Re: On Sye, Sean, Jonathan & their presuppositional antics!
- For some reason Jonathan sent the following private message to me using the FaceBook messaging feature.
From: Jonathan Bradford
Date: Saturday, March 23, 2013
Time: 3:23 PM MT
I love the link you've posted on your wall.
The initial article by Phil Stilwell is entirely misrepresentative, and contains many outright lies.
For example, when he claims that "Jonathan does not ask me for clarification. He does not ask me for my definition of "psychopath"", I called him out on it. I quoted 3 different times where earlier on in the conversation that I had done exactly that, and he had refused to reply to my request for clarification in all 3 circumstances. When shown his outright lie, he actually finally consented and changed the original article. It is clear that he has now changed it back to his original lie, just to keep trying to make a case that he can't support.
Phil is on record as claiming that he believes it's perfectly acceptable to lie if it makes him happy, as there is no such thing as a moral domain of right and wrong. I would highly suggest you track down the original comment thread and read the whole thing and decide for yourself whether or not what Phil says in that article is true. I believe that it was on Eric Hovind's Facebook page. Don't just take someone's word for it (Phil's or mine, for that matter). Go to the source and actually find out the truth for yourself.
That may be a good test to see if you actually want to have an honest discussion or if you are just interested in self-promoting propaganda.
--- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com,
"rlbaty50" <rlbaty@...> wrote:
I am really just a newcomer, a tyro, when it comes to all of this
presuppositional stuff, and our Pi is the one who happened to get me interested
recently when he happened to mention that Eric Hovind had taken it up as a
student of Sye Ten Bruggencate.
I liked the following discussion because it refers not only to Sye but his
sidekicks Sean Boatman and Jonathan Bradford.
Sye Ten Bruggencate and his Mendacious Pals
A case study in the inherent dishonesty of presuppositional tactics
Sye Ten Bruggencate is a Christian presuppositionalist. He does not think you
have any basis for rationality other than his choice of a god. After centuries
of emphasizing faith, Christianity was forced by the success of science to focus
on its "evidences", and having manifestly failed there, is now justifiably
cowering in the face of scientific scrutiny, and is desperately employing
increasingly absurd tactics in an attempt to destroy the utility of rationality
in order to salvage a god who, most Christians admit, would eternally torture
all those who follow a nature they neither requested nor can avoid. Sye is a
prominent promoter of a new tactic that attempts to wrest the right to
rationality away from those rational enough to reject the bible myth by
irrationally suggesting that, in the very use of rationality, those promoting
rationality must acknowledge the god of the bible as the author of rationality.
This essay will not deal with the illogic of this core argument. That will be
addressed in another longer essay to be posted at a later date. This essay will
deal primarily on the inherent dishonesty evidenced in my interactions with Sye
and his pals. For the past two years, I have been intentionally exploring the
arguments and tactics of presuppositionalists. I've concluded that the
dishonesty encountered is neither isolated nor inadvertent, but is essential to
the presuppositionalist project. Were it not for intentional straw-manning and
connotative misdirection, their ideology would appear incoherent. This is
because their ideology is incoherent. This incoherence of the ideology I will
address later, while this particular essay will focus on the mendacious tactics
of actual presuppositionalists.
The task of the reader will be to assess whether the degree of dishonesty found
prevalent in the presuppositionalist community of those claiming to possess the
the spirit of an honest god is evidence enough to dismiss presuppositionalism as
self-evidently incoherent and absurd. I'm suggesting it is.
Let's begin with the following hypothetical by Chris Wray in a Facebook
discussion about objective morality involving a couple non-mythicists and
several presuppositionalists including Sye.
"Let's say a room full of kittens is killed for fun. It makes me happy. Am I
wrong for being happy?"
After bantering a bit about the definition of the word `wrong', I responded as
"There is another sense of `wrong' that is goal-oriented. If your goal is to
be most happy, and your brain is structured as most humans, then I would suggest
trying altruism for fun. But if you are indeed a psychopath, then go for it.
Just keep in mind you'll be facing the negative emotions of the community you
Here are the the facts.
Chris clearly introduced a hypothetical.
I clearly responded in the context of that hypothetical.
A few posts later someone named Jonathan Bradford advises Chris
" just point out to Phil that he's willing to submit that there is no such thing
as a moral domain, which by definition would make him a psychopath (one who can
not or refuses to recognize moral behaviour), but instead of accepting that,
he's the one who calls you a psychopath."
No one was called a psychopath. In the context of the hypothetical, I provided
"If your goal is to be most happy "
"If you are indeed a psychopath "
I'll let the readers decide whether this was an intentional dishonesty on the
part of Jonathan Bradford, or whether he perhaps misread my comments.
I called Jonathan out on this. He responded that I had "conditionally" accused
Chris of being a psychopath.
A "conditional" accusation? What could that possibly mean?
If you were to kill my mother, you would be a murderer.
Did I just call you a murderer?
If you were to rape my sister, you would be a rapist.
Did I just call you a rapist?
Jonathan is a liar. I find no credible way an adult could innocently go from the
clear hypothetical to an accusation. He was therefore forced to introduce the
incoherent concept of a "conditional" accusation, then hope the audience would
miss the absurdity. We didn't.
And it does not end there. Just a few posts later, he again writes
"Why not admit it you denied the existence of any type of moral domain,
then you got caught making a moral judgement when you conditionally called Chris
Does anyone actually think Jonathan is so ignorant to believe there there is no
non-moral definition of psychopath? I certainly don't. Instead I believe he is
intentionally equivocating on a definition.
Jonathan does not ask me for clarification. He does not ask me for my definition
of "psychopath". He could. He doesn't. And he is not the only one. The bulk of
apologists do not want clarification. They do not want explanation. They instead
want to follow a script that, in their minds, necessarily concludes with a
validation of their ideology.
On several occasions in this Facebook thread I asked for clarification so I
would not be straw-manning the presuppositionalist position. The
presuppositionalists avoid requesting clarification since it would defeat their
agenda; to data mine apparent contradictions in statements.
Because I believe Jonathan Bradford is of normal intelligence, I also believe he
is a liar. He knows the classification of "psychopath" is made by psychologists
instead of moralists, and that a clinical test of psychopathy is not an
assessment of the subject's position on morality.
The tactic Jonathan is using is most certainly not an isolated case. This tactic
is the go-to tactic in nearly all exchanges with presuppositionalists I've
For example, the presuppositionalist knows that the term "wrong" can be used to
imply both a theistic morality and a goal-based assessment of behavior. They are
not idiots. They are intentionally supposing you mean theistic morality if you
use the term "wrong" without a qualification. They will not ask you to clarify.
They will instead tell you what you mean to say. This is the degree of
dishonesty among the very persons who claim to be representing a god who
tortures liars in eternal flames.
Another equally mendacious presuppositionalist is Sean Boatman who repeated
claims that every time someone makes a statement, that statement is believed
absolutely by the person making the statement. He does not ask for the degree of
confidence in which the statement is held. He is compelled by his ideology to
absurdly inform the person making the statement that they believe their
A rational person knows that a statement made in absolute confidence (a
"presupposition") is inappropriate for subjective beings living in an
inductively assessed world. Presuppositionalists irrationally believe
inductively assessed propositions absolutely, so they would be delighted if they
could demonstrate that non-believers also hold presuppositions. This drives
their dishonesty. This prevents them from asking for clarity as is done in any
good-faith discussion. They tell you what you believe. They ignore every other
possible position on the continuum of certainty and tell you that your belief in
your statement is at the pole of absolute certainty so you will appear as
irrational as they are.
Upon being called out on their dishonest attribution of position to those who
hold no such position, presuppositionalists such as Sean may ask "could you be
If you reply "yes", then they claim you don't actually "know". Their irrational
position requires that there be only absolute belief or no knowledge for any
give proposition. They know better. I believe they are not lying to themselves.
The absurdity of demanding knowledge be bivalent is too salient for a normal
adult to miss. They are instead liars, employing a dishonest tactic that is
necessarily dishonest as they attempt to obfuscates the incoherency in their
Is it possible that those this dishonest can represent an actual god of honesty?
You be the judge.
At the top (or bottom depending upon your perspective) of this irrationality and
dishonesty is Sye Ten Bruggencate.
Sye writes in the same thread mentioned above
"So, according to YOUR definition Phil, must a thing known to ANY degree be
I responded that, if to "know" something is simply rational belief in that thing
given the balance of evidence, then
"Based on this definition (non-absolute rational belief), a thing rationally
believed to any degree need not be true."
Incredibly, Sye, one of the leading figures in the presupppositionalist movement
"Great, so a person can know that God exists QED"
No joke. This is one of the prominent figures of the presuppositionalist
movement who has appeared on television shows promoting the ideology. Yet here
he is attempting to equivocate on the meaning of "know" to justify his stance
that we can know there is a god even though the clearly understands 1) that my
knowledge is never absolute as is his, and, more incredibly, 2) admitting that
"knowledge" of his god does not require his god be true. Really.
Lest that got by you, I stated that "a thing rationally believed to any degree
("known") need not be true" to which responds based on my definition of
"knowledge", "Great, so a person can know that God exists QED."
Sye's god, by his own admission, can be both "known" and non-existent.
If Sye had been only dishonest. Here he is both dishonest and clearly destroys
his own position. But we'll save the elaboration of this irrationality and many
others emergent of presuppositionalist rhetoric for another essay. This brief
essay was to give you a feel for the degree of dishonesty found among
Would a god of honesty be found anywhere in the vicinity of such liars?