The Instigator
Scyrone
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
cjet79
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

'Nothing' exists.

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
Pro Tied Con
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
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/18/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,661 times Debate No: 670
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (5)

 

Scyrone

Pro

What is 'nothing'? My personal definition is "the absence of an object or person that is not present on/around/below/etc. an object, person, or other physical matter."

The argument here is not 'Nothing exists? Everything is existing right now!' My argument is that the idea and "matter" of 'nothing' can exist. The absence of something can exist. Prove me wrong.
cjet79

Con

Agh I totally misinterpreted your arguments and thought i was taking your position. I'll go for this as best i can.

"Existing" denotes a positive sum of something. If you are in debt then the money you owe "does not exist" (at least not in your bank account). So to say that 'nothing', which is effectively zero, exists breaks the common understanding of the word exist.

Oh and about your "prove me wrong" thing, i like to take in ideas through the scientific methods...i dont "disprove" your idea. I merely try and present a preponderance of evidence counter to your idea. The evidence can be accepted on its merits...but there is no disproving cuz new evidence comes up in support of your idea then interpretations can be changed.
Debate Round No. 1
Scyrone

Pro

Existing CAN denote a positive sum of something, but it can also denote something which is not there, but is still in existence; therefore, nothingness is something.

Take Atheism for example. Most Atheists believe that there is no God. Their belief is the belief of something not being there. Nothing can be there, but it is still a belief.

So say there is a rock and it has nothing around it. To describe that matter or that space around the rock would be nothing. So couldn't 'nothing' exist in an absent form?

We can even take a more feasible example, like zits on a particular spot on someone's face. Let's say some teenager told there friend, "Do I have any zits here?" And they point to their cheek. The friend can reply, "No, nothing is there." They are using nothing as a form of existence of something.

And if 'nothing' breaks the understanding of the word 'exist', then why can we say something such as "Nothing is there," or even the rare "Nothing isn't there"?
cjet79

Con

The word nothing is the same as saying zero. Atheists...zero gods exist. Behind the rock, zero objects are there.

Zero is not a solid tangible thing. It is a human mental construct to explain the absence of things. Our language is set up in a weird way where "nothing" is treated as a tangible object. But when you think about nothing in mathematical terms as zero...then its existence becomes a lot more questionable.

Zero in itself is representative of non-existence, so to say the opposite would kind of be breaking a few language and math rules.
Debate Round No. 2
Scyrone

Pro

You say, "Zero is not a solid tangible thing."

Just because it is not a solid tangible thing doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Nothing can be described in a tangible sense as in the space around something, but it can also describe something that is tangible as in understandable and not confusing. For example, air. It is not solid. It can go through our skin (little by little . . . VERY VERY VERY little). It is not tangible. But it exists, because we have defined it that way.

You say, "Our language is set up in a weird way where "nothing" is treated as a tangible object."

Because it is. 'Nothing' is a noun in the dictionary. If it is not tangible, then why do we always use it in a tangible way? Your basically saying our language is set up to say "'Nothing' exists'. 'Nothing' cannot only be something, it can be a quality of something. It describes something that is not there; the matter, the space, the openess around something IS 'nothing'. I think what you are trying to do is to redefine the english language, away from what it already was and is. Some people cannot understand it, and just because you cannot understand something doesn't mean you redefine it for everyone. The English language rules are set. Yes, some people argue the point that 'nothing' cannot exist. But if 'nothing' cannot exist, then why use it at all in our language and in our lives?

You say, "Zero in itself is representative of non-existence, so to say the opposite would kind of be breaking a few language and math rules."

No, they would not be. A mathematical nothing is represented by a tangible thought. We know exactly what we are thinking about when we think of numbers, and we have even attached zero to it's own number and letter, thus we can understand it. Again, if zero does not exist, how do we use it?

To add to this, 'nothing' is the quality around an object. It is the description of something that exists. It is there, we cannot picture it, but it is there.

I think it was said by St. Augustine: "we should not start at the beginning, nor at the end, but where we are, in the middle. We reach a verdict about the existence of controversial things by assessing how well these entities would harmonize with the existence of better established things." Nothing exists because it works with other things. Nothing works with the rock because nothing is around the rock. It was also Socrates who said: "Nothing is what rocks dream of". 'Nothing' exists, and it can be said what it is. We haven't taken up weird language and broken the laws of language by using 'Nothing' in reference to existence since 'nothing' has been used with existence since the times of Socrates.

"Nothing is the absence of time, dimension, object, and value. Nothing is a quality. Nothing is there, and therefore it exists." That's what I say.
cjet79

Con

If something is not solid and tangible then it doesn't exist, maybe i should have been more clear on the meaning of "solid". What i mean by solid is that it has mass. Since anything with mass can have something "solid" or concrete enough when you get to the atomic scale.

Air is not nothing...it is something. When air goes through our skin it is not nothing going through our skin...it is tiny nitrogen, and oxygen particles. They have mass.

Our language was not developed to accommodate something that doesn't exist. Why would it? Zero hasn't always been around, because its not very useful to anyone other then mathematicians. There is a word for zero (nothing), that does not mean that the use of the word coincides with the meaning of that word.

The obvious practical use of the word nothing is to describe non-existence. If you have zero apples, then our language makes no difference...it treats zero as a number even though it is just a concept. Saying i have zero apples is the same as saying i have nothing.

A tangible thought is much different. If tangible thoughts exist, then you can argue unicorns exist. But unicorns don't exist...they only "exist" in the confines of our mind, but not in the real world. Nothing is the same way. It is a concept and a thought that only exists in our head...not the real world.

Nothing can be something only within the terms of the English language. If you are looking for an animal and your buddy asks what you see and you say "nothing" it doesn't mean that the earth, trees, plants, and sky are nothing. It means you see zero animals. The word nothing is confusing because the concept it represents does not fit into our language.

Your examples of Augustine and Socrates are just more evidence for how this word doesn't fit. I don't know the context of that quote from Socrates but I can bet it was him chiding his fellow Greeks for not thinking enough. A rock doesn't do any thinking that is why "nothing" is non-existent, or "nothing". But the English language doesn't handle the concept of nothing, so nothing is treated as a descriptive term, noun, or number.

"Nothing" is no more real or in existence then other human concepts. It is on the same level as unicorns, honor, and god. No form of provable existence outside of the human mind. 'Nothing' just like other human concepts has its purpose in our everyday lives, but cannot be misunderstood as something that exists.

Good debate...i convinced myself. :)
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Scyrone 9 years ago
Scyrone
Thank you, ciet79. I do like debates going fast. I like to reply almost immediatly. That would make the arguments most fresh in my head. I also like your fast debates, and you did a good job for accidentally choosing the wrong side lol
Posted by Harlan 9 years ago
Harlan
You should have started the debate by explaining you're definition of "exist".
Posted by cjet79 9 years ago
cjet79
It was nice having someone who wouldn't take two day to respond. This has prolly been my fastest debate.
Posted by imnotmuchforarguments 9 years ago
imnotmuchforarguments
i wonder if this will go somewhere
Posted by Masterworks 9 years ago
Masterworks
Though I don't see the significance of this topic, especially under the "Religious" section, I'm gonna go with cjet79 on this one.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Scyrone 8 years ago
Scyrone
Scyronecjet79Tied
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 Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by solo 9 years ago
solo
Scyronecjet79Tied
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:03 
Vote Placed by jwebb893 9 years ago
jwebb893
Scyronecjet79Tied
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:03 
Vote Placed by cjet79 9 years ago
cjet79
Scyronecjet79Tied
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:03 
Vote Placed by coolman 9 years ago
coolman
Scyronecjet79Tied
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