Sye Ten Bruggencate and Eric Hovind

Myself and Alex Botten just got done recording a podcast with Eric Hovind and Sye Ten Bruggencate — a name which might be familiar to some of you who remember the days when I posted here far more regularly than I do now.

Sye advocates a pseudo-elaborate argument which claims to demonstrates the existence of the Christian God, while (conveniently enough) disproving the existence of any other gods, which rises and falls on a strain of Presuppositional Apologetics known as TAG, or the Transcendental Argument for the existence of God.

Eric, despite being an extremely polite, courteous and even handed host, is a young earth creationist and a prominent figure in scientific fact denial circles, partly thanks to being the son of Kent Hovind, the self-styled creationist Dinosaur expert and founder of the Creation Science Evangelism ministry, who was jailed in 2007 for failing to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.

Sye did most of the talking and, as will be familiar to readers who followed his contributions here some time back, most of it was the same brand of circular reasoning we’ve heard a billion times before; which essentially revolves around an appeal to authority fallacy, in order to make a hypothetical question about the nature of logic itself sound like a more sophisticated question than it actually is.

As you might expect, pointing this fact out to him is merely “proof” that “all atheists” (all of them mind you) dodge the question of whether or not the Christian God might exist because secretly they know the answer is “Yes” and they don’t want to look bad in front of Richard Dawkins.

TAG poses a series of questions which are worded to sound simple, but which don’t have a Yes or No answer. It employs some extremely disingenuous phraseology and semantic slight of hand, so that explaining why the questioner can’t apply his own question to his own worldview without hitting upon the same problem, is seen as a dodging of the issue. The most obvious of TAG’s flaws arise when you give either a Yes or a No answer to the question, because regardless of whether you answer in the positive or the negative it allows the questioner to go to the next stage of their pre-rehearsed script.

Sye’s argument (as far as I can work out) is that because you can’t say for certain that something exists by experience and empiricism alone, therefore — and I’m not making this up — logic itself is based upon a presupposition that logic is logical and is just as much of a circular argument as saying the bible is true because it says so in the bible; or “You can’t account for my misunderstanding, therefore my argument is valid”.

By the way, did I mention that if you don’t believe this is the way in which the creator of the universe chooses to demonstrate his basic existence to people who already believe he exists, but not to those who don’t, you’re going to be tortured for eternity in a place you can only go to if an all loving God sends you there? It might seem a little harsh, I admit, but trust me it’s in the bible so it must be true.

To be fair, Sye and Eric sound like nice people. It’s a shame sometimes that the only point of contact we have with those who we disagree with is in conversation over the very things upon which we disagree, rather than the many things I’m sure we do agree upon. But that wouldn’t make a very interesting podcast.

I should also say, that the fact that they seem like such personable folks, makes it all the more disappointing that all the reasoning and rational argument in the world, isn’t going to save them from living the rest of their lives believing in things which aren’t true. I think at one point I made the observation that the universe is an incredibly beautiful place to be as it is, without having to get all greedy about it and demand there must be something more “out there”. I’m fairly sure it whooshed right over their heads. But, for me, it’s enough that I was given the space to say it. From tiny acorns do giant oak trees grow and you just never know when something you say to someone, which might seem like a small point at the time, might one day cause them to realise there’s more to life than lying to yourself about something, on the belief that if you wish hard enough it will eventually become true.

You can check out the full, unedited conversation on both the Fundamentally Flawed podcast website and by staying tuned to Eric Hovind’s Twitter feed for more details.

Wakey wakey!

116 comments on “Sye Ten Bruggencate and Eric Hovind

  1. Sye’s whole argument seems to be that if we could be wrong about anything (brains in a vat etc), then we don’t know anything at all (which doesn’t stop us applying certainies to things which is what Sye ignores) whilst he has absolute certainty because they have been revealed as such by God. However, while I agree with Sye that IF a god exists, he COULD reveal something (e.g. in a book), I’d ask Sye how he is sure what has been revealed to him isn’t a lie. His only response is “God revealed that he doesn’t lie”, but then that definitely is “viciously” circular.

    Therefore Sye is the same position as an atheist, he too can also never be absolutely certain about ANYTHING (even if a god exists). No way to get to Yahweh from there.

    Plus I agree with you all that he is the same boat as atheists regardless evaluating via our senses. His “certainies” come from the Bible which he reads via his senses plus the “authors”, even if they were actual eye-witnesses to the events, were using their own senses too. So Sye is relying on the senses of others for his certainies! Circles upon circles.

  2. >>I should also say, that the fact that they seem like such personable folks, makes it all the more disappointing that all the reasoning and rational argument in the world, isn’t going to save them from living the rest of their lives believing in things which aren’t true.

    Preach it brother! You are talking about Atheists aren’t you? :7)

    >>From tiny acorns do giant oak trees grow and you just never know when something you say to someone, which might seem like a small point at the time, might one day cause them to realise there’s more to life than lying to yourself about something, on the belief that if you wish hard enough it will eventually become true.

    Wow! You do understand that is what we say about Atheists, don’t you? You are taking cues from the pulpit now. My irony meter just exploded.

  3. Our human capacity to see only what we want to see never ceases to amaze me. This is why I always try to see things from other people’s perspective before I make a decision about something. I spent the first hour and a half of our chat, waiting for Sye to make a coherent point, rather than ask the same question over and over again, because we hadn’t given him the answer he wanted us to give him. Then, after Eric tried to wrap up the conversation for what was, I think the third time, Sye revealed that the consequences for myself and Alex failing to heed his warning, would be eternal damnation in the fires of hell. So much for “new, compelling evidence that the all loving God of the bible exists”.

    Wow! You do understand that is what we say about Atheists, don’t you?

    You say this about “atheists” because you think everyone is plugged into the same hive mind; with atheists in a sort of anti-chamber to your reality, where everything which in your world is one way, it is another way in ours. This is why you adopt a contrarian tone. I believe—and on considerable evidence—that the reason you and many others think this way about people like me, is you mistake our explanation for why we are not religious, with the reasons why we “hate God”—but you cannot, by definition, hate something which does not exist.

    Further, you assume we don’t understand what you believe and why you believe it—and that if we did, we wouldn’t say, do and think the things we do. “If only your heart wasn’t made of stone..”, you insist, “..then you too would understand what I understand and you too would be saved by what has been revealed to me”—as if religion and the religious have exclusivity on insight, empathy, group solidarity and ethics.

    I’m all in favour of people arriving at their own truth, by their own means. If a belief in the bible and Jesus gets you there, go right ahead. If anyone tries to stop you, give me a call and I’ll jump to your defence as quick as I can. But this idea that non-theism takes its “cues from the pulpit” completely fails—and in no small way—to account for the fact that you never explain what you understand to be true, outside of the constraints of your own, self-perpetuating dogmas. You’re so busy congratulating yourself for having arrived at your own truth, by your own means, that you’ve completely lost sight of the fact that, what you’re ultimately arguing for, is a demand that other people follow your path instead of their own. There is nothing inherent to being an atheist which demands anything like this from its adherents. Indeed the opposite is widely advocated; if not by all, certainly the majority.

    I could give you a reading list as long as your arm of non-fiction books, journals, research papers, essays and lectures, which are full of more wonder and awe for the universe—within and without—than any text any religion has yet to come up with. I could gush endlessly about the feeling of freedom and terrifying splendour at KNOWING for CERTAIN as to the scale of our galaxy compared to the billions like it, just in the observable universe. I can say for an absolute FACT, in no more than one single sentence, that even as you read this text, millions of near-massless particles are entering and exiting your body, which originated in a dying star billions of years ago. And no matter how much time I took to explain how we know this and what it means, you’d pat yourself on the back for concluding—on exactly zero evidence—that everything I have just described was created by a God you only believe exists because you’re frightened of what might happen if you allow yourself to imagine He doesn’t.

    You have my deepest and sincerest sympathy.

    EDIT: Anyone who has noticed that the above text is slightly different to that which appeared in the RRS / email feed, this was due to a weird glitch which published my draft reply, instead of my final reply. I’ve now fixed this.

    EDIT 2: I think this is a bug with the latest version of Safari and not a WordPress bug per-se. Sorry for the multiple edits.

  4. I’ve just taken five minutes to browse around Sye’s website http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    It has a script on the page marked as “Proof” which is LITERALLY circular. No matter which link you click, it all leads to the same text. After clicking either one of two links, you inevitably come to the same page, which says, “The Proof that God exists is that without Him you couldn’t prove anything”.

    Think about it. He has physically sat and written HTML code which he KNOWS for a FACT leads the viewer to the same documents no matter which links they click. And yet he still accuses OTHER people of using circular arguments. It’s laugh out loud hilarious.

    Sye, if you’re reading this, please explain why the following statement is logically flawed:

    “The proof that fairies exist, is that without fairies, there would be no one to make magic fairy dust”

  5. His site is deliberately leading, not giving the reader more than two options, neither of which he might hold. Sye’s view is almost hyper circular, he is wrong, and he is deeply deeply deluded.

  6. “Sye, if you’re reading this, please explain why the following statement is logically flawed:

    The proof that fairies exist, is that without fairies, there would be no one to make magic fairy dust”

    Sure, no problem. Fairies have not revealed themselves as the necessary precondition for fairy dust. If you claim that they have, set up the next podcast!

  7. Sye, please provide some evidence for your supernatural revelation, remember ‘because I said so’ is NOT evidence.

    Sure, the Bible. Now, could you please provide the evidence that justifies your claim: “‘because I said so’ is NOT evidence? Thanks. (Resume dodging).

  8. Sorry, the Bible doesn’t count, as it’s the work of men who made numerous mistakes, is proven wrong by geology, archaeology and evolution (to name but three), and it no more ‘inspired’ than any other religious book that claims to be the FINAL word of the creator of the universe.

    I’m not making a claim, well, not making the claim beyond ‘Sye is wrong’, which is self evident.

    Sye, you KNOW the TAG is BS, you KNOW you can’t prove your ‘revelation’ to be genuine (due to the problem that you yourself claim we have with our senses), you tell lies for money.

  9. Sorry, the Bible doesn’t count, as it’s the work of men…

    Question begging.

    I’m not making a claim

    Erm “‘because I said so’ is NOT evidence” IS a claim. Please provide the evidence which justifies that claim, or get back to your comfort zone of dodging my questions (better yet, repent of your foolish “reasoning.”

    Cheers

  10. So you accept ‘because I said so’ as evidence? If you don’t you agree with my initial claim, if you DO then you must accept that you count the groundless assertions of another as evidence. Either way you fail.

    Run along Sye, you’ve been rumbled by us. Maybe you’ll find some mugs somewhere else who will be hugely impressed by your BS (I hear Dan at Debunking Atheists has a bit of a thing for you) but I can’t imagine that lasting for long

  11. Sye. When you commented here a while ago, although you made some points which I didn’t agree with, you did nevertheless make your case with conviction and a clear belief in what you were saying. It would appear that in the intervening months, you have lost some of your certainties, until now we find that, what you’re essentially reduced to, is insisting that because you believe something to be true, it automatically becomes true.

    Now, this might go down perfectly well with people who already believe Yahweh exists; but as far as it being the knock down argument you think it is, I have to tell you again what I told you on Eric’s podcast; you’re just not explaining yourself very well at all. If there is more substance to your argument that you have, for some reason, yet to reveal, I’m more than happy to talk with you again if we can set it up. But I get the distinct impression that if we did this, you would once again insist we weren’t giving you the right answers—even though they’re the same answers you could expect to hear from almost anyone—be they religious or otherwise.

    Your argument isn’t even based upon Christian theology, or as far as I can work out, any sort of foundational methodology of any kind. You’ve just made something up, dressed it in Christian vocabulary, and assumed that anyone who doesn’t get it, either doesn’t want to get it or will be so afraid to sound stupid for asking obvious questions, that they’ll just let you get on with it and hope you’ll eventually make some kind of coherent point. But there isn’t a point there to get. It’s just egocentric babble with the deeper sophistication of a George Lucas screenplay.

    I know you mean well. I know you believe what you believe. Heck, I feel bad having to be so blunt. I genuinely do. You’re obviously very sincere in your beliefs. But if the best you can do in terms of bringing the argument to those who, by your own confession, need to hear the message of the gospel the most, is to argue that hypotheticals are interchangeable with statements of fact, depending on where and when you need to switch them around to cover your tracks, I can’t see you winning over too many people in the near future.

    Speaking for myself, personally; I am more than willing to listen to anyone who claims to have solid, logical proof that their extraordinary truth-claims are corroborated by extraordinary evidence. But you simply haven’t done that. I know you think you have, and that every atheist you encounter is immediately imbued with itching questions they simply hadn’t thought to ask themselves previous to talking to you. But, in all honesty, the only question you’ve left me with, is how someone who is as obviously intelligent and articulate as yourself, could allow their basic human curiosity to be hijacked by such phantasmagorically small ideas. This is echoed by the kind of feedback I’ve been getting privately and on Twitter, from people who endured the whole Podcast and were left none the wiser at the end, as to what your basic argument actually is, than they were at the beginning—and this includes many Christians and other religious.

    if you want the entire universe and the explanation for how it became what it is, to fit into a book which has been proven time and time again to be 80% mythology and 20% folklore, go right ahead. Don’t preach in my schools and I won’t think in your church. But you’re so obviously offended by people who challenge your most basic of assumptions, that you’ve allowed it to cloud your judgement on things which have nothing at all to do with the argument you think you’re making.

    We’re all offended by something—but wishing for these things to go away doesn’t make it happen. You have to act. Now, if I were you, I would start from the beginning. Honestly, I would. If you genuinely believe that the atheistic argument is predicated upon what you view as ‘assumption based thinking’, give us another way to think about it and we’ll approach your ideas with an open mind. Tell us where we’re going wrong. Set out your case in unambiguous language which makes as few assumptions as possible. Apply Occam’s Razor to your own argument and start over. But, pretty please with a cherry on top, don’t try and tell people that, where they’re really going wrong, is in their failure to accommodate downright stupid nonsense, as a basis for your thesis, because it’s beneath you and it’s insulting to your audience. We’re not in Ken Ham’s Magic Kingdom now, so stop talking to us like children, on the assumption we’ll be too bedazzled by your slight of hand semantics to point out the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

  12. Sye. When you commented here a while ago, although you made some points which I didn’t agree with, you did nevertheless make your case with conviction and a clear belief in what you were saying.

    Hmmm, on the podcast you said I was being rude back then. Care to support that?

    what you’re essentially reduced to, is insisting that because you believe something to be true, it automatically becomes true.

    Perhaps if I type the question, it will be more obvious when you avoid it (as above with Alex). Jim, do you believe that your senses, memory and reasoning are valid? If so, and since just believing them to be valid, does not make them valid (a point I agree with), on what basis do you believe that your senses, memory and reasoning are valid WITHOUT being viciously circular?

    But I get the distinct impression that if we did this, you would once again insist we weren’t giving you the right answers..

    I expected you to start laying the groundwork for not engaging me again :-) I have no problem letting the record stand as is though. Perhaps if someone out there has the time, they can go through the podcast and count how many questions were posed by each side, and how many were answered. If you answered a higher percentage of questions than we did, I’d be happy to have this exposed. The level to which I am concerned about that happening is too miniscule for me to gauge though.

    Your argument isn’t even based upon Christian theology,

    The argument is clearly based on Scripture. I just posted a video of a recent talk I gave on my website where I cite the Biblical support, and would be glad to the next time we engage each other ;-)

    I can’t see you winning over too many people in the near future.

    People do not win over people, that is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit. I am not commanded to convert people, merely to speak the truth in love.

    This is echoed by the kind of feedback I’ve been getting privately and on Twitter

    Think of it as people visiting you in a hospital. Wait till you to recover before they speak more honestly. By the way, we have been getting a wee bit o’ feedback as well :-) I did find it amusing though how Alex tried to bury the podcast with three old calls he had with Matt Slick. Quite telling.

    But you’re so obviously offended by people who challenge your most basic of assumptions

    Erm, I’m not the one following them around the internet calling them names and e-mailing the hosts of the shows they are appearing on :-) I know who you could direct that criticism at though. Besides, I have no problem having people challenge my most basic assumptions, when they can account for that challenge, a point we never got past in our discussion.

    Honestly, I would. If you genuinely believe that the atheistic argument is predicated upon what you view as ‘assumption based thinking’, give us another way to think about it and we’ll approach your ideas with an open mind.

    You can start with professing the certain revelation God has given you (Romans 1: 18-21) and stop suppressing the truth.

    Tell us where we’re going wrong.

    Gladly:

    The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. ~ Romans 1: 18-21

    “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” ~ 1 Corinthians 1 18-20

    So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. ~ Ephesians 4: 17-19

  13. Sye, why would I even bother, when you’ve shown such scant regard for ‘evidence’?

    Of the two of us, I am the one that provided evidence to support my claim. That you disagree with my evidence is obvious, but where is the evidence that supports YOUR claim?

    It never ceases to amaze me that you think you are fooling anyone. The topic of presuppositional apologist Greg Bahnsen’s doctoral dissertation was: “A Conditional Resolution of the Apparent Paradox of Self-Deception.” I imagine he ran into it a lot as well.

  14. “Hmmm, on the podcast you said I was being rude back then. Care to support that?”

    I went back and read some of your older comments. You came across better then than you do now—even though you were just as belligerent.

    “Jim, do you believe that your senses, memory and reasoning are valid? If so, and since just believing them to be valid, does not make them valid (a point I agree with), on what basis do you believe that your senses, memory and reasoning are valid WITHOUT being viciously circular?”

    I do not ‘believe’ my senses are valid, at all. As I tried to explain to you on the podcast; I accept that my interaction with the world around me is based upon my senses and that some of these senses can be fooled. But I also accept that many of my experiences are shared by other people—who all report the same phenomena in corroborating language. These experiences are not held artificially beyond any critique, because we collectively choose to fool ourselves about them. They are taken as a fact because the alternative is to have no faith in anything at all. This is where you assume God steps in. But as soon as you do that, you INSTANTLY face the problem of describing the attributes of that God in physical terms, because your bible anthropomorphises God into a male gendered authority figure, who arbitrarily dictates the terms of a given ideal, as and when it suites your particular needs.

    When you want to describe morality, He becomes the arbiter of morality. When you want to delineate what we mean by ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’, He becomes your spirit and your soul. But you can’t have one without the other. You either claim all things on His behalf or none at all. Childhood bone cancer? God did it. Pedophile priests? Vatican corruption? Ann Coulter? God did it. He either did it all, or He didn’t do it at all. So which is it to be? Did your “all loving God” create evil and darkness and ebola and AIDS, or did He not? At which point on the event horizon of a black hole does He allow certain particles to fall into the gravitational pull of its mass and others to produce Hawking radiation? How does He make virtual particles appear in a total vacuum? Why did He design human Chromosome number 2 to look exactly as if it evolved by natural selection? You’re the one claiming to have a direct line to the guy with all the answers, so start asking Him something worth knowing, instead of regurgitating this utter claptrap about how circular logic only applies to people who specifically rely upon mechanisms which are designed to cancel it out.

    Either we are all being fooled by our senses at the same time, in some sort of giant universe shaped test tube, or certain things really are as we see them, regardless of the biases individuals bring to the narrative. Now, you say that the bias I bring to the existence or none existence of God, is that I don’t want to believe and so I look for reasons to corroborate my preexisting beliefs. But I have to tell you, in no uncertain terms, this is by far and away the most insulting aspect to your argument. You assume that I have not thought about this for myself; that I haven’t given God a chance to enter my life and so on. Nothing could be further from the truth. I didn’t arrive at my opinion because it was easy. I arrived at it despite how hard it was to swim against the tide. I didn’t just wake up one Sunday morning and decide it was too cold to go to church so, hey presto, I’m now an atheist so I get to stay in bed. I got to where I am because I applied the very rationale to my own thinking which you point blank refuse to apply to yours. What are you afraid of? Why do you think I should be afraid of this too? Because the fires of hell await me? Please. It’s like a hippy threatening to punch you in your aura. Stop thinking that the only way you can argue people into understanding you is to threaten them with things that don’t exist.

    “If you answered a higher percentage of questions than we did, I’d be happy to have this exposed.”

    It’s not a game. And, again, I echo what I said on the podcast. You are clearly capable of convincing yourself, and I have no doubt many other people besides, that this is a far more sophisticated argument than it actually is. But when you’re taken out of your comfort zone and you don’t get yes or no answers to questions which in fact require a much more considerate reply, your entire argument falls apart. I’m sorry if you see that as a personal insult, because I’ve been keen to stress from the beginning this isn’t about attacking you personally. But when you present an argument which is as shallow as this and demand to be taken seriously, you’re setting yourself up for harsh criticism. It doesn’t make any sense, Sye. It’s not even close. Sorry.

    “People do not win over people, that is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit. I am not commanded to convert people, merely to speak the truth in love.”

    If that truly is the case, I strongly advise you to research your facts. If this really is the method by which the creator of the universe has chosen to use you; to speak to people like me and Alex the way you have, He’s selling Himself pretty short. This isn’t even Operating Theten Level 2 dumb. It’s just “I don’t know everything, but I have a friend who does” dumb. It’s appeal to authority fallacies strung between fear theology and self-refuting logical inconsistencies. The game’s up, my friend. You’re worshipping a golden calf.

    “Think of it as people visiting you in a hospital. Wait till you to recover before they speak more honestly. By the way, we have been getting a wee bit o’ feedback as well :-) I did find it amusing though how Alex tried to bury the podcast with three old calls he had with Matt Slick. Quite telling.”

    I can see how you might think that, but I can assure you it was merely enthusiasm on his part. He made those calls right after we spoke to you. He’s as keen as the rest of us to get people tuning in to the podcast and engaging in the debate. We both actively promoted the podcast on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks as soon as it went live. We also encouraged as wide a range of people to listen to it as possible, not just those already in the echo chamber. Alex doesn’t need me to defend him, he is more than capable of doing that himself. But your aggressive attitude towards him on the podcast was frankly disgraceful and it made you seem desperate. Again, that’s just my opinion you can take it or leave it. For my part, I find him to be a thoroughly fair minded chap. If you’ve done something to upset him, you probably deserve it. Nanny will be along shortly to change your nappy and burp up your windy pops.

    “Erm, I’m not the one following them around the internet calling them names and e-mailing the hosts of the shows they are appearing on :-)”

    If you set yourself up for public scrutiny, you should expect a little push back. After all, it’s not as if you’re claiming to have invented a better mouse trap, now is it? You are, literally, claiming to have proof for things for which you demonstrably do not have. The fact that you don’t see why some people might legitimately find this insulting, speaks volumes as to your arrogance and assumed superiority over other people. Your ideas are the only ones which are permissible and everyone else is just wrong. Well the world doesn’t work that way my fundi-friend. Join the queue or give up your place to someone else.

    “You can start with professing the certain revelation God has given you (Romans 1: 18-21) and stop suppressing the truth.”

    At what point have I attempted, even for a second, to suppress anything? I have openly invited you to explain where we are going wrong and the only thing you have in reply is more of what I have already told you doesn’t make any sense.

    “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” ~ 1 Corinthians 1 18-20”

    Why would God invite people to rationally asses the world around them, only to furnish them with bent tools? What does He possibly hope to prove by allowing us to think one thing, when in realty the opposite is true? What kind of prankster are you placing your faith in, exactly?

  15. They are taken as a fact because the alternative is to have no faith in anything at all.

    Fallacy of irrelevant thesis. i.e. Reporter to plane crash survivor: How is it possible that you survived that plane crash?
    Survivor: I must have survived or I couldn’t be here talking to you. True, but irrelevant to the question. I am NOT asking you for the consequences of NOT accepting your memory, senses, and reasoning as valid, I am asking you for your JUSTIFICATION for doing so. So far, el-zippo. You can find all the creative ways you like to avoid answering that question, but your dodging and weaving is fooling exactly no one.

    Since you cannot justify the validity of your senses, memory and reasoning, you have no basis for making ANY knowledge claims, so anything you wrote after that (before as well actually) is totally irrelevant. And please, before you respond, look up the “tu quoque” fallacy. You were spreading it around like it was going out of style in our exchange.

  16. Your inability to read the rest of the reply I took the time to write for you is not my concern. If we’re going to play the cut and paste game, you win. Well done. I’m a Christian now. You are so clever, Sye. I cannot possibly come back at you with anything better than that. Your nobel prize awaits. Thank you for saving me. It’s all so clear now, et cetera. I am born again and washed in the blood of the lamb. Against your rational argument there is no come back. I am defeated. Thanks for coming. I’ll call you a cab.

  17. Let’s recap.

    I asked for your justification for accepting the validity of your senses, memory and reasoning, and said: “You can find all the creative ways you like to avoid answering that question, but your dodging and weaving is fooling exactly no one.”

    You answered: …Well done. I’m a Christian now. You are so clever, Sye. I cannot possibly come back at you with anything better than that. Your nobel prize awaits. Thank you for saving me. It’s all so clear now, et cetera…”

    I mean, I knew that you would duck and weave, but did you have to make it that obvious? (Oh, I did not say that I did not read the rest of your reply, just that until you justify knowledge according to your worldview, your knowledge claims are irrelevant).

    Cheers

  18. Your refusal to acknowledge, much less move beyond the fact I have explained, in terms, why your argument doesn’t work, is your own choice. I’ve said what I’ve said. If you don’t understand it, that’s unfortunate for you. You can keep going back to the same question over and over again all day long for all I care; whatever gets you through the day. I know in Sye world an answer to a question isn’t really an answer until it agrees with the one you wanted to illicit, but in the real world opinions aren’t interchangeable with the facts. If you can’t comprehend this fact, there is quite literally no reasoning with you.

    You have consistently refused to address each and every one of my SPECIFIC points, despite that I have attempted to address yours, and instead focused on what you think it is important to focus on. So, I mean it when I say, if you’re ever in the UK don’t hesitate to get in touch. There’s some great walks around these parts strewn with real ale pubs. But as far as this conversation goes, if you refuse to move on despite an open invitation to do so, I have nothing more to add. You only see what you want to see. But your closed mind doesn’t constitute a reason for me to close mine.

  19. ”Your refusal to acknowledge, much less move beyond the fact I have explained, in terms, why your argument doesn’t work, is your own choice.”

    I thought I asked you to look up the “tu quoque” fallacy? I think you should.

    ” I know in Sye world an answer to a question isn’t really an answer until it agrees with the one you wanted to illicit”

    Well, actually you haven’t told us how you can know ANYTHING, but at this point I’d be happy just to have the one answered that I have repeatedly asked. If you claim that you have answered it, please just cut and paste: What is your justification for accepting the validity of your senses, memory and reasoning (without being viciously circular)

    But as far as this conversation goes, if you refuse to move on despite an open invitation to do so, I have nothing more to add. You only see what you want to see. But your closed mind doesn’t constitute a reason for me to close mine.

    Look Jim, I know that we both know how foolish your position is. I realize that you must save face and continue to stick to your pathetic “argument” but not only is it making you look ridiculous now, if you die unrepentant, you will spend an eternity in Hell. The reason that I do not respond in the tone that I get from you and Alex, is because I know that, except for the grace of God, I would be “arguing” just as foolishly as you both. I would much rather be used as an instrument in your salvation, but it is also Biblical that Christians are used as instruments in the condemnation of some (2 Corinthians 2:16). I do not know if you will have the absurdity of your position more clearly exposed than it has been now, but you have been exposed to a lot of truth these last few days, and will be accountable for what you do with it. If you are indeed done with me, I once again urge you to repent of denying the God that you know exists, and turn to seek the Truth. We are not all loons on this side, and could use a brilliant mind like yours :-)

    Cheers,

    Sye

  20. I can see how you might think that, but I can assure you it was merely enthusiasm on his part. He made those calls right after we spoke to you.

    And ya might wanna check that ;-)

  21. What is your justification for accepting the validity of your senses, memory and reasoning (without being viciously circular)

    Senses: You could say that we can accept the validity of our senses because we often describe certain phenomena in the same way as they are described by someone else. If an orange tastes tangy to me it probably tastes the same way to someone else—given that they have the same receptors in their mouth as I do in mine and so on.

    But, we can go beyond merely the description assigned to something by experience and demonstrate that, far from being an untrustworthy hallucination of what an orange tastes like—which we all somehow buy into in the absence of a better description—there is actually something objectively happening when we experience something, which transcends merely our wanting to experience it in a certain way, rather than experience it in the way it actually is.

    Suppose I eat an orange while wired to a Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scanner, or MRI. Now, when I taste the orange, not only can I report the sensation verbally, but the electromagnetic impulses in my brain, which I experience as taste and smell and texture, can be shown to produce physical phenomena, in my brain. I do not experience the orange in a certain way, simply because I subconsciously elect to interpret this stimuli according to my preprogrammed expectation of what an orange tastes like. But rather I experience the orange because the effect it has on my senses sets forth a series of physical responses over which I have no conscious control. That we can place another subject in the MRI and notice exactly the same regions of their brain are active when they eat an orange, as were active in mine, suggests that far from our experience of the orange being a subjective one, it is in fact one which is observed in every mammal with a penchant for citrus. Now the orange is no longer subjectively tangy, but it can be physically demonstrated to cause x, y and z chemicals to be produced in my saliva, ultimately leading to a specific neural pathway in my brain to be switched on.

    So my “justification for accepting the validity of my senses” is that my experiences of common phenomena are not unique to me, but are demonstrably shared by other homo sapiens; not because we are all deluding ourselves into some arbitrary description of what an orange tastes like, but because the act of eating an orange produces a physical response which can be objectively measured. I don’t have to believe that an orange has a physical effect on my brain for it to taste like an orange; anymore than if I decided mid-Atlantic that I no longer believed in the principals of aerodynamics, I would fall out of the sky at 35 thousand feet as soon as this notion entered my consciousness. My understanding of a given phenomena has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the way in which the phenomena functions.

    Reasoning: Do my actions cause harm or affect good? What do we mean by harm? A deliberate action which we know, before we perform it, will decrease the happiness and wellbeing of others. What do we mean by good? A deliberate action for which it is our specific intention to increase the happiness or wellbeing of another. How do we know it’s good to be good? Because we would not wish others to deliberately enact harm upon us and so we treat others the way we would wish to be treated: the Confucian golden rule (which predates Christianity by some 500 years).

    Notice these are not statements which are dependant upon interpretation. There is no alternative way of describing what we mean by words like good in which it actually ends up meaning something which is bad. Moreover, we can prove through the study of other mammals that group reciprocity and altruism are not exclusive to species who have developed spoken language—so these are not abstract and convoluted social rules, upon which we have only agreed since evolving the ability to verbally communicate. It is in our nature to nurture, because there is a distinct evolutionary advantage afforded to animals which learn to corporate with one another. Love and compassion are no more unique to humans, than team work and problem solving—yet each of these qualities are predicated upon an inherent understanding of the difference between affective, efficient actions and ineffective, inefficient actions. Ergo, our ability to reason is borne of our ability to survive. Someone who cannot see or refuses to see reason is by definition unlikely to survive; either in abstract or in practise.

    Memory: Our recollection of events is extremely susceptible to outside influence. Numerous studies into the reliability of eye witness testimony in criminal cases, have proven time and time again that false memories are incredibly easy to plant in a witness’s brain—particularly when they are instigated by an authority figure. If a police officer asks you to describe the men who were sitting in the red van across the street, when you first realised the bank was being robbed, you will instantly forget that the van was actually blue and that you didn’t know the bank was being robbed until you saw it on the television news later that night.

    But our “justification for accepting the validity of our memory” isn’t merely limited to what we see or hear. It is constrained by what is possible. If someone tells us that they can leap into the air unaided and fly around the room, we don’t suspect they are lying simply because we’ve never seen someone fly around the room before. We know that it is physically impossible for someone with a given body mass, to exert sufficient energy, so as to break the force of gravity by sheer physical will alone. All the will in the world isn’t going to change that fact. Even if we were hypnotised, so that we believed what we were seeing when someone did appear to physically leap into the air, once we give ourselves enough time to rationally assess what we believe we have seen against the available evidence, it shouldn’t take too long to conclude that there are hundreds of possible alternative explanations for what we have just seen, which are non-magical. The entertainment industry works exactly in this way. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, believe that they have seen David Blain or Derren Brown insert their hands into a sheet of solid glass and interact with objects on the other side, without the glass breaking. But all the slight of hand and cleverly devised props in the world don’t actually convince us that they have achieved the impossible; that they are literally a magician. We know there is a concealed sliding panel involved somewhere, but we only see what we’re shown. We know all along that we are being fooled. The trick is dependant on our willing suspension of disbelief. Tarot cards, mind reading, homeopathy and faith healing all find their true explanation in understanding how to control what people want to see—rather than what is actually there.

    Now, you assert that I secretly know my worldview is “foolish”. That I continue the charade of atheism to save face, or because I don’t want to admit the truth to myself. Yet you show no understanding whatsoever for the fact that none of the above required any special word play or omissions of certain facts. I didn’t have to dance around some metaphysical gibberish where certain exceptions might apply to this, that or the other. And yet everyone reading this absolutely knows for a fact, that if you choose to reply, you will be completely incapable of avoiding terms which are absolutely loaded with exactly these kinds of religious connotations. You simply cannot allow yourself to believe that there are people in the world who don’t need religion in the same way you do. You think we lack faith because we have gained reason—as if leaving go of childish certainties, somehow robs us of awe and wonder. But nothing could be further from the truth.

    At the beginning of the podcast, I was asked to explain why I do what I do—and I gave a rather general answer, so as to avoid being “that atheist” who comes out all guns blazing. But the fact is, Sye, the reason I do this is because I am offended by people like you—who think no matter how incredible the truth of something is—anyone who attempts to describe it for what it really is, is in some way lost or lonely, simply because they don’t superimpose magical wish thinking upon everything they see. Your greed and ego sickens me. You are everything which is wrong with this world. You’ve become the thing you fear the most and you’ll stop at nothing to make sure everyone you touch and interact with is poisoned by the same virus which has infected your otherwise perfectly functional brain. I do what I do, Sye, because unlike you I can imagine a day when openly admitting to having invisible friends, is as much of a social disaster to someone’s political ambitions in the United States, as it is in the entire rest of the world. We do what we do, sir, because if we don’t do it, the world will be left to people like you. And to make sure that doesn’t happen, all we have to do is what skeptics, humanists, non-theists, agnostics and all free thinkers who were once burned at the stake for having the temerity to read more than one book have been doing for thousands of years. Evolve.

  22. Sye

    At no point have I ‘tried to bury’ the podcast. I spoke to Slick shortly after I spoke to you, and when I was putting the audio together I remembered that I had two recordings from earlier in the year – so I put them up. NOTE: they DIDN’T go on the main podcast list, but were filed into ‘Specials’ alongside Peter Coote’s ongoing series on Jesus…the discussion Jim and I had with you and Eric is still the most recent in the main podcast list.

    I see your repeating the lies that I ‘follow you round the internet’ and ‘google your name’ – it may surprise you to know, but I actually found out about the lecture you were due to give (the one where the organisers are wanting to give you a ‘generous love donation’, oo-er saucy!) on a Facebook page where it was briefly discussed. You dropped your ‘why do you hate me?’ in as if I was hiding my actions and would be horrified to be ‘outed’, too bad for you that EVERY SINGLE THING I’ve written about you (which is a great deal less than you think) is clearly available online…..in fact the email I sent about your lecture was posted in public on my blog mere seconds after I hit send in Gmail. Follow you round on the internet? Get over yourself, you’re not interesting enough.

    I can only agree with what Jim has said about senses and knowledge, but I will add this – you ask ‘how can we know anything for certain?’, to which I’m going to answer ‘we can, for example: I know I am thinking’….try and refute THAT.

    Whilst we’re on the topic of thinking, I find your claims to know what I (and every other person in the World, ever) think to be highly offensive. You claim that I KNOW that your version of your particular god exists, but that I’m simply rebelling against him? Have you ever stopped and really thought about that claim? Let’s set aside the FACT that unless you are omniscient (and therefore a god yourself) you have NO WAY of knowing whether this is true, and concentrate on the ramifications of it. When I was a child I knew that if I was ‘naughty’ I would be punished by my parents for it – even in the act of being naughty I knew, with absolute certainty, that I would (unless I got away with it) face some later discipline. At no point did I claim that my parents DIDN’T EXIST as an excuse for my behaviour! If, as you claim, everyone knows that your version of your particular god exists then they wouldn’t deny it, as to do so would be foolish in the extreme and easily countered by the experiences of everyone around them. The very senses you say we can’t trust would provide evidence FOR this god, and our peers would think us insane if we deliberately acted against it (especially given the insanely out of proportion punishment for doing so).

    And so we come to the nub of it – you claim that accepting our senses is viciously circular, yet you have to do EXACTLY the same thing – your argument is rendered meaningless by itself! If we can’t trust our senses then, no matter what you think about your unverifiable and unprovable ‘revelation’, YOU are in the same situation! The essential foundation of your argument refutes the remainder – either you can trust your senses or you can’t, you rely on being able to ‘prove’ that we can’t in order for you to then sweep in with your *perceived* ‘revelation’…a revelation that you claim you COULD trust your senses in! That you either can’t or wont see the comedy in this speaks volumes.

    Sye, anyone reading through these comments will see you repeatedly avoiding answering questions by deflecting them with claims that they are fallacies, and anyone who has listened to the podcast will hear the same thing. There is an interesting moment towards the end when Eric asked us if we would worship the god of the Bible if he turned out to be real, and both Jim and I said ‘no’, based on the psychotic lack of justice that being shows. I asked you if it were proved that the Universe were created by a different being that acted cruelly and without justice, would you worship it, and YOU SAID ‘NO’! Let me put this to you – it is not the traits of your god that make you worship him, but your fear of him combined with the likelihood that you were brought up as a Christian. You are ONLY a Christian because you were born into a family who happened to live in a nation where that was the main religion – if you’d been born in Iran you’d be Muslim (and no doubt spewing out the same nonsense), and you fear your god because the Bible tells you to. I feel genuinely sorry for you, but not as sorry as I feel for the gullible idiots you persuade to pay you for your claptrap.

  23. And so we come to the nub of it – you claim that accepting our senses is viciously circular

    Jim, if you cannot see how employing your senses,memory and reasoning to validate your sense, memory and reasoning is viciously circular, then there is not much sense in continuing with you.

    yet you have to do EXACTLY the same thing

    I really wish you had looked up the “tu quoque” fallacy. Since Jim won’t, I hope that those reading along do.

    Jim, you admitted on the podcast that God could reveal some things to us such that we can be certain of them, which salvages any circularity in our claim. You, however, have exactly zero rescuing device for the vicious circularity in your rambling above and therefore zero justification for any of the knowledge claims you make.

    Folks just read Jim’s post, listen to the podcast, and ask yourself why Jim will not admit that using your senses, memory and reasoning to validate your senses, memory and reasoning is viciously circular? He can’t because it destroys his position.

  24. I can only agree with what Jim has said about senses and knowledge, but I will add this – you ask ‘how can we know anything for certain?’, to which I’m going to answer ‘we can, for example: I know I am thinking’….try and refute THAT.

    Wow, you really must not listen to my debates. Go back and listen to my first one with Paul Baird, I address this exact claim. First of all, I am asking you HOW you know what you know, not merely WHAT you know. I do not say that atheists do not know things, merely that they cannot know things according to THEIR worldview, and cannot justify anything they claim to know. You say that you know that you are thinking, but HOW do you know that? When (read if) you answer that question, the vicious circularity will be (further) exposed and I will be pleased to refute it.

    Whilst we’re on the topic of thinking, I find your claims to know what I (and every other person in the World, ever) think to be highly offensive.

    And this should concern me how? I am simply restating exactly what Scripture says (Romans 1: 18-21). That you hate the words of the God you hate is not at all surprising.

    Let’s set aside the FACT that unless you are omniscient (and therefore a god yourself) you have NO WAY of knowing whether this is true

    Alex, even if I granted you the claim that you know that you are thinking, which I do not, how do you know that there is NO WAY of knowing whether ANYTHING else is true or false? How do you even get “truth” from your evolutionary worldview?

    The very senses you say we can’t trust

    Um no, I do not claim that we cannot trust our senses, merely that YOU have exactly zero justification for doing so – yet you do, exposing your precommitment to belief in God.

    And so we come to the nub of it – you claim that accepting our senses is viciously circular, yet you have to do EXACTLY the same thing

    I really wish you had looked up the “tu quoque” fallacy. Since Alex won’t, I hope that those reading along do.

    As far as the remainder of your unsupported and unjustifiable knowledge claims, no sense in addressing them. Yes, indeed though, I hope that MANY people listen to our exchange, and read this blog. I am turning our exchange into a video for YouTube, and hope that your foolish “reasoning” gets further exposed for what it is.

    One last thing Alex, trying to hide your fear of engaging this argument again under some kind of dislike for me, is incredibly transparent, and much appreciated.

    Cheers.

  25. Sye, it’s only a fallacy if it’s not true….repeatedly claiming we’re committing a logical fallacy pointing out the circularity of your bullshit doesn’t alter the FACT that your argument is fatally holed below the water line and going down fast.

    Seriously, what is it with you people? You seem to live in this bizarro world where logical means something completely different to the rest of us.

    “Folks just read Jim’s post, listen to the podcast, and ask yourself why Jim will not admit that using your senses, memory and reasoning to validate your senses, memory and reasoning is viciously circular? He can’t because it destroys his position.”

    If that’s the case then it also undermines yours, as you are dependent on EXACTLY THE SAME senses, you dolt.

  26. “Alex, even if I granted you the claim that you know that you are thinking, which I do not, how do you know that there is NO WAY of knowing whether ANYTHING else is true or false? How do you even get “truth” from your evolutionary worldview?”

    Fucksake man, you’re a lost cause.

  27. Sye, it’s only a fallacy if it’s not true

    I imagine you are referring to the “tu quoque” fallacy? Um, no. When I point out the flaw in your view and you respond by saying “you too,” that is a fallacious response whether or not my position is true.

    If that’s the case then it also undermines yours, as you are dependent on EXACTLY THE SAME senses, you dolt.

    Erm, tu quoque much? Why will neither you or Jim admit that using your senses, memory and reasoning to validate your senses memory and reasoning is viciously circular? (as if I need to ask :-)

    you’re a lost cause

    Erm, good answer?

    So Alex, how do you know that you are thinking? You kinda missed that.

  28. “So Alex, how do you know that you are thinking? You kinda missed that.”

    So what, why would I even answer such a dismally nonsensical question from a one note riffing publicity whore? You’ve ignore about 600 words worth of points further up, cherry picking out the bits you could respond to, just as you ignored a whole load of questions in the podcast, so I really could not give a flying fuck if you think I ‘kinda missed that’.

    Let me simplify this for you – YOU ARE WRONG, YOU BELIEVE CIRCULAR NONSENSE WHICH YOU CANNOT PROVE.

    And I’m done with you.

  29. Let me simplify this for you – YOU ARE WRONG, YOU BELIEVE CIRCULAR NONSENSE WHICH YOU CANNOT PROVE.

    Good argument there Alex. Ranting like a 2 year old, really helps your position.

    And I’m done with you.

    Finally! :-)

  30. I knew that before I got to the end of this comment thread that the Atheists would get to just insulting rather than listening to the questions being asked of them…I just didn’t know it would take exactly 31 comments to get there.

    One quick question before I go…do you (Alex and Jim) understand what Sye is asking? You seem to be not actually answering his question but instead answering ANOTHER question entirely.

    He’s asking you to point out the BASIS for the reliability of your senses GIVEN YOUR SPECIFIC view of the world…

    Does that make it more clear at all?

  31. “One quick question before I go…do you (Alex and Jim) understand what Sye is asking? You seem to be not actually answering his question but instead answering ANOTHER question entirely.

    He’s asking you to point out the BASIS for the reliability of your senses GIVEN YOUR SPECIFIC view of the world…

    Does that make it more clear at all?”

    I refer you to Jim’s reply further up the thread –

    “Senses: You could say that we can accept the validity of our senses because we often describe certain phenomena in the same way as they are described by someone else. If an orange tastes tangy to me it probably tastes the same way to someone else—given that they have the same receptors in their mouth as I do in mine and so on.

    But, we can go beyond merely the description assigned to something by experience and demonstrate that, far from being an untrustworthy hallucination of what an orange tastes like—which we all somehow buy into in the absence of a better description—there is actually something objectively happening when we experience something, which transcends merely our wanting to experience it in a certain way, rather than experience it in the way it actually is.

    Suppose I eat an orange while wired to a Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scanner, or MRI. Now, when I taste the orange, not only can I report the sensation verbally, but the electromagnetic impulses in my brain, which I experience as taste and smell and texture, can be shown to produce physical phenomena, in my brain. I do not experience the orange in a certain way, simply because I subconsciously elect to interpret this stimuli according to my preprogrammed expectation of what an orange tastes like. But rather I experience the orange because the effect it has on my senses sets forth a series of physical responses over which I have no conscious control. That we can place another subject in the MRI and notice exactly the same regions of their brain are active when they eat an orange, as were active in mine, suggests that far from our experience of the orange being a subjective one, it is in fact one which is observed in every mammal with a penchant for citrus. Now the orange is no longer subjectively tangy, but it can be physically demonstrated to cause x, y and z chemicals to be produced in my saliva, ultimately leading to a specific neural pathway in my brain to be switched on.

    So my “justification for accepting the validity of my senses” is that my experiences of common phenomena are not unique to me, but are demonstrably shared by other homo sapiens; not because we are all deluding ourselves into some arbitrary description of what an orange tastes like, but because the act of eating an orange produces a physical response which can be objectively measured. I don’t have to believe that an orange has a physical effect on my brain for it to taste like an orange; anymore than if I decided mid-Atlantic that I no longer believed in the principals of aerodynamics, I would fall out of the sky at 35 thousand feet as soon as this notion entered my consciousness. My understanding of a given phenomena has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the way in which the phenomena functions.

    Reasoning: Do my actions cause harm or affect good? What do we mean by harm? A deliberate action which we know, before we perform it, will decrease the happiness and wellbeing of others. What do we mean by good? A deliberate action for which it is our specific intention to increase the happiness or wellbeing of another. How do we know it’s good to be good? Because we would not wish others to deliberately enact harm upon us and so we treat others the way we would wish to be treated: the Confucian golden rule (which predates Christianity by some 500 years).

    Notice these are not statements which are dependant upon interpretation. There is no alternative way of describing what we mean by words like good in which it actually ends up meaning something which is bad. Moreover, we can prove through the study of other mammals that group reciprocity and altruism are not exclusive to species who have developed spoken language—so these are not abstract and convoluted social rules, upon which we have only agreed since evolving the ability to verbally communicate. It is in our nature to nurture, because there is a distinct evolutionary advantage afforded to animals which learn to corporate with one another. Love and compassion are no more unique to humans, than team work and problem solving—yet each of these qualities are predicated upon an inherent understanding of the difference between affective, efficient actions and ineffective, inefficient actions. Ergo, our ability to reason is borne of our ability to survive. Someone who cannot see or refuses to see reason is by definition unlikely to survive; either in abstract or in practise.

    Memory: Our recollection of events is extremely susceptible to outside influence. Numerous studies into the reliability of eye witness testimony in criminal cases, have proven time and time again that false memories are incredibly easy to plant in a witness’s brain—particularly when they are instigated by an authority figure. If a police officer asks you to describe the men who were sitting in the red van across the street, when you first realised the bank was being robbed, you will instantly forget that the van was actually blue and that you didn’t know the bank was being robbed until you saw it on the television news later that night.

    But our “justification for accepting the validity of our memory” isn’t merely limited to what we see or hear. It is constrained by what is possible. If someone tells us that they can leap into the air unaided and fly around the room, we don’t suspect they are lying simply because we’ve never seen someone fly around the room before. We know that it is physically impossible for someone with a given body mass, to exert sufficient energy, so as to break the force of gravity by sheer physical will alone. All the will in the world isn’t going to change that fact. Even if we were hypnotised, so that we believed what we were seeing when someone did appear to physically leap into the air, once we give ourselves enough time to rationally assess what we believe we have seen against the available evidence, it shouldn’t take too long to conclude that there are hundreds of possible alternative explanations for what we have just seen, which are non-magical. The entertainment industry works exactly in this way. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, believe that they have seen David Blain or Derren Brown insert their hands into a sheet of solid glass and interact with objects on the other side, without the glass breaking. But all the slight of hand and cleverly devised props in the world don’t actually convince us that they have achieved the impossible; that they are literally a magician. We know there is a concealed sliding panel involved somewhere, but we only see what we’re shown. We know all along that we are being fooled. The trick is dependant on our willing suspension of disbelief. Tarot cards, mind reading, homeopathy and faith healing all find their true explanation in understanding how to control what people want to see—rather than what is actually there.”

    – reposted in its entirety, as both you and Sye seem to have missed it.

  32. reposted in its entirety, as both you and Sye seem to have missed it.

    No, I’m pretty sure that’s what he was referring to when he said that you were not answering my question. Reposting it really helps though :-) Thanks.

  33. Actually Sye is correct.

    I was referring to your lengthy post.

    You said (if I may summarize)

    “The basis for my trusting my 5 senses is the fact that other people describe the same things that I describe…and so that’s my basis.”

    I think that Sye was pointing out that what you said above wasn’t grounded on your worldview but only a restatement of HOW you perceive things via your senses….”i.e. I know that my senses are reliable because I sense things with them”

    And by pointing out that others do the same doesn’t change the question’s requirements.

    I may have misunderstood but that’s what I read.

    Are you just saying that you believe your senses to be reliable because lots of other people say the same thing as you?

  34. Alex. He’s using his own statements about me in quotation marks, as if they are what I said.

    If you Google his name this article is 5th in the rankings. It won’t stay that way for long, but I think there’s enough here already to point anyone who looks him up to act as a reasonable enough guide on most of the tactics and “la la la, fingers in my ears” psychobabble he adopts, to have served the purpose of warning others about him. But as far as I’m concerned, he’s had his 15 megabytes of fame.

    I’m not going to close the comments, and I may even return at some point if anything changes, but we’re now at the point where we’re linking to other blogs and information, so as far as I can see we’ve done what we set out to do; it’s taken on a life of it’s own and I’m perfectly happy for that to continue. I’m now activly inviting other people to comment and take it somewhere else. If and when that happens to involve something new, which I feel the need to pick up on, I’ll do so, but in terms of shining a light on the suffocating drivel these ‘I am right, because I am right’ bullies use, I’m ready to move on; happy that he has proven our point for us, in his own words.

    In reference specifically to the graceinthetriad blog: For the same reason I asked that no microphones be muted, or comments edited on the podcast, I simply refuse to comment on blogspot.com blogs—because comments are set by default to be moderator approved, rather than posted instantly as they are on wordpress. The mod. must approve all comments before they are published, and you just never know if he or she is selectively choosing which comments get through and which don’t. This goes for atheists as well as magic fairyists. I’m not suggesting that is what is happening here, because I’ve never read graceinthetriad and I don’t know the moderator. But, as a personal stance and from bitter experience, I simply avoid blogger.com sites like the plague.

    However, since there is a ping-back to this thread on there already, to directly answer the charge that we somehow “refused” to answer Sye’s one and only question, I am prepared to admit that our desire to avoid falling into any word-traps probably frustrated a lot of people listening—and we may have appeared to be rather more on the defensive than we actually were. All I can say about that, is you can see from the above exchange the sort of thing which Sye mistakes for intellectual honesty and scientific rigour. As was revealed in the conversation we had with Eric, I didn’t initially connect the name Sye with the same Sye who used to comment here a few months ago, but when I did realise they were one and the same, it came as no surprise to learn that the real problem he has with the non-religious, is that most of the ones he’s confronted, have started out by giving him the benefit of the doubt, only to have their courtesy abused. He is a nauseating little man with big ideas. The fact that this side to him only appears after you invite him to openly explain his position, says more than I could write in a million years about his actual interest—which isn’t in provoking a sensible debate, but to seize on the chance to proselytise at “the unsaved” like a billion other manic street preachers rattling paper cups outside WalMart. That’s just a sad fact about how these people think and we have to learn the lesson from it, so that the next time around we’re all the more prepared for it. Take heart from the fact that if this is the kind of derisory nonsense which passes for proof their gods exist, while we might not win every minor skirmish, the war on bad ideas is well and truly won.

  35. I’ve found that moderation to be very annoying on blogger, which is why I have it switched off on my (blogspot) blog – I’d move over, but I’ve well over 400 posts already on mine, so it’s more faff than it’s worth!

  36. Jim,

    For the same reason I asked that no microphones be muted, or comments edited on the podcast, I simply refuse to comment on blogspot.com blogs—because comments are set by default to be moderator approved, rather than posted instantly as they are on wordpress.

    That is just not true. Its an option sure, but many of us do not moderate. That is why comments like Alex’s instantly get through.

  37. Lots of knowledge claims, sans justification. As expected. As I said, it never ceases to amaze me at the utter foolishness of those who posit atheism. That you cannot see it, and that you actually want people to come here, and listen to that podcast is a blazing testimony to your blindness.

    Yes, please, drive as much traffic here as you can. Let the viewers/listeners see and hear the folly of atheism.

  38. That is just not true. Its an option sure, but many of us do not moderate. That is why comments like Alex’s instantly get through.

    In my experience blogger.com blogs have glitchy sign-in bugs, they have a word count limitation, and 9 times out of 10, they’re moderated. It’s nothing to do with the subject matter, I just have a dislike of the way blogger.com works. It’s not a particularly functional platform. I’m a wordpress fan. It’s just a personal preference.

  39. “That is why comments like Alex’s instantly get through.”

    Good, cos I would have hated for my accurate assessment of yourself and Sye to not be published.

  40. What does that even mean? Seriously? Sye, you’ve got NOTHING. Your best argument is circular nonsense you can’t prove….and that’s it! Hardly enough to be getting by on for the rest of your life! I know (because I’ve had a revelation that tells me it’s true) that you’re after a bit of that Hovind/Ham/Comfort action – they’ve done well enough peddling nonsense, why can’t you have some of that cash? Bad news for you is they’ve got more than one solitary point (even if they’re completely wrong) and can turn their beliefs into money – from listening to a few more of your identikit ‘discussions’ it seems to me that even some Christians find you fairly unbearable!

    I’m sure you’ll figure all this out eventually….well, maybe I’m sure…..er….thinking about it you might not, because you’re so invested in your single argument you can’t consider that you’re wrong. Oh well, enjoy wasting the ONLY life you’ll ever have on a rubbish ‘proof’! I feel very sorry for you, defined by only one thing.

  41. No, Alex we all feel sorry for you cause; You have stuck your fingers in your ears, closed your eyes and sung the “la la la song” when some one came to you with the words of life. The Holy ghost may never call to your heart again. He did when Sye and Dustin debated you. He did when you wrote the blogs, we can tell cause of the great indignation and arragance you displayed. Maybe the Holy Spirit will call you again and you’ll be receptive, only GOD knows.

  42. Nope, that just doesn’t wash at all Eric. The TAG isn’t proof of anything, by dint of the fact it can be used to ‘prove’ anything you choose to insert into the first premise – want to ‘prove’ that 900 ft tall Knights made out of Lego (who are invisible) exist? Bingo! The TAG allows you to do that! Fancy Smurfs being the answer? JACKPOT! The TAG comes up trumps again! Even if it weren’t so laughably circular it would fall down purely because you can prove anything you like with it.

    Eric, there are no gods to call anyone, there never have been. I’m really sorry that you’ve invested so much time and effort in a lie. Still, look on the bright side, at least you were born in a country where the religion you inherited allows you a whole load of freedoms!

    So, assuming you’re Eric Hovind, when are you going to appear on Fundamentally Flawed to discuss Creation vs Evolution?

  43. I don’t comment on blogger.com sites, as noted above. But I would just point out that in this article:
    http://www.graceinthetriad.blogspot.com/2011/10/responding-to-non-responders-part-2.html
    ..the author asserts that in reply 26, above:
    https://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/sye-ten-bruggencate-and-eric-hovind/#comment-8994
    ..in response to Sye’s question I, quote, “[assign] to the common shared experiences of sensation from mankind as his justification to trust his senses.”

    This is exactly the opposite of what I said. Specifically:

    So my “justification for accepting the validity of my senses” is that my experiences of common phenomena are not unique to me, but are demonstrably shared by other homo sapiens […] which can be objectively measured.

    I do not say that my senses are my senses therefore I can trust my senses. That would be circular and Sye would be right to point this out. I am saying that we can prove my senses are an accurate representation of the world around me, because no matter how large a sample group might be, if you measured the electromagnetic impulses in the brains of people responding to stimuli, the same region of the brain would show activity in every volunteer; demonstrating that our senses are observable, measurable phenomena which objectively occur independent of our subjective awareness of them.

  44. Eric: To be clear, the specific questions I asked above are in reply 19: https://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/sye-ten-bruggencate-and-eric-hovind/#comment-8984

    Why would God invite people to rationally asses the world around them, only to furnish them with bent tools? What does He possibly hope to prove by allowing us to think one thing, when in realty the opposite is true?

    You either claim all things on His behalf or none at all. Childhood bone cancer? God did it. Pedophile priests? Vatican corruption? Ann Coulter? God did it. He either did it all, or He didn’t do it at all. So which is it to be? Did your “all loving God” create evil and darkness and ebola and AIDS, or did He not?

    At which point on the event horizon of a black hole does He allow certain particles to fall into the gravitational pull of its mass and others to produce Hawking radiation?

    How does He make virtual particles appear in a total vacuum?

    Why did He design human Chromosome number 2 to look exactly as if it evolved by natural selection?

    Note that I would be completely wrong to assert that if your answer to any of the above is, “I don’t know”, therefore you are in denial of your inherent atheism. Yet this is EXACTLY what your argument against myself and Alex is predicated upon. Because we didn’t give you the stock, debating tactic reply you either expected or hoped we would give you, your ONLY rationale is that we are therefore wilfully ignoring the truth of the holy ghost. This is the very definition of a circular argument—which is exactly what we told you at the time and for which you have provided exactly ZERO answers for in the interim.

  45. Sye will no doubt be along on a moment to say ‘Ah! But then you’re using YOUR SENSES to verify the data!’ – obviously that way madness lies….which probably explains why Sye thinks the TAG is ‘proof’ of something, rather than a meaningless word game.

  46. Yeah, but don’t forget in Sye world because the computer used to OBJECTIVELY verify the FACT that senses are OBSERVED phenomena was invented by a homosexual, it is therefore a tool of the devil.

  47. If I may try (in light of the previous two comments) shed some light on this (because I’m seeing this exchange as an outsider; a 3rd party) it seems that Sye is saying that this whole debate is not about “evidence” precisely because all things (even my sentence you are reading now)is filtered through the lens of your “worldview” which is to say the most base ideas on which all other ideas are judged true or false or even something in between.

    The problem is that either neither of you seem to get that, or you are just ignoring it. I don’t know.

    The fact is; if one’s most base assumptions about reality cannot be accounted for, we’d call him or her a mental case…a crazy person. That’s the definition…and would invalidate your worldview on that basis.

    I don’t think Sye is asking you to agree with HIS worldview…but only to supply those base reasons why your worldview should be considered as valid…and obviously it starts with the basics…epistemolgy….how do we know what we know?

    It’s not a word game and it’s not meaningless…you may mock what Sye believes but that only makes you feel better about yourself it doesn’t do anything to cause Sye or anyone else to consider your worldview as a serious, viable option.

    I hope that sheds SOME light on where I think that the disconnect is.

  48. Robert: I acknowledged on the podcast that it is a perfectly interesting and thought-provoking question. I’ve also gone to some length to explain why I believe the answer to the question is that we can independently verify that our senses are physical phenomena which occur regardless of our subjective awareness of them. What you’re missing is that both myself and Alex did indeed attempt to give our answer to the question, on numerous occasions, but because it wasn’t the answer Sye wanted us to give it was ignored.

    The fact is; if one’s most base assumptions about reality cannot be accounted for, we’d call him or her a mental case…a crazy person. That’s the definition…and would invalidate your worldview on that basis.

    And as we have repeatedly asked both on the podcast and here, what is your justification for accepting the validity of your senses, without recourse to circular logic?

  49. @Jim,
    Not sure how to quote so I’m just going to wing it. :)

    I heard the podcast and did year your answers to this question. I think that what Sye is pointing out is that your senses are the very thing that you use to validate your senses and therefore your reasoning for trusting them is “viciously circular) rather than just “circular” which is not necessarily bad nor avoidable…they are not equal issues.

    Secondly; I’ll give your question some consideration and come back to you after I have thought about it and have something to say, but do realize that Sye also pointed out this fallacy in his previous comments, right? To point that out doesn’t actually answer anything.

  50. @Alex,
    Quote:
    Nope, it’s still just nonsense.

    End Quote

    Actually it’s not.

    The issue between our view has never been about the evidence. The fact is…we live in the same world, we see the same things, we have the same dirt, bones and fossils…all of the same “evidence” yet we come to radically different conclusions about their origins.

    The reason is worldviews; our most base assumptions through which we “filter” all other facts.

    Pastor Dustin pointed this out in the debate right at the beginning…so any appeal to “evidence” to support your particular worldview is just noise…I’d just point out that I see it differently..and here we are…

    Which is why the question goes deeper than evidence…it gets to the heart of it all…our worldview; our presupposed “facts” one which all other facts hang.

    So it’s not nonsense; you may not understand it…or you may but choose to ignore it…but that doesn’t make it nonsense.

  51. http://www.google.co.uk/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=how+to+blockquote&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&redir_esc=&ei=Ar-NTsSkO8XLhAfIxuX9Dw

    I think that what Sye is pointing out is that your senses are the very thing that you use to validate your senses and therefore your reasoning for trusting them is “viciously circular) rather than just “circular”

    I’ll repeat this again for the umpteenth time. I never said I depend upon my senses to asses my senses and I’ve acknowledged numerous times that this would indeed be circular. Stick your head in an MRI machine. Eat a banana. When you describe what the banana tastes like, you’re depending upon your senses to describe your senses. Meanwhile the MRI machine REGARDLESS OF YOUR ABILITY OR OTHERWISE TO DESCRIBE THE BANANA shows an electromagnetic impulse in the regions of the brain which process taste, smell and texture. This occurs COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT of your description of the taste, smell and texture. Therefore sense of taste is a physical phenomena which can be OBJECTIVELY verified.

  52. @Jim,
    “… Meanwhile the MRI machine REGARDLESS OF YOUR ABILITY OR OTHERWISE TO DESCRIBE THE BANANA shows an electromagnetic impulse in the regions of the brain which process taste, smell and texture. This occurs COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT of your description of the taste, smell and texture. Therefore sense of taste is a physical phenomena which can be OBJECTIVELY verified.”

    Are you saying that you don’t read the output of the MRI machine? Is the output from the machine not detected by one of your 5 senses?

  53. The issue between our view has never been about the evidence. The fact is…we live in the same world, we see the same things, we have the same dirt, bones and fossils…all of the same “evidence” yet we come to radically different conclusions about their origins.

    What is the origin of fossils?

    any appeal to “evidence” to support your particular worldview is just noise

    How do you explain the importance of evidence to someone who doesn’t value evidence?

    Which is why the question goes deeper than evidence

    I’ve heard this a lot and it strikes me as exceptionally odd that your only ‘justification for accepting the validity of the bible’ is that the bible justifies the validity of the bible and yet you bandy accusations of circular logic around as if it only applies to other people.

  54. Are you saying that you don’t read the output of the MRI machine? Is the output from the machine not detected by one of your 5 senses?

    No, it isn’t. It is INDEPENDENTLY verified by the detector in the MRI machine. My being present in the room to read the screen and OBSERVE EVIDENCE of the phenomena occurring is completely irrelevant. The phenomena occurs regardless of our being aware of it.

    Read the above statement. Point out which part of it is circular.

  55. Still not understanding how to quote…sorry..

    Quote:
    No, it isn’t. It is INDEPENDENTLY verified by the detector in the MRI machine. My being present in the room to read the screen and OBSERVE the phenomena occurring is completely irrelevant. The phenomena occurs regardless of our being aware of it.

    Read the above statement. Point out which part of it is circular.

    End Quote:

    So…hypothetically (since you didn’t actually verify your 5 senses in this manner) you must detect that you are:

    1.) in the room with the doctor
    2.) That you correctly understand his speech
    3.) That you correctly have detected and understand the observed evidence from the MRI machine in the room with you.

    all of which are detected and verified through your 5 senses.

  56. @Jim,
    Quote:
    What is the origin of fossils?
    End Quote

    According to my worldview?

    Fossils are (if we are talking about bones let’s say) are the permineralized bones of dead animals.

    But I’m guessing that you were asking something different than that…if you were….please elaborate.

    any appeal to “evidence” to support your particular worldview is just noise

    Quote:
    How do you explain the importance of evidence to someone who doesn’t value evidence?
    End Quote

    Who doesn’t value evidence?

    Quote:
    Which is why the question goes deeper than evidence

    I’ve heard this a lot and it strikes me as exceptionally odd that your only ‘justification for accepting the validity of the bible’ is that the bible justifies the validity of the bible and yet you bandy accusations of circular logic around as if it only applies to other people.

    End Quote

    I don’t doubt that for a second (that you’d reject my ultimate authority)…not a question in my mind.

    I only pointed out that “evidence” has never been the issue when we are really talking about “ultimate authorities” and worldviews.

  57. So…hypothetically (since you didn’t actually verify your 5 senses in this manner) you must detect that you are:

    1.) in the room with the doctor
    2.) That you correctly understand his speech
    3.) That you correctly have detected and understand the observed evidence from the MRI machine in the room with you.

    all of which are detected and verified through your 5 senses.

    And how else am I to ascertain what is reality and what is imagined? Don’t tell me, I think I know this one. God did it, right? Well how scientific. A God which exists because you believe he exists tricks me into thinking I have objectively demonstrated a given phenomena when really I have.. ..what? What exactly is the point you’re trying to get at? That my senses are an illusion projected onto my consciousness by God? Really? That’s the gap He fits into now, is it?

  58. any appeal to “evidence” to support your particular worldview is just noise

    Who doesn’t value evidence?

    I think the dial on my ‘did you really just say that’ incredulity meter just poked a hole in the fabric of space-time.

    I only pointed out that “evidence” has never been the issue when we are really talking about “ultimate authorities” and world views.

    You don’t know what ‘evidence’ means. Special pleading gets you exactly nowhere. You either accept the value of evidence or you don’t. You may well have hundreds of internally validating justifications for valuing certain kinds of evidence and discounting others, but that has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the validity of the evidence you choose to either observe or ignore. The notion of an “ultimate authority” is predicated upon their being evidence of an ultimate authority. Each and every single time I have asked for this evidence, I’ve been told “it’s right in front of you, you just have to want to see it”—a PERFECT CONTRADICTION of the notion that I am—to paraphrase Sye—wilfully pretending that there is no God, even though I secretly know there is.

    What kind of “ultimate authority” only demonstrates His basic existence to people who already believe He exists?

  59. “all of which are detected and verified through your 5 senses.”

    Robert, you have EXACTLY the same problem when you appeal to your god as an answer. How did you verify your ‘revelation’? VIA THE SENSES YOU SAY YOU CAN’T TRUST!! By YOUR OWN ARGUMENT you cannot verify your revelation as being genuine!

    This is the point we were trying to make to Sye and Eric, one that they (and their fans) have repeatedly ‘wavey handed away’ to avoid facing the MAJOR problem it presents to them.

    Speaking for myself, I am satisfied by comparison, that my senses give me an accurate (as near as can be) representation of the base reality in which we exist. I don’t need your god to account for reality, as I’m happy with the mechanisms already available. End of story.

  60. I’ll reiterate and lengthen the example I gave on the podcast, Robert.

    I believe Jimi Hendrix is a space alien, who came to visit the planet Earth for a while and, having satisfied himself that his music had planted the seeds of creativity in the minds of countless generations to come, he beamed back up again, home to whichever planet he came from.

    How quickly do you think it would become completely obvious that my beliefs are uncorroborated by evidence, if in response to someone asking me to prove my claims are true, I said “listen to his music, it’s right in front of you! You’re just living in denial of something you know to be true, but are too afraid to admit it. Look at all the other guitarists around the world who he has inspired. How can you say these people are just deluding themselves?”

    Now, you might say that I am entitled to believe whatever I want to believe. After all, look at all the wonderful music which is made in the belief it was inspired by a space alien. But I go further than that. It’s not enough for me to be left to my own beliefs, I demand that they be taught in schools as well. All children should know that every time they’re picked to play the triangle for the end of term brass band performance, they’re channeling the spirit of Hendrix. I don’t care about these so-called ahendrixists who can “prove” with “facts” and “logic” and “evidence” that actually he was just a boy from Seattle with a bad choice in groupies. These people just want to indoctrinate children against the power of the Wah Wah and the revealed truth of a Marshall 100 watt head cranked up to 11. How dare they say I’m not entitled to a tax break for my Red House school of alien love music! This country was founded on the principal that the only way to know the sacred heart of Leo Fender is through a personal relationship with the living Jimi Hendrix and I’ll be DAMNED if anyone is going to stop me from preaching my personal tastes in music as if they are one and the same thing as the ultimate arbiter of morality itself!

    Which part of the above statement is demonstrably false? What are the origins of that falsehood? What did the foundational falsehood of my initial claim, that Hendrix was a visitor from outer space, do to the validity of my additional truth-claims? Did it validate them further, or did it expose their inherent weaknesses?

  61. @Jim,
    Quote:
    And how else am I to ascertain what is reality and what is imagined? Don’t tell me, I think I know this one. God did it, right? Well how scientific. A God which exists because you believe he exists tricks me into thinking I have objectively demonstrated a given phenomena when really I have.. ..what? What exactly is the point you’re trying to get at? That my senses are an illusion projected onto my consciousness by God? Really? That’s the gap He fits into now, is it?

    End quote.

    Insults and mischaracterizations of my position aren’t what I asked about, but they do illustrated the point nicely….thanks.

  62. @Jim,
    Quote:
    I think the dial on my ‘did you really just say that’ incredulity meter just poked a hole in the fabric of space-time.

    End quote

    No…I think you misunderstood…I was asking who (which one of us) do you think “doesn’t value evidence”? Who would that be?

  63. @Jim,
    Quote:
    I’ll reiterate and lengthen the example I gave on the podcast, Robert.

    I believe Jimi Hendrix is a space alien, who came to visit the planet Earth for a while and, having satisfied himself that his music had planted the seeds of creativity in the minds of countless generations to come, he beamed back up again, home to whichever planet he came from.

    End quote

    If you really believe that Jimi Hendrix can account for the intangible laws of logic, metaphysical truth claims, and such, then we have a candidate for a basis for your worldview, but you know that you have to start arguing hypothetical Jimi Hendrix claims (and insulting my own worldview) instead of actually giving real answers as to why I should take your worldview seriously.

    From your above mischaracterization (previous post) of my belief I can see either:

    1.) You are ignorant of what Christians believe

    OR

    2.) You know what they believe but don’t have enough respect to state them accurately without restoring to personal attacks and mockery.

  64. So because I’ve given you a perfectly coherent explanation for why you can’t, in point of fact, “account for the intangible laws of logic” or your own “metaphysical truth claims” either, now you’re entitled to play the hurt feelings card? Well how convenient. If I’d known it was that easy I’d have reminded you for how many thousands of years people like me were burned at the stake, for having the temerity to question religion. I wonder how far that would have got me? I wonder how many punches you would have pulled for fear of insulting me even more than you already do?

    1) I was a Christian for 16 years

    2) What has Christianity ever done to deserve respect?

  65. @Jim,
    1.) I wasn’t playing any card; I simply pointed out that personal attacks are the sign of a failed argument.

    2.) If you were a Christian for 16 years then you’d still be a Christian (according to the belief of the bible) but since you are not, then you never were. (according to the bible, anyway)

    Christianity is a belief, it doesn’t “deserve” anything; people deserve respect (in my worldview anyway) but in your worldview where we are nothing more than two chemical reactions doing what they do….that question doesn’t even make sense.

  66. “No…I think you misunderstood…I was asking who (which one of us) do you think “doesn’t value evidence”? Who would that be?’

    That’d be you, as you clearly don’t value evidence.

    “2.) If you were a Christian for 16 years then you’d still be a Christian (according to the belief of the bible) but since you are not, then you never were. (according to the bible, anyway)”

    I was a Christian for about 18 years, but I’m amused to see that you’re committing the ‘no true scotsman’ fallacy there. Why do Christians have such a problem with former believers? What will happen when THEY suddenly realise it’s all horseshit (cos, based purely on numbers a significant number of them WILL realise it’s untrue)? Robert, are you a Calvinist by any chance?

  67. You’re asking me to respect bad ideas. You personally are probably a perfectly nice person, but your idea of what constitutes a proof I am wrong and you are right is insulting. I am offended by the idea that the only way someone is entitled to call themselves moral or capable of knowing awe for the world around us, is to view life through a distorted lens. I respect clarity and honesty and disrespect anything which claims to make a virtue out of believing in things which aren’t true.

  68. @Jim,
    Quote:
    That’d be you, as you clearly don’t value evidence.

    What gave you that idea? I never once said in this comment thread (or anywhere else) that I don’t value evidence. I’ll I’ve ever said is that all evidence is interpreted in light of our presuppositions.

    Quote:
    “2.) …I was a Christian for about 18 years, but I’m amused to see that you’re committing the ‘no true scotsman’ fallacy there. Why do Christians have such a problem with former believers? What will happen when THEY suddenly realise it’s all horseshit (cos, based purely on numbers a significant number of them WILL realise it’s untrue)? Robert, are you a Calvinist by any chance?

    I never heard of the Scotsman fallacy but I can only go by what the bible says which is that those who are saved will not fail to persevere to the end.
    You haven’t, therefore you were never truly saved.

    Again…I don’t have any “problem” with it, just pointing out a fact.

    Yes, I am a Calvinist.

  69. @Jim,
    Quote:
    “You’re asking me to respect bad ideas.

    I believe your position to be wrong yet I have enough respect for you to not call you names. Perfectly consistent with my worldview.

    Quote:
    “…but your idea of what constitutes a proof I am wrong and you are right is insulting. I am offended by the idea that the only way someone is entitled to call themselves moral or capable of knowing awe for the world around us, is to view life through a distorted lens. I respect clarity and honesty and disrespect anything which claims to make a virtue out of believing in things which aren’t true.

    And I guess you realize that I turn this around 180 degrees and call your lens distorted, yet consistent with my worldview, I maintain respect for you as a person.

  70. I didn’t realise WordPress didn’t enable users to edit their own comments. I’ll have a dig around and see if I can fix that.

    EDIT: Sorry, there’s no option in the admin panel for enabling users to edit their own comments. Sorry about that.

  71. How can you say you have respect for my “worldview” at the same time as insisting it’ll get me sent to hell for eternity? You have nothing but contempt for my “worldview”.

  72. I didn’t realise WordPress didn’t enable users to edit their own comments. I’ll have a dig around and see if I can fix that.

    EDIT: Sorry, there’s no option in the admin panel for enabling users to edit their own comments. Sorry about that.

    Thanks for checking.

    How can you say you have respect for my “worldview” at the same time as insisting it’ll get me sent to hell for eternity? You have nothing but contempt for my “worldview”.

    Not true at all. Because I value you; I warn you.

    to quote an Atheist I heard:

    IF you believe that I’ll go to Hell unless I repent, to keep silent about it would be the most UNLOVING thing you could do.

    Rpavich, why do you insist on @Jim’ing replies to comments I’ve made?</blockquote

    Because I don't read closely enough.. :(

  73. “Because I don’t read closely enough.. :(”

    Fair enough.

    Anyway, as I’ve said, I don’t think we need your god to account for reality. Your adoption of the TAG is rather misguided (though sadly typical of Calvinists for some reason) in my opinion, and eventually you’ll realise that it doesn’t actually prove anything at all. Luckily I think I’m right in guessing that you’re not as investing in it (literally) as Sye, so you’ll be able to walk away from it with the minimum amount of harm.

  74. @Alex,
    (read it closely that time :)

    Anyway, as I’ve said, I don’t think we need your god to account for reality.

    Yes…we all know that, it came out in the debate and I had assumed that. My only question is back to:

    “fair enough…then how do you account for reality given that there is only the material world, and only then has anything come about by random chance mutations over time”?

    obviously, we are back to square one….you don’t really have to answer that…it’s been asked and answered about 500 times on this thread.

    Your adoption of the TAG is rather misguided (though sadly typical of Calvinists for some reason) in my opinion, and eventually you’ll realise that it doesn’t actually prove anything at all.

    I don’t get how you can make a value judgement being that you only believe in material random chance matter in motion…If you are saying that you have an opinion that is no more valid than anything else…then ok….I agree…you have an opinion.

    Luckily I think I’m right in guessing that you’re not as investing in it (literally) as Sye, so you’ll be able to walk away from it with the minimum amount of harm.

    Not sure what you are getting at..but it does nothing to further the discussion so it’s forgotten already. :)

  75. Rpavich said “fair enough…then how do you account for reality given that there is only the material world, and only then has anything come about by random chance mutations over time”?

    I don’t claim to, that the Universe exists and can be explained naturalistically is enough for me.

    “Not sure what you are getting at..but it does nothing to further the discussion so it’s forgotten already. :)”

    I’m getting at the fact that, one day, you’ll suddenly have a ‘eureka!’ moment, and realise that the TAG is meaningless. The good news for you is, unlike Sye Ten Bruggencate, *you* haven’t placed every egg you own in the presup basket.

    As for my judgement of Calvinists, if you want me to be honest I think Calvinism is the worst of the worst when it comes to fundamentalist Christianity, an abomination of a faith that crushes every last spark of joy out of life and replaces it with a never ending cycle of guilt and begging for forgiveness. Furthermore, it seems to mostly be adopted by bullies (the Westboro crowd) and those who are desperate to impose their views forcefully on others (see Bob Sorensen at stormbringer005.blogspot.com, who would LOVE to be able to run the world his way). Calvinists dress up their bullying and control freakery in only the merest pretence of ‘love’ for those they harangue. I despise them for what they believe and how they allow that belief to shape their actions.

  76. Alex,

    All I can say is…wow….that’s the biggest misconception of Calvinism that I’ve ever read….

    Well..maybe not biggest or ever but it’s pretty big…

    If I labeled all Atheists as rude ignorant losers based on half a dozen people that I got off the internet you’d say that I was being unfair and mischaracterizing you based on these idiots

    And you’d be right.

  77. We answered all of them as far as I can tell when listening back, though not with the answers he (or it seems, you) wanted. For example, he asked ‘Can God reveal things to us so that we might be certain of them?’ to which I answered that such a being was logically impossible so the answer would be ‘no’. What I SHOULD have said was ‘As such a being is logically impossible, the question is meaningless’.

    We also answered his repeated question ‘how do you know that’ by explaining how science works (which has been further fleshed out here). There were at least 5 questions that Sye simply ignored when put to him, so perhaps you should be directing your post at your favourite Liar for Jesus?

  78. @Rpavich, as I’ve never encountered a Calvinist that hasn’t fitted into that mould, I can only assume that they’re all like that. Perhaps it’s only the ones who seek further infamy by blogging or broadcasting who are bullying tools, and if that’s the case then your faith has a major PR problem and should be shutting these fact and reality denying halfwits up.

  79. Quote:

    :…, as I’ve never encountered a Calvinist that hasn’t fitted into that mould, I can only assume that they’re all like that

    Endquote

    You must have bad I’ve run into all kinds of wonderful Calvinists…loving…compassionate…

    Quote:

    Perhaps it’s only the ones who seek further infamy by blogging or broadcasting who are bullying tools, and if that’s the case then your faith has a major PR problem and should be shutting these fact and reality denying halfwits up.

    Endquote:

    I too would like to see those who misrepresent Calvinism be silenced also, but they have the right to their opinion…however much I disagree or dislike their manner.

    I’ve also run into many rude vulgar Atheists…perhaps you should silence them?

  80. “You must have bad I’ve run into all kinds of wonderful Calvinists…loving…compassionate…”

    Indeed, let’s look at some quotes from Calvin himself….

    “Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols. ”
    “I have had much conversation with many Jews: I have never seen either a drop of piety or a grain of truth or ingenuousness – nay, I have never found common sense in any Jew”
    “[the Jews] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.” [NOTE: Hitler would have approved of this!]
    “Yet consider now, whether women are not quite past sense and reason, when they want to rule over men. ”

    What a charmer! And you proudly follow this sordid little man?

    “I’ve also run into many rude vulgar Atheists…perhaps you should silence them?”

    Why? We’re not holding ourselves up to the same standard you are! There’s no imaginary god watching our every word, so why should I care if myself or others occasionally squirt out a jet of invective in the direction of deluded simpletons? To be honest, you lot have had an easy ride for a couple of thousand years, it’s only fair that we get to give you a verbal kicking once in a while! At least we’re not burning you at the stake or drowning you for disagreeing with us! Aren’t you lucky we’ve not copied the Church’s techniques!

  81. Hey….I guess you missed the part where I said that Calvin is a man…and I don’t “follow” any man…let alone Calvin…you must have assumed; due to the short-hand moniker of Calvinism that I must somehow invest something other than a sinful man’s attributes in him ….

    Not true.

    Just like if I quoted other Atheists (Stalin, Pol Pot anyone?) and made the assertion that since they are tyrannical murderers who are/were reprehensible humans, then all Atheists are the same.

    C’mon…this is useless banter…you can do better than this…

    Aren’t you lucky we’ve not copied the Church’s techniques!

    Aren’t we lucky that we don’t copy all the murdering Atheists throughout history! :)

    Wow…what stellar argumentation…?

    Not.

  82. “Aren’t we lucky that we don’t copy all the murdering Atheists throughout history! :)”

    What about those murderous Christians? The Crusades spring to mind, or what about that well known Catholic……Adolf something I think….

    “and I don’t “follow” any man”

    Wasn’t Jesus supposedly 100% man (as well as being, *bullshit warning!*, 100% god)? OOPS!

  83. To be serious though, if the best argument you’ve got for your religion is that it didn’t murder on quite the scale as someone else, then you’re in deep trouble.

  84. @Alex,

    What about those murderous Christians? The Crusades spring to mind

    Yes, I include all sinful actions done by all people throughout history…Christians and “professing” Christians included; though I wouldn’t include the Roman Catholic church of the 1500’s Christian…that’s another conversation.

    , or what about that well known Catholic……Adolf something I think….

    I’m not sure if that’s bunk or not..but if you are alleging that he’s Christian, then you haven’t been reading your bible…mass murder of 6 million people doesn’t comport with the bible’s teaching about loving your neighbor…

    And of course, these were just examples to show that what someone else does in the name of a group doesn’t make them part of that group nor does it reflect on the truth that group’s claims..

    I thought that was obvious…I guess not.

    “and I don’t “follow” any man”

    Wasn’t Jesus supposedly 100% man (as well as being, *bullshit warning!*, 100% god)? OOPS!

    Yes, exactly..which is why I said “any man” and in the context of “humans” which was our examples….

    Really…does this weak drivel really fly with the groups you hang around with? Really?

    This is considered good, thoughtful, solid argumentation for your worldview?

  85. @alex,

    To be serious though, if the best argument you’ve got for your religion is that it didn’t murder on quite the scale as someone else, then you’re in deep trouble.

    Do you not talk to many Christians or do you just talk to the ones who are ill-informed?

    I wouldn’t say that that’s an argument for or against my religion or any organization’s truth claims…I said that in my comments above several times…so you can keep throwing around the “oh yeah! your organization murdered people too!” card but it’s not only an argument i don’t use, it’s a weak argument for or against Christianity OR Atheism.

  86. Hitler repeatedly described himself as a Christian.

    Anyway, I know that it’s a pointless argument, I was merely responding to you bringing the subject up. I mentioned specifically Calvin, as he’s the man who is the originator of your particular faith, a faith that reflects the ugly, bullying nature of its founder.

    Anyway, the TAG is nonsense, yadda yadda yadda. Can we move on from this?

  87. Alex,

    Hitler repeatedly described himself as a Christian.

    So if someone identifies themselves with a particular group no matter if they’re actions belie that identity or that the group itself would point out that they are a “poser” and certainly not part of that group….then because they claim it it’s true?

    Again…this is weak.

    Anyway, I know that it’s a pointless argument, I was merely responding to you bringing the subject up. I mentioned specifically Calvin, as he’s the man who is the originator of your particular faith, a faith that reflects the ugly, bullying nature of its founder.

    Again…you don’t know what you’re talking about. John Calvin did not originate these beliefs…they are merely referred to under the name “Calvinism” because it’s an easy shorthand to refer to a general set of beliefs; to make things simpler instead of laying out what I believe for an hour and a half..saying “Calvinist” differentiates me from another flavor of Christianity.

    I don’t think that you could even accurately state the beliefs of Calvinism.

    Anyway, the TAG is nonsense, yadda yadda yadda. Can we move on from this?

    None of this is tag…it’s merely a conversation in which I labor to explain that a person’s behavior doesn’t change the truth or falsity of a certain group’s claims, and therefore doesn’t reflect or represent that group.

    You made some really bad arguments and I just thought it would be good to whomever reads this thread to have that pointed out.

    I think we’re done….what we’ve discussed for the last 20 comments has been laughable…it’s weak internet Atheist material….

    Have a good day.

  88. “I think we’re done….what we’ve discussed for the last 20 comments has been laughable…it’s weak internet Atheist material….”

    That’s only because I’ve had to drop down to your level.

  89. Jim said:

    And how else am I to ascertain what is reality and what is imagined?

    That you two cannot see the vicious circularity of your position is simply astounding. That your only response is “You too,” is the “tu quoque” fallacy, and also astounding. You are free to challenge my position, and I’d be glad to debate you on it, but your intellectual honesty is non-existant.

    Alex said:

    Robert, you have EXACTLY the same problem when you appeal to your god as an answer. How did you verify your ‘revelation’? VIA THE SENSES YOU SAY YOU CAN’T TRUST!!

    Again, that is the “tu quoque fallacy” and the argument is NOT that you cannot trust your senses, just that you have NO basis for doing so. Since YOU have no basis for trusting your senses, YOU have no basis for ANY knowledge claim, let alone claims about MY position.

  90. As far as this nonsense of you two being “former Christians,” it is clear that the ultimate authority of the reasoning of the Christian is God and His Word, and that the ultimate authority of the reasoning of the non-Christian is self. One CANNOT reason FROM the position that God is the necessary foundation of reason, TO the position that He is not. If one reasons out of Christianity, then one was always the ultimate authority of their reasoning, and NEVER a Christian, just as it says in 1 John 2:19.

  91. That you two cannot see the vicious circularity of your position is simply astounding. That your only response is “You too,” is the “tu quoque” fallacy, and also astounding. You are free to challenge my position, and I’d be glad to debate you on it, but your intellectual honesty is non-existent.

    Really? After everything else which has been said on this page in praise of intellectual honesty THAT is the only thing you can pick up on? THAT is the only thing you feel the need to challenge? What do hope to get from this, Sye? Do you want us to say sorry for trusting evidence and reason? Do you want me to spell it out? Well, OK then. If it makes you happy, I’m happy to do so.

    Sye, I nearby solemnly apologies for believing in evidence, common sense and LOGIC. Yeah, LOGIC. I said it. I believe in logic. There, I said it again. In what kind of bizarre-o-world do you have to live in where admitting you believe in things which are provably true becomes an admission of guilt, exactly? What level of the decent into madness are you on, exactly? Have you ever tried standing back to look at what you people believe from the outside, or do you have exactly ZERO concept of how laughable it is to normal people?

    I’m not necessarily talking about the whole “If God doesn’t exist, how come he does?” circular shite you spew out. I’m talking about your overall tone, demeanour, attitude and arrogance. Begging to have stupid nonsense taken seriously doesn’t make it any less stupid, Sye. You don’t even have a primary school level grasp of scholastic comprehension, much less a coherent argument.

    “Learn how to learn before presuming to teach others” – Me, 2009

  92. Sye, you are borrowing from our world view whenever you try to make your claim. We can trust that our reality is the same one being experienced by everyone else due to the Primacy of Existence (if you’re unfamiliar with this you can read about it here -http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com/Metaphysics_RealityIsAbsolute.html).

    “Consciousness is not responsible for creating reality or creating an individual reality. It is completely dependent upon reality. Existence is primary because it is independent of, makes possible, and is a prerequisite of consciousness.

    All forms of mysticism derive from the false premise of the primacy of consciousness, which is demonstratively false. Also, the assertion that existence somehow requires consciousness, sometimes called the Interdependence Theory, is arbitrary at best without objective basis. ”

    Your appeals to a higher authority are meaningless due to this – you CANNOT borrow from our world view to try and prove your own. Our world view accounts for the reality we see around us, yours merely adds a layer of circular woo-woo on top to try and force an idea of a supernatural god into OUR worldview.

    Game over, Sye.

  93. Sye said “As far as this nonsense of you two being “former Christians,” blah blah blah appeal to non-existent higher authority blah blah blah’

    Sye, your use of the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy is laughable. Jim is right, beneath all the bombast and puffed up arrogance you display you actually have no argument at all. You borrow from our worldview to try and prove your circular nonsense, but your frankly rubbish bullshit ISN’T NEEDED to account for anything.

    Time to jump on another bandwagon Sye, cos the wheels just fell off this one.

  94. Absolutely hilarious that you need to lock the comments on the other thread. I imagine you will feel the need to do that here as well. Extremely telling.

    By the way Alex, if you want to quote Scripture, do it in context. The preceding verses make it clear that we are not to call our brother or sister “fools.” You are neither, you are the epitome of the Psalm 14:1 fool, the Proverbs 18:2 fool, the Proverbs 26:4,5 fool, the Romans 1:21 fool, the 1 Corinthians 1:20 fool, the 1 Corinthians 2:14 fool etc. etc.

    Repent while you still can boys.

    Cheers.

  95. Threat theology and self aggrandising gobbledegook. You’re just annoyed because you know we’ve worked you out, son. Comments closed. Oh look! You were right about something for once.

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