The Instigator
TheRussian
Con (against)
The Contender
marctjester
Pro (for)

Life

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/25/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 226 times Debate No: 96406
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (0)

 

TheRussian

Con

I'd like to argue that there is nothing "special", nothing inherently unique about life and living organisms. It's just a highly complex system of interacting matter. My opponent will be arguing that there is something special about life that makes it inherently different from the environment around it. I'll probably go as far as arguing that the concept of "life" is flawed and pointless.

Any questions or definitions will be discussed in comments.

I'm sorry if the question/issue doesn't make sense, feel free to ask in comments.
marctjester

Pro

Special, by its definition, is applicable to all living things whereby individuality also exists. I agree with you that life is a complex system of interacting matter but this "system" is not conclusively determined in that all moments throughout human life, which define individuality, should be considered ordinary. Life and environment are two totally different things; inherently different by their definitions. While our environment plays a major role in affecting how our lives will be, it in no way shares relevance to how special each of our lives are inevitably. As for life being pointless, there is no evidence, on your part, to prove it so; to claim it so would be assumptive. You could say that despite of the uniqueness that is undeniable for every living creature on earth, life itself is not intriguing; but to claim it as pointless, again, is assumptive.
Debate Round No. 1
TheRussian

Con

I appreciate your response.

"Special, by its definition, is applicable to all living things whereby individuality also exists."
Why does individuality not exist with all non-living things as well? We can say that everything is unique in a way, "individuality" doesn't separate living from non-living. A rock can have individuality in virtue of its shape and composition, for example.

"Life and environment are two totally different things; inherently different by their definitions."
How so? I challenge you to draw the line between the "living" and the "environment". Take a cell, for example. You can say that everything outside of the cell membrane is the environment, but is that really the case? What if it's part of a larger organism? What about the composition of the cytoplasm, isn't that a non-living factor that affects the development and behavior of the cell? It's hard, if not impossible, to draw the line between environment and life.

"While our environment plays a major role in affecting how our lives will be, it in no way shares relevance to how special each of our lives are inevitably."
You seem to have slightly missed the point of my argument. I'm not saying your life is not unique or "special", I'm saying that life itself, those things that we call "alive" have nothing that inherently distinguish them from the "non-living" environment.

"As for life being pointless, there is no evidence, on your part, to prove it so; to claim it so would be assumptive. You could say that despite of the uniqueness that is undeniable for every living creature on earth, life itself is not intriguing; but to claim it as pointless, again, is assumptive."
Once again, you have slightly missed the point of my argument. Pardon me if I failed to clearly express it. I said the "concept of life" is pointless. By that, I mean that we aren't really helped by dividing everything into "living" and "non-living", and I think this boundary is artificial. I don't intend to argue anything to do with the "purpose" of our existence.

Thus far, I don't see anything that is inherent to life that makes it intrinsically different from all other matter.

What is special about life? I don't think anything is, and I curiously await your response.
marctjester

Pro

"Why does individuality not exist with all non-living things as well?"
The argument you posed is not pertaining to non-living things but of 'Life' and of 'Living Organisms'; and if there is uniqueness of these two terms. "Individuality doesn't separate living from nonliving"? Sorry, I don't get what you mean by that. The physical aspects of the rock are only familiarized as a part of differentiation pertaining to every living thing in that living things have the same variables in physique; your argument doesn't mention inanimate or nonliving things. I feel that you're digressing from your main point. Isn't it obvious that I'm not here to debate about how pointless the "lives" of rocks are but of living things; bad analogies.

Life- the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to Environment through changes originating internally.

I think it's pretty easy to distinguish between Life and Environment

in ecology, Environment means the air, water, minerals, organisms, and all other external factors surrounding and Affecting a Given Organism at any time. Its general definition - the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings; milieu.

"As for life being pointless, there is no evidence, on your part, to prove it so; to claim it so would be assumptive. You could say that despite of the uniqueness that is undeniable for every living creature on earth, life itself is not intriguing; but to claim it as pointless, again, is assumptive."
Once again, you have slightly missed the point of my argument. Pardon me if I failed to clearly express it. I said the "concept of life" is pointless. By that, I mean that we aren't really helped by dividing everything into "living" and "non-living", and I think this boundary is artificial. I don't intend to argue anything to do with the "purpose" of our existence."
Actually, things that are "alive" have several things distinguishing them from things that are not; significantly, them being characterized as ALIVE. Do you want me to tell you, in my mere opinion, of how things, that are alive, are different things the non-living environment? Scientifically, it's pretty easy.

Please explain your Individualistic and Special perception of this Concept of Life, please. The whole point of discerning things from living and nonliving is that they are in fact either Living or Nonliving, period. The boundary is not artificial. I'm glad that you don't assume our purpose for living, even though you have stated life as pointless already.

It's not a theory that life is intrinsically and inherently different than nonliving matter, it is a scientific fact. Logically, even this concept of life that you base your argument from is special.
Debate Round No. 2
TheRussian

Con

" 'Individuality doesn't separate living from nonliving'? Sorry, I don't get what you mean by that."
You said in Round 1 that: "Special, by its definition, is applicable to all living things whereby individuality also exists." Just sounded like you were saying that which has individuality is living. Seems like a misinterpretation on my part, pardon. However if not a misinterpretation, then I think the point is refuted.

"Isn't it obvious that I'm not here to debate about how pointless the "lives" of rocks are but of living things; bad analogies."
I repeat that I'm not arguing that life is pointless. I'm saying the CONCEPT of life is useless. That's not my main argument here however, so we don't have to focus on that.

"Life- the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to Environment through changes originating internally."
You try to put a swift end to my case by providing a definition of life, however things are not so easy. I wouldn't be having this debate if I was in full agreement with what is essentially a dictionary definition of life. The main three characteristics of living things mentioned here are:
1. Metabolism
2. Reproduction
3. Power of Adaptation
The last point requires some more elaboration in my opinion, but I can simply define "adaptation" as: "adjustment to environmental conditions"
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

By these three points, we could consider a DNA-enzyme complex alive just by itself. I won't go into specifics, but there are quite a few enzymes that assist in the replication of DNA. As a result, this system would reproduce (DNA would be replicated), metabolism obviously occurs, and adaptation occurs as enzymes can "correct" errors in the copying of the DNA. If you'd like a source for all of this, I can provide one. My point is, by such a definition, the molecular machinery alone that is used to replicate DNA could be considered alive, which seems absurd.

Let's look at another example, mules. They can adapt, they can most definitely metabolize, but they can't reproduce. So, are they not alive?

As we see, you can't solve the problem so easily, the definition isn't universal.

"I think it's pretty easy to distinguish between Life and Environment"
Hopefully I'll show why that's not the case.

"In ecology, Environment means the air, water, minerals, organisms, and all other external factors surrounding and Affecting a Given Organism at any time. Its general definition - the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings; milieu."
Another textbook style definition. What about internal factors, inside the organism? Inside a multi-cellular organism's cells? Does the concentration of ions in the cytoplasm of a cell not affect and influence its function?

"Actually, things that are "alive" have several things distinguishing them from things that are not; significantly, them being characterized as ALIVE. Do you want me to tell you, in my mere opinion, of how things, that are alive, are different things the non-living environment? Scientifically, it's pretty easy."
Sure. Provide a valid, universal definition of life. Show me how easy it is.

"The boundary is not artificial. I'm glad that you don't assume our purpose for living, even though you have stated life as pointless already."
Not artificial? Then as mentioned, please do provide a universal, valid definition for life. It is artificial.
Tell me, what happens when something dies? When something transitions from "living" to "non-living", what changes? Also, I hope this is the last time I'll have to say it, that I never claimed anything about the purpose of life, never claimed it was pointless.

"It's not a theory that life is intrinsically and inherently different than nonliving matter, it is a scientific fact. Logically, even this concept of life that you base your argument from is special."
The first sentence carries no real weight in our debate, your job is to prove that sentence. And no, I don't think the concept is special, it's just a word we apply to things that we see as having reached a certain level of complexity. I'm trying to destroy the binary view of "everything is living or non-living".

At this point, it seems like you have to provide a universal, valid definition of life that fits our intuitive understanding of it. Once you start trying to think of one and fail, you will realize that the boundary between living and non-living is not so definite.
marctjester

Pro

"Just sounded like you were saying that which has individuality is living."
No, I was stating that every living thing has individuality from each other and, therefore, is special. Individuality doesn't separate the terms of living and nonliving but are applied to the two significantly and differently.

You keep saying that "The concept of life" is pointless when we all conceive differently of what life is to each one of us. There is no Single objective concept of life. There is yours, which is invalid; a misconception.

"You try to put a swift end to my case by providing a definition of life, however things are not so easy."
Actually, if you're looking for any objective facts to support or refute an argument between the differences of Life and the environment, it's pretty easy. It's pretty clear how things that are alive differ from things that aren't.

I recall you stating earlier, "I'm saying that life itself, those things that we call "alive" have nothing that inherently distinguish them from the "non-living" environment." This statement is ridiculous and I suspect you of trolling.

" By that, I mean that we aren't really helped by dividing everything into "living" and "non-living", and I think this boundary is artificial." Actually, you are when living things provide entirely different means of help than non-living things when it comes to human needs. If you're looking for companionship from a rock, for example, you're going to get drastically different results than that of a living thing; therefore, it is helpful to divide that which is living and nonliving. You argument amazes me.

"By these three points, we could consider a DNA-enzyme complex alive just by itself. I won't go into specifics, but there are quite a few enzymes that assist in the replication of DNA. As a result, this system would reproduce (DNA would be replicated), metabolism obviously occurs, and adaptation occurs as enzymes can "correct" errors in the copying of the DNA. If you'd like a source for all of this, I can provide one. My point is, by such a definition, the molecular machinery alone that is used to replicate DNA could be considered alive, which seems absurd."
I'm not sure why it would seem absurd to you. Anyways, your opinion on its absurdity is beside the point. There are significant distinguishments between that which is living and nonliving regardless. Whether it be to discover new forms of life on earth or elsewhere, which is helpful to discern the living from nonliving, to the degree and way of fulfillment derived from living versus nonliving; there are still major differences from that which is alive and that which is not. You could familiarize living and nonliving things given specific attributes, and be correct, but the word life is defined as it is, for a reason; and it is helpful.

"Let's look at another example, mules. They can adapt, they can most definitely metabolize, but they can't reproduce. So, are they not alive?"
Read again.
the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.

It's still being 'manifested' by means of reproduction. There are many living organisms that can't reproduce.
Besides that misinterpretation of the definition of life of why a mule isn't considered to be alive, please look at this thoroughly to know how wrong you are.
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

The problem is solved. There are objective definitions provided for Life and environment or nonliving, which is helpful in not only distinguishing between living and nonliving, which, by the way, makes for a pretty dumb argument, but also provides a foundation for scientific understanding or discoveries. When you try to prove yourself correct by providing your own unique version of "the concept of life", you are actually unknowingly providing an example supporting of how we living organisms, humans, are not only special, but also special in a much more different and distinguishing way than that of a rock or any nonliving organism.

Another textbook style definition. What about internal factors, inside the organism? Inside a multi-cellular organism's cells? Does the concentration of ions in the cytoplasm of a cell not affect and influence its function? Yes, it does. What's the point here? I'm not seeing it, given the arguments stated.

"Not artificial? Then as mentioned, please do provide a universal, valid definition for life. It is artificial."
No, it's not. Your above misinterpretation of the definition of life is is clearly recognized by "That which reproduces" rather than "that which is manifested by reproduction".

"Tell me, what happens when something dies? When something transitions from "living" to "non-living", what changes? "
It dies. It's dead. It has transitioned into the nonliving form of that which was living, man. This is ridiculous.

"Also, I hope this is the last time I'll have to say it, that I never claimed anything about the purpose of life, never claimed it was pointless."
In reference to the above quote, you did when you stated this:
" My opponent will be arguing that there is something special about life that makes it inherently different from the environment around it. I'll probably go as far as arguing that the concept of "life" is flawed and pointless.""
Your own concept of life differs from everyone else's and when you have presumed to deem your own as pointless, you are incorrect on the basis of it not being knowable or established as fact.

"The first sentence carries no real weight in our debate, your job is to prove that sentence."
I'm really unsure of how to prove it to You specifically when it's pretty rudimentary and obvious. Look above for reference, I suppose, but the fact that you're unable to find it self-explanatory surprises me.

"And no, I don't think the concept is special, it's just a word we apply to things that we see as having reached a certain level of complexity." The concept is different, i reiterate, and subjective; therefore, it is special. The objective definition of the word itself has a logical relation to which the word applies to. I'm dumbfounded.

"I'm trying to destroy the binary view of "everything is living or non-living"."
How can you when everything is, in fact, either living or nonliving?

"At this point, it seems like you have to provide a universal, valid definition of life that fits our intuitive understanding of it. Once you start trying to think of one and fail, you will realize that the boundary between living and non-living is not so definite."
Sorry, but you have clearly misinterpreted my definition of life in argument #2. You're the one who has yet to place a valid argument against it. Your mule and dna examples, do not disprove the obvious difference between the two words "living" and "nonliving" nor do they provide any intelligible explanation of why it is useful to distinguish both words as one; nor have, can, you prove that every living thing, due to its features, which are obviously special because of each living things experiences that all are different in some way, are not special. Even if an organism were to experience the same thing in the same way as another organism, due to the location and time that varies, it is still unique.

"Often, we assume that a familiar situation will be but a repeat performance of a similar situation we've experienced before. But, in the strictest sense, there are no repeat performances. Every situation is unique, and we must be alert to its uniqueness."
Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by TheRussian 1 month ago
TheRussian
I'm terribly sorry about that, I'll definitely post next Round.
Posted by marctjester 1 month ago
marctjester
It's not a belief that everything is special. Rather, it is an objective fact that is proved by the words of our cultures and their definitions and the applicability of these words to everything on earth. When your own subjective concept of life conflicts with the objective fact, despite the words already established and defined, it's incorrect to say that the words special and pointless have no relation to life, nonliving, environment, or your concept of life.
Posted by marctjester 1 month ago
marctjester
Plus, the uniqueness and the degree to which anything is special varies, substantially from nonliving to living, and with all things, in general.
Posted by marctjester 1 month ago
marctjester
Dreams are impertinent to this debate. Your stance is provided in argument #1. Dreams themselves are only relevant to Certain living organisms that even further distinguishes them from the nonliving; but it isn't the main reason as to why these two are different. Your argument is, that the concept of life, your philosophical concept that is individualistic, is flawed and pointless; which can now be considered as a misconception due to it being a presumption that can not be established as a valid conclusion. Uniqueness can be applied to everything, living and nonliving, and there are substantial differences in the words "living" and "nonliving" or the "environment". Whether it be limited to any small difference that inevitable is, everything is unique. That's not to say that life is a gift or a curse, or that it makes life generally more beautiful. This is fact.
Posted by TheRussian 1 month ago
TheRussian
I don't think they dream either, they're just less complex systems of matter, like you just said.
Posted by TheRussian 1 month ago
TheRussian
I don't think they dream either, they're just less complex systems of matter, like you just said.
Posted by canis 1 month ago
canis
They do not dream I think...They are just unique systems of interacting matter.
Posted by TheRussian 1 month ago
TheRussian
Dreams? What about bacteria, plants?
Posted by canis 1 month ago
canis
"Nothing inherently unique about life and living organisms. It's just a highly complex system of interacting matter."... Yes. That complex system of interacting matter produces dreams about itself and everything else...That is the unique thing about this system....
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