The Instigator
ASB
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

All matter can be divided. This includes photons.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/7/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,410 times Debate No: 14692
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (2)

 

ASB

Pro

1) The Intro
Yes, photons have weight, so photons are matter.
If you search for divisibility,
you will find it everywhere in everything!


This is part of a theorized universal law of nature.

All the laws of nature are discoverable in everyone and everything. -Sivashanmugan
2) The conditions:
Quantum mechanics says that photons are indivisible particles.
Quantum mechanics also says that photon is not a particle.
By definition, matter is that which has mass.
Yes, it can be mathematically calculated. No, it can't be experimentally calculated. The electron has a mass of 9.11 x 10-28 and 5.1 x 1014 photons can produce the photo-electric effect, then the mass of a photon can be calculated to be 1.8 x 10-42 g.

So a photon has MASS.
"In physics, the question of whether matter is infinitely divisible is the question of whether it is true that no matter how small the pieces into which a physical object has been cut, they can be split further. The word atom originally meant a smallest possible particle of matter, which cannot be further divided. Later, those objects to which the name atom had been assigned were found to be further divisible, but the word atom nonetheless continues to refer to them."
3) Conclusion:
Science says that all matter is divisible.
Definition of matter is one that has mass.
It has been proven that a photon has a mass of 1.8(10)-42g.
That means that a photon is matter.
They said before that an atom was the lowest unit matter can be divided until they came up with what was inside of the atom.
Quantum mechanics says that a quantum (photon) is the lowest unit, and that it cannot divide further.
This is contradictory because one that has mass can be divided further.

Conclusion: As long as an object has mass, it can be divided.
4) Final Thought
Just because one has not found a way to do divide an object, does not mean that the object is indivisible.

RoyLatham

Con

Thanks to Pro for proposing a debate on a scientific topic. I hope our debate will help clarify how science is done and what is known about the nature of matter and energy.

The Standard Model

Current physical theories claim that matter is composed of various types of indivisible parts, fewer than one hundred types, including the anti-particles. This is known as the Standard Model. The resolution asserts that the Standard Model is incorrect, and must be replaced by a model that encompasses infinite divisibility of matter. Pro has the burden of proving the resolution, the proposed new theory, is correct.

Understand that the Standard Model is acknowledged to be incomplete. It does not explain General Relativity or dark matter. For example, the Standard Model does not encompass a particle for communicating the force of gravity. A graviton is hypothesized to do this. However, there is nothing in the resolution's new theory that overcomes the limitations of the standard model, and at the same time it contradicts the basis of indivisible particles of the standard model.

It's possible than some theory could be built that features an infinite progression of more basic particles, but no such theory has been proposed, let alone proved.

Pro's Sources

Pro references (Pro R1.1) a wiki article that is not currently posted. Anyone can write a wiki article. To be taken as serious scientific theory, it must be published in a scientific journal, or reference published literature. Pro references (Pro R1.2) a religious site that full of scientific errors and makes no references to scientific literature. Pro finally references (Pro R1.3) economicsexpert.com as to matter being infinitely divisible. The link to the article is dead, but in any case there is no reason to suppose that an economist should have expertise in modern physics.

Sources for the Standard Model

By contrast, the Standard Model is well-documented in the scientific literature and it has made many predictions verified by experiment:

Elementary particles are particles with no measurable internal structure; that is, they are not composed of other particles. They are the fundamental objects of quantum field theory. … Many families and sub-families of elementary particles exist. Elementary particles are classified according to their spin. Fermions have half-integer spin while bosons have integer spin. All the particles of the Standard Model have been observed, with the exception of the Higgs boson. [3]

The reference [3] continues to comprehensively describe additional particles hypothesized to solve specific problems, but it does not suggest any theory in which matter is not described by particles nor does it reference any theory that posits an infinite number of particles.

Mass of the Photon

Current theory is that photons have no rest mass. The rest mass of the electron, a low-mass particle, is about 511 eV. Experimentally, the upper limit of the rest mass of the photon is 7 x 10^-17 eV, and there is additional evidence that it is less than 10^-26 eV. Pro's calculation seems to be based upon the mass equivalent of the energy of the photon, based upon mass-energy equivalence. That calculation is incorrect, because it does not deal with the rest mass. The error is explained, along with the measured upper limits, in [2].

In addition to the photon, the gluon has been confirmed to have zero rest mass. The photon transfers the electromagnetic force; the gluon transfers the strong force. The unconfirmed graviton is hypothesized to have zero rest mass.

For the purposes of the resolution it doesn't matter whether the photon has a rest mass or not. There are 24 fundamental particles that have a rest mass which are nonetheless indivisible.

All known fermions are dirac fermions; that is, each known fermion has its own distinct antiparticle. Fermions are the basic building blocks of all matter. They are classified according to whether they interact via the color force or not. In the Standard Model, there are 12 types of elementary fermions: six quarks and six leptons. [3]

Pro's Contentions

Pro's contentions are considered in the light of foregoing as follows:

P1. Science says that all matter is divisible.

No, science says that all matter is composed of indivisible fundamental particles.


P2. Definition of matter is one that has mass.

Not exactly. Matter is defined as being composed of fermions, all of which have mass. However, some of the bosons, which transmit forces, also have mass.

P3. It has been proved that a photon has a mass of 1.8(10)-42g.

No, there is no such proof and Pro cited none. Accepted science I referenced claims the rest mass is zero.

P4. That means that a photon is matter.

No the photon is a boson. Matter is composed of fermions. It's well known that photons must use separate rest rooms.

P5. They said before that an atom was the lowest unit matter can be divided until they came up with what was inside of the atom.

If so, it doesn't matter. Science abandons theories when they are proved wrong.

P6. Quantum mechanics says that a quantum (photon) is the lowest unit, and that it cannot divide further.

No. Quantum mechanics says there are many types of indivisible particles. Photons have no special status.


The Resolution is Negated

The theory proposed by the resolution apparently has not been scientifically formulated, hypothesized to solve any problems, tested by experiment, or in any sense proved. Pro must prove it true. Therefore the resolution fails. I don't know whether a theory of infinite divisibility is contradicted by current observations, but no such theory currently exists in science and there is no need for it.

  1. Standard Model http://en.wikipedia.org...
  2. What is the mass of a photon? http://www.phys.ncku.edu.tw...
  3. List of Particles http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 1
ASB

Pro

1) The Standard Model is the name given to the current theory of fundamental particles and how they interact. This theory includes:

§ Strong interactions due to the color charges of quarks and gluons.

§ A combined theory of weak and electromagnetic interaction, known as electroweak theory, that introduces W and Z bosons as the carrier particles of weak processes, and photons as mediators to electromagnetic interactions.

The theory does not include the effects of gravitational interactions. These effects are tiny under high-energy Physics situations, and can be neglected in describing the experiments. Eventually, we seek a theory that also includes a correct quantum version of gravitational interactions, but this is not yet achieved.

http://www2.slac.stanford.edu...

---- This is a theory. This does not mean that this is true.


2) Is there any experimental evidence that the photon has zero rest mass?

Alternative theories of the photon include a term that behaves like a mass, and this gives rise to the very advanced idea of a "massive photon". If the rest mass of the photon were non-zero, the theory of quantum electrodynamics would be "in trouble" primarily through loss of gauge invariance, which would make it non-renormalisable; also, charge conservation would no longer be absolutely guaranteed, as it is if photons have zero rest mass. But regardless of what any theory might predict, it is still necessary to check this prediction by doing an experiment.

It is almost certainly impossible to do any experiment that would establish the photon rest mass to be exactly zero. The best we can hope to do is place limits on it. A non-zero rest mass would introduce a small damping factor in the inverse square Coulomb law of electrostatic forces. That means the electrostatic force would be weaker over very large distances.

http://math.ucr.edu...

----- There is no way to prove that a photon has a rest mass of zero. Especially if when the photon moves, the photon all of a sudden has mass. There has to be a mass to begin with, for there to be mass added onto it.

----- Something does not come from nothing. Something has to be put in to get something out.


3) Photons can travel at the speed of light?

In special relativity, an object that has a mass cannot travel at the speed of light.

-----So how come a particle of light has mass when traveling, but when at the particle’s rest it is mass less.

-----This does not make any sense.


4) Higgs Boson has not been proven to exist…

The Higgs boson is a hypothetical massive elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics

The Higgs boson is the only Standard Model particle that has not been observed in particle physics experiments

http://en.wikipedia.org...

-----It has not been proven that a boson even exists

----- According to relativistic energy-momentum, the photon produces energy and momentum by itself.

-----That something comes from nothing.


5) Electromagnetic Radiation

In physics, a photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction and the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. In other words a photon is a little packet of energy which can carry electromagnetic radiation.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

Electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength between approximately 400 nm and 700 nm is directly detected by the human eye and perceived as visible light.

Electromagnetic radiation (often abbreviated E-M radiation or EMR) is a form of energy exhibiting wave like behavior as it travels through space.

Electromagnetic radiation carries energy and momentum that may be imparted to matter with which it interacts.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

----- As it says here, photons travel as wavelengths bringing light. The wave lenghs bring momentum and energy produced from nothing. The photon that starts from zero mass picks up mass as it travels from it's momentum it created by itself.


RoyLatham

Con

1. The Standard Model is theory.

Pro is correct that it might not all be true, but most of it has been experimentally verified. Pro has a theory that all matter n be divided, including photons. Pro's task in this debate is to prove his theory is true. None of Pro's theory has been experimentally verified.

Theories are built based upon evidence. The theory must start consistent with observed data. The theory is then used to predict new events that had not be observed. The theory is then verified if the predictions being observed as true. The Standard Model predicted a family of fundamental particles that should exist but had not been observed, and so far all of the predictions have proved true with the exception of the Higgs Boson.

Proof of the existence of the Higgs Boson requires very high energy particle collisions. The energy required to produce the Higgs Boson is expected to be generated by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in the next year or two, so then we'll know whether or not it exists. [2] Currently the LHC is operating at half power while the machine is progressing through tests.

Is there any evidence to support the theory that matter is infinitely divisible? So far, nothing has been observed in physics experiments except the fundamental particles in the standard model. No half photons or one-quarter photons have been observed. All particle collisions observed obey the Standard Model, in which only fundamental indivisible particles are absorbed or created.

2. Experimental evidence of the mass of a photon

The experiments that put an upper bound the rest mass of the photon have some error in the measurements. Measurements get better and better with improved instrumentation and techniques, but it's unlikely that there will ever be a perfect measurement. There will always be the possibility that there s some very tiny mass that is undetectable.

How does Pro propose to verify that mattes infinitely divisible? Once the mass is too small to detect with an instrument having a finite precision, there is no way to tell if it can again be divided.

Pro claims that "there has to be mass to gin with for there to be mass added on to it." Photons are never at rest; they always move at the speed of light in a vacuum or near the speed of light in media. The theoretical rest mass is detected by a variation in the electrostatic force. Photons

3) Photons can travel at the speed of light?

Pro says "In special relativity, an object that has a mass cannot travel at the speed of light." Yes, so therefore photons, which are observed traveling at the speed of light, have no mass. They are all energy. It does not have mass when it is traveling, it has momentum carried by the energy.

Pro says, "This does not make any sense." Pro is quite right in that it defies common sense. In our everyday existence we do not have direct experience with wave-particle duality or fundamental particles being created and decaying. We cannot see atoms, let alone any of the dozens of fundamental particles. We must therefore deduce the existence of particles and waves from what we can observe. It's no good objecting that what is happening unseen "make no sense." Anything that obeys the mathematics that successful predicts observations makes scientific sense, even if common sense cannot contemplate it.

4) Higgs Boson has not been proved to exist…

Pro claims "It has not been proved that a boson even exists." The bosons that have been proved to exist are the photon, Z boson, W boson, and the gluon. The gluon also has zero rest mass. The graviton is not part of the Standard Model, but if it exists it would also be a zero-rest-mass boson. What bosons have in common is that they transmit forces. [ref 3, R1]

Pro claims "According to relativistic energy-momentum, the photon produces energy and momentum by itself." No, conservation of energy is a part of relativistic physics. Photons are produced when energy is added to an atom to put it into a higher energy state. The atom subsequently decays to a lower state, emitting a photon. This happens, for example, when a piece of metal is heated and then allowed to cool, radiating heat as photons. The photons carry away existing energy heat energy from the metal.

"Photons are emitted in many natural processes. For example, when a charge is accelerated it emits synchrotron radiation. During a molecular, atomic or nuclear transition to a lower energy level, photons of various energy will be emitted, from infrared light to gamma rays. A photon can also be emitted when a particle and its corresponding antiparticle are annihilated (for example, electron-positron annihilation)." [1]

The is no aspect of the Standard Model in which something comes from nothing. Alas, the Standard Model does not explain the creation of vacuum energy, which indeed appears to be something coming from nothing. However, the theory of the resolution doesn't explain that either.

5) Photons are electromagnetic radiation.

Yes, they exhibit wave-particle duality. The other bosons also have wave-particle duality.

Pro erroneously concludes from this that "The photon that starts from zero mass picks up mass as it travels from it's momentum it created by itself." Pro's error is that the photon does not start from rest and pick up momentum. The photon is traveling at the speed of light when it is emitted from an atom. Photons do not exist at rest; they only exist at the speed of light. Photons appear to slow slightly when traveling in a media, but actually the photons are absorbed by atoms and then re-emitted, with the delay introduced by the time for the atom to emit a new photon. The energy in the photon is entirely from the atom that emits it.

The "rest mass of a photon" is entirely a theoretical concept, since photons are never at rest. It's like trying to imagine what a lawyer who only tells the truth would be like, even though it's never been observed.

N1. Pro has not presented a statement of his theory. The link he provided is dead, and he needs to argue the resolution directly as well as point to supporting documents. He has done neither.

N2. Pro has provided no support for his contention that all matter is infinitely divisible. He continues to argue as if that contention were proved, but it is not.

N3. Pro continues to be narrowly concerned with the rest mass of the photon, but he hasn't shown why that is important with respect to the resolution. He ignores other particles having zero rest mass, like the gluon. If having finite rest mass is somehow important, he must consider other particles having zero rest mass. In addition, the standard Model describes dozens of other fundamental indivisible particles. Pro must explain how the know experimentally-verified fundamental particles can be divided.

N4. Pro points to deficiencies in the Standard Model. Scientists agree that the Standard Model has limitations, such as not describing dark matter. However, having limitation does not invalidated the experimentally verified part of the model. Einstein showed that Newton's Laws had certain limitations, however Newton's Laws are still valid within their domain of ordinary physics. Nothing has happened to unset the Standard Model description of the universe as being composed of fundamental indivisible particles.

N5. Pro's references mirror and reference mine in their descriptions of the standard model. They do not support Pro's case.

References

1. Photon http://en.wikipedia.org...

2. The LHC's Higgs Boson Treasure Hunt Begins http://news.discovery.com...
Debate Round No. 2
ASB

Pro

ASB forfeited this round.
RoyLatham

Con

Pro has left the building. Arguments are continued.
Debate Round No. 3
ASB

Pro

ASB forfeited this round.
RoyLatham

Con

My arguments have not been rebutted. The Standard Model has dozens of indivisible fundamental particles. Both the photon and the gluon have zero rest mass. There is wide agreement that the Standard Model is incomplete with respect to explaining dark matter and the the transmission of gravitational force, but there is no evidence that the fundamental particles can be divided. A new theory would have to show how the divisibility would made the model better agree with observed data and how the divisibility could be demonstrated. Pro did not provide either, so the resolution fails.

I cite Pro for bad conduct for having forfeited two rounds. Pro should have either made arguments or conceded the debate.

Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
"There is no source, because it's an errant application of the concept of mass-energy equivalence."

That is what it seemed like to me, he was sort of asserting that as an object gained energy it gained rest mass. I was curious if that came from some web page as it is trivial to read something like E=mc^2 and then think well if E increased then obviously m increased, this is true but that m is not rest mass and that is usually not always clarified well. The more confusing thing is that the equation E=mc^2 is perfectly valid to calculate a rest mass but under different conditions.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
There is no source, because it's an errant application of the concept of mass-energy equivalence.

Photon's have no mass, so one might think they are not affected by gravity. That was at the heart of the proof of general relativity. Einstein contended that gravity bent the space around the object, so photons would be affected. Photos of a solar eclipse ultimately proved that the light from distant stars was bent near the sun.

The debate does lead to a lot of interesting concepts of modern physics that defy common sense.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
"It doesn't have a rest mass, it's pure energy."

Yes, however ASB appeared to be arguing that it gained rest mass not mass equivalent energy, which is an odd claim, I was curious as to the source.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
If the photon were accelerated from zero it would gain energy as it gained velocity. Because E = mc^2 a gain in energy is equivalent to a gain in mass. The error is that the photon does not accelerate from rest; it starts out at the speed of light, so it's energy is constant. It doesn't have a rest mass, it's pure energy.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Unfortunate, I was looking forward to the next rounds.
Posted by m93samman 6 years ago
m93samman
I was wondering the same thing that Cliff was. How does velocity create mass?
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
"The photon that starts from zero mass picks up mass as it travels from it's momentum it created by itself."

ASB, could I ask you to clarify, and ideally source where you get that understanding.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Cliff, I looked at PMP certificate carefully. I recommend that, particularly early in a career, people collect certificates. Many hiring managers and clients don't really know what to look for or ask, so a certificate helps prove you are a valid prfessional. However, the material covered by the certificate is maybe 30% of what it takes to be a good program manager. It's a little like a teaching certificate; it doesn't mean you will actually be a good teacher, only that you can talk like one. The PMP is such a heap of paperwork, I decided it isn't worth my time, but if I were younger I'd definitely get one for my certificate collection.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Interesting, what are your thoughts on the PMP certification?
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Cliff, I am a systems engineer, which is the knowing-nothing-about-everything branch. My degrees are in Electrical, Aero & Astro, Applied Math, and Computer Science.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by SuperRobotWars 6 years ago
SuperRobotWars
ASBRoyLathamTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Need I explain, pro forfeited the last 2 rounds hence losing conduct, and in the process made cons argument seem more valid.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
ASBRoyLathamTied
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Total points awarded:06