The Instigator
beem0r
Con (against)
Winning
36 Points
The Contender
mmadderom
Pro (for)
Losing
24 Points

There is a smallest distance

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,670 times Debate No: 1956
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (20)

 

beem0r

Con

My position is that there is not a smallest distance. We'll start with this for my opening argument, just because I'm sort of obligated to say something:
There is no smallest distance because it is always possible to halve said distance.

That said, I guess I'll wait for an opponent.
mmadderom

Pro

"smallest" is a relative term. You are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with this one. You are saying that a descriptive word can't be definitive. Well...no kidding.

You will have to further define your claim to even make it debatable.
Debate Round No. 1
beem0r

Con

I did not claim there was a smallest size which a square peg could be. I meant that there is no smallest distance.

Take a chair, in a room, for example. I am saying that there are an infinite number of locations the chair could be at between where the chair currently is and where the chair would be if you moved it 1 cm to the right. That is what I'm saying.

I never spoke of shapes or pegs, so I don't know why you had to assume them. My topic is, literally, whether or not there is a smallest distance. You probably should have clarified your misunderstandings via a comment, rather than simply taking the debate.

Some people claim the universe is discrete, and it was one of them I was hoping to debate.
mmadderom

Pro

You are correct and indeed I intended to make that in the comment section but was half asleep at the time.

That doesn't change my point, however. "smallest" is a descriptive word not appropriately applied to distance. The question here, I believe, is distance measurable? It is to the limited abilities of our most advanced tools so in that respect, yes there is a "smallest" distance being the shortest distance we are capable of measuring. If we can't measure it, then it's only conceptual.
Debate Round No. 2
beem0r

Con

A smallest distance would be a shortest distance. I'm not talking about how exact we can make a ruler, I mean how space actually is.
Smallest is descriptive enough.

Perhaps I'll make the challenge again sometime, so I can get an opponent.
mmadderom

Pro

Your theory is that space isn't measurable.

Throw out all of the tools we use, then. From rulers to micrometers a simple clock they must all be useless based on your law.

Space IS measurable as we've developed measures for it, hence distance is measurable as it pertains to space. You are saying space can always be halved...but it can't. You can't halve zero, and at some point in measure we reach zero.

"Perhaps I'll make the challenge again sometime, so I can get an opponent."

And perhaps a mathematician will take it so they can more eloquently destroy your thesis than I. The insult wasn't necessary.
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Grey_Fox 9 years ago
Grey_Fox
Behold, the smallest distance! The planck length, 1.6*10^-35 meters. http://www.physlink.com...
Posted by eyeleapy 9 years ago
eyeleapy
I bet beem)r wins, because you are beem0r. or your butt-buddies and like to play butt-darts. Between 2 spaces there is an infinite amount, ever take cal? If you had, the theory is actually a provin fact, keep dividing a distance by half, you'll never get to zero, ever! Don't believe me, then talk to my Professure, i'll give his e-mail address if you want it.
Posted by Logical-Master 9 years ago
Logical-Master
I believe the pro has failed to show the weakness in theory of there being an infinite amount of space within all spaces. Not sure why the pro is getting votes. Beem0r wins.
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
Apparently it didn't accept that link very well.
If you click it, replace Zeno in the URL with "Zeno's_paradoxes#The_dichotomy_paradox"
With no quotes.
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
You're correct in the fact that time and distance can each be divided into infinitely small units.

However, that does not turn a finite amount of distance (let's say 2 feet) or a finite amount of time (2 seconds) into 'infinite' values. 2 seconds and 2 feet are by their very nature finite measurements.

My side of the debate actually agrees with you on one thing - distance CAN be split up into infinitely small units. That is what I'm arguing, not that it should take an infinite amount of time to traverse a distance because of this.

What you're talking about its one of Zeno's paradoxes. That's not what I'm talking about at all.
http://en.wikipedia.org...'s_paradoxes#The_dichotomy_paradox
Posted by attrition 9 years ago
attrition
Well I think I am correct in my assertion. If we divided a number in half X infinity(time) we would end up with 0 units left to divide.
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
And mmadderom, I didn't mean that as an insult, but you even said yourself "You are correct and indeed I intended to make that in the comment section but was half asleep at the time."

Also, even if it was an insult, I think it was warranted. Round 1 you brought up something totally irrelevant with square pegs and round holes. Round 2 your argument was that 'smallest' distance is not descriptive enough. Round 3 was a misconception that no smallest unit means something isn't measurable. Also, you hinted that halving a number repeatedly we would somehow, sometime reach 0. This is incorrect.

A mathematician could not destroy my thesis, since it is not mathematically incorrect. If it is incorrect, Physics would be the one to disprove me, with something along the lines of the Planck length.
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
mmaderom - what amount of distance is it that we halve to get 0? What's the smallest amount of distance? You've given no argument, just a big misconception.

And how many 0.0000000000001-feet are between 0 and 1 foot? You can always make that number smaller, and you've shown no reason why you can't. There's no wall where you can't break it down further. You can always halve that distance and end up with a smaller distance. You've given no evidence that there is an amount of distance which cannot be halved.

attrition - No, that's not what this argument is. the argument is whether or not the distance can be broken down to smaller units infinitely. We're not talking about time at all.
Posted by attrition 9 years ago
attrition
This argument is based upon the question, " If I stand in a point and move half the distance to the door and every interval, how then is it possible that I ever reach the door?"

The answer to the debate is time. Time is infinite. So the infinite distance can be overcome by infinite time
Posted by mmadderom 9 years ago
mmadderom
"Just as there are an infinite number of possible distances between 0 feet and 1 foot"

No matter what you use as a unit of measure, there is definitely a finite number of possible distances between 0 feet and 1 foot. That's the problem here, you refuse to acknowledge a unit of measure. NOTHING is measurable without unit to measure it with. That doesn't make it infinity, it makes it a waste of time. Measure, by it's very nature REQUIRES a starting point, I.E. something to measure it by.
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