The Instigator
WilliamsP
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
GaryBacon
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Superman's powers and abilities are scientifically possible.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
GaryBacon
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/1/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,183 times Debate No: 48166
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

WilliamsP

Pro

Even with powers such as flight, heat vision, and super speed, I am convinced that the powers and abilities of Superman are scientifically possible.

I would now like to implement a few crucial rules:

1. Each argument must contain sources and they must be correctly cited.
2. Each argument must be sophisticated and complex.
3. Proper conduct and behavior is expected.
4. Proper spelling and grammar will be used.

I look forward to debating this topic with anyone that disagrees with my view.
GaryBacon

Con

Contrary to your belief, Superman's powers are not scientifically possible.


Flight:

The science of flight is known as aerodynamics. There are four forces that govern flight-- lift, weight, thrust, and drag. [1]

Lift is the force that allows birds, insects, bats, and planes to take to the air. It is governed by the air flowing over wings. [2]

Unfortunately for Superman, he had no wings. The basic principles of aerodynamics dictate that Superman would be incapable of unaided flight with his anthropomorphic form.

To this, you may point out that flight does sometimes exist without wings (e.g. hot air balloons). But a close examination of the science will show that this phenomenon also cannot be used to explain Superman's ability to fly. Buoyancy is the scientific principle at work here, and it involves the difference between the density of the floating object and the density of the medium. [3]

In Superman's case, it would be impossible for him to have a lighter density than that of the Earth's atmosphere (which is primarily composed of nitrogen).

Simply put, the two scientific principles that can be used to explain flight in the Earth's atmosphere cannot be used to explain Superman's flight. Superman's ability to fly is scientifically impossible.


Heat vision:

Some creatures have evolved that are able to create their own light [4]. But bioluminescence cannot possibly explain Superman's heat vision. I know of no animals that emit light from their eyes. Furthermore, even if a bioluminescent eye did evolve, the eye is far too delicate to have that light be emitted as an intense heat beam [5]. Such an ability would most certainly cause irreparable damage to the eye as soon as it is used.

Due to the science of vision, the eye must be delicate enough to allow enough light through for proper vision. It cannot simultaneously be made strong enough to withstand an intense beam of heat. The same organ cannot be used for both functions. If heat emission were possible and did evolve, it would not be emitted from the eyes. The very nature of the eye's places a limit on their strength, and that limit is certainly too low to withstand Superman's heat beam shooting out of them.

Super speed:

Superman's super speed on his two legs would not be possible. Looking at the list of the fastest animals [6], it is clear that really fast speeds are produced by quadrupeds. Although there are a few humans that can run at very fast speeds, even in these cases such speeds can only be maintained for a short period of time.

Furthermore, a detailed study on the speeds of various mammals concludes that the top possible speed for a human is 40 mph [7]. This speed does not qualify as super speed. Furthermore, no one has ever been recorded even going 30 mph [8]. The fastest recorded human footspeed is slightly less than 28 mph. The theoretical limit is 40 mph. From this, it must be concluded that Superman's super speed is scientifically impossible.

Looking at the science behind Superman's powers and abilities, it becomes pretty clear that Superman's powers and abilities are not scientifically possible.


[1]
http://web.mit.edu...


[2]
http://en.wikipedia.org...(force)


[3]
http://en.wikipedia.org...


[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...


[5] http://www.hometrainingtools.com...


[6]
http://www.petsdo.com...



[7] http://www.biology.ucr.edu...


[8] http://en.wikipedia.org...





Debate Round No. 1
WilliamsP

Pro

Although some of your point are valid, I must say your view is incorrect.

Superman is an alien from the planet Krypton. Now, according to Earth science, there will be some issues regarding the possibility of these powers, but I must point out that aliens will have different technology, different DNA, and different abilities. As you know, Superman gains his powers from our yellow Sun. Superman utilizes the power of the Sun and this energy powers Superman's abilities. I do not need to cite my sources to prove this. This should be logical. Superman is an alien with powers no ordinary human can comprehen. I do not wish to brag, but I must say, I am not ordinary.

Unfortunately, I had to rush this argument. I do not have much time and I have more important matters to take care of, such as homework, writing my novel, and spending time with my family. Please give me an opportunity to write a detailed argument in my next round. I assure you, it will be sophisticated.
GaryBacon

Con

You state: "Superman is an alien from the planet Krypton. Now, according to Earth science, there will be some issues regarding the possibility of these powers, but I must point out that aliens will have different technology, different DNA, and different abilities. "

Unfortunately for Superman, the laws of physics are universal. You mention "Earth science" as if the laws of physics differ from planet to planet. This is most certainly not the case.

It is true that aliens may have different technology, different DNA, and different abilities. But it is NOT true that these abilities would include the ability to defy the laws of physics. Furthermore, Superman's abilities have absolutely nothing to do with technology. So your point about aliens having different technology is a moot one.

Superman would have different DNA, and he would have different abilities. But no one can argue the point that his form is anthropomorphic. Regardless of origin, something in the shape of a human (other than a human-shaped balloon) cannot fly. Superman is not a helium-filled balloon. Therefore, the laws of aerodynamics and buoyancy are enough to state that Superman's ability to fly is scientifically impossible. There is no possible DNA sequence that would allow for an anthropomorphic entity to fly, alien or not. Defying the laws of physics is not an alien ability-- it is an impossibility!

To add to this, Superman does fly on the planet Earth. This means that even if the planet Krypton contained different laws of physics (which it would not), the laws of physics here would still be applicable. Superman's ability to fly is a clear defiance of the laws of physics and is scientifically impossible.

As far as Superman's heat vision is concerned, we need to understand how the eye functions. The light is focused through the cornea, which must be transparent to allow light through. Behind the cornea is the iris, containing the pupil which adjusts in size to allow for a greater or smaller amount of light to pass through. Between the cornea and iris is the aqueous humor (clear fluid in between). Behind the pupil is the crystalline lens (also transparent). [1]

There are many more components of the eye that I will not describe. But the main point is that vision requires light. In order for light to be received, the structures of the eye must be transparent! Alien origins and completely different DNA cannot change the laws of optics.


Any structure thick enough or strong enough to withstand Superman's heat vision must be opaque! Superman may be an alien from another planet, but regardless of his origins, anything that is thin enough to allow for vision would be too thin to withstand Superman's heat vision. What it comes down to is something has got to give. Either an alien that can shoot heat beams would not be able to use the same organ for sight, or the organs used for sight cannot shoot intense heat beams. Even something that is transparent would eventually become translucent, and finally opaque as more and more layers are added to make it strong enough for a heat beam.

Regarding Superman's super speed, I pointed out that the animals designed for fast speeds are all quadrupeds. Superman's body is in the shape of a human. Such a form is simply not designed for super speed. As far as this ability goes, I will grant that alien origins could account for initial super speed. An alien from a massive planet (e.g. Jupiter) would have to develop muscles and functions to cope with the extremely large gravitational force. When taken from one planet and placed on another much lighter planet, the evolutionary advancements would allow for a faster running speed and a higher jumping height.

However, these abilities would diminish rather quickly over time. As can be shown by the astronauts, when the muscles are no longer being used to combat gravity, they naturally weaken. [2] In Superman's case, if Krypton was a massive planet, his muscles would initially be stronger. But as a living organism, he too would be subject to biological processes. So without fighting a large gravitational force on a daily basis, Superman would lose his super speed fairly quickly. In fact, this would have probably been almost completely diminished by the time he arrived on Earth, considering the long journey.

In summary, Superman's abilities defy the laws of science. Alien origins and alien DNA cannot change physical law.


[1] http://www.livescience.com...


[2] http://www.nasa.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
WilliamsP

Pro

I do not need to make further arguments. Deep down in my heart, I believe his powers are possible, but I must acknowledge the facts. Therefore, in this paricular debate, I concede. Voters, please vote for my opponent. His arguments are excellent and they cannot be denied. Even though I would love to make additional points, I will not. Debate.org is not very important. What is important for me, however, is homework, family time, etc. Therefore, I am the loser in this debate and my opponent is the victor.
GaryBacon

Con

Thank you for your concession. I wish you luck with your novel.
Debate Round No. 3
GaryBacon

Con

I am typing a random sentence to maintain my streak of never forfeiting a round.
Debate Round No. 4
WilliamsP

Pro

Voters, vote for my opponent. I will lose this debate most certainly.
GaryBacon

Con

Thank you
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by WilliamsP 2 years ago
WilliamsP
You can accept the debate. You would simply have to cite your sources.
Posted by acrion 2 years ago
acrion
I would like to debate this however i do not have the knowledge to support my claims so im just going to watch this one
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 2 years ago
Krazzy_Player
WilliamsPGaryBaconTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
WilliamsPGaryBaconTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession so voting as requested. Additionally, Con had great arguments and sources as well. I am calling a tie on conduct as Pro conceded and didn't forfeit very noble.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
WilliamsPGaryBaconTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession. Science is repeatable experiments, if we cannot get the flight to happen even once we cannot scientifically measure it (future science may be another matter, but such would be irrelevant). Oh pro you may want to look up the Universal Theory of Superman, your case would have been greatly strengthened by citing it.