The Instigator
liveside23
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Vapeo
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Can we really prove anything?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/23/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 502 times Debate No: 87086
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (16)
Votes (0)

 

liveside23

Con

Or is there such a lack of evidence on reality that we can only infer? Philosophy/Science. This is a debate on whether we can actually say that something can be proven. This is my first debate and any post on this site so if there are any mistakes let me know. I really don't have a "dog" in this fight, but I think it is very interesting in terms of what we really know and what we believe. I am interested in seeing what can be argued, I am not at all concerned with who is right. I would like this to be open-minded and non-competitive. I have some college and understand basic argumentation so bare with me. Also I am fairly busy and also wanted both of us to have a long time to think and respond so I chose 72 hour time to argue. Thank you.
Vapeo

Pro

Difficult question you posed, but immensely crucial to everything. Literally.

I think we can prove things.
I'll give an example.

Lets say I make a statement, that I believe is true. Even if I'm wrong, it is true that that a world exist in which I made that statement. If the world was an illusion, than it is true that there was an illusion of the world that existed. If it was an illusion that there was an illusion, than it is true that there was and illusion of an illusion.

This leads to an infinite series in which something is always true.
I liken it to the number 0.000000001 (with infinite zeroes before the 1)

Either this number is separate from 0, or the number is 0, or the number is impossible and doesn't exist.
However, I think the fact that I can approach infinity before I touch the one, but knowing that is there, because I decided that that was how I created the number, confirms that truth exists.

No matter how much zeroes I add, there is still that one.

Likewise, no mate how many illusions there are, truth is unavoidable, and therefore must exist.

Therefore, if truth didn't exists, nothing would exist.
We exist, so there is truth.

If things are true, then we can indeed prove things.

Id love to hear your thoughts.
Debate Round No. 1
liveside23

Con

I absolutely agree with everything thing that you have said, but as much as I agree with truth of existence I am not so sure we can prove it. I had a dream in which I was aware that I was dreaming, I knew that I was not in the "real world". I had a question, "How can I prove that I am dreaming?" Everything seemed incredibly real, touch, sight, sound, it was the closest to reality that I have ever been in a dream before or since. The closer I scrutinized things the more they came into focus and the more real they became. It was in front of my house in the river, the closer I inspected the river the more it seemed physical. It became clear, I could see through it to the rocks and minnows, I could feel the cold on my skin from the water, the sound, everything. I could not distinguish it from any other "real" river. It lead me to believe that the closer I looked the more material it would become. I could not prove that I was in a dream empirically, I only knew that I was because I had a kind of "inside knowledge" that this was an illusion. This dream was absolutely true because it existed. Although, if I was unaware that I was dreaming I don't know that it could be proven to me that I was in a dream. It seems even in the physical universe the more we dig the more questions that there are.

Lets say that me and you are in a video game, I came from the physical universe and through great leaps in science I ported myself into the game. I would have to follow the "laws" of the game while there. This game, to you, would seem like physical reality. There would be video game "laws" that you could not break. Walls would seem solid, you could perish, the sky would be blue, and karma may even get you. This would be the perfect video game, not like a game today with bad A.I. and glitches. I would know the truth, that the the game is a sort of illusion, but how can I prove that to you? I would say that the walls did not exist, that they and you were programmed to collide. I would tell you the walls were an illusion that did not exist in physical space. I would tell you that all the people were programmed with A.I. and that they disappear when you go through a door and load a new map. You would have to either trust me, highly unlikely, not believe me at all, or ask for proof. I could probably not materialize you to the outside world and show you the computer that you exist on, the laws of the game would make you believe that the game was reality for you.

I believe the number does exist and is separate from zero, any deviation from zero makes it something else. Lets say 0.000(infinity minus one 0)1.... one less zero than infinite 0's to make it a real number. You and I can imagine that number and it would exist for both of us. Though we could never write it out in our lifetime to show ourselves that it is attainable. Maybe that number never needed to be in the universe for the universe to work. Then in reality it wouldn't exist and would never appear in a mathematical equation. This would prove that in our limited universe the number 0.000(infinity minus one 0)1 was false for us. Not in theory but physically never happened in this universe. But we both know that it could exist right? Or maybe not.
Vapeo

Pro

Totally agree here, but I would like to add.

math is the easiest way to try to prove anything, but even that can be doubted because humans define math. How do we know that math isn't an illusion?

Also your dream reminds me of Zuangzhi lol

I like your thoughts here.

How do you feel about qualia? Can that perhaps answer this question?
Debate Round No. 2
liveside23

Con

I made a misstep in my last post, I said, "This would prove that in our limited universe the number 0.000(infinity minus one 0)1 was false for us. I shouldn't have said prove obviously, it just comes naturally. To actually prove it did not exist we would have to exhaust all mathematical problems of the universe and I don"t think that that is realistic.

I searched the internet only quickly and found this page that goes into mathematics as a human concept.
http://phys.org...

I was unfamiliar with Zuangzhi before this but have searched and enjoyed what I have read.
"He who dreams of drinking wine may weep when morning comes; he who dreams of weeping may in the morning go off to hunt. While he is dreaming he does not know it is a dream, and in his dream he may even try to interpret a dream. Only after he wakes does he know it was a dream. And someday there will be a great awakening when we know that this is all a great dream. Yet the stupid believe they are awake, busily and brightly assuming they understand things, calling this man ruler, that one herdsman R09; how dense! Confucius and you are both dreaming! And when I say you are dreaming, I am dreaming, too. Words like these will be labeled the Supreme Swindle. Yet, after ten thousand generations, a great sage may appear who will know their meaning, and it will still be as though he appeared with astonishing speed."
https://en.wikipedia.org...
It is about a Rene Descartes concept which was pretty interesting too. Makes me think of the Matrix when Morpheus says, " You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he's expecting to wake up."

I don't fully understand qualia yet, but I plan to read about it more. It does remind me of something that I have always wondered though. If I could see the world through your eyes would it even be recognizable to me?

And Finally:
MISCONCEPTION: Science proves ideas.
CORRECTION: Journalists often write about "scientific proof" and some scientists talk about it, but in fact, the concept of proof " real, absolute proof " is not particularly scientific. Science is based on the principle that any idea, no matter how widely accepted today, could be overturned tomorrow if the evidence warranted it. Science accepts or rejects ideas based on the evidence; it does not prove or disprove them. To learn more about this, visit our page describing how science aims to build knowledge.
from http://undsci.berkeley.edu...

What would it mean if we couldn't prove anything, nothing life would still go on. Do you think that we will ever know with certainty what is going on? Will it be revealed in a way that everyone who ever existed will know, or only those lucky enough to be alive at the right time?
Vapeo

Pro

Vapeo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
liveside23

Con

liveside23 forfeited this round.
Vapeo

Pro

Vapeo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
liveside23

Con

liveside23 forfeited this round.
Vapeo

Pro

Vapeo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by liveside23 12 months ago
liveside23
No problem, I actually kind of lost steam in it anyway.
Posted by Vapeo 12 months ago
Vapeo
sorry for the forfeit, it was totally unintentional
Posted by liveside23 12 months ago
liveside23
Great comment, do you think that there is an ultimate truth out there beyond what we are experiencing.
Posted by Furyan5 12 months ago
Furyan5
The one thing to remember is that the reality we know exists only in our head. It is based on electrical impulses we receive from our sense organs via our nervous system and we have no way of confirming any of the information we perceive except via our this system. For all we know, nothing we see, hear, smell, taste of feel is real. When we are in a dream, nothing is real, but to us it seems real. And if nothing we perceive is real, we can't prove anything.
Posted by liveside23 12 months ago
liveside23
That is what I am leaning towards these days, but it is such a big question that I don't think I will ever know. Makes me think I should just enjoy it and never look back.
Posted by talmid 12 months ago
talmid
There is no absolute evidence for anything. You can't know the truth of something for sure. There could be one missing detail which you are unaware of that completely refutes any "evidence" that you bring.
Posted by liveside23 1 year ago
liveside23
I am only interested in debating it , I have no side just want to see where it goes. I picked con side because I knew it would be easier get an opponent. I appreciate Vapeo for entering the debate. I feel 5 rounds may be too much for me now though as a first debate. This topic is a lot broader in scope than I originally thought and should have tried to define it better. Anyway I am eager to hear Vapeo's response.
Posted by 21MolonLabe 1 year ago
21MolonLabe
So Con is trying to prove that nothing can be proven. Sounds legit.
Posted by Furyan5 1 year ago
Furyan5
and one thing can be proven. your existence is proven by your desire to prove something. if you did not exist, you could not even ask the question.
Posted by Furyan5 1 year ago
Furyan5
infinity is a concept, not a number. it can't be treated as a number.
No votes have been placed for this debate.