13 May, 2010

Sye deletes, so rhiggs repeats

I was recently looking over some old posts in which Sye TenB blathered about presuppositionalism for a few weeks in the comment section. If you are new to presuppositionalism, read my three part series on the topic - Presuppositionalist Nonsense Parts I II and III.

Having encountered Sye on several occasions, I had come up with a list of questions (with some input from others - mainly SMRT members) that he refused to answer for several months. His reason for not answering the questions was this: "I told you that I would not answer them until those who posed them accounted for the logic necessary to formulate them and the logic necessary to interpret the answers."

This is, of course, nonsense.

Do you account for how your computer works before you turn it on and use it? No.

Do you account for how an aircraft works before you get on it? No.

Similarly, you don't need to account for logic in order to use it.

Anyway, after much persuasion he eventually attempted to answer the questions, and the results were, well, predictably underwhelming.

But now, in an interesting turn of events, it seems that Sye has strangely deleted his answers from the comment section of the original post. Is he embarrased by the ridiculous answers he gave? Who knows? Probably.

But just in case he deleted them by mistake, I've decided to republish the questions, his answers, and my rebuttal below the fold. You're welcome Sye. Enjoy.

1) Explain how these two contradictory quotes of yours are compatible: "Impossibility of the contrary" with respect to your worldview and "I have never claimed that it would be impossible" with respect to a contrary worldview.

Sye: Very simple, I made a general claim with respect to the impossibilityof the contrary, but I did not address his SPECIFIC worldview.

The phrase 'impossibility of the contrary' necessarily excludes any worldview that does not agree with yours. This means that your statement is still contradictory as you have claimed that all contrary worldviews are impossible and then denied that you have claimed a particular one is impossible. LOL

2) You consistently claim that your version of the truth is certain, but seeing as you have agreed in the past that there are people who are certain of truth but are in fact wrong, how can you know that you are not one of these people?

Sye: I have never said that there are people who are certain of the truth, but who are in fact wrong, as that would be impossible.

Hmmm, are you sure? I seem to remember you and Stan talking about this. Let me dig up some past discussions and get back to you. You better be sure!

3) If you discount the validity of personal revelations as a source of truth (the contrary being that any hallucination can be considered as truth), how is it that you were able to arrive at the conclusion that presupposing God's existence is the foundation of rationality, since you wouldn't have been able to judge it to be the correct position without already having accepted it?

Sye: It looks like you do not understand presuppositions. One does not come to the conclusions about presuppositions, they are the basis on which conclusions are formed.

Eh, the conclusion that one does not come to conclusions about presuppositions, is itself a conclusion about presuppositions. It looks like you do not understand conclusions.

4) Give an example of an absolute truth, i.e. a truth that does not require a system in order to exist. When you provide your example, please include how you came to the conclusion that it was a valid example.

Sye: God exists. By His revelation

That's a belief, not a truth. And it is a belief based on a subjective revelation. Nothing absolute about that.

5) What is the evidence that your ability to reason is valid? (Note that the evidence must demonstrate your ability to reason but cannot use reason itself as this would presuppose the very thing you are trying to provide evidence for)

Sye: God’s revelation.

Riiiight! Did you use reason to come to the conclusion that God's revelation is evidence that you can reason reliably? Fail.

6. Provide evidence that your revelation was not from Satan posing as God, or that it wasn't from a computer programmer or that it wasn't just a hallucination. All of these scenarios are possible.

Sye: It is question begging to assume that God could not reveal some things to us such that we can be certain that they are valid, and that the revelations are from Him, therefore this question is invalid.

And the question you claim is being begged also leads onto the following question:

Can an omniscient omnipotent being, if it so desired, reveal something to a fallible human such that the person believes it to be certain, even though it isn't. If not, why not?

7) What absolute standard did you use as your foundation to determine that God is an absolute standard?

Sye: I did not use anything to make this determination, as it is NOT a determination, it is a PRESUPPOSITION.

In other words, you made it up. Also, absolute standards do not need any rationale to become absolute standards. Great!

8) How did you come to the conclusion that God has an unchanging character?

Sye: I did not come to this conclusion, God has revealed it to us.

So you actually came to the conclusion that God has an unchanging character following God's revelation. How did you come to the conclusion that God's revelation doesn't change?

9) How do you know your senses or your extrasensory perception were reliable prior to and at the time of your revelation? If you claim your revelation wasn't sensory or extrasensory but that it was 'innate', how do you justify the assumption that your innate perception is reliable?

Sye: This has nothing to do with the reliability or perceived reliability of my senses, it is my position that God can and does reveal some things to us in such a way that we can be certain of them, no matter our perceptions.

Again, can an omniscient omnipotent being, if it so desired, reveal something to a fallible human such that the person believes it to be certain, even though it isn't. If not, why not?

10) Occasionally, when a tough question arises, instead of answering you respond with a phrase like "you have no basis for that question/claim". If a person has no basis for one claim then he/she also must have no basis for any claim. So why do you answer any questions from anyone with a different worldview, since they never have a basis for their question?

Sye: Cause they [ahem] keep harping on them, and sometimes I choose to expose the fallacy of their position.

Great. Anytime you want to start then...

11) As you have told us, God cannot murder or lie. This means that God is not all powerful or 'omnipotent', since it is conceivable to imagine a God-like deity that could also murder and lie. So, since God is not omnipotent, how can you be sure that he was able to reveal truth with absolute certainty to you?

Sye: Your statement is question begging, and therefore your question is invalid. It is your claim that God must be able to contradict His own nature in order to be omnipotent, not mine.

No, just that he should be able to do anything that is logically possible (your words). Lying and murder are logically possible. Your position implies that humans, since they can lie and murder, are more powerful than God.

12) Consider this claim: an all-knowing entity (e.g. the Invisible Pink Hammer) reveals knowledge to me in such a way that I know it to be certain? Part of this reveation is that your Christian God does not exist. I do not know how this happens, but it is innate and does not require senses or rational thinking. Through these revelations I have found the Truth and have also been told that you are a liar and that your religion is false. Please offer a refutation of this claim. If you cannot, you must concede that this claim is equally as likely to be true as your own, regardless of whether anyone actually believes it.

Sye: I do not offer refutations of claims by people who claim individual revelations with nothing to back up that claim, especially when everything they say prior to, and after their claim, contradicts their claim revealing that they are only putting up a smoke screen. Besides ‘invisible,’ and ‘pink’ are contradictory characteristics, refuting the existence of such an entity.

So you cannot refute the claim then. That's ok, just confirming...

13) Have your senses and reasoning ever let you down? Have you ever misread something or made a mistake (including during childhood)? I imagine even you would admit that it occasionally happens. How do you explain these examples of your senses and reasoning failing you, when you have been gauranteed that they are reliable? Are they only reliable some of the time?

Sye: I have never said that I have been guaranteed that my senses are reliable. It is my claim that God can and does reveal some things to us such that we can be certain of them, no matter the reliability of our senses.

Oh really? Check your response to me here

"I know what I know based on God’s revealtion. I know that my reasoning is trustworthy based on God’s revelation, and I proceed on the expectation that past events will resemble future events based on God’s revelation.

December 15, 2008 7:57 AM"

Consistency isn't one of your strengths, is it? Unless you want to quibble over the difference between reliable and trustworthy, which I'm sure you do...

Your fallible senses and reasoning necessarily mean that your claims to certainty are nonsense.

14) Hey Sye, using your own logic, provide a positive ontology for God. If you cant, why should we trust your logic?

Sye: God is an omniscient, omnipotent, eternal, omnibenevolent, personal spirit.

This was Vagon's question so I'll let Vagon respond.

15) Please provide an example of an absolute truth which is not a systemic truth.

Sye: God exists

Sorry, that's a belief. Not a truth.

16) Seeing that we presuppose that you [Sye] have had a sudden blow to your head which has resulted in brain injury can you provide evidence that you can think rationally?

Sye: The very posing of the question exposes a precommitment to my rationality, else it would be absurd to pose it.

No. It asks a question which you cannot answer without attempting to use rationality. You have made a valiant effort, but your inability to refute the presupposition means that your brain injury is obviously true. Perhaps you didn't understand the question, which would be consistent with your brain injury. In fact, from your answers to all the questions, this is looking increasingly likely...

17) Explain why the qualifiers absolute, universal, and immutable apply to a discussion of logic.

Sye: Because those are undeniable characteristics of logic.

This was Ryk's question so I'll let him respond. (I deny it though)

18) How do you attribute any revelation to an omnipotent omniscient being, when any revelation could come from a source that is neither Omniscient or Omnipotent but simply capable of fooling you.

Sye: It is my position that God can and does reveal some things to us such that we can know them for certain to be true and reliable. It would take intellectual dishonesty to deny this possibility, and question begging to assume its impossibility.

Didn't fancy answering that question directly did you? I don't blame you. That is because it would take intellectual dishonesty to deny this possibility, and question begging to assume its impossibility.

It cancels out your position and you know it. LOL! Whether you admit it or not your position is equally as question begging and can thus be dismissed as invalid.

Don't worry though. I can understand why you refuse to consider this...

And there you have it. A permanent record of Sye's 'answers'. I'm happy to let you, the knowledgeable reader, decide if they are convincing or not...


Ryk said...


As it was my question I will respond. You ducked the question by saying that absolute, universal, and immutable undeniable characteristics of logic.

This is false I deny all three and in our last discussion enumerated wht. You essentially begged the question and added a qualifier so I will restate.

Why are universal, absolute and immutable undeniable characteristic of logic.

Also your premise that God can reveal things in a way you know to be true is false. It is as was pointed out in our last discussion a logical contradiction such as creating a rock he can not lift or posing a question he can not answer. As you yourself acknowledged in our last discussion your deity is not to be presumed capable of logical contradictions. (why I am uncertain comsidering this argument makes God subbordinate to logic thereby negating your wjole premise, but that is what you claimed). At any rate an omnipotent being should be capable of revealing truth in a way you know is true. However it is also infinitely capable of decieving any lesser being. Therefore it is the exact same premise as the unliftable rock. It is a logical contradiction and therefore by your own reasoning is something your deity can not be supposed capable of.

Therefore we are through the process of logic reduced to only two options.

One is that God is incapable of logical contradictions. In which case God is subordinate to logic and therefore can not be presupposed as an accounting for logic.

Two is that God is capable of logical contradictions, in which case logic can not be considered to be absolute, universal, or immaterial. In which case there is no basis for presupposing logic as a proof for God as it can just as easily be a human device or completely arbitrary.

In either case your presupposition is proven to be not an evidence in favor of your mythology. The transcendental argument is thereby rendered meaningless.

Ryk said...


I have on several occasions given specific and individual explanations as to why the concepts "absolute" "universal" and "immutable" should not be considered relevant to the concept of logic. Fundamentaly however the reason lies in the very nature of logic itself.

Logic is a human devised set of rules, codifying how our intelligence interacts with the apparent orderlieness of the universe. The only accounting required for this is the phrase "human devised"

If alternatively it is this apparent orderliness that you are reffering to with the phrase "laws of logic" then no accounting is required either. This apparent orderliness is simply that apparent. As it is observed the observation is the accounting, to say otherwise would require that you present a contrary without the use of logic.

No one has so far successfully presented evidence that the universe is or should be disorderly by nature therefore the orderliness itself is the only required presupposition and even that is optional as the orderliness could simply be apparent and the "laws of logic"would still function as stated.

For the presuppositional position to have merit first you would have to provide an account as to why the universe would be by nature disorderly absent a deity.

Then if that were done successfully you would need to provide an account as to why an evolved intelligence could not percieve a disorderly universe as being orderly.

Essentially the only presupposition that matters is not a deity. It is that the universe appears to the human mind to function in an orderly fashion. As this is observed and uncontrovertable it is to be accepted over some potential deity which is neither.

Ryk said...

I would say that as far as my understanding of big bang cosmology goes at the instant of singularity when both time and space began to enter reality it would be safe to stay that for that first instant(if you can call something an instant in the absence of time) the universe must have existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way.

Likewise it could also be said that quantum particles can exist in one place and exist in another at the same time therefore also violating non contradiction.

As I have said the laws of logic describe how we interact with the observations we make about the world. If there are exceptions to these laws which there may be any number of, they would therefore be outside of our ability to interact with according to our perception. They can only be analysed through mathematics which is itself a product of our logic and therefore not generally capable of describing failures of our system of logic, it can only indicate them. If mathamatics were to describe a violation of the laws of logic it would not mean that the functioning of the universe has altered it would mean our understanding of it had and then the laws of logic would be altered to encompass our increased understanding.

Since we can not adequately describe things which function outside of the logic we use to describe things it is beyond our ability to truly say that our laws of logic are in fact accurate or if they are merely functional within the parameters of our perception.

The premise that something is unable to exist and not exist at the same time is not something I consider absolute. I simply consider it accurate within the confines of human intelligence. As to what is possible beyond the ability of human intelligence to comprehend is by definition not describable according to the "laws of logic". We do not consider the possibility in our observations or calculations because there is no practical benefit in doing so. We do not however have an absolute basis for claiming the impossibility of them.

rhiggs said...

Hi Ryk,

The angle I take on something, say the universe, existing and not existing at the same time is this...

In what way could we measure or observe it? Let's take one at a time:

1) If the universe does exist and not exist at the same time then, as one part of that dichotomy, it would necessarily exist. Since we are here observing the universe, I think it is safe to assume that it does indeed exist.

2) If the universe does exist and not exist at the same time then, as one part of that dichotomy, it would necessarily not exist. By definition, there would be no trace of this non-existent universe to measure or observe, and indeed we have no trace of such.

So from our viewpoint, there is no evidence to falsify the hypothesis that the universe actually does exist and doesn't exist at the same time.

Of course, the presupper will jump on the idea of the universe not existing and extrapolate to suggest that this means your consciousness also doesn't exist. But what they fail to consider is that the original question is whether the universe (or your consciousness) can both exist and not exist at the same time, not just whether it doesn't exist. This is not inconsistent with what we observe, as we do in fact exist, and we cannot measure our non-existence.

Sye et al have never shown that this is impossible, they just laugh it off as highly improbable. This is hardly the basis for absolute certainty.

As you say, the very fact that this is difficult to understand or comprehend shows that the law of non-contradiction is a man-made entity, which describes reality with a high degree of precision, but is not necessarily universal or invariant.

Joshua said...

The primary silliness of presuppositionalism is that whether or not there's a deity, logic and reasoning are fallible. Humans make logical mistakes all the time. We misremember. We perform arithmetic incorrectly. We engage in logical fallacies. The certainty of reasoning is just as bad whether or not there's a deity.

rhiggs said...

Hi Joshua,

Quite right. I addressed that failing of presuppositionalism in question 13.

In response, they will claim that they have an avenue to certainty as if that means they themselves can be absolutely certain about something. This has never been demonstrated of course.

In essence, their claims toward certainty boil down to "I know a smart guy", of whom there is no evidence. Not very convincing.