Fumbling at the First Down
For example, at one point he affirms the view that “knowledge is justified true belief” (23:03 – 23:04).
So on this view, knowledge is a species of belief – a belief that is true and has been justified.
How can these two assertions be integrated without contradiction? This is like saying something cannot be a chair if it’s furniture. But the concept ‘furniture’ includes chairs as well as other species of furniture, just as the definition of knowledge as “justified true belief” includes (indeed specifies) beliefs that are true and that have been justified as well as other beliefs.
If knowledge indeed is “justified true belief,” then any particular ideational content would at minimum have to be a belief to qualify as knowledge. On the JTB model of knowledge, knowledge presupposes belief. But here Sye tells us that if something is a belief, it’s not knowledge.
What we have here is a failure to integrate. But the failure to integrate basic epistemological concepts is a hallmark of absurdity. Consequently, Sye radically undermines his claim that Christian theism provides the necessary preconditions for knowledge.
Sye also states that “everybody knows that the Christian god exists” (with AronRa, 1:53 – 1:54) He even claims that every human being has “innate knowledge… of God” (Ibid., 2:47 – 2:49).
Again, knowledge on Sye's view is “justified true belief” – a species of belief. Thus at minimum, by this definition, according to what Sye says, everybody believes that his god exists.
But if everybody already knows that the Christian god exists, then at minimum this could only mean that everybody believes that the Christian god exists. So why does Sye think it’s so important to convince people of what he himself insists they already believe and know?
It won’t do to say that it’s because people “suppress” this knowledge, as that is not how beliefs operate. A belief is an estimation of what is the case with some degree of confidence but in the absence of confirming proof. Confidence is based on positive evaluation of a claim. Generally when someone has confidence that something is the case, he does not suppress it, but rather consciously allows that it may in fact be true. If one believed that the god of the Christian bible really existed, it doesn’t make sense that he would suppress such a view. So we have more absurdity at the very core of Sye’s apologetic.
When Sye is asked how he knows that the Christian god exists, he responds, rather curtly, that he knows it the same way everyone else knows this (cf. BTWN show with Sye Ten Bruggencate, 40:1 – 40:17). So according to Sye, I know this the same way that Sye knows this.
That’s too bad. Because every time I examine my own cognitive activity when I contemplate the Christian god, I consistently find that I’m using my imagination here. In fact, I recognize that I have no alternative but to imagine the Christian god whenever I contemplate it. I could not conceive of the Christian god without my imagination. This is why Christians have an interminably difficult time explaining how we can reliably distinguish between what they call "God" and what they may merely be imagining.
So when Sye says that he knows the Christian god the same way I do, I can only infer that he’s imagining, too.
This conclusion is compatible with the unavoidable likelihood that Sye has been deluded by the Christian worldview, given its failure to distinguish between reality and imagination at the most fundamental level of knowledge, and as a result cannot integrate simple claims into a non-contradictory whole.
So I submit that, if anyone is suppressing anything, it’s Sye. Among many other facts, he is suppressing the fact that the Christian worldview has its basis in imagination rather than reality.
by Dawson Bethrick