The Instigator
MrMarkP37
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
rougeagent21
Con (against)
Winning
26 Points

Nothing Exists

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
rougeagent21
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/7/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,147 times Debate No: 8556
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (7)

 

MrMarkP37

Pro

I believe the definitions should be fairly clear but in case potential opponents don't understand, my statement is that everything we see before us, everything in the world from the largest planet to the smallest atom is merely an illusion. I will illustrate this by proving that neither the past, nor the present, nor the future really exists.

I will present the bulk of my arguments in round two.
rougeagent21

Con

Cogito ergo sum.

I am very interested in your arguments. I would also like to clarify something. The resolution states that "nothing" exists (positive action). In the debate, you argue that everything DOES NOT EXIST (negative action). The two are different, as one proposes a vacuum (positive action), while the other states that there is no such thing as "something."(negative action) I will go with what you said in round one, as I believe that was just a grammar mishap, and we both know what is really being debated. Thanks again, and good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
MrMarkP37

Pro

In order for something to exist it must have duration, it must exist for a certain amount of time. To say that something exists for no time at all, that at the very moment that it comes into existence it also passes out of it, is to say that it doesn't exist at all. Unicorns exist for no time at all; so do square circles. Things that exist for no time at all don't exist. In order for something to exist it must have duration.

The past and the future do not exist; they are not there, in the world. Perhaps the past once existed, and perhaps its effects can still be seen in the world today, but the past doesn't exist now; if it exists now, then where is it? And perhaps the future will exist one day, but it doesn't exist yet; again, if it exists now, then where is it? The past and the future clearly do not exist; the universe consists only of the gap between them, the present.

How large is the gap between the past and the future? What is the duration of the present? A minute? A second? A nano-second?

Clearly the present does not last as long as a minute. A minute consists of different temporal parts. First comes its beginning, then its middle, and then its end. Each of its parts occurs at a different time. If its beginning is present then its middle and end are future. If its middle is present, then its beginning is past and its end is future. If its end is present then its beginning and middle are past. If the present lasted as long as a minute then it would consist of past, present, and future elements, but that would be absurd; the present must be wholly present.

The same, though, could be said if the present were of shorter duration, lasting only a second, or even only a nano-second. In either case, the present would have temporal parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end. If its beginning were present then its middle and end would be future. If its middle were present, then its beginning would be past and its end would be future. If its end were present then its beginning and middle would be past. If the present has any duration at all then it consists of past, present, and future elements, but that, as I said before, would be absurd.

The present, then, has no duration; there is no gap between the past and the future. It has already been seen, though, that to say that something has no duration is to say that it does not exist. The present, then, like the past and the future, does not exist.

If there is neither past, nor present, nor future, though, then what is there? Nothing. Nothing exists at all.
rougeagent21

Con

The matter of time is a much debated one. My opponent's only argument is that nothing can exist if it has no duration. He goes on to say the present is non-existent, with no gap whatsoever between the past and the future.

My opponent has a major flaw in his arguments. He says that the past USED to exist, and that its repercussions can be seen today, in the present.

We know that the present quickly turns into the past.

Since the past USED to exist, it could have only existed in the PRESENT.

Therefore, the present does exist, and everything in it.

The past cannot be returned to, and the future will never be reached. What are we always in? The present. Time glides past the present. We are always "here" and will never be "there," or in this case, "then." We are always NOW. What my opponent fails to see is that the present is infinite. It is always shifting, but always exists. My opponent admits that the past used to exist. The "past" is simply old, used, "present." The "past" is the "present" of yesterday, last month, and centuries ago.

The present is always here and now. My opponent makes the only criterion for something to exist that it must have duration. Since the present is infinite, it has infinite duration. Since there are no limits on duration of time for the time being, (pun intended) there are no limits to the existence of anything. The resolution is negated.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
MrMarkP37

Pro

If the present is all there is and neither the past your the future exists then what happens to the present when it's over? If your thesis is correct then the present is constantly coming into existance while simulatenously going out of existance. Yet, how can something both exist and not exist at the same time? This is logically impossible. Something cannot exist and exist at the same time.
One of the central questions is this? How long does the present exist as we perceieve it? Once we've perceived of something it is no longer the present. Our minds cannot perceive things in the present, because by the time we've perceived something it is already gone.

Let's leave the present for now and move onto perception. If our world is a collection of perceptions by our own minds then there is no way of knowing what reality is. The only evidence that what we see and hear is real are the things that our minds interpert. However, we could simply be brains in a vat. Our minds could be being kept alive in some kind of liquid somewhere and what our brains are perceiving are merely electrical impluses from our brains. What we think of as reality could simply be delusions of our minds.

There are few things in life that our consistant. Quantum physics shows us many of these examples. For instance, if you were to accelerate at a very high speed, for instance, half the speed of light, and a beam of light was shot towards you in the same direction, you might expect to see the light travel towards you at a slower than normal rate and slowly pass you. As experiment after experiment shows us, however, this is not what happens. What really happens is that you see the light pass you at the full speed of light. The speed of light is the same no matter how fast you travel from it. While tihs does show that the speed of light is constant it reveals an even more disturbing truth, that space and time are being bent and shifted by your very speed. As you accelerate time begins to move more slowly for you. Go fast enough and you would "travel into the future" meaning that what might seem like a year to you could be a hundred years for someone who is relatively stationary, say someone on Earth.
Yet this makes no sense. If reality is independant of our perception of it then how can time and space bend based on our mere movement. Time and space should remain constant if it is unaffected by our prescence.
This leads into the uncertainty problem. The most famous of which states that if there is a cat in a box you cannot be sure if it is alive or dead, you can't even be sure if it is there or not. However, you cannot answer the question by opening the box because the mere fact that you are observing it will affect the outcome. If you open the box the cat might be there, but it is impossible to say whether the cat was always there or whether it "appeared" because you observed it.
This may or may not be true of cats, but the story is told to explain the behavior of subatomic particles which, apparently, do behave this way. There are subatomic particles which seem to come from nowhere and go to nowhere. There are subatomic particles that are shifted into strange directions for seemingly no reason at all. There are even Tachyons which may be able to travel faster than the speed of light, meaning they could move backward in time.
All of this doesn't make sense. When you start to get into quantum physics logic seems to break down and things behave in unusual ways. They don't follow any kind of universal laws of motion or causality. However, if the world existed independent of our interpertation of it then why would these things happen? Why is it that when we try to get down to the building blocks of our "existance" logic breaks down.

It is possible that what we see as reality is not reality but only a construct of our own minds, which (as I mentioned before) could be in a vat of some liquid somwhere or may not exist at all, only as a dream of someone from a reality that actually exists.

You state that the present is infinite (although it passes out of existence immediately, which is a logical impossibility) some people believe the universe is infinite. They believe this because it is one of the only ways to explain existence. They say that a big bang created everything we see before us and that everything that the universe is made of has alway, and will always, exist. But what created the big bang? Also the big bang does not explain the creation of the material that made up the big bang. Only that it existed was fused and then exploded out. Where did all this come from? And how did life come from non-life? The material of the big bang couldn't have been alive as we know it because the conditions of life didn't exist in the big bang.

There is no logic behind these things. They presuppose a host of extraordinary events that defy logical thought. In fact, they seem to be inventions of the mind, which would make sense if existance didn't exist and was, in fact, a product of either our own minds of the mind of some person that exists in an actual existance.

For all we know, we could be characters in a book of some alien world.

For all these questions there are no logical answers. That coupled with the fact that the present cannot exist and simultaneously not exist leads to only one conclusion. There is nothing that exists.

Thank you for your time.
rougeagent21

Con

I apologize for the brief argument, but I have only five minutes to form an argument. Here goes:

The topic of duration has been discussed, and you may decide for yourself which side to take. What is more than can be focused on is the topic of cognition.

Going back to Descartes. I think therefore I am. The only reason that something exists is because we think about it. Because we think ourselves, we make ourselves exist. My opponent conceded in several positions that we may just be brains in a jar perceiving the world. The fact that we would be just braing means we exist. But the fact that we think proves our existence. Since we are obviously something, the assertion that nothing exists is proven wrong, and the resolution is negated. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by MrMarkP37 7 years ago
MrMarkP37
wjmelements,
You assume that I believe what I am debating. I have read Locke, among many others. For the record, I do not believe in nilhism. I just thought this would be an interesting debate. The one thing that no one mentioned in the comments, a point that I thought actually made some sense was the nature of time and the present.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
Very mind-provoking debate.

B/A- CON
Conduct- TIED
Spelling- TIED
Arguments- CON (because PRO's arguments conceded that things exist and that we think, CON wins)
Sources- CON (used a source, though it seemed irrelevant)

"For all we know, we could be characters in a book of some alien world."
That alien world exists, then.

"It is possible that what we see as reality is not reality but only a construct of our own minds, which (as I mentioned before) could be in a vat of some liquid somwhere or may not exist at all, only as a dream of someone from a reality that actually exists."
Conceding that some other reality actually exists or that a vat of liquid exists.

PRO needs to read John Locke. He has a whole book on existence in "An Essay Regarding Human Understanding".
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
00 days 14 hours 07 minutes 10 seconds
11-7
3 votes

I feel an obligation to read and vote in this one. And, yes, I will leave an RFD.
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
Could you guys please post RFDs? Thanks.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Cogito ergo sum.
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
Color me intrigued.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by TFranklin62 7 years ago
TFranklin62
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Vote Placed by MrMarkP37 7 years ago
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