses encode a broad array of proteins necessary for their own replication, transcription, translation, encapsidation ,movement, transmission, and dozens of other activities. Sometimes, viruses are so active that they create their own factories within cells, where they can replicate in isolation from most of the host cell machinery.[] Without these, the virus doesn't continue to survive in the population, and is often out-competed. I can't even fathom how viral species would develop under Con's view, considering that there would be no selection for any given traits since infected cells would just do everything for them. Con may be arguing that being inert for any portion of its life cycle makes it not life, but this once again excludes many forms of life, including every bacteria that forms a spore and many fungi that do the same.[]

I honestly have no clue what viruses Con is thinking of that infect a cell without having any activity whatsoever inside the cell. In all my years studying microbiology, I've never heard of a metabolically inert virus of any sort. That kind of virus would disappear overnight, completely incapable of accomplishing anything and dying out. Viruses are highly specialized, replicating in a broad variety of ways [] and engaging in tremendously diverse metabolic activities. They are not "just genetic data that floats around or gets inside a cell" - they have a tremendous arsenal of means for getting inside new hosts and into cells.[,] They produce a litany of toxins secreted in numerous ways,[] and can even set up shop inside of cellular DNA and stay there for decades, waiting for the perfect moment to become active again.[]

Viruses are anything but simple, and they more than meet my revisions of Con's definitions from the first round.
Debate Round No. 2


We have reached the third and final round of this debate and I would thank my opponent for an interesting and challenging one on the topic "Are Viruses Living?".

First off stating that there's no solid definition of life doesn't imply I dropped my definition, which isn't "mine" to begin with - it's the most commonly used definition of life that is being used within the scientific community. Are there flaws? Of cause there are. Humans use and place everything into artificial categories which the natural world (despite field) almost never, in reality, fits into. Therefore there will always be exceptions, etc my opponent pointed out that there are parasites which are considered alive even tho they are very alike viruses. Does these parasites have their own metabolism? I can't go through every parasite and virus to determine what they do/don't have and why they got placed on the living/non-living side in the first place by the scientific community (I might have done it differently). It wouldn't surprise me tho if there clearly are things on the non-living side that shouldn't be there vice verse. For fun I could ignore the reasons why certain entities have been places on which side and simply place all entities my opponent argue share same traits as virus (parasites, fungi etc) in the non-living zone. Viruses are still stuck on the non-living side.

Having enzymes sure means they are capable of metabolism, but it occurs within the cell where the enzymes are converting RNA to DNA. Enzymes are tools for metabolism, which ultimately is in the cell and not the virus. A cell is clearly alive because it has all traits. It does have its own metabolism, it can produce its own proteins which it used for different reasons. It can reproduce without host cell/cell- division approach to replication.

Viruses do not have the ability to make their own chemical products, proteins, factories and etc. They still need a host cell to do that for them and that is why I stick with my baffling argument. The whole essence that my opponent define as living is a DNA/RNA code that simply can be used by a cell, inside a cell to make a all this. That would classify other types of self-replicating genes, proteins, and molecules as living also.

It's apparent that viruses are integral players in the evolution of what we presently consider life and I believe that in a not very distant future viruses will get a new definition and likely their own section of the tree of life. At the moment with the current definition of life however, viruses may seem as life once getting in contact with host cells, but I would argue they represent as best the leafs of the tree of life. Regardless of, it's off the tree.


Thanks again to my opponent, and with that, I'll launch into this final round.

Now, I've thrown a lot of information out there. As a microbiologist, while some of this is rather advanced, I can say that the vast majority of the points I made in the previous round are basic microbiology, something learned in an AP Biology class or in lower division biology. These are relatively simple concepts, and ones that are very important to this debate, since they clarify quite a bit of what sets viruses apart from what Con deems to be non-living entities.

And he hasn't rebutted a single one. He hasn't shown how any of the many links I've given are faulted, he hasn't explained how my critiques of the current definition of life is faulted, nor has he even supported his definition in comparison to mine. Con seems to want to win this debate solely on the basis that his definition is THE definition these days, and so it must be the definition we adhere to, but I've made quite clear that a) it is not THE definition, as there are many dissenting opinions, and b) the current definition excludes many life forms that are clearly alive (none of which Con has explained to be a part of his definition).

Con's lack of response to either of these is ominous.

So long as he's not countering my definition, that's the one that should be preferred. That matters because the only portion of his definition that excludes viruses unequivocally has a clear reason for voters to ignore it. Even if that wasn't the case, he doesn't show where in the definition any parasite is excluded. He's continually asserted that what makes life is independence of activity (and I'll get back to that shortly), but that's never stated anywhere in the very definitions he touts as being so important. He also doesn't explain why meeting 5 of the 7 criteria isn't sufficient, something I stated in the opening round and restated last round. This means Pro needed to prove that viruses don't meet at least 3 of the criteria, which he absolutely hasn't done.

So long as he's ignoring the fact that his definition excludes clearly living entities and he's granting that the exclusion of any organisms is a death knell to his case, even one example suffices as a reason to vote him down. It's clear that there are several parasites that both are life and would be excluded by Con's definition because they cannot grow or reproduce in the absence of another organism. I also pointed to the fact that all organisms are necessarily dependent on other organisms, meaning that Con's view that dependency somehow negates life would necessarily exclude all life from his definition of life.

These two reasons together are sufficient to vote Pro, and they're clearly dropped. So let's just focus on the arguments Con gives me.

I pointed out that the scientific community isn't united around a single definition of life. Con seems to assume that this debate required that his definition be taken at face value, but that's not how a debate works, and that's not how this debate worked out. If Con felt that his definition should be paramount, he should have made clear why, but he's failed to defend it. Similarly, he's failed to examine how any of the examples I've given either meet his definition of life or are themselves clearly not life.

This debate isn't about having a fun time rearranging the tree of life. It's not about Con's views on where viruses should be. It's about where the tree is, and where viruses fall with respect to it. There's simply nothing he's said that leaves viruses "stuck on the non-living side" of this equation.

Con seems to have a strange idea of what meets his definition for metabolism. I'll quote him:

"Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism)."

Many of the enzymes I've discussed clearly apply to this for viruses. The coat proteins and nucleic acids are built entirely by the proteins and nucleic acids inherent to the virus itself, otherwise known as anabolism. Without the virus, none of this happens. They clearly use dead and dying cells for their energy, so they are clearly engaging in catabolism. What proof do I have for this? Cells aren't randomly creating viruses. If my opponent was right and cells are doing all the processes that I'm attributing to viruses, then there should be no need for the virus. Random pieces of nucleic acid should produce the exact same result.

Con still hasn't explained what separates a cell from a virus, despite my clearly asking in both previous rounds. He still focuses on independence in activity, but fails to note that none of his definitions require independence. It was up to him to explain why independence of any sort is required for life, and he's continually failed to prove that that's the case.

Con does add a rather stange argument, pointing to "self-replicating genes, proteins, and molecules" as potentially living under my definition. He fails to note several things. First of all, that self-replicating nucleic acids don't exist beyond viruses, viroids and satellite RNAs (which, coincidentally, I would also argue are living). Con doesn't provide a reason why any of these should be treated as non-living, so there's no reason not to do so. Second, I addressed proteins in the previous round, pointing to the "self-replicating" proteins called prions and explaining why they're not life. The same explanation applies to whatever unknown self-replicating molecules may or may not exist. There's a clear difference, one which Con has failed to address.

I think Con's view on changes to the definition is very prescient, but he's a bit off on his time frame. Viruses aren't getting a section in the tree of life in a year from now, or even tomorrow. They have one today. I've clearly proven that. Con is living in the past, hoping that his antiquated definition for life is sufficient to deny what's clearly evident from new and old research on viruses. No doubt we haven't settled this debate between the two of us, and I have several colleagues who would probably disagree with many of the claims I've made in this debate. However, that doesn't change the fact that Con has failed to uphold his side in this debate by failing to uphold his definition of life. But whether it's his or my definition that wins the day, viruses meet enough of it to easily put them into the category of life. Welcome back!
Debate Round No. 3
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by donald.keller 2 years ago
RFD: As a vote on behalf of the Voter's Union, I shall not post S&G or Conduct.

Establishing BOP: The BOP is shared. Con must prove that the virus is non-living. It's complicated nature means that Pro's case is not status quo, therefore he will also have burden. The kind of debate I focus most on will make this an interesting debate topic for reading. I look forward to it.

After reading the top of Pro's case, I feel I should establish this as well. Given that Con has established the definition he will use, but not the one that must be used by both sides, leaving the topic of what 'defines life' open, I'll accept any reasonable change in definition over the course of the debate. Both sides have the responsibility of showing why their definition is correct.

-- Note --

I forgot about this at the end of the RFD. Con's only two sources were for defining life in the beginning of the debate. Having sourced none of his later claims, while Pro sourced nearly everything, Pro get's sources. Also, I did not proofread this RFD for spelling errors..
Posted by donald.keller 2 years ago
Round I:

I accept Pro's call to be critical of definitions that do not include all life.
The call to criticize the characteristic of Organization (cells) seemed odd, given that Pro's criticism could be applied to each characteristic. But I suppose not to such a degree. Homeostasis is a part of living, cells are just something living things have. So I'll accept the argument. Especially since it was followed by a reason why the virus is, itself, a cell. His reasons are acceptable. An internal environment inside a cell wall with enzymes.

At this stage, Pro has reasonably addressed all of the Characteristics of Life.

Round II:

I see that Con agrees with my claim on a vague, shifting definition. Good to see.
Con's starts by listing off definitions he didn't list in the beginning. This seems a bit odd, as he listed the first definitions as the ones he would use. It seems that shifting his own definition should be criticized, but the evolution of the definition is vital to the debate. I'm curious how carbon metabolism is needed, however. Isn't non-carbon metabolism just as good? As for evolving and reproduction... Pro already proved reproduction. Viruses do evolve, hint how there could be so many variants. It's also known that the common cold evolves each year. Until Pro mentions this, it doesn't matter.
Posted by donald.keller 2 years ago
Con says that the Virus is just "RNA/DNA strands floating around in a protein coating..." but Pro had already disproven this in R1, when he gave a more in-depth analysis of what a virus is. Con also says that if you remove a strand of DNA/RNA from a cell, it's not alive. This doesn't follow... The virus isn't just a strand of DNA/RNA... It, like a cell, still have enzymes, and a cell wall, and other such features, as Pro stated already. Also, by this logic, Con could say a bacteria cell isn't alive, since if you remove a cell from a human, it's not living... The two (bacteria and a virus) aren't the same. However, I'll need to see Pro explain this.

Con explains why the virus can't fulfill the characteristic of reproduction... I don't accept this argument, as independence is not a listed characteristic. His claim is based on requirements outside the scope of either of his definitions. Nor would I buy that virus's must reproduce on it's own.

For Pro's start, I accept that Con dropped Pro's arguments. However, with a shifting definition, Pro must also address the new definitions. So until those are addressed, this advantage doesn't get Pro anywhere.
Posted by donald.keller 2 years ago
I buy the rebuttal to Con's homeostasis, as Con has dropped a number of Pro's arguments that, by accepting, defies Con's own claim. I did mention this during the R2 Con half of my RFD. Pro also listed the very concern I had with Con's reproduction claim. Pro continues to show that Con's inert case is both wrong and irrelevant.

I don't buy that just because definitions are shifting, you can move from one to the other without having dropped the prior. Con may have added to his definition, but he did drop Pro's fulfillment of his definition. I also don't buy that there are exceptions. By that logic, virus's could be considered a lot even if they do not fulfill the burden. The parameters of the debate is defined by the definitions. If there are exceptions, and the definitions no longer matter, then the debate means nothing. Claiming that "X is the definition", and then saying "there are exceptions" when Pro meets that definition, it's in poor taste.

Con says that the virus, and not the cell, needs the enzymes. However, Pro already showed that some virus's have enzymes in them. I simply don't buy into the independence case. Independence is not apart of anyone's definition in this debate, therefore Con's case seems weightless.
Posted by donald.keller 2 years ago
Pro goes on with many of these issues. Con never explained why independence is important. Con also never addressed pro's arguments. Con only added definitions (which is legal), but those definitions are fulfilled (as Pro proved in R2). They are only unfilled if independence is relevant, but the definition does not include independence. Nor would it be a dependable definition to add, as Pro has already shown that parasites (along with every species on Earth, if we stretch the meaning of independence) would not fulfill such a criteria.

Conclusion: This came down, not to definitions, but to the place that independence fits in this definition. The answer? Nowhere. Too much of Con's R2/3 case was about independence, but Con simply didn't fulfill the burden of proving why independence matters. Therefore, Pro's fulfillment of the Characteristic of Life stands. Con burden came down to Independence, and it went unfilled, while Pro's burden was fulfilled by R1.
Posted by famousdebater 2 years ago
I will expand upon my RFD if requested to do so.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
While it's probably just simplest to go by what they say for your exams, I think it's naive and a little elitist of teachers like that to suggest that this question has been answered definitively in the negative. I'd personally argue that perception with them now, but as I say, it's probably best to just go by the book if you have the option. If not, you can always argue it with them afterward.
Posted by famousdebater 2 years ago
At school for some really important exams they ask questions related to viruses and (I haven't done this but some people have), if you mention viruses being living then you automatically get no marks. Even if they teach you that viruses are non living, surely in exams they should accept your argument to why they are living if they are reasonable and are justified.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
A pleasure debating you Pancreas, and welcome to the site.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
Because it's a whole lot easier to just provide a basic definition of life that is akin to us. There's a lot of disagreement on this topic, but it engages with the definition of life, and it's much easier to just assume a definition that seems reasonable. The definition Con provided is generally accepted, but I'd say the reason why is faulty.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in Comments: As a vote on behalf of the Voter's Union, I shall not post S&G or Conduct.
Vote Placed by famousdebater 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro provided 7 arguments and a conclusion to his round. Con never directly contested with any of these arguments, only providing arguments of his own which were all refuted by Pro in the following round. Con failed to abide by his own definitions presented in R1. Therefore, I have no choice other than to award Pro the arguments points. Sources were also easy points to award. The credibility of Con's arguments were doubtful since he provided no sources to suggest that any of his arguments were true or should be believed by me. Statements such as: "Viruses are nothing more than RNA/DNA strands floating around in a protein coating, sometimes with enzymes.", should be sourced since without these statements being sourced as I voter I am unable to to check how reliable Con's arguments really are without doing research for myself. Con was debating this topic and therefore should have done research. If they had then it should have been sourced. Pro provided sources to back up their arguments.