A Debate on Time
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Voting Style:  Open  Point System:  7 Point  
Started:  12/31/2010  Category:  Science  
Updated:  7 years ago  Status:  Voting Period  
Viewed:  2,489 times  Debate No:  14212 
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (4)
Here's how this debate will work:
In Round 1, CON will choose to argue either that time is finite (equivelant to the presence of a first event preceded by absolutely no other event at all) or that time is infinite (equivelant to the presence of an infinite number of events preceding now, with no first event at all). In Round 2 through 5, PRO will attempt to prove that my opponent's chosen argument is logically impossible (in other words, impossible so long as the rules of logic remain constantly applied). Whether or not CON can prove the other possibility to be impossible is irrelevant to this debate; if both debaters prove the concept that their opponent defends impossible, the debate defaults to PRO. In balance, if neither debater can prove their opponent's concept to be false, CON wins. Essentially, PRO will be fighting an offensive debate, while CON will be fighting a defensive one. Whether or not a side is proven false should take into account only statements made by either debater. If a voter can see a flaw in one debater's arguments, but this flaw is not properly exposed by the other, the flaw should be assumed not to exist. The vote for sources shall be given on a needs basis; as long as both debaters always support their arguments with either logic (that would reduce back to basic laws of logic or tautologies) or sources, the vote should be a tie. By accepting this debate, my opponent agrees and consents to all rules described herein, and agrees that they are not abusive. Finally, good luck to whoever accepts this debate.
I will be arguing that time is infinite. As pro outlined, i will not make any arguments this round, but would like to get some terms agreed on. Time: a continuity of events; a happened before b but after c Infinite: having a distance between beginning and end of infinity Infinity: infinity > x for all x in {All real numbers} To clarify, my position is Their is infinity units of time between the beginning and end of time. Substituting my definition of infinity: Their is more than x units of time between the beginning and end of time for any real value of x. For simplicity, i will assume that we are speaking in a nonzero unit of time, and that time is a constant (i.e ignore relativity) If pro has any objections to these i will prefer to discuss that in the comments rather than take up valuable debate time. 

Thank you, gizmo, for accepting this debate.
I don't currently see any real issues with my opponent's terms. Infinity, I believe, would be better defined as "a quantity without bound or end," [1] but as far as I'm aware, it doesn't conflict with my opponent's definition. My opening argument will a rather simple version of the argument that William Lane Craig called "the argument from the impossibility of completing an actual infinite by successive addition" [2]: 1. An actual infinite cannot be reached through the successive addition of finite values. 2. Time increments with the successive additionof events of finite length. 3. Time cannot ever reach an actual infinite. (1+2) 4. Time is not currently an actual infinite. (3) That should do it for now. Good luck, gizmo. [1] http://en.wikipedia.org... [2] http://bjps.oxfordjournals.org...
In response to pro's comments on the definition of Infinity, that is the common usage of infinity, however from a mathamaticle point of view, is innacurate, as infinity is not a quantity, however i also do not anticipate a simantic problem, and ask that we consider the mathematical definition, not the colloquial one. In response to pro's argument: I agree with point 2, and accept that given point 1, points 2 and three are true. This makes the debate, unless another argument is presented, entirely about point 1, which i will point out is entirely in the realm of math, which should simplify things in that math can have definitive proofs. A) Pro's conjecture: "An actual infinite cannot be reached through the successive addition of finite values." My conjecture: "An actual infinite can be reached through the successive addition of finite values." Proof: let x=a positive real number 1)x=x 2)x+x=2x 3)x+x+x=3x 4)x+x+x...+x=nx 5)a term written in the form of nx can be expanded into an addition of finite values 7)if n=infinity, nx=infinity 8)nx can be written as an addition of finite values (5) AND nx can be infinity 9)infinity can be written as nx which can be written as an addition of finite values 10) infinity can be written as an addition of finite values B) Consider 1. An actual infinite can be reached through an infinite number of successive addition of finite values. (A) 2. The universe has existed for an infinite amount of time 3. this gave it an infinite amount of additions 4. therefore we live infinity seconds after time's Creation I realize this is circular, it is intended only to provide a frame of how to think so that time being infinite is not paradisaical C) 0. Assume time is finite 1. All finite series have a beginning and an end 2. let x=the age of time at it's end 3. one second later, the age of time is x+1 4. we have a contradiction (2,3) 5. therefore our premise that time is finite is false 6. therefore time in not finite 7. there for time is infinite Put another way 1. For any age (x) of time, time will have an age x+1 2. Time will, have an age of all real numbers at some point in time (not at the same time, i.e it will have an age of 1 second, and an age of 2 and an age of 3.14159, and any real number. 3. Time will have an age of {all real numbers} + 1, at some point in time 4.{all real numbers} +1 > {all real number} 5. Infinity is defined as: > {all real numbers} 6. {all real numbers}+1==infinity (4,5) 7. Time will have an age of infinity (3,6) 

Thank you, gizmo, for your response. It appears that we won't have any issues using your definition of "infinity."
Now, my opponent disagrees with my first point in my proof, and only disagrees with my first point, so if I can prove this point to be correct, then I have proven infinite time to be impossible. The claim is that "an actual infinite cannot be reached through the successive addition of finite values." My opponent offers a proof to counter it (labeled A), but while his proof may appear logically flawless, he only asserts in the end that "infinity can be written as an addition of finite values." They key here is the difference between instantaneous addition (x+x+x...+x=nx) versus successive addition (a+x=b,b+x=c,c+x=d...). Successive addition is what we're looking for, because time does not pass instantaneously, but successively, with seconds being added to the total length of time that has passed. Now, as we're dealing with the successive addition of finite values, the very first value, a, must be finite. The length of time that passes, x, must also be finite to fulfill the requirements. First, x is added to a. a is now [a+x], and as two finite values added together yield a finite value, a is still a finite value. Second, x is added to this new a, and using the same logic as before, a remains a finite value again. No matter how many times x is added to a, a will always be a finite value, and therefore will never reach an infinite value. Therefore, the successive addition of finite values can never reach an infinite value, affirming my first point, and therefore my proof, negating infinite time and fulfilling my burden. My opponent's next list of points (labeled B) is not a proof at all, as it posits that the universe has existed for an infinite amount of time on a potentiality, not a fact, and relies on (A), which was already demonstrated to be irrelevant. Finally, in (C), my opponent sets up a proof that time is not finite, and therefore infinite. Firstly, by the third paragraph in the outline of the debate in Round 1, this claim is irrelevant to this debate. Secondly, this assumes that, in its third claim, that a second will pass after the end of time, which contradicts the idea that there is an end in time. Of course, currently, the end of time is now, so that the length of time is currently the difference in the time at the start (assuming one exists) and now. There is no contradiction between the second and third points, as my opponent claims in the fourth point, because the end of time would shift by one second as one second passes, an event that his proof does not take into account. He restates this so that time will have an age of infinity. However, there is a flaw in his fourth point, claiming that {all real numbers} + 1 > {all real numbers}. For any real number X, there is a real number Y that is equal to X + 1. Therefore, {all real numbers} + 1 = {all real numbers}. Math doesn't really work as one would expect once unlimited sets are used. In conclusion, I have a solid proof that negates infinite time, upholding by burden and winning me the debate. Good luck, gizmo.
Pro has conceded that my point a (infinity can be written as an addition of finite values.) is correct. However, it fails to apply to time, which pro describes with the following series (a+x=b,b+x=c,c+x=d...). Proof that the above series can equal infinity. 1.a+x=b 2.b+x=c 3.(a+x)+x=c  substitution, 1 and 2 4.c+x=d 5. ((a+x)+x)+x=c  substitution, 3 and 4 6. let f(n)=nth variable in sequence (f(1)=a,f(2)=b)) 7. we can see that f(y)=f(y1)+x, where f(0)=a 8. f(n)=a+(x+x+x...+x) 9. f(n)=a+nx  looking back at our definition, at f(0) there is 0 n, then 1 n is added every time 10.nx can be infinity  pro has conceded this by granting my point A 11. f(n) =a +nx = a + infinity=infinity; when n=infinity 12. (a+x=b,b+x=c,c+x=d...) contains every f(n) where n is a positive integer  definition of f(n) 13. (a+x=b,b+x=c,c+x=d...) contains infinity Pro does provide a direct argument as to why his series must be finite, and while the more mathematically minded users will see a clear response to that in my proof, i will provide a direct response. 1. pro defines a as the start (lets say 0), and x as the increment (lets say 1) 2. let f(n)=the nth term in the series 3. f(1)=a+x  given by pro 4. f(n)=f(n1)+x  pro was replacing a with the previous term in the sequence, so (a in f(n))=f(n1) 5. assume x>0 6. f(n) will be greater than 0, at some point in the series 7. y is defined as f(y)=0 8. let f(n)=f(y+z) 9. f(y+z)=f(y)+zx  in f(n) every increase in n is matched by an increase in x, of the same amount as the increase in n, in the expanded form 10. f(y+z)=0+zx=zx 11. pro has conceded that zx can be infinite.  (it is no different than nx, but i was already using n elsewhere in the proof) 12. f(y+z) can be infinite  10,11 13. f(n) can be infinite  12,8 Pro is correct in saying my B is not a proper proof, i intended it to be a counter to the unspoken proof by contradiction underlying your arguments, and existing in the heads of most of the readers. C) Sorry, you did clearly specify that i did not have to disprove your side, so let me modify my argument as a proof for my own 1. x is infinite xor x is finite  a xor b means that a or be is true, but not both 0. Assume time is finite 1. All finite series have a beginning and an end 2. let x=the age of time at it's end 3. one second later, the age of time is x+1 4. we have a contradiction (2,3) 5. therefore our premise that time is finite is false 6. therefore time in not finite 7. time is infinite xor time is finite (1) 8. time is infinite xor FALSE (6,7) 9. a xor FALSE, means a must be true 10. time is infinite is true (8,9) 11 time is infinite Now that i used up some extra space, i can deal with the rest of pros concerns 1. By definition a finite series has a beginning and an end. 2. Therefore, if time is finite it has an end. 3. We are not yet at the end of time, because we still have tomorrow. 4. At the end of time, time will have an age x 5. One second later time's age will be x+1 6. x+1>x 7. therefore x is not the age of time at time's end 8. Therefore our assumption that time is finite was false 9. We know that time is either finite xor infinite 10. We know that time is not finite (8) 11. therefore time is infinite (10, 9) In his last point, pro has made my arguement for me, by stating that all real numbers our an unlimited set. 1. We have both shown that time will have an age of all real numbers 2. There our an infinite amount of real numbers 3. therefore time has an infinite amount of ages 4. each age of time takes a amount of time>0 to pass 5. Therefore the total age of time is infinity * (some real number>0) 6. infinity * (some real number>0)=infinity 7 therefor time is infinite 

This will be my final round, so I'd appreciate my opponent to not make any brandnew arguments in his next round. Thank you, gizmo, for your arguments.
First, my opponent tries to show how the series of successive addition can reach infinity. However, he commits the same mistake that he made last time in his eighth step, in which he converts successive addition into instant multiplication. This may work on paper, but it doesn't work in principle. In successive addition, every prior step must be completed before moving on to the next step. This mirrors time, as before any segment of time can pass, all segments before it must have already passed. Using my opponent's example function, before one could calculate f(n), he must calculate f({all real integers < n}). To calculate f(infinity), therefore, one must calculate f({all real integers}), which includes every single real number in existence. It can't be done; once one calculation is finished, another calculation will always be necessary, and infinite time can never be achieved. What my opponent's function does show, however, is time's potential, which is infinite. Assuming no strange universal apocalypse, time can, in the future, eventually reach a length of time in seconds greater any real number any of us could possibly mention. However, it will never exceed all real numbers, an impossibility as I have repeatedly demonstrated, a precondition for infinity. The same mistake is made in the second proof, in the ninth step, as we see an instant multiplication where only successive addition can truly represent the passage of time. Next, my opponent rewrites his proof against finite time as a proof of infinite time, but even if one accepts this proof as valid (for I intend to invalidate it soon), this leaves us at an impasse; I have proven infinite time to be impossibe, while my opponent has proven infinite time to be necessary. As his proof requires proving finite time to be impossible, the following clause from the outline shall fit: "if both debaters prove the concept that their opponent defends impossible, the debate defaults to PRO." This we would both have done, so even if my opponent's proof is considered valid, the debate would default to me. I shall now attack my opponent's proof. Earlier, I pointed out that the end of time changes as time passes; essentially, we are always living at the end of time, as no time had yet passed beyond the current time. Note that in Round 1, infinite time was equated to "the presence of an infinite number of events preceding now, with no first event at all." This can only be consistant with my opponent's definition of infinity if we assume the end of time to be now; otherwise, time would be considered to be infinite regardless of the presence of a first event, which was already established as a difference between infinite and finite time. My opponent offers that "[w]e are not yet at the end of time, because we still have tomorrow." However, we do not yet have tomorrow, so tomorrow is not yet a part of time. Tomorrow, tomorrow will be added to the finite series of time. In my opponent's proof, he again fails to take into account the fact that the finite series of time grows, which throws off the entire proof. It would be the equivelant of taking a child's age and height, waiting for a year, recording the child's new height, and claiming that his predicted growth chart is off, without remeasuring the child's height. For my opponent's final proof, I never said that time will ever actually reach all real numbers. Whenever time reaches one point in time, there will always be another point in time waiting, representing a larger number, no matter how much time passes. Time will never reach a true infinity. It would be irrational. As long as time ever was of finite length (as my opponent seems to have conceded), time will always remain at a finite length; it is impossible for time to go from finite length to infinite length within a second, as must occur at one point for time to shift to infinite length. Time can never reach infinity. Time will never represent all real numbers, negating my opponent's proof. To conclude: 1. An actual infinite cannot be reached through the successive addition of finite values. (R3, PRO, p45) 2. Time increments with the successive additionof events of finite length. 3. Time cannot ever reach an actual infinite. (1+2) 4. Time is not currently an actual infinite. (3) Thank you, gizmo, for this debate over time. Good luck, and finish strong!
Pros first objection could lie within either step 8 or step 9 of my first argument: 7. f(y)=(f1)+x; where f(0)=a  no objection from pro, f shows the age of the universe 8a.f(0)=a 8b.f(1)=f(0)+x=a+x=a+1x 8c.f(2)=f(1)+x=a+x+x=a+2x 8d.f(3)=f(2)+x=a+2x+x=a+3x 8e.f(n)=mn+b  generic linear equation 8f.f(0)=0z+b=a 8g.b=a 8h.f(n)=mn+a 8i. f(0)=0+a;f(1)=a+1x 8j. delta n=1; delta f(n)=x 8k.m=x/1  rise over run 8l.f(n)=xn+a  lines 7e, 7g, 7k 8m.f(n)=a+xn 9.f(n)=a+nx Much more work than it should take to show show that multiplication in repeated addition (I think that is the definition of multiplication) Pro:"Using my opponent's example function, before one could calculate f(n), he must calculate f({all real integers < n})." Not really, as i have shown that f(n)=f(n1)+x=a+nx A simple use of the transitive property gives us the function f(n)=a+nx Also your proof seems to attempt to be a proof by contradiction, however it contains the assumption that time is finite Consider if i had some amount to time add 1 to some number, in any finite amount of time, i would have a finite number. But how does one represent the number i would have after an infinite amount of time has passed, infinity. In order for a proof by contradiction to work, you must assume true that which you are attempting to disprove, assuming it false is circular. Pro: "What my opponent's function does show, however, is time's potential, which is infinite." so times has the potential to be infinitely old, also it is possible time exists outside of our universe Arguement 2 step 9: f(y+z)=f(y)+zx proof: 0. f(n)=f(n1)+x 1. f(y)=f(y) 2 f(y+1)=f(y+11)+x=f(y)+x 3.f(y+2)=f(y)+2x 8. f(y+q)=f(y)+qx 9. f(y+q)=qx f(y) is defined as 0 Note, this really is the same as proof 1 but without that annoying a Pro: "the end of time changes as time passes; essentially, we are always living at the end of time" No, we are living in the middle of time. Lets say i am on a 100 mile road. I look to my left and see the 10 mile marker. The end of the road is still at 100 miles, even though i am only at the ten mile marker. All pro is saying is that the current age of the universe is finite. This i could argue against as well, again in an attempt to disprove me, he is assuming his side. Consider our equation f(0)=a; f(x)=f(x1)+x. what happens if a is infinity. Then the current age of time is infinity, and time has always existed, and every value for (x) will be infinite. however Pro has been assuming that a is finite, and time has a beggining. As i said before, in order for a proof by contradiction to work, you must assume that which you are proving false. Pro: "I never said that time will ever actually reach all real numbers." It is implied in: x is added to a. a is now [a+x], since x and a can be made infinitely detailed To conclude: Infinity is annoying, get used to it. 
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by tvellalott 7 years ago
mongeese  gizmo1650  Tied  

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Vote Placed by Itsallovernow 7 years ago
mongeese  gizmo1650  Tied  

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Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 7 years ago
mongeese  gizmo1650  Tied  

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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
mongeese  gizmo1650  Tied  

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Conduct: TIED
Spelling & Grammer: PRO
Arguments: PRO
"If both debaters prove the concept that their opponent defends impossible, the debate defaults to PRO." I think you both made strong arguments, so as stated in the Instigators R1, the decision defaults to PRO. I'd like to have seen your arguments for the alternate resolution mongoose.
Sources: PRO
Nice work to both of you.
Con showed an understanding of the concept, and his arguments were correct. That wins Arguments.
Con repeated the "i" > "I" spelling mistake enough to be annoying, and his formating was a little sloppy. Not terrible, but Pro gets S&G.
Einstein's General Theory says that gravity curves the space around objects, not just attracts objects. It is proved by observation. Also, the rate at which time passes depends on the frame of reference. A spaceship traveling away from earth and returning finds it's clocks to be ahead of those left on earth. Time is not invariant, which sort of "defies logic." Of course it doesn't really, but most of us cannot imagine how that could happen. It is observed to happen. The math works, and it does happen, whether we can relate to it or not.
Einstein's general theory of relativity comes from the equivalence of acceleration (noninertial reference frames) and gravity. His classic example is, if you were in an invisible elevator and it suddenly accelerated upwards could you do any experiment which shows that you are not in an accelerating reference frame but instead experiencing gravity. You can not, at its heart the theory is one of based on the law identity which ascribes two very different things (gravity and acceleration) as being equal. From that comes the general equations of general relativity and then the mathematical solutions.