The Instigator
Raziel
Pro (for)
Tied
7 Points
The Contender
belle
Con (against)
Tied
7 Points

Nothing has never been absolutely so

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/9/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,569 times Debate No: 11967
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (21)
Votes (2)

 

Raziel

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate if you do so. I will be arguing that nothingness has never been absolute.

Now for some definitions.
Nothing: nonexistence; nothingness: The sound faded to nothing.
Absolute:unrestrained or unlimited by a constitution, counterbalancing group, etc., in the exercise of governmental power, esp. when arbitrary or despotic: an absolute monarch.

My argument: If nothing was ever absolute we would not be here. For something can not be made from nothing.
And since we exist therefore nothing has never been absolutely so.
=========================================
Syllogism:
If nothing was absolute we would not be here.
We are here.
Ergo nothing has never been absolute.
I'm looking forward to an intellectually stimulating debate.

http://dictionary.reference.com...
http://dictionary.reference.com...

*Sidenote* You will be debating that at one point in history nothingness was at one point absolute. In other words nothing existed at some interval of time.
I on the other hand will be arguing that nothing has never been absolute and there was always something.
belle

Con

First off, I would like to point out that, as CON, I need not argue that at some point in the past, nothingness was absolute. Rather, I simply need to demonstrate that PROs argument fails in affirming the resolution.

That said, I negate the resolution on the grounds that my opponent's first premise is unsupported. Simply stating that "if nothing had existed at some point, we wouldn't exist" isn't proof of, or even evidence for, the statement. Though it sounds like common sense, that is insufficient grounds to include it in the syllogism as fact. Remember, in Aristotle's time, it seemed like common sense that the earth couldn't possibly move because if it did, the birds and clouds would be left behind. Given the state of knowledge at that time, Aristotle's argument was extremely viscerally compelling. The people knew of no reliable way in which the clouds and birds could remain attached to the earth. Of course, today we know better.

PRO's assertion that "something cannot come from nothing" could just as easily be supplanted by further scientific findings. In fact, it has been found that "virtual particles" are popping in and out of existence all the time, even in the complete "void" of space. [1][2]

Of course, if my opponent is referring to the idea that "nothing or no thing equals the absence of any thing including the absence of absence itself"[3] as wiki quaintly characterizes it, then the above argument fails because empty space is still "something". However, I don't think he would want to use such a definition since it reduces his resolution to a meaningless statement that cannot be coherently endorsed or affirmed. In that case, the "nothingness" he refers to is entirely uncharacterizable, literally unthinkable, and can't have anything truthful said about it. Because the subject of the resolution is incoherent nonsense, the statement is false, just as the sentence "green ideas sleep furiously" is false.

1. http://www.scientificamerican.com...
2. http://science.jrank.org...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Raziel

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate.

Firstly, I would like to state that I am not talking about vacuum fields.

I'm talking about the "nonsense" Con tells of.

Con: "In that case, the "nothingness" he refers to is entirely uncharacterizable, literally unthinkable, and can't have anything truthful said about it"

At first glance this looks like a legitimate argument, but paradoxically if nothing truthful can be said about my nothingness than the above statement is moot. Simply because you stated something about it that you assumed to be true.

Con: "Because the subject of the resolution is incoherent nonsense, the statement is false..."
I have just showed why the above statement is not incoherent nonsense. So, I advise Con to provide reason why the resolution is false.

To build on my case I would like to say if nothing was absolute there would not be anything outside of it to cause the existence of anything.
belle

Con

First, I am a "she" not a "he".

Second, you caught me! My semantic argument fails.

Moving on...

"To build on my case I would like to say if nothing was absolute there would not be anything outside of it to cause the existence of anything."

This is an expansion of the premise I called into question earlier, but still rests on an assumption; namely that every event must have a cause. In everyday experience we know this to be true. However, when applying that assumption to more vast intervals of time, we come accross a paradox. For if every event indeed had a prior cause, then the causal chain would need to stretch back to infinity. An infinite number of events would have had to occur for us to be here. Since events occur over some discrete time period, an infinite amount of time would have had to pass for us to be here. But it is impossible to traverse an infinite period of time. If the causal chain truely stretched back forever, we could not be here.

This is not to argue for any specific type of first cause, only for the logical necessity for one. Since we know of only events with causes, it makes sense we would have no idea what a self-causing or uncaused event might be like. However, it doesn't follow that its IMPOSSIBLE. It is, in fact, necessary, unless you wish to endorse the proposition that we're not really here. I offer a competing syllogism:

If the causal chain were infinite, we would not be here
we are here
therefore the causal chain is not infinite.

The support for your syllogism actually leads to a competing syllogism which asserts exactly the opposite. If the premise is true (that everything must have a cause) then we are, in fact, not here, which is obviously untrue. If it is false, the your first premise fails, and so your argument.

Furthermore, if (according to your first premise, and thus my syllogism) we are not here, and yet we are here
(according to your second premise) you have in fact smuggled a contradiction into your argument. Which means, again, it fails.
Debate Round No. 2
Raziel

Pro

Before I begin I would like to point out that the only time I used "he" was when I was quoting Con and Con was refering to me.

Now to refute Con's arguments.

Con: "This is not to argue for any specific type of first cause, only for the logical necessity for one"
The need for an uncaused event doesn't automatically mean one exists. Also, human reasoning(logic) does not dictate universal truth.

Con: "But it is impossible to traverse an infinite period of time. If the causal chain truely stretched back forever, we could not be here."

The causal chain and the amount of time passing effecting us being here is negligible. And the causal chain and amount of time could be in fact an infinite loop of epic proportions. Either way time doesn't dictate change. If raw hamburger meet is sat on a counter it will not cook in an 30 minutes. Now if you fry that meat for 30 minutes then it will cook. The heat affects the entity not time.

Con: "Furthermore, if (according to your first premise, and thus my syllogism) we are not here, and yet we are(according to your second premise) You have in fact smuggled a contradiction into your argument."

All based on the assumption your syllogism is correct.

To get off the subject of cause and effect and onto nothing being absolute or not:

If you claim that an event can oringinate from absolutely nothing and present no real evidence that it exists is a leap of faith. It all boils down to if it's an event without a cause or an event with an unknown cause. I'm advocating the latter.

The law of conservation of energy and matter states that energy or matter cannot be created nor destroyed, thereby negating something coming from nothing.

Even if what you propose(an uncaused event) is true does not refute the resolution. It would only prove that at one point there was nothing somewhere; not that is was absolute.
I ask that Con doesn't introduce new info to the debate on the account I will not be able to refute it. Thank you.
belle

Con

"Before I begin I would like to point out that the only time I used "he" was when I was quoting Con and Con was refering to me"

Oops! I apologize. Must have been reading in a rush.

"The need for an uncaused event doesn't automatically mean one exists. Also, human reasoning(logic) does not dictate universal truth."

While it is true that human logic or reasoning does not dictate truth, it is also true that it is our best method of gaining knowledge. If my opponent wishes to throw out logic as a guide then there is no reason that we cannot both win this debate. Indeed, there is no reason that losing cannot be winning...

"The causal chain and the amount of time passing effecting us being here is negligible. And the causal chain and amount of time could be in fact an infinite loop of epic proportions. Either way time doesn't dictate change. If raw hamburger meet is sat on a counter it will not cook in an 30 minutes. Now if you fry that meat for 30 minutes then it will cook. The heat affects the entity not time."

I don't think my opponent has understood my argument. Let me try again. My reasoning does not depend on whether or not any perceptible change is taking place. It is based on causality, whereby every even has a cause. My opponent has claimed that if nothing was absolute then there would be nothing to cause something to exist, and thus something would not be here. However, if, as he claims, every event has a cause, then the causal chain must stretch back to infinity. That means that an infinite number of events, or an unlimited number of events, would have to occur for the current time to exist. Obviously, it is impossible for an unlimited number of events to pass... since this number is by definition without limits. Therefore unless there was a first cause, before which there was nothing, we would not be here.

I maintain that my syllogism is correct and that my opponent has endorsed a contradiction.

"If you claim that an event can oringinate from absolutely nothing and present no real evidence that it exists is a leap of faith. It all boils down to if it's an event without a cause or an event with an unknown cause. I'm advocating the latter."

Unfortunately, you are advocating a contradiction, since you have not refuted my syllogism. Certainly, it is extremely unlikely and strange that a completely uncaused event would occur; however, it is not contradictory. That we can only be here if we cannot be here is, an contradictions are not just unlikely, they are impossible.I am not making any positive claims about what actually occurred. I am simply pointing out flaws in your argument.

"Even if what you propose(an uncaused event) is true does not refute the resolution. It would only prove that at one point there was nothing somewhere; not that is was absolute."

I maintain that the absence you speak of (the absence of even absence itself) cannot be anything but absolute. Nothing, no thing whatsoever, cannot be limited by things. For what does it mean to be nothing in the midst of something, if not the void of space, which you have already argued is not applicable to the nothing of the resolution?

In summary, my opponent has failed to resolve the contradiction in his argument and thus has failed to make his case. Thanks for reading!
Debate Round No. 3
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
If p then q
~ q
.: ~ p

That's valid, I think.
Posted by innomen 7 years ago
innomen
Be easier to just say there's always been something.
Posted by Puck 7 years ago
Puck
Did I just confuse the double negative?
Posted by belle 7 years ago
belle
it really is a modus tollens... he says "nothing has never been absolute" or "it is not the case that nothing was absolute". the syllogism is valid.... hopefully though i can demonstrate it to be unsound!
Posted by Puck 7 years ago
Puck
Yeah was my mistake. ^^

Your syllogism is this.

If p then q
Not q
:. p

Doesn't work.
Posted by Raziel 7 years ago
Raziel
Be that as it may the modus tollen still stands.
Posted by Puck 7 years ago
Puck
Can't see this going anywhere ...

Also your syllogism is a Modus tollens ...
Posted by Raziel 7 years ago
Raziel
It's alright. But thanks anyway man. Btw you'd would have to also argue that it was absolute. But if belle doesn't accept i'll just keep issuing it until someone excepts.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 7 years ago
GeoLaureate8
"What I mean is, it seems to be quite preposterous to argue that nothing exists."

If I had the time, I would argue for such a position.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
What I mean is, it seems to be quite preposterous to argue that nothing exists.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by belle 7 years ago
belle
RazielbelleTied
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Vote Placed by Raziel 7 years ago
Raziel
RazielbelleTied
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Total points awarded:70