I’ve been arguing with user “ProofThatgodExists” (Sye Bruggencate) in the comments section of my video; “How 2 Debate Theist “Gotcha!” Arguments”
(comments section for video found here).
For those who don’t know Sye – he’s a Theist who has decided to go the rather unusual route of using Christian Presupposition to argue for God’s existence. Unusual because no respectable philosopher takes Christian Presupposition seriously (I address the fundamental flaws of Christian Presupposition in this video here).
Arguing with Sye has given me some clue as to why he thinks Christian Presupposition is the bee’s knees. He clearly has no understanding of even the most basic of the different types of fallacy in addressing faulty logic.
That or he does understand and is being deliberately dishonest to incite frustration, anger and the inevitable emotional response such an irritating exchange can bring.
I suspect the latter because despite explaining extensively to Sye what “circular reasoning” is and how he was using that fallacy wrong he continued to doggedly insist that his definition of circular reasoning was right.
Those who have had a conversation with Sye will recognize that it is reminiscent of one of my favorite comedy sketches of all time.
But upon reflection you’ll come to realize that this isn’t actually a perfect comparison. You’ll notice as you look through my comments section at the comment exchanges people have with Sye that he never responds to a request for clarification of what he says. This is because Sye is relying on the deliberately imprecise and vague statements he makes to keep the conversation muddled. He doesn’t want clarity, he doesn’t want truth. He wants to create obfuscation and confusion.
That’s the great irony here.
When you strip away the laughs and comedic value of Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s on First” comedy sketch you realize that it is a perfect representation of two people seeking clarity, understanding and truth by using a form of communication that by it’s very nature (and the nature of those using it) is often plagued with miscommunications.
Between dealing with interpreting what another says through the filter of your own schema (perception) and the struggle for a precise, mutual understanding of definition and meaning of words used? It’s very easy for two people, despite making a genuine attempt at seeking truth to make a complete hash of it.
Which is why all fields have very precise, agreed on terminology for discussing the business of that field.
When a mechanic says to another mechanic he used a 4-stroke Carburetor as part of the engine assembly for a 110cc Honda mini-bike the other mechanic knows immediately what he’s talking about. Like in the fields of business, gardening or accounting, theology/ philosophy have an agreed upon language that people use so they can converse with each other to seek truth. The mechanic might have to seek further clarification to have a full understanding of the the project in question. For example; he may need the exact year and model of the bike in question to know which 4-stroke carburetor is the best choice.
But that can all be discovered through a line of questioning and response that’s designed to get to the truth at hand (in this case the truth is; “making a functioning mini-bike by choosing the right parts and inserting them properly).
Which is the exact opposite of what Sye does. The moment you seek clarification and clarity he either ignores you or dismisses your words or asks a question meant to divert the conversation back into the realm of confusion and obfuscation.
In an effort to give what would normally be an honest inquiry into truth using reason and logic the appearance of opposing religions fighting over whose faith is right he preemptively accuses the other side of using blind faith, strawmen and circular reasoning (just to name a few of his tactics). A tactic that serves one purpose only, to confuse the audience and convince them that the debate isn’t between science & unsupported faith but unsupported faith & unsupported faith. The audience wanders off in a state of uncertainty which is all Sye is going for.
Sye’s gain is in the audience’s loss in an interest in taking the difficult path of questing for truth and the loss to the audience member
is severe. Years, decades may pass until they realize just how they were conned and how much they have lost.
His goal isn’t seeking truth, it is destroying truth. It is destroying the very foundation of what we use to arrive at truth.
On a personal note I find this childish; “I know you are but what am I?” tactic to be particularly despicable because I’ve experienced it in real life situations where this tactic is used by predators to convince others that they aren’t a danger so they can be free to act and do the damage they seek to do.
Which is why I classify Sye as a predatory proselytizer (A sub-category of the con artist). While what he is doing doesn’t have the same intensity of having a stalker lie to the police and accuse you of doing the very crimes he just committed to create uncertainty and confusion in the officers so they lose interest in determining the truth and dismiss the situation and depart leaving you to deal with a very real danger?
What Sye is doing is still dangerous and damaging to people and society. I would stress to him that actions have consequences and his use of such dishonest tactics erodes the moral and intellectual fabric of our society in ways that will negatively impact all of us, Christians included but in my experience predators are unable to focus on anything but their own own immediate goals and self gratification.