This should be fun. Apparently Vox Day has not only noticed one of my posts about The Irrational Atheist, he has re-posted it, verbatim, on his discussion forum. The whole thing. With no reply. Apparently, it’s up to his minions to “deal” with me, and the replies have already started coming in. Like this one:

Never mind that the quote he used states explicitly that Vox “will convince” us “that this trio of New Atheists, this Unholy Trinity, is a collection of faux-intellectual frauds utilizing pseudo-scientific sleight of hand… “. Nowhere is seen the word God among these. Not only he screwed up big time, he took a big dump on his critique even before writing it all.

Shhhhh, everybody. We’re not supposed to notice any connection between the idea that “people who doubt God’s existence are wrong,” and the idea that God exists. We’re not supposed to think about the implications of what Vox is writing. Vox explicitly said that he was not trying to prove God’s existence, and we’re only supposed to look at the surface appearances.

Or perhaps the commenter meant to raise a different possibility: that, whatever else atheists might be wrong about, they’re not wrong about God’s existence. Maybe TIA is just Vox’s spiteful sour grapes over the fact that, as atheists, they’re right about the one thing that makes them atheists. The one thing, in other words, that makes the issue important to theists like Vox and his fans. It’s certainly peculiar that, in a book dedicated to proving atheists wrong, Vox specifically bails out on the single most significant point which would prove atheism false.

Ah well. Let’s hope that Vox continues posting my step-by-step analysis of his book. I, for one, would be delighted.

10 Responses to “Busted”

  1. Deacon Duncan Says:

    Gotta love this one too:

    I wonder if he will address any other chapters, or realize Vox is not attempting to prove the existence of God, but proving the danger to human survival that atheist scientologists present, if taken to their logical conclusion.

    Apparently his curiosity doesn’t extend as far as actually clicking on the link that Vox conveniently placed about 3 inches above this particular comment. But check out that hysterical clamor at the end. Atheists aren’t just wrong, they’re a DANGER TO HUMAN SURVIVAL! And they’re Scientologists too! Aaaaaaa!

  2. prazzie Says:

    What on earth? I assume you’re going to read all the chapters and then fill us in on what Theodore Beale has to say about, erm, “atheist scientologists”. And whether he successfully proves that these people pose a danger to human survival, should they succeed in reaching their “logical conclusion”.

  3. Dave Says:

    We’re not supposed to notice any connection between the idea that “people who doubt God’s existence are wrong,” and the idea that God exists.

    Dawkins doesn’t seek to prove that God doesn’t exist; he only claims that proofs for God’s existence are inadequate. In fact, atheism does not actually require one to address the question of God’s existence, as long as the atheist is perfectly rational and knows enough about the natural universe to explain all its workings.

  4. blacknad Says:

    It’s always useful be able to critique what a book is not actually about.

    This book is not about proving God’s existence. Vox says he doesn’t care what you believe. He is not out to convert you.

    He is simply answering the New Atheists false charge that religion is inherently dangerous and it is therefore an imperative to free humanity from it’s terrible grasp. He examines the data to find out whether religion causes wars, is akin to child abuse or is an impediment to good science, amongst other things.

    None of these assertions are found to be true in the face of logic and independently verifiable facts. For example, only 6.98% of recorded wars throughout history have a religious basis according to Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod, authors of the three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars, a massive 1,502-page compendium compiled by nine reputable professors of history, including the director of the
    Centre of Military History and the former head of the Centre for Defence Studies.

    If you will read much farther you will be silenced if you have any sense, unless you wish to continue asserting that this book should be about proving God’s existence when it is simply about correcting atheists who want to destroy religion because it ‘may cause human extinction’.

  5. Deacon Duncan Says:

    Thanks, I’ll stick by my analysis, especially given that Vox’s discussion forum is subtitled “Atheism delenda est”–a riff on the ancient Roman battle-cry “Cathargo delenda est” (“Carthage must be destroyed”). The whole point of argumentum ad hominem is to avoid directly confronting an issue you cannot win, but that doesn’t make Vox’s subtext any less obvious. If he can find some point he can claim the New Atheists are wrong about, he can claim to have proven them wrong. The take-home message is clearly “The New Atheists are Wrong,” and that is in fact the message people are taking home. For example, see the the email he received and favorably posted below:

    [T]he third reason is that I wrote the book because I knew that there are many individuals on either side of the religious divide whose thinking has been affected by the fallacious, illogical and downright dishonest arguments put forth by the Four Horsemen of the Bukkakelypse. Not all of those people can afford to buy books, others simply aren’t inclined to do so, but their need for something like TIA to help them see the demonstrable flaws in the various New Atheist absurdities is distinct from their propensity for book-buying. Bane, unsurprisingly, understood my purpose best, as he likened the book to the serial killer’s montage. Do you see? In a related vein, MM writes:

    I have recently read, then re-read, The Irrational Atheist and found it to be a wonderful resource for nourishing my faith. I realize that you did not intend for your book to be an apologetic but it has certainly served that purpose….

    Because I deal with such divergent worldviews on a regular basis, I make every effort to keep myself informed of current trends; so I felt obligated to read the books by Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, etc.

    Although I found much of the content of each book to be laughable, there were some things in each one (except for Hitchens’ little screed) that left me disturbed and shaken. However, your careful dismantling of each one of the “Horsemen’s” arguments brought me much relief and renewed confidence in my faith.

    So I want to take a moment to thank you for bothering to write The Irrational Atheist. You have done a great service for other believers, and those who are on the fence… I intend to encourage everyone I know to read it.

  6. Deacon Duncan Says:

    Oh, and as for being “silenced,” I think you have misunderstood my purpose. My God may be considerably different from Vox’s, but I am a theist who strives to have no a priori commitments other than to the truth. I will be delighted with any facts Vox may bring to my attention. Provided, of course, that they are indeed facts.

  7. Deacon Duncan Says:

    Here’s another comment from Vox’s blog. It’s hard to beat the breath-taking audacity of this one.

    No, all the church did was invent the idea of science and create the first, and for many centuries the only, universities.

    Poof, take that, you pre-Christian Romans and Greeks! Academy of Plato? Never happened.

    And add his vote in favor of returning to the Dark Ages:

    Of course the Middle Ages were a time of great prosperity, cultural advances, and general well being, as anybody who has cracked open a history book written in the last century should know, it was Rome that was oppressive to innovation and cultural change.

  8. blacknad Says:

    Well Duncan, you are a strange flavor of atheist – despite erroneously calling yourself a theist.

    Your patron deity cannot be said to be a God in the much larger Christian sense of the word.

    You show here an inability to think big enough:

    “Reality is also the Creator, having produced everything which exists today. Reality is the “thing than which no greater can be imagined,” as Anselm once put it. Any lesser God we might imagine would be either a non-existent God, or a God which was part of Reality. God therefore either is Reality, or is merely a part of Reality. Reality, therefore, must be greater than or equal to any existing God.”

    You say: “Reality is also the Creator, having produced everything which exists today”.

    Which is really a more useful (for you) way of saying ‘Reality created Reality’.

    How can something create itself ex-nihilo?

    The whole point about God is that He encompasses reality. He has created OUR reality, which is within, but distinct from, HIS reality.

    Your ‘deity’ is much smaller, and was created by/can be altered or ended by, the Christian God.

    You say: “Reality is the “thing than which no greater can be imagined,” as Anselm once put it.”

    The Christian God is certainly greater than your reality. Can you really not imagine a reality outside of this one? Surely you can.

    You say: “God therefore either is Reality, or is merely a part of Reality. Reality, therefore, must be greater than or equal to any existing God.”

    Sorry but your whole proposition falls at your very first assertion where you effectively say that reality created itself.

  9. Deacon Duncan Says:

    My belief is that Reality itself is the actual substance, the “grain of truth,” that lies behind the concept people refer to as God, and I believe that it is perfectly valid, if not strictly necessary, to deal with Reality in terms of a relationship with God.

    And yes, reality is indeed the source for all that we see. God does not create in the way that you imagine creation; rather God creates by becoming. Even in your Christian worldview, God is a part of reality, and God’s power is part of reality, and the process of creation involves Him transferring the reality of His creative power into the reality of His Created things.

    I don’t think you’ve quite thought through what “Reality” really is, as you have seem to have a fragmentary view of what it means to be real. For instance, you have a curious dichotomy between “God’s reality” and “our reality.” Which of those two realities do you see as being actually real? If they’re both genuinely real, are they not aspects of the same universal domain of That Which Is Truly Real? If they’re distinct “realities,” and God is not part of ours, or lies outside of our reality, what do you mean when you say that those parts outside of reality are “real”?

    There are, in fact, many different realities: one objective Reality, to which all of us are subject and which we all experience in common, plus as many subjective, individual “realities” as their are individuals to subjectively perceive them. It does not take much investigation to discover that God (i.e. the Christian God) only shows up in the individual, subjective realities, and not in the world of objective reality.

    The consequences of this are as obvious as they are inevitable: the existence of atheists and agnostics, the existence of cults and heresies, the existence of religious disputes with no objective means of resolution, and the ongoing fragmentation of religious sects, movements, and denominations over time.

    Meanwhile, my God is still real, can still be observed by all regardless of religious belief, and still imposes Her laws on all of creation regardless of religious views. My God is so genuinely omnipotent that disobedience isn’t even possible. My God is the sole, authoritative, and absolutely infallible standard of objective Truth, against which even the Bible must be measured and all its “divine persons” judged.

    I may not be, as you say, a very good theist. But then, my God is so great, I don’t have to be. My God isn’t built on human effort.

  10. Deacon Duncan Says:

    Oh, and by the way, Reality did not create itself “ex nihilo.” There has never been a time when Reality did not exist. No real time, anyway.

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