The Instigator
olle15
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
Tatarize
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

Impossible isn't impossible

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/22/2008 Category: Education
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,129 times Debate No: 2073
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (9)
Votes (8)

 

olle15

Pro

In the world of science the really big shots of the science community tend to use the word impossible a lot when they think they've figured things out. Like when they say you can't find a way to move through the galaxy faster than light this is fact of so we think. No matter how many numbers you show me saying that you can't get from one star to another in days instead of years, and the reason I say this is because we're building our science from scratch so it cannot be a perfect science. Every thing up to now that we have said is impossible may in fact be possible we just don't have the science to discover that it is possible.
Tatarize

Con

The impossible is impossible unless its not and then it really never was.

When scientists use the word impossible it often has some caveats which are hardly worth mentioning. It is impossible to fly faster than the speed of light. Relativity shows us that doing so would cause our mass to become infinite and would take an infinite amount of energy. This is quite clearly impossible. However, there are plenty of ways to go faster than the speed of light distance wise if not speed wise. It might be possible to travel through a wormhole displacing more distance than time would allow at the speed of light. Further it would be possible to thin-out space time and travel through less spacetime to achieve a greater distance. Further there could be any number of quirks with reality which permit what is actually acceptable. You simply cannot have your velocity exceed c, it doesn't really matter where you end up.

Also, despite your claim, I don't see how your argument could possibly succeed. Impossible is impossible by definition. Scientists may be wrong at times, for example a few of them thought space travel was impossible because there's nothing to push off of in space, ignoring Newton's third law. But, impossible actually is impossible. You cannot create or destroy energy you can just convert it sometimes from one into the other, but never end up with more than you started with. There might be some additional quirks to the universe to note that inflation is able to convert energy from the production of additional spacetime. However, that's far from violating the impossible.

You can get to one star from our in a number of days. All you need to do is fly close to the speed of light and time for you will slow down. A couple of days will pass as you travel the 4.36 light years to Alpha Centauri on Earth however more than 4 years will pass.

There are often caveats on things, and acceptable loopholes by which you actually could do such things and not violate the impossible bit. But, things which are actually impossible are actually impossible. You cannot instantly convert a baseball into energy and destroy the planet. There's simply not enough energy to do that. A baseball would convert to (142.54 g) * (c^2) = 1.28108563 � 10^16 joules. Which is on par with the energy needed create Meteor Crater in Arizona, a million tons of coal, or 100 Hiroshima atom bombs. Such an energy release would leave a giant hole where a city use to be but it is "impossible" that it would destroy the world.

The reason you say that such things cannot actually be impossible is because we are building science up from scratch and it cannot be perfect. Well, yes and no. We are building science up from scratch and it isn't perfect, however it gets progressively better by showing us more refined ways of seeing things.

I highly recommend reading Isaac Asimov's Relativity of Wrong:
http://chem.tufts.edu...

It isn't that things science said before are wrong. Rather things science says now are less wrong than they use to be. It is wrong to say that the world is flat, even though it looks pretty flat as I'm walking around on it. And strictly speaking, it's wrong to say the world is round because there are abnormalities: it's wider at the equator and fatter at the northern end and has mountains. As Asimov put it, "[W]hen people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

We should be careful with our words, but when we say the universe is 14 billion years old give or take a billion years... we are right. If we determine that it's 13.7 billion years old give or take a fifth of a billion years... this didn't make that previous answer wrong. The previous answer is still right. The newer answer is however much more exacting and much more complete.

To say that, "Every thing up to now that we have said is impossible may in fact be possible" is a bit silly. We are ruling out more things and not completely jumping to another answer all together. You are simply noting that there have been some notable overstatements as to what is not possible in the past, so all statements about what is not possible are false.

Is it possible that you're wrong about this statement? Are you not suggesting it's impossible that something is impossible?

It actually is impossible to have a velocity above the speed of light for a number of very cogent reasons. It might be possible to displace a greater distance than light would traveling through normal space. This loophole (or wormhole if you prefer) does not negate the impossibility of this type of travel. Rather, that is simply to say we need a different way to do it because there is this boundary here which cannot be exceeded. This is the same thing we have done throughout history when things seemed impossible. It's impossible to fly in outerspace because there's nothing to push off of... well then don't push off of things use Newton's third law. It's impossible to reach land sailing west from Europe, unless our assumption that there is a giant ocean-sea there are wrong.

Sometimes things are impossible assuming our premises are right. And its impossible to be wrong all the time. It is impossible for me to gain superpowers and eat the sun. It is impossible to blow up the Earth with just a baseball. It is impossible to be wrong all the time.

Science gets less wrong and as that happens we sometimes rule in things as previously impossible which weren't really impossible, but more often than not we rule out new things as impossible. Science knows what is possible by ruling out the impossible and taking a good hard look at what is left. Because we were wrong about what we were wrong about, doesn't mean we aren't right about what we are right about.
Debate Round No. 1
olle15

Pro

Here is the ignorance of the scientific world you are still talking in science every excuse you've given me has been based on science. This should obviously be handled in philosophical terms. Every thing you have stated is based on the science as we know it here and now and as I stated before and you have stated in the past we are working with a science built from scratch. But I never said our science is wrong but I never it was right and that is because of the infinitely expanding nature of the universe. So in an infinitely expanding universe there are infinite possibilities. And don't forget about the possibility of an infinite number of parallel universes all with there own infinite number of possibilities. And with all of this there can be no impossible or right and wrong because anything is possible. But if you just want to talk about our universe the same still goes until our universe stops expanding possibilities are endless.
Tatarize

Con

So again, you're saying that it's impossible that anything suggested to be impossible actually is impossible? IMPOSSIBLE!

You can't just suggest that because I gave very discrete examples of things in science that my argument is voided because I used science and you really want to violate the speed limit (670,616,629 miles per hour, it's not just the speed limit it's the law)? Other than suggest that you really want faster than light travel you gave no examples of impossible things and why they are really possible. Science is zooming in more and more on what is and isn't possible. It isn't possible for a photon to turn into a baseball. It isn't possible for a baseball to blow up the planet (just create a big hole).

Further, science has some times in the past ended up with completely different predictions as to what the universe would do. One of them has to happen and both were possible and the reverse impossible. For example, avoiding the Big Crunch was thought to be impossible at one point in time. It was thought that all the matter in the universe would start sucking each other in and cram together. Now we think the Big Crunch is impossible and the universe will simply expand forever due to the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. Somebody has to be right.

Is it impossible the universe will come back together. Is it impossible that the universe will stay apart. -- These are the only two possibilities... and like it not one of them is correct.

Your suggestion that it's impossible that impossible things actually exist is self-refuting.
Science expands all the time and clarifies its position. Certain it has in the past been over zealous but there are completely absurd things which actually are impossible.
Science typically expands the realm of the possible rather than the impossible. Without science there wouldn't be any idea that we had a need to fly close to the speed of light in order to travel the 24 billion miles to the next star.
Science has in the past stated that the only two possibilities for something were both impossible at different points in time. One of them has to be right.

I don't see why I should reduce our understanding of the world into philosophical terms. I might as well reduce it into theological terms if I'm reducing what we know into blathering nonsense.

Science isn't right because of the "infinitely expanding nature of the universe" -- in fact, you stole that from science and tweaked it. Also, very well might not be true.

The idea of saying that science isn't wrong or right while on a computer running through fiber optic lines and unto servers is rather amusing. Sorry, but science got that right.

You rest your argument on infinite universes and infinite dimensions on the grounds that everything has to be correct somewhere? First off, scientific prediction of the impossibility of things are made locally. You don't get to suppose it's right in some other universe (regardless what string theorists say). Further, you're assuming science is right about those infinite number of universe and that seems to perhaps be a sketchy view of quantum mechanics. The idea of those universes actually existing rather than being potential has always hit a raw cord.

It doesn't matter how big the universe becomes muons aren't going to start decaying into basketballs (they decay into electrons). That's impossible. Sorry.
Debate Round No. 2
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
That's far from impossible. It simply isn't supported by the data. The change in the greenhouse effect due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere is the only ascribed mechanism to explain the current warming trend. Other suggestions either provide far too little warming or far too little warming on a non-global scale. So we have a mechanism that can fully explain the trend with good reliable data and we have mechanisms that cannot.
Posted by sadolite 9 years ago
sadolite
It is "impossible" for Tatarize to consider global warming may not be caused by man. Ya, It's me again. I couldn't resist.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
You need not travel beyond the speed of light to go to other worlds. Fast enough and time would slow down to extreme levels. Though, in reality the energies needed for those speeds are well beyond our abilities, and stopping and starting needs a gradual acceleration so unless you're okay with becoming goo the slowdown and start up is going to take years.

My dog has six breasts. Though, it's doubtful there's be mammalian life on other planets. You can currently get an implant which will give you an orgasm (it's possible to trigger that part of your brain). There's also an implant to restart your head though it's for epileptics. Hearts too that's what a pacemaker does for a large part. And no, the sky is not the limit.
Posted by Mikegj1077 9 years ago
Mikegj1077
I've thought about a mass exceeding the speed of light, which would be needed to for us to visit other worlds (or be visited).

I'd like to visit other worlds. Who knows what I'd find, maybe a woman with six breasts or something. No war because all evil were defeated. An implant that would give you an orgasm, insulin, restart your heart when needed. The sky is the limit.

That's a good topic for a debate. Post one.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
Philosophers can't slam revolving doors either.
Posted by olle15 9 years ago
olle15
of course when speaking literally you cant slam a revolving door but i wasnt speaking in literal terms. philosophically, anything can happen. and will giving the right circumstances. and depending on the way you speak, you can slam a revolving door using insults! its all just a manner of thinking.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
I don't drink.
Ever.

*shrug*

Trublondedebator, wow. I could have saved about 10,000 characters of argument.
Posted by Mikegj1077 9 years ago
Mikegj1077
Hey Tat, I think your debate skills are diminished when you're drinking. I know from experience.

I could set up a whole debate forum just judging your stupid appearance. Don't let people pre-judge you. On the other hand, I guess that's what I'm doing. But I can judge you. I'm God.
Posted by trublondedebater 9 years ago
trublondedebater
i gotta go with the con on this one...who ever said anything was possible..never tried slamming a revolving door.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by Tatarize 7 years ago
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