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.