The Instigator
Alexby1
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
rougeagent21
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Extraterrestrial Life Must Exist in an Infinite Universe

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
rougeagent21
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/3/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,228 times Debate No: 9892
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (20)
Votes (4)

 

Alexby1

Pro

Please do not accept this debate if you are unwilling to agree that the universe is infinite, and that there is a single universe. Whether or not this is true, it will be considered as such for the purposes of this debate.

This debate should be centered around logic, but sources may be cited if they are necessary to support your logic.

My argument is that in an infinite universe, extraterrestrial life must exist. My logic is as follows:

----
-The universe is infinite, that is, there is infinite matter in the universe.

-This means that there is an infinite number of planets and an infinite number of possibilities for what can exist on each planet.

-Because there are infinite possibilities and infinite matter, all of these possibilities (that fall within the laws of reality) must exist somewhere in the universe.

-Because life can exist within the known boundaries of reality, life must exist on countless planets besides our Earth. Indeed, there must be a planet somewhere out there that is exactly like our Earth but with one tiny change.
----

For perhaps a more clear and simple explanation of this idea, see Arthur C Clarke's short story "The Other Tiger."
rougeagent21

Con

Greetings all. This is quite the interesting topic. It reminds me of a certain recent family guy episode. Go watch the multiverse episode on hulu, NOW. Its hilarious. Anyways, lets have a good debate!

Unfortunately, I am quite pressed for time right now. I am only going to read what my opponent posts in the debate, as I don't have time to look up and read short stories. It sounds interesting though, I might look into it later.

The last thing I will point out before addressing my opponent;s arguments is that he has set himself up with quite the burden of proof. Please do not say that I am being abusive with this, my opponent made the resolution. In order for my opponent to win, me must PROVE that extraterrestrial life MUST exist in an infinite universe. That being said, lets begin.

"The universe is infinite, that is, there is infinite matter in the universe."

For the sake of the debate, I will agree. Sure.

"This means that there is an infinite number of planets and an infinite number of possibilities for what can exist on each planet."

Hmm, last time I checked, a possibility did not mean the same thing as a fact. Sure, extraterrestrial life is POSSIBLE in an infinite universe, but is it MANDATORY?

"Because there are infinite possibilities and infinite matter, all of these possibilities (that fall within the laws of reality) must exist somewhere in the universe."

Simple reply: Who says? Why?

"Because life can exist within the known boundaries of reality, life must exist on countless planets besides our Earth. Indeed, there must be a planet somewhere out there that is exactly like our Earth but with one tiny change."

My opponent makes the mistake of saying that because something is possible it is reality. Read his statement again. He claims that since life is possible, it exists. Think about this: It is possible that I will be killed tomorrow by a resurrected Viking that flew to my house on the back of a zombie whale. Is that possible? As far as we know, yes. Does that mean it will happen somewhere in an infinite universe? Well, that is for you to decide.

Voters, the human mind cannot comprehend the infinite. Everything we know has an end. Lives end. Airplane flights end. Pieces of string end. Batteries run out of juice, and end. We know nothing of the infinite. For all we know, in an infinite universe, there could be nothing but lego blocks for the rest of eternity! It is possible right? But is it true? WE DON'T KNOW! My opponent cannot win this debate because he cannot PROVE that there IS life elsewhere. The negative rests his case.
Debate Round No. 1
Alexby1

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for accepting this debate.

Let's look first to my opponents observation:

"In order for my opponent to win, me must PROVE that extraterrestrial life MUST exist in an infinite universe."

I agree. That is the resolution, that is what I intend to prove.

"For the sake of the debate, I will agree [that the universe is infinite]. Sure."

Great. Let's begin!

--REBUTTAL--

My opponent's key objection to my argument is that not every possibility has to exist: that is, simply because things are possible doesn't mean that they are real and do in fact occur. He states:

"My opponent makes the mistake of saying that because something is possible it is reality. Read his statement again. He claims that since life is possible, it exists."

My opponent is correct that on Earth, even if something is possible, it is by no means a certainty. But, in an infinite universe, if something is possible, it is certain to occur or exist somewhere, on some planet.

Let's look at the situation logically: When there are five possible choices of candy inside a hat, and a trick-or-treater picks out two of these pieces, two of the five possibilities become reality.

Similarly, let's imagine every possibility for what can exist (very close to if not equal to infinity, only restricted by the laws of reality) as held inside a giant hat. Because there are an infinite number of planets (something my opponent and I agree on), we can imagine that it is as if a trick-or-treater has reached into the hat and picked out a piece of candy an infinite number of times.

Each possible planet/type of candy in the hat is a possibility, and each real planet/piece of candy chosen is a reality. This number is infinite: logically, every possibility must exist when there are an infinite number of them and an infinite number of places in which they can be brought to fruition.

--

"Think about this: It is possible that I will be killed tomorrow by a resurrected Viking that flew to my house on the back of a zombie whale. Is that possible? As far as we know, yes. Does that mean it will happen somewhere in an infinite universe? Well, that is for you to decide."

It is true that his "viking-zombie whale-murder" scenario seems extremely unlikely to occur. But my opponent is falling into the trap of looking at our Earth as a closed system. He is ignoring the rest of the universe, an expanse that is, quite truly, infinite. Therefore, one of the infinite planets out there must be exactly like Earth - except for the fact that my opponent will be unfortunately unable to finish this debate, due to a most ill-fated encounter with a zombie whale-riding resurrected viking.

Just because it will not necessarily occur on our Earth does not mean that it will not occur on another of the infinite planets that exist.

--SUMMARY--

My opponents argument rests on the idea that the possibility to exist does not guarantee existence. While this may be true in a closed environment like our Earth, it is most certainly true in an infinite universe. This is due to the laws of probability, as I proved this round through a logical thought experiment.

In an infinite universe, every possibility that can exist within the laws of reality must exist. Because life can absolutely exist within these parameters, life must exist on countless planets besides our Earth. This robustly proves the resolution.

For all of these reasons, please join me in voting Affirmative. Thank you and good luck to my opponent.
rougeagent21

Con

My opponent has generalized my arguments quite a bit. I hate to waste your time by repeat things that have already been said, so please keep in mind the things which I stated in the last round.

Some points of clarification

-I know the Earth is not a closed system. Please stop using the straw-man fallacy.

-Voters-Possibility does not equal probability! I will prove this throughout the round.

I will first address my opponent's "thought experiment." It seems reasonable right? However, my opponent only showed you one piece of this puzzle. (The piece that supports his case) Let us have a look at the WHOLE experiment.

In my opponent's experiment, he says that a trick-or-treater picks two out of five candies, and they become reality. He then asks you to imagine the person picking an infinite number of times. Eventually, he would pick all of the candy, right?

Wrong. Think about it this way. 5=5. 10=10. Infinity=infinity. Go ahead and imagine a person picking candy an infinite number of times. Keep in mind though that there is an infinite amount of candy as well. In addition, the "candy" is replaced after every pick! Just because one planet picks the water candy does not mean that that candy is gone forever.

For sake of clarity, we will assign the candies numbers, 1-5. Is it possible that the picker could pick through the candy bag ten times and never pick candy number five? Of course. Similarly, flip a coin a couple times. Isn't it possible that the coin will land on heads both times? Of course.

Now, imagine flipping that coin an infinite number of times. Was it not possible for the coin to land on the same side twice? Why then would it not be possible to flip the coin on heads an infinite number of times? Is it possible that the coin would eventually land on tails? Absolutely. Is it even probable that it would eventually land on tails? Yes. Can it be PROVEN that the coin will eventually land on tails? If it could land on the same side twice in a row, why could it not do the same for all of eternity?

My point here is that even though something is possible, it is not automatically deemed a reality. How can my opponent prove that life exists elsewhere in the universe? He can't! The world's leading scientists still cannot prove that.

What you must realize is that my opponent has NO WAY to PROVE that life exists elsewhere in the universe. For all he knows, and for all anyone knows, the coin flipped the exact number of times necessary for the rest of the expanding universe to be made out of swiss cheese. It is possible, isn't it? Therefore, under my opponent's ideology, it MUST happen, since live in an expanding universe. Would that not then cancel out the possibility and reality of life elsewhere? His own reasoning contradicts itself. Not all possibilities are realities!

Until my opponent provides solid, testable evidence that life exists somewhere in the universe besides Earth, I have won the debate. His "laws of probability" (which were never adequately defined) have obviously crumbled before reality. Opponent, I eagerly await your cold, hard evidence.
Debate Round No. 2
Alexby1

Pro

As this is the last round, I would like to wish my opponent good luck in this and future debates, and thank him for this most interesting discussion.

--REBUTTAL--

As my opponent spent the last round refuting my refutations, I will refute his rebuttals to my refutations in this round.

--

"Think about it this way. 5=5. 10=10. Infinity=infinity. Go ahead and imagine a person picking candy an infinite number of times. Keep in mind though that there is an infinite amount of candy as well. In addition, the "candy" is replaced after every pick! Just because one planet picks the water candy does not mean that that candy is gone forever."

My opponent appears to have missed a key part of my argument. He assumes that there are infinite possibilities for what can exist on a given planet; unfortunately, he is mistaken. Clearly, these possibilities are limited by the laws of reality. For example, a planet on which perpetual motion occurs could not exist. This is significant because it completely disproves my opponent's logic, which is at the heart of his argument.

--

"…flip a coin a couple times. Isn't it possible that the coin will land on heads both times? Of course. Now, imagine flipping that coin an infinite number of times. Was it not possible for the coin to land on the same side twice? Why then would it not be possible to flip the coin on heads an infinite number of times? Is it possible that the coin would eventually land on tails? Absolutely. Is it even probable that it would eventually land on tails? Yes. Can it be PROVEN that the coin will eventually land on tails? If it could land on the same side twice in a row, why could it not do the same for all of eternity?"

My opponent's logic is entirely fallacious. It is impossible to flip a coin an infinite number of times and not have it come up tails. This can be shown to be true through simple probability. The probability of getting tails is 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/32 … 1/n, which is equal to 1. This means that the likelihood of flipping tails once is 100% on a balanced coin flipped an infinite number of times. This, again, disproves his fundamental logic.

--

"How can my opponent prove that life exists elsewhere in the universe? He can't! The world's leading scientists still cannot prove that."

My opponent seems to forget that we are debating about an infinite universe. The fact that scientists cannot logically prove the existence of extraterrestrial life in our finite universe has no bearing on this debate whatsoever. Please, at least make an effort to adhere to the guidelines to which you yourself agreed.

--

"What you must realize is that my opponent has NO WAY to PROVE that life exists elsewhere in the universe. For all he knows, and for all anyone knows, the coin flipped the exact number of times necessary for the rest of the expanding universe to be made out of swiss cheese. It is possible, isn't it? Therefore, under my opponent's ideology, it MUST happen, since live in an expanding universe. Would that not then cancel out the possibility and reality of life elsewhere? His own reasoning contradicts itself. Not all possibilities are realities!"

The main issue with my opponent's logic is that he *again* neglects the fact that, in Round 1, he agreed that for the purposes of this debate, the universe is considered to be infinite.

--

"Until my opponent provides solid, testable evidence that life exists somewhere in the universe besides Earth, I have won the debate … Opponent, I eagerly await your cold, hard evidence."

This again contradicts the guidelines I laid out at the beginning of the debate. This was to be a debate of logic, not evidence. Nevertheless, what my opponent is asking is impossibly unreasonable. He is demanding that I show conclusive evidence about a specific extraterrestrial society or life form, which need not be done in order for me to win the debate. I have shown logically that in an infinite universe the probability of extraterrestrial life is 100%.

--SUMMARY--

My opponents argument can be summarized in three key points:

(1) Possibility is not the same as certainty, or even probability,

(2) I have not shown conclusive evidence of a specific extraterrestrial civilization,

(3) The remaining arguments he makes are irrelevant because they rely on a premise that is extraneous to this debate, that the universe is not infinite.

I have proven throughout the debate that in an infinite universe, possibility is the same as certainty.

I have also explained that I have no obligation to show specific evidence; this debate is a debate of logic, and my opponent's logic has been disproven whereas mine still stands.

I hope that my opponent will respect the parameters to which he agreed in Round 1 in his next and final argument.

--

Because I have proven without a doubt that the logic supporting the certainty of extraterrestrial life in an infinite universe is quite robust, I hope that the voters will join me in voting for the affirmative.

Thank you again to my opponent.
rougeagent21

Con

rougeagent21 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
Forgive my slowness, I should have never accepted the debate in the first place. However, I will provide a closing argument for any who want to hear it. You can choose whether or not to include it in your decision, and I understand if you do not due to my no-show in the last round. Whichever you decide, here it is:

I feel that a lot of this debate has been back and forth about the same things, so I will not bore you further with those same topics. I do feel the need however to point out something that my opponent has not been truthful to you voters about.
"My opponent's logic is entirely fallacious. It is impossible to flip a coin an infinite number of times and not have it come up tails. This can be shown to be true through simple probability. The probability of getting tails is 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/32 … 1/n, which is equal to 1. This means that the likelihood of flipping tails once is 100% on a balanced coin flipped an infinite number of times. This, again, disproves his fundamental logic."

Go ahead and add up those numbers. I dare you. This equation my opponent gives you will never yield "1", but will increase towards towards 1 forever. There are an infinite number of numbers, and you can always move the decimal place over one. However, this is not a major point, but simply an example of how probability does not equal certainty.

The probability of life outside Earth has been widely contested, but the most commonly-agreed upon number is .0001 of a percent. What my opponent does not realize is that each chance for life is independent in an infinite universe. That means that for every chance at life, there is .0001 of a percent chance that life will actually exist, regardless of previous outcomes. Just because you have already had 999,999,999 chances for life does not mean that the next one will yield life. Each trial is independent of the others. This is basic statistics. Now, if each trial has a .0001% chance of life, and all trials are
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
independent of the others, then you could quite possibly never occur upon extraterrestrial life. Once again, possibility and probability DO NOT EQUAL CERTAINTY. Due to this, I remain in negation of the resolution. Thank you.
Posted by Alexby1 7 years ago
Alexby1
I think we should just let the voting begin.
Posted by Alexby1 7 years ago
Alexby1
How about that argument…?
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
I understand. I can post after school today.
Posted by Alexby1 7 years ago
Alexby1
Whatever works for you. he only thing about that is there's a shorter character limit in the comments.
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
Terribly sorry. My APUSH teacher decided to give us TWO FRQs tonight. I'll be up until midnight. I can post in the comments if you want me to.
Posted by Alexby1 7 years ago
Alexby1
Aww… forfeited? Now thats just disappointing.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
I have NOT been vote-bombing you.

And if you don't think a topic is interesting enough to debate, why do you accept it in the first place?
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
Skeptic, if you flip a coin an infinite number of times, you can't not get heads. And you can't not have it land on its side. And you can't not have it land in the sewer, requiring a new coin, should a sewer be within rolling distance.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by TFranklin62 7 years ago
TFranklin62
Alexby1rougeagent21Tied
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Vote Placed by Atonement 7 years ago
Atonement
Alexby1rougeagent21Tied
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Vote Placed by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
Alexby1rougeagent21Tied
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Vote Placed by Alexby1 7 years ago
Alexby1
Alexby1rougeagent21Tied
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