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General Discussion => Community Debates Forum => Topic started by: DiogenesOfSinope on February 26, 2017, 12:36:14 am

Title: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: DiogenesOfSinope on February 26, 2017, 12:36:14 am
So I've been debating on the cosmological arguments for the existence of God with an opponent/friend of mine.

We've recently hit a roadblock that neither of us can move away from. I have presented her with the typical 'Premise 1' of the cosmological argument (specifically, Leibniz's):

Quote
1. Whatever exists has an explanation for its existence, either through a cause or by its own necessity

Whilst debating 'Reality' (despite this entire debate actually being a debate on cosmology), my debate opponent does not accept my logical lines of argument or even citations are enough to accurately prove the nature of reality as we know it. She is claiming that she may or may not be hallucinating (be in a simulation or unknown other experience), therefore,  there is a chance that she is not experiencing reality in its true form. She postulates that reality outside of her consciousness is probably ultimately unknowable, and that therefore, Leibniz's first premise is unknowable since existence itself is unknowable.

Another example is me pointing out to her that an object in her room exists, to which she replied "But how do I know it does?" - it's from this debate tactic she employs that I find myself struggling to move on in the debate, befuddled by her logic.

Any others here experienced this or have advice on how we can both agree to the first premise of the cosmological argument?
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: SirIrb on February 27, 2017, 12:41:17 pm
If it is an illusion then where did the illusion come from? Thats where I would go with it. Dont let them use illusion as an out. For more on this see R.C. Sproul in Classical Apologetics. His cosmological argument is more layman than others so it fits me.

My first post.

Im Steve, by the way.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: 4teatwo on April 04, 2017, 09:59:10 pm
welcome Steve. Indeed the question about the origin of the illusion is a valid point.
Considering that science if founded on the premise that everything is causal and that the ultimate cause and that the consequences of that cause are bound by rules / laws that must also have an ultimate cause.

If one denies causality one has no chance to have a rational interaction with reality and might as well get a tin foil head and believe to be a helicopter.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Lespaul_Lover on May 31, 2017, 04:37:24 pm
Man that would be frustrating to have to wrestle with. The first thing that comes to mind for me is pursuing her notion of this illusion more. Asking her questions such as: How do you know your idea of an illusion isn't an illusion? Will hopefully show the self-refuting nature of her stance on reality. I think this is the biggest issue with her stance: "She postulates that reality outside of her consciousness is probably ultimately unknowable, and that therefore, Leibniz's first premise is unknowable since existence itself is unknowable." This seems to very circular because if she does asset that reality outside of her consciousness is probably unknowable, isn't that truth statement unknowable as well? If reality outside of her is unknowable isn't that a description of reality which she just claimed was unknowable? There seems to be an issue there. If her idea of reality is consciousness based, maybe it would be a good idea to look into Descartes work (I think therefore, I am). Maybe a good spring board into other topics. Finally, I do believe that the current question of the week does deal with this issue somewhat (more so on scepticism) but it might be valuable for you to look at that.
Hope things really move forward,
Brett
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: noshadowscaste on June 01, 2017, 12:52:40 pm
I would start with trying to find out what she values (social injustices, etc) and go from there.  People who try to deny self and reality usually are not consistent in other areas that matter to them. 

If she really does not exist after all and reality is an illusion, why should these things be so important to her?
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: TheSawMan44 on July 05, 2017, 02:02:51 pm
I agree with Sirlrb; just because she sticks to the less-likely claim that reality is an illusion says nothing for her own existence (or else she would be unable to perceive the illusion), as well as the question of "whatever exists has an explanation for its existence". The first premise is worded in such a way as to avoid having to deal with whether or not our perceived reality is an illusion because it only claims to require an explanation for "whatever begins to exist" and something would still have had to begin to exist in order for us to be perceiving things in the first place. If what we perceive is illusory, we're still left with the question of "why do we perceive something rather than nothing?"
 
And if she, somehow, tries to take the route of doubting her own existence, I know WLC has used a few methods for dealing with this in a debate format to show the absurdity of it, and noshadowscaste also brought up one of them.

I hope this helps, my friend! Even though this post is a few months after the fact!

Sawyer
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Walter on July 19, 2018, 12:56:36 am
Even if reality is something like a Grand simulation, and it could be, there has to be a simulator, a programmer. Everything (reality, existance, the cosmos) requires a first cause, an explanation.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Sam Harper on June 11, 2019, 06:58:48 pm
If somebody has to deny the existence of the physical world in order to avoid the force of your argument, then you've already won the debate. She's pretending, and you need to just back off and let her stew over it. I think it's best in these situations to let the other person save face because otherwise they'll dig in their heals and convince themselves of all kinds of silly ideas just to save face.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Orion on June 29, 2019, 08:57:03 am
As all the other posts have mentioned, this sounds like a tough situation where someone's hiding behind the "reality might not be real" routine in order to avoid facing the facts. I really like all the advice given above.

As others have noted, her stance is circular and self-defeating. By even responding to your arguments, your friend has affirmed that (a) what you are saying to her in your debate is real, (b) that she knows for a fact you are really communicating with her [otherwise she wouldn't bother responding to you and claiming "everything might be a hallucination"], and (c) that it's therefore possible to know the truth, which refutes her entire "it's impossible to know anything for sure" premise.

If you want to take a satirical approach, you could tell her that you have no idea whether her arguments are real, since you might be nothing more than a brain in a jar with mad scientists around you inserting delusions of philosophical debates into your synapses—as such, you cannot possibly be bothered to respond to anything she says, since it might be a hallucination resulting from a crazy science experiment.

Further, by maintaining her "reality isn't real" and "truth is impossible to know" stance, she's unwittingly claimed she personally cannot have anything verifiably valid, truthful or otherwise relevant to say—in which case there's no point even listening to her. Granted that might be a pretty blunt approach—not sure if she would respond to that direct of a reality check, or if a softer approach should be taken. I'd depend on her personality. Best wishes with connecting with her!
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: AnticitizenX on June 30, 2019, 10:26:05 am
So I've been debating on the cosmological arguments for the existence of God with an opponent/friend of mine.

We've recently hit a roadblock that neither of us can move away from. I have presented her with the typical 'Premise 1' of the cosmological argument (specifically, Leibniz's):

Quote
1. Whatever exists has an explanation for its existence, either through a cause or by its own necessity

Whilst debating 'Reality' (despite this entire debate actually being a debate on cosmology), my debate opponent does not accept my logical lines of argument or even citations are enough to accurately prove the nature of reality as we know it. She is claiming that she may or may not be hallucinating (be in a simulation or unknown other experience), therefore,  there is a chance that she is not experiencing reality in its true form. She postulates that reality outside of her consciousness is probably ultimately unknowable, and that therefore, Leibniz's first premise is unknowable since existence itself is unknowable.

Another example is me pointing out to her that an object in her room exists, to which she replied "But how do I know it does?" - it's from this debate tactic she employs that I find myself struggling to move on in the debate, befuddled by her logic.

Any others here experienced this or have advice on how we can both agree to the first premise of the cosmological argument?

Well for starters, the statement "has an explanation for its existence" it horribly vague. Anyone can provide an "explanation" for anything because explanations are essentially just collections of human sentences. So what you probably mean is that something "caused" its existence.

As for all that other stuff about knowing the universe exists, you're not debating cosmology anymore. You're debating epistemology. If you want to solve the problem of external world skepticism, then I suggest pragmatic empirical rationalism. Nothing else matters until you can agree on a proper set of truth assignment functions.

Here, this link will get you started:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jLJczkOU44
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: kasmit25 on July 31, 2020, 08:51:41 pm
Even if reality is something like a Grand simulation, and it could be, there has to be a simulator, a programmer. Everything (reality, existance, the cosmos) requires a first cause, an explanation.

If you then argue that this first cause is God then it just translates the question of "Where did the universe come from?" to "Where did God come from". In the end, given the assumption that everything had to have been created, the hierarchy of creator/creation relationships would stretch infinitely upwards. There's a glaring issue with this 1st Premise which is that if it is true then God must have an explanation for his existence. And if "He always existed" is considered a explanation for God then surely it would be hypocrisy to reject a similar explanation for reality itself.

<-- Kyle by the way