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Mathematics is at the root of all things.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/19/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 720 times Debate No: 44257
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
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Science has shown again and again that math plays a large role in business, psychology, astronomy, sociology, quantum physics, ethics, and just about anything else you can name. So the argument is this: Do you think it is possible, with the right mathematical knowledge, to predict and/or explain every observable happening in existence?

Feel free to post a comment if you have questions.


This is going to be a fact debate. The winner of this debate will be the debater who provides better evidence to support or disprove the claim that math is the root of all things.

This is because the grammar of the resolution is absolute and uses the word is, which parallels isn't, meaning that if you were to ask the question "is math the root of all things?" one could say yes or no.

Being able to rigidly interpret the resolution so that one would be able to side with an affirmative or negative is important for the fairness and education of the round, which go hand in hand. Fairness because clarification allows both affirmative and negative the ability to be on the same level, increasing the specificity and clash of the debate which is where the argument gets constructive, a constructive argument educates both members and all listening.

Weigh on yes/no facts and argument, because education is the true goal of debate.

Before I can lay out my case, first I must give my interpretation of the resolution by interrogating and clarifying definitions.

Mathematics-the abstract science of number, quantity and space. Pure mathematics.

The root of-The essence of-the fundamentals

All things-The universe that is all encompassing and infinite.

Now my opponent seems to want to ask the question "Do you think it is possible, with the right mathematical knowledge, to predict and/or explain every observable happening in existence?"

This interpretation is problematic. Too many things left undefined, so I am going to assume the AFF is saying "I believe math can quantify any phenomenon in existence" He throws observable in there, but I think that should be kicked because what isn't observable must come into play in this scenario as we are apparently talking about all things. If I were to say that because this thing isn't observable it cannot be explained by mathematics therefore mathematics cannot explain everything the AFF would just say, well I said only observable things. This is crucial to the round. Before you weigh your vote consider voting for the most fairly and clearly debatable resolution.

Which I repeat is, I (AFF) believe math can quantify any phenomenon in existence.

Here we go, this is my counter.


CONTENTION ONE: Method of Observation Inherently Flawed

I concede that there is an objective existence, that is as it is however that may be.

People cannot observe this existence, our methods are limited.


Inherently man is a sensory creature, one that relies on the firing of synapses and neurons electrical and chemical communication to the brain.

Our methods are, the senses.

The senses measure our surroundings and our brain interprets what we are sensing projecting that thing into the world as a product of interpretation.


Interpretation is done through subjective analysis, analysis that depends on experiences that are different for every single living person. The conditioning of our mind is who we are, how we see the world. We cannot define the world without using relative experiences to explain that world, nor can we create new experiences in our mind. We only combine old experiences.

FOR EXAMPLE: Try thinking of a color you've never seen. One that does not include any shade you remember.
The blankness you are seeing is something you've seen before.


When we take in information about a subject through the senses, our perspective, or our relative position to the object will dictate how we perceive that information. Everything seems different according to that relative position, and if we were to quantify said thing as it's measurements according to our senses we would be wrong as soon as we stepped to the right or left.

FOR EXAMPLE: Whatever you are looking at right now, say it's name, now what shape of the image are you seeing currently? Whatever it is, hold it in mind as you look at said object from another angle, like directly above, or below. The shape you were holding to explain the symbolic definition (name) is now wrong.


Existence is hard to figure, much like pinning water to a tree you may find that truth slips through your fingers like sand the second you try to look at it. This is because the only truth is the one we hold to be true. You may hear skeptics say that nothing is true, but the existence of their statement creates instant hypocrisy. But it may be so that man cannot see the truth. Our belief is the limit of understanding. It is the lock our mind places on the segments of the world our mind calls separate in order to help one understand. That is right(wrong), certainties are our mind protecting us from the truth, so that we may live and apply information to the natural universe so that we may function. Belief is the most crucial of elements in this debate, because you will find that if we come to agree that the essence "root of" existence "all things" exists in its true form, that any quantification of that form is a belief, and therefore unable to grasp the complexity of anything.

EXAMPLE: This is a cup. A cup is a container. A cup is a container of which the main function is to carry liquid that is to be consumed by a creature. A cup is a container or shape of solid matter that functions to trap other matter in it and has been synthesized to perform the function of holding beverages, or various forms of nutritious poisonous sugar filled hot cold or any type of liquid, so that there creators who etc etc etc
This example describes that any statement made to quantify an object can be expanded upon, I hold that they can be expanded upon infinitely, but would not know as nobody got time for that. Meaning that the truth is relative to the belief or claim of the existence of a thing which is an idea that can be expanded upon infinitely.

Subjective analysis, limited scope and belief restrain our ability to understand, let alone categorize the essence of the objective existence.

CONTENTION TWO: Math is the Symbolic Utterance and Combination of Experience and Unable to Determine Truth

Math is a language of symbols that is used to attempt to quantify natural phenomena.

This contention will be much shorter as it relies entirely on my first contention.


The symbols of math are used as definitions of experiences, their definitions are not a universal ethic, as I previously stated in my first contention, experiences are different for everyone. Limited scope+Subjective Analysis=Belief. Our belief about a perceived object is inherently untrue. And untrue to everyone in their own way. Meaning that those symbols may help you function in existences chaos, but they cannot explain the essence of all things.

EXAMPLE: Swastika for Buddhist monks VS Swastika to Americans VS Swastika to 1938 Nazis.
Every one of these people see this symbol differently, despite the fact that i have put them in a generalized demographic, this is only meant to explain as an extreme, the subtle variances in our interpretation of a symbol.

This is my final contention.

The AFF may try to say that this very debate, using symbolic language and attempting to quantify an idea through function is an example of how math can explain essential existence, but if you've heard anything I've said you may agree that perhaps nobody knows what they are talking about truly, but attempt to, whether it be by complicating the meaning of cup, or debating on whether or not math can actually explain existence, in order to simplify this chaotic and infinitely complex existence in which they live, deny truth, and survive.
Debate Round No. 1


The reason I put "observable" in my resolution is because I feared religion might get into the argument. Besides that you seem to have the right idea with it.

Mathematics is a tool used by humans to understand the Universe. The Universe's actual being cannot be directly thought about, accompanied for or even observed because it is not in a form we can decode and understand. However, we can use our senses, which tell us indirectly about the Universe via interactions of various parts of it with sensory organs (which can relay the information to the brain where it is decoded). Almost like extending the senses, humans can use tools ( like microscopes and speedometers ) to translate a property of the Universe into a form we can understand with our immediate senses. Math is an example of such a tool. We may not be able to observe existence in its pure form, but we can use mathematics to put the information in a form we can decipher.

We can, by knowing the initial speed and mass of an object, and taking into account wind and gravity, use math to predict where an object will fall. This does not mean the object 'uses' math and our senses to fall, but we use our given tools to predict where what we interpret as the 'object' to what we interpret as 'fall' what we interpret as 'to the ground'. Now, we can make our prediction more accurate by compensating for air resistance and viscosity. This brings us to the question: "With the proper mathematics, can we know where it will land?" Let us narrow ourselves to this example.

Our universe is not considered to have infinite particles or forces since the disproval of hyle and other such theories. Because of this, we cannot have infinite combinations of anything since we have limited starting factors. So, it is possible for us finite humans (and our computers by extension) to use our finite math to compute our interpretations (and by extension the happenings of the Universe) of solutions to a given dilemma. Even if the Universe did contain infinite particles or forces, at a certain point their effects on our finite math would be beyond negligible. So in a universe of infinite "anythings" we can still compute extremely accurate predictions whose difference with the actual happening would be infinitesimally too small to take into account. Therefore, we could with the highest degree of confidence predict where and how the object will land in such a universe.

I am quite enjoying this. Go on!


NPDAgeek forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Dimeirex forfeited this round.


NPDAgeek forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by dawndawndawndawn 3 years ago
...and yet, math is everywhere, all the time, in a non-dimension
Posted by PeriodicPatriot 3 years ago
As taught by my teachers and parents, math is the second most imoprtant thing we need to learn, and language arts is the first, making them major topics to be a honor student.
Posted by Wylted 3 years ago
I on the contrary a mathematical universe wouldn't be god it would be proof i god.
Posted by dawndawndawndawn 3 years ago
Math is the only thing that could, possibly, be "god"
Posted by Wylted 3 years ago
There is a difference between math being used as a tool that can be used to predict and understand observable phenomenon and math being the root of such phenomenon. You might want to change the resolution, if you want a debate on the former as opposed to the latter.
Posted by FeedFwd 3 years ago
I think it is fair to say that mathematics is at the root of our understanding of everything. I believe Einstein believed that the world could be explained with mathematics and that was behind his effort to establish the unified theory. There are somethings that may not have a single answer and may not ever be explicitly explained except in terms of probability or chaos.
Posted by dawndawndawndawn 3 years ago
popping the popcorn now!

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