Meaningless Arguments: What is Food? #2

Debate #1, Part II

Image credit: bsufn.com.
Image credit: bsufn.com.

Welcome back to “Meaningless Arguments,” a series in which Thomas Stone (‘19) and I debate incredibly arbitrary topics with the vigor of philosophers, yet with the purpose of our own amusement.

Formatting

I will be typing in gold, and Thomas will be typing in red.

⍚: This symbol is used when somebody wishes to interrupt another while the other is making a statement.

Continuation: What is Food?

Our current subject is “what is food?”

Debate #1 saw a victory go to Thomas with a score of 5-4. Because of this, we will be refining Thomas’ definition in this part.

Thomas’ Definition

  • Food must be complex. (See Debate #1.)
  • It should have a variant of C6H12O6.
  • It should have nutrition.
  • It should be at least semi-solid.

To avoid any unintentional meaningfulness, any statements regarding intrinsic purpose will be ignored.

Additionally, immediately after finishing the first debate, Thomas made the following remark:

Thomas: I just realized a problem with my definition. What about shakes, are they solid, or how about smoothies? Where does one draw the line between drink and food?

Adam: Can you answer that?

T: I do not think so. One does not treat a protein shake as food, but an ice cream smoothie? Our perception completely changes.

A: I believe I have a relatively decent solution: food cannot be consumed via a straw. Whether the⍚

T: Yes but I think to call a smoothie a drink is⍚

A: Just because something is not food does not mean that it is a drink. We must not assume that e⍚

T: But then, what are smoothies?

A: They needn’t be classified as either food or drink. However, since they are consumed using a straw (traditionally), I believe that they can safely be considered drink. One might drink a smoothie to quench one’s thirst, no?

T: I suppose, but to call them a drink (without any breaking out into any tangents, cosines, or sines) is an abuse of the word “drink”; you claim you drink it to restore thirst, but I say that is not the primary functio⍚

A: Certainly. That wasn’t even a particularly relevant argument point. If this line of argument is to go any further, we will need to define “drink.”

T: Very well. I shall admit for now that smoothies are undecided, and that continual change of my definition based on smoothies will wait until the appointed date for the case “the state vs. the definition of drinks.”

A: I believe we may need to engage in that in the future. However, the matter at hand should be attended to presently. You argue that there is a poor line between food and drink. Please elaborate further.

T: Without elaborate argument, I simply mean that something can turn from soft-serve ice cream to thick smoothie with a wave of the proverbial hand.

A: You make a valid point. I propose two arguments: one, that at the moment the ice cream cannot maintain its shape it becomes drink, and two, that as the ice cream was originally ice cream, it always will be ice cream before it is consumed⍚

T: Have you ever seen soft serve maintain its shape? It bends and collapses, yet you can not convince me that it is a drink.

A: If one were to place ice cream onto a flat surface, it would not equally distribute itself across that surface. Therefore, it is at least semi-solid, and therefore, by the definition, food. The more important question is this: at what point during consumption does the food cease to be food?

T: Food ceases to be food by the first stage of digestion, AKA partial breakdown with saliva.

A: Do you mean to say that one does not swallow food?

T: You eat food, this involves digesting the food, and processing by-products, swallowing pure food can easily result in choking.

A: Your argument begs the question. Personally, I believe that the definition of food may be applied to food at each moment in its existence.

T: WRONG! Digest⍚

A: I wasn’t finished. IF the definition of food applies to a substance at any time, then it is food. If it does not apply, then, by definition, it is not food.

T: Not necessarily, digestion is a biotic process by which your body transforms food into other substances for further processing. Meaning that what you swallow is not what you began eating; they are similar in composition, but not completely. Some of the sugars will already have been absorbed, as well as a few other substances. What we call eating is the process of chewing and digesting all of a food and digestive by-products, which might not be the food itself.

A: I have two issues with that statement. I would like to address the minor one first. That would be this: you say that eating is the process of chewing and digesting. Is all of digestion still eating? Have you not “eaten” the food after you swallow it?

T: I accept your revision. Eating involves first-stage digestive processes, and swallowing the food and its first-stage digestive products.

A: My second problem is more major. After digestion begins, you claim that the substance is no longer food. However, if I were to find somebody eating, kill them, and proceed to create an incision in their stomach, would the contents I found not be complex, have a variant of C6H12O6, provide nutrition, and be, at least, semi-solid?

T: No, most of the content are liquids I assure⍚

A: During peristalsis, solid material is pushed down the esophagus. The esophagus is located farther in the alimentary canal than the mouth. Therefore, following the point after which you claim that a substance no longer is food, there is a substan⍚

T: I did not claim that you could not ingest food, only in rebuttal to your question regarding the life of food did I state that most substances are broken down into similar liquids that miss some sugars and chemicals, you can try to swallow food and it is only somewhat likely that you will choke.

A: I believe what you said was “Food ceases to be food by the first stage of digestion.” I suggest that because before it enters the stomach, it still retains all the properties of ‘food⍚

T: That is taken out of meaning I would like to bring up the following quotes and points “The more important question is this: at what point during consumption does the food cease to be food? “T: Food ceases to be food by the first stage of digestion, AKA partial breakdown with saliva.”

A: Do you mean to say that one does not swallow food?

T: You eat food. This involves digesting the food, and processing by-products. Swallowing pure food can easily result in choking.

T: The point being that I claimed that by the end of the FIRST STAGE OF DIGESTION YOU WILL HAVE LIQUID PASTE, and that, according to the definition, and your own point that is not food, it is⍚

A: I’m going to save us both a lot of time here: ‘by the first stage’ was misunderstood to mean ‘upon reaching the first stage.’ However, would a more apt way of putting it would be ‘during the first stage?’

T: I concur. But to finish my point, choking is bypassing that, so food could be found in your stomach if you swallow immediately.

A: I don’t see how that’s a relevant topic.

T: I am simply answering your objection “However, if I were to find somebody eating, kill them, and proceed to create an incision in their stomach, would the contents I found not be complex, have a variant of C6H12O6, provide nutrition, and be, at least, semi-solid?” by saying that after food passes through first stage digestion(call it chewing if you will but it is more) it will be no longer food, so my claim stands that “Food ceases to be food by the first stage of digestion, AKA partial breakdown with saliva”, so any food you find in a stomach bypassed the first stage, but will still be broken down during the second stage.


Well, this has degenerated quickly. I believe that concludes “What is Food?

Comment with Meaningless Argument suggestions! We might pick one we like.

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