Instigator / Con

Is there an afterlife?


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 3 votes and with 12 points ahead, the winner is...

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Contender / Pro

CON: there is no afterlife
PRO: there is an afterlife

AFTERLIFE: a post-death continuation of human consciousness and experience of self; such that physical death can't be considdered the end of a person.

Round 1
  • An afterlife means that person X continues to be self-aware and experiences conciousness like live humans do
  • An afterlife must kick in after the physical death of a human being, ensuring his continued existence and conciousness
    • The person in the afterlife must be the same person as the person who died, lest death is actually the end of persons living on earth
    • This means that personality traits such as habbits, memories and cognitive abilities must be preserved into the afterlife
  • An afterlife thus continues the congnitive, concious and emotional experience (and evolution) of human beings after their physical death

  • PRO is asserting the existence of an afterlife, which is an extraordinary claim, meaning he has an extraordinary BoP and his case requires extensive evidence
  • CON (I) is here to rebutt PRO's arguments and provide sufficient grounds not to believe in the existence of an afterlife

There is no reason to believe in an afterlife if the evidence in its favour doesn't feel overwhelming. Thats because an afterlife is an extraordinary idea, and unless the evidence for it cannot stand logical scrutiny we should be quite carefull to accept the idea. The maker of claims is the bearer of bop, and my rejection of the idea of an afterlife is far easier than PRO's acceptance. Ideas that conform to accepted theories or fit nicely into the current view of the world are easy to accept; you wouldn't be skeptical if someone told you that a particular rock was heavy; but you would be skeptical if someone told you that a particular mountain was not heavy. The evidence required to prove an idea or statement true is directly proportional to how much the idea changes our view on the world. The BoP is therefore tilted naturally in PRO's disfavour. He is the maker of extraordinary claims that would drastically change our perception of the world. We should default to the CON position untill sufficient evidence is brought up by PRO.

PRO has made a comment wherein he says he will make a PRO gamer move. We'll if he really wants to make an absurdly semantically argument, so will I.
Death: the end of life [Cambridg dictionary]
If one is still alive after death, then one hasn't really died. Therefore, the idea of continued life after death is incoherent. An "afterlife" must therefore mean that one is self-conscious without a live self to be aware of. An afterlife is simply illogical and self contradictory, similarly to a squared circle.

When you die, all your memories seize to exist as your brain is destroyed. You can no longer see, hear, feel or taste anything, as your senses are part of your now dead body. You no longer have emotions (wich are actually chemicals and hormones). Neurological activity stops, which puts a quick end to your thought processes, and you consciousness stops as a result. Since there is no more consciousness after death, there is no afterlife. 

I will take PRO side by using a kritik against the very definition with Con's assumption. He has described the afterlife as needing consciousness and experience of self, however, I will challenge that assumption. 

Merriam Webster offers the afterlife as existence after death, a later period in one's life, or the period of use/existence/popularity beyond what is normal/primary/expected. Let's take the first definition which seems closest to Con's ideas. Con offers consciousness and experience as a way of existence, however, I will argue that there is something more important than that -- an icon, a representation of an idea.

Let us re-think the idea that merely consciousness and experience is enough for the life. This is not a real life. There is nearly no one that can be said to only live a life for consciousness and experience alone. Certainly, variety of experiences matter. But biological wise, I'm certain that Con is merely speaking of experiencing the physical interaction around our world. Touching a cube for 100 years can be life. Staring at a blank wall can be life. But the more absurdly monotonous the activity is, the more unreasonable this life seems. If Con speaks of social experiences -- "real life", then he concedes that we must go beyond the cold hearted science alone.

So let us think about the social life from this logic. Throughout human kind, our entire purpose for living -- other than survival -- is to generate fame, fortune, and happiness for ourselves and those important to us. Since there is no realm of restriction, I will argue that we should prefer the philosophical realization of a life to the biological formation of a life. Because without any social interaction, your mind would break, and you would not be living a normal human life at all.

We all know the social question "do you have a life"? Or perhaps more commonly, "get a life". Of course, this does not mean asking if you are alive or not. It's asking about your social interactions, your quality of your hobbies and exercises, and perhaps even your financial status along with how you're using your money. "There is a life (I have a life)", could be an acceptable, even if awkward foreign-language based answer to this question. Regardless. Many famous people developed a life of their own. They managed to make themselves remembered, and the idea of Einstein lives on to this day. The existence of Einstein is still felt with gravitational equations, light speed ideas, and universal expansion. Con would argue he is biologically dead, yet he has this nebulous "after life" that continues to this day. Think about it this way. Many people sacrifice themselves, despite their biological urge to keep living, because they know their ideas will spread and represent themselves. They will continue influencing people even after they die. So in a way, there is the after life.
Round 2
Thank you, gugigor.

PRO is attempting a moving the goalpost fallacy. Normally when you try to re-define a word from the resolution (like afterlife), you provide a more credible version of the word, and  one that is more applicable in the context of the debate. PRO is not doing that. He is cherry picking a singular definition of the word "afterlife" that fits his case, a definition that is almost unknown and certainly not remotely similar to the word as defined in the description.

Merriam Webster offers the afterlife as existence after death, a later period in one's life, or the period of use/existence/popularity beyond what is normal/primary/expected
The example given for the last definition was that a TV SHOW could have a long afterlife, aka be popular longer than one expected. This has nothing to do with the topic at hand, and it has nothing to do with the resolution. Products can be dead or alive based on their popularity, and for that reason, one could call an unexpected comeback an "afterlife" of a given product. However, humans being dead or alive has nothing to do with their popularity --- it depends on their vital functions. PRO is making a false equivalence between "changing history" and "afterlife".

  •  the life, for example in heaven, that some people believe begins after death, collinsdictionary, oxford languages, merriam webster wikipedia and britannica all agree that the meaning of "afterlife" is a life after death, and that it is mainly a religious concept. PRO's attempt at applying the third merriam webster definition of "afterlife" to humans simply fails, since humans are not products. Being famous after our deaths is not an afterlife, lest PRO is forced to argue that life is being famous, which would mean normal people are not even alive.

PRO's moving the goalpost fallacy in re-defining afterlife fails both logically, integrity wise and by definition! Popularity after death is not an afterlife.

Ah yeah, the PRO gamer move. It's more like the oldest trick in the book. From the dawn of time atheists have used the "history will remember you" argument to make atheism comparable to religions in providing a reason for morality and living a good life. There is nothing new to PRO's argument, though I suppose there isn't to mine either. Regardless, lets move on. 

1. Boredom
PRO attemps to reason his way to the conclusion that consciousness and bodily vitality alone is not life, because its boring. I would then argue that boredom is a basic part of human experience. "Boredom is a feeling of unpleasure arising out of a conflict between a need for intense mental activity and lack of incitement to it, or inability to be incited[livescience]. In short, boredom arises from the inability to care about the stuff you are supposed to think about. Boredoom also arises from extended periods of isolation. All humans are bored sometimes, and two out of three students get bored at least once a day [ibid]. The conclusion, then, is that life contains boredom, and thusly, being conscious and self-aware can be classified as being alive despite potential boredom. Social interaction is not a defining feature of life --- lest PRO is conceding that dead people aren't alive, as they have no social interactions. Social life is a result of life, and having friends/history remember you does not mean you have an afterlife.

2. Fame
PRO argues that since the effects of Albert Einsteins life can still be felt today, that means he has an afterlife. Unfortunately that isn't true. Albert Einstein might have been famous and still is, but he isn't any different from the regular Joe in that the effects of his actions continues to propagate through time. If Albert Einstein hasn't seized to exist, in the sense that we still learn about him and read his equations, then he is not as much having an afterlife as he is immortal. This song expresses the concept perfectly: "Legends never die...they become a part of you". They don't live on after death, they simply never die. Saying that Albert Einstein because he is a legend became immortal is far more reasonable than to say that he lives on after his death. The former suggests he lives on in this world, while the latter suggests some part of Alber Einstein moved to another place, continuing his conscious existence, which obviously isn't the case.

PRO's argument fails because it disregards the correct definitions while cherry picking a wrong one. It contradicts logic and attempts a moving-the-goalpost fallacy, making it unsportsmanlike and intellectually dishonest. Furthermore, the argument fails to fullfil gugigor's BoP as laid out in my R1. Voters with integrity simply can't vote PRO.

There is no afterlife. My R1 evidence was not rebutted. The resolution fails by a landslide.

Round 3
My R1 arguments, my framework and R2 definitions stand unrebutted. PRO forfeited R2, giving me no room to address his defence against my rebuttals. 

SUMMARY of my R1 arguments:
  1. Default to CON position in lack of evidence
  2.  Life after death is incoherent, because if life continues, death never occurred
  3. With no brain and no senses, consciousness after death is impossible

I extend my R2 rebuttals.

There is no afterlife. Vote CON!