Vox Day fails again

Since we seem to be talking about Vox Day this week, and since he has been so kind as to make some rather revealing posts recently, I thought I’d offer a comment or two on the Great Debate Challenge that Vox has been crowing about recently. As you may have heard, Vox challenged atheist blogger PZ Myers to an on-air debate on the subject of the evidence for God, in conjunction with the “Northern Alliance Radio Show.” PZ replied “Thanks but no thanks” (well, actually, he said “I don’t debate crazy pipsqueaks any more”), and Vox predictably pounced on this as proof that PZ was “afraid” to debate.

Now, personally I don’t believe fear had anything to do with PZ’s response. Vox Day is to reasonable discourse what a fart is to a flower shop, and it’s no shame for PZ to turn down the “opportunity” to lend him any more time in the spotlight than he deserves. But if you look more closely at the two exchanges, you might be surprised to find out who it is that is actually running away. Then again, you might not be surprised at all.

Let’s look first at Vox’s original invitation.

Dear Dr. Myers,

You recently complained that you’ve never found any intelligent arguments for gods and said the reason you only addressed the weak arguments was because you were unaware of the strong ones…

It is my contention that there is not only substantial evidence for the existence of gods, but that the logic for the existence of gods is superior to the logic for the nonexistence of them as presented by yourself, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett, to name a few.

PZ, as we mentioned, turned down this invitation, but he did propose a reasonable alternative.

I would think that if he had some zinger of an argument, there would be better ways to reveal it than on an obscure AM radio talk show in a debate with an equally obscure professor at a liberal arts college. He could, for instance, put it right at the top of his web page, where we could all marvel at it before rushing off to our much-neglected church.

Frankly, that’s a great idea. If Vox does indeed have strong arguments for God, he should post them on his blog, where they’ll be easily available, accessible to major search engines, and documented for some time to come. Plus they’ll be dissectable, not subject to emotional influences like on-mike vocal expressions or stage presence, or to artificial time limits necessarily imposed by the radio show format, or to engineering manipulations like cutting off the mike to keep someone from making a point. Vox is already using his blog to try and state his case against PZ; let’s see if he can use it to make a strong case for God.

Sadly, that appears unlikely at this point. While PZ was courteous enough to acknowledge Vox’s challenge and respond to it, Vox has yet to even acknowledge PZ’s counter-proposal. Perhaps he’s hoping that if he struts enough and poses enough and boasts enough about PZ “running away,” that no one will notice he himself is quite obviously fleeing PZ’s much more reasonable idea. If it is indeed true that “The venue makes no difference to me [Vox],” then let the blogs be the venue. Let’s see Vox post the so-called “stronger” arguments for God which he thinks are so much better than the traditional arguments PZ and others have already addressed.

Personally, I don’t expect to see it. Vox is only good at pretending to be a winner. If he really had a conclusive case for the existence of God, he could have written that book instead of TIA, and discredited both new and old atheists at one stroke. But he doesn’t have the goods, and he knows it. That’s why we get boasts and poses, and never any actual, verifiable evidence.

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...
Posted in Unapologetics. 25 Comments »

25 Responses to “Vox Day fails again”

  1. Ed Darrell Says:

    Theodore’s argument will ultimately come down to this: “I know God when I see Him!”

    Yeah, that’s that same argument Potter Stewart used about obscenity: “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.”

    So, Theodore’s big argument will be to analogize God to obscenity.

    How much more evidence does anyone need to know that this guy is a parodist?

  2. Ric Says:

    Great post. You nailed VD once again. He really is all talk and no action.

  3. valdemar Says:

    Gosh, you mean an obscure video game designer with a daft haircut, an inflated ego and no sense of his own ridiculousness HASN”T got a convincing argument for the existence of God?
    THUD
    Sorry, I fainted. Recovering slowly, pass the smelling salts, Vera. Right, fine now.
    But it seems that some people on the Interwebbatron are not entirely honest. I may write to my MP about this.

  4. Jody Says:

    Is it just me or does it strike anyone else that Vox is incredibly frustrated at not being held by the world to the same high level of esteem he holds himself?

  5. Salt Says:

    # Ric Says:
    June 11, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Great post. You nailed VD once again. He really is all talk and no action.

    As VD’s published work,TIA (The Irrational Atheist), and downloadable for free, demonstrates.

  6. AJW308 Says:

    Great post. You nailed VD once again. He really is all talk and no action.

    Vox offered a debate. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it consists of all talk. That’s why the proposed radio venue was ideally suited for it.

    As for the value of action, I can see that you are quite impressed with PZ’s action of running away.

  7. yoyo Says:

    Is it just me or does it strike anyone else that Vox is incredibly frustrated at not being held by the world to the same high level of esteem he holds himself?

    I think the technical term is ignorant blowhard

  8. jorgaba Says:

    Hey Vox has noticed you again!

    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2008/06/that-settles-that.html

    “I had planned to deal with this guy’s chapter-by-chapter approach once Kelly got through with hers. But, since he’s repeatedly demonstrated a near complete inability to make a coherent rebuttal to anything I’ve written, it’s somewhat of a relief to know that I don’t have to bother:”

    How convenient! a new pretense for not bothering with you…bet you didn’t see that coming! And from the comments, a new entry for the Annals of Stupendous Self-aggrandizement (ASS):

    “Anyhow, Rich, I think you’re forgetting that regardless of what you might think of me, I have far more credibility in the media and around the world than PZ Myers does. US Congressmen, Fortune 500 CEOs, international economists, and famous novelists aren’t about to return his calls.”

  9. jorgaba Says:

    Sorry, Voxers, the key point your eyes have predictably slid over is the following one:

    “he should post them on his blog, where they’ll be easily available, accessible to major search engines, and documented for some time to come. Plus they’ll be dissectable, not subject to emotional influences like on-mike vocal expressions or stage presence, or to artificial time limits necessarily imposed by the radio show format, or to engineering manipulations like cutting off the mike to keep someone from making a point. Vox is already using his blog to try and state his case against PZ; let’s see if he can use it to make a strong case for God.”

    See, words have actually been said here, indicating reasons why a agreeing to a radio debate would be a stupid idea if one’s goal were really to get to the bottom of things. All you have to do is acknowledge the existence of these words and address the reasons. The point is really very simple: A valid argument would be equally forceful and persuasive in written comment as in spoken debate; An argument that depends on venue bias, rhetorical slight-of-hand and emotional manipulation to be persuasive would not. What’s the problem here? This is really a very simple point.

    Of course, we all know what the problem is, don’t we: Vox doesn’t have an argument that would pass any level of rational and evidentiary scrutiny. Vox doesn’t have any “cards in his hand” and we all know it. You know it too, don’t you; alas, you all just find it much easier to hold up mirrors for Vox while he preens, rather than admit this.

  10. Yuri Says:

    Vox wants PZ Myers to go on a radio program sympathetic to Vox’s position where they’ll control the conversation. Yeah.

    Given Vox’s past history of ignoring posts he can’t refute or criticizing them without linking to them so people can read what the person actually said (Orac), I’m sure he thinks everyone operates in the cowardly way he does.

  11. HHS Says:

    If Vox has no cards, as you propose, shouldn’t a debate be a piece of cake for PZ?

  12. Yuri Says:

    Right now he is calling someone a coward who won’t debate him on a topic he gets to choose. He’ll only play on his terms.

  13. Jody Says:

    I think the technical term is ignorant blowhard

    Thanks for that. I always wondered what the technical term was.

    “Anyhow, Rich, I think you’re forgetting that regardless of what you might think of me, I have far more credibility in the media and around the world than PZ Myers does. US Congressmen, Fortune 500 CEOs, international economists, and famous novelists aren’t about to return his calls.”

    The other technical term wouldn’t happen to be “Arrogant Blowhard” would it? Just wondering.

  14. merkur Says:

    I’m not sure why you’re bothering with long-winded epithets like “Ignorant Blowhard” and “Arrogant Blowhard”, when “Twat” is available. In the British sense, of course.

    I think running away is a hereditary trait in the Beale family. Robert ran away from the taxman, and Theodore ran away from his country. Why stop there? Run, Ted, run!

  15. Doug Says:

    If PZ Myers won’t debate Day on air, why doesn’t someone else from this site step up? Everyone here seems to be confident that Vox has an empty hand. It should be child’s play for some of the huge intellects who frequent this site to humiliate Vox on the air and be done with him once and for all.

  16. Deacon Duncan Says:

    Doug and HHS:

    It’s not a question of whether the debate would be easy for PZ or anyone else, it’s that so far there’s not much reason to expect that Vox would use the time for anything productive. He could just as well achieve his sort of “victory” by spending the radio time tweaking PZ’s nose, verbally abusing him, and denying him the “satisfaction” of a straight and relevant answer.

    If Vox had the real goods, he could easily post them where all of his followers could benefit from them and use them in their own dialogs with unbelievers. But that wouldn’t give him the chance to monopolize PZ’s time for an hour or so, nor would it let him brag that he had bearded the lion in his own den. That, plus the fact that he apparently doesn’t have any strong arguments for God, only goes to show that this so-called debate would be “not merely a waste, but a criminal misuse of time, so little of which is alloted to us on this mortal orb.”

  17. merkur Says:

    If PZ Myers won’t debate Day on air, why doesn’t someone else from this site step up?

    I have repeatedly questioned Vox’s reasoning in TIA. Obviously I’m biased, but as far as I could tell my points were reasonable and my tone no more insolent than his. His response has been to ban me from his blog and the TIA forums, usually claiming that I don’t understand his arguments sufficiently to argue them. Interestingly enough, his most consistent defence against critics is to accuse them of misunderstanding his arguments – which leads to the rather obvious conclusion that either his arguments or his writing is incomprehensible.

    I’ll debate him in any forum that he wants, but it’s clear that what he really wants is the attention; debating a nobody like me doesn’t bring him that attention.

  18. JZ Says:

    Robert Beale not only ran away, he blamed his actions on his bookkeeper.

  19. Deacon Duncan Says:

    Well, I think it’s only fair to point out that whatever sins the elder Beale may be guilty of, they’re not Vox’s. Let’s leave family out of it, shall we?

  20. Deacon Duncan Says:

    AJW, I really don’t think Vox had a credible offer for an actual, substantive debate. If he did, the blogs are open any time he’s ready to put up the goods. Vox is the one who is failing to back up his own challenge. PZ has already published his arguments, and has been for some time. Now that it’s up to Vox to put up or shut up, Vox is (somewhat petulantly) shutting up. What does that tell you?

  21. jim Says:

    The Voice of God’s incessant posturing really DOES get old, doesn’t it? I’ve downloaded his book, but by the time I got through the first couple chapters of adolescent name-calling, I pretty much lost interest (seems to be a trend). If he ever hopes to gain any respect for his ‘ideas’ beyond his clique of goosestepping ditto-heads, he should really consider raising the level of his discourse. Then again, maybe that’s all he’s got. Of course, look what he’s got to work with.

  22. Deacon Duncan Says:

    Salt,

    I’ve been reading TIA. Are you offering that as an example of Vox’s talk, or claiming it as “action”? Do you happen to know what Vox’s “strong arguments” for gods are?

  23. merkur Says:

    Well, I think it’s only fair to point out that whatever sins the elder Beale may be guilty of, they’re not Vox’s. Let’s leave family out of it, shall we?

    No problem, but before I cease and desist I’d like to quote the StarTribune, which reported that “While on the run, Beale, through a son, tried to get $600,000 from his Swiss bank account to buy property in Switzerland.” So it may not be strictly true that young Theodore has no portion of those crimes on his conscience.

  24. Modusoperandi Says:

    merkur “So it may not be strictly true that young Theodore has no portion of those crimes on his conscience.”
    Conscience? Isn’t Vox a self-admitted sociopath?

  25. » Bearding the lion Evangelical Realism Says:

    [...] was thinking about that incident in connection with some of the interactions that followed my recent exchange with Vox Day over who was really running away from the argument about God (or gods, in Vox’s [...]