The Instigator
Pro (for)
13 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Impossiblity Exists (Inspired by a True Story)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/1/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,744 times Debate No: 17716
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (2)




The debate between TheHost and BlackVoid has inspired me to debate the same topic a I find the resolution interesting.

In accepting the debate you accept the burdens and definitions provided below.

For clarification, the burden of the Pro is to prove that the concept of impossibility exists. It is burden of the Con to simply prove the Pro's arguments false.

The first round is for acceptance. Opening arguments will be made in round 2.

Impossibility [1]: the quality or state of being impossible
Impossible [2]: incapable of being or of occurring
Exist [3]: to have real being whether material or spiritual

Being [4]: the quality or state of having existence
Existence [5]: reality as presented in experience
Experience [6]: the act or process of directly perceiving events or reality
Reality [7]: the quality or state of being real


There were some critics of the lack of definitions, so I decided to define the words in the definitions just to be clear.

I look forward to having a fun and challenging debate.


How can impossibility exist? As defined in the criteria for the debate, impossibility is something being totally, irrevocably, unable to exist or happen. simply put, "No chance in Hell." but the question is, What exactly would you put under that category? is there anything at all that BELONGS in that category? i say no. nothing can belong to that category. some say Absolute Zero, the state in which a particle, or area of space, has absolutely no energy left in it whatsoever, is unattainable. i say it's not. how can it be impossible to remove all energy from an area, or object. we merely haven't the ability to do that... yet. is God impossible? is an ethereal entity that exists outside of time and space, yet has complete control over them impossible? personally, as any of the readers would see in my profile page, i am a spiritualist. i Do not believe in an all-powerful deity. However, i do concede to the POSSIBILITY of one existing. why? more importantly, how can i believe something is possible, yet not believe in it's existence? simple. i have no evidence to support it's existence, yet there are things no one can explain. while this could simply mean that we just don't have enough knowledge of reality to explain it, it also might mean that a sentient being far beyond our comprehension was the cause. what about spirits, angels, demons, magic? let's start with spirits. most would say that it is impossible for a soul to linger on, or more accurately, remain in the material plane to interact and affect the physical as we the living have come to know it. why is it impossible? the soul, the mind, the consciousness. it's already been recorded that people can affect things not naturally of their own body, without the use of limbs. prosthetic arms for example, are not connected to the nervous system, they are not manipulated by another limb, like the still usable flesh arm on the other side of the body, but through the willpower of the one the mechanical replacement is attached to. if that is possible, how can it be impossible to have the conscious, or even unconscious mind, remain as a remnant of the dearly departed with some ability to affect that which is not physically connected to them. Now, let's look at magic. Yes, that's right, fireballs, bolts of lightning thrown across great distances, earthquakes, mending of wounds, creation of constructs that need no electricity or wiring to function, all done with but an incantation and a lot of willpower. somehow, it's not impossible, and I'll tell you why. with the same explanation i gave for spirits. I've already explained, at least on a small level, how we can affect something not naturally a piece of our body, without touching it with our limbs. creating fire, and lightning, earthquakes, mending wounds, etc. are all done through the same basic mechanics as moving a limb, just on a REALLY small level. i'm talking the molecular level. to create fire in thin air, you'd simply need to move the oxygen particles in the air to have a dense field of them, and then accelerate them to the point that the friction between the particles causes them to combust. hence, a stable ball of fire, made in thin air. for lightning, you'd simply need to negatively charge the air between you and your target. basically, you manipulate the electrons in the air to create a powerful bolt of static electricity. if we can move an artificial limb not attached to our nervous systems, we can move molecules. albeit it would take a LOT of concentration and a much larger usage of our brain than we currently do, but that is neither here, nor there. That sums up my argument for this round. on a side note, i find it ironic that this argument is nearly already a moot point, considering that by winning this debate i would effectively be labeling impossibility, impossible. can anyone say "catch 22"?
Debate Round No. 1


"The first round is for acceptance. Opening arguments will be made in round 2."

My opponent is free to copy and paste his argument into round 2, however no arguments made in round 1 will be acknowledged. Thus, I will not refute his round 1 arguments in this speech.

Contention 1: Logical Paradoxes

1. The Liar's Paradox [1]

"A man says that he is lying; is what he says true or false?

[When] we answer this question, difficulties arise.

If we suggest that what the man says is true, then we end in contradiction: if the man’s claim that he is lying is true, then he is lying, in which case what he says is false.

If we suggest that what the man says is false, then we are no better off: if the man’s claim that he is lying is false, then he is not lying, in which case what he says is true.

Both answers give rise to logical contradictions; it cannot be the case either that what the man says is true or that what the man says is false."

It is impossible for either answer to be correct, and thus logical impossibilities exist.

2. The Double-Win Paradox (Okay, this may not be official, but it works, so just go with it).

If all things are possible, then we may both win this debate. However, will record a win for one of us and a loss for the other, unless of course the voting ends in a tie, in which case we are both awarded a draw. However, there is never a scenario where we will both be awarded a win. Thus, is must be impossible for two people to win the same debate.

Contention 2: Impossible Shapes

Neither of the above shapes can possibly be made into real 3D figures, thus it must be impossible to do so.

Contention 3: Concepts Exist

1. Concepts are thoughts that we conceive in our mind.
2. We think and conceive things in our mind. Humans have the ability to see images in their head, or to speak to themselves in their mind; this is how we contemplate our life's problems. We are also able to entertain ideas within our mind, to conceive thoughts.
3. Thus, concepts exist.

The burden of the Pro as agreed upon in accepting this debate is to prove that the concept of impossibility exists. As long as we have the ability to think, we can conceptualize what impossibility would theoretically be like, that's why we even have a word for impossibility.


While proving that impossibility actually exists, as done with my first two contentions, would be nice and a reason to vote Pro, acknowledging that the concept of it exists as done in my 3rd contention is sufficient for me to win the round. Even if impossibility doesn't exist, the idea of it does. I urge a Pro ballot and wait eagerly for my opponent's response.



though my opponents, suggestion may have been a good one, will not be reposting my round one argument, as it would waste most of my character limit, and it would not address his argument for this round. I will start by refuting his opening statement that two people cannot win the same debate. simply because a website does not allow something to be recorded, does not mean it is impossible, nor does it mean it is impossible to be recorded as such. it simply means that those programming this website do not want it as such. next i will address the pictures given as an example to us in part two of my opponent's argument. the first picture is of a three dimensional triangular figure, that is oddly reminiscent of the Mobius strip.

it is a three dimensional figure made simply by taking strip of paper, giving it a half turn across the shorter axis, and connecting the ends of the longer axis. it looks impossible, but it's not. neither is the triangular figure. granted the actual construction of the object would be awkward, and difficult, and it would probably not stand upright for very long, but it would not be impossible. as for the other image, simply view it as a wire construct and it's creation as a three dimensional figure becomes entirely possible. granted probably not in the way the original creator had in mind, but that shape does have the possibility to become a 3d object.

as for the concept of impossibility existing within our minds, that is unfortunately, also refutable. the idea of the impossible is simply an illusion created out of fear of the unknown. we fear what would happen should we think outside our normal comfort zone, what would happen should we actually break the boundaries of what we have come to know as real and true, and so our mind blocks our ability to comprehend it. fear creates the illusion of impossibility, and illusions are not real, therefore they do not exist. in summary, impossibility, even as a concept, is merely an illusion and therefore, unreal.
Debate Round No. 2


Contention 1: Logical Paradoxes

1. The Liar's Paradox

I would like to point out that this paradox was never addressed in my opponent's speech. I ask the judges to give me leeway on any arguments he makes against it in his next speech as I will not be able to address them within this debate, and he had the opportunity to make them in round 2 had he wanted to.

If the man says he is lying it is logically impossible for his statement to be either true or false. This is because if it were true he would actually be lying, which means it would be false and the statement cannot be both true and false. If his statement is false then it means he is telling the truth, which cannot be the case if he is truly lying and we fall back into the contradiction of a statement being both true and false. It must hold true that impossibility exists if it is logically impossible to do something, giving you an independent reason to vote for me in this debate.

2. The Double-Win Paradox

My opponent agrees that the website does not allow for double-wins and then goes on to make the claim that it is not impossible. Let me point out that my opponent does not warrant why, when the programming of the website forbids double-wins, it is not in fact impossible. However, even if it would be possible in an alternative variation of with reworked programming for two debaters to win the same debate, it still holds true that under this version of, it is impossible. For example, even if in some alternative reality it is possible to swim in molten lava, it is still impossible within this reality. Even if we may some day develop suits resistant to the temperatures experienced inside of the volcano, it is still impossible to do that right now. It will remain impossible until that technology is developed.

Contention 2: Impossible Shapes

The Impossible Triangle

My opponent states that it is "oddly reminiscent of the Mobius strip." However, he des not tell us why this being a possible figure to make is linked to my impossible triangle. The picture he shows it not a paradox but rather an optical illusion, hence the multi-colored paper being used to confuse us. My picture is very clearly showing the black-and-white structure of this impossible to construct triangle. He also talks about how the shape would be awkward if made, without telling us how it would actually be made. To prove that it is indeed impossible to replicate as a 3D figure, find a single face of the triangle. Now, follow it around the edges, imagining it as a 3D figure, and continue to do so until you realize that you will touch each side of the triangle on many different faces, rather than on just one, representing the impossibility of reconstruction caused by the juxtaposition of the edges.

Contention 3: Concepts Exist

Illusions Are Real

My opponent argues that the idea of impossibility is an illusion, but does not address that illusions are still thoughts conceived within our mind, making them concepts. Now, he does try to say that illusions are not real. However, he does not tell us why this is true. I would argue that illusions are very much real. Illusions caused by depression lead to suicide, a very real consequence. illusions of hope lead to acknowledging opportunities, a real effect. Placebo illusions cure patients. Anything that can cause a real consequence must itself be real. Even if the placebo is not a real medication, it still has real effects. Just as even if impossibilities could not exist in a perfect world where everything is possible, they may still exist as concepts within our mind.


Conduct: My opponent posted an opening argument in the first round when they are reserved for the second.
Grammar and Spelling: My opponent fails to use proper capitalization within his speech. He also has grammatically incorrect sentences that are hard to follow.
Arguments: 1. The Liar's Paradox
2. The Impossible Triangle
3. Illusions are Real


Ranylid forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by imscrappy 5 years ago
Mestari, outstanding argument and conduct. I tried to vote in favor of your position, but have yet to complete the required three debates before voting, so was unable to cast my vote in favor of your position. In my opinion, you won hands down in every category. In summation, it is impossible for Ranylid to win.
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Conduct: Ranylid forfeited, and violated the rule in regards to the first post.
Spelling and grammar: Ranylid's sentences contained several grammatical errors, making them hard to read and understand.
Argumentation: Ranylid, technically, conceeded to Mestari's 'liar paradox' and other arguments. In addition, Mestari effectively refuted his own arguments and showed that impossibiliy exists, even if in realms outside of reality (as in, an alternative reality).
Sources: Con posted a source that wasn't pertinent to the debate, and was of an optical illusion, but not the 'impossible triangle'. Pro also had more sources.

In short, all seven points to Mesari for this interesting debate.
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
My opponent's account is no longer active...
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
Any argument?
Posted by modivarch 5 years ago
Hating? How about loving. I'll accept any argument that proves unicorns exist. ;)
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
Modivarch, why are you hatin' on unicorns?
Posted by modivarch 5 years ago
Seems that this argument (and specifically the one Kohai mentions) runs into the same problems as the ontological argument.

However, if we are to define existence as including conceptual possibilities then everything exists. Including unicorns.
Posted by randolph7 5 years ago
Con, whitespace please :)
Posted by cabio 5 years ago
The weak link I think would be in proving that that which does not exist is impossible to exist. But I don't think that one can make that connection. For instance, my horse named Charlie does not exist, but it is not impossible for it to exist.
Posted by cabio 5 years ago
Yeah so I misread your comment kohai. Good argument, I think.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: See comments page for voting reason.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Logical impossibilities cannot be overcome. If A=B and B=C, then it is impossible that A is not equal to C. Pro used more complicated examples, but he made the point. Con loses conduct for forfeit.