The Instigator
Speakerfrthedead
Pro (for)
Tied
3 Points
The Contender
theta_pinch
Con (against)
Tied
3 Points

Physical reality is an illusion

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/2/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,748 times Debate No: 43256
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)

 

Speakerfrthedead

Pro

As the Pro I will be advocating that physical reality is an illusion. Where I discuss that physical reality could arguably be happening inside a consciousness like a brain creates dreams. The dreams seem real but are actually manufactured and not physical at all.

I play with the idea that physical reality is the same thing, being that the universe has so much dark energy and dark matter and less than 2% visible matter.

This is more of a logic and reason debate and the question cannot be proven so choosing to cite sources and quotes is optional.

Rules :
1) First round is for acceptance
2) Citing sources is optional
3) Last round is only for conclusions and no new arguments.

Btw, this is my first ever debate so please forgive any clumsiness :)
theta_pinch

Con

I will start with a question: If reality is an illusion create by the brain; where is the brain that is creating the illusion?
Debate Round No. 1
Speakerfrthedead

Pro

First I would like to thank Con for accepting this challenge. And I apologise for the wait.

I will get to Con's question after I've explained why I believe physical reality might be an illusion.

Physical Reality is almost unprovable as being physical at all

We believe that the world around us is physical, right? We believe it’s all 'concrete' and real. We can even prove this can't we?

For example:

1) Seeing a table. A wooden table. Because seeing is believing, once you see the table you recognize the table as being 'there' or existing as far as your eyes can tell.

2) You touch the table and now you absolutely know it's physical. You can feel the texture, how smooth it is and how flat. You can press on the table, and it holds still, proving that it's a hard object.

All these things prove to you that the table is physical, solid and real. But in fact, the table is actually made up of nothingness. 99% of an atom is empty space (1). The distance between the nucleus and the electrons is enormous. “If an atom were the size of a football field, the nucleus would be a small marble at the 50 – yard line” – (2). The table is made up of 99% empty space, yet we say it is solid and real.

In the entire Universe, there is less than 2% observable matter. This 2% contains matter in stars, neutrinos which are hardly solid and 0.03% of heavy elements. Therefore there are even less solid matter like metals in the universe. (3) Then there’s light and radiation and other particles that we can’t see that have no mass.

The universe is almost made of nothing. Dark energy and dark matter is what encompasses the rest of the universe (more than 80%)How can we call such an empty universe a physical reality, when it’s not at all solid and some of it is massless like light? In fact when we define ‘physical’, what do we really mean? Is it any wrong to say it’s not physical and it is all illusionary?


Sources:

(1) Empty space in atoms - http://wiki.answers.com... , http://indianapublicmedia.org..., http://www.chacha.com...

(2) Atom scale - http://66.147.244.131/~explain4/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/atom_size.png

(3) Universe pie chart- http://scienceblogs.com...

Percentage of matter in the Universe - http://science.howstuffworks.com... ,


In reply to Con

"I will start with a question: If reality is an illusion create by the brain; where is the brain that is creating the illusion?"

A good question. This is what I suggest. Reality is being created by a consciousness that exists in a higher dimensional plane or reality rather than a brain that exist in this 3dimensional reality. I will explain this in my next arguments in the next round or so.

theta_pinch

Con

All these things prove to you that the table is physical, solid and real. But in fact, the table is actually made up of nothingness. 99% of an atom is empty space (1). The distance between the nucleus and the electrons is enormous. “If an atom were the size of a football field, the nucleus would be a small marble at the 50 – yard line” – (2). The table is made up of 99% empty space, yet we say it is solid and real.

1. The table isn't made of nothingness because of that 1% of something in the atom.
2. If you mean solid as in you can't stick your hand through it then yes it is solid. I's also solid in every other definition of the word.
3. Of course it is real.

In the entire Universe, there is less than 2% observable matter. This 2% contains matter in stars, neutrinos which are hardly solid and 0.03% of heavy elements. Therefore there are even less solid matter like metals in the universe. (3) Then there’s light and radiation and other particles that we can’t see that have no mass.

1. Yes and that 2% of matter is solid and physical.
2. It doesn't matter how much normal matter is in the universe as long as their is some.

"The universe is almost made of nothing. Dark energy and dark matter is what encompasses the rest of the universe (more than 80%)How can we call such an empty universe a physical reality, when it’s not at all solid and some of it is massless like light? In fact when we define ‘physical’, what do we really mean? Is it any wrong to say it’s not physical and it is all illusionary?

1. Dark Energy and Dark Matter are something.
2. We can call such an empty universe a physical reality because there is some matter and energy in it.
3. Yes it is wrong to call it illusory because if it were illusory there wouldn't actually be ANYTHING; but there is matter in the universe.
Debate Round No. 2
Speakerfrthedead

Pro


To clear any confusion:


Definition of Solid;


of definite shape and volume; not liquid or gaseous (1)




Con has stated the obvous above. Even if physical reality is mostly empty there's still all those really solid atoms there.


But, is the atom as unmoving, unchanging and solid as people believe?




Inside the atom


What is an atom? We have so many illustration at school or in the science books of atoms looking like a bunch of small pellets. At the nucleus we have a collection of red pellets and then tinier blue pellets circling around the nucelus at a certain distance, forming a ring; the electrons.


But these illustrations don't depict what they actually look like. Atoms don't have colour and they don't have an empirical shape. In textbooks they make it look like they are tiny balls with a set place and location but in fact they are not. Protons, electrons and neutrons of an atom are fuzzy and have no definite shape. And unless joined together by Strong Nucleur Force, it is not fundamentally solid.


"By the 1920's, physicists had discovered that matter also has wave-like properties and that it just doesn't work at the atomic level to regard particles as tiny points with precise locations and energies. Matter is inherently "fuzzy." They gave up thinking of electrons as tiny planets altogether." - (2)


I understand that Con might have assumed my debate (physical reality is an illusion) that I mean it is unreal or non-existing.
But what i mean is that most people have a false sense of empericallly solid universe with everything rigid when in fact its not and that their universe is created by a tiny amount of somethingness, (not even a speck really) in a brimming ocean of nohingness to which we call it the universe.

But if the universe is solely made up of energy and forces then we could suggest that this could be easily manipulated to create existence itself by a god. But i dont suggest it is a god i suggest that it is a higher dimensional consciousness dreaming up the universe and experiencing itself aa a human inside the 'dream'.

You can’t touch anything

Going back to the previous example involving the table. You can say you're 'touching' the table but that's not really true. No matter how hard you press on the table, the electron fields of the atoms in your hand are repelling against the electrons on the table. In truth, your hand 'hovers' above the table at a super small distance. (Only if we define touching as the nucleus of atoms touching another atom’s nucleus) This is explained brilliantly by Vsauce in the video above.

If we can't even touch physical objects, how do we know it's real? How do we know anything in the world is real? The only way we feel an object is when the atoms repel between the skin and the object and this pressure is felt by our nerve cells. The cells transmit an electrical signal. Then our brain receives the signal and we feel the object, we get proof that the object is there.

This the same with sight. Our eyes receive information from reflected light bounced off surfaces and the different wavelengths of the light determine the color of the object. Except, that the color is actually created inside our mind. Color is an illusion. The table might look brown, but it’s not fundamentally brown. And this perception of the object is being transmitted from our eyes as electrical signals to the brain. (3)

But these electrical signals can be tampered or manufactured. Someone else could be manually sending false information in our brains and thus giving us a false reality. Or it could be ourselves that are sending us false information for a specific purpose, perhaps through a machine. So if the electrical signals can be tampered then how do we know that the reality we are interfacing now is real? Even if we try to find evidence that we live in a real world that evidence might have been created by the manufacturer. This why I suggest that physical reality mght not be real or shall we say, objective.

Here’s another video about this,

The creator of the illusion?

1) The reality we live in could be manufactured by a consciousness like a brain creates dreams. Let’s create a scenario where you're dreaming. In this dream, you are experiecning things in the first-person (because some dreams are in third-person). In most dreams you don’t know that the experience you’re having is not real, you just automatically respond to the experiences and don’t question them, no matter how weird they may be. And then suddenly, you wake up and open your eyes in your own bed in your room. When you remember the dream, it seems fuzzy and flat, compared to the reality now that you’ve woken up.

But let’s say you start exploring this reality and believe that this reality is real. Because you’ve woken up from a dream, therefore the reality you presently are is the final form of reality. You start chatting with friends, going to places and maybe you become lost and don’t know how to find your way back home. You get a cab and start to be driven back home when suddenly… You wake up, again. Now in the real Physical reality that you’re comfortable with.

The previous dreams seem ridiculous, flat, two dimensional and way too weird. Events happened without a beginning or cause and there was no ending to an experience. One moment you’re here and the next you’re somewhere else. And they come in levels, the first dream is very weird and unrealistic but you don't notice it and then you wake up again and that first dream seems ridiculous and now the second dream/reality is real and must be the final reality. What you don't realise is that this reality is also a dream, but more realisitic than the previous dream. And then suddenly again, you wake up, in now what you claim to be the final reality again.

But of course now that you’re back in the REAL universe full of science and logical events, you are sure that where you are is absolutely the true reality and there can be nothing beyond it. But what if this final reality isn't final at all just like what you thought in the previous dreams. What if this reality is also a dream and there is an even more truer reality that makes much more sense than the previous reality.

Perhaps our consciousness exists at a higher plane or a higher dimension than our own in a world incomprehensible to us. Our consciousness created this world of three dimensions for a purpose, or it was just dreaming like how we dream a two dimensional world from a three dimensional reality. And in this consciousness it can create the idea of matter, physics and a universe.

I mean it is more convenient for me to just believe this reality as being real but there is still a possibility of physical reality being an illusion.

Sources

(1) Defintion of Solid - http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

(2) What do atoms really look like? - https://www.uwgb.edu...

(3) Colour is an illusion -

theta_pinch

Con

ILLUSION: something that is false or not real but that seems to be true or real-http://www.merriam-webster.com...

My opponents resolution: Physical reality is false or not real

"I understand that Con might have assumed my debate (physical reality is an illusion) that I mean it is unreal or non-existing.
But what I mean is that most people have a false sense of empirically solid universe with everything rigid when in fact its not and that their universe is created by a tiny amount of something, (not even a speck really) in a brimming ocean of nothingness to which we call it the universe."

My opponent is debating something different than the actual resolution. Therefore my opponent has been tearing down an unintentional straw man.
Debate Round No. 3
Speakerfrthedead

Pro

My opponents resolution: Physical reality is false or not real

I apologise deeply for not explaining my resolutions properly in round 1. In the previous rounds I take my definitions from a different source from con as you can see in my source links in the previous rounds.

Here are some definitions provided by this source (1)

il·lu·sion
1.
a. An erroneous perception of reality.

b. An erroneous concept or belief.

2. The condition of being deceived by a false perception or belief.

illusion
1. a false appearance or deceptive impression of reality: the mirror gives an illusion of depth.


These are the definitions of the word 'illusion' that I grew up with. And it fits my resolution that people have a false concept of reality and that the world they experience isn't the world it actually is such as perceiving colour or feeling solidity in objects, or even that the things they touch are almost completely empty space.

However this is not my only contention for physical reality being an illusion, I have mentioned other arguments such as the possibility that our electrical signals can be tampered with and manipulated and the theory about reality being a dream and that there is a higher consciousness dreaming up our reality. In the previous round, con has not replied or commented on any of these ideas so I can only assume Con accepts the probabitlity of these ideas.

I apologise again for not stating my resolution properly.

I await Con's response.

Source
(1) http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

theta_pinch

Con

And now this debate has devolved into semantics.
Debate Round No. 4
Speakerfrthedead

Pro

And now this debate has devolved into semantics.
Sorry for not explaining some definitions earlier. It was my mistake.

Howver, this was my first ever debate and I really enjoyed it. Con has my gratitude.

At any rate, this is the last round for me so I will use it to conclude some things.

Summary
1.The amount of matter in the universe is tiny.
2.An atom is mostly 99% empty space.
3.Matter is inherently 'fuzzy' and if we go small enough, it ceases to be solid; of definite shape and volume.
4.Thus solidity is an illusion and things can appear solid because matter combines and forms a rigid shape with the use of Nuclear Force.

5.You cannot touch anything, the nucleus of an atom cannot touch another nucleus because of electrostatic force. Everytime you touch something, the atoms of your hand hovers a slight distance from the object. People believe what they touch is real, but they are not even touching it. The way we prove we are touching something is by our nerve cells feeling pressure and then sending us the feeling of touching something when fundamentally, we aren't.

6. If our perception of the world is based on electrical signals passed from our body such as from the eyes, the ears and
from the skin, then these electrical signals can also be tampered, manipulated or even created by perhaps the use of machinary.

7. Evrything else I mention is mostly theory. I explain how a higher consciousness could be 'dreaming' up reality. Or that we are living inside a dream.

Conclusion
1. People have a false concept or perception of physical reality because of the nature of their body and the nature of the Universe.

2. There is a possibility that the world you are experiencing could have been conjured up by a third party or even by yourself as your electrical nerve signals can be tampered with.


Thanks to anyone who read this debate. And thank you Con for participating.

Have a good day.
theta_pinch

Con

CONCLUSION
Pro used a different definition of illusion than me. Both of us made valid arguments based on our definition. However the definition I used is the most common.

Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by theta_pinch 3 years ago
theta_pinch
I am not sure; I have a hard time writing conclusions.
Posted by Speakerfrthedead 3 years ago
Speakerfrthedead
Oh. What would you rather have written?
Posted by theta_pinch 3 years ago
theta_pinch
I was talking about my conclusion.
Posted by Speakerfrthedead 3 years ago
Speakerfrthedead
... Ya, I agree. I was hesitant to post that since I didn't really have a concrete conclusion, I only had ideas when I first started the debate. I actually regret adding a conclusion to a highly debatable topic. I got to thank you for the criticisms though, they've helped me learn some things about debating.
Posted by theta_pinch 3 years ago
theta_pinch
That was a terrible conclusion.
Posted by Speakerfrthedead 3 years ago
Speakerfrthedead
Sorry, It's my fault for not stating my resolution clearly. First time debating :)
Posted by theta_pinch 3 years ago
theta_pinch
This debate has completely become about semantics.
Posted by Speakerfrthedead 3 years ago
Speakerfrthedead
@trialrun
haha, thanks
Posted by trialrun 3 years ago
trialrun
This is a very interesting argument. It's funny, because in the last week of term, our English Professor actually talked about this and how our wall might not be brown, as one person might see it as blue but they were told blue was brown because all their life their parents said that the brown they saw was the blue their parents see. In fact, we could all have the same favorite color because we could all perceive the color and light differently, and how the wall in fact, wasn't even there because of the space inside of the atoms.

I just find it amusing that this debate is so similar to that conversation, but anyways, I have to say that physical reality could very well be an illusion. The brain could very well make the body think it's touching something solid because that's the response the brain believes it will get, a little like the brain is manipulating itself. I guess you could say the brain could be giving itself the placebo effect by making your hand think it's touching something solid when in fact, it's not.

That sounded a mess, but I don't care, this isn't my debate XD
Good luck and I'll be watching with interest ^^
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Josh_b 3 years ago
Josh_b
Speakerfrthedeadtheta_pinchTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:33 
Reasons for voting decision: I really liked this debate. Con in a way proved a point that pro was trying to make during rounds 3,4,5. There is no way of knowing what another person thinks or to have the knowledge of anyone else except the knowledge of ourselves. However, an agreed reality is the result of the agreement, not the actual properties of what that reality is. Due to con's forced issue of semantics, which could have taken place in the comments, I give Conduct, and Reliable Source points to Pro. However, Pro's argument does not fully identify the resolution named and I give convincing argument points to Con.