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The Contender
Con (against)
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Resolved: Reality is a differential of potentials.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 265 times Debate No: 91013
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
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This debate is part of Tejretics debate-of-the-week effort to increase the quality of debates on the site.

Resolution: As a derivative of theoretical physics, philosophical resolutions on reality vs. the scientific method, and discoveries and findings of fact in quantum physics, it is proposed that 'reality' and thus the physical universe itself is derived from differing potential probabiliteis trapped along a single vector of observed time known as the universe.

Pro: to show that all evidence available to date confirms that there is at least a 100% parity of evidence that baryonic matter arises from differing potentials rather than absolute physical reality.

Con: to present any evidence or argument capable of disproving the absolute assertion of Pro. (Evidence through experimental testing of reality that shows a distinct difference between potential for existance and existance).

1st round: Pro presentation of resolution and rules.
1st round. Con: clear acceptance through statement of counter-position.

2nd round: Pro 1st argument
2nd round: Con 1st argument

3rd round: Pro 1st rebuttal.
3rd round: Con 1st rebuttal.

4th round: Pro 2nd rebuttal, closing statement.
4th round: Con 2nd rebuttal, closing statement.


This is my first debate in a while and I am absolutely thrilled about it. I'd love to contribute to the increase in quality regarding the debates on this site.

Unfortunately, it seems my opponent does not feel the same way. Rather than formulate an argument that is understandable to the "common man", he (I'll assume the gender of the opponent is male) has elected to present a quasi-scientific idea in such a way that it is purposefully difficult to understand.

Seeing that both my opponent and I agree that quality debates are necessary to the improvement of this platform, it is clearly my opponent's responsibility to clarify his position in the next round, to the degree that the "common man" could understand it. To be fair, we shall say that the common man only concerns those who use this site to its potential and are somewhat educated. I'm not asking for a middle school explanation -- rather, a "I'm in college, but I don't have my Bachelor's" explanation.

This will allow the voters to understand and fairly judge the debate.


Fortunately for me (and unfortunately for our audience), it does not matter whether the debate is easily understood. The opponent has claimed that he can show something to be 100% true. And in my experience, that is largely impossible.

I look forward to my opponent's simplification of his argument and opening remarks. I also look forward to the inevitable journey this debate will take me through the land of "physics".


Lastly, since the opponent failed to provide rules, I'll layout the rules that are generally accepted and understood on this platform.

1. No drops.
2. No new arguments in the final round.
3. Be civil.
4. The Burden of Proof rests upon Pro (as stated by Pro in opening statements.)

Have fun!
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent in advance for agreeing to be my captive audience and sounding board through this debate. I would like to avoid a controversial argument as much as humanly possible, but an idea undefended is an idea untested.

Since the first formalizations of argument, be it from Eastern or Western philosophies, debate has been about defining differences. Throughout history debates, premises and doctrines have arisen from our projections of our personal, individualistic understanding of the world around us. Even metaphysical and religious doctrines must link themselves, however tenuously, to the physical reality in which we find ourselves.

In parallel with the development of cultural ideas has been the development of ethics, morality, and the languages that allow these concepts to be shared. Everything about our lives as human beings, for as far back as we can study human culture directly, has been linked to the ability to not only have, but also to share our ideas with each other.

Throughout all of these secular institutions, the language of mathematics has become central to communication of complex ideas. This language, for a language it is, is the only language found to date that has both the specificity and strictly controlled morphology required to clearly explain the increasingly esoteric boundaries of complex ideas. Certainly one could argue Gödel Incompleteness vs. Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory and the provability of truth, but this quickly becomes esoteric and largely impractical for any relevant application outside of artificial intelligence and epistemological debates in philosophy.

When addressing largely philosophical questions such as cosmology from a testability perspective, however, scientists have long depended upon predictive mathematical models. Obviously traveling back in time to observe the creation of our universe is beyond our capability, and largely believed to be impossible (also because of mathematical predictions).

At the end of 2014, one of the cornerstones of ‘scientific’ cosmology, The Big Bang, was re-examined using discoveries from quantum physics. Quoted from the summary of the paper:

“It was shown recently that replacing classical geodesics with quantal (Bohmian) trajectories gives rise to a quantum corrected Raychaudhuri equation (QRE). In this article we derive the second order Friedmann equations from the QRE, and show that this also contains a couple of quantum correction terms, the first of which can be interpreted as cosmological constant (and gives a correct estimate of its observed value), while the second as a radiation term in the early universe, which gets rid of the big-bang singularity and predicts an infinite age of our universe.” – [Cosmology from quantum potential - Ahmed Farag Ali and Saurya Das – PDF @ ]

While the headlines and blogosphere have been filled with rejections, counter-interpretations and praise, the science is mostly beyond the ability of others to really understand. I’ve seen claims such as ‘black holes are impossible’ and ‘Hawking debunked’, but that is really extending the research farther than the conclusions presented.

The most stunning part of the paper is that of the altered Hubble equation, which predicts an infinite age to the universe. It removes the requirement for beginning and ending singularities and provides an alternate source for the ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ premises added to bing bang theory. It does this by doing nothing more than deriving (can be described as adding-in) findings (read measurements resulting in predictive equations) from quantum physics. In the summary above, this is what is described in the modified Raychaudhuri equation, dubbed the QRE. [ ] [ ]

In order to explain this in a way other than mathematics, yet more clearly than most available articles can, I will describe a difference between classical physics energy, and theoretical physics energy.

In classical Newtonian/Einsteinian physics energy is described, roughly, as the potential to do work. A far better and more modern description is:

“The Lagrangian formalism of physics is the way to start here. In this formulation, we define a function that maps all of the possible paths a particle takes to the reals, and call this the Lagrangian. Then, the [classical] path traveled by a particle is the path for which the Lagrangian has zero derivative with respect to small changes in each of the paths.

It turns out, due to a result known as Noether's theorem, that if the Lagrangian remains unchanged due to a symmetry, then the motion of the particles will necessarily have a conserved quantity.

Energy is a conserved quantity associated with a time translation symmetry in the Lagrangian of a system. So, if your Lagrangian is unchanged after substituting t=t+ct=t+c for tt, then Noether's theorem tells us that the Lagrangian will have a conserved quantity. This quantity is the energy. If you know something about Lagrangians, you can explicitly calculate it.”

( Taken from Jerry Schirmer’s explanation @ - a very good summary )

Due to a schedule conflict I have to leave right now for a flight, finished or not. I will pick up where I left off...

The part missing here is where I describe how the quantum boundary is pure unbounded energy and explain this is pseudo-linear algebra (approachable to average people).



I'll begin by thanking my opponent for his response. I know he had a plane to catch, but he still managed to post at least 3/4's of his argument.

Opening Remarks

Let me begin by referring to an old adage regarding knowledge: "If you can't explain it to a five-year old, you don't know it well enough." To be fair, with a topic as complex as this, so heavily rested in mathematics and physics, one might not expect to get a 5-year-old on board. However, it's not an unreasonable expectation that the average adult should be able to understand your argument, however difficult and complex the subject.

In this, the opponent has failed. The resolution itself was not explained in any terms that are understandable to someone not themselves deeply studying the field. The opponent is arguing that "the physical universe itself is derived from differing potential probabilities trapped along a single vector of observed time know as the universe." What this means, however, is unclear.

While it is easy to assume that someone knows what they're talking about whenever they use large, unfamiliar terms, such an assumption is dangerous and counter-productive to debate. If a debate is not understandable to both participants and the audience, no one learns anything and everyone is left frustrated in the end.

I agreed to a shared BoP in the comments, but it is important to understand that a valid, sensical, understandable argument is made before the responding side can be expected to present a counter-argument. The opponent has failed to present a case that meets these three criteria, and thus has failed in presenting a topic which has debateability in the first place. In my opening statement I expressly mentioned that the opponent's argument should be clear and understandable, and still he did not deliver.

I fully expect the opponent to "translate" his argument into one that is understandable in the next round. There should be premises, logical arguments and a clear conclusion that directly ties into the resolution. What's more, the resolution itself should be clarified.

Interpretting The Argument

But I am not one to complain with at least attempting to bring about understanding. In this following section, I will attempt to "convert" the opponent's obfuscated argument into one that we can all

Paragraphs 1-4: This is largely just rhetoric regarding the nature of debate, a history lesson regarding its origins and the contributions debate has made to the world. While this type of rhetoric is useful in a formal essay, it is not particularly useful to a debate, as it provides unnecessary information and wastes the readers' time.

P. 5: Here the opponent admits that cosmology is a somewhat philosophical area of study, but that scientists still attempt to provide some sort of testable framework in which to study it. This framework is grounded in mathematical prediction models.

P. 6: The Big Bang theory was recently re-examined through the lens of quantum physics.

P. 7: This paragraph is a quote from a paper by Ali and Das which is largely incomprehensible to any non-theoretical physicist. What can be gleaned is that the researchers found that quantum physics is somewhat compatible with cosmelogical observations, in that it correctly predicts the cosmological constant, but that it also implies there was no singularity "Big Bang" and that the universe is infinite.

P. 8: Opponent admits this science is largely incomprehensible to non-theoretical physicists.

P. 9: Here it is restated that this research allows for the creation of a model that denies a "beggining" or "end" to the universe, in favor of an infinite universe.

P. 10-12: Here the opponent attempts to describe the difference between the definition of "energy" in classical physics vs. the "modern description". Newtonian physics holds that energy is the potential to do work. The "modern" definition is not so easily understood, though it has been around since the late 1700's. In a sense, the Langrangian understanding of mechanics simplifies many problems that Newtonian mechanics might have difficulty doing.

It is important to note, however, that Langrangian mechanics does not actually introduce any new physics. It is a reformulation of the existing Newtonian physics, in such a way that it makes many problems easier to solve. Lately, it has been used considerably in quantum mechanics. This means that the "modern defininition" well describes energy in terms of Lagrangian mechanics, but that the Newtonian mechanics definition of energy is still a valid definition.

P. 13-15: Here the opponent's reference talks about Noether's theorem as it relates to the Lagrangian. This implicatons of this statement are not made clear by the opponent, nor does it seem to, in any way, relate to the resolution.

Closing Statements

You'll notice that I do not have a counter-argument. This is because, in most every way, the opponent himself has failed to present an original argument. An ill-formed resolution was presented, but not explained. Some facts regarding Newtonian and Lagrangian mechanics were mentioned, but not placed in any context, nor were they used to argue any particular point.

Simply put, the opponent hasn't presented an argument, so I am unable to argue against it. Perhaps the opponent meant to explain himself in the part of the argument he did not have time to write, but seeing as he set the time limit for responses, there isn't much excuse for this omition.

I am hopeful that the opponent will clearly define his resolution and make an argument in the next round. At this point, I have no doubt that the readers have learned nothing of import from reading this debate -- meaning that the debate is not functioning in the way it was meant to.

I look forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 2


SkyLeach forfeited this round.


The opponent has forfeitted the previous round. Please extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3


SkyLeach forfeited this round.


The opponent has expressed his desire to have this debate at some other time. I'm fine with this, and I see no reason as to why the voters should penalize him with a loss.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by SkyLeach 5 months ago
I'd appreciate it if we could just do this another time.
I just now got to sit down with my laptop for the first time in 3 days. I have no data service at all and can only access the internet when I get back to the house in the evenings, late.

thank you
Posted by SkyLeach 5 months ago
11 hours and I have to leave in 30 minutes for an 11-hour flight with a 3 hour layover.

My opening statement is 3/4 complete.

This is not good.
Posted by SkyLeach 5 months ago
Of course. This was only meant to clarify misunderstandings.
Posted by Cobalt 5 months ago
We should probably limit the argumentation to the debate itself. Most voters don't vote based upon the comment section.

I await your opening arguments.
Posted by SkyLeach 5 months ago
1st round is position establishment, not rebuttal.

The role of Con is to provide a counter-position for the nature of the universe. You can use Big Bang, infinite Universe, FSM, God, Allah, Cthulhu or whatever, but you have to also provide evidence or counter-evidence. Evidence of your proposition, or evidence that breaks parity. Evidence that breaks parity is any evidence that supports your position AND conflicts with Pro's contention. This prevents arguments from ambiguity. If the data can be argued in favor of either position, it cancels out. It isn't that it isn't valid evidence, merely that it becomes circumstantial or shared and thus incapable of tilting the scale of proof either way.

The premise is intended to show a 'best possible' resolution, not an absolute one. If it can't be shown as the best possible resolution clearly, Con should win.
Posted by Cobalt 5 months ago
I can accept the shared Burden of Proof. I'll also accept that new arguments can me made in the final round, though that may put you in a position where you are unable to respond to an argument.
Posted by SkyLeach 5 months ago
I'm going to ignore the following in my actual argument, because they are attempts at moving the goalposts that were set in the original rules:

Con's rules 2 and 4 (1 and 3 are assumed in voting rules).
con's suggestion in rule 2 challenges the original rule of presentation. Argument and closing statements are allowed through the end of the debate.

con's suggestion for rule 4 challenges the presentation argument that burden of proof is shared, not the sole responsibility of Pro. Pro outlined, and I quote the original presentation of the debate:

: Pro: to show that all evidence available to date confirms that there is at least a 100% parity of evidence that baryonic matter arises from differing potentials rather than absolute physical reality.

Con's responsibility is to falsify Pro's claims:

: Con: to present any evidence or argument capable of disproving the absolute assertion of Pro. (Evidence through experimental testing of reality that shows a distinct difference between potential for existance and existance).

Both sides have a BoP, thus BoP is shared. This debate was designed to avoid philosophical meanderings into silly arguments around language and truth, and as such specifically worded to avoid stuff like the following:

: Fortunately for me (and unfortunately for our audience), it does not matter whether the debate is easily understood. The opponent has claimed that he can show something to be 100% true. And in my experience, that is largely impossible.

Con is right, that would be impossible. That's why I specifically limited the debate to available evidence.

Con's assumption that this debate is meant to be confusing is misplaced. In fact, this debate is meant to elucidate some of the mystery behind largely unsupported claims through elevated authority of main-stream scientific philosophers concerning the nature of the universe. It is meant to do so in a way that people of average intellect can follow with a little time and effort.
Posted by SkyLeach 5 months ago
cool, it's like christmas morning!
Posted by SkyLeach 5 months ago
I'll edit. That was a mistake
Posted by Kyle_the_Heretic 5 months ago
Just a heads up. I see only 3 rounds in this debate, but you mention a 4th round for pro (not con) and a 5th round for con (not pro).
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