Determinism is true while Free Will is a fallacy
I would like to start by setting certain necessary criteria to properly evaluate this debate:
Second, I'd like to state my approach in explaining why this argument is false:
Does every event must have a preceiding event causing it? I say no. Here's why.
1. Premise A: Every event either has a preceiding event or not (Null Hypothesis)
Using Recursive process (inductive logic)
Can there be an infinite number of past events? I say no. Here's why.
When we say past events. These are events that have already occured. So to prove my point, I'll first assume that there is an infinite number of past events (Null Hypothesis) and show how that's impossible.
Let's say that an infinite number of new tenants want to enter the hotel. The owner again will say "Of course! why not..." So he asks everyone in room 1 to go to room 2, room 2 to 4, 3 to 6...etc. Now all even numbered rooms have been taken, and all odd numbered rooms are available (Infinite of them)! Now the infinite number of new tenants have available rooms for them!
What's even more insane, is that if there's another hotel, with also an infinite number of tenants. Which of the two owners have more tenants? Well.. it's neither more, nor less, nor the same.
So basically, the basic laws of math fail with infinities. Because infinities are potential values, but can never be achieved. No matter how much you add to a number, you will never reach infinity.
Since past events actually occured, then it's impossible that there is an infinite number of past events.
As you can see, I was able to demonstrate that there must exist at least one event which was not preceided by another event. Since I proved the first premise in my opponent's argument to be false, then his conclusion that determinism is true doesn't follow.
On top of that, I ask you to think rationally. If there's an event that was completely uncaused (doesn't have a preceding event). How was that event determined? It can't be. Therefore, determinism is not true.
First off I would like to thank my opponent for taking me up on my debate.
"Every event either has a preceding event or not" (-Con summary of my argument)
Example: (Event/E=Event sequence of one object, U=Unit –or- specific interval within the Event) [> describes passage of time between Units, + describes adjacent units related, - describes adjacent units unrelated, \~/ describe all Events related to E1]
- + + \
Event3 U1>U2>U3 ~ E1
- + - /
The example above is a representation of a cause/effect relationship with sequences that are independent and interdependent. One way of describing the event could be mass extinction (E1), volcanic eruptions (E2), tectonic shifts (E3), and methane hydrate gasification (E4). E1 is the ultimate event that was the mass extinction of well over three quarters of life on Earth during the Great Dying. What lead to that is multiple events happening at the same time affecting multiple organisms from a variety of ecosystems. Not in all cases did one event affect all organisms in all ecosystems and in some intervals one event was able to affect a variety of different organisms and eco-systems. For more details read my reference.
Infinity at its core is mathematically flawed, I agree. (ref-http://skyserver.sdss.org...) But I ask, if you believe in a finite universe do you believe in a finite amount of mass and energy? One of the most well established laws would be the Law of Conservation of Energy. The law states, “If a particle or body is acted upon only by conservative forces energy is conserved.” Basically all energy in a closed system is conserved and cannot be neither created nor destroyed. And since there is a sum total of mass and energy they can be predicted with accuracy using the Law of Conservation of Energy. http://plato.stanford.edu...
For energy to be conserved force must as well since:
(KineticEnergy1+KineticEnergy2…[0.5* Form1mass*velocity2])+(PotentialEnergy1+PotentialEnergy2…[ Form2mass*acceleration*distance])=EnergySum
Form1 is also the equation for momentum or p
Form2 is also the equation for force or F
a= Δv/ Δt
(Δ is a character that describes that a units' direction and magnitude has significance)
Since events proceeding from the Big Bang there has been an acceleration of all particles and space-time from the point of existence at an increasing rate. All particles that began from that point had force vectors (a value that can be predicted with absolute certainty when all potential and kinetic energies are accounted for) and thus the cosmos as they are today can be traced all the way back to the point of existence. In other words since ESum=KE+PE and the units governing the result of kinetic and potential energies have vector/scalar values causality is the result which shows that determinism exists and has quantitative and qualitative proof.
I want to thank you for your response. You made me think, question and reconsider… That's what we are here for. "I think, therefore I am" – René Descartes. So thank you Tyler.
I still contend that my opponent's response doesn't prove his contention, or challenges my argument in any way. I will demonstrate this claim in my rebuttal below.
Free will is not a fallacy
My opponent, rightfully, asked me to share the burden of proof. He asked me to not only prove that determinism is false, but also prove that free will is not a fallacy. I agree with him. I also want to remind my opponent that he must prove that determinism is true.
I argue that determinism and free will are two opposites; similar to heads and tails in a coin toss. There are no other possible outcomes. I argue that a cause can either be determined or undetermined (Null hypothesis). An undetermined cause is a cause that acted on its own because it wasn't caused by something else. The oxford dictionary defines free will as "the ability to act at one’s own discretion" (1). Therefore an undetermined cause is a cause that had some form of free will. Conversely, if I acted on my own, then surely I wasn't determined… otherwise what free will would that be?
Therefore, to prove that free will exists, I only need to prove that determinism is false. If I toss a coin, and it wasn't heads… then surely I can conclude that it's tails.
Here's a summary of my argument above that proves that free will is not a fallacy:
1. At least 1 uncaused cause exists
Events sequence and interdependence
My opponent explained with great deal how events relate to each other, and become factors in determining the next set of events. I don't dispute that. But my opponent claimed that these characteristics apply to every possible event. In other words, he claimed that there cannot be other events in the mix that were not determined. This is a truth claim, and my opponent has the burden of proof to prove that every event must be determined. My opponent hasn't shown how that is the case.
Let me illustrate this with an example. Someone can claim that 2x > x2. He's very excited about this discovery that he called it "Greaterism (made up name)". He shows how 25 (or 32) is greater than 52 (or 25). The gap widens with larger numbers: 2100 (or 1.27 x 1030) is much greater than 1002 (or 10,000). But we must be careful that this formula has limitations! It doesn't apply when x is less than 4! A better way of defining this would be:
Greaterism is true if x is greater than 4
I argue for the same when it comes to determinism. I don't claim that the vast majority of all events in the known and unknown universes follow determinism. But just like my example, it has its limitations! Determinism is only true for uncaused causes. I argue that the proper way to define what causes events to occur should be like this:
Determinism is true if the cause was caused
My opponent asked me if I believe in a finite amount of mass and energy, and I agree. There must be a finite amount of mass and energy. And I don't dispute the formulas he used. Again, my contention is not that determinism is always false, because I do believe that determinism is true for the most part. My contention is that determinism cannot be true for every possible event as I demonstrated before.
My opponent didn't dispute my logic or my premises. He didn't argue my contention that there must exist at least 1 uncaused cause. Since an uncaused cause can't be determined, this renders the claim that determinism is true for every event as false.
I also showed how his rebuttal didn't prove determinism, but it merely described it. I don't disagree that determinism is true, but it doesn't necessarily apply for every event, and definitely not the very first uncaused cause.
(1) Oxford dictionary - http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
Now you said that determinism must be the complete opposite of free will therefore your whole basis for argument was that all you had to do was disprove my stance to prove yours. You said that multiple times:
"First, I'll not prove that free will is not a fallacy. Why? Because if determinism is true, it follows necessarily that free will is false."
"Therefore, to prove that free will exists, I only need to prove that determinism is false."
"I argue that determinism and free will are two opposites...There are no other possible outcomes."
Then my opponent mid argument changes his stance and also voids his whole basis for argument.
"my contention is not that determinism is always false, because I do believe that determinism is true for the most part."
"My contention is that determinism cannot be true for every possible event as I demonstrated before."
How can con claim that his whole basis for argument is that determinism must be false for free will to be true. Then again he claims that for the validity of his entire argument (pro free will) to be true determinism MUST be absolutely false and even claims the two to be opposites with no other outcomes. Then not much longer he says that determinism is not just somewhat true but even goes as far to say that it's true for the most part! Now tell me, how can this not be a invalid and illogical argument when con goes against the credibility of his argument by contradicting himself? That alone gives pro the advantage by con nullifying his claimed basis for argument. So unless con now can explain why he changed his basis for argument* he must now give evidence proving free will as being true since determinism isn’t always false as he originally claimed.
As con states above here is a reiteration of his argument describing why he thinks that free will is not a fallacy:
1. At least 1 uncaused cause exists
Taken in context of his previous argument he is describing his stance that there is nothing that caused the big bang therefore if you have an event that didn't cause the event how can determinism be true since it requires that every event must have a cause/effect relationship? The problem is that my opponent is making an assumption, all I have to do is ask for him to prove that the big bang wasn't caused by another event. He can't, only assume or predict. Yes we agree that the big bang is a system that started with a finite amount of energy and mass, but beyond that anything claimed is merely a guess based off of the limited data that we have on that subject. As it stands we have three theories on the end of the universe; one states that the universe will expand forever, another shows the universe expanding to a point then infinitely decreasing in rate of acceleration nearing zero but never reaching it, and a third model has the universe expanding to a certain point then collapsing in on itself to a single point. All three have supporters but all those descriptions are still only predictions since empirical evidence proving any of the three as being inherently* true or false.
I can summarize the above paragraph as such; there is no empirical data proving nor disproving events describing the nature of the universe at its end, only speculation of what COULD happen given the knowledge that we have and making educated guesses. Therefore to say with logical certainty that there wasn’t an event that caused the big bang would also be false since, once again, we have no relatable data or evidence to prove such.
Now you might ask how I can say with certainty that determinism is true when I just said that the universe is finite and just made the statement that we have no true evidence about its actual nature. Well to answer that I say that given the knowledge we have now we believe the universe to probably be finite. Neither I nor anyone else can prove it either way. It’s like going up to somebody in the supermarket and asking them to prove that gravity is real. They could show me all kinds of experiments that show that gravity has a consistent cause/effect relationship with any object they drop onto the floor. They can go so far as to pull up century worth’s of data reinforcing their claim that gravity is absolutely real. The problem is that they can’t technically say that since there is always the possibility that somewhere in the universe gravity may not have the same qualities that we understand it to have. Second example if you'd like:
[In the same scenario I could as someone to measure the amount of distance between me and them. They could say that there’s x amount of meters/centimeters/millimeters/ect but once again I could always tell them that they’re wrong because they haven’t given me a distance that is absolutely correct. That’s because the way we measure distance is an arbitrary number that we set as a constant to be able to describe where one object is in space relative to another object. What I’m really asking them is to tell me how many points in space there are between me and them. They could keep giving me smaller and smaller units of measurements but they would never be able to describe exactly how far from each other we truly are. Scientist are certain that there aren’t a infinite amount of points in space, they just realize that we don’t have the means to measure or describe what the smallest point actually is in space. So if I asked them the question how far away from each other we are and they said I don’t know they would be giving me a absolutely true answer.]
The point I’m making is that to say something isn’t just because we don’t know is erroneous. But to say that we don’t know anything just because everything we know could be false is pointless. What I’m describing are called logical necessities. Sure gravity could be wrong to some degree. And how we describe gravity as having the quality of 9.81… m/s2 of acceleration at sea level on Earth could always be more accurate. But for our required means and ability for accurate measurements 9.81 typically suffices. I know that if I don’t eat I will die, if I jump off a cliff I will fall, if I touch a hot metal object I will burn; why is that? Because of trial and error both experienced and seen. I accept that anything can happen, and if you truly believe that strongly in basic logic then go jump off a cliff (not telling you to do that haha) since logically you could just not fall.
So in summary to say no event preceded the big bang is false since we have no evidence proving neither disproving this claim. That is my response to my opponents argument stating why determinism is false and free will is true. See the list at the top.
Therefore I resort on the information I gave above.
My final argument will be the basis of my opponents logic and reinforcing it being false. With that said I will quote myself with a comment I posted earlier.
“To rely solely on sensory qualitative observations leaves a person at risk of making incorrect assumptions. Look at how we came to understand our solar system as being "heliocentric". I'm sure you know that the earth was presumed to be at the center of the universe (in other words geocentric) with the sun/planets revolving around the earth and the stars being part of the heavens. That was held as unopposed law for many years until a astrologist (also philosopher) proposed the idea of a solar system with the Sun being the center and the Earth orbiting it along with the other planets. As we all know this is held to be firmly established today as being the model but at the time technology hadn't the means to prove the heliocentric model so the next best thing were visual observations that heavily favored the geocentric model. Hell, even after data was being compiled to back up the heliocentric model protesters of it misinterpreted the data as reinforcing their idea (retrograde motion).
I had already brought this issue up earlier in this post but I wanted to reiterate since I felt this comment best describes how logic should be interpreted. To follow logic (without deterrence) at its root is flawed. Even to follow math at its root is thus inherently flawed since it’s logically based.(–ref http://ocw.mit.edu...)
My argument wasn’t to disprove free will, my argument was to prove that determinism has more of a basis in logical necessity then free will. To say one thing is always and another is never would be flawed. To say something has more probability then another is absolutely possible. I realize that I didn’t cite all my sources but if you require them let me know and I’ll post them in the next round. I leave it to my opponent to try to counter me. Thanks.
I would like to thank my opponent for his response. It appears that my opponent and I agree on most aspects than disagree. The only problem is that the majority of my opponent's arguments is unrelated to the subject matter, and don't support his argument or weaken mine. The only argument against my logic was his claim that I was contradicting myself.
Alleged fallacious arguments and contradictions
My opponent challenged my analysis and claimed that "…how can this not be a invalid and illogical argument when con goes against the credibility of his argument by contradicting himself?" He also claims: "my opponent mid argument changes his stance and also voids his whole basis for argument".
I would like to state that there are no contradictions in my arguments. I claimed and showed in my previous arguments that any given event or cause can either be determined or has free will. There are no other possible outcomes. Do you agree or disagree with this contention?
Now was I contradicting myself when I stated: "my contention is not that determinism is always false, because I do believe that determinism is true for the most part"? It appears so when I claim that determinism is not always false and on the other hand I claim that it's always false! But that's a clear misinterpretation of my argument. What I meant is that, for the most part, events were caused by other previous events… or in other words determined. But I claim that there must exist at least one cause which was completely and entirely undetermined. These undetermined causes (or cause) had free will because they were undetermined.
To clarify further, my opponent in his opening argument defined determinism as: "…every event that occurs not only has a preceding event that can be quantitative but also a proceeding event…" This is a special kind of determinism, called predeterminism (1). I was challenging my opponent's assertion that "every event must have a preceding event".
Alleged Big bang assumption
My opponent stated "…he is describing his stance that there is nothing that caused the big bang" and later claimed "The problem is that my opponent is making an assumption". This is a red herring and I am very confused! I never made such a claim… I never mentioned the Big Bang! I agree with my opponent that we cannot assume that the Big Band is the first uncaused cause… and interestingly enough, I never made that claim. This makes the entire rebuttal regarding my alleged Big Bang assumption as completely irrelevant.
My opponent also explained with great details the limitations of science, and how no one can prove for absolute certainty that gravity is true…etc. I agree with him that we need to be rational and reasonable given the limitations we have. But I don't understand how this supports his argument or weakens my.
My opponent also stated "The point I’m making is that to say something isn’t just because we don’t know is erroneous." I completely agree with my opponent. I never said that determinism is false because… well we don't know if it's true!" I actually showed proved that "it's impossible for event to have a past event". There must exist at least one uncaused cause.
My opponent surprised me when he said: "My argument wasn’t to disprove free will". Then why would you say that it's a fallacy? Are you suggesting that "It's more likely that free will is a fallacy and it doesn't exist"? That's exactly what I was able to disprove in this debate.
My opponent argued my logic and thought that there was a contradiction. As I said earlier, my challenge is that it's not possible that every cause was determined. This is the definition my opponent expressed in the opening argument. I showed that my opponent's argument is false because I was able to demonstrate that there must exist an undetermined first cause (i.e. had free will). I have to admit that there are other definitions of determinism (2) which I don't disagree with. My debate today was to challenge my opponent's definition of determinism.
(1) Predeterminism - http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) Determinism - http://en.wikipedia.org...
Tyler_Lemke forfeited this round.
My opponent forfeited the last round, which is very unfortunate. I will summarize quickly how I proved my opponent's contention to be false.
My opponent claimed that Determinism is true and free will is a fallacy. His definition of determinism in the opening round states: "Every event that occurs not only has a preceding event [...] but also a proceeding event".
Because my opponent claimed that every event has a preceding event, I can prove that this claim is false by showing one example that violates this claim. I was able to prove this in my opening argument by proving that there must exist at least one uncaused event which was not preceded by another event; thus falsifying his claim that determinism is true.
One can also prove that free will is not a fallacy by showing an instance where free will existed. I was able to demonstrate that the first uncaused cause must have had some form of free will (see second round) which would falsify the claim that free will is a fallacy.
I ask the reader to consider the evidence and consider that determinism, as my opponent has defined it, cannot be true.
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