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

The universe is finite.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/29/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,208 times Debate No: 67607
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




Universe refers to all of spacetime and everything therein, including all the planets, stars, galaxies, etc.

By finite, I mean the universe is neither infinitely large nor infinitely old.

The first round is for acceptance. The second is for arguments. The third is for rebuttals.


I accept this debate. I should add that my opponent is not only the Proposition but is affirming the motion: as such the burden of proof rests on him/her entirely. It is his/her burden to show that the Universe is finite (and necessarily so []F) which I need only cast reasonable doubt on this thesis.

I thank my opponent for this debate, and I hope the readers will enjoy reading it. Para bellum! :)
Debate Round No. 1



Con claims I must show the universe is "necessarily" finite. I do not accept that burden because (1) the debate title does not include the qualifier "necessarily," and (2) I don't know what Con means by "necessarily." To be clear, this debate is about whether the universe "is" finite. The debate title is very simple. Let's not make it more complex than it is. The definitions are as provided in R1.

Burden of proof

I accept the burden of proof. Although I win the debate under a "reasonable doubt" standard, I do not accept that standard. The "reasonable doubt" standard is used for criminal trials and this isn't a criminal trial. This is a science debate (i.e. a debate about the physical nature of the universe). So let's apply the right standard here: a scientific standard.

Argument -- proof by contradiction

Assume the universe is infinitely large and infinitely old. Under that assumption there would be an infinite number of stars. The light from each of these stars would have had time to reach us. As a result, the sky would be white from all the light, even at night. How does this compare to what we know? Take a look outside, preferably at night. You're not dazzled by starlight. The sky isn't white. Thus, the universe cannot be infinitely large and infinitely old.



I should clarify by what I mean as 'necessary finite'. I mean that my opponent's proof must not show that the Universe is probably finite, or anything like that. My opponent must provide a proof which shows that the world must be finite. By this the resolution places all the burden of proof on my opponent alone. I must just show that the Universe is not necessarily finite, and I would have fulfilled the burden. While I only need to show of a possible scenario, or a reason why the Universe may be infinite, my opponent must show beyond doubt that the Universe is finite. That also concludes my analysis on the burden of proof.

My opponent does not make a major different between infinitely old, and infinitely large. This aside s/he does take the burden for both, to show that the Universe is finite in both respects, as can be seen from my opponent's first round. I would like to clarify one thing for the readers: that these both respects can be mutually exclusive. The Universe could be infinitely large without being infinitely old, particularly since the expansion of space originated before Time. My opponent provides an argument for Space but no argument for Time: therefore s/he has not fulfilled their burden of proof in the first place.

Rebuttal 1:
My honorable opponent is not the first to have presented such a problem. This is a rather famous problem knows as Olber's Paradox, and I too was intrigued by it at first, oh so many years ago. Unfortunately the solution to this problem does exist, and is rather simple. Firstly we need to understand that the Universe is expanding, and this has been proven empirically.[1][2][3] Now this expansion forces the light waves to be streched, so much so that their wavelenght increases considerably. This wavelenght increases to the point that 1100 times longer than the original wavelenght.[4] This light becomes radiation, and this radiation is present during night time, its simply that our eyes cannot identify it. This radiation is knows as the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation and is present at all times. With the proper technology it can be identified with ease.[5] And for those who want a more technical rendering[6]. Thus the proof is invalid, my opponent has not fulfilled the burden of proof.

Debate Round No. 2



I'd like to thank Ajab for citing Bruce Winstein in his argument. [6] Bruce was a dear friend and I'm glad to see his lectures cited here. Luckily, Bruce's lectures also give us a common ground to argue from.

For a fair and quality discourse, I assume Ajab will advocate a consistent and stable position. Thus, I assume Ajab agrees to the information contained in his sources. Ajab should not be allowed to change his advocacy in the final round and argue that his sources are wrong or false. Ajab should be held to his position that the universe is expanding and that cosmic microwave background (CMB) exists. Please do not allow Ajab to argue contradictory or inconsistent positions in the final round (especially since I would be unable to respond).

Defining the resolution - the burden of proof

The debate title is the following: "The universe is finite." It isn't "The universe must be finite." To be safe, I'll argue both. However, for the purposes of fairness and quality discourse, Ajab should not be allowed to change the debate topic after accepting the debate. Rewriting a debate topic after acceptance is unfair and thus lowers the quality of discourse (by forcing me to argue this mundane point).

There is a big difference between the words "must be" and "is." Proving something "is" requires a much lower burden than proving something "must be." Under Ajab's rewrite, Ajab claims he "only need to show of a possible scenario, or a reason why the Universe may be infinite." However, under the debate topic as originally written and accepted by Ajab, Ajab must show more than a "possible scenario." Ajab must offer evidence about the universe as we know it (not some "possible scenario"). Under the original debate title, showing the universe "could be" infinite is not enough. At the very least, Ajab must show that the universe is probably infinite.

The burden under the original debate topic is much higher for Ajab than under Ajab's rewrite. Please hold Ajab to the higher burden embodied in the debate topic as written, for the purpose of promoting fair and quality discourse. Please don't let Ajab rewrite the debate title after accepting the debate.

Ajab also continues to claim that a "reasonable doubt" standard applies. As I explained in the previous round, that standard is for criminal trials and this isn't a criminal trial. If anything, this is much closer to a civil trial or an administrative hearing, where the standard applied is a "preponderance" or "clear and convincing" standard. Both those standards are much lower than a "reasonable doubt" standard. Please do not apply a "reasonable doubt" standard here and instead apply the lower "preponderance" or "clear and convincing" standad. The resolution requires more than proving the universe "could be" infinite -- don't let Ajab impose an unfair burden of proof.


Ajab does not argue that the universe "is" infinite. Ajab's argument is limited to the claim that the universe "could be" infinite. So under the debate challenge I offered and Ajab accepted, Ajab cannot win this debate, because Ajab had to offer evidence that the universe is probably infinite, not just evidence that the universe "could be" infinite. Because Ajab doesn't argue that the universe "is" infinite, Ajab can only win this debate if you accept his rewrite (which you shouldn't, as explained above).

Ajab's argument is limited to the claim that starlight doesn't brighten our sky at night because the starlight has become cosmic microwave background (CMB). According to Ajab, that means I haven't met the "necessarily finite" burden, because there is an explanation for our inability to see the starlight from an infinite number of stars. In other words, the universe "could be" infinite if starlight has become CMB. The universe "could be" infinite if starlight were CMB, but Ajab is wrong that starlight can become CMB. Starlight cannot become CMB. [7]

What is CMB and where does it come from? Professor Bruce Winstein (cited by Ajab) explains: "The [CMB] radiation we see today came from an era when the Universe was hot. When it had a temperature T > 13ev, protons, electrons and photons were the main constituents of a plasma in equilibrium; the expansion of the universe cooled the plasma to where hydrogen atoms formed (called the era of recombination, even though the atomic constituents had never been combined prior)." Professor Winstein continues: "The photons that we see today were then emitted when the universe was some 1100 times smaller than today, from a 'surface' with a thickness of about 20%, about 380 thousand years after the Big-Bang." [6]

This means that CMB comes from a time when there were no stars, planets, or galaxies. CMB offers evidence of a time when there weren't even any atoms. There was only a hot plasma. CMB is a window into the past. CMB is the light that goes furthest back in time and distance that we can observe. Ajab admits the existence of CMB, and the existence of CMB proves that the universe as we know it -- defined in R1 as including stars, planets, and galaxies -- did not always exist. At some point, the world was just a plasma, so the universe (as defined in R1) is not infinitely old.

Ajab's [2], [4], and [5] also state that CMB comes from a time before stars and galaxies had formed, which further proves that Ajab's claim that starlight becomes CMB is false. [2] says: "At that time, stars and galaxies had not yet formed. The Universe consisted of a hot soup of electrons and atomic nuclei." [5] says CMB has "a thermal, black body spectrum," which a "steady state model" can't "reproduce" (which means CMB doesn't come from starlight).

[4] says: "The cosmic microwave background has a redshift of z = 1089, corresponding to an age of approximately 379,000 years after the Big Bang and a comoving distance of more than 46 billion light years. The yet-to-be-observed first light from the oldest Population III stars, not long after atoms first formed and the CMB ceased to be absorbed almost completely, may have redshifts in the range of 20 < z < 100." Ajab's [4] puts things into perspective: The oldest starlight hasn't even reached our planet yet. Ajab cited these sources for his claims about CMB, so don't let him argue otherwise in the final round.

Don't trust Ajab's claims

Ajab dooms his credibility by misinterpreting and misapplying scientific results. Ajab claims that starlight from a long time ago can become CMB, but CMB refers to light from the creation of atoms during recombination. Starlight cannot become CMB. [7] Don't trust Ajab's claims about science unless they are explicitly stated in a source, because Ajab misinterpreted what CMB is, and then misapplied it to starlight.

Ajab also says
"the expansion of space originated before Time," but that statement is utter nonsense. The expansion of space implies the existence of time. Note Ajab's absence of a source for this claim. He's making stuff up out of thin air. Please don't trust Ajab unless his claim is explicitly stated in a source.


I defined universe in R1 as the universe we see in the sky ("including planets, stars, galaxies"). CMB proves that "universe" is finite (CMB proves the big bang (creation of the world), and a time prior to the formation of stars). That the sky at night isn't dazzling from starlight proves there aren't an infinite number of stars emitting light for an infinite amount of time. Ajab's rebuttal fails because he distorted the science in his sources.

Please hold Ajab to his positions from R2 - don't let him make new arguments, or take contradictory/inconsistent positions, in the final round. I won't have a chance to respond to Ajab's claims next round. If he introduces new arguments, or takes a position inconsistent with his R2 claims, I won't have a chance to prove his science wrong again. Remember, Ajab's science claims aren't trustworthy, so prefer mine to his.

Thanks for reading! Vote Pro.



To start off I want to thank Nymphomaniac. He mentioned me some fifty (50) times in his last round, I don't think I've ever been mentioned so much in a debate; I'm touched...I won't say where. <3

On a serious note, this may act as a subconscious trigger for the readers, no I am not joking. He directly adressed me multiple times calling my claims bogus, this will have effected you. I hope that when you vote on this debate you can disillusion yourself from his influence, and vote according to your consciousnce. In the end its simple: my opponent strawman's my arguments in a variety of ways, and then tells you to ignore really anything in my last round. Please read with an unbiased mind, I trust the voters here.

I accept that I have to argue from a fixed standpoint, and this means that I won't bring in other positive arguments. This does not mean that I cannot explain the same argument in different ways.

Introduction & Onus:
To start off allow me to explain what I mean by "necessarily". This is a Formal Logic assumption. When we say X, it automatically means []X.[7] What this means is that my opponent cannot give a probability argument. S/he must give an argument which if true would mean that this Universe is definitely/necessarily/without doubt a finite Universe. So long as s/he does not do this, I win. I in turn need not give any positive argumentation as the burden of proof falls on my opponent entirely. Not only has s/he Proposed this motion, s/he is the one giving the positive claim, as well as making an affirmation.

My opponent must show that this Universe cannot be anything but finite, while I do not need to show that it is infinite, rather I only need to show that my opponent cannot prove it is definitely finite. Maybe it could be a middle milkshake? On a serious note though I only need to show that my opponent's arguments are not correct. For the logical nuts, here it is in Logic.

My opponent needs to show []X where X is the resolution.
I need to show ~[]X, which is <>~X, so I only need to show possibly not the resolution.

Clarification of Position (Only quotes from previous round):
"Firstly we need to understand that the Universe is expanding, and this has been proven empirically."
"Now this expansion forces the light waves to be streched, so much so that their wavelenght increases considerably."
"This wavelenght increases to the point that 1100 times longer than the original wavelenght."
"This light becomes radiation, and this radiation is present during night time, its simply that our eyes cannot identify it."

This was the main case that I presented. It was late, I was tired so I did mistakingly name it the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation when I should have said it is like the CMBR. The CMBR is in itself the name given to such radiation, only it is the one that is specific to the radiation coming from the Early Universe. The concept though is the same, it was one line.

My opponent completely forgets the crux of the argument: that the Universe is expanding, and by this expansion the light is streched so much that it first becomes infra-red radiation, and incidently then becomes microwaves (moving forward on the spectrum). This light too can be seen rather easily, only this light is reduced considerably due to redshift.[3][5]

I was not totally wrong though, this explains why the Universe may be infinitely large, what of infinitely old? Well that is explained by the CMBR. The energy of emitted light from the Early Universe is red shifted, and so even if the Universe is infinitely old, the light from millions of years ago would not make the night sky bright. This infinitely old Universe could still exist because redshift makes the energy light of the Early Univers into Radiation known as CMBR.[3][4]

Trust My Claims, Do Not Trust Nymphomaniac's Strawman
To be honest my opponent never even tackled any of my case. He does not deny that the Universe is expanding, and I cannot se any proof as to why this expansion would not cause redshift. I also see no explanation as to why this expansion would force light energy radiation to move along the spectrum and become microwave radiation. This radiation fills the sky on high, and can be seen from anywhere.

So when my opponent has not even answered any of my arguments, and continues on his rant, what are you dear reader supposed to do? Vote Pro...I kid, Vote Con. :)

[7]Introduction to Logic by Harry J. Gensler

Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Vajrasattva-LeRoy 2 years ago
& study the differences between Stars & Black Bodies.
Posted by Vajrasattva-LeRoy 2 years ago
Would you trolls PLEASE stop debating things that you don't understand ?!?!
Scientists claim that neither energy nor matter can be either created nor destroyed.
There couldn't have been a time when the universe didn't exist.
There can't be a time when the universe doesn't exist.
As I already asked, if the universe is expanding,
where would it expand into ???
If the universe had a beginning,
Where did all that energy/ matter come from ???
Study Quantum Physics.
Curled quantum-sized universes, regular-sized universes, macro-sized universes, etc.
Posted by Nymphomaniac 2 years ago
Ajab, Stars aren't a perfect blackbody so it doesn't matter how much their light redshifts - it'll never become CMB.

Anyway, that point isn't relevant to the argument, but at least get the science right...
Posted by Vajrasattva-LeRoy 2 years ago
Pro is, of course, correct.
In his BASIC 1950 book on Dianetics, L. Ron Hubbard stated that
Absolutes have to be considered logically unobtainable.
Albert Einstein stated that the universe is Finite but Unbounded.
It had no beginning, no start, no creation, & it'll have no ending.
If Con has to cast reasonable doubt on Pro's premise to win,
obviously Pro DOESN'T have the BOP.
The expansion of space DIDN'T come before Time.
That doesn't make sense.
I suspect that you'll find that the idea that the universe is expanding
also doesn't make sense.
Where could it "expand" into ?
You may be assuming that the Big Bang theory is correct, (it isn't)
that the universe began as or in a naked singularity, which is impossible.
Where would all the energy/ matter come from ?
Posted by HeraticXYZ 2 years ago
This would be so easy to take pro down but... nah who cares
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Talk about an easy topic to argue for =p
Posted by Nymphomaniac 2 years ago
Ajabi, what do you mean by "necessarily" finite?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: con effectively refutes pro's theories, and especially keeps his argument concerning the BIg Bang theory (and how it causes expansion even til today). He even used more sources but I'm not going to be that picky about my vote.