The Instigator
unfortunate
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
badger
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Determinism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,219 times Debate No: 19782
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

unfortunate

Pro

Determinism is the concept that everything that occurs, could not have occurred any other way, as the conditions preluding them made the event certain to occur.
For example; a rolling ball heads towards the edge of a table. There is no wind resistance, no outside influence to deflect the ball, gravity is acting upon the ball and the ball has enough velocity to make it past the edge of the table. The ball falls off the table and lands on the floor. Taking these conditions into account, it is an inevitability that the ball will fall off the table.
Where the concept becomes controversial is when it is applied to human action. I argue that determinism still holds true and that all events that take place could not- not have taken place, i.e.; the laws of cause and effect hold true for human actions.
My opponent will take the con/against position.
badger

Con

Well, I'll be playing Devil's Advocate... Basically, I'll be throwing God at my opponent. If there was anything scientific to be said otherwise, my apologies for ruining something what could've been very interesting. Hopefully it should still make for an interesting debate though. I'm hoping to pull some interesting material from my opponent here. And God does have a following...

So yeah, God... The dude and his following place a pretty hefty Burden of Proof on my opponent not to mind that he's Pro anyway. It's a debate on free will, my opponent to dismiss its existence, and at that, I'll let him to it what with him not having done anything towards such an end so far.

Cheers!
Debate Round No. 1
unfortunate

Pro

In this round I will summarise my main points.

I will start by presenting my argument in a logical sequence:

The universe is made out of matter
Matter follows the laws of physics
The laws of physics are unchanging
Therefore, using the laws of physics, it is possible to determine how matter will interact and the end result of these interactions.
Accordingly, humans are made out of matter
Thus, it is possible to determine how humans will act.

My argument is strictly theoretical, in that determining (predicting) all human actions is, to varying degrees, incredibly difficult.

The usual contradiction to the argument of determinism is that of free will. Usually presented in the following argument:

If human actions are all determined, then they do not have free will to decide on them.
Humans have free will,
Therefore, human actions are not determined.

So, as my opponent has stated, he will make this an argument about free will.
Free will is ones ability to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints [1]. The constraint my argument places on the ability to make choices is that of the laws of physics, i.e. that all choices are the result of interactions between the chemistry of the brain and its physical environment (outside the brain). This is a suitable constraint as both these factors follow the laws of physics. The laws of physics, being a constant, allow these factors to be (theoretically) predictable. Thus, in order to disprove determinism (that all human actions are predictable) it will need to be proven that choices are made free of the combination of the chemistry of the brain and the influence of the physical environment outside of it.
I will thus provide some basic evidence that all choices are influenced by these two factors combined.

The chemistry of the brain is a combination of genetics and environmental influence. Genetics in the form of hereditary intelligence, hormonal patterns and inclinations to mental states like depression, anxiety and many other predisposed cognitive patterns. Environmental influences include experiences that influence learned behavioural patterns, social interactions and beliefs and so on. These environmental factors can also influence the expression of genetic factors like the ones mentioned.

I will now give it to my opponent to provide his main points.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
badger

Con

True indeed that in order to disprove Determinism it would need to be solidly proven that choices are made free of the laws of physics. However, the Burden of Proof is not mine in this debate. It is my opponent making the affirmative argument in his being the Pro. It is but down to me to make clear room for doubt. And I believe I have. One cannot disprove the existence of God, free will or any other heavenly attribute propounded, which is why the most sensible position as regards the existence of such attributes is one of agnosticism. If my opponent's resolution had been phrased "From what we know through scientific observation, it seems more likely that Determinism is the case than free will" then I would say that his arguments alone, with no need of actually disproving God, would have sufficed in affirmation, maybe requiring he went a bit more indepth, but alas it has not been phrased as such, leaving it necessary that my opponent disproves God's existence, rather than leaving it to me to prove his existence.

My opponent had to learn of the Burden of Proof and its workings sometime, right? :) We should have "Room for Doubt" coined as its contrary to make things clearer. I mean as is, I say God, he says physics and that's about it... what other route was there for con to take? who wins? against? Is the still existing possibilty of God not against my opponent, Pro/for, proving his point?

Cheers!

Debate Round No. 2
unfortunate

Pro

unfortunate forfeited this round.
badger

Con

badger forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
unfortunate

Pro

unfortunate forfeited this round.
badger

Con

badger forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
unfortunate

Pro

unfortunate forfeited this round.
badger

Con

badger forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by badger 4 years ago
badger
pfftt, what was i on about... sure you could disprove free will... i've to start thinking... still...
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
Mestari
If you lower this to 4 rounds I might accept.
No votes have been placed for this debate.