I must confess that I quite enjoy debates, but at the same time recognise they are not everybody’s cup of tea. Perhaps my interest stems from the thought that all ideas should be robustly challenged, especially those that I hold. But then I do also like to view it as an opportunity to potentially gain additional insights into what makes those with religious beliefs tick.
So anyway, here is a fun one.
It plays out like this – Sye starts with this Claim: It is reasonable to believe that God exists. Why? [be prepared to be astonished] … well because it is true that he exists.
Yes really … his argument is that it is true because it is true …
- It is reasonable to believe the things that are true.
- It is true that god exists
- Therefore is it reasonable to believe that god exists.
He speculates that the disagreement will come from his 2nd premise (duh!) and then proceeds to claim, “I say it is true that god exists, therefore it is true that god exists“, and then we set off on a quote-mined trip into snippets of Matt that have been quote-mined in order to claim that Matt does not know if he is or is not simply a brain in a vat, and ends up with the claim that you can’t know what is real without a “revelation from god”.
Ah yes, so what we have in play here is what is known as Presuppositionalism.
Matt then proceeds to slice and dice this nonsense, it does gets into philosophy, but he does a rather nice job.
I also happened to find a rather good summary of it all here, and having watched the debate, I can say that yep, this comment nails it …
Matt’s first rebuttal was written before the debate took place and predicted everything Sye had to say. It’s a good 10 minutes of your time on how to deal with the presupposition argument.
His closing statement was mostly written beforehand as well and is also worthwhile.
You can skip everything Sye says and all the questions. Sye gives no evidence whatsoever.
Hopefully this closes the door on the presup movement. Very well done on Matt’s part.
I should also add that what makes it entertaining is that it is an example of how arrogant, annoying, delusional, and aggressively insulting belief can inspire some to be, so when placed in the eye of this storm of non-debate, Matt displayed the patience of a … (if you will forgive the example) … saint.
And of course, here is the debate itself …
As to whether or not we can know anything, the only demonstration I can give is that I wrote this rebuttal ahead of time. – Matt Dillahunty 2014