The Instigator
Yorble
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
petersaysstuff
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Glass is Half Empty and Half Full

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Yorble
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/11/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,796 times Debate No: 16444
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (0)
Votes (4)

 

Yorble

Pro

This is my first debate here actually, so I picked a simpler topic to start off with.

Theoretically speaking, this is the glass of water in question. Suppose it is exactly at the 50% mark, with only air and water in the area it can be filled.
http://mauifeed.com...

Argument 1- The glass is half full.

Because the glass is at the exact level of 50 percent occupancy, it is filled with water halfway up.

Argument 2a- The glass is half empty.

At 50%, there is another half. Therefore, the other part must be filled.

Argument 2b- Further explanation

If we start from the fact that the glass is half empty, the conclusion that there's half of it filled is logical.

Argument 3- Filled with what?

Not counting the materials necessary to make the glass, the available area to "fill" contains two base ingredients- Water and air. Thus, because the sentences end halfway through, we can conclude that its ambiguity regarding what is taking the "half".

I wish my opponent best of luck in this debate. Let's make this a courteous yet intriguing skirmish.
petersaysstuff

Con

First I want to thank my opponent for posing this interesting debate. Well since this cannot be argued from a theoretical standpoint I will take this on from the scientific standpoint. I will be using quantum mechanics.

I argue that:

a) We cannot truly know the volume of the glass and
b) it will never exactly half full/half empty

A: The methods used to measure it will change the volume of water. For example if we were to stick a ruler in the water to measure it we have changed the water level due to displacement. If we were to hold the ruled to the side of the glass we would not get an accurate reading due to the fact that the light will be refracted and magnified and the water level will appear higher/lower.

B: The glass will never be one or the other due to a property called quantum fluctuations. Quantum fluctuations rely on Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and the fact that in a given area energy is not constant hence energy will well up from the quantum vacuum.[1] This means that particles can spontaneously come into and out of existence for no reason at all. This is happening all the time on quantum levels everywhere including in the cup of water. Bearing this in mind we can see that particles can and will pop into and out of existence constantly inside the glass thus changing the volume - although not by much - thus it is not safe to conclude that the glass is "half full" or "half empty" simply because the physical laws of the universe do not allow things to remain static.

Conclusion: Bearing this in mind one cannot say with certainty that the glass is either half empty or half full thus my opponent's claim of certainty is false. The glass is not half empty/half full at the same time. In fact it is never half of anything. It is either more full or more empty!

[1] Greene, B. ""Quantum Weirdness"" The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the
Ultimate Theory. New York: W.W. Norton, 1999. Print.
Debate Round No. 1
Yorble

Pro

A. I admit that using a ruler or other measuring device of that sort would cause changes in the human perception of the true amount. However, by using a precision scale, we can calculate the weight of the water. Place a cup of glass (X) exactly like the former, and write down its weight. Next, carefully place our very first container (Y) in the scale and get its weight as well. By subtracting X's weight from Y, we get the weight of the water. Then we get the empty cup and fill it completely, and divide the water's weight by 2. Because the former is filled halfway though, the numbers will be equal, thus proving a completely different method of measuring without the use of devices that trick the human eye.

B. You claim that it will never be at the exact level, but because of the uncertainty principle, it is entirely possible for the glass to be at the exact 50% level at some point or the other, even for a splitting millisecond. Hence, the possibility of the glass maintaining that level at the time it was photographed and weighed stands.

Conclusion: By using the method above and the probability that the glass is at the exact level because of the uncertainty principle, my opponent's arguments are nulled. It is all too possible to happen, unlike the "never" we're told. Finally, an accurate scale gives clear numerical values that cannot be misinterpreted thanks to the crystal-clear numbers on the LCD screen. Evidence that such high-precision instruments can be seen by the Ohaus Explorer Pro EP32001 High Capacity Precision Series [1}.

This truly was intriguing, and I look forward to debating my opponent in the future.
I rest my case.

[1]- http://www.oldwillknottscales.com...
petersaysstuff

Con

Regarding A: You are correct. I recant this statement.

B: "You claim that it will never be at the exact level, but because of the uncertainty principle, it is entirely possible for the glass to be at the exact 50% level at some point or the other,"
This is actually false. Considering the enormity of the quantum vacuum in the water, huge for all of you who don't know, there will be millions of particles popping into and out of existence every second. This will never stop. They just keep popping and disapering. My opponent's statement would be valid only if, I repeat only if, the quantum vacuum in the water was a Planck length by a Planck length by a Planck length (massively small). If this were the case then it would be very unlikely that anything would pop into and out of existence but considering that there are literally millions of millions of billions of Planck lengths^3 there will ALWAYS be particles popping into and out of existence. There are no exceptions.
"even for a splitting millisecond"
False, see above. (BTW the particles pop into and out of existence every 10^-43 seconds)
"hence, the possibility of the glass maintaining that level at the time it was photographed and weighed stands."
Not true at all. The weighing and photographing of the water will take seconds to minutes so even if we go with the assertion that for 10^-43 seconds there is no extra particles (which is false seeing as there always is) the cup would still be being weighed and photographed and no camera has a shutter speed fast enough to capture the image in 10^-43 seconds.

In conclusion there will always be particles popping into and out of existence regardless of what my opponent says. The sheer magnitude of the quantum vacuum in the cup nullifies his claim that there will be a time when nothing is popping into existence. There are always particles popping into existence hence the glass is NOT half full/half empty. Case closed. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 2
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4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by detachment345 5 years ago
detachment345
YorblepetersaysstuffTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's math was very convincing.
Vote Placed by BennyW 5 years ago
BennyW
YorblepetersaysstuffTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con made a valient effort at trying to refute the argument but I think pro pretty much set up an unbeatable argument.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
YorblepetersaysstuffTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Very clever refutation from Con, however deftly handled by Pro. 1 pt to Pro
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
YorblepetersaysstuffTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro used math and had refuted his arguments.