The Instigator
Pro (for)
14 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Alchemy is in fact real.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 6/14/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,069 times Debate No: 76547
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)




Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2 Pro: Opening Argument
Round 2 Con: Rebuttal
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Closing Statements

Resolution: Alchemy is in fact real.

Alchemy: The process of turning invaluable metals/elements into gold or other highly valuable metal/elements

As an Organic Chemistry student and Physics enthusiast, I feel the need to defend my brethren of the Middle Ages, the only interesting part of history to me. Good luck to any opponent who chooses to accept. Dost thou accept?

Rules: You must follow the debate structure. The definition given is indisputable.

~Pointless Picture~



Hey, happy to do this debate.

I do not have a preference. I am simply doing it for fun!!

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this challenge.

My argument will be three fold. One from a single displacement reaction via oxidation/reduction, nuclear physics, and finally metallurgy.

What I will do is take reactions that have indeed taken place (and give proof of such) and compare the relative value of the atoms in the reactants to the products. Note that the practicality and cost of performing the reaction do not matter. Only the value of the reactants compared to the products and possibility of the reaction matter.

Argument 1: Single Displacement Reaction via Oxidation/Reduction

* Means that there are calculations to back it up if the opponent so desires. These are rather simple, and I would much rather have the opponent do it themself before criticizing me of not providing proof. All the information to do the calculation is given in the sources or the periodic table of elements.

Balance Chemical Equation: 2 Al + Fe2O3 -->Al2O3 + 2 Fe

Description: Aluminum foil reacted with iron (III) oxide yields aluminum (III) oxide and elemental iron.

Ratio of metal reactant to metal product: For every 1 atom(s) of Al, you produce 1 atom(s) of Fe.

Price: The price of Fe2O3 and Al2O3 are negligible.

*Price of one mole of Fe: $0.249 USD


*Price of one mole of Al: $0.0464 USD


Outcome: Net gain in value

Possibility: First rationalization for this reaction is done by looking at the electromotive series.

Elements higher on this chart have less affinity for electrons. This table is almost directly related to the value of each element also. Metals that hold onto their electrons incredibly well (i.e. Gold) are more valuable than metals that don't hold onto their electrons well (i.e. Nickel). Because of this, they are less susceptible to rusting. Back to the point, this reaction is thermodynamically favorable. The voltage of this cell demonstrates whether or not this reaction would spontaneously occur. In fact, it does. The voltage would be *1.23. This is positive representing that it occurs spontaneously and equilibrium lies far towards the products. Entropy is almost completely arbitrary for this reaction since you don't gain or lose any liquids or gases.

Notice that this reaction is not limited to aluminum and iron. You could replace these with a gold salt and any metal above it on that chart. Gold salt is much more valuable (than rust) however since gold is almost always in its neutral metal state.

You could also reverse these reactions using electrolysis, however you need an energy source and I digress.

Argument 2: Nuclear Physics

I am by no means a nuclear physicist so this will be more generalized than my previous argument.

Reactions: Production of Super Heavy Metals. Please go to this link to see the reagents and products:

This reaction was performed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory according to 3 or possibly 4 atoms of Ununoctium have ever been made.

*Price per atom of Californium: Negligible but to be sure I did the calculation, 1.12 E -14 USD


Price per atom of Calcium: Negligible

Price per atom of Ununoctium: Priceless due to its rarity, difficulty to create, and scientific research possibilities with just a single atom of Ununoctium.

Argument 3: Metallurgy

Reaction: To simplify it, 7 Fe + 1 C (solid, normally graphite or coal) --> 1 "Steel" (7Fe:1C)
Description: The metal, steel, is composed of iron and carbon atoms. The carbon used in the reagents is normally graphite. Diamond could potentially work but it would be much more difficult to break the bonds in the diamond structure which is an entirely separate topic. Here is a picture describing what the sea of electrons surrounding the iron atoms with carbon "stitched" in.

For ultra high carbon steel, the percentage by mass of carbon is about 3% according to I used this to calculate the mole to mole ratio of iron to carbon. With the carbon embedded inside the metallic structure, it strengthens the metal significantly making it more valuable.

Therefore, with this reaction, you produce a metal with higher value than what you had originally. Due to these three reasons, Alchemy remains true and is done every day. Thank you and good luck.


phantom14450DEX forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


phantom14450DEX forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


phantom14450DEX forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Death23 1 year ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited. Note: The use of "invaluable" in Pro's given definition for alchemy seems odd.
Vote Placed by philochristos 1 year ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited. I'm not sure how the first argument works since neither Aluminum nor Iron are highly valuable. You didn't define alchemy as "producing metals that are more valuable than what you produced them from." Rather, Pro defined it as producing "highly valuable metal/elements." So the third argument seems wrong as well. The only argument that seems sound is the second argument. But it doesn't matter since Con forfeited.