Sunday, February 9, 2014

About A Different Debate (That Has Not Happened)

While tabling for Apostacon last year at ReasonFest, I learned of a plan that was being worked for Apostacon later that year.  Learning of this was on the condition that I didn't share the information because it was still in the works and it would have had its own announce done by Apostacon itself.

The goal was for a debate.  Matt Dillahunty vs Eric Hovind and Sye Ten Bruggencate.  If you're wondering who the hell Sye Ten Bruggencate is, you're wondering the same thing I was then and some friends were  the other day when I referenced him.

Here's the example of him I was shown.

The gist is that he was entirely reliant on the tactic he has, Presuppositional Apologetics.  It involves an effective straw man of forcing the other person into a corner of solipsism by putting an intense focus on absolute knowledge, claiming only he can have knowledge (because God), and declaring anyone who doesn't claim absolute knowledge cannot know anything and thus cannot speak.

It's a childish word game.  When a member of the show called him out on it, instead dropping the game and having an adult conversation (the point of the show he was on), he immediately left in a tiff.

I wish I could say that was an isolated incident, but the more I learned about him, the more I learned that was his only debate tactic.  For instance, he pulled the same shit on Steve Shives and the other 2 who were on the Biblethumpingwingnut Show.

By the time my part in this story because, Matt had been dealing with Sye for a while, and he thought the potential for 2 vs 1 would get him to finally participate in a debate.  Multiple attempts were made by Apostacon to get in contact with them.  For a while, we received no response at all.  Eventually, a representative for Hovind declined citing schedule (a reasonable excuse).  We sent Sye enough e-mails that he cannot reasonably claim to have not seen them.  He never responded.

We eventually dropped the plan to attempt to make a debate happen out of logistical necessity.  We had a conference to plan and no time to play games.  Matt still came to Apostacon, where he did a magic show, that I hear was quite good[1].

After that, I hadn't put any thought toward the failed attempt for a debate or Sye until Matt tagged Apostacon on Twitter in response to Sye tweeting this video.

In that video, Sye has a clip of Matt referencing the offer Sarah Morehead that I talked about above.  In his response to that, Sye lied about not being aware of the offer.  The only other option is that he's incredibly lazy about checking his e-mail.

Why is he lying?  Only he knows.

So, Matt responded.

In his response, Sye makes excuses about why he's still never called into the show anyone can call into and nitpicks trivial details.  In claiming he'd be hung up on, he's entirely ignoring the episodes Matt is referencing, where neither Matt Slick nor Ray Comfort were hung up on.  Sye has no good reason to think he would have been treated any differently.

I suspect that Sye decided to challenge Matt to a debate after seeing the Nye-Ham debate and decided to himself some attention.

If it was nearly anyone but Matt Dillahunty, I would advise not to waste your time with him Sye Ten Bruggencate, who I do not believe is capable of a civil, honest, or sincere debate.  But I think Matt is much more likely than most to effectively call him out on his bullshit.

Matt knows he won't convince Sye that he's wrong.  But he also knows that exposing Sye as being full of shit could make a difference with believers in the audience.  Matt knows that there will be potential future atheists in the audience.

My expectations for the debate are similar what Shives posted on Matt's first video.

I expect Sye's part of the debate to be thoroughly frustrating.  I expect him to be dishonest, mostly in the from quote mines and claims of exclusivity to absolute knowledge.

Sye claims he wants to expose "the atheist worldview" for what it is.  But all he has is word games.  So, to make the endeavor worthwhile, all Matt has to do is expose the dishonesty and terrible arguments for what they are.

If he does that, it will have the same result as the Nye-Ham debate, with even Christians saying the atheist won and comparing him to a conspiracy theorist.

1.  I missed it due to Apostacon related obligations

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