The Instigator
GarretKadeDupre
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
TheRussian
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Dragons Are Real

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
TheRussian
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/12/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,905 times Debate No: 60366
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (3)

 

GarretKadeDupre

Pro

I will be arguing that it is plausible that dragons once lived on earth with humans.

By dragon, I mean any dinosaur that could emit smoke from it's mouth or nostrils. This may or may not include pterosaurs.

I will not be scientifically proving the resolution; this is impossible, as science is observable and nobody can go back in time to observe whether or not dragons once roamed the earth. I will, however, be showing it to be plausible.

First round is for acceptance only. Use comment section for clarification of terms.

TheRussian

Con

I accept and am quite curious to see my opponent's arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Let's start by taking a look at a skeleton of Dracorex, a real creature whose name means “Dragon King”:



In order to reduce the inevitable incredulity at the thought of actual reptiles breathing smoke, here are some animals alive today with non-fire breathing, yet still amazing abilities:


Electric Eel

The Electric Eel can produce a shock of over 600 volts. To put that in perspective, the power of the standard U.S. wall socket is only about 100 volts. I've attached a video of an Electric Eel slowly but surely electrocuting an alligator to death. The shock is silent, but clearly lethal.

https://www.youtube.com...


Horned Lizard

The Horned Lizard can shoot a 5-foot stream of blood from its eyes. It does this by raising its blood pressure until the vessels in its eyeballs literally burst.



Marine Iguana

The Marina Iguana can emit a shower of saline from it's nostrils. It does this by filtering the excess salt from the ocean water it drinks and sneezing it out. Overtime, a salty crown develops on the Iguana's head from all the salt it sneezes on itself.



Spitting Cobra

The Spitting Cobra emits a longe-range stream of venom from it's fangs up to over 6 feet. It aims for the eyes of it's aggressor with amazing accuracy, causing permanent blindness if left untreated.



Bombardier Beetle

The Bombardier Beetle can fire a shower of boiling chemicals from it's rear end. It does this by mixing highly reactive chemicals together. The heat and pressure that results from this reaction expels the chemicals out of it's behind at high speeds.



To be clear, I'm not arguing for the existence of any creature that had 4 legs plus a pair of wings. I have doubts about the plausibility of such a 6-limbed animal because I've never seen a fossil of one. I'm only arguing for the plausibility of a dinosaur or pterosaur emitting smoke from it's mouth (and possibly sparks, or even fire). I've provided scientifically verifiable examples of creatures alive today which can:

  • shoot blood from their eyes,

  • shoot saline from their nose,

  • shoot venom from their fangs,

  • shoot boiling chemicals from their behind, &

  • electrocute animals to death without hurting themselves.


Now it shouldn't be too far a stretch to posit that an extinct reptile once emitted smoke.


If it were true that some extinct reptiles breathed smoke and/or fire, we would expect to find fossils of dinosaurs that had peculiar chambers in their head. In fact, we do.


National Geographic released an article called, T. Rex, Other Dinosaurs Had Heads Full of Air. In this article(1), we find comments particularly relevant to this debate, such as:

  • New 3-D scans of the skulls of Tyrannosaurus rex and other dinosaurs reveal the creatures had more empty space inside their heads than previously thought.

  • The nasal airways in the ankylosaurs[...] were surprisingly convoluted. It was as if "crazy straws" had been rammed up the creatures' snouts


Here is a picture of a Parasaurolophus skull with a “crest connected to the pharynx and nasal cavity though an elaborate system of passages”, according to the University of Maryland:



Now that I believe I've demonstrated the plausibility of the mere existence of smoke or fire-breathing dinosaurs (a.k.a. dragons), I will now argue in support of the second part of the resolution. Dragons not only existed, but some lived at the same time as people.

I feel I need to make it clear that by arguing this, I am in no way defying science. Although it is commonly accepted that all dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, it was once also accepted that the Coelacanth went extinct 65 million years ago too(2), yet live Coelacanths have since been found. They now belong to the most endangered order in the entire world.

It is fallacious to argue that no dinosaurs lived with people just because none of their fossils have been dated younger than 65 million years, since the Coelacanth case disproves this logic.

The Wollemi Pine is another example of an organism presumed to have never shared the earth with humans due to interpretation of the fossil record. Yet, Wollemi Pine trees, capable of growing up to 130 feet, are now known to live today.

Now that I've established that the co-existence of dinosaurs and people in no way defies science, hopefully you will be more accepting of dinosaur reports from credible historians, some of whom actually saw dinosaurs with their own eyes.


We'll start with Herodotus the Greek historian, also known as the “Father of History” who lived 2,500 years ago. He records “hearing of some winged serpents” in Arabia:

[W]hen I arrived there, I saw bones and spines of serpents, in such quantities as it would be impossible to describe. The form of the serpent is like that of a water-snake; but he has wings without feathers, and as like as possible to the wings of a bat[...]



Next is Josephus, the Jewish historian. In his book, Antiquities of the Jews(3), he records:

Moses[...] took and led his army before those enemies were apprized of his attacking them; for he did not march by the river, but by land, where he gave a wonderful demonstration of his sagacity; for when the ground was difficult to be passed over, because of the multitude of serpents, (which it produces in vast numbers, and, indeed, is singular in some of those productions, which other countries do not breed, and yet such as are worse than others in power and mischief, and an unusual fierceness of sight, some of which ascend out of the ground unseen, and also fly in the air, and so come upon men at unawares, and do them a mischief,) Moses invented a wonderful stratagem to preserve the army safe, and without hurt; for he made baskets, like unto arks, of sedge, and filled them with ibes, and carried them along with them; which animal is the greatest enemy to serpents imaginable, for they fly from them when they come near them; and as they fly they are caught and devoured by them, as if it were done by the harts; but the ibes are tame creatures, and only enemies to the serpentine kind: but about these ibes I say no more at present, since the Greeks themselves are not unacquainted with this sort of bird. As soon, therefore, as Moses was come to the land which was the breeder of these serpents, he let loose the ibes, and by their means repelled the serpentine kind, and used them for his assistants before the army came upon that ground.”



Then there is Dio the Roman historian. Paraphrased by St. John of Damascus, who sought to undermine the many superstitions attributed to dragons, we read:

Some people claim that dragons can both take the human form and turn into serpents, sometimes small, sometimes huge, differing in body length and size. And sometimes[...] having turned into people, they start to associate with them, appear to steal women and consort with them.[...] it clearly follows that dragons are intelligent beings greatly exceeding men, which has never been true, and never will be.

I am not telling you, after all, that there are no dragons; dragons exist but they are serpents borne of other serpents. Being just born and young, they are small; but when they grow up and get mature, they become big and fat so that they exceed the other serpents in length and size. It is said they grow up more than thirty cubits; as for their thickness, they get as thick as a big log. Dio the Roman (A.D. 155 – 236) who wrote the history of Roman empire and republic, reports the following: one day, when Regulus, a Roman consul, was fighting against Carthage, a dragon suddenly crept up and settled behind the wall of the Roman army. The Romans killed it by order of Regulus, excoriated it and sent the hide to the Roman senate. When the dragon’s hide, as Dio says, was measured up by order of the senate, it happened to be, amazingly, one hundred and twenty feet long, and the thickness was fitting to the length.”

There is one more kind of dragon; those have wide head, goldish eyes and horny protuberances on the back of the head. They also have a beard [jutting] out of the throat; this kind of dragons is called “agaphodemons”[...] This dragon is a sort of beasts, like the rest of the animals, for it has a beard, like a goat, and horn at the back of its head. Its eyes are big and goldish. These dragons can be both big and small. All serpent kinds are poisonous, except dragons, for they do not emit poison.”



Last, but not least, here is Marco Polo's eye-witness report from when he traveled to China 700 years ago:

Here are seen huge serpents, 50 feet in length, and 100 inches in the girt of the body. At the fore part, near the head, they have two short legs, having three claws like those of a tiger, with eyes larger than a fourpenny loaf[...] and very glaring. The jaws are wide enough to swallow a man, the teeth are large and sharp, and their whole appearance is so formidable, that neither man, nor any kind of animal, can approach them without terror. Others are met with of a smaller size[...]; and the following method is used for taking them. In the day-time, by reason of the great heat, they lurk in caverns, from whence, at night, they issue to seek their food, and whatever beast they meet with and can lay hold of, [...] they devour; after which they drag themselves towards some lake, spring of water, or river, in order to drink. By their motion[...]and their vast weight, they make a deep impression, as if a heavy beam had been drawn along the sands. Those whose employment it is to hunt them observe the track[...] and fix into the ground several pieces of wood, armed with sharp iron spikes, which they cover with the sand in such a manner as not to be perceptible. When therefore the animals make their way towards the places they usually haunt, they are wounded by these instruments, and speedily killed."


St. George the Dragon Slayer

(1) http://news.nationalgeographic.com...

(2) http://vertebrates.si.edu...

(3) http://sacred-texts.com...

TheRussian

Con

Yes, Dracorex is a real creature. But you cannot call any animal with an irregular bony skull a dragon.

My opponent then makes a list of creatures with amazing abilities. This is not evidence for the existence of dragons. Most of these animals (except the eel) eject a liquid from their body. Nothing more. Not to be vulgar, but I too, can eject liquid out of my body. I see your point, BUT there is an enormous difference between ejecting dangerous liquids and making/ejecting flame or smoke.

How does my opponent suppose that an animal could produce it in the first place? Then how would its body survive the temperature without being seriously hurt?

My opponent brings up the point that previously unknown chambers have been found in the skulls of dinosaurs. There is no evidence of the existence of an organ that could produce smoke/flame in these animals. In fact, my opponent's source says that these chambers "helped dinosaurs breathe, communicate, and hunt.The extra room may even have paved the way for flight in some species."
http://news.nationalgeographic.com...

My opponent finally brings up multiple quotes that describe a "dragon". I would like to note that we established the definition of a dragon: "any dinosaur that could emit smoke from it's mouth or nostrils. This may or may not include pterosaurs."
Keeping that in mind, no where in any of the three quotes does it mention smoke or flame being ejected. It merely describes the looks and sizes of a reptilian.

I await my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 2
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

CON: “Yes, Dracorex is a real creature. But you cannot call any animal with an irregular bony skull a dragon.

I never called Dracorex a dragon, or pretended that it single-handedly proved the resolution. I merely pointed out that it's latin name translates to “Dragon King”, presumably for its striking resemblance to the popular idea of a dragon.



CON: “Most of these animals (except the eel) eject a liquid from their body[...] I see your point, BUT there is an enormous difference between ejecting dangerous liquids and making/ejecting flame or smoke.

This isn't completely true. The liquid the Bombardier Beetle ejects is so hot it isn't just boiling, it's also vaporizing. So hot, in fact, the Bombardier Beetle can kill other insects.

My examples encompass animals not just electrocuting and shooting hot liquid, but shooting out vapor.



CON: “How does my opponent suppose that an animal could produce it in the first place?

Presumably by storing highly reactive chemicals in separate glands, and mixing them together when ready to produce the flame. In other words, kind of like the Bombardier Beetle.

For fun, let's hypothesize in more detail. A popular chemistry experiment is dropping a gummybear (or other sugary substance) in molten potassium chlorate, which produces a large, smoking, violent fire. An alternative is using room-temperature potassium chlorate with sugar, and using a catalyst to provide a little heat to jumpstart the reaction. A drop of sulfuric acid is an example of one such catalyst.



CON: “Then how would its body survive the temperature without being seriously hurt?

Such an objection may also be leveled at the Bombardier Beetle, who can boil other insects to death without hurting itself. People who breath fire for the circus also manage to do it without hurting themselves.

I should point out that potassium chlorate is known to be produced by living organisms, and of course sugar is too. So all our hypothetical dragon would need to do is mix potassium chlorate, sugar, and a catalyst to create a burst of fire and smoke.

Of course, there are practically infinite other combinations of chemicals that produce fire, and maybe the real answer is much simpler. Cows produce lots of methane gas as a result of digesting plant matter. Methane gas is flammable; in fact, earlier this year in January, a cow shed literally exploded from all the methane produced by the cows inside.(4) It's speculated that static electricity may have ignited the gas.

When you realize that many dinosaurs were also plant eaters, and just one large individual could be digesting the same amount of plant matter as an entire herd of cows, the plausibility of fiery dinosaur burps becomes apparent. All that's needed is a plausible ignition mechanism. Quartz is an extremely common mineral, and rubbing a couple quartz rocks together can produce sparks.

It is said birds evolved from dinosaurs. Birds have gizzards, which they deliberately fill with minerals like quartz, in order to grind up seeds for digestion. Could it be that the gizzards of modern birds were the organs which ignited the methane burps of dinosaurs?



CON: “[P]reviously unknown chambers have been found in the skulls of dinosaurs. There is no evidence of the existence of an organ that could produce smoke/flame in these animals.

I don't think this is a strong objection. Soft tissue in dinosaurs is almost never recovered, and even when it is, it's usually very ambiguous. For example, red blood cells have supposedly been found in a T. rex fossil, yet they are not perfectly preserved, so some question whether they really are blood cells and not merely some modern bacterial growth.


Even if such an organ were found preserved, it is extremely unlikely that its purpose would be indentified. A couple questions must be asked:

  • Would we recognize the amazing electrocution capability of the Electric Eel if all we had of it were fossils?

  • Would we recognize the explosive power of the Bombardier Beetle if all we had were fossils?

I say definiately not, and anyone who attributed such abilities based on fossils would probably be laughed at. Such powers would sound downright magical to those who hadn't seen it with there own eyes. Can you imagine the incredulity of someone being told, for the first time, that there exists a fish that can kill an alligator with a 600-volt shock, without even hurting itself?



CON: “[M]y opponent's source says that these chambers "helped dinosaurs breathe, communicate, and hunt.The extra room may even have paved the way for flight in some species."

That's misleading paraphrasing. The full quote says the cavities “could have” helped dinosaurs breathe, etc. My source is being highly speculative on the purpose of these cranial cavities and tubes. How would an inter cranial chamber help a dinosaur breathe anyways? The nostril size remains the same, so it's not like having (supposedly) empty holes in your head would increase oxygen intake.
Plus, modern animals communicate just fine without extra chambers in their head. I think that speculation is pretty baseless.

As far as helping them hunt... I don't even understand how the article is suggesting being an airhead aids in hunting. Doesn't make sense to me.



CON: “[N]o where in any of the three quotes does it mention smoke or flame being ejected.

Con is completely correct. I ran out of space last round, so I'll satisfy his request at the end of this one.


I'll start by pointing out that the entire world has had tales of fire-breathing dragons; that is, giant reptiles that breath fire or smoke. According to Animal Planet's
Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real program:

  • There is one creature remembered in the legends of almost every human culture that’s ever existed. A creature depicted with remarkable similarity by the Chinese, the Aztecs, even the Inuit who live in a frozen land where no reptiles are found—even they have stories of this animal: the dragon. Cultures from different continents, people who had no contact with one another[...]

These stories can be found on every continent except Antartica. How did the Native Americans communicate their legends of dragons with the Ancient Romans, or the British, or the Asians? It's not as if the legends are of fire breathing hamsters, or fire breathing butterflies, or even fire breathing lions. No... the universal legend is of not just a giant reptile, but one associated with fire, lightning, or smoke.

You can't expect the ancients to universally infer fire-breathing from a few, poorly arranged dinosaur fossils that were accidentally stumbled upon.


According to Dr. Hogarth, senior lecturer of biology at University of York:

  • The evidence [for dragons] is not confined to works of natural history and literature but appears in everyday chronicles of events[. S]uch eyewitness accounts are not derived from hearsay or anonymous rumor; they were set down by people of some standing, by kings and knights, monks and archbishops, scholars and saints[...]

  • [H]ow could you say in Western Europe in the Middle Ages that an elephant was a real animal and a dragon wasn’t? The information you had about them was both the same in each case[...]

Even the methods used to slay the dragons sometimes coincide. In the Catholic Bible, Daniel kills a dragon by feeding it sulfur, and Poland has a tale of a dragon being killed the same way.


Carl Sagan sums it up nicely:

  • The implacable mutual hostility between man and dragon,[...] as exemplified in[...] myth[,]is a worldwide phenomenon

In the Anglo-Saxon chronicles of the 8th century, we find the following recorded:

  • A.D. 793. This year came dreadful[,] fiery dragons flying across the firmament.

The Canterbury Cathedral holds a record of Friday, September 26th, 1449 which reads as follows:

  • In a marshy field on the Suffolk/Essex Border, two fire breathing dragons engaged in a fierce one hour long struggle. The Suffolk Dragon was black and lived on Keddington Hill, while the dragon from Essex was reddish and spotted and came from Ballington Hill, south of the river Stour. Eventually the red dragon won and both creatures returned to their own hills to the admiration of many beholding them.

In 1669, in London, a record with the following (extremely long, therefore paraphrased) title was published:

  • [A] true Relation of a Monstrous Serpent which hath divers times been seen at a Parish called Henham on the Mount within four Miles of Saffron-Walden: Showing the length, proportion and bigness of the Serpent, the place where it commonly lurks, and what means hath been used to kill it. Also a discourse of other Serpents[...]

It's several pages long, and describes the creature as "8 or 9 foot long, the smallest part of him about the bigness of a Man's Leg." The eyes were said to be "very large and piercing" and "in his mouth he had two row of Teeth” that were “very White and sharp." The serpent possessed wings which were "too weak to carry such an unwieldy body", and “[Hellish] blasts exhaled from his dire throat.

Interestingly, this description matches the drawing of the dragon killed by St. George which I posted last round.

I await my opponent.


(4) http://www.bbc.com...

TheRussian

Con

I would like to point out an error my opponent made in Round 1.
He says "By dragon, I mean any dinosaur that could emit smoke from it's mouth or nostrils."
That is the definition of dragon that we established. He claims that dragons "once lived on Earth with humans". This is impossible because dinosaurs and humans did not live at the same time.

Full Definition of DINOSAUR
1
: any of a group (Dinosauria) of extinct often very large chiefly terrestrial carnivorous or herbivorous reptiles of the Mesozoic era
2
: any of various large extinct reptiles (as ichthyosaurs) other than the true dinosaurs
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

The above definition by Merriam-Webster says that dinosaurs lived in the Mesozoic era, which stretches from 251 million BC to 65.5 million BC. No humans lived during this time period.
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu...

Now that we've established that they could we could not have co-existed, debunking half of my opponent's claim, let's move on to prove that it is not plausible that dinosaurs emitted smoke from its mouth or nostrils at all.

"so hot it isn't just boiling, it's also vaporizing. So hot, in fact, the Bombardier Beetle can kill other insects."
Yes, water boils at about 100 C and turns into vapor. "Vaporizing" is no hotter than "boiling", it's about the same temperature.

"but shooting out vapor."
Vapor is not smoke. It takes much higher temperatures to produce smoke.

Full Definition of SMOKE
1
a : the gaseous products of burning materials especially of organic origin made visible by the presence of small particles of carbon
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

"An alternative is using room-temperature potassium chlorate with sugar, and using a catalyst to provide a little heat to jumpstart the reaction. A drop of sulfuric acid is an example of one such catalyst."
It would take more than "a little heat to start the reaction", it takes a blowtorch. I see what my opponent is trying to say, but this would be nearly impossible because of the damage that these chemicals would do to the animals body. For example, sulfuric acid can have serious corroding effects on stone. That means living tissue wouldn't stand a chance. The reaction my opponent mentioned also produces extremely high temperatures and if this happened inside the animal, then the poor dinosaur would simply get cooked.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

"People who breath fire for the circus also manage to do it without hurting themselves."
Yes, but the fire source is outside their body (hand-held torch). A dragon would have to have the entire process occur inside the body.

"Birds have gizzards, which they deliberately fill with minerals like quartz, in order to grind up seeds for digestion. Could it be that the gizzards of modern birds were the organs which ignited the methane burps of dinosaurs?"
Gizzard stones must be very smooth so it does not hurt the animal. If the stone is smooth, then there is virtually no possible way that these stones could be "knocked" in such a way that they would produce a spark. Also don't forget that since they are inside the body, they are moist, making it impossible to make a spark.
http://stoneplus.cst.cmich.edu...

"Even if such an organ were found preserved, it is extremely unlikely that its purpose would be indentified."
Scientists managed to identify gizzards in dinosaurs didn't they? That is soft tissue as well.

"That's misleading paraphrasing. The full quote says the cavities "could have"" helped dinosaurs breathe, etc....I think that speculation is pretty baseless"
1) Yes, it says "could have". But it says absolutely nothing about any "dragon-like" function.
2) You may think that the speculation is baseless, but you are not a scientist.

In fact, my opponent completely ignores the next page of the article. It clearly says that:
"Witmer estimates that T. rex's head would have been 18 percent heavier if not for the air spaces in its skull. This savings may have allowed T. rex to pack more muscle onto its head, which possibly strengthened its bite and allowed it to tackle bigger prey."

Also: "The nasal airways in the ankylosaurs...These winding airways were often located next to large blood vessels.
'Whenever we see that, it raises the possibility that we're looking at heat transfer,' Witmer said.This setup would have allowed hot blood circulating through the creatures' heads to dump excess heat into the airways, helping to cool their brains and the rest of their bodies."
http://news.nationalgeographic.com...

My opponent mentions how wide-spread the myths/legends of dragons are. There is a very simple explanation to this. It's like the telephone game. Legends and stories travel quickly. Here are the words of an expert on the subject:

"From a biological standpoint they couldn't really have existed - not if you think of a dragon with wings and four legs, breathing fire. Once the idea's there, they pick up characteristics from real animals. There are quite a lot of dragon "remains" in churches on the continent that look very much like stuffed crocodiles or a bit of a whale skeleton or something like that. Relics: a local saint slew a dragon and here's the proof. There are certainly some accounts that sound very like garbled travellers tales of, say, pythons: there are stories of dragons that wound themselves round the thing they were attacking. Certainly once people had the idea of a dragon, a lot of things got mapped on to that idea. It's a ferocious animal, obviously, so it's going to have claws like other clawed animals, and big teeth and so forth. It's oral history"
http://www.empireonline.com...

It's just like myths about Atlantis and vampires and such. It may have once been based on reality, but the truth was greatly distorted by time, poets and artists. People think of vampires as crazy, bloodthirsty, pale humans who want nothing but blood and can't step in the sun. No evidence supports this, even though hints of vampires are found in many texts, including the Bible.
http://www.angelfire.com...

My opponent then shows quotes describing dragons. In these descriptions, dragons are described as enormous, winged, fire-breathing serpents. Have any skeletons or fossils of such creatures ever been found?

I would like to note that almost all of the historical quotes my opponent provided have no source. Could he please provide a source?

In reality, there is no direct evidence of the existence of dragons. There are no skeletons as described in my opponent's quotes, there is no evidence of a fire-breathing organ.There are things that may fuel local legends and myths, but no direct evidence. It's just like the Lochness monster. A widespread myth about an enormous, underwater serpent that has many accounts and tales BUT no direct proof has ever been discovered. Maybe a man just saw a big snake and freaked out. When he returned home to tell his wife, he described it as a 50-foot toothed serpent. The wife tells all her friends, etc. It spreads very quickly, but no physical evidence has been found to support a so-called Lochness Monster.

"Roman historians talk about a battle between the Roman legions and the tribes of the east, and the tribes of the east had this dragon banner, apparently with some sort of pyrotechnics in it. It was said to breath fire - kind of psychological warfare, I guess. And then the Roman army adopted the dragon as their standard, a kind of windsock affair, and it then comes into heraldry. There's a dragon standard flying above Harold in the Bayeux Tapestry. So there are a lot of rather complicated threads."
http://www.empireonline.com...

The above quote illustrates how myths of fire-breathing serpents could have originated and spread.

On to Pro.
Debate Round No. 3
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

  • This is impossible because dinosaurs and humans did not live at the same time[. D]inosaurs lived in the Mesozoic era, which stretches from 251 million BC to 65.5 million BC. No humans lived during this time period.”

The Coelacanth was once thought extinct for 65 million years. Using your logic, modern Coelacanths are impossible.

I'm not even arguing that any dinosaurs are alive today. I'm arguing it's plausible that a smoke-breathing dinosaur shared the earth with people at any point in human history.

My opponent's argument amounts to rejecting science itself, since all scientific claims are inherently tentative and subject to the possibility of being revised, or even outright rejected, in the future.

When Con says it's impossible for dinosaurs to have ever lived with people, he's not making a scientific claim, but a religious one. He's putting undue faith in a tentative explanation.



  • Yes, water boils at about 100 C and turns into vapor[...] Vapor is not smoke. It takes much higher temperatures to produce smoke.

Plant matter can smoke at this temperature. Considering that the Bombardier Beetle can achieve this temperature, it is obviously plausible that some dinosaur which lived with humans did too.



  • [S]ulfuric acid can have serious corroding effects on stone. That means living tissue wouldn't stand a chance.

The necessary droplet of sulfuric acid could have been produced only right when it was needed. Also, it didn't have to be sulfuric acid. A more bio-friendly catalyst could have been used instead.



  • The reaction my opponent mentioned also produces extremely high temperatures and if this happened inside the animal, then the poor dinosaur would simply get cooked.

If the dinosaur uses the same temperatures as the Bombardier Beetle (which are sufficient to produce smoke), this doesn't have to be a problem. After all, smoke can be produced at a temperature which isn't enough to “cook”, as most who have used a smoker can tell you.



  • Yes, but the fire source is outside their body (hand-held torch). A dragon would have to have the entire process occur inside the body.

This doesn't have to be a problem, as any fire-eater can attest.




  • Gizzard stones must be very smooth[...] If the stone is smooth, then there is virtually no possible way that these stones could[...] produce a spark. Also don't forget that since they are inside the body, they are moist, making it impossible to make a spark.

Actually, smooth stones can produce sparks. Besides, I'm not arguing that birds can produce sparks. It's not as if dinosaurs had the same exact gizzards that birds do today. Birds of dinosaur ancestry would obviously be very different than their ancestors.

If the gizzard-like dragon organ were close up front in the mouth, it could be exposed to air and dried. It's not like all bodily cavities have to be moist, anyways. Feel inside your ear canal. Hopefully, it's not soaking wet.



  • Scientists managed to identify gizzards in dinosaurs didn't they? That is soft tissue as well.

I don't think any fossilized gizzards have ever been found, actually; only stones which were inferred to have been in the gizzard before it decayed. It's called a gastrolith, which is way different than a fossilized gizzard.

Even if a fossilized gizzard were recognized as such, it would be because we have living examples to compare it to.

We have no such living examples of smoke-producing organs, so we may not recognize them if we do find them.



  • You may think that the speculation is baseless, but you are not a scientist.

Neither is the author of that article. He's a journalist, not a scientist, as evidenced by the fact he earned his degree from a reporting program.



  • In fact, my opponent completely ignores the next page of the article.

I didn't ignore it, and the source of the article explains that “there are severe limits on what inferences can be made, because we lack critical information on central neural connectivity as well as peripheral responses and sensitivities.” So my hypothesis is still plausible, especially considering the source literally marked one of the cavities with a “?” because they weren't sure what it was.(5)



  • This setup would have allowed hot blood circulating through the creatures' heads to dump excess heat into the airways, helping to cool their brains and the rest of their bodies.

This is completely consistent with fire-breathing catalyzing the cooling process, since it expels heat from the dinosaur's body.



  • My opponent mentions how wide-spread the myths/legends of dragons are. There is a very simple explanation to this[:] Legends and stories travel quickly.



No, apparently Con ignored my quote from Animal Planet which stated that dragon stories exist in virtually every country worldwide, in cultures that had no contact with each other.

Is Con really suggesting that Australian dragon stories share an origin with the Iceland stories, or Central American stories, or Asian ones?



  • [A]n expert on the subject:
    "From a biological standpoint they couldn't really have existed - not if you think of a dragon with wings and four legs, breathing fire.

I already explained that I'm not arguing for that type of dragon, because that type would have 6 limbs and I have doubts about it's plausibility.



  • It's just like myths about Atlantis and vampires and such.

First, Atlantis is not even close to a worldwide phenomenon. Second, the aspects of vampire stories which are worldwide are actually true. There really are animals, insects, and even people that suck blood. It follows that the aspects of dragon stories which are worldwide are also true.



  • People think of vampires as crazy, bloodthirsty, pale humans who want nothing but blood and can't step in the sun.

That's the European vampire. Hardly a worldwide phenomenon.



  • No evidence supports this, even though hints of vampires are found in many texts[...]

There aren't just “hints” of dragons, they are straightforwardly documented. Around 200 A.D., Philostratus records the following:

  • The whole of India is girt with dragons of enormous size; for not only the marshes are full of them, but the mountains as well, and there is not a single ridge without one. Now the marsh kind are sluggish in their habits and are thirty cubits long, and they have no crest standing up on their heads, but in this respect resemble the she-dragons. Their backs however are very black, with fewer scales on them than the other kinds[. P]oets declare that the congener of this one in the grove of Nemea also had a crest, a feature which we could not verify in regard to the marsh dragons.

  • And the dragons along the foothills[...] reach a greater length, and [...] actually have a crest, of moderate extent and height when they are young; but as they reach their full size, it grows with them and extends to a considerable height, at which time also they turn red and get serrated backs. This kind also have beards[...]

  • Now the dragons of the mountains have scales of a golden color, and in length excel those of the plain, and they have bushy beards, which also are of a golden hue; and their eyebrows are more prominent than those of the plain, and their eye is sunk deep under the eyebrow, and emits a terrible and ruthless glance. And they give off a noise like the clashing of brass whenever they are burrowing under the earth, and from their crests, which are all fiery red, there flashes a fire brighter than a torch. They also can catch the elephants, though they are themselves caught by the Indians[...] But often the Indian, in spite of his axe and his cunning, is caught by the dragon[...] It was impossible however to ascertain the number of years that this creature lives, nor would my statements be believed. This is all I know about dragons.

In the encyclopedia Natural History, Pliny the Elder corroborates the previous record of the Indian dragons:

India produceth the biggest [elephants] as also the Dragons, which are continually at variance and fighting with them; 
and those of such Greatness, that they can easily clasp round the Elephants[...] they lie under the Water in Rivers,
watching for the Elephants when they are drinking; when they catch fast hold of their [trunk], and having clasped it,
they fix their Bite in the Elephant's Ear, because that is the only Part which they cannot defend with their Hand.
These Dragons are so large, that they are able to receive all the
Elephant's Blood. Thus are they sucked dry by them
until they fall down dead ; and the Dragons thus drunken, are crushed under them, and both die together.
[Ethiopia
has] as great Dragons as in India, being twenty Cubits long. But I chiefly wonder at this one Thing: why
Juba should think they were Crested. They are produced most in a Country of Ethiopia[...]
It is well known that
Regulus[...] near the River Bograda assailed a Serpent with his Military Engines[...] as he would have done to a
Town; and when Subdued, the Length of the Serpent was found to be 120 Feet. The Skin and Jaws[...] were
preserved in a Temple at Rome until the War of Numantia[...]
There is a Fish[...] called Lucerna, for the
Resemblance it hath to a Light; for it thrusteth forth its fiery Tongue out of the Mouth, and in calm Nights giveth Light.


Sources Con requested:
  1. http://www.britannia.com...

  2. British Dragons by Jacqueline Simpson

  3. http://books.google.com...



  • "[D]ragons are described as enormous, winged, fire-breathing serpents. Have any skeletons or fossils of such creatures ever been found?"

My resolution doesn't require winged dragons, and fire-breathing may not be recognized form fossils alone.



  • CON: "[T]here is no direct evidence of the existence of dragons."

I'm just arguing it's plausible, and I like to think I've succeeded.



(5) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...

TheRussian

Con

"I'm arguing it's plausible that a smoke-breathing dinosaur shared the earth with people at any point in human history...When Con says it's impossible for dinosaurs to have ever lived with people, he's not making a scientific claim, but a religious one. He's putting undue faith in a tentative explanation."
1) As shown in my previous argument, by definition, a dinosaur is a creature that lived in the Mesozoic era. The Mesozoic era NEVER intersects with human history.
2) It is not religion. It is knowing and using the definition of words.

"Plant matter can smoke at this temperature."
My opponent has provided no evidence or science for this claim. It will take much more heat than 100 C to make plant matter smoke. Think about it, you're not applying an open fire to the plant. The temperature has to be so high that the plant material literally ignites from the pressure created by the extremely high temperatures. The animal's body would not be able to withstand such a temperature, let alone create it.

"Considering that the Bombardier Beetle can achieve this temperature, it is obviously plausible that some dinosaur which lived with humans did too."
1) As I have proved, dinosaurs did not co-exist with humans.
2) The Bombardier Beetle is a one of a kind insect that has an unbelievable combination of traits that allow the beetle to perform such feats. My opponent is comparing an insect to dinosaurs. That is like saying that since there is an insect (pea aphid) that can successfully use photosynthesis, then it is plausible that some dinosaurs could also use photosynthesis for energy.
http://ipm.ncsu.edu...

"This doesn't have to be a problem, as any fire-eater can attest."
1) The fire-eater uses an external source of heat, and does not make inside his body.
2) Heat travels upward (it is less dense than the cold air) and because of this, the fire-eater is not hurt. Notice how in the picture my opponent provided (or any other image of a fire eater) the eater is leaning back in a way that the flames are not touching his mouth, but only the stick? That is so the heat does not seriously damage his mouth. An animal would not be able to do this because even if the creature lifted its head/neck upward, then as the flame/heat travel, it would still destroy the nostrils, throat etc.
http://mentalfloss.com...

"Actually, smooth stones can produce sparks."
A baseless claim. If the stone is smooth, then friction is decreased significantly, making it very difficult to produce a spark.

"If the gizzard-like dragon organ were close up front in the mouth, it could be exposed to air and dried. It's not like all bodily cavities have to be moist, anyways."
That means that every time this "dragon" wanted to make smoke/fire, he would have to do the following:
1) Open mouth for several minutes to dry gizzard stones.
2) After they're dried, start knocking them together to try to make a spark.
3) Somehow, simultaneously burp methane at the same time the spark is produced.
This would not be beneficial to the animal in any way, and there is no reason evolution would create such a thing. The Bombardier Beetle can very effectively use its ability as defense (even then, it's not fatal. It only causes irritation to skin), but producing smoke would not benefit the animal in any way, especially if it took such a long, complicated process.

"Neither is the author of that article. He's a journalist, not a scientist, as evidenced by the fact he earned his degree from a reporting program."
That is true, but he is gathering info and quoting scientists. He didn't get all that information himself, he interviewed scientists (Mr. Witmer and Ryan Ridgley) on the subject.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com...

"I didn't ignore it, and the source of the article explains that 'there are severe limits on what inferences can be made, because we lack critical information on central neural connectivity as well as peripheral responses and sensitivities.'"
It does not say that on either page of the article.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com...

"So my hypothesis is still plausible, especially considering the source literally marked one of the cavities with a "?" because they weren't sure what it was."
Using the "Find" tool on my computer, I discovered that there is not a single question mark in the entire article. For some reason, my opponent provides a different source for the above claim. Not the original National Geographic article.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com...

"This is completely consistent with fire-breathing catalyzing the cooling process, since it expels heat from the dinosaur's body."
Fire-breathing would not cool the animal in any way. Not only would it take physical energy for the animal to do this (which produces heat energy) but if the animal has to produce heat (a lot of it) to catalyze a reaction, which also heats the animal. I find my opponent's claim illogical. I do not see any way that fire-breathing would help cool the animal. Fire-breathing would not expel heat from the dinosaur. It greatly increases the body temperature of the dinosaur.

"No, apparently Con ignored my quote from Animal Planet which stated that dragon stories exist in virtually every country worldwide, in cultures that had no contact with each other. Is Con really suggesting that Australian dragon stories share an origin with the Iceland stories, or Central American stories, or Asian ones?"
There is nothing said about "Australian dragons". The quote does not say that they were on every continent. Also, I don't know what this "Animal Planet" program is, but here is a website dedicated to Inuit culture and it says nothing of dragons.
http://www.native-languages.org...
It can also be noted that just because myths of them are in different cultures does not mean they existed. For example, in almost all cultures, light/Sun is regarded as a positive, life-bringing force, while darkness/Night is regarded as a negative, death-bringing force. Does this mean that the Sun is good and the Moon is bad? No, it's just the way people perceive things. Dragons are the quintessence of evil and horror in many cultures (although in the Chinese culture, they are a good thing), and probably come from the fact that humans fear/hate snakes.

"I already explained that I'm not arguing for that type of dragon, because that type would have 6 limbs and I have doubts about it's plausibility."
Yes, I am fully aware of that, but the quote also includes "fire-breathing", which the expert concluded biologically impossible.

"people that suck blood"
I am not aware of any people that suck blood. There are cannibals, but as far as I am concerned, there are no people that kill other solely to suck out the blood.

"My resolution doesn't require winged dragons, and fire-breathing may not be recognized form fossils alone."
Yes, but the quotes my opponent provided include both, fire-breathing and wings. If he wishes to use those quotes as a valid source, then he must accept the fact that dragons had both characteristics. In that case, my argument stands firm. There are no skeletons/remains of such "winged serpents".

I will now address the situation about my opponent's sources.
1) The very first quote that he provides is from a religious text, which cannot be considered valid in a scientific debate.
2) Four more quotes have no source whatsoever. (The 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th quote)
3) My opponent quotes a book called "British Dragons" but gives a link to a different book called "The Flying Serpent". In fact, "British Dragons" cannot be considered as a valid source either.
Here is the provided description of the book:
"Jacqueline Simpson gathers and examines the material to be found in folk tales in England, Scotland and Wales, together with folk customs using the dragon. In addition there is a brief general history of dragons. This book brings together the various mythic forms of the dragon as treasure guardian, voracious beast to be killed, the luck-giving snake and many others."
The book is a "compilation" of legends, myths and folklore.
http://www.amazon.com...

4) Finally my opponent provides a web-source which is a long is of accounts. Even then, I did not manage to find very much "dragon-related" information. I will also note that this does not look like a very credible source, considering that it does not reveal the author, nor the original writings/texts from which these accounts were extracted.
http://www.britannia.com...

As a result of the above, I can ignore ALL of my opponent's quotes/accounts as invalid.

In conclusion, I believe that it is not plausible that smoke/fire-emitting dinosaurs have ever existed.

Thank you for the fun debate.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 2 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
thx 4 voting debate_power
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 2 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
thanks for voting whateveryournameis
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 2 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Thanks for voting spaceking!
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 2 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Why thank you! :D
Posted by Vexorator 2 years ago
Vexorator
That was an amazing argument from Pro.
Posted by TheRussian 2 years ago
TheRussian
Ehh, not too bad haha
Posted by SarcasticMethod 2 years ago
SarcasticMethod
That is a pretty goalpost-shifting way of defining dragons.
Posted by ArcTImes 2 years ago
ArcTImes
"as science is observable and nobody can go back in time to observe whether or not dragons once roamed the earth. "

I went back in time and saw a dragon...
nope, doesn't sound like science to me.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by debate_power 2 years ago
debate_power
GarretKadeDupreTheRussianTied
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: GKD made some excellent points, but by stating that a dragon was essentially a fire-breathing dinosaur, he set himself up for an excellent counter by the Russian. Con gave sufficient evidence that supported his argument that dinosaurs lived well before humans. That's all it took for me.
Vote Placed by LDPOFODebATeR0328 2 years ago
LDPOFODebATeR0328
GarretKadeDupreTheRussianTied
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: After several minutes of consideration, I decided to vote for the negative. Pro brought up several examples of creatures with special "powers" that resembled a dragon. He also brought up historical quotes (I thought they were not credible) and examples. Although Pro brought up several arguments, Con was able to prove them all wrong. Con successfully proved how humans and dinosaurs (dragons) never lived during the same period. Both did a decent job.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
GarretKadeDupreTheRussianTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The incredible GKD takes on yet another seemingly impossible resolution, but this time he wins. He shows enough evidence hinting that a creature could be like a dragon, and that it is possible dragons exist due to what people say about them.