Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A presuppositional impasse

In the Skepticule Extra Facebook group, Skepticule co-host Paul Baird posted a link to an episode of the Fundamentally Flawed podcast in which Alex Botten and Jim Gardner took on Eric Hovind and Sye Ten Bruggencate. It was a while before I got around to listening to it (it's over an hour and a half long), but last night I did listen, and while doing so I posted my thoughts and reactions as comments on Paul B's link. Skepticule Extra is a closed Facebook group, so for the benefit(!) of non-members I've pasted my comments below (others' comments omitted, as I didn't see them until I'd finished listening):

Paul Jenkins Listening to this at the moment. Not kicked anything yet.
23 hours ago ·

Paul Jenkins Just got to Sye's complaint about Alex's blog comments. Convenient he exhibits his paranoia at the point his schtick is evidently failing to make any progress.
23 hours ago ·

Paul Jenkins Is Sye attempting to provoke Alex into hanging up on him?
22 hours ago ·

Paul Jenkins Here's my take on a couple of questions: 1. Is it possible for an omnipotent God (if he exists) to reveal something to me such that I can be certain of it? Answer: no, because "possibility" necessarily excludes "certainty" — that is, the question is incoherent. 2. Is it possible that we don't know anything at all? Answer: yes, apart from the knowledge that "thinking" is going on somewhere. But we function in the world nevertheless — amazing, isn't it?
22 hours ago ·

Paul Jenkins ‎3. Is appealing to your senses and reason to justify your senses and reason a viciously circular argument? Answer: no. It's circular but it's not vicious. And appealing to scripture to justify scripture is also circular. 4. Can the laws of logic change? Answer: this question is incoherent because it misunderstands the nature of logic. Logic isn't something over and above the physical universe, it is a characteristic of existence. Without logic there is no existence. Logic is inextricably entwined with existence and causality, and our understanding of it may change with our understanding of reality. Eric's point about the ontology of logic is invalid because his conception of the nature of logic is false.
22 hours ago ·

Paul Jenkins Coming to the end now. And I think Eric is about to ask Alex and Jim to repent (if previous experience is anything to go by).
22 hours ago ·

Paul Jenkins It was Sye who asked this time, coupled with a threat of Hell.
22 hours ago ·

Paul Jenkins Yay! subjective morality!
22 hours ago ·

Paul Jenkins The end.
22 hours ago ·

Paul Jenkins Now I'm going to hold my head under the cold tap.
22 hours ago ·

Paul Jenkins BTW, Jim's description of Sye's refusal to debate scripture with a non-believer as a "cop-out" is spot on. Sye is effectively refusing to debate scripture with anyone who disagrees with him. Maybe that's why he's so fond of the presuppositional approach — anyone who falls for the binary nature of the TAG is easy prey, while those who don't will necessarily stall at the first question because they realise it's a false dichotomy.
22 hours ago ·
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