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The Contender
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You can not prove or disprove anything

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/5/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 625 times Debate No: 79418
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
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First round is acceptance only

This debate ought to be purely philosophical so I'm not going to bother with explanations of "prove" and "disprove". Be mindful of that and don't bend the rules too much.

Good luck!


I accept the challenge. I look forward to a good debate!
Debate Round No. 1


Even though the debate fomat is philosophical, the word "prove" comes from science when man made their first discoveries/experiments. Thus I'm going to use some examples from science throughout the debate.

Imagine a scientist. He's trying to prove that oil floats on water. He has a bottle of water and a bottle of oil. He pours the oil onto the water and the oil floats. He does this 10 times and the outcome is always the same. He doesn't know the reason for it so he discovers density. He does the same experiment with other liquids and measures the density of water and oil. He got proof on paper that water has more density on oil.Now, what if another scientist came along and did the same experiment (with the same water and oil) and the water magically started to float on oil? How can you effectively prove that this would never happen? There's an infinite number of attempts you can do on the experiment. How can you possibly prove that water can and will never float on oil? The concept of "proof" was made by man to rule out the invalid, or more accurately what we thought was invalid. So in conclusion the concept of proof that we mechanically constructed exists, however, proof of anything in the universe does not exist. In an infinite number of attempts to prove or disprove anything, any attempt can be the exception.


Since my opponent has not provided a debate structure, I am allowed to choose whether I'm only going to make opening arguments or make opening arguments and rebut my opponent's claims at the same time. Therefore, I choose to make opening arguments and rebut my opponent's claims at the same time.


Argument 1 - Pro's Self-Contradiction

Self-contradiction - "Inconsistency between aspects or parts of a whole"

You need evidence to back up your claims. If I had a box sitting on my table, I would have to open it up, in whatever method, and check to see what is inside to make any justifiable claims as to what it contains.

The same concept applies to my opponent. Pro claims that it is not possible to really prove or disprove anything. However, being a claim, that too requires evidence. Therefore, this can be passed off as a self-contradiction.


Rebuttal 1 - Reason for Everything

"He has a bottle of water and a bottle of oil. He pours the oil onto the water and the oil floats. He does this 10 times and the outcome is always the same... Now, what if another scientist came along and did the same experiment (with the same water and oil) and the water magically started to float on oil?"

My guess is that you are using this example from an article you found online.

It has always been regarded as a fact that oil floats above water.

"Normally what determines whether something floats or not is its density. For instance, hot air is less dense than cooler air, which is why hot-air balloons float. Crude oil has a density of about 58 pounds per cubic foot, and so floats on seawater, which has a density of 64 pounds per cubic foot."

However, an experiment, held by whomever, led to the discovery that water can float above oil as well.

"Water can float on oil, suggest new findings defying conventional wisdom that could have important applications in cleaning up oil spills that endanger seashores and fisheries, researchers say."

However, upon further reading, this is only due to a change in the conditions of the experiment.

"The key behind the counterintuitive results involves how tightly the molecules in a liquid stick to one another as opposed to something else. The strength of this force between like molecules determines the liquid's surface tension — how likely it resists an external force...

The researchers added tiny amounts of water to drops of various types of oil. These water droplets could float on the oil, depending on how large they were and the type of oil that was used. Commercial vegetable oil has enough surface tension to support the droplets..."

Regardless of whether or not you used that example upon coincidence, it doesn't change the facts; Nothing out of the ordinary occurs without reason. In this case, the vegetable oil had enough surface tension, therefore being dense enough, to hold up the water droplets.

I am eager to read my opponent's upcoming response.
Debate Round No. 2


My apologies, I'm not used to using these fancy debating structures so my arguments will just look like plain texts.

You stated that my claim requires evidence to back it up. In other words you want me to "prove" that my claim is true. You see, this creates an inception (I hope you've seen the movie, because I don't know how else to describe it) where I need to prove something when my whole point of the debate is that it's impossible to prove anything. How can I do something that I deem impossible? Or how can I possibly participate in a reasonable debate when I have no facts? There are no facts because facts require proof.

I'm glad you brought up the self-contradiction. You're right, this whole matter does indeed raise a self-contradiction. But that is because the conception of this debate is self-contradictory. My claim of "You can not prove or disprove anything" has no proof to back it up so you might as well deem it false from the beginning, one might say. But I dare you to disprove it. Thus, my claim is neither right or wrong, and that was my essential claim in other words anyway.

Rebuttal 1

I didn't actually use any websites, I just thought of a simple scientific fact that would be clear to anybody. I'm glad that my idea happened to be article-worthy, though.

Okay, you dug out an article about someone actually making water float on oil. As seen from your quotes this does not actually happen because of density and instead because of scientific reasons I can't completely understand. Now, I do congratulate you for the good find but I did mention in my argument that quoting: "Now, what if another scientist came along and did the same experiment (with the same water and oil)". With the same water and oil I put in brackets. Maybe I wasn't clear enough. What I was going for is that the other scientist would carry out the same experiment with EXACTLY the same conditions. So no water droplets in oil.

I was hoping for a philosophical reasoning why this could actually never happen. Because we all already know scientifically why it wouldn't.

And please, take the freedom to once again provide the structure of the debate as I don't know how to.

Hope to hear from you soon.


Spytek forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


That's a shame


Spytek forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Stensson 2 years ago
You can challenge me for a debate if you want to do it.
Posted by Thayer 2 years ago
I would love to debate this topic, and prove the existence of proof.
Posted by Stensson 2 years ago
I listed this as philosophy. Why do people think that philosophic debates require scientific evidence to back it up. And for the record I was just trying to engage in an interesting paradox debate rather than getting a cheesy win.
Posted by Oneseedykiwi 2 years ago
What the hell is this debate? The duck is providing "what if" as if anything following that is any kind of solid evidence. Also, clearly there are millions of things that can be proven. Seriously, have I missed something, or is this a debate of utmost silliness? I think the latter.
Posted by Stensson 2 years ago
Everything about philosophy is confusing.
Posted by Fudge_Packer 2 years ago
I don't know, man. Reminds me of all the liberals I've know who mentally masturbate too much and are confused about everything.
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