The Instigator
thegibson
Pro (for)
The Contender
SJM
Con (against)

Fire Is Alive

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/7/2017 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 429 times Debate No: 102486
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

thegibson

Pro

I will be arguing that fire is alive. If you accept, your job is to argue that fire is not alive. There is no burden of proof- both sides have to prove their point equally.

For the purposes of this debate, the characteristics something needs to be alive are movement, respiration, sensitivity, growth, reproduction, excretion, and nutrition. For further definitions of these terms, see here: https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz...

First round is acceptance only, second round is arguments, third round is rebuttals. Please be respectful and polite. Looking forward to debating!
SJM

Con

I accept this debate. First I will provide definitions to some of the characteristics.

Excretion- The process, act or function of discharging or ejecting waste product of metabolism, especially from the system of an organism.
http://www.biology-online.org...'

Respiration- breathing, which is the process of inhaling and exhaling gases from and into the external environment " a function of the lungs and other structures with similar function (e.g. gills)
http://www.biology-online.org...

Reproduction- The production of offspring by organized bodies
http://www.biology-online.org...

Nutrition- Nutrition is the intake of food, considered in relation to the body"s dietary needs.
http://www.who.int...

Now I will provide some observations.

1) For my opponent to prove fire is alive, they will have to prove that fire fulfills all the requirements my opponent listed.
2) I have to prove that fire doesn't fulfill one of the requirements for fire to not be considered alive.
3) We both have equal burdens of proofs. In this context, it would mean both of us have to prove our side, instead of one side proving and the other side refuting. Both of us are required proof.

When we think of living organisms, we think of humans. I assume it is commonly accepted that humans are considered living. Therefore throughout this debate I will be referencing humans as a guideline.

I look forward to this debate in pursuit of truth.
Debate Round No. 1
thegibson

Pro

I will prove that fire fulfills each of the characteristics required for an organism to be considered alive.

First, movement. As we can see by referencing forest fires, fire can move quickly. Some people claim that for an organism to be alive, it needs to move with intention. Fire does move with intention- it moves towards areas that contain fuel, such as areas thick with trees and areas containing oxygen. Here is a video that shows evidence of a forest fire moving:
https://www.youtube.com...

Second, respiration. My opponent defined respiration as the "process of inhaling and exhaling gases from and into the external environment". The chemical reaction of combustion requires oxygen gas, and always produces a gas, such as carbon dioxide or water vapor. Fire does not need lungs to respire because living organisms such as plants do not have lungs. Each of their cells carries out respiration.

Third, reproduction. This is the characteristic that is the most blurry in definition. Obviously, fire does not reproduce in the typical way, but it does reproduce. When an organism reproduces, it creates offspring. What are offspring? Smaller versions of the parent organism. When you light a candle with a match, you are, in effect, creating "offspring". When fires split off or create smaller fires, they are reproducing.

Fourth, sensitivity. Sensitivity is the ability to detect changes in the surrounding environment. We cannot read the a fire's mind, so how do we know if it is sensitive? By seeing if it responds to external factors. When you provide a fire with more fuel, it expands. When you dump water on a fire, it steams and starts to go out. These reactions could only be possible if the fire was able to detect the change and act accordingly, meaning that it is sensitive.

Fifth, growth. As shown in the clip of fire moving, fire grows. This is evident to anybody who has ever seen a fire.

Sixth, excretion. Excretion is the production and discharge of waste. When a fire moves throughout a forest, it burns trees into blackened stumps. When the trees are fully burned, the fire stops burning them and moves away. Is this process not the creation and discharging of waste? Fire burning trees can be seen as similar to humans eating food- when the food has been consumed to full capacity, the human releases what it cannot use (in the case of the fire, the blackened stumps that contain no more fuel).

Seventh, nutrition. Fires take in fuel according to what they need, which is materials that can burn. Much like humans, fires choose not to burn metal or nonflammable materials because they know it won't burn.

I have proved that fire fulfills all the above characteristics required for an organism to be considered alive. Thus, fire should be seen as a living organism. I look forward to the response of my opponent.
SJM

Con

As the host has structured this debate, this will be my Arguments against the topic. I will provide my rebuttal to my opponent"s case next round.

I claim that fire is not living. Now, we must keep in mind that we are in pursuit of truth when debating. "We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity" (Donald Trump). To be honest, I didn"t expect to be quoting Trump, but the quote stands true. We must be honest in our debates and concede what we have found wrong. I"d like to state claims that shouldn"t be considered in this debate. For example, any claims that are obviously false, troll, or fallacious should be disregarded. The judges should use their common sense in evaluating claims and use their best judgment. Now my opponent and I agree that humans are living. We disagree on whether a fire is living. The burden set on my opponent is proving that fire fulfills the criteria provided. Not one of them, but all of them. Now, I will go into my proofs for why fire is not considered living. Starting with excretion, respiration, and finally reproduction.

Excretion- The process, act or function of discharging or ejecting waste product of metabolism, especially from the system of an organism.

A fire cannot excrete waste, which in the sense of organisms would most likely mean poop. As the definition states, which went uncontested by my opponent, the fire must have a metabolism. The fire has not been proved to have a metabolism. There is a very clear understanding as to what a metabolism is. My opponent cannot claim that something has a metabolism, solely because it seems to replicate its appearance. For example, someone cannot claim that someone is alive by getting their corpse and moving their arms around. The judges must think to themselves during this debate, whether they really believe fire has a metabolism. As of now, no proof has been shown of such. Without any evidence of excretion, this criterion has not been fulfilled, therefore my side of the resolution has been achieved.

Respiration- breathing, which is the process of inhaling and exhaling gasses from and into the external environment " a function of the lungs and other structures with similar function (e.g. gills).

A fire cannot breathe. For a fire to breathe, the fire must have something with capacity for air such as lungs, gills, or the tissues plants use. However, fire does not contain any of these. My opponent has to provide credible scientific studies that prove Fire has the capacity inhaling or exhaling. As a preemptive, simply using up a certain gas and producing a different one, is not the same as the action of inhaling. If this were the case, anything with a chemical reaction involving air would be considered living because it can breathe. Without any evidence of respiration, this criterion has not been fulfilled, therefore my side of the resolution has been achieved.

Reproduction- The production of offspring by organized bodies

A fire cannot reproduce in an organism sense. Offspring is defined as "the product of the reproductive processes of an animal or plant" (https://www.merriam-webster.com...). A fire is neither an animal nor a plant. Therefore, it"s impossible for fire to fulfill this criterion. Without any evidence of reproduction, this criterion has not been fulfilled, therefore my side of the resolution has been achieved.

These are the only characteristics I will be addressing because I find the rest to be unnecessary. To recap, fire is not living because it doesn't fulfill the criterion of excretion, respiration, and reproduction.
Debate Round No. 2
thegibson

Pro

The three points that my opponent has contested are excretion, respiration, and metabolism. They seem to believe that none of these apply to fire. I will attempt to prove that all of these do apply to fire, making it a living organism.

Excretion: My opponent thinks that the definition of excretion does not apply to fire because fire does not metabolize. Merriam-Webster defines "metabolism" as the "chemical changes by which energy is provided for vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated". Since my opponent failed to provide a definition for metabolism, this is the definition we will use. Fire fits this definition because fire is created through the process of combustion, a chemical change; it burns fuel, providing energy; and it creates new material from what it burns, because the definition of a chemical change is a change that produces new material. Fire's method of metabolism may be unconventional, but it is still metabolism. (I would like to add that my opponent cited common knowledge for the definition of metabolism, and the common knowledge definition of metabolism is something like "burning fuel to make energy" which certainly applies to fire).

Respiration: My opponent claims that fire cannot breathe because fire does not have an organ with the capacity for air. I believe that an organism does not need a "breathing organ" to respire- sponges and many other marine organisms get oxygen by filtering it. In a similar way, fire filters through the air, burning oxygen gas and leaving nitrogen and trace gases, such as neon, untouched. My opponent also claims that "If this were the case, anything with a chemical reaction involving air would be considered living because it can breathe." This is a logical fallacy. We have already established that to be alive, organisms need to fulfill a list of requirements, not just can/can't breathe. Therefore, even if chemical reactions involve air, they need to also reproduce, excrete waste, move, grow, etc. to be considered alive.

Reproduction: The definition that my opponent is using for reproduction is both incorrect and straying from the original definition. At the beginning of the debate, my opponent defined reproduction as "the production of offspring by organized bodies". We agreed that was the definition. It is unfair to change the definition now to suit your needs. The new definition provided by my opponent is also incorrect. Reproduction does not occur solely in animals or plants- it also occurs with fungi. If we use the original, correct definition, fire fulfills the characteristic of reproduction.

A side note: Both your facts and your logic need to be correct. I assume the audience will penalize correctly for logical fallacies. If you wish to change a definition, you must provide an explanation as to why the original definition is incorrect and why the new definition is better.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by SJM 8 months ago
SJM
What, it didn't let me load this website at all.......
Posted by SJM 8 months ago
SJM
What, it didn't let me load this website at all.......
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