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Zero-Energy Universe is Erroneous

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/29/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,309 times Debate No: 55659
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (26)
Votes (2)



First round Con can present their arguments.

I assert Zero-Energy Hypothesis is Erroneous.

As a hypothesis used by many Atheist to explain the emerging universe, it is flawed and not in accordance with observations. Conclusions drawn from this model are supported by presuppositions and skewing of data.

For even number of rounds, Con is required to type "Round passed as Agreed" in the last round.


I would like to thank Mhykiel for starting this debate.

Before I begin, I would like to define the resolution a little bit. The zero-energy universe hypothesis states that the total net energy of the universe is zero. Now that doesn't mean there isn't energy, just that there's no net energy. I will be defending this hypothesis by arguing that it makes sense and is a very viable option for explaining the workings of the universe.[1]

To begin, the abstract concept of energy must be defined in the physical sense as well. Energy is simply the capacity of a system to perform work. Work is often thought of as energy transferred. They are always proportional, so affecting the work affects the energy. Energy exists in many forms, such as kinetic and potential, as well as the energy from matter and gravitational potential energy that will be of relevance in this debate.[2]

Work equals the force on an object multiplied by the distance that object moves in the direction of a force. So if an object has a horizontal force acting on it, but the object is moving vertically, there is no work being done on the force because there is no movement in the direction of the force. Using a mathematical definition, work can be defined as the dot product of the force and distance, which equals the force times the distance multiplied by the cosine of the angle between the two. This means that the work is maximum when the force and distance are parallel, zero when the two are orthogonal (perpendicular), and the negative of the maximum value when the two are antiparallel (they are in exact opposite directions). This concept is very important to understanding why the zero-energy universe hypothesis is valid.

To understand why this is relevant to the zero-energy universe hypothesis specifically, I will introduce two more concepts - quantum fluctuations and inflation.

The quantum vacuum is not empty. It is teeming with events known as quantum fluctuations, where a particle and its corresponding antiparticle are created, and then very quickly destroy themselves with a tremendous release of energy. Quantum fluctuations are often cited as a naturalistic explanation for the beginning of the universe, and are thus important when discussing how the universe could be created from zero energy. They have been created in a laboratory countless times and have been verified.[3]

Without getting into a very technical definition, inflation can be thought of as the rapid expansion of space just after the big bang. Thus, the quantum fluctuations from the first moments of the universe were magnified to cosmic size, and eventually coalesced to form the astronomical structures we are all familiar with. The mechanism for inflation is currently unknown, but a number of predictions and problems have been verified and solved with the inflationary theory.[4][5]

That is most that is required for a universe. Matter and space. But energy is also necessary, and the energy for this needed to come from somewhere. There are two types of energy at play. The familiar E=mc^2 is actually very important because it sets up a matter-energy equivalency, meaning that matter is inherently energy. It takes positive work for the atom to be stable, due to the nature of the electromagnetic force. This is the first kind of energy, and it is positive. During inflation, there would also be inflation field with positive energy.[6][1]

The second kind of energy is gravitational energy. Gravity is an attractive force, and thus tends to contract the universe. However, because of inflation, the universe is actually expanding. This means that the gravitational energy is negative because the direction of motion of the matter in the universe is exactly opposite to the direction of the gravitational force. The positive inflation field would counteract the greater negative gravitational force due to the faster expansion.

The only trick is to see if these two energies are equal in magnitude (meaning they would sum to zero). Due to math beyond the scope of this debate, if the universe is flat, then these two magnitudes would be equal. The only problem is showing that the universe is flat. Inflation can show this, because, "Imagine blowing up space by a factor of 10^50. Any curvature it had would be instantly flattened." The critical density of the universe, a measure of the curvature of the universe, would exactly equal 1 if it is flat. "When the universe was very young, and very dense, these numbers changed very rapidly. If the average density of the universe were even slightly greater or smaller than the critical density in the instant following the Big Bang, Omega would have zoomed to infinity or crashed to zero. The fact that we are still around, approximately 15 billion years later, is evidence that the critical density must have been extremely close--equal within 1 part in 10^15--to one after the Big Bang." The universe is definitely very flat, so it is very likely that the two energy values are equal, or at least extremely close, beyond intelligible difference.[7][8]

In conclusion to this tedious argument, the quantum fluctuations and inflation made a universe with negligible, or more likely, zero net energy because of the nature of how energy is defined, the energy from matter being positive and the energy from the gravitational field being negative, and the two's magnitudes being equal because of the flat universe created by inflation. The zero-energy universe hypothesis is a very plausible hypothesis considering all we currently know and have observed about the early universe.

This hypothesis is not just theoretical conjecture. There have been experiments and observations that have pointed to the fact of a zero-energy universe. A 2009 study considered the energy of the universe from the pseudo-tensor point of view. They found that, "The zero result for the spatial components of the energy-momentum-pseudotensor calculation, are equivalent to the choice of a center of Mass reference system in Newtonian theory, likewise the use of comoving observers in Cosmology. It is with this idea in mind, that we are led to the energy calculation, yielding zero total energy, for the Universe, as an acceptable result." It concluded that the zero-energy universe hypothesis had been made clear using the results found.[9]

Stephen Hawking, in his book A Brief History of Time, as said that, "In the case of a universe that is approximately uniform in space, one can show that this negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero."[10]

Victor Stenger, in his book Has Science Found God?, has said, "In the inflationary scenario, the mass-energy of matter was produced during that rapid initial inflation. The field responsible for inflation has negative pressure, allowing the universe to do work on itself as it expands. This is allowed by the first law of thermodynamics. In other words, no energy was required to "create" the universe. The zero total energy of the universe is an observational fact, within measured uncertainties, of course."[10]

In conclusion, the zero-energy universe hypothesis is a very plausible explanation for how the universe coalesced and evolved. It is based on valid theoretical arguments from established axioms, as well as experimental observation into its predictions and application. While by no means shown to be the only theory yet, it is certainly not erroneous.


[10]: (the books were quoted from this source as well)
Debate Round No. 1


I did not make it back to the computer in time to write a full reponse.

I pass this round to my oponent and ask he pass it back. I apologize and would concede a point in conduct.



As per my opponent's request, I will pass this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Unfortunately, it seems like my opponent has forfeited again. I've still received no decision from him to restart this debate at a later time. Please vote con.
Debate Round No. 3
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DeletedUser 7 years ago
Sorry Subutai I had a championship this weekend that took most my time. 2 days of matches. I certainly will be interested in challenging you again on this issue.
Posted by Subutai 7 years ago
Ok. I'll keep it short and will only talk about your objections to my arguments. Again, we can redo the debate if you want. It's easy.
Posted by DeletedUser 7 years ago
no you don't have to pass the final round now
Posted by Subutai 7 years ago
We can redo this debate if you wish. If you still want to complete it as is, I'm assuming that I'm still passing the final round?
Posted by Subutai 7 years ago
@whatisthemind: If you read my arguments, even though I talk about complex topics, I explain everything I am talking about, and I'm sure my opponent will do the same when he finds it necessary. And there's also sources that you can look at to substantiate claims.
Posted by Subutai 7 years ago
@Mhykiel: I'd prefer we not use semantics as much as we can, and concentrate on the arguments themselves, but if you find it necessary, then I'm fine with that.
Posted by whatisthemind 7 years ago
Yes, it does matter because not all readers of this debate are theoretical physicists and therefore we are not equipped to know whether you are talking out your arse. If you're just a layman who has read the Wikipedia article about this theory, I don't see how this discussion can possibly be productive. You can talk about sound logic, but without a physics education how do you or your audience know if your premises are true?
Posted by DeletedUser 7 years ago
@Subutai I want to thank you. You have given me the last piece to a puzzle I was solving. I don't want to argue semantics in my posts, but some things I will challenge on those grounds. This a subject where sometimes words fail us both. When I do, do not take offense to it. And please respond in an intelligent manner like you have.
Posted by debateuser 7 years ago
You mean a zero challenge for zero energy universe. Haha ha haaa
Posted by DeletedUser 7 years ago
@debateuser I prefer a real challenge for this debate. I read your reply to my post and find it fallacious in nearly every regard.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Envisage 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: No argument and ff by Pro. A shame really as I was interested to see what the objection was going to be...
Vote Placed by Zarroette 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: ff

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