The Instigator
Vulpes_Inculta
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
glassplotful
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Something can come from nothing without cause.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Vulpes_Inculta
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/20/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,248 times Debate No: 32717
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (14)
Votes (3)

 

Vulpes_Inculta

Con

Ave.

This is a debate over the metaphysical principle called ex nihilo nihil fit. This is a Latin expression which means 'Out of nothing, nothing comes' in English. Simply, it argues that something cannot come from nothing without cause. If you have absolute nothingness, then you will never get anything from it.

The phrase 'without cause' in the resolution is somewhat important. Theists argue that god made the universe ex nihilo, or from nothing. Therefore, the issue isn't whether something can come from nothing. The salient issue is whether something can come from nothing without a cause, such as god.

The burden of proof for Pro is to demonstrate that, if you have a state of absolute nothingness, something can come from that state of absolute nothingness, absent any external cause.

As a note, I stated the resolution negatively because the default position in philosophy is that out of coming, nothing comes.


Vale.
glassplotful

Pro

I accept the challenge and thank my opponent for the debate. In this post, I will present my opening statements.

___________________________

My argument is that something can come from nothing without an external cause.

What is nothing? Nothing is the absence of something; it is the state where neither physical objects nor energy exists. A perfect vacuum contains nothing. Something describes the presence of an object(s) or energy- literally some thing.

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle asserts that it is physically impossible to measure both the exact position and the exact momentum of a particle at the same time (1). This well-tested principle allows the standard laws of nature to be temporarily violated for a very short period of time (2) (6), where technically something can arise from nothing (3).

According to the quantum model, virtual particles are subatomic particles that exist for only a very short period of time. Empty space, or the space between matter, is seething with virtual particles. These subatomic particles come about from empty space in particle-antiparticle pairs, existing for a brief moment and then annihilating each other (5).


(Fig 1 A pair of virtual particles, one with a positive charge and one with a negative charge briefly come into existence and disappear (4).)

Gordon Kane, director of the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, states (6):

| “quantum mechanics allows, and indeed requires, temporary violations of conservation of energy.”

Indeed, virtual particles are very real with very real effects. While they cannot be directly observed, their effects on what we know as reality can be properly measured and tested (7) (8) (9).


(Fig 2 – Evidence for the existence of virtual particles. As a result of fluctuating electromagnetic waves predicted by the quantum model, the two plates are attracted to one and other (10).)

Gravity is an attractive force that is exerted between objects with mass. Gravity can be said to exert negative energy on an object- roughly speaking, negative energy is energy that attracts; positive energy has the opposite effect (12).


(Fig 3 When a ball is thrown, it has positive energy during its upward motion, and negative energy during its downward motion (15).)


Our universe contains exactly zero energy because there exists an equal amount of positive energy and negative energy (11) (14). As Alexei Filippenko, professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley and Jay Pasachoff, Director of Hopkins Observatory, say (13):

| “The idea of a zero-energy universe… suggests that all one needs is just a tiny bit of energy to get the whole thing started. The universe then experiences inflationary expansion, but without creating net energy. As crazy as it might seem, the energy may have come out of nothing!”

As demonstrated, quantum mechanics allows for temporary suspension of laws of nature, one in particular being the law of cause-and-effect. We find that there is in fact no cause for the existence of virtual particles; they are simply required by our universe. Virtual particles represent a phenomenon where existence arises from nonexistence.

With this evidence in mind, we can conclude that something can indeed come from nothing, even without an external cause.


Sources

[1] http://science.jrank.org...

[2] Whitaker, Andrew. Einstein, Bohr, and the Quantum Dilemma: From Quantum Theory to Quantum Information. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.

[3] http://science.jrank.org...

[4] http://www.angelfire.com...

[5] http://www.lbl.gov...

[6] http://www.scientificamerican.com...

[7] Griffiths, David J. Introduction to Elementary Particles. New York: Wiley, 1987. Print.

[8] http://www.scientificamerican.com...

[9] http://math.ucr.edu...

[10] https://www.ameslab.gov...

[11] http://www.npr.org...

[12] Hawking, S. W. The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe. Beverly Hills, CA: New Millennium, 2002. Print.

[13] Pasachoff, Jay M., and Alexei V. Filippenko. The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium. Fort Worth: Harcourt College, 2001. Print.

[14] http://arxiv.org...

[15] http://www.mathsisfun.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Vulpes_Inculta

Con

Ave.

I congratulate Pro on his visually appealing opening statement. His method allowed him to explain ideas in quantum mechanics with clarity and ease. Unfortunately, my rebuttal will not be as aesthetically pleasing.

I'd like to start by giving a positive reason as to why something cannot come from nothing without cause. If you have absolute nothingness, then you have the universal negation of everything. Logically, you would then have the universal negation of all properties. But if something can come from nothing without cause, then that nothing does have a property. The property of something coming from it. By definition, something cannot come from an absolute nothingness, because then you never had an absolute nothing to begin with.

When I read Pro's case, I am reminded of Dr. Lawrence Krauss’s book A Universe From Nothing. In this book, Dr. Krauss argues that the universe could have come from nothing. In response to ex nihilo nihil fit, Dr. Krauss uses examples from quantum mechanics to show examples of things coming from nothing. It’s an interesting book that I enjoyed reading, but his examples aren’t relevant to this debate.

I’ve never understood statements like ‘’Nothing is unstable’’ or ‘’Nothing is actually something’’. It reminds me of the book 1984 and slogans like ‘’War is peace’’. They simply make no logical sense.

The burden of proof on Pro is to demonstrate that something which exists can come from a state of absolute nothingness.[1] If I can show that virtual particles don’t come from a state of absolute nothingness, then the burden of proof has not been upheld by Pro. I understand that he’s given the definition of nothing in physics, but that’s not the definition of ‘’nothing’’ I gave for Pro’s burden of proof.

I don't doubt the existence of virtual particles. There are very good reasons to think that virtual particles do exist. I only doubt the conclusions that Pro and people like Dr. Krauss try to make from their existence. This is a very good picture to demonstrate that virtual particles exist.

http://abyss.uoregon.edu...

David Albert is an atheist philosopher and physicist who was heavily critical of Dr. Krauss’s book. In his NY times review, he writes…


Relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical vacuum states — no less than giraffes or refrigerators or solar systems — are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff. The true relativistic-quantum-field-­theoretical equivalent to there not being any physical stuff at all isn’t this or that particular arrangement of the fields — what it is (obviously, and ineluctably, and on the contrary) is the simple absence of the fields! The fact that some arrangements of fields happen to correspond to the existence of particles and some don’t is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that some of the possible arrangements of my fingers happen to correspond to the existence of a fist and some don’t. And the fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings — if you look at them aright — amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing.” [2]

The simply fact is that the quantum vacuum that virtual particles come from is not nothing. It’s a sea of fluctuating energy, an arena of violent activity that has a rich physical structure and can be described by physical laws. The quantum vacuum exists, so there’s no way for virtual particles to be considered as ‘’coming from nothing’’. [3]

Even Dr. Krauss himself has conceded that he’s not talking about absolute nothingness. On the Q&A section of A Universe From Nothing, he writes, ‘’Now, that state of no-stuff may not be ‘nothing’ in the a classical sense, but it is a remarkable transformation nevertheless”. [4] As Dr. Krauss himself has said, “By ‘nothing,’ I don’t mean nothing. . . . Nothing isn’t nothing anymore in physics.” Empty space is not empty. “Nothing is really a bubbling, boiling brew of virtual particles.’’ [5]

I think the second video effectively demonstrates the hilarity of Krauss’s equivocation.

I don’t think appeals to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle make any sense either. We are discussing an absolute nothingness. If there is an absolute nothingness, there is no uncertainty principle, because then there would be something. With absolute nothingness, there are no things at all, including rules like “it is physically impossible to measure both the exact position and the exact momentum of a particle at the same time”.

Pro also advocates for the zero-energy hypothesis. This argues that because the positive energy and negative energy of the universe cancel out, then energy must have come from nothing. I don’t disagree with this hypothesis, but it’s not relevant to the resolution. We are not debating whether something can come from nothing. I, as a theist, believe that god made the universe ex nihilo. [6] Rather, we are discussing whether something can come from nothing without cause. Mentioning the zero-energy hypothesis seems to miss the point.

To conclude, Pro had to show that something which exists can come from a state of absolute nothingness without any external cause. He appealed to quantum mechanics in order to show that this is possible. While his case was very beautiful and well-presented, it was bad with philosophy. The nothing that Pro talks about isn’t actually nothing. The burden of proof has not been upheld.


Vale.

References
[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] Krauss, Lawrence N. A Universe From Nothing. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
[5] Lawrence Krauss, “A Universe from Nothing,” Atheist Alliance International, 2009, www.youtube.com/watch?v=71mv1S8PL1o.
[6] http://tinyurl.com...
glassplotful

Pro

glassplotful forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Vulpes_Inculta

Con

Ave.

Extend all arguments.

Vale.
glassplotful

Pro

glassplotful forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Vulpes_Inculta

Con

Ave.

Extend all arguments.

Vale.
glassplotful

Pro

glassplotful forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
good indeed.
i enjoyed.
but one thing i found so strange.
i saw so many boys and girls with 14 age.
i don't get it first of all such a small age and that amazing critical thinking and also such great grip of knowledge.
thats amazing.
2nd thing is they may be hiding their age loll.
like some put like 100 yeas some may be this is least age mention here so they use 14 loll.
again this is strange.
man loll
Posted by Vulpes_Inculta 3 years ago
Vulpes_Inculta
I enjoyed the pictures as well. They were very appealing.
Posted by Apeiron 3 years ago
Apeiron
I like the pics.. too bad he left :-(
Posted by mananlak 3 years ago
mananlak
1984 DOES explain the slogan "war is peace".
But it doesn't make sense on the surface .
Posted by Vulpes_Inculta 3 years ago
Vulpes_Inculta
This isn't a debate about the existence of god. It's a debate about a metaphysical principle. Your observation is, for any purpose, useless.

Yes, a human being can produce the words 'What caused god?'. It's a stupid question nonetheless. Classical theism asserts god is a necessary being. God doesn't have a cause because god didn't begin to exist.
Posted by narmak 3 years ago
narmak
I do hope you do not think winning this debate will mean god exists. If you want to take a look at things when it comes down to it anyone can ask who made the universe and they can then ask who made god and who made the thing that made god ect.... If you use logic to solve this we can determine that somthing must have always existed.(I view nothing as meaning the complete absence of everything that exists) that being said it would be impossible for somthing to come from nothing as it would be like building a boat without using any matter energy space or time.
---------
I realize that this still leaves two options god or the universe. however the universe has some logical evidence to suggest it has always existed and god has none
Posted by TN05 3 years ago
TN05
To me, nothing is simply the lack of something. It has no properties apart from not being anything. I find any sort of argument saying something can come from nothing to be crazy, in the same way irreligious people think that the idea of a God existing is crazy. It has been conclusively demonstrated with 100% accuracy that nothing cannot come from nothing; all attempts to prove otherwise have been futile, and science can only go on what is observed. Since science cannot observe something coming from nothing and all attempts at testing have proven futile, it is impossible to prove the Pro position scientifically. I look forward to seeing how this debate plays out, however.
Posted by Vulpes_Inculta 3 years ago
Vulpes_Inculta
I've already defined your burden of proof for you. You have to demonstrate that something which exists can arise from a state of absolute nothingness without cause. Contained within that BOP are the definitions of 'something' and 'nothing' for the purpose of the debate.
Posted by glassplotful 3 years ago
glassplotful
It's up to the instigator to clearly define terms so that debates do not degrade into "well I think x means y! no, I think x means z! no, you're wrong, x means y!" etc. etc.

I'm trying to avoid the mess of definition-flinging that so often derails perfectly good debates. My acceptance all depends on whether you define empty space as 'nothing.'
Posted by Skeptikitten 3 years ago
Skeptikitten
Considering quantum physics has already demonstrated something from "nothing", this is kind of a moot debate.

Not to mention a semantics nightmare over what "nothing" even is. Physicists posit that there might be no such thing as true "nothing" in the first place.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Bullish 3 years ago
Bullish
Vulpes_IncultaglassplotfulTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF. That first argument looked promising..
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Vulpes_IncultaglassplotfulTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Apeiron 3 years ago
Apeiron
Vulpes_IncultaglassplotfulTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF