The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
9 Points

Light is not matter

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/21/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,585 times Debate No: 75652
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (20)
Votes (3)




Light is obviously not matter.

Round 1 is acceptance.


I accept. As Pro has not provided definitions, I shall define the terms:

Light - "a source of illumination, especially an electric lamp." [1]
Matter - "physical substance in general, as distinct from mind and spirit; (in physics) that which occupies space and possesses rest mass, especially as distinct from energy." [2]

BoP is entirely on Pro to show that *all* sources of illumination, esp. electric lamps, are not made up of matter.


1. Google ("define light")
2. Google ("define matter")
Debate Round No. 1


Light is simply not matter. It is energy.

In order to be a form of matter, an object must take up space and have mass.

C1) Anything that has neither mass, nor volume is not matter
C2) Light has no mass or volume
P1) Light has no matter

All forms of light in the spectrum are forms of energy.

Energy- the ability to due work

I have never stated that sources of light have no matter, but rather that light itself is not matter. A lamp has matter because it is a solid. A solid is one of the four states of matter. The others being plasma, gases, and liquids. Since photons have no mass, they travel freely without being stopped by friction and gravity. Since light does work by moving, and has no mass, it is a form of energy.

Also, consider this: Light travels at over 186,000 miles per second. If it had mass, wouldn't it be able to damage everything it touches? Even if the damage is small, light would have a force that gives an impact on substances.

I believe that light is made up of waves as well. Waves have no mass, waves transfer energy, and waves can travel through matter. If photons and waves are not mass, but still have speeds, than light is simply energy.



Affirmative Arguments
I clearly provided a definition of the term “light” in the previous round, i.e. a source of illumination, especially an electric lamp. Pro’s burden is to show that all sources of illumination, e.g. electric lamps, are not made of matter, and are, instead, made of “something else”, which, in a scientific sense, generally means energy.

Pro asserts that there are two fundamental requirements for something to be classified as matter -- the substance has to have mass and volume. An electric lamp has mass and volume, thus it is to be classified as matter.

Clarification on Definitions
I have never stated that sources of light have no matter, but rather that light itself is not matter. A lamp has matter because it is a solid.

By standard DDO norms, when definitions relating to the resolution are not provided by the Instigator in the initial round, the Contender provides the resolution definitions in R1. As the Contender, I invoked the right to provide resolution definitions, and used the Google dictionary, whose definitions are from the Oxford Dictionary of English, to define a “light” as a “source of illumination.” Pro randomly contests that this definition is unsound with no source, and then concedes that a lamp, i.e. a source of light, has matter because it is a solid. This is a concession, as Pro must follow the resolution definitions provided by the contender if the instigator/Pro has not provided the definitions in R1.

Epistemological Nihilism
Regardless of the confusion regarding definitions, I shall present a “kritik” of the topic by challenging a fundamental assumption in the resolution -- that knowledge and logic are entirely sound. My position shall be that of epistemic nihilism, i.e. nothing can be definitely “known”.

In essence, the K shall attack the fundamental premise of “knowledge” being definitively true. “Knowledge”, by definition, is “justified true belief.” The K shall attack the concept of knowledge via. this core structure of premises.

1. It is impossible to fundamentally justify one’s beliefs.
2. “Truth” is a subjective property.

Impossibility of Justification of Beliefs
Sextus Empiricus was the first to argue for epistemic nihilism, with an argument consisting of five “modes”, which were shortened to three “modes” by Karl Popper and Hans Albert, which became a trilemma known as the Munchhausen trilemma. [1] The Munchhausen trilemma stresses the impossibility to prove any truth even in the fields of logic and mathematics.

If we ask of any knowledge X, in this case knowledge that light is not matter, “How do I know it’s true?”, we may provide proof, but the same question can be asked of the proof, and the subsequent proof, and so on, forming an infinite regression. This is referred to as the “regressive argument”, allowing for reductio ad infinitum to any assertion.

The next mode is referred to as the “circular argument”. At some point, any and all “proofs” will be reduced to circular reasoning, viz. “A is true because B is true, and B is true because A is true.” [2] This would mean that the assertion will always be logically fallacious. For example, Pro asserts that light is a form of energy, so the argument from circular reasoning would be based on an exchange like this:

Pro: “Light is a form of energy.”
Con: “How do I know it’s true?”
Pro: “Because it’s been proven.”
Con: “How?”
Pro: “Light doesn’t have mass.”
Con: “How?”
Pro: “Because it’s made of waves.”
Con: “How?”
Pro: “Observational evidence.”
Con: “Observation of what?”
Pro: “Light.”
Con: “How?”
Pro: “An experiment via. electromagnetism showed light is made of both waves and particles.”
Con: “What were the choices of the experiment?”
Pro: “We already know that light was made of waves, photons or both …”

In the last statement, Pro begs the question and commits a circular reasoning fallacy.

Finally, the same leads to the axiomatic argument, where for these observations, the soundness of logic is assumed. The soundness of human observation, comprehension and logic must be adequately justified, and that is impossible.

Impossibility of Objective Truth
As mere subjects of the universe, we have access only to our own mental content and comprehension. Logic is basically the boundary line for the limits of human comprehension. There is, most philosophers acknowledge, something beyond logical comprehension or limitation, which leads to assumptions being likely untrue, thus influenced by our personal logic and thoughts.

Personal logical constructs are faulty because humans *created* such core concepts, thus these are influenced by the limits of the human mind, ergo these are subjective. Thus, the human comprehension of “knowledge” and “truth” is indefinite, and to question this would beg the question and question definitions.

Ergo, human-limited “truths” such as the idea that light is not matter are purely and entirely subjective, and that light is certainly not matter cannot be objectively justified.

a) Pro concedes that lamps have mass and are matter, and since a “light” is a source of light, Pro has completely and entirely conceded the debate.
b) Even using Pro’s definition of “light”, one has some core logically fallacious assumptions that can be refuted via. epistemological nihilism.

Thus, the resolution is resoundingly negated.

Debate Round No. 2


I mean light in a different type of way.

Light: The natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible.

So let that serve as a rebuttal to your definition of light. "Turn off the light" is simply a figure of speech and is not grammatically correct. That would be the equivalent of defining "video" as a YouTube video, since they are called videos.

If I was talking about your definition, I would've stated that "A light is not matter", rather than stating that "Light is not matter."

Now I must answer your questions about how and why light is not matter:

Light is a form of energy, because it has a speed and can do work. Energy is specifically defined as the ability to do work as I have previously mentioned.
It has been proven that light is energy, not mass. All matter has atoms. Light is just a form of electromagnetic radiation with photons

Also, matter has 4 states as I have already said. Does the movement of a photon match the movement of a solid, liquid, gas, or plasma particle? No it does not Look at the diagram.

Some of those quotes you put for "Pro" are statements I have never made. The evidence is in my sources. You have not yet provided one reason for why light is matter. Your argument was simply made up of rebuttals rather than a case. In order for me to do some refuting, you need to come up with a case. You have the BoP of proving that Light IS matter.



Definition of Light
First, as mentioned, the standard DDO norm says I have the right to provide definitions in R1 for the debate. Whether or not you said "a light", I could just interpret that as a grammatical error. I provided the definition and you HAVE to follow it. Note that my opponent has conceded the debate, as shown in the previous rounds.

Epistemological Nihilism
Even IF I accepted your definition of light, all I need do here is *extend* my argument from epistemological nihilism. And yes, you did not say what I typed there, I was talking of a *fictional* conversation to demonstrate that it's impossible to fundamentally justify one's belief.

"It is proven that light is energy."

Yes, but it is proven *contingently*, as via. the Munchhausen trilemma, it is impossible to non-contingently prove something. But via. the resolution, you have to demonstrate with absolute certainty that light is energy without falling to Munchhausen trilemma. I extend my rebuttal via. epistemic nihilism.

Burden of Proof
"You have the BoP of proving light IS matter."

This is incorrect. The resolution says "Light is NOT matter", thus YOU are the one making the positive assertion. I need only negate the resolution by saying light MAY be matter, which it *always* must via. epistemic nihilism.

Pro entirely drops epistemic nihilism, randomly shifts BoP with no justification, and *assumes* the soundness of knowledge and purely subjective truth.
Debate Round No. 3


The way in which I word "Light" is an implied definition. It's your responsibility to understand the meaning of this debate. I created this debate and decided the topic, therefore you cannot just simply switch the topic to "All sources of light are not made up of matter."

"Light MAY be matter" is a great example of equivocation. You could agree with me, or you could not. That statement is also illogical. Light cannot be "kind of matter, but kind of not". It either IS matter or IS NOT matter. There is no middle ground.

I have provided scientific reasoning for why light is not matter.

Also, I must debunk your definition. A "source" can mean several things. For a river, a source is defined as: "the original point from which a river or stream flows". In other words, the start of a substance. This applies to light as well.

Especially- particularly; exceptionally; markedly:

So "especially an electric lamp" is just an example.

A source of light could be from electrical energy or the starting point of the light energy; neither have matter.



Epistemic Nihilism

" 'Light MAY be matter' is a great example of equivocation. You could agree with me, or you could not. That statement is also illogical. Light cannot be "kind of matter, but kind of not". It either IS matter or IS NOT matter. There is no middle ground."

Bare assertion fallacy. I demonstrated using epistemic nihilism that it is impossible to be *ULTIMATELY SURE* that light is or is not matter. To assert that light "is not" matter would run into Munchhausen trilemma. Pro entirely drops the Munchhausen trilemma.

"I have provided scientific reasoning for why light is not matter."

But epistemic nihilism challenges the *soundness* of scientific reasoning, since it's only limited by entirely subjective human comprehension. You have *entirely* dropped epistemic nihilism -- so I ask you, did you even *read* my arguments?

To assert that sources of illumination are not matter, one has to show that *no* source of illumination can even be *classified* as matter.

In addition, you again assume the soundness of scientific studies, but since they're limited by human comprehension, it is impossible to know for sure without running into Munchhausen trilemma [1], and you have the *full* burden of proof to show that light is not or lights are not matter.

Pro is constantly assuming the soundness of science, but I have shown why scientific studies cannot be certain and will run into Munchaussen trilemma. Pro has entirely dropped Munchaussen trilemma and the stance of epistemic nihilism, thus has not fulfilled their entire burden of proof.
Debate Round No. 4


Evidence trumps everything.

To say that being unsure of something prevents running into Munchhausen trilemma is true. However, I do not rely on defense in an argument. I would much rather go for the throat and attack other arguments rather than defending a "maybe" situation. Is there any sort of proof suggesting that this evidence isn't logical? Assumptions cannot be made, otherwise, this feels more like an opinion than an argument.

(Implied arguments)
Con: "We cannot be sure if this evidence is logical"
Pro: "Is there anything suggesting it isn't logical?"

I am using science to prove that light IS matter. You have reasoning, but you cannot debunk my claim since you cannot prove otherwise.

Therefore, my evidence remains unrefuted. Vote PRO


I challenge the *trustworthiness* of your evidence. The resolution says "light is NOT matter", which means it knows for certain that light isn't matter. If the resolution said light is *probably* matter, then it would not run into the trilemma. I maintain that it's impossible to know anything for certain, with or without evidence, without running into Munchaussen trilemma.

Since Pro uses science, Pro must *justify* that science is "right" objectively, which has not been done. Thus, Pro has not fulfilled their burden of proof. The resolution remains resoundingly negated.

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 5
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by KingofEverything 2 years ago
Posted by KingofEverything 2 years ago
Tejerics? Seriously?
Posted by KingofEverything 2 years ago
Sorry Tej. I screwed up.
Posted by daem0n 3 years ago
Looks like the software cut off the last few words of my comment. My last sentence was supposed to be "Therefore, vote Pro."
Posted by lol101 3 years ago
I mean... tejretics. I hate my phone.
Posted by lol101 3 years ago
Daem0n, you didn't finish your comment?
Posted by lol101 3 years ago
tejerics is smart. I give him that.
Posted by daem0n 3 years ago

tejretics pulled two cheap metadebate tricks on you. Each one was an attempt to get the voter to make a decision using a mental model that favored him. One trick failed (barely); the other trick succeeded.

In either case, I want to show you the easy way to defeat this kind of cheap trick. Basically, you need to persuade the voter that it is better to use one mental model than to use another.


"A definition is a mental tool for facilitating a meaningful discussion. Con and I offer you different tools for the job of assigning meaning to the terms in this debate. The one I offer does a better job because:

- It is how the term is used in literally all written material that could count as supporting evidence in this debate. This debate is hardly meaningful when we define our terms in such a way that none of the literature is even applicable.

- It is the common usage. When you, the voter, read the resolution, you immediately thought of light itself, not sources of light. Using an unexpected definition of a term for no good reason only creates confusion.

- It is grammatically valid. 'a light' is a concrete noun, which we use to refer to discrete objects, like lamps. 'light' is a mass noun, which we use to refer to types of substances, types of energy, etc. Con's definition treats a mass noun as a concrete noun, ignoring a very basic part of how our language works. We might as well not use a language at all.

Using Con's definition defeats the purpose of debate. Use mine instead."


"Con wants you to disregard all logical thought that humans ever use. But if you do that, then you will never believe anything is true. This would defeat the purpose of debate, since your mind would be made up before any debate ever began. If you vote for Con on this argument, then we can conclude that you think every voter should vote Con in every debate. But you would not be on this site if you thought there was no point in debating. Theref
Posted by lol101 3 years ago
Oops. I said light IS matter. Derp.

By the way, when you say "lol", are you referring to me or the abbreviation?
Posted by tejretics 3 years ago
I abandoned the deconstructional semantics and entirely used a K via. epistemic nihilism, lol.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Nac 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:24 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Fallacious attempt by pro to shift the BoP, and inability to accept general debate rules regarding definition. Sources - Though I disagree it matters all too much, Pro provided numerous sources. Arguments - Con employed 2 arguments: a kritik regarding knowledge, and a definition which nullifies pro's argument. The definition coincides with general rules which were never challenged, so Con wins on this front. The kritik was challenged with evidentialist definitions, which was not implied in round 1. Thus, con wins here as well.
Vote Placed by Lexus 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - pro gets conduct because con played a nasty game of semantics. The implied definition of light is good, no need to define it. I can define "the" to be something unrelated to the resolution, that does not mean that my definition has to be followed. The implied definition is best. | Args - by bringing up epistomological nihilism, con does make a good point that nothing is really 'known', and that makes all of pro's arguments basically void. Pro makes a good argument that photons do not have weight or take up space, essentially making them not matter, but they also did employ some type of circular logic when making their case. Overall, I think that the arguments made were pretty equal. | Sources - Because con proved that there is no soundness in science, none of pro's scientific sources are valid for this debate. Con gets sources | Notes - don't rely on semantics and nihilism for your case, tejretics, it takes away from the actual topic at hand. Happy to clarify if I am PM'd.
Vote Placed by daem0n 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Definitions: Pro makes persuasive argument: if he meant "light" as in "light source", he would have written "a light" instead of just "light". And Pro *does* define light in R3. Con drops the definition anyway. Science: Pro argues and Con concedes that if science proves anything at all, then it proves light is not matter. So does science prove anything? Con says (in so many words) that a valid proof of any statement must consist of something other than human reasoning, and Pro neither refutes this nor shows how any of his support meets that requirement. So who actually must prove their side? Neither side gives a very convincing reason why their opponent has the absolute BoP, but Con does make the assertion that the resolution is a truth claim that should not be considered true unless proven true. That sort of makes sense, I guess, and Pro has no response. So I vote Con because I am not persuaded that the resolution is true. See comments for my subjective opinion and advice to Pro.