The Instigator
Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
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The Universe is Real

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/12/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,032 times Debate No: 52291
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




The title may have been slightly misleading:
I do not argue the position that the universe doesn't exist, but rather that it is impossible to prove the reality or unreality of everything.
The burden of proof is on pro to prove that either everything is real or it is not.

This is the structure of the debate:

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening statements
Round 3: Rebuttals and new points
Round 4: Final rebuttals (no new points)
Round 5: Conclusion (no new points, just summary)


I'll accept. State your case.
Debate Round No. 1


The definition of real which I will be using is that of the Oxford English Dictionary:
"Actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed"
This means that dreams, electronic signals, etc. do not count as real. While the electronic signals of the dreamer or computer are real, the world they create is not.

I will begin by listing a few possibilities in which we and the universe in which we reside do not exist:

First, and most conceivably, it could be possible that some person or thing in a universe outside our own is dreaming up our universe, and we are nothing but a figment of the imagination.

Next, it could be possible that the real year is 89 027 827 and humanity in the name of history has begun to run simulations on the distant past in which minute details have been changed to record the differences on the modern day. e.g. John Smith turns right at 7:37 on Mar 10, 1973, instead of left. My opponent, in his rebuttals, may use the Renaissance-era statement by Ren" Descartes "Cogito ergo sum" [I think therefore I am]. However, since the amount of possibilities for a completely unknown variable is infinite, it is entirely possible that the computing power is available to simulate every atom of every neuron in every man's brain, and all electric impulses that make that simulated brain function. Since one can only see if he is thinking himself, it could be possible that only you can think, and all other beings act as facades of thought to save computing power.

It could be possible that the earth is a desolate wasteland and Mars is the center of life. At amusement rides, Martian children step into a booth in which a lifetime as a "human" on the neighboring planet earth is simulated just for gags.

The problem is, reality cannot be proved. It cannot be proved if this is all just a dream, historical simulation, amusement park ride, or anything else, because tests cannot be run outside of the universe. All scientific tests, such as those on the existence of electrons, quarks, protons, neutrons, gamma rays, etc., can be run, but only inside our universe following our universe's laws of physics. One cannot prove the existence or nonexistence of anything without exiting the realm of that thing, which physics prohibits us from doing. This is the same reason why the existence or nonexistence of God is unprovable. It is said that he resides outside of our universe, and since we cannot exit that universe, we cannot scientifically prove or disprove the existence of such a god.

I await Pro's opening statement, and I urge all: vote Con.


gryephon forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Since my opponent forfeited the round, I have no rebuttals to make or new points to introduce. Vote con.


I'm sorry, I can't seem to do this debate because i'm not real but a figment of the imagination. If I were real i could do it, but I really can't. And there is another problem. Voters can't really vote because they aren't real. If they could, then that is my proof that the universe is real because the voters would have to be real to really vote. So they really can't vote Con now can they?

Your aguments are mute anyway, because the imagination require an imaginer. So something has to be real for the imagination to exist, and something is real (the imagination won't count because its not a thing) therefore there is a reall universe. This just isn't apart of the universe.

Debate Round No. 3


To Pro's first statement, I would like to say that a character in a dream would be able to post a debate response in a universe inside their own dream. The same goes for the voters voting.

Next I would like to say that Pro's response was unprofessional in that instead of attempting to begin with evidence for the reality of the universe, (which, by the way, refers to THIS universe, not any universe in a universe in a universe, etc) he began by crude, immature, and unprofessional mockery of my side of the debate.

The only real [in the universe in which we reside] attempt of evidence is his comment that since any imagination requires an imaginer who must be real.

"Your aguments [<--spelling mistake] are mute anyway, because the imagination require an imaginer. So something has to be real for the imagination to exist, and something is real (the imagination won't count because it[']s not a thing) therefore there is a reall [<--spelling mistake] universe. This just isn't a[insert a space here]part of the universe."

Pro treats my arguments as if I am saying that the universe is imagined. I am saying no such thing. I am saying that there are an infinite amount of possibilities, including, but not limited to, being a part of the imagination. Since every variable is an unknown variable, there are an infinite amount of possibilities. Some can be conceived, some cannot. To debunk your statement, I will give a possible scenario in which nothing is actually real.

There is a group of scientists/historians in the distant future, let us say in the year 90 000 000 AD (CE if you prefer). They are running a simulation in which John Smith turned right at 7:37 on Mar 10, 1973. In their world, he turned left. In the simulated world, it is a fact that John Smith turned right. The same group of scientists/historians runs their own simulations in the belief that their universe is real. One of these simulations is that John Smith turned left at 7:37 on Mar 10, 1973. In their reality, he turned right. Their simulation is the universe which is simulating them. It is an infinite loop of simulation in which there is no real universe ultimately doing the simulation, therefore nothing would be real.

Round 4 is just rebuttals to the opponent's new points in Round 3. Since Pro has forfeited Round 2, and I introduced no new points in Round 3 because of his Round 2 absence, Pro cannot have any rebuttals. A rebuttal to this is not allowed as this is a FINAL rebuttal, and no rebuttals can be made to points in Round 3, as there were none.

Because of Pro's lack of professionalism, lack of proof that the universe is real or not, and lack of spell check, vote Con.


Pro cannot have any rebuttals

Con’s round 1 simply states. “Round 4: Final rebuttals (no new points)” and to note, there was no agreement that Con was allowed to make amendments to the original debate agreement.

You failed to specify Pro could not rebut rebuttals made in round 4, you also did not say Pro was required to respond to points raised in the previous round. This entire post is a rebuttal to round 4 rebuts. A rebut as defined on the google define search is “claim or prove that (evidence or an accusation) is false.” My entire post falls within this definition (I will scratch out quotes that I’m rebutting). Also if you say rebuttals and points are the same, then technically you yourself failed to uphold your end of the agreement as your “rebuttals” are technically new points, it doesn’t matter if it was rebutting round 3, it does specifically state “no new points” regardless of what round your rebutting.

a character in a dream would be able to post a debate response in a universe inside their own dream. The same goes for the voters voting.

Nope, even If it was their own dream they couldn’t vote. You can’t read inside a dream, so you can’t really vote on DDO. Go to sleep and read debate topics, never going to happen. It’s not even possible. You can even try lucid dreaming, not going to happen, dreams has its limits.

Pro's response was unprofessional

Unprofessional? This may come as a shock to you, but I’m not a professional, I don’t get paid to debate you. As far as I know, no one on DDO gets paid to debate anyone (Correct me if I’m wrong, I would certainly like to get paid) You demand me to act like a professional, but you don’t treat me like a professional because you don’t pay me. Why should I be required to submit to your wishes when you don’t treat me like one?

(which, by the way, refers to THIS universe, not any universe in a universe in a universe, etc)

You say things like “this universe” or “Universe which we reside”, you do know that there is no other universe right? One can prove this false by looking up the definition for universe, it means “all existing matter and space considered as a whole” Note the word “all” Nothing can be outside of “all”. There can be no other universe, it’s not even possible.

he began by crude, immature, and unprofessional mockery of my side of the debate.

So? Your entire case mocks reality. For saying this is not real mocks my intelligence that it is real. For If I showed say a pencil, you would mock the evidence by saying you can’t prove this is not a dream. So I choose to go a different route and play along with the assumption that I’m not real to point out the absurdity in it.

Pro treats my arguments as if I am saying that the universe is imagined.

Yes, I treat your arguments that you’re saying that this is imagined. And there aren’t an infinite amount of possibilities, there are only 2, it’s either imagined or not imagined. There might be an infinite amount of “variations” to the same 2 possibilities, but only 2, it is imagined or not. If you explore the imagined, then you have to have an imaginer, so something is unimagined (which makes something real!). And obviously if it is not imagined, then I easily win. Whichever possibility you roll with the universe is real, the difference is that you’re dreaming in the real universe, or you’re not dreaming and it’s still real.

There is a group of scientists/historians in the distant future

The problem with that example, is that you use the term “reality”. If its reality, that means it’s real. It doesn’t matter if it’s simulated, or not simulated, if its reality it’s real. It doesn’t matter if its been running infinitely. If it’s imagined, then simply it requires an imaginer (something unimagined) which does follow a real universe for something unimagined.

Another problem is that, there is no evidence to prove that it’s even possible. It’s only a claim that it’s possible, I say his claim to it is entirely imaginary. You can’t replicate that evidence in “this universe” as con would call it. So Con can’t prove his own arguments. What is brought up without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.

My position can show real things (e.g. toys, guns, voters, etc.) His position can’t show anything at all for any of his arguments.

Because of Pro's lack of professionalism, lack of proof that the universe is real or not, and lack of spell check, vote Con.

No, I did provide proof. Voters. As I stated they can’t really vote without a real universe. I still hold to that. You can easily falsify it. Imagine voting Con in your mind, and then check to see if you actually voted on DDO. No matter how many times you vote in your mind, you will not be able to vote on DDO, because you’re voting inside your imagination, not really voting on DDO. Now I say stop imagining voting on DDO and really vote Pro to know that I’m right, cool ain’t it?

My burden of proof is as lite as a feather for me. For proof that the universe is real one simply needs to pull out a bird’s feather and show it. Because of the media of which this debate occurs in I can’t feasiably show it directly (without using photos), so I choose voters as proof themselves in place of feathers. If you refuse to believe in the voters (saying they are possibly unreal), I’m sorry, I can’t help a fool who wishes to believe his folly over reality.

Seeing isn’t believing but believing is seeing as the proverb goes.

Debate Round No. 4


Aeon forfeited this round.


Vote in favor for pro. Thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by gryephon 7 years ago
No, reality is "the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them." (kind of like the definition for real) by con )metaphysics on the other hand "is a traditional branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it" (wikipedia)

One leans more towards "explanation", which could be said a "notional idea of them" Reality on the other hand has more to do with how things actually are as opposed to their explanation.

The opposite of reality would be the imagined. And yes, the imaginary is different then reality, for one cannot learn knowledge inside the imagination. No one has ever woken up one day and instantly knew how to program php (or any programming language) Your imagination is limited to things you already know.

And yes I can prove things to myself, because I know how to acquire knowledge. You can't prove to yourself because you refuse to accept the proof. The proof is, your living reality. All knowledge comes from faith. If you have no faith in the proof, I can't help you.
Posted by buhbuhbogie 7 years ago
You can not prove anything is real. You can prove things true in terms of our understanding of the universe. But isn't reality a metaphysical concept? I like to view the world as dualistic, to simplify concepts, so I see things defined by their opposites, form and void (matter and ether), etc. What is the opposite of reality? The mystical experience is no less "real" than taking a sh*t, right?
Posted by RowanM 7 years ago
But by taking the con side you are arguing that the universe is not real, and you just said you can't know if it is.
Posted by CJKAllstar 7 years ago
Basically a debate about solipsism.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: There is no solution to Hard Solipsism that I'm aware of. I think it was disingenuous of Con to even instigate this debate. Pro trolled it but, honestly, didn't troll it particularly well. So I can't award points to anybody as far as I'm concerned. Null vote. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.

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