Sorry, Vox, I’m not buying it.June 12, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
Apparently, this blog has once again come to Vox’s attention, prompting a new and different pose.
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…
[S]ince the clueless wonder declares that I’m incapable of reasonable discourse, there’s obviously no reason to bother with him anymore.
So we’re supposed to believe that Vox Day, self-described “award-winning cruelty artist,” a man who routinely describes the atheist as “an individual who asserts there is no God because he is a socially autistic asshole,” a man who has been trying to spread the idea that Obama is a “vote rapist” just because he was a black man competing against a white woman—we’re supposed to believe that this Vox Day is really a delicate, sensitive soul who’s going to run crying home to mama just because I used the word “fart” in the same sentence as his pseudonym? I don’t think so.
Let’s take Vox’s claims one by one. He claims that I “didn’t grasp the nature of the proposed subject matter,” yet somehow he fails to come up with anything specific that I allegedly got wrong. I did quote his exact invitation to PZ, including the bit where he said, “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.” Perhaps he’s trying to make a big deal out of the fact that he said “gods” plural instead of saying “God” singular? If he truly thinks the evidence for polytheism is stronger than the evidence for Christianity, then hats off to him, but somehow I rather doubt he meant to make that distinction in his so-called “debate.”
Next, he assails the idea that a written debate would be a “reasonable substitute” for an oral debate.
[He] actually thinks that PZ’s “counter-proposal” to post an argument on my blog is somehow a reasonable substitute for a form of discourse that would force PZ to put his reputation, such as it is, on the line.
Granted, if Vox’s goal was to lure PZ into a commitment that would give Vox an hour to take pot-shots at him and to demonstrate the bob-and-weave that honest debaters find so frustrating, the alternative of a written debate would seem less than satisfactory. If the goal, however, is to acquaint the audience with the evidence for and against a given proposition, then a written debate is by far the superior alternative, since it imposes no artificial constraints based on time and is less subject to irrelevancies like personal charisma and presentation skills. By all accounts, Hitler was a highly skilled and influential speaker, but that does not mean the things he said were true. If Vox really has the “stronger arguments” he claimed, he ought to prefer the written exchange. But a written debate would only put Vox’s reputation on the line, with no clear benefit to Vox. Small wonder that he demurs.
Oh, and just for the record, while I did comment on Vox’s predilection for making a stink, I did not claim that he is incapable of reasonable discourse. I’m simply pointing out that he habitually chooses not to do so. His current refusal to offer reasonable discourse on the evidence for God (or gods) is just one more example.
Vox somewhat sarcastically implies that he’s well aware he could have posted these so-called “strong arguments” on his own blog. “Gee, I can post to my own blog? Really? Brilliant! I’d never thought of that!” Um, ok, point taken, he does know that he has that option. Why isn’t he using it then? This is a Vox debate in action: sarcasm in the place of substance. Why would PZ (or anyone) want to sit around for an hour listening to Vox sneer instead of addressing the issues?
I suspect Vox may be one of those people who confesses their own sins by projecting them on others. Consider what he would do if he were in PZ’s place, facing a strong argument:
I’m not about to permit him to play hide-and-snipe, where he only speaks up if he thinks he’s got something and feigns lofty ignorance when he doesn’t. Unsurprisingly, ER doesn’t understand the way in which PZ’s “counter-proposal”, if one can actually call it that, was designed to allow PZ to hide from being intellectually exposed.
Hmm, I wonder if Vox’s projected motivations for PZ have anything to do with the “hide-and-snipe” approach he’s been taking to TIA Tuesday? A written debate, publicly accessible on the Internet, is a great way to expose any intellectual chicanery, since it gives both sides the ability to check the credentials on the claims offered by the other. So Vox’s objection is completely spurious here. But at least this exercise in motivational projection seems to have brought him to the place where he understands, from first-hand experience, why fear might not be the only reason someone like PZ might turn down a debate.
[P]eople have made fools of themselves by making baseless assumptions about my refusal to perform like a trained seal on their schedule.
Right. So when PZ turns down Vox’s bait, it’s because he’s “afraid” and “running away,” but when Vox refuses to reveal his so-called “strong evidence,” he’s merely refusing to perform like a trained seal on “their” schedule. Only guess what? Nobody is trying to pin Vox down to any kind of schedule, or asking him to perform like a trained seal. All I’m doing is pointing out that Vox has had many opportunities, and still has many opportunities, to enlighten friend and foe alike as to the nature of his “strong arguments” for God/gods, on his own schedule. And yet as each situation arises where those arguments would do him the most good, he somehow manages not to use them. Given so many repeated and inexplicable no-shows, one has to wonder whether his hand really holds as many aces as he claims.
Vox’s spin on this whole debacle is that PZ “ran away,” but the fact of the matter is that PZ had nothing to run away from. It was Vox who initiated this exchange by claiming to have strong arguments for God; PZ has been saying that he only refutes weak apologetics because no one is offering any strong ones. By using my post (my post?) as an excuse not to reveal the arguments which would prove PZ wrong, Vox is leaving things as they originally were: PZ can still truthfully claim that he only refutes the weak arguments because nobody has presented any strong ones. Thus, this whole exchange has only served to demonstrate the truth of PZ’s original claim.
Nice going, Vox.