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Resolved: In a deterministic universe, truth can exist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/7/2010 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,338 times Debate No: 11680
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Except for some basic definitions and rules, I'll let my opponent have the first speech
rules -
First speech - presentation of case affirming or negating the resolution, but no cross-firing, i.e. no direct responses.
subsequent speeches - responses, strengthening of own cases, clarification, etc.
last speech - concluding remarks, no introduction of new arguments.

definitions -
truth - conformity to fact
deterministic universe - a universe in which every event, including human cognition, behavior, decision, and action, is causally determined by prior events.

The debate shall take place using these definitions under these guidelines only.


Hello, I am quite excited when I find debates that can be deeply reasoned, as opposed to policy debates (in my opinion). I will be going Aff, obviously, and I am unsure the format you wanted. Because you have not specified a particular style, I'll just present points. No values, like in LD. Well, here we go.

I affirm that in a deterministic universe, truth can exist.

I will reword the resolution to conform with the resolution.

I affirm that in a universe that in which everything is cause-and-effect, there can be things acknowledged as fact.

So I will begin with my points.


Literally, or more correctly scientifically, events only happen because of some previous happening. One atom bumps in to another, and they form together to form masses. Soon these masses can react with each other just like the atoms did. Then, before you know it, we have humans reacting with each other. Soon the moving around of the atoms become so complicated and affected by each other that it seems to give us the ability to reason and think for our own. This is, scientifically, a lie. Many computer programmers design 'physics' engines that act the way atoms (something in nature) would. Another programmer could look at even the most complicated physics engine and were its 'atoms' are, and predict exactly what events will occur FOREVER within this engine. The same thing applies with the universe. If someone could figure out the exact position of every atom, and had an engine strong enough, one could compute the future. This means that the future is absolute, as is everything else. Because there are absolutes, every effect of something else can be considered truth. The computed future, can be considered truth. The opponent may bring up a refutal saying 'how can everything be truth if I can think 2+2 = 1? Well, obviously 2+2 does NOT equal 1 mathematically. But the opponent would incorrectly look at the situation. Because the person wanted to prove me wrong, or because he was misinformed, or whatever reason, he thought this was true. The fact that he thought it is true.


Logically, in any universe, truth can exist. For example 1+1 =2. In a deterministic universe, because there was one put with another one, two must be a result. Either way, this is obvious truth. In this view, everything is not truth, but it is there. So I am still affirming the resolution even on this front.


This will be my final view, built on the infinite universe theory. Because the universe is infinitely expanding, that leaves an infinite chance for anything to happen. So even if truth has the smallest chance of happening, in an infinite universe, it eventually will. Because the resolution refers to present and future, the fact that it may not have happened yet, is irrelevant.

I realize that his was rather short, I felt this was all that was needed to affirm this ideology. I look forward to my opponent's case. Good luck and 'til then.

[theory says universe is infinite, this means infinite chance there will be truth]
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting the debate. Because my rule dictates that I cannot respond to any of my opponent's points in my first speech, I'll wait until next speech.

But I will combine the definitions that are the premise of this debate together

Resolved: in a universe where every event, including human cognition, behavior, decision, and action, is causally determined by prior events, conformity to fact can exist.

As much as I tried to avoid it by defining key terminology to begin with, I suspect there's going to be some sort of a definitions debate. But that's for later.

>>>> My Case <<<<<

I will be using the Correspondence theory of truth, as it best fits with the resolution. In a nutshell, the correspondent theory of truth says that a statement is true if it accurately describes reality. I.E., if the relationship between the statement and fact/reality is one of conformity.

With that said, I will go on to explain why truth cannot exist in a deterministic universe

Contention 1 – propositions do not exist

First, it is important to acknowledge that when we talk about whether or not "conformity to fact" exists, we must realize that the only candidate capable of conforming or not conforming with fact is a proposition. The only thing that could have a relationship of conformity to fact is a proposition. Thus, any universe in which conformity with fact exists requires the existence of propositions. No other type of discourse can conform to reality. The word "shirt" can't possibly conform to reality since nothing is proposed about the shirt to be true or false.

At this point, it is important to note that any proposition made in a deterministic universe was caused solely by previous events. That is, given the circumstances that happened before the statement being proposed, the proposition could not have been different. In a sense, the proposer was "forced" to make the proposition by the events leading up to it.
Also, it is important to note that when someone makes a proposition, he/she believes it, or believes it to be false. For example, if I say "this shirt is green", I believe this statement to be either true or false. But in a deterministic universe, this proposition is forced upon me by a totality of causality. What I believe about this statement, then, is also forced upon me. I could not believe anything else given previous events. My belief is not within my control. It is within the control of the totality of previous events only. But a forced belief is not a belief at all. you cannot force someone to believe in something. You can force them to pretend like they believe it, but it is ultimately not a belief to them. The very idea of a "forced belief" is contradictory.

Thus, in a deterministic universe, genuine beliefs cannot exist. And because every time a person makes a proposition, she must believe something about it (that it's true or false), then a deterministic universe is a world without actual propositions.

But if propositions are the only things that could possibly have a relationship of conformity to fact (truth), then a deterministic universe is a universe empty of this relationship, and so empty of truth.

Contention 2 – propositions do not have conformity to reality

Furthermore, even if propositions CAN exist in a deterministic universe, they do not have a relationship of conformity to fact.

Consider the following example:
Bob states that "the moon rotates around the earth". In a deterministic world, this would mean that Bob was forced to make this proposition, that the circumstances leading up to it "made" him do it. But since the circumstances led to the effects, a change in the circumstances would no doubt lead to a chance in the effects. If I changed the circumstances using the super engine that predicts all effects of all causes that the pro thought up, then it is conceivable that I would be able to change the circumstances in such a way that the result is that Bob thinks differently when he makes his proposition, but the moon still nonetheless rotates around the earth (my modifications might have resulted in the rotation pattern being different, but it still rotates around the earth nonetheless). Then when Bob makes his proposition that "the moon rotates around the earth", by changing the circumstances, I can make Bob say "the moon does NOT rotate around the earth", just by tweaking with previous events. But if I can change the side the proposition takes just by changing the causes, then we can see that whether Bob said "the moon rotates around the earth" or "the moon does not rotate around the earth" had nothing to do with whether the moon ACTUALLY rotated around the earth. The fact of the moon's rotation around the earth had no effect on what Bob's proposition would be. The degree of rotation might have, but the rotation itself did not. Thus, there is actually no relationship whatsoever between the proposition and the fact that was its object. A nonexistent relationship cannot be a relationship of conformity.

And this is true regarding all propositions. Whenever a proposition is made, there is NO relationship between the proposition and the fact that is its object, because which side the proposition takes has nothing to do with the fact, but is forced by a totality of causes and effects. Thus, in the sense that a relationship between proposition and fact doesn't exist, a relationship of conformity to fact cannot exist, which means truth itself cannot exist in a deterministic universe.


Thank you for that response, opponent. Now that we have both presented our cases I will attack the opponents. With out further ado:

My opponent's case is basically this according to the Aff's understanding:

The only way fact can exist, is if there is a proposition. For example 'shirt' is not fact until something is proposed about it like 'is green'. 'is green is the proposition. He states, then, that proposition must be believed by the one making it, in a deterministic universe, and that we are forced what to believe in what we do. The opponent states that beliefs cannot be forced so it is not a belief at all. Then it basically goes back up the chain to the top saying truth does not exist.


My opponent is right part of his case, but makes his fatal mistake when he says a belief forced upon us is not a belief at all. The opponent says this, but does not find a way to justify that this is true. Belief: the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true. ( According to this definition, the only thing necessary for a belief to exist, is that the person holds it to be fact. Whether the person willingly thinks this, is irrelevant. In a deterministic universe the shirt is green and the person sees the shirt and observes it to be so. Because it is so the person believes in this. The fact that the person has no choice whether he does is irrelevant, because he doesn't know he has no choice. This is the epic flaw in my opponent's case. Because belief can exist, proposition are made and truth can exist.


Opponent states that one can change the circumstances and the proposition remain the same. He used Bob and the moon. He says Bob believe 'The moon rotates around the Earth'. Then opponent states that he could change the rotation of the moon itself, and Bob would still believe 'The moon rotates around that Earth'. He then says because Bob believes the same thing, that proposition must be unrelated to fact. The opponent errs here. The reason Bob did not change his proposition, is that the observation he was forced to make did not change. The fact that the Moon rotates around the Earth is unaffected by the moons actual rotation itself. This is a logical fallacy. I will put it into another example mentioned earlier. 'Bob believes the shirt is green.' Changing the type of shirt will not affects Bob's belief that 'the shirt is green'. So proposition is related to fact, but only related fact. In a simple test 'a = b' , 'c' has no affect on whether 'a=b' is true. So proposition does directly relate to truth, and because proposition exists, so does truth.

I have refuted my opponent's case and have proven that truth exists in a deterministic universe. I look forward to my opponent's attacks on my case. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 2


homework forfeited this round.


My opponent has given up on the round. Though this may be due to mulitiple reasons, all I can assume is that he cannot refute my attacks. If this is so, then the round goes to me. Hopefully my opponent will speak in the last round. Thank you for your time.
Debate Round No. 3


homework forfeited this round.


My opponent, once again, forfeited. I can only draw the conclusion that he has given up. Because my opponent cedes to my arguments, you should vote for me - Aff. This was a good half debate and I look forward to the next one. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by homework 6 years ago
Yeah I have that same habit sometimes.
Posted by Mr_Jack_Nixon 6 years ago
Sorry about random parentheses. I write my thoughts in those so I don't forget and I forgot to delete it.
Posted by homework 6 years ago
maybe the conclusions of the debate will help to answer whether the universe is actually deterministic. I.E., if there is no truth in a deterministic universe, given my view on whether or not truth exists in this universe, does a deterministic universe exist?
Posted by GeoLaureate8 6 years ago
Interesting debate topic. I've never seen one where determinism is presupposed.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Mr_Jack_Nixon 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:07