The Instigator
Sargon
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
apb4y
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Physics is not able to determine whether or not A or B theory is true.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Sargon
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 10/4/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,400 times Debate No: 62654
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)

 

Sargon

Pro

Resolution: Physics is not able to determine whether or not A or B theory is true.
A-theory (the "A-theory of time"): the tensed view of time in which the past and future do not exist
B-theory (the "B-theory of time"): the tenseless view of time in which the past, present, and future are all equally real
"Not able to" refers to the current state of physics, not the practice of physics in principle.
apb4y

Con

Seeing as we're discussing Science, we shall use the scientific definition of "theory":

"A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation."

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

My counter-claim goes as follows:

1. "A-theory" and "B-theory" cannot make testable predictions, and so are not real theories. They are not even hypotheses, which become theories upon testing.

2. Both suppose a universal definition of "present", which is incompatible with Relativity. Two observers moving differently will disagree on how much time has passed, and may even disagree on the order in which events occur.

Therefore, because neither is a real theory and both require universal agreement on the passage of time in order to work, both are incorrect.
Debate Round No. 1
Sargon

Pro

The topic we are discussing is fundamentally philosophical, not scientific. The resolution relates to determining whether or not a particular philosophy of time can be supported by physical evidence. The study of the implications of scientific evidence on what was traditionally philosophical questions is referred to as the philosophy of physics. Because this is fundamentally a philosophical issue, we must utilize the vocabulary of philosophy, and only employ the vocabulary of other fields, such as science, when the invokation of such vocabulary is necessary for our discussion. For this reason, it is clear that we do not have to use the vocabulary of science when it relates to the meaning of the word "theory".

Con's position contradicts itself. Con informs the audience that neither the A-theory of time nor the B-theory of time offer testable predictions. However, he late claims that empirical evidence has falsified both interpretations. However, if this is the case, then it must also be the case that both theories offer testable predictions. Con states that both theories of time assume a "universal present". Con fails to precisely define this term, so it impossible to address the truth of this assertion. However, if we are to assume that Con is right in suggesting that both theories of time assume a universal present, then his position contradicts itself. If experiments showing that there is no universal present falsify both theories of time, then one testable prediction of the A and B theory must be that "two observers moving differently will not disagree on how much time has passed". Otherwise, the fact that experiments show that two observers will not always agree on simultaneity would do nothing to falsify either idea.

I will now proceed to explain why the current state of physics is not able to determine whether or not A or B theory is true. The only theories in physics which have obtained consensus are theories like Newtonian mechanics, quantum mechanics, special and general relativity, and the other physics such as fluid and solid-state mechanics. However, these physical theories only have applications under certain physical conditions and scales. For example, Newtonian mechanics is true as an approximation, but Newton's physics fails to hold at speeds closer to c (the speed of light). At this scale, Einstein's special relativity must be used. However, Einstein's special relativity is only true for inertial reference frames, and the physicist mut invoke general relativity in order to speak about non-inertial reference frames as well. However, this theory is inconsistent with the empirical results of quantum mechanics, such as Alain Aspect's and other Aspect-type experiments using Bell's inqualities. These experiments indicate that at the quantum scale, there are insantaneous, non-local causal correlations between distant particles. If one measures the spin-state of a particle X, then the spin state of a spatially distant particle Y will instantaneously become anti-correlated, or take the opposite spin. This is contradictory with general relativity's principle of locality, which states that if two objects are to causally influence each other, then they must do so through successive space-time points. Indeed, the fact that Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen utilized relativity's assumption of locality as an argument against quantum mechanics in the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paper's EPR paradox shows how deeply embedded the assumption of locality is in relativity.

As this shows, when one looks at the only physical theories with an established consensus, none of them are true for every scale, and instead have their own applications in certain physical conditions and scales. Because of this, one can never make the argument that "General relativity is true, therefore X is also true", because general relativity, in a sense, is only an approximation. One can only employ conditional logical statements like "If general relativity is true, then X is also true". Now, let us imagine that we let X represent the A-theory of time. If this is the case, then no established physical theory can be used to prove that the A-theory of time is false. The same reasoning is true if we let X represent the B-theory of time. (General relativity is merely a generic placeholder for any of the physical theories mentioned.)

One may ask how this contention deals with the unified theories in physics which are said to apply to all physical scales and conditions. While some purport to do this, we must remember that none of these theories have any well-confirmed evidence, and await confirmation in the distant future. Therefore, they do not in any sense "determine" either of the two theories to be false, as they are on such weak empirical grounding that they cannot accomplish it.

To conclude, Con approaches the resolution with a misconception; The misconception is that he has failed to utilize the corre
ct vocabulary for this issue. Furthermore, his arguments against the resolution only serve to contradict each other, thus supporting the Pro position. Finally, all established physical theories only work at certain scales, and are therefore not "strictiy true". For this reason, one can only make conditional statements about the consistency of either theory of time with physics, and one can never make the assertion that it disproves either theory of time.

I thank Con for a stimulating debate, and turn this over to him.








apb4y

Con

Pro claims that this debate is philosophical and not scientific. However, Physics is a science, so this cannot be correct. We must approach the matter from a scientific perspective.

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

Forgive me for not defining "universal present". I assumed that my opponent was familiar with Relativity, seeing as they are debating Physics. A "universal present" or "absolute time" means that if we synchronize two clocks and take them to different parts of the universe, they will always agree with one another (assuming the clocks are working properly). Special Relativity is all about overthrowing the assumption that this is correct.

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

Now imagine the following scenario:

Suppose Alice and Bob are on planets 10 light years away. At time zero, Alice lets off some fireworks and hops in her spacecraft, which departs towards Bob's planet at the speed of light. Being 10 light years apart, the journey takes 10 years. After 7 years, Bob falls and breaks his leg. He then observes the light from Alice's fireworks, and can construct the following timeline:

Year 0 - Alice lets off fireworks and boards her spacecraft.

Year 7 - Bob breaks his leg.

Year 10 - Alice arrives in her spacecraft.

Alice, however, has been travelling at the speed of light, so Special Relativity predicts that the amount of time that passed for her should be 0. Alice constructs the following timeline:

Year -3: Bob breaks his leg.

Year 0: Alice lets off fireworks and boards her spacecraft.

Year 0: Alice arrives in her spacecraft.

Note that Alice's perspective is the same perspective that all photons have: their lifespans take 0 time, their departure and arrival are simultaneous, and Bob broke his leg 3 years before they departed. For photons, this situation is not hypothetical. Also, the timeline is not a failure of measurement on Alice's part; that is literally what her timeline would look like if reconstructed properly.

If Alice was to return home faster than the speed of light, then Bob would observe:

Year 0: Alice departs.

Year 0: Alice returns.

Year 7: Bob breaks his leg.

Year 10: Alice arrives.

And Alice would observe:

Year -3: Bob breaks his leg.

Year 0: Alice departs.

Year 0: Alice arrives.

Year 0+: Alice returns.

As you will observe, this makes both the A- and B-theories of time unworkable. If A-theory is correct, then how could Alice return from visiting Bob before she arrived? The past she was travelling into should not have existed. If B-theory is correct, then how can Alice and Bob disagree on the order of events? The past and future should be all laid out.

The problem is that A- and B-theory are philosophical ideas, and not scientific theories. Science was once part of Philosophy, but it has since moved on.

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

https://web.archive.org...

I'd also like to thank my opponent for pointing out that A- and B-theory can, in fact, be disproved (that was a trap and you fell into it). It still doesn't make them real theories (they're not accurate, they don't have supporting evidence, they can't be adapted and they don't conform to Occam's Razor), but it does prove my case.

Pro's 3rd paragraph onward is an Argument from Ignorance fallacy. I encourage you all to ignore it.
Debate Round No. 2
Sargon

Pro

(As a note, the term "universal present" is not the conventional vernacular of relativity. When one wants to describe the notion that all observers will measure all events as taking place at the same time, the term "absolute time" or "absolute simultaneity" is invoked. If one wants to test whether the term "universal present" is a term used by relativity, they only need to do a google search of the term, and a concerning lack of information about relativity will come up.)

Con completely skips over my argument, one which concludes that the fundamental vocabulary for this debate should be philosophical rather than scientific, and that scientific vocabulary should only be invoked when necessary.
His argument is that physics is a science, so we should address this from a scientific perspective. While physics is certainly a science, we are not discussing an empirical question, and therefore are not discussing a scientific question. We are looking at the whole body of evidence from physics and debating what it can and cannot determine, which is a decidely non-empirical practice. To provide an analogy to academia, a meta-analysis of experiments is not an experiment in and of itself. We are not attempting to perform an experiment, but rather, we are using pure logic and thought, which is in the domain of philosophy. The fact that we are doing this in regards to physics is, as I argued in the previous round, only indicative of the fact that we doing philosophy of physics.

It is also worth nothing that the crux of Con's argument is a conceptual mistake. While science defines a theory in empirical terms, there are non-scientific uses of the term "theory" which are not defined in empirical terms. When one refers to a "theory" in philosophy, they are simply referring to a philosophical position, one which is not always intended to be empirical. As an example of the fact that the use of the word "theory" does not always entail a scientific theory, one can look at abstract algebra and what is called "ring theory". This is a completely mathematical, non-empirical study of algebraic structures. It is a theory, but it is not empirical, and it is clearly not a theory in the scientific sense of the term. No philosopher has ever intended the "theory" in the A-series and B-series to mean a scientific theory.

It is also apparent that Con has not read the literature on the arguments. Con asks how the scenario he described is consistent with the A or B theory. For one, the scenario he described is a classic re-telling of Einstein's interpretation of special relativity, and its implication of the relativity of simultaneity. The contemporary A-theorists who write in the philosophy of physics, such as Quentin Smith and William Lane Craig, do not even grant that this interpretation is accurate, so asking how this interpretation is consistent with the A-theory is confused. Con also makes a bizarre move in arguing that Einstein's special relativity is actually inconsistent with the B-theory as well. This would strike anyone who has read the literature as absurd, because anyone who has read the literature would know that most B-theorists take special relativity as a proof of their philosophy of time, while no contemporary A-theorist argues that it is inconsistent with the B-theory. Con's analysis is incorrect in that he is describing an epistemological problem between two observers, and not an ontological thesis about the reality of the past.

Con asserts that my third paragraph commits the fallacy of the argument from ignorance. As somebody who is aware of what this fallacy is, I see no warrant for such an allegation, and no warrant is stated by Con other than the act of assertion. Considering Con's lack of argument, I can do nothing more than explain what the fallacy is, and why my third pargraph does not commit it. The fallacy of an argument from ignorance is one reasons that because nobody has proven a proposition to be true, it must be false, or because nobody has proven a proposition to be false, then it must be true.
In order to address this claim, one must remember what this debate is about. We are debating whether or not the current state of physics allows it to determine whether or not a given philosophical view of time is false. Obviously, it follows from the nature of the debate that we will discuss what physics has established, and what physics has not yet established. I believe that Con read my remarks on what knowledge physics currently has and doesn't has, and erroneously inferred that must be making a fallacy of ignorance for simply describing what physical theories haven't been confirmed. If I have truly committed the fallacy of ignorance, then I invite Pro to point out which proposition I affirmed to be true on the basis that it has not yet been proven to be false, or which proposition I affirmed to be false on the basis that it has not yet been proven true. And remember, the argument is not that physics cannot say anything about either theory of time in principle, but that the current state of empirical evidence does not allow it to do so. This was the clarification stipulated in the beginning of the debate which Con agreed to.

Con appeals to Newton's flaming laser sword in affirming that there is no connection between philosophy and science. While I fail to see the relevance to the resolution, I must note how comically self-contradictory this epistemological principle is.The principle states that what cannot be decided by experiment is not worth debating. This is viciously self-contradictory, for what experiment could possibly justify this principle? Furthermore, this principle puts severe epistemogical restraints on inquiry. What about debates on politics, religion, ethics, or literature? Was the Rhwandan genocide not worth talking about because there's no experiment which can determine whether or not it was unethical? Even Adler himself admits that his principle is incredibly restraining. As he writes in the essay that Con linked, "[Newton's flaming laser sword[ undoubtedly cuts out the crap, [but] it also seems to cut out almost everything else as well".

Con's use of special relativity allows me to reiterate an important point in this discussion. Special relativity is a theory of inertial reference frames. It does not work with non-intertial reference frames, nor does it work on the quantum level. Therefore, it is only an approximation of physical reality, and is not strictly "true". For this reason, one cannot affirm a proposition to be false based on special relativity, but can only make the statement that if special relativity is true, then the proposition is false. Con seems to have missed this entire point when he devoted time to explaining what special relativity proves and disproves.

Con has mischaracterized my position in his last round. At no point did I state that A or B theory could be empirically disproved. Rather, all I did was show that Con's initial two arguments, if they are both true, contradict each other. I would like Con to quote which portions of my argument stated, or even so much as implied, that I believe either of the two theories can be empirically falsified.

In conclusion, Con has failed to offer any convincing arguments against the resolution, and my arguments in favor of the revolution clearly stand at this point in the debate.




apb4y

Con

Ugh, the formality is killing me.

Speed run:

1. I used "universal present" because I thought "absolute time" would confuse some people. I apologize for being ambiguous in my terminology.

2. Space and time are scientific concepts, and they must be addressed as science if they are to be properly understood. Pro's claim that we are to use "pure logic and thought" to solve the problem is not just ridiculous, it is downright Aristotelian. This kind of methodology is how we got stuck with a Geocentric universe for over a millennium.

3. "It is also apparent that Con has not read the literature on the arguments."

I also haven't read any Creationist literature, but am still qualified to say that the universe is more than 6,000 years old. If you know the facts, you don't need to read the fiction.

4. I don't care what "most A-/B-theorists" believe. They're not the ones having this debate, so they don't get a say in it.

5. "[Newton's Flaming Laser Sword, from now on abbreviated as NFLS] is viciously self-contradictory, for what experiment could possibly justify this principle?"

Razors are not absolute statements about the nature of anything. They are heuristic tools that we use to sort the sensible arguments from the pointless ones.

"That which cannot be decided by experiment is not worth debating."

Debating the validity of this principle is an example of a pointless argument.

"What about debates on politics, religion, ethics, or literature?"

All are as pointless as debating whose favourite colour is cooler.

"While I fail to see the relevance to the resolution..."

I was making a point about how inadequate Philosophy is.

6. "It does not work with non-intertial reference frames, nor does it work on the quantum level."

Neither of which are relevant, unless Pro can present a counter-argument involving them.

"Therefore, it is only an approximation of physical reality, and is not strictly "true"."

Given as we're working within that approximation, we'll regard it as "true" for the purposes of this debate. Unless, of course you wish to provide an example that only works with a "truer" theory.

"For this reason, one cannot affirm a proposition to be false based on special relativity, but can only make the statement that if special relativity is true, then the proposition is false."

Stop splitting hairs. This is a debate, not a Garnier commercial.

7. "At no point did I state that A or B theory could be empirically disproved."

It doesn't actually matter. Despite being better with words, you're arguing an impossible position. A-theory is incompatible with Special Relativity, and Special Relativity is scientific fact. B-theory may or may not be incompatible as well. Either way, I've proved that Physics can determine that one or both of your "theories" is incorrect, and thus I have won the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
Sargon

Pro

"Ugh, the formality is killing me."

Sorry about that!

Con continues to completely ignore my arguments in favor of the idea that this a philosophical debate rather than a scientific one. My first argument reasoned that because we are debating the implications of science on traditonally philosophical questions, then we are, by definition, practicing philosophy of science, or philosophy of physics in this case. My second argument was that our debate proceeds by looking at the evidence from physics as a whole and determining what conclusions can be made from it. A meta-analysis of experiments is not an experiment in and of itself, so analagously, a meta-analysis of experiments from physics is not the same thing as doing a physics experiment. We are making conclusions from factual statements, which is a process that involves thought and logical reasoning. Con insists that this kind of thinking isn't good, but if he believes this to be the case, then he ought to tell this to Gallileo, who overthrew Aristotle's notion that the natural state of an object is rest by imagining an idealized scenario with a frictionless surface. Frictionless planes do not exist in the real world, so it is obvious that no empirical evidence would help Gallileo in overthrowing Aristotle's notion. Therefore, it was non-empirical, logical thinking that overthrew this Aristotalean assumption. Con scorns the notion of "pure logic and thought" as harkening back to the days of Aristotle, but ironically, it was pure logic and thought which allowed to progress past his physics.

Similarly, Con ignores all of my arguments about the use of the word "theory". The crux of Con's reasoning is that the A-theory and B-theory are not really theories at all, since they don't meet the criterea for a scientific theory. The problem with this reasoning, which should be apparent to all, is that philosophers don't intend for the "theory" in "A-theory" and "B-theory" to refer to a scientific theory. Rather, they just mean it to be synonymous with a philosophical position. To illustrate the absurdity of Con's argument, one must only imagine Con objecting to algebraic ring theory on the basis that nobody has proven it to be true experimentally. Clearly, the problem with this argument is that nobody ever intended for the "theory" in "algebraic ring theory" to refer to a scientific theory.

Con attempts to prove that special relativity falsifies both theories of time. This is ultimately a wasted effort, considering I spent numerous paragraphs in the first round explaining why no such argument could ever succeed. Con, instead of addressing this argument, glibly dismissed it in a single sentence. However, even if we are to look past this, his argument still fails. For one, his argument fails to have any implications on the A-theory, because no A-theory would adopt Einstein's interpretation of special relativity (instead, most adopt for different, empirically equivalent formulations without the same philosophical implications), so Con's scenario, being nothing more than textbook Einstenian relativity, is not a convincing argumt against the A-theory. Con failed to address this objection, so his proof that special relativity falsifies both theories of time falls apart. Furthermore, I spent time explaining why the thought experiment was not inconsistent with the B-theory of time. In response to this, Con merely reasserted his initial argument, making no attempts to address my refutation. If one knows the facts, then they do not need to know the fiction, but how well the facts are being incorporated into Con's argument is certainly questionable.

Con's defense of Newton's flaming laser sword involves very arbitrary reasoning. When one asks how the principle is consistent with our debates on politics, literature, and ethical issues, we are told that these are no more important than debating color, but when one asks for the principle to be consistent with nothing more than itself, we're told it doesn't have to be. If a principle is not even consistent with itself, then why should we bother applying it to other things? Con states that the point of Newton's flaming laser sword is to show philosophy to be ineffective, but considering that Newton's flaming laser sword is in and of itself a piece of philosophy (there's obviously no experiment which could prove it to be true), then it's inexplicable as to how this could be the case.

Con makes the assertion that pointig out the physical scales and conditions at which special relativity applies is just "hair splitting". While this is a rhetorical statement rather than an actual argument, I'll take the effort to explain why this isn't mere hair splitting. Noting the incompatibility of established physical theories, such as the incompatibility of general relativity with quantum mechanics, is not hair splitting. The incompatibility between these two theories is the motivation behind a major field in physics and theoretical physics. Any attempt to find a grand unified theory, such as string theory or quantum gravity, is born out of the incompatibility between the two theories. The notion that it is just a trivial observation is absurd. Furthermore, the fact that any established physical theory only works on certain physical scales and conditions is not hair splitting either. As Miles Donahue (a critic of mine) pointed out in a prior debate, "The reader needs to understand that Quantum Mechanics, the other pillar of modern day physics, is incompatible with General Relativity. But they’re equally successful theories, and thus we must seek a deeper theory of the world, a quantum theory of gravity which marries General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. Indeed, General Relativity breaks down when used to describe phenomena below the Plank length, a size the universe possessed near the Big Bang." One cannot make the argument that "Special relativity is true, therefore X is true", or "Special relativity is true, therefore Y is true", because special relativity is not, in a sense, true.

Let's use the example of quantum physics. Quantum physics is incompatible with the example that Con gave in his earlier rounds. Alain Aspect’s experiments with Bell’s inequalities are the prime example. Aspect's experiments with Bell's inequalities demonstrate simultaneous causation with spatially distant photons. The measurement of one photon causes the other photon to instantaneously take on an anti-correlated spin. A measurement of particle A causes an instantaneous change at particle B, which requires absolute simultaneity. This is inconsistent with Einstein's interpretation of special relativity due to the fact that such instantaneous causal correlations require absolute simultaneity.

‘’The notion of non-local causality, discussed by Bell, requires a criterion of absolute simultaneity which has some absolute significance: it is seem that a cosmological basis for a universal measure of cosmic time resolves this problem...’’- S. J. Prokhovnik, physicist (Einstein, Relativity, and Absolute Simultaneity, pg 33)

‘’[But] I would say that the cheapest resolution is something like going back to relativity as it was before Einstein, when people like Lorentz and Poincare thought that there was an aether-a preferred frame of reference...’’ -John Bell, physicist, talking about Alain Aspect’s experiment (Einstein, Relativity, and Absolute Simultaneity, pg 31)


‘’We have to give up Einstein’s interpretation of special relativity and return to Lorentz’s interpretation and with it to...absolute space and time...’’ - Karl Popper, philosopher of science
(Einstein, Relativity, and Absolute Simultaneity, pg 73)

I devoted several paragraphs of my first round to upholding my burden of proof. Con dismissed all of this argumentation in one sentence as an "appeal to ignorance". Considering that he provided no justificaton for this assertion, I could do nothing more than explain the argument once more, and ask him to identify where my argument uses this fallacy. Unfortunately, he has declined to even address this issue in his last round, so my argumentation in favor of the resolution stands on that ground (and more). Therefore, the burden of proof is upheld.






apb4y

Con

Here we go:

1. "Con continues to completely ignore my arguments in favor of the idea that this a philosophical debate rather than a scientific one."

I did not ignore it, I disagreed with it.

2. What Galileo actually did was roll balls down inclines to see how fast they fall. He found that when friction wasn't a factor, the balls fell at the same speed regardless of their weight. Also, it was Copernicus who realised that Aristotle's "absolute rest" idea was flawed, as it doesn't fit with the Earth orbiting the Sun. Galileo just turned it into a formal statement about the nature of motion itself:

"A body moving on a level surface will continue in the same direction at a constant speed unless disturbed."

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

Physics was not worked out by pure thought. It was worked by about 500 years of experiments. Pro is either unaware of how Science works, or is misrepresenting it in order to win this debate.

3. "The crux of Con's reasoning is that the A-theory and B-theory are not really theories at all, since they don't meet the criterea for a scientific theory."

Notice, however, that I still addressed their claims in the light of modern Physics, which is more than most scientists would do.

4. "Con, instead of addressing this argument, glibly dismissed it in a single sentence."

"If you know the facts, you don't need to read the fiction." - Con

That was a brilliant line I came up with. I think I'll recite it every time somebody pontificates at me.

"... no A-theory would adopt Einstein's interpretation of special relativity..."

Science is supported by evidence, while Philosophy is "pure logic and thought". Science trumps Philosophy every time. Whether philosophers accept this or not is irrelevant.

"I spent time explaining why the thought experiment was not inconsistent with the B-theory of time."

It is possible that I have misunderstood/misapplied the B-theory of time and its interaction with Special Relativity. However, this is irrelevant, as Pro loses the debate if either A- or B-theory cannot be correct.

5. Newton's Flaming Laser Sword states:

"Anything that cannot be settled by observation is not worth debating."

Pro, like most philosophers, has comically missed the point of NFLS. No razor is an absolute arbiter of truth; it is merely a tool to discern sensible arguments from stupid ones. I find it funny that I can say that in layman's terms, and yet philosophers still don't understand it.

Also, the fact that NFLS is technically philosophical does not invalidate its point: that the subject of Philosophy is inherently a waste of time. The capital letter is important, I think. One can have a philosophy, but that's not the same as Philosophy, which is the study and comparison of philosophies.

I should point out that Newton's Flaming Laser Sword isn't actually relevant to the debate premise. It's a tangent, and you are welcome to ignore it.




6. "Con makes the assertion that pointig out the physical scales and conditions at which special relativity applies is just "hair splitting"."

Pro's entire paragraph (the one the above sentence is quoted from), and the point it tries to make, is completely irrelevant. I used Special Relativity to show why A-theory is not correct. At no point did my explanation involve non-inertial reference frames, gravitational singularities, or quantum mechanics - which are the limits to Special Relativity. Therefore, the fact that Special Relativity is not complete has no bearing on my argument.

"Con dismissed all of this argumentation in one sentence as an "appeal to ignorance"... [I asked] him to identify where my argument uses this fallacy."

Pro is correct, it's not Argument from Ignorance. It is actually a Nirvana Fallacy. Pro is implying that the implications of Special Relativity should be ignored because Special Relativity doesn't explain anything. This is ironic, given that Pro said in Round 1:

""Not able to" refers to the current state of physics, not the practice of physics in principle."

It doesn't matter that a theory has limits, provided it works in the context it's used in and is still taught as scientific fact.

Pro seems to be labouring under the delusion that this debate is about the epistemological abilities of Physics.

"... not the practice of physics in principle."

Which makes Pro's Round 1 quote somewhat confusing. If we're not discussing the practice of Physics in principle, then we are not, as Pro has repeatedly claimed, discussing "the Philosophy of Physics". Thus the only thing that matters is what the science of Physics has to say about the nature of Time.

7. "Therefore, the burden of proof is upheld."

I'm not sure what proof Pro thinks he's presented. An article in which scientists test A- and/or B-theory would have instantly won him the debate.

My burden of proof was to show, using Physics, "whether or not A or B theory is true." I attempted to debunk both, because neither is a scientific theory, and therefore neither is worthy of consideration when dealing with scientific concepts like Space and Time. I have definitely shown that A-theory doesn't work. I think I could have done a better job with B-theory. Perhaps I should have approached it using the Uncertainty Principle - the uncertainty is a fundamental property of matter and not a problem of epistemology, so how "real" the past, present and future are would be limited by how uncertain the system is. However, as this is the final round, it would be unfair to spring that upon Pro now.

Nevertheless, the wording of the debate only requires me to disprove one of A- or B-theory in order to meet my burden of proof. I have met that burden of proof, to the standards that could reasonably be expected in a DDO argument. Pro has failed to meet his burden of proof. Therefore, I win the debate.

I would like to thank Sargon for setting up this debate, and for his prompt replies. I would also like to thank all of you for reading and voting on this debate.

Enjoy the rest of your day.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
dylancatlow
I didn't even mention the contradictions in Con's argument which Pro pointed out. In one instance, he says A-theory and B-theory are not even theories in order to defend his position, and in another instance, he claims that they have been proved wrong by empirical evidence (presumably in order to show that physics *can* determine whether or not they are true...that they are both false). How he didn't catch this I don't know.
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
dylancatlow
Basically, in order for a debate to be a "scientific debate", the resolution must be a scientific proposition. This debate is therefore not scientific, because you cannot test whether the proposition is true. Simply because the resolution included the word "physics" does not make it a scientific debate. It's a philosophical debate with science as its content.
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
dylancatlow
RFD:

Con began by claiming "Seeing as we're discussing Science, we shall use the scientific definition of "theory".
Although this appears to make sense at first, it's actually nonsense. The debate is basically *over* whether or not A-theory and B-theory qualify as scientific theories. The debate pertains to science, but it's not strictly speaking a "scientific debate". Indeed, it's Con's *job* to prove that A-theory and B-theory are scientific theories i.e., that their validity can be tested.

Con then goes on to claim that "Both suppose a universal definition of "present". He made no attempt to justify this, and it's false in any case. This, he claims, makes A-theory and B-theory incompatible with Einstein's theory of Relativity. But as Sargon pointed out, Quantum Mechanics has yet to be reconciled with Relativity as well, and *both* theories are accepted almost universally among physicists. This implies that relativity is an incomplete model of the universe, or in other words "not the whole story". Thus, even if A-theory and B-theory were incompatible with relativity as it stands alone, they *could* be reconciled within a more general theory i.e., within a unifying theory of physics.

Pro also uses this argument to uphold his burden of proof. That is, he makes the argument that physics must remain agnostic on the issue until it's able to prove that its theories cannot be undermined by more general theories i.e., until its models of the universe constitute a reliable standard on which to judge other theories. Con didn't adequately address this argument.

In addition, Con acted like an obnoxious child throughout the debate. Given all of this, I think it's a clear win for Pro.
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
dylancatlow
I agree, Ajabi. Sargon's punk-a$$-b*tch behavior was completely uncalled for. It's sad that some people feel they have to resort to rudeness when they know they are outmatched.
Posted by Ajabi 3 years ago
Ajabi
I am pissed off by a certain party in this debate; I shall make sure that I vote most appropriately against that party.
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
dylancatlow
And this is why we have elo restrictions.
Posted by Mister_Man 3 years ago
Mister_Man
I'm considering accepting this but I'm taking part in a couple debates that are taking up a lot of my time right now... I'll be interested to watch this unfold though, good luck Sargon.
Posted by hatshepsut 3 years ago
hatshepsut
It may be a question for philosophy rather than physics, which can only make statements about nature's observables. Einstein's special theory of relativity asserts that each "observer" has its own clock and its own history. So, by "past" we generally mean a causal history shared between two observers. But in what sense do we say this thing is "real"? Most physicists agree that the shared causal past cannot be directly observed or altered - leading to the idea it doesn't "exist" anymore. Yet because effects, carried forward from past causes, do persist and can be observed now, we can certainly claim the past is "real" in some sense. In other words, for physicists this debate is fruitless.
Posted by Neoman 3 years ago
Neoman
The concept of "time"... is much more difficult then the concept of god.
Posted by Ajabi 3 years ago
Ajabi
Ohhh Sargon. I'll vote on this.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dylancatlow 3 years ago
dylancatlow
Sargonapb4y
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.