1860 Oxford evolution debate
Above: a depiction of the main participants, namely Darwin’s bulldog Thomas Huxley and Bishop Samuel of the 30 Jun 1860 Oxford evolution debate (Ѻ), held seven months after the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species; comparable, in terms of cultural awareness, in some sense, to the 2009 Bill Nye vs Ken Ham debate at the Creation Museum.
In thermodynamics, debates are various back-and-forth discussions arising between scientists on various issues, in the form of exchanged articles, letters, online threads, response videos, or emails, etc.

“[Although] there is an ongoing debate among economists and natural scientists on the relevance of the laws of thermodynamics for the performance of economic systems, [invariably] physical laws govern production and consumption processes in a fundamental way. A world constrained by the laws of thermodynamics ultimately alters its structure through transformation of matter and dissipation of energy.”
Matthias Ruth (1993), Integrating Economics, Ecology, and Thermodynamics [3]

The adjacent video shows in an actual record spontaneously formed street debate, which occurred in 2009 on the campus of Penn State University, between a random opinionated man who, using a contrived laymanized thermodynamics, believes that the "law of entropy", as he puts it, applies to humankind, and a group of four college students, who, using folklore thermodynamics, rebut the mans position by using the "closed system" response.

In the years 1750 to 1900, there was said to have been what was called the "extraterrestrial life debate", regarding the existence or nonexistence of intelligent extraterrestrial life, involving thinkers such as Immanuel Kant, William Herschel, Voltaire, Percival Lowell, among others, an idea which supposedly was crouched with embroiled tensions with religion, supposedly because the possibility of life beyond earth, conflicted with the seven-days of creation view of the Bible, the earth being at the center of the universe, with God creating vegetable life on day three, animal life on day five, and human life (in his likeness) on day six. [1]

In 1833, the Whewell-Coleridge debate was launched when English science historian William Whewell and English romantic philosopher Samuel Coleridge interjected into the question of what exactly someone who works ‘in the real sciences’, as Coleridge had phrased it, should be called, and what exactly are the real sciences, in the context of the tree of knowledge? A result of this debate is that the term "scientist" was coined.

When protein was discovered in 1838 by
Dutch chemist Gerhardus Mulder, who carried out elemental analysis of common proteins and found that nearly all proteins had the same empirical formula, C400H620N100O120P1S1, the discovery was said to have sparked a heated debate between the difference between "animal life" and "plant life" (or vegetable life).

The ongoing existence of a "Maxwell's demon" debate is a sort of underground debate that originated in an exchange of letters between Scottish physicists James Maxwell and Peter Tait in 1867, a discussion-debate that eventually found its way into articles by others such Irish physicist William Thomson (1874), Hungarian-American physicist Leó Szilárd (1929), and French physicist Léon Brillouin (1951), and others. In addition, any group or conference about entropy, usually turns into a debate.

The 1874 to 1875 Tyndall-Stewart-Tait debate can be said to fairly well mark the start of the modern science-religion controversy.

In 1897 to 1907, the famous "what is entropy debate" was a heated prolonged discussion, in meetings and journals, on the nature of entropy involving a number of noted scientists, including: Max Planck, Henri Poincare, Oliver Lodge, John Perry, Sydney Evershed, James Swinburne, and Oliver Heaviside.

In 1946, during the Harvard "what is life in terms of physics and chemistry?" debate, the Bridgman paradox was introduced, by Percy Bridgman, as summarized later by Leon Brillouin (1949), the just of which being that while a "living being" does have an entropy, we, supposedly, cannot measure it, because the organism would have to be destroyed, because, one would need "to create or to destroy it in a reversible way", as Brillouin put it.

The 1971-2006 Rossini-Leonard-Wojcik debate, is a noted human thermodynamics debate on whether state functions apply to the understanding of freedom and security in social life.

The 2009 Moriarty-Thims debate was a 60-page thread discussion between a number of authors, thinkers, professors of physics and thermodynamics on whether or not different arrangements of students in a field (close packed or spread out) has a thermodynamic entropy or specifically whether a group of students has an entropy.

Other debates, in the context of religious thermodynamics, which tend to become intertwined with discussions on the first and second laws of thermodynamics, include the famous ongoing creation-evolution debates. [2]

See also
What is entropy debate | 1897-1907
Jeans, Donnan, Guggenheim debate | Jan to Aug 1934
● Harvard what is life in terms of physics and chemistry debate | 1946 (see: Bridgman paradox)
Rossini debate | 2007
Morarity-Thims debate | 2009

1. Crowe, Michael J. (1986). The Extraterrestrial Life Debate. CUP archive.
2. (a) Creation-evolution controversy – Wikipedia.
(b) Evolution vs Creation debates – NWCreation.net.
3. Ruth, Matthias. (1993). Integrating Economics, Ecology, and Thermodynamics. Springer.

Further reading
● White, Andrew D. (1896). A History of Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (Vol 1; Vol 2). Publisher.

● Anons. (2009). “Debate: Entropy Applies to Humankind?” (Ѻ), Penn State University, Feb 9.

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