The Instigator
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The Contender
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There is not actually 7 continents.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/24/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,207 times Debate No: 24846
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
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We may all know that there are seven continents, but what we know in this area is generally just what we have been told. The conventional continents that we know are:
North America
South America

If we look at a political world map, these continents are clearly labelled with continental borders etc. However, if we take a closer look without taking into account political borders, we start to notice that a lot of these are actually joined by land and the only borders that actually separate them are the political ones. If we were to use a definition such as ‘a continent is a large landmass', we could presume that there are only 4 continents, as North and South America are joined by a thin strip of land; and that Asia, Europe, and Africa are also joined by land.
This is not what I want to argue, though. I wish to argue that there are 6 continents. It could be easily argued that a continent is a large, clearly defined landmass, which means that when we look at a world map, North America can be defined as a different landmass to South America due to it being joined by only a thin strip of land, which is actually technically divided by the Panama Canal. The same thing can also be said about Africa and Asia, as they are also only joined by a small piece of land, which is also cut through by the Suez Canal. This leaves the Europe and Asia problem. Looking at the world map, Europe could be called a peninsula of Asia, as there are vast stretches of land joining them, and they are clearly part of the same landmass.



My opponent claims there are six continents.

He bases this off of this statement of his, "It could be easily argued that a continent is a large, clearly defined landmass"

Throughout this debate I will demonstrate that if this were accepted as the standard it would bring about too much inconsistency, grey-area, and confusion. Thus is not an acceptable paradigm of continental divide.

Under this standard the U.K. would not be a part of the continent of Euro-Asia, as it apart from the "large, clearly defined divide."

Especially since under the standard of my own opponent the Isthmus of Panama makes a "clearly defined" separation between North and South America, then clearly the English Channel does so also. Therein under his own paradigm, just using one example of the U.K., we are already back to 7 continents. But there are more examples that illustrate inconsistency in the same manner such as Greenland.
Physical justifications of continents causes to many dilemmas.

Even if you broke it down in plate tectonics, you would have awkward placement such as the Middle East would become it's own continent.

Thus the best and simplest way to justify continent is by the way it is today, through a combination of politics and geography. As it becomes possible through this combination that your able to make divides based off of common sense. When physical elements dictate the divides exclusively, the formations of continents become complicated and confusing and greatly inconsistent.

This is Round 1 so I'll keep this at a preamble of sorts and hand it over back to Pro:

Debate Round No. 1


I can clearly see the point being presented by the con; however, I do feel that the information presented is fragmented and, at times is even counter-intuitive. This, conversely, is not what I am here to debate though, so I shall continue with my point.

It should be clear that my argument is strong and when you stated that my paradigm of continental definition would create many gray areas and confusion. Not to mention inconsistency; you have also not taken into account political diplomacy, which I am sure would create much more confusion.

Using physical barriers as a means of separating continents and using one broad banner when defining what is and is not a continent is what I see as the simplest way of defining continental barriers.

You say that the U.K. would not be part of Euro-Asia under my definition, and right so: it is unmistakably seen that it is not. You then go on to say that according to my logic, the Isthmus of Panama is a clearly defined barrier, which it is. This does not, however, allow for you to jump to the conclusion that because of this, that the U.K. is a new continent. This is where your argument is counter-intuitive. As my definition clearly states, to be a continent, it has to be a great landmass, and considering the U.K. is not a large enough landmass, it cannot therefore be counted as a continent.

What I must also include is that I am not basing the definition on plate tectonics. It is that the Middle East would be part of Euro-Asia since, even though it may be on a different tectonic plate, it is still joined to the rest of Euro-Asia by a considerable amount of land.

To keep this argument to land surface, we should not go into the semantics of plate tectonics and continental drift in this debate, as it is unnecessary.

We should also not include Greenland as a continent as it has a considerably lower land area than Australia.

If we simply based the definition of a continent on the fact that it is a great landmass with an area of over 7, 000, 000 square kilometres, we then have six continents. Even though Europe has 10, 000, 000 square kilometres of land, it has a direct and large connection to Asia, making it part of the greater Eurasian continent.

Once again, the only thing separating these two political continents is culture and a ridiculous governmental boundary. Now, you may say 'but there are rivers and mountains that could be separating it'. If you do, think about Australia, does that mean that it is two continents because of the great dividing range? Of course, this is not correct.

I shall not pass the debate back to the Con:


jwesbruce forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I stand by my previous argument and wait for the con to rebut it.


jwesbruce forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


As the debate draws to a close, I do hope that the con can complete their argument against me to sum up their points of view.


Sorry about that. Little busy with summer things.

My timeline is at 32 minutes right now, so I will try to conclude this concisely.

1. The Urin Range of mountains, the vast rivers, the Caspian Sea, and the dramatic change in culture safely and soundly justifies the splitting of the continents: Asia and Europe.

--No this is not like splitting Australia. Same culture, no geological divide, and it would be too small (which is a criteria of yours, yes?)

2. Therefore for these reasons it is not a common discussion between people on whether Europe should assimilate into the same. What this shows is that people just inherently understand why. They are vastly different lands.

3. Take Central America and then South America, for example. My opponent states these are clearly two different continents (N. and S. America) because of the clear divide they have at the Panama Canal, which is very minute, un-observable divide. These bordering countries have very little of a difference culturally (relevantly.) Naturally speaking, they have no geological divide, whatsoever. And the same exact thing goes for East Africa and the Middle East.

4. This leads one to a reasonable conclusion that the only three continents that are naturally and culturally justified are -- Europe, Australia, Antarctica

5. Thus, tomorrow, when I wake up 2 p.m. I will know in the back of mind, quite confidently, that there are seven continents.


Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by jwesbruce 5 years ago
haha makes more sense
Posted by revilo99 5 years ago
The end of my post in round 2 is a typo and is meant to be now, not 'not'.
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