A partial response from VoxFebruary 27, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
It seems I’ve had something of a preliminary response from Vox Day regarding my analysis of his book The Irrational Atheist.
It’s certainly better than 90 percent of them out there. He is certainly is very methodical, for which I commend him, but methodical and accurate are two different things. But that you might know I blow no smoke, let me give you an example of the ease with which I will refute him. He quotes me and writes:
“I will convince you that this trio of New Atheists, this Unholy Trinity, is a collection of faux-intellectual frauds utilizing pseudo-scientific sleight of hand…
In other words, atheists claim that God does not exist, but atheists are dishonest, therefore God exists.”
I never make any such argument. Nor would I, because it’s a logical fallacy. Indeed, as I warned the reader, the book contains no arguments for God’s existence. And as I also point out in the book, God exists or does not exist regardless of what the New Atheists or I happen to believe. A better description of my argument would be: because these specific atheist arguments are fallacious, one cannot dismiss the possibility of God’s existence based upon them.
Vox is quite correct as concerns his formal argument. The logical arguments he constructs are explicitly designed not to address the dicey issue of whether a God who never shows up in real life can be properly said to exist. Despite the verbal disclaimers, however (“I have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”), it seems quite clear to me that his meta-argument is intended to bolster faith in God and to discredit atheism in general. Indeed, Vox himself has a blog post entitled “Why We Write” in which he boldly declares, “the New Atheist books are the thesis. TIA and the other Christian polemics to come are the antithesis. The synthesis will be a combination of a stronger and more intellectually-hardened Christian faith with an enervated atheism, robbed of its militance and inclined towards a more civilized agnosticism.”
It would be simply disingenuous to pretend that attacking atheists is not part of a broader context of defending faith in God, and I will continue to point out both what Vox explicitly states, and what he leaves as the unstated but obvious implications. The Irrational Atheist is an apologetic, and is being used as an apologetic, whether or not he is willing to admit it. I will, however, take more care to explicitly document which kind of argument I’m addressing (i.e. implicit vs. explicit).