The Instigator
mongeese
Pro (for)
Losing
37 Points
The Contender
HghDnsty
Con (against)
Winning
42 Points

The universe must have had a definite starting point in time.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/23/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,912 times Debate No: 9538
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (47)
Votes (15)

 

mongeese

Pro

The universe - http://en.wikipedia.org...
Definite starting point in time - Basically, this comes from the idea that if we had a timeline of the universe, time would start at the front of the timeline (definite starting point), with no events in the universe before it, and ending at the present day, with the future yet to come.

If you have any questions about the definitions, or want to get anything at all about this debate clarified, please ask me in the comments. Thank you to whoever accepts this debate. Good luck.

NOTE: No accepting this debate if you have devious intents in mind as to what your arguments will be.
HghDnsty

Con

I'd first like to thank my opponent for posting this very interesting topic. I'll mirror my opponent in keeping my response to round 1 short since he's given me very little to contest. I will start by stating that you can make a timeline of the universe but that timeline will not provide a definite starting point in time because time is dependent on the speed at which a person or object is traveling through space. Thus, a timeline for humans may show that the universe is 15 billion years old based on our motion through space. Conversely, if we were to create a timeline while traveling at the speed of light, time would be much slower and as a result, the universe wouldn't be as old to us. Thus, since the speed at which we travel through space dictates time, it is not possible to have a definite starting point in time.
Debate Round No. 1
mongeese

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate.

My opponent's first unique contention is that because time is relative, there can be no definite starting point in time. However, this is not the case. Let's imagine that I have, instead of a timeline, a number line that stretches from Houston (definite starting point) to the moon (present) (let's assume that the moon is stationary, for this example) and beyond (future). (Let's also assume that there is no escape velocity necessary, for example's sake.) Now, one guy has a jet-pack, and is going to be flying upwards at a speed of 1 mile per second. Another guy has a rocket ship, and is going at a speed of 100 miles per second. Now, just because these two guys are travelling at different speeds, doesn't mean that there isn't a definite starting point. They both started in Houston. Likewise, we can apply this to time. If time suddenly started with the Big Bang, it wouldn't matter if it felt like one year to reach the present or if it felt like ten years. Time had a definite starting point with the Big Bang.

Now that I have refuted my opponent's contention, I will start my own contention. Let's say you had a time machine, and would be going back in time. For every second of your own time, you would go one million years into the past. The question is, will you ever reach the universe's definite starting point in time?

If the answer is yes, then the resolution is affirmed.

If the answer is no, then this brings about a problem: if you could not get to a certain of period of time by going backwards for a potentially infinite amount of time, how would time progress from that period of time to the present? The answer is, it can't. There's no way an infinite in time can be crossed in one direction but can't be crossed in the other. Therefore, you can't not run into the universe's definite starting point in time, so we go back to affirming the resolution.

In either case, the resolution is affirmed. I look forward to your response.
HghDnsty

Con

I'd like to again thank my opponent for not only raising this topic but for providing a position that mirrors what I too had thought to be true in my distant past. I, like my opponent, believed that time was linear because the measurements of time we perceive on earth are linear. He believes that there is a distinction between space AND time.

This is indeed not the case and because he's chosen the rebuttal that I was hoping he would, he's already lost this debate. Both my opponent and I are basing our conclusions based on the link he's provided in his opening argument (The universe - http://en.wikipedia.org......) that is, that we believe in the theory of general and special relativity (as developed by Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawkins and a myriad of past and present scientists and astrophysicists). Having agreed to these theories up front, we know that space AND time are not separate notions but rather linked, and thus referred to as space-time (again confirmed with my opponents link). This distinction is pinnacle to these theories and, in short, states that there are really four dimensions as follows:
1) Space
2) Matter
3) Velocity
4) Time

It also concludes that these four dimensions are interconnected to each other (as stated in my opening position). Since these dimensions are all interrelated, Albert Einstein concluded that as objects approach the speed of light (the speed limit of the universe aside from theoretical particles and the big bang) mass becomes infinite and TIME STOPS (emphasis added…E=MC2). This isn't to say that events within the universe can't continue to take place, as they do all the time in the presence of light speed but, relative to the light, they are absent time.

Now, as my opponent pointed out via his link, the big bang event occurred nearly instantly "brief period (less than 10−32 seconds)". This time frame is millions (if not trillions) of times faster than the speed of light. Since time is nonexistent at speeds greater than the speed of light, and the big bang (cosmic inflation) happened at speeds greater than the speed of light, than the big bang must have occurred in the absence of time.

Time is only really present when an object moves slower than the speed of light. Since the Universe started out at speeds much faster than the speed of light, time must have started sometime after the big bang and relative to the object traveling at less than the speed of light. Since objects lose their velocity at different rates, time starts for those objects at varying points in the universe. This supports my opening comment where I stated that you could indeed formulate a timeline but the timeline would be relative to the object being measured from the time its velocity dips below the speed of light.

This complex discussion and topic just touch the surface of the theories of general and special relativity. Although these conclusions may sound like science fiction to those not versed in these theories they are indeed science fact! It's been proven not only mathematically but in function as well. Here is a real life example:

GPS satellites are calibrated to account for the differences in time based on their movement through space relative to our movement on earth. Since the satellites are moving faster through space-time, true time is slower and engineers program this time difference into the relays used to send signals back to users on Earth. Without programming for this space-time phenomenon, GPS signals would provide imprecise data to users on Earth. This time differential, factored with empirical mathematical principles proves that times slows with speed to the point of absolute zero at the speed of light and goes to prove my position that the universe formed in the absence of time.

Again, these concepts are based in scientific fact. These facts provide clear support that the universe started in the absence of time (because there isn't a distinction between space AND time) and as such, it's not possible that the universe had a definite starting point in time.

Based on these proven concepts, I ask that you vote against the absurd notion that my opponent believes is accurate.
Debate Round No. 2
mongeese

Pro

Thank you for your response.

I'd like to point out that my opponent only gives one source to this astounding claim, which is a Wikipedia page about the universe. However, the inferences he draws from this page are not only absent from said page, but also logically contradictory.

First and foremost, my opponent identifies space, matter, velocity, and time to be four separate dimensions. However, if you were to search the Wiki universe page for "dimension," in all of the fifteen matches, you would only see the three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension. Space comprises of the first three dimensions. Matter is what takes up space. Velocity is a formula relating space and time. Time is the fourth dimension.

"Since these dimensions are all interrelated, Albert Einstein concluded that as objects approach the speed of light (the speed limit of the universe aside from theoretical particles and the big bang) mass becomes infinite and TIME STOPS (emphasis added…E=MC2)."
Wrong.
http://startswithabang.com...
The conclusion was that as an ordinary object comes closer and closer to the speed of light, time SLOWS DOWN, and it takes more and more energy to go faster. He concluded that it would take an infinite amount of energy for matter to travel at the speed of light. The thing is, we don't have infinite energy. It's kind of like an asymptote, as seen in the Time Dilation graph in the link above.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
There is absolutely nothing in science to suggest that stopping time is possible, as it is logically impossible. If time stops, no natural event could possibly make time start up again.

"Now, as my opponent pointed out via his link, the big bang event occurred nearly instantly "brief period (less than 10−32 seconds)". This time frame is millions (if not trillions) of times faster than the speed of light."
How can a time frame be faster than a speed? What if matter hardly moved at all during that brief time frame? Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that the speed of light may be slowing down (http://www.khouse.org...), in which case, pretty much any hypothetical speed at the time of the Big Bang may have been slower than the speed of light at the time. This, combined with the fact that it is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, proves that the Big Bang could not have traveled faster than the speed of light.

"Since time is nonexistent at speeds greater than the speed of light, and the big bang (cosmic inflation) happened at speeds greater than the speed of light, than the big bang must have occurred in the absence of time."
This is refuted by the above.

"Time is only really present when an object moves slower than the speed of light."
Well, seeing as an object can only move slower than the speed of light, this is essentially correct.

"Since the Universe started out at speeds much faster than the speed of light, time must have started sometime after the big bang and relative to the object traveling at less than the speed of light."
As I have already shown that it is impossible for the universe to have started out with speeds greater than whatever the speed of light was at the time, any conclusions drawn from that fact are irrelevant.

"Although these conclusions may sound like science fiction to those not versed in these theories they are indeed science fact! It's been proven not only mathematically but in function as well."
Well, seeing as there are no sources given to show that this is "science fact," I'd have to take my opponent's word for it. Which I won't, because I don't believe him.

As for the GPS example, that only shows that time slows down with increased speed. It does not show that matter can reach the speed of light, which is what my opponent needs to win this debate.

"Again, these concepts are based in scientific fact."
Repeating this doesn't do anybody any good. I need to see some sources.

"These facts provide clear support that the universe started in the absence of time (because there isn't a distinction between space AND time) and as such, it's not possible that the universe had a definite starting point in time."
Actually, even if there was no time before the universe, as long as the universe started with time, then the definite starting point in time would indeed be the Big Bang. The universe started to end the absence of time.

"Based on these proven concepts, I ask that you vote against the absurd notion that my opponent believes is accurate."
This statement actually mirrors my own thoughts. Which is more absurd, the idea that time had a definite starting point due to an unrefuted logical explanation (see the time machine question), or the idea that an object can go faster than the speed of light thanks to its greater-than-infinite energy?

Anyways, thanks for this debate. It was fun to dive back into reading articles about Einstein and the speed of light and such. The resolution has been affirmed. Vote PRO!
HghDnsty

Con

I'd again like to thank my opponent for this debate. In round 2 I was hoping my opponent would provide some evidence that proves his pro position on this topic. He's not provided any contrary evidence which is the burden of the instigator. In providing the con argument to his position I have reiterated scientific fact that time is relative to velocity, matter and space.

Here are my rebuttals once again:
1) "First and foremost, my opponent identifies space, matter, velocity, and time to be four separate dimensions. However, if you were to search the Wiki universe page for "dimension," in all of the fifteen matches, you would only see the three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension. Space comprises of the first three dimensions. Matter is what takes up space. Velocity is a formula relating space and time. Time is the fourth dimension."
>>>I fail to see what the point is here. It appears that my opponent does agree that there are four dimensions with one of them being time. I agree, time is the forth dimension and is related to the first three. I'd like to thank my opponent for confirming my point.

2)"Since these dimensions are all interrelated, Albert Einstein concluded that as objects approach the speed of light (the speed limit of the universe aside from theoretical particles and the big bang) mass becomes infinite and TIME STOPS (emphasis added€´┐ŻE=MC2)."
>>>My opponent contradicts himself here. In his opening argument he provides the basis for the debate and that basis (included in the link) states that the Universe was created with cosmic inflation measured as 10-32. This was the premise for the debate (which he started) and clearly shows that cosmic inflation exceeds the speed of light. If my opponent is going to start the debate with the basic premise he ought to stick with that fact through the debate. Instead, he states "it is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light". His contradiction to his own source document illustrates that he's unable to accept this basic fact. To add to his contradiction, my opponent states that "I'd like to point out that my opponent only gives one source to this astounding claim, which is a Wikipedia page about the universe." If he is implying that Wikipedia is a substandard source I'd like to highlight that this is the exact site he used to springboard this debate.

3) "The conclusion was that as an ordinary object comes closer and closer to the speed of light, time SLOWS DOWN, and it takes more and more energy to go faster. He concluded that it would take an infinite amount of energy for matter to travel at the speed of light. The thing is, we don't have infinite energy. It's kind of like an asymptote, as seen in the Time Dilation graph in the link above."
>>>My opponent's source for this conclusion was this guy...http://startswithabang.com.... My source for my point was this guy (Stephen Hawking) http://www.generationterrorists.com... who stated "what happens to the velocity of light when time stops in a black hole"? In the interest of credibility, I'll go with Stephen Hawking.

4) "If time stops, no natural event could possibly make time start up again."
>>>To my first point in this last round, my opponent hasn't proven any point with hard facts but rather theory. Where's the proof to the above statement? Time starts with objects dip below the speed of light.

5) "How can a time frame be faster than a speed? What if matter hardly moved at all during that brief time frame? Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that the speed of light may be slowing down (http://www.khouse.org......), in which case, pretty much any hypothetical speed at the time of the Big Bang may have been slower than the speed of light at the time. This, combined with the fact that it is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, proves that the Big Bang could not have traveled faster than the speed of light."
>>>See points to #3 above. My opponent is now proposing we use a different source document than the one agreed to in Round #1 centered on the proven scientific theories of general and special relativity. This is similar to his notion of time travel in Round 2, not pertinent to the discussion or based on the theories presented as the basis for this debate in Round #1. He's even gone so far as to again contradict the cosmic inflation theory proposed in his first position (see his first link...The universe - http://en.wikipedia.org......). I went so far as to agree with his initial conclusion from Round #1 on this point and he essentially refuted his own point when he says disagrees with this point... ""Since time is nonexistent at speeds greater than the speed of light, and the big bang (cosmic inflation) happened at speeds greater than the speed of light, than the big bang must have occurred in the absence of time."

7)"As for the GPS example that only shows that time slows down with increased speed. It does not show that matter can reach the speed of light, which is what my opponent needs to win this debate."
>>>The burden of proof is on "Pro" to support his point. My burden is to illustrate why his proof is erroneous. I've proven, using scientific principles accepted by most scientists and astrophysicists, that time is not linear but contingent on velocity, space and matter. He's not only reconfirmed this point in this final round but failed to introduce any new evidence to support his position (links to other unknown individuals with their own opinions is not proof).

8)""These facts provide clear support that the universe started in the absence of time (because there isn't a distinction between space AND time) and as such, it's not possible that the universe had a definite starting point in time."
Actually, even if there was no time before the universe, as long as the universe started with time, then the definite starting point in time would indeed be the Big Bang. The universe started to end the absence of time."
>>>My opponent misquoted me here. I never stated that the universe started with time. Instead, my point was that the Universe started with the absence of time because time is limited by the speed of light and, through his own source, cosmic inflation occurred at speeds in excess of the speed of light. Read round #2 for clarification on this point.

9)"Based on these proven concepts, I ask that you vote against the absurd notion that my opponent believes is accurate."
This statement actually mirrors my own thoughts. Which is more absurd, the idea that time had a definite starting point due to a very logical explanation (see the time machine question), or the idea that an object can go faster than the speed of light thanks to its greater-than-infinite energy?
>>>What is absurd is that my opponent continues to believe that space and time are mutually exclusive when the theories of the debate clearly contradict this notion. It's not "space and time" but rather space-time.

In conclusion, I'd like to thank my opponent for attempting to refute generally accepted scientific notions using time as a measurement vs. an embedded principle of space itself. As always, I appreciate the discussion and the time the readers put into considering these points. Vote based on science vs. rhetoric...Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
47 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
"Another point that I could have raised on this is that time is circular. If time is circular, as with any circle, there is no definite beginning or end."
A tad bit late for that. Plus, time is not circular, so this point would fall flat.
Posted by Eros 7 years ago
Eros
What fun this was. Let me see at the speed of light if I can help. First if time had stop then there was no time which means the bang was over when it started. Thus a definite starting point for time.
And given that now the speed of expanision is increasing we must be heading for the inverse black hole. The Great White Everything where light comes to a stop and time is going like a bat out of hell.
Thanks guys you did a nice job.

Eros for your correction.
Posted by HghDnsty 7 years ago
HghDnsty
Another point that I could have raised on this is that time is circular. If time is circular, as with any circle, there is no definite beginning or end.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Mongeese, Yes, Con clearly called you out on not providing an affirmative case: "...In round 2 I was hoping my opponent would provide some evidence that proves his pro position on this topic. He's not provided any contrary evidence which is the burden of the instigator."

My opinion is that neither side did a very good job of addressing the resolution. Pro should have said, "The must have had a definite starting point because ..." and Con should have argued, "There is no need for a definite starting poing because ..." Con should have given references toscientific theories that do not suppose a specific starting point. I don't know of any scientific theories that requir a specific starting point, but the best argunt I can thing of is to claim that since the Big Bang has a starting pointing, that this implies that there must be one.

In general, it is possible for Con to win a debate while saying nothing. That is because Pro has th burden of proving that the resolution is true. The affirming argument may be weak, but it has to be made at a level of plausibility. If not, it fails the to be prima facia and the resolution fails even though Con says nothing and fails to point out the lac of a prima facia case.

I might affirm, "The universe is secretly run by invisible unicorns." I could then give a lecture about all the unbelievable things that happen in the world and claim that supports my case. Con might dispute that all the seemingly unbelievable things were really believable. However, I ought to lose the affirmative case solely on grounds of not having met the burden of proof, even with Con saying nothing. I provided no case that invisible unicorns were really at fault.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
However, were you convinced at all by CON whatsoever? Did CON call me out on a lack of meeting my burden? Did CON do anything at all against my proof? So if CON accepts my proof to be sufficient, granted that the time-stopping argument fails, what did CON do to convince you of ANYTHING?
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
"if the first car never makes it to Point A, there's no logical way that the second car can ever make it to Point B." Both make it in an infinite amount of time, so therefore your argument is false.

I scored arguments for Con on the grounds that you had the burden of proof and did not make a prima facia case.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
"Yes, I read your argument and did not find it convincing."
Just one more question: did you put Convincing Arguments as CON or TIE?
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
"If time extents infinitely backwards, and you traveled at one million years per second, you could still travel backwards for an infinite amount of time in your time time machine. Anyway, I think you are asking how it would be possible to go from an infinite past to the present. The answer is that doing so would have taken an infinitely long time, which is consistent with the time machine going the other way."
If one car is travelling from Point A to Point B at one million miles per second, and the other car is travelling from Point B to Point A at one mile per second, if the first car never makes it to Point A, there's no logical way that the second car can ever make it to Point B.
Of course, my opponent had absolutely no qualms with my proof, instead turning to a completely unique path.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 7 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Roy, in a trial they would simply dismiss the semantics about timelines as irrelevant to the case ('resolutions' in enforcing law consist of "This fellow is guilty," and do not contain the word time line :)

Besides, it was intended as a comic case.
Posted by Metz 7 years ago
Metz
Both Sides talked alot about the big bang which confused me. The Big bang was not the start of the universe but the universe as we know it. a universe is "everything that exists anywhere (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn) and since before the big bang there was supposed to be an infinitely dense piece of matter. While the Big bang may have been a finite point in time, before the big bang there had to be something which would then be the universe. So this debate really is about whether something can come from nothing. Which it can't. Even God had to come from somewhere, or never came at all but that's a different debate.
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