Who takes the likes of Sye Ten Bruggencate seriously?

In the in the discussion thread on presuppositionalism, a couple people brought up Sye Ten Bruggencate’s website ProofThatGodExists.org and Stephen Law’s lengthy series of replies. Scanning over Stephen’s replies, I don’t know whether to be impressed by his patience or feel a bit sorry for him for having caught such a terrible case of SIWOTI syndrome.

I hadn’t read either Sye’s website or Stephen’s responses in awhile, so I’d forgotten just how bad Sye’s argument is. I can say without exaggeration that he makes Bill O’Reilly look smart. Beyond that, words fail me. Which probably makes it good I can quote Stephen’s first post here:

Checked out the “proof”. So it runs: if you believe in objective laws of logic and maths and science and moral truths (that are immaterial, by which author means not made out of material stuff), you must believe in God because, er, they couldn’t exist if God did not.

Clearly, the author really thinks he’s got a “proof”. But it is shot full of holes.

First, where’s the argument that objective laws of logic, etc. require the existence of God? There isn’t one. Just the assertion that they do. Yet, amazingly, this is offered as the “proof”.

The author’s chutzpah is kind of breath-taking. Only a religious zealot would dare offer this as a “proof” with a straight face.

Note that, even if the laws of logic DID require the existence of some sort of deity to underpin them, we could still ask, why this particular God – the Judeo-Christian God? Particularly as there’s overwhelming evidence that there is no such being (see my “God of Eth”).

Click the link to Sye’s site and you’ll see how utterly obvious that Stephen is right, but it ends up being a huge struggle for him to get Sye to acknowledge the simplest points.

It’s enough to make me wonder if Stephen was getting sucked in to taking a persistent nobody seriously; what I’ve written previously on outrage in the atheist blogosphere is relevant here. But I think Sye may not be a nobody; apparently he’s been supporting himself as a full-time apologist since 2008 and Eric Hovind, son of notorious young-earth creationist and tax cheat Kent Hovind, appears to be a fan of Sye.

So who the hell is giving this guy money? I can understand why people buy William Lane Craig’s books or Lee Strobel’s books, but here I’m feeling unusually confused. One possible explanation, though, comes from the young-earth creationist connection. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis is also a fan of presuppositional apologetics, and it’s not hard to see why: he uses presuppositionalist rhetoric to dodge questions about the evidence for his claims.

Young-earth creationism is unheard of among “sophisticated apologists,” even ones who identify as evangelical like William Lane Craig. Craig may be willing to lie blatantly about gay people, but even he knows the prevalence of young-earth among Christians is an embarrassment. Yet it is prevalent; studies consistently show between a third and a half of Americans are young earth creationists.

There’s a market for reinforcing those people’s pre-existing beliefs, but if you want to sell to that market, coming up with evidence and arguments for those views is going to be tough. Much better to just respond to all requests for evidence and arguments with shameless bullshittery.

  • Rain

    When I was s kid I always thought of creationism as a joke that died out sometime back in the caveman days or in the Scopes trial or something. (I saw Inherit The Wind when I was a kid.) Then later I saw that there were all these creationists everywhere. Including my mom! WTF! :D Go away creationism, LOL.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Baty/100002900907165 Robert Baty

    I have directly confronted Sye and his sympathizers since running into him on one of Eric Hovind’s FaceBook pages (Eric is a disciple of Sye).

    I have put them all to flight and can’t get them to find one Presuppositionalist who will negotiate for the production of a discussion of the merits of Sye’s alleged “proof of God” which I propose offers no “proof of God”.

    I have recently posted an open invitation to Sye and his people in numerous venues. No Presuppositionalist has come forward to accept the invitation.

    Here’s one link where the invitation has been posted:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/message/31807

    • Searlas

      Maybe it’s because they don’t want to waste their time with fake Christians.

  • http://profiles.google.com/david.mike.simon David Simon

    Marcos, you just violated the 378th.
    Popsicles 13 and 1/2: Don’t expect non-Christians to take Bible verses any more seriously than you would take any book you believe to be fiction.

  • MNb

    Stephen Law obviously had big fun with Sye TB a couple of years ago. I thought his posts you linke to hilarious.

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/ RLBaty

    It seems to me that one can not simply dismiss Sye Ten Bruggencate when so many have taken him seriously for so long.

    Since my last post to this article, my efforts with Sye and his people have continued, even while they continued to run from me.

    I set up a FaceBook page as a venue for negotiating with them for a conversation about Sye’s fundamental “proof of God” claim.

    A Sye surrogate, Jason Petersen, took up the challenge and our “debate” is just now wrapping up; only our closing statements are left to post and Jason is supposed to go first with that.

    Here’s the link to that FaceBook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/BruggencatevBaty

  • randomfactor

    He could certainly honor his parents (if they deserve it, a question unanswered by the bible) and still think their beliefs are silly. Which they apparently are, if they believe the bible.

  • Z4RQUON

    Is that SERIOUSLY Sye’s logo above?! Man, that guy has sure got a talent for unintentionally defeating himself!

  • Z4RQUON

    I defeated Sye in a Facebook debate a few years back… All you have to do is point out that his argument implies that he thinks believing in god makes him godlike, and he backs right down.

    • Paul Wafflez Wafula

      Is it absolutely true that you defeated Sye in a debate?

      • Z4RQUON

        It is reasonably true.

      • Guest

        It is also reasonably true that he threatened me afterwards.

  • Z4RQUON

    Sye commits idolatry in his argument because he is worshiping his INTERPRETATION of what he calls “God’s character”… and It DOES shake him when you point this out to him.

  • Z4RQUON

    ““The name ‘laws of thought’ is also misleading, for what is important is not the fact that we think in accordance with these laws, but the fact that things behave in accordance with them; in other words, the fact that when we think in accordance with them we think truly.”

    – Bertrand Russell

  • James Tallent

    He really gets to you guys huh. LOL

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