The Instigator
Cogito-ergo-sum
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
ChuckHenryII
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

'facts' are not objective

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
ChuckHenryII
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/8/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,179 times Debate No: 12174
Debate Rounds (1)
Comments (12)
Votes (4)

 

Cogito-ergo-sum

Pro

Good day to you all. I will be taking the the role of Pro, I am in the affirmative that 'facts' are not objective. This debate is round in total, for each Pro and Con to make a one shot attempt at the objectivity of facts.

To begin some definitions -
[1] objective
[2] fact

I have heard and read many times that you 'cannot argue with fact' - well I am here to say you can, and should.

A lot of objective facts are true at the moment and cannot be argued against because there is not yet another fact to stand against it, there will always be a get out clause for things which are rules and have decisive statements about the nature of things. I am not arguing this against things like nouns, I can accept a table is a table, it is a labeled term used to describe a certain something....For now :P

A personal example I would like to give, which some people may be able to relate to is as follows -
I was in High School studying physics in my science class, the teacher gave three examples of the states of molecules in either a gas, liquid of solid form. It followed that gas particles are spaced far apart and travelling at a higher speed than a liquid, which isn't spaced as far apart but gives it motion enough to move above and adapt to the shape of its container or place of rest. Molecules in a solid were packed together in uniform rows and this is why solids are in a turgid/rigid structure. Now that part of learning was going to be over, done with, if you say the right thing on the test as you've been taught, great, test passed. Then I asked - if the part regarding solids is correct, why does water expand when it turns into ice? He explained, I checked it and it was true, water when frozen does expand as the molecules in ice are aligned differently.
Why was I told that molecules in a solid are in such uniformity when they clearly always aren't? Why was I subjected to be being told this as fact by my teacher, the text book in front of me and soon a test paper with grades pending on me regurgitating this pseudo truth? [5] Not the exact info I had before, but the images are accurate.

Isn't it always 'I' before 'E' except after 'C'? Hello the word 'SCIENCE'!

Do you remember the good ol' days when the Sun used to go round the earth? Was a pretty good fact of how our little solar system worked, wouldn't you agree? Then enter the Heliocentric theory[3] Suddenly the 'fact' had changed, trumped by a new, better, bigger and shinier 'fact'.

If I may amend and edit a term used by Douglas Wilson - "But this is just a provisional judgment. Our perspective may evolve to an entirely different one some years hence,"[4] The quote is taken from a religious debate pertaining to morals, but it works when transplanted into this category. You can be 100% right, right now for this moment, but do not condescend with the arrogance to assume it will last! To do so would be to claim that 'facts' are infinite, yet we know them not to be.

It stems through all realms of discovery; an example of this is that the atom was thought to be the smallest thing, then it was the proton & electron, then an Up Quark/Down Quark. It is so systemic that things are so temporary in terms of them being foundational to our understanding. You would not build a home of unsafe foundations, so why build schools of learning on them?

Over to you Con.

"Facts are many, but the truth is one." - Rabindranath Tagore

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[3]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.christianitytoday.com...
[5] http://www.docbrown.info...
ChuckHenryII

Con

To begin, I would like to thank my opponent for this opportunity and look forward to the debate. As con it will be my job to prove that facts are objective, which means (in a nutshell) that they are unaffected by an individual's personal opinions.

First off, I will present my definition of a fact. As for objective, I will use the same as my opponent, mainly the third definition.

fact- verified information about past or present circumstances or events which are presented as objective reality. In science, meaning a verifiable observation.

Now on to my arguments:

1. Lets say that I want to touch the ceiling and I think that I am too short. Just because I think I'm too short doesn't mean that I can't touch the ceiling, I could perhaps use a ladder to do so. The FACT is that I CAN touch the ceiling. This is objective because I CAN touch the ceiling, aside from my personal opinions that I am too short.

2. My definition of a fact talks about information in the PAST or PRESENT, nowhere does it say anything about the future. Also, facts are created. My opponent recalls the time when the Earth was thought to be the center of the universe. This was a fact because it was based on what they knew at that time, and this was not affected by anyone's opinions because it was all they knew. Once a new FACT was known (the sun is the center), it made the other fact false, or not a fact anymore. This wasn't due to someone's opinions, but an advancement in technology, therefore it is still objective.

3. Carrying over from point two a bit is the fact that most of my opponents points, if not all of them, are talking about changes due to new knowledge, which I refuted and explained in my second point. These changes are NOT due to any individual's personal opinions, and are not affected by them, so they are all objective.

I think what I have said in the past three points covers just about everything stated by opponent and for this reason I'll stop here. Also, I hope what I have said is clear and understandable by the readers so that it will be an enjoyable and close debate for them to vote on. Lastly, I thank my opponent for this debate opportunity and wish him the best of luck.
Debate Round No. 1
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by m93samman 7 years ago
m93samman
J.Kenyon wins
Posted by J.Kenyon 7 years ago
J.Kenyon
Lol...any analytic proposition is an objective fact.
Posted by Cogito-ergo-sum 7 years ago
Cogito-ergo-sum
Well said RoyLatham.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
It seems to me that neither side distinguished between facts themselves and transient beliefs and knowledge of facts. Fact don't change or go out of date, but our knowledge certainly does. One might argue that facts are not knowable with absolute certainty; if so, that would no challenge the existence of facts or that our knowedge of them can be determined objectively. Pro had the burden of proof, so the arguments go to Con.
Posted by Puck 7 years ago
Puck
Self refuting. :P
Posted by Cogito-ergo-sum 7 years ago
Cogito-ergo-sum
It was foolish of me to involve myself in two debates at once, I can see now I should have polished this debate more before posting it. Well done Chuck!
Posted by Cogito-ergo-sum 7 years ago
Cogito-ergo-sum
@ ChuckHenryII - so far it is tie in our 1-round-1-shot debates.
Posted by LaLaLa 7 years ago
LaLaLa
Cogito-ergo-sum, you should read Freire (if you haven't already). He basically explains that there are two forms of education "the banking method" and "Student-teacher method" (he doesn't call it that btw). The banking method is where teachers just tell students what is true and what is false. In the other method, the teacher both teaches and learns from the students. At the same time the students both learn from and teach the teacher. Thus students have the ability to dispute the facts and each student can form his/her own decision about what the actual fact is.
Posted by Cogito-ergo-sum 7 years ago
Cogito-ergo-sum
*1 round in total.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by wesswll 7 years ago
wesswll
Cogito-ergo-sumChuckHenryIITied
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Vote Placed by belle 7 years ago
belle
Cogito-ergo-sumChuckHenryIITied
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Vote Placed by whatledge 7 years ago
whatledge
Cogito-ergo-sumChuckHenryIITied
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Vote Placed by Yvette 7 years ago
Yvette
Cogito-ergo-sumChuckHenryIITied
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