The Instigator
Theunkown
Pro (for)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
TrustmeImlying
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Planet Earth has 6 continents.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
TrustmeImlying
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/30/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,941 times Debate No: 62454
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (14)
Votes (5)

 

Theunkown

Pro

BoP is on me to show that planet Earth has six continents.

There shall be no strict defenition on the word continent since this is likely to be what determines the number of continents in the world and the defenition is likely to be primary issue that will be addressed and debated.


Rules

Con must either leave the First Round or Last round Blank so as to keep the number of rounds equal.

Con must say the number of continents that planet earth has and must argue that number only. For example, Con cannot argue that there are 3 continents but then later argue for a 7 continent world. The same rule applies to Pro. I can only argue that the Earth has six continents.

Failiure to adhere to these rules will lead to forfeiture of debate.
TrustmeImlying

Con

Hello!

Thank you for posting this interesting debate, I'd like to claim that there are exactly 4 continents on planet Earth.

As agreed, I will not post my argument in round 1 to be fair and look forward to your argument.

PRO now has the floor, who claims there are a whopping 7 continents on our pale blue dot.

Thanks and good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Theunkown

Pro

Con accidentally said that I am arguing about 7 continents rather than 6 (read comments for clarification). I want to make it very clear that I am arguing that the Earth has exactly 6 continents.

The 6 continents are listed below:
1) Antartica
2) Australia
3) North America
4) South America
5) Africa
6) Eurasia

The reason why I have merged Europe and Asia together into one continent is because Europe and Asia have a land conection and therefore are part of the same landmass.
My defenition of Continent is - A large area of land (landmass). It is a pretty reasonable defenition to work with.
Since Europe and Asia have a land connection (A huge one I must say), they must be part of the same landmass i.e. Eurasia.

The other 5 continents share no land connection with any other continent and therefore cannot be merged with another (Africa is seperated from Eurasia due to the Suez Canal and the Americas are seperated by the Panama canal).

With that, I hand the debate to Con.
TrustmeImlying

Con

Thank you PRO,

Defined conventionally continents are understood to be large, continuous, discrete masses of land, ideally separated by expanses of water.

With this in mind, let's begin our breakdown

1. The Americas

North and South America are connected by the Isthmus of Darien, those reading more likely recognize this strip of land as the Isthmus of Panama. This strip of land connects both North and South America, and by definition, make them a single continent.

2. Australia

The island is typically considered by all to be it's own continent. The 2,900,000 square mile landmass filled with everything everything deadly.

3. Greenland

Greenland is the largest, non continental island on the planet and nearly a third the size of Australia at 822,000 square miles.

http://islands.unep.ch...

It is certainly a large landmass, and as an island, separated by water the same way Australia is.

4. Afro Eurasia

The monster continent of Afro Eurasia. Europe and Asia are most obviously connected, with the Ural Mountains serving as a natural boundary between the two. Regardless, they are a single continent by a VERY large connection of land.

Africa is connected to Asia via the Isthmus of Suez, a 75 mile wide strip of land lying between the Mediterranean and Red Sea located in the country of Egypt.

http://www.britannica.com...

5.Antarctica

This is in no way an attack on PRO's position in my opening round, but I imagine many might be wondering why I didn't include Antarctica:

Although many consider Antarctica to be a continent, under all the ice, it's actually an archipelago.

http://drjah.files.wordpress.com...

We don't consider the Philippines or Indonesia as a continent, so it seems silly to consider Antarctica a continent due to a layer of ice. After all, we wouldn't consider an island of ice in the Arctic Rim a continent, or even a landmass!

With all this in mind, we should consider the Americas, Greenland, Australia, and Afro Eurasia continents. Making a total of 4.

Thanks for reading, and I give the floor back to PRO.
Debate Round No. 2
Theunkown

Pro

Greenland:

Greenland has an area of 2,128,970.23 sq km (rounded to 2 million square kilometers). Interestingly Con said that "Greenland is the largest, non continental island on the planet". In doing so, con has said that Greenland is not a continent.
But I assume con meant to say that in the context of a 7 continent view of the world and basically argues that Greenland is large enough to be a continent, so do not read that argument as a concession on the part of con.


Antartica:

Seeing the picture of the so called 'Antartic archipelago' that con provided, it can be seen that the largest landmass is about 1/2 the size of what we call today as antartica, lets even say 1/3 for the most conservative lowest estimate.

What we call Antartica today is about 14 million square kilometers[1]
The largest landmass is about 1/3 the size of antartica meaning that this 'island' is about 4.6666 million square kilometers at its lowest estimate.
This means that this landmass is MORE than twice as big as greenland and MORE than 1/2 the size of Australia.

Therefore Antartica remains a continent (albeit it is much smaller), whereas greenland does not necessarily have to be a continent since Antartica is more than twice as big as greenland.


Americas and Afro Eurasia:

I do not understand how North and South America are conected, same with Eurasia and Africa.
There are the Panama and Suez canals that seperate these continents, if a land bridge existed then how could these 2 canals send large container ships through them? The answer is that there is no land bridge[2][3], which enables the ships to go through (international trade greatly impacted by this).

If there is no land bridge, then they are not part of the same continent.
Which brings us back to my 6 continent view of the world. Over to con.


Sources:(check my 2nd and 3rd sources if you really want to find a land bridge across the canals)

[1] http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com...
[2] http://www.worldatlas.com...
[3] http://4.bp.blogspot.com...
TrustmeImlying

Con

The Suez and Panama Canals

PRO suggests that because there are small man-made canals in Panama and Egypt, technically the continents in question are divided. I subscribe to the most conventional understanding that man-made diversions and canals are generally not accepted on their own accord as continent-defining boundaries. The Isthmus' of Panama and Suez should not be discounted due to the man-made canals that reside within them.

I offered the most common definition of continents as "large, continuous, distinct masses of land, ideally separated by expanses of water"

A small canal or river would not merit the descriptive "expanse" like oceans and seas do and the landmasses of America and Afro-Eurasia have no noticeable distinction of separation from these canals other than sheer technicality.

And by conventional standards, this still wouldn't apply, being discounted for being man-made.

If we ARE forced to operate by sheer technicality and shallow, narrow, canals apply to PRO's division of continents, than so must shallow, narrow rivers. A single river specifically.

The Parting of the Waters

http://www.nature.nps.gov...

The "Parting of Waters" runs from the Pacific and Atlantic and separates the north western and southeastern United States. If we are to follow the same principle PRO applies to canals, this river MUST divide PRO's North American continent into two parts, making his world seven continents large as opposed to six.

I would not count this little known river, nor would I count the canals as divisive. This river creates no discernible separation of the United States, and even by the most liberal description would not be considered "expansive" as we would consider the oceans or seas.

Under PRO's line of thinking, the US must be divided in two by this body of water, creating an extra North
American continent, leaving 7 total.

Greenland and Iceland

As I am operating by size and separation alone, I must reconsider Eastern Antarctica as a continent, and demote Greenland back to the largest non-continental island on Earth. I have not violated the conditions of the debate, as I still maintain only 4 continents exist:

The Americas, Afro-Eurasia, Australia, and Antarctica (amended)

And I wish to continue. While under most circumstances this shift wouldn't be appropriate, the malleability of our definitions of islands, continents, and boundaries of each allow for it, as well as a final round to counter this concept fairly.

Thanks for reading, and I now give the floor back to PRO.
Debate Round No. 3
Theunkown

Pro

Before we get started on anything else, Con's change of his stance must be addressed.

Con has conceded that Greenland is not a continent whilst Antartica is. While this does not violate the rule I have set (as con pointed out) since he still argues for a 4 continent world, readers should keep in mind that this concession still undermines con's credibility. Just something I wanted to put out there.


Panama and Suez Canals

Now Con's arguments for his 4 continent world lay on the premise that the Panama and Suez canals must not be counted as a water border since they are too small to be considered continental borders:

A small canal or river would not merit the descriptive "expanse" like oceans and seas do and the landmasses of America and Afro-Eurasia have no noticeable distinction of separation from these canals other than sheer technicality.

Well I could turn the argument around and say that if the panama and suez canals were land and not water, then I could say that the land connection is too small to be considered a land connection (which would mean that my 6 continent world is correct), therefore we must consider this argument invalid.

Con defines continent as: "large, continuous, distinct masses of land, ideally separated by expanses of water"

I take issue with the world ideally, this means that ideally large water expanses are needed. But we do not live in an ideal world, not everthing necessarily is ideal. Therefore a water body (even if small) is possible in this non ideal world.

Therefore the Panama and Suez canal do seperate Africa from Eurasia and the Americas into north and south.


Parting of waters

Con argues that there is a conection between the pacific and atlantic oceans in the Eastern united states which means that North America is split into 2.

I would like to congratulate Con for bringing this up, I never knew about this.
But there are land bridges (natural land bridges with soil, not concrete bridges or anything) which connect both sides, therefore North America remains one continent.[1]


Besides, a tiny creek is nothing like the Panama and Suez canals. There is soil literally a few centimeters if not milimeters below the water level (less than an inch).


Conclusion

Panama and Suez canals must be considered dividers since they are as big as the would be land connection between North/South America and Africa/Eurasia.

A creek that is less than a centimeter (0.01meter) deep is uncomparable to the panama and suez canals which are 12.5 meters[2] and 24 meters [3]respectively. Also, there are land bridges[1].

Therefore, under reasonable defenitions of the word continent, there are 6 on this planet - North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa, Australia and Antartica.



Sources:
[1] http://lh3.ggpht.com...;
[2] http://www.infoplease.com...
[3] http://www.eoearth.org...


Over to Con to make his conclusions (reminder that no new arguments are allowed), its been a great debate and thank con for taking part in it.
TrustmeImlying

Con

Hello everyone, thanks for reading this far!

To refer back to the most conventional understanding of how we define continental boundaries:

man-made diversions and canals are generally not accepted on their own accord as continent-defining boundaries.

PRO himself applies this line of thinking himself when stating:

"But there are land bridges (natural land bridges with soil, not concrete bridges or anything) which connect both sides, therefore North America remains one continent."

This statement implies that man-made bridges shouldn't count, yet PRO suggests that man-made canals should.

This line of thinking also suggests that if I drove a truck down to the Panama canal and dumped a few hundred pounds of dirt at it's shallowest, we would become a single continent.

Pro states:
"...if the panama and suez canals were land and not water, then I could say that the land connection is too small to be considered a land connection."

To which I would agree. This would mean that the Isthmus of Panama and Suez (which are 61 and 75 kilometers wide at their narrowest) would be water, and the canals which are only meters wide at their widest would be land.

PRO also states:

"Therefore a water body (even if small) is possible in this non ideal world."

However, wishes to discount the Parting of Waters on the basis of being too small.

In Conclusion

If the most common standards apply, man-made canals wouldn't be considered in continental boundaries. Giving us 4 continents.

If PRO's standards apply, than ANY divide of land, man-made or no, regardless of how deep, should be considered a legitimate divide. Giving us 7 continents.

I thank PRO for this debate, and thank everyone for reading!
Debate Round No. 4
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TrustmeImlying 2 years ago
TrustmeImlying
Atheist-Independent:

That's true, for the most part. But would we consider the Pacific plate a continent? It's considered one of the main seven but holds almost no land.

What about the Arabian or Indian plates? They cover large landmasses after all. If we discount these and bundle them in with larger plates, now we've become arbitrary, and who's to say what plates should remain and which should be consolidated?
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
RFD Part 2:
The parting of waters is probably the crux of the debate and also I believe where there needed to be stronger definitions. Con says the Canals don't count as the are man made, while Pro points out they are huge and adequete to divide the continent.Then a kicker comes, and this is what I believe was a misrepresentation by Con. Pro said "Well I could turn the argument around and say that if the panama and suez canals were land and not water, then I could say that the land connection is too small to be considered a land connection (which would mean that my 6 continent world is correct), therefore we must consider this argument invalid.". COn agreed with this but took it to mean the Canal is land and the rest land connection is water. This is not what pro meant as I am sure COn sees on re-reading. A such Con asserts Pros 6 continent model by agreeing.

This parting of waters argument as such swing the arguments in Pros favor. As such I award these points to Pro, but I should note this win was closer than it should have been.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
RFD Part 1:
Initially I thought this would be an easy debate to vote on. However, both debaters made errors and as such I have to carefully comb what has been presented to determine if their is a winner.

Pro presents the well known 6 continent hypothesis, while Con presents an interesting 4 continent hypothesis. Now while both hold merit, they also rely on some assumptions working for them or against them. In Cons case we need to ignore the Suez and Panama canals. While in Pros case we need to consider the Suez and Panama canals.

The one fatal error in my opinion that does hurt Con is the flip from accepting Greenland as a continent to then changing this to Antarctica after Pro has shown the logic is flawed. While this is within the rules of the debate, i.e. the number of continents stays the same it seems like playing the illegal trump card. What would have been interesting is if Pro actually argued this point more. As surely Con was playing loose with definitions set to define their continents, and has to accept Pros definition to effectively to make an argument? Surely then Pro should win? But we can ignore this, as the more important argument which follows determines the debate in my understanding.
Posted by Theunkown 2 years ago
Theunkown
I should have made burden of proof shared.....
Posted by Atheist-Independent 2 years ago
Atheist-Independent
There is a different. Continental plates are for land masses, or continents. Oceanic plates, on the other hand, are obviously not continents because they don't have continental plates.
Posted by TrustmeImlying 2 years ago
TrustmeImlying
Yeah... taking plates into consideration is just as arbitrary as landmasses, which plates count and which don't? There's more than a dozen.
Posted by Theunkown 2 years ago
Theunkown
If tectonics define continents then just look up how many tectonic plates are there, Nazca plate wtf is that?!
Posted by Atheist-Independent 2 years ago
Atheist-Independent
Continents are defined by tectonic plates, not the land itself. That is why Eurasia is a continent and not Europe and Asia.
Posted by TrustmeImlying 2 years ago
TrustmeImlying
Oh, how I wish I had measured the Eastern Antarctic island! Maps can be really deceiving with size, you know?
Posted by Theunkown 2 years ago
Theunkown
haha thats ok
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
TheunkownTrustmeImlyingTied
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro wins sources, because he leads the source count 6-4. Arguments to Con, just barely, due to Pro stating taking land divides, whether man-made or naturual to be serious and as Con pointed out that would give you 7 continents meaning that Pro's own argument is counterintuitive.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
TheunkownTrustmeImlyingTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
TheunkownTrustmeImlyingTied
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Reasons for voting decision: pro spent too much time rebutting con, and focusing on greenland/anarctica argument before jumping to the canal argument. Even if he did provide sufficient doubt in con's arguments, which he didn't, he still failed to show Earth's 6 continents.
Vote Placed by Domr 2 years ago
Domr
TheunkownTrustmeImlyingTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Very back and forth debate. Pro did not give enough information to back 6 continents (instead of standard 7) Pro spent most of the later rounds solely refuting Con
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
TheunkownTrustmeImlyingTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Would've voted pro if he'd just left out one of the seven, but he united two. The resolution is negated because of him being disingenuous