The Instigator
jar2187
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
bigpoppajustice
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

How Can We Know That A Spirit Exist?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Con Tied Pro
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision - Required
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,429 times Debate No: 16402
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (4)

 

jar2187

Con

I will argue that by what we define as a 'spirit', we have no known means to verify its existence which can epistemically justify its definition. By spirit, I mean an incorporeal, non-quantifiable substance. Whether it exists or not, attempting to verify its existence (through any known means, not just empiricism) will lead to an impasse...

My intent is not to prove that a spirit does or does not exist, nor to prove that one can or cannot exist. That would be an unnecessary, burdensome task. All that can be said is that we cannot and do not have any known means, especially through the definition of the term 'spirit', to verify the existence of the spirit.
bigpoppajustice

Pro

Realizing that, as my opponent has stated, there is no scientific way to justify the existence of a spirit. However, according to Merriam-Webster, a spirit can be defined as a soul; a term commonly used to give animation to the human conscious. A spirit is the incorporeal principle found within all human beings, and although science cannot prove it, evidence can be found through cognitive behavior and emotion.

http://www.merriam-webster.com...
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Debate Round No. 1
jar2187

Con

"Realizing that, as my opponent has stated, there is no scientific way to justify the existence of a spirit."
This, I believe, we both agree on. But I still challenge my opponent to provide a


"However, according to Merriam-Webster..."
I think that I must add now, that a dictionary term only provides usage for that specific term. It does not describe reality or the truth of that term...

"a spirit can be defined as a soul..."
Can be, but I must point out that the definition of an incorporeal, non-quantifiable substance has not been touch. Regardless, my opponent provided no verifiable method of any sort for a soul either...

"a term commonly used to give animation to the human conscious."
Still, we are talking about the substance, and my opponent has still not provided any method to verify that a soul/spirit does exist.

"A spirit is the incorporeal principle found within all human beings, and although science cannot prove it, evidence can be found through cognitive behavior and emotion."
While we know that we have emotions and cognitive behaviors, it is uncertain that what we call the soul is apart of them. My opponent is merely stating from ignorance; that is: "what we don't know about this one" and "what we don't know about that one", therefore the two must be related. Incorrect.
bigpoppajustice

Pro

Then there's nothing I can provide to support the existence of a spirit if I have to provide quantifiable scientific evidence. Spirits are not beings, nor are the corporeal in any way, shape, or form. I'm not sure what kind of argument you're trying to make if you keep dismissing every claim I make as a result of my 'ignorance'.
Debate Round No. 2
jar2187

Con

My opponent has misunderstood the debate.

I am not telling him to provide quantifiable, scientific evidence in favor for the existence of spirits. Indeed we both concede that this cannot be done, especially due to the fact of what the definition of a spirit entails. Instead, I am asking him to provide any method to verify the existence of a spirit, any method of his choosing. Any method of his choice other than scientific. Surely, a definition of the spirit has been made. My question to my opponent is: what method, other than the scientific one, can one take to verify, even confirm, that this definition indeed refers to something that actually exist?

I may add that people do in fact consider spirits beings, as some people believe the christian god to be the supreme being and the cristian god is described as a spirit (John 4:24 God is Spirit...). I am not christian, my opponent may not be either. He may not believe that god is a spirit or a being; perhaps a force. Regardless, this does not change the fact that some people do consider spirits to be beings. And if spirits are not beings, as my opponent claims, I ask him to define the term 'being' and show why they are not beings (notice: I am not asking him to provide scientific evidence)...

My opponent has also misunderstood my usage of the term in "from ignorance". He is making a claim from the argument of ignorance, argumentum ad ignorantiam. This is when someone argues that since no one can disprove something, that something must exist. That no one can prove that there is a spirit substance underlying or cognitive behaviors and emotions, it is not true that a spirit exist. Indeed, you have to show it rather than merely assert it. Notice I am not stating that a spirit does not exist, but that merely that by its definition, we can never know if one does or not, since there is no way to verify. We have insufficient information to prove that a spirit exists. That is, unless my opponent has a method other than the scientific - which he has not yet presented. And so far, he has not established the connection between the "spirit" and our cognitive behaviors and emotions beyond a simple dictionary definition (using any method other than science I might add), in order to associate them in the first place...

My argument stands. For my opponent who does not know what my position is, it is this: We have no known means to verify the existence of a spirit by its definition. And since my opponent does not have to present quantifiable, scientific evidence to show if a spirit exists, what can he provide to support the existence of a spirit? I thank my opponent for his rebuttal.
bigpoppajustice

Pro

"My question to my opponent is: what method, other than the scientific one, can one take to verify, even confirm, that this definition indeed refers to something that actually exist?"

......

I see what argument you want to build. But trying to provide non-scientific evidence that confirms the existence of an incorporeal being would be just an assumption. But, if I use scientific evidence, then I would be violating the condition that all evidence must be non-scientific, and would therefore be invalid. This debate is a Catch-22.

"We have no known means to verify the existence of a spirit by its definition. And since my opponent does not have to present quantifiable, scientific evidence to show if a spirit exists, what can he provide to support the existence of a spirit?"

You clearly state here that because I have no quantifiable, scientific proof that spirits exist, that I cannot build an argument. But earlier, you state:

"I am asking him to provide any method to verify the existence of a spirit, any method of his choosing. Any method of his choice other than scientific."

Is it just me, or is this entire debate constructed so that Pro cannot win? So far, it's just been a dissection of definitions as well as an inconsistent proposition. There is no evidence I can present in my defense because according to the terms set in place by Con, no such evidence exists. Kind of like a spirit, I guess.
Debate Round No. 3
jar2187

Con

"I see what argument you want to build. But trying to provide non-scientific evidence that confirms the existence of an incorporeal being would be just an assumption."
Not exactly. In fact, by trying to provide non-scientific evidence, it could show that my opponent has found a new method that to discern the existence of non-corporeal substances. He is the one who is assuming that the scientific method is the most reliable, if not the only, method we have of gaining information. I am open to evidence of contrary, if the contrary can be provided. However, it has not been. I do not believe my opponent can verify the existence of the spiritual.

"But, if I use scientific evidence, then I would be violating the condition that all evidence must be non-scientific, and would therefore be invalid."
If you have another method, use it.

"You clearly state here that because I have no quantifiable, scientific proof that spirits exist, that I cannot build an argument."

No I don't. I clearly ask that if my opponent has no quantifiable, scientific proof that a spirit exist, yet believes that a spirit does exist, what can he provide to support the existence of a spirit? His method of verification doesn't have to be scientific, but if you believe that there is a way to verify that definition at all, what is it? Merely associating the term 'spirit' with 'soul', and then 'soul' with 'cognitive behaviors and emotions' does nothing to establish that connection between them and simply leads to a slippery slope fallacy. Mere assertions are not needed. A method of verification is needed. One that my opponent has not provided...

"There is no evidence I can present in my defense because according to the terms set in place by Con, no such evidence exists. Kind of like a spirit, I guess."
Which my opponent has made my point exactly. According to the definition of the spirit, it will be impossible for anyone to verify the definition. The "evidence" (scientific or other) is clearly lacking. That has been my point along. And it is not my fault my opponent agreed to take up such a difficult, if not impossible, task that he knew he was getting into. My argument stands. I thank my opponent for the debate.
bigpoppajustice

Pro

Whatever.
Debate Round No. 4
jar2187

Con

My arguments extended.

I thank my opponent for participating in this debate...
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by bigpoppajustice 6 years ago
bigpoppajustice
Make this argument again, and take my side. I'd like to see how that fairs.
Posted by jar2187 6 years ago
jar2187
Wherever we wanted to take it.
Posted by bigpoppajustice 6 years ago
bigpoppajustice
I know I'm a terrible debater, but seriously, where did you think this debate would go?
Posted by jar2187 6 years ago
jar2187
Actually, I did not say that since there is no proof of something that it is real. But just because one can't disprove something, that also does not mean that it is real...
Posted by Phoenix_Reaper 6 years ago
Phoenix_Reaper
So if you cannot disprove it it is real. But since there is no proof it does exist?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by STALIN 3 years ago
STALIN
jar2187bigpoppajusticeTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: pro gave into the last rounds
Vote Placed by KeytarHero 6 years ago
KeytarHero
jar2187bigpoppajusticeTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro gave up the ghost, pun intended.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
jar2187bigpoppajusticeTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: "All that can be said is that we cannot and do not have any known means, especially through the definition of the term 'spirit', to verify the existence of the spirit." - the key is verify, as this was not defined it can be argued. anyone who has watched Busey knows it is obvious that spirits exist as something is inside that man. 2 pt to Con on argument, 1 pt for conduct as Pro seemed to essentially concede towards the end
Vote Placed by boredinclass 6 years ago
boredinclass
jar2187bigpoppajusticeTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: pro doesn't try