Instigator / Pro
2
1500
rating
12
debates
50.0%
won
Topic
#5209

# Water is wet

Status
Finished

The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
0
3
Better sources
0
2
Better legibility
1
1
Better conduct
1
0

After 1 vote and with 4 points ahead, the winner is...

ProfessorS17Jr
Tags
Parameters
Publication date
Last updated date
Type
Standard
Number of rounds
5
Time for argument
Three days
Max argument characters
10,000
Voting period
One week
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Open
Contender / Con
6
1510
rating
10
debates
65.0%
won
Description

Round 1
Pro
#1
I mentioned in the longer description that my own logic and reason has led me to the conclusion that water is wet. So, you're probably wondering what said logic and reason is.

1. Wet and dry are opposites. If this is true, then water can either be wet, or dry, because there are only two possible states, because they are opposites. This means that if we can know that water cannot be one state, then it must automatically be the other. And do you think water is dry? If you answer yes, I genuinely would like to know how on earth can water be dry. And if you answer no, then you're probably going to follow it up with the proposal of a new state that is neither wet nor dry. This is commonly something that I see amongst people who believe that water is not wet. But where's the evidence for this? Are there any papers on it? Are there any articles on it? Is there a definition for it? The answer to all of these questions, is no.

2. Something I also mentioned in the long description is that not even the official definitions are good enough. How can this be the case? The official definitions are designed to provide a concrete standard for how a word should be interpreted, even under scrutiny. But what if I told you that two of the most credible sources actually have contradicting definitions for the word wet? Here is the definition that you will find when you first search it up, which will be by The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition:

Covered or soaked with a liquid, such as water.

Now here is the definition by the Mariam Webster Dictionary:

consisting of, containing, covered with, or soaked with liquid (such as water).

You might not have caught that, but it all boils down to two words that are included in one, and not included in the other: consisting of. Water is not covered or soaked in water, water is not containing water, water is not covered with water, but it is consisting of water, because it is water. Thus, the defining characteristic here is the term "consisting of," in which the first definition does not include it, suggesting that water is not wet, but the other definition does include it, suggesting that water is wet.

So clearly, not even the definition of wet can save us here. But I know something that can. Instead of looking at the definition of wet, let's look at the definition of dry:

Free of liquid or moisture. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition)
Free or relatively free from a liquid and especially water. (Mariam Webster Dictionary)

These two definitions do not contradict each other. They are both saying that to be dry is to be free of any kind of liquid or moisture. But note here that the definition by the Mariam Webster Dictionary does not include the word "moisture" as apart of its list, which suggests that according to the Mariam Webster Dictionary, water vapor is not wet, but according to the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition, water vapor is wet. But right now, we're talking about liquid water. And clearly, it is stating that in order to be dry, it must be free of liquid, such as water. And water is not free of water. It is water, so it cannot be free of itself. This is the only set of definitions that do not contradict each other, and therefore are the most credible standard to go by.

And, the definitions of dry suggest, even more than already known, that wet and dry are opposites, and so something can either be one or the other, not some secret third option. Something can either be free of liquid/moisture, or not free of liquid/moisture. Thus, something can either be dry, or wet.
Con
#2
Forfeited
Round 2
Pro
#3
As my opponent has forfeited, I don't have anything more to say, as I do not have anything to say in response.
Con
#4
I would like to apologize to my opponent for forfeiting the last round. I ran out of time due to unforeseen circumstances. Considering how much this topic is debated on the internet, it's going to be interesting arguing for water not being wet. But here goes.

Wet and dry are opposites. If this is true, then water can either be wet, or dry, because there are only two possible states, because they are opposites.
This is more of a genuine question than a rebuttal, but if these two states are polar opposites, then by definition, shouldn't wet mean completely filled, covered, or soaked by liquid?  Since the definition of dry is one extreme, then wet should be the other extreme, right? The definitions given for wet, while contradicting, don't specify if wet means to be partially, mostly or fully covered, consisting of, or soaked by liquid.

Additionally, as Pro has explained, there are various definitions for the word “wet”, with some contradicting the other. If we try to define wetness purely by semantics, then it will be difficult getting a clear picture. However, since water is a chemical compound, we can define wetness using science.

According to Dr. Emma Graves from BBC Sciencefocus,  scientists define wetness as “a liquid’s ability to stick to a surface.” Based on this definition alone, water would only be wet when touching a solid surface, not by itself. This is supported by the idea that a state of wetness is determined by the balance between cohesive and adhesive forces of the water. As explained by the UCSB ScienceLine, cohesive forces attract molecules within a liquid to each other, resulting in surface tension, or the tendency for liquids to shrink into smaller areas. In contrast, adhesive forces attract the molecules between a liquid and a solid, which makes a liquid more likely to spread. If cohesive forces are stronger than adhesive ones, then the liquid shrinks into a small drop and falls off. This would make it dry. On the other hand, if adhesive forces are stronger, then a liquid spreads across the surface, making it more likely to stick and thus, making it wet.

Now, if we think about how this relates to water, water would not be wet by itself. This is because water, which is composed of hydrogen and oxygen, undergoes hydrogen bonding. Hydrogen bonding is essentially the process that allows for hydrogen to bond with oxygen. According to Mihai Andrei from ZME Science, this process affects water’s properties, such as boiling and surface tension, by increasing the cohesive forces within the liquid. This makes surface tension more likely to happen and thus, water more likely to dry. Because of this process, water is not so great at “wetting” objects as other liquids are.

In conclusion, water is not wet because it lacks the ability to stick to a surface as a result of its strong cohesive processes.

Sources used:

Round 3
Pro
#5

There is a difference between being able to switch between two different states, and having a new state entirely. Being able to switch from wet to dry and possibly be in some kind of in between state doesn't mean there is a third state. This still means that wet and dry are opposites.

Certainly, the scientific definition for wet should be favorable. It's just that the regular definitions that you find by the The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition and the Mariam Webster Dictionary are supposed to also be favorable. Of course, if someone looked up the definition of wet and read, "For the adhesive forces between water molecules and a solid surface to be greater than the cohesive forces between water molecules," they'd probably be really confused if they didn't know chemistry. But I still think it should be there.

What it really boils down to is what definition you view to be the most authoritative, because different definitions will give you different answers.

And, if you use your own logic, like I originally did, you might just conclude that water is actually wet, because water can't be dry. It seems very strange to me the idea that water could be dry. Thus, I can only conclude that water is wet.

My question for you is, which definition do you find the most authoritative?
Con
#6
Forfeited
Round 4
Pro
#7
I do not have much to add to this debate, as my opponent has once again forfeited, but I do want to add one more thing:

If you make a scientific definition for wet, I would also like to see the scientific definition for dry, and it should line up with the scientific definition of wet, because it suggests that water can sometimes be dry.
Con
#8
Forfeited
Round 5
Pro
#9
Forfeited
Con
#10
Forfeited