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May 14 2012

The bottom of the barrel

Some of the sleaziest people I know are creationists (not all of them, of course). There’s something about holding an irrational, unsupportable belief that makes them desperate to find vindication by any means possible, and that justifies lying, cheating, and thoroughly reprehensible behavior. “By any means possible” is their motto.

I got a long email from some people who had tried to deal with Eric Hovind and Sye ten Bruggencate — I know, all I have to do is mention those names and already everyone knows the story that follows will be slimy — and rather than try to paraphrase it, I’ve just posted the whole thing below the fold. The Hovind/ten Bruggencate pair are really the very worst of the creationists I’ve encountered — Ray Comfort is dumber, Ken Ham is more conniving, but these two…they truly inspire deep fountains of disgust.

Hi there, PZ.

A couple of months ago, you were kind enough to blog about a problem we had with Eric Hovind, attempting to sell a DVD recording of a conversation we had with him and Sye ten Bruggencate, for our Fundamentally Flawed podcast. He responded to it, by appearing to drop the idea. But sadly not for long.

I’m writing to bring you up to speed with what’s happened since, in the hope you might help us out again.

As you probably know, Sye’s basic schtick is a transparent and horrible variation of Kant’s Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God. Since we poked holes in it, on our podcast, he has been systematically lying about the way our conversation ran, to anyone who is stupid enough to listen to him, rather than listen to the podcast for themselves.

So far, so Sye.

After our second podcast with him, in which he told us we would burn in hell for the sin of holding ourselves to a higher standard of proof than wishful thinking, he was told — rather generously I thought — that if and when he felt ready to present the objectively valid evidence for Yahweh’s basic existence, which he repeatedly claims to have but never shares, he would be more than welcome to come back on the podcast and tell us about it.

A few weeks ago he said he wanted to do just that. So we setup a Skype chat, and started the recording with a disclaimer saying that we did not give our permission for anyone to edit our comments, or use the recording for commercial purposes. Sye verbally agreed to this TWICE.

He was then asked to present the objectively valid evidence for God’s basic existence, which he had promised. At which point, he insisted that he already had presented it, but we weren’t interested in listening to it. He then quit Skype, in a hissy fit, and posted a recording of the conversation, without our disclaimer included, on his blog, insisting that we had tried to censor him and put words in his mouth.

A few days later a YouTube clip appeared with excerpts of our comments, to advertise Sye’s latest project — despite that we had specifically included YouTube in the disclaimer, since original content clips are eligible for Google’s ad revenue sharing scheme, which he might profit from, and we had stipulated our comment were not to be edited or used in any third party content.

So we issued a DMCA and YouTube took it down. Then he posted it again from another account. So we issued another DMCA. YouTube took it down again.

Now, in a fit of rage, Sye and his liars for Jesus are spreading a blatant falsehood about myself and my co-host Alex Botten, in the blog-o-sphere. They’re saying that we did not read out the disclaimer, and that we attempted to censor Sye’s comments, and that we’re breaking the law by asking YouTube to remove the clips.

Now, sticks and stones is all very well, but the rhetoric is mounting to slanderous levels, and I’m extremely concerned that it’s beginning to spiralling out of control.

A word from you would reach a much wider audience than we can ever hope to. All we want to do, is get the facts out:

We specifically told Eric Hovind, the first time he tried to pull this stunt, that we would happily allow him to sell a DVD of our first conversation, so long as he could provide documentary evidence that he had donated to all the proceeds from its sale to Doctors Without Borders. He refused.

We specifically told Sye that we did not give our permission for him to edit our comments or post them on YouTube. He did it anyway.

Contrary to his claim, we did not tell Sye that he could not use the recording. We told him that he could not edit our comments, or use the recording for his own personal financial gain — which he immediately went ahead and did anyway.

The more I find out about these people, the more determined I am to tell as many people as possible exactly how their scam works, and exactly how despicable, dangerous and nasty they are as people. Every time I get a comment on my blog, from someone who has clearly been listening to Sye and Eric, I sink a little inside. We started this podcast as a hobby project, to engage with Christians, and show them that being godless doesn’t make you a bad person, and we’ve ended up being portrayed by them as something we simply are not, and it’s extremely upsetting.

Thank you very much for letting me take up your time with this.

From the North East of England, Jim Gardner.

99 comments

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  1. 1
    andusay

    There are no depths so low that a creationist will not go there. Liars for Jesus, and they never address that accusation. Delusions make people do terrible things.

  2. 2
    cervantes

    Once again, an effort to “engage” with these clowns, or have some sort of dialogue with them, bites granite. Obtuseness, deceit and delusion are their very essence.

  3. 3
    schpounts

    If we can do anything, just tell us! I’m pretty sure there is a bunch of people here willing to help any human being facing this kind of trickery!

    screw them all! sue them if it’d help.

  4. 4
    Jasper of Maine

    So basically it’s a day that ends with “y”.

  5. 5
    frankb

    Sye and Eric see all those others like Ham and Discotute Fellows making money from the rubes, and they want in on the action. Since lying for Jebus is a sacrament, all the better.

  6. 6
    ricardodivali having sniffles over stiffles

    I assume they have the original versions that prove they lied? I do not see the problem from a sue their asses perspective.

    When you have tired of wrestling with excitable pigs. Time to make bacon.

  7. 7
    Chuck

    Words cannot express how un-shocked I am at this story.

  8. 8
    mnb0

    “not all of them, of course”
    Name one creationist who is not sleazy? That would be news.

  9. 9
    Anthony K

    If we can do anything, just tell us! I’m pretty sure there is a bunch of people here willing to help any human being facing this kind of trickery!

    We’ll have them both eaten.

  10. 10
    Larry

    Truth and reality mean nothing to these people. They simply are weapons to be wielded against those who believe in and abide by them. And once they issue their lies and distortions to their brain-dead followers, the lies become truths to them forever more. Their whole existence is based on lies and false realities and there isn’t anything that can be done. They don’t listen and their minds, such as they are, are immutably fixed. Any rational person having dealings with them in anything must know and understand that or they will end up like Jim and countless others.

  11. 11
    Anthony K

    to engage with Christians, and show them that being godless doesn’t make you a bad person

    I think I see where the problem started.

  12. 12
    dsmwiener

    Mnb0 – It’s not clear from the sentance structure, but PZ might be saying that he knows many sleazy people, but not all of those sleazy people are creationists.

    PZ – Venn diagram, please

  13. 13
    Anthony K

    Name one creationist who is not sleazy? That would be news.

    It’s true. No one is good but one, straight from the Hamster’s mouth.

    They proudly admit they’re dishonest slimeballs.

    They should be eaten.

  14. 14
    SteveV

    We’ll have them both eaten.

    They get to be eaten first?

    *pout*

    I wanted to be eaten first.

  15. 15
    raven

    No surprise.

    No matter how low you think creationists can get, they can go lower. There is no bottom. I’m reposting my old list of creationist atrocities. You will notice several people got beaten up and one was killed.

    FWIW, fundie xians can and occasionally are violent. This vandalism in Florida is just more xian terrorism.

    Below is an old list of creationists other victims. It is long and getting longer all the time.

    The real story is the persecution of scientists by Fundie Xian Death cultists, who have fired, harassed, beaten up, and killed evolutionary biologists and their supporters whenever they can.
    http://www.sunclipse.org/?p=626 [link goes to Blake Stacey's blog which has a must read essay with documentation of the cases below.]

    Posting the list of who is really being beaten up, threatened, fired, attempted to be fired, and killed. Not surprisingly, it is scientists and science supporters by Death Cultists.

    If anyone has more info add it. Also feel free to borrow or steal the list.

    I thought I’d post all the firings of professors and state officials for teaching or accepting evolution.

    2 professors fired, Bitterman (SW CC Iowa) and Bolyanatz (Wheaton)

    1 persecuted unmercifully Richard Colling (Olivet) Now resigned under pressure.

    1 persecuted unmercifully for 4 years Van Till (Calvin)

    1 attempted firing Murphy (Fuller Theological by Phillip Johnson IDist)

    1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson (UT Permian)

    1 state official fired Chris Comer (Texas)

    1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

    1 killed, Rudi Boa, Biomedical Student (Scotland)

    1 fired Brucke Waltke noted biblical scholar

    Biology Department fired, La Sierra SDA University

    1 attempted persecution Richard Dawkins by the Oklahoma state legislature

    Vandalism Florida Museum of Natural History

    Death Threats Eric Pianka UT Austin and the Texas
    Academy of Science engineered by a hostile, bizarre IDist named Bill Dembski

    Death Threats Michael Korn, fugitive from justice, towards the UC Boulder biology department and miscellaneous evolutionary biologists.

    Death Threats Judge Jones Dover trial. He was under federal marshall protection for a while

    Up to 16 with little effort. Probably there are more. I turned up a new one with a simple internet search. Haven’t even gotten to the secondary science school teachers.

    And the Liars of Expelled, the movie have the nerve to scream persecution. On body counts the creos are way ahead.

    These days, fundie xian is synonymous with liar, ignorant, stupid, and sometimes killer.

  16. 16
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Brownian:

    They should be eaten.

    FYI: I make a mean bbq sauce.

  17. 17
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    There are non-sleazy creationists, but they make it a point never ever to speak to anyone about their irrational belief, give money to NCSE, are ashamed of their inability to accept scientific consensus, and work for FFRF.

    Oh, wait…

  18. 18
    osmosis

    I’d go so far as to say they KNOW it’s bullshit. Like Peter Popoff.

  19. 19
    cervantes

    Well, there are some poor ignoramuses who believe what their parents and preachers tell them. They aren’t necessarily sleazy, just ill-used.

  20. 20
    raven

    The list of creationist victims in message #15 is pretty long and getting longer all the time.

    It is no surprise. I realized a long time ago that fundie xians were violent and sometimes killers when they started threatening…to kill me. A lot of scientists get death threats from them on a routine basis.

    Creationists belong to the fundie cults based on hate that sponsor xian terrorism and assassinate MDs.

    Without the police, FBI, Homeland security, and the US armed forces keeping them in line, one wonders how many millions of people they would kill. Or is that billions these days? It’s exactly what they did in the past before we took away their armies and heavy weapons.

  21. 21
    Snoof

    They should be eaten.

    What? That’s horrible! How could you say such a thing?

    Stupid tastes terrible.

  22. 22
    Anthony K

    SteveV, there’s being eaten first, and then there’s being eaten before Cthulu even wakes. The former is a mercy, the latter is ridding yourself of an annoyance.

  23. 23
    cafeeineaddicted

    Name one creationist who is not sleazy? That would be news.

    Kurt Wise?

    Although PZ could have meant that not all the sleazebags he knows are creationists, not that all the creationists he knows are not sleazebags.

  24. 24
    Louis

    I will see to it that some random appearing minor unfortunate occurrence happens to them at some point in the future lives in an utterly disconnected appearing manner. This occurrence will cause them mild to moderate consternation and possibly incur also a moderate financial cost.

    So I have spoken. So it will be done.

    Prove what I say is untrue! ;-)

    Louis

  25. 25
    raven

    There is big money is scamming and pandering to the fundie xian death cultists.

    1. Pat Robertson is a billionaire.

    2. The Crouches of Trinity Broadcasting are alleged by insiders who are family members themselves to have converted tens of millions USD to their own use; mansions, private jets, mansions for their dogs and so on.

    3. Even Harold Camping, very low on their food chain, raised millions of dollars by being wrong three times with the old, tired End of the World act.

    4. All the other vaguely humanoid toads that make up what passes for the fundie xian leadership. They usually live in mansions and have tens of millions of dollars to spend.

    I don’t know if they are all sociopaths but most of them appear to be.

  26. 26
    anubisprime

    OP

    “We started this podcast as a hobby project, to engage with Christians, and show them that being godless doesn’t make you a bad person, and we’ve ended up being portrayed by them as something we simply are not, and it’s extremely upsetting.

    The naiveté is …cute!

  27. 27
    Glen Davidson

    we’ve ended up being portrayed by them as something we simply are not

    But these sorts simply started out believing that their opponents were something that they are not. You’re already damned to hell by God for even doubting their interpretation of the Bible. And I’m not really sure about how they justify their dishonesty (denial and rationalization, no doubt, but how specifically?), but you have to be tough with Satan’s agents.

    I don’t know how anyone ever thought that dialog with one like Eric Hovind could ever turn out well. It’s like shitty thinking and sleaze really are the way to righteousness for him.

    Glen Davidson

  28. 28
    raven

    “We started this podcast as a hobby project, to engage with Christians, and show them that being godless doesn’t make you a bad person,…

    anubisprime: The naiveté is …cute!

    Sure. Sort of.

    Like watching a cute bunny or kitten standing in the middle of the road. You know it probably won’t end well.

    I learned a long time ago the hard way to never trust the fundies and never, ever turn your back on them. You will always regret it.

    Their movie Expelled is full of lies and quote mines from PZ Myers, Dawkins, and others. Evil is what they are and evil is what they do.

  29. 29
    Lynna, OM

    The one thing even Hovind and Bruggencate understand is money. Hit them hard in their unearned or deceptively-earned cash. Sue them for damages. Sue them to make them destroy any product created using the content or the ocurrence of their Fundamentally Flawed interviews.

    Perhaps a website donation system needs to be set up so that Jim Gardner can afford to sue them.

  30. 30
    Anthony K

    The naiveté is …cute!

    “One day, a crocodile was sunning itself on a riverbank, when a scorpion called out…”

  31. 31
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    But God is needed to complete the transaction. How can the transaction be completed without God.

    Disprove that, Atheists!

  32. 32
    Thursday's Child

    Most brand name creationists/apologists may have started out as true believers, with the intent to save souls and whatnot. But they quickly realized that ‘there’s gold in them thar hills.’

    Peruse the merchandising on Hamster’s site, Hovind’s site, even Hugh Ross’s site, and then go check out all the cool merchandise on TalkOrigins. Hmmmm, apparently the ‘truth’ has a price.

    Once they start raking in cash from every bored pastor who doesn’t want to write another sermon, from every fundie homeschool parent who’s trying to keep the demons out, and get their speaker’s fees, they can’t stop. They can’t ever admit error, ever again. That’s why they deny evidence. They pretend to be bravely ‘staying the course’ and simply repackage the same debunked crap over and over, first as “real sci-unce” for the adults and again in cartoon form for the kiddies. Profit!!

    I’ve been dreading the day that certain apologists figure out that they can play this game too.

    As Deep Throat said, “Follow the money.”

  33. 33
    otrame

    The mistake was thinking those two are even creationists. I doubt it. There are plenty of real creationists. These guys are just con men. In the future, engage only with the victims of the con men. These guys make a lot of money lying to real creationists. The only way stop it is help the real creationists realize that they are being lied to. Nothing, absolutely nothing that you want can be accomplished by dealing with the con men.

    Your goals were good, but you are not dealing with your real target audience. My advice is to continue taking what ever legal recourse you have and refuse to ever have anything to do with “leaders”. And tell this story, playing the original recordings, to every creationist who will listen. The real ones are reachable. Just ask them why their leaders need to lie if what they are preaching is the truth.

  34. 34
    Snoof

    There are plenty of real creationists. These guys are just con men.

    How, exactly, does one tell the difference? Short of actually reading their minds.

  35. 35
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Snoof,

    Stupid tastes terrible.

    Dude, I’m telling you, with the proper application of Audley’s Handmade Sweet and Smokey BBQue Sauce®©™ that amount of stupid will taste delicious.

  36. 36
    Kevin

    I don’t know this Sye person at all, but I’m inclined to be more generous with Eric. He’s a product of his environment.

    After all, his “science teacher” was his dad. With an education like that, who wouldn’t be a self-deluded dunderhead?

  37. 37
    anubisprime

    The bottom line is that this penchant of ‘lying 4 Jeebus’ is not confined to the fundy, cretinist, dominionist, fringe cults…a fair amount of outright sneaky tricks and cheap shots are quite commonplace in the ‘regular’ delusionist arsenal.

    The recent theist gasps and hand clapping from the wings exemplifies the point when Richard Dawkins was asked to relate the rarely used full title of Darwins ‘On the Origin of Species’

    It was a cheap shot and managed to divert the sheeple’s attention from the context of the interview.
    The media wet themselves with pompous aggrandizing and failed to mention the reason the interview was conducted.

    As a tactic it was lame…but it was a last gasp to throw sand in works.
    For the hard of thinking it was a fait accompli…for the rest a tacit lesson in how it is folly to believe that there is integrity and any degree of honesty in the theist heart!

    There is none…they are up shite alley without any wellies…the only thing they can do is kick and scream, cheat and lie.

    And so they do…the fundamentalists just do it more blatantly…they have more to lose like a great deal of cash income!

  38. 38
    A. R

    I’m going to have to research this Sye ten idiot

  39. 39
    David Marjanović

    The one thing even Hovind and Bruggencate understand is money. Hit them hard in their unearned or deceptively-earned cash. Sue them for damages. Sue them to make them destroy any product created using the content or the ocurrence of their Fundamentally Flawed interviews.

    Perhaps a website donation system needs to be set up so that Jim Gardner can afford to sue them.

    Seconded.

    Peruse the merchandising on Hamster’s site, Hovind’s site, even Hugh Ross’s site

    Is Hugh Ross related to Marcus Ross?

  40. 40
    Sastra

    I’m going to speculate that there’s a good reason why “the bottom of the bal” is being found where it is being found. The problem isn’t just with the mindset of creationism or even the mindset of fundamentalism: it’s with presuppositionalism. Presuppositionalists are notorious for the nastiness of their approach — not just among atheists, but among theist debators as well. I once had a very interesting conversation with a Catholic apologist who had had some gruesome encounters with some Calvinists. I sympathised, telling him that was pretty much par for the course.

    It’s the way TAG or other presupps (such as theArgument from Reason) sets up the opposition. It rips the common ground out from the person with whom you disagree — meaning that you do not assume, for the sake of argument, that both parties are on even moral and epistemic level. Both sides are sincere, both sides are capable, both sides are acting in good faith, etc. This working assumption is a necessary precondition for any honest discussion.

    But presuppositionalism throws this out: it assumes that the person who disagrees that God exists does not really disagree that God exists at all. No, they are lying. They also don’t have the moral or epistemic right to assume any of the normal background tools of reason and logic: they deny those things, too — deep down. And they know it. Debate with such debased, mendacious, vicious opponents is thus impossible. To the presupper, arguments are unnecessary; evidence is unnecessary; persuasion is unnecessary. And not just unnecessary — impossible.

    What the other side needs is the rhetorical equivalence of a dash of cold water, right in the face. They need to “sndap out of” their artificial and superficial denial of truth, and be reminded of what they already know but seek to suppress. What the presupper’s opponent needs, then — and will get — is Tough Love. It will hurt, yes. .. but it hurts to be kind. Nothing else will help soften the sin barrier enough to bring the nonbeliever tohis or her senses — Godwilling, of course.

    Presupp arguments are not so much arguments as extended scolds. And, if you peel them back far enough, you sometimes discover that they aren’t even that: nothing will save those who arepredestined for damnation. They are therefore displays of God’s power. The presupper is not trying to convince the other side: they’re showing off for God. Or, perhaps, allowingGodto use them to show the degenerate His authority.

    Not hard to see why presuppositionalism can help create monsters.

  41. 41
    David Marjanović

    I’m going to have to research this Sye ten idiot

    Archives of ScienceBlogs Pharyngula.

  42. 42
    David Marjanović

    I once had a very interesting conversation with a Catholic apologist who had had some gruesome encounters with some Calvinists.

    Details, please!!!

  43. 43
    A. R

    David: Thanks, I’ll take a look.

  44. 44
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I’m going to have to research this Sye ten idiot

    Please do but if you give it enough time I’m sure he’ll show up here.

  45. 45
    Eric Ressner

    mnb0 @ 8:

    “not all of them, of course”
    Name one creationist who is not sleazy? That would be news.

    What PZ actually said was, “Some of the sleaziest people I know are creationists (not all of them, of course).”

    I don’t think he meant there were some creationists who are not sleazy, but that there were some among the sleaziest people he knows who are not creationists.

    Hope that helps.

  46. 46
    Michael

    (a) They make a lot of money (>$1 000 000/year) peddling christianity
    (b) If they really believed the tenants of christianity, they would recognize the hypocrisy of what they are doing
    (c) If they really believed, they would feel guilty about what they were doing
    (d) If they really believed, they would be honest about what they do and were doing
    (e) If they don’t believe, they don’t have to be honest, or feel hypocritical about their ‘job’
    (f) If they don’t believe, and are con men, then they won’t feel guilt, and will lie and misrepresent things to keep the money coming in.

    Conclusion: They don’t really believe, and are con men. Engaging with them is pointless as they know we are right, are pretending we aren’t, and are deliberately resisting and misreprsenting facts/arguments.

    I realize this was pretty obvious, but I thought I’d spell it out.

  47. 47
    wolfhound

    I once had a very interesting conversation with a Catholic apologist who had had some gruesome encounters with some Calvinists. I sympathised, telling him that was pretty much par for the course.

    Fuck. You do realize you’ve summoned Heddle, right?

  48. 48
    nooneinparticular

    Michael @46 wrote;

    (b) If they really believed the tenants of christianity, they would recognize the hypocrisy of what they are doing
    (c) If they really believed, they would feel guilty about what they were doing
    (d) If they really believed, they would be honest about what they do and were doing

    Each of these is wrong because the second clause of each does not follow from the first. For example, xtianity does not cause one to recognize hypocrisy. In fact, it can be argued that hypocrisy is a required tenant of xtianity.

  49. 49
    nooneinparticular

    oops. tenet not tenant

  50. 50
    cag

    Dude, I’m telling you, with the proper application of Audley’s Handmade Sweet and Smokey BBQue Sauce®©™ that amount of stupid will taste delicious.

    They would only be fit for making jerky, and only other creationists would be able to stomach the product. Atheists would find it incredible. Another sauce that might work on creationists would be jerk sauce.

  51. 51
    raven

    In fact, it can be argued that hypocrisy is a required tenant of xtianity.

    It’s more than that. It is a sacrament of the fundie xian perversion.

    The three major sacraments of the fundies are hate, lies, and hypocrisy. Minor sacraments include greed and ignorance.

  52. 52
    DLC

    first off, Dread Cthulhu does not eat, he consumes
    Second, Long pork is best barbequed after being dressed, cleaned and given a good thorough spice rub. Then wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil and put in a fire pit. It can take all day to cook one properly, but they can turn out fairly tasty if it’s done right.
    Finally (and more seriously), it is possible to be a creationist and not a lying scumbag. There are many decent people, wonderful human beings even, who believe in things that are complete bollocks. I generally take it as being a sign of some level of magical thinking. A mild form of delusion which almost everyone experiences at some time or another.

  53. 53
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    oops. tenet not tenant

    Careful with that. People might mistake the misspelling for “Tennant” and think David. And the sqeeing will begin.

  54. 54
    Kevin

    Oh good grief. Anything but heddle.

    Someone who gleefully and joyfully declares that god is perfectly good, and demonstrates that perfect goodness by deliberately assigning the vast majority of souls to eternal hellfire prior to them even being born.

    Ick. I need to shower just thinking about it.

  55. 55
    David Marjanović

    Hypocrisy? Christianity is self-contradictory in a lot of ways. Any attempt to navigate that must result in some kind of intellectual inconsistency or other.

    There are probably liars who are only are in it for the money; there are probably bullshitters who don’t care at all whether it’s true and only are in it for the money; but I see no reason not to think that most creationists actually believe their own crap.

    Fuck. You do realize you’ve summoned Heddle, right?

    Hah. heddle will never come here again. We’ve made him afraid of women.

  56. 56
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Kevin, heddle has declared that he will not be commenting at Pharyngula anymore because there are just too many feminists here.

    Take comfort in that. He used to infest this place.

  57. 57
    David Marjanović

    and think David. And the sqeeing will begin.

    Sorry. Sometimes I start to read before I find the beginning of the paragraph.

  58. 58
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Well, David, you were slightly faster.

  59. 59
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    David, just who do you think I was talking about?

  60. 60
    gragra, something clever after the comma

    Michael @46, you forget the power of cognitive dissonance, especially when someone’s self image is at stake.

  61. 61
    raven

    Fuck. You do realize you’ve summoned Heddle, right?

    Old European saying.

    “If you speak of the devil, he will come.”

  62. 62
    wolfhound

    Good to know it’s a Heddle-free zone. Sadly for Ed Brayton there’s an infestation on his current “Free Will” thread.

  63. 63
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Heddle in a “Free Will” thread. Will wonders never end?

    Perhaps Ed should invite all of the wild feminists of Pharyngula over. We would have a great time chasing him out.

  64. 64
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Old European saying.

    “If you speak of the devil, he will come.”

    I prefer the version I learned from my father:

    “Speaking of angels, you hear the flapping of wings …”

  65. 65
    Lars

    I prefer the Norwegian take on it, ’cause it’s mo’ heathen and all: “(When you) speak of the sun, she shines.”

  66. 66
    baal

    I’m not sure Sye and friend would have much wealth that’s legally attachable. His ilk have an interesting habit of either off shore accounts or quickly gifting away their money to family and friends.

    No suit is easy on any of the litigants and can be very expensive even when (if) you win. The most likely outcome of suing Sye is that Sye will wind up having a hard time selling his house due to a judgment default against him.

  67. 67
  68. 68
    Draken

    I’m going to have to research this Sye ten idiot

    You could start at his website. He has a quiz there. Go ahead, take it.

    [elevator music]

    So, back again? If stupidity could cause black holes, Sye’s site would be able to suck the earth, its moon, some surrounding planets, a small sun and my bicycle into oblivion.

    There’s enough of the former but I have only one bicycle and I want it back.

  69. 69
    Sastra

    David Marjanovich #32 wrote:

    Details, please!!!

    I don’t remember actual specifics, but the Catholic apologist had formed a habit of going into forums for religious debate and arrived on the listserv for debating God just after leaving one devoted to defending Calvinism. When I expressed pleasure that our newcomer wasn’t a presupper (yeah, I’d usually start out with a compliment as tactic), his own displeasure with presuppers tumbled out — which included not only his annoyance over their “arguments,” but over their tone and general habits: like Pharyngula on a bad day (mocking, sneering, name-calling, hoots and jibes, etc. — all while avoiding addressing what he had to say (stuff you don’t do if the entire purpose of the forum is to bring in and debate outsiders.))

    wolfhound #47 wrote:

    Fuck. You do realize you’ve summoned Heddle, right?

    No, I doubt he’ll be back. But I also doubt he’d disagree with my summary, either. Heddle was a presupper who recognized the hypocrisy (and futility) of trying to use a presupp argument on a nonbeliever. Iirc, he tried to avoid specifically trying to persuade us that God existed: it wasn’t a matter knowable through reason alone. He mostly just waited for what he considered to be a bad argument coming from us — and then went after that.

  70. 70
    Sastra

    I used to say that presuppositional arguments come from the “Neener Neener School of Debate.” They look like they’re going to be a rational argument by immediately appealing to reason, logic, epistemology, consistency, justification, and so forth … but then they twist. That’s all just decoration laid over underlying claim of innate superiority. “Neener, neener, I’ve got something you don’t got…”

    I vaguely remember trying to unpeel Sye ten and Erichovind when they came in long ago, but they weren’t listening. The frustrating thing about creationist presuppers is that creationism is an evidential argument. You’re trying to persuade other people to follow the evidence to a reasonable conclusion. Throwing presuppositionalism in there so that your claim is now above evidence is really, really cheating. Ironically, it’s a contradiction — a real one. Doing that self-destructs your whole point.

  71. 71
    snebo154

    @Audley Darkheart
    I think you are going about this all wrong. Rather than BBQ sauce I would like to propose that we use instead “Snebo’s creationist dipping sauce” The recipe is simple (although one of the ingredients is difficult to work with). Start with a clean 700 to 800 gallon sauce pan, (a large hot tub will work as a substitute) Fill with tepid water, carefully add 30 to 40 live piranha. That’s it, now sit back with a few friends and repeatedly dip the creationists until they stop squirming, then grab another creationist and repeat. Don’t worry about running low there seems to be more than enough for everyone to enjoy, and it avoids the problem of having to “cook the stupid out” because the taste of stupid doesn’t bother the piranha. Win-win

  72. 72
    Lars

    @snebo154 #70: As a fishkeeper, I’m offended by your inhumane plan. Pirahnas don’t deserve their bad reputation (mostly), and they have done nothing to deserve such punishment.

    By the way, piranhas are timid creatures, if you scare them they’ll just freak out in panic. I’m pretty sure having their space intruded on repeatedly by creationists will do just that.

    Then you’ll have TWO ingredients that are difficult to work with.

  73. 73
    anubisprime

    Lars @ 71

    Then you’ll have TWO ingredients that are difficult to work with.

    If you are referring to piranhas & Creationists…my suggestion is allow them to work on each other…just sayin’

  74. 74
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Well, considering that vultures will eat almost any meat no matter how putrid, and considering the current vulture population declines, perhaps we could put them to use in those feeding stations?

    I know, I know, it’s not as good as rotting elephant rectum, but scavengers are adaptable.

  75. 75
    snebo154

    Coyote @73
    Actually creationist are pretty much indistinguishable from rotting elephant rectum with the possible exception that they continue to spew excrement.

  76. 76
    snebo154

    Lars @71
    would you have a problem with using a 30,000 gallon swimming pool and a dozen or so crocodiles or is your objection based on a general dislike of exposing innocent aquatic animals to creationists?

  77. 77
    RFW

    # 69 Sastra says:

    [Mimicking creationist non-debate] “Neener, neener, I’ve got something you don’t got…”

    And I know exactly what that something is: either a bad case of the stupids or (particularly in the case of the leaders) serious love of filthy lucre.

  78. 78
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Just make sure that the creationists haven’t been taking NSAIDs, because that’s what is killing the vultures: drug residues from animals treated with modern veterinary medicine poison them.

  79. 79
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    I suppose that won’t work then Markita… I dunno if I love vultures more than I despise religious con artists (I can’t say I despise creationists- many of my friends and family who believe that shit are just misled and not actively evil), but it’s pretty safe to say innocent vultures don’t deserve to suffer on their account.

  80. 80
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    If FTB had a “like” button, Sastra @#40 would have a “like” from me.

  81. 81
    Ichthyic

    As you probably know, Sye’s basic schtick is a transparent and horrible variation of Kant’s Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God

    come on now, sing along…

    Oh…..

    Immanuel Kant was a real pissant, who was very rarely stable…

  82. 82
    imthegenieicandoanything

    I simply hope that Xians like this remain fascinated by creationism and petty fraud: if they get “inspired,” only their (considerable, nay, incredible) incompetence and cowardice will shield the lives they would take in the name of their brutal, evil Jesus.

  83. 83
    Azuma Hazuki

    Sye is a particularly loathsome case, a bitter old van-Tillian presuppositionalist. IIRC he has a lecture or presentation along the lines of “using evidential apologetics to prove the resurrection is impious and those who do will burn in hell” (which will probably come as quite a shock to Bill Craig, LOL).

    For anyone interested, there is a facebook group called the Anti-Syeclone Foundation which I suspect the person who sent this mail is part of. Among other things, the hilariously-named “Bahnsen Burner” blog author is part of it IIRC, and some of the best anti-presuppositionalist thinkers I have ever met are there.

  84. 84
    Azuma Hazuki

    And yes, Sastra at post #40 hit it dead on. Presuppositionalism, ironically, consists of elevating one’s own perceptions and thoughts to the level of God’s, then turning that homemade flamethrower on the entire world around oneself.

    I would very much like to know what the “splash of cold water” is. I expect it will be from the archaeologists or possibly the textual critics pointing out that something fundamental (har) to their worldview actually doesn’t exist or mean what they think it means…

  85. 85
    Aquaria

    They should be eaten.

    Sorry, there is nothing that could get anyone to eat them. They’re toxic waste dump rejects.

  86. 86
    reynoldhall

    ricardodivali at #6
    I assume they have the original versions that prove they lied? I do not see the problem from a sue their asses perspective.

    When you have tired of wrestling with excitable pigs. Time to make bacon.

    I believe that this is the original recording?

  87. 87
    Aquaria

    There really is no depth a fundie scumbag won’t sink to. My cousin’s husband is one of those fundies who thinks himself an “intellectual” and will talk the bible all the time. He tried being a minister, and even his wife found his sermons “so boring and stupid, I’m ashamed to be married to him” (an exact quote).

    Now, he’s the “quality management” fuckface for an East Texas school district. He’s the guy who decides if you principals and teachers and janitors are being “efficient enough.” Maintenance workers have to tell him how much cleaning goop their using to wash toilets and sinks and windows; teachers, how much chalk and dry erase markers, I guess.

    If hell exists, there’s a special ring in it for scumbags like that. Has anyone known a single one of them who wasn’t a petty, narcissistic, self-serving, power-mad piece of shit?

    I haven’t. And he’s no exception. I shouldn’t have gone to their wedding. It gave that nitwit the idea that I supported their marriage, and me telling him that I think he’s an ignorant sack of shit doesn’t dissuade him of it. And then my mother wonders why I actively avoid all of those losers.

  88. 88
    Aquaria

    Heddle in a “Free Will” thread. Will wonders never end?

    Perhaps Ed should invite all of the wild feminists of Pharyngula over. We would have a great time chasing him out.

    I wouldn’t count on being welcomed to chase him out.

  89. 89
    David Marjanović

    Iirc, he tried to avoid specifically trying to persuade us that God existed: it wasn’t a matter knowable through reason alone. He mostly just waited for what he considered to be a bad argument coming from us — and then went after that.

    Exactly.

  90. 90
    reynoldhall

    One thing that I forgot to mention: Various other xians, such as Dan Marvin of “Debunking Atheists” have taken Sye’s side even though he’s had this explained to him multiple times.

    His reaction to my post is amusing at best, sad at worst.

    No matter how many times it’s pointed out to him to just listen to the original podcast, he keeps sayint that it’s all “baseless assertions”.

    You can see the whole thing here.

    Sye chips in here.

    Anyone buy his excuse?

  91. 91
    sc_6fcf03d2d8b6da38988c09c7fccc3c94

    Hey there everyone, it’s Jim here from the original article.

    Firstly, I want to thank PZ very much for helping us set the record straight here. Our podcast is popular, but there’s no way we could reach this many people and get the facts out on our own so quickly. It’s very much appreciated.

    This has clearly had the desired effect, because today I received three emails from Sye, effectively panicking that we might take this to court. Naturally he plays the victim in his phraseology, but conspicuous by its absence is his usual “be like me or burn forever” tone. There wasn’t even a prayer or bible quote in his sign-off.

    Quote, “I really think that I have a valid argument for posting that video, and will see you in court if it gets that far. I realize [sic] that you will likely not comment on the proceedings, but your stipulations were for the debate which never happened, not for the preamble which I recorded.”

    Sye has stated previously that his version of the recording where we specifically said our comments were “not to be edited, or used in a commercial setting” is in-fact his to do whatever he wants with. That’s right folks, in Sye’s world a recording of someone insisting that their comments are not to be edited or used by anyone is one and the same as them saying “please, use our comments however you like”.

    His email goes on, “I realize [sic] that you have much vitriol towards me, but I think that your view is largely misplaced. I can see your issues with some of the others you engage, but I think I have dealt with you and Alex very fairly. I also reliaze [sic] that you doubt it, but I trust that we would get along fine in person.”

    This is the “I’m a nice guy really” Sye who comes out to play when he knows he’s been caught red handed. And though I’d love to see his face, when he has to swear on the bible that he has proof God exists when he knows full well that he none, I do almost begin to feel sorry for him when he resorts to his selectively murky version of events for which I am absolutely crystal clear. It speaks to the level of obfuscation he gets away with, when his audience is comprised of people already drawn into his cult. That’s C-U-L-T, by the way.

    It must be very odd to live in that world, where the only people who you can relate to are all playing the same game, but no-one dare admit it out loud. I guess this explains the fair game policy of barefaced lying and historical revisionism which they allow each other to get away with, while having the brass neck to misidentify these same attributes in everyone else. This alone would probably make Sye a particularly fascinating subject in further studies of the Dunning-Kruger effect, though I couldn’t imagine anything more frustrating than having to be the research assistant who attempted to prize any sort of coherent answers out of him.

    There is one other passage in his email I wanted to mention: “I have no control over what others write, not [sic] do I intend to attempt to excercise [sic] any control over it. Your articles are rife with inaccuracies, but I have not, nor do I care to correct you on them.”

    This is in response to an article on Dan Marvin’s Debunking Atheists blog (gotta love that title). Basically, Dan blogged on this story, after having the facts explained to him four different times by three different people, and still managed to take every last detail and turn them upside down, to make out that it’s actually Sye who is the victim of some kind of ‘typical atheist censorship’. After I posted a comment asking for some of the libellous factual inaccuracies to be removed from this article, Sye systematically failed to correct Dan on any of the parts he got flat wrong, despite being in the unique position of being one of the few people Dan Marvin actually listens to.

    All Sye had to do, to help his friend avoid the serious repercussions of posting knowingly false information about me and my podcast co-host on his blog, was come clean about what he verbally agreed to, during our short podcast. Had he done this, I would have been the first to thank him for being honest. But instead he chose to let the lie stand, and now he’s denying the fact that lie is out there at all has anything to do with him.

    He closes his final email of the day to me thus: “I see you went crying to PZ again. You almost have no option but to take this to court now. Sad. You should probably be pleased that I have absolutely no interest in pointing out the blatant falsehoods in your letter to PZ. Again, vengeance is not mine.”

    I have no idea what these “blatant falsehoods” are, but I can assure everyone reading this, that every single last word of my original email to PZ contains the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I know Sye has something of an allergic reaction to facts, so I won’t be holding my breath waiting for him to specify exactly which parts of my letter he objects to, but suffice to say if he does go further down the road of taking legal action against us, I’ll be sure to let everyone in this thread know. I’m almost tempted to force his hand, just see what hilarity he manages to dig up by way of evidence that we’re the ones who are in the wrong, as opposed to being the injured party.

    As for your kind offers of help, all I can ask is that you stay alert and keep your eyes peeled for any YouTube clips, podcasts, and DVDs for sale which you think might contain our comments, without our permission, from the Hovind/TenB camp. You can reach me personally at the Fundamentally Flawed podcast, or my own blog howgoodisthat.wordpress.com

    Thanks again everyone! Jim.

  92. 92
    evolutionofskepticism

    I’m happy to see so much support for this cause, I can’t imagine being as tolerant of these things as Jim and Alex have been.

    They deserve all the support they can get!

  93. 93
    karpad

    @mnbo #8

    oh man, you parsed that sentence completely differently from me.

    Some of the sleaziest people I know are creationists (not all of the sleaziest people I know are creationists, of course).

    made way, way more sense parsing that way.

  94. 94
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    raven #20:

    Without the police, FBI, Homeland security, and the US armed forces keeping them in line, one wonders how many millions of people they would kill. Or is that billions these days? It’s exactly what they did in the past before we took away their armies and heavy weapons.

    And a lot of said death cultists also happily ally with the party that is against such regulatory efforts, and the wing of said party that is most vociferously against such efforts to the point of coming armed to their own rallies.

    Including a home-grown terrorist. And I have run into people who apologized for said terrorist; they conveniently subscribed to the same general set of policy views as the death cultists.

  95. 95
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    (And does anyone have that FBI report stating that domestic terrorists were a much greater threat than foreign terrorists? I now wonder if it specified righty anti-government loons…)

  96. 96
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Oh wow. I just took a look at the page for Ruby Ridge. Same righty fundagelical bullshit backing there.

    In fact, the Pfft has an entire page devoted to the militia movement, and it seems to be turtles — or, rather, fundies — all the way down.

  97. 97
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Jim, you might not want to lay out all your plans and strategies in public.

  98. 98
    sc_6fcf03d2d8b6da38988c09c7fccc3c94

    Jim from Fundamentally Flawed again here.

    Sye has blogged on this, but comments on his site are either disabled or incompatible with Firefox and Safari. So I’ve posted my reply here:

    http://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/a-reply-to-syes-latest-blog/

  99. 99
    sc_6fcf03d2d8b6da38988c09c7fccc3c94

    @Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I want as many people as possible to know exactly what is going on with this in as much detail as possible. I have nothing to hide and am serving no agenda.

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