The Instigator
Furyan5
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
MagicAintReal
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

Does light have color

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
MagicAintReal
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/2/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,931 times Debate No: 87499
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (158)
Votes (1)

 

Furyan5

Con

To accept apply in comments.
Briefly outline your argument.
I'm tired of winning this debate by default.
MagicAintReal

Pro

Thanks Con for this wonderful instigation.
I will briefly outline my argument, and it should help Con with being "tired of winning this debate by default," but first...

Let's agree on some definitions 1st round.

visible light - electromagnetic radiation whose wavelength falls within the range to which the human retina responds, i.e., between about 390 nm (violet light) and 740 nm (red).
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

color - one, or any mixture, of the constituents into which light can be separated in a spectrum or rainbow.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

I affirm that light has color, because the visible light spectrum has color.

The visible light spectrum is completely comprised of light.
This visible light spectrum has colors.
Light has colors.

Here's an example:


http://www.physicsclassroom.com...
If the image doesn't work, just click the link and look at the "Visible Light Spectrum" portion that shows the spectrum.

According to physics,"light shining through a prism will be separated into its different wavelengths and will thus show the various colors that visible light is comprised of."
http://www.physicsclassroom.com...

If visible light is comprised of colors, then light has colors.

How can light be the source of color, but not have color?
The answer?
Light actually has color, from violet light to red light.

Con?
Debate Round No. 1
Furyan5

Con

Thanks Pro for accepting and thanks for outlining so accurately how most people with a basic knowledge of light understand color. Unfortunately they are all wrong.

I agree with the first part of Pro's definition concerning the wavelength of visible light but the second part is inaccurate. Science is purposefully vague on the subject as it deals mainly with the physical aspects of light and not with the physiological and psychological factors and this is what causes the confusion. Color is in fact a sensation we experience only in our minds and does not occur in reality. In his book Optics 1704, Newton clearly states that light itself is not coloured. He goes on to say that light merely has properties which when perceived by the eye, it causes us to see something as this or that color.

http://www.newtonproject.sussex.ac.uk...

This sentiment is followed by numerous physicists such as Galileo, Boyle, Descartes, Young, Maxwell and Helmholtz.
The following passage taken from the Stanford encyclopedia of psychology elaborates this point even further.

"Not only does the scientific mainstream tradition conflict with the common-sense understanding of color in this way, but as well, the scientific tradition contains a very counter-intuitive conception of color. There is, to illustrate, the celebrated remark by David Hume:

Sounds, colors, heat and cold, according to modern philosophy are not qualities in objects, but perceptions in the mind. (Hume 1738/1911, Bk III, part I, Sect. 1, p. 177; Bk I, IV, IV, p. 216)"

http://plato.stanford.edu...

Newton also says the following concerning colored light,

"The homogeneal light and rays which appear red, or rather make Objects appear so, I call rubrifick or red-making; those which make Objects appear yellow, green, blue, and violet, I call yellow-making, green-making, blue-making, violet-making, and so of the rest. And if at any time I speak of light and rays as coloured or endued with Colours, I would be understood to speak not philosophically and properly, but grossly, and accordingly to such conceptions as vulgar People in seeing all these Experiments would be apt to frame. "

So light itself has no color but merely has the ability to make us see things as different colors. Colors are the bodies way of letting us know what wavelength of light is present.

Pro?
MagicAintReal

Pro

Thanks for that response Con.

I affirm that light has colors, because light is comprised of colors that can be separated by shining white light through a prism.
If a prism separates these colors from light, then light MUST have colors; light is a source of colors.

If we agree that the visible light spectrum can be separated into different wavelengths, then we must agree that these wavelengths make up light.

To me, as much as a wavelength of light equaling 740 nm is a part of light, so is the color red.
In fact, there is no red without a light wavelength in the range of 740 nm.

Con, can there be a wavelength of light in the range of 740 nm without the color red?
If so, please demonstrate what a real 740 nm wavelength of light looks like without the color red.

This, to me, affirms that visible light is composed of colors.

Still, Con claims:
"Newton clearly states that light itself is not coloured."

My response:
Ok, Con.
If we're all wrong, can you explain what dispersion is?

Seriously, Con, how can you explain dispersion WITHOUT conceding that light has colors?
For those who may not know what dispersion is

dispersion - the separation of white light into colors.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

Dispersion is considered a fact of physics, and you can read about it at the Physics Classroom.
http://www.physicsclassroom.com...

However, Con continues:
"Light itself is not coloured...this sentiment is followed by numerous physicists such as Galileo, Boyle, Descartes, Young, Maxwell and Helmholtz."

My response:
I don't care what scientists SAY, I care about what scientists SHOW, and do you know what Newton showed?
"Light shining through a prism will be separated into its different wavelengths and will thus show the various colors that visible light is comprised of."
http://www.physicsclassroom.com...

So, when Con lists "Galileo, Boyle, Descartes, Young, Maxwell and Helmholtz" as reasons in and of themselves to reject light containing colors, one can dismiss it as an appeal to authority.
Con is just listing scientists for their celebrity rather than demonstrating his claim.

I found it interesting that Con quoted Newton, seeing as newton discovered dispersion.

Con quotes Newton:
"The homogeneal light and rays...I call rubrifick or red-making...yellow-making, green-making, blue-making, violet-making"

My response:
While I don't care what scientists merely say, it seems that Newton is explaining that light has colors.
By saying that light makes colors, Newton is describing light containing colors.

Does a factory have cars?
Does a heart have blood?
Does a plant have oxygen?
Does the sun have light?

If an entity makes particular things, it therefore has those particular things.
Newton is saying that light makes colors.
So, light has colors.

Con, why should we believe that light doesn't have color if...
1. there is no red without wavelengths of light in the 740 nm range and there are no wavelengths of light in the 740 nm range without red,
2. dispersion is a fact of physics,
3. and entities that make things, by definition, have those things they produce, so the fact that light makes color means that light has color?

Yes, that's all one question.

Con?
Debate Round No. 2
Furyan5

Con

So let me get this straight,

Newton says the rays are not coloured. But you don't care what scientists say.
Newton discovered dispersion and this proves Newton is wrong because dispersion is white light being broken up into different colors.
Newton says that if he ever talks about light and rays as coloured or endued with color, he is not talking philosophically or properly. But you don't care what scientists say!

Am I the only one who sees the contradiction in this statement?
The reason I chose Newton is who better to hear it from than the very man who discovered dispersion?

When I visit a fruit stand I ask for green apples. That does not mean to say I believe the apples are green. It is merely simpler than asking for the deciduous fruit which reflects light between 495 and 570nm. For convenience sake we say green apples. Scientists do the same thing when they talk about green light or red light. They are referring to light of a certain wavelength which triggers the sensation in our mind of one particular color.

I list world renowned experts in the field who all agree by this sentiment, not as an appeal but to show how unanimously this is accepted.

Con is mistaken about the neccesity of wavelength to see color. When we dream, we see blue skies, green grass and red cars. Where do those wavelengths come from? People with synestesia see sounds as colors and even different letters have colors. This has nothing to do with light and its wavelength. It's a sensation that occurs in the mind.

Now to the crux of pro's argument. How can dispersion occur if light is not coloured?
When light passes through a prism, different wavelengths are bent to different angles. Short wavelengths bend more than long wavelengths and this separated the light into various different wavelengths. Each wavelength creates a different sensation when it triggers a different cone on our iris. This cone then sends an electrical impulse to our brain which interprets the signal into a color. When science says the prism breaks white light into its various colors they are speaking conveniently. What they mean is that light which appears white, passes through a prism, it is split into light that appears red or appears blue, etc. The light itself is not colored and neither are objects. They merely appear to have color in our minds view.

Perhaps now pro will understand the difference between red light and light which is red making!
Unlike cars, blood, oxygen and light,
colors, sounds, heat, cold, happiness, anger, pain and fear exist only in the mind. They do not exist outside of our perceptions.
MagicAintReal

Pro

Thanks Con.

Yeah, I don't care what scientists SAY, I care what they can SHOW.
So Con can list every scientist in the world's opinion on whether or not light has color, and it wouldn't amount to a hill of beans, because if an idea can't be demonstrated, then how many qualified people saying it is an appeal to authority/population.

Regardless, Con has only asserted that all of these scientist believe this to be the case, but other than Newton, Con has not shown this in his sources nor has con SHOWN that light does not have colors...Con's just playing the "this guy said this" game.

What I'm saying is, rather than listen to the meteorologists, look at the Doppler radar yourself.
Con is telling us that certain meteorologists claim that tomorrow will be a clear sunny day, but the Doppler radar is showing massive storm formations.

In this case, the Doppler radar is the visible light spectrum, and it shows that it in fact contains colors.
I ask anyone to find me a diagram of the visible light spectrum that does not indicate visible light being comprised of colors.

I also pointed out that dispersion, which is the separating of white light into colors, is in contrast with Con.
To further add to this Newton not only said, but SHOWED that
"it is also evident, that the whiteness of the Sun's Light is compounded of all the Colours"
http://www.newtonproject.sussex.ac.uk...

Despite ALL of the diagrams that one can find on visible light, despite the fact of dispersion, and despite Newton's demonstration that white light is composed of all of the colors, Con still thinks light has not color.

Con says:
"When science says the prism breaks white light into its various colors they are speaking conveniently. What they mean is that light which appears white, passes through a prism, it is split into light that appears red or appears blue, etc."

My response:
Con, find me a definition of dispersion, the discovery newton SHOWED to be true, that mentions that the light only "appears" to be separated into colors.
Also, how does Con determine when scientist mean to say "appear" rather than what's actually stated?

Maybe light just "appears" to have wavelengths, and the visible light spectrum is just one giant "convenient" way to talk about wavelengths that light doesn't have.
How can Con tell when scientists are being convenient/literal?

Con continues:
"[Pro] is mistaken about the neccesity of wavelength to see color. When we dream, we see blue skies, green grass and red cars. Where do those wavelengths come from?"

My response:
Dreams, unlike wavelengths, are hallucinations.
Just like if I were to dream that president Obama is cleaning my bathroom, it's not actually him, he's not actually cleaning, and he's not actually in my bathroom.

It's not actually Obama in my dream, because Obama's actual body isn't really there.
So if you dream of red, it's not actually red, because the actual wavelengths aren't there and you're merely recalling a memory of viewing the wavelength of light, much like I may be recalling an image of Obama seen on TV or something.

To sum it up.

Con has this idea that colors only exist as sensations.
While I agree that our sensations are necessary to detect wavelengths of light, it doesn't change the fact that to see real color, one must be able to see wavelengths of light.

Con, I'll give you another chance to demonstrate that there could be a wavelength of light at 740 nm that isn't red and, conversely, that there could be red without a wavelength of light at 740 nm.

Light is composed of colors, thanks to the dispersion of the visible light spectrum.
Debate Round No. 3
MagicAintReal

Pro

No, and I extend all arguments from last round.
Debate Round No. 4
Furyan5

Con

Firstly let me thank Pro for finishing the debate. Most people just give up when faced by the word of Newton himself that the waves themselves are not coloured. It's always better to see proof of something rather than to just take someones word for it.
So do this yourself. Save the picture i displayed in my last argument and using ms paint or a similar program, remove everything else besides the two pills. You will discover that although the two pills appear 2 different colors, namely blue and red, they are in fact both grey. I did it myself and you are welcome to view the results in my album.
What this means is that light can take on any color, irrespective of its wavelength. This is of course impossible if color is a property of light itself. But if color is a product of the mind, then it makes perfect sense. Optical illusions prove that color is a creation of the mind.

The mistake Pro and many others make is believing that what they see is reality. Blue skies, green grass, red fire trucks and beautiful rainbows that hang in the air and move away when you try to get closer. Its a nice place to live but its not reality. What we see is a internal mental image created by our minds based on input from our sense organs. Does anything actually exist outside of our perceptions? No one can really say for sure. But color definitely does not.

I'll finish off with a few lines out of a BBC science article.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...

The first thing to remember is that colour does not actually exist" at least not in any literal sense. Apples and fire engines are not red, the sky and sea are not blue, and no person is objectively "black" or "white".

What exists is light. Light is real.

You can measure it, hold it and count it (well " sort-of). But colour is not light. Colour is wholly manufactured by your brain.

How do we know this? Because one light can take on any colour" in our mind

Thank you for taking the time to read this debate.
I hope it has opened a few more eyes to how exactly light and colors work and even if you don't fully agree, at least you do have a different point of view to consider.
MagicAintReal

Pro

Thanks for this debate Con.

With respects to Con's yellow soaked image of a hand with a grey pill and a blue soaked image of a hand with a grey pill, I encourage everyone to take their computer's/smartphone's/tablet's screen and place it roughly 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) away from your viewing location...

The pills from this distance are not victim to the optical illusion, instead they look grey or dark grey.
This is the distance from which I saw Con's image, and why I'm not colorblind, though I did not see a red or blue pill; my distance eliminated the saturation effect that distorts colors.

Regardless, Con agrees that there is a correct color of the pills irrespective of what we claim to see, and as far as I can tell, all of the colors of Con's image, including the optically-illusory red and blue, are contingent on and derived from light.
Con did not show light without colors or colors without light.

So, just because our brains can be tricked by interfering wavelengths (the saturated colors from Con's image), doesn't mean that these wavelengths aren't comprised of colors, especially if there's a correct color of the wavelengths.

Without any optical illusions, dreams, or other hallucinations, there is no REAL red without wavelengths in the 740 nm range or REAL wavelengths in the 740 nm range without red.

Light has colors.

Con gets errant:
"Does anything actually exist outside of our perceptions? No one can really say for sure. But color definitely does not."

My response:
How about the rest of the electromagnetic light spectrum that isn't visible?
Those waves are by definition outside of our perception, and they actually exist.
One could argue that those wavelengths are just colors that we can't see.

Con mentions:
"What we see is a internal mental image created by our minds based on input from our sense organs."

My response:
But you agree that this image cannot be created without "input" as you stated, so this mental image is CONTINGENT on input's existence outside of the mind.

Con continues:
"What exists is light. Light is real...you can measure it, hold it and count it (well " sort-of). But colour is not light. Colour is wholly manufactured by your brain."

My response:
Wait, what happened to input?
If color is wholly manufactured by your brain, then why do we need "input" to generate images of color, as Con clearly stated is the case?

Which is it Con?
Is color WHOLLY manufactured by the brain, or is it "an internal mental image...based on input" as you stated?

If it's wholly created by the brain then it CAN'T be based on input.

Dispersion is the separation of white light into its constituent colors, therefore, light has colors, even if scientists regard that as "speaking inappropriately."

I affirm that light has colors, because one can separate light into colors (dispersion), and Con never really addressed that.
Debate Round No. 5
158 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MagicAintReal 7 months ago
MagicAintReal
Well, no, what you've described is reality.
Why can't reality just have millions of possibilities?...that's been proven even on the quantum level.
Reality itself is constantly changing, so it follows, so should our detection of it.
You speak like reality is this one, unwavering thing, and you neglect natural fluctuations of reality that we accurately detect.
What we see is not subjective, or else what we see would NEVER match with what occurs.
When you're driving, it's not like you're imagining the road and the obstructions there within.
You are detecting the cement, the paint on the lines, and all other objects using the same road that you are using.
If we saw it subjectively, we'd surely crash a lot more, no?
Posted by Furyan5 7 months ago
Furyan5
That's my point. Our view of reality is position dependant. At any one point/moment we can only see one version of reality out of millions of possibilities. Even my picture is not entirely accurate as its a view from above but it should help you see my point. We can calculate reality by what we know, based on what we see. But what we see is only a subjective view of reality. Do you get that?
Posted by MagicAintReal 8 months ago
MagicAintReal
Ok, in the view you called reality, the tree was both next to the house AND in front of the house regardless if i moved positions.
That's because prepositions are observer dependent.
So even when I sight the tree next to the house, it also objectively exists in front of the house too; both positions can be true.
Posted by Furyan5 8 months ago
Furyan5
Sorry, I'm no Picasso. The green circle represents a tree and the black square a house. Let's call this view reality and the yellow dot you. From your perspective you would see a tree next to a house. If you moved positions you would see a tree in front of a house. But reality doesn't change. It's your subjective perception that changes. Your perception may be based on reality, but it only exists in the lo"ation you are in. If you move, that image no longer exists. It is replaced by a new image of reality. Where do you think that image exists?
Posted by MagicAintReal 8 months ago
MagicAintReal
The facebook link didn't work, and I don't know what the circle and rectangle thing were for...care to elaborate?
Posted by MagicAintReal 8 months ago
MagicAintReal
set up the debate my good man
Posted by Furyan5 8 months ago
Furyan5
so when you look at the moon, the moon is the size of an orange?
Posted by MagicAintReal 8 months ago
MagicAintReal
Yes'm
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ssadi 8 months ago
ssadi
Furyan5MagicAintRealTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Given under comments (84-85-86-87th comments). If you have any objection to my vote and/or my RFD, then please PM me (so that I was directly notified). I can reconsider any point you object to.