The Instigator
Strycora
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Burncastle
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Everything is Interconnected

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Burncastle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/23/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,891 times Debate No: 59426
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (27)
Votes (1)

 

Strycora

Pro

Calling all reductionists...

How can you not see it?

I am claiming that because everything is interconnected, objects do not exist.

Everything is interconnected. If not, then the universe is a collection of parts and nothing more. I guess you, reductionist, could say that the ultimate reality is a mathematical set describing the location of all things.
Burncastle

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Strycora

Pro

Strycora forfeited this round.
Burncastle

Con

Somehow I knew this would happen.
Debate Round No. 2
Strycora

Pro

Ugh... So sorry for forfeiting, been so busy with work and friends; haven't had any time for debates. I do hope that this can still be a good debate.

Introduction

My opponent, who is most likely a reductive physicalist, would have you believe that physical objects are real.

Here is a philosophically rigorous definition of reality that we can use to see if physical objects really measure up to reality: "existence that is absolute, self-sufficient, or objective, and not subject to human decisions or conventions." [1]

Absolute, self-sufficient, and objective all mean unconditional: that which is real must always be, and must not depend on any circumstance.

Before I go into something as audacious as a disproof of all physical objects, I would like to explain in further detail what interconnectedness is.

Because all things are interconnected, any one thing depends on everything else. For example, one requirement for the universe to be in its present state is that I am here typing. If I weren't here typing, the entire universe would be in a different state.

Interconnectedness is clearly visible throughout the biosphere: all life depends on the biosphere (or the totality of life) in order to exist.

A very simple example is that flowers need to be pollinated in order to reproduce. Bees need to pollinate flowers in order to make the honey that provides a food source for the colony. If a flower is pollinated by bees and only bees, then that flower depends on bees for its existence. Since bees need to pollinate flowers for honey, they depend on flowers for their existence. The point is that bees and flowers are not separate entities (as two isolated objects could be) but they are one entity. They're a flower-bee complex. You can't have one without the other, they are interconnected.

The claim "Everything is Interconnected" simply means that you can't have anything without everything. Because everything is possible, reality exists. At the same rate, everything is temporary, so nothing is "real" in the philosophical sense. The only thing that is real is reality itself, which could also be described as infinite possibility.

Anything is just part of a state: it is not a thing, it is part of a state. What is a state? A configuration of possibility. Nothing is real, because everything is part of a configuration of possibility. To prove this, we will have to look at matter to see if it has any kind of substance, or if all particles are just configurations of possibility.


The Quantum Argument

What is a physical object, really?

We know that atoms aren't fundamental, they are made of smaller pieces still. They're made of electrons and nucleons.

What are electrons and nucleons made of?
They're made of quarks. Protons, for example, are a configuration of two up quarks and one down quark. Because a proton is a configuration of quarks, it is known as a hadron. Interestingly enough, quarks are only observed as part of hadrons (i.e. they have no separate existence). [2] [3]

What does this mean? It suggests that anything smaller than a hadron has no real substance, and that hadrons pop into and out of existence as different configurations of possibility. In other words, a hadron is not an object, but an interaction.

According to the double slit experiment, quantum phenomena are indeterminate, or probabilistic in nature. Photons are only absorbed as discrete particles by a solid surface, but while they are radiating, they interfere with each other. This means that quantum "objects" are in an indeterminate "quantum state" that is broken when the object interacts with an outside force, causing it to have an actual state, rather than a bundle of possible states. [4]

What is an actual state, then? When two sets of possibility, or quantum states, interact with each other, the state of actuality that arises is the state in which the two possible states just so happen to interact in that instance. That which is observed depends on time and nature of the observation. Again, actuality is just a configuration of possibility. Only actions/states, which are configurations of possibility, are real.


Argument from entropy

"The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems always evolve toward thermodynamic equilibrium, a state with maximum entropy." [5]

Any object could be thought of as an isolated thermodynamic system. All matter is just stored, condensed energy. That's why scientists don't call it the law of conservation of Mass or the law of conservation of Energy, they call it the law of conservation of Mass/Energy. This is to say that all objects, according to the second law of thermodynamics, are doomed to be annihilated. They are energy with form, and form tends to change. That's what this debate is all about.

What is thermodynamic equilibrium?
Thermodynamic equilibrium is the most statistically probable thermodynamic state for an isolated system. In thermodynamic equilibrium, energy is spread out, rather than clumped together. In such a state, very few actions can be made, because it is virtually impossible for a system to go from a highly probable state to a highly improbable state. Think of thermodynamic equilibrium as nothingness, a state without individuality.

Unless space itself contracts, heat death is the most likely end of the universe. Heat death is a state of thermodynamic equilibrium for the entire universe. Think of it as a point when all mass/energy becomes indistinguishable from the space it inhabits. There would be no energy, no density, nothing.

Big Bang Theory

"The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model for the early development of the universe The key idea is that the universe is expanding. Consequently, the universe was denser and hotter in the past. Moreover, the Big Bang model suggests that at some moment all matter in the universe was contained in a single point, which is considered the beginning of the universe." [6]

Our best scientists are telling us that the universe begun with a single, infinitely dense, hot point, and that space is expanding, with mass-energy expanding into space.

The More Spacetime (future), less mass-energy. Less Spacetime (past), more mass-energy.

Conclusion
Anything within the universe can be said to be a configuration of possibility within a larger one. The entire universe is merely a transition from instability (a single point) to stability (flat, infinite space). Since the entire universe is one mechanism in transition, it's safe to say that all things are interconnected, or that any thing is merely an integral part of the complete, overarching process of the Universe.

[1]: Definition of Reality https://www.google.com... reality
[2]: http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3]: http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4]: http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5]: http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6]: http://en.wikipedia.org...;
Burncastle

Con

I forgive my opponent for his mistake in round 2.

For now, I will accept my opponent's definition of reality (although we could argue about every single term in the definition) because I do not wish to argue semantic. I would point out that reality is not necessarily absolute; if you play a video game, your character is inside a reality, although it is not the absolute one (and given the problem of hard solipsism, we may not be in it either).

My opponent proceeds to describe interconnectedness. He says that "any one thing depends on everything else" and then gives an example:

"one requirement for the universe to be in its present state is that I am here typing"

I reject the assertion that this is an example of two things being "interconnected"; this is basically the mother of all tautologies, the universe is this way because the universe is made up of things that are this way. The universe is described as the sum of all things so of course it is representative of what happens inside it. The example also fails because the reverse simply does not work: The fact that my opponent is typing is in no way affected by the state of the Universe.

I am not going to argue against the idea that all LIFE is interconnected, although I would point out that these connections are often VERY indirect. That being said, my opponent also says: "You can't have one without the other, they are interconnected". If this is his criteria for the interconnectedness of all life, then I will point out that 99% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct and yet life still exists.

"The claim "Everything is Interconnected" simply means that you can't have anything without everything.Because everything is possible, reality exists. At the same rate, everything is temporary, so nothing is "real" in the philosophical sense. The only thing that is real is reality itself, which could also be described as infinite possibility." There is quite literally nothing of substance in that paragraph. You absolutely CAN have a great number of things without having EVERTTHING; if I disappear today, the world will keep on existing. If ALL LIFE disappears today, our planet would keep on existing. I reject the assertion that everything is possible; you can not make A not equal A. I would like to see some evidence that everything is temporary AND a justification to link temporality to reality (or lack thereof).

"Nothing is real, because everything is part of a configuration of possibility." This is starting to sound like Deepak Chopra.

My opponent then dives into quantum theory (which is arguably the most complicated subject out there) and explains what matter is made of... I do not see the point of that.

I am running out of time so I will leave at that for now. I will address the rest in my next round.
Debate Round No. 3
Strycora

Pro

I have less than 30 minutes to think up a refutation and type this.

I honestly regret having made such a lofty debate at this time.

Anyway, I'm glad that my opponent pointed out that even a subjective reality is a reality, and reality need not be absolute to be called reality. My opponent is saying that there are conventional "realities" that we operate by, but unfortunately, his point is not very meaningful, because everything is interconnected if and only if nothing is real in the absolute sense, so conventional realities are irrelevant to this debate.

I was just pointing out in my tautology that the way the universe plays out or develops is through many individual parts doing what they do at the same time. There is an eternal NOW in which the entire universal process happens. I'm not saying that I play a big part in the state of the universe, but the universe is indeed in ONE state.

"99% of species that have ever existed are now extinct and still life exists"
This quote shows the depth of my opponents misinterpretations of interconnectedness. He starts talking about things being destroyed and the rest continuing on. I'm not saying that everything is essential for the continuation of anything, I'm saying that it was the same process that created all things. The Earth never could have come into being without there being a Universe (which, being a Universe, contains all accessible 3 dimensional space) for it to come into. A human never could have come into being without apes evolving in a competitive environment requiring the prefrontal cortex. Interconnectedness means that everything is dependently arisen relative to everything else. We can see this from the moment of the Big Bang, in which all mass-energy exploded outwards from a single point.

Interconnectedness means that things happen or come into being spontaneously when conditions are ripe for it, and that when conditions are hostile for it, it changes into something else. The point is that there are no specific forms, there is one ever changing form. This is always true, though at extremely large scales it is harder and harder to see. Because the universe is in a transitional phase from a point of infinite density to a completely flat, infinite space, it is interconnected, because every event in this universe contributes to the same goal of infinite space by increasing entropy.

I wrote that matter is made of hadrons, which are configurations of possibility. Quarks and leptons configure themselves in such a way that the whole hadron can interact with other nucleons, making an atom. This shows that matter is conventional, and it arises out of a configuration of possibility. This simply means that they are interactions with no substance. My opponent has not addressed this point.

I have such little time, so I am not going to submit any more arguments, but I recommend that the reader of this debate examine Quantum Entanglement, a quantum phenomenon in which a particle splits off into two sub particles with opposite spin. When the spin of one particle is changed, the spin of the other one "knows" that the spin of its counterpart has changed, and therefore changes its spin. This phenomenon would occur instantaneously even if the sub particles were across the universe from each other. We don't know why this happens, but if it does, it means that particles have a means of nonlocal communication.

The point is that it is not the object that exists, it is the environment that exists. The object is merely a seamless part of the environment; that it is recognized as an object is a human mistake.

Everything is interconnected, and it's not "woo woo" to think so. No magic involved. Thanks to my opponent for taking this debate.
Burncastle

Con

I sense a theme of running out of time.

"My opponent is saying that there are conventional "realities" that we operate by" Correction: there is A conventional realitY that we operate by, not conventional realitIES.

"but unfortunately, his point is not very meaningful, because everything is interconnected if and only if nothing is real in the absolute sense, so conventional realities are irrelevant to this debate." So I win this debate if there is in fact an absolute reality? Well that's great because I happen to believe that there is such a thing. While I agree that our perception of reality may not be absolute, there certainly must be an absolute reality out there for our perceptions to work on. Even if I grant that we may be in the matrix and that our senses are completely fooling us, there must still be an absolute reality OUTSIDE the matrix (someone had the program it).

"I was just pointing out in my tautology that the way the universe plays out or develops is through many individual parts doing what they do at the same time." Yes, I already granted the truth of this tautology.

"There is an eternal NOW in which the entire universal process happens." An eternal NOW? How can now be eternal if it is simply a moment in time? If I look at a picture of someone, that picture will illustrate a previous now, but will it illustrate eternity? I don't think so.

"I'm not saying that I play a big part in the state of the universe, but the universe is indeed in ONE state." Once again, I agree with this tautology; the Universe is what it is.



Regarding this quote: "99% of species that have ever existed are now extinct and still life exists"

My opponent says this: "I'm not saying that everything is essential for the continuation of anything, I'm saying that it was the same process that created all things."

While the first part contradicts what he said earlier: "The claim "Everything is Interconnected" simply means that you can't have anything without everything"

The second part is both true (according to modern cosmology) and irrelevant; the fact that everything most likely came about through a single event does NOT mean that everything is interconnected, especially if the event in question is in the past.

"The Earth never could have come into being without there being a Universe (which, being a Universe, contains all accessible 3 dimensional space) for it to come into." I agree...

"A human never could have come into being without apes evolving in a competitive environment requiring the prefrontal cortex." Although I am an atheist, I do not grant that it is impossible for humans to have been created by a god. The same goes for the Earth by the way.

"Interconnectedness means that everything is dependently arisen relative to everything else" I am still waiting for evidence to back up this claim.

"We can see this from the moment of the Big Bang, in which all mass-energy exploded outwards from a single point." Once again, interconnectedness DOES NOT FOLLOW from common origin. Are all toys that came from a single industry interconnected? I do not believe they are.

"Interconnectedness means that things happen or come into being spontaneously when conditions are ripe for it, and that when conditions are hostile for it, it changes into something else." So now interconnectedness is spontaneous generation? Moreover, if the conditions are hostile for something, how can it change if it never came into being in the first place? I understand that it is a bit unfair to ask questions to my opponent since he will not be able to answer them, but these questions are for the audience to ponder in their mind.

"The point is that there are no specific forms, there is one ever changing form. This is always true, though at extremely large scales it is harder and harder to see" This does not mean anything. What form is my opponent talking about? And how is that relevant to the debate?

"Because the universe is in a transitional phase from a point of infinite density to a completely flat, infinite space, it is interconnected, because every event in this universe contributes to the same goal of infinite space by increasing entropy." Non-sequitur, pure and simple. That fact that the Universe itself is expanding has NOTHING to do with the individual parts within the Universe.

"I wrote that matter is made of hadrons, which are configurations of possibility. Quarks and leptons configure themselves in such a way that the whole hadron can interact with other nucleons, making an atom. This shows that matter is conventional, and it arises out of a configuration of possibility. This simply means that they are interactions with no substance. My opponent has not addressed this point." And I do not intend to because this argument is above both me and my opponent's understanding and, more importantly, IRRELEVANT. Even if I were to grant that matter is a configuration of possibility (whatever that means), simply asserting that this is a proof of interconnectedness is not enough; the causal link MUST be demonstrated as well.

"The point is that it is not the object that exists, it is the environment that exists. The object is merely a seamless part of the environment; that it is recognized as an object is a human mistake." Once again, irrelevant and meaningless.




In this debate, my opponent has tried to argue for the existence of interconnectedness by appealing to things which he probably knew most people would not understand (I include myself AND my opponent), such as quantum mechanics. Although he may claim otherwise, it seems clear that my opponent has used woo woo in order to present his case. I would ask the audience to carefully read what my opponent has said in this debate and ask yourself the following questions (in order) for each of his arguments:

Is this intelligible?
Is this relevant to this debate?
Is this supported by evidence?
And the most important question: If this is true, is it actually evidence for interconnectedness? This question is very important because, throughout this debate, my opponent has used many non-sequiturs to argue his case.

Also, keep in mind that the topic was EVERYTHING is interconnected, not SOME THINGS are interconnected.

For those interested in the subject, here are the definitions that my opponent gave:

"Because all things are interconnected, any one thing depends on everything else"
"The claim "Everything is Interconnected" simply means that you can't have anything without everything."
"Interconnectedness means that everything is dependently arisen relative to everything else."
"Interconnectedness means that things happen or come into being spontaneously when conditions are ripe for it, and that when conditions are hostile for it, it changes into something else."

Debate Round No. 4
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Strycora 2 years ago
Strycora
Burncastle goes on and on misinterpreting my points. I'm not saying that there isn't an absolute, physical reality, I'm saying that there are no objects in reality because everything is interconnected. Objects are thoughts, and everything we know about the universe suggests that it evolved from simplicity to complexity as energy interacted with space over time. Empty space is the direction on which the Second Law of Thermodynamics says that it is headed, so empty space is the ultimate in complexity; any universe would begin with a singularity and end with empty space.
Posted by Loveshismom 2 years ago
Loveshismom
This is a very interesting debate.
Posted by Loveshismom 2 years ago
Loveshismom
Lol Pro forfeited round 2
Posted by Strycora 2 years ago
Strycora
Everything is interconnected... objects do not exist... nothing is real... we are living in an illusion, a fabrication.
Posted by Strycora 2 years ago
Strycora
I honestly have no idea what else I could've meant in saying that everything is interconnected.
Posted by Strycora 2 years ago
Strycora
You argue that space doesn't exist, and I'll argue that objects don't exist. Or we can debate whatever you want.
Posted by Strycora 2 years ago
Strycora
half-agreement, even!
Posted by Strycora 2 years ago
Strycora
Come on guys, I'm not gonna just explain my beliefs to you and watch you all leave in a huff of agreement.
Posted by Strycora 2 years ago
Strycora
We could argue that life is interconnected...?
Posted by Strycora 2 years ago
Strycora
Did you read any of the comments below, or even the resolution of the debate itself?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
StrycoraBurncastleTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the forfeits. As to arguments, Pro did not present a coherent case for interconnectedness. He made some sweeping generalizations and talked about possibility, but, despite his bringing in concepts like QM and Hadrons, I think Con was right to point out that he was mostly using "woo". Perhaps if he had more time, he could have crafted a more coherent and relevant case. Arguments to Con. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.