The Instigator
socialpinko
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
thett3
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points

It is more likely than not that an afterlife does not exist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 10 votes the winner is...
thett3
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/19/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,954 times Debate No: 26387
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (26)
Votes (10)

 

socialpinko

Pro

===Resolution===


The Pro will have the primary burden of proof in formulating and defending an argument against the existence of an afterlife. Con's burden will be to deconstruct and refute Pro's case.


===Definitions===


An afterlife is defined as "the concept of a realm, or the realm itself (whether physical or transcendental), in which an essential part of an individual's identity or consciousness continues to reside after the death of the body in the individual's lifetime. According to various ideas of the afterlife, the essential aspect of the individual that lives on after death may be some partial element, or the entire soul, of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity."[1]


An afterlife, in the scope of this debate, is not limited to any specific conception in religion or philosophy, such as the Christian conceptions of Heaven and Hell for example. An afterlife will be defined in the most generic sense.


===Rules===


1. Drops will count as concessions.
2. Semantic or abusive arguments will not be counted.
3. New arguments brought in the last round will not be counted.
4. R1 is for acceptance. Argumentation begins in R2.
5. BoP is shared between Pro and Con.


===Sources===


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
thett3

Con

I accept your duel Spinko, lets rumble
Debate Round No. 1
socialpinko

Pro

C1. Skepticism and Experience.


David Hume famously forwarded the epistemological theory that we could only have ideas of three things: (a) what we directly experience, (b) what is logically necessitated, and (c) what we can logically deduce from objects of experience (ex. we understand the concept of a centaur because we have experience of both men and horses)[1]. As far as knowledge is concerned, we can only *know* (in any reliable sense) to exist, things which are either confirmable by matter of fact (non-logically necessitated empirical observation, and even then these propositions are vulnerable to the problem of induction) or by logical necessitation (such as mathematical proofs).


This is the problem of experience. The concept of an afterlife necessarily lends itself to experience which is not possible while we are alive. Thus, unless one has an argument about it in the Heavens, there is no relevant sensory experience to draw on in order to epistemically justify its existence to someone. Now one may admit to the experience critique but maintain that an afterlife is deducible through logic or reason instead. As of yet I can see no contradiction necessitated by the denial of the existence of an afterlife. Therefore if this be the route Con wishes to take I implore him to show so in his R2.


C2. Presupposing Dualism.


The concept of an afterlife contains within it an important presupposition, that the mind and the body are distinct entities. The definition of an afterlife agreed to consists of some aspect of a person living *after* their body. Obviously for such a thing to be so, there would have to be something other than the body that exists. Therefore, since dualism is a necessary presupposition for the existence of an afterlife, it can also be refuted by refuting dualism.


C2.1. Interaction.


Dualism fails to provide a coherent explanation for how exactly the mental and the physical actually interact, being separate and distinct substances. The problem lies partially in the fact that mentality as a substance would (if it exists) exist distinctly from physicality. While physical substances are material and extended in space, mental substances would be just the opposite. To take an example, consider the concept of a non-psychico-temporal soul. Dualism can't provide an explanation as to how it would interact with physical substances like the human body. Therefore dualism runs into a problem of epistemic justification since there's no reason to suppose (or explain) how a non-material, non-extended substance could interact with physical matter.


===Sources===


[1] http://www.philosophypages.com...
thett3

Con

Many thanks to my opponent for his quick reply and well thought out arguments. Although he has the primary burden of proof, I will still present a rather short case of my own to show that the proposition that the afterlife most likely does not exist is a false one.

==My case==

I. NDE's

Throughout human history, individuals who survived incidences of severe trauma and near death have experienced other worldy experiences and brought back with them fantastic tales; common experiences include moving through tunnels, seeing bursts of lights, and meeting with deceased people. In the past it would have been easy to attribute these as a coping mechanism, a way for the mind to avoid trauma while the body attempts to survive and recover, but as medical science steadily advanced the point has been reached in some cases where even as coping mechanisms NDE's are useless. The huge scientific advances of recent decades have led to individuals recovering from experiences from which, in a state of nature, there is absolutely no chance of recovery indeed even cases where the individual is declared clinically dead but with the help of modern technologies miraculously survives. And yet, the near death experiences continue to come. Harvard Neurosurgeon Eden Alexander writes about the scientific basis of his near death experience and his visit to what he takes to be the afterlife[1]:


"There is no scientific explanation for the fact that while my body lay in coma, my mind—my conscious, inner self—was alive and well. While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility."

His experience is not at all unique. There are literally countless stories and dozens if not hundreds of books written on these kinds of experiences which have been documented for centuries.

My opponent will try to argue that there are scientific explanations for these phenomona, and while I will gladly disprove that, it skirts entirely around the central issue that there is no scientific/evolutionary reason for these occurrences. The fact that individuals suffering from naturally irreparable trauma do not always experience onrushing blackness or nothing at all, but rather wild and other worldy experiences is a phenomona inherently without scientific or philosophical justification with the lack of an afterlife. This fact strongly disconfirms my opponents hypothesis that the afterlife most likely does not exist.


II. DMT: The Spirit Molecule

Rick Strassman, a psychiatrist experimented with the effects of Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and came to stunning results in which the subjects in their drugged state of mind consistently experienced encounters with other worldy beings or people. Strassman hypothesized that right before death the brain released large amounts of DMT[2], flooding the dying individuals semi concious mind with DMT's effects, and that these individuals experience the effects of this drug essentially forever because as their conciusness fades from this world they cease to experience time. This seemmingly eternal experience satisfy the criteria for the afterlife, and the other worldy and pleasant effects of DMT certainly confirm many religious tenents regarding life after death.

III. Conciousness

There is no scientific concensus on what exactly causes conciousness. Until my opponent shows that there are good reasons to believe that whatever causes conciousness can ever cease to exist, than we cannot affirm the resolution because we simply do not know. Conciousness is a concept that has befuddled scientists and philosphers for milennia, so we need extremely compelling arguments that conciousness can simply end with the death of the body before we dismiss the possibility of an afterlife. Remember that we are viewing the issue initially with equal probability: until shown otherwise we assume that the likelihoods of the afterlife existing or not existing are equal so my opponent needs to give positive arguments for the death of conciousness, not just preemtive arguments. More on this later.


For these reasons, I believe the most rational position to hold is that some form of continuing existence after death exists.


==Opponents case==

C1. Skepticism

1. This argument fails to actually prove anything. He writes: "The concept of an afterlife necessarily lends itself to experience which is not possible while we are alive." but recall that this is not an argument against the afterlife, but rather an argument for ceasing to consider the issue since we can never know for sure until we are dead. Even disregarding the fact that many individuals have indeed come back from clinical death with experiences of an afterlife, this doesnt fill his burden of proof. Just because we cant know either way doesn't show non existence after death to be anymore probable than continuing existence.

2. David Hume's theory can actually be used in support of an afterlife. Spinko tells us that we can only understand what we can logically deduce from experience, for example we can imagine a centaur because we can imagine humans and horses. This argument can be turned against him, because we can understand the existence of an afterlife. The fact that we are debating this to begin with proves that we can conceive of such a thing. While we may not know what will be experienced in the next world, we can conceive of its existences because we understand the difference between existence and non existence. The concept of life after death does not suffer from the problem of experience--the actual *experiences* themselves do.

3. I concur with my opponent that we cannot know for sure if the afterlife exists because we do not directly experience it until we are dead (NDE's may dispute this premise, but accept it here for the sake of argument). However his own line of reasoning can be turned against him, as if we can never *know* anything outside of experience (like what lies beyond death) than he fails to uphold his burden. He needs to present some kind of scientific or philosphical argument against the afterlife, because merely asserting that we can't know if it exists does not affirm the proposition that the afterlife most likely does not exist. In fact, this is a negative argument--we can only guess based on evidence, not truly no and as such the resolution cannot be affirmed.

4. There are large numbers of incidences in which individuals have experienced the after life.

C2. Dualism

I am actually not presuming dualism, as my DMT argument shows. The continuing activity of conciousness in the final moments of ones life, an eternity trapped within a moment, have no basis in dualism. Moreover, my opponent needs to give some positive arguments for monism or else we have no reason to prefer it over dualism.

C2.1. Interaction

Spinko criticizes dualism for not providing an explanation as to how non material entities such as a soul could interact with a body. More on this in my nexxt round, but this argument faces an insuperable objection in that there's no reason to believe that a soul in a body has to be consistently physical. It is not at all a stretch to believe that conciousness resides in a physical brain during life but continues in a non physical state after death, especially given that scientists have never really explained what conciousness/the mind is physically. Moreover, he provides no explanation whatsoever for the experience of conciousness that we all feel and thus you have no reason to believe that it doesnt continue after death. Until he does, he has no positive ground to stand on.


My opponents arguments do not actually prove the resolution to be true, and thus you negate.

Citations:

1. http://goo.gl...;
2. Strassman, Rick. DMT: The Spirit Molecule. 2001. Web.
Debate Round No. 2
socialpinko

Pro

Deconstruction of the Con Case.


Near death experiences.


There are several competing theories for why near death experiences exist and why we seem to think they point to the existence of an afterlife. I was actually silently hoping Con wouldn't bring this up specifically because there is no consensus. However, there are still two problems with this point, that of actual explanation and the fact that the scientific explanation for NDE's is stronger than an afterlife.


1. The first problem has to do with the fact that there's no reason to prefer the afterlife explanation to more scientific theories such as the lack of oxygen thesis. In fact, the seeming universality of NDE's is evidence for both theories.
"These similarities however, can also be interpreted as evidence in support of the involvement of human physiology, neurochemistry, and psychology. The visual cortex, temporal lobes, and limbic system are structurally and functionally common to everyone. Consequently neurological activity associated with stress or oxygen deprivation may be similar across many different individuals."[1] So my question for my opponent is, why prefer the afterlife explanation when the evidence he precedes such an explanation on similarly point to different explanations.


DMT.


Con is mistaking the effects of false perception with some sort of actual metaphysical reality. Just because people, when under the effects of DMT, cease to perceive time doesn't mean any part of them actually lives eternally. This is akin to saying that just because someone under the influence of LSD thinks they can smell colors, that colors *actually* have some odor quality which we could just never measure.


Consciousness.


Con is correct that some explanation of consciousness is in order. However, he is mistaken as to the degree required. It would be fallacious to assume that I needed a fully complete explanation for how consciousness works. However, given the evidence available, one would be lead to believe that no such consciousness exists besides that which exists when we are physically alive. This is supported by two lines of evidence: the fact that physical effects seem to effects every other aspect of consciousness. When we lose conscious for various reasons it's owing to purely physical stimuli, when we're under the influence of drugs many aspects of our consciousness shift, etc. All available evidence points to a physical basis for consciousness tied to the body.


Defense of the Pro case.


Skepticism.


1. I never claimed that we couldn't conceive of the existence of an afterlife. The mere fact that we're debating this right now proves otherwise. However, in order to justify the existence of something, we need recourse to experience. And since nothing in experience lends itself towards the existence of an afterlife, one ought to side on the negation of the resolution.


2. My opponent is correct that this is purely a negative argument. We can't know 100% which side the truth falls on. However, Con is operating under a faulty conception of justification. Just because we are ultimately agnostic as to the existence of an afterlife doesn't mean we can't weigh the evidence for and against. The evidence against an afterlife as I have shown is from the fact that all or most of the claims made by the existence of an afterlife i.e., dualism of the body and mind, relevant experience to draw one's conclusions off of, etc. point in the opposite direction.


To take a trivial example, imagine I came up to you and claimed to be the President of the United States. When pressed for evidence I make a variety of claims, each of which eventually turns out to be shown false. Now just because we haven't verified that I'm not the POTUS doesn't mean the claim hasn't been falsified i.e, certain things would be a certain way if you were President (or more specifically if an afterlife existed). These things are not that way, therefore there's reason supporting the negation as opposed to the affirmation of such a claim.


Dualism.


See my point regarding DMT for refutation.


Interaction.


Con is still burdened with providing some sort of explanatory answer to interaction between the body and soul. As evidence suggests, our memories most likely reside in our physical consciousness (see above for my explanation for physicality as the most supported option). Therefore, if one is to say that one's "soul" carries on anything related to one's "self" in the afterlife, one is burdened to explain how those memories would actually transfer into one's soul. Memories aren't the only problem though as this would include things like aspirations, preferences, values, etc. Con ha failed to successfully bypass this problem, therefore the refutation stands.


Note: I only had 7 minutes to finish this debate. Close call, I thought for sure I missed the deadline.


===Sources===


[1] http://psychology.jrank.org...
thett3

Con

My opponent still offers no positive arguments in support of the resolution, even admitting so, and at this point in the debate it is too late for him to do so. For this reason, he loses the debate automatically as he didnt meet his burden.

His only response to this is this: "imagine I came up to you and claimed to be the President of the United States...I make a variety of claims, each of which eventually turns out to be shown false." The problem with this line of reasoing is that the reason we would not believe his claim is because we have and know good reasons to believe that, to name a few examples, Barack Obama is the current president, spinko is underage, no anarchist president would be elected, ect. A more comparable claim would be, for example, me claiming that I'm the president of the Dallas Youth Stamp Collecting Society. Since you have no knowledge of that organization saying "oh well, you cant verify it" isn't an argument against my claim. So you can implement an entire case turn here, his advocacy is this: most likely, no afterlife exists. His argument however esentially boils down to "we cannot know". Nevermind my positive arguments in favor of an afterlife, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence as any crimonolgist will tell you. He has failed to uphold his burden of proof, even if he soundly beats me on literally everything you still negate because the best case scenario for him is that we are agnostic about the existence of an afterlife, just as we would be about my presidency of the Stamp Collecting Society.


=My case=

1. NDE's

Spinkos only response to this is that there are other explanations. Recall that I have already pre emptively responded to this in my first round, I said that even if there are scientific explanations for the experience of these NDE's, there are no scientific/evolutionary/philosophical reasons for these occurrences with the lack of an afterlife. Since he made no response to this, I'll extend it cleanly across and urge a ballot in affirmation.

Lets look at his scientific explanation. He asserts that the "lack of oyxgen thesis" can explain NDE's, and yet he doesnt explain what this actually is. You can't buy this argument because its an unfair burden to throw on me (I would have to independently research this theory and then refute it) and he hasnt explained HOW this accounts for NDE's. This would be the equivalent of me responding to his skepticism point "see scientific method" or something. It bears no weight in the round because he has not explained its relevance and, this late in the debate, he cannot.

Ignore his card because it is non responsive-- it offers no scientific reasoning for these experiences, and, unless I'm missing something, no scientific explanation at all for cases where the subject is clinically dead. He just simply has not given enough evidence to refute this point. I understand what he's trying to say, that the similarities in near death experiences could be explained by biological and psychological similarities, but this line of reasoning provides no positive argument as to why these dont prove the existence of an afterlife. That there is a scientific explanation just confirms my hypothesis in my view, given that my opponent hasnt explained why these experiences would arrise from mans natural evolution. Since hes made no response to my argument that they would not arrise naturally/serve no rational biological purpose, this seems only to confirm the thesis that the existence NDE's can only be explained by supernatural means--IE, God and an afterlife.

Moreover, he completely dropped the Alexander evidence. A Harvard Neurosurgeon,a brain expert, flat out SAID there is not even scientific EXPLANATIONS for many of these experiences including his. Spinkos argument just simply cannot over power this, and since drops are concessions I win the round by default.


2. DMT

My opponent is correct here that the perception of an afterlife is not the same as an actual one. I expected this response, however the more I thought about it the more I came to the realization that it's a fair objection. Honestly, I only ran this point to see what his response would be but I'll drop it here.

3. Conciousness

Spinko misunderstands my point. Nowhere am I saying that spinko has to irrefutably prove a physical explanation for conciousness, but rather that he must offer one. It's an unfair burden to throw on me to say "conciousness can be explained physically" and then expect me to refute every physical explanation. How could I be expected to refute his explanation when he hasnt offered a full one, and how can anyone judging this be expected to believe that conciousness is derived physically when there is no scientific consensus and spinko has no explicit advocacy? At this point its too late for him to do so, and we cannot assume that conciousness can end.

His only response is nonresponsive to the actual point of contention. So what if physical stimuli can effect conciousness? No one, least of all me, is advocating that conciousness exists solely on a supernatural plane, in fact I even said that it's probable it exists on both.

=Pro case=

Skepticism

Spinko concedes here that this is a negative argument. Much of my response to this can be explained above, but in this debate he didnt offer any real reasoning against the afterlife. He says we need to weigh the evidence, but I HAVE given good reasons to believe that there is an afterlife, and spinko has not given you reasons to be against it. He tries to argue that since we cannot draw a conclusion based off experience you should vote pro. Not only hashe DROPPED the example of relevant experience I offered, he also doesnt explain how this "point[s] in the opposite direction. " As it stands, even if you buy all his arguments he doesn't give you good reasons why an afterlife doesnt exist--he gives you reasons as to why we cannot know for sure.

Dualism/interaction

Spinko completely dropped my arguments that:

1. It's perfectly reasonable given the evidence for an afterlife that conciousness resides physically during life and no physically in the after life, and

2. That he has to give some positive arguments for monism. He gave some small justifications in some of his rebuttals (like how physical stimuli effect conciousness), not only have I refuted these, but this doesn't justify it as a whole, nor does it explain why monism would have to extend to after one dies.

Spinko throws the burden on me to explain how a "soul" can interact physically with a body, and I did, stating that the soul can be physical in life then non physical in the afterlife. He dropped it. He then claims I need to prove how the memories of a person can be imprinted into some supernatural afterlife realm but this is irrational. How could I reasonably be expected to do so? Its unjustifiable to expect me to give naturalistic explanations for something supernatural. I'm not arguing what an afterlife looks like or feels like, but rather weighing the evidence and advancing the conclusion that it does indeed exist. Turn his skepticism against him here, theres no way for me to experience this and carry back these explanations without dying and returning from the dead, which happens on rarely with certain needed conditions. However I believe that the people whodirectly experienced the afterlife claiming that they retained some personal identity and met loved ones, and the fact that spinko doesnt explain what conciousness is and for all we know it COULD ONLY exist on a supernatural realm strongly disconfirms his objection.

For these reasons, I urge a pro ballot. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
socialpinko

Pro

Nature of negative/positive cases.


Con has failed to sufficiently show why agnosticism must be 50/50. I freely admitted in the previous round that if one if looking for ultimate justification, one won't find it concerning the existence of an afterlife. However, that doesn't mean we can't weigh the available evidence for both sides and decide which is more likely. Con is misrepresenting my claim when he says I'm only claiming that since we must be agnostic, we must negate. On the contrary, advocates of an afterlife have brought together several claims which would be true if an afterlife existed (among them dualism, near death experiences, etc.). Since these arguments have been shown to be faulty, we have reason to fall on the negative side of the matter. Now I know Con will disagree that these have been disproved here, but I ask that he admit that in principle, if these are shown to be false claims, that the negation would be more likely than the affirmation.


Furthermore, while we can't ultimately refute an afterlife conceptually, we can refute it's necessary presupposition, that is dualism. As I showed in R2, the existence of an afterlife where some part of us lives after death presupposes dualism which isn't defensible by way of the experiential difficulties in refuting/defending the existence of an afterlife. Con as of yet has shown no reason why (a) dualism is true or (b) why an afterlife could exist without presupposing the truth of dualism. This is an indirect though sound route to positively refuting the existence of an afterlife.


Near death experiences.


--Reasons/explanations.


Con here doesn't make much of a point. On the one hand, an explanation for the occurrence of a phenomenon seems to fulfill the burden of providing a "reason" for it, when that reason is causal. For instance, lack of oxygen to the brain thesis provides a scientific explanation for NDE's. Con claims that I haven't provided an explanation for what this actually is and that I've imposed too strong of a burden on him by making him look it up. I apologize since the lack of oxygen thesis is (a) seemingly intuitive and (b) is popularly known by anyone who has looked into the concept of NDE's. To those who, however, are incapable of extrapolating what it means or have never heard of it, the lack of oxygen thesis explains NDE's by recourse to just that, lack of oxygen to the brain[1]. Con has since provided no refutation or argument for the superiority of the afterlife explanation and has only relied on complaints of supposed ambiguity in my explanation.


--Further explanations.


Con also invokes an appeal to ignorance in claiming that not knowing the evolutionary reason for NDE's proves that they don't have a natural explanation. Furthermore, Con's makes an appeal to authority in relying only on the opinion of a Harvard neuro-surgeon. Moreover, the fact that I have provided scientific explanation disproves this.


Consciousness.


Con's refutation of this point is unfortunately misrepresentative of my argument. Far from providing no explanation or reasoning for the physicality of consciousness, I offered sound examples from everyday experience which tip the scales in favor of physical monism. For instance, it appears that only physical stimuli actually affect our consciousness i.e., drug use, head trauma, etc. This provides us with a presumption in favor of physical monism. Con has offered no defense against this claim. In fact, the only way for him to salvage dualism was NDE's which I refuted above.


Skepticism.


See the point "Nature of negative/positive cases" above for an explanation of my refutation of this point by Con. On a note, I haven't only based my arguments on the fact of epistemic agnosticism, I've also shown that certain necessary presuppositions for the existence of an afterlife are false or untenable. Therefore the claim that an afterlife exists rests on shaky/unaffirmed foundations.


Dualism/Interaction.


I'd like to first note that I haven't dropped anything. The refutation of the various dualism/interaction points by Con are all contained in my R3 case.


1. As I argued in R3, Con is burdened to show exactly how this interaction can take place. Just claiming that it's a possibility isn't enough since it's a conceptual possibility that we're the only minds in existence. This doesn't count as a very good argument though. Con has throughout this debate completely failed to offer any hypothesis or explanation as to the transfer of consciousness from physicality to non-physicality (spirituality).


2. Con also argues that my arguments for monism don't justify the whole (only parts). To this I agree with in a sense. My argument was by no means exhaustive. But looking at the respective arguments by my opponent and myself, it should be obvious I'm the only one who has provided coherent evidence of my position. Con has merely argued that it's a conceptual possibility that consciousness could move freely from physicality to non-physicality (that there's no inherent contradiction in this thought). And while technically true, all it can show is that our positions originally stand on equal footing. However, owing to my points regarding (a) the clear bond between consciousness and its physical roots and (b) the lack of explanatory analysis by Con of his position, the monist perspective has been defended on much firmer grounds than the dualist.


===Sources===


[1] http://www.livescience.com... "Not only are the symptoms of anoxia (oxygen deprivation) very similar to the symptoms of an NDE, but patients who had the highest concentrations of carbon dioxide in their blood reported significantly more NDEs than those with lower levels."
thett3

Con

Many thanks to my opponent. Hopefully this round wont be too bad, I have little time.

Lets look first to the debate as a whole. Anyone reading can see that the majority of the clash centered around my case. This was exactly what I was hoping for because my opponent needed to provide positive arguments against the afterlife which he has failed to do. At best, his arguments call into question the philosophical nature of an afterlife, but what that actually is has never been firmly established. Spinko writes:

"Con has failed to sufficiently show why agnosticism must be 50/50. I freely admitted in the previous round that if one if looking for ultimate justification, one won't find it concerning the existence of an afterlife."

First, it's not that agnosticism per se that must be 50/50, but rather that in a debate it must be 50/50 since the burden of proof is shared. Moreover, my opponent acknowledged that HE is the one with the primary burden, so if we are to presume anything it is in my favor.

Second, it would be unreasonable for me to expect him to prove the afterlife didnt exist but not to expect positive argument. One argument was solely a negative one about how we cannot know, and the other was a strawman of my position--I never explictiely advocated dualism and he never properly responded to my suggestion that concious could be physical in life and metahysical after. Expecting me to prove the mind one way or the other is clearly unreasonable, however insofar as I offered an explanation and he failed to refute it than I win.



==Opponents case==


1. Skepticism

I saw no response to my turn on this argument. He says that we cannot know if the afterlife exists, and then procedes to argue against it. This is self refuting, because if he thinks discussion of the afterlife is out of the realm of our experience, than he cannot justifiably expect you to affirm that it does not exist.

This is critical because it takes out all his arguments. If we cannot know we cannot affirm.

2. Dualism

1. Spinko concedes he never directly gave any argument for monism. He tries to in round 4, but it's too late in the debate for him to advance new arguments like that. Still, I will respond.

His only argument is that physical stimuli effect conciousness....so what? He never links this to monism; moreover since a "soul" on Earth would be designed TO INTERACT with the physical world of course it is effected by physical stimuli. His only argument for monism is a critique of dualism, and yet he totally drops my argument that I dont have to support dualism. Thus you have a clear path to negation, since his advocacy has never been explicitely proven.

2. Spinko throws the completely unreasonable burden on me to explain how something (possibly) metaphysical interacts with the physical world. He claims I "completely failed to offer any hypothesis or explanation as to the transfer of consciousness from physicality to non-physicality" but this is so incredibly unreasonable that I suspect even he knows it. Figuring this out, if even possible, would require a highly dangerous and illegal controlled experiment where subjects are subjected to near death experiences and brought back, and then hypothesizing on the results. That he pretends to expect an 18 year old highschool student to prove how a soul works if it exists shows more than anything else that I am winning this debate. This whole argument is presuming the existence of a soul anyway which entails the existence of a super natural being that has the ability to do things beyond our comprehension. So really, spinkos attack just does not hold water. I am expected to prove something metaphysical, but he is not expected to prove something that he argues is physical (conciousness).

3. Note further that if I refute this argument I win since his other argument contains no positive ground for him at all (in fact, its been turned to my side). Spinko says that the only reason we should continue to buy this point is because "the clear bond between consciousness and its physical roots and... the lack of explanatory analysis by Con..." but upon examining the first point, we see immediately that I explained why physical stimuli effect conciousness, and on the second one this is not a positive argument. Just because I didnt defend my position (I dont agree) doesnt mean he's right. Since he's failed to justify his, it means neither of us are right and negative wins on default.

Thus, you have a clear path to negation, argued and extended throughout the entire debate, before even glancing at my case.


==My case==

1. NDE's

Philosophical

Spinko still gives no scientific reason for these experiences other than "that reason is causal". First take this as an implicit concession. The fact that he cant give any reasons, just explanations, shows that my argument is true. Secondly, he misinterpets the nature of my argument. There is no naturalistic reason for man to have evolved to the point where NDE's occur in non-recoverable situations. My opponent deserves great credit here for directing the discussion here to the scientific rational, but we need to look at the philosophical implications of these experiences. He has given no reason that these would exist in a state on nature, that there is a scientific explanation for them shows only the guiding hand of the creator in the absence of any alternative explanation from him. I win on this issue.

Scientific

He brings up again the lack of oxygen thesis, but once again fails to explain what it actually is or how it relates to NDE's other than just apparently "explains" it. His argument that the brain can function without oxygen goes against basically everything we know about the human body, and he doesnt explain why it would cause anything except onrushing blackness--let alone the appearences of other worldly beings and family members. He doesnt link this very well at all with his argument, nor the resolution, nor does this address the philosophical implications what so ever.

He also implicitely concedes to the Alexander evidence. He makes no attempt at a scientific response, probably because there is none. He only accuses me of appealing to authority but he hasnt explained how this is actually fallacious because in many cases it is not. A Harvard Neurosurgeon is a RELEVANT authority when it comes to the subject of the brain, so his attack fails. Extend this, then, all the way across.

I have never been shown a philosophical or scientific reason for NDE's, so you negate because they are positive experiences of what can only be,in the absence of any other explanation, an afterlife.


Conciousness

Spinko still gives no explanation on what the experience of conciousness actually is. For someone who insists so strongly that the mind is just physical, he's had a very hard time proving so because there simply is no scientific consensus. It baffles even the most brilliant of minds. This further affirms my thesis that it does not exist physically. All he says is that it is effected by physical stimuli, but this is no argument. All this proves is that conciousness is effected by physical stimuli. No impact at all. Given that he has failed to explain what conciousness is, why assume it can simply end on death?


I have given good reasons to believe an afterlife exists, and my opponent has not given comporabley good reasons that an afterlife does not exist. For these reasons, I implore you to vote Con.

Thank you spinko for giving me the chance to debate this

Debate Round No. 4
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by babyy 4 years ago
babyy
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Posted by BlackVoid 4 years ago
BlackVoid
I have NO idea how to judge this.

The conclusion I've basically come to is that Spinko wins dualism and Thett wins NDE's, specifically that they have to be an afterlife because scientific explanations fail. But if Dualism is false, then an afterlife is impossible. Ugh. I don't want to vote a tie though :/
Posted by BlackVoid 4 years ago
BlackVoid
Summary of debate:

"You need to prove this"

"Yeah well you need to prove that"

"But you didn't prove this and that"

"I don't need to prove that, you have to prove this"

"Yeah well you didn't prove that and this"

"You didn't prove that I need to prove that"

"You didn't prove that I DIDN'T need to prove that"
Posted by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
haha it basically only affirms the "happy" afterlife...although who knows what the effects would be in actuality
Posted by BlackVoid 4 years ago
BlackVoid
Fml for trying to judge debates late at night, and there's so much conflict that it requires a second reading, which I'm too tired for.

Anyway, I did enjoy reading this, it was pretty educational even though a lot of it was about debate standards. I'll give an RFD tomorrow - procrastinating like a boss.

This wasn't a debate issue, but Thett, how does the DMT theory affirm religious tenets? Even if there is a potentially "happy" afterlife, religions like Christianity and Islam say that you can also go to Hell, which is a bad experience. You're also supposed to be judged before God and all, which would likely not happen under DMT.
Posted by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
lol at the voting
Posted by Muted 4 years ago
Muted
The votes are simply ridiculous! Shouldn't it be stated that this is part of the official DDO tournament?
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
The voting on this debate demonstrates why I don't debate anymore.
Posted by Ahmed.M 4 years ago
Ahmed.M
This is a interesting book on the subject: http://books.google.ca...

All you really need to prove an afterlife is to prove dualism, the author is false on other things though.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 4 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
I know, but they should still provide reasons for the vote.

I'll try to vote on this debate later, and I'll give a genuine vote.
10 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by emospongebob527 4 years ago
emospongebob527
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Reasons for voting decision: Balancing it out.
Vote Placed by Smithereens 4 years ago
Smithereens
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Reasons for voting decision: uncountering
Vote Placed by philochristos 4 years ago
philochristos
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Reasons for voting decision: Although Pro was burdened with explaining why it's more likely than not that an afterlife does not exist, his primary focus in this debate was showing why arguments FOR an afterlife were inadequate. He should've been on the offense, but he was mostly on the defense. So arguments to Con.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
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Reasons for voting decision: A good, intelligent debate. Con's arguments from NDE and DMT are better explained by non-mystical mechanisms. To prove an interaction between body and soul, the nature of consciousness is required for Con case, and it isn't known. The question is then how much of an affirmative case is required by Pro. I think only weak case because proving something contrary to known physical laws has a high burden. Consider "There is probably no real magic." No absolute proof is possible, but experience renders it unlikely. The same with Pro's case. The case derives from nothing having been found in the mind that appears beyond ordinary physical laws. Having the concept does not support the reality.
Vote Placed by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
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Reasons for voting decision: My first 1000-char vote. Yay! This was a moderate debate - not too awesome, not too dumb. Pro had BOP. Pro's dualism arguments became irrelevant due to con model. Skepticism was actually a rebuttal point, although it contained pro's strongest material. "How souls work" (interaction) was an interesting point but unfair on con to have to prove - con's analysis that consciousness exists without us understanding how was good too. Con's case was pretty weak - he dropped DMT (a shame, that was an interesting argument to be had), "consciousness" was the same as pro's interaction point but in reverse, and although the NDE's point had potential, it's an inherently speculative (and pro's skepticism point was very relevant here). Both sides need to learn to check their arguments to ensure they're not wasting voters time with cases that do not support the resolution. Pro failed BOP, although if that had been different, so would have been the result. 2-point neg win. Contact me if you have qns.
Vote Placed by blameworthy 4 years ago
blameworthy
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Reasons for voting decision: I like the Eben Alexander testimony.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
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Reasons for voting decision: Bildekel, you need a legimitate ground for your vote, other than an unwarranted, categorical statement for a RFD...
Vote Placed by Billdekel 4 years ago
Billdekel
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro got so much wrong.
Vote Placed by Koopin 4 years ago
Koopin
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Reasons for voting decision: Uncountering.
Vote Placed by BA_BA_BA 4 years ago
BA_BA_BA
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did failed to tell the truth on one of his arguments I do an all or nothing