The Instigator
quantummechanics97
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Crede
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points

The Existence of Space

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Crede
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/3/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,834 times Debate No: 19117
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)

 

quantummechanics97

Con

I assert that space doesn't exist. I prove it thus:
1. Everything that is is in something.
2. Space is in nothing.
3. Therefore, space does not exist.
Crede

Pro

Thank you quantummechanics97 for inviting me to debate this interesting subject. I enjoy science debates and this topic in particular is an interesting one.



Clearing Up Round 1 Muddy Waters

First I would like to provide a definition of “space” since my opponent did not give one in his opening round.

Space according to Universe Today [1]:

      • a) Everything in the universe beyond the top of the Earth’s atmosphere – the Moon, where the GPS satellites orbit, Mars, other stars, the Milky Way, black holes, and distant quasars.
      • (b) Space also means what’s between planets, moons, stars, etc – it’s the near-vacuum otherwise known as the interplanetary medium, the interstellar medium, the inter-galactic medium, the intra-cluster medium, etc; in other words, it’s very low density gas or plasma.

In definition (a) we can see that “space” includes everything. If you were to observe the Universe in its entirety Earth would be included in this definition. So Con’s second premise that states space is nothing is incorrect…it is everything. However to keep this debate on the definition I think my opponent is more inclined too we shall use definition (b).

In definition (b) we can see that space is the distance between objects (specifically in terms of celestial bodies). A problem occurs if we refer to this definition of space in comparison with Con’s second premise. The distance between objects is not nonexistence, or nothingness, but is the existence of a quantification of a distance between two objects. Lets use for example if I say I’m 10 feet from my front door. Con says the 10 feet does not exist because the distance itself is not a palpable existence (taken from the resolution of “space doesn’t exist” in Con’s opening statements). Here the problem is a misunderstanding of the word space. Space is a measure of distance between two objects, and therefore is the existence of 10 feet between me and the door. Secondly in terms of empty space, or the space between planets, galaxies, or any other celestial object, the problem is in part the same. The space here is still a measurement of distance between two objects and therefore exists in the form of a quantified separation.



Confusing Space With Nothingness

From what I can tell Con is confusing space with nothingness. Nothingness is absolutely nothing. It is not existence in that it is the absence of all existence. It has no properties and nothing to quantify. It is purely nothing. Space on the other hand does have properties, and is used to quantify distance. Space between celestial bodies has properties of a vacuum and gravitational attraction. This is even giving allowance for the idea that there is nothing in between celestial bodies except space even though there is space dust, gas, and radiation waves flowing through it constantly. So space has properties that can be measured in terms of gravity and vacuum. Nothingness has no properties.

So space obviously exists. When you look up at the moon and see it 384,403 kilometers away from you, and not smashed into the atoms that make up yourself, you can witness space. In terms of the properties between us and the moon you can measure the gravitational pull to either the moon or Earth depending on where in the space you measure it from.

Nothingness has no properties and quantifies nothing. Also to say “nothing” in itself exists is an illogical statement. Nothingness is not something that could be, but rather it is the absence of anything.


Breaking Down Con’s Argument

Premise 1: “Everything that is is in something.”
- Aside from the bad grammar here this is also an incomplete sentence. It is hard to decipher what Con is even saying here. I’m assuming he is trying to say that everything that exists is existing in something. If this is what he is trying to say then to say that space doesn’t exist is absurd in that it exists in the Universe.

Premise 2: “Space is nothing.”
- As stated before space is not nothingness. Also I proved how this is wrong simply by providing the definition of space.

Conclusion: “Therefore, space does not exist.”
- Since premise one is false, and premise two is false, the conclusion is absolutely false.

For now I will turn this debate back to you Con. I have rebutted everything that I could draw from your opening round. Good luck!



[1] What is Space? By Jean Tate on February 26, 2010 http://www.universetoday.com...
Debate Round No. 1
quantummechanics97

Con

First, I would like to apologize to my adversary for not providing a definition of space. You gave two very decent explanations for the word; however I feel that both are somewhat insufficient for this discussion. When I say space, I refer to everything that is physically. I think the definition from Dictionary.com [1] states it best: “the unlimited or incalculably great three-dimensional realm or expanse in which all material objects are located and all events occur. In this is distance, time, and anything else which has physical properties.

Rebuttal of Pro’s Refutations of My Original Statement
Premise 1: “Everything that is is in something.”
You claim that space exists in the universe. If you were acting upon your previous meaning of space, you would be correct. Space in that sense exists in the “physical world”. However, with the definition with which I am going, it is incorrect. My point is that the universe in itself is in nothing, or rather the absence of something, for nothing implies that there is something.
Premise 2: “Space is in nothing”.
You misquoted me in saying that I stated “space is nothing.” In this syllogism, I do not state that until the conclusion. Because of this error, the meaning for you was completely different. To explain my second premise, one must previously accept my first. Once this has been done, one must show that space is in something, or else render defeat.
Premise 3: “Therefore, space does not exist”.
You claimed that since you have “proven” the premises wrong, the conclusion cannot possibly be right. Now that I have refuted your arguments concerning the aforementioned premises, you must reprove your position.

The Argument of the Senses
The Argument of the Senses has many a time been used, and I will thoroughly enjoy explaining it yet again. The Argument of the Senses states that because your senses (i.e. sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing) show you the physical universe, it must exist. My refutation to this argument is stated in the following syllogism:
1. Everything that can be used as premises must first be, without a doubt, infallible and in existence.
2. There is doubt that senses show what is real.
3. Senses cannot be used a premises.
Basically, it states that we can’t be sure that what our senses show us is real, and therefore cannot be used to prove anything.
I have refuted everything that you disagreed with in your preceding rebuttal. I will now let you carry on the debate. Good luck!

[1] "space." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 10 Nov. 2011. .
Crede

Pro

Alright, thanks Con for your rebuttal. In the future as you have seen with this debate it is necessary to define what it is you are actually arguing for or against.

I find it interesting that you have declined to debate about the definition I used and instead have used a definition more in line with the first one I gave. That is the definition with the idea that space is the all encompassing word to define all of known existence. The reason I find this odd is that this conclusion would imply that you, I, and all of existence is actually non-existence. That everything is in fact nothing and that nothingness is all there is. This does clear up why this debate is in the philosophy category instead of science, but is completely not where I saw it headed.

Revisiting Con’s Argument With the New Definition

Premise 1: “Everything that is, is in something.
- This first premise is a loaded one with so much to be desired. You fail to give any real back up to this premise except for saying that the universe is in, or surrounded by nothingness. Are there some hidden premises here? Are you saying that for something to be, it has to be in something else? What are the parameters here? Are there distances, necessary contacts, or relations that deem if something is “in” something else? There is absolutely no evidence for this first premise.
- Two major problems with premise one:
  1. Matter exists non-contingently of other matter. Take for example if there was some planet on the very outer limit of the universe, and I was standing on it and threw a baseball out into the nothingness. Would my baseball cease to exist? Or would it just venture out into the blackness? If what you’re saying is true then the baseball would cease to exist. But then why doesn’t all the outer rim of the universe simply stop existing? The answer is because premise one is false.
  2. The conclusion of the argument negates the first premise. If the conclusion is that space does not exist, then nothing exists in the first place. Therefore “everything” that is used in the first premise is actually nothing and falsifies the premise.


Premise 2: “Space is in nothing

The assumption here (and I agree with) is that the universe is the sole existence of reality. This negates any assumption of a multiverse or many-world theory. I’m fine with this assumption as I believe the universe spontaneously began to exist out of nothing. The problem I have with this premise though is with the word “in.” I don’t think that it is correct to say the universe is in nothing. A more correct statement would be that the universe exists in comparison to its opposite being nothingness. You cannot quantify nothingness, and therefore can’t say that the nothing is bigger than something (the universe) in order for the universe to be in that said nothingness. If you try to set parameters by creating distances then you have in turn made nothingness into space by quantifying a distance. One could argue that in the presence of existence (the universe) there is no more nothingness. In stead there is an infinite (limitless) amount of space for existence to expand into. Nothingness ceases to be nothing, but becomes a potential existence. Either way…premise 2 is refuted.


Conclusion: “Therefore space does not exist”
  • Again since premise one and two are false the conclusion is false. However let’s examine the conclusion as a single statement and see if it makes any sense. Using Con’s definition of space being all of reality we can see that the conclusion falls apart on its own. If space does not exist then I do not exist, Con does not exist, the voter/reader does not exist, and this debate does not exist. If the conclusion is that space does not exist, then that would also conclude that there is only nothingness. The problem is that nothingness has no properties, no consciousness, no thought, no “debates”, and it is simply just nothing. You would have a better chance of arguing that nothing exists outside of my mind, but to argue that space does not exist at all is absurd. Even if I existed as a sole singularity (in order to have thought or consciousness) then there is still some form of existence negating the conclusion.
  • Con’s only support for this conclusion is the idea that we cannot trust our senses. Again even if our senses are lying to us, the fact that there is even a lie shows some form of thought or existing reality. Even a false sense is still a sense. It may not show the true reality, but does positively prove its own existence. This conclusion falls apart when used to conclude the argument, or as a stand alone statement.


My Argument

Let me give you an argument that counters your argument.

Premise 1: If I or any entity exists, then there is existence.
Premise 2: I think, therefore I exist; or an entity that is able to project their consciousness as mine exists.
Conclusion: Since there is an existence; space exists.



For now I will turn this debate back to you Con….Good luck!!
Debate Round No. 2
quantummechanics97

Con

First, I would like to thank my opponent for a very interesting debate in which he brought up some very interesting points. I would like to congratulate him on his arguments as they were of great quality.

Do We Exist?
In your opening paragraph, you stated that you thought it interesting that my argument basically says that nothing, including you and I, exists. Pro made it seem as if this was a very senseless opinion. I would just like to point out that this really isn’t that crazy, when you consider the fact that there are no facts to support the existence of, well, anything.

My Syllogism
Premise 1:
• I think a better way to state this so that Pro can understand it is thus: the existence of one thing can only be if there is something in existence outside of the thing that supposedly exists. You yourself said “the universe is the sole existence”, so if there cannot be something outside of the universe, there is nothing. My syllogism goes on to prove that because there is nothing outside of the universe, it cannot exist.
• Rebuttal of problem 1: What you are saying is that there is an infinite universe. As this is a very debated and unresolved question, I suggest that we leave this argument alone until the true answer is discovered.
• Rebuttal of problem 2: In the first premise, I am trying to get you to see things in a way that you can understand it. I am proving that if something did exist, then it could not exist. I am taking your doctrine, so to speak, using your grounds, and disproving your beliefs. In my conclusion, I am showing how one should now see it, if one indeed believed that something existed.

Premise 2:
• When I say that space is in nothing, I simply mean that nothing can exist outside of matter; nothing can exist that is not in the universe. You say that by stating that there is nothing I am assuming that there is something, and therefore making it so. This is ludicrous and asinine. By saying there is nothing I say that something cannot be if it is indeed in a state of nothingness. This does not mean, under any circumstances, that something is.

Conclusion:
• I have proved that premises one and two are true, therefore making the conclusion true.
• In my definition, when I said that space is all reality, I meant that space is all that is reality for the common person; i.e. everything physical.
• You said, “If space does not exist, then I do not exist, Con does not exist, the voter/reader does not exist, and this debate does not exist”. Who is saying it does?
• “If the conclusion is that space does not exist, then that would also conclude that there is only nothingness.” The problem with this statement is you are using nothingness as if it were something. Nothingness is not something; it is the absence of everything. It seems like you cannot quite grasp that notion yet.
• “Even if I existed as a sole singularity (in order to have thought or consciousness) then there is still some form of existence negating the conclusion.” I agree that if one thing existed, there would be existence. However, what proof do you have that you exist? There is none, as I will show when refuting your argument below.

Refutation of Pro’s Argument
Premise 1:If I or any entity exists, then there is existence.”
As I completely agree with this statement, I will not negate it.

Premise 2:I think, therefore I exist; or an entity that is able to project their consciousness as mine exists.”
This I have a problem with. You are using the famous quote coined by Rene Descartes, “Cogito ergo sum”, or “I think, therefore I am”, which has one flaw. Descartes is assuming what he is initially setting out to prove, that is, the “I”.

Conclusion: Since the second premise has been proven wrong, the conclusion is wrong, i.e. there is not existence, and therefore space does not and cannot exist.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this debate, and thank you for giving me the opportunity. I look forward to your rebuttal. Voters/readers: remember that the disproof of one thing does not mean the proof of its opposite.
Crede

Pro

Thank you Con for your responses.

Premise 1:
You stated in your refutation “existence of one thing can only be if there is something in existence outside of the thing that supposedly exists.” You still have given no evidence for this claim. Being that this claim is the core of your argument I was hoping to hear some evidence for this other than you just stating it. The problem is that no matter how much finite mass / existence you have, it is still finite. Since it is finite there will always be a surrounding infinite amount of space. Therefore no matter how big or small existence is, whether it is just this universe or a massive multiverse, it doesn’t exist according to your argument. The only way for anything to exist then would be if mass was infinite in quantity; i.e. there was no limit to the amount of mass in reality. Infinity doesn’t exist in reality but only exists in mathematics. But you are not arguing an infinite existence so where does this leave us? It leaves us with an unsupported first premise. It is just a statement with no evidential back up.

You state that in my first argued problem of premise one that I argued for an infinite universe. I’m not sure where you getting that because if you look back at my first posed problem of premise one it says nothing of the sort. Moving on…

Your rebuttal of my posed second problem of premise one is as follows: “I am proving that if something did exist, then it could not exist.” This is my problem here Con. You have not proved anything. In stead all you have done in support of premise one, and the entire argument itself, is restate it in several different ways. There is no logical or evidential support for any of it. On contrary I have given logical and evidential support of why it is false.

Premise one still holds no water. It is purely just a statement of Con’s own philosophical thoughts but has no place in the realm of logical argumentation.

Premise 2:
Here I am saying that in relation to existence there is no longer nothingness. There is a potential infinite of space for existence (the universe) to expand into. Existence is not “in” nothing. Nothing is nothing and has no relation to existence other than it is the absence of it. You have not given a rebuttal to this either. You either misunderstood my argument or have changed it to sound contradictory. I am saying that space (existence) is not in nothing, but is in a potential infinite amount of space (distance).

You also say, “By saying there is nothing I say that something cannot be if it is indeed in a state of nothingness”. Again you have given no support as to why existence is in a state of nothingness. These are all just statements with no back up.

Premise two still holds no water. No evidential or logical support has been given for it. Even if the two premises did logically conclude the stated conclusion they have been entirely refuted.


Conclusion:
Con’s concluding arguments are as follows in bold with my arguments below each:
  1. I have proved that premises one and two are true, therefore making the conclusion true.
    Con has not proved anything in this entire debate. Only statements have been made with no evidence. If your statements were true they would provide evidence for the conclusion but no evidence was given for the premises themselves. On the other hand I have given good reason logically why they are absolutely false.
  2. In my definition, when I said that space is all reality, I meant that space is all that is reality for the common person; i.e. everything physical.
    First this isn’t a concluding argument. Secondly this isn’t the definition you gave for space. You gave dictionary.com’s definition being, “the unlimited or incalculably great three-dimensional realm or expanse in which all material objects are located and all events occur. In this is distance, time, and anything else which has physical properties.”
  3. You said, “If space does not exist, then I do not exist, Con does not exist, the voter/reader does not exist, and this debate does not exist”. Who is saying it does?
    a. I am saying it does. I also gave evidence for this in showing how if there is any form of thought then something must exist. If something exists then your conclusion is false. Since I am here experiencing life as I experience it, then something surely exists. If nothing was all there was there would be no thought, or more tangibly no experiential reality.
  4. “If the conclusion is that space does not exist, then that would also conclude that there is only nothingness.” The problem with this statement is you are using nothingness as if it were something. Nothingness is not something; it is the absence of everything. It seems like you cannot quite grasp that notion yet.
    a. Where are you deriving this from? This entire debate I have been explaining nothingness as just that…nothing. No properties, no reality, no existence, just nothing. I have never once mistaken nothing as being a form of something. In fact I believe that you have a misunderstanding of “nothingness” in that you think that existence is “in” nothing. I have shown how this is false in that there is a potential infinite of space. Nothingness is not a reality when there is existence. You are trying to argue that the two are in an intimate relationship as you argue that the universe is in nothing. You are confusing space (distance definition) with nothingness. I have in the previous rounds shown how this is false. You have given no rebuttal to it.
  5. “Even if I existed as a sole singularity (in order to have thought or consciousness) then there is still some form of existence negating the conclusion.” I agree that if one thing existed, there would be existence. However, what proof do you have that you exist? There is none, as I will show when refuting your argument below.
    Your last concluding argument then goes into attacking my logic of showing how at least one thing must exist in that there is some form of reality.
    a. You agree with premise one…great joy!
    b. I used a famous argument for a jump start. As you can see I adapted it to prove that there at least must be, even if just a singularity, existence. My argument doesn’t have to prove the “I” in the premise. It does prove though that there is something with conscious thought that is either I, or something else capable of consciously projecting itself as me. Since my reality exists, either in the form of myself experiencing it, or some entity that is experiencing it through the likeness of my mind then it, even if it is the sole of existence, does in fact exist. So premise 2 holds.
    c. Since premise one is true, and premise two is true, the conclusion logically follows and is true. Simply arguing against my second premise as if it were the premise used by Rene Descartes and not my adapted form does not negate it. You have to argue against my premise in the context that I proposed it in.

Closing Thoughts
  1. I have shown how Con’s argument falls apart when it is examined. Con has not provided any support for her premises, and only has asserted them to make the conclusion true. I have given evidence to show how they are false and therefore have won this debate.
  2. I have given a logical argument in support of existence in contrast to Con’s argument. Con really didn’t negate the premises or the conclusion and thus my argument holds. Let me restate my argument in the form of a series of questions:
    a. I, and all of reality doesn’t exist?
    b. Does that mean there is nothing?
    c. Then how do I see this computer?
    d. Even if I don’t exist, isn’t something existing to make up this make-believe reality, and hence this computer?
    e. Wouldn’t nothingness have no computer whether real or imagined?
    You can logically conclude here that the idea that nothing exists is false. Something does exist, even if it’s not the reality as we see it to be, something does in fact exist.

Thank you quantummechanics97 for this debate, and I am glad to have been able to take part in one of your first debates on this site.

Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Crede 5 years ago
Crede
lol, probably not...the media would see that I'm an honest politician and then do everything they could to destroy me. It's how it works unfortunately. Look at Ron Paul.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Mmm, that makes me want to vote for you. :D
Posted by Crede 5 years ago
Crede
Thanks...I think...but I would make a horrible politician. I am too straight forward and not afraid to call b.s. on people. I wouldn't last long.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
I see that I mixed up Pro and Con in the first two paragraphs of my RFD.
Posted by quantummechanics97 5 years ago
quantummechanics97
Crede: you would make an excelent politician...
Posted by Crede 5 years ago
Crede
The debate didn't get that much attention anyway.
Posted by Crede 5 years ago
Crede
I definitely could have expanded more on the conclusion negating the first premise. I did mention it though in round two with the second problem of premise one. It definitely could have been used for a bigger blow though. Either way this still was a fairly easy debate in that Con gave no real evidence.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
This debate would have been easier to follow if the resolution had been a simple declarative sentence phrased positively rather than negatively.

Resolved: Nothing exists.

Then Quantum would have been Pro, and Crede would have been Con, and there would be less confusion.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
If Con wanted to argue that nothing exists, he shouldn't have made the resolution about something else. Pro graciously accepted the change of topic that Con announced in round two. Con kept accusing Pro of failing to grasp Pro's points, when the problem lay in Pro's inarticulateness.

Conduct point to Con.

Both sides committed the fallacy of denying the consequent.

Con stakes his case on the claim that everything that exists exists in something else.

Pro points out that if that were true, then nothing would exist. Pro isn't as articulate as me in pointing out that if nothing exists then we have no grounds for believing that things can exist only in other things. There's no a priori argument for that. And if nothing exists, then there can be no a posteriori argument either. So there's no possible support for Con's first premise. We have no reason to believe it. We have, therefore, no reason to believe Con's conclusion.

Well, while Pro wasn't as clear about articulating the above as I just was, he did his best to nuzzle up against it. He came close enough.

Advantage: Pro.

Pro also used an entirely different refutation. He pointed out that if Con's logic were correct, then nothing at all would exist. Thus, Con's case is refuted if any one thing exists. Pro then pointed out that some things do exist. Therefore, Cons argument fails.

Advantage: Pro.

Con's comeback was to affect not to believe anything, and to challenge Pro to prove the obvious in the face of Con's stubborn denial of the obvious. This seems to me more of a temper tantrum than an argument. It is a generic response, not aimed at any particular debate, nor relevant to any debate. Pro could have come back with, "Oh yeah!" but he was dignified enough not to.

Pro both showed that we have no reason to accept Con's first premise, so we have no reason to accept his conclusion. He also showed that Con's conclusion is wrong.

Victory to Pro.
Posted by Crede 5 years ago
Crede
I have a feeling I know where this debate is going.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
quantummechanics97CredeTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.